Strange But True Tales

Green Pittman enlisted in the Confederate army on August 21, 1861 as a member of the “Wilkinson Guards,” which were designated as Co. I of the 3rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry.  His first major wound came at the climatic battle of the Battles of the Seven Days at Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862 when his company suffered massive casualties in brutal fighting.   Pittman survived the horrific battles of 2nd Manassas, Sharpsburg, Chancelorsville, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania virtually unscathed.

Green Pittman suffered a terrible wound in the Battle of Hatcher’s Run on February 6, 1865.  The mini ball struck the upper part of his nose near his left eye. After the fighting subsided, Pittman was taken to a field hospital, where his wound was dressed and probed by an army surgeon.   Leaving the bullet in his head was the most acceptable option because of the risks of surgery.  He spent the rest of the war in a hospital.  Though Pittman knew that the mini ball was still in his head he rarely thought of it during his daily routines.  On a Sunday morning February 1869, Pittman was preparing to go to church when he felt something strange in his mouth.

As he was combing his hair, Pittman felt a large object which he almost swallowed.  There was no pain, no bleeding when the one-ounce two-pennyweight ball popped out four years after it entered his nose.  The grizzled veteran of many of the world’s most horrific battles cherished the iron ball as a reminder of his good fortune.  Augusta Chronicle, July 1, 1875.

A Swainsboro woman set what was thought to be a world record for going from the grave to the altar.  On Tuesday, January 30,  1906, J.J. Sewell, one of the most hardworking and honest men in that section of the state, died of tuberculosis leaving his entire estate to his widow Alice.  Mr. Sewell was buried on Wednesday. His wife was present, dressed in proper attire and showing the usual emotional distress at the death of her dear departed husband.  Also at the funeral was one Robert McDaniel, who had professed his love for the widow before Sewell’s demise. McDaniel accompanied the bereaved woman as she left the cemetery. On Thursday, the couple appeared in Ordinary Court Judge Yeoman’s office and obtained a marriage license.  The anxious couple quickly traveled to the home of Judge John Sutton, where they were instantly married and set off on their honeymoon. When questioned as to the timeliness of their marriage, Mrs. McDaniel said that she needed someone to comfort her and knew McDaniel had loved her a long time.  The editors of the Swainsboro Forest Blade took an opposite stance, when they wrote, “ Peace to the ashes of Mr. Sewell.  He is better off in his grave than hitched up with such a woman as this and hounded by a man who would marry her.” Washington Post, February 5, 1906. p. 1, Swainsboro Forest Blade, February 1, 1906.

It was a hot muggy late summer afternoon on September 15, 1881 in Dublin when a terrific thunderstorm struck around two o’clock.  James Hester saw the oncoming tumult and pulled his team of oxen under a large china berry tree about half way between Maas’s store and J.E.  Perry’s house.  Hester took the beasts of burden loose from the cart and was preparing to lead them around to tie them to a wheel when a stream of mysterious luminous fluid seemed to cascade down through the tree.  To those who were present, it appeared that the eery liquid coated a light sheet over the oxen and their driver.    The animals instantly fell dead to the ground, the one closest to the tree never moved.   Hester, stunned and dazed as if dead, was carried to Maas’s store and revived.   He soon became able to relate his experiences to the concerned and curious crowd which had gathered around him.

The thunderbolt was felt all over town.  A Dublin Post writer was standing in the office between T.A. Howard and William Linder, the paper’s printer.  While the writer felt nothing, Howard instantly complained that his right leg was broken, while Linder felt his composing stick being wrenched from his hand.  He complained of a pain in his wrist for half an hour.   In another part of the newspaper office, G.W. Stephenson complained of a pain in his right wrist.

Joel Perry, who was sitting on his porch when he saw Hester’s animals killed by the mysterious glow, did not hear the clap of thunder but did suffer a severe headache and ringing in his ears for a while.  Other citizens reported similar ailments.  Though the striking of china berry trees, Dublin’s primary shade trees, was not unusual, the calamity did cause quite a stir among local residents.  Dublin Post, September 21, 1881.

Jeannie Couey and Rachel Alligood were as close as sisters can be.  Despite the fact that they were nearly twenty years apart in age, the pair was inseparable. They had the same father, Nathaniel Franklin Gay, but Jeannie’s mother was Sarah Burch and Rachel’s mother was Martha Burch, both daughters of Alfred Littleberry Burch, making them cousins as well as sisters.  Confused?   Both women were members of Baker Baptist Church and did nearly everything together.  Jeannie died at 8:30 on the evening of January 4, 1928 at the ripe old age of sixty-four.  Less than twelve hours later, Rachel made her way to her beloved sister’s home.    When she walked in the room to view Jeannie’s lifeless body, she fell dead on the floor in grief. Both Laurens County sisters were buried in Gay Cemetery the following day, side by side, united in life as in death.  Augusta Chronicle, January 5, 1928.

     As a child has a 1 in 365.25 chance of being born on Christmas Day.  For most kids that isn’t such a great thing when it comes to presents and birthday parties. Christmas was a landmark day in the life James Erwin Loyd of Laurens County. Loyd was born on Christmas Day in 1866.  He died on his 82nd birthday on Christmas Day in 1948.  The odds of being born and dying on Christmas Day are 1:133,225.  His wife Leonia Wood Loyd was born on March 15, 1876, still known to some as “The Ides of March,” a day on which Julius Caesar suffered his mortal fate.  She died in 1944.  The date of course was March 15th, her 68th birthday.  The Loyds are buried in the Union Baptist Church cemetery on the Soperton Highway just north of Minter.

Dr. G.F. Green is authority for the statement that a number of snow flakes fell in this city yesterday.  At his home, Dr. Green states, it hailed for a minute or two and then snowed.  The falling of snow flakes was witnessed by several reputable people and there is no doubt but that the statement is true, strange as it may seem. Dublin Courier Dispatch, July 24, 1902.