Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at dublinhistory@yahoo.com.

Friday, December 16, 2016

THIS AND THAT IN 1916

THIS AND THAT IN 1916

CHRISTMAS CHEER - The yearning for some fine  ol' Christmas cheer was never as strong as it was in the early days of the winter of 1916-17. For most of the year, the prohibitionist preachers of Laurens County had condemned the evil demon rum.    Local officials even brought in Robert B. Glenn, the former governor of North Carolina.  Known as the "Prohibition Governor" for his leading the statewide effort to successfully ban the sale of alcoholic beverages, Gov. Glenn spoke to a large enthusiastic crowd at the Laurens County Courthouse on March 21, 1916.

All of the talk about the debaucheries and the perils of drinking was lost on a group of thieves the following Christmas.  A throng of thirsty thieves made their way inside of the depots of the Wrightsville & Tennille Railroads at both Brewton and Lovett on the first day of winter.  The burglars took 50 cases of liquor at the express office in Brewton, while the exact amount of the take in Lovett was unknown, since the miscreants set the depot on fire to cover the evidence of their crime.  Both law officers and the public set out on a mission to find the men who stole the Christmas cheer and the $500 reward which went with arrest and conviction of the thieves.

At the depot in Rockledge, a similar sin took place on of all nights, Christmas night.  This time, a band of burglars took 100 packages of whisky along with "other goods."   The Christmas crooks were never caught.

A POSTAL PROBLEM - In 1916, city officials and postmen found themselves in a quandary.  It seems that there were two sets of streets in Dublin, each with the same names.  On the south side of town, there was a Harrison street, which ran from South Jefferson Street eastward over to South Washington Street.  The other Harrison Street, located in the northeast quadrant of Dublin in the Scottsville area,  was named for the Republican President Benjamin Harrison as were all of the streets in that neighborhood named for Republican presidents and candidates for the presidency or states of the Union.  The southern Harrison Street, which had been in place much longer and was likely named for the Harrison family which lived in the area in the early 1800s, kept its name while the northern Harrison way was named Graham, in honor of the Clerk of Council, Graham.

There were two McCall streets in the same neighborhood.  The main McCall street, named after the iconic minister of First African Baptist Church, the Rev. Norman McCall, ran from Telfair Street north to the railroad.  The other, in the nearby Jordan's quarter, was renamed Flanders Street.

FAIR TIME - In 2016, the Dublin Civitan Club celebrated its biggest fall fair since its inaugural fair more than three decades ago.  A century ago in 1916, autumn fairs were reaching their peak.

The 1916 Twelfth Congressional District Fair was held on the newly remodeled fairgrounds across the railroad tract from the Robinson & Ray Lumber Yard (Cordell Lumber Company 2016.) In its fourth year at the new location, which later become the site of three major league exhibition baseball games, the 1916 fair featured agricultural exhibits, livestock exhibits, women's departments, and a general exhibit building, all surrounded by an eight-foot high, blind fence.

The fair opened on October 1.  The main entrance, about where the main entrance to the old, now razed, shirt factory once stood,  was located  in the center of the block between Telfair Street and the railroad on Troup Street.  It opened into a space between two 30' x 100' sheds parallel with Troup Street.

Four farm 40'x 70' exhibit buildings, three of which were enclosed,  were located next to the railroad and parallel to Troup Street.   It was there where the boys displayed their corn club activities and the girls showed off their best canning club goods.

A 40' x 250' livestock building, with 600 feet of stalls, was built along Telfair Street.  H.E. Ray was in charge of the construction, which included a big midway.  E. Ross Jordan, who would soon move to Macon to manage the Georgia State Fair, was the manager.  An auto entrance was near the intersection of Troup and Telfair streets.  The pedestrian entrance was nearer the railroad.  One enticing feature for out of town residents was the train stop, a half block from the gate.

Fireworks and free attractions were held each day of five-day fair.  There was "Automobile Day," when the owner of the best decorated car was awarded a prize.  It was followed by "Laurens County and Women's Day," "Farmers Union & Livestock Day," "Educational Day," and the ever popular closing day on Saturday.

The African American citizens of Laurens County staged their own fair in November at the same fair ground in the days before Thanksgiving.  The Rev. William Gaines and H.H. Dudley managed the fair which included a big brass band.  Gaines and Dudley invited all of the white residents to attend.  Gaines published the "The Worker's Herald" a newspaper here for African-Americans.


REMEMBERING THE OLD SOUTH - The prim and proper ladies of the Old South congregated in Dublin, from October 17 to October 19, to hold their annual Georgia State convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The primary meetings, including morning, afternoon and evening sessions,  were held in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church under the direction of State President Mrs. H.M. Franklin, of Tennille, Georgia.  All of Dublin's female patriotic organizations turned out to host the three-day event, which featured food, music and educational programs.  Male members of the community were involved too - welcoming the delegates and following the instructions given to them by their female commanders.

On Wednesday evening, a reception was held at the Bellevue Avenue home of Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Garrett (King Law Offices 2016.)  The next day, delegates were treated to an auto ride and picnic lunch.  That evening, Mr. and Mrs. Izzie Bashinski held a reception for  the delegates at their Italianate style home on Bellevue (Jeff & Jennifer Davis home 2016.)

During the session, described as one of the best in years, the most honored delegate to the convention was Miss Anna Caroline Benning, of the Lizzie Rutherford Chapter from Columbus.
Known as the mother of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  Miss Benning was the daughter of Gen. Henry L. Benning, CSA and the namesake of the United States Army's Fort Benning in her home of Columbus, Georgia.




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