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

Monday, February 29, 2016


The Commercial Bank was located at the corner of the western margin of South Jefferson and the northern margin of Madison Street in the Four Seasons Building.  This photograph was taken in 1917, when Laurens County had more banks than any other county in the State of Georgia, except Fulton (Atlanta) and Chatham (Savannah.)  The First National Bank skyscraper is to the left.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Dublin’s Building Boom of 1905


There was once a saying in Dublin that Dublin, Georgia was “the only city in Georgia that’s doublin’ all the time.”  The city’s boosters boasted the rapid growth of the Emerald City, whose population grew from a few hundred in 1880 to several thousand by the end of the first decade of the Twentieth Century.  A century ago, the city was growing by leaps and bounds as it became one of the top twelve population centers in Georgia.

When the mortar between the bricks of the Carnegie Library was just barely dry, plans were being made to upgrade other public and private buildings within the city.   Dublin’s City Hall, an unpretentious two-story building at the western end of town, was not in keeping with the new metropolitan spirit sweeping the community. The city council chose the former Hilton Hotel across from the courthouse on the northern side of the square for a more appropriate facility.  The new building was actually a remodeling of an old hotel built by G.S. Hooks, first known as the “Hooks House.”  In keeping with the tradition of the times, hotels were named after their operators.  The hotel, which bore a strong resemblance to a fortress with Spanish influences,  was later named the “Hilton Hotel” for its owner Attys P. Hilton, making it one of the first, if not the first, Hilton Hotels in America.

On the first floor were offices of the Chief of Police, the Clerk of Council, the city electrician, the fire department, the city physician, and six five by ten feet jail cells.  The second floor contained the  Mayor’s office, the city council chamber, fireman’s quarters, and a 2100 sq. ft. courtroom with a sloping floor.    Atop the building was a fire bell.    The city was divided into four quadrants.  When a call came into the fire department, a fireman quickly ascertained in which quadrant the fire was located. Someone ascended to the roof and signaled the town by a corresponding number of rings.  The alarm being sounded, nearly everyone rushed to the scene. Usually there was always someone first on the scene who climbed on the roof and began chopping holes.  Not realizing the folly of their good-hearted efforts, the holes accelerated the flames, resulting in a motto being penned on the fire department, “we never lose a chimney.”   The building was used until the late 1950s when the City Hall was moved to its present location.  The old building was razed for a parking lot for county employees.

Across the courthouse square on the site of still another county parking lot was the Laurens County Jail.  Built sometime in the late 1800s, the hoosegow became unfit even for the most depraved fiends.  Local Methodist minister and part time architect George C. Thompson was hired to superintend the work.  The jail was one story high with thirteen two-man cells placed one over another.  There was one separate cell for women with a separate bath room.  On the upper row of cells was a special cell reserved for those who were condemned to hang.  In order to facilitate their executions, no longer held in public after John Robinson’s hanging in 1901, prisoners were placed on a trap door that was dropped as a reminder to those in adjoining cells of a similar fate if they committed a capital offense. The jailor’s residence was placed above the jail.  New columns were placed on the portico and the roof line was improved.  The jail was used by the county until 1963 when the current courthouse was completed.

While the members of the First Baptist Church were still formulating plans to build a new church, the members of the Christian Church hired A.C. Bruce of Atlanta to design their first church on the corner of North Jefferson and East Gaines Streets (now the site of the offices of Jefferson Street Baptist Church).  The 57 foot by 65 foot eight thousand dollar stone building featured a tower on the front right corner with entrances on both streets.  In the rear of the church were the Sunday school rooms, parlor, pastor’s study and dressing rooms.  The Sunday school rooms could be opened into the sanctuary, increasing its capacity  to seven hundred people. The beautiful structure was used until the late 1950s until it was torn down for the location of First Federal Savings and Loan Association.

Rev. George C. Thompson was busy in 1905.  With the aid of his two new assistants, S.M.  Golden of New York and Arthur Smith of LaGrange, Thompson was hired to design and supervise the building of a new elementary school in the northeast section of the city.  The school, known as Johnson Street School for the street upon which it was located, was a two-story building which was used until the early 1950s when it was replaced by a modern brick structure.  When school board members decided to build a new school on Saxon Street several years later, they withdrew bid offers and decided to save money by using Thompson’s plans for the sister school, which was also used until the early 1950s when it was also replaced by a modern building.

Dublin’s tallest structure to date, the Brantley Building, was completed in the spring of 1905.  Rev. Thompson designed the three-story structure to house three twenty-five foot wide stores on the first floor.  The corner store was first occupied by the Oconee Pharmacy with the middle store being occupied by C.W. Brantley’s Buggy Company.   On the second floor was a buggy repository and eleven professional office spaces.  A third floor was added to house the lodge of Laurens Lodge No. 75 F & AM. The lodge’s quarters featured a lodge room with inlaid gold Masonic emblems in a
pressed metal ceiling, four regalia rooms, and eleven more professional offices.    At one time the building office actually housed the Lyric Theatre, a small silent movie picture house.  For most long time Dubliners, the building is known as the Lovett &and Tharpe Building, which was occupied by the legendary hardware company from the early 1950s to the early 1980s.  Today, the building houses the Sleep and Recline store.

The Dublin Courier Dispatch completed its first permanent building at 120 S. Jefferson Street in 1905.  The two-story five-thousand square foot building featured a business office and stationery department on the front of the first floor. The editorial room was on the front of the second floor with the linotype machinery and composing rooms in the rear of the second story.  A large skylight in the center of the building illuminated both floors in a time when electric service was still primitive and unreliable by today’s standards.  Within a week, work on the adjoining Taylor-Coleman Pharmacy was completed.   The buildings were occupied for many years by Central Office Suppliers and Strange Drug Company respectively.

The M.D. & S. Railroad began construction on a new depot on the north side of the tracks on S. Jefferson Street in the fall of 1905.  That building was used until the early 1960s when it was razed.

All over town, new houses were being built.  The year 1905 was a good year for Dublin and today, a century later, the city is still enjoying a building boom, albeit that in 1905 you could have built every building in Dublin for the cost of the new Kroger grocery store.

Friday, February 26, 2016

You Are Not Going To See That Movie!

Did your parents ever tell you, "You are not going to see that movie!"   After you said, "but," they told you it was too filthy or too violent, or you just don't need to see things like that. Well, back in February of 1936, eighty years ago, the mayor and city council of Dublin stood behind the parents and laid down the law that some movies were not meant to be seen on the theater screens of Dublin, Georgia.

Censorship of movies in Dublin began back in the year 1913 when movies were beginning to become more popular.  Mild and lame by today's standards, some silent movies were once considered too risque and inappropriate for young viewers or any viewers for that matter.  The city council had the full support of the churches, whose members objected to the movies but went to see just for themselves what exactly what was being depicted.

It all began on a Tuesday night on June 22, 1913.  A large crowd of good Christian folks gathered at the old City Hall on the Courthouse Square to voice their concerns about the widespread lack of enforcement of city ordinances.  Col. M.H. Blackshear, a well-respected attorney and long time Sunday School teacher, spoke first and voiced his disappointment in the proliferation of blind tigers, houses of disrepute and wide-open soda fountains, along with the unacceptable number of cigar stands which were operated on Sundays.

Mr. Z. Whitehurst stood up next and implored the council to censor  vaudeville acts at the motion picture shows.  Whitehurst stated, "There are many things which are said and done on the stage that are very harmful to the children who were large patrons of these shows, that costumes were worn and jokes told that were detrimental to the moral sense of the children, and they are being filled with ideas that were evil.

The result of this mass objection to moral depredations was the introduction of an ordinance by councilman Tom Ramsay to appoint a Board of Censors.  The three-man committee was charged with the duty to review and approve all movies, vaudeville shows and theatrical troupe performances. The board was directed to disapprove any performance or showing which was vulgar, immoral or one not in keeping with good morals.

The issue of immorality in movies arose once again in the winter of 1936.  The hubbub started when the Dublin Benefit Association wanted to present a Sunday movie at the Ritz Theater for charitable purposes.  While Georgia state law allowed Sunday movies for solely benevolent purposes, a majority of the Dublin City Council held firm their religious convictions that the Sabbath should be a day of rest and passed a resolution banning all Sunday movies.

The council took a bolder step and resurrected the idea of a Board of Censors.  The practice apparently has disappeared during the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.  The council gave Mayor M.A. Chapman the authority to appoint a committee to disapprove any movie which may be harmful to the morals of the city.  The council also granted the mayor to hire an attorney to represent the city against the anticipated law suits filed on behalf of the theater owners.

With the coming of World War II, opposition to the showing of movies on Sunday began to wane at least when the movies were shown to benefit a charity.   Mayor Dee Sessions was outraged that illegal and non licensed bar rooms and poker palaces were allowed operate on Sundays under the guise of being a restaurant while otherwise wholesome movies were not allowed to be shown at licensed theaters, which paid the extra $500.00 to present movies on the Sabbath.

The Lions Club planned such a Sunday show in February 1942.  Efforts to repeal the city ordinance, which only provided for the showing of movies on Sundays between 1:00 o'clock and 2:00 o'clock in the afternoons, failed.  A month later, Rose Theater manager Bob Hightower, Sr. was charged by Dublin police with violating the ordinance against Sunday movies. Hightower saw no harm in the movie, "Young America," with child star Jane Withers.  The event was to raise money for the Defense Stamp program.   Hightower retained Carl Nelson, Sr. to challenge the ordinance.  An interesting legal situation occurred when it was revealed that Nelson's brother, James F. Nelson, Sr. was the city attorney.

Wars change things. And so, it was with movies in Dublin.

When personnel form the U.S. Naval Hospital were allowed to attend movies on special Sunday showings, many Dubliners claimed that they too should be allowed to go to see a movie on Sunday, even between the morning and evening worship services.  When minor league baseball came to town in 1949, city officials allowed Sunday games.  The city's "blue laws" would not completely disappear until the early 1970s when the furor over opening of the Dublin Mall's stores on Sundays put the issue to rest forever.  Only the ordinance banning alcoholic beverage sales on Sunday still remains in effect.

During the tumultuous decade of the 1960s, the content of movies changed dramatically. The Motion Picture Association of America instituted a mandatory system of ratings in 1968 to rate movies for general audiences, mature audiences, restricted audiences 16 or over and x-rated for adults only.  Prior to that time, there were some showings at the Martin Theater late on weekend nights which would have sent the citizens of 1913 into a frenzy.

The editors of the Laurens County News took a bold step in 1969 against pornography in movies. In a rare front page editorial, the paper denounced modern day movies and begged for a return to decency in movies.  The paper took an unprecedented step by refusing to run advertisements for such movies.

In response to the editorial and numerous complaints from citizens, Dublin Mayor William Robert Smith appointed a committee to work with theater owners and study measures to prevent indecent movies.  The process, which was entirely voluntary on the part of theater operators, included a study to raise to the age of sixteen, movies which were rated M, R and X.

       The council turned down numerous requests from a packed auditorium to return to the old ordinance and ban all Sunday movies after 7:00 o'clock, p.m..   Alderman Charles Bass attempted to raise the age limit to eighteen years of age for all non-general audience movies.  Bass pointed to the controversy relating to the movie, "Secret Ceremony," with Elizabeth Taylor and Mia Farrow, which had been recently shown at the newly opened Village Theater in Williamsburg Village.  That measure failed.

The matter came to a conclusion with the report of the committee on June 8, 1969. The committee, chaired by Tyrus Gaillard, studied the matters of Sunday movies and the regulations of types of movies which could be shown.  The committee deferred on the issue of Sunday movies since the council had twice voted on the matter.  On the issue of ratings, committee members Katherine Porter, Bunny Hatchett, Dr. Charles Riley and Preston Smith, recommended that the national rating system be followed but directed that all children under the age of 16, accompanied by an adult, should be allowed to watch R rated movies.  The committee reported that owners of the Martin Theater voluntarily agreed to go back to the early Sunday movie schedule, while the owners of the Village Theater had not yet agreed in the recommendation.

In today's world of movies in this "Oscar week,"  these matters may seem to be old fashioned and frivolous. But in those days, the days of the past, when good people genuinely felt that our country's way of life was in immediate peril, the matter was much more serious.  


These remarkable photographs of cotton picking time in Laurens County
are courtesy of Tom Sikes.  The photos are from a promotional notebook 
of  his father, M.H. Sikes, who operated a cotton gin in Cadwell and many farms 
in Laurens County, Georgia during the first four decades of the 20th Century. 

Thanks Tom for the photos and thanks to Chris Rawlins for letting us know about these pictures
which depict a part of our past. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016


A Portrait of  a Man

This unknown gentleman was photographed by
Irene Claxton at Chappell's Mill more than 60 years ago  on 
a local farm.  Look deep into his haunting 
eyes and imagine, if you will, the experiences of 
a long and hard life. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Southern Side 
ca. 1930s

Dublin, Georgia
From the Collection of Sarah Orr Williams
and Irene R. Claxton

If you have any pictures of the way we once lived, email them to the Laurens County Historical Society at, call the Dublin - Laurens Museum at 478-272-9242
or drop by the Museum at 702 Bellevue Ave., Dublin, GA Tu-Fri, 10-5 and Sat. 12-4.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Genius Has No Color

For more than half of his life, Claude Harvard fought to overcome the obstacles in his life. He was a mathematical genius. But before you think he was carried a slide rule with him and was some sort of prosperous preppie prodigy attending a major university, think again. Claude Harvard was born almost as poor as poor can be. He was the son of a South Georgia black sharecropper in the years when cotton abdicated its crown as the King of the South.

Claude Harvard was born on March 11, 1911 in Dublin, Georgia. He attended Telfair School, which was then located on Pritchett Street. His teacher and school principal Susie White Dasher was more than proud of Claude. Mrs. Dasher related that he was a mathematical wizard and was always at the top of his class.

Claude’s interest in science and technology was aroused around 1921when he read a magazine article about owning your own wireless radio set. The first radio station in the country, KDKA in Pittsburgh, went on the air in November 1920. Georgia wouldn’t have its own station until 1922 when WSB began broadcasting from Atlanta. Claude was determined to own his own radio. He saved his pennies and sold salve to raise the money.

By 1922, it became impossible for many black tenant farmer families to survive in the boll weevil ridden cotton fields of Georgia. The Harvard family moved to Detroit, Michigan with hopes of a newfound prosperity. With his most priceless possession in hand, Claude left the relative tranquility of Dublin for the bright lights of big city life.

Claude enrolled in a machine shop class in high school. His teacher observed his talent and recommended him for admission to The Henry Ford Trade School in 1926. Auto magnate Henry Ford established the School in 1916 to train orphaned children to become workers for his auto plants. Despite the fact that he was not an orphan, Claude was accepted in the school because of his impressive talents in machining and metal work. The cards were stacked against Claude at the school where blacks seldom graduated because of the rule against fighting. The principal figured that Claude wouldn’t make it at the school because there was no way he could finish his classes without getting into a fight with the white kids. Claude kept his temper and avoided any scrapes. He excelled in every course at the school. He was elected president of the radio club at the school. Ten students in the club took a test to become a certified amateur operator. Claude, the only one of the group to pass the test, became the first African-American in Michigan to receive an amateur radio license. Harvard, known as "The African Pounder," worked at the school radio station WARC. Upon completion of his courses at the Henry Ford Trade School, Claude Harvard was at the top of his class.

Despite the fact that Claude had reached the pinnacle of success at the school, he was denied the automatic right to a union card because of his race. Harvard later found out later that all of his applications for Union membership had been discarded in the trash can. But Harvard’s talents couldn’t be discarded. The Ford Motor Company hired him anyway and assigned him as the head of the radio department.

In 1934 at the age of twenty-three, Claude was personally selected by Henry Ford to display his ground breaking invention of a piston pin inspection machine at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Harvard’s most well known invention allowed workers to clean the surfaces of auto pistons to one 1/10,000 of an inch. His machine determined the proper hardness of pistons and checked the length and diameter of its grooves, rejecting any defective parts in the sorting phase. Claude Harvard never forgot the pride he felt at the Exposition. He was deeply honored by Ford’s confidence in him as well as the pride he felt when other black attendees came to his booth.

Impressed with Harvard’s remarkable abilities, Henry Ford asked Claude to speak on behalf of the company at Tuskegee Institute. With only one day to prepare the speech, Harvard rapidly researched his topic and presented to Ford by the end of the day. The Institute’s iconic scientist George Washington Carver in welcomed Claude to the school and issued a rare personal invitation to tour his personal laboratory. As a token of his gratitude, Carver presented Harvard samples of his work and an autographed picture of himself. Carver remained fond of Harvard and his work and often inquired of him in conversations with Ford. In 1937, Harvard was again honored by Ford when he appeared in an advertisement in Popular Science Monthly.

While at Ford Motor Company, Claude Harvard patented twenty-nine inventions for the manufacture of Ford automobiles, though he reaped none of the royalties and profits of his genius, all in accordance with a company policy, which required employees to relinquish their inventions to the company. One invention was sold for a quarter of a million dollars to U.S. Steel. He left the company to establish his own business, the Exact Tool & Die Company. The initially successful business failed when white employees of customer companies found out they were doing business with a black businessman. Claude went to work for the Federal government but soon discovered that he was discriminated against in his pay scale. An old friend from the Ford Trade School suggested that he take an employment test at the Detroit Arsenal. Claude quickly solved a trigonometry problem and passed a subsequent civil service exam. Harvard worked at the Arsenal until his retirement.

Harvard came out of retirement when he began teaching at HOPE Machinist Training Institute in Detroit in the early 1980s. The school was organized to teach hands on training for minority youths. After two years, Harvard became an unpaid volunteer at the school. He designed implements and guides to facilitate the production of metal parts. Harvard maintained that it was the vast experience of himself and other instructors which contributed to better teaching of young students. Though machine work was controlled by computers, Harvard maintained that the process was still basically the same as it was in the 1930s. He encouraged his students and all children to study math and to put as much effort into learning as they do into sports. In a 1997 interview with Otha R. Sullivan Harvard offered these words of advice, "Have you noticed how kids exercise, play sports and learn dances? If they treated their brains the way they treat their bodies, they would be great. If you gave your brains half the exercise you give your muscles, you’d be very smart. Kids shouldn’t be afraid of mathematics and science. The subjects aren’t as hard as they look. I especially recommend that young people tackle mathematics. It really isn’t that difficult. Apparently, the teachers just make it seem that way."

Claude Harvard died in 1999 in adopted hometown of Detroit. The young Dublin boy who once dreamed of owning his own radio has been heralded as one the greatest African American inventors of the 20th Century.

Harvard was philosophical about the impediments of racism in America and encouraged others to aspire to his goals. In a 1937 interview, Harvard said "The Negro boy who is complaining about the breaks against him should stop squawking and do as this black boy did and make the grade in spite of being black. I must make the grade." In chronicling the early successes of the young inventor, Herbert H. "Hub" Dudley, Dublin’s leading black businessman and a columnist for the Dublin Courier Herald wrote, "Genius knows no color or creed. The World loves a contributor to civilization."



Was located northwest of the old Elks Club Swimming Pool
rear of Christ Church

Built in 1888
Destroyed by fire in 1901 

Monday, February 22, 2016


A fun day in Brewton, Georgia when school kids rode the Wrightsville & Tennille Railroad into Dublin.

Friday, February 19, 2016


SE Corner of West Jackson St.
and South Lawrence St.
Dublin, GA


Ever wonder why, February usually has 28 days? Don’t forget 29 this year.  Until 450 B.C., the Roman calendar did not include the months of January or February.   After using up most of the days, the composers of the calendar had to cut the number of days to make the 365.25 day year.   Upon the implementation of the Gregorian calendar in England and its eastern colonies in America, February was officially designated as the 2nd month with a 29th “Leap” day every four years. 

ONE RICH UNCLE - H.H. Lanier earned a meager living as a watchmaker in a Dublin jewelry store.   Mark Hopkins, a brother of Lanier’s mother, traveled to California during the 49er days.  Hopkins founded the Central Pacific Railroad.  Uncle Mark Hopkins died in 1878.  For more than forty years, his heirs fought over his estimated twenty to one hundred and thirty five-million dollar estate.  The family was still fighting in 1927.  Macon Telegraph, February 28, 1927.

PISTOL PACKING MAMMA - In the early days of February 1925, Mrs. J.R. Rooks, was convicted of a misdemeanor in a Laurens County Superior Court.  Now Mrs. Rooks, who admitted she was just borrowing a friend’s gun,  was not your typical miscreant lawbreaker.  Mrs. Rooks, a widow, was convicted of “pistol toting” or carrying a concealed pistol without a license.  Newspaper accounts stated that Mrs. Rooks, sentenced to pay a fine of one dollar and court cost, was the first woman in Georgia convicted of the crime.  The conviction brought to the forefront the move to ban the carrying of concealed weapons, a move applauded by the Laurens County Grand Jury. Macon Telegraph, February 13, 1925

HOW ABOUT THOSE DUBLIN DOGS! - When the Dean of the University of Georgia issued his list of the university’s top students, one remarkable fact stood out.  Every Dubliner attending the university made the list.  They were Leila Bates, R.C.Coleman, Eugene Baldwin and Charles Molony.  Macon Telegraph, February 13, 1931. 

PECAN PLANT - An unusual production plant was established in Dublin in February 1937 by Mr. and Mrs. G.H. Williams.  The Williams operated The Dublin Pecan Shelling Company out their own building on West Madison Street behind the McLellan’s Store in the old “Four Seasons’ Building.”  Of the company’s thirty employees, 26 were African American women, who earned four cents per pound or about 75 cents to one dollar per day.  The plant was managed Hyers Holland.  The Williams hoped to produce 1500 pounds of pecans a week for shipment to wholesalers around the South.  Williams took the cracked hulls and used them to fertilize his pecan trees. Macon Telegraph, February 11, 1937. 

DEXTER SCOUTS - The second Boy Scout troop outside of Dublin was founded in Dexter in October 1922.  The troop was led by Professor Shippey of the Dexter school, Dr. J.E. New, H.W. Daniel and T.C. Methvin.  Macon Telegraph, October 11, 1922  

HAVE SOME TURNIPS AND VOTE FOR ME - Dexter Mayor Gene Gilbert enjoyed being mayor.  He used many gimmicks to get votes, giving out calendars, and the usual sort of political freebies.  In 1950, Gilbert turned to one of his favorite foods.  The mayor planted the village square with turnips as his gift to those who voted for him and even those who didn’t.  Richmond Times Dispatch, April 2, 1950. 

EAT YOUR VEGGIES - In the category of fantastic fruits and vegetables, consider these produce. J.M. Butler was proud of his sweet potatoes. He showed four of his prize spuds with a combined weight of fifteen pounds. He was also proud that he dug four to five thousand bushels of sweet potatoes from his ten-acre field. Not one to be outdone, Judge J.E. Page, of Orianna, brought a twenty-one-inch long ten-pound sweet potato into the newspaper office five days later in November 1917. The big tater was seven inches in diameter at its thickest point. Unless you were a cotton farmer, 1917 was a good year. J.H. Taylor of Dudley set out tomato plants in July and carefully cultivated them, protecting them from the summer's scorching heat and the fall's chilly nights. In early December, Taylor delightfully took a couple of beauties into Dublin to show them off. Have you ever seen a double watermelon? Well in July of 1900, J.W. Weaver brought in his unnatural oddity for believers and nonbelievers to see. J.N. Mullis, of Laurens County, may hold the record for the most odd clump of fruit. In 1891, Mullis brought a four-inch long twig from his prolific apple tree. To the amazement of the editors of the Eastman paper who saw it with their own eyes, the short branch had twenty-two well-developed apples attached to it.  
NOT THE WAR TO END ALL WARS  - During the 1930s, more and more political and military leaders foresaw a great war being fought in Europe.  In 1919, one Dublin man, S.M. Alsup, predicted  another world war, twenty years before it happened.  S.M. Alsup was a clerk with the American Forces in Treves, Germany.  On February 2, 1919, Alsup wrote a letter to his wife.  Alsup talked with German citizens and observed what was going on around him.  Alsup predicted "that if Germany is allowed to run her manufacturing plants and other industries to the extent of making it possible for her to pay the huge debt that she is supposed to pay, she will be on top again before we know it; at which time the war of all wars will be fought."  Alsup went on to write, "I certainly hope I am wrong, but my opinion is that in 1940 there will be another great war, if not earlier."  Alsup's prediction was right on the money - twenty years before Great Britain declared war against Germany and World War II began.  Dublin Courier Herald, June 20, 1940.
MAMMOTH TOOTH - Beulah Samples collected many things in his lifetime, most of which he sold for a profit.  In the weeks before Christmas in 1930 when it was hog killing time, Samples picked up some leftovers from B.V. Loye, who butchered a large hog on the plantation of Mrs. E.C. Hightower.  The tusk, measuring nine inches in length after three inches were broken off when the tooth was removed from the 624-pound hog.  Dublin Courier Herald, December 10, 1930.

BOMBER CRASH - It looked like a scene out of World War II.  A B-26 bomber, with flames coming out of it, was falling to the earth.  The plane, a part of an outfit known as the Confederate Air Force, developed trouble on a flight from Louisville, Georgia to its home base of San Marcos, Texas. The pilots jettisoned the cockpit and crash landed the bomber into a field belonging to M.O. Darsey. Both pilots survived.  Dublin Courier Herald, May 13, 1976.

Thursday, February 18, 2016



Monday, February 15, 2016

The 1945-46 Dudley Basketball Teams

The 1945-46 Dudley Basketball Teams

It was a time when hardly anyone could dunk a basketball, a time when guards on the girl’s team had to stay back at their end of the court.  The war years were tough on everyone.  There wasn’t a whole lot of money to be spent on fun. Some kids were lucky enough to have battery-powered radios with long antenna wires, which were hung on tall poles or trees in the front yard.  On Tuesday, Friday and some Saturday nights from November to early March, there was basketball.  In the days before there were state championships in high school sports, the Holy Grail of high school basketball in rural counties were the County Championships.  Nearly every community still had their own school.  Rivalries were often intense, but were frequently friendly, not filled with some of the unsportsmanlike ferocity of today’s rivalries.  From Lovett to Cedar Grove to Dudley,  the highlight of the school year was basketball.  The winter of 1946 was no exception.

One of the top teams of the late 1940s were the teams from Dudley High School. The kids had little time to work on their game.  Many of them were farm kids, and chores demanded priority over basketball practice. Still, years before they were penned as the Cardinals, the boys and girls from Dudley dominated other Laurens County teams, all without the luxury of having a true basketball coach.   You see in those days, schools were hampered by tight budgets and were compelled to have sponsors accompany the team at home and on the road.    Sometimes a school got lucky when the teacher knew a lot about the game.  The boy’s sponsor at Dudley was vocational education teacher, Troy Edwards, while the girls were sponsored by the home economics teacher, Mrs. G.S. Crews.

The girl’s team was led by the Hogan sisters, Betty Ann and Barbara, both crack shooters.  Winnie Mae Raffield was the third starting forward.  Keeping the other girls away from the Dudley basket was more than adequately handled by starting guards Grace Willis, Delores Lister and Mary Radney. Substituting for the starters were Catherine Woodard, Kate Willis, Ann Radney and Celestine Barfoot.

The boys were led by center and high scorer Billy Crafton.  You know him as Don Crafton, long time president and CEO of Morris State Bank.  “Billy” was a name penned on the lanky center by his grandfather.  Starting at forward were Don Haskins and Captain Fisher Barfoot, a future vice president of Piggly Wiggly Southern, community leader and  Georgia state representative. Tom Brown and Mike White started at guard for the boys.  Coming off the bench to spark rallies or preserve a victory were substitutes Billy Kibler, Atys Bowles, Rabon Lord, Roy J. Chappell and Rowell Stanley.

During the 1945-6 season, Dudley played Laurens County teams from Rentz, Cadwell, Condor, Brewton, Cedar Grove, Lowery, Wilkes, and Dublin High School. Road trips were fairly short with games against Soperton, Jeffersonville, Irwinton, Wrightsville, Toomsboro and Cochran.   Among the stiffest competition the Dudley boys faced that year were the boys from Condor High School.  The eastside young men lost only one game during the regular season, that coming at the hands of Dudley, and suffered a stunning and fatal loss in the county tournament.

It wasn’t until the 194os that most schools had gymnasiums.  Prior to that, many schools were forced to compete on dirt courts enduring unfavorable winter conditions.  Don Crafton remembered, “Basketball was king.  People lined the walls of the wooden gymnasiums to root for their teams.  Gymnasiums were heated mostly by large pot-bellied wood-burning stoves.”

Perhaps the most exciting regular season game came on a cold Tuesday night in the Condor gym.   A mistake in the scheduling forced the teams to shorten the quarters to five minutes each.  At the end of the first quarter the girls were tied 4-4. Dudley held on to garner a highly spirited 23-12 victory over the Condor girls.  The boys game was much closer and even lower scoring than the girls game.  In a slow downed game, the Dudley boys  defeated the highly touted Condor five 13-9, ten of those points coming from center Don Crafton.

In much more satisfying games, the Dudley teams smashed the hoopsters from Wrightsville.  Betty Ann Hogan, the team’s leading scorer for the season, poured in 26 of her teams 33 points in a 33-7 romp.  Don Crafton contributed 18 points and Tom Brown another 15 points in a 54-14 stomp of the Johnson County quintet.

Dudley’s closest rivals were the teams from Dexter, Cadwell and Rentz.  The teams were so well balanced that the outcome of games were virtually never certain. With another 20-point night, Betty Ann Hogan led the girls over nearby Rentz, 28- 21.  The Dudley boys struggled, but with a dozen points from Crafton, managed to eek out a 28-27 come from behind road victory over Rentz.

In those days, Dublin was included on Dudley’s schedule, even though their school was much bigger and was the only school in the county to have a football team.  Near the end of the season the teams met at the Hargrove Gym on North Calhoun Street.  The Dudley girls defeated the girls from Dublin by a whopping margin of 38 to 15, with Betty Hogan putting 30 points on the board.  The boys game
was tied at the half, 18-18.  Tom Brown scored 15 points and Fisher Barfoot added 12 more as the Dudley five defeated the Dublin five 39-38.

The highlight of the season was the Laurens County Basketball Tournament in February.  Tom Brown led the Dudley boys with 21 points in a 55-20 smashing of Cedar Grove on the second night of the tournament, which was held at Brewton High School.  In the semi-final games, the Dudley girls easily defeated the Brewton six by the score of 34-13.  As usual, Betty Ann Hogan topped the scoring list with 20 points. Tom Brown led the boys again matching the entire Brewton teams total in a 39-15 smashing.

In the county championship, both Dudley teams faced the hard charging teams from Rentz.  In a close game, the Dudley girls pulled away in the 4th quarter to register a 40-27 championship victory.  The boys game was much closer, too close for the nervous fans of both teams.   During the entire game, the teams remained within four points of each other.  When the final buzzer sounded, Dudley sneaked by Rentz in a hard-fought 25-24 victory to capture the school’s second county championship.

Both teams advanced to the District tournament.  The Dudley boys defeated Sandersville in the first game and Dublin in the semifinals, only to lose to a more powerful team from Cochran in the finals.  The girls captured the district title, bringing home first place trophies in the county and the district.  The team’s four trophies and many similar ones were tragically lost in a fire a few years later.  The
highlight of the district tournament was the naming of Betty Ann Hogan to the All- District team.  For decades after she graduated high school, people asked her if she was the young girl who was such a great basketball player for Dudley.

In today’s basketball world, basketball in March is called “March Madness.” A half century ago it would have been better termed “March Sadness.”  The end of the county and district tournaments signaled the end of the game until the return of winter and a void in the lives of the kids who depended on the game.   To some, basketball was all they had.