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

Thursday, June 30, 2016



IN PRAISE OF PAPRIKA -   In the spring of 1941, Laurens County farmers began to experiment with the growing of Paprika peppers through the sponsorship of the Chamber of Commerce.  Courier Herald, May 3, 14, 1941.

WE’RE HOT AND WE’RE NO. 1 - On May 19, 2015 and July 11, 2015, the temperature in Dublin registered 95 and 104 degrees, the highest in the nation. Palm Beach Post - May 20, July 12, 2015

THEY DIDN’T START THE FIRES - Wednesday 17, 1941 was a busy day for the Dublin Fire Department.  Seven fires at seven different homes were reported at the same time around the city of Dublin.  Courier Herald, September 18, 1941

LIGHT SHOW - While looking for searchlight beams being tested in Laurens County, many Laurens Countains saw the lights of the Aurora Borealis, a rarity this far in the South.  Courier Herald, September 19, 1941.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS - Boosters of the Dublin High School Green Hurricane were well on their way to stage the first night football game at the school field along Woodrow Avenue.  It shall be noted that the first football field was located southeast of the current city water tower with Battle Field,  on the northwest side of the tower, being the second field. Local officials invited popular Georgia governor Eugene Talmadge to help inaugurate night football in Laurens County on November 1, 1941.  Coming from behind were the backers of the six man team of Rentz High School, who had electrical lights installed just in time for the September 24, 1941 with bitter rival Dexter.  Dexter won the game, but fans of the Rentz team can always say it was their school, which initiated a tradition which has lasted for nearly 75 years. Courier Herald , September 29, 1941.

THE FABULOUS NANCY HANKS - During the middle third of the 20th Century, the most popular passenger train in Georgia was the “Nancy Hanks, II,” or simply, the “Nancy Hanks,” The train was operated by the Central of Georgia Railroad and ran from Macon through McIntyre and Tennille in the East Central Georgia area.  Occasionally, unforseen problems with the main track forced rerouting along other train lines.  On May 15 and 16 in 1961,  the Nancy Hanks came through Dublin, because of that burned out journal box on another train car along the regular route.  A precedent was set when B.J. Tarbutton, a director of the railroad, got off the train in Dublin, the only Nancy Hanks passenger ever to deboard the train in Dublin, Courier Herald, May 3, 17, 1961.

THE LORD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS - In the early years of this century, the pastor of the First Methodist Church was asking the congregation to contribute to the repair of the Church.  An old miserly man, who always sat on the front row, rose to say "I'll contribute one hundred dollars."  At that moment, a piece of plaster fell striking the man on the head, which prompted the pastor to proclaim "Lord, hit him again!" As told by Mrs. Bluford B. Page.

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 pick 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.  Courier Herald, December 10, 1930.

COLD CASE SOLVED -   Fortunately Laurens Countians have been spared as victims of mass murders.  All of that changed in the autumn of 1979.   Marty Wilkins was working as a manager of the Flash Foods store on Glenwood Road.  Marty was a graduate of Dublin High School.  According to his store manager Sheila Hall, “he loved his job and was real friendly.”  Mrs. Hall had talked with Wilkins as he was counting the money in the register drawer just before 7:00 a.m. on the morning of October 20, 1979.  Within the next hour, Wilkins was found shot to death with a high powered rifle in the cooler of the store.  The cash was missing.  Marty Wilkins was only 24 years old and a father of one boy.  

The identity of Wilkins’ killer remained a mystery for  about six years.  In the spring of 1985, Henry Lee Lucas, one of America’s most infamous serial killers, was being transported from South Carolina back to prison in Texas.  As the car approached the Glenwood Road, Lucas told the driver to exit from the interstate highway.  He directed the officers to the Flash Food Store.  He told the officers that on October 20, 1979 he murdered a store clerk and put his body in the cooler.  Lucas divulged other information which was never given to the public.   Dublin Police Chief Wayne Fuqua was informed of Lucas’ statement.  Chief Fuqua sought and was granted a warrant by Deputy Magistrate Scott Thompson.  The mystery of the murder of Marty Wilkins was solved.  Courier Herald, October 20, 1979.

MUSKRAT ATTACK - S. A. Bailey was aroused one night when he heard a strange noise out in his back yard.  He thought that one of his pigs had gotten out of the pen and was being attacked by his dogs.  As he left the house, Bailey noticed two of his dogs fighting a brownish animal, which was getting the best of the two animals.  Bailey picked up a stick to help his dogs.  The animal charged and attacked Bailey.  Bailey wrestled with the creature, which sunk his long tusks into his right leg and wrapping his long flat tail around the other leg.  Bailey managed to escape the grip of the muskrat and with the aid of his son, succeeded in killing the animal.  Bailey brought the animal into town to show it off.  Afterwards, the head of the five pound muskrat was sent to the State Health Department to determine the presence of rabies.  Courier Herald, April 3, 1940.

PRAISE THE LORD  AND PASS THE AMMUNITION  - Poplar Springs Baptist Church did not hold a monthly conference during the month of November 1864.  The minute book recites that no meeting was held “on account of the excitement occasioned by the passing through the county of Sherman’s Army.”  Dublin Courier Herald, Dec. 14, 1943.

WATERMELON CAPITAL, TOO -   During this time of year, watermelons are plentiful in Georgia.  Cordele, Georgia claims the title of “The Watermelon Capital of the World.”  But In the mid 1930s, one out of every five watermelons produced in Georgia were grown in Laurens County. Courier Herald, November 15, 1935.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Like many of you, Judge Harold E. Ward, of Dublin, had heard the expression, it's hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.  Well, one day, Ward and Grace Harrison of the Dublin Courier picked one particular hot, June 1953 day and tried out the theory.  It was not  quite hot enough to fry the eggs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Did you know that from the early 1940s through the mid 1960s, Dublin was the 
home to the state 4-H Camp for African American Students.  Few of the buildings
remain, the major one being the Emory Thomas auditorium at Riverview Golf Course.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Dublin Courier Herald, Jan. 21, 2003

To many kids of the 1960s, music was important.  It gave them a chance to express their feelings, their desires, and their frustrations.   Whether as musicians or as just listeners, music guided us through the happy times early in the decade and the turbulent years of the late Sixties. Some of us were content to go down to Ed Powel’s record store and pick up a 45-rpm record of our favorite artist and a popular tune.  Others joined the Dublin band to satisfy our desire to enjoy the wonderful sounds that only music can deliver.  Still others, the more talented musicians among us, formed their own bands, known collectively as garage bands, because they were usually banished to the family garage by their parents, who had failed to comprehend the quality of the  sounds emanating from their the son’s instruments.  Actually the parents of one local group were very supportive of their sons.

One such Dublin garage band was known as the Ancestors.  They were talented musicians.  By their own admission, they were somewhat zany, perhaps due in part to their early idolization of Moe, Larry, and Curly.  Tom Patterson, Edward Tanner, and Blair Tanner formed the Dublin chapter of the official Three Stooges Fan Club.  The trio collected Stooges memorabilia and emulated their idols. The boys watched television and listened to music together.  In an effort to escape the boredom of summer vacation, the boys decided to form a band in the summer of 1965.  Tom, the band’s drummer and a drummer in the school band, was the lead vocalist.   The Tanners played guitar.  The band chose their name by skimming through the dictionary.  The band had gone through a series of names, The Band, The Kitchen Sink, Peeping Tom and the Infiltrators, Big Padre and Fungus Chin, and initially, The Irish Surfers (an especially hideous name to Edward). The band was represented by the St. BEAT (Blair, Edward, Allen, Tom) Booking Agency.

The band composed many of their own songs, such as instrumental versions of “Sewer Rat,” “Instrumental Ballad of Rabbit Tooth,” and “Lumbago.”  The band
soon began playing popular songs of the day: “Gloria,” “The Land of A Thousand Dances,” and “Louie, Louie,” the standard song of any rock and roll band’s set list. The boys asked Jimmy McDonald to join the group as the lead vocalist.  After a few months, Tom and the Tanners decided to replace Jimmy with their friend Allen Tindol, who could sing and play the bass guitar.  As the band became more middle of the road in their tunes, they were asked to play at dances held in the American Legion Hall, the National Guard Armory, and the Shanty, a World War II Quonset hut converted into a teen center.   There were occasional gigs at birthday parties and churches.  I remember one such dance in the late 60s.  The social hall of First Methodist Church was filled with hundreds of teens dancing to the popular songs of the day.  It was the band’s last performance as high school students.

The band underwent a series of personnel changes in 1967 and 1968.  Allen (on guitar left) left the band to pursue his acting interests as a member of the Drama Club at Dublin High School.  He was replaced by keyboardist Lewis Smith, a fellow high school band member, whose main talent was playing the piano and organ in church (and very well, I might add).  Tom, Edward, and Blair convinced Lewis to wear a flower pot on his head, put on a Nehru jacket, and place flowers in his buzz cut hair.  The boys encouraged him to play songs such as “The Marine’s Hymn” and “Dixie,” as well as other songs which were not the usual tunes played by rock bands.  Being somewhat uneasy with the way the band was going, Lewis left the band.

When popular rock music turned to a harder beat, the band decided to use visual and audio aids in their performances to songs by the Beatles, the Who, and the
Doors.  Color wheels and strobe lights flashed while the band played.  The boys placed a bed sheet on the wall and projected home movies.  The videos were supplemented with the sounds and smells of cherry and smoke bombs.  In between songs, the band played tapes of less than well produced radio commercials.  Soon, audiences began to dwindle.

To bring the band back into the mainstream of Dublin teenagers, Allen was convinced to return to the band, if only temporarily.  Randy Stinson’s effervescent popularity garnered the band good gigs, in which each member could earn as much as thirty or forty bucks a night. Johnny Fountain replaced Allen as a vocalist and on bass.  Michael Harrell, whose sole interest appeared to be the music of Steppenwolf, joined the band as a keyboardist for a short time.   Before the end of the year, Allen Tindol returned to the band again.  He was joined by Johnny’s Fountain’s cousin, Bobby Fountain.  The song list changed again to cover versions of hits by the Rolling Stones, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, the Hollies, Wilson Picket, and Three Dog Night.  Among the favorite songs was the instrumental, “The Horse,” a popular high school band song, which is still played by bands today.

The band listed as their most memorable performance a weekend dance at the American Legion in 1970, which was highlighted by a perfect bass performance by Johnny Fountain, an exquisite rendition of the Beatle’s “It’s For You” by Johnny, Bobby, and Allen, riveting guitar playing by the Tanners, and Credence Clearwater like vocals by drummer Tom Patterson, who sung “Proud Mary” in Spanish.  Wayne Fatum joined the band from time to time displaying his talent for hamboning and whistling to “Dock of the Bay.”  The worst performance, well, it had to been the Christmas Dance at Wrightsville High School in 1968.  Edward, dressed in a Santa suit, agitated the students with chants of “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh,” an unpopular stunt at the height of the Vietnam War.   Teachers chaperoning the event asked the band to turn off their strobe lights because it hurt their eyes. Students asked the band to stop showing their home movies because, “they came to dance and not to watch movies.”

By the end of the 1960s, the older members of the band had graduated from high school.  In August of 1973, the Tom, Allen, the Tanner brothers, and the Fountain cousins reunited for one final performance at Teen Town, a building formerly occupied by Churchwell’s on West Jackson Street. The event was attended by fifteen people at most.  Despite the fact the members decided they had played well together, it became the band’s final performance. Band founder Edward Tanner recalled that they were not beloved, nor did they try to be.  They did their own thing, and did it well. They liked to have fun, like the times they painted a peace symbol on the Tastee Freeze or slogans in the high school parking lot.   The boys got a big kick out of stuffing wet newspapers in the tail pipes of the certain teachers’ vehicles.

After the band disbanded, Edward, singing and playing guitar under the stage name of “Mr. Vegas,”  and Blair, then on keyboards,  formed another band, Cruis-o-matic.  The new band was an oldies band operating out of the Atlanta area.  In 1977, Cruis-o-matic opened for groups such as the Cars, the Ramones, and Cher. Before they disbanded at the end of the 80s, the band played an average of two hundred shows per year in the first half of the decade, sharing the stage with such acts as the B-52s, the Temptations, and George Thoroughgood.


The band members remain friends today (2003).  Tom is a journalist and curator lives in North Carolina. He is currently working on publishing his late brother Hunter’s novel.  Edward practices law in Atlanta, where his brother Blair works as a physical therapist. Allen is a physician who practices in Dublin.  Lewis Smith also lives in Atlanta, where he works as a computer specialist.  Bobby Fountain, the second physician in the group, practices medicine in Forsyth.  Johnny Fountain, the only remaining member of the group still playing in a band, lives in Dublin.  To learn more about the band, log on to their web site at   where you can view pictures of the band and listen to clips of their music, including clips of some of the music of the Dublin Fighting Irish Band. On the band’s former web site at, Randy Stinson is listed as an emergency contact for his daughter’s Girl Scout troop.

Dublin Courier Herald, April 2012 

Those graduates of Dublin High School of the late 60s and early 70s were taken back more than four decades in time at the Dublin Country Club last Saturday Night. Surviving members of local garage bands, The Dukes of York and The Ancestors, reunited in Dublin for the first time in more than forty years to play the same music which teenagers danced to in the 1960s in places like the old high school gym, the American Legion Hall, the Shanty, and the social hall of First United Methodist Church.   The evening was the culmination of the DHS Journey Class of the 1970s Journey Reunion.

The Dukes of York, 2012
Photo by Johnny W. Warren

          One of the founders of "The Dukes of York" was Dr. Van Haywood, (right on picture on left)  an Augusta dentist and father of Dave Haywood, guitarist of Lady Antebellum. Haywood joined with drummer Ricky Hayes, bass guitarist Jerry Pinholster and lead guitarist Charles Lee to form the band, "The Malibus of Ricky Hayes."

The band reorganized and added Steve Scarborough on keyboards and Mike Warren on drums. The band was a regular at dances at the National Guard and at after football game parties at the American Legion Post No. 17 on North Jefferson.  The "Dukes of York" were all talented musicians and most of the members played in Dublin's highly heralded, "Dixie Irish Band."

Reuniting for the evening were Van Haywood, Mike Warren and Jerry Scarborough, who were joined by Dr. Allen Tindol, who stood in for deceased members Charles Lee and Jerry Pinholster.

"What memories to reunite with the remaining members of the band," Dr. Haywood commented in remembering the days when the highly successful band played in venues around Georgia and Florida, opening for many popular singing groups of the day.

"It was great to make music with Steve and Mike after almost 45 years," Haywood said.

The magic of the moment hit Haywood with the band's first selection.  "It took me back in time when we started to play 'Hang On Sloopy,'" commented Haywood on Facebook.

Drummer Mike Warren saw the performance as a wonderful experience. "It was miraculous to see Van and Steve and to play on stage with them for the first time since 1969," said Warren, a writer and passionate politophile.

"The greatest achievement of mankind is the music we make," Warren commented. "And, I was lucky enough to be a part of it," he added.

"Van, Michael and I had great time playing for you guys but we were really rusty and had not met up until Saturday," commented  Dukes of York guitarist Steve Scarborough.  Scarborough, a design engineer for Confluence Watersports, thanked Edward Tanner and Cruis-O-Matic for helping them through a few tunes for old times sake.

           The Ancestors, highly talented members of the Dublin's vaunted Dixie Irish Marching Band, were formed  in the summer of 1965 by Green Acres neighbors Tom Patterson, Edward Tanner and Blair Tanner, who were joined in 1966 by Allen Tindol.  Allen, now a physician and professor at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute,  left the band  and was replaced by singing bassist Johnny Fountain. Lewis Smith, a talented church organist, joined the band who brought an all new facet to the band's performances.

The Ancestors added a new keyboardist, Mike Harrell, a fanatic fan of the group Steppenwolf. Allen, a former Dublin physician  rejoined the band for a third time, from 1969 until its demise in 1970, as a featured vocalist, along with Johnny Fountain's cousin, Bobby Fountain. The band played songs by Spirit, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Three Dog Night, The Hollies, Wilson Pickett, The Beatles, and Rolling Stones during this final era.

          Edward Tanner, an Atlanta attorney,  is still performing today with his group, Cruis-O-Matic, which he formed in the summer of 1977.  Edward's brother, Blair Tanner, joined Cruis-O-Matic on
keyboards for the evening.

The finale of the evening's festivities came when the Tanners, joined with Tom Patterson and Allen Tindol in the first local performance of the Ancestors since their last main one in 1970. Before their performance, Tom Patterson said, "We got together this afternoon in a house just like they used too back in the Sixties."

Allen Tindol 

"The guys loved it," said Edward Tanner, who was deeply touched by how nice the crowd
was to the band.

           "I always just wanted to have fun," said Tanner in commenting about his music and how much fun it was to return to Dublin to play for some of his classmates.

         To Blair Tanner, a physical therapist,  the evening was "priceless."  "It was an even greater day than I expected." Tanner commented about playing in the same band as he played in at  the 1967 DHS Coronation dance.

"This probably ranks right up there with one of the best nights of my life!  The guys were amazing and we love them for bringing back us to our best times," commented event organizer Peggy Hood Pridgen.

"Legendary is the only word, I can think of," commented Beth Bussell Robinson of the DHS Class of 1971.

After the show as he was driving back to his North Carolina home, Tom Patterson, an accomplished drummer turned accomplished journalist and curator,  reflected back on the evening. "We followed each other pretty well and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went, especially since I hadn't played a drum set in over ten years," Patterson concluded.

The evening of April 28 was not just another Saturday night. For many magic moments, it was a magic carpet ride back in time  to 1967 to the "Summer of Love" and to a time when music was the soundtrack of our lives.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Many may remember Ed Powel and his wife Sara Jo, who operated an applicance
and record store for decades here in Dublin.  But did you know that Powel had his
own big band, which played at countless dances and parties in the Middle Georgia area.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016



Just before noon on June 15 1971, local history was made.  Two twin-engine Beech Air South aircraft filled with county, state and airline officials arrived at the Laurens County airport. Although many fortune-seeking entrepreneurs had tried and failed, for the first time ever a regional airline was scheduling flights in and out of Dublin and twice a day to boot.

The effort to establish airline service came in the spring of 1971 through the cooperative effort of the Dublin-Laurens Chamber of Commerce and the Laurens County Commissioners along with their counterparts in Statesboro and Bulloch County.  With the financial aid of Georgia’s trade and industrial commissions and Georgia’s governor, the necessary changes were made to extend the runway’s landing lights to 4,000 feet, cut trees along the approaches and adjust the slope of the runway, along with a local $10,000.00 allocation.

Air South began operations in 1969 with flights between Waycross, Albany and Brunswick. Once the necessary approvals were made, the Laurens County commissioners hired Cecil Willis as operations manager  and Richard Hurd as ticket manager and weather agent  to manage the local operation.  For Willis and Hurd, one of their first tasks was to learn how to operate the National Weather Service station at the airport.  The new equipment aided the Air South pilots as well as other local pilots.  Willis and Hurd reported daily to the Macon bureau the local weather information.

Just after eleven o’clock on the morning of June 15, the occupants of the two planes deplaned in view of a large crowd of eyewitnesses to history.  Many came to see the planes while others came to see Georgia’s newly inaugurated governor.  Little did the gathering know that within six years, their governor, Jimmy Carter, would become the President of the United States.

Gov. Carter, (left)  who was all smiles that late spring day,  outlined how the coming of Air South to Dublin and Statesboro became a reality.

Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Ed Herrin, acted as the master of ceremonies along with the charming help of Dublin’s eternally affable mayor, Lester Porter. County Commissioner H.D. Hobbs welcomed the crowd before Mayor Porter introduced Governor Carter.  Air South President F.E. Howe offer his company’s gratitude and honor for being chosen as the carrier between the three city route.

Flying with Governor Carter and his staff in the lead plane were commissioners H.D. Hobbs, Robert Beacham and J.B. Fordham, Chamber President Herrin, and County Attorney H. Dale Thompson, a former naval pilot in World War II.

Porter presented Air South President Howe with the mayor’s patented Dublin keepsake a shillelagh. The Heart of Georgia Commission presented Governor Carter and each official a potted chrysanthemum.

L-R - Laurens County Attorney, H. Dale Thompson, Commissioner Robert Beacham,
Air South President Pete Howe, Commissioner J.B. Fordham, Gov. Jimmy Carter,
Commissioner H.D. Hobbs, Mayor Lester Porter, Chamber President, Ed Herrin,
and Fred Steele Federal Rep. Coastal Plains Regional Commission.  

After the ceremony, the governor, airline officials and a host of Bulloch County boosters climbed aboard the planes, which took off to the east for a similar ceremony in their Statesboro.

Crowd awaiting arrival of inaugural Air South flight. 

Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter

County Commissioners - Robert Beacham, H.D. Hobbs and J.B. Fordham 

Cecil Passmore and Gov. Jimmy Carter

Air South Plane in Atlanta

Dublin Mayor - Lester Porter

All of Dublin was excited as merchants welcomed Air South to Dublin in newspaper ads.  The airline hoped to entice couples to leave Dublin on Saturday morning, stay at any of the eight Mark Inns in the Atlanta area, and return on Sunday evening for the unbelievably low price of less than $78.00.

Each morning the flights would begin in Statesboro at 7:30 a.m for the 20-minute trip to Dublin.  After a 15-minute layover, passengers departed Dublin at 8:05 and arrived some 35 minutes later at the Atlanta Airport.   The return flight left Atlanta at 10:30 and arrived in Dublin at 11:05 and landed back to Statesboro before 11:30.  The flight schedule would allow a Dublin resident to leave Dublin at 8:05, pick up a relative or business client and be back in Dublin in three hours. A second flight out of Dublin left for Atlanta at 12:30 p.m..

Ten Dollars would buy you a ticket to Statesboro, not a bad dealing considering there was no Interstate Highway 16 open in the early days.  For $18.50 a Dubliner could fly to the Atlanta Airport and avoid the even then hectic Atlanta traffic.

By the end of 1971, Air South added evening flight 172 which arrived from Brunswick at 8:15 p.m,  left Dublin at 8:30 p.m. and arrived in Atlanta 40 minutes later.  The new flight was added to alleviate the morning Flight 412 which was frequently plagued by foggy morning conditions.  With the new flight, other changes were made in the timing of the other flights on the schedule.

Shortly after air service was initiated in Dublin, the directors of Air South elected a new president, Bartlett M. Shaw, a veteran executive with Scandanavian Airlines.  Eventually the company would move from Atlanta to Saint Simons Island, Shaw’s home, for economic reasons.

Passenger traffic aboard Air South planes continued to soar in the next year.  June 1972 was a company record for passengers.  In the first year,  overall traffic increased by 25 percent.

The news of increased passenger levels was made even better by the announcement that on June 1, 1972, service to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina would be added.  During the summer of 1972, passenger levels continued to rise.

In the early autumn of 1972, Air South staged a promotional tour among the cities it served. Dublin businessmen Thomas Curry, Louie Livingston and Mayor Lester Porter traveled aboard a 44- passenger British turbo prop as it toured across the state.

One of the most famous passengers aboard an Air South flight arrived in Dublin on March 9, 1973 in time for the annual St. Patrick’s Festival that year.  Eileen Fulton, (left)  who starred in the legendary role of “Lisa” on the soap opera, “As The World Turns,” landed in town before a large
crowd of admirers.

At the end of its second year, June 1973 was once again an all time monthly record for the airlines.  Air South officials began to look at buying newer and better aircraft to meet the demands of their passengers.

After three years, the airline was still setting records.  Beaufort, South Carolina was added in 1974 bringing the June total to 9,351.

As good as the numbers were, the number of passengers flying on the Statesboro-Dublin legs of the flight were dropping to an economically unsustainable level.

Just before Christmas, the board of Air South voted to terminate the flights to Dublin.  The last plane  left Dublin on December 28, 1974.

In the future, passenger service may return to Dublin.  But for now, we have to turn on our memories of those days when you could leave Dublin on a prop plane, complete your business in Atlanta, and return home, just in time for a late supper with your family


JUNE 8, 2016, MARKED THE 51ST 

Friday, June 17, 2016


Lowry Eugene “Uncle Ned” Stripling formed his first band while he was a student at Lanier High School in Macon. In August 1937 Stripling moved to Atlanta, and Uncle Ned and his Texas Wranglers became a part of the Cross Roads Follies on WSB radio. This program was normally heard weekdays in the early afternoon and on Saturday mornings. When the Cross Roads Follies went off the air in 1940, Stripling moved back to Macon and joined the staff of WMAZ radio. Uncle Ned and the Hayloft Jamboree performed daily on WMAZ radio for more than 18 years. For a time in the mid 1950’s, Uncle Ned also did an afternoon DJ show on WMAZ where he became famous for his conversational live commercials and product endorsements, as well as the latest country and western songs. When WMAZ television went on the air in 1953, Uncle Ned and the Hayloft Jamboree did 9 hours per week on TV, 5 hours per week on radio and a minimum of 4 live performances each week. Gene “Uncle Ned” Stripling died suddenly at the age of 42, at a performance in Hawkinsville in 1958.

© Georgia Radio Hall Of Fame Corporation, 2012  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


The Cattlemen of Wheeler County

Long before the cries of "Head 'em up, Move 'em out" echoed across the plains of the southwest, cattle were raised along the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. While cattle had been in America for centuries, the first true cattlemen came to our country following the American Revolution. They were to Scotsmen and the Scotch-Irishmen who first settled in the Carolinas. The first generation of these cattlemen moved southward to the lower Oconee River Valley during the War of 1812. They were "America's First Cowboys" in a time when south Central Georgia was the southwestern United States. Today Wheeler County encompasses the extreme western portion of old Montgomery County which lies west of the Oconee River. Originally the lands were a part of Telfair and Laurens Counties until the formation of Emanuel County in 1812.

With first names like Angus, Archibald, Alexander, Duncan, and Malcom and last names like McMillan, McLeod, McRae, McQuaig, McArthur, Gillis, Peterson, Currie, and Clark, they came by the hundreds into Montgomery County, Georgia.

The Scots came looking good grazing lands, which they found in the regions of the Upper Wiregrass. Although the grass was not the best the Scots would persevere for many decades to come.

The Highland Scots continued to move into the area well into the 1830s.  Many of the families had made brief stays in Ireland before coming to this country.  Gaelic became a second language and was often used in church services. The Scots were known to be as honest and hard-working as they were obstinate and prejudiced. The were members of the Presbyterian faith. The central church was founded in 1851 just across the Oconee at Mt. Vernon. Some of the Scots converted to Methodism. They began meeting at Morrison's Hill, near Glenwood, in 1828.

Among the large farmers in mid 19th century Wheeler County were Archibald McMillan, Malcom Currie, Anqus McMillan, Duncan McCallum, Duncan Bohanon, William Haralson, George Browning, Gabriel McClement, Henry Wooten, James Chaney, and William Brantley. The 1850 Census recorded that the largest improved acreage farm was 200 acres. Larger tracts were used for grazing lands including those used by sheep. The '50 census indicates that 75% of the current day Wheeler County's slaves worked in the southern part of the county where the larger farms were located. No Scots were considered planters, because none had more than twenty slaves, the largest being the seven each owned by Roderick Gillis and Isabel McRae. When Georgia voted on secession from the Union in 1861, Montgomery County's citizens and representatives voted to remain in the Union, even after it was certain that Georgia would vote in favor of secession.

Among the more successful Scots who became public servants of early Wheeler County was John McRae. Judge McRae, son of a native Scotsman, served as a justice of the Inferior Court, State Senator - including the first three years of the Civil War -, State Representative, U.S. Marshall, a forty year term as chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, and as Postmaster of Alamo, which was created in 1889. The McRae family donated the land for the new town.

Christine McRae Brightto named the town for the immortal Catholic mission in Texas. She also named the streets for her seven daughters. Glenwood, which means a small valley in the woods, was established the same year on land given by Peter Galbraith.

Many Wheeler County communities carry Scottish names. John McCrae established a village of McVille along the western banks of the Little Ocmulgee River which separates Wheeler County from Telfair County. When the railroad company requested that the town change its name to avoid confusion with McRae, Scotland became the name of the community at the far southwestern edge of Wheeler County.

Other 19th century communities were McArthur, Bruce, and Little York.  Little York was established as Post Office on August 11, 1853. Duncan McRae was the first postmaster. He was followed by Alexander McMillan, Harlow Clark, Henry S. Clark, and John McRae. The post office was discontinued shortly after the end of the Civil War. The first two postmasters, McRae and McMillan, operated a general store in Little York. Through the generous donation by Mary Alice Brownson, the ledger books of the store are now available for inspection by historians and genealogists at the Dublin-Laurens Museum. These well preserved and invaluable books detail every purchase and payment during the mid 1850s.

Other business records in the museum include the McRae store at McVille. The books give the names of hundreds of individuals who lived in present day Wheeler County, northeastern Telfair County, and southern Laurens County.

The heritage of the Scots in Wheeler and Montgomery County still lives.  Many descendants of the original families still live in the lower Oconee River valley. Their heritage lives on in the names of their communities and churches.