Thursday, February 5, 2015

100-year-old news highlights from The Evergreen Courant from February 1915

Mrs. Robert S. (Kady) Brownell
It’s that time of the month again, time to take a trip down memory lane and review all of the interesting things that took place in Conecuh County 100 years ago, way back in February 1915.

In the Feb. 3, 1915 edition of The Evergreen Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. reported that “W.M. Robinson, residing near Paul, this county, shot and killed John Holmes yesterday afternoon. Mr. Robinson was arrested by Sheriff Williams and brought here this morning.”

Also that week, under the headline “Baby Abandoned in Hotel,” it was reported that “a baby found in a room at the Sewell Hotel on Saturday morning has created more talk in Evergreen than the war across the water.

“On Friday night a man and a woman went to the hotel at a late hour and sought lodging, which they obtained. They came on train No. 3 and asked to be called for train No. 2 which was done. They were known to have a baby when they arrived and it was naturally supposed they took it away with them. But they did not, for sometime during the morning, Mrs. Stephens went into the room which the couple had occupied and to her surprise and astonishment she beheld the form of a pretty little girl baby apparently about four weeks old. The news of the strange find spread over town and it was not long before everybody in town knew about the little stranger and many were curious enough to go up into the hotel to see it. It was on her hands and it must not be neglected, so Mrs. Stephens in a motherly way prepared and gave it nourishment and made it comfortable. On a slip of paper pinned to its clothing was instructions to deliver the child to the Baptist Orphans Home.”

In the Feb. 10, 1915 edition of The Courant, Salter let readers know that “the working of county convicts on the public roads commenced on last Thursday, and the work is progressing satisfactorily. There are 10 convicts now at work. Two portable steel cages were received and put into use.”

Elsewhere in the paper, Salter reported that “Wade Brownlow, convict with the county road crew, made an effort to end his life on last Wednesday morning by stabbing himself in the left breast with a table fork. The wound was not as serious as was at first thought and after a few days he was able to go to work again.”

Also that week, readers learned that “The Courant sincerely regrets to chronicle the death of Henry J. Beasley, which occurred on Saturday night last at his home at Brownville, near Owassa. Mr. Beasley was taken sick suddenly and died within a couple of days. The funeral and internment occurred on Sunday afternoon. He was 74 years old and is survived by his devoted wife of many years.

“Mr. Beasley was one of the best men the writer ever knew. He was esteemed in his community for his upright character and in the circle of his personal friends he was greatly beloved.”

It was also reported that week that the “basketball team of Effie played against Evergreen Saturday.”

Salter that week also let readers know that “J.T. Salter of Milton, Fla., spent a few days here last week, guest of his brother, the editor of this paper.”

Readers that week also saw that “Mr. J.B. Powell has been confined to his room for several days with an attack of the lagrippe. His many friends hope to see him out again soon.”

In the Feb. 17, 1915 edition of The Courant, it was reported that on “Monday night some miscreant hurled a piece of slag at Sheriff Williams as he drove along West Front Street below the depot in his automobile. The missile struck the post just under the steering wheel with great force. No damage was done, however. Whoever threw the piece was so well concealed that he was not observed.”

Elsewhere in the paper, it was reported that “some party or parties unknown on Monday night dug a large hole in the front yard of the home of J.L. Spence, near the depot. It is surmised that the party was hunting for buried treasure, but there is no clue as to who committed the depredation.”

Also that week, under the headline “Convict Escapes and is Recaptured,” it was reported that “Andrew Simmons, one of the convicts with the county road crew, made his escape one day last week and was recaptured by the Escambia Sheriff at Canoe on Saturday. Sheriff Williams went down after the escape on Sunday. In passing through Castleberry, Simmons with Bestor Lewis and Tom White, stole the horse and buggy of R.M. Rabon, and their offer to sell the turnout for a small price aroused suspicion and their arrest and detention followed.

“A woman, Laura Smith, residing in the outskirts of town, was arrested for aiding the prisoner to get away. He went to her house and it is alleged, she furnished him clothes to take the place of his striped convict garb. The escaped man identified her to the Sheriff as the one who gave him the clothing and accompanied the sheriff to a thick place in the woods where the change of clothing was made and where the convict garb was found.”

In the Feb. 24, 1915 edition of The Courant, Salter reported that “one of the most interesting basketball games ever witnessed at Effie was played between Evergreen boys and girls Saturday afternoon. The score between the girls was 15 to 16 in favor of Effie. Between the boys, 18 to 21 in favor of Evergreen. We hope to have many more such games as both teams are taking so much interest in the game.”

Elsewhere in the paper, it was reported that the “Arcade Theatre will run a five-reel picture on Monday, March 1, featuring Mary Pickford in ‘The Little Queen.’ Admission 10 cents and 20 cents. On Friday, 5th, we will show one of the best episodes of the interesting series of the Million Dollar Mystery yet shown together with a good comedy.”

In news from the Range community, it was reported that “Miss Minnie Hart was taken sick yesterday while on duty at the post office and carried to her sister’s nearby. She is confined to her bed, but we hope for her a speedy recovery.

“James J. Lee is discharging the duties of the post office during the illness of Miss Minnie Hart.”

Also that week, under the headline “An Old Time Concert,” readers learned that “at the court house Friday, March 5, 8 p.m. there will be a Fiddler’s Convention. Everyone in the country who can play is cordially invited to enter the contest. A prize will be offered for the best fiddler. Admission 25 cents and 15 cents. Benefit City School.”

Salter closed out the month with a Civil War-related story out of Oxford, N.Y. – “The only woman Civil War veteran, Mrs. Robert S. Brownell, died here a few days ago. She enlisted with her husband in the First Rhode Island Battery of volunteers and saw active service for nearly three years.”


Well, I guess that’s all that space will allow for this month. Next month, I plan to take a look at the events of March 1915 in Conecuh County. Until then, if you get the urge to research the county’s past yourself, take advantage of the Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library’s excellent selection of old newspapers on microfilm and other resources. The library’s friendly and courteous staff will be more than happy to get you started.

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