Thursday, April 9, 2015

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

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 April 1915.

In the April 7, 1915 edition of The Evergreen Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. kicked off the month with the following invitation – “We invite our friends attending court to drop in and settle their subscription account. If any are not prepared to pay cash we will accept in payment any kind of produce that we can use or convert into money, such as corn, fodder, hay, peas, peanuts, potatoes, syrup, canned goods, bacon, hams, lard, chickens, eggs, stove wood, etc. We prefer the cash but will take any of the above at the market price in order to get all accounts paid up.”

In news from the Johnstonville community, it was reported that “on last Tuesday night about 10 o’clock this community experienced the worst rain and hail storm that this county has ever known. It lasted nearly 10 minutes, the hail stones being the size of small eggs. Nearly all the leaves were stripped from the trees, gardens practically ruined and all windows were broken which were not protected by blinds. It was two days before it all melted in places protected from the sun.”

Salter also reported elsewhere that “Circuit Court convened Monday at noon. Judge Gamble and Solicitor Bricken are in their places dispatching the business. The grand jury was organized with E.C. Lee of Evergreen foreman.”

In the April 14, 1915 edition of The Courant, under the headline “Midway Man Killed in Selma,” it was reported that “Charles Cameron, just out of a Selma hospital, was shot three times and instantly killed by Heyward Melton of Pineapple Sunday night. Melton was said to be under the influence of intoxicants. At the time it was declared he was shooting at McDuffie Stallworth, a prominent man from Wilcox County with whom he had previous trouble. Melton made his escape before the arrival of the sheriff from Camden. The dead man’s home is said to be Midway, Ala.”

Elsewhere in the paper that week, it was reported that the “cases against Blackwell, Baggett and Bradley, white men under the indictment for murder, were yesterday continued to the next term of court. The offense which these men are alleged to have committed occurred more than two years and a half ago and the trials have been postponed at each term of court since that time. Blackwell and Baggett have been out on bond for some time but young Bradley has been confined in the county jail ever since he was first arrested on the charge. The Courant has no disposition to criticize those charged with the administration of justice, but it does seem that these men should have been put on trial long ago, and if found guilty, punished, but if innocent, given their liberty. The young man Bradley has been languishing behind prison bars ever since he was arrested in connection with the crime, and there he must remain in long solitude for another half year and probably longer. The other two accused are out on bond.”

Readers that week also learned that “Mrs. M.D. Wiggins of Monroeville now has charge of the Jones house on the corner next to the Methodist church and will conduct a hotel business.”

In the April 21, 1915 edition of the newspaper, readers saw the following mysterious announcement – “Something is going to happen here in this town Monday, May 3rd. Everybody in the town will be on the watch for it. Not but one lady in the town knows anything about it now and it is Mrs. Mattie Barganier and she won’t tell the men at all.”

Salter also reported that week that “the new street lamps recently installed are a distinct improvement over those heretofore in use, thanks to our city fathers for this thoughtfulness.”

Also that week, readers learned that the “P.D. Bowles chapter will have a public meeting at the cemetery to celebrate Memorial Day on the 26th of April. There will be a short, appropriate program and music. The public is cordially invited to attend and bring flowers if possible.”

Also that week, “Mayor J.M. Thomas of Castleberry was here Monday on business.”

Salter also reported that week that “Dr. W.F. Betts left yesterday morning for Birmingham to attend annual meeting of the State Medical Association.”

Elsewhere in the paper, readers learned that “Friday night, April 23rd, in the grove in front of the city school, the Whites will entertain the Golds. All leaguers are invited to attend.”

Also that week, readers learned that “Mrs. Francis Kitts of Kirksville, Mo. and Mrs. Mary White of Warsaw, Ill. are here on their annual visit, guests of the family of A.H. Mason. These ladies were born and reared at Sparta.”

In the April 28, 1915 edition of the paper, under the headline “Another Homicide,” it was reported that on “Thursday night last on the Skinner plantation near Belleville, Orris Mosley killed John January by striking him on the head with a piece of wood. Mosley appears to have been justifiable in striking his adversary, who it is alleged was coming on him with a pistol and a knife. A preliminary trial of Mosley was held yesterday before Justice Northcutt who fixed his bond at $300 which was readily furnished.”

Also that week, under the headline “Memorial Day Observed in Evergreen First Time,” it was reported that “Memorial day was observed in Evergreen for the first time on Monday, although 50 years have passed since the close of the great war between the States, and so successful and interesting was the occasion that hereafter it will be an annual affair.

“A crowd much larger by far than the most sanguine had reason to expect assembled at the cemetery at four o’clock, many joining in the line of march from the City School building to the cemetery where the program was carried out without a bobble.

“Mrs. E.C. Page, a president of the local chapter U.D.C., presided gracefully as master of ceremonies.
“The crowd present was estimated at more than 500 people. Next year, there should be three times this number.”

Salter closed out the month with the following news item, under the headline “Confederate Monument Suggested” – “A patriotic son of a veteran has requested The Courant to agitate the question of erecting a monument on Court square or some other suitable place to the memory of the Confederate dead of this county. A good suggestion and one which The Courant heartily approves. Let other sons of veterans express themselves on the subject.”

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 May 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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