Friday, May 8, 2015

100-year-old news highlights from The Evergreen Courant from May 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 May 1915.

In the May 5, 1915 edition of The Evergreen Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. reported that “copious showers have fallen in several sections of the county, but many sections are yet suffering from lack of moisture.”

He went on to say that “the month of April was the driest on record, according to the report of the local weather observer. During the 30 days, only .20 of an inch of rainfall was recorded. It is said that not since 1873 has there been an April in which less than one inch of rainfall was registered.”

Elsewhere in that edition, readers learned that the “25th annual reunion of United Confederate Veterans June 1st, 2nd and 3rd. For the sixth time, the renowned and patriotic old city of Richmond will entertain the veterans and their descendants, in the old time Virginia style. Round trip tickets will cost $16.35 from Evergreen.”

It was also reported in that week’s paper that “C. Bennett, living on the Greenville road beyond the convict camp, had the misfortune to get his home and contents destroyed by fire on Thursday night last. Bennett is a hard worker and had managed to buy a small piece of ground and had built on it a very comfortable home and owed on it only $89. He said the property and furnishings cost him about $1,500. The loss falls quite heavily upon him, but he is full of grit and energy and says he will try to come again. His white friends have contributed some to aid him in his misfortune.”

In the May 12, 1915 edition of The Courant, it was reported that “one of the convicts of the road crew made his escape several days ago, and the dog which has so successfully trailed down other escapees is missing. It is not known whether the convict killed the dog or it was lost. At any rate, both the convict and the man trailing dog are unaccounted for.”

Elsewhere in the paper, under the headline “Another of the Old Landmarks Gone,” it was reported that “W.T. Waren, one of Alabama’s old veterans, died at Roy, Ala. April 20th, 1915, while visiting one of his sons, Tunley Waren, after a few days illness. He was born Nov. 30, 1834, served in the Civil War, enlisted in Co. A, 23rd Alabama Regiment, Aug. ’61, and returned home, April ’65. He was a member of the M.P. church and a devout Christian. He did not only go to church on Sunday, but was there on Saturday ready to be used for God’s service. He was also an honorary member of the W.O.W. Ceder Camp, No. 585.”

Readers that week also learned that “T.S. Hagood came near losing an eye on Thursday last. A nail which he was attempting to drive struck him in the eye, inflicting a very painful wound. His son, Dr. Hagood, took him to an eye specialist in Montgomery, and the gratifying news comes from him that he will not loose his sight. He is expected to reach home the latter part of the week.”

Also that week, it was reported that “Dr. J.G. Dickinson and Rev. S.P. Lindsey left yesterday for Houston, Texas to attend the annual session of the Southern Baptist convention.”

In the May 19, 1915 edition of the newspaper, it was reported, under the headline “Agricultural School Commencement,” that commencement exercise would be held May 30-June 2 at the Southwest State Agricultural School. The exercises included a baccalaureate sermon by the Rev. E.C. Moore and D.C. Montgomery; a dramatic play called “The Lost Chaperon” by the junior class; a musical concert by the music department; an address to the “County Tomato Club Girls” by a Miss Reese; an address on tomato diseases, a canning demonstration, a basketball game between the town team and school team; a baseball game between Brewton and the school; graduating exercises with an address by S.H. Dent. Members of the graduating class included Addie Amos, Sarah Cunningham, Corinne Dickinson, Lorena Millsap, Annie Lois Wiggins, Louise Williams.

Also that week, it was reported that “the closing exercises of the Orphanage School will be held in the orphanage chapel at 8 p.m. on May 25. A children’s operetta, ‘The Quest of the Pink Parasol,’ will be given and certificates presented to four of the pupils who have completed the seventh grade.”

It was reported elsewhere in that week’s paper that commencement was also scheduled for May 30-June 2 at the Conecuh County High School in Castleberry. Diplomas were to be passed out by J.B. Hobdy of the Dept. of Education in Montgomery.

Readers that week also learned that “the electric light plant was out of commission a couple of nights due to a breakdown of the dynamo, and patrons of the plant learned to appreciate the convenience of lights in the home, in stores and offices. The plant is now in excellent shape.”

It was also reported that “the convict camp will be removed this week to the old Grange Hall. The road work will then proceed to Flat Rock. The portable cage for sick prisoners was taken to the camp yesterday.”

In the May 26, 1915 edition of the paper, it was reported on the front page, under the headline “Modern Farm Machinery in Conecuh,” that “two pieces of farm machinery, which are much needed in this county, arrived here last week. One was a modern threshing machine for J.E. Witherington of China and the other a gasoline tractor engine for Bob Simmons of Flat Rock, to use in operating a threshing machine for cleaning oats, wheat, rye, peas, beans, etc.”

That week’s paper also included the following advertisement – “STOLEN: From my place Monday night, one brindle work ox. Anyone giving information leading to his recovery will be rewarded. J.G. Baggett, Owassa, Rt. 1.”

Also that week, readers learned that “The Courant learns that Evergreen is to have a modern dry cleaning establishment at an early date, a muchly needed enterprise.”

It was also reported that week that “J.E. Miller, a leading farmer of Old Town, was asked the other day if boll weevils were troubling his cotton. ‘No,’ he replied positively. ‘I have none.’ There are a large number of farmers in Conecuh like Mr. Miller, they have no cotton for weevils to pester.”

Readers that week also learned that “Evergreen merchants and business houses have signed an agreement to make Thursday a half holiday, all places being closed at noon. This arrangement will continue during the summer months, thereby giving proprietors and employees an afternoon respite from work.”

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 June 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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