Thursday, October 1, 2015

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

In the Oct. 6, 1915 edition of The Evergreen Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. reported that “the store of F.L. Riley was burglarized on Saturday night and a considerable quantity of goods taken therefrom. Riley discovered the robbery Sunday morning and set to work at once in an effort to apprehend the robbers. He did some pretty shrewd detective work, his vigilance being soon rewarded by the rounding up of three – Richard Ballard, Levy Thompson and John Rogers.”

Salter also let readers know that The Courant “was 20 years old on Monday last. During these 20 years, The Courant has missed only two issues and these on or about Christmas day.”

Also that week, under the headline “Prof. Blasingame Appointed to Auburn Professorship,” it was reported that “the announcement made here on Monday that Prof. W.C. Blasingame had resigned the presidency of the Agricultural School came as a distinct surprise to citizens of the community and students as well. He has been appointed professor of secondary education at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute at Auburn and will leave at once to take up his new work.”

Readers that week also learned that “a small boy was severely injured on Sunday afternoon by either trying to get on or off a moving freight train. It is common for small boys to climb on to moving trains, and this recent accident should serve as a warning to them.”

In the Oct. 13, 1915 edition of The Courant, under the headline “CONECUH FAIR OPENS TODAY,” it was reported that “Conecuh’s first County Fair will open its doors to the public this morning, and it promises to be a most creditable show, even better than many expected at the beginning. All day Monday and Tuesday a steady stream of exhibits poured into the various departments, necessitating a considerable extra force to take care of them.

“Farm products of various and sundry kinds, hogs, cattle, horses, chickens, etc. for the agricultural department, and fancy needlework, preserves, pickles, canned goods, old relics and curios for the ladies department, kept those in charge extremely busy throughout the two days of preparation.

“The show will unquestionably be fruitful of great good to the agricultural interests of the County and means that next year our County Fair will be a great deal better and more varied with a much larger number of exhibits. It will be a good beginning. Let everyone enjoy our first fair.”

Readers that week also learned the “State reunion of Confederate Veterans will meet in Selma on next Wednesday, the 20th, and a large attendance is expected. Selma has made splendid preparations for the entertainment of the old boys.”

It was also reported that week that “the fall term of circuit court convened on Monday at noon, Judge Gamble and Solicitor Bricken being at their post of duty. The grand jury was organized with J.A. Culpepper of Brooklyn foreman.”

In news from the Mt. Zion community, it was reported that “Mr. Frank Chandler, principal of Mt. Zion school, has been absent for several days with a very bad case of the sore eyes.”

In the Oct. 20, 1915 edition of The Courant, under the headline “County Fair Unqualified Success,” Salter reported that “Conecuh County’s first fair is now history. It was a pronounced success. In truth, the showing made far surpassed the expectation of the most hopeful and sanguine worker for it. The townspeople were as much surprised as those from the country districts were delighted at our first attempt at a fair.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper it was reported that “Prof. Blasingame removed to Auburn with his family last week to take up his new work. Many friends regret to give him up. No one has yet been chosen to take his place as president of the Agricultural School.”

Salter also reported that week that “the grand jury returned 39 indictments, but owing to the crowded condition of the paper, the report of the grand jury is not published this week.”

That week’s paper also let readers know that the Conecuh County Education Association “will have its initial meeting for the year, 1915-1916, on Sat., Nov. 6, in Evergreen.

“The purpose of this organization is that through study, planning and efficient work, we all, teacher, trustees and patrons may create a real professional spirit and ideal.”

Readers that week also learned that “a farmer in this county had 60 acres in cotton and it is said that he gathered only 940 pounds of seed cotton.”

That week’s paper also included the following advertisement – “Come see Robert Warwick Friday at the Arcade Theatre. Admission 10 cents and 20 cents. On Saturday will have Charlie Chaplan. Admission five cents and 10 cents.”

In the Oct. 27, 1915 edition of The Courant, readers learned that “G.W. Nicholson attended the Veterans reunion in Selma.”

In news that week from the Effie community, it was reported that the “Effie public school opened Mon., Oct. 4, with Miss Gertrude Powell of Geneva County as principal, Miss Corinne Melton of Pine Apple and Miss Irene McCrory of Repton as assistants. Fifty pupils were enrolled and the number has increased to 65.

“Our school has one of the best basketball teams in the county and hope to play several match games this year with Evergreen Agricultural School and other teams.”

Salter also reported that week that “the prize-winning agricultural exhibits at the county fair were shipped to Mobile for exhibition at the Gulf State Fair. They will make a creditable display.”

Readers that week also learned that “C.J. Hines of Belleville was last week appointed a member of the county board of equalization. A.H. Mason of Evergreen was recently appointed by the county commissioners and the two gentlemen are to elect the third member who is to be chairman of the county board.”

Salter also reported that week that “weekly newspapers reaching the desk of The Courant contain announcements of many candidates for county offices, which reminds us that not a single candidate has announced in Conecuh, and it’s only a little more than six months until the May primary.”

Later in the paper, readers learned that “under the new election law, all political parties are required to make nominations on the same day, the first Tuesday in May. And it is a penalty to canvass for votes about the polls on election day or to ask anyone how he voted or tell how you voted.”

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 November 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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