Thursday, November 5, 2015

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

Florence LaBadie
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 November 1915.

In the Nov. 3, 1915 edition of The Evergreen Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. let readers know that the “Census report shows that 2,972 bales of cotton were ginned in Conecuh County up to Oct. 18, compared with 10,447 to the same date last year. In the state, the crop is 252,267 bales short of last year at this date.”

Salter also reported that week that the “two gentlemen appointed on the local board of equalization, A.H. Mason and C.J. Hines, failed to reach an agreement on the selection of a third member and the matter is now to be settled by appointment by Governor Henderson.”

In news from the Lenox community, correspondent “Observer,” reported that “our school is progressing nicely with Miss Sadie Melton as principal and Miss Estelle Petty as assistant.”

Also that week, readers learned that the Conecuh County Educational Association “will have its initial meeting for the year 1915-16 on Sat., Nov. 6, in Evergreen. The first meeting will be given over to a full and frank discussion of plans and purposes of the year’s work, the keynote of which ‘Illiteracy in Conecuh, let’s remove it; and School Improvement in Conecuh – let’s work it.”

Salter also reported that week that “Mrs. Legrand of Atlanta has charge of the millinery department of the Riley Department Store. She comes fresh from the millinery markets, and is in a position to know the newest ideas and is authority when it comes to millinery modes.”

In the Nov. 10, 1915 edition of The Courant, Salter reported that the “first formal announcement of any of the many prospective candidates to appear in The Courant is that of John C. Black who asks the voters of District No. 1 to elect him a member of the County Board of Revenue.”

Elsewhere in the paper that week, Salter reported that “two gentlemen were in town Monday and did not hesitate to let the fact be known that they were candidates for county offices. They said their announcements would appear in The Courant in due time.”

Readers that week that on “Friday at the Arcade Theatre, the World Film Corporation presents Nat Godwin in The Master Hand. Admission 10 cents, 20 cents.”

It was also reported that week that “Irby M. Beasley has been appointed postmaster at Owassa.”

Salter also reported that week that “Sheriff Williams and Jos. Golightly were among those from Evergreen who attended the fair in Pensacola. They say the Florida show was nearly as good as Conecuh’s fair, and that means it was a good one.”

In news from the Johnstonville community that week, it was reported that “the farmers are through gathering their crops and syrup making will soon be the order of the day.”

Readers that week also learned that “Attorney E.C. Page went to Detroit last week on legal business,” and “J.M. Thomas and J.H. Sullivan of Castleberry were here Monday on business.”

That week’s paper also included the following advertisement – “For Thanksgiving oysters, phone 94 and place your orders early. The choicest oysters to be had anywhere. – Riley Department Store.”

In the Nov. 17, 1915 edition of The Courant, Salter reported that “more than 91 bushels of corn hauled on one wagon was the remarkable record made by L.D. King – the lumber King – while harvesting his corn crop a few days ago. Several yokes of steers were required to move the immense load.”

Readers that week also learned that “only 3,800 bales of cotton were ginned in this county up to Nov. 8 compared with 12,559 to the same date last year, showing a falling off of 8,759 bales.”

Salter also reported that “W.M. Newton, J.D. Deming, Eugene Salter, C.P. Deming Jr. and A. Cunningham were among the Evergreen Shriners who attended the ceremonial in Montgomery last week.”

Readers that week also learned that “Dr. J.G. Dickinson and Rev. A.G. Spinks are in Huntsville attending the Baptist state convention.”

In news from the Harmony Superior School, it was reported that “Prof. C.E. Williams of the County High School, Castleberry, and Master Harvey Page spent Monday at our school. Prof. Williams gave our boys an interesting lesson in Manual Training.”

That week’s paper also included the following notice – “Miss Willie Kelly of Shanghai, China, will give a lecture on ‘The Work in China’ at the Baptist Church, Repton, Ala., Friday afternoon, 2:00, Nov. 26, 1915. This will be a treat to our people. Miss Kelly is at home on a visit and will soon return to China. Avail yourself of this opportunity to meet her and hear a splendid lecture. Everyone invited. – Mrs. J.R. Akin, Repton, Ala.”

In news from the Owassa community, sent in by correspondent “Alabama Gal,” it was reported that “our new pastor, Rev. Jones of Castleberry, filled his appointment here Sunday.”

In the Nov. 24, 1915 edition of The Courant, the big news for that week came under the headline, “William J. Bryan to Speak in Evergreen Friday” – “William Jennings Bryan will speak in Evergreen on next Friday, Nov. 26, at 11 o’clock. The businessmen of Evergreen had to put up the cash to get him, and it will be necessary to charge an admission fee to hear him, but there are hundreds of people who will not object to doing this for an opportunity to hear the distinguished statesman and orator. Mr. Bryan will reach here on train No. 5, will speak at 11 o’clock and proceed to Mobile on train No. 1 at 1:45 p.m.”

Elsewhere in the paper, Salter reported that “on Thursday night last the large two-story residence of Byron Dean was completely destroyed by fire, together with practically all its contents, resulting in a loss of several thousand dollars. This was one of the largest and most commodious homes in Evergreen. The fire originated in the roof and is supposed to have caught from a spark from some waste paper burned in the grate early in the night. The house was situated too far from a water plug for the fire department to render any service in fighting the flames.”

Readers that week also learned that “Monsieur Lecoq, a Mutual Master picture in four parts, will be shown at the Arcade Theatre Thursday (Thanksgiving). This picture presents William Morris and Florence LaBadie, the Million $ Mystery girl. Admission, five cents and 10 cents.”

Salter closed out the month of November with the following note to Courant subscribers – “Persons indebted to The Courant for subscription are advised that they may pay such indebtedness with velvet beans at the rate of $20 per ton in the hull or $2 per bushel in two-bushel bags, for sound beans. Corn, hay and peanuts will be taken at the market price. Bring them in as soon as convenient.”

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 December 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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