Thursday, January 7, 2016

100-year-old news highlights from The Evergreen Courant from January 1916

Robert E. Lee
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 January 1916.

In the Jan. 6, 1916 edition of The Conecuh Record, editor J. C. Whitcomb reported that “county commissioners were in session early part of the week,” and that “M.A. Travis has been appointed chairman of the county tax equalization board.”

Readers that week also learned that “W.J. Travis, charged with the killing of Dr. Nall at McKenzie, was admitted to bail in the sum of $1,500.”

Whitcomb also reported that “a new and valuable acquisition to the library of the County High School, Castleberry, is the International Encyclopedia, consisting of 24 volumes.”

Readers that week also learned that “the shipment of decorative evergreens continue brisk.”

Whitcomb also reported that the “colored population observed emancipation day with music and marching and speechmaking.”

Readers that week also learned that “a most enjoyable concert by talented musicians and a high class lyceum number is promised Evergreen by the Mothers Club at an early date. Watch out for particulars. You don’t want to miss these entertainments. They are very fine.”

The Record also reported that week that “the editor of The Record has been confined to his bed for the past two or three weeks with typhoid fever. His friends hear with pleasure that he is gradually improving.”

In the Jan. 13, 1916 edition of The Record, it was reported that the “Butler County grand jury did not indict W.J. Travis for killing Dr. Nall a short time ago at McKenzie.”

Readers that week also learned that “the First National Bank of Evergreen, at a recent meeting of its board of directors, elected officers for the ensuing year – Robt. F. Croom, president; Lewis Crook, active vice-president; C.R. Taliaferro, vice-president; J.D. Wright, cashier.”

Elsewhere in the paper that week it was reported that “at a meeting of the board of directors of the Peoples Bank of Evergreen, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, C.P. Deming; vice-president and cashier, A. Cunningham; assistant cashier, C.P. Deming Jr. and Byron Tisdale. W.B. Ivey was added to the board of directors.”

Whitcomb also reported that “Sheriff Williams killed a mad dog a few days ago.”

Readers that week also learned that “Chancery court was held here Thursday of last week by Chancellor Lewis of Tuskegee,” and the “Equalization Board was in session this week.”

It was also reported that week that “Wade Longmire was killed by a white man at Castleberry a few days ago. The difficulty grew out of a dispute over the settlement of a debt.”

Whitcomb also let readers know that week that “a gentleman who travels extensively over the state and who has some knowledge of educational affairs in Alabama, states that Conecuh County High School is considered one of the best institutions of its class in the state.”

It was also reported this week that the “Martin drug company has sold out to Betts & Newton” and that “Jan. 21st is Arbor and Good Roads Day in the public schools of Alabama.”

In the Jan. 20, 1916 edition of The Record, Whitcomb reminded readers that “Wednesday, Jan. 10 – the birthday of that celebrated soldier and model Christian gentleman, Robert E. Lee – was observed as a holiday in Alabama.”

Readers that week also learned that “a big dove shoot was enjoyed by a number of gentlemen at Chas. Ivey’s place this week.”

It was also reported that week “that the special train bearing the Southeastern Kansas Boosters will reach Evergreen at 2:32 p.m., Jan. 25, and will stop a few minutes. They will meet a delegation of our businessmen.”

Readers that week also learned that the “thermometer went down to 20 during the cold snap,” and that an “inmate died a few nights ago in the county bastille.”

That week’s paper also included the following advertisement – “WANTED: At once, all your surplus butter. Send by parcel post in pound moulds and wrapped in butter parchment. Also all the peanuts you have on hand. Riley Dept. Store Co.”

Also that week it was reported that “Prof. Dannelly of Montgomery was greeting Evergreen friends last Tuesday,” and that “several of our acquaintances are wrestling with la grippe.”

Readers that week also learned that “the bond election passed off quietly last Tuesday. The cold weather, however, kept a good many away from the polls.” Elsewhere in the paper, Whitcomb reported that “the state bond issue was defeated. The vote in Conecuh County being 384 for and 367 against, being a majority of 17 for bonds.”

Whitcomb also offered up a couple of editorial comments for his readers that week – “Between the war and the automobile, the unhappy horse is kept busy sidestepping sudden death” and “Every day is payday at this office. Trot right along and receive our thanks.”

In the Jan. 27, 1916 edition of The Record, Whitcomb reported that “a large crowd met the booster train Tuesday afternoon.”

Also that week, under the headline “Tragic Death,” it was reported that the “tragic death of Mr. Ed Robbins last Saturday morning between nine and 10 o’clock, at mills of the L.D. King Lumber Co., was a great shock to the entire community. The unfortunate man stumbled and being caught by the saw, both legs were severed above the knee, and he bled to death before medical aid could reach him.”

Readers that week also learned that a “fiddlers convention will be held at the courthouse in Evergreen on the night of Feb. 18. All fiddlers invited. Suitable prices will be offered. Admission – adults, 25 cents and children, 10 cents. The proceeds to go to the Orphans Home.”

It was also reported that week that “the tax assessor’s books show a ‘multiplicity’ of dogs in Conecuh County” and that “several horses and mules were sold at public auction in front of the court house last Monday.”

Readers that week also learned that “Emmitt Lee Stallworth, son of Dr. Stallworth, has been chosen to represent the Evergreen Baptist Sunday school convention which meets at Selma. The Methodist Sunday school will be represented at the convention by Bryan Northcutt, son of W.B. Northcutt.”

Whitcomb closed out the month of January 1916 with another of his unique editorial comments – “Happiness is the ever retreating summit on the hill of ambition.”

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 February 1916 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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