Thursday, April 14, 2016

100-year-old news highlights from The Conecuh Record from April 1916

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 1916.

In the April 6, 1916 edition of The Conecuh Record, editor J. C. Whitcomb reported that “Hon. S.H. Dent spoke to a large and appreciative audience at the courthouse Monday afternoon in the interest of his candidacy for re-election to congress. Mr. Dent ranks second on one of the most important congressional committees, that of military, and at this particular time he will be unable to be away from Washington much or long at a time, however, he is making what time he has in the district count. He went from here to Castleberry, where he addressed another good crowd.”

Whitcomb also let readers know that week that “reduced railroad rates have been granted by practically all railroads in Alabama for delegates to the State Sunday School Convention in Gadsden, April 25-27. The special rate amounts to little more than half the regular rates for the round trip. The exact rate from each station can be secured from the local ticket agent or by writing Leon C. Palmer, General Secretary, Montgomery, Ala.”

That week’s paper also included a special proclamation by Evergreen Mayor W.B. Ivey – “To All Owners or Custodians of Dogs Within the Town of Evergreen: This is to notify you that the ordinance adopted March 22, 1909, levying a license tax of $1 and the cost of the tag on each dog is in full force and effect. You will therefore procure a license tax for each dog from the town clerk for the current year. The Marshal is instructed to impound all dogs found without the license tags after April 20, 1916.”

In the April 13, 1916 edition of The Record, under the headline, “William Morris Dead,” readers learned that “Mr. William Morris, one of Conecuh County’s mostly highly esteemed citizens, died last Monday at the home of his son, Dr. Wm. Morris, at Georgiana. The remains were brought to Evergreen on Tuesday morning’s train and carried from there to the Witherington graveyard and laid to rest by the side of his wife who preceded him to the grave several years. Mr. Morris was 76 years old and was a Civil War veteran. The members of Camp Wm. Lee, U.C.V., attended the funeral.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, Whitcomb reported that “the spring term of circuit court convened here Monday, Judge Gamble presiding.”

Also that week, it was reported that “Prof. I.H. Lewis, president of the Second District Agricultural School, was in Birmingham last week.”

In news from the Owassa community that week, it was reported that “a beautiful and impressive double wedding was solemnized here at the Baptist church on Sunday night, the 9th inst., when Miss Mamie Long and Mr. Robert Northcutte and Miss Evie Wiggins and Mr. James Long were joined in the holy bonds of matrimony. Mr. and Mrs. Long will reside here and Mr. and Mrs. Northcutte will make their home in Evergreen, where Mr. Northcutte has a position with the Southern Express Co.”

Also that week, Whitcomb reported that “Gen. J.B. Stanley, editor of The Greenville Advocate, was a pleasant visitor to The Record office on Tuesday” and that “Edward Doty, senior editor of The Andalusia Star, called in to see us Tuesday of this week.”

In the April 20, 1916 edition of The Record, under the headline “Musical Entertainment,” it was reported that “what was doubtless the best musical entertainment ever given in Evergreen took place at the courthouse last Thursday evening when the Zoellner Quartet played to a large and appreciative audience. This quartet is composed of a family – father, two sons and a daughter, all of whom are real artists. The Orpheus Club did some hard work in selling in advance a sufficient number of tickets to secure the expense but netted a nice little sum on the concert.”

Also that week, Whitcomb reported that the “Rev. T.O. Reese, one of the most successful evangelists of the Baptist Home Mission Board, of Atlanta, Ga., with his singer, Mr. Scofield, will begin a (revival) meeting at the Baptist church of Evergreen next Sunday morning, which will continue during the week.”

Also that week, “Hughes the Jeweler” announced that “during the month of April I am going to sell my beautiful $10.75 diamond rings for $8.50 and my $15.75 ones for $11.50. They are 14-karat solid gold mountings and beautiful genuine cut diamonds. Call and see them at once.”

Also that week, Whitcomb reported that “Mr. John I. Deens, one of the most widely known citizens of this section of Alabama, died at his home in Red Level last Sunday morning, from a stroke of paralysis which he had on Wednesday of last week. Mr. Deens was a retired banker and merchant and was about 65 years old. He was a prominent member of the Presbyterian church. He is survived by this wife and a large number of relatives.”

In the April 27, 1916 edition of The Record, Whitcomb reported that “quite a large number of Confederate veterans were here yesterday to be present at the Memorial Exercises. The banks, post office and all business houses closed during the services and the graves of all deceased veterans were appropriately decorated with beautiful flowers. Hon. G.W.L. Smith of Brewton was the orator of the day, and his tribute of love and remembrance to the dead patriots was eloquent and impressive.”

Also that week, under the headline “James S. Shell Killed By Train Near Mobile,” it was reported that “while in the discharging of his duty as drawbridge tender at Three Mile Creek on L&N Railroad, just north of Mobile, Mr. James S. Shell, one of Conecuh County’s best citizens, met a horrible death Sunday morning about two o’clock, being killed by Train No. 3. His body was mangled beyond recognition. It will never be known how the accident occurred as Mr. Shell was alone on the bridge at the time. His remains were brought to Owassa on Train No. 6 Sunday and interred in the cemetery at Antioch church Monday morning.”

Whitcomb closed out the month by reporting that “the Act creating the Board of Revenue for Conecuh County has been declared unconstitutional by the supreme court, making it necessary that the candidates heretofore running for the board of revenue now announce for members of the Court of County Commissioners, which all those properly qualified have done. You will find the names of the men best fitted for County Commissioner in The Record. We understand there are some candidates for these important places that do not want the support of the readers of The Record. If they do, they haven’t let it be known through our columns.”

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 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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