Thursday, May 5, 2016

100-year-old news highlights from The Conecuh Record from May 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 May 1916.

In the May 4, 1916 edition of The Conecuh Record, editor J. C. Whitcomb reported, under the headline “David Price Found Dead,” that “Mr. David Price was found dead in his home at Castleberry last Thursday afternoon at three o’clock by Mr. J.G. Rainer. Mr. Price had been missing several days and the last time he was seen on Friday afternoon April 21st. He had been living alone and being missed, Mr. Rainer went to his home to investigate, found the windows barred and after making his way into the house found that Mr. Price had been dead several days and his body already partly decayed so that it was necessary to have the house fumigated before entering.”

Also that week, Whitcomb reported that “Mr. George W. Brooks, one of Conecuh County’s oldest citizens, died at his home, three miles north of Evergreen last Sunday morning after a long illness. Mr. Brooks was one of the best known men in this section, having been in the wood business for the past 20 years or more his business brought him in contact with all classes of people. He was a great friend of the small boys who delighted to ride with him on his wagon and to assist him in unloading his wood.”

In the May 11, 1916 edition of The Record, it was reported that the “home of Mr. J.O. Rainer of Castleberry was destroyed with all contents by fire yesterday morning at 2:30 o’clock. When the fire was discovered the roof was falling in and it was impossible to save anything. Mr. Rainer and family had gone to Foley on a visit and no one was in the house at the time. It is supposed a spark from a passing locomotive started the fire. The loss is partially covered by insurance.”

That week’s paper also included the following obituary – “Mrs. Fanny Whitcomb died here at an early hour last Friday morning at the home of her son, J.C. Whitcomb, on Main Street. Mrs. Whitcomb was the oldest woman in Evergreen, being about 83 years of age, and much beloved by the entire community.

“The deceased was the widow of the late H.J. Whitcomb and before her marriage was Miss Fanny Chapman of Lancaster, New Hampshire. In 1865, Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb moved from New Hampshire to Chicago, where they made their home until about 15 years ago, when they moved to Evergreen. The Whitcombs were among the first northern people to spend the winters in Evergreen and the largest tourist hotel, ‘Hotel Whitcomb,’ which burned some years ago, was named for Mr. H.J. Whitcomb. Deceased is survived by one son, J.C. Whitcomb, editor of this paper.

“After religious services, conducted by Dr. Dickinson at the home, Mrs. Whitcomb was laid to rest by the side of her husband in the Evergreen Cemetery at 10 o’clock Saturday morning.”

That week’s paper also included a large advertisement, submitted by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad – “U.C.V. Reunion at Birmingham, Ala., May 16 to 18, $3.85 Round Trip from Evergreen, Ala. Tickets sold May 13 to 17, Limit May 25, Extension Limit June 14, Low Side Trip Fares, For Complete Information See or Address C. Hawkins, Agent; C.H. Mann, D.P.A., Pensacola, Fla.”

In the May 18, 1916 edition of The Record, Whitcomb reported that the “Evergreen Equal Suffrage Association was organized on last Wednesday with a membership of about 20. Miss Mary Henderson was elected chairman of the association and Mrs. Lewis Crook chairman of the registration committee.

“On last Tuesday the Castleberry Equal Suffrage Association was organized at Castleberry with Mrs. S. Castleberry as chairman.

“These associations will be affiliated with the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association, which is in turn affiliated with the National Equal Suffrage Association. Both organizations were effected under the direction of Miss Lola C. Trax, National Organizer of Baltimore, who is touring Alabama under the auspices of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association.”

Also in that week’s paper, it was reported that the “second annual commencement of the Conecuh County High School at Castleberry will be held next week. An interesting program has been arranged for Sunday morning and church services will be held on Sunday at seven o’clock in the evening. The exercises will begin on May 21st and continue through the 25th.”

The May 25, 1916 edition of The Record included a large advertisement about upcoming graduation exercises at the county’s only other high school – “Senior Class Exercises of the Second District Agricultural School, Tues., May 30, 1916, 8:00 o’clock p.m.; Freshman Class Song; History of Class Trials, Joe Lundy, assisted by Senior Class; First Senior Class Song; Class Prophecy, Mae Chapman and Members of the Class, (a) Tingle-ingleing from High Jinks…Rudolph Friml; (b) A Merry Life… Denza; Girls Glee Club, Presentation to the Junior Class of the Key of Knowledge, Mamie Lou Smith; Response, Mamie Bates; Junior Class Song, Senior Farewell Song.”

Also that week, in news from the Brooklyn community, it was reported that “Messrs. G.R. Boulware, J.L. Williamson, John Stamps and H.A. Chambless attended the U.C.V. Reunion at Birmingham last week and report a most enjoyable trip. Mr. Boulware was accompanied home by Mr. W.R. Hodges and his son, Dr. R.H. Hodges of Texas, who will spend some time with relatives and friends in this vicinity. Mr. Hodges was born and reared near Brooklyn but shortly after his return from the army, with which he served during the Civil War, he moved to the state of Texas, where he has since resided and prospered.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, it was reported that “Clarence Hawkins surprised his many friends when he returned from the U.C.V. reunion at Birmingham accompanied by Mrs. Hawkins. No one suspected that he contemplated matrimony, even in the remote future, but everyone is congratulating him on his good fortune in winning such a charming lady for his life-partner. Mrs. Hawkins was Miss Corinne Schwaemmie of Mobile. The Records joins their many friends in extending good wishes for their future happiness.”

Also that week, readers learned that “Robt. H. Jones, Esq., is in Montgomery this week attending the Knights of Phythias Lodge.”

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 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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