Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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

In the July 6, 1916 edition of The Conecuh Record, editor J. C. Whitcomb reported, under the headline “Rain and Wind Storm,” that “not in years has this section been visited by such a severe rain and wind storm as prevailed here Wednesday and Thursday and which continues up to this writing – Friday – but with less violence. Considerable damage reported near Mobile, the L&N road being a heavy sufferer.

“Evidences of the destructive character of the storms are to be seen on every hand.

“The dam at the Country Club was washed out and great damage done to crops throughout the country.

“A large oak was blown down in Old Evergreen, and falling across the wires put all the phones out of commission in that section of the city.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, it was reported that “the rainfall was 18 inches in 24 hours. Several business houses were flooded, the Evergreen Hotel being damaged by the driving rain which flooded almost every apartment.”

Readers that week also learned that “owing to the rise in the stream which damaged some of the foundation work, Murder Creek bridge gave way and ditched No. 3 engine and one car.”

In non-weather-related news, Whitcomb reported that the “Second District Agricultural School’s president, Prof. W.C. Wilburn, comes to Evergreen the second week of July. His being a graduate of Greensboro Methodist College, Greensboro, Ala., everyone is looking forward to a very successful year under his guidance. Prof. Wilburn has studied two summers at the University of Alabama and two summers at the University of Chicago.”

It was also reported that week that “Walter Huckaby, Jesse Lumley and William Pritchett ran away from the Orphanage this week and were found in Montgomery, they having beat their way on a freight train to that city. They have been returned to Evergreen, wiser and better boys.”

In the July 13, 1916 edition of The Record, Whitcomb reported that the “Recruiting Headquarters of the Second Regiment, at present are located at Herlong & Barnes Drug store, Greenville, Ala. Any young man of Conecuh County wishing to join any of the companies in this regiment will be physically examined and sworn in at Greenville.”

Elsewhere in the paper that week, readers learned that “Captains Chapman and Baird are in the city looking for recruits for the first regiment and any young man wishing to enlist will do well to see them.”

It was also reported that week that “Prof. Lewis left Evergreen Tuesday morning for his home in Blocton. After a short visit there, he will go to Chicago and other northern cities. He will return here in the fall.”

Whitcomb also reported that week that “chancery court was in session here Wednesday,” and “county commissioners were in session this week.”

Readers that week also learned that “J.T. Salter has erected a first class cattle dipping vat at Annex, which the people show their appreciation by patronizing same. There has been over 200 head dipped since the completion three weeks ago.”

It was also reported that week that “C.P. Deming Jr. has purchased the City Drug store. We wish him much success in the new enterprise.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, readers saw that the “Evergreen Pharmacy are now in their new quarters, which is much larger than the old store.”

In the July 20, 1916 edition of The Record, Whitcomb reported, under the headline “W.S. Oliver Found Dead,” that the “tragic death of W.S. Oliver, tax collector of Conecuh County, during Sunday night, was a shock to the entire community. His body, cold in death, was found by his wife early Monday morning. He was in his night clothes and an empty double barrel gun at his side. A watermelon in a sack, several small pieces of money and a razor were also found near the body.

“There are conflicting views as to the manner in which Mr. Oliver met his death. The verdict of the coroner’s jury was to the effect he met death at the hands of some party or parties unknown.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, it was reported that “Mrs. W.F. Price, wife of W.F. Price, residing near Castleberry, committed suicide Wednesday morning by cutting her throat from ear to ear with a razor. She left a note stating that she was tired of life. Mrs. Price has been in ill health for a number of years and it is believed that she was temporarily insane at the time she committed the act.”

Readers that week also learned that “Percy Chapman reports that he has succeeded in securing 10 recruits for the State Militia.”

Also that week, in news from the Finklea community, it was reported that “up to last week, the farmers in this section had a fine prospect for a good crop but the storm has nearly ruined everything, especially corn and cotton. The boll weevil is getting in his work on cotton. Roads were badly washed. Mr. Lowery’s mill dam, which had just been rebuilt, was washed away. While the storm did much damage, we are glad to note that there was no loss of life.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, readers learned that the “recent storm is reported to have done injury to crops amounting to about a third in the vicinity of Brooklyn.”

Reading between the lines in the July 27, 1916 edition of The Record, it appears that Whitcomb took the week off. That issue of the paper carried no local news from Conecuh County, but did include a few news items from elsewhere in the state.

Readers that week learned that the “six-year-old son of S. Bryant is dead here (Sylacauga) as a result of biting his tongue. The child was brought to Sylacauga for medical attention, when efforts to stop the bleeding failed. Physicians here were unable to stop the flow of blood and death resulted in a few hours.”

It was also reported that week that the “state Sacred Singers held a three days session here (Birmingham). There were at least a thousand visitors in the city for this convention. The various counties of the state sent some of their best singers.”

Readers also learned that week that “in spite of the many rumors regarding the whereabouts of David D. Overton, wanted in connection with the murder of Probate Judge Lawler (in Huntsville), no clue has yet been found of his hiding place.”

It was also reported that week that the “body of an unidentified man was found on the tracks of the Central of Georgia Railroad at Sylacauga. It is supposed that the man came to his death while beating his way when he fell under the car wheels.”

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 August 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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