|Grave of William Samuel Oliver.|
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 August 1916.
In the Aug. 3, 1916 edition of The Conecuh Record, editor J. C. Whitcomb apologized to readers by saying that The Record “is late going to press this week owing to sickness and death in the family.”
Elsewhere in the paper, readers saw that, “after a lingering illness, Mrs. Hettie Whitcomb, wife of Mr. Richard M. Whitcomb, breathed her last Fri., Aug. 4, at 2 p.m. Her death, while not unexpected, was a great shock to the community. Interment was made Saturday morning at 10:30 in Evergreen cemetery.”
It was also reported that week that the “death of J.P. Kendall, which occurred Thursday morning, is generally regretted. He was a good citizen and an upright man. His children, who had been summoned, were present when he died. Interment was made in Evergreen cemetery, a large crowd being present.”
On a lighter note, elsewhere in the paper, it was reported that the “Baseball Minstrel show was largely attended and very much enjoyed. It also developed that we have some first class musical and dramatic talent among our home boys.”
Readers also learned that week that “R.R. Martin and J.W. Bailey will open their store on East Front Street Saturday with a full line of dry goods, notions, shoes and gents’ furnishings.”
In news from the Brooklyn community, it was reported that “Brooklyn is to have an artesian well in the near future, we have struck water at 175 feet.”
In the Aug. 10, 1916 edition of The Record, it was reported that “Evergreen was visited by a heavy rain and wind storm. No damage was done, except to the feelings of the community. We have had more than necessary for the present.”
Readers that week also learned that “four train loads of Alabama National Guards passed through Evergreen Thursday en route to the Texas border.”
Whitcomb also reported that “the Evergreen-Castleberry road promises to be one of the best highways in the county.” Readers that week also learned that “W.B. Ivey and family left Monday for Marion going thro’ the country in their auto.”
It was also reported that “county court was in session here Monday” and that “attorney E.C. Page was in Montgomery this week on business.”
Whitcomb closed the week by telling readers that “Richard M. Whitcomb, Mrs. Burke and daughter, also Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Whitcomb, wish to thank their friends for their sympathy and kind acts during their hours of trouble.”
In the Aug. 17, 1916 edition of The Record, it was reported that “a cavalry company is to be organized in Evergreen within the next 10 days. E.C. Barnes and J.A. Rumbley are the recruiting officers, see them and join the troops at once. There are only three states in the Union that have cavalry troops - Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania – and Alabama is to be the fourth.”
Elsewhere in that week’s paper it was reported that “Capt. Duke Guice of Greenville was here looking for recruits for a cavalry company this week.”
Readers that week also learned that the “Agricultural School opens Sept. 6 and the City School on Mon., Sept. 11.”
It was also reported that week that the “Belleville and Evergreen ball teams played ball here Wednesday. Evergreen defeated Belleville by a score of 19 to 9.”
That week’s paper also included a resolution by Greening Masonic Lodge in honor of a former Conecuh County tax collector – “William Samuel Oliver was born at Century, Fla., Feb. 11, 1872, and died at his home in Evergreen, Ala., July 16, 1916.
“His parents, J.W. Oliver and Mary Oliver, moved to Conecuh County when he was a small boy, and the greater part of his life was spent in this county, the last 11 years in Evergreen. In 1904, he was elected tax collector of Conecuh County, which office he held continuously until his death, having been elected to this position three times.
“As tax collector, he was thrown in contact with his fellow citizens throughout the county, and by his genial manner and winning personality he became one of the most popular men Conecuh County has ever produced.”
In the Aug. 24, 1916 edition of The Record, readers saw the following advertisement – “SECOND DISTRICT AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL, Evergreen, Ala., Strong Faculty, Composed of Seven Well Equipped Teachers, Good Laboratories – This school is for all young men and women desiring to succeed. Good courses are given in agriculture, domestic science, manual training and to teachers as well as the high school course. Opens Sept. 6. For further information, apply to W.C. Wilburn, Pres.”
Elsewhere in that week’s paper, readers saw the following advertisement – “Wanted: School boys to board, residence less than one-fourth mile from school, rates reasonable. Apply to J.A. Douglas, Evergreen, Ala.”
Also that week, in news from the Owassa community, it was reported that “Frank Perkins, who is a member of the Signal Corps in Montgomery, was home on a furlough last week.”
Readers that week also learned that “H.C. Rankin has been elected mayor of Brewton,” and that “W.M. Newton, H.W. Dunn, C.C. Newton and G.R. Farnham enjoyed a few days fishing at Herrington this week.”
It was also reported that week that the “work of straightening the road beyond Sandy Creek on the new road to Castleberry is being finished rapidly, and when finished will be a long needed improvement.”
In the Aug. 31, 1916 edition of The Record, it was reported, under the headline “Another Residence Burned,” that the “residence of S.P. Dunn was destroyed by fire about noon on Saturday last. The fire department as well as the citizens generally hurried to the scene of the fire which was just across the street from where the Page residence was burned a short time ago.
“The fire originated from the stove flue and in a few minutes was burning fiercely. At one time, it seemed that the building was doomed to total destruction, but by hard work this was prevented, although the structure was badly damaged. Mr. Dunn will at once begin the work of rebuilding.”
Also that week, under the headline “Death of an Old Citizen,” readers learned that “one of the oldest and most respected citizens of Conecuh County passed away last Saturday morning at his home near Owassa. William Burgamy lived to be 96 years old and enjoyed good health up to a few days of his death. He was an old Confederate soldier and highly esteemed as a citizen, was never married and lived with his brother, who likewise remained single and who died several years ago.”
It was also reported that week that the “Elba cavalry troop has been sworn in,” and that the “road leading to Castleberry, when completed, will be a credit to the hard road system of Conecuh County.”
Readers that week also learned that the “Agricultural school will open with a large roll of students, and principal and faculty are much encouraged.”
Whitcomb closed out the month by reminding readers that “next Monday is Labor Day, all post offices will be closed.”
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 September 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.