Thursday, April 13, 2017

100-year-old news highlights from The Evergreen Courant from April 1917

President Woodrow Wilson
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 1917.

The April 4, 1917 edition of The Evergreen Courant is missing from the microfilm archives at the local library, but there was plenty of news in the April 11, 1917 edition to make up for it, including one of the most important stories of the century.

In the April 11, 1917 edition of The Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. reported, under the headline “War Declared,” that the “Senate on Thursday, and the House of Representatives on Friday, passed the Flood-Martin joint resolution declaring that a state of war exists between the United States and Germany, and authorizing the President to bring into play the army and navy and all other resources of the country in the vigorous prosecution of the war.

“President (Woodrow) Wilson worked long and faithfully to keep this country out of war, but it was impossible. The people will stand behind the President with firmness and determination to protect America’s honor and to bring the great world war to a successful termination.”

Also that week, readers learned that the “spring term of Circuit Court convened on Monday last with Judge Gamble presiding and Solicitor Dickey representing the state. The grand jury was organized with A.R. Knight of Repton as foreman. Court adjourned at noon Tuesday and all petit jurors discharged for the week. Most of the cases on the civil docket being continued. The grand adjourned at noon today, returning 18 true bills.”

In the April 18, 1917 edition of The Courant, Salter reported that the “criminal docket was completed today shortly after noon and court adjourned for the week. A number of important cases were continued to the next term.”

Also that week, readers learned that the “soldier boys removed their quarters on Monday from the armory to a vacant space near the home of W.H. Wild. One of the soldiers on duty at Sepulga River was brought in today suffering with an attack of appendicitis and was promptly taken to Montgomery for treatment.”

It was also reported that week that the “mass meeting of farmers at the courthouse on Monday morning was the most largely attended of any held in Evergreen in a long while. In fact, the courthouse was packed. Strong and forceful speeches were made by Judge Gamble, Dr. Dickinson, Hon. C.E. Hamilton, Miss Sara E. Luther and Hon. Michael Cody, a leading Montgomery banker, who came by special invitation. All the speakers strongly urged upon the farmers the great importance and need of an unusually large food and feed crop this year. The large audience appeared to be thoroughly impressed with the idea that a bumper food crop is more important at this time than undertaking to make cotton and fighting the boll weevil.”

In the April 25, 1917 edition of The Courant, Salter reported, under the headline “Evergreen Team Wins Double Bill,” that “the baseball season was opened on the local diamond last Friday afternoon, when the Second District Agricultural School of Evergreen shut out the Monroe County High School of Monroeville in both games of a doubleheader. The feature of the game were the fielding of Erwin of Evergreen and a home run by Dickerson of Evergreen.” (Evergreen won the first game, 2-0, and won the second game, 8-0.)

Readers that week also learned that “Capt. E. Downing of the Conecuh Guards spent Friday here on business. His company is doing guard duty at Mobile and Jackson. Capt. Downing is very proud of his company and says the boys made the best showing of any company in the First Regiment on the border.”

It was also reported that week that “members of the military company stationed here were treated to a picnic dinner yesterday on the lawn at the home of W.H. Wild by the ladies of Evergreen under the auspices of the local chapter U.D.C. The boys devoured the splendid dinner with evident relish and were deeply appreciative of the kindness of the good ladies.”

Readers that week also learned that “(Confederate) memorial services will be conducted at the cemetery tomorrow afternoon. The memorial address will be delivered by Rev. Chas. Lane of Macon, Ga. The program arranged promises to be the most interesting of any yet held here.”

It was also reported that week that “commissioners court was in session Monday and Tuesday transacting unfinished business left over at the last meeting. All members of the board were present.”

Also that week, Salter reported that “merchants and businessmen of Evergreen have signed the usual agreement to close their places at six o’clock each afternoon, Saturdays excepted, from May 1 to Sept. 1.”

Readers that week also learned that “Mrs. Mary B. Jones, mother of Chief J.C. Jones, died on Friday last, following a brief illness. Deceased with 74 years old and besides her son is survived by one sister, Mrs. Philyew, of this place; one brother, Allen Rhodes of Austin, Texas; and one daughter, Mrs. Perdue of Greenville.”

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 1917 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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