Thursday, May 4, 2017

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

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 1917.

In the May 2, 1917 edition of The Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. reported, under the headline “Memorial Services Enjoyed By Large Crowd,” that the “memorial service at the cemetery on Thursday last was enjoyed by a large gathering of people. The service was simple, consisting of prayer by Rev. D.W. Haskew, patriotic songs by school pupils and memorial address by Rev. Charles Lane. After the speech and while flowers were being strewn over graves a detachment of the military company fired a salute and taps were sounded.”

Also that week, in news from the Owassa community, it was reported that “a dark shadow of gloom was cast on many hearts Saturday night when the sad angel of death claimed Rev. W.H. Huggins,” and that “Postmaster Beasley is on the sick list this week.”

That week’s paper also carried an item from the Brewton News that let readers know that “Miss Sarah E. Luther… has been re-elected principal of the county high school at Castleberry for one year, commencing July 1, 1917, by the Conecuh County board of education. Miss Luther has been principal of the high school since its establishment. She is the only woman high school principal in the state, and has an enviable record as an educator.”

Also that week, it was reported that “Rev. John W. Stewart will again be superintendent of the Baptist Orphanage. He was elected by the board of trustees on Monday and promptly accepted the place.

In the May 9, 1917 edition of The Courant, Salter reported that “Prof. W.C. Wilburn will give up his place as principal of the Agricultural School, having been elected superintendent of education of Hale County.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, it was reported that “frost was reported this morning, the thermometer of the local weather observatory registered 39.”

Also that week, readers saw, under the headline “Robert Hines Dead,” that “news reached here yesterday of the death of Robert Hines, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred P. Hines, formerly of Belleville, which occurred at St. Thomas, Ky., where the young man was in navy training school. The cause of his death is said to have been pneumonia. The deceased was about 20 years of age. The body was shipped to Canoe, where his parents reside, for interment.”

Readers that week also learned that “the county has purchased a large automobile truck for hauling gravel, sand and clay for the county roads as well as for dressing up and keeping the roads in repair. It is now being tried out, and we learn, so far, with satisfactory results.”

Salter also reported that week that “the railroad company is putting in an additional 400 feet of side track from north switch, to accommodate the increasing traffic in timber and lumber. This improvement has been long needed.”

Readers that week also learned that “work has been started on the construction of a handsome residence for Attorney E.C. Page on the site of his old home. It will be one of the most modern homes in Evergreen.”

In the May 16, 1917 edition of The Courant, Salter reported that “three Conecuh young men left here Saturday for Fort McPherson to enter the training camp of the officers reserve corps. They were Harry Robinson, Russell Amos and Marion Hassell of Brooklyn.”

Also that week, readers learned that “Dr. J.G. Dickinson delivered the principal address at the Confederate memorial service in Monroeville last Saturday afternoon. Dr. Dickinson’s speech was enjoyed by a large and appreciative audience.”

Salter also reported that week that “David Gross, son of Tillman Gross, a well known Evergreen man, was instantly killed at Century, where he was employed, on Sunday last. He was at the station awaiting the arrival of the train to come home, when in some way the train struck him with the result as stated. His body was brought here for interment Monday.”

Also that week readers learned that “C.J. Davis is attending the annual session of the grand lodge of Knights of Pythias in Montgomery. He is Chancellor Commander of the local lodge.”

Elsewhere in the paper, readers saw that “J.H. Lee of Burnt Corn was in the city Monday en route to Montgomery to attend the K. of P. grand lodge.”

It was also reported that week that “Floyd Hawkins came dangerously near losing an eye on Monday. He was plowing and in passing a tree a small limb broke and struck one of his eyes, causing a very painful wound.”

Salter closed out that week by telling readers that “delinquent subscribers to The Courant may settle their dues with bacon, hams, lard, syrup or anything we can make use of but we want each delinquent to settle in some way. We can even use the money to advantage if that is more convenient.”

In the May 23, 1917 edition of The Courant, it was reported that “at a recent meeting of the trustees of the city school Miss Ethel King was elected principal of the school, with Misses Willie Cunningham, Sue Stallworth and Mae Simmons as assistants.”

Readers that week also learned that “Prof. Bennett was in the city Saturday looking for a home, preparatory to moving here with his family to take up his duties as County Superintendent of Education on Oct. 1.”

It was also reported that week that “the county teachers institute will be held here Aug. 21-24.”

Also that week, under the headline “To Call Alabama Guardsmen Aug. 5,” readers learned that “All National Guard organizations will be called into Federal service between July 15 and Aug. 5. Governors have been authorized to recruit all organizations to war strength.

“Arrangements for formally incorporating the guard into the armies of the United States, terminating for the war period, their status as militia or state troops, are understood to be based upon the possibility of supplying full war equipment for the troops.

“It is understood also that the 16 divisional cantonment camps for the guard will be in the southeastern, southern and western departments. Dates upon which various state units are to be moved to the big camps for state mobilization points, will depend upon completion of the quarters and supply system at the cantonment camps.”

Also that week, readers learned that “Orrie P. Curry and Miss Emma Dearborn were married at high noon on Sunday last at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Dearborn, on Belleville Street; Rev. D.W. Haskew officiating. The marriage was a very quiet affair, only the immediate family and a few friends being present.”

The last edition of The Courant for the month of May 1917 is missing from the microfilm files at the library, but those files do contain a copy of the May 31, 1917 edition of The Conecuh Record, another newspaper published in Evergreen at that time.

In that edition of The Record, editor J.C. Whitcomb reported that “several heavily loaded troop trains passed through Evergreen within the last few days en route to Chickamauga. The troops were from Arizona.”

Also that week, in news from Castleberry, it was reported that “the commencement exercises of the Conecuh County High School ended Wednesday morning with the graduation exercises.

“The following students received diplomas: C. Matilda Albreast, W.B. (Otto) Castleberry, Verna M. Castleberry, Sibyl DeLoney, Kate Holland, Haskew Page, Marguerite Page, Mendenhall Page.

“Mrs. L.M. Baskinsky of Troy made the address to the graduates.”

Also from Castleberry that week readers learned that “Capt. E. Downing Jr. of the First Regiment, stationed at Mobile, came home for a few days this week.”

That week’s paper also included the following advertisement – “Washington, D.C. and return, $18.95, United Confederate Veterans Reunion, June 4-8, Tickets sold June 1 to 6, Limit June 21, Extended limit July 6, Extension fee 50 cents, Let us arrange your trip now as the attendance will be large, Ask us about regular and special service, C.H. Mann, D.P.A., Pensacola, Fla., C. Hawkins, Agent.”

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 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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