Thursday, August 3, 2017

100-year-old news highlights from Conecuh County from Aug. 1917

Martin Findley
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 1917.

The Evergreen Courant likely published five editions during the month of August 1917, but only four additions are available on microfilm at the Evergreen-Conecuh Public Library. The Aug. 1 edition is missing from the microfilm archives, but the Aug. 8, Aug. 15, Aug. 22 and Aug. 29 are available in the library’s microfilm collection. What follows are a few news highlights from those newspapers.

In the Aug. 8, 1917 edition of The Courant, editor and owner George W. Salter Jr. reported, under the headline “Conecuh Shows Up Well Physically In Army Draft,” that “the county exemption board completed the examination of draftsmen Tuesday. There are 112 out of the 166 drawn who are found to be physically qualified for army draft. Eighty-seven filed claims of exemption and discharge from draft.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, readers learned that “Robt. H. Jones left a few days ago for Fort McPherson to enlist in the regular army for war service.”

It was also reported that week that the “Conecuh County Masonic Conference will be held with Downing Lodge No. 580, Castleberry, on Aug. 15th to 17th. J.M. Pearson will conduct the conference. – P.S. McKinley, Secretary.”

That week’s paper also included the following announcement – “I now have charge of the dental parlors of the late Dr. H.B. Williamson over the First National Bank in Evergreen and will be glad to have my friends and patients call on me when in need of work. – J.R. Brooks.”

In the Aug. 15, 1917 edition of The Courant, Salter reported that the “City School will open Mon., Sept. 3, with a full corps of teachers and a large enrollment is expected.”

Readers that week also learned that “W.E. McIntyre, residing on the Brooklyn road near the city, on Saturday last killed a large rattlesnake having 16 rattles.”

It was also reported that week that “three Conecuh boys have been chosen officers in the officers’ reserve corps. They are Boardman D. Holloway of Belleville, second lieutenant, fourth company; Henry W. Robinson and Sidney Russell Amos of Brooklyn, the former second lieutenant, fifth company, and the latter second lieutenant, first battery field artillery.”

Salter also reported that week that “Henry D. and Herbert H. Moorer, former Conecuh boys, have been selected as lieutenants in the officers’ reserve corps and will report for duty on the 27th at Fort Oglethorpe near Savannah, Ga. Chas. R. Wiggins, another Evergreen boy, has been chosen as first lieutenant, statistical section of the adjutant general department of the national army.”

Also that week, in news from Castleberry, it was reported that “several of the boys of Co. K are here on five-day furloughs, Capt. Downing among the number.”

Readers that week also learned that “quite a number of Masons passed through the city this morning en route to Castleberry to attend the annual meeting of the County Masonic Conference.”

In the Aug. 22, 1917 edition of the newspaper, in news from the Johnstonville community, it was reported that “M.T. Johnston and family were at Castleberry Wednesday where Mr. Johnston attended the Masonic conference.”

That week’s paper also included the following memorial – Wm. Washington Adams was born Dec. 5, 1838 and died Aug. 3, 1917. One by one our ranks are thinning. He was a member of Camp Capt. Wm. Lee, No. 338, and belonged to the 58th Reg. of Alabama volunteers. He leaves a wife and for children to mourn his death. A more extended notice will be given by the camp memorial committee. – G.R. Boulware.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, readers saw the following “In Memory” column – “In memory of Martin Findley, who was born Sept. 27, 1824, and died at his home near Brooklyn, Ala., Aug. 2, 1917, aged 92 years, 10 months and five days.

“He was born and lived his entire life around and near the village of Brooklyn. He was a member of the Missionary Baptist Church for nearly 60 years, and a member of the mystic band of Free Accepted Masons for a little over 55 years. He was a member of Camp Capt. Lee (338) of U.C.V.”

“He was buried on the third day of August, with Masonic honors, a goodly number of the brethren attending.”

In the Aug. 29, 1917 edition of the newspaper, Salter reported that “Hal Watts was put to death near Repton on Monday night by a posse of citizens.

“The facts in the case that The Courant has been able to ascertain are substantially these: On last Saturday it is stated that G.W. Stinson and (Watts) had a difficulty in which (Watts) threatened or attempted to assault Mr. Stinson with an axe. The trouble ended, however, without any serious consequences and a warrant was sworn out for the arrest of (Watts) and was executed by Deputy Sheriff Guin Moorer, who while on his way to jail with the prisoner Monday night, was held up near Brushy Creek bridge by a posse of men and relieved of his prisoner and later put him to death. Sheriff Williams sent Deputy Kendall down Tuesday to make an investigation and he states that the victim was neither hanged nor shot, but was killed by being struck on the back of the neck and side of the head.”

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 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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