Archive for July 2012

Obituary of Nell Taylor   Leave a comment

Above:  John Dodson Taylor, Jr., and Nell Barrett Taylor at Summerville, Georgia, Winter 1960

Image Source = Gene McGinnis, Summerville, Georgia

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NELL TAYLOR

Retired Teacher

Died May 20, 2001

Mrs. Nell Fox Taylor, 86, Northwest Congress Street, Summerville, died Sunday in a Rome hospital.

She was born in Augusta, on Feb. 2, 1915, a daughter of the late George W. and Nellie Fox Barrett.  She was a member of Summerville Presbyterian Church, where she served as organist and choir director for several years.  Mrs. Taylor retired from the Chattooga County School System after 45 years of teaching.  Her husband, John D. Taylor, died earlier.

Surviving are two sons, the Rev. Jack Taylor, Warwick, and Randy Taylor, Atlanta; two sisters, Lucy Vanlandingham, and Margaret Bartlett, Atlanta; Barbara Nell Jackson, Reidsville, and Kenneth Randolph Taylor, Warwick; and great-grandchildren, Laura Elizabeth Jackson and Franklin Heath Jackson, Baxley; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held at 2 P.M. Tuesday from Summerville Presbyterian Church with the Revs. Jack Taylor and Chuck Vorderberg officiating.  Interment was in Summererville Cemetery.

Active pallbearers were Earl McConnell, Bud Jackson, John Turner, Billy Price, Arnold Kilgore, Euel Price, Alan Green, and Billy Petitt.

J. D. Hill Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.

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The above text is nearly identical to the obituary which appeared in The Summerville News.

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Family Tree of George Washington Barrett   5 comments

George W. Barrett

Above:  George Washington Barrett

An image taped inside a volume of family history

One of my great-grandfathers was George Washington Barrett (September 3, 1873-June 12, 1956).  His paternal great-grandfather was John Barrett (born circa 1776), probably the son of Reuben Barrett, a soldier on the colonial side of the U.S. Revolutionary War.  With John Barrett the family settled in Hall County, Georgia, the seat of which is Gainesville.  John Barrett had a son, Elisha Chastain Barrett (June 13-1806-May 13, 1886).  Elisha, born in Pendleton, South Carolina, was a farmer.  George Washington Barrett, a Methodist of the old school (no alcohol or playing cards) and a staunch Victorian (down to saying “limbs” instead of “legs”), described him as follows:

He was a loyal friend, sunny by serious-minded, an obliging neighbor.  He was strictly temperate, drank no alcoholic beverage, used no tobacco, was as far as any man from profaning God’s name.  In the years when one must take long trips to market, he took great care to see that his team rested on the Sabbath day.  He would no more have engaged in a game of cards than he would have undertaken a trip to the moon….

As a Christian and church official he was very devout and faithful.  He read his Bible much.  He received much pleasure and profit from reading two books of sermons, one by Bishop Thomas A. Morris of the Methodist Church and one by Rev. Ira L. Potter of the Georgia Conference.  In his latter years, if unable to attend church services on Sunday, he would read from these books and his Bible, often reading aloud, till his cup of rejoicing would overflow.

–George W. Barrett, Descendants of John Barrett and William Winburn (Emory University, Banner Press, 1949), page 6

Elisha was a member of what is now First United Methodist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.

He married twice.  His first wife was Nancy Mabry (February 2, 1810-January or February 1849), whom he wedded on January 15, 1828.  She died a few weeks after giving birth to a daughter, Nancy Elizabeth, her tenth child.  Wife number two was Lee Ann Pendely (June 1, 1823-July 10, 1910), married to Elijah from September 28, 1876.

William Wesley Barrett (January 20-1835-December 30, 1911), father of George Washington Barrett, was the fourth child of Elisha and Nancy.  He was a lifelong Methodist.  William Wesley was also a Confederate veteran, having served in Company K, 43rd Georgia Regiment from March 1862 until the end of that treasonous war.  (I added the “treasonous” aspect of that sentence.)  Of William Wesley Barrett my great-grandfather wrote:

The family altar was a fixture in his home.  He sought to train his children wisely and to shield them from the sins of the day.  If any one profaned God’s name in the presence of his children he was sure to let them know he disapproved of it.  His pastor was a welcomed visitor in his home.  He was neighborly and hospitable to all.  His faith in God was never shaken.  During his latter years he read his Bible and prayed much.  He was ready to go or to suffer as the Lord willed.

He was a steward in the church and served some years as the Superintendent of the Sunday School at Oakwood, Ga.  The Methodist Church there grew out of the school.  He was highly esteemed by all who knew him.

He married Miss Sarah Jane Winburn of Jefferson, Georgia, September 1, 1859.  She was born February 19, 1838, and died January 26, 1883.  She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Winburn.  She was quite a beautiful young woman and a devoted Christian.  One of father’s sisters told me:  “I always will believe your Mother was the the best woman I ever knew.”

–page 10

George Washington Barrett was one of six children of that marriage.

This is how my great-grandfather described himself:

George Washington Barrett, born Sept. 3, 1873.  Joined the church when seven years of age.  Was licensed to preach Nov. 15, 1894.  Entered Young Harris College December 1, 1895, graduating with an A.B. degree, May 22, 1899.  He averaged almost a sermon a month at the college.

In July, 1899, he was appointed supply pastor of the Alpharetta circuit, whose pastor was sick.  In November, 1899, he was admitted on trial by the North Georgia Conference and was ordained deacon also.  He was returned to the Alpharetta charge.  He served as pastor without a break till reaching retirement age.  November, 1945, having preached 6,082 sermons.  He served as Secretary of 25 District Conferences, being pastor-host of three of them; for thirty-five years served somewhere on the Conference staff of secretaries, twenty-one of which he was Conference Secretary and for eighteen years was editor of the Conference Minutes.

On January 17, 1900, he married Miss Nellie Seguin Fox of Atlanta, Ga.  She was the daughter of Dr. James O. and Sarah Thomas Fox.  She was born at Hot Springs, Ark., Sept. 18, 1876.  She graduated in art at Marion, Ala., and taught art two years at Young Harris College.

–pages 12-13

They had six children, including Nell Fox Barrett, who married John Dodson Taylor, Jr., on June 12, 1937.

I moved to Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, in August 2005.  This change in geographical location brought me close to family history, for Gainesville and Oakwood are only about an hour away from my home.  And Winder, where George Washington Barrett served in 1925-1927, is about twenty minutes (depending on traffic) away from my front door.  My explorations of the Barrett side of my family history have turned up interesting details, some of them from the 1978 history of Barrow County, Georgia.  Beadland to Barrow:  A History of Barrow County, Georgia, from the Earliest Times to the Present (Atlanta:  Cherokee Publishing Company, 1978; reprinted, 1983), contains a history of First United Methodist Church (pages 276-280), part of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, when my great-grandfather served as pastor there, and features a photograph of the parsonage where the Barretts, including my grandmother, Nell Fox Barrett Taylor, lived for a year, on page 265.  Unfortunately, the Winder church building in which my great-grandfather preached burned down (probably due to a lightning strike) a few days ago.  (http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-07-27/fire-destroys-century-old-church-building-winder)

I wrote that my great-grandfather was an old-style Methodist.  Another piece of supporting evidence for this is the fact that, in 1928, he broke party ranks and voted for Herbert Hoover for President.  The reason was simple:  the Democratic Party had become the first major political party to nominate a Roman Catholic for President of the United States.  Most Americans do not think about Roman Catholicism as a disqualifying factor for the Presidency anymore, for attitudes have changed.  I can think of a number of practicing Roman Catholics have sought the Presidential nomination of either the Democratic or the Republican Party since John F. Kennedy won the highest office in 1960.  But his campaign had to contend with anti-Roman Catholic bias.  In my library I have a pamphlet–a reprinted article, really–by George L. Ford, Executive Director of the National Association of Evangelicals, in 1960.  The title of

A Roman Catholic President:  How Free from Church Control?

speaks for itself.  Each of us is, to a great extent, a product of our formative environment.  I am who I am for a variety of reasons, including my childhood and home life then.  I apply the same principle when trying to understand my great-grandfather, a product of a very different social climate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 28, 2012 COMMON ERA

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Some Germane Posts:

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/regarding-sermon-outlines-by-george-washington-barrett/

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/former-home-of-first-methodist-church-winder-georgia/

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Former Home of First Methodist Church, Winder, Georgia   3 comments

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My great-grandfather, George Washington Barrett, was a pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (to 1939) and The Methodist Church (from 1939).  He spent part of his career as pastor in Winder, Georgia, a short drive from my home in Athens.  To be precise, he served as pastor of the Winder Methodist Episcopal Church, South, from November 1925 to November 1927.

The present-day First United Methodist Church of Winder moved to another set of buildings at a different address and larger plot n 1964.   The new facilities seem attractive from the street, and probably are closer up too.  Yet, as one who likes old buildings, and old things in general, I find the 1904 brick structure more appealing and charming.

An independent congregation, the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, has moved into the old building and begun architectural restoration.  Based on their website, I am relatively too heretical and ritualistic to be welcome there, so I restrict my admiration to the physical structure.  That building reminds me of an old saying:

They don’t build them like this anymore.

On April 6, 2011, I visited the public library in Winder and consulted the local history published in 1978.  That book contains an old image of the 1904 structure.  Apparently the front porch and large steps were not original.  At first, according to the photographic records in two local history volumes I consulted, the original front facade of the building had a door, for windows to its right, then two doors on the corner to their right.  There was also an impressive spire on the right front corner.  As the recent photographs indicate, however, the original two front doors are gone, replaced by windows.  And two newer front doors have replaced two of the four front windows.

And the handicapped access ramp is recent, of course.  I know that not all people in olden times were able-bodied, so why was access not a high priority for architects?

All images are from the website of the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit.

KRT

Updated April 7, 2011

Updated July 28, 2012

July 28, 2012, Update:  http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-07-27/fire-destroys-century-old-church-building-winder

Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit: http://shswinder.org/

First United Methodist Church of Winder: http://www.winderfumc.com/

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Adapted from this post:

http://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/old-methodist-episcopal-church-south-now-the-sanctuary-of-the-holy-spirit-winder-georgia/

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A Germane Post:

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/family-tree-of-george-washington-barrett/

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I Remember Mother   1 comment

Above:  John Dodson Taylor, Jr., and Nell Barrett Taylor, Summerville, Georgia, Winter 1960

Image Source = Gene McGinnis, Summerville, Georgia

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FEBRUARY 2, 1915-MAY 20, 2001

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A Eulogy in Remembrance of

Nell Fox Barrett Taylor

Delivered by One of Her Sons

Reverend John Dodson (Jack) Taylor, III

at

Summerville Presbyterian Church

May 22, 2001

2:oo P.M.

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I speak now of loving, laughing, and weeping.  I speak now of mourning and dancing.  I speak of working, creating, and giving.  I speak, finally, of rest.  Thus I speak of life, and of making the difference in life that Almighty God has put us here to make.  This is about the seasons of our lives and specifically about the life of Nell Fox Barrett Taylor, Randy’s and my mother.

Yet I speak not only of Mother, for I am compelled to speak of the man she loved as husband and father for over thirty-nine years.  He was the man who shared the seasons of that life with her.  Nell Taylor would tell you in a heartbeat that John Dodson Taylor, Jr., was her man, the only man she had ever loved.  He was her husband and the father of her two sons, Randolph Fleming Taylor and me.

Like all of us, Dad was thoroughly human.  Sometimes Mother and Dad did not understand each other.  Sometimes they did not even like each other.  But do any of us always understand and even like each other?  No.  But, oh! how they loved each other!  As the years passed their love deepened.

Since Dad’s passing on September 27, 1976, I have often thought about their relationship.  I have been enabled to understand their relationship.  I have been enabled to understand their relationship within the context of the biblical stories of God’s love for all of us; their love was unconditional.  For, as surely as God loves us just as we are, so Mother and Dad loved each other.  Neither one had to measure up to someone’s standard in order to have the love of the other.  St. Paul said it so well:

Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I speak for myself.  I remember Mother as well, Mother.  She loved Randy and me with a mother’s heart, for there is no heart like a mother’s heart.  Randy and I are, in some ways, very different.  And that is alright.  Mother realized that this just meant that we were unique.  Not once did I suspect that Mother judged either of us by the other; I never suspected any comparison.

With his knowledge of electronics, computers, and computer programming, Randy has made contributions I can only imagine to the business sector.  Mother and I were, and I am proud of Randy’s successes and contributions.  Moreover, we were, and I am proud of Randy.  Randy moves in and is comfortable with the world of technology.  I move in and am comfortable with the world of the abstract:  philosophy, theology, and ministry to the human spirit and all of its mystery.  I deal, then, with that which we can only feel but which, to me me, is no less real.  Mother was proud of the directions our lives took professionally.

Mother watched as Randy and me struggled to grow and to find direction.  I saw Randy as mischievous and somewhat daring.  I was not as adventurous as he, although I had my moments.  I always admired Randy and his daring, adventurous ways.  And in all of that Mother loved us with a passion.

Mother felt for us.  She cried for us, often at a distance as Randy and I began to move out on our own.  She yearned for us.    Her telephone calls to me–and, as I recall her last call to me, often included the words,

I just wanted to hear your voice.

Mother loved her grandchildren, Barbara Nell and Kenneth Randolph.  She loved her great-grandchildren, Laura Elizabeth and Franklin Heath.

I remember Mother as a church musician.  She looked forward to Sunday morning and to meeting the choir.  She loved choosing and preparing the service music.  Gladly did she leave the selection of the hymns to the pastor, Bob Pooley and Bill Hotchkiss, although she consulted about the choices.

Mother had a strong sense of right and wrong.  She also had strong feelings about what is appropriate inside the church building, especially during the worship hour.  I remember her holy anger and flashing eyes one Sunday morning when she interrupted the prelude, turned to the congregation, and gave them a good old-fashioned and well-deserved tongue-lashing about the noise and chatter which violated and cheapened the sanctity of the prelude, that part of the order of worship which is intended to help set the tone and spirit for worship.  Mother knew well that long ago this sanctuary was dedicated to the worship of God and nothing else.  We forget that all too easily.

I recall a Saturday evening when Mother and I came here so she could finish preparations for music the next morning.  I also remember her sputter then her explosion when we walked in and found a young lady playing “The Rock and Roll Waltz” on her–Mother’s–Hammond organ! Mother understood that everyone’s opinions and tastes are to be honored as their own.  She also knew that each has its own place.  In this case the church sanctuary was most inappropriate!

I remember Mother as teacher in the finest, truest sense of the profession.  Precisely because she put time and effort into preparing her classes she rightly expected her students to put fort he effort to participate and learn.  She burned the proverbial midnight oil regularly, grading papers and writing notes of encouragement on the papers of those who needed  that encouragement.

A little over a year ago Mother and I sat at the kitchen table, talking about her forty-five years as a teacher.  She was staring out of the big kitchen window when, drumming her fingers on the table, she cut her eyes toward me and said,

You know, son, as a teacher I was supposed to make it possible for my students to love to learn, and I failed.

Well, of course, Mother did not fail.

I reminded her quickly of some of the differences she had made:  of the students who not only learned to love learning but who went on to college.  I also reminded her of the students who had graduated thirty-five to forty years earlier, who still called or came by.  I wish I could tell Mother something Randy said said as we sat in the hospital dining room last week.  He pronounced her legacy when he said,

Yes, Mom made a difference in the county, didn’t she?

Indeed!

I remember Mother as Glee Club director.  Music lover that I am, I enjoyed going to Glee Club every day.  We enjoyed going to Glee Club!  She made it fun, and we laughed–a lot!  We also got down to business.  Mother introduced a variety of music, such as standards and show tunes.  There was “In the Still of the Night.”  Show tunes included “Wunderbar,” “The Road to Mandalay,” and “There Ain’t Nothing Like a Dame” from South Pacific.  We had fun with that one!

There is so much more I would like to say.  So I will begin to close on a personal note.  Randy and I are the men we are today primarily because of the shared commitment and influence of Mother and Dad to us.  As the years have passed (thirty-nine have passed since high school graduation), I have come to realize the enormity of the impact of Mother’s life on Randy and me.  We are veterans of military service.  We are college graduates.  And through all of this and more, Mother was there.

In the sphere of the temporal, Mother encouraged us to enjoy all that God has given to us.  Where I am concerned, I have a deep love for music, especially the classics, the music of the masters.  It is music composed by men and women of history who simply had to compose lest the melodies haunting their minds be lost forever.  Thanks to Mother’s influence and encouragement I can lose myself in the solemnity of Bach’s Great Mass in B Minor.  At other times I allow myself to feel the praise and exhilaration of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah.

Mother was a Christian, although not in the sense of just living by a moral code of goodness.  Rather, she knew that she was a child of God.  She, as do all Christians, struggled with her faith, prayer life, and commitment.  She struggled with the difficult questions for which she could never find a satisfactory answer, finally being satisfied to leave the answers to God.

Mother knew the cleansing power of God’s forgiveness that is ours in Jesus Christ.  And whether or not she realized it, she taught me the value of the text from Ecclesiastes: that there is a time and place for everything, that all that has been will be again, and that I should not allow myself to be smitten with my own self-importance!

Mother lived the seasons of her life with dignity and grace.  In the finest sense of the word, Mother was a lady.  She wore the mantle of her faith and lived out her roles she played with thanksgiving and the humility that says she recognized her strengths and weaknesses and kept them in perspective.

Writing 1 Corinthians 13, St. Paul declared the tree greatest of the Christian virtues:  faith, hope, and love.  Faith and hope escorted Mother through the portals of God’s glory and into joys which are unspeakable and full of glory.  She has laid aside this veil of flesh and the mantles of faith and hope.  Now she knows the fullness of God’s love!

To everything there is a season.

Indeed!

“Oh! Then Won’t I Look Sweet?”   Leave a comment

Above:  Victorian Dresses from 1870

When I get on my brand new dress,

All fitting up so neat,

Of brocade silk and satin lace,

Oh! then won’t I look sweet?

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Then all rigged up in my new gear,

I’ll strut along the street,

And how the eyes will stretch and glare,

Oh! then won’t I look sweet?

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Then if those boys–now almost dead

‘Bout me–I chance to meet,

I’ll just strut by, not turn my head,

Oh! then won’t I look sweet?

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, SR.

Posted July 21, 2012 by neatnik2009 in John Dodson Taylor Sr.--Poems

Tagged with

The Rivers Brothers   Leave a comment

Above:  Making Gavels, March 12, 1923

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/npc2007007983/)

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Two of the most interesting and colorful characters in the county were Judge Clovis Rivers, who was a great help to me in my first years as a young lawyer, and his brother John.

Though the Judge never wore a tie, he always appeared to me as completely dressed as did any who wore their ties every day.  His white hair and heavy, white, curly eyebrows framed his flashing and intelligent eyes.  His firm mouth was evidence of his character and of his strong stand for the right.

The judge was firm in his requirements of courtroom conduct, and few there were who dared raise his temper by breech of courtroom etiquette.  His insistence upon proper etiquette during court sessions impressed me deeply, as it did all who observed him.

Just as memorable in his own way as Judge Rivers’ brother John, who was a naturalist and an artist.  Many felt that John could have been another Audubon or Menaboni if he had had an outlet for his sketches.  Gentle and retiring, he spent most of his time outdoors.  His drawings, which weer made on any scrap of paper he found at hand, were breath-taking in detail, accuracy, and natural beauty.  Lucky are those who have even one of these sketches in their possessions!

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, JR.

Leaves in the Wind, page 24

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A gallery of art by John James Audubon:

http://jjaudubongallery.com/

A biography of Athos Menaboni:

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-3773

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A Wish   Leave a comment

Above:  Wishing Well, Death Valley Ranch, Death Valley Junction, Inyo County, California

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ca1577.photos.011541p/)

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That age never would plow a furrow

On thy smooth and tender brow,

And that thou always to sorrow

Be a stranger, just as now.

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And that death his ice-cold finger

From thy lovely form restrain,

And that health would always linger,

Would be but a wish in vain.

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But be thine a long probation

Where the nobles deeds appear,

And the balm of resignation

Keep thy heart from rack of care.

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And through all life’s wild commotion,

All the cares that crowd the way,

Be thy peace as deep as the ocean,

And thy sorrow light as spray.

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, SR.

Posted July 15, 2012 by neatnik2009 in John Dodson Taylor Sr.--Poems

Tagged with

The Public Outdoorsie   Leave a comment

Above:  A 1936-1941 Illinois Public Health Poster

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/98508956/)

This poster is a piece of Americana which should not invoke nostalgia, for the “good old days” were not as good as some like to think they were.

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Town Branch enters Summerville through what used to be Bitting’s pasture, now a thriving residential section.  The Branch approached town near the depot and disappeared from view as it neared the confluence with the Chattooga River just south of town.

On this branch, a short distance from the depot, was located one of the most popular sports ever to grace any town–the public outdoorsie!  We were bursting with pride over ours because it was different.  It was a duplex!  More than that, it was a three-holer on each side.  The male of the species entered from the northwest corner, while the distaff contingent were permitted to seek solace through the southwesterly entrance.  As long as it was in existence, it was suspended across Town Branch on sills, only a a few feet from the railroad (near the old Warren’s Ford place).

They tell me that in a nearby state the designers of such installations had made special arrangements for the small fry, with the inclusion of holes graduated for the various age groups.  This may have been well and good, and I take no issue with that state; for, after all, this is a democracy.  However, in our town, we operated on the assumption that the children should arrange to take care of this important function at home, unless Mother Nature saw fit to create a state of emergency; in which case, necessity had to be the mother of invention.

One year Hallowe’en pranksters removed a large sign from the front of the building where our weekly paper was printed.  Next morning, the astonished passengers on the train were informed by the sign that this noble institution astride Town Branch was the SUMMERVILLE GAZETTE.

There was no doubt that this “institution” was the most popular place in town.  This was especially true during court weeks, and horse-trading days, when the path to this place was broadened by the footprints of pilgrims on their way to and from the temple of relaxation.  There were times, during school celebrations, when I have seen boy and girl walk complacently side by side on their pilgrimage, separating only as they reached the proper door.  As I think of these incidents, the soundtrack of my memory seems to play the haunting refrain of a once-popular song:

‘Two by two they go marching through….

Yes, business was always good at the outdoorsie.  It it had been a private enterprise, the manager would have had it made, even though he might have had the dubious title of Johnny Manager!

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, JR.

Leaves in the Wind, pages 12-13

The Depot   Leave a comment

Above:  A Train (1909-1940)

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/npc2008008770/)

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BLOGGER’S NOTE:

The depot my grandfather mentioned was the building of which one finds images at these websites:

http://railga.com/Depots/summerville.html

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM2F6W_Summerville_Depot__Summerville_Georgia.

I hope that having pictures of this structure adds to the meaning of my grandfather’s words.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

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Though it was always a thrill to visit the courthouse, that building was not the only center of attraction.  Its bitterest opponent for popularity was the depot, a few short blocks away.

It was at the depot that young and old met regularly, four times a day, to welcome the “up” trains and the “down” trains, as they arrived from Rome on the south and from Chattanooga on the north.  At the depot, friend met friend; trades were made; debts were paid; and money was borrowed.  The cotton mill was analyzed regularly, with special emphasis on the number of orders they had on hand.  All the juicy news about the natives cleared at the depot, for the gossips gathered there en masse.  There were so many of these gossip-gluttons that they had to wear safety pins to keep from talking about each other, but their not-so-secret sin was that they did just exactly that!  No modern radio or television station could spread news any more effectively than was done at the depot.

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, JR.

Leaves in the Wind, page 12

The Courthouse   Leave a comment

Above:  John Dodson Taylor, Jr., and Nell Barrett Taylor, My Grandparents, In Front of McGinnis Drugs and the Chattooga County Courthouse, in Winter 1960

Image Source = Gene McGinnis, Summerville, Georgia

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BLOGGER’S NOTE:

I found an image of the 1909 Chattooga County Courthouse at the county’s website here:  http://www.chattoogacountyga.com/.

I found another image (with more background) here:  http://hwy27.com/chattooga.html.  I learned there that the model was the Appling County Courthouse.  This interests me because I used to live in Appling County.

And here (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gachatto/pix/place/place.htm) I found some more relevant images, including one of the previous courthouse.

Here is a link to an old postcard image of the 1909 courthouse:  http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genInfo.php?locIndex=8214.

Here is a link to a close-up image of the clock:  http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jun/08/historic-district/

“Papa” is John Dodson Taylor, Sr.

“Mama” is Harriet “Hattie” Stoddard Taylor.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

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History records that for fifty years Summerville was twenty-five miles from a railroad.  Its happy, contented populace never allowed their fondest ambitions or dreams to picture it as anything more pretentious than a village.  The woodlands hung like green drapery around the town, the fringe rolling down within the very corporate limits.

In the center of this village there was a courthouse, necessitated by the fact that not all the inhabitants were as law-abiding as they should have been.  In addition to this judicial institution, there were a few stores where general merchandise was sold:  there were four saloons which were called “groceries,” a blacksmith and wagon-repair shop, and a cobbler shop.  There was one doctor.  Drug stores and dentists were unheard of.

In those days a community had to earn the right to be called a town.  One of the main requirements seemed to have been that a hanging take place.  Summerville could boast of two such sporting events, so a town we were!

Papa told me how Pigg Van shot North White one cold day in the spring of 1888.  It seems that the two had been very close friends, but this time they each had taken one sniffer too many as they sat by the fire in the rear of one of the hardware stores.  Their tongues became oiled, their tempers rose, and one word led to another.  Finally, North White left he store for a drink from the well which occupied the center of the square which is not intersection of Washington and Commerce Streets.  Tradition has it that Pigg Van followed him to the door and drew his bead just as White reached the well.  Justice took its course, and Pigg paid the penalty up in the hollow just west of what is now called Jakeville.  The second event took place were the Georgia Rug Mill is now located.  Details of this event have been lost in the past, however.

The courthouse, where justice was meted out to all and sundry, was a drab two-story affair of brick construction.  I cannot remember many of the details because I was at the tender age of four when it was removed.  At the front of the courthouse, a balcony opened into the courtroom upstairs.  It seems that one time they borrowed Mama’s piano to “live it up” for a beauty contest which was held in the courtroom, but there was some trouble.  It was necessary to hoist the piano by way of the balcony, which was, you will agree, rather rough treatment for such an instrument.  I always thought the piano was a little off; perhaps that move explains it.

The cast-iron stairways to the courtroom were suspended on the outside of the building.  (Stairways on the outside of the building always did puzzle me and make me wonder if the genius who conceived such an idea didn’t need to have his head examined!)  These monstrosities were fine in pretty weather, but ascending and descending them in bad weather posed read problems.

Our present edifice succeeded the older one in 1909, and at that time it was the last word in architectural perfection.  It is of concrete construction with four entrances.  The crowning glory–at the time of its erection–was the big, four-faced clock on top; but things, like people, can fall from grace.  Certainly that blessed clock is no exception!  Its downfall came many years ago, and no time-piece could have been more unreliable.  (I distinctly remember hearing it strike thirteen times for three o’clock in the afternoon.  No doubt it believed in good measure.)  It has been a long time since I have seen its four faces together on the correct time of day.  This discrepancy was caused by any one of a number of reasons, the main one being that pigeons used the clock hands as their ferris wheel.

The courthouse had rooms and more rooms, and I have seen them filled with everything from exhibits on fair days t dead bodies which had been brought in for examination.  The courthouse was actually a community center in those days.  There have been rummage sales, cake walks, crap games, school programs, debates, beauty contests, revival meetings, chautauquas, and singings held within it.  All were part-and-parcel of life in this county.

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, JR.

Leaves in the Wind, pages 11-12

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