Archive for July 13, 2012

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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Jennie Lee   Leave a comment

Above:  The Countess Barlow (1879), by Frederick Leighton

Perfumes from the vernal blowth,

Fraught the air when by yon river,

With confirming kiss we both

Vowed our hears each others’ ever.

Thus we met and thus we parted,

Like two bubbles on the sea,

I still roam, but whence she started,

God has called sweet Jennie Lee.

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When the leaves began to fade,

And the flowers to drop their bloom,

Then she faded, and we laid

Her with them low in the tomb,

At the foot of yonder hill,

‘Neath that weeping-willow tree,

Hard by yonder murm’ring rill

Sleeps my darling, Jennie Lee.

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Swift as mist from off the mountain,

Swift as flies the Indian’s dart,

Fleet as spray lashed from the fountain,

I beheld my joys depart.

Other arms may yet embrace me,

But they never shall erase thee

From my memory, Jennie Lee.

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, SR.