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News From the Past

Oglethorpe Echo
Contributed by Denise Murphy
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November 2004

July 27, 1880:
Treasurer Renfroe in Oglethorpe.  Oglethorpe Echo.  As he took his seat, for an instant perfect stillness pervaded the room, when with one second a deafening applause followed.  Then the audience, with few exceptions, rushed to the speaker, and with a hearty shake of the hand pledged him their support.  Saturday night Colonel Renfroe spent with Mr. J. J. C. McMahan, in Crawford, and had a pleasant talk with many of the citizens, who called on him.  In this town he did not have a single supporter, but before he left a number had pledged him their support.  Every one who met Colonel Renfroe was pleased with his manner, and we do not believe a man who listened to his explanation to-day questions his integrity.  If every voter in Georgia could meet Treasurer Renfroe face to face, he would be re-elected by an almost unanimous voice.  He is a good and honest man.

July 27, 1880:
Murder in Oglethorpe.  Oglethorpe Echo.  On Sunday morning last a foul murder was committed on the plantation of Mr. G. W. Smith, near Lexington.  It appears that on the Saturday previous the negroes in that settlement had a picnic, when a dispute arose between two women about a brass pin, worth five cents.  The matter was settled, however, without a resort to arms.  At night there was a fair, when the pin difficulty was alluded to, and two men, named Wiley Pope and Berry Smith, related to the women, became embroiled in the affray.  Again were hostilities stayed until Sunday morning, when the men again met and words lead to blows.  Wiley proved the best man and was pounding his adversary well, when Berry drew his knife and began to slash right and left.  Wiley being unarmed, retreated a short distance, when he picked up a rock and hurled it with great force at Berry, striking him on the temple, crushing the bone and producing instant death.  The murderer saw at a glance what he had done and endeavored to get away, but one of the spectators, named Jim Sanders, seized and held him fast.  Coroner Boggs was at once notified, and summoning a jury, held an inquest over the dead body.  Their verdict was that the deceased came to his death by a stone thrown by Wiley Pope.  The murdered is now in jail, and his trial was set for yesterday.

July 29, 1880:
Mr. J. T. M. Haire, one of the Colquitt leaders of Oglethorpe county and a most estimable gentleman, called to see us yesterday.  He reports a heavy hail and rain storm below Stone Mountain, and along the Georgia road.

August 5, 1880:
Dr. West on the Colored People.  Dr. L. W. West, an intelligent colored man, came into our office yesterday and stated that he desired to make a correction in the statement made in the resolution passed at the meeting a few nights since in this city, in which it was stated that the colored people in certain counties in this state were virtually in a state of slavery.

West says that he has an extensive acquaintance in Oglethorpe county, and has been all over Washington county, two of the counties named in the resolution.  He says that in Oglethorpe the colored people are doing well, much better than in any state north of Mason and Dixon’s line.  That they are accumulating property.  He gave the following list of colored people that he says owns land in that county:  Booker Michael, 500 acres; Larkin Michael, 200; Henry Thornton, 100; George Foot, 200; Alexander Foot, 150; George Gossby, 160; Bob Huff, 200; Jennings brothers, 400.  He says there is quite a large number who own small farms—that they have paid for their land and are doing well.  West is a republican but says he wants the truth known about his people and that he is prepared to substantiate his assertions.

August 25, 1880:
A Stricken Family.  Oglethorpe Echo.  We last week chronicled the death of Mr. John Almand, of Elbert.  We now learn that his daughter, Miss Lucinda, was so affected by the loss that as soon as her father breathed his last she went violently deranged and has to be confined to her room.  Her family would send her to the asylum, but that institution is so full that no room can be had.  We deeply sympathize with this worthy and stricken family in their great trouble.

August 25, 1880:
Superstitution.  Oglethorpe Echo.  Friday, they say, is an unlucky day to start a journey.  Uncle Jim Johnson, with his usual determined contrariness, refused to believe this, and to prove his faith by his works, for the last two years has been starting to Gainesville, purposely setting Friday as the time to begin his journey.  But what is strange something always intervened to prevent the trip.  A week or so since our aged friend again started for his Mecca, setting the unlucky day to leave.  But, alas! When he went to harness up his horse he found it dead.  Uncle Jim says he intends to make that Gainesville trip by starting on Friday if it takes every horse in Oglethorpe county.

October 6, 1880:
Marrying Under Difficulties.  Oglethorpe Echo.  Last Friday, a young man, apparently about 17 years old, named John W. Gunnels, accompanied by a lady of some 19 summers, named Nancy Williams, both hailing from the upper part of the county, drove into Lexington in a one-horse wagon, and halting on the public square, asked the bystanders where they could find a marriage license.  They were directed to Judge Gilham, who sold them the necessary nouse-paper.  The youth next invested in a clean shirt, and asked where he could find a man to marry him.  He was directed to the Rev. Mr. Farris, but the next we heard of the pair they had stopped at a certain young attorney’s office, and besought him to tie the matrimonial knot.  He plead an engagement, but referred them to another unauthorized party in the town.  Thus for a time did they wander listlessly about, until some person took pity on their unsophisticated innocence and carried them to the parson, who in a few words made them man and wife.  The lady was said to be quite pretty, and appeared confused and mortified at the wild goose chase her prospective husband was leading in quest of a minister.  They denied being a runaway couple.  We wish them happiness and prosperity.

October 8, 1880:
Horrible Accident.  Oglethorpe Echo.  On Thursday of last week a negro ginner on the place of Hon. James M. Smith, got his hand caught in the saws, and was fearfully mangled.  His hand and arm was severed in half a dozen places, as if chopped with an axe, and his shoulder, being drawn in the gin, was fearfully hacked and torn.  His face was gashed, and large seams out in his breast and chest.  No one was with him in the house at the time, and it was only by the bones of the man stopping the machinery that the accident was made known, when he was taken out a mangled mass of flesh and blood, a frightful sight to behold.  Drs. Moore and Willingham were instantly sent for, who found amputation of the arm near the shoulder an only hope.  This was done, but the skin and flesh were so torn away that the flap had to be made of contracted muscles and skinless flesh.  They say it was a most horrible sight, and it will almost be a miracle if the sufferer survives.  He has to be kept under the influence of morphine.  Mr. Smith says this was one of his best and most faithful hands, and he is greatly distressed at the accident.  Every season we have to chronicle more or less accidents from gins in our county.  It does seem that these men should exercise more care.

July 31, 1879:
Mrs. J. W. Winfrey died on Sunday at her home in Oglethorpe county—age 80.  Her mother is still living.

August 3, 1879:
Oglethorpe Echo – Mr. W. S. Bush last week sold his farm near Indian Creek church, containing 665 acres, to Captain John H. Tiller, for $2,700.  This is a good place and cost Mr. Bush about $1,700.  Land is certainly on the up-grade in our county.

August 17, 1879:
Your Uncle Joseph.  Oglethorpe Echo.  We have never been an enthusiastic admirer of ex-Governor Joseph E. Brown, but think we need a man of his ability, foresight and determined wisdom in the executive chair.  If Governor Brown would accept the nomination he could carry Oglethorpe, and we believe the state.  The people are again beginning to recognize his worth and great abilities as a ruler.

August 19, 1879:
Oglethorpe Echo:  Out of fifteen men we conversed with Saturday, twelve were in favor of Joe Brown for governor.  He is the man for the emergency.

August 29, 1879:
Mr. Charles Keen, near Oglethorpe, thinks he will pick forty bales of cotton from a field of sixty acres.  He has fully one thousand pounds seed cotton matured to the acre, now.

September 16, 1879:
Editor Gantt, of the Oglethorpe Echo, is the LeDook of the Georgia Press.  He distributes annual clover seed to his subscribers.

November 16, 1879
The Wedding Bells.  Marriages in Lexington and Macon.  The quiet village of Lexington witnessed last Thursday night, 13th instant, a brilliant social event that will linger long in the memory of those present.  At 8 o’clock p.m. Mr. Phillip Cook, Jr., was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Lee Shackleford, of Lexington, the Rev. W. S. Bean, of Augusta, Georgia officiating.

The attendants were Dr. W. Z. Feust and Miss Blanch Hanoe; M. W. A. Lamner and Miss Claude Thompson; Mr. W. A. Duzler and Miss Dasie Hance; Mr. Hamilton McWhorter and Miss Kate Arnold.

The groom is the son of General Phil Cook, member of congress from the 3d district, and “a worthy action of his illustrious sire.”

Mr. Cook graduated at the university of Georgia, in 1875, and was admitted to the bar of the northern circuit at the October term 1877, of Oglethorpe superior court.  He is a young man of brilliant mind and most popular manner, and while young in the practice of his profession he has already won an enviable distinction and his friends confidently predict for him a bright and triumphant future.  Miss Shackleford is one of the most beautiful and accomplished ladies of middle Georgia and a member of one of the strongest families in Oglethorpe county.

May the future that coquettes with all be constant with them, and accord to them that perfect happiness they so much deserve, is the sincere wish of their friends.

December 6, 1879
Hon. James M. Smith, of Oglethorpe county, is of the opinion that a Clement attachment cannot be successfully started for less than $10,000 or $12,000.  The question then arises, how did the Stribling boys start theirs?  Mr. Smith is evidently working his guessing machine.

December 6, 1879
A little child of Mr. Frank Hill, of Oglethorpe county, was accidentally burned to death recently.

December 20, 1879
Oglethorpe Echo: Our young friend Jim Raiden was to have married a very worthy young lady near Lexington last Wednesday, but when he went to buy a license the ordinary handed him a note from Jim’s mother, forbidding the bonds and stating that her son was under age.  Jim wrote a note to his intended explaining the dilemma and went to talk over matters with his mother, carrying a certificate from Mr. J. T. M. Haire as to the family and character of the girl.  He found the old lady determined and refused to yield an inch.  Like a dutiful son Jim promised to obey her commands.  He went to see his sweetheart, and asked her to wait for him until he had reached his majority, which she promised to do.  That epoch is yet a year off, and we hope in due season to chronicle the marriage of our young friend with the girl of his choice.  Jim is a steady, sensible, hard-working boy, and we believe will make a man worth waiting for. At his request we explain why the marriage didn’t come off, suppressing the name of the young lady.

December 25, 1879
Miss Pink Dillard, of Oglethorpe county, is on a visit to Mrs. Wooding, 204 Hayne street.

January 11, 1880
Athens, January 9.—Quite a number of our citizens witnessed the Hebrew wedding of Mr. Phillips, of Oglethorpe county, to Miss Phillips, of Athens, the beautiful ceremony being performed last night in the synagogue at this place.

January 15, 1880
The Georgia Census-Takers.  Brief Sketches of the Fortunate Appointees.  The agony is over and from a host of applicants the Georgia supervisors of the census have at last been selected.  There are five census districts in Georgia and the five supervisors, recently appointed by General Francis A. Walker, superintendent of the census, are as follows: …..   The Second District.  Mr. W. H. McWhorter is the supervisor for the second district.  He is the brother of Hon. Robert McWhorter—for years past a prominent republican politician in Georgia—and is a leading farmer of Greene county.  Mr. McWhorter has held several positions in the revenue department in Georgia, and was at one time a prominent applicant for the position of collector of revenue for this district.  Mr. McWhorter’s district includes the counties of Banks, Burke, Clarke, Columbia, Elbert, Franklin, Glasscock, Greene, Hancock, Hart, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, McDuffie, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Richmond, Rockdale, Taliaferro, Walton, Warren, Washington and Wilkes.

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