In 1932, James E. Clay, a
traveling talking movie man, came to Milstead and approached C. J.
Hicks, Welfare Director, about pitching his tent and showing talking
movies. They then talked with James Newsome, Plant Manager. Mr.
Newsome denied the request saying, "We don't allow traveling shows
on our property." He suggested Mr. Clay find a place nearby. Mr.
Clay said, "We're not like some of the traveling shows that give the
towns a bad time. We're Christian people and will be in church each
Sunday we're here." He pitched his tent on the school ground.
During the depression the
Milstead movie house closed because talking movies were replacing
the silent films. James and Alice Clay, along with son James
daughter Betty, became rooted in Milstead. The local community liked
them and helped convert the silent theater into a more modern sound
cinema. They loaned the tent to the Milstead and Conyers Churches to
hold tent meetings. In 1941 they bought a building in Conyers and
remodeled it into one of the finest theaters east of Atlanta. His
many endeavors are recorded in local newspapers. He received several
plaques in his honor.
A couple of operators
traveling with them, A. R. 'Dock' Hesterly and W. T. 'Red' Jordan
became members of the Milstead Community and raised their families
there. The Clays bought an old home in Conyers and remodeled it. A
local artist painted scenes in every room that are still prevalent