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Butler 1919

By John R. Adams
Mr. W. A. Medlock representing the industrial department of the Atlanta Constitution came to Butler, calling on business men and citizens generally in July, 1919. He was preparing a special page to appear in the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Sunday, August 3, 1919, featuring the new highway project to Atlanta, and the new steel bridge to span Flint River at Holmes Ferry and in this connection will review the abundant resources of this section and Butlerís business enterprises. The Butler Herald made special arrangements with the Constitution to reproduce this feature in a future issue of the Herald. This feature appeared in the September 4, 1919 issue of the Butler Herald. This issue was in poor shape and some articles were cut from the paper making it hard to read all the names of the businesses in Butler at that time.

This feature had several photographs of the stores and other buildings in Butler. It is very unfortunate but they are not of a quality that can be reproduced in the TRACER.. Photographs in the Constitution were: Taylor County Court House & Confederate Monument; Post Office; Edwards Brothers Sales & Stables; business scene; another view of the business section; Ira Chambers Store; G. C. Smithís Home; J. F. Windhamís Grocery Store; Office of THE BUTLER HERALD; peach orchard; and the stores in the picture on page one, with Porterís Drug Store. We have been fortunate in securing some pictures of stores in Butler from the early 1900ís. We hope that in time we will be blessed with the opportunity to copy many more.

We want to express our sincere appreciation to Bill and Ann Bazemore for bringing it to our attention about this feature in the Constitution. Also for all the photographs that they along with Billís father, Bill Bazemore, allowed us to copy. We would also like to thank all the members of our Society that have contributed photographs of Butler and Taylor County, Ga.


By Wiley S. Whitehead

Half-way between Macon and Columbus on the Central of Georgia railway, is the city of Butler. Butler is the principal city of Taylor County and is the county seat.

For the past several months Butler has been prominently before the people of the state and of the south. There has been established for the Americus-Thomaston short route and this route passes through the city of Butler. This short route will save tourists between forty and fifty miles and will be the means of bringing hundreds of auto enthusiasts to the city of Butler.

In order that this highway might be built a new steel bridge was constructed across Flint River at Holmes Ferry. This was a long felt need, and now that it is being built, the last leg of the highway has been finished and Butler is the gainer thereby.

Butler is the principal city of Taylor County and is in the heart of an agriculture section, a section renowned for its farm produce. There are many hundreds of acres of bottom land in the county and this land is, of all lands, best suited to the culture of corn. Taylor County is one of Georgiaís best cotton producing counties, but cotton is not the only product of Taylor County. There is corn, grain, cattle, potatoes and almost every crop that will grow in a temperate climate.

Butler, situated as it is on this new Americus-Thomaston highway, is open to new industries. The city offers unparalleled inducements to foreign money. Locate in Butler and grow with the city! There are in Butler many desirable sites for manufacturing plants. Choice locations can be obtained at a very reasonable figure, a figure that very few cities will be able to touch. Butler is a city of opportunities and advantages.

One thousand people make up the population of Butler. It is a population of refinement and culture; it is a progressive population; a population that is interested in Butler and Taylor county. Someone has said that a city may be judged by its schools. Butler has been very much concerned about its system of public schools and with the result that Butler has a public school system that offers the children of the city a sound educational foundation.

A city without banks cannot hope to become a commercial city. Butler now has within her gates two state banks of unusual strength, the Taylor County Bank and the Butler Banking Company. These two banks are capable to handle the financial matters of the city and county and to handle them in a most admirable manner.

The municipal government is vested in a mayor and a board of councilmen, and it is due largely by their efforts that Butler has made with rapid growth during the past several years. The Mayor of the city is Hon. G. C. Smith. Mayor Smith is a large peach grower and a general farmer. To him the interest of Butler come first above all else. Aiding Mayor Smith are H. J. Porter, Ira Chambers, H. J. Peagler, Dr. Eli Garrett, C. E. Benns and J. F. Windham. This city council always has the interest of Butler at heart and everyone desiring information about Butler can obtain same by writing any one of the above named men.

Butler is a city of modern improvements, a city of one thousand people, but a city with the conveniences of a city many times its size. An up-to-date telephone system establishes communication among the people of the city and also with the outside world. There are about two hundred subscribers to the telephone company. The Butler Herald is the paper of the city. Mr. C. E. Benns is the editor and he is giving Butler a corking good paper. The city owns and operates the waterworks system and the quality of the water is excellent. The sidewalks of the city are all paved, concrete and brick having been used.

The health of Butler will compare favorable with that of any city, the death rate being exceedingly low. The spiritual life of the city is looked after by three churches, a Methodist, a Baptist and a Primitive Baptist. There are two beautiful public buildings in Butler, the courthouse and the school building.

In the succeeding paragraphs we shall introduce some of the more prominent firms of Butler.

Every city has some citizens who are public-spirited, who are vitally interested in the growth of their community. In Mayor G. C. Smith Butler has just such a valuable asset. He is untiring in his efforts to benefit Butler; he never grows weary in doing for his county; it is a pleasure for him to do anything that will uphold and develop Butler and Taylor County.
Mayor Smith is a large peach grower, owning 12,500 trees, including all varieties. He is also a large farmer, devoting much of his time to cotton raising, corn raising and breeding of Hampshire Hogs.
Mayor Smith has taken much interest in the Americus-Thomaston-Butler short route and he was one of the men who made the route a possibility. For years he has been interested in good roads and when he had the opportunity to help establish a highway that would be the means of saving tourist forty miles or more, he did everything possible in that direction.
As a member of the Taylor County Board of Commissioners he has been in a position to put into actual practice his theories about good roads and the result is that Taylor County has some of the best roads of the state. Whenever a man was needed to step in and take charge of some enterprise that was of primary interest to the city and county Mr. Smith was always looked upon as the man for the place. Consequently when the Butler Banking Company was organized he was put at the head of the bank as its president and today he is still piloting the affairs of this bank. Not long since a vacancy occurred on the board of education and Mr. Smith was the man to fill the place and so he was elected on the board of education.
The Butler Light and Power Company is a company that furnishes light and power to the city of Butler. No city today can compete with any other city unless it has a modern electric plant. Butler realized this fact and so Mr. Smith went about to give Butler this necessity. The result: Butler has a modern electric plant. Current is supplied residences at the rate of $2 per month. Thus it will be seen that the Butler Light and Power Company is a mutual company, not a company for the individual of its officers and owners.
Butler owes much to Mayor Smith. He is an asset that money could not buy. He is interested in the growth of Butler and it is for Butler that he is working. Anyone who would like to get information about Butler and the opportunities to be found there may obtain such information from Mayor Smith.

The store of W. L. Foy does a general merchandise business, giving the farmers of Taylor County one of the most complete lines of heavy and fancy groceries, shoes, dry goods and crockery that can be found in the central part of Western Georgia. The line of general merchandise that Mr. Foy carries is far above the usual line carried by merchants doing a general merchandise business.

Handling a full line of fancy and heavy groceries is the Windham Grocery Company, of which J. F. Windham is owner. For six years Mr. Windham has been in the grocery business in Butler and he knows the grocery trade there probably better than any other man. When a person in Butler thinks of groceries, he thinks of Windham. Much cattle is raised in Taylor County and much of the feed stuffs used for cattle raising is sold by Windham.
The Inerguard Tire Reinforcement, an appliance which eliminates the majority of tire troubles is handled and recommended by Windham. He has investigated this appliance and knows what it is and what it will do.

Edwards Brothers is a partnership between J. W. Edwards and Dr. W. W. Edwards. Dr. Edwards is a physician and surgeon. J. W. Edwards is the manager of the Edwards Brothersí interest, as Dr. Edwards devotes his entire time to his practice. Edwards Brothers owns a large sales stable in Butler and are dealers in fine Kentucky mules and horses. A very elaborate line of buggies, wagons and harness is carried by Edwards Brothers. The company does a large business in undertakersí supplies, coffins and caskets.
The Edwards Brothers have large farming interest as well as the commercial establishment. They are peach growers, gathering the fruit from 20,000 trees. Cotton, corn, peas and potatoes are also grown on the farm of the Edwards Brothers. Both members of the firm believe in modern methods of farming and so only modern methods are used.

Nobody wishes to move to a city unless there is ample drug facilities in that city. Butler is fortunate in this respect, as she has one of the most up-to-date drug houses to be found anywhere. Dr. H. J. Porterís Store is a complete drug store, handling as it does a complete line of patent medicines, drug sundries, and toilet articles. The prescription department of Dr. Porterís Store is complete in every respect.
The soda fount of the store is an attractive one and Porterís ice cream has a reputation all over Taylor County. Dr. Porter is agent for the widely known Rexall line of drugs. This line is handled by only the best druggist and is handled in practically every city in the United States. Nunnallyís candy and Guthís candy are two popular lines handled by Porterís.
Dr. Porter is a prominent figure in the Butler business world. At present he is a member of the City Council.
Born: April 15, 1884 Died: January 28, 1953
Married Kate Cameron on December 26, 1912
Daughter of John A. Cameron and Dora A. M. (Murray) Cameron.
Porter's Drug Store was located in the block of stores pictured on page 1 of April 2004 The Taylor Tracer.

Under government supervision there is being erected at Holmes Ferry a new steel bridge over the Flint River. For years Holmes Ferry has served the people at this point but now the modern work of engineers will replace the old ferry. F. S. Holmes was the owner of Holmes Ferry. Mr. Holmes is a well-to-do farmer of the section. He is a raiser of Duroc hogs and fine cattle. On the Holmes farm is two hundred acres of fertile bottom land which bears sixty bushels of corn to the acre without fertilizer; six hundred acres of red land and two hundred acres of gray pebble with a red clay sub soil. This plantation is considered by those who know it as good as can be found in central Georgia. It all lays well and is worked by improved machinery. There are two large barns, good tenant houses with electric lights and running water. Such a farm as the Holmes farm is a credit to any community.

The Childs company composed of J. T. Childs and W. A. Childs, does a large general furniture business. Only on the floor of this company may be found furniture from the foremost furniture dealers from all over the United States.
For quite a while the Childs Company has been boosting the Greenpoint Metallic Sanitary Bed. This is an all-metal bed and one that has a national reputation. It is well built, but at the same time presents a most attractive appearance. The Childs Company prides itself upon being one of the most complete house furnishing concerns of the state. Every thing needed to make a house a home can be found in the storerooms of this company. The rug and art square department of Childs Company is large and modern, only rugs from the looms of the best and oldest manufacturers being shown. The Majestic Range, known everywhere as one of the best cooking ranges manufactured in America, is handled by the Childs Company.
Anything in the furniture or house furnishing line may be found at Childs.

Within the next few months Butler is to have a Masonic Temple. This building will be located on the north side of the public square and the cost of erecting it will be about $5000.00 The site for the newest building for Butler was donated the Masons by C. W. Bazemore, the owner and operator of the Butler Telephone Company.
This telephone company has about two hundred and fifty subscribers, reaching every point in Taylor County. Besides being interested in the telephone company, Mr. Bazemore does a general warehouse business, handling a good part of Taylorís cotton. He is a cotton buyer and also a raiser of staple, owning six hundred acres of the best farm land of Taylor County. Corn is also raised in large quantities on the Bazemore property. Mr. Bazemore has contributed materially in the development of Butler and is a valuable citizen.

One of the largest and most important firms of Butler is the firm of C. M. Bartlett. This firm does an immense business annually in general merchandise, shoes, hats and notions. His goods are of a higher quality and of a higher grade. The shoes that this firm handles are of the first class, no seconds being allowed to enter the shelves of the store; the hats sold by the company are made by the finest hat manufactures, and the notions sold are selected carefully and with deliberation.
Fancy groceries are featured by the C. M. Bartlett Company, but not to the exclusion of the heavier groceries. Both fancy and heavy groceries form an important department in the store of C. M. Bartlett.
In the show cases of this company may be found the choicest cigars of Key West and Havana. Candy from the best candy makers of the south are featured by Bartlett.
Chattanooga plows and Friedman Shelby shoes are sold by C. M. Bartlett company with great success.

Contributing to the growth and development of Butler and Taylor county is O.T. Montfort, the clerk of the superior court. Mr. Montfort has held this position of trust for twenty-seven years and is one of the most public spirited men of the county. He has been interested in all movements that have for their purpose the betterment of the territory in which he lives. If a county could have more men like Mr. Montfort it would indeed be fortunate.

One of the largest peach growers of the section is H.J. Peagler. On the lands owned by Mr. Peagler are sixteen thousand trees, all bearing fruit. These sixteen thousand trees include all varieties, the early variety, the variety that ripens in mid-season, and the kind that is still here after most others have gone. Mr. Peagler selected his varieties with great care and his fruit is of the highest quality. It is free from worms and other defects. There has been less complaint about fruit shipped from the trees of Mr. Peagler than from any other raiser.
H. J. Peagler is also a real estate dealer. He knows farm and peach land in and around Butler as few men know it and he is an authority on the subject. Those seeking good farm lands at a reasonable price should by all means consult Mr. Peagler before they buy. He will have something to interest them. For twelve years he has been growing peaches and handling real estate and therefore he knows whereof he speaks.

Ten years ago Ira Chambers established at Butler a general merchandise store and today that same store fills a very important place in the Butler commercial world. A general merchandise business is done, dry goods, notions, groceries, and shoes being handled.
The Chambers store has the exclusive agency in Taylor County for United States Tires. The "Royal Cord" tire cannot be beaten and this tire is becoming very popular with automobile owners in southwest Georgia. A modern filling station has been installed, giving both a gasoline and an oil service.
Every firm has itís specialty. Hardware is the specialty of the Chambers store. Correct buying by the Chambers store keeps the prices right. Very few firms realize the importance of careful buying, but Mr. Chambers gives the phase of the store his own personal attention with the result that Chamberís prices are always right.

M. T. Chapman has done a general merchandise business in Butler for the past twenty-eight years ane he is still going strong. The reason for such a long and remarkable success can be traced to the owner of the business. Mr. Chapman is a man of sound business ability and judgment.
Dry goods, hardware, groceries, and notions go to make up the stock of Mr. Chapman. Mr. Chapman does not entrust the business to some subordinate, he looks after it himself and therefore the remarkable success of the business.
Beacon shoes, Oliver and Lynchburg plows are lines that have helped to build up the business of Mr. Chapman. He realized that to succeed he must give satisfaction and he knew that Beacon shoes and Oliver and Lynchburg plows would satisfy. This firm is identified with the largest manufacturers and thus is in position to render the best possible service to the people of Taylor and surrounding territory.

Lois Smith, the proprietor of the Smith Grocery Company handles a complete line of fancy and heavy groceries and farm produce. Bottled drinks are kept on ice at all times and one will be able to get a cold drink there at any hour of the day. Crockery is also handled by the Smith Grocery Company as are notions and candy.
Poultry raising in central Georgia has great possibilities and much chicken-feed is used in this section. The Smith Grocery Company caters especially to the poultry raisers and carries a full line of the best chicken feed obtainable. Cigars from the best known makers in this and other countries are carried in stock, as well as tobacco from the fields of Virginia.

Due to sanitary conditions and the good fellowship that prevails at the Harris Barber shop, this shop has become the favorite resort of those who are in need of the barberís aid. E.L. Harris, the owner of the shop, is a most pleasing and accommodating gentleman and he sees to it that all who enter his shop are well served. Three chairs are in use and are generally occupied, for the Harris shop does a large business. Tub and shower baths and a pressing department are in connection with the barber shop. The shop is the Butler agent for the American Laundry of Macon.

The restaurant of Butler is under the management of J.E. Trussell. This is a most orderly and neat restaurant and service is the aim of the management in connection with the restaurant. Mr. Trussell carries a full line of fancy groceries, cigars, tobacco. He also supplies the city with ice and is proprietor of a meat market, handling fresh meats. Both the restaurant and the market are sanitary and are always kept clean and neat and are inviting.

One of the men who has devoted much of his time and money to the Americus-Butler-Thomaston short line route is Mr. G.W. Bivins and much of the most beautiful scenery along the entire route is found on the old Bivins homestead.
Mr. Bivins is a well-known farmer and has taken much interest in hog raising. He has some of the finest pure-bred Hampshire hogs to be found anywhere. They are the pride of Taylor county. He also raises corn, cotton, peas and fine steers. If interested in live stock write G.W. Bivins.

Another one of Taylorís citizens who has devoted much time and thought to the highway is A.H. Riley, ordinary of the county. Mr. Riley soon saw the advantages that would result from this new highway and he was one of the first to advocate it. The new steel bridge over Flint river at Holmes Ferry, 12 miles due north of Butler, has made this dream a reality and today the highway is an established fact. Mr. Riley is one of Taylorís most public-spirited citizens and one who has devoted much energy to the welfare of both his county and his city.

Thirty-five years ago the I.F. Peebles & Co., was established, doing a general merchandise business and handling fancy and heavy groceries, dry goods, notions, shoes, hats, and gentsí furnishings.
This company is agents for the international Harvester company, handling the I.H.C. full line of farm implements; agents for Case machinery; M.C. Kiser shoes and Endicott-Johnson shoes.
A guano plant is operated by Mr. Peebles, giving the farmers of Taylor a fertilizer service that they could not hope to get in any other way. Mr. Peebles himself is a prominent farmer, raising cotton, corn and peanuts. Few people have realized the possibilities of the peanut industry in Georgia, but Mr. Peebles sees a great future in peanuts for the state. Mr. Peebles is also interested in farm lands and those interested in a good farm should communicate with him.

Today is the day of the automobile and Butler is well supplied with auto service stations. Prominent among these is that of D. W. Rodgers. Mr. Rodgers does a gasoline filling station business. He carries a complete line of oils and greases; furnishes free air; does a tire repair business and sells casings and tubes. Tourists will find the filling station of D. W. Rodgers a complete auto shop and one that will be able to meet their needs.

The A.D. Chapman Company does a general merchandise business and a business that would do credit to a city many times the size of Butler. Hats, dry goods, clothing, groceries, ladies waists and skirts, tinware, tobacco and candy are among the articles handled by Chapman.
A.D. Chapman is agent for the famous Diamond Brand shoes and many are the feet in Taylor that will have nothing on them except Diamond Brand shoes. The Diamond shoe has maintained its quality through all the trying days of war and readjustment and yet has not increased its price in proportion to other brands.
The Chapman store is known for its fair dealings and holds an important place in the community.

Dry goods, notions, and gentsí furnishings are the goods handled by M.R. Cameron. Mr. Cameron has been in business for five years and in that time he has built up a splendid business. Besides the commercial enterprise Mr. Cameron has farming interests, working twelve hundred acres and raising cotton, corn, peanuts, hogs and cattle.
Mr. Cameron is interested in all public enterprise.

We the undersigned merchants of the town of Butler, do hereby agree to close our respective places of business at 6:30 P.M. with the exception of Saturdays. This beginning Monday May 12, and continuing until September 1, 1919.
M. R. Cameron
The Childs Company
Ira Chambers
J. F. Windham
D. W. Rodgers
W. E. Hortman
Payne Millinery Stores
Cash Mercantile Company
Smith Grocery Company
I. F. Peebles
J. E. Bartlett
J. T. Carson
J. H. West
M. T. Chapman
C. M. Bartlett
A. D. Chapman
Mrs. H. A. Hinton
J. E. Trussell
W. L. Foy
S. E. Brown
J. A. Payne Garage
H. A. Childs Garage
W. C. Capps Shop

This bridge was opened April 29, 1921 with a mammoth barbecue and basket dinner. The Thomaston Mill band furnished the music. The new bridge connected Upson and Taylor Counties at Holmes Ferry and was on the new Americus-Thomaston Highway. This bridge cost $93,000.00 and took 42 miles off the distance between Atlanta and South Georgia.
Fountain's Warehouse

This article and photos appeared in the April 2004 issue of The Taylor Tracer. Available.
Copyright: Taylor County Historical and Genealogical Society 1998

Virginia Crilley.

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