Monday, October 14, 2013
A BORN STORYTELLER
They say I was born to tell stories. I had a long and happy life. And, I went to a lot of places around the world. I loved to tell stories to whoever would listen to them. There are so many stories to tell, but for now, I’ll stick to my own story.
I was born on October 27, 1907 on the road leading from Adrian to Norristown in Emanuel County, Georgia. My daddy was Timothy J. Braswell, an insurance salesman and farmer. His daddy and my grandpa, John Arthur Braswell, was known to be one of the greatest story tellers around. He studied and read law, but never became a real lawyer.
Grandpa Braswell used to tell the story of when he was with the Confederate Army over in South Carolina in the last few months of the Civil War. He was only 18. He and his fellow soldiers were forced to dig out undigested grains of corn from the horse manure, just to get something to eat. Starving, freezing and homesick, my grandfather took a man’s horse and rode home to Emanuel County as fast as he could.
My mother, Diva Dewberry, used to teach school over in Meriwether County. My momma and daddy split up before I was two. I moved with my mother, a beautiful and smart woman, to Covington, Georgia. She was later introduced to and married Dr. Courtney Brooks, a pharmacist and later, a mayor of Covington.
When I was only fifteen, I enrolled at the University of Georgia. I liked science, so I got a degree in Pharmacy at Georgia at a time when most of my contemporaries were just getting out of high school. I stayed on at Georgia and got another degree, a Bachelor in Science, four years later. The thought of going to Medical School kept coming into my head. So, with the help of my stepfather, I went on to Emory where I finished my studies in medicine in 1932. At 25 years old, I was one of the youngest doctors anywhere around the state. When I was in school, I joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Kappa Kappa, a medical fraternity.
After finishing my internship at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, I made a career change. In fact, my decision to join the Army would change my life forever.
As a newly commissioned second lieutenant, I was ordered to report to Fort McPherson, where I was appointed the Chief of Surgery. I went back to school at The Medical Field Service School in Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania before I was sent overseas to Manila in the Phillippines, where the Army made me Assistant Chief of Surgery in the Sternberg General Hospital.
Just after Valentine’s Day in 1938, I married Elizabeth Willingham, the most beautiful and wonderful woman, I had ever seen. We got married in a real big wedding in St. Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta. We had a grand time traveling all across the country on our honeymoon, before we traveled to the Philippines to make our first home.
Just before the war began in 1941, Elizabeth and I were sent back to the states, where I was assigned as Assistant Surgeon at Walter Reed Hospital. Soon they chose me to become a member of the American College of Surgeons. They say I was the youngest doctor ever to receive that prestigious honor.
I decided I wanted to serve in the Army Air Corps. My first assignment came as a Commander and Chief of Surgery at the base at Big Springs, Texas. In September 1943, I was promoted to a position at the Air Force Cadet Center in San Antonio. I took some time to attend the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Then just as the war was winding down in Europe but heating up in the Pacific, the Air Force sent me to serve as the Command Air Surgeon of the 20th Air Force in Guam.
Our planes flew almost every day or night, bombing the island of Japan. Tens of thousands of the Japanese people were dying every day when our bombers dropped bombs which exploded and ignited fires that wiped out many Japanese cities. Then on August 6, 1945, the course of the war changed forever.
I was called in to examine the pilot of a B-29 who had just returned from the most important mission of the war. It may have been the most important military mission of all time. My patient was Col. Paul Tibetts. His plane was the Enola Gay. You know, it was the plane which dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. That almost ended the war right there.
I was at the hospital in Iwo Jima when they brought Col. Tibetts in to see me. The Air Force was concerned that the rashes on his body may have come from atomic radiation. I went over every part of his body. I finally figured out the rashes were actually scratches from the dirt and grit which were blasted up from the ground and went through the Colonel’s flight suit.
My wife and I returned to the states in May 1946, when I was assigned as Commander and Chief of Surgery, Keesler Field Hospital in Mississippi. After a little more than a year, we moved to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, with the same duties as I had at Keesler.
In 1952, I was assigned as an air surgeon in the Third Air Force. We enjoyed our stay in London, before once again we came back home, When we returned to the US, I went to work as a surgeon for the Military Air Transport Service.
My colleagues gave me a great honor when I was recognized for my professional attainment in the field of aviation medicine. My uniform was filled with all sorts of medals. I was given a Legion of Merit for my work in Iwo Jima and an oak leaf cluster for my time as Command Surgeon of the World-wide Military Air Transport Service. I got Air Force commendations for my surgical work at Maxwell and as the Senior American Medical Officer in the United Kingdom from 1952 to 1954. They gave me three battle stars for the time I served in the South Pacific during the war. My greatest award came when the Air Force gave me a Distinguished Service Medal.
After I retired from the Air Force as a Major General, I went to work as a Medical Director of General Motors in Atlanta. I later went into practice with my half-brother, Dr. Courtney Brooks.
My darling Elizabeth died in 1971. Elizabeth and I had three fine children, Stephen, Thomas and Elizabeth. Some three years later, I married Lillian Cox Dawes de la Fuente in Atlanta.
I died on May 20, 2001. They buried my body in Section 5 of Arlington National Cemetery. The Air Force gave me one grand send off into the skies of heaven. I can’t remember if I ever wanted to be a lawyer like most of the men story tellers in my family. But, the government buried me in a crowd of Supreme Court Justices. They are a right smart bunch of fellows. Sometimes they get together and talk about the law. And the stories they tell, well you can’t make up these tales. Right around me are Chief Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Warren Burger, and others like Thurgood Marshall and four more Associate Justices.
You can’t see them from my grave, but not too far from me, a few hundred feet or so, and just across a small hill out of sight of the Justices and myself are the Kennedy boys; Joseph, John, Robert and Edward. Boy, do those Yankees have a good time when they all get together! I can’t they say what they do. After all, one of them was my commander in chief for a thousand days. And what happens in Arlington, stays in Arlington.
Well, folks this is my story. Obviously, I couldn’t speak to you directly. So, I asked my first cousin Claudie Braswell Thompson’s grandson, Scott Braswell Thompson, Sr., to tell my story. He’s a hopeless storyteller like me. He got it from his daddy, Dale, who was another one of us who every time you see one of us Braswells, we’ve got a story or three to tell.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
I cannot tell you exactly when I first fell in love with a woman, maybe some fifty years ago. I do not count the women of my family nor the two pretty blonde-haired girls who lived on either end of the street on which I grew up on. She was of regular height, had a beautiful, gold-tooth, sparkling smile and a light bronze, freckled complexion. My sister Janet, my brother Henry and I couldn’t pronounce her real name, Evie. We called her “Ebbie.” And, some fifty years later on the 101st anniversary of her birth, I think of the days of my youth, when most things in America were still good. And, I think about the woman I first loved and one I always will love, a woman named “Ebbie.”
Evie “Ebbie” White was born on a farm in southwestern Laurens County on July 31, 1912. Her grandparents, Stephen and Violet White and Guyton and Caroline Fullwood were all adult or teenage slaves at the end of the Civil War. Ebbie’s momma and daddy, Loyd and Rosa Fullwood White, had a hard life, working in the fields for more hours a week than any should - working all the time, just to keep themselves and their family fed and as comfortable as they could.
Ebbie too worked in the fields picking cotton and other crops. She had very little education compared to us. Her lack of advanced schooling did not mean that she was ignorant, far from it. As she matured, Ebbie took on all sorts of jobs cleaning houses, offices and even Claxton Hospital for a good while. I do not mention Ebbie’s married name. She had not too much use for the scoundrel she regrettably married early in life.
We first came to know Ebbie on Saturday nights. Our parents, Jane and Dale Thompson, while they were in the prime of life, loved to go to dances and play bridge games. So, when it was time for them to go out on the town, Ebbie became one of our first baby sitters. Her sister, Laner White Manning, had been our maid and baby sitter as well.
It was these two sisters, Ebbie and Laner, along with our other maids from time to time, Elaine Thomas and Ethel Wells, who first introduced me to the inner beauty of the African-American maids of the mid 20th Century South. I still remember the day I cried and Ethel cried when she was not able to work for us anymore. There was a whole lot of squalling going on that sad afternoon when Momma took her home for the last time. I can still show you the spot where the Ethel’s old ramshackle house on Highway 319 was once located. And Elaine, well there was a character is there ever was one. Elaine carried the spirit of the Lord with her everywhere she went. She would get upset at some of our antics , but soon the joy of Jesus took over and you could see the gold teeth shining and the spiritual music exuding out of her soul.
The mid 1960s were a time of trials and tribulations in our nation and our community. As pre-teenagers, we were somewhat immune from the strife here in Dublin. We used to hear Ebbie tell tales of the days when Sheriff Carlus Gay would come to the black neighborhoods and “all the colored people” would run and hide.
When we moved from Stonewall to Brookwood, our nights with Ebbie became even more wonderful. Our parents didn’t have enough money to furnish our living room. With its large expanse and green carpet, the new empty room served well as a tackle football field and wrestling arena.
Although we were banned by our mother from wrestling and throwing a football in the living room, Ebbie tolerated our foolishness until we got too wild or interfered with her hearing her television shows. Her favorite, Gunsmoke, would bring her to her feet, squealing and cheering Matt Dillon as he pommeled the bad guys.
Without a doubt the best times came when the all too unreal wrestling matches came on our black and white television. All of us eventually figured out they were fake, but you could never convince Ebbie that the fighting wasn’t real.
New Year’s Eves were the best. That’s when we learned about all the things you are supposed and not supposed to do on New Year’s Day.
“I learned a lot of superstitions from her; ‘Don’t wash your bed sheets between Christmas and New Year’s, don’t gather broom straw in the New Year - wait for frost, then collect it prior to New Year’s day,” my sister Janet recalled.
Ebbie would say, “Anything you do on New Year’s Day, you will be doing all year long,” so right after midnight I would go find some left over Christmas candy and gobble it down. I later figured out that she really meant household chores.
Gardening was a special talent in which Ebbie excelled in. To keep the snakes away, she would go to Black’s Seed Store and pick up a big paper sack filled with sulphur. And, to make doubly sure, she would line the perimeter of her house and soak any possible entrances with the smelly yellow powder. Ebbie was a master grower of roses. Her secret - tea grinds - placed around the base of a rose bush produced bushes more than seven feet tall. I know, I saw them and couldn’t reach the tops. She also figured out that to keep a house plant container from flowing over, place ice cubes in them which would slowly melt into the soil.
No one, with the possible exception of our mother and few other people in our lives, could bake a pound cake more delicious than Ebbie. On every occasion and just because she loved us, she would bake us a fresh, warm and oh so delightful pound cake.
For most of her later years, Ebbie got to live in a new, or virtually new, house. It was one of the greatest times in her life when she moved into a Housing Authority apartment for seniors on Druid Street. We all helped furnish her home with some of our furniture from our old home. Later we bought her a color television.
Ebbie continued to work for me in my office until the late 1980s. Most days I would take her home to save the cab fare. Lots of times, I got a whole or a half of a pound cake out of the gesture, although that’s not why I did it. Ebbie didn’t eat “hog meat” and she didn’t like the government cheese she got once a month. So, I would buy her a month’s supply of peach snuff at Piggly Wiggly and swap it for those foot long, delicious blocks of cheddar cheese. You couldn’t get them in any store.
I count as one of our greatest legacies from our parents the fact that their children were never taught to hate black people just because of their color. Many white people of our parent’s and grandparent’s generations did not allow black people to eat at the table with themselves and their families. My sister, my brother and I weren’t raised that way. Ebbie ate with us just like she was a member of our family. We knew in our hearts that she was family as if she was one of a score of great aunts we cherished. She was always there, at graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, births and weddings.
"She was more like a grandparent than a baby-sitter. I loved to see her smile, it would light up the room. She was as proud of us as our own parents were. We were her's and she was ours," my brother Henry recalled.
There were many “Ebbies” Laners, Elaines and Ethels in our community and around the South. They worked hard with very little pay. And, they were the last of a generation. Surely, many of these treasured women were never given the recognition and the rights they should have been afforded. But, in my mind, they were put on this Earth in some way to help bridge the gaps of racism and violence and to bring us forward as a nation.
L-R - Back Row, Scott Thompson, Henry Thompson
Front Row - Evie White, Janet T. Greer, Rosetta Horne
Many of you who grew up before the 1980s knew and loved ladies like Ebbie who had a profound influence on our lives. Make no mistake, the lives of these ladies were not easy and most often not fair. They truly loved us and we, well, we truly loved them. Sadly, the days of ladies like Ebbie White are nearly gone forever.
But they don’t have to be. For you see, the greatest gift Ebbie ever gave to us was an undying, unwavering, color blind love for us and we for her. We obviously knew what color she was. But when we saw her there was no color of her skin. All we saw was a smiling, laughing, and caring soul.
Ebbie left the Earth on October 17, 1995. Both of our grandmothers died that following winter. It was indeed a sad time for all of us. Three women who had meant so much to each of us were no longer there for us to visit and recall the good times we used to have. I loved them all, but as long as I breathe I will remember the first woman I ever loved, a woman named Ebbie.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Miniature Artist Extra Ordinaire
Lucy Stanton found her niche as a miniature artist. In fact, she became famous both in the United States and around the world. To prove that assertion, Lucy Stanton was awarded the highly coveted Bronze Medal of the Society of American Miniature painters, being the first or second woman in America to receive such a distinction. For one brief term, this teenage artist taught art at what is now called Middle Georgia State College.
An artist who worked with oils, pastels and watercolors, Miss Stanton is most recognized for her miniature watercolor portraits on ivory during the Arts and Crafts period at the turn of the 20th Century. Critics laud her mature style, innovative use of broad washes and evocative portraits depicting African Americans without sentimentality or prejudice.
Lucy May Stanton was born to William L. and Frances MeGee Stanton, on May 22, 1875. As a child, Lucy grew up living across the street from the legendary Georgia journalist and writer Joel Chandler Harris, the author of the Uncle Remus tales.
It is said at the age of four, Lucy began to mold creatures out of modeling clay and took her first art lessons in New Orleans when she was a mere seven-years-old.
Lucy became totally captivated with the arts when she attended Southern Female College in LaGrange, which later became known as Cox College after its removal to College Park. As an 18-year-old, Lucy accepted a position as an art teacher at the New Ebenezer College in Cochran, which is currently known as Middle Georgia State College. After serving a one year term during the 1893-1894 school year, Lucy returned to the Atlanta area.
Lucy traveled to Paris, France to receive a formal and very prestigious education in painting. She would remain in the capital of European art for two years until 1898. Seven years later, Lucy returned to France to further improve her artistic talents.
Stanton's first paying job came in 1896 when she was commissioned to paint miniature portraits of Spanish born opera singer Adelina Patti. Over her thirty five-year career, Lucy May Stanton would become one of Georgia's premier portrait artists, painting portraits of her former neighbor, Joel Chandler Harris, (LEFT) and the iconic Georgia politician, Howell Cobb, who served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the latter of which still hangs in the national capital.
After a single year spent in New York, Lucy Stanton returned to Georgia in 1902 to make her home in Athens, where she would live for most of the remainder of her life. By her late twenties, Lucy became a popular artist across the country. Her works were exhibited in galleries in the largest cities in the world, including London, Paris, New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
Stanton moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1916, where she painted and taught art for nearly a decade.
Lucy May Stanton's interests extended beyond the visual arts. Stanton was highly involved in the social, cultural and political affairs of Athens and the nation. In 1914, she headed the Equal Suffrage League of Athens.
In 1928, Stanton, along with Jeannette Rankin, helped to co-found the Georgia Peace Society, an organization dedicated to preventing any more wars. Rankin, the first woman elected to the United States House of Representatives, voted against the country's entrance into World War I and lead the fight to adopt the 19th Amendment to allow women the right to vote.
''It was so interesting to me ... She was one of the first people to paint (African Americans) in a serious fashion, without propaganda or sentiment.'' Georgia Museum of Art Curator Betty Alice Fowler told the Athens Banner Herald.
"She did a lot of stuff that I certainly don't think my grandmother or great-grandmother were doing at the time. She was well educated, clever, smart and talented. She made the most of it,'' Fowler added.
At the height of her career, Stanton's works were featured in a solo exhibition in Atlanta's High Museum of Art.
A worldwide acclaimed artist, Lucy May Stanton's seemingly endless list of awards includes; The Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (Blue Ribbon, Paris, 1906), Pennsylvania Society of Miniature Painters (Bronze Medal, 1917), Atlanta Art Association (first prize, 1917), Concord Art Association (Medal of Honor, 1923), and National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors (honorable mention, 1925).
More than eighty years after her death in Athens on March 19, 1931, her works are among the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Emory University, and the Georgia Museum of Art.
Jeralean, who was among a dozen children of Samuel and Amelia Jones Kurtz, grew up in the outskirts of Montrose, Georgia in western Laurens County, Georgia. Her grandfather, Andrew J. Kurtz, husband of Rachel Kurtz, was most likely a slave owned by Dr. William J. Kurtz, who owned nearly two dozen slaves during the Civil War.
Jeralean and her family moved to Inkster, Wayne County, Michigan during a vast migration of African-American farm workers who left Laurens County in the 1920s for Detroit, Michigan. That group includes the family of world champion boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson and Ford Motor Company inventor and innovator, Claude Harvard.
Jeralean married Alfred Talley, who died in the 1980s. Although she was from large family, Jeralean had only one child, a daughter, Thelma Holloway, who is now seventy-five years old. She has three grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
As for Talley, she credits her God for her longevity. When asked by Congressman John Conyers as to what her secret to a long life was, she pointed upward and said, "The good Lord up above. If it wasn't for Him, none of us would be here."
Talley was almost 107 before she moved out of her home and into her daughter's home. She gave up bowling when she was a mere 104. And, she scored a very respectable 200 in her last game.
If all goes well, "Mother" Talley hopes to go on her annual fishing trip with friend Michael Kinloch, which has been scheduled for this Memorial Day weekend.
"Until recently Talley cooked for herself. She likes fish, squash and banana nut bread, "said her daughter, who added, "Every day she has to have her cup of coffee. The doctor wanted to put her on a diet, but she wouldn't listen. She doesn't believe in diets," Holloway said. "She eats whatever she wants to eat," Holloway told Candice Williams of The Detroit News.
"She loves to share wisdom with younger people," said Pastor Dana Darby of New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Inkster, where Talley attends.
With 114 years behind her Jeralean has many stories to tell. One of her favorites is the tale of her first and only attempt to drive a car.
"I tried that one time," in her 30s, she said.
"I didn't hit the right one to make it go forward and it went backwards," Talley told Elisha Anderson of The Detroit Free Press.
When her husband Alfred yelled at her, she opened the door and got out of the car and never drove again.
A verified supercentenarian is a person who is at least 110 years old and whose age is documented by at three or more reliable documents as determined by an international body - the most respected organization being the Gerontology Research Group.
The world's oldest verified person ever was a French woman Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 years, 164 days. Today, the oldest living person is a Japanese man, Jiroemon Kimura, who turned 116 on April 19th. Misao Okawa, who is 14 and one half months older than Talley, is the world's oldest living female. As of today, Jeralean Talley stands as the 92nd oldest verified living person since 1955 and is poised to move into 90th place within a week.
Supercentenarians, at least not fully documented ones, are nothing new to Laurens County. At lest ten former slaves, Madison Moore, Billy Coates, Tempy Stanley, Jack Robinson, Thomas Allen, Isaac Jackson, Frances Thompkins, Emily Horn, Daisy Wilson and Llewellyn Blackshear, reportedly lived well into their twelfth decades.
Isaac Jackson died in Montgomery County at the age of one hundred and twenty-two. Isaac was a former slave of Gov. George M. Troup of Laurens County, who lived on Troup's Valdosta Plantation in 1846. Isaac Jackson is credited with being the last surviving slave of President George Washington by the Hawkinsville Dispatch in its Oct. 19, 1876 edition.
Jack Robinson was born during the French and Indian War. He lived the better part of his life as a slave. In 1865, at the age of 111, Robinson gained his freedom. He died in Laurens County in December of 1872. Jack Robinson had survived many hardships during his lifetime, but in the end the Milledgeville Union Recorder stated that "tobacco was what cut him down in his prime." He was only 118 years old.
Aunt Daisy Wilson claimed that she was born in 1804, two years before Laurens County was created. According to the Macon Telegraph, there were white people who stated that she had authentic records showing that she was 117 years old in the summer of 1922. Daisy was born into slavery in North Carolina and purchased by John Manson, who brought her to Wilkinson County, where she lived well beyond her 100th birthday. If her claim could be substantiated, Daisy Wilson may have been the oldest woman in Laurens County history and one of the oldest in the State of Georgia.
Thomas Allen maintained that he was born in 1800 and was 114 years old just before he died on the plantation of Dr. W.B. Taylor, outside of Dexter, Georgia. Owned by the Giles family, the former slave was a native of Wilkinson County. Although his age cannot be documented by census records, Dr. Taylor, who knew the old man for many years, did not doubt the accuracy of his claims.
Happy Birthday Mrs. Jeralean! We hope you catch a big mess of fish.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Thle-Cath-Cha - The Broken Arrow
He was a man of two people - one white and one red. His mother’s people, the Lower Creek Indians, called him “Tustunnugee Hutke,” or “White Warrior.” His father’s people were Scottish Highlanders, who immigrated to Georgia during the state’s infancy. William McIntosh never abandoned either of his people, all the time struggling to maintain the precarious balance between the two nations during the first quarter of the 19th Century. It was his desire for peaceful coexistence that led to his death - an untimely and senseless death at the hands of his own bitterly divided people on April 30, 1825. This occasional visitor to Laurens County was one of the most important and influential Indian leaders in Georgia history.
William McIntosh, a son of a British officer during the American Revolution, was born in Wetumpka, an Indian village in eastern Alabama northwest of Columbus, Georgia. He was nurtured in the Indian ways of life by his mother, Senoya, and his Coweta Indian uncles. His father, William McIntosh, Sr., sided with King George during the War for American Independence. William and his half-brother Roley, son of their father’s second Indian wife, were put on board a ship bound for Scotland, where they would receive a formal education. William was interested in learning. Roley was somewhat less interested. The boys were spirited away from the ship by their Indian uncles. Their father, oblivious to their absence until the ship had sailed, continued on the voyage to his ancestral homeland. Discouraged by the way his sons were being raised, the elder McIntosh left his family and returned to McIntosh County on the southeast Georgia coast. William’s uncles taught him all of the things he needed to know about life. As he approached manhood, William was given leave to visit his father’s home. William made one final trip to the coast to attend his father’s funeral.
About two hundred years ago, William was chosen as Chief of the Coweta town, at the age of twenty five. He married Eliza Grierson, a woman of Scottish and Creek parents. The couple’s first son, Chilly, was born at their home on the Tallapoosa River. McIntosh, then Chief of all of the lower Creek towns, encouraged commerce with white merchants and traders. The Lower Creeks believed that their “mixed-blooded” leaders were best suited to deal with the leaders and the people of the United States. McIntosh stood more than six feet tall - a height which made him a near giant during his day. He was light skinned, but retained his Indian features of dark eyes and hair. He wore buck skin pants and a calico shirt. His headdress consisted of a turban with a single feather plume.
As tensions became more strained between Georgians and the Creeks (and even among the Creeks themselves), a war between England and the United States broke out in 1812. McIntosh was commissioned a major in the U.S. Army. He led a contingent of Indian warriors under the command of Generals John Floyd and John Coffee. McIntosh led his warriors in support of Gen. Andrew Jackson’s legendary victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. In near total disregard of the Indians who remained steadfastly loyal to the U.S. Army, Jackson negotiated a treaty. McIntosh believed the treaty took too much lands from the tribes who had supported Jackson.
In the years which followed the war, McIntosh and his family moved to a new home on the Chattahoochee River. It was during this time when McIntosh maintained a home near the springs on the west bank of the Oconee River. The springs, known later as Well Springs, is located south of Dublin in the Rock Springs Community. While he was visiting in Laurens County, he sent his son Chilly to school in Dublin.
Relationships between the Americans and the Seminoles flared up again in 1817. McIntosh was commissioned a brigadier general and was placed in command of thirteen hundred Creek warriors. They fought in several engagements with their mortal enemies, known as “The Redsticks.” After six years of fighting, McIntosh left the army, still torn by the strife between his two peoples. His uncle, Chief Howard, the leader of a friendly Cheehaw village, was killed by members of the Laurens County Dragoons under the leadership of Captains Obed Wright and Jacob Robinson.
McIntosh established a ferry across the Chattahoochee at Coweta. He was assisted by Joe Baillie. The Chief built a large tavern and inn at the famed mineral water springs in Monroe County, which became appropriately known as Indian Springs. As more and more of Georgia was being settled by white settlers, McIntosh became involved in negotiations between Creek and Georgia officials. A meeting was held at the McIntosh Inn at Indian Springs in 1821. Despite his deep-seated objections to the U.S. government’s treaty proposals, McIntosh reluctantly signed a treaty ceding more lands to Georgia.
In 1823, George M. Troup of Laurens County was elected governor of Georgia. Troup pushed for the removal of all Indian tribes from Georgia. Relationships with the Creeks became more tenuous. Various towns of the Creek Nation were at odds with each other. Troup, in an ironic quirk of fate, had an ally in his efforts to rid Georgia of the Creek and the Cherokee. Chief McIntosh’s father was a brother of Catherine McIntosh, the mother of Governor Troup, making the two leaders were first cousins.
While some have questioned the closeness of the cousins because of their strong efforts in support of their respective constituents, the two men consulted with each other on the matters of Indian lands. According to local legend, an accord was reached between the two leaders at McIntosh’s home at Well Springs. McIntosh stood firm in his belief that interaction with the white people would strengthen his tribes. Troup took an opposite view. His determination to remove the Indian tribes led to a war of words with President John Quincy Adams. President Adams eventually backed off of his demands for Troup to desist with his plans for Indian removal.
A second treaty between the United States and a council of Lower Creeks, led by McIntosh, was signed at Indian Springs in 1825. The new treaty provided for the ceding of all lands claimed by the Creeks in Georgia in exchange for a comparable amount of land in Arkansas. A bonus of addition land and cash was awarded to McIntosh for his role in convincing other chiefs to agree to the terms of the agreement. When the leaders of the Upper Creeks learned of the treaty, the outraged Creeks attacked Chief McIntosh in his home, setting his elaborate house on fire and stabbing and scalping the martyred leader.
It is said that his son Chilly, who went on to become the first School Superintendent of the Oklahoma Territory and a Confederate field officer, ran from the scene all the way to the capitol in Milledgeville to inform the state of the massacre.
Chief William McIntosh has been called a hero by some - a traitor by others. He was one of the most intriguing characters in our state’s history. His murder was condemned by both of his two peoples. Eventually the members of his family were pardoned by the tribal council. They left Georgia for the Indian territory of Oklahoma, where they followed in the footsteps of this once great Creek leader.
Like Forrest Gump, Jeff Davis finds himself just drifting and floating around in time, being int the right place at the right time. So said the Dublin businessman, who was honored by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation this past Friday at its annual meeting in Milledgeville. The members of the trust honored Davis’ restoration of the Old Dublin Post Office on Madison Street with its Marguerite Williams Award.
The award, named in honor of the first vice president of The Georgia Trust and a longtime proponent of historic preservation in Georgia, is periodically given out to the project that has had the greatest impact on preservation in the state.
“This project sets an excellent example of how to preserve and repurpose a decommissioned historic government building, a particular issue facing preservationists today,” the Trust proclaimed.
“I am grateful to be a part of this award. The building deserves it historically and architecturally,” Davis commented on receiving the prestigious award.
The Post Office was originally completed in August 1912 after a long series of delays of funding and alterations of plans. Davis completed the bulk of the work and held an open house on the 100th anniversary of the opening of the building as a Post Office.
“When I bought the building, it took me about four or five times in there to realize that about 85 percent of the building was still here,” remarked Davis, who personally flyspecked every nook and cranny of the sturdy structure finding hidden clues to its past. Sometimes the clues came to him in the form of stories of bygone days and visitors to the building. He discovered secret windows in the top of the work room, where the postmaster and inspectors could spy on employees, looking for sticking fingers while they were sorting mail and taking money orders.
Calling the project a team effort between himself, local banks, businesses and interested citizens, Davis claims as his only credit of simply putting back a building which was already there.
Now that the project has made it through it first phase, Davis is taking a short break before marshaling his resources to make his hometown an even more special place in the future.
“A lot more good things are going to happen in downtown Dublin in the future,” Davis asserts.
The Georgia Trust was organized in 1973 to help Georgians to understand and appreciate the irreplaceable value of historic buildings and places and their relevance to modern life. Its members strive to be careful stewards of our state’s historic buildings. The group hopes to boost local economies by stewardship by reinforcing downtown areas and historic neighborhoods.
“There will never be another one like this building. Even though I am the caretaker of it now, this building belongs to everybody. When you put yourself in that context, you can’t really say that you own this building,” Davis believes.
“It’s a special building. It holds a special place in people’s hearts,” remarked Davis, who operates a data-technology business inside the 101-year-old building.
"This year's winners represent a tremendous dedication to restoring and revitalizing Georgia's historic buildings and communities," said Mark C. McDonald, president of The Georgia Trust.
For more than 35 years, the Trust has recognized preservation projects and individuals throughout Georgia who have made significant contributions to the field of historic preservation. Awards are presented on the basis of the contributions of the person or project to the community and/or state and on compliance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
Now celebrating 40 years of work, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country's largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. The organization is committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia's communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all.
The Georgia Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund and raises awareness of other endangered historic resources through an annual listing of Georgia's 10 "Places in Peril." The Trust also helps revitalize downtowns by providing design and technical assistance in 102 Georgia Main Street cities; trains Georgia's teachers in 63 Georgia school systems to engage students in discovering state and national history through their local historic resources; and advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts.
To learn more about Historic Preservation in Georgia, go to www.georgiatrust.org.
Friday, April 26, 2013
FORMER LAURENS LADY NAMED
AS A GEORGIA WOMAN OF ACHIEVEMENT
AS A GEORGIA WOMAN OF ACHIEVEMENT
Henrietta Stanley Dull, a native of Laurens County, will be named to an elite list of Georgia women as a member of the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame. Henrietta Stanley Dull will be inducted, along with Lollie Belle Moore Wylie and Mary Gregory Jewett, in a ceremony to be held in the Porter Auditorium on the campus of Wesleyan College in Macon on Thursday, March 14, at 11:00 a.m..
Since 1992, the mission of Georgia Women of Achievement has been to recognize and honor Georgia women who made extraordinary contributions within their fields of endeavor, and who will inspire future generations to utilize their own talents. Each year three women are inducted into the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame and the organization now honors over seventy-four outstanding Georgia women.
Long before there was a Betty Crocker (actually she was a fictional person), Julia Child or Paula Deen (of Lady and Sons fame), there was Henrietta Stanley (Mrs. S.R.) Dull. Trained in the art of true southern cooking by former slaves and forced into cooking as profession to support her family, Mrs. Dull was considered by the people of her day as the consummate Southern cook. Her 1928 cook book "Southern Cooking" is still defined by current culinary connoisseurs as the Bible of southern cooking.
Henrietta Celeste Stanley was born on her family's plantation near Chappell's Mill in Laurens County, Georgia on December 6, 1863. Her parents were Eli Stanley and Mary Brazeal. On her father's side, Miss Stanley boasted a fine pedigree which included three colonial governors. On her mother's side of her family, she descended from Solomon Wood, who took an active part in exposing the Yazoo Fraud of 1795.
It was during her early years when she observed the Negro cooks who provided the daily meals for the Stanley family. Born into a wealthy family which had the luxury of a variety of foods, Henrietta was said to have made a hobby of trying each dish she ever heard by duplicating it from memory. In her youth, the women of the house were charged with preparing three meals of day. Leftovers were discarded or fed to pets and there was no such thing as refrigeration. The ladies had to prepare many of the basic ingredients and condiments which we enjoy straight out of a box, jar or can today. Henrietta and her family moved to Flowery Branch, Georgia, where he father worked as a railroad station master. At the age of 23, Henrietta married Samuel Rice Dull of Virginia. The Dulls became the parents of six children.
After a decade of marriage, Mr. Dull began to suffer from mental illnesses. Mrs. Dull found herself in a seemingly overwhelming dilemma. Forced into supporting her children and her ailing husband, Mrs. Dull did the only thing she knew how to do, and that was to cook. Preparing cakes and sandwiches at first for the ladies of her church, Mrs. Dull soon began to sell a large variety of prepared foods out of her home. What started as a way of making ends meet eventually became a successful and profitable venture. Widespread praises led to invitations to plan parties throughout the social circles.
The owners of Atlanta Gas Light Company invited Mrs. Dull to initiate a program of home service to promote the sale and proper use of gas stoves. She always compared a gas range to a husband by proclaiming " you couldn't get the best out of either until you learn how to manage them." Though the theory of home service had been unsuccessful on previous occasions, Mrs. Dull rose to the occasion and championed the program. During this time, Mrs. Dull was chosen to head the Home Economics Department at Bessie Tift College in Forsyth, Georgia. She lent her expertise to establish and develop a Domestic Science Department at Girl's High School of Atlanta and later a department for its night school.
During World War I, Henrietta Dull served as a hostess in the Soldier's Recreation House on Peachtree Street. Affectionately known as "Mother Dull," she was a mother and cook to more than fifty thousand dough boys. Two of her sons, Samuel Rice Dull, Jr. and Ira Cornelius Dull, enlisted in the army. Mrs. Dull believed it was her duty to comfort the boys and young men stationed at nearby Camp Gordon in hopes that some Christian mother would do the same for her boys, wherever they may be stationed.
Her success at Atlanta Gas Light led to an offer from the editors of the Sunday Atlanta Journal Magazine to write and edit the Home Economics page of the magazine section. As with all of her previous efforts, Mrs. Dull became an instant success. Her recipes were found in kitchens throughout Georgia. Her cooking expertise soon spread throughout the South and led to invitations to make cooking demonstrations and conduct cooking schools as far north as Delaware. It has been said that she was the pioneer of cooking schools in the South. Requests for copies of her recipes led Mrs. Dull to contemplate compiling her recipes into a comprehensive guide to Southern cooking.
Mrs. Dull's landmark work with its thirteen hundred recipes was simply titled "Southern Cooking." The 400-page book, which has sold more than a quarter of a million copies, was designed to be a practical guide to preparing dishes with items which were readily available in local groceries. "Not once in the whole book will you discover that I had called for the use of an ingredient that any southern housewife can't get by calling up the grocer," Mrs. Dull said. Mrs. Dull's book emphasized the need for making cooking simple with easy to follow directions with exact measurements and cooking times. In her youth, few recipes were put in writing. Directions were often passed by word of mouth and the amount of ingredients were expressed in pinches, dabs and plenty. "Southern Cooking" also features chapters on sample menus, including seasonal and formal selections, as well as chapters on food selection, table service and kitchen equipment. Thirty five years after her book was published, Mrs. Dull was horrified that she omitted a recipe for that staple of Southern cooking, collard greens. Mrs. Dull's book, which was dedicated to her friends, the women of Atlanta and the South, was sold throughout the United States and seven different countries. It is still a popular selection in old book stores and EBay.
Mrs. Dull recalled a time when as a child she bribed the cook to allow her to make some corn pone. For the rest of her life cornbread was still her favorite food (and mine too.) "You can make it thick, ... thin... with lacy edges that get deliciously brown. Oh, I do love corn bread! I suppose I just love cooking," Mrs. Dull said. Mrs. Dull didn't even mind washing dishes because she figured out that washing them in cold water with little soap prevented "dish pan" hands. Among her best tasting dishes were her angel food cakes, called "archangel cakes" to distinguish them from the run of the mill cakes.
After 20 years with the Atlanta Journal, Mrs. Dull retired in 1938. That same year she was listed as one of the twelve most famous women in Georgia. But she wasn't through cooking. For another twenty years and well into her nineties, Mrs. Dull enjoyed cooking for friends and family in times of celebration and in times of grieving. Henrietta Stanley Dull died on January 28, 1964 at the age of one hundred years. Her life was described as one of unselfish service and outstanding achievements. Her sweet disposition and charm endeared her to everyone with whom she came in contact. She is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.
Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter came up with the idea to create an organization dedicated to honoring important women of Georgia's history. The first induction ceremony took place in 1992 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. With this year's new members there are seventy seven women in the Hall of Fame. For more information about The Georgia Women of Achievement, go to www.georgiawomen.org.
The Lawyer Poet of the Rockies
Orie Bower had a way with words. Whether in the courtroom or in the composition of poetry, this Wilkinson County native was known across the country in his latter years as the "The Lawyer Poet of the Rockies."
He grew up in the red clay, pine studded hills of the Georgia's Fall Line and lived his latter and most prolific poetry writing time in the magnificent blue hazed Rocky Mountains of the American west.
Orie Bower penned poems about the grand and glorious armies of the South and the Lost Cause. He composed poetry in his youth, but was quick to say that those early rhymes were all too elementary.
Isaac Oren Bower, Orie for short, was born on May 26, 1850 in Irwinton, Georgia, the county seat of Wilkinson County. His father, Judge James Cuthbert Bower, was an attorney and Judge of the Court of Ordinary, which then had jurisdiction over Probate matters, marriages and county business affairs. His mother, Martha E. Davis, was a daughter of Oren Davis.
Although his father was opposed to secession, Judge James Cuthbert Bower was an ardent supporter of the Confederacy after the war began. Orie, only 14 years of age, would often go on recruiting missions with his father to urge local men who were becoming of military age to fight for the South to stem the rising blue tide of the Union Army as it was steam rolling across the state from the North to the sea. That tide rushed through Irwinton just after Thanksgiving in the fall of 1864. The war would later have a abiding impact on Orie, especially in his poetry.
Orie attended school from the age of six until seventeen, when he graduated from Talmadge Institute in Irwinton. The leading men of the community hired well educated Northern teachers to teach the more elite children of the community with the most modern educational methods.
But, Orie wanted no part of books and mathematical exercises. He wanted to fish on sunny days and on cools nights, hunt opossums and racoons.
Living somewhat of a "Tom Sawyer" like childhood, Orie became enchanted with a young mulatto slave, "Wash." "Wash" was a master teller of tales, ghosts stories and Negro folk legends, much in the style of Joel Chandler Harris's "Uncle Remus" stories.
Orie desperately wanted to engage in the practice of law. So, after a year to find himself in the paradise of Florida, he began the study of law in his father's Irwinton law office. At the age of nineteen, Orie Bower was admitted to the bar in the Superior Court of Baldwin County. Soon the life he had dreamed of, practicing law along side his father, was swept away by the economic tidal waves of Reconstruction and national financial crises which followed.
Orie decided that he wanted to go to college in Lexington, Virginia at Washington College, where his hero, General Robert E. Lee, was serving as president. Bower graduated from the illustrious institution, some six months prior to the death of General Lee, one of the most beloved and revered generals in American history.
Said to have possessed uncanny abilities to perceive character and determine the behavior of human nature, Orie was often called upon to take on cases all around the country. In his native home, Orie served as a Master of the local Masonic lodge, Justice of the Peace, a member of the school and Mayor of Irwinton, posts he held before the age of thirty.
When his health failed him, Bower reluctantly made the fateful decision to move to a healthier, drier climate. So, it was off to a new life in Texas with his wife Olive, his four oldest children, his worldly possessions and his law books, in tow.
From Celburne, Texas, where his 5th child, Bertie was born in 1878, Orie's travels led him to Old Mexico, Arizona and California. To help pay the bills of his family, Bower took a job in the newspaper business as a traveling correspondent of several daily newspapers of the West. He even spent a year working with the Law Department of the Abstract and Title Insurance Company of Los Angeles, keeping track of the ever changing ownership of land in the burgeoning West. All the while, Orie continued to practice law, from the Mexican Border to the silver mad metropolis of Denver.
As he grew older and his pace slowed down, Orie's thoughts turned back to the rolling hills of home and of his old friend Wash, telling his tales by the dwindling early morning campfires. He thought of the good fishing holes and hunting wild game. He recalled the sounds of the mockingbird's song, mourning whip-poor-wills and constantly chirping katydids - all things that were once wonderful when he was young and carefree.
Orie's poetical inspirations erupted. Many in his family had written poetry. Some say as many of six members of the Bower family had penned published verses.
Although Orie had written many poems, most of which he thought unworthy of consideration in his youth, it was during his sickly, invalid years when Orie began to turn out one poem after another. His major work, "T'was ‘64 in Dixie," was a compilation of poems about the War Between the States. It was so long, 8,000 words, that Orie broke it down into subtitles, like "Noble Yankee Dead," "Faded Flowers," "Southern Girls," "The Yankee Cat" and "Who Wave's the Bloody Shirt?"
It didn't take long at all for Orie's epic poem to be noticed by newspaper editors around the West. Rienzi M. Johnston, who was born across the Oconee River from Wilkinson, County in Washington County a year before Orie was born, was the prominent editor of the Houston Daily Post. Johnston, who would later serve a short term as a United States Senator, published the entire poem in eight issues. It was Johnston who first penned the moniker of "The Dixie Poet" or "The Lawyer Poet of the Rockies" on Bower.
There is no available space in this column, let alone in this entire issue, to republish the poetry of Orie Bower. To read a compilation of the poetry of Orie Bower, go to: http://www.pdftitles.com/book/15458/dixie-poems.
Orie Bower, who died in Nov. 1901, in Harrison, Arkansas, spent the last three decades of his life, traveling around the West, looking for a cure for the illnesses which plagued his body, He never found a physical cure for his maladies. What he did find was something much more mentally fulfilling and of much more lasting consequence. He observed and experienced a wonderful introspective life peering at the wonders of nature and writing of the glories and horrors of war. From time to time, Orie even took time to speak out on issues which he saw as harmful, the ways of corrupt politicians for one example. He even took the time to write about the funny things in the world.
So Orie Bower, may you live forever in the blue hazed mountains of the Rockies and the clear creeks of the green Georgia forests.
Emissary from Emanuel
William Rountree made his life as he traveled around the world seeking peaceful relations with the United States. This native of Swainsboro served for more than a quarter of a century as one of our country's diplomats and ambassadors to countries in the Middle East, Africa and South America in a time when the Earth was a ticking political, social and military time bomb. This is his story.
William M. Rountree was born in the capital of Emanuel County on March 28, 1917 - a son of Clerk of County Court William M. Rountree, Sr. and his bride, Clyde Brannan.
William's father died when he was still a toddler. The Rountrees remained in Swainsboro until 1923, when they moved to Atlanta, where William graduated from high school.
After graduation, Rountree moved north to Washington, D.C., where he landed a job with the United States Treasury Department - thanks to the assistance of Georgia Senator, Walter F. George.
In 1941, Rountree was appointed to a task force by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to formulate plans for the creation of an agency to administer the lend-lease program. To top off his education, Rountree graduated from Columbia University just before the beginning of World War II.
Rountree made his first major trip overseas in 1942 to Cairo, Egypt, where he worked with the British for the remainder of World War II. It was during the war years when Rountree began to travel to most of the counties in the Middle East.
"I came back to Washington as special assistant and economic advisor to the Director of the NEA Bureau," recalled the newly appointed diplomat, who began to receive impressive assignments in Greece and throughout the countries of the Mediterranean Sea as the United States assumed her role as the leader of the Free World.
"I had not viewed our role as being the world's policeman, nor do I think President Truman did. But I think the responsibilities that were thrust upon us at the end of World War II required that we do many things in many parts of the world that were new to our philosophy," said Rountree in an interview with Niel M. Johnson of the Harry S. Truman Library.
In 1948, Rountree was directed to return to Washington to serve as Deputy Director and later as Director of the Office of Greek, Turkish and Iranian Affairs. Later as Director of the Office of Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs, the Emanuel Countian worked with the British and other countries in stabilizing the region militarily, politically and economically. In particular, he helped to stabilize the Middle Eastern oil industry from political agitation emanating from within and from outside the region.
The ascent up the chain of command in the State Department came quite easy to Rountree, who served as Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission in Tehran from 1953 to '55 and then as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs from 1955-59. Rountree's region included Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Ceylon.
President Dwight Eisenhower appointed the Georgian as Ambassador to Pakistan in 1959. After three years, Ambassador Rountree was named by President John F. Kennedy as the new ambassador to the North African country of Sudan. After another three-year term, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Rountree as our country's ambassador to South Africa, where he served until 1970. Rountree's last three years of this 15-year tenure as an ambassador were spent closer to home in South America as United States Ambassador to Brazil.
As The Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Mr. Rountree was deeply involved in the 1956 Suez crisis and in the 1958 uncivil tumult in Lebanon. Just before Christmas in 1958, a roguish mob threw eggs, mud balls and rocks at him in effort to force him out of Iraq. Of all of situations which Ambassador Rountree had to deal with, the most difficult was the tense relationship with Iran.
"We always had influence with the Shah, but not a compelling influence. That is, the Shah always valued his relations with the United States, and enjoyed, during his life, remarkably good relations with every American administration," Rountree recalled.
"Many people overestimate the extent to which American influence can be effective in any given country. Our advice to the Shah over the years could have been better, but on the other hand, if the Shah had adhered to the advice which he received from us, Iran would have been in a much better position at the time of the his demise. In other words, I do not go along with the idea that his failure was the result of the lack of good advice from the United States," the Ambassador concluded.
While serving as Ambassador to South Africa in the late 1960s, Rountree had to deal with the bitterly divisive issue of Apartheid.
"The United States has strongly opposed Apartheid, and every administration has voiced that opposition in one form or another. Certainly, when I was there during the Johnson and Nixon administrations, part of my duty and responsibility was to make clear United States objection to Apartheid and the principle of that kind of discrimination. We joined with the international community generally in imposing certain restrictions in relationships, and in refusing to ship military or police equipment to South Africa. Our opposition was reflected in the United Nations, at the International Court, and elsewhere," Rountree asserted in the Truman Library interview.
Rountree had favorable opinion of the way in which the United States instantly recognized the State of Israel in one of the more momentous foreign relations matters of the 20th Century.
"President Truman made some of the most courageous and correct decisions of any President dealing with international relations. I have nothing but admiration for his decisions on Greece and Turkey, which we've discussed here, and also on NATO, the Marshall Plan, Point IV, and Korea," said Rountree in reflecting on his career in the 1950s.
After retiring in 1973, Ambassador Rountree, who became a close and trusted aide of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, retired to Florida. He died on November 3, 1995 in a Gainesville hospital.