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.