Wednesday, April 2, 2014


All You Have To Do Is Dream

Every kid whoever picked up a baseball has dreamed that one day he would pitch in the major leagues.   Tens of millions of tried, only a dozen thousand or so have ever toed the rubber of a big league mound and thrown his best pitch toward an awaiting slugger.  This is the story of Larry Foss, a former Dublin Irish pitcher, and who he achieved his dream of becoming a major league pitcher and in the process winning his very first game against one of the game's most feared and revered pitchers, only to lose all of his remaining games on the worst team in professional baseball history.

Larry Curtis Foss was born in Castleton, Kansas on April 18, 1936, seventy years ago today.  Foss was drafted out of West High School in Wichita by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Inthe summer before his senior year at West High, Foss grew an amazing eight inches to a height of six feet two inches, a stature which greatly helped the speed of his pitches.   The young pitcher was assigned to the Dublin Irish, the organization's Class D entry in the Georgia State League.

During the 1955 season Foss appeared in 23 games posting an average record of four wins and four losses.  His earned run average of 5.51 runs per game was not good and his future in baseball was in doubt.  In eighty innings of pitching, he gave up 72 hits and 82 bases on balls.  His strikeout ratio of seven per game was not too bad for a 19-year-old hurler more than a thousand miles away from home.  There were no designated hitters in that era and Foss was expected to hit as well as pitch. In 28 at bats, he managed to bat a respectable .250 with seven runs batted in.  In a sign of times to come, Foss ended his first year in professional baseball playing on one of the worst minor league teams ever assembled in Dublin.  The Irish finished fifth out of six teams that season under the helm of George Kinnamon.  George Arent, the team's best offensive player that year, couldn't break the .300 mark, finishing with a batting average of .294.  Jim Hardison was one of the league's best pitchers, but couldn't help Foss from the bench.

Foss bounced around the minor leagues for six more seasons.  His first taste of being in the major leagues came on March 11, 1960 when he came in relief against the Baltimore Orioles.  He had control problems, but managed to give up only one run in two innings. Four days later he was brought in relief against the Kansas City Athletics.  The first eight Athletics batters reached base.  Ten runs scored.  Foss's teammates got him off the hook when they scored eleven more runs to win the game. A March 25th appearance wasn't much better.  He gave up four straight walks against the Senators before being pulled from the game.  But Larry Foss refused to give up. He worked hard and pitched well for the Asheville Pirates of the Sally League.

Just when it looked as if he would never pitch in the majors, Larry got a call from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the last weeks of September 1961. He was numb and exhilarated at the same time.  Foss drove from Asheville, North Carolina to join the Pirates.  The Pirates, the 1960 World Series Champions, were in a slump.  With the memories of Bill Mazeroski's championship winning walk off home run against the Yankees still fresh in their minds, the Bucs lingered in sixth place in the eight team National League.

Foss remembered, "I get into the clubhouse and Danny Murtaugh, (the Pirates manager), says, "You're pitching tonight."   Not only was he pitching, but he was starting. What the young pitcher didn't realize was that his opponent that night was a another 25- year-old pitcher for the Cardinals, Bob Gibson.  Though he was still striving for his abominable hard driving style which catapulted him to the position as the National League's best pitcher and eventually into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gibson was still an imposing opponent.

It was a cool evening in Pittsburgh on September 18th.   As he took his warmup pitches, Foss peered around the vast confines of Forbes Field.  Tradition was all around him.  The pressure was on.  It must have seemed to Larry that it was now or never.   He walked Curt Flood, Julian Javier and Bill White to load the bases.  The first three pitches to the cleanup hitter Ken Boyer veered outside the strike zone.  Then somehow Larry gathered himself and managed to get out of the inning without a single Cardinal runner crossing the plate.  The Pirates took the lead, which they held until the fifth inning when Foss gave up the first run of his career.  The Pirates bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the inning and five more in the seventh stanza.  Foss pitched to two batters in the eight before being relieved by Harvey Haddix and Elroy Face, two of the game's best relievers.  The Pirates held on to win 8-6.  Foss gave up three runs, two of them earned.  He struck out five and walked six. Larry had done it. He won his very first major league game and beat Bob Gibson and held the legendary Stan Musial to one hit  in the process. He never won another regular season game.

Two weeks later, Larry took the mound against the Cincinnati Reds.  Foss gave up three runs in the first inning and three more in the sixth lowering his record to 1 and 1. A third start resulted in a no decision.  At the end of his first season, Larry Foss had accumulated a record of 1-1 with an ERA of 5.87.

After a stint in the winter Dominican League in 1961, Larry returned to the Pirates spring training camp in 1962 with high hopes of making the team's roster.  Larry returned to his superb form of his first start when he pitched three scoreless innings against the Mets. His blazing fastball caught the eye of the venerable Met manager Casey Stengel, who had led the New York Yankees to an unprecedented string of World Championships, but who was then managing the cross town Mets in their inaugural season.  Foss won his next game against the Twins.   Larry didn't make the roster, but enjoyed a good season at Asheville with a record of 10-5. He was placed on waivers by the Pirates.  Stengel, one of the game's greatest sages, remembered Foss, whom he called "Foos"  and convinced the team's general manager to pick up the promising rookie for the $20,000.00 wavier price.

Larry Foss pitched his first game for the 1962 Mets.  He lost to the Colt .45s on September 19th.    Larry pitched well in relief in a 3-2 loss to the Cubs 9 days later.  The Mets lost 120 of 160 games that year, the worst team record in the history of major league baseball.  He returned to training camp in 1963.  His last appearance for the Mets came on April 3, 1963, when he gave up one run in one inning against the Reds.  He was picked up by the Milwaukee Braves and assigned to their Denver AAA team.  Larry left professional baseball with arm problems, but pitched his hometown Service Auto Glass team to the 1964 National Baseball Congress World Series championship.   He worked in the oil and gas business for twenty plus years before moving to the mountains of Colorado, where he enjoyed fishing and hunting. Larry Foss returned to Wichita in 1993 to open a sporting goods store.  

Larry Foss loved baseball.   Despite his short major league career he fondly remembers his victory against Bob Gibson, his favorite pitcher, and being a member of  the hapless 1962 Mets.  He told a reporter from the Wichita Eagle, I had no idea that team would become as legendary as it has.  I would have grabbed a jersey or something or gotten some balls autographed."  All he has to remind him of being a member of baseball's worst team is his old cap.  But dreams do come true.  Hard work and determination can take you  to high places.   All you have to do is dream. Happy Birthday Larry!


Sandersville Man Marched to A New Tune

Anyone whoever marched in a military unit in the last six decades, knows the chant that one Sandersville man created in the last year of World War II.  The lyrics have been changed over the last sixty years, but the quintessential cadence of American military personnel still remains intact.   For a century and a half, armies had marched to the sounds of "Yankee Doodle," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Over There" and "The Caisson Song."  This is the story of Private Willie Lee Duckworth and how a simple verse changed the style of the military marching for decades to come.
Willie Duckworth grew up like most African-Americans of the Great Depression in the South.    Earning only enough money to survive, he worked as a share cropper and sawmill worker until he was drafted away from his native Washington County and into the United States Army.  

It was a cold spring night in 1944.  Private Willie Lee Duckworth and two hundred of his buddies were tired, tired of marching and just plain tired, period.  The company had just left their bivouac at Ardsley, New York for the thirteen-mile march back to their camp at Fort Slocum in New Rochelle.  Private Duckworth noticed the men were dragging their feet.  He was too.  He thought that something should be done to invigorate the column to get them to pick up their stride to get back to the warmth of their barracks.

It all began in a meager way, quietly at first.  By the end of the march, the men were belting out the tune as they double-timed their pace and arrived back at the fort and on time.  The private's simple staccato cadence was "One, two, sound off; three, four, sound off; one, two, three, four; one, two, three-four."  Then the alternate verses began.  One of the most popular was "Ain't no use in going home. Jody's got your gal and gone. Ain't no use in feelin' blue. Jody's  got your sister, too! Sound off, one, two. Sound off, three, four."

A wave of excitement permeated every company at Fort Slocumb.  The post commander Col. Bernard Lentz, enjoyed it as well.  For a quarter of a century Col. Lentz had been working on a method to remove moil from the mundane forced marches and inspire his men to march with precision and vigor.  Col. Lentz, a recognized expert on close order drill, required that all of the men at the fort drill and work while chanting Willie's refrain.  Col. Lentz was astounded to see the instant and rapid improvement in morale and productivity.  Col. Lentz called Private Duckworth to his office to explain how he came to invent to the rhythm of the chant.  Duckworth simply responded, "I made it up in my head."  Fifty eight years later, Duckworth confessed to columnist Ed Grisamore of the Macon Telegraph, "I told him it came from calling hogs back home."  "I was scared and that was the only thing I could think of to say," he added.  

With the aid of post musicians, new arrangements of the song were composed, replete with a couple dozen new verses.   Since its origin, thousands of verses of the song have been sung, many of which are not printable.  Many of the verses reflect the complaints of the every day foot soldier, like "the captain rides in a jeep, the sergeant rides in a truck, the general rides in a limousine, but we're just out of luck" or "I don't mind to take a hike, if I could take along a bike.  If I get smacked in a combat zone, gimme a Wac to take me home."  Col. Lentz incorporated Willie's song into his revised version of "The Cadence System of Teaching Close Order Drill."  Then the brass at the Pentagon began to take notice.  The first copies of "Sound Off" were distributed to military installations around the world just before the end of World War II. 

Col. Lentz retired from the Army in 1946.  Boosted by the success of "Sound Off," the colonel began a song writer career of his own.  Willie Duckworth got out of the army and returned to Sandersville to await the torrent of royalty checks which kept flooding his mailbox.  Duckworth told Grisamore , "it made me famous for a while and put some money in my pocket." 

"Sound Off" became a hit with soldiers.  It  first appeared in the 1949 movie "Battleground" starring Van Johnson and Ricardo Montalban. The song has been used in countless movies including Scott Thompson's (not me) 2005 movie "The Pacifier" with Vin Diesel.  It was also featured in the 1992 hit "Wayne's World."   It also became a hit for bandleaders  Mickey Katz and Vaughn Monroe.  The chant became the theme song of the 1952 movie of the same name starring Mickey Rooney as an obnoxious night club owner who is abashed when he is drafted into the army.  Eventually Duckworth became a member of ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. 
For his outstanding contribution to the military and to the legacy of African-American accomplishments, Willie Duckworth was honored as the first recipient of the George Washington Carver Monument Foundation's annual achievement award.   On January 5, 1952, a ceremony was held near Joplin, Missouri at the home of the noted American scientist and inventor.  Col. Lentz was invited to attend the award presentation, which featured a rousing rendition of the song performed by an all-black glee club from nearby Ft. Leonard Wood.  In addition to a plaque signifying this distinct honor, Duckworth was presented with a modest stipend of two hundred dollars.   

Willie Lee Duckworth spent the rest of his life in relative obscurity, hauling pulpwood and trying to make ends meet.   The royalty checks still came, though more infrequently in his last years.  The money he earned from that passing thought in his mind nearly a lifetime ago helped to support his family, who lived in a house on Highway 242 between Riddleville and Bartow.   His fame, known to a scant few of his fellow Washington Countians, was almost forgotten.  Just weeks past his 80th birthday, Willie Lee Duckworth died in February of 2004.   


A Man of Two Swords

He was a man of two swords, the sword of a Confederate cavalryman and the sword of the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Endeared by his comrades as “The Fighting Chaplain,” the Rev. Moses McCall fought valiantly in defense of his homeland and fought fervently to spread the word of God.  This former Laurens County minister and Cochran school teacher was hailed as one of the most revered Georgia Baptist ministers of the late 19th Century. 

Moses Nathaniel McCall, Jr. was born on January 6, 1831 in Screven County, Georgia.  A son of Moses Nathaniel McCall, Sr. and Caroline M. Griner, Moses became a minister at the age of sixteen in 1847 at Black Creek Church.  He was licensed to preach at Middleground Baptist Church(Screven County)  in1856, where his father has pastored in 1828.  McCall enrolled in Mercer University in Penfield, Georgia.   One the eve of the Civil War, Rev. McCall graduated second in his class.  He immediately accepted a position as minister in Sylvania.  Like most ministers of his day, Rev. McCall taught school in the local academy.

Just as Moses McCall was settling down into a quiet life in his homeland, violence erupted between the North and the South.  Moses, his father and four his brothers volunteered to serve the Confederacy.  Moses traveled to Savannah, where he enlisted as a private in Company B, 2nd Battalion, Georgia State Troops.  Because he was a minister, Rev. McCall was appointed by Georgia Governor Joseph Brown as a chaplain.  Following a re-organization of Georgia forces, Moses McCall was appointed Chaplain of the Fifth Georgia Cavalry. His brother Thomas was a 2nd Lieutenant and his brother Charles was a 2nd Corporal in the company.   His other brothers Daniel and Phillip also served for a time with their brother.  As Captain McCall, the young reverend took a leading role in organizing a company of cavalry soldiers in Screven County.  The company, known as Company F, became fully organized on January 20, 1863.   The regiment primarily saw action in the defense of coastal Georgia and South Carolina.  

On February 17, 1864, just three days before his company arrived the day after the critical Confederate victory at Olustee, Florida, Capt. McCall took the hand of Janie Warren Daniell.  The bride was a daughter of the Rev. David Garnto Daniell, a native of Laurens County, the first minister of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, and a Confederate chaplain himself.   Janie McCall was described by those who knew her as “ a woman of rare charm, of great faith and a strong Christian character.”  She spent a good deal of her time in Savannah during the war, aiding the defenders of the coastal city.  When Union arsonists destroyed her parent’s home, she fled for safety to Augusta.  

During the summer, McCall’s regiment took part in the defense of Georgia’s heartland during General William Tecumseh Sherman’s dastardly destructive “March to the Sea.”  His most acclaimed heroism came when he intrepidly lead a charge  in the Battle of Noonday Church on June 15, 1864. McCall and his company saw violent action in the Battle of Atlanta five weeks later. Following the fall of Savannah just before Christmas in 1864, the Georgia cavalry withdrew northward into the Carolinas trying to protect the rear of the retreating column of surviving remnants of the once proud Army of the Tennessee and the a host of militia, reserves and state troops. Captain McCall laid down his cavalry sword in surrender on May 3, 1865 in Hillsboro, North Carolina.  Captain McCall never lost sight of his higher duty.  He made it his mission to never sheath his other  sword.  During the trials and travails of death and suffering, McCall was accessible to those who sought the comforts of God. 

Rev. McCall rode his horse back home to Screven County.  The war had taken a devastating toll on this Christian soldier, who never lost his courage and faith in his religious beliefs.   Georgia and the South was a virtual wasteland.    Men of God realized that in order for the people to cope with the loss of family, friends and freedoms, the Church would have to play a guiding role.  Rev. McCall removed to Longstreet, Georgia in northern Pulaski (now Bleckley) County, Georgia.  It was in that ancient community that Rev. McCall began a seven-year tenure as a teacher.   During that time, Rev. McCall served local churches Evergreen, Friendship, Blue Spring, Harmony, Mt. Zion, Hayneville and Laurens Hill, the latter being located near the Laurens -Bleckley line in southwestern Laurens County, following in the footsteps of his also heralded brother, the Rev. George McCall who served Baptist Churches in Laurens, Dodge, Pulaski, Wilkinson  and Twiggs County County before, during and after  the war.  

In 1873, the Moses and Janie McCall and their sons, Howard Henry, George Daniell and Phillip Boardman, moved to Hawkinsville, Georgia.   After four years in Hawkinsville, Rev. McCall and his family moved to his family seat in Screven County. The rigors of his teaching duties and his widespread circuit of pulpit appearances adversely affected his health.  Howard became a successful businessman in Atlanta. His wife, Etta A. Tidwell McCall, compiled the definitive genealogy of the McCall families of Georgia and the South.  George died at the age of 34.  Phillip, a veteran of the Spanish American War, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.   

In Hawkinsville, Rev. McCall continued to preach the Gospel and teach the children of the community in the local high school.  The McCalls moved back to present day Bleckley County in 1880.  Janie Warren Daniell McCall died in Cochran on June 10, 1881.  Her body was taken to Savannah for burial in Laurel Grove Cemetery.  

In 1884, Rev. McCall accepted a position as President of Monroe Female College near Forsyth, Georgia.  Despite his unequaled ability as a minister and his efficient educational skills, once again McCall’s health forced him to cut down on  his activities.  After one year, Rev. McCall and his three sons moved to Dalton, Georgia, where he worked with his brother, Rev. William C. McCall in the Joseph E. Brown University.    Soon after his arrival in Dalton, Rev. Moses McCall preached his final sermon in Cave Springs, Georgia.  The cold Spring air and strain proved too much.  He contracted a fever and died a week later on May 9, 1985.   He was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery beside his wife.

Rev. Moses McCall was eulogized as “one of Georgia’s most consecrated and efficient ministers.”  In his memorial sermon, the Rev. George A. Lofton summarized the life and character of Rev. McCall by saying: “ His mind is strong, original and active; his style is analytical, clear and pointed; his manner, impassioned and forcible.  He fell at his post. He died with the harness on.  Like the Spartan soldier, he never left his shield upon the field of battle, but bore it to his eternal home.”


A Dublin Man's Role in a Moment of History

Forty five years ago today the faces of students at the University of Georgia changed forever.  In the midst of a political turmoil and mercifully without the infliction of violent attacks, two African-American students entered the halls of the University of Georgia.  There to make sure the process was completed was a former Adrian and Dublin man, who was the Assistant Registrar of the University of Georgia.   This is the story of Paul Kea and his role in one of the most momentous moments in Georgia History, the integration of the University of Georgia.

For a hundred and sixty five years every student attending the University of Georgia was white.  For that matter, every educational institution in the entire state was segregated.  In the early years of the state, colleges and universities were segregated between the sexes.  With the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education, it was only a matter of time before admission to the University of Georgia could not be conditioned upon the race of the applicant.  Beginning in 1943 under a grant in aid program, Georgia paid the surpluses of out of state colleges and universities over state institutions to Negro students attending school outside the state.

The first attempt to integrate the University of Georgia came in 1957 when Horace Ward's law suit was thrown out of court.  Charlayne Hunter, an outstanding student at Atlanta's Turner High School, was approached by black Atlanta civic leaders to challenge the University of Georgia's ban on black students.  She joined classmate Hamilton Holmes in applying for admission for the year 1959-60.  Both were turned down.  Hunter enrolled in Wayne State College in Michigan and Holmes attended nearby Morehouse College.  

Beginning in 1959 the University hired Paul Kea as the Assistant Registrar and Assistant Director of Admissions.   Paul Randolph Kea was born on September 5, 1925 in Adrian, Georgia.  The youngest child of Fitzhugh Lillian Kea and Dora Vivian Proctor, Paul Kea attended school in Adrian.  His oldest half brother, Morris Dawson Kea, was Laurens County's longest serving attorney.  His family lived on Railroad Street.  His parents worked day and night to help the family through the depths of the depression.  Paul worked in his father's grocery store. The Kea house was always filled with music.  Mrs. Kea taught music to the kids of Adrian.  In the late spring and during the summer Paul enjoyed swimming in the refreshing waters of the Ohoopee River near Captain James's well.   He wrote passionate and reminiscent poems about his coming of age in the then sleepy village, once a bustling railroad center.

Paul Kea served his country in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  After the war, he returned home to Dublin, where he worked as a staff announcer at radio station WMLT.  While in Dublin, Kea, a talented writer in his own right, taught English in the Laurens County School system.  He later taught in Clarke and Oglethorpe counties as well as in the city system of Jefferson, Georgia.  

Both Hunter and Holmes continued to make applications for admission on a quarterly basis. Each time they were turned down.  Holmes underwent an oral interview by Registrar Walter Danner, Director of Admissions Morris Phelps and Kea.    On the basis of hearsay information transmitted to him through Danner, Kea quizzed Holmes about his criminal record.   Holmes denied any guilt and without proof of the allegation, Kea dropped the matter.   The officials asked Holmes if he had attended interracial parties or patronized beatnik joints.  Based on the results of their interview, Holmes was turned down again for admission in the fall of 1960.  The interview with Hunter went more smoothly.  Though declining her admission in the fall, Kea and Danner did not discount her possible acceptance at a later date as the student body had reached its limit.

With the aid of out of state attorneys, Hunter and Holmes filed a suit in Federal court seeking immediate admission to the university.  When Federal marshals could not find Registrar Danner to serve the lawsuit, Paul Kea was added as a defendant.  Kea was served as a university official and as an individual defendant.   A hearing on their claim was postponed from September to mid December.  State Attorney General Eugene Cook, a former resident of Dublin and Wrightsville and a proponent of segregation, represented the State of Georgia.   The matter was heard by Federal District Court Judge W.A. Bootle.

One of the first witnesses called to the stand was Paul Kea.  Kea was grilled by the plaintiff's attorneys on the standards for admission.  One letter after another and totaling near a hundred were shown to Kea for identification.  Many of them related to letters by white students, who were denied admission in 1960, but were instructed to reapply or were advised to enroll in other state colleges for later admission to the university.  Nearly three weeks later on January 6, 1961, Judge Bootle ordered university registrars to admit both Hunter and Holmes.

The university's first black students arrived in Athens on January 9, 1961.  As they entered the registrar's office they were taunted and jeered.  Inside the front door, they were met by Kea who processed their paperwork without delay.  Though their first days were violence free, a minor altercation arose two days later outside Hunter's dormitory.  Athens police restored order and both Hunter and Holmes were suspended from the school and escorted back to their homes in Atlanta for their own safety.  The duo were reinstated a few days later and seemingly all enmity died away.

Charlayne Hunter, who did build some lasting friendships with fellow students,  graduated in 1963 with a degree in journalism.  Hunter became a world renown journalist with the New York Times and a television journalist on the MacNeil Lehrer on PBS and a bureau chief for CNN.   Hamilton Holmes graduated the same year with a degree in science. He became the first African-American student to attend the medical school at Emory University. Holmes, an orthopedic surgeon, died in 1995.  At his death, he was the Associate Dean of the  Emory University School of Medicine.

In 1968, Paul Kea was promoted to the co-ordinator of Continuing Education Programs at the College of Education.  He served in that position for 27 years until his untimely death at the age of 58 on June 12, 1984.  He is buried in Northview Cemetery in Dublin.


A Victim of His Times

As the nation comes to the end of the nomination of a another member to a seat on the highest court in the nation, let us take a look back thirty-six years ago when one East Central Georgian underwent one of the first all out assaults upon a nominee to the Supreme Court.  This is the story of Judge G. Harrold Carswell, a native of Wilkinson County, Georgia, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Richard Nixon in the winter of 1970.

G. Harrold Carswell was born in Irwinton, Georgia on December 22, 1919.  His father, George Henry Carswell, was a former democratic stalwart and Secretary of State of Georgia from 1928 to 1931.  He attended local schools and also  in Bainbridge, Georgia before entering Duke University, from which he graduated in 1941.  Carswell served in the Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  After the war, Carswell attended law school at Mercer University, graduating in 1948.

During his studies at Mercer, Carswell served as the editor of "The Irwinton Bulletin," a newspaper established by his father in 1895.  It was during the summer of 1948 when Carswell launched his first political campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives.  In the post war South, a political candidate could not expect to get elected without justifying the resolute, but overly misguided, essentials of segregation.  In editorials and public speeches, Carswell proclaimed the ideal of the principles of white supremacy.  In a speech in Gordon, he said "Segregation of the races is proper and only practical and correct way of life in our states. I have so believed and shall always act."  

Ironically, he would later be lambasted for a similar position taken ninety years earlier when an Illinois Republican candidate said, " I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races--that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which will ever forbid the two races living together in terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior. I am as much as any other man in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."  The candidate proclaimed his position in his sixth debate with Stephen Douglas.  That candidate was the future president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

  Harrold Carswell married his high school sweetheart, Virginia Simmons of Bainbridge.  Her father, Jack W. Simmons, was the owner of the Elberta Box and Crate Company, one of the largest producers of wooden fruit and vegetable crates in the country and a company founded by her great grandfather John M. Simmons, a former Dublin lumber mill owner.  Another  great grandfather was the Rev. W.S. Ramsay, the beloved long time minister of the First Baptist Church of Dublin,  Laurens County's first school superintendent, and at Lt. Colonel in the 14th Georgia Infantry.  

Carswell lost the 1948 election.  Broken by his defeat, he moved to Tallahassee, Florida to begin the private practice of law.   Originally, a Democrat, Carswell supported Dwight Eisenhower in the 1952 election.  Following Eisenhower's victory, Carswell was appointed by the new president as the U.S. Attorney for the Wester District of Florida.  He and his wife joined the Republican party in the early 1950s.  In 1958, President Eisenhower appointed Carswell as Federal District Court Judge.  At the age of 38, Judge Carswell was the youngest Federal Court judge in the nation.

During his eleven year tenure on the Federal bench, Judge Carswell heard a variety of cases dealing with the rapidly changing social conditions during the volatile decade of the 1960s.  In the spring of 1969, President Richard Nixon, in one of his first judicial appointments, nominated Judge Carswell to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, with no public objections.  

On January 19, 1970, President Nixon announced that he would nominate Judge Carswell to succeed Justice Abe Fortas on the Supreme Court.  His nomination of Clement Haynsworth was denied because of vigorous complaints from labor interests.  Almost immediately, Carswell's life was opened to a meticulous inspection by journalists and became ammunition of the President's critics.  

Primarily Judge Carswell was attacked for his segregationist views of the late 1940s, a position that he regretted in later life and one which he denounced.    Ironically, Justice Hugo Black, one of the court's most admired jurists, had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his younger years.  Despite the fact that he was branded as an avowed racist, Judge Carswell had ruled in favor of black defendants in many Federal cases.    Despite the attacks on his early political beliefs, Carswell's nomination was still on track for approval.  Minor detractors lambasted the nominee for failing to disclose his wife's interest in the Elberta Box and Crate Company, a mere seventy eight shares.  Still others attacked his credentials and legal ability as a result of the number of his decisions which were overturned by the district court.  One defender Sen. Roman Hruska tried to defend Carswell by saying, "Even if he is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges, lawyers and people and they are entitled to a little representation and a chance."

In spite of the constant attacks on his moral character and legal ability, Judge Carswell was approved by the American Bar Association.  His nomination was approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee by a 13-4 vote.   Still objections to his confirmation continued.  His seat on the court seem assured in a late pre confirmation vote.  

On April 8, 1970, the nomination came up for a full vote before the United States Senate. Only two other Supreme Court justices in the 20th Century had their nominations rejected by the Senate.  With ninety six senators present and voting, Carswell's nomination was defeated by a margin of 51 to 45.  17 Democrats and 38 Republicans voted for Carswell. His defeat was sealed by 13 Republicans who broke from their party's leader and voted against the embattled nominee.  Had only four of his fellow Republicans voted for him, Carswell would have been approved by a margin of 49 to 47.

Obviously disappointed in his rejection by the Senate, Judge Carswell returned to his seat on the bench of the Court of Appeals.  After he lost a bid for a seat as a U.S. Senator from Florida later that summer, Judge Carswell returned to the private practice of law.

Judge Harold Carswell died on July 31, 1992 in a Tallahassee hospital following a struggle  with lung cancer.  His opportunity for judicial immortality in a more enlightened and tolerant world was quelled by the prevailing beliefs in the era in which he came into adulthood.  Ultimately it is up to all of us to treat everyone equally and fairly.   However, the onslaught of political castigations that condemned the judge makes many wonder if being subjected to the soul scrutinizing inquests of political antagonists is worth it.


The Richest Man in Georgia

In his day Farish Carter was considered the richest man in Georgia.  Primarily considered a resident of Baldwin County, Georgia, Carter's wealth was spread across the state, including Laurens County,  in the form of land and personal property, including nearly two thousand slaves.  In this month of February when we salute the history of Georgia, let's travel back in time more than a century and a half to get a view of what life was like for the state's richest man.

Farish Carter was born on November 20, 1780 in South Carolina during the darkest days of the American Revolution.   His father, Major James Carter, was killed by British Redcoats during their siege of Augusta just two months before his birth.  His mother, the former Letitia Martin, struggled to raise her children without their father. She sent Farish to the academy of Reverend Hope Hull in Washington, Georgia, where he obtained the rudimentary educational skills of the day.

As he matured into manhood, Carter set out to make his fortune by opening a mercantile store in Sandersville in Washington County.   During the War of 1812, Carter served as a contractor for the State of Georgia, a position which resulted in a substantial income for this emerging entrepreneur.   Life was nice for Carter, though he longed for paternal guidance.

In 1818, Farish Carter purchased the home of Col. John Scott of Baldwin County.  Scott established a home and large plantation four miles south of Milledgeville.  His home still stands today.  It is located on Georgia Highway 243, just southwest of its intersection of U.S. Highway 441 in the community of Scottsboro, which was named for its earliest resident, Col. Scott.  The elegant home was centered on a large farm which stretched all the way down to and into Wilkinson County.  During the later decades of the 19th Century and the early decades of the 20th Century, much of his farm was used by the State of Georgia as the farm of the Georgia State Hospital.  The land, with its rich soils - residues of the remnants of Georgia's ancient coastline,  was unusually good for growing crops.

Carter relished the lavish life style of entertaining guests during the days when the state capital was located just to the north of his home in Milledgeville.   It was a time when life among the wealthy was slow and relaxed.  Carter enjoyed the company of his friends.  He often gave life estates in land for his friends to build homes nearby.    He went about expanding the porch, living room and library to accommodate cotillions and elegant parties.   

Carter was considered one of the largest slave owners in the state.  While at its peak in the 1830s,  his Baldwin County plantation was home to roughly one hundred and twenty enslaved inhabitants.   Some published articles report that he may have owned as many as 426 slaves which worked his 33,293 acres of land in Baldwin County alone.    Not satisfied with two homes in Baldwin, Farish Carter established a second home, "Bonavista," on the Oconee River.   Carter maintained 15,000 acres and a summer home he named, Rock Spring or Coosawattee, in North Georgia in Murray County.  He acquired the lands not occupied by grantees under the division of the Cherokee lands.  On the eve of the Civil War the 1860 census enumerated 370 slaves on his massive plantation in Murray County.  As an investor, Farish Carter was a partner in many real estate ventures and owned lands across the South from Georgia to Arkansas and Louisiana, as well in the northern state of Indiana.  

Farish Carter strongly believed in maintaining integrated business interests ranging from agriculture to mining to transportation. He owned grist mills, marble quarries and woolen mills, as well as the operation of river boats along the Oconee, Ocmulgee and Altamaha Rivers in Georgia and the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers.   Carter attempted a bold plan to operate river boats up the Oconee to Milledgeville in 1824.  The plan failed due to low water levels and the obstacle of the fall line which is located just below the former capital city.  The government of Georgia realized the importance of river transportation and frequently appropriated large sums of money to clear the river of obstructions.  An act was passed in 1826 to clear the river below Milledgeville.  Among those commissioners appointed to oversee the operation were Farish Carter of Baldwin County and David Blackshear of Laurens County. 

Carter held huge deposits in state banks and was a financier of gold mining operations in North Georgia and North Carolina.  Realizing that the future of Georgia and the South would depend upon the use of cotton mills powered by water, the foresighted investor established the first textile mill in Columbus, Georgia.    He invested heavily in railroads which he considered to be the prime method of transportation of goods and people in the future.  Deviating from the normal course of using slave labor in all enterprises, Carter used all available capital to increase his tremendous fortune.  Though he was considered one of the state's largest slave owners, Farish Carter reportedly once considered selling all of his slaves, but was advised not to by his friends and colleagues. 

Carter, well over six feet tall, carried a phobia of being buried in a coffin less than his gigantic height.  He instructed a craftsman to construct a specially designed coffin replete with silver handles and made out of cherry wood.  To ensure that he was buried in his custom crafted coffin, he stored it under his bed so if he died in bed, which most people of his time did, he would simply be removed from his mattress to his coffin. 
Farish Carter married Eliza McDonald, sister of Governor Charles McDonald (1839-1843.)    Their daughter Catherine married John H. Furman of South Carolina, for whom Furman University is named.  Their son, Farish Carter Furman, won fame by inventing a high grade which dramatically increased the productivity of cotton in Georgia and the South.

The era of elite Southern planters was coming to an end following the election of Abraham Lincoln.  On July 2, 1861, just eighteen days before the first major battle of the Civil War, Farish Carter died at his home in Milledgeville.  He is buried in Memory Hill Cemetery.   The longest lasting legacy of Farish Carter was the naming of Cartersville, Georgia in his memory  in 1854.


Juvenile Jurist

On August 19, 1920, the Congress of the United States ratified the 19th Amendment which guaranteed the right of women in the country to vote.  Sara Orr, a young Dublin woman, was honored to serve as secretary for three United States Senators from Georgia, Thomas E. Watson, Rebecca Lattimer Felton and Walter F. George.  Senator Felton, appointed by Georgia governor Thomas W. Hardwick who would later became a resident of Dublin, was the nation’s first female senator.    Though Laurens County women made rapid strides in the years following the adoption of the amendment, more than a half century elapsed before women began to make inroads into political offices across the state.  This is the story of Mrs. Annie Anderson who, with an appointment by Laurens County Superior Court Judge J.L. Kent, became the first female judge of any court in the State of Georgia.

In the years following World War I, the Georgia legislature provided that the eight most populous counties in Georgia establish juvenile courts to handle the rapidly increasing number of criminal cases involving juvenile offenders.  After two consecutive grand jury presentments,  the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, church organizations and the Women’s Community Association appointed Mrs. Frank Lawson, the state’s first female democratic district vice-chairman, to head a committee to seek a candidate to fill the office.    With the guidance of the sheriff and county officials Mrs. Lawson and her committee sought just the right candidate to deal with “the  good many” children who were confined to Laurens County jail in 1920.  

A number of candidates were considered.  Annie Anderson was not one of them.  The committee wanted some one who could hear cases against minors, who were often placed in jail with adult convicts, a situation which was undeniably not the place these children should be.    Officials were concerned after the November 1921 conviction of 14-year-old George Walker for murdering his playmate 17-year-old George Avery.   Walker was the youngest Laurens Countian ever tried and convicted of murder.

The committee made their recommendation to Judge J.L.  Kent and on the last day of 1921, Judge Kent signed an order appointing Mrs. Anderson as Juvenile Court Judge for the county of Laurens.  Much to her surprise, Judge Anderson was not aware of her appointment until contacted by Judge Kent.  Few people had given any thoughts to the creation of the court. Even fewer people speculated on who the newest judge might be. 

Annie Ogburn Anderson was born in 1877 in Wilkinson County, Georgia.   She was a daughter of Ellis and Missouri Ogburn.  The Ogburns moved to Dublin in 1898.  Shortly after they arrived, Annie caught the eye of the handsome young Oscar L. Anderson, the popular railroad agent of the Wrightsville and Tennille Railroad.  The couple had five children, Oscar, who joined the Navy after high school, and Mattie, Milton, Frances and Emma, who were students at the time their mother was appointed to the bench.    

Annie Anderson was described by those who knew her as “a woman of striking personality and personal charm, with high educational qualifications and strong character.  Mrs. Anderson was president of the local Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and chairman of the Prison Committee of the Missionary Society of the First Baptist Church in Dublin.  

As a woman bound to rid the community of the  evil influence of spiritous liquors and intoxicating beer upon the youth of the town, Mrs. Anderson accumulated a vast knowledge of the depth of the problem which was increasingly injuring American youth. As a part of her duties as chairman of the prison committee,   Annie made weekly visits to prison camps scattered throughout the county.    Mrs. Anderson and the other ladies talked to the prisoners and tried to brighten the lives of those condemned to the chain gang.  

Mrs. Anderson attempted to take a personal interest in the lives of the prisoners she visited, especially any young women she may have found.    She was always ready and willing to provide guidance and comfort  to wayward young girls with her motherly advice and frank talks.  Deeply committed to the rehabilitation of troubled children, Judge Anderson held strong opinions against traditional forms of punishment.

Shortly after her appointment, the Judge told an Atlanta Constitution reporter “more harm than good can come from prison confinement and labors in a reformatory as a method of punishment of the young boy and girl.”  “Extreme measures should be resorted to only after probation, change of environment and living conditions have failed to accomplish their purposes,” she added.

Mrs. Anderson applied the same principles of kindness, positiveness and reasonableness with her own children in dealing with delinquent children.  She believed that with these ideals and a lot of understanding, long periods of confinement were unnecessary.    The judge believed that most youthful indiscretions were just that, improprieties which resulted from modern customs and usages and not from an intentional act of a child.  

Although she personally disliked the youthful customs of the day, dances, dyed and bobbed hair, Judge Anderson refused to pre judge those juveniles brought before her.  “She vowed to treat them “as kindly and with as such lenience and patience as it is possible under the circumstances.” “I am going to give them all a chance,” she promised.

After fondly seeing to the needs of her quintet of children and while her husband was frequently away from home tending to the rigorous schedule of his railroad duties, Judge Anderson made it her life’s goal of “aiding worthy boys and girls and influencing them toward the paths of righteousness and good citizenship.” 

Annie Anderson was a shining star in a galaxy of the grand women of the South.  The judicial search committee could not have made a better choice in nominating Judge Anderson.  What better judge to select than a person who committed their lives to loving and caring for all children as if they were her own.   In this month as we celebrate the history of American women, let us remember Georgia’s first judge who tempered justice with mercy, kindness and a firm belief that a loving hand soothed the troubled soul better than the ruthless whip.


The Sentimental Gentleman's Lady

This is the novelistic account of the life of Jane New Dorsey of Dublin, Georgia, who grew up to realize her dream of being a successful singer and dancer.  Never in her wildest, youthful dreams could she ever conceive of being married to one of the most famous men in America and  one of the greatest big band leaders in the history of music.  Her eight and one-half year marriage to the band leader, Tommy Dorsey, was both passionate and tempestuous to say the least. 

Jane Carl New was born to Dublin attorney Stephen Parker New and his wife, Ruth Hightower New, on October 23, 1923.   Jane attended elementary school a few blocks from her home.   The New family, including brothers Stephen Jr. and William Hightower New, left their home at 515 Tucker Street in Dublin and moved to Washington, D.C., when the elder New was appointed an attorney for the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1936.

Jane, who lived at 410 Cedar Street in northwestern  Washington,  studied dancing at the Phil Hayden Studios in Washington, D.C. and  drama at the Abilene School of Theater in New York after her graduation from Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C.  During years of World War II, New became a speciality dancer and understudy to the lead female singer  in a revival of the Ziegfeld Follies, starring Milton Berle, Illona Massey and Arthur Treacher.

Jane, beautiful dancer and a fine singer with a natural singing voice,  became a regular dancer in the famous Copacabana Club in New York City.  

New's first, and albeit short,  marriage to Bob Mizzy didn't work out well.  Mizzy had been married to another dancer of a sorts, the burlesque stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee.  

Miss New, somewhat short at five-feet, four-inches tall,  found new fame as a chorus line dancer in the Colonial Inn in Miami. 

One night, while dining at the Casino Gardens, Tommy Dorsey's club near Los Angeles,  Jane noticed  Dorsey coming over to her table where she was dining with friends.  Jane noticed that the tent card on her table contained a misspelling of Dorsey's last name.

Jane began to poke fun at and flirt with Dorsey, who offered her a job managing the room where he was performing.  In his book "Livin' In a Great Big Way," Peter J. Levinson wrote, "The bandleader-proprietor was intrigued by New's sassy personality. Dorsey and New left togther in his car.  The great Dorsey was not used to a woman talking back to him, much less a woman he had just met."

Jane and Tommy, whose 137 hits on the Billboard Charts exceeded those of both Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, began dating four to six weeks later.  

During the winter of 1948, Dorsey proposed his hand in marriage to Jane by handing her a five-carat diamond ring.  Jane accepted and immediately set out for Miami to resign her position at the Colonial Inn, but not before stopping in at her parents' home to tell them the wonderful news.

Fred Dickensen, in a 1948 article for The Oregonian, wrote, "She was lovely, and she was lonely.  Furthermore, she was hungry.  Jane New slammed the door of the empty icebox in the Florida home of her absent hosts and then went to the telephone.  When the musician, Tommy Dorsey, was a from a few miles away in Miami, Jane said, 'All right, Tommy, you win.  If you feed me, I'll marry you.'"

Jane and Tommy were married in the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on March 27, 1948. Her parents and Dorsey's mother witnessed the unpretentious civil ceremony. The couple honeymooned on his yacht, "The Sentimentalist."   Although it was his third marriage, Dorsey, known as the Sentimental Gentlemen because of his big hits, I'm Getting Sentimental Over You and Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia, told Jane and their families, "This is it. This is the real thing."

Jane did manage to land one movie role, although minor, in the jam session of the 1954 movie, A Star is Born, starring Judy Garland and James Mason. 

Jane and Tommy had two children, Catherine and Stephen. 

The on again, off again, marriage began to fall completely apart in the summer of 1956.  After  bitter preliminary court proceedings, the court ordered that both of the Dorseys could live in their palatial home in Greenwhich, Connecticut, but in separate and  locked bedrooms.

On November 26, 1956, Tommy Dorsey, at the age of 51, died all alone, behind his locked bed room door.  The coroner ruled that the Sentimental Gentleman died from choking on his evening dinner.  

Dorsey's death came only two days before the Dorseys were scheduled appear in court toward a divorce. 

With the dissonance gone in her life, Jane Dorsey turned her life around.  Not as wealthy as her lifestyle would dictate, Jane successfully took her fight to secure the rights to her husband's musical arrangements.  As the owner and manager of the Tommy  Dorsey Orchestra, she oversaw the operation of band which performed hundreds of times each year, including a visit to Dublin a decade or so ago. 
"There was one main love in her life, and that was my father.  And, she never completely got over is death. " said son Stephen Dorsey after Jane's death on August 28,  2003. 

Jane was buried beside her beloved, embattled husband in  Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.  At the base of her slab are engraved the words, "Tommy Called Her His E Flat."


Warrior For the Dignity of Women

Long before the Women's Rights movement began in the 1960s and escalated in the 1970s, one Dublin woman was out there in the streets, inside board rooms and in the work place fighting for the rights of her fellow women workers, the right to be treated equal, the right to fair pay and the right of decent working conditions.   This is the story of a local young girl who took on the male establishment and accomplished her goals, winning a few important battles on the way.

Selina Burch Stanford was born in Laurens County, Georgia on September 24, 1927.  She was a daughter of Roger Burch and Jane Smith and grew up in the Burch District of Laurens County.  Selina attended Laurens County and Dublin schools.   At the age of seventeen, Selina went to work for Southern Bell Telephone Company as an operator.  Along with many of her fellow workers, Selina joined the Southern Federation of Telephone Workers.

Miss Burch's first true experience with labor relations came in 1947 when she and her fellow union members endured a strike which lasted nearly seven weeks.   That same year, telephone workers across the nation began the process of consolidating and forming a more powerful and unified single union organization under the banner of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.   Following the labor action, Selina was transferred to Charleston, South Carolina.  After five years she was elected Secretary of Local 3407 of the Communication Workers of America.   A year later in 1953, Selina was elected as the recording secretary of the Charleston CIO.

At the age of 27 in 1954, Selina Burch became the first woman to be elected president of her local union and any union in South Carolina.  She said, "I guess the rebel in me really began to come out somewhere between 1952 and 1954 when I discovered that I was doing all the work and a male was getting all the credit."    In 1955 she was chosen to serve on the staff of the Communication Workers of America as a representative and organizer. The satisfactory resolution of a violent strike that year by 50,000 employees led to her election to a leadership position on the district level when she became director of the North Louisiana division of the union.  

It was in the Creole State where Selina's interest in politics began to surface.  She spent tireless hours to build the state Democratic party.   She joined the campaign for Congressman Hale Boggs who served as majority leader of the United States House of Representatives and was a leader in establishing the Interstate Highway System and was also a member of the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In 1964, Selina was reassigned again.  This time, she came home, or close to it.  Miss Burch, still yet unmarried, enjoyed Christmas visits to her old home in Dublin.  Her brother J.B. Burch was a popular service station owner in downtown Dublin.   She was especially close to a close-knit group of aunts known to some as "The Burch Sisters."  These ladies, Ilah, Celestia and Emily, all school teachers, were also unmarried and lived together in their large two-story home on South Calhoun Street.  

Seen as a tough and demanding woman on the outside, away from her formidable duties as a labor union secretary and an advocate for the rights of women to work outside the home, Selina was described as a soft-spoken women who loved to bake.  She was described as a natty dresser and a woman who exuded intelligence and dignity  as she spoke.  Her  stepdaughter Margaret Pavey said of her cooking, "Her lemon pound cakes were legendary, and so was her generosity in giving them away."

The 1960s were a decade when women for the first time began to find their way into  the top echelons of governmental, religious and private organizations throughout the country.  Selina Burch was no exception.  With great honor, Selina held the position as Secretary of the 450,000 member Communication Workers of America union.  In 1969, she was  invited to Singapore, where she taught Asian telephone workers on different facets of the telephone industry.  

Burch saw her role in the union and in life as a protector of the dignity of women. She told a reporter from the Malay Mall, "In the past, a woman's only intention was to marry and settle down.  But now she is competing with man in every field - from engineering to electronics, and as she competes with man in his preserved fields, she must form unions or actively participate in the trade unions that will protect her rights and dignity as a human being."   Selina disavowed any special privileges on account of her being a woman.  "I will make sure I am not discriminated against because of my sex. Merit should be the only criterion - not sex," she said.

During the 1970s she allied herself with Atlanta mayors Maynard Jackson and Andrew Jackson, organizing phone banks of callers in their successful mayoral campaigns. In 1974, Selina was appointed director of Georgia-Florida District.   In 1976, she worked tirelessly for a fellow Georgian, Jimmy Carter, in his campaign for president.  It was during that same year that Selina accepted an appointment by  Governor George Busbee as the first female member of the Georgia Board of Offender Rehabilitation.  As a member of the board, Miss Burch began to see the disparity of vocational rehabilitation between male and female inmates.    With the aid of a friend, she instituted a program of instructing women on the skills of being a telephone operator.  Always a faithful member of the Democratic Party, Miss Burch served as a delegate to two National Democratic Party Conventions.

In 1978, Selina Burch was again transferred, this time to Washington, D.C., where she served as an administrative assistant to Glen Watts, President of the Communication Workers of America.  In 1980, she once again returned to Atlanta, where she served as an assistant to the vice-president of that organization.

In 1981, at the age of 53 , Selina finally began to settle down.  She married Morgan Callaway Stanford, a labor lawyer.  Ten years later in 1991, she finally settled down and retired from the Union after 44 years of service.  Selina Burch Stanford died on October 19, 2002.

Joseph Yablosnki, a Washington labor lawyer, eulogized Selina Burch by saying, "She was a pioneer in the women's labor movement.  She showed that women in the CWA were not only entitled to a place at the bargaining table, but could serve the union's members at the highest level of the union itself.  She could be as hard as nails when she had to be, but she was the sweetest friend and best client I ever had."    Former regional union director described Selina Stanford as "a tireless worker, dedicated to the CWA membership and a person with a brilliant mind."