Tuesday, March 31, 2015
A Most Unusual School Student
When the son of William McIntosh attended school in Dublin, he didn’t have to study about Indians, he was one. In the days before Thanksgiving nearly every elementary school student learns about the Pilgrims and the Indians. Most historians, usually the ones raised in the north, conveniently forget about the first settlers in Jamestown, Virginia and the Indians who feasted together when the first Puritans were not even dreaming of coming to America. This is a story of a true Indian who attended local schools while his father was visiting his cousin, George M. Troup of Laurens County. His life spanned the greater part of the 19th century and involved him in many of the historic events of early history of our nation.
Chilly McIntosh was born more than two centuries ago about fifty miles west of Whitesburg, Georgia. His parents, William McIntosh and Eliza Grierson, were children of Scottish men and Creek Indian women. William McIntosh rose to the rank of chief of the Lower Creek Confederacy. Chief McIntosh served first as a major and later as a brigadier general in the United States Army during the War of 1812 and the Seminole Indian War of 1818.
Chilly was educated in the ways of the white man and the Creek. While maintaining the importance of his Indian heritage, Chief McIntosh encouraged his children to learn the ways of the white man. Chilly would often tag along with the Chief as he came to Dublin to visit George M. Troup, who was a son of his father’s sister. One of Chilly’s playmates was a son of Jonathan Sawyer, the founder of Dublin.
While he wanted to go with his father to serve in the War of 1812, Chilly was asked by the chief to remain at home to look after the family. During the war, Chilly was sent to some of the finest schools in the state, including the academy at the capital in Louisville. Like his father, Chilly dressed in typical frontier clothing. His skin was lighter than his parents and could easily pass as a darker skinned white man. Just when he thought he would be able to join his father’s forces in the war against the Seminoles in 1818, the Chief was mustered out of military service.
Chilly McIntosh built a home at Broken Arrow. He worked with his father in establishing a trading post at Fort Mitchell. Soon a dispute arose between Indian Agent John Crowell and the McIntoshes. Crowell seized goods from the McIntosh store. In retaliation, Chilly organized a band of warriors and forcibly reclaimed what he claimed was rightfully his. The younger McIntosh followed in his father’s footsteps by serving at the highest levels of the Creek Nation.
In 1825, Chief McIntosh and other Lower Creek leaders signed a treaty at Indian Springs ceding all of the remaining Indian lands in Georgia. As Clerk of the Creeks, Chilly joined his father in signing a treaty with the State of Georgia, headed by Gov. George M. Troup. Their signatures on the controversial document led to the father and son being marked for instant death by factions of the northern Creeks. The Upper Creeks were not a party to the agreement. The chiefs of the Upper Creek towns were absolutely livid. They issued a death warrant for Chief McIntosh, his son Chilly, and all others who signed the treaty.
An assassination squad was dispatched to the McIntosh home near Alcorn Bluff on the Chattahoochee. On May 30, 1825, the party hid out in the woods waiting to pounce on McIntosh. They passed on one chance to kill the chief on the road leading to his home. The marauders set fire to the McIntosh home. Chilly was awakened by two of the attackers. He managed to escape. McIntosh, in a final act of desperation, fought off the killers, but only for a few minutes. The smoke was overwhelming. The assassins moved in. They shot the Chief fifty times, dragged him out into the yard, and took his scalp in front of his terrified family.
The Creek nation pardoned Chilly and the surviving members of his family after the massacre. Chilly, then Chief of the Coweta, was commissioned a major in the United States Army. During the visit of the Marquis de la Fayette to Georgia in 1825, the French officer who aided the Continental Army was welcomed to Georgia by none other than Major McIntosh and a detachment of fifty Indian warriors, whose bodies were stripped and finely painted. The major’s men escorted the French hero across the Chattahoochee River to the loud yells as he met Georgia’s official delegation.
In 1828, Chilly rounded up the surviving members and loyal supporters of the Chief and headed for Three Forks, near present day Muscogee, Oklahoma. Chilly, like his father, became the leader of the Creek Nation, then in exile in Oklahoma. He is credited with being the first School Superintendent of the Territory of Oklahoma. Chilly came under the influence of missionary Baptist ministers and joined the ministry himself, devoting much of his time to rid the Indian nation of illegal liquor.
During the 1850s, tensions between the northern and southern states turned from simmering to boiling. The same was true among the former southeastern Indian tribes, the Cherokee and the Creek. The wounds resulting from the treaty of cession in 1825 still kept the two tribes on different ends of the political spectrum. As slaveowners, Chilly and his younger brother Daniel Newman Mcintosh, who was named in honor of a fellow officer of their father, sided with Stand Waite, a Cherokee sympathetic to the South.
On the very day that Union and Confederate forces first clashed in Manassas, Virginia, the Creeks loyal to the Confederacy organized under the command of the McIntoshes, Molty Kennard and Echo Harjo. Daniel McIntosh was given command of 900 Creek cavalrymen as the 1st Creek Cavalry. Lt. Colonel Chilly McIntosh, leading 400 Creeks, commanded the 1st Creek Cavalry Battalion.
When the Confederate armies won early victories, the Cherokee were forced to reevaluate their neutral position. On Christmas Day 1861, Chilly McIntosh and his men were trapped in an ambush at Chustenanlah near the Big Bend of the Arkansas River. With the aid of a regiment from Texas, the Confederate Creeks broke through the enemy line and escaped. The Cherokee, led by John Ross, joined the South in the fall of 1861. Tensions erupted the following winter between the two rival Creek factions. Following a reorganization of Creek Confederate troops, McIntosh was promoted to Colonel and placed in command of the 2nd Regiment, Creek Mounted Volunteers. He combined his regiment with Brig. Gen. Stand Waite. During the war, McIntosh took part in the battles of Round Mountain, Pea Ridge, Fort Wayne and Honey Springs.
Ten years after the end of the war, Chilly McIntosh died on October 5, 1875 in his home near Fame in the Oklahoma County, which bears his family name. And though the life of Dublin’s most unusual school student ended far from where it began, the traditions of a family who shared a deep heritage between the white man and the Indian still live on.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Voyage on The Ships of Death
Soldiers are killed in wars. Whether through the rage of combat, the explosion of artillery, or the wrath of communicable diseases, men die. What is often too hard to endure is death proximately caused by a total lack of human decency. Sixty years ago today, the last remaining elements of the American bastion at Bataan in the Philippine Islands fell into the hands of the Japanese army. The unspeakable atrocities against Americans, unprecedented in the history of our country, were about to begin. One of those Americans, Lt. Peter Fred Larsen of Dublin, Georgia, was destined to become a mortal victim of one of a series of the most devastating acts of friendly fire in the history of the United States military. However he would not be killed before he and thousands like him suffered through the brutal mistreatment of beatings, malnutrition, and starvation in the prisoner of war camps of the Japanese military in World War II.
Peter Fred Larsen was born in Dublin in 1916, in the same year his father William W. Larsen was first elected to represent the 12th District of Georgia in the Congress of the United States. He attended schools in Dublin until he left for boarding school at Young Harris College in 1928, following the death of his mother Dovie Strange Larsen. After graduation in the mid 1930s, Peter Fred set out to see the world aboard a merchant ship, no doubt from the prodding of his older brother Jens. Jens was an engineering officer aboard a merchant vessel and named his son Peter Fred Larsen, the current Assistant District Attorney of the Dublin Judicial Circuit, for his younger brother. Peter Fred had a passion for aviation, a love not uncommon for young men of his generation and especially among the young men and boys of Dublin in the 1930s.
In 1940, Peter Fred Larsen enlisted in the Army Air Corps. His sights and his dreams were focused in the sky. In May of 1941, he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Peter Fred Larsen. After a month of leave, Lt. Larsen shipped off to Manilla via San Francisco. After a brief stint flying planes out of Clark Field, Larsen’s squadron was transferred to Nichols Field, near Manilla. Just as the Japanese Air Force had destroyed the American base at Pearl Harbor, the fields and planes of the American Air Force were virtually wiped out in the first few days of World War II. The Americans retreated to Bataan by the end of the year to make a stand, while waiting on reinforcements. The pilots, flight and ground crews, and even the cooks were re-organized into a front line infantry unit and re-named the Provisional Air Corps Infantry Regiment.
Larsen’s regiment learned combat tactics on the job. The promised supplies and reinforcements never came. First there were half rations. Later, rations were cut in half once again. The men had only what they had carried with them to Bataan. For two months, the unit, the only American unit on the front lines, held Japanese forces to a stalemate. The Japanese, freshly supplied with replacements of men and material, launched a second offensive on Good Friday, April 3, 1942. The defenders held out until April 9th, when the Americans, under the command of General Edward P. King, surrendered to the Japanese. Bataan had fallen. Larsen and thousands of others were taken as prisoners of war.
The conquered troops were sheparded into columns and force marched for sixty five miles to Camp O’Donnell. Thousands died along the way, some from starvation, some from exhaustion, and some were simply killed by their captors. As long as there are those who talk about war, they will always talk about the death and dying known as “The Bataan Death March.” Conditions in Japanese prisoner of war camps were indescribable. As terribly hot as it was in Andersonville, as brutally cold as it was in Elmira, New York, there are not enough words to describe how really bad it really was. Sometimes, there are things worst than death.
By mid 1944, it became readily apparent to Japanese officials that the American forces, under the command of General Douglas McArthur, would retake the Philippines, just as McArthur had promised. American planes and submarines were dominating the skies and the seas. A decision was made to evacuate all of the American prisoners from the islands to the main islands of Japan. On October 24th, the Asian Maru, a transport ship - unmarked to show its cargo of eighteen hundred and two prisoners - was steaming toward Japan when an American submarine attacked the ship, killing all but eight of the American prisoners aboard. Those POWs remaining in the Philippines were herded into Bilibid Prison in Manilla for the next shipment of prisoners.
On December 13, 1944, sixteen hundred and nineteen prisoners, were crammed into the holds of the Oryoku Maru. Deaths from suffocation began almost immediately. It would be the last prison ship to leave Manilla. As the Oryoku Maru was crossing Manila Bay the next day, fighter planes from the U.S.S. Hornet attacked and damaged the ship. Ten days before Christmas, the Hornet’s fighters returned to sink the Oryoku Maru. They succeeded. Peter Fred and those who could make it swam to shore and safety, but not to freedom, their escape foiled by Japanese machine gun positions along the shoreline. Those who made it were corralled into a tennis court, where many died. Slightly more than three hundred men never made it to the court. Fifteen of the sickest men were promised treatment at a hospital. They were put in trucks, taken to a cemetery, and decapitated on the spot.
On Christmas morning, Larsen arrived at Lingayen Gulf. Larsen and more than a thousand others were stuffed into the holds of the Enoura Maru for a short trip to Takao, Formosa, where they arrived on New Year’s Day. Those who died on the way were thrown overboard. All of the remaining prisoners were compacted into the Enoura Maru on January 6th. Three days later as McArthur was returning to the Philippines, attack fighters in advance of the invasion relentlessly attacked any Japanese vessel in sight.
Bombs struck the forward hold of the Enoura Maru. Peter Fred and several hundred others never had a chance. Their bodies were left where they lay. Those who survived were treated with the crudest of first aid supplies, dirty shirts, bloody towels - anything which could be used as a bandage. There were no medicines. It was two days later when the first Japanese corpsmen arrived, only to treat the minor wounds with useless doses of Mercurochrome. Dead bodies were stacked. Survivors were forced to eat their scant meals while sitting on the bodies of their dead comrades. The bodies were stripped of their clothes by the survivors, many of whom had the same clothes they were wearing two years before when they were first captured. The dead were hoisted to boats and buried in a mass grave at Takao, although there is some credible evidence that the dead were cremated. Nine hundred of the original sixteen hundred were still alive, but barely.
Of those 1,619 prisoners aboard the Oryoku Maru, which left Manilla on December 13, 1944, approximately 1,187 were killed or died along the way. Shortly after their arrival in Moji, Japan on January 30, 1945, 161 more died, making a total of 1,348 deaths or eighty-three percent of the original group.
When you ride by the courthouse lawn, stop and get out of your car. Walk up to the monument to those who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country. Look down the list of our heroes for the name of Lt. Peter Fred Larsen. Always remember his story and his voyage on the ships of death.
(Special thanks to Wash Larsen, nephew of Lt. Larsen, for providing the information for this article.)
You may have never heard of Richard Von Gammon. But, when he died one hundred and ten years ago today, football in Georgia was nearly forced out of existence by the bereaved legislature of this state. Throughout Georgia and across the nation, a congregation of ministers cried out for the abolition of this most violent and vicious game. Without the aid of Von Gammon's mother and Bulldog captain William B. Kent, football in Georgia may have ended, if only for a little while.
It was a typical fall day on the 30th day of October 1897. The bleachers and sidelines of Atlanta's Brisbine Park were crammed with spectators to see if the undefeated Georgia Bulldogs, inspired by a trouncing of Georgia Tech the week before, could defeat the powerful Cavaliers of Virginia in a contest for superiority of southern football. Georgia had just completed the team's first perfect season, albeit they only played four games and won them all.
Richard Van Gammon, a well-liked fraternity fellow and outstanding quarterback from Rome, Georgia, kicked off to Virginia to open the contest. In the second half with Virginia in command of the game, Van Gammon, playing defensive back, sprinted toward a Virginia runner. Before he could make the tackle, the helmetless Bulldog was overrun by a wall of blockers, said to have been joined in a flying wedge formation with arms locked and bearing down upon him with all the force of an equine stampede.
Van Gammon dove to tackle the Cavalier runner and struck the ground headfirst. The Virginians trampled over his motionless body. For several excruciating minutes, players and coaches vainly attempted to revive the fallen star. At first it appeared as if Von Gammon was completely paralyzed, his eyes gazing blindly into the autumn sky. Eventually he was revived and helped to the sidelines, where he was examined by physicians who were attending the game. The doctors decided to transport Von Gammon to Grady Hospital for further examination and diagnosis. After he arrived at the hospital, Richard's temperature soared up toward 109 degrees. With his brain swollen to intolerable limits, Von Gammon never regained consciousness and died.
Just days after the fallen footballer's funeral, mass hysteria swept throughout the Georgia legislature. Fueled by intense lobbying by a host of ministers and a nationwide cry against the barbaric deaths that football had caused across the country, the lawmakers adopted a near unanimous ban on football in the state. The bill was sent to Georgia governor W.Y. Atkinson for his signature.
It was then when Van Gammon's mother and Bulldog captain William Kent issued an appeal for the governor not to sign the ban. The people of Athens, most of the university's faculty and even some Georgia players thought it was best to put an end to football at Georgia forever. Mrs. Von Gammon wrote a letter to Governor Atkinson pleading to him not to allow her son's death to end the game he so dearly loved. Aided by a poignant and stern letter from renowned Georgia professor and the team's first coach, Dr. Charles Herty, who advocated the necessity of sports to promote physical health, and the persistence of Captain Kent, the governor never signed the bill. Though football ended for the 1897 season after three games - they only played four or five games anyway - the games would resume the following year.
William B. Kent was born in Montgomery County, Georgia on January 30, 1870. This son of William Kent and Martha Beckwith Kent entered Mercer University as a freshman at the ripe old age of twenty-three in 1893. After playing football at the Baptist college for a single season, Kent transferred to Athens for the 1894 season, where he played guard. In 1896, William was moved to right tackle by Georgia coach Pop Warner, who went on to iconic status as the coach of Jim Thorpe of the Carlisle Indians, as well as successful stints at Pittsburgh and Stanford. Kent, at five feet eleven inches in height and weighing in at 185 pounds, was one of the strongest men at the college. In his junior season at Georgia in 1896, Kent was named president of the Athletic Association and captain of the football team for his senior year. As president of the Athletic Association, Kent led the organization out of its bankrupt position onto solid financial ground.
Off the field Kent excelled as an editor of the Pandora, the university's yearbook, as well as serving with highest honor of the Demosthenian Literary Society and as a commissioned officer in the military department. Considered one of the most popular men on campus - there were very few, if any, women enrolled as students in those days - William was known to have been a man of high moral character and a leader in the Young Men's Christian Association and his Sunday school class at the Baptist Church in Athens. During his semesters at Georgia, Kent served as president of eight organizations.
Kent, a self-made man, studied law, literature and bookkeeping. To pay for his studies, he taught school and even sold lightning rods one summer.
While he was in Athens, William met and married Miss Senie Griffith, daughter of Clarke County state representative F.P. Griffeth. Following her death, Kent married Lallie Calhoun, a member of one of Montgomery County's oldest and most prominent families.
After his graduation from Georgia, Kent was admitted to the bar, beginning his practice in that portion of Montgomery County, which would later become Wheeler County in 1912. In addition to his duties as an attorney, Kent served as both solicitor and judge of the City Court of Mt. Vernon, a state court assigned to handle misdemeanor offenses and minor civil claims.
In 1910, Kent, the former football hero, was elected to represent Montgomery County in the Georgia legislature. While in the House of Representatives, Kent introduced a bill to carve out that portion of his county lying on the western side of the Oconee to form a new county, purportedly to be named Kent County, not in his own honor, but in honor of his father, an early settler of the area. The name of the new county was Wheeler instead, named in honor of Confederate cavalry general Joseph Wheeler. Kent was chosen to serve as the first judge of the Wheeler County Court of Ordinary, or as it is today known, the Probate Court.
William B. Kent died on November 21, 1949. He is buried in Oconee Cemetery in Athens, Georgia in a town where football is king on autumn Saturdays. Perhaps the epitaph on his tombstone should read, "here lies William B. Kent, the Savior of Georgia football."
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The First Lady of the St. Patrick’s Festival
On this 50th Saint Patrick’s Day of Dublin, Georgia’s 50th Saint Patrick’s Festival it is only fitting and proper that we take time to salute the First Lady of the Saint Patrick’s Festival. Although she was deservedly recognized by the Order of the Blarney Stone in 1978, this four-decade-long festival volunteer was never recognized as the Woman of the Year nor as the Senior Citizen of the Year. As you will see, Anne Everly was the epitome of the old maxim, “Behind any great man, there is a great woman.”
Anne Middlebrooks Everly’s immeasurable contributions to the Saint Patrick’s Festival began as a matter of coincidence. Everly had just moved back home to Dublin to raise three small children. Early in her career at radio station WMLT, a conversation about a Saint Patrick’s Festival began around the coffee table at the station.
“Right from the beginning, she wanted to be a part of it,” said son Richy Everly. “Mom was drawn to the idea, desperately wanting to be a part of community endeavors in her hometown. She was even elected the historian of the festival before it started,” Everly recalled.
In explaining how the festival began, Anne Everly wrote, “The festival was born of a casual conversation in the coffee room of WMLT radio station. The town’s name - Dublin - was a natural for a Saint Patrick’s festival. The staff of WMLT set out to structure a festival that would bring fun to everyone, young and old - store up happy childhood memories - and give an identity to our town and county.”
WMLT approached Herschel Lovett, Bill Lovett and W.H. Champion of The Dublin Courier Herald to combine their media resources to found and fund a festival until the community itself could take over.
“The first two years of the festival stayed under the wings of its founders and all expenses incurred were paid by the founders. Any monies made by clubs and groups sponsoring events stayed in the clubs’ and groups’ treasuries. The first festival’s twenty events were scheduled in the official ‘Calendar of Events,’ wrote Anne Everly.
The festival gave the hardworking single mother an outlet for social activities, including her favorite pastime, bridge.
Daughter Kay Everly Braddy recalled, “For as long as I can remember, St. Patrick's Day and all of its festivities were a part of her life. She truly loved Dublin and wanted to give back to her community.”
Described as a determined woman, Kay stated that her mother, as one of the founding members of the St. Pat’s committee, was determined to do everything she could to make it the best it could be.
“The festival was her baby. We used to tease her about all of the St. Patrick’s stuff she kept under her bed. Every March, she would drag it out and start working on it,” Richy fondly recalled.
Everly asserted, “Based on what she did and what I witnessed, Mom dug into it and was all into what she did.”
In speaking of his mother, who served as a judge in many of the early parades and pageants,” Richly concluded by saying, “She loved all aspects of the festival and would be so proud to see how it has evolved over the last 50 years.”
Not one to claim the credit for herself, Anne wrote in her own history of the festival, “It would not be possible to mention all of the names of the many people who have contributed to the success of the Dublin/Laurens Saint Patrick’s Festival over the past 32 years. But there is one name we can’t leave out - Richard “Dick” Killebrew, Dick was WMLT’s news director and Morning Wake Up Man.”
“Because of Dick, and the many others who have worked to support the Festival, we are still merry making and wearing the green,” she proclaimed.
Anne once wrote, “There is no other event in Laurens County that is as large and as far reaching in community involvement nor is there any other event that has been promoted with such success in a spirit of unity.”
In recalling her service to the festival, Kay Braddy said of her mom, “Many long hours were spent for many, many years as a member of the Order of the Blarney Stone to being in charge of the professional parade floats to serving as the historian. She enjoyed every minute she devoted to the festival and was determined to help make it better and better year after year. I'm sure one of her proudest moments was when Richy was crowned Little Mr. Dublin.”
For four decades Anne Everly saved every scrap of paper related to the festival. She was the Historian of the St. Patrick’s Festival from the very first day. Those treasures were preserved by the Everly family, who donated them to the Laurens County Historical Society.
Everly’s collection contains several large boxes of clippings, programs, photos, tickets and all sorts of ephemera of all that is Irish about Dublin. The cataloging of the Anne M. Everly Saint Patrick’s Festival Collection has begun and any and all volunteers who wish to continue Ann’s project are asked to contact the Laurens County Historical Society at (478) 272-9242 or visit the museum at 702 Bellevue Avenue in Dublin.
In 1987, Anne Everly compiled a comprehensive history of the festival during its first thirty-two years. It is published in the second volume of the History of Laurens County, Georgia.
And on this Saint Patrick’s Day, daughter Kay can close her eyes and see her mom, who died in 2007, as “she proudly dons her green blazer as she walks the pearly streets of heaven and shares stories of her hometown, Dublin.”
So on this day when everyone is Irish, it is my turn to salute my fellow historian. Anne, along with Joann DiFazio, was one of the first of the women who took little or no credit for the enduring success of the festival. She was the first of the women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes while the founding fathers were lauded with plaques and awards. She was Anne M. Everly, “the First Lady of the Dublin Saint Patrick’s Festival.”
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
The Scarlet Scourge
In his day, Matt Brown was considered one of the best football players in the football powerhouse state of Ohio. Not a big man at all and weighing in as a senior in high school at 157 pounds, Brown played in an era when the single wing formation was the offense of the day. Brown, a fast and strong blocker, was a natural quarterback and fullback, who blocked for the halfback who ran and threw passes under the single wing formation.
Matt Brown, a son of Solmon and Thenia Brown, was born in Dublin, Georgia in 1922. The Brown family soon moved to Canton, Ohio. Ironically Canton is the home of the National Football Hall of Fame. And, it was football which made Matt Brown famous in the State of Ohio.
Brown was more than a fast and effective blocker. In those days, most players played both ways on offense and defense. It was on defense where Brown shined at linebacker. Although no defensive stats from his days at McKinley High in Canton, Ohio and at Ohio State University survive, Brown was regarded by his peers as one of the best of the Scarlet and Gray, the runner up for the 1944 NCAA National Championship.
Brown enrolled in McKinley High, an integrated high school in Canton. McKinley High is seventh in the nation in all time football wins with 739, coming in behind its chief, long time rival, Massillon. The two Starke County schools, located 8 miles apart, are the all time kings of Ohio high school football and two of the nation's greatest football programs. McKinley won the 1934 High School National Championship. Massillon was the top team in the nation in 1935, 1936 and 1940.
Matt Brown joined the team in 1939 as a 160-pound right half back under coach John Reed. One of his idols at McKinley was the great Marion Motley, a fellow Georgian, who went on to become a stalwart member of the Cleveland Browns and the second African American member of NFL Hall of Fame in Canton.
In the 1939 contest, Matt Brown managed to score his team's only touchdown in yet another loss to Massillon.
After Massillon's victory in the 1940, their legendary coach Paul Brown paid homage to Matt Brown, the McKinley captain, for fighting his heart out in an effort to win the game. It would be Paul Brown's last game as a high school coach and Matt Brown's last as a high school player. The following year, Coach Brown took the reins of the Ohio State Buckeyes. After the end of the war, he became the coach of the Cleveland Browns leading them to 4 AAFC titles and 3 NFL championships.
For his efforts in his final two seasons, Matt Brown was named to the All-Ohio team. He was generally regarded as McKinley's best player in the 1940 season. Going with Coach Brown to Ohio State was his assistant coach, Carroll Whiddoes. Both men remembered Matt's heart, drive and determination in the two games against Massillon and convinced him to join the team. They made a wise choice as Dublin native lettered for three seasons.
The 1943 Buckeyes, decimated by the loss of many of their best players to the war effort, managed to earn three easy victories, but the Ohioans lost twice as many games in Paul Brown's final season in the collegiate ranks. In 1944, Brown joined the Navy and coached a team at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.
For most of the 1943 season, Matt Brown was nagged by injuries. On October 9, 1943 at Ross Field in Chicago, Matt Brown was a part of trio of backs who made college football history. In the game against Great Lakes, Matt Brown started at fullback, Red Williams started at quarterback, and Jasper Harris was the starting halfback. What was remarkable about that lineup was that all three backs were graduates of the same high school, McKinley High in Canton. It was a mark which has rarely, if ever, been matched in the 145 years of college football. Brown played some at quarterback, who in the single wing formation was primarily only a blocking back.
It was during his junior season of 1944 when Matt Brown stepped it up another notch. Brown was a monster on defense, then under Coach Whiddoes. Brown, on defense, lead the team which easily outpaced all of its opponents, except in the Michigan game, which they won by only four points.
Brown was one of two starting offensive backs with experience. The other was Lee Horvath, a graduate student in dental school, who was allowed to come back and play in his last year of eligibility. Horvath had a breakout season in 1944, gaining 669 rushing yards and 1,200 all-purpose yards as the Buckeyes turned in a 9 0 record and finished second in the national polls, behind the powerful and unbeatable Army team.
In 1945, Brown was a stalwart on defense, playing with Oliver Cline, who went on to play six seasons in professional football. The Buckeyes finished 7-2, with a close loss to Michigan and a stunning upset by Purdue.
After leaving football at the end of the 1945 season, Matt Brown returned to the athletic fields in 1948 when he was hired by Coach Bill Bell as the boxing coach of the North Carolina A&T Aggies. Brown coached the Aggie boxing team to a Central Inter-collegiate Athletic Association tide in 1952. In 1952 and 1953, Brown's tennis team garnered the conference championship.
Brown left A&T in 1954. Fourteen years later he returned as the head tennis coach and assistant football coach under Hornsby Howell.
At A&T, Brown was heralded as one of the university's exceptional backfield coaches. His star players included William "Red" Jackson, the Aggies' All-American quarterback in the early 1950's. Brown also coached Art Statuni, who won the NCAA heavyweight boxing championship in 1953.
After a long illness, Matt Brown died on June 22, 1976 in a Greensboro, N.C. hospital. Brown was still in the prime of life as a coach.
In his brief stay on the Earth, Matt Brown was one of the lucky ones, a group of young African American Laurens County boys from the 191os and 1920s, which included boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson, baseball all star Quincy Trouppe, Negro League footballer Otis Troup, inventor Claude Harvard, N.A.S.A. physicist Robert Shurney and Tuskegee Airmen; Cummings, John Whitehead and Marion Rodgers. These young men were able to escape the bondage of the South's social and political ways of their youths to exceed at the highest levels in athletics, science and military service.
The Top Secretary of the Army
Carolyn James, of Adrian, Georgia, wasn't the first woman to join the Women's Army Corps during World War II, nor was she the first Georgian out of the some 150,000 women who volunteered to help the war effort in uniform. But it was this patriotic granddaughter of the founder of Adrian, who made U.S. Military history twice in her 20-year career.
Carolyn Hauser James, a daughter of Thomas Jefferson James II and Inez E. Hauser, was born in Adrian, Georgia on January 21, 1910. Her grandfather, Thomas J. "Capt. T.J." James, founded the town of Adrian in the 1890s as a base for his railroad, the Wadley & Mt. Vernon, and his massive farming interests. Not long after her grandfather's death, the James family fell on hard times. During the years before the Great Depression, Miss James and her family moved to the Miami-Dade County area, where Carolyn took a job as a stenographer in a law office and later in a hotel.
As a divorced mother of a son James Richard Owen, 14, Carolyn decided it was time for her to join the war effort officially. So at the age of 35, Carolyn enlisted in the Women's Army Corps on March 23, 1945 in Miami. In the late 1940s, Carolyn worked at Oliver General Hospital in Augusta, Georgia.
The Women's Army Corps provided valuable service to the Army in times of war and peace. General Douglas MacArthur proclaimed that the WACs "are my best soldiers." The general added, "They work harder, complain less, and were better disciplined than men." Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit, and determination are immeasurable."
As the country returned to war in 1950 in Korea, Carolyn and other stenographers saw an increased work load. Carolyn was assigned to Tokyo, where she was given the task of devising a system to organize and file correspondence related to the truce meetings which were held in hopes of ending the war quickly.
In her position as administrative assistant to the G-1, Carolyn received the Brown Star Medal for meritorious service to the Far East Command headquarters. The citation for the medal read in part," for devising an ingenious system of processing and filing high priority correspondence and expedient cross-indexing providing a chronological history relevant to the cease-fire armistice negotiations in Korea."
In the week before Christmas, 1952, James' meritorious achievements led her assignment by General James A. Van Fleet to his 8th Army headquarters in Korea. Master Sergeant James, the first ever master sergeant in the United States Women's Army Corps, was joined by Corporal Louise M. Farrell, of Billings, Montana as the first two members of the WACs to be permanently assigned to duty in Korea.
Carolyn James once told her family friends that while in Korea, she was scheduled to receive the Bronze Star from General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. She related that she wore her best uniform to headquarters. Just as she was to enter the building, however, a bird left its droppings all over her uniform, leaving her with a dilemma - see the General in that state, or go back and change and risk being late. She chose the former, which is perhaps why I never saw a photo of the ceremony, although her uniform blouse shows she wore the medal.
Carolyn, in a January 1953 letter to her cousins, Anne Laura Hauser and Melville Schmidt , wrote, "I was transferred to Korea on 18 December, after the Far East Command had made a thorough search for a WAC to fill the position of personal secretary to General Van Fleet, and finally decided I had the desired qualifications - although my tour was about up. However, when they approached me, I volunteered to extend for six months. Since there are no other WACs in Korea, Eighth Army recommended that I bring another for company, so I chose a girl who had court reporting experience. We had the honor of being the first two WACs to ever be permanently assigned to Korea's combat area."
"Of course, everything considered, Public Information Office and the other publicity media decided it was good material for WAC recruiting purposes, so for one week prior to our departure, we were constantly being photographed - motion and still; televised, and radio interviewed Then we were flown over in a special mission B-17, " James continued.
"We were cordially received by all in headquarters here. They have really done everything to make us comfortable and happy. We're billeted in a senior officers' billets , which had a portion of the second floor allotted to female personnel - Red Cross workers, the Chief Nurse of the Eighth Army, and us. We eat our meals here in headquarters in a little spot right outside the kitchen of the Army Commander's mess," the revered sergeant said.
Sergeant James stated, "My duty hours are quite long -- from 0800 to 2100 and sometimes 2200 (9:00 and 10:00) at night. However, movements are so restricted and the working conditions are so pleasant, it isn't too bad. We have a little Korean house girl who takes care of our clothes, which gives us added freedom from outside chores."
With fond remembrances, the Adrian native recorded, "I have certainly enjoyed my short tenure as General Van Fleet's secretary, for he is without doubt one of the finest men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. He is a superior field commander, American and humanitarian, and is respected and admired by everyone - Koreans included."
In summarizing her war experience, Sergeant James stated, "The devastation and misery in this country as the result of this war is indeed heart-rending, but there is much evidence that our government and its people are doing everything possible to alleviate much of the suffering. Aside from the many government-sponsored welfare organizations, every military unit (including the front-line units) has its own welfare program in the form of aid to orphanages, hospitals, etc. It certainly increases one's pride in his country and its people to see such a genuine display of generosity toward those less fortunate."
Carolyn's time in Korea was short as an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, although a 1963 Colorado Springs Gazette article stated that M. Sgt. James has gone to Korea six months before hostilities began in 1950.
James was assigned as Chief Clerk of the General Staff office at ARADCOM Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the summer of 1956. In her seventh and last year at ARADCOM, James served as Administrative Officer of the Training Branch, G-3.
With the passage of The Military Pay Bill of 1958, Congress added pay grades of E-8 and E-9. With the new law in effect. Carolyn H. James became the first in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) promoted to grade E-8, making her the first WAC promoted to master sergeant (or first sergeant). It was during her tenure in Colorado Springs when Master Sgt. James was promoted to Sergeant Major (E-9) making her the first woman in the history of the United States Army to hold that esteemed enlisted man's rank.
In 1963, Sergeant Major James was awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a second Army Commendation Medal. She was assigned to the Women's Army Corps School at Fort McClellan, Alabama. A second Oak Leaf Cluster was awarded to before her April 1965 retirement ceremony.
Carolyn James lived for nearly two and one half decades in Colorado Springs following her retiriement after twenty years of service to the Army. Sergeant Major James died on May 8, 1991 in local hospice.
And thus the story of the determined and patriotic lady from Adrian, Georgia, who grew up to serve the country as the top secretary in the Army.