Google+ Georgia On My Mind: 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Taking a Little Time for Hiram

Today ,when most people living in the Paulding, Cobb, and Douglas County area mention they are heading to Hiram, they are referring to the long strip of box stores and chain restaurants along Highway 278 that have sprung up in recent years.

They aren't wrong. Those businesses...Walmart, Target, Kirklands, Jim n Nicks BBQ, Longhorn's, etc....are all located in Hiram, but the original "town" part of Hiram is located a little south of that and is found along Highway 92.

Folks zoom by the old part of Hiram...the original town site....since the main road doesn't actually go through. It's easy to zoom by as you have your sights set on your destination along Highway 278.

I've done that for years. Every time I blew by the site sitting down in a little depression by the railroad tracks I thought....gee, I really should drive through there and see what the old town part of Hiram has to offer, but I never felt I had enough time. The picture below is taken down in the old town part of Hiram looking up at the Highway 92 bridge.
The few old buildings...the old church with the rounded brick walls looked interesting enough, but for some reason we tend to zoom by those interesting areas that are the closest to us and instead focus on history that is far away when we happen to have the time to investigate....when we happen to be on vacation or something.

Shame on me....shame on you if you are guilty of that as well. 
I decided to drive through the old town part of Hiram and give it a good look-see, and have decided it's a nice little destination for a good lunch at the Olive Tree Restaurant and then explore the antique stores located there.
The area hasn't always been known as Hiram, however. Going back to the 1830s the area soon became known as Gray's Mill. After I came home I accessed the city of Hiram's website for their history.
The history section is based on a book by Kathryn Bookout called Hiram, the Little Town by the Tracks. An apt title, right?  Ms. Bookout owns Main Street Antiques found there along the tracks. Her book can be purchased there.
Gray's Mill referred to a mill located a little above where the old town site sits today and was owned by Garrett Gray. Like many settlers to the western area of Georgia his roots began in South Carolina.
Garrett Gray was the son of Isaac Gray, a Revolutionary War soldier and was born on September 23, 1801. The Gray family moved to Georgia in 1825 settling in Franklin County. There Garrett Gray eventually met up with Jane Jenkins. Jane had been orphaned as a small child and raised by her older brother. They had moved to Franklin County in 1825.
Garrett Gray and Jane Jenkins married January 1, 1828. They farmed in Franklin County until 1835 when they moved to Paulding County. Gray became well known and prominent because of several contributions to the area.
According to the history listed at the city of Hiram's website regarding Garrett Gray:
*He had a contract to deliver the first locomotive on the first Georgia railroad
*He built the first cotton gin in Paulding County around 1836
*He served as state representative for the area which for a time was Cobb County and then Paulding in the Georgia General Assembly
*There was even talk for a time about Gray running for Governor of Georgia.
When the Civil War broke out Garret Gray enlisted as a private with Company D of the First Regiment Georgia Calvary in 1862. He was released later to due to his age.
Gray also built a grist mill near the town site where other settlers could get their wheat an corn ground.
Gray's obituary from the Paulding News Era dated April 29, 1887 reads...."Died, Mr. Garrett Gray, an old and very highly respected citizen of this county died yesterday and was interred at the old family burial ground."

Gray's son, William Jackson Gray is mentioned in an edition of Memoirs of Georgia which verifies most of the information here, but it does need to be remembered that most of those entries were submitted by the gentlemen themselves.

At the time of Gray's death the name of Gray's Mill had not been in use as the formal name of the area for a few years. In 1881, a post office designation was given to the area and the name Hiram began to be used. Hiram was used because of Hiram Baggett, a man who lived in the area and served as the first postmaster.

At that time it was very common for areas to take on the name of the postmaster. Some areas even changed names over time as the postmasters changed. Hiram did not. The town incorporated in 1891, and the name Hiram became legal.

The wording to the original Hiram town charter can be found here.
Hiram Baggett was born in 1846 and was eventually married to Julia Ward. During the Civil War, he served in the 2nd Company F, First Confederate Regiment of the Volunteer Infantry of Tennessee. After the war Baggett moved to the area then known as Gray's Mill not knowing that his name would be given to the town that would eventually spread beyond the few frame buildings along the railroad tracks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Case of Harold (Willie) Walls - Favoritism in Henry County?

The morning of June 11th started off like many others. I was trying to get various things done in the house including a few writing projects. It was a little past lunchtime, and I was feeling accomplished since I had already marked several things off my list, and cell phone rang.

I glanced at it and saw it was the Mister calling.

There was nothing unusual about the call since we often exchange texts, Facebook messages or calls during the day as most married people do, but this was going to be one of those life-changing calls.

I just didn't know it.

I answered and the Mister didn't say anything for a second or two, but the minute he did I knew something was wrong.

"Where.....where are you?"

I was taken aback by that question and instantly bristled a little. I snapped, "Well, I'm at home. I'm up in the middle of the bed trying to get some writing done. Why?"

As the Mister answered me and continued to talk I could hear the fear and concern in his voice. He said, "I just had to know where you were......"

"What's wrong?" At this point my mind was racing. Were we under a terror attack, had one of our parents passed, was one of our children hurt? Oh no.....the kids.

"Sam's been in a wreck. We don't know anything yet." I could hear loud voices and crying in the background at the Mister's office.

Sam was Samantha Kirby. She was the wife of the Mister's business partner, Blaine Kirby. She was a very lovely and vibrant woman. Sam's day had started normally that morning just like mine. She conversed with her husband before he went to work, dressed, did a little around the house, and then made plans to meet her son for lunch.

Sam did her normal everyday activities.

She didn't know it was her last day of life.

She never made that lunch, and when her son waited and she didn't show and she didn't answer her phone, he went looking for her.

Yes, sadly he found the accident scene.......and the long nightmare for the Kirby family had begun.

At the time the Mister called me everyone was still hoping that Sam was being extricated from the car and would be rushed to the hospital, but there was no need to rush.

Our Sam was gone.....

Last night Channel 46 here in Atlanta aired a story titled "Tough Questions After Hampton Councilman Kills Woman in Crash". You can see it at this link.

Many thanks to Wendy Salzman for airing what is so obviously a flawed accident investigation and flawed presentment to the grand jury with lots of different ties to Hampton City government and the government of Henry County as well.

Here it is November....five months after the horrible accident and the person responsible has not been issued a single ticket or been required to pay a dime of any fine.

Please click through to see the video, but parts of the text story state:

Hampton City Councilman Harold Walls was driving a dump truck that hadn't been properly inspected in years at the time of the accident on June 11. When his brakes malfunctioned, he collided with another car and killed Samantha Kirby.

The article continues....

Records obtained by CBS Atlanta News showed that Walls' commercial truck hadn't been properly inspected in accordance with motor carrier safety regulations since 2003. A Georgia State Patrol inspection after the accident found the truck had multiple deficiencies, including the brakes being out of service.

.....In a legal response, Walls admitted he was the only person who inspected the truck over the last five years, which means the government inspection sticker on the dump truck is fake.

Walls uses the truck for his business, D & J Hauling. The business has no business license and hasn't had one for three years.

The article also states Walls walked away from the scene without taking a drug or alcohol test and without a single citation. The first responder to the accident was the Henry County Fire Department where Walls retired as an EMT in 2010.

While this matter was presented to a grand jury, there are too many details here that beg for further investigation including HOW THE MATTER WAS INVESTIGATED BY AUTHORITIES.

The Kirby family screams for it....her friends scream for it....and any citizen of Henry County and Georgia should scream for it.

Something is very, very wrong in Henry County!!!!!

The Hampton mayor and councilmember information can be found here.

.....and yes, you can find Mr. Walls' number and e-mail address there, too since he is councilmember.

Henry County Commission information can be found here.

I understand that Henry County has a new District Attorney. Perhaps he needs to know that he has a case that requires another look regarding favoritism, perhaps he needs to know there is a business owner in his jurisdiction thumbing his nose at laws regarding licensing and commercial vehicle inspections.

The Henry County District Attorney's number is 770.288.6400.

The evidence in this case was presented to a grand jury, who dismissed the charges. That leaves Walls free to drive a commercial vehicle.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Election of 1884

Well, the long road to the Election of 2012 is over, and tomorrow evening we should know who the next occupant of the White House will be.  

I spent some time yesterday wondering how Atlanta reacted to past elections, and I found an interesting account from the Election of 1884 including revelry that lasted all day and night as well as citizens bursting into the General Assembly while in session and a river of fire ran through the city's streets.

Read's not what you think.

You may rely absolutely on Cleveland's election....

Once those words were sent out to cities all over the United States via telegraph the Election of 1884 was over.

Grover Cleveland would be heading to the White House.

Franklin Garrett, Atlanta's premier historian advised in his book Atlanta and Its Environs......In ten minutes 1000 democrats were in consultation as to how best to celebrate. Mr. Henry W. Grady was elected marshal of the day. Committees on music, bloody shirts, bonfires and parade were appointed and at 10:30 there were over 3000 men in line.

The Constitution for November 8, 1884 stated the following:

In front of the procession were two volunteer drummers, Gresham and Brown. Following them, leading the line of march came Mr. Grady, his hat wrapped with a new silk flag, and Alderman Lowery bearing an immense flag, which was greeted with resounding cheers.....

Next came the bloody shirt brigade....bearing red shirts stretched on crossed poles.  Affixed to each shirt was a placard reading, 'We are going to burn this!'

The bloody shirt made reference to instances during the campaigns where reference had been made to martyrs in exchange for political points.

The newspaper account continues:

Behind the bloody shirts came about a thousand men bearing small flags. Next to these was a huge United States flag stretched as a canopy over 50 men in charge of Jim Iverson, Hoke Smith and Dr. [Clinton T.] Brockett......

As the procession marched up Broad Street it was met by Hon. E.P. Howell and Major John Fitten with a brass band they had picked up in a jiffy. They had gathered perhaps 500 people, who at once fell into the column, the band taking its place in the center. As the march proceeded up Broad it was greeted by cheers from the crowd that lined each side of the way and filled all of the windows. Up Marietta Street it was the same.

On reaching the capitol the line of march was turned into the side steps and up into the corridor it poured like a torrent.  When they reached the door of the house, the drummer started in. The doorkeeper made some show at holding the doors, but Mr. Evan Howell bracing against the brass drum pushed in and the crowd followed with a rush.

The house was in session. The drums were stilled, and the members in surprise rose to their feet.

Mr. Grady with beaming face announced:

'Mr. Speaker! A message from the American people:'

The house rose as one man this time, and the column marched onto the speaker's stand, with drums beating and colors flying. Hon. Lucius Lamar was in the speaker's desk. Mr. Grady siezed him in his arms, and took gavel from his hands, and rapping for order said:

'in the name of, and by the authority of Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, I now declare this house adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock!"

The house took the point like a flash. Most of the members were on their desks, the uproar and cheering were terrific. The speaker took the stand and tried to restore order, but the thing was over. A resolution was offered by Mr. Flint of Spalding congratulating Cleveland and Hendricks. It was voted on by 2000 people, who filled every nook and corner of the house. There were calls for 'Grady' for several minutes but he had left to adjourn the senate and the governor..... front of the capitol the broad streets were packed with 10,000 people shouting themselves hoarse. The bands were playing 'Dixie' and the yelling was deafening. Governor McDaniel was brought down accompanied by General Lawton. They were received with cheers and encircled with United States flags. Mr. Grady then announced that Governor McDaniel would address the unterrified and jubilant democracy of Fulton County from the customhouse steps.

The bloody shirts, saturated with oil were fired in front of the capitol and burned amid the wildest demonstrations of joy and approval. When this interesting ceremony was over, Mr. Grady introduced Governor McDaniel......

Over a thousand torches were provided and at six o'clock a remarkable scene was presented about the Constitution building and for blocks around. Everywhere the weird light of the torches could be seen and the streets were filled with crackling bonfires, until the picture was like unto a view of the infernal region. Everywhere was one moving mass, while shouts rent the air and horns shrieked and drums beat and bands played. It was a wild scene and one that was calculated to fill the stoniest soul with patriotic enthusiasm.

At seven o'clock the procession started, led by a detachment of sixteen mounted policemen to clear the way. Following came young men from the Democratic League, about 300 strong, bearing [signs]. The greatest procession, to the music of 'Dixie', turned into Broad Street and proceeded toward Mitchell......Broad Street seemed like one mass of moving fire, and a wild pandemonium of exultant democratic noise.....Along Whitehall were brillant illuminations and thousands of flags fluttered gaily, while every few feet bonfires and colored lights made a scene that was as dazzling in its brilliance....

....As the procession passed along Whitehall, it was easy to see how imposing it was. Among the [signs that the people carried were the slogans]: Low tariff and reform, Paint the town Red, .....and Tell the Truth....

....At the Constitution office the procession was reinforced, and again they started out passing around Broad, Mitchell and Whitehall again.....Everywhere immense bonfires were burning, rockets and Roman candles were firing and the scene was a wild one....

....The procession turned into Peachtree, and then a scene of grandest brilliance occurred. The procession by this time was nearly a mile and half long and the thousands of torches looked like a river of fire that flowed along the ridge lined by the bank of trees. The residences were brightly illuminated. The Capital City Club was brilliant as a palace and the lawn of Leyden House was filled with a thousand Chinese lanterns, while the building was lighted by hundreds and hundreds of candles, making it a blaze of light.......

....By the time the procession turned into Peachtree there were fully 25,000 people on the streets. Never in the history of the city were there so many people out at one time. 

[At one point] the procession was joined by the Gate City Guard under command of Captain Jackson. The procession turned in Forsyth Street and proceeded to the customhouse, halting in front of the building and filling Marietta Street with a sea of fire for blocks each way.

For some time the horns tooted, the bands played, the drums beat, the populace shouted, the cannons boomed and there was a regular whoop-la time of it.  [When the quiet was restored Mr. Grady introduced Senator Brown who spoke. He was followed by several other  just as enthusiastic speeches.]

Then the crowd took to the streets. The procession started up, and the boys went ahead painting the town red. Until after midnight the exultant shouts were heard. At one everything was quiet, only here and there a stray shout. At two o'clock silence brooded over the sleeping city, and the greatest democratic demonstration was over.

The election of Grover Cleveland in 1884 was important because a losing streak for the Democratic Party that had lasted for over 25 years had been broken. After years of Reconstruction following the Civil War the South finally had a Democratic leader. This meant something as in those days Democrats were the majority in southern states.

It had also been a difficult and bitter election.  Accusations regarding an illegitimate child had been hurled at Cleveland and his opponent....James G. Blaine had some ethics issues as Speaker of the House.

Cities all over the state of Georgia.....all over the South celebrated the election of Cleveland that night including my own home of Douglas County.   I've shared a bit about their celebration which included a mule here.

No matter which candidate is deemed the winner tomorrow night......let us celebrate the fact we have the freedom to choose our leaders.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chinchillas, Ponies and Donkeys.....Oh My!

Growing up in Red Oak, Georgia along U.S. 29 or Roosevelt Highway my father indulged my sister and I with just about every pet imaginable with reptiles being the exception. Of course, we had the regular assortment of dogs and cats that just seemed to take up with us...usually at a time when they were about to bless the world with a litter of puppies or kitties, but we also had a few unexpected animals of the more exotic type.  

While Red Oak wasn't exactly the city during the 1970s it was more city than country and considering we lived on the grounds of a large lumber yard....West Lumber wasn't the spot where you would expect to find a large assortment of animals. 

For example, we had bunny rabbits and colored chicks bought at the feed store in College Park during the springtime along with various ducks that would run around the yard quacking up a storm. I had little turtles bought with my allowance money from the Woolworth at Jamestown Shopping Center, and so many goldfish were flushed down the toilet at Red Oak I'm amazed my parents didn't have serious plumbing issues.

At one point we had six chinchillas. My sister and I loved waiting for them to be in the right position in their cages so we could reach in and grab them by the tail...the only way to safely pick up a chinchilla since they have very sharp teeth and love to bite. Daddy had designs on breeding, raising, and selling the little critters, but at some point I think he finally realized all of our chinchillas were...alas....of the male persuasion.

Daddy, being the farm boy that he was, felt my sister and I needed to experience a cow...a calf to be more exact at some point when I was seven or eight.   So, a baby calf was delivered to the house inside a rather large wooden crate. I say large because the crate was as big as my bedroom. Every single day our job was to give the calf his food and give him his bottle. 

Yep....he had a huge bottle resembling a baby's bottle with the longest nipple I'd ever seen. For a time it was one of the highlights of my day to visit the calf and give him/her the bottle. While he or she ( I really don't remember) pulled and tugged at the bottle I tried to keep steady by using my other hand to pet the calf and I would tell him all my deep dark secrets.

Then there was the Christmas morning that my sister and I heard a commotion on the front porch along with a knock on the door. We had already waded through the stacks of presents under the tree and just figured company had come "a callin'", so we opened the door not realizing yet another animal was about to enter our menagerie.

A pony!!!

A pony had climbed our front steps and was standing on our front porch.  I couldn't believe my eyes. From what I now understand our little pony had won several ribbons and various trophies, and his owner needed to retire him, so the pony came to live at our house for awhile. 

It was a very exciting Christmas morning!!! 

Then there was the day we found the donkey tied up in our yard. We never named our larger animals. The calf was The Calf....the pony was the The Pony...and the donkey guessed it....The Donkey.  I felt sorry for him since he was rather homely in that donkey kind of way.  I mean....he was a donkey, right?

He put up with a lot from me. At my young age I patted, prodded, and rubbed him. I talked to him, hugged him, rubbed his nose, kissed him, fed him treats, and just generally loved him very much...probably too much because one day he figured out how to loosen the knot from the rope tied around one of our oak trees. I'd really like to think he just wanted to go exploring a bit, but more than likely he was trying to escape all of the love I tried to bestow upon him.

The donkey decided he'd take a trip down to the center of Red Oak. Instead of taking the highway he decided to run down the rail road tracks. I caught sight of him and my screams alerted  an employee of my father's who set off after my beloved donkey. To make matters worse we could hear a train whistle in the distance, and I was afraid not only my donkey would be hit by the train....I was concerned for the man trying to rescue him for me.

The train went whizzing past the house and it wasn't until the train passed I saw the man carefully making his way up the side of the tracks...rope in hand...pulling the donkey with him. He had managed to catch up with the donkey and get him off the tracks just before the train passed.

Another hot summer afternoon I heard a commotion out on the highway in front of the house. I went to the porch and saw where the donkey had gotten loose yet again and ventured across the tracks and was standing in the middle of the highway. I had been told to never cross the tracks without an adult so...I commenced to hollering and crying afraid my donkey would get hurt.

Mom came running and hurried across the tracks to get to the donkey. Then I really began screaming and crying because now not only was my donkey across the was my mother. When I was younger I had tremendous separation anxiety during most of my elementary years where my mom was concerned.

Looking back on it now the whole situation was hilarious....even though at the time I was scared and NOT amused. Not accustomed to seeing a donkey in the middle of Roosevelt Highway the traffic had come to a stop both ways and the cars were gingerly taking turns slowly making their way around my donkey...first one direction and then the other. The donkey...well, he just stood there on the center line of the road...just staring into space as most donkeys do looking off towards College Park with his rope dangling down his side and leading off behind him. Every now and then his tail would twitch and swat at a fly.

Mother grabbed the rope and tried to get him to turn around towards our drive so she could lead him home. The donkey would have none of that.....

She tugged.

The donkey resisted.

She pulled.

He shook his head at her.

She pushed.

He bared his teeth at her.

By this time several folks were getting impatient and began to honk their horns upsetting all of us...the donkey, Mother, and me. The donkey didn't like the car horns and began making noises. 

Yes, he stood there in the middle of the road and began braying as loud as he could.


A few of the folks who actually knew us hung their heads out the windows as they inched by mom saying, "Heeey, Geri!", "Having fun?", or just attempting to give her advice or encouragement of some sort.

By this point the donkey was tired of the whole "game" and took a set-down. Yep, I now know why a donkey is often referred to as an ass or a Jackass to be more precise. The donkey just plopped his big fat ASS right down on the center line of Roosevelt Highway....just sat down and proceeded to ignore my mother for the next fifteen to twenty minutes.

Then as suddenly as he had sat down he stood up, turned around and walked back across the tracks and into our yard as if he owned the world and did that sort of thing every day. 

My mother wearily looked on and then trudged on along behind him across the tracks, into our yard and up the steps. She didn't even offer to tie him up. I think my dad did that once he arrived at the house.

Our donkey found himself put out to pasture at a family friend's farm within the week where he proceeded to irritate the Mama Cows by trying to mother their calves.

Our family stuck to dogs and cats after that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Tullie Smith House

If you've ever visited the Atlanta History Center chances are you've walked around to the Tullie Smith House or the Smith Family Farm.   It's promoted as a prime example of an early plantation home....not the stereotypical Tara portrayed in Gone With the Wind, is it?

The house dates to 1835-1840 and was built by Tullie Smith's great-grandfather, Robert H. Smith who arrived in Georgia from Rutherford County, North Carolina.  Before it was moved to the Atlanta History Center the house sat at 2890 N. Druid Hills Road on what was once Smith's 800 acre farm.   He had eleven slaves and was typical of the yeoman type farmer who lived in Georgia during the mid-1800s.

Tulllie Smith was the last family member to live in the house and though I don't remember her my sister does.  Our family used to live in the Druid Hills area, and our mom knew Tullie Smith.   She and my sister would often stop to visit with her.   

When I was in the classroom I loved taking students to the Atlanta History Center and tell them that my sister had actually played on that very front porch as a little girl while my mom and Miss Tullie visited.   While students were fascinated by my connection to the house they were all amazed when the docent would tell them about the Traveler's Room off the front porch.   This was a room where travelers who were coming through late at night could stop and stay.   Since the room remained unlocked the visitor could enter the room without disturbing the family.

I don't think I would have enjoyed waking up to "company" without prior knowledge........

This is a picture of Tullie Smith standing at her mailbox along Druid Hills Road in the early 1960s.

Tommy H. Jones has some wonderful details about the structure of the home here, and he also has a page devoted to Miss Tullie here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Margaret Mitchell: Reporter

Even without writing THE great southern novel Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell's life was quite interesting.

At one point it was said she was engaged to at least five the same time.   She was one of Atlanta's society belles during the decadent 1920s dancing the Tango and the Apache Dance scandalizing the Old Guard.

Good for her.

Her second husband was her first husband's Best Man meaning she was smart enough to get out when she probably should have said no in the first place.   The first marriage most certainly wasn't the most ideal situation even if it was what others wanted for her.

Again....good for her.

And as far as I'm concerned Atlanta's Georgian Terrace Hotel is sacred ground since this is where Hollywood's Rudolph Valentino swept Margaret Mitchell off her feet and carried her inside from the rooftop.


Now, Margaret Mitchell didn't meet Valentino during her debutante days.   She met him while working for the Atlanta Journal - the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine to be exact - where she wrote numerous entertaining articles over her time there including an interview with the Hollywood heartthrob.  

Mitchell was in transition from one marriage to the other and needed the job, but she received no encouragement from her family, from her society friends, and didn't really have any encouragement from the folks who hired her, but she did it anyway.

I tend to really admire those who create and persevere with little if no encouragement.

Yet from 1922 to 1926 she turned out a wide variety of work that is quite interesting including articles on Confederate generals, King Tut, and one article concerned the last surviving bridesmaid at Theodore Roosevelt's mother's wedding.

This interesting online article states......[Mitchell's] titles were fairly bland, but "Hanging Over Atlanta in Borglum's Sling" took [her] high above Atlanta in a stone cutter's sling so she could get an idea what it was like on Stone Mountain......


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hood's Headquarters

While many tend to think General John Bell Hood's headquarters was the residence of James E. Williams it was merely just one of the locations the general moved to during the summer of 1864 when he led the defense of the city.  

Today the location is found within the confines of Oakland Cemetery and is marked with a historical marker since the home is long gone.  

Recently I wrote an article at discussing the confusion regarding Hood's headquarters which was officially located in the southwestern portion of the city at the home of L. Windsor Smith, an attorney.

Smith's home is pictured below:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Red Oak's Own....Jo-Jo White

You find the most interesting things in old newspapers.  The other day I was clicking through some old issues of the Pittsburgh Press when I saw the words "Red Oak, Georgia".  I immediately zeroed in on the article because Red Oak is the name of the place where I grew up.  

The article was dated October 3, 1934, and said....

The little town of Red Oak, Georgia doesn't know it yet, but it isn't going to have any main street a week from now, for that winding red clay strip that runs from the general store to the depot, is going to be re-named Rue De La Jo-Jo White.


Well yes, I thought...why?  Who in the heck is Jo-Jo White, and why would the folks of Red Oak name a street after him?  For one thing as far back as the 1960s Red Oak didn't have a street named Main Street.  The main drag was Roosevelt Highway/State Route 29.  The general store....were they referring to Mr. Johnson's store that stood on the corner of Washington Road and Roosevelt Highway or was there a general store on down close to the old depot where Lee Plaza was built in the 1970s?  I know the approximate location of the old depot at Red Oak, but it moved at some point

The article continues with the journalist's answer to the why question:

Simply because Jo-Jo White, native son of Red Oak and now center fielder for the Detroit Tigers is going to be the rampaging dark horse for the 1934 World Series.  Jo-Jo of Red Oak is going to perform many remarkable feats in the series that starts this afternoon.   He is going to lam bast the living daylights off the ball.  He will make shoe-string catches, French fried catches, and catches a la Julienne.

He will steal first, second, third, and home.  He will be a pain in the neck, a thorn in the side, a fly in the ointment and an asp in the bosom to the Cards.

How do I know this?   How do I know that it will be Jo-Jo White and not Hank Greenberg or Billy Rogell or Leo Durocher or Pepper Martin again?   I know it because I got it from the same source I get many of my sterling predictions - from a vision.

Well, first of all it's a little thrilling for me to see my hometown which really wasn't much of a town....more of a delightful community mentioned in a Pittsburgh newspaper.   Second, I had to know more about this Jo-Jo White.

So, while the newspaper article continued discussing a "vision" can see the whole article here....I went off in another direction to find out more.

Jo-Jo White's full name was Joyner Clifford White, and he was born in Red Oak, Georgia on June 1, 1909.  Immediately I decided his nickname...Jo-Jo....had to come from his first name, right?  I was wrong.  He earned the nickname because of the way he pronounced the word "Georgia".


So far I've determined Jo-Jo White played for the Carrollton Frogs in 1928....a minor league team in the Georgia-Alabama league before breaking into the major leagues.

He played with the Detroit Tigers during the 1934 and 1935 seasons when the team won back to back games of the 1934 World Series.  In 1935, he would play in five games of the World Series.  

Gee, I guess the Pittsburgh Press reporter's vision was accurate.

During his time with the Detroit Tigers, Jo-Jo White's roommate was Hank Greenberg who wrote in his autobiography that for five years he and Jo-Jo White re-fought the Civil War every night.  White's first comment to Greenberg had to do with the fact he was surprised to find out a Jew such as Greenberg didn't have horns.  The two men were soon fast friends.  

Unfortunately, White's time with the Tigers was short-lived.  Greenberg reports in his book that following a drunken incident with a hat belonging to the Tiger's manager, Del Barker was destroyed White was traded to the Seattle Rainiers.

An article from Sportspress Northwest dated last year shows a few pictures including this one with a caption that states..."Jo-Jo White teaching Edo Vanni the right way to perform a hook slide.   Sixty-five years later Vanni would credit White with all he needed to know to run the bases well."

The article also advises Jo-Jo White learned base stealing from another famous Georgia baseball player.....Ty Cobb, and.....

"White, who played with the Rainiers from 1939-1942, and again from 1946 to 1948, became an igniter for the club, spraying line drives to all fields and commandeering the base paths with skilled abandon."

Jo-Jo White was able to return to the majors during World War II.  In 1943, he began playing for the Philadelphia Athletics, and in 1944 was traded to the Cincinnati Reds.

White played his final game on September 30, 1944, and for several years coached with various teams including the Detroit Tigers.....and even coached in Atlanta with the Braves for a year. 

The book Stand and Deliver:  A History of Pinch-Hitting by Paul Votano says, "White was involved in a curious event in 1960, while a coach for the Cleveland Indians.  General Manager, Frank "Trader" Lane swapped his manager, Joe Gordon, to the Tigers for their manager at the time, Jimmy Dykes.  Without a skipper for the game, the Indians had Jo-Jo White run the team, and he won his only game as a big leaguer manager."

Jo-Jo White passed away on October 9, 1986 while living in Tacoma, Washington....far away from his Red Oak, Georgia roots.  Eleven years later he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.  

Jo-Jo White was father of Mike White……Joyner Michael White…..who played professional ball in the 1960s

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bobby's Botanical Walk

Without question Robert Tyre Jones, Jr.....Bobby his many fans was the first and only person to win the Grand Slam of golf in one year.  Add in the fact he designed the Augusta National Golf Course where the Master's Tournament has been held since 1934 and you realize his importance to our state.  

But maybe golf isn't your thing...maybe the history of the land where Augusta National is today does matter to you.  (For a brush up course you can read my article here......)

Did I mention Bobby Jones was a native Atlantan?

...and besides Gone With the Wind's Margaret Mitchell, Bobby Jones' grave at Oakland Cemetery is one of the most visited graves.  In fact, back in April when the Mister and I ventured to Oakland for the afternoon there were four others besides my husband wandering about trying to find the resting spot for one of golf's greatest players.

An information brochure I picked up at the cemetery's gift shop advised people from all over the world travel to Atlanta to visit his grave...the modest marker is adorned with golf balls and tees left by visitors as tokens of remembrance......and yes, the Mister.....and avid golf player....left his own remembrance. 

Considering the history of Augusta National where the land was once used as a nursery and the fact that Oakland Cemetery is park-like botanical garden I find it very fitting that in 1994 Mr. Jones’ family helped fund a botanical installation at Oakland.  

When you visit look for the markers along the walks approaching Bobby Jones' grave.  You will be able to find 18 different markers detailing 18 different trees, shrubs, and specimen plants.  These plants are found at each of the holes at Augusta National Golf Course.

I think it's a wonderful tie-in to Mr. Jones, the golf course, and the cemetery.   Information from Oakland Cemetery states.....Roses, perennials, and ground covers have been added, along with botanical identification markers for each.  Additional funds from the family provide annual private maintenance in the area.

Here is a list of each of the 18 markers with links to the botanical information.

13. Azalea

14. Chinese Fir

17. Nandina

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yes! Even You Can Become a Star!!!

The closest I ever came to being a star of stage and screen happened when I was nine or ten.   A friend of mine....Jeff Hightower...who I went to church with invited me along with another friend to WAGA-TV.....the forerunner of Fox Five be on the Mr. Pix Show, a popular children's show.

Back then kids dressed up to do something like that.  Jeff wore one of his spiffiest bow ties and Sunday-Go-to-Meeting jackets plus he had his crew cut standing at full attention.

I wore my favorite outfit at the time....a floral print shirt dress that had a matching hot pink knit overcoat that resembled a cape because while it had openings for my arms it also had one solitary button at the neck.  If I walked really fast and swishy the tail of the jacket/cape billowed out behind me was the perfect dress to be wearing if I was to be "discovered."

If I remember correctly we were able to catch a glimpse of ourselves in the audience scenes when the episode finally aired, but I don't remember any of us getting to participate in any of the games, etc.

I guess we didn't have "it" whatever "it" happened to be.

These days, however, it's really easy to find yourself in a movie  or television show being filmed in the Atlanta area.    It seems something is going on all the time.

Not too long ago the Mister and I went to see the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Nah...I'm not pregnant....very far from it, but a friend of mine....Jeff Pike.....was in the movie along with his band.....the very popular A1A.    

I was amazed at how great the city of Atlanta looked in the movie.  The article at this link has the tag line "relatable story with gorgeous scenery" and I would have to agree.

The movie makes Atlanta look fantastic!

Scenes were filmed at Piedmont Park, Inman Park, Little Five Points and the Georgia Aquarium.  Smith's Olde Bar was featured along with Fulton County Airport at Charlie Brown Field.   Atlanta's Food Truck scene was given a prominent role, too.

It's fairly easy to keep up with all the television shows and movies being filmed in Atlanta and across the state as well.   You can keep up with the happenings "in the biz" by reading Radio and TV Talk with Rodney Ho. and most certainly check out the Casting Couch from DAVE-FM.

Another great source is On Location Vacations and it might be helpful to check out How to Become a Movie Extra in Atlanta.

Let me know if you land a role!!! 

As for me........I'm still waiting for my close up......

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Woodrow Wilson: Atlanta Lawyer

From time to time a friend will ask me about my writing.

Questions concerning what I'm working on, what topics I'm researching, or what to expect next on with the blogs. 

It's nice to have friends and family  who are interested.

Last week I advised I was working on Woodrow Wilson's time in Atlanta.  

My friend was surprised and immediately said, "Wilson was in Atlanta????"

Yes!  Woodrow Wilson spent a year in Atlanta after he finished law school.   In fact, he arrived in    the city without an official stamp of approval from the bar.   He soon took the bar exam though....and passed.

In a letter to CharlesTalcott, a classmate and friend at Princeton on September 22, 1881 Woodrow Wilson gave his reasons for wanting to settle in Atlanta, Georgia after school.   

Wilson said, After innumerable hesitations as to a place of settlement, I have at length fixed upon Atlanta, Georgia.   It more than any other southern city offers all the advantages of business activity and enterprise.  Its growth during late years has been wonderful…And then, too, there seem to me to be many strong reasons for remaining in the South.   I am familiar with southern life and manners for one thing – and of course a man’s mind may be expected to grow most freely in his native air.  Besides, there is much gained in growing up with the section of country in which one’s home is situate, and the South has really just begun to grow industrially.   After standing still, under slavery, for half a century, she is now becoming roused to a new work and waking to a new life.  There appear to be no limits to the possibilities of her development; and I think to grow up with a new section is no small advantage to one who seeks to gain position and influence.

Upon arriving in the city of Atlanta Wilson set up shop partnering with Edward Ireland Renick, a former classmate.  Renick already had an office at 48 Marietta Street which was then known as Concordia Hall…..later the Ivan Allen Marshall Building at the the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets. 

Their office was on the second floor in the back.

The building was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the First Federal Savings and Loan building.

Renick was living in the home of Mrs. J. Reid Boylston, a widow, who lived at 344 Peachtree Street……on the west side of the street a little north of Pine Street.  Wilson moved in as well and was soon attending the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, too.

In his book, Atlanta and Environs, Franklin Garrett recalls the inauguration of Governor McDaniel and Wilson's take on the whole scene advising Governor Alexander H. Stephens had died and James S. Boynton of Griffin, President of the Senate, succeeded to the office until a special election could be held.  The Democratic Party met in April.   Henry D. McDaniel, a banker, railroad director, member of the House from Walton County was nominated.    

Garrett further advised that a young Woodrow Wilson witnessed the crowd assembling for the inauguration of Governor McDaniel from his office window.    The next day Wilson wrote a friend in Berlin:

Governor McDaniel was inaugurated yesterday.   As I sat here at my desk I could see from my office windows, which look upon the principal entrance of the big, ugly building which serves near Atlanta as a temporary capitol, the mixed crowds going in to secure seats in the galleries of the House of Representatives at the inauguration ceremonies.

They were probably not much entertained though they may have been considerably diverted, for our new governor cannot talk.   He stutters most painfully, making quite astonishing struggles for utterance.  

A Tennessean wag expressed great commiseration to Georgia in her poverty of sound candidate material, and offered to send some over from Tennessee for the relief of a state which was about to replace a governor who could not walk [Stephens] with a governor who could not talk.

McDaniel is sound enough in other respects, however, not remarkable except for honesty - always remarkable in a latter-day politician - but steady and sensible, all the harder worker, perhaps because he can't talk....

Apparently Georgia didn't mind the speech issue since they elected McDaniel and re-elected him with opposition in 1884.

Wilson gave Atlanta up in 1883 and enrolled at John Hopkins, but before leaving the city Wilson wrote, Here the chief end of man is certainly to make money, and money cannot be made except by the most vulgar methods.   The studious man is pronounced impractical and is suspected as a visionary.  Atlanta students of specialties – except such practical specialties as carpentering, for instance – are classed together as mere ornamental furniture in the intellectual world – curious perhaps and pretty enough, but of very little use and no mercantile value.

Interesting thoughts from from our 28th President.

I've written a little bit more about him and his time in Atlanta over at American Presidents Blog here.
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