Google+ Georgia On My Mind: September 2012

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

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