Sunday, June 26, 2016


The Founder of Alpha Delta Pi

   Eugenia Tucker grew up in a world of wealth and privilege, surrounded by people who had to struggle just to get by.  Her father, a wealthy planter, sent her to Wesleyan College in Macon, where she could obtain the finest education a fine young lady could receive.  While at Wesleyan, Eugenia and a small group of school girls founded the Adelphean Society, the first society or sorority for college women in the United States, on May 15, 1851   The Adelphean Society evolved into Alpha Delta Pi, the oldest women's sorority in the world.

     Eugenia was born January 29, 1834 in the Buckeye District of Laurens County. Her father, Dr. Nathan Tucker, was a Rhode Island native who came to Laurens County in the 1820s to set up what later became a widespread and lucrative medical practice.  Dr. Tucker, amassed one of the largest plantations in Laurens County.  His home, Buena Vista, was located at the northeast corner of the Buckeye Road and Jackson Lake Road, formerly known as the Wrightsville and Oconee Road. Dr. Tucker, one of  the largest slave owners in the county, was known far and wide for his compassion for his slaves.  As a delegate to the Secession Convention of 1861, Dr. Tucker voted "no" on the issue of leaving the Union.  During the war, he forbade Gen. Samuel Wray Ferguson's Mississippi Cavalry, who was on picket duty between Sherman and Andersonville, from camping on his plantation.

     Laurens County's school system in the 1840s was less than sufficient, especially for the upper class children of the county's wealthy planters.  Dr. Tucker, who surprisingly had no college education, wanted the best possible education for his five children, four girls and one boy, Lucien Quincy Tucker.   Dr. Tucker employed governesses from the North to help him in raising his family. His wife, Elmira Horn Tucker, died at a young age.  One governess, because of her radical abolitionist ideas, caused such a stir with the house servants that she was promptly dismissed and sent home.  The library of the thirteen - room Tucker home  was lined with shelves filled with all of the classical literature of the day.  Dr. Tucker subscribed to the best magazines and once a year shipped them off to Philadelphia for binding.  Lucien and Eugenia were sent to closest private academy  at Midway, near Milledgeville.   Eugenia and her brother completed their courses at the academy. Lucien was sent to Princeton University to complete his formal education.
     A daughter of a neighbor returned from Macon with stories of how wonderful Wesleyan was.  Eugenia had never seen much of the world.  Dublin, fourteen miles away, was a lifeless and decaying town.  Midway was a little better, not far from the capital city of Milledgeville.  Eugenia, like her father, was a lover of books. Eugenia dreamed of going to college.  Finally, Dr. Tucker consented and summoned Hector and Paris, two of his most trusted servants, to fetch his  finest black horses and hitch them  to the big carriage.  Uncle Peter, another of Dr. Tucker's oldest and most faithful servants, took Eugenia on the fourteen-mile ride up the Oconee Road to Oconee Station on the Central of Georgia Railroad.  From Oconee, Eugenia boarded the west bound train for Macon.  It was a new world with strange faces all around her.  Eugenia lips quivered.  Her heart beat raced.  The dreaded entrance examination was upon her.   Naturally,  she passed the test and entered the Junior class at Wesleyan, which in 1836 became the world's  first college established exclusively for women.

     The girls began their days with a 6:30 a.m. prayer, followed by a series of two-hour recitations.  Their day ended with a 7:00 p.m. supper.  Bed time was 10:30.  Upon meeting other members of her junior class, Eugenia found that "they were more of mischievous enjoyment than their lessons."   She decided that what Wesleyan needed was a women's society, one that "would influence her friends to
join her in forming an association for their advancement."  Nineteen young girls (Eugenia was only seventeen) gathered on  May 15, 1851.  Prof. Edward A. Meyers, an English professor at the college, suggested that the group call themselves, "The Adelphean Society."   The word "Adelphean" was derived from the Greek word meaning "sister."  Eugenia was elected as President of the society.

     Along with Eugenia, five of her closest friends are considered the original founders.  The girls were mostly from influential families in the state.  Ella Pierce was a daughter of Bishop George F. Pierce, the college's first president. Octavia Andrew, who entered Wesleyan at the age of thirteen, was a daughter of a Bishop James O.  Andrew. Other founding members were Mary Evans, daughter of a Methodist minister in Macon, Elizabeth Williams, and Sophronia Woodruff.

     Eugenia graduated as valedictorian of her Wesleyan Senior Class of 1852.   In an elegant ceremony in the Tucker home on December 4, 1861, Eugenia joined hands in marriage with  Judge Arthur Erwin Cochran, formerly of Wilkinson County  but then a resident of Glynn County.

     Judge Cochran was one of the most brilliant lawyers in the state.  He was a member of the Georgia legislature and a member of the Secession Convention, where he, like his future father in law, supported remaining  in the Union.  Cochran,  the first judge of the Brunswick Superior Court Circuit,  recognized the need for better railroads.  He resigned from the bench and was named the first president of the Macon and Brunswick Railroad.  The town of Cochran, Georgia is named in his honor.    Judge Cochran, a widower, had one son, Arthur Emmett Cochran, whom Eugenia raised as her own.   The younger Cochran, represented Pierce County in the Georgia legislature at the tender age of twenty one and later established a successful practice in San Diego, California.   Eugenia returned to Macon to live with her new family.  Following Judge Cochran's death in 1865, Eugenia, who was bequeathed a substantial fortune, toured with friends in Europe, places she had read about in her father's library.  After eight years of widowhood, Eugenia married Dr. Edmund Fitzgerald, of Macon, who was also a widower, with a beautiful young daughter.  Eugenia wrote in her memoir,

   "Nothing in my life give me more sincere pleasure than to see her occasionally and to feel that she regards me as her mother."  Following Dr. Fitzgerald's death in 1887, Eugenia moved to Washington, D.C. to live with her step daughter and her new husband, a civil engineer Captain A.F. Lucas.  Eugenia outlived most of her relatives.  Her sister, Ella, married Col. John M. Stubbs of Dublin, but who, like many young women of her time, died too young.   Her brother Luicien served with honor as a Captain in the 57th Georgia infantry during the War Between the States.

     The Adelphean Society became Alpha Delta Phi in 1905.  Nine years later, the name was changed to Alpha Delta Pi, to avoid confusion with a men's fraternity.  That same year, Wesleyan officials abolished all sororities at the school.  Eugenia remained active in the alumni association of Alpha Delta Pi, whose motto was originally,  "We live for each other."   She was affectionately known by generations of sorority members who succeeded her as "Mother Fitzgerald."  

   Suddenly, on 10th day of December in 1928, Eugenia died in her sleep in Fort Worth, Texas, where she had been living the last eighteen years with her niece Roberta Andrew Flournoy.  She was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. In August of 1933, her body was disinterred and brought back to her second hometown of Macon. She was buried beside Dr. Fitzgerald.   At the age of ninety four, Eugenia had been the oldest alumni of Alpha Delta Pi and Wesleyan College.  She was the last survivor of those six young girls, who one hundred and fifty years ago today, founded the first and the oldest women's sorority in the United States.



In 1933 it was still a man’s world.  Most women worked in the home.  Some women taught school, while others worked in clerical, domestic and other less than glamorous jobs.  But it was in the deep dark year of the Great Depression that a few of the women then and formerly of Dublin took off their aprons, put their brooms in the closet (just for a little while anyway) and set out to find their rightful place in our society.  During this month of March when we celebrate Women’s National History Month and on this International Women’s day, here are a few stories of the scores of Dublin women who excelled beyond their usual triumphs of managing our homes, families and every other thing left in their charge.

Charlotte Hightower Harwell was very good at her job.  The only problem was that every other court reporter in the state of Georgia in 1932 was a man and she was just a 20-year-old woman.  In derogation of the long-standing practice of male court reporters, Dublin Judicial Circuit Judge J.W. Kent appointed Mrs. Harrell as his court reporter, making her the first woman court reporter in Georgia.  She later worked in LaGrange and in Gainesville for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which included the counties of Hall, White, Lumpkin and Dawson.  Mrs. Harwell distrusted stenograph machines and recorded most of her trials by shorthand. It was said that she was such a good typist her hands were at one time insured by Lloyd's of London. Former Chief Superior Court Judge Richard Kenyon of Gainesville said, "For years, she was one of the brightest, most competent court reporters that this area has known."  "All the lawyers had great respect for her," said Gainesville lawyer Julius Hulsey. "Nobody ever questioned her transcripts," he added.  Mrs. Harwell retired in 1975 after a 42-year career as a court reporter.   Charlotte Hightower Harrell died on May 22, 1995 and is buried in the Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville, Georgia.

Elizabeth Garrett Page was born in Hancock County, Georgia in 1903.  Her father, A.W. Garrett, was one of the leading bankers and businessmen of “Dublin’s Golden Age.”  In November 1933, this 30-year-old mother of four was appointed by the Dublin City Council to the Dublin City Board of Education, making her the first woman to serve in that capacity.  Mrs. Page’s appointment came at a time when women had been voting on a regular basis for only a decade.  Educated at Wesleyan College, Mrs. Page was the first president of the Parnassus Club and president of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  Mrs. Page was also active in the First Methodist Church, where she was the first president of the Leader’s Class.  Mrs. Page served as the Society editor for the Dublin Courier Herald and operated a private kindergarten from 1949-1966.   Mrs. Page died on March 3, 1986 and is buried in the mausoleum in Northview Cemetery in Dublin.

Aretha Miller Smith was born in Laurens County on July 22, 1914.  After graduating from high school in 1930, Aretha went to work in the  law office of W.A. Dampier.  In those days it was not mandatory for candidates for the bar to attend law school or pass a written test.  An applicant only needed to be presented for admission by practicing attorneys and pass an oral test administered by the judge of the Superior Court After three years of reading and studying the laws of Georgia, Miss Miller appeared before Judge Kent for her  examination on her knowledge of the law.   She passed and in December 1933 at the age of  19, Miss Aretha Miller became the first female attorney in Dublin, the first in the Dublin Circuit, one of the few female attorneys in the state at that time and most likely the youngest female attorney in the history of Georgia.

In addressing the court upon her admission to the bar, Miss Miller expressed her joy and humbly pledged her untiring efforts toward the cause of human justice, realizing the great responsibility and the uplifting influence that may be exerted in a community by a good lawyer.  She worked with W.A. Dampier until 1943, when Mrs. Smith joined in the war effort when she took a position in the Judge Advocate’s office at Robins Field in Wellston (Warner Robins), Georgia.    Aretha Miller Smith practiced law in Dublin for more than three decades before her death on December 23, 1969.  She is buried in Northview Cemetery in Dublin.

Jesse Baldwin, daughter of Sidney A. Baldwin and Mary Searcy Baldwin, was born on October 28, 1888.  Following the death of L.Q. Stubbs in 1933, Miss Baldwin was appointed as the first female Deputy Clerk and United States Commissioner of the Dublin Division of the Southern District of Georgia. Miss Baldwin died on April 26, 1977 and is buried in Northview Cemetery in Dublin.

In 1933, Sarah Orr Williams was beginning her 12th year as a secretary to a United States Senator from Georgia.  She began her career in Washington, D.C. as secretary to the legendary senator Thomas E. Watson.  Following Sen. Watson’s death in 1922, Gov. Thomas Hardwick, who would later move into a home a block south of Miss Orr’s home on Bellevue Avenue and South Calhoun St., appointed Watson’s close friend Mrs. Rebecca L. Felton to fill Watson’s unexpired term. Senator Felton retained Sarah in her office making her the first secretary of the first female United States Senator in the history of the country.  A new election was held that fall and another legendary senator, Walter F. George, was elected to succeed Mrs. Felton.    Sarah Orr remained as Sen. George’s secretary until 1934, when Sen. George replaced her with his nephew.  Sarah Orr, daughter of former mayor and a leading Republican in Dublin, married Gladstone Williams, a writer for the Atlanta Constitution and other newspapers in Washington and Miami.   While working at the Atlanta Constitution, Gladstone became acquainted with Margaret Mitchell.  In writing her epic novel “Gone With the Wind,” Mitchell modeled her character of Rhett Butler after Williams, who also bore a slight resemblance to the actor Clarke Gable who played Rhett Butler in the movie version of the novel.  

 Known as a colorful character and treasured for her sharp wit, keen mind and undying loyalty to friends, Sarah Orr remained a volunteer for the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society and numerous other charities.  During her years in Dublin, Sarah Orr was instantly recognized while wearing her trade mark hats and long cigarette holders.  She was an avid supporter of the Laurens County Historical Society and the Laurens County Library.    Among her lasting contributions to the heritage of our community were the articles she wrote on the waning historical places and sites in our area following the post World War II boom.   She died at the age of eighty-four on March 18, 1981 and is buried in Northview Cemetery.

One of Dublin’s most well known and respected teachers was Bertha Sheppard Hart.  Bertha Hart,  a daughter of M.M. Sheppard and Julian Caroline Page, was born in Johnson County on September 8, 1878 near Wrightsville.  Mrs. Hart was the wife of long time county agent John F. Hart.  The Harts moved to Laurens County in 1922.   In 1929, Mrs. Hart published “Introduction to Georgia Writers.”  In this definitive bibliography of the works of Georgia authors, Mrs. Hart sought to encourage her students and students across the state to strive to become great writers.   Her most famous work was as the editor of “The History of Laurens County, Georgia, 1807-1941.”    Mrs. Hart was a popular speaker to civic, patriotic and cultural organizations in addition to her years of devotion to teaching Sunday School at First Baptist Church.  Bertha Hart served a four-year term as President of the Woman’s Study Club as well as terms as Regent of the John Laurens Chapter, NSDAR and as an officer of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  She was a substitute librarian at the Carnegie Library and was named “First Lady of Dublin” by the Beta Sigma Phi sorority.  She died on April 18, 1949. Her ashes were buried beside her husband in Union Point Cemetery in Union Point, Georgia.

The year 1933 was an especially gratifying year for Nella Braddy.  Born in Americus and reared in Macon and Dublin, Miss Braddy was one of the country’s
most successful women writers and editors.  Miss Braddy was a daughter of Robert E. Braddy, Sr., a prolific writer of letters and articles in his own right.  Her brother, Robert E. Braddy, Jr., was an admiral in the United States Navy and was awarded the Navy Cross, the country’s second highest award for heroism.

Miss Braddy was educated at Wesleyan College, Converse College and Columbia University in New York.   She began teaching in Georgia public schools, but soon decided she would pursue a career in writing.   Nella went to work for Doubleday Publishing Company. It was at Doubleday where she met her husband Keith Henney, a writer of radio text books and electronics magazine articles.  As an editor at Doubleday, Miss Braddy compiled and edited articles of some of the world’s most famous authors.  Among her landmark works are the “Standard Book of British and American Verse,” “O. Henryana,” “The University Library” series and the “New Concise Pictorial Encyclopedia.”  Though she was considered one of the country’s foremost female encyclopediasts, Braddy admitted she had a poor memory for facts.

In the early 1930s, her bosses assigned her to a project that would change the course of Nella’s life forever.  Nella was charged with working with Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy in the compilation of Keller’s book “My Religion.” Over the years the  trio worked closely writing the manuscript and gathering information for the book.  The three became intimate friends.  It was during this time that it occurred to Nella to write a biography not on the world famous Helen Keller, or her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy.  In 1933, Doubleday published “Anne Sullivan Macy, The Story Behind Helen Keller.”  The book received rave reviews from the New York Times and the leading literary critics of the day.  In appreciation for her friendship, Keller and Macy surprised Nella with a brand-new car, which she hesitantly accepted and didn’t know how to drive.   Miss Braddy continued to work with Helen Keller in various book projects.  In 1941, Nella Braddy authored  "Rudyard Kipling, Son of Empire,” the most definitive biography of the British/Indian author.   Her “Reader’s Digest” article on Anne Sullivan Macy was considered one of the best in the magazine’s first quarter century.

Grace Warren Landrum, one of two daughters of the Rev. William Warren Landrum and Ida Dunster, often visited in Dublin at the home of her sister Mrs. Margaret Landrum Watkins. In 1912, Miss Landrum founded the Dublin Woman’s Study Club to promote the study of literature, art and music.   For the rest of her life, Miss Landrum maintained close ties to the Woman’s Study Club as an honorary member.  She was born July 18, 1876 in Providence, Rhode Island.  In 1898, she was the first Southern woman to graduate from Radcliffe College.  Miss Watkins began her teaching career at the Washington Seminary in Atlanta. She taught at the Kentucky Home School for Girls in Louisville, Kentucky, before obtaining her A.M.
Degree from the University of Chicago in 1915.  She was a Professor of English at Tennessee College in Murfreesboro and Head of the English Department at Westhampton College.  Grace Landrum was awarded a Ph. D. in English from Radcliffe in 1921.  From 1927 to 1947, Dr. Landrum was an English professor and Dean of Women at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 1919, Miss Landrum published “Charlotte,” a biographical novel of one of her gifted students.  She was a member of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa and a prolific writer of journal articles on l iterature. Of her most enduring legacies at William and Mary was the establishment of the “Yule Log” ceremony at Christmas.   The Yule Log is carried through the crowed of students who each take a sprig of holly and touch the log and tossed the burning sprig into the Yule Log Fire,  symbolically tossing away their worries for the rest of the year.  Dr. Landrum’s original idea included the wearing of 18th Century costumes and the passing of a boar’s head throughout the crowd.  More enduring legacies at William and Mary are Landrum Hall and Landrum Drive named in Dr. Landrum’s honor and memory. After retiring from William and Mary, Dr. Landrum taught briefly at the University of Redlands in California.   Grace Warren Landrum died in Columbus, Ohio on April 21, 1951. Always considered as an honorary citizen of Dublin, Miss Landrum was laid to rest beside her sister Margaret Landrum in Northview Cemetery.

Mrs.  John S. Adams was one of the leading members of a large number of women’s patriotic organizations on the local, state and national levels.   Born Lucia Augusta Stanley on January 2, 1874, Mrs. Adams was a daughter of Capt. Rollin A. Stanley, C.S.A. and Rebecca Lowther.  She was a member of what was undoubtedly Laurens County’s most prominent family.  Her brother Harris McCall Stanley was the editor of the Dublin Courier-Dispatch, school board president, military officer, and founder of the Dublin Chautaugua and the Carnegie Library.  In 1911, he was elected Georgia’s first Commissioner of Commerce and Labor.  Another brother, Vivian L. Stanley,  worked in the newspaper business in Dublin.  A former postmaster of Dublin, Stanley was elected to the Georgia Prison Commission and played a pivotal role in the extradition of Robert Burns, whose story became immortalized in the book and the movie “I Was a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang.”  Her eldest brother was Ira Lowther Stanley.  Ira L. Stanley began his newspaper career with the Dublin Gazette.  He was one of the founders of the Dallas Evening Herald and other newspapers in Texas.   Frank R. Stanley, the fourth of her brothers to work in the newspaper business, was printer of the Gainesville News.

Mrs. Adams was called to join and lead nearly every patriotic women’s organization in Dublin.  She was the first president of the Thomas McCall Chapter of the Daughters of 1812.  Mrs. Adams was a Regent of the John Laurens Chapter NSDAR, state president of the Colonial Daughters of the 17th Century, state regent of the Daughters of 1812, President General of the Colonial Daughters of the 17th Century, and national Curator General of the Daughters of 1812.  She and her husband Judge John S. Adams lived in “Prences,” their home on Bellevue Road, which is now being restored by Lana and Allen Thomas.  She and her husband moved to Washington, D.C. in the mid 1930s when he took a position with the Treasury Department.   Judge and Mrs. Adams returned to Dublin when he took a position as the Referee in Bankruptcy for the Dublin Division of the Federal Court.

There were other outstanding Dublin women in 1933 who are  too numerous to mention here. They will have their own place in other columns.  It was a year when actress Eugenia Rawls was beginning to step off the college stage toward the bright lights of Broadway.  It was a year when Madge Hilburn Methvin was one of the only female editors of a Georgia newspaper.  In a time when food was scarce to many people, Henrietta (Mrs. S.R.) Dull, the food editor of the Atlanta Constitution, was the country’s foremost expert on Southern cooking.    There were even more unsung women that never were afforded the credit of their enduring efforts.   The year was 1933,  the year of the women of Dublin.  


“The Betsy Ross of Texas”

On June 14 of every year, we, as Americans, celebrate Flag Day in honor of the “Stars and Stripes,” traditionally, but not positively, designed as the first flag of the United States of America.  On this Flag Day, let us take time to remember another famous flag designer whom you may have never heard of.  This is the story of a young Middle Georgia girl, who, 180 years ago,  designed one of the most enduring  flags in American history  - the legendary “Lone Star Flag” of Texas.

Joanna Troutman, a daughter of Hiram Baldwin Troutman, was born on February 19, 1818.  Some of her biographers state that she was born in Crawford County, but at that time, the state of Georgia’s boundaries did not include any land west of the Ocmulgee River.  Joanna was most likely born in Baldwin County, the state capital, where her parents were living during the 1820 Census.  After the lands west of the Ocmulgee were opened, the Troutmans moved to Crawford County, southwest of Macon.

When an urgent call was sent out throughout Georgia and the South for volunteers to aid Americans living in Texas against the threat of harm from the Mexican Army, Col. William Ward, of Macon, recruited a company of volunteers from the Middle Georgia area and Columbus.

During a November 12, 1835 meeting in Macon, more than $3,000.00 was raised to form a company for service in Texas.

Seventeen-year-old Joanna heard of the mission from family and friends who were volunteering.  The legend is that Joanna took a portion of her white silk skirt and fashioned it into a battle flag with a five-pointed blue star on both sides with "Liberty or Death" on the obverse and "Ubi libertas habitat.”  On the reverse it was written, “Ubi nostra patria est,"  or "Where liberty dwells, there is our country."   One story goes that Joanna presented the flag to Col. Ward while his battalion was marching through tiny Knoxville in Crawford County on its march to Texas.

Unlike the legend of Betsy Ross, which most likely was concocted by her grandson after the Civil War, absolute proof of Joanna’s creation of the flag can be found in an extant letter.

     "Columbia, Ga., Nov. 23, 1835.
     "Miss Troutman: Col. Ward brought your handsome appropriate flag as a present to the Georgia Volunteers in the cause of "Texas and Liberty." I was fearful from the shortness of time that you would not be able to finish it as tastefully as you would wish but I assure you, without emotion of flattery,  that it is beautiful and with us its value is enhanced by the recollection of the donor.”
     “I thank you for the honor of being made the medium of presentation to the company, and if they are what every true Georgian ought to be your flag shall wave over fields of victory in defiance of despotism. I hope that proud day will soon arrive, and, while your star presides, none can doubt our success.”
     “Very respectfully,”
     Your friend, Hugh McLeod
It is believed by some that it was Lt. McLeod to whom Joanna delivered her flag.  McLeod, a native of New York City, had just  moved to Macon.  He had graduated dead last in his United States Military Academy class at West Point in 1835.  While on his way to his first assignment in Louisiana, Lieutenant McLeod was attracted to the Georgia Battalion of Volunteers and followed them to Columbus.  McLeod would have to wait to go to Texas until he resigned his commission a year or so later.  He served as the adjutant general and the inspector general of the Texas army.

Troutman’s flag was first unfurled on January 8, 1836, in Velasco on the Gulf Coast at the American Hotel in what is now Freeport, Texas.  Col. Ward’s battalion joined the army of  Colonel James Walker Fannin, who is said to have raised the “Lone Star” as the first national flag of Texas. Fannin,  a native of Twiggs County, Georgia, and his command were captured and massacred at Goliad on Sunday, March 27, 1836.

After the massacre, the story of Troutman’s flag was soon to be forgotten.  Torn to shreds during the battle, not a single scrap was saved as a souvenir.  In gratitude for her gift of the battle flag, Troutman was presented with two pieces of silver from the personal belongings  of the captured Mexican leader General Santa Anna.

Joanna Troutman returned to a normal life.  She married S. L. Pope in 1839. The Popes, who had four sons, lived on their  large farm, “Elmwood,” outside of Knoxville.   In 1875,  after her husband died in 1872, Joanna married W.G. Vinson, a one time state representative.

Joanna Troutman died on July 23, 1879 and was buried in her family cemetery near her home.    Lying in eternal peace and obscurity for more than a third of a century, memories of Joanna and her important contribution to the State of Texas were resurrected in 1913.

Texas governor and native of Camilla, Georgia, Oscar B. Colquitt, sought and was granted written permission to have Joanna’s remains reinterned in the state capital at Austin.  Texas officials hired prominent sculptor Pompeo Coppini to design a proper and fitting bronze statue to capture the importance of her memory to all Texans.  Eventually, a portrait artist was hired and his painting of the “Betsy Ross of Texas” hangs in the capitol building.

So now you know the story of a famous heroine of Texas, who never traveled to the Lone Star State, but whose memory will continue to live on in the minds of true Texans for as long is there is a Texas. 

Monday, May 11, 2015


Georgia’s Second Female African American Dentist

Dr. Annie Yarborough may or may not have been the first African-American female dentist to practice dentistry in the State of Georgia, but she was certainly the second African-American woman ever to be awarded a license by the state.  Dr. Yarborough was the first woman ever to practice her profession outside of Athens, Georgia, where Dr. Ida Mae Hiram hung her out her shingle in 1910.

Born Annie E. Taylor on July 18, 1882 in Eatonton, Georgia, Dr. Yarborough was the mulatto daughter of the Rev. Hilliard Taylor and Anna E. Pennaman.  Her maternal grandfather, Morris Penneman, was a successful farmer and mill right and for his time a large landowner among a small group of former slaves who owned land in post Civil War Georgia.

Annie attended the public schools of Eatonton. After she graduated from high school in 1896, Annie enrolled at the Atlanta University.  Life was difficult for Annie and her family after Rev. Taylor died all too young.    She was educated in the field of education and took her first job in her hometown.    Miss Taylor moved out of town and taught in the Putnam County schools before moving to Jasper, Dodge and Laurens Counties.   In her spare time and between school terms, Annie was quite a successful dressmaker and fancy seamstress.

It was during her tenure in Laurens County that Annie met Dr. Adolphus Yarborough.  They fell in love and married on February 22, 1906.    Adolphus Yarborough learned his dental skills while working as an office boy.   Before he entered Dental School, Adolphus worked as a porter.   He was regarded by many as the best mechanical dentist of his race in Georgia.    Adolphus Yarborough, born in September 1881,  was a son of Nelson and Charley Yarborough and was the first African American dentist to practice in Laurens County.  When they first got married, Adolphus and Annie lived in his father's home on Marion Street in Dublin. 

Annie longed to work beside her husband.  Adolphus' office hours and home visits rarely allowed the couple to see each other, so Annie made up her mind that she was going to become a dentist.  There was only one problem.  There were no black female dentists and Georgia and no black dental schools in the state either.   

Annie had to leave Dublin and move to Nashville, Tennessee where she enrolled at Meharry Medical College.  During her first year at Meharry, Annie was elected to teach sewing and domestic science at Walden University.  In another rarity, Annie was both a student and a teacher at the same time.  

In the spring of 1910, Annie Taylor Yarborough walked across the stage and accepted her diploma as a graduate.  Dr. Ida Mae Hiram, credited as the first female African-American dentist in Georgia was also a member of Class of 1910.    Later that same year Dr. Hiram passed the dental board examinations and joined her husband in their dental office in Athens.    It would be another year before Dr. Yarborough would be officially licensed to practice in Georgia.

Dr. Yarborough was active in the Baptist Church.  She was an outstanding member of the Household of Ruth and the Court of Calenthe.  

The onset of World War I provided new opportunities for dental students and practicing dentists as well.  Black dentists finally thought this may be their chance to expand their practices beyond their own race.  Applications to the newly created Dental Reserve Corps poured in.  Annie Yarborough was one of the first to apply.  On June 6, 1917, just two months after the United States officially entered the war, Dr. Yarborough volunteered for service.  Her two brothers had served in the 9th and 10th Cavalry during the Spanish American War and at the age of thirty four, Annie believed it was her duty to serve her country.  She informed the Army that she was one of the few female dentists in her state (either black or white) and had completed four years of dental education at Meharry College.

Four weeks later, the office of the Surgeon General of the Army issued its standard denial of all women applicants, though the offer was appreciated.  As the war progressed, the policy of no women in the Dental Corps changed. 

During, or shortly after the war, the Yarboroughs divorced.  Annie, with no children, changed her name back to her maiden name and lived in a house at 626 South Jefferson Street in Dublin with her mother and her sister Leola Smith and her husband Henry.

Following the 1920 Census, Dr. Annie Taylor seems to vanish from Dublin.  I could find no records of her.  Perhaps she, like her father, died young.  Maybe she moved to another town.  Who knows?  If you know, contact me immediately.

Dr. Annie Taylor Yarborough was a woman of high integrity, high education and one whom all of Laurens County can rightfully and deservedly be proud of.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Silver Screen Animator

You probably never heard of Jean Karaty unless you lived in the Miami, Florida area. You have probably seen the fruits of her work and don't even recognize this heretofore uncredited artist.  If you knew her like her family and friends did, then you would  know of her outstanding contributions to the world of animated films.  Her fame was fleeting, but following her death on this past Thanksgiving, her work as an cartoon animator has once again come to light to show what a really gifted artist this Dublin native was.
Jean Karaty was born Jean Shehan  on February 22, 1917 in Dublin, Georgia. Jean's  parents, Louis and Sarah Shehan, moved from their Franklin Street home in Dublin in 1924 to Miami, Florida, where they opened a dress shop.  The Shehans, natives of Syria, came to Dublin to join other members of their family who were in the mercantile business.  They were closely allied with the Jepeway family, who came from Lebanon.

"She always talked about the big hurricanes," her son Michael Karaty Jr. said. And when Jean was nine years old, she saw one of the worst. The 1926 Great Miami hurricane devastated Miami and caused more than 78 billion dollars (165 billion in 2015 dollars) in damages and remains the costliest in U.S. history.

Jean graduated from Miami High in the mid 1930s and set out to find a job during the still dark days of the Great Depression.  She immediately went to work full time in a parent's dress shop. Then, in a moment of destiny, an employee of Fleischer's Studio happened to walk in the shop and noticed Jean's drawings of flowers, animals and her intriguing cartoon characters.

Most people will point to Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes as the cartoons they fondly remember most from their childhood.  But there is a third leading animation company of that golden era of animated cartoons from the 1930s through the 1950s, and that company was Fleischer Studios. 

Fleischer Studios was founded in 1921 in New York City by brothers Max and Dave Fleischer.  While Walt Disney concentrated on human-like animal cartoon characters, the Fleischers  took the lead in developing human ones.  

In 1938, The Fleischers established a studio in what was a swampy farm outside of downtown Miami.  The building, while still in existence, is now occupied by the Miami Police Department.

Jean was eventually hired by the Fleischers.  As an opaquer, Jean was required to produce 1440 cartoon cells for every minute of film.  Jean and her colleagues filled in spaces and traced the cartoonists drawings when required.

"I used to do some drawings, silly things - flowers, animals, cartoon characters,'' Karaty said. "My mother had a dress shop down on Flagler Street and one of the women who worked there told me to get on the bus and go down to the studio. They took one look at the drawings and said to come in to work. I stayed with them for five years."

"It was the lowest job you could have,'' fellow co-worker Jeanette Simon said.  "It was tedious because you had to be so careful, staying exactly in the lines. But the pay was good - I was getting $30 a week. In those days, that was a lot of money,'' Simon told the Miami Herald.

"When we were working on Gulliver's Travels, there were some weeks when we'd stay until 11:00 o'clock at night four days a week,'' said Celido Rodriguez, who worked with Jean Karaty. ``But we were all young and able to do that.''

"I felt very important that I worked there,'' Simon told Nicholas Spangler of the Miami Herald. "It seemed very glamorous.''

Karaty's work was shown in theaters in Miami, back home in Dublin and around the world.  They are still being seen by people  around the world today.``We used to go down to the Paramount Theater on Flagler Street to see the cartoons before the movie started,'' Karaty remembered. "You'd say, `I did that! I worked on that!' and the people around us would say `Shh!' They thought we were just a bunch of rowdies.''

By 1943, the Miami office was closed after high production costs and a struggle between the owners forced the business to move back to New York. 

"On the last day they called me into the executive office and asked me if I would like to go,'' Karaty said. ``I was so excited. But my parents said, `You're not going,' and that was it.  Families were stricter in those days.'' Jean herself turned down an offer to work for Disney Studios in Orlando.

Karaty and her colleagues never imagined how much their work would have on the culture of America.  Few of their original art works were saved.  After they were processed, many treasures were thrown away as trash.  

Jean Karaty lived in the Miami area for the remainder of her days.  Husband Michael Karaty owned and operated a Whiteway Service Station.  He died thirty years before Jean.  

Jean loved playing cards, especially poker at the local Moose Lodge.  She frequently told the story of her trip to Las Vegas, when she found herself at the card table with comedian Red Foxx.  Karaty outlasted the gravelly, foul mouthed star of  "Sanford & Son," who wished her good luck upon his leaving the game.

And so, you now know the story of the little girl from Dublin who helped to bring the legendary comic characters of Popeye, Superman and Betty Boop to the Silver Screen.

Photos of Jean Karaty@Miami Herald.

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 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.