Thursday, July 13, 2017

100-year-old news highlights from Conecuh County, Alabama newspapers

It’s that time of the month again, time to take a trip down memory lane and review all of the interesting things that took place in Conecuh County 100 years ago, way back in July 1917.

When it comes to Conecuh County newspapers on microfilm at the Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library, the month of July 1917 is hit or miss. The July 25 edition of The Evergreen Courant is the only issue of The Courant available on microfilm from that month. However, three of the four editions of The Conecuh Record published during that month (July 5, July 19 and July 26) are available in the library’s microfilm collection. What follows are a few news highlights from those newspapers.

In the July 5, 1917 edition of The Conecuh Record, editor J.C. Whitcomb reported that the “2nd Alabama recruiting party is in Andalusia. Any young man wishing to enlist can do so to C. Hawkins.”

Also that week, under the headline “Red Cross Auxiliary Formed for Conecuh County,” it was reported that “on last Friday afternoon a mass meeting of women was held at the courthouse for the purpose of forming an auxiliary to the National Red Cross association for Conecuh County. Mrs. Edwin C. Page presided over the meeting and Mrs. Scott of the Montgomery Red Cross gave a brief outline of the purpose and work of the association. Miss Ethel King was unanimously elected chairman of this auxiliary, Mrs. W.B. Ivey treasurer and Miss Daisy Burnett secretary.”

Jumping ahead two weeks to the July 19 edition of The Record, in news from Castleberry, it was reported that the “First Regiment arrived here Monday afternoon. At 6 p.m., they gave a band concert attended by a large crowd. An hour later, they were served lemonade and cake by the people of Castleberry.”

Elsewhere in that week’s paper, Whitcomb reported that the “troops from Mobile en route to Montgomery reached Evergreen about noon Wednesday and ‘pitched their tents’ near the baseball park, remaining until Thursday morning, when they resumed their hike for the Capital City.”

Readers that week also learned that “R.R. Long supplied the soldier boys with cigarettes during their stay in the city.”

Whitcomb also let readers know that the “officers of the 1st Infantry were entertained at a dance at the armory Tuesday night.”

It was also reported that week that the “infantry band went up to the Orphanage Wednesday morning and played a number of pieces for the entertainment of the children.”

Also that week, the “ladies of the Red Cross society gave a lawn party on W.H. Wild’s lawn Thursday afternoon.”

Whitcomb also reported that, as America’s involvement in World War I began to crank up, “large quantities of crossties are being shipped from this point, many of them going to Europe.”

Whitcomb closed out that week by letting readers know that “Miss Ethel King has again been elected principal of the City school with Misses Sue Stallworth, Millie Cunningham and Mae Simmons as assistants.”

Switching newspapers, it was in the July 25, 1917 edition of The Evergreen Courant that editor George W. Salter Jr. reported that “Edward C. Barnes has been appointed postmaster here (Evergreen) for a second term. Edward has made an excellent postmaster and his numerous friends will be glad to know that he is to serve another term.”

Also that week, under the headline “At Court House Sunday,” readers saw the following announcement – “You are invited to hear Prof. Chas. W. Landers, Christian evangelist, at the courthouse Sunday morning at 11 o’clock at 8 at night, July the 29th.”

Switching back to the July 26, 1917 edition of The Conecuh Record, Whitcomb reported that “Grady Miller, one of our most promising young men, living east of Evergreen, was ordained a minster of the gospel at the recent session of the Methodist district conference which convened at Samson a short time ago. He preached his first sermon at South on the third Sunday in July.”

Also that week, in news from the Finklea community, it was reported that W.S. Booker, L.H. Salter, J.H. Waters, F.T. Thames and F.D. Morrison attended the Masonic conference at Monroeville last week.”

From that same community, the correspondent, who was identified only as “Jason,” also reported that “a good many around here have been drawn for army service, and if our boys do have to go we hope they will live to see the day when Germany shall be conquered.”

Well, I guess that’s all that space will allow for this month. Next month, I plan to take a look at the events of August 1917 in Conecuh County. Until then, if you get the urge to research the county’s past yourself, take advantage of the Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library’s excellent selection of old newspapers on microfilm and other resources. The library’s friendly and courteous staff will be more than happy to get you started.

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