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18 July 2016

Warwoman Dell in Rabun County

Warwoman Dell is a small wooded valley amid the Appalachian Mountains near Clayton in Rabun County, Georgia.  It's also part of the Chattahoochee National Forest.


A stream here is a tributary of Warwoman Creek.  Lucian Lamar Knight in Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends (1913) writes:  "War Woman's Creek is the name given to a small mountain stream entering the Chattooga [River]." He further quotes James Mooney, author and studier of the Cherokee:  "The name seems to be of Indian origin, but the Cherokee word is lost.  A writer quoted by White attempts to show its origin from the exploit of a certain Revolutionary amazon in capturing a party of Tories [Nancy Hart], but the name occurs in Adair, as early as 1775.  There is some reason to believe that it refers to a former female dignitary among the Cherokees described by Heywood as having authority to decide the fate of prisoners of war.  Several instances of women acting in part of warriors are on record among the Cherokees."



An informational marker at the dell echoes this with the following:  "The Warwoman was a beloved Cherokee dignitary who voiced the decision of the Council on war and peace.  These 'pretty women' had the power to decide the fate of captives.  Legend states that each spring this woman visited the Dell to preside over rituals."

The marker explains further:  "America's first natural-born botanist, William Bartram, explored the area in the 1770s.  He documented the plants, climate, geology, and culture of the people of this period and paved the way for future development." Of course, the Bartrum Trail runs through the area.



12 July 2016

Georgia and the Titanic

By F.G.O. Stuart (1843-1923) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsA few Georgia connections to the sinking of the Titanic.

Jacques Futrelle, the famous novelist, who lost his life on board the ill-fated Titanic, on the night of April 16, 1912, was a native of Pike [County, Georgia], in which county his early life was spent.  Mr. Futrelle accompanied by his wife was on his return voyage to America, after a season spent in European travel.  The Titanic was the greatest vessel afloat.  She was making her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York, and some of the foremost men of the world were on board, including multi-millionaires, philanthropists, and men of letters.  Something like 1,600 lives were lost.  In many respects, it was the most colossal disaster in the annals of the sea, but one in which the chivalry of brave men shone resplendent.  With the most engaging gallantry, they complied with the unwritten law of the great deep – "women and children first"; and while the heroic musicians, with death staring them in the face, played "Nearer My God to Thee," the vessel sank to rise no more.  Isidor Straus, the New York millionaire and philanthropist, a former Georgian, was among the number; and his wife, refusing to be torn from his side, went down to her watery grave, locked in his arms.  It was one of the ironies of fate that while the body of Mr. Straus was afterwards found by the rescue boats among the wreckage, to be splendidly entombed in New York, that of his wife lay entangled in a shroud of sea-weeds in the mid-Atlantic.  Nothing in the life of John Jacob Astor became him like the manner in which he met death.  The maid-servant who accompanied Mrs. Astor was gallantly assisted by him to one of the life-boats, while the man of uncounted millions became a bedfellow of the humblest steerage passenger on a sandy couch, far beneath the waves of the ocean.  It is said that one of his last acts was to smuggle a little boy into a place of safety, by putting a girl's bonnet on his head of golden hair.  Archibald Butt, the chief of President Taft's military staff, en route home from an official visit to the Pope of Rome, was among the number who perished at sea, though the peculiar nature of his errand, if pleaded, might have saved him.  The tribute which his tragic death drew from Mr. Taft was well deserved:  "He died, I am sure, like a soldier and a gentleman." He too was a Georgian.  But no one on board met death more gallantly than did brave Jack Futrelle.  Coaxing his wife to enter a life-boat, with the lover's plea that he was not in any danger and that he expected to rejoin her in a few moments, he went to his grave waving her a fond adieu – "it will be only for a little while dearest, au revoir." No purer pearl of chivalry ever sank to rest amid the pearls of the sea.  In the hearts of Georgians his memory will always be green.  [Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends by Lucian Lamar Knight.  Pub. 1913, pgs 855-856.]

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
17 April 1912 – pg. 2 [Online at GenealogyBank.]


Major Archibald Butt and Jacques Futrelle Both Known Here, Where They Had Relatives and Friends – Mr. and Mrs. Luther Williams Did Not Sail on Ship.

Macon, like all the rest of the world, is appalled by the horror of the sinking of the big ship Titanic Monday, and, added to her sympathy for the thousands who had loved ones aboard the ill-fated vessel, is a sense of personal loss in the deaths of two men whom she had known intimately in the days before they won notional [sic] renown – Maj. Archibald Butt and Jacques Futrelle, who are supposed to have perished when the levithian [sic] went to the bottom.

Major Butt, whose home was in Augusta, was a reporter for The Telegraph a score of years ago and is well and affectionately remembered by many citizens here today.  During his residence in Washington as aide to the president, he and Maj. Blanton Winship, himself a Macon man and a brother of Emory Winship of this city, occupied the same house.  Maj. Butt's rise in the world was watched with the keenest interest by his friends and acquaintances here, and his untimely taking off is genuinely regretted by them.

Jacques, of "Jack", Futrelle, as he was known to his friends, was also well liked by many Macon people who knew him personally and by many others who knew him through his charming short stories in the magazines.  Futrelle began his career as an author in Atlanta, where he served for years as a newspaper writer.  He was a native of Barnesville.  His mother resided here for a time, and left Macon to make her home in Atlanta only a few months ago.  John A. Futrelle, a cousin, resides at 1711 Fourth street.  The gifted writer spent several days in Macon last summer.

The name of Mrs. Futrelle, who was with her husband on board the Titanic when the big ship struck the iceburg, appears among the list of the rescued.  She, who is an author herself, and her husband had gone abroad to collect material for new stories.  Mrs. Futrelle is a daughter of Mrs. D. G. Peel, of Atlanta.

Mr. and Mrs. Luther Williams, of this city, read of the disaster with an interest all their own, as they had planned to go abroad on the Titanic at her next sailing.  It was reported yesterday that they were aboard the liner when she sank, but Mr. Williams very cheerfully denied the rumor when asked for particulars by a representative of The Telegraph.

Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)
30 July 1912 – pg. 6 [Online at GenealogyBank.]


Had Never Recovered from Shock of "Jack" Frutrelle's [sic] Death.

Special to The Chronicle.
Dublin, Ga., July 29. – Word was received here this afternoon of the death at Adrian Sunday morning of Mrs. W. H. Futrelle, mother of Jacques Futrelle, the Georgia author, who lost his life in the Titanic disaster.

Mrs. Futrelle had been in bad health for several months and was sick before the wreck of the Titanic and the drowning of her son.  She had gradually grown weaker since then, and friends have seen for some days that the end was near.

She was 65 years of age and had been a resident of Emanuel County, near Adrian, for about two years, moving there with her husband from Butts County.  Only one of her children, Mr. W. M. Futrelle, was with her when she died.

The remains of Mrs. Futrelle were buried at Poplar Springs Baptist Church, in Johnson County, Sunday afternoon.  She was a member of the Baptist denomination and leaves many friends in the neighborhood, where she resided, besides her husband and two children, a son and a daughter.  The death of Mrs. Futrelle will be a blow to her husband, who is, himself, old and feeble in health.

Jack and his mother are both memorialized at Poplar Springs Church Cemetery.

Columbus Ledger (Georgia)
29 April 1912 – pg. 4 [Online at GenealogyBank.]


Announcement of the recovery of the body of Isidor Straus at the scene of the Titanic disaster, was read with pleasure  by the hundreds of friends of the millionaire-merchant in this section, where Straus formerly resided, all being gratified to know that the body is to be laid to rest on native soil.

Commenting on the tragic death of Mr. Straus and his wife, the New Orleans States says in part

"The death of Isidor Straus and his devoted wife who refused to leave him when the Titanic was known to be sinking, has a special interest to the south.

"Isidor Straus was a Georgian.  His parents, born in Bavaria, emigrated to the United States, and settled in Talbotton, Georgia.  Isidor Straus grew up in Georgia and after the civil war went to New York, followed later by his two brothers, Oscar and Nathan, now among the leading business men of the nation.

"Before he was of age Isidor Straus was sent to France as a Confederate agent and accomplished his mission with credit.

"Among many other activities he had served in Congress with distinction.  He is best known as a business man and philanthropist, along with his two brothers.

"In his home life Mr. Straus was a most devoted husband, and the refusal of his wife to leave him when the fatal hour arrived, is the greatest possible proof of their mutual devotion."

The recovered body of Isidor Straus finally rests at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York.

11 July 2016

Battle of New Hope Church

100_0739The Battle of New Hope Church:
Four miles north-east of Dallas lies the famous battle-field of New Hope Church.  Here one of the most stubborn fights of the bloody Atlanta campaign occurred in the late spring of 1864.  Says Prof. Derry [Story of the Confederate States, 1898]:  "It was ascertained that Sherman's forces had crossed the Etowah to the Confederate left.  Johnston marched promptly to meet them and took a position extending from Dallas to the railroad.  There now occurred a series of engagements between portions of the two armies, which Johnston and Sherman agree in calling the Battle of New Hope Church.  The first of these occurred on the 25th of May when the head of Hooker's column came upon Stewart's division near a little meeting house known as New Hope Church.  Hooker formed his division in parallel lines and promptly attacked but his vigorous assaults resulted in a succession of bloody repulses.  Two days later Sherman sent Howard with two divisions to turn Johnston's right.  At Pickett's Mill, thinking he had reached the extreme end of the Confederate line, Howard ordered an assault.

100_0684The charges of the Federals were repulsed, as Howard himself says, with much loss.  The Confederates gathered up as trophies 1,200 small arms.  The acknowledged loss to Howard's corps at Pickett's Mill was 1,500 men.  Cleburne's loss was 400.  The next day McPherson tried to withdraw from Dallas.  But Bates' division of Hardie's corps, quickly assailed him meeting a repulse in which they lost about 700 men." Sherman in his official report called the engagement at New Hope Church a "drawn battle." Nevertheless he was thwarted in his purpose, which was to cut off Johnston's supplies.  [Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends by Lucian Lamar Knight.  Pub. 1913, pgs 849-850.]

I visited the New Hope Church Battlefield just over five years ago.  Here are some additional photos from the trip:



Marker in front of church and across from cemetery.

Red Top Mt, Marietta, Cartersville, Pickett's Mill, New Hope

Federal Attack on Hood's Corps marker is behind me.
View of road with cemetery on right and church across the street.

Red Top Mt, Marietta, Cartersville, Pickett's Mill, New Hope-001

New Hope Baptist Church Rebuilt 1959


Red Top Mt, Marietta, Cartersville, Pickett's Mill, New Hope-002


New Hope Cemetery

18 June 2016

More About Distinguished Georgian, William C. Dawson

It's been three years, almost to the day, since I posted "William C. Dawson: Grand Master of Masons in Georgia." The article details a portion of a visit to Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia.  While there, I photographed a historical marker about Senator Dawson, and paid a visit to his grave in the city cemetery.

I've been working my way through Lucian Lamar Knight's Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends (1913), and just yesterday come across some information regarding the family of William Crosby Dawson:

In the town cemetery at Greensboro rest two distinguished Georgians, both of whom wore the toga of the United States Senate, besides illustrating Georgia on the Superior Court Bench:  Thomas W. Cobb and William C. Dawson.

The Dawson Family Record

Judge Dawson was twice married, first, in 1820, to Henrietta, daughter of Dr. Thomas Wingfield; and, second, in 1850, to Eliza M. Williams, a widow, of Memphis, Tenn.

His eldest son, William Reid Dawson, died while a student at the University of Georgia, in the junior class.  The second child was Henry M. Dawson, who died at the age of three years.  Next came George Oscar Dawson, who became a lawyer of Greensboro and frequently represented the County of Greene in the State Legislature.  The fourth child was Henrietta Wingfield, who became the wife of Joseph B. Hill, of Columbus.

Edgar Gilmer Dawson, the fifth child, married the only daughter of Dr. William Terrell, of Sparta, an eminent physician and member of Congress.  Soon after being admitted to the bar, Mr. Dawson moved to Columbus.

Emma Caledonia, the sixth child married Edward W. Seabrook of South Carolina, the nephew of Gov. Seabrook.

Lucien Wingfield Dawson, the seventh and last child, became a lawyer of Greensboro and married Eliza, daughter of George Dent, of Athens.

19 May 2016

Macon's First Presbyterian Church

Bryan-Aldean Concert 2008 021Established in 1826, the First Presbyterian Church at Macon, Georgia today sits across from the Bibb County courthouse.  The church arose just three years after the city was chartered.  The building seen here on Mulberry Street was erected in 1858.  It's on the National Register of Historic Places, and had the distinction of being the tallest structure in Macon from 1858 until 1903, when the building of St. Joseph's Catholic Church was completed.

From historical marker:
Organized as the Presbyterian Church of Macon on June 18, 1826, by the Rev. Benjamin Gildersleeve and the Rev. Joseph C. Stiles, the church dedicated this house of worship, its third, on September 19, 1858, at the close of the ministry of the Rev. Robert L. Breck.  Mr. Stiles was the first pastor; Matthew Robertson and Samuel B. Hunter, ordained October 14, 1827, the first elders.

This church was host for formation of the Synod of Georgia in 1844 with Dr. Thomas Goulding, founder and first president of Columbia Seminary, as moderator.  His son, the Rev. Francis R. Goulding, author of The Young Marooners, served here in the 60's by preaching to the Negro members, who withdrew to form Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1866.  This is the Mother Church also of Tattnall Square (1887), Vineville (1904), and East Macon (1906).

It was the younger Goulding who took over the city-wide Thanksgiving service commanded here by Union General Wilson at the close of the War Between the States because the pastor, the Rev. David Willis, was overcome by the mockery of the occasion.  Goulding's service consisted of reading Psalm 137 "…For they that carried us away captive required of us a song…".

In the church vestibule is a plaque honoring Sidney Lanier, who was a member here.
As you can see from the map below, the First Presbyterian Church of Macon is not far from Rose Hill Cemetery.  In this cemetery, I would expect, is where many members of the congregation were laid to rest.

Two such members were Frederick F. and Julia Ann Lewis.  They were named as among the first members in an 1875 newspaper article.


Bryan-Aldean Concert 2008 020

Bryan-Aldean Concert 2008 022

27 April 2016

Memorable Funeral for W. R. Clemons

Another one for my crime article / obituary / funeral notice obsession:

28 July 1887 Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia, pg. 1)
A Panic at the Funeral.
ATLANTA, July 27. -- The funeral of the murdered negro preacher, W. R. Clemons, this afternoon was the largest in Atlanta in a long time. Scores of whites and thousands of negroes followed the hearse to the grave, the body being preceded by military and colored organizations. A serious panic occurred in the church during the funeral. The church was jammed from wall to wall and the yard outside was filled. It is estimated that the crowd reached over 5000. During the services a portion of the floor cracked, and some one cried out that the building was giving way. In a moment the wildest confusion ensued. The doors were soon glutted and women and children were picked up and thrown over the heads of those in front, while a number jumped from the windows. But for the activity of the policemen who were present to preserve order, many would have been seriously hurt and doubtless many killed. As it was, they managed to check the rush at the doors and secure a more quiet emptying of the church. Many sustained unimportant injuries, but miraculously no serious casualties occurred. Various rumors are afloat as to the murderers of the preacher, but as yet nothing tangible has been discovered.

24 March 2016

Sheriff Wyatt's Jail in Greensboro

Almost three years ago, I wrote in this space about Greensboro, Georgia's Spooky Old Gaol.  This structure was used to house (and hang) criminals until about 1895.  At that time, a new jail was established.  After the death of legendary Sheriff L. L. Wyatt, that "new" jail (though more than eighty years old at the time of Wyatt's death) was given his name.

100_3774Outside the jail is a historical marker that tells the tale of the professional life of Sheriff Wyatt:


This 1895 jail is named for the legendary Sheriff, Loy Lee Wyatt, who enforced the laws in Greene County for fifty-two years until his death in 1977.  Sheriff L. L. Wyatt was born on January 2, 1904, in Paulding County.  He was recruited to serve the citizens of Greene County due to his fast legs and honest reputation.  In 1925, L. L. Wyatt began his law enforcement career as a Greene County policeman who waged a "one-man war" against the making of illegal corn whiskey.  Prior to his arrival, moonshine production was considered the leading industry in Greene County and its product was enjoyed in all of the finest hotels of Atlanta.  After having rid the County of its moonshiners, Wyatt ran for the Office of Sheriff in 1940 defeating the incumbent.  He served as Sheriff until he died in 1977.  At the time of his death he was the longest standing Sheriff in the State, with thirty-seven years of service.

During his 37 years as Sheriff, Wyatt became a legend in his own time.  Few men become legends and even fewer achieve the status of a "living legend" as did Sheriff Wyatt.  He was a religious man who believed that God blessed him with protection during all of his fights, gun battles, and dangerous encounters.  His law enforcement exploits exposed him to at least five gunshot wounds in the line of duty, in part due to the fact that he seldom carried a gun on his person, requiring him to retrieve it from his car at the sight of danger.  In the early days of his career, when

(Continued on other side)

100_3775moonshiners resisted arrest, Wyatt regularly shot it out with them.  He killed over a half dozen men, all of whom shot at him first.

The most famous gunfight of Sheriff Wyatt's career occurred in 1974.  He was 70 years old at the time.  Bank robbers eluded a 100-car police chase that started in Wrens, Georgia, and ended in Greene County.  The bank robbers had killed a teller at the bank in Wrens and had taken two women hostage.  Sheriff Wyatt set up a road block midway between Union Point and Greensboro.  Wyatt stood in the middle of the road as the speeding car approached.  The robbers attempted to shoot him, but the gun misfired.  One bank robber was killed in the ensuing battle, but both women were unharmed.  Sheriff Wyatt subsequently received the award of Peace Officer of the Year for his bravery in this incident.

Sheriff Wyatt was a family man, devoted to his wife, son, and grandchildren.  He was a businessman, lending his experience to the operation and affairs of the Citizens Union Bank as a director.  He was a community leader who had concern for all citizens – rich and poor, black and white.  Out of a concern for these people, legend has it that Sheriff Wyatt confronted a notorious member of the Dixie Maffia and proclaimed, "These are my people and I want you to leave them alone!"

Sheriff Wyatt, also known as Mr. Sheriff, was the epitome of a community oriented police officer long before such an idea was born and served as an example for every officer to follow."

According to his burial notice in the Augusta Chronicle (Georgia, 11 April 1977, sec. A, pg. 11, as viewed online at GenealogyBank), Loy Lee Wyatt died 8 April 1977 "after he was stricken with an apparent heart attack." The notice goes on to say, "During his tenure [as Sheriff], Wyatt gave Greene county a reputation as one [of] Georgia's most crime-free areas.  Along the way, he was shot five times and narrowly escaped death twice in car crashes during chases."

Sheriff Wyatt was laid to rest at Greensboro Cemetery.