Monday, March 31, 2008

Hamilton Bohannon

Bohannon, as he is known in the profession, is from Newnan GA.

He was awarded "The Man of Motown" in 2003.
From 1974 to 1983, Bohannon achieved 19 charted Billboard singles and amassed 20 albums to his credit. Hits include "Foot Stompin' Music," his first charted single. "South African Man," inspired by Bohannon's conversations with the late Marvin Gaye; international hit "Let's Start the Dance" and subsequent versions; "Keep on Dancing" and "Disco Stomp". "Bohannan's Beat" reflected his desire to creat upbeat, happy and rhythmical music that would "inspire people to have a good time." "Truck Stop" has a "funky feel," while he shops a mellow side in "Have a Good Day."
In 1975, Bohannon, was the first artist since The Beatles in the 1960s to achieve two Top 10 pop songs -- "Foot Stompin' Music" and "Disco Stomp" -- on the UK charts at the same time. Prior to achieving success on his own, the Central High School graduate earned a musical education from Clark Atlanta University and taught school at East Depot in LaGrange.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Some Hogansville Black History, Troup County

In Hogansville around 1880, there were two blacksmith’s shops, run by two black men, Billie Martin and Oliver Phillips. There were also two wood shops, one owned by C R Phillips and the other by W. J. Prather. There was a shoe shop ran by Uncle Nat Epps.

In Hogansville around 1890, there was a black Postmaster by the name of John Clopton. He bought, from P. O. Whitaker, the building where the Hogansville Cleaners now stands now and he ran a restaurant in the back part of the building. Clopton also owned the various other properties around Hogansville, which was very rare for a black man in the area.

Willis Hatton who was the first black funeral director in Hogansville owned the land on which the first funeral home was built and also the land on which the first unit of the Masonic Building was located on West Main Street. He also owned a large farm and home near Hogansville and extensive property in the black community.

Isaac Loftin was the second black Postmaster in Hogansville; he served in the administration of William McKinley.

Seborn “Sonny” Johnson was a rock mason. Charlie Mobley, Garland Byrd and Charles Thrash were brick masons. John Wilkins, Gilbert Lakes and James Sanders were builders and carpenters. Sulay Bryant was the only plasterer in town. Many homes and building in Hogansville attest to the skill of these men.

Ed Shank was the first black undertaker in Hogansville; he also operated a barbershop in the Hatton Building.

Pearl Herndon had a restaurant famous for its soul food. Downstairs was a well-known recreation room, which served as a black nightclub, very popular with the young and the young at heart.

The next funeral home was Hatton and Thrash, John and Willis. Willis Hatton was wealthy, owning much property in West End of Hogansville and out in the county.

Buddy Green owned a grocery store on Lee Street for many years. Mr. W. D. Woodall, who had been a teacher went to California but returned to open a general store in what is part of Thrash Funeral Home now.

The earliest black school was in the vicinity of St Mary Church. Mr. M. Parks was an early superintendent in the 20’s and early 30’s. In the 30’s a four-room school was built by the WPA labor when E.R. Wilburn was principal. Later a vocational building was added and Mr. J. C. King came as Vocational-Agriculture teacher. There were three rooms and a shop in this building.

School History

McClelland Academy was established by the Board of Missions of the Presbyterian Church USA about 1903 to 1936. A private Parochial school, they didn’t get support from Coweta or the state. Rev. Franklin Gregg was principal, Rev. Miller and Rev Glen were there early. The school boasted of at least 400 students from all over the county.

In approximately 1906, Pinson Street School consisted of one large wooden building heated by several pot-bellied stoves. Due to the rise in the number of students, a new two-story building was added in 1923, it was modern because it had a furnace, running water and restrooms. It had 1st through 9th until 1929 when 10th grade was added. There were only 12 teachers, not enough for the 400 students.

Howard Warner High School was named for Professor Howard Wallace Warner. It is still used today as part of the Board of Education Buildings. Mr. Warner attended Clark University in Atlanta and Fisk University of Nashville, where he received his A.B. degree. From Atlanta he received his Masters Degree in Education. He began his teaching career in Manchester, coming to Newnan in 1914. He served as principal for 30 years. He received a Distinguished Service Award for Service to the Education of Negro Children in GA in 1945. He died in September 1953. Some of the teachers were Mrs. Georgia Callaway-music, math & science; Mr. William Jones-music & math; Mr. Jackson and Mr. Cleveland who taught shop; Mrs. Louise Lee, Mrs. Ransby, Miss Margie Hine, Mr. Ralph Long, Mr. Henry Seldon, and Mrs. Katherine Dobson. In later years it changed to an elementary school, then with the construction of Central High and Fairmount schools, Howard Warner was closed.

Booker T. Washington was founded in the Roscoe-Sargent area by Professor Marvin Starr, school superintendent and helped by Mrs. Sara Fisher Brown in 1921. Some teachers were Mrs. Laura Mae Hutchinson, Mrs. Rosie Arnold, and Mrs. Sadie Dura. Mrs. Sara Brown was an advisor but the school never had a main principal. It was a one-room schoolhouse with a shingled roof, benches and a wood stove in the middle of the room. Around 1943 the school began to lose attendees and about 1946 closed all together.

Paris School in Black Jack was in existance from about 1926 to 1949. [Mrs. Josephine Rush said they went to Exie Wilson’s Corner Store with 3 eggs to trade for a brown cedar pencil and a large tablet. Mr. Wilson was a Veterinarian.]

Walter B. Hill Industrial School in Turin next to China Grove Baptist Church was started about 1927. It closed around 1953 when East Side opened. Mrs. Freddie Wortham was principal with seven teachers and 80 or 90 students. It provided some of the best education for blacks in the form of vocational classes. It is a Rosenwald School.

Brown High School was the FIRST black high school, on Pete Davis Rd in Moreland; it was founded by and named for Mrs. Sara Fisher Brown. It housed over 200 students in grades from kindergarten to 12th grade from Grantville, Moreland and the surrounding areas. Its first graduating class in 1933 had only 5 students. Mrs. Florence Hayes was Jeannes Supervisor for many years, was one of the five. Some of the principals included Mr. Lightfoot, Mrs. Florence Hayes, Mr. King, Rev. Weaver, Mrs. May Kearse Lawson and Mrs. Mary Ann Reese. The last class was 1946; they consolidated with Grantville Training. After this students attended Grantville Brown, then Central High in 1955. Some of it’s Basketball players were: Boys team: E P Jordan, Clarence Malcolm, James Davis, Johnny Smith, Glover Calhoun, Charlie Calhoun and Coach Render Bailey.
Girls team: Edith Bailey, Utes Marcus, Evella Marcus, Eleanor Bussie, Mary L Malcolm, Lessie McRae, Gladis Hill, Pecola Marcus and E P Jordan Coach.

Grantville has had several schools over the years, one was Grantville Training School where in 1927 Mrs. Belcher was the teacher and Mrs. Mae Kearns Lawson was the principal. There was also a Vocational Agriculture Shop at Grantville Training. Returning WWII Veterans were taught classes to help them get back into farming, one of the teachers was James Pinson. Grantville Brown was established in 1955 with L.D. Walden being the first principal and J Wilkins Smith was the Superintendent. Mrs. Zelda Griffin taught the first grade.

Haralson School had four teachers; one was Mrs. Freddie R. Wortham. There were about 50 students and 7 grades.

Ebenezer Baptist Church had a school from before 1938 and closed around 1948. The school had three rooms and three teachers and 1st through 12th grades. Mrs. Freddie R. Wortham was a student there.

Forksville School existed around 1938, and was located past Sprayberry’s in Forksville. It was a one story wood frame building with two rooms. There were only two teachers for grades 1st through 7th. One teacher was Miss Clema Terrel.

We can’t for get all of the Schools that were held in the churches. Mount Carmel opened in the 30’s in the White Oak community, it was two stories of one room each. In 1926 Miss Cleo Calhoun was the teacher. It was torn down and part of the timber was used for the Sunday school rooms at Mt Calvary Church.
St. Peter Elementary was built in 1925 beside the St Peter Baptist Church and closed in 1946. Some teachers were Mrs. Hellen Walker Stokes, Miss Ethel North and Mrs. Mattie Kate Robinson.

Shoal Creek school which was in Shoal Creek Baptist Church merged with Walter B. Hill.

There was also schools at Smith’s Chapel Church, Dent’s Chapel Church, Shady Grove, Wesley Chapel, Evergreen, Powell Chapel Church and I’m sure there’s a few we’re missing.

Orr’s Grove was a one room, one teacher school with about 20 students. During 1935-36 Mrs. Mae B. Prophitt was the teacher. It had 7 grades with a pot-bellied stove to heat, and one kerosene lamp lit on dark and rainy days.

Northside School also started out as an all black school. Westside School served the Arnco-Sargent, Ballard Quarters and Powers Crossroads areas. It started as early as 1947 with grades one through eight, with as many as 130 students.

Hannah Stewart School for Girls in Senoia around 1915 to 1930’s. Josephine Rush’s older sisters attended there.

Ruth Hill opened around 1938 and was located just a few feet from the present day school. It was originally for grades 1st through 6th, with three teachers.

Before 1969 there were actually four school systems: white & black city schools and white and black county schools. In 1969 the city and county schools merged and formed a “separate but equal” system. The next year, 1970, a court order was issued and there was total integration. At last there was only one true system in Coweta.

If you went to one of these old schools we mentioned or we’re missing some, call and tell us about them.
We don’t want to leave anyone out.

Church History

1840--Newnan Chapel forebears purchased land for the church one dollar. Church members worked after their day’s work was completed dug clay from the banks of a stream on the property and made bricks of sand, clay and water to use in the building of the church.

Neriah Baptist in Senoia is said to go back to 1842.

The Mount Vernon First Baptist Church began small in 1863 as they met under a brush arbor. In 1869 a log cabin was built at the corner of Robinson & Savannah Streets.

Summer Hill Baptist Church is mentioned in court records as early as 1869.

Mount Sinai Baptist members began meeting shortly after the emancipation of the slaves under a brush arbor about 1870?

China Grove Baptist in Turin can trace it’s history back to about 1871.
Wesley Chapel Methodist on Smokey Rd in Newnan goes back to 1872.
And Great Mt Zion AME has been said to have been started around 1873.

Mt Prospect Baptist was organized in 1873. Church services and school were held in the orignial building until 1913. Mrs. Sarah Fisher Brown first taught school here. Mr Everett Lyles recalled his first year of school in 1907. The church burned in 1913.

We found an article in the Newnan Times Herald that links Powell Chapel UMC on Country Club Rd Newnan back to 1888. Rev. Welcome Sutton was pastor there for many years. He was well loved and respected in the community.

Old Mt Bethlehem on Corinth Rd goes back to 1890, and the First St Marks Methodist Episcopal Church traces back to 1901. However the community says Oak Grove Baptist on Sewell Mill Road went back to 1903.

And there are many other old church families that we need dates for the church and some history told about them.
Help us acquire the information if you know it.
Please visit this website for more churches and dates.

Midwives, a remebering of the past

Old times dictated that the only town or county Doctor could not be in more places than one. Hense, the person and term 'Midwife' came to be. They did the "birthing of the babies" when the doctor could not be present.

We have researched at the Georgia Archives and only could come up with some names from 1957 to 1974. What happend to the old records has not yet been determined.

Some early Coweta Midwives were Louisa Wilcoxon, Lavonia Billingslea Huling and Missie Battle among others.
Midwives in Coweta County in 1957 were: Rosa Ball Barber, Annie Bennett, Artie Mae Bowen, Annie Sue Harris, Josie Johnson, Lugenia Jones, Lollie Smith, Margaret Johnson Smith, Lille Jane Stargell, and Minnie Barber Thompson. Retired midwives were Missie Battle, Mary Cox, Lavonia Huling, Julia Rogers and Primmer Yates.
Another name that came up was Rachel Whittington….and many more, help us get a good list of Midwives.

Black Firsts in Coweta County

We know we do not know all of the firsts that occured in our little county, but we will attempt to let you know about the ones we do know.

The first colored marriage recorded in Coweta Co was Issac Long and Martha Fambrough on Oct 11, 1865.
The second was James Alexander Garrison and Malinda Herring on Oct 26, 1865.

The first slaves mentioned in the Coweta History were slaves of Dr. A. B. Calhoun and Silas Reynolds:
Henry and Sinai Reynolds; they had six children.
According to Mrs. Gail Buckley, daughter of Lena Horn, one of Henry and Sinai’s children was sold to a Mississippi slaveholder and another who was sent to colonize Liberia. Around 1839, Sinai and her son Felix were sold to William Nimmons. Eventually Sinai earned enough money selling items to purchase freedom for herself, Henry, and their sons. In 1859, they moved to Chicago where Sinai died in 1869. Before they left their daughter, Nellie had been sold to Dr. A.B. Calhoun. Sinai’s son Moses moved to Atlanta after the Civil War and married Atlanta Mary Fernando. Their daughter Cora married Edwin Horn. Cora and Edwin’s son Edwin Jr. married Edna Scottron, and are the parents of Lena Horn. The Calhoun plantation was the land where the New Justice Center Complex is today (2008).

Dr. John Henry Jordan was the first black Doctor in Newnan.

Dr Jordan organized the first Medical Aid Organization for black people in Coweta. The organization met bi-monthly and held lectures on sociology, hygiene and various diseases.

Dr. Millard McWhorter came later as the second black doctor in Newnan and also on the Pinson Street.

Mrs. Fannie Jenkins opened the first funeral home for blacks in 1911, on Robinson St.

In 1920 Sellers-Smith Funeral home was established by James Horrace Sellers of Baxley.
In 1930 there were 42 black schools with 48 teachers and 2,360 students.

In the 1930’s Mr. Carlisle, a local builder, supervised the building of the Powell Chapel School, next to Powell Chapel UMC, on Country Club Road.

Dr. Brown was the first black Dentist in Newnan

The Dixie Shoe Shop opened downtown Newnan in the 1940’s.

Wilburn Clay was the first black to serve on the Coweta County Commissioners Board.

Mr. Willie Lynch was the first black Newnan City Councilman, born 1917—died 1998.

Miss Willie Boyd, a retired schoolteacher, was the first black woman elected to a position in the county, to the Board of Education.

U. B. Ware was the first to go to the courthouse to register to vote.

Mrs. Bernice Sutton Poythress was the first black woman to work at American Can.

Mr. James Gay was the first black to work in the Post Office.

Mr. Mitchell was instrumental in helping to de-segregate Newnan Hospital.

Moses Martin and Sonny Arnold were the First Two Black Police officers in Newnan in 1964.

Sally Willie Adams ran the colored Hospital on Spring Street.

Mr. Frank A. Dodson was the last principal at Howard Warner High School and the first principal at Central High.

Jo Anne Rush was the first black teacher to teach at Elm Street. (daughter of Josephine Whatley Rush)

Josephine Rush, Mary S. Reese, Fannie Freeland, and another lady (Mrs. Rush couldn’t remember her name), all went to the “March on Washington in 1963 with keynote speaker Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Billy Reese was first black to go to Temple Avenue School. (son of Loyd & Mary S Reese)

The first black library was the Sara Fisher Brown Library. It was built on Savannah Street, it is now (2008) the Community Action For Improvement Center.

Life is short, live honestly

Life can be too short for some folks and too long for others. You know the old saying "Only the Good die young", some times that is soooo true.

The last three weeks have been a wonderful godsend for the museum. We have had around 20 visitors all wanting family research. It is great to see people understanding the importance of recording their family history.

I have been very busy and it is GREAT!!!! I enjoy a challenge in attempting to find relatives of my visitors. Some they only remember way way back in their memories. But please don't allow my flood of new research deter you from contacting me to help you.

Happy researching!