Thursday, February 28, 2013

'Of Little Value'

The history of mining in Haralson County pivots on three major operations which were located here: The Tallapoosa (Waldrop) Copper Mine near Draketown, The Reed's Mountain Pyrite Mine near Bremen, and the Tallapoosa Gold Mine just south of that city. A few other minor prospects were scattered throughout the county, but there three were the largest and most important in Haralson County.
Part of what was called "Copper excitement" was started by a discovery made by Elisha Brooks while plowing on property ... on the western edge of Draketown. At that time Draketown was known by the name of Long Leaf Post Office. Brooks turned up some bright yellow granular material which burned when thrown into the fire.
He took a specimen to Villa Rica where prospecting for copper was being done. A sample was later sent to Tennessee. The immediate result was that an influx of prospectors and promoters from the Tennessee Deposits came to Haralson. Hopes of another Ducktown, Tennessee flourished and the name of the little village where the tall, long-leaf pine grew in front of the post office was changed to Draketown.
...The operation was short-lived...
With the discovery of gold in Dahlonega, interest in mining spread. Searches were made for gold in Haralson County, but few good veins were found. The pyrite deposits were explored for containing significant amounts of gold, but they, too, proved of little value.
--from the History of Haralson County, published by the Haralson County Historical Society in 1983, p. 23

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

'So We Beat On'

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Boarding House

'I Have Seen Jesus Face-to-Face'

1932 - January 14, Thursday
The Haralson County Tribune

A.B. Latham Ends Own Life

Leaves Note Giving Ill Health As Reason

The body of A.B. Latham, known intimately to the people of this section as "Bije" Latham, Saturday morning was found slumped in the seat of his car with almost his entire head blown from his body. Clutched in his arms was a shotgun with which the deed was committed. The car was in the garage at the Latham home in the Mountain View District.
For some time Mr. Latham and his nephew Hoke Latham had lived together, but the nephew was away from home at the time, on a visit.
Mrs. Gaudie Cansler, who lived nearby, and who helped with the housework, on Saturday morning went to the Latham home to milk the cows. All was quiet around the home. A search of the house failed to reveal the whereabouts of Mr. Latham. Mrs. Cansler's young son, going into the garage, discovered his body in the car. Neighbors were quickly notified and officers summoned. Later Coroner Cole held an inquest, the jury returning a verdict that the deceased came to his death by self-inflicted wounds.
The entire neighborhood was shocked, as were people of this section.
In one of Mr. Latham's pockets was a blood-bespattered letter which was written on both sides of legal cap paper. In this letter, which was not addressed to anyone in particular, Mr. Latham dwelt upon the fact that his health was wrecked and at his age he could not expect to build it back.
"I have seen Jesus face-to-face," he wrote, "and feel he will give me life ever-lasting and I will be happy with my loved ones gone before. It might have been better to go 31 years ago, as I started to do with a .32 pistol, but God told me not to. I feel that I have suffered through bad health to pay all dues ahead and I feel God will pardon me for all sins."
The letter went on at length, showing the hardships entailed in farming the past few years.
A considerable portion of the note dwelt upon the condition of his health, which had been gradually failing him. The deceased's health had not been so good during the past few weeks, and close friends were aware of the fact that he had brooded considerably over recent events.
He is survived by four brothers: J.T. Latham and Edgar Latham of Atlanta, and Victor and Virgil Latham of this county. He has numerous other relatives.
Funeral services and internment at Philadelphia Church were attended by a large crowd of sorrowing relatives and friends.

Death to the King

If Southern industry and commerce were sick, King Cotton also was growing continually sicker, and in the end would fall into worse case than had ever been known in the past, even in the 1890s. As the demand for cotton goods over the earth receded and the mills all around the globe slowed down, the demand for the staple of course gradually declined too -- at a time when Southern production was hanging near peak levels, and when foreign production also was growing greater than it had ever been before. In 1929 the Southern crop totaled nearly 15 million bales, and the foreign crop eleven and a half million -- with the result that the price swooped down from twenty to twelve cents. Next year it came down to eight.
Then, in 1931... the quotation on the New York cotton exchange descended to five cents, and on the local Southern markets it went even lower than that.
It was the conclusive disaster for the South. Immediate disaster for farmer, planter, tenant, and sharecropper...
The banks, already tottering, now found themselves with vast stocks of mortgages which were entirely worthless...
And this growing collapse of the banking system meant, of course, a rapid curtailment of credit over and beyond what had already been made necessary by the depression in general... And planters and labor-employing farmers found themselves either unable to secure credit at all or unable to secure sufficient credit to maintain their old scale of operation. The number of acres planted in cotton in 1932 would be eleven million less than in 1929.
Many of the planters abandoned their lands altogether, or turned them over to their tenants to dig a living out of them if they could...Having always gone essentially hungry for a reasonably good diet, the great body of the sharecroppers, white and black, would begin to go hungry in the full sense of the word ... And hordes of these people who had neither employment, means of subsistence, nor any place to go were wandering along every road from county to county and state to state...
Everybody was either ruined beyond his wildest previous fears or stood in peril of such ruin. And the general psychological reaction? First a universal bewilderment and terror ... Men everywhere walked in a kind of daze. They clustered, at first to assure one another that all would shortly be well ... but in the end they fled before the thought in one another's eyes...
And along with this ... a slow wondering and questioning ... a gradually developing bitterness of desperation... they heard from the pulpit that it was a punishment visited upon the people from the hand of God as the penalty of their sins...
--W.J. Cash, The Mind of the South, pp. 369-371

Monday, February 25, 2013

Moving Day

Cotton Mill Colic

Buying the Pig

"One time we went in that Maxwell up to Mr. Smith's place there in Buchanan to buy a pig. Daddy would always buy a pig early every spring. And this Mr. Smith, he lived up there on an incline. And when Dad drove up, you know, these old cars didn't have any emergency brake, except for a stick down here in the floorboard. And that long rod would go all the way to the back of the car to pull the cable, and the link line was outside - it wasn't inside of a drum. And that brake wouldn't hold. And when Dad took his foot off the clutch, that car started running backwards. He slapped it into first gear right quick. And when he did it broke the transmission, so he had to drive it back home in low gear. I'm talking about driving eight to 10 miles, with that thing in low gear. Talk about a long trip home. It was something.
"And when he got ready to fix it, he ordered new parts. The floorboard in the back was wood, so he just unscrewed the screws, went in there, and took the plate off the transmission. Here I was, my head right over his shoulder, watching everything he was doing. While he was telling me what he was going to do, those pieces fell down into the bottom of the transmission. Guess who got to fish them out?" -- T.J. Latham

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spoon Power

1930, Haralson County: Snapshot No. 1

Total population: 13,263 (467 people per square mile)
6,577 male / 6,686 female
Rural farm population: 9,382
605 Negro males / 708 Negro females
504 illiterate native whites
4 illiterate non-native whites
153 illiterate Negroes
Average farm size: 7,630 acres
Total registered as completely unemployed: 831

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Diminishing Returns

...The holdings of the fathers of one generation had continually to be divided among multiple heirs in the next -- a plantation of, say, a thousand acres, a farm of two hundred, was likely to be split up among a half-dozen, even a dozen or more, children or other claimants.
In the single decade between 1900 and 1910, according to the United States Census, the number of Southern farms containing less than a hundred acres increased by nearly 350,000. And by 1930 almost eighty percent of all Southern farms contained less than a hundred acres, while less than one percent contained more than 500!
-- W. J. Cash, The Mind of the South, p. 284.

Friday, February 22, 2013

'Real Humped Over, Real Quiet'

"Now I'll tell you about me getting drunk with Carl.
"My Grandma Jones -- Cora Ella Jones -- was a wonderful little lady. She was a little small woman, and real humped over, and real quiet. I don't believe I ever heard her getting boisterous. And of course we kids lived with her as long as she lived, after what happened with our parents in 1931. She could talk the loveliest things at times, and she could also say some of the harshest things I believe I ever heard anybody say - but still say it in a lovely, quiet way until, boy, it would sink in. It would really sink in.
"Well, when I got drunk with Carl one time, she learned about it. You'd see Carl carrying whiskey in his inside coat pocket. He said it helped him with his asthma. I'd ruined my new blue suit. She confronted me. That was the way she was.
"She said, 'Is it true, what I hear, that you are so dumb, that you don't know when to take a drink of whiskey and quit?'
"She looked at me right in the eye. I never took a drink again. Man, that just ground me into the dust." -- T.J. Latham

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Rebel Yell

Cane Pole Fishing

Loom Weaving

Fetching Water

...I cross the porch and dip the gourd into the water bucket and drink.
...When I was a boy I first learned how much better water tastes when it has set a while in a cedar bucket. Warmish-cool, with a faint taste like the hot July wind in cedar trees smells. It has to set at least six hours, and be drunk from a gourd. Water should never be drunk from metal.
And at night it is better still. I used to lie on the pallet in the hall, waiting until I could hear them all asleep, so I could get up and go back to the bucket. It would be black, the shelf black, the still surface of the water a round orifice in nothingness, where before I stirred it awake with the dipper I could see maybe a star or two in the bucket, and maybe in the dipper a star or two before I drank. After that I was bigger, older.
-- William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Closet

On nails on the inside of the door of the shallow closet:
A short homesewn shift of coarse white cotton, square beneath arms and across the chest and back: a knot in the right shoulderstrap.
A baby's dress, homemade. The top is grey denim; the collar is trimmed in pink; the skirt, in a thinner material, is yellow-and-white checks.
A long homemade shift of coarse white cotton, same rectilinear design as above. A tincture of perspiration and of sex.
On the closet floor, to the left, a heap of overalls, dresses, shirts, bedding, etc. ready for laundering.
On a shelf above, three or four patchwork quilts of various degrees of elaborateness and inventiveness of pattern, and in various degrees of raggedness, age, discoloration, dirt absorption, and sense-of-vermin, stuffed with cotton and giving off a strong odor.
On nails along the wall, overalls, dresses, children's clothing, the overalls taking the shape of the knee and thigh; an odor of sweated cloth.
On the floor to the right, folded one onto the other, two homemade pallets for children: flat rectangular sacks of thin white cloth thinly padded with cotton.
On the floor at center, two by two, toes to the wall, a pair of women's black slippers, run-over at the low heels. A pair of workshoes, very old, molded to the shape of the feet. A pair of girl's slippers, whited over scrubbed clay and streaked again with clay. A pair of little-boy's high black shoes, broken at the toes and worn through the soles, the toes curled up sharply; looped straps at the heels; thick clay scrubbed off. A little girl's slightly narrower and softer high tan button shoes, similarly worn and curled, similarly scrubbed. A pair of little boy's high black button shoes, similarly worn, curled, and scrubbed. One infant's brown sandal. These shoes, particularly those of the children, are somewhat gnawn, and there are rat turds on the floor.
--James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

'We Put Us Up a Run of Whiskey'

"One thing Daddy didn't find out about, not until later, was when we got started drinking, after we got on up a little in age.
"We slipped off over there across the creek quite a bit, me and my stepbrother Clarence did. Not too far from the house. And we got us a pot. Borrowed us a pot. And we put us up a run of whiskey. We got us up some corn meal and some sugar and stuff, and filled us up a run of it. We made one or two runs.
"Oh, we'd just take a bushel of meal, a peck of malt, an’ 40 pounds of sugar, and put in a barrel and let it work. And when it quit working we'd put it in a pot, boil it, and run out the whiskey!
"So one day we was headed off over there and it come up a real quick cloud. We'd just got the alcohol to running out -- it'd just started good -- and it come up a clap of lightning. It hit pretty close by there. Boy, ol’ Clarence, he jumped! He run up there and kicked the cap off of that thing! When he did, it just messed up everything. I come a-jerkin' the fire out from under it, and we took up to the house.
"So we got home and Uncle Joe Bishop was there. We didn't care if Uncle Joe known nothing. We told Uncle Joe what we'd done. Well, I told him what Clarence had done.
"He said, 'Well, we'll go back over there after a while. We'll slip off.'
"So after a while, after it quit raining and everything -- it didn't rain much -- we slipped off and went back over. He capped that thing back up. We’d lost about half of what we got. But we got some whiskey out of it." -- Carl Bishop

"That was just boys growing up back in those days. They didn't go to town. They'd just get together there at the river and have a chicken stew or something like that and get drunk." -- Denver Bishop

Read more here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

'Buried With Masonic Honors'

June 23, 1911
The Haralson County Tribune -- BUCHANAN, GA

Summons Comes to W. H. Latham

End Came Monday Morning

Buried With Masonic Honors

Mr. W.H. Latham passed away at his home a few miles north of Buchanan at about 9 o'clock Monday morning after an illness of several months of Bright's Disease. The deceased was about 32 years of age at the time of his death. He was born and reared in Haralson County and numbered his friends by his acquaintances.
The deceased leaves, besides a devoted wife and three children, a father, mother, and six brothers: A.B. Latham, J.T. Latham Jr. of Brunswick, Thos. J. Latham, Victor and Virgil Latham of this county, and Col. Edgar Latham of Atlanta. He also leaves a large circle of admiring friends to mourn his untimely and sad death.
The deceased was a popular and useful member of the Masonic Order and Odd Fellows and was with the honors of the first laid to rest in the burying ground at Philadelphia Church about 2 o'clock Tuesday afternoon.
Peace to his noble ashes.

---The family of Mr. W.H. Latham requests the Tribune to thank the good people of the surrounding county for their many noble acts of kindness shown them during the ordeal through which they have just passed; should misfortune, sickness, or death visit any of their homes, they will receive at their hands the same full measure of generous and tender aid and sympathy they brought to their home when death was an inmate there.


“Our local store in Buchanan was Strickland’s. It had all kinds of groceries. Strickland’s had groceries, clothes, everything a farmer would need.” -- Carl Bishop

Monday, February 18, 2013

Marriage Record



9 392 / W / V2-113 / LATHAM, THOS. J. / JONES, EUNICE LOIS / 12 28 1912 / H. P. BROWN, MG
9 392 / W / V2-30 / LATHAM, VICTOR E. / KIRK, LILLIE / 11 20 1910 / W. D. WOOD, NP
223 / W / D382 / LATHAM, W. H. / BURDEN, BEATRICE / 9 8 1907 / W. F. EDWARDS, JP

The First Telephone Switchboard in Buchanan, GA

Buchanan's first telephone switch board, ca. 1927. Left to right: Charley Gray, Ruby Gray (operator), and an unknown person. See the original here.

The Front Porch

"The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky. It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment ... they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish. They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty. A mood come alive. Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song." -- Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

'He Didn't Get In No Hurry To Go'

"In our house, there was no fighting. There was no cussin'. Daddy said what he had to say and everybody respected what Daddy said. Of course they may go off the next Saturday night and all of them get drunk and get in a ditch and get their cars stuck in the mud. But Daddy would take his wagon and his mule and go get them, pull them out of the branches and bring them home.
"I remember one time, there was an old peg-legged man that lived up here at the top at the mountain. The old feller, well, he was pretty much an outsider. He walked everywhere he went, and he had this wooden leg. It was just a stick sticking down that he walked on. And he walked a lot, up and down by the house.
"And I won't never forget one evening, he was coming up the road, and it was coming up a storm. He was coming by the house and Daddy called him. And Daddy didn't call him Peg Leg. John Davis was his name. He said, 'John, come on by and get out of this weather.' It was beginning to lightning real bad. Well the old man come on up and sat down on the edge of the porch. And Mama, she had always scared us kids with everything from the devil to the Grancy Greybeard, Peg Leg, and everything else. So it scared us to death and we kind of backed up, backed off of him.
"That cloud lasted a long time. When it come suppertime, Mama put supper on the table, and Daddy told that man to come on to the table to eat. And he come in and he sat down with us and ate. Well, he didn't get in no hurry to go. And when it come bedtime, Daddy had Mama fix him a bed and put him to bed. And so he spent the night.
"I remember it just tore Mama all to pieces. She got up the next morning, she drug that mattress out, she stripped those beds, hung everything out on the line, washed them, hung them out on the line, put her mattress outside. Because she just felt like he had body lice and everything that was wrong that could be wrong. She couldn't hardly stand it because he spent the night.
"But that's the type of person Daddy was." -- Mildred Bishop Munroe

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Straw Boater

Grandma's Coal Oil Lamp

'That's a Good Load. A Good Load'

A Map is Not the Territory


The Dulcimer

The Jew's Harp (Some Call It the Juice Harp)

The 1931 Ford Model A

'No Freezers at that Time'

“Our food, we canned it. There wasn’t no freezers at that time. We’d put the corn in the barn. We’d put beans and peas in barn. Put them in cans or glass fruit jars. Mason jars.” -- Carl Bishop

"In the summertime if you didn't have a spring you kept the milk in the well to keep it cool, or in a storm cellar if you had one under the house. You didn't have no ice. I mean, maybe sometimes, maybe once a year somebody would go to town an get a chunk of ice and make ice cream on a Saturday night. But that was the only ice we seen.
"I heard, and it's still on the books in the Mountain View Church, that there was two men back in my daddy's younger days who left here and went to South Georgia, and said they seen ice in the summertime. An when they come back they was telling it all through the community, that they had seen a plant that made ice — that people had made ice! And they turned them out of Mountain View Church. It's still on record. They turned them out for lying, because didn't nobody believe them! You know, they seen ice in the summertime!" -- Denver Bishop

Major and Minor Offenses

From the 1925 Manual of the Ku Klux Klan:


I. Two Classes of Offenses -- "Offenses against this order shall be divided into two classes: major and minor offenses."

II. Major Offenses
Major offenses shall consist of:

1. "Treason against the United States of America."
2. "Violating the oath of allegiance to this order or any supplementary oath of obligation thereof."
3. "Disrespect of virtuous womanhood."
4. "Violation of the Constitution or laws of this order."

By conspiracy, relinquishment or forfeiture of citizenship, support of any foreign power against the United States of America, violating the bylaws of a Klan of this Order, habitual drunkenness, habitual profanity or vulgarity.

5. Unworthy racial or Klan conduct: "Being responsible for the polluting of Caucasian blood through miscegenation, or the commission of any act unworthy of a Klansman." White men must not mix their blood with that of colored or other inferior races.
6. The repeated commission of a minor offense: "The repeated commission of a minor offense shall in itself constitute a major offense."

Minor Offenses

1. Drunkenness.
2. Profanity or vulgarity.
3. Actions inimical to interests of the Order.
4. Refusal or failure to obey.
5. Refusal or failure to respond.
6. Refusal or failure to surrender credentials.

Rill and Nimbus

"There in the chilly and small dust which is beneath porches, the subtle funnels of doodlebugs whose teasing, of a broomstraw, is one of the patient absorptions of kneeling childhood, and there, in that dust and the damper dust and the dirt, dead twigs of living, swept from the urgent tree, signs, and relics: bent nails, withered and knobbed with rust; a bone button, its two eyes torn to one; the pierced back of an alarm clock, greasy to the touch; a torn fragment of pictured print; an emptied and flattened twenty-gauge shotgun shell, its metal green, lettering still visible; the white tin eyelet of a summer shoe; and thinly scattered, the dessicated and the still soft excrement of hens, who stroll and dab and stand, shimmying, stabbing at their lice, and stroll out into the sun as vacantly as they departed it. And other things as well: a long and slender infinitesimally rustling creek and system of ants in their traffic: the underside of the house, so sparsely lifted even at the front, and meeting the quietly swollen earth so close there is scarcely light at all in the rear: and here the earth is cold, continually damp, and in the odors of mold and of a well, and there are cold insects, sutured and plated, rapid on many feet that run in a rill and nimbus along their narrow bodies; and strong spiders here, and dead ones, pale as mushrooms, suspended in the ruins of their lives, or strong, avid, distinct among their clean constructions, still, slowly palpitant in their thick bodies, watching you with a poison sharpness of eye you cannot be sure you see, sudden in movement and swift, and some who jump: and the clean pine underside of the house, blond like the floor of a turtle, that sun has never and weather has scarcely touched, so that it looks still new, as if it had sustained no sorrow above, but only a hope that was still in process of approach, as once this whole house was, all fresh and bridal, four hollowed rooms brimmed with a light of honey." -- James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, p. 130.

At the Reformatory

"In 1913 my sister Eloise was born down in Milledgeville, in Baldwin County. When the lynch mob from Marietta went down there to Milledgeville and took Leo Frank from the prison, right away my father came back up here to Haralson County and had the folks that helped build the house up there on that land for Mrs. White, he had them help to build him a house back here.
"I learned more from the annual that they printed. I think it was printed as a weekly or a monthly tribune, The Future Citizen. The Georgia prison in Milledgeville printed it. I don’t know but what that they were the ones that bound it. And he had an annual for the complete time that he was down there. And it told when he was appointed. Uncle Edgar, the lawyer and the politician in Atlanta, he got my dad appointed to that position at the boys' reformatory. Edgar was Dad's brother. Hoke Smith was the governor. I think it was the same year that Dad either finished the University of Georgia, or dropped out, or something. I never did see anything that showed he received a degree. John White, who went up there, they were there at the same time, he was a doctor there in Buchanan and he put in a drug store when he retired from being a doctor. And he told me that he and Tom Latham graduated from University of Georgia the same day. But I never did see Dad’s certificate of completion that he had anything. But John White said he had a B.E. degree. So I don’t know. But very soon after that, it was probably in June when he graduated, very soon after that, in 1906 or 1907, he was appointed by Gov. Hoke Smith as superintendent of that reform school there in Milledgeville. And he also was the -- I don’t know what you’d call him. Not the president. But he had full control over all the federal prisons because his boys that he kept there were housed in a part of the federal prison. They fed at a separate table from the federal prisoners that were there. In that Future Citizen tribune, they bound that thing, the page that says things about my dad, why they took it and they put it all together, bound it, put it in a hardback cover, and gave it to him, I guess. Or he bought it. I don’t know which. And we kept it until Eloise passed away. I don’t know what those girls done with it, they make out like they never saw it. Didn’t know anything about it.
"Well, you remember Leo Frank was a Jew and he was the manager of that pencil factory, the National Pencil Company, and the building is still there. Used to be the old Atlanta Woolen Mill, out on Highway 78 going out towards Austell, right across the river. It’s up on the hill on the right. And it was a pencil factory. And Mary Phagan worked there. She worked on Saturday. I don’t know what the reason was. Had extra hands come in to work on Saturday. And they found her strangled to death in the basement of that building. And Leo Frank was the only one that was supposed to be in the building at the time. And he was convicted on circumstantial evidence as the murderer. And of course he was sentenced to die. And Governor John Slaton told them, he pardoned him. Probated him. Commuted it to life in prison, I believe was the first thing. Well, the anti-Semitics all over the country jumped all over Governor Slaton about it. His word to them was, 'I remember a man who was hanged who was absolutely innocent. and I would never have that kind of a charge laid against me. Therefore I’m commuting his sentence.' And they ran him out of the state of Georgia. He resigned the governorship and left the state of Georgia. But they went down there, cut the telephone wires and knocked out the transformers so there’d be no lights in the prison. And they went to my dad and mother’s place where they lived, aroused my dad in his pajamas, in his nightclothes, and took him to the prison with his keys and went in the gate, because they had a big gate, a big fence all the way around the prison. And then they went in the front door of the prison and into the guard room. And there they found the guard asleep. And they aroused him and they put the guard and my dad in a cell right next to the guard’s office. And they took the key, of course, and took Leo Frank and carried him up to Atlanta. But Dad had one of those old high-wheel Indian motorcycles. Back then it didn’t have a battery. It was a magnetic motor in there. And it had the carbide wire driving it. Well Dad, undoubtedly, he and the guard, I guess the guard had done it on purpose. Dad said they had a big, heavy steel rod. But I don’t think it was a big heavy steel rod. I think it was a piece of real stiff wire that they laid alongside of the cell in the guard room. In the guard’s office. And they got that thing through the bars and they used it to open the drawer in the desk and drag out the keys where they could get out of the cell. And Dad rode that motorcycle all the way over to Barnesville to notify the sheriff that Leo Frank had been kidnapped from the prison. And he told about the sandbars and the curves and all that he had to negotiate during the night. And he had the motorcycle. I rode that motorcycle and got a chunk took out of my butt! Course, out there on that dirt road, you can think about going down that steep hill, down toward the river, right there is where it happened. That thing slid off of the ... I was running up in the middle of the road, the best I can remember. And the rear wheel slid off of the road and down into the rut. And that flipped the thing around. And i fell and the chain is what eat up my butt. But...
"As I say, he told me about the details of his travels to Barnesville. And he told about some of the details that he had with some of the boys that had been sent there for correctional training. And he talked just like it was a school. They had a certain number of hours they had to study, with their books. And then he let them work. They cultivated the area. And they had guards that I think the prison official furnished those guards to guard them when they were out in the field. And then he had charge of all of their play. Recreational play. And they had right near any type of recreation that they wanted to apply themselves with. Because in that manual it would say that they split the boys up in teams. And this team would play that team. And I think they called them the reds and the blues. I think that was the name they gave them. And they’d play football, the reds against the blues. And they’d play baseball, the reds against the blues. I don’t remember that I ever heard it or read that they played basketball. And I wondered if basketball had not been a prominent game at that time.
"Just as quick as that happened -- now John White told me this, and Dad might have told John White that -- that Dad, that the guys who come down there and lynched Leo Frank knew that Dad recognized at least one of them. And Dad, knowing that he did recognize that one, he got afraid. He didn’t want to stay there. He didn’t know what might happen to him. And here was mother and this little girl. So he just turned in his resignation and he left Milledgeville and came back to Haralson County. Course, I don’t know what he put on his resignation, the reason for leaving or anything. Because I never was able to find even a copy of the paper down there that told about what reasons he gave. The only thing was the last page in that manual stated -- they never did call him Thomas Latham, they called him Tom. 'Professor Tom Latham has resigned the position of superintendent of the boys’ school,' they called it, at Milledgeville. And it wasn’t maybe just five or six lines, that’s all that was in there. And it gave no explanation whatsoever. What I learned was from what Dad told me and what Mama told me about that night. Of course she was scared to death, within an inch of her life. She didn’t know what was going to happen to her. And she couldn’t use the telephone and they had no lights. And of course that made it even worse. But I think she was just as anxious to get out of Milledgeville at that time as he was. So they went out there and Uncle Henry was dead. He died in 1911 or 1912. But Uncle Abijah and Uncle Victor and Uncle Virgil, he had just entered University of Georgia. I don’t think he finished his first year there. But this was during the summer months. Vacation time. And those three boys, with Mr. John Eaves, built the house for Daddy there on that property on Eaves Bridge Road. There in the spring or maybe in the winter they had moved into that house that his brothers had built for them, back home in Haralson County." -- T.J. Latham

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Clothes from Guano Sacks

“Our clothes? We made all of them. We’d make them out of blue jeans, every kind of material they had. You could buy cloth by the yard. Mostly we’d make clothes out of guano sacks. Sheets out of flour sacks or guano sacks. They wore pretty good. We paid $1.98 for shoes. We bought our shoes. If shoes wore out on the bottom, we half soled ‘em. Sometimes we’d take the shoes to a place to put new soles on them for about a quarter. I wore pieces of cardboard in my shoes for a long time.” -- Carl Bishop

Thursday, February 14, 2013

TB: The Comeback Kid

Doctors say that the disease is capable of "potentially turning the clock back to the 1930s."

'Roaring Machines Crowded into Vast Rooms'

"Cotton mills were the largest things plain folk had ever seen. Full of strange, roaring machines crowded into vast rooms, they made more noise than folk had ever heard, and more commotion, too. The first impression they created could be awesome, even overwhelming...
"The vast majority of mill folks came directly from the farm ... All were poor ... most, especially the men, would have remained on the farm had the choice been entirely free." -- I.A. Newby, Plain Folk in the New South: Social Change and Cultural Persistence 1880-1915, pp. 25-26

Monday, February 11, 2013

1st Texas Cavalry

'Definitely Meant for Use'

Pothunting? 'That's Awesome'

Keeping Warm in Winter

“We’d have to tote wood and put it in the fireplace. We’d gather around the fireplace and we kept the fire burning just about all night sometimes. We’d burn oak wood, mostly. But really any kind of wood. Any kind we could get hold of.” -- Carl Bishop

"I loved all of Oscar's people. I loved all of them. They used to come to our house and the wind would be a-blowing. You know some nights the wind would blow awful hard in those country houses, you see. Sometimes couldn't even see outside. But Oscar would come and bring all them kids, including Carl, bring the little children to our house. And through the night Dad would put wood on the fire. It was so cold and the wind was just a-blowing. Ma would go to taking off and making up pallets for his crowd and her crowd. And you talk about a crowd -- she had one, then! Lot of times she'd put ashes in the children's cot -- hot ashes. The coals would keep us warm." -- Tela Shedd Whitlock

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Burlap Bags, Snow and Gasoline (The Shrouded Stranger)

Charley Patton and the Pony Blues

One Smart Horse

'And I Got Better'

"My asthma just kept getting worse through them years. They didn't think I'd ever make it. I'm talking about I had it real bad. Lots of nights they didn't think I'd make it through the night.
"But I did. We'd use Vick's salve. Put it in a saucer and put it over a lamp and put a sheet over my head. That way sometimes I'd get relief. Sometimes wouldn't nothing relieve me. I'd just have to suffer it out. There were times I felt pretty good. But they wouldn't last too long. I'm talking about maybe a month or so I wouldn't have no asthma, then there'd be times I'd have it for two or three weeks at the time.
"I remember one time in 1934, sleet was on the ground. So Ernest Hudgins, first cousin by marriage, he come down there and wanted to go rabbit hunting. Well I'd been sick for about three weeks and I hadn't done nothing. I'd been sitting there in the house with my hands on my face, smothering. I wanted to go so bad I couldn't hardly stand it. And I knowed Daddy wouldn't let me go.
"Well, I told him, I says, 'Take the dogs and go down yonder behind the barn. Sort of linger along an' I'll catch up with you after a bit.'
"Okay. So he went on out there and I got my old gun and slipped on out the back door.
"Oooh-wee! I come back to the house, I was froze from my waist down! I had ice on my britches and everything else. Got back in there and Daddy, he looked at me.
"'Young man,' he says, 'you can just suffer tonight! I'm not gonna sit up with you tonight! You know better than to get out there in that water, in that freezing rain, and go anywhere.'
"'Yes sir," I said.
"I went to bed that night and I slept better that night than I'd slept in three weeks. I slept all night long.
"And I got better." --Carl Bishop

Peg Leg Stomp

Chicken For Dinner

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Making Moonshine 101

Tobacco Road

Mysteries of the Freemasons

The One-Room Schoolhouse

The Last Will and Testament of Henry and Vashti Latham

WILL BOOK A PAGE 27-28-29-30
Will of Henry Latham and Vashti C. Latham
State of Georgia
Haralson County

BE IT REMEMBERED that we HENRY LATHAM AND VASHTI C. LATHAM of the County of Haralson in the State of Georgia do make this our last Will and Testament in the manner following:

We bequeath our souls to God who gave them.

We give and devise unto our son ROBERT D. LATHAM five Lots of land in the 20th Dist & 3rd Sect of Haralson County Georgia containing forty acres each more or less No. 826:877:878:879 & 899 valued at fifteen hundred dollars with all the buildings and improvements thereunto in anywise belonging We give and Devise unto our son THOMAS S. LATHAM lots of Land No. 885:886:892:959:960 in the 20th Dist & 3RD Sect. of Haralson County containing each forty acres more or less also half of lots No. 958: 966: 965 in the 20th Dist. 3rd Sect. of Haralson County Each containing twenty acres more or less and all valued at eight hundred dollars.

We give and devise unto our son JOHN T. LATHAM lots of land No,. 667, 679, 680, 728, 752, 753, 754, 802, 803 in the 20th District, 3rd Sect. of Haralson County containing each forty acres more or less also half of lot 827 in the 20th Dist 3 Sect Haralson County GA containing twenty acres more or less all valued at twelve hundred dollars

We give and bequeath unto Mrs. S. A. S. LATHAM, widow of our son ABIJAH B. LATHAM, DECEASED in trust for her childred born unto her by the said Abijah B. Latham two hundred dollars in cash to be paid to the said S. A. S. LATHAM by our son THOMAS S. LATHAM and the same We order shall be a charge upon the land herein before devised to the said T. S. LATHAM

We give to our daughter AMANDA E. PAINE two hundred dollars in cash to be paid by the said Thomas S. Latham

We give to our daughter MARTHA J. PHILPOT two hundred dollars in cash. Each of these three last above mentioned amounts we direct to be paid by the said THOMAS S. LATHAM without interest immediately after the Expiration of two years from the death one of us who may depart this life last and we further order that said sums shall be charged upon the lands herein before devised to our son Thomas S. Latham until the same are all paid.

We give and devise unto our son FARRIS C. LATHAM two hundred dollars in cash.

We give and bequeath unto our daughter MARY S. BUTLER two hundred dollars in cash.

We give to our daughter VASHTI C. SEWELL two hundred dollars in cash to be paid to our son ROBERT D. LATHAM in trust for the said VASHTI C. SEWELL and the heirs of her body.

We give to our daughter VIRGINIA A. PHILPOT two hundred dollars in cash.

We give to our daughter ELLIN A. WELLS two hundred dollars in cash. The five last above mentioned sums of money we direct to be paid to the parties therein named by our son JOHN T. LATHAM and we further order that the lands hereinbefore devised to our said son JOHN T. LATHAM shall be bound for the payment of said amounts of money and the same shall be a charge on said lands UNTIL BY HIM PAID nevertheless the said JOHN T. LATHAM we order shall have two years immediately after the Death of the one of us who shall depart this life last in which to pay the said amounts of money without interest.

We further will and direct that any and all personal property of which we may die seized and possessed shall be equally divided among all the heirs of our bodies.

It is our Will that all the lands and property herein devised shall remain undisturbed in the possession and enjoyment of the one of us which may survive the other and until we shall both depart this life then and not until then is it our desire that this Will or any part of it shall take effect.

We constitute and appoint our son Thomas S. Latham Executor of this our Will in witness whereof we the said HENRY LATHAM AND VASHTI C. LATHAM have hereunto set our hands and seas this 15th day of November 1878.

Henry Latham V. C. Latham

Witnesses: H. C. Head
J. K. Holcombe
Isaac Weatherby (sworn statement by witnesses) (Sworn state of JOHN T. LATHAM)

HARALSON COUNTY By S. M. Davenport, Ordinary in and for said County.

To all whom these presents may come greeting know ye that on the fourth day of August in the year of our Lord One Thousand eight hundred and seventy nine, the last Will and Testament of V. C. LATHAM late of said County deceased was Exhibited in open court and in solem form of law proved and admitted to record a copy of which is hereunto annexed and Administration of all and singular the goods and Chattels rights and credits Lands and tenements of said Deceased was granted to THOMAS S. LATHAM the Executor in and by said Will named and appointed he having first taken the Oath and performed all other requisites required by law he is by Order of said Ordinary by virtue of these presents legally authorized to administer the goods and chattels rights and credits lands and tenements of the said deceased according to the tenor and effect of said Will and Testament and according to law and he is hereby required to render a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods and chattels rights and credits land s and tenements of the said deceased and appraised and return to the Ordinary according to the law and to render a true and correct account to the said Ordinary of his actings and doings yearly until his Administration is fully completed

Witness my hand and seal this Fourth day of August 1879. S. M. Davenport (Ordinary)

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Corn Likker Still in Georgia

Beggars of Life

'A Little Clay Hill'

"My great-grandfather, Henry Latham, carried his Negro slave with him and they rode horseback, just following the river from Latham Town, McMinn County, Tennessee. This was in the summertime, probably after the crops had come in, because they were farmers. They went downriver and they found this little knob just south of the river, about 150 yards south of the river, up on a little clay hill, near Buchanan, Georgia. And well, 'Boy, that’s a nice place to build a house.' And they started inquiring to see who it belonged to. And I don’t think they bought it that day. I don’t believe he made the deal for it. I believe he found out who it was that owned it, then later on he came back down there and the deal was done, transacted in Buchanan, and the deed was written in longhand.
"My great-grandfather traded a pocketknife for the land to white Charlie Summerville. They had a white Charlie Summerville and a black Charlie Summerville, and a red Charlie Summerville, and all three of them were from the same family. White Summerville owned I don’t know how much property up and down the river. Just all kinds of property up and down the river. It was 'one pocket knife for such-and-such a lot number in such and such a district in Haralson County, Georgia.' At that time the deed had to come from the state capital of Georgia. It had to be I guess recorded at the state capital. Had a little round beeswax plaque, just about the size of a fruit jar lid. Had a blue ribbon on it that said state of Georgia, Department of Real Estate, or state, farm land, or something. It denoted what it was for. Then you turned the page over and it entertained to whom it may concern, I think would be the way it started, 'On this day, at such-and-such a time on such-and-such a year, Henry Latham gave one pocket knife and other important properties in exchange for one 40 acre tract of land in such and such a district, land lot number so and so.' And that was the deed. And we had it. And we had it in the original envelope that it was mailed to him, and Dad had it in his trunk, and I don’t think it was ever touched in all the years I can remember. So he and that colored guy cut logs and built that log house and I suppose the next year was when they moved down there. And this deed was dated in 1832.
"I have a clipping from the Haralson County Tribune, when it was printed there in Buchanan. And I think that was back in possibly ‘34 or ‘35, that told about my father’s obtaining that property where we lived. Now the lady that he got it from was a cousin of his. White. Mrs. White. He bought seven-and-a-half acres from Mr. John Cason to make the road the line. And in the Haralson County Tribune the write-up was that Tom Latham bought 88 acres of land from John Cason. Well he didn’t. Grandfather Latham, John Tazwell Latham, gave my dad 80 acres, which was two lots. And he bought seven-and-a-half acres from John Cason. Well, I tried to find out who it was that gave them that information. And I talked to the editor of the Buchanan Tribune about it. He didn’t even remember who it was that gave him that information. And I thought well could it have been one of my relatives. Uncle Victor’s kids, or Uncle Henry’s, either Effie May, Hoke, or maybe Aunt Beatrice? Naw, I don’t think it was none of them. I really don’t think it was any member of the Latham family. And that was the end of it. But they never printed a correction of that report that was in the Haralson Co. Tribune. I clipped it out and I was going to give it to my sister Eloise, but Eloise had got the same paper and she had cut it out, too. And she knew better. She told her girls that that was not right, that she knew where the land came from."
--T.J. Latham

Thursday, February 7, 2013

'Twas Beauty Killed the Beast'

'Looked Like Somebody Been Killing Hogs There'

Atlanta, Georgia, October 21,1871.
TILDA WALTHALL (colored) sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:
Question. State your age, where you were born, and where you now live.

Answer. I am twenty-one years old; I do not know where I was born, but I live in Haralson County.

Question. When did you come here from Haralson County?

Answer. I do not recollect now what day it was; a few days ago.

Question. Are you a married woman?

Answer. They killed my husband.

Question. Who killed him?

Answer. The Ku-Klux.

Question. When, and where?

Answer. It was in Haralson County, in May.

Question. Tell us all about it, and who they were.

Answer. I do not know but two of them.

Question. Who were they?

Answer. Old man Monroe and Ben, his son.

Question. How many of them were there?

Answer. I do not know how many there were.

Question. Did you see the crowd?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Were they riding?

Answer. They were riding, but they left their horses.

Question. Were they disguised?

Answer. They were disguised.

Question. How?

Answer. They had on great big gowns, and great big, long sleeves, wide sleeves.

By Mr. Scofield:
Question. Were their faces covered?

Answer. Some were, and some were not.

By the Chairman:
Question. Now, tell us all that they did.

Answer. They came and hallooed to open the door; my husband got up and got out of the house; he crawled in under the house. Then they came around and went into the garden and pulled off a plank, and he was lying there; and they shot him.

Question. Do you know who shot him?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. How many shots did they fire at him?

Answer. They never fired but once.

Question. Did that shot kill him?

Answer. He lived until the next night about dusk, when he died. They beat him after they shot him. The report was, that they said they gave him three hundred.

Question. With what?

Answer. With sticks.

Question. Did they beat him with his clothes on, or did they take them off?

Answer. His clothes were off or pulled up. He did not have on anything but his drawers and shirt, and they pulled his drawers down and his shirt up.

Question. Did they beat him on the naked flesh?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Was that in the night-time?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. At what time of the night?

Answer. Well, when they left, chickens were crowing for day.

Question. Did they give any reason for treating him in that way?

Answer. No, sir, they did not say.

Question. Did your husband say before he died whether ho know my of them or not?

Answer. No, sir; he never said a word about them; nary word.

Question. Was he able to talk much?

Answer. Ho did not say much.

Question. Where have you been living?

Answer. On old man Wyatt Williams's land.

Question. Do you know of anybody else who was interfered with by the Ku-Klux?

Answer. There are some more up on the mountain, about six miles from us, that were interfered with.

By Mr. Bayard:
Question. You stated that old man Monroe and his son Ben were there?

Answer. Yes, sir; Duncan Monroe.

Question. Did you know him and recognize him?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What had he against your husband?

Answer. Lord knows; I don't.

Question. What was your husband's name?

Answer. John Walthall.

Question. Did he know anything those people were afraid he would tell?

Answer. If he did, I did not know it; I had not been married very long.

Question. How many of those people were there?

Answer. I do not know how many there were.

Question. How many did you see?

Answer. I do not know how many; I did not count them; I could not give any idea of how many there were.

Question. Did you know the faces of any of those who were in disguise?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Had they anything on their horses?

Answer. We did not see them; they were tied up the road a piece from us.

Question. You have no idea what made them commit this act?

Answer. No, sir; I could not give any idea at all.

By Mr. Scofield:
Question. Was there anybody else in the house but yourself and husband?

Answer. Nobody there but me and my husband; they pulled two men up there on one of their houses up to my house to keep them from going off; they were Jasper Carter and Charles Little; they whipped them.

Question. Were they colored men?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did they whip them at your house?

Answer. No, sir; they took them away from their houses.

By Mr. Bayard:
Question. How did you know that?

Answer. Jasper said so.

Question. You did not see them whip them?

Answer. No, sir; I only saw his back that he was whipped.

By the Chairman:
Question. Was his back much hurt?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Atlanta, Georgia, October 21,1871.
HESTER GOGGIN (colored) sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:
Question. How old are you, where were you born, and where do you now live?

Answer. I am about sixteen years old; I do not know where I was born; I live in Haralson County.

Question. Do you know anything about the killing of John Walthall?

Answer. I was not up there when they shot him.

Question. Where were you that night?

Answer. I was at Charley Little's house.

Question. Did you see anybody go along by there that night?

Answer. Yes, sir; they came right by there; that was the first place they stopped.

Question. Who were they?

Answer. There were three I knowed; old man Monroe and two sons.

Question. How many were there altogether?

Answer. About fifteen or twenty.

Question. What did they do at Charley Little's?

Answer. They came in and took him out: two staid in the house and made me and two more girls get up and kindle a light. They asked us if we had any gun there, and we said no. They looked behind the door, and said that if they found any gun they would kill us; they found none, and stepped out of doors and told us to show them where Jasper Carter and John Walthall lived; we showed them, and they went on; they came on back, and then whipped us.

Question. Did they whip you?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Who whipped you?

Answer. Neil Monroe, Ben was the other, and old man Monroe were all I knowed.

Question. Did the others whip you?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. How much did they whip you?

Answer. They gave me about ten or thirteen licks.

Question. With what?

Answer. It looked to me like a hickory withe; I do not know what it was.

Question. Did they whip you over your clothes?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Why did they whip you?

Answer. They said to make us stay at home; and we were already at home.

Question. Did they whip anybody else besides you?

Answer. Yes, sir, Charley Little's wife.

Question. Had she any children?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. How old were they?

Answer. There was one about seven, and another thirteen or fourteen.

Question. Were they there?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did they trouble the children at all?

Answer. They never interfered with the smallest one.

Question. How much did they whip Charley Little's wife?

Answer. The gave her two or three licks, and snatched her across the bed.

Question. Did they whip anybody else there?

Answer. No. sir.

By Mr. Scofield:
Question. Where was Charley Little himself?

Answer. They took him up to John Walthall's house.

Question. What month was that?

Answer. I do not know what month that was.

Question. Was it in the summer or in the spring?

Answer. It was in warm weather.

Question. Did Charley Little come back?

Answer. Yes, sir, after they went off.

Question. Was it daylight when he got back?

Answer. No, sir, it was not daylight.

Question. Did they whip him?

Answer. No, sir, they never touched him.

By Mr. Lansing:
Question. Did yon ever hear what they shot John Walthall for?

Answer. No, sir, I never heard.

Question. Did you hear Charley Little say?

Answer. No, sir. Question. Was he there at Walthall's when they shot him?

Answer. Yes, sir, he was there.

Question. Did you learn what they took him up to Walthall's for?

Answer. No, sir.

By Mr. Scofield:
Question. Is Charley Little here?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Atlanta, Georgia, October 21,1871.
RENA LITTLE (colored) sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:
Question. How old are yon, where were you born, and where do you now live?

Answer. I do not know how old I am. I was born in Haralson county, and live there now.

Question. Do you recollect the night when John Walthall was killed?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Where were you that night?

Answer. I was at home.

Question. Where was that?

Answer. Down on the Tallapoosa River.

Question. Are you married, or a single woman?

Answer. I am single.

Question. What kin are you to Charley Little?

Answer. He is my step-father.

Question. Did any one come to your house that night?

Answer. Yes, sir. Question. Who were they?

Answer. Ben Monroe, and Neil Monroe, and old man Monroe.

Question. Was anybody else there?

Answer. Yes, sir; a whole crowd of them; but I did not know who they were.

Question. Why did you not know the others?

Answer. They were strangers.

Question. What did they do at your house?

Answer. They whipped me, and my sister, and my aunt.

Question. How much did they whip you?

Answer. I reckon they gave me about forty or fifty licks.

Question. What did they whip you with?

Answer. With some kind of whip; I do not know what it was.

Question. Did they whip you as they were going on to John Walthall's house, or as they were coming back?

Answer. As they were coming back, after they had done shot him.

Question. What reason did they give for whipping you?

Answer. They never said what they whipped us for; just whipped us and told us to stay at home, and wo were already at home.

Question. Did they whip you over your clothes?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Lansing:
Question. Did you hear any reason given for shooting Walthall?

Answer. No, sir; I never heard what they shot him for.

By Mr. Scofield:
Question. Were the men disguised who came to your house?

Answer. Some of them were, and some were not.

Question. Did the Monroes have anything on?

Answer. Old man Monroe, the first time they came into the house, had something on his face; but the last time he came in he did not have anything on his face.

Atlanta, Georgia, October 21,1871.
LETITIA LITTLE (colored) sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:
Question. How old are you, where were you born, and where do you now live?

Answer. I do not know how old I am, or where I was born; I live down at Williams's Mills, in Haralson County.

Question. Where were you at the time that John Walthall was shot?

Answer. I was down in my ma's house.

Question. Whoso house is that?

Ansteer. It is one of Mr. Williams's houses.

Question. Who is your mother?

Answer. Jane Little.

Question. Did any parties come to your house that night?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did they say what they came for?

Answer. They said they came there to kill uncle John Walthall.

Question. Who said that?

Answer. The Ku-Klux said so.

Question. Did you know any of them?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Which ones?

Answer. Ben Monroe and Neil Monroe.

Question. Did they say what they were going to kill him for?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Did they trouble you in any way?

Answer. They whipped us.

Question. Did they whip you?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. When was that; as they were going, or when they were coming back?

Answer. When they came back.

Question. How many blows did they strike you?

Answer. I do not know.

Question. Why did they whip you?

Answer. They just whipped us and told us to stay at home.

By Mr. Lansing:
Question. Were you going to any school at that time?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Did they say where you had been that they complained of?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Have you told us all they said?

Answer. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Bayard:
Question. You do not know how old you are, or where you were born?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Did you know what you meant when you swore on that Bible?

Answer. On the Bible?

Question. When that gentleman put the oath to you did you know what he meant?

Answer. Put the oath?

Question. Do you know what an oath is?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Do you know what that gentleman meant when he said something when you first came into the room?

Answer. No, sir.

By the Chairman:
Question. Do you know what swearing to tell the truth is?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Suppose after you are sworn to tell the truth you should tell a lie; what would be done to you?

Answer. I do not know.

Atlanta, Georgia, October 21,1871.
MARIA CARTER (colored) sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:
Question. How old are yon, where were you born, and where do you now live?

Answer. I will be twenty-eight years old on the 4th day of next March: I was born in South Carolina; and I live in Haralson County now. Question. Are you married or single?

Answer. I am married.

Question. What is your husband's name?

Answer. Jasper Carter.

Question. Where were you on the night that John Walthall was shot?

Answer. In my house, next to his house; not more than one hundred yards from his house.

Question. Did any persons come to your house that night?

Answer. Yes, sir, lots of them; I expect about forty or fifty of them.

Question. What did they do at your house?

Answer. They just came there and called; we did not get up when they first called. We heard them talking as they got over the fence. They came hollering and knocking at the door, and they scared my husband so bad he could not speak when they first came. I answered them. They hollered, "Open the door." I said, "Yes, sir." They were at the other door, and they said, "Kindle a light." My husband went to kindle a light, and they busted both doors open and ran in -- two in one door and two in the other. I heard the others coming on behind them, jumping over the fence in the yard. One put his gun down to him and said, "Is this John Walthall?" They had been hunting him a long time. They had gone to my brother-in-law's hunting him, and had whipped one of my sisters-in-law powerfully and two more men on account of him. They said they were going to kill him when they got hold of him. They asked my husband if he was John Walthall. He was so scared he could not say anything. I said, "No." I never got up at all. They asked where he was, and we told them he was up to the next house. They jerked my husband up and said that he had to go up there. I heard them up there hollering "Open the door," and I heard them break the door down. While they were talking about our house, just before they broke open our door, I heard a chair fall over in John Walthall's house. He raised a plank then and tried to get under the house. A parcel of them ran ahead and broke the door down and jerked his wife out of the bed. I did not see them, for I was afraid to go out of doors. They knocked his wife about powerfully. I heard them cursing her. She commenced hollering, and I heard some of them say, "God damn her, shoot her." They struck her over the head with a pistol. The house looked next morning as if somebody had been killing hogs there. Some of them said, "Fetch a light here, quick;" and some of them said to her, "Hold a light." They said she held it, and they put their guns down on him and shot him. I heard him holler, and some of them said, "Pull him out, pull him out." When they pulled him out the hole was too small, and I heard them jerk a plank part off the house and I heard it fly back. At that time four men came in my house and drawn a gun on me; I was sitting in my bed and the baby was yelling. Thev asked, "Where is John Walthall?" I said, "Up yonder." They said, " Who lives here?" I said, "Jasper Carter." They said, "Where is John Walthall?" I said, "Them folks have got him." They said, "What folks?" I said, "Them folks up there." They came in and out all the time. I heard John holler when they commenced whipping him, They said, "Don't holler, or we'll kill you in a minute." I undertook to try and count, but they scared me so bad that I stopped counting; but I think they hit him about three hundred licks after they shot him. I heard them clear down to our house ask him if he felt like sleeping with some more white women; and they said, "You steal, too, God damn you." John said, "No, sir." They said, "Hush your mouth, God damn your eyes, you do steal." I heard them talking, but that was all I hoard plain. They beat him powerfully. She said they made her put her arms around his neck and then they whipped them both together. I saw where they struck her head with a pistol and bumped her head against the house, and the blood is there yet. They asked me where my husband's gun was; I said he had no gun, and they said I was a damned liar. One of them had a sort of gown on, and he put his gun in my face and I pushed it up. The other said, "Don't you shoot her." He then went and looked in a trunk among the things. I allowed they were hunting for a pistol. My hushand had had one, but he sold it. Another said, "Let's go away from here." They brought in old Uncle Charlie and sat him down there. They had a light at the time, and I got to see some of them good. I knew two of them, but the others I could not tell. There was a very large light in the house, and they went to the fire and I saw them. They came there at about 12 o'clock and staid there until 1. They went on back to old Uncle Charley's then, to whip his girls and his wife. They did not whip her any to hurt her at all. They jabbed me on the head with a gun, and I heard the trigger pop. It scared me and I throwed my hand up. He put it back again, and I pushed it away again.

Question. How old was your baby?

Answer. Not quite three weeks old.

Question. You were still in bed?

Answer. Yes, sir; I never got up at all.

Question. Did they interrupt your husband in any way?

Answer. Yes, sir; they whipped him mightily; I do not know how much. They took him away up the road, over a quarter, I expect. I saw the blood running down when he came back. Old Uncle Charley was in there. They did not carry him hack home. Thev said, "Old man, you don't steal." He said, "No." They sat him down and said to him, "You just stay here." Just as my husband got back to one door and stepped in, three men came in the other door. They left a man at John's house while they were ripping around. As they came back by the house they said, "By God, goodbye, hallelujah!" I was scared nearly to death, and my husband tried to keep it hid from me. 1 asked him if he had been whipped much. He said, "No." I saw his clothes were bloody, and tho next morning they stuck to him, and his shoulder was almost like jelly.

Question. Did you know this man who drew his gun on you?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Who was he?

Answer. Mr. Finch.

Question. Where does he live?

Answer. I reckon about three miles off. I was satisfied I knew him and Mr. Booker.

Question. Were they considered men of standing and property in that country?

Answer. Yes, sir; Mr. Finch is married into a pretty well-off family. He is a good liver, but he is not well off himself.

Question. How is it with Mr. Booker?

Answer. I do not know so much about him. He is not very well off.

Question. How with the Monroes?

Answer. They are pretty well-off folks, about as well off as there are in Haralson. They have a mill.

By Mr. Bayard:
Question. You said they had been looking a long time for John Walthall?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Had they been charging John with sleeping with white women?

Answer. Yes, sir; and the people where he staid had charged him with it. He had been charged with it ever since the second year after I came to Haralson. I have been there four years this coming Christmas.

Question. That was the cause of their going after him and making this disturbance?

Answer. Yes, sir; that was it. We all knew he was warned to leave them long before he was married. His wife did not know anything about it. When he first came there he was staying among some white women down there.

Question. Do you mean living with them and sleeping with them?

Answer. He was staying in the house where they were.

Question. White women?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Were they women of bad character?

Answer. Yes, sir; worst kind.

Question. What were their names?

Answer. They were named Keyes.

Question. How many were there?

Answer. There were four sisters of them, and one of them was old man Martin's wife.

Question. Were they low white people?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Had John lived with them for a long while?

Answer. Yes, sir. They had threatened him and been there after him. They had gone there several times to run them off. My house was not very far from them, and I heard them down there throwing rocks.

Question. Was it well known among you that John had been living with these low white women?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did he keep it up after he was married?

Answer. No, sir; he quit before he was married. I heard that a white woman said he came along there several times last year and said he could not get rid of them to save his life.

Question. Did John go with any other white women?

Answer. No, sir; not that I know of.

Question. Was he accused by the Ku-Klux of going with any of them?

Answer. They did not tell him write down their names. I heard them say, "Do you feel like sleeping with any more white women?" and I knew who they were.

By the Chairman:
Question. These women, you say, were a low-down class of persons?

Answer. Yes, sir; not counted at all. Question. Did white men associate with them?

Answer. It was said they did.

Question. Did respectable white men go there?

Answer. Some of them did. Mr. Stokes did before he went to Texas, and several of the others around there. I do not know many men in Georgia any way; I have not been about much. I have heard a heap of names of those who used to go there. I came by there one night, and I saw three men there myself.

Question. You say John Walthall had been going there a good while?

Answer. Yes, sir; that is what they say.

Question. How long had he quit before they killed him?

Answer. A year before last, a while before Christmas. He was still staying at old man Martin's. I staid last year close to Carroll, and when I came back he had quit.

Question. Did he go with them any more after he married?

Answer. No, sir; he staid with his wife all the time. He lived next to me.

Question. How long had he bcen married before he was killed?

Answer. They married six weeks before Christmas, and he was killed on the 22d of April.

Question. Did they charge your husband with going after any white women?

Answer. No, sir; I never heard them say anything to him at all. The next morning I asked him what they whipped him for. He said they told him that he stole corn from old man Monroe. He staid at Monroe's a year and a half—so I was told; I do not know. People said that Monroe never paid him anything.

Question. How long before this was he living at old man Monroe's?

Answer. We have been married four years, and it was before we were married. I think it was the second year after he was free.

Question. Were any of these men along that night who had been going to see these low women?

Answer. I do not know; I heard that Mr. Murphy's sister said that he was in the crowd that night—his little sister—and I know he used to go there.

Question. Is he one of those who have gone to Texas?

Answer. No, sir.

By Mr. Bayard:
Question. You know that because somebody told you so?

Answer. Yes, sir; that much. I do not know it myself; I heard some one else say it.

--From the Report of the Joint Select Committee of the United States Congress to Inquire on the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States (1872)

T.S. Eliot

Journey Of The Magi

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and
And running away, and wanting their
liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the
lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns
And the villages dirty and charging high
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears,
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a
temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of
With a running stream and a water-mill
beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped in
away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with
vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for
pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no imformation, and so
we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment
too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say)

All this was a long time ago, I
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had
seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different;
this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like
Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these
But no longer at ease here, in the old
With an alien people clutching their
I should be glad of another death.
--T.S. Eliot

Dante Alighieri's Divina Commedia: Inferno

The Real Shame in Slavery

Slaughter in the Trenches

'Sores All Over His Legs'

"Uncle Virgil Latham fought in World War I. He was gassed, and he got trench sores, and his feet and legs never did heal up right. He had them bandaged and had sores all over his legs. Uncle Virgil was in the Veteran’s Hospital more than he was at home. He would come out there and get out there on that farm and he’d try to plow. He had a pair of young mules and -- boy, I’m telling you -- they were big ol' mules! About 1,200 or 1,300 pound mules. There wasn’t nothing those mules wouldn't move. He bought himself a riding turning plow, where you could just go around and around and around with them and turn around when you got around to those bogs. He’d just ride all day, all he had to do was sit up there and hold the lines. Of course he could do that. But if you got out and started walking in that plowed ground, why those feet and legs they would just feel solid sore. It was what he called trench sores, or something like that. It was caused from standing in the mud as a soldier. That’s what caused it. And he also was deaf. He had problems with his lungs. In fact his lungs are what killed him. He’s buried in Cedartown, on the hill just above where the Central of Georgia railroad yards are. Just back west of there. That cemetery on your right, going from the Central of Georgia railroad through town, it’s there on your right." -- T.J. Latham

Ascendancy of the Mule

Mules gradually displaced oxen and horses as the work-engines of small, southern farms as the 19th century progressed:
"By the twentieth century, mules were a standard fixture on southern cotton farms and plantations of all sizes. The number of mules in the region increased until 1925, when nearly four-fifths of the mules in the United States were in the South ... the mule remained a constant, as well as a central, aspect of southern agricultural identity. This is evidenced by the fact that farm size in the South was often based on the measure of a one-mule farm or a two-mule farm." -- George B. Ellenberg, Mule South to Tractor South: Mules, Machines, and the Transformation of the Cotton South

Memory Bubbles

"We think we can put our memories away in a box and we can go check on them later and they will be the same, but they are never the same; they are these electro-chemical bubbles that continue to bubble over time." -- Andrew Jarecki

Bad Teeth

"After the Depression come, that's about the time Daddy's health got real bad, when he left Acworth, in about 1931. In fact, they didn't think he was going to live — they thought he had TB. They just knew he was going to die from it. But it was his teeth! Because his teeth were so bad. But they left Cherokee County to come back to Haralson County. He said, 'Well, if I'm going to die, I'd rather be in Haralson County.'" -- Denver Bishop

"They thought it was the mill that was ruining his health. They told him to get out of the mill and get back on the farm, get back in the country. And he did. But when he had his teeth pulled he regained his health and he was fine." -- Mildred Bishop Munroe