Signs of the Times (1938-1939)


The Seaboard Air line Railroad's new seven car, stainless steel train, the "Silver Meteor," made its first run from New York, New York, to Miami, Florida, in February 1939. De­pots for the railroad at Riceboro and Dorchester were "flag stops" for the train.


During a regular meeting of the Parents-Teachers Asso­ciation in March 1939, Reverend C.B. Ray spoke on religious education, Dorothy Dasher sang selections, and a spelling bee was won by Edna R. Fennell and Florence Ashmore. Ouida Darsey Waters presided over a short business meet­ing in the absence of the organization's president, Hattie Schwartz Ginter.


The economic depression in Liberty County was still grave in 1939, but not quite so grave as it had been nearly ten years before. Many Georgia public schools closed because of a lack of funds with which to pay salaries of teachers. It was feared that this would happen in Liberty County.


The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution addressing itself to the matter on March 28, 1939:


"Whereas, the Liberty County Board of Education will have before the end of the present fiscal year spent all of their annual income and accumulated surplus in a laudable effort to keep the schools open: and,


"Whereas, the state legislature did adjourn without pass­ing any appropriation or revenue measure for the purpose of supporting our schools, in spite of the fact that body did, in February, pass a resolution in both Houses to do whatever was necessary for the schools, causing many schools in the state to remain open longer than they otherwise would with­out paying teachers:


"Therefore, be it resolved that this body, the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce in regular open meeting, request that our State Senator, the Honorable D.J. Dawson, and our Representative, the Honorable C.J. Smiley, do all within their power as officials to pass the necessary legisla­tion to support the common schools of the State and for the full seven months term on a permanent basis. D.S. Owens, president, and M.F. Clark Jr., secretary."


It is a matter of record that no school in Liberty County closed during the period 1930-1940 because of a lack of public funds. Credit for this achievement must be given to efforts of the Liberty County Board of Education, and sacrifices by the school teachers themselves.


One of the biggest attractions in the Coastal Empire in April 1939 was a three-day round of festivities at Savannah, Georgia, on the occasion of the first Southern Paper Festival. Many Liberty Countians attended the "Story of the Pines" in the municipal auditorium, saw the King and Queen of Papyrus crowned, and watched the coronation parade.


The Midway Society held its annual meeting on April 28, 1939, in Midway Church and made plans to erect a memorial to Reverend James L. Stacy and reprint his "The Published Records of Midway Church," published at Newnan, Georgia, in 1894, and "History of the Midway Congregational Church," also printed in Newnan, Georgia, in 1903, and revised in 1904. The two volumes were reprinted in one volume titled "History and Records of Midway Church," with an addenda by Elizabeth Walker Quarterman of Flemington, by the Midway Society in 1951. A tablet in memory of Reverend Stacy was unveiled at Midway Church in 1940.


In the late spring of 1939, all industries in Liberty County were strictly rural-farming, naval stores, sawmilling, and pulpwood. Wages were low in all trades, ranging from 75¢ a day as the lowest farm wage, to 40¢ an hour as the highest wage for sawmill workers. Tobacco and cotton were the cash crops in Liberty County, and cattle and hogs were raised for home consumption and sale, on open ranges.


Rural stores in Liberty County stayed open from early to late to accommodate their customers. Most of them sold gasoline and oil. All of them were places where people went to hear the latest news. Most of them had a bench in front, scarred by years of whittling, where loafers passed the time of day. Some of them had small ice houses outside. For 10¢ you could buy enough ice to make iced tea for several days if you kept it packed in sawdust.


The business district in Hinesville consisted of two filling stations, two cafes, a drugstore, three general stores, three grocery stores, a bank, a telephone exchange, a building for offices of medical doctors, and a post office. There were a few paved sidewalks in front of principal stores. There was a strip of asphalt around courthouse square which connected with U.S. Highway 82 at two points. There was a small swimming pool at the Hinesville Ice and Water Company where a child could swim all day for 5¢.


Hinesville constructed "cattle guards" and fences on all approaches to the city to keep livestock off the streets. One rural resident joked that Hinesville, now fenced in, would make an excellent pasture for his hogs and cows. Both hogs and cows, despite the "cattle guards" and fences, found their way inside the city and dozed peacefully in the streets during the heat of a summer day.


Mail for Hinesville arrived at the McIntosh railroad depot, and was picked up by automobile and delivered to the U.S. post office in Hinesville twice a day. Idalene Smith succeeded Beulah Hines Fraser McCall as postmistress in 1935, and was still serving in the position in 1939.


The City of Hinesville employed its first policeman in 1939. He was Richard Allen, an ex-Marine and husband of Cleo Taylor, daughter of J.M.E. and Minnie Davis Taylor of Flemington. T.W. Welborn was mayor of Hinesville in 1939, and the city council consisted of Frank W. Hendry, J. Dekle Darsey, H.N. ("Mudge") Stafford, E.A. Daniel, and W.F. Mills.


The Liberty County Herald during the period 1938 to World War II was edited and published by Robert S. Martin, Frank Majors, and M.F. and Lollie Gill Clark. It was issued each Thursday morning. The editor and his printer generally worked late every Wednesday night putting the newspaper together. The Savannah Morning News arrived in a bundle at the McIntosh railroad depot each  morning, and generally was brought back to Hinesville by the person who picked up the first mail of the day. The Savannah Evening Press arrived in a bundle in the late afternoon on the only Greyhound  bus which traveled through Hinesville each day.


Bradwell Institute accommodated 450 pupils, most of whom were bused in from rural parts of Liberty County. School buses were parked in the rear of general stores on courthouse square , and their drivers during the day ran er­rands and shopped for their neighbors. Students brought their own lunch. Those with 10¢ could buy a hamburger and a soft drink from a small stand adjacent to the school grounds. School let out at three in the afternoon. It was nightfall by the time rural students got home. If the bus broke down during its homeward  journey, the students walked home. In early June 1939 the Bradwell Institute senior class made a trip on a county school bus to Washington, D.C. One of the prettiest girls in that class was Juanita Bell of Yellow Bluff.


By the summer of 1939, Mary Rogers, director of the Liberty County Department of Public Welfare, had a board of five members, a part-time stenographer, and assistants employed through relief programs. Two of those employees were La Trelle and Mildred Eunice.


Charles Jefferson Smiley represented Liberty County in the state legislature. He had a beautiful daughter named Grace who married a handsome young teacher at Bradwell Institute named Mike Hendrix. He was a member of Troop B, 108th Cavalry (Liberty Independent Troop), which was still horse-mounted in 1939. It spent its annual two weeks encampment that year at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Paul E. Caswell was captain of the organization.


George B. Hack, a physician in Hinesville for more than 25 years, died in 1939. He was a native of Waynesboro, Georgia. He married Ethel Davis and their children were Frederick Courtland, Orion Davis, and Jane Bacon Hack.


The "old lodge lot" and the structure on it, the Bradwell Building, was sold for $50 to Birdie Martin, widow of Robert M. ("Bob") Martin, in the summer of 1939. The deed was signed the same day by trustees of Hinesville Lodge No. 271, Free and Accepted Masons.


Liberty Countians joined friends and relatives in Glenn­ville, Georgia, for the "Tomato Festival." They were espe­cially proud when Mary Durrence, Queen of the Tomato Festival, and daughter of  J. Cleve and Eula Baxter Durrence of Glennville, was chosen "Miss Georgia" that year. Her mother's ancestors came from Liberty County.


The most popular gathering place for young people around Hinesville during the summer of 1939 was Paul's Place at Flemington. It was a cafe and filling station, with a "juke­box" and a small space for dancing, owned and operated by Sheriff Paul H. Sikes since before he was elected sheriff of the county.


Ten acres of land between Hinesville and Glennville were donated in 1939 by Joseph B. Fraser Jr. and 0.J. Olmstead of Taylors Creek for a proposed "Herty Memorial Forest." Olmstead had a daughter named Dorothy who was one of the prettiest girls in Liberty County in 1939.


"The Famous June Lee and Her Sensational All-Girl Band" played for a dance at Jones Place at Ways Station (Richmond Hill), "direct from the smart China Royal Club in New York," according to an advertisement in the Liberty County Herald. There were boxing matches at Corbetts Place in Taylors Creek. In one bout "Bomber Brown, Champion of Stilson," was pitted against "Paul Smith, McIntosh Challenger." Admission was 10¢.


Basketball was THE sport in Liberty County in 1939. There were boys and girls teams at Bradwell Institute and Willie High School. They played each other and teams from high schools in adjacent counties on outdoor courts. School buses provided transportation for the teams.


From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Page(s) 100-102; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office