Presentments shed light on 1901 Albany

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Since Dougherty County was created by the Georgia General Assembly, a grand jury comprised of members of the community meet during set terms to determine who is worthy of indictment.

But a less publicized role of the grand jury involves its review of county functions such as roads and inmate detention.

Today, the grand jury isn't required to do as thorough of a job as they have been in the past. In 1901, this select group of Dougherty County residents physically observed the bridges, reviewed the books for both the county government and the school system and their facilities.

In April 1901, The Albany Herald published the list of grand jury presentments on its front page from April 10.

Below are some of the more interesting facts contained in the presentments:

-- Dougherty County's chain gang had 21 men and two women.

-- The poor house had six men and three women.

-- The grand jury recommended that the county install a telephone in the chain gang superintendent's office to use in the event of an escape or illness.

-- There were six white schools and 25 black schools in the county; 15 white teachers and 34 black teachers and 446 white students and 1,771 black students.

-- The white schools operated in a nine-month period while black schools were only open for five.

-- The total sum paid to all of the teachers was $7,747.

-- The total school budget was $8,741.89

-- The county's budget was $26,441.

In other news from around Albany in 1901:

John Hooks was arrested after slashing the throat of Charlie Woodall during a fight on Broad Street. Woodall, although seriously injured, survived the attack.

The Herald noted that on April 17 there was only one prisoner at the Dougherty County Jail and that it was a woman.

On April 19, Capt. Youel Rust died at 79. The newspaper reported that he was the first mayor of Albany following its incorporation by the state in 1853.

On April 4, a local man named Silly Stokes pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to serve 18 years in the state prison.