Looking Back - Feb. 17, 2013

History column

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

Albany Herald Editor Jim Hendricks has unearthed a rare, if not only-of-its-kind, bound copy of The Baker County News from 1932. Here are excerpts from those pages, as well as a bit of county history.

In the beginning

• Baker County was created on Dec. 12, 1825. The county was named in honor of Col. John Baker, who fought for Georgia during the American Revolution. His company was the only party to reach mainland Florida during the Second Florida Expedition.

• The county was created from a portion of Early County.

• Additional counties created from Baker County include Dougherty (1853), Calhoun (1854), Miller (1856) and Mitchell (1857).

1932 snapshot of the county (U.S. Census, 1930)

• Total population — 7,818

• Blacks age 10 and over — 3,471

• Whites age 10 and over — 2,228

• Total number of farms — 1,107

• Number of people out of a job — 3

In the news

• The prison camp at Elmodel was completed and state prisoners began arriving in January.

• Red Cross ladies were busy cutting donated fabric into patterns for sewing dresses and underwear for women and girls without funds to purchase clothing. Those in need were advised to come to the courthouse where the ladies were working in the county school superintendent’s office.

• In order for current subscribers and new subscribers to get The Baker County News, the publisher announced that payment equaling $1.50 annually could be made in fresh meat, corn syrup, chickens, eggs and country-cured hams.

• A reward of $100 was offered to any party or parties with evidence to convict anyone hunting, trapping or trespassing on Pineland Plantation.

• County commissioners, by court order, began accepting bids for jail repairs and renovations. In the current state, the jail was deemed unsanitary as well as having no way to separate black and white prisoners. There was also a need for separate quarters for females.

• Norris Grocery Store advertised the following specials: 10 bars Octagon Soap — 25 cents, 24-pound sack of Lucky Lad flour — 55 cents, six boxes of five-cent matches for 15 cents, two pounds Norris special blend coffee — 25 cents and stew beef — 10 cents per pound.

• The public was invited to attend a motion picture show at the Newton Consolidated School auditorium. The film featured a tour of Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as scenes of Newton’s familiar places and faces.

• T.L. Gamble announced his candidacy for the position of Baker County school superintendent.

• Mrs. O.C. Sindersine shot her husband as he crawled through a window of their home in Newton in the wee hours of the morning. She believed it was a burglar entering the house. Her husband died and she was charged with murder and later freed on a $10,000 bond.

• All farmers intent on making an application for crop protection loans from the federal government were invited to meet with the county agent and loan committee representatives. The maximum loan for 1932 was set at $400.

• E.M. Harris Barber Shop in Newton reopened after remodeling and updating its equipment. Available services included hair cuts, massages, shaves, hair singeing and cold shower baths.

• The Bethany School presented a play, “Mammy’s Lil’ Wild Rose,” to which the public was invited. Admission was 10 cents.

• The State Highway Department released its paving plans for the year. Included on the list was the nine-mile stretch of Highway 37 between Camilla and Newton.

• A story appeared in the magazine section of The Atlanta Journal on April 17 about Newton and various events of Baker County. Of particular interest to readers was how residents were informed of mail arrival. A bell was rung when mail arrived and it was believed that Newton was the only location in the United States to use such a method of notification.

• On a busy shopping Saturday in April, a gas war took place in Newton. Gasoline dropped to 13 cents per gallon and many automobile owners took the opportunity to fill their tanks. By Monday the price per galloon had returned to 21 cents.

• Powell’s Cash Store had men’s, women’s and children’s bathing suits in stock. The all-wool suits ranged in price from 89 cents to $2.25.

• When J.H. Keen and his two sons lost their mule, the replacement came in the form of an old automobile. The Keens rigged up their old car for field work and attached two cultivators for plowing. One drove the car and the other two operated the cultivators.

• The Bainbridge-Columbus Motor Lines opened a new service for Newton. The daily bus arrived in Newton each morning at 9:50 and returned from Albany at 2:35 p.m. The stopping point was the Newton Tire & Service Station.

• Red Cross distribution of flour to the needy in Baker County allowed for a family of four or less to receive one 24-pound bag each month while larger families could receive two 24-pound bags each month.

• Baker County residents were encouraged to travel to Camilla to see Dr. C.O. Rainey for free typhoid serum treatments.

• County chain gang expenses averaged $600 per month, which included clothing, shoes, a warden, guards, doctor bills, drugs, rations, gas, oil, grease and other small items.

• Bath houses were constructed on the Coolawahee Creek Resort by an all-volunteer crew. The cost of the lumber was $27.57, of which $22 was raised by a local play presentation.

• Schools within the county were advised to continue use of existing textbooks for another year. A revolving fund for the purchase of school books would not be available from the state until 1933.

• The pool room operated in the John Hall Building reopened for business after being closed for several months “on account of the depression.” Men were invited to return and enjoy the amusement.