Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at

Saturday, April 30, 2016

IMAGES OF OUR PAST - P.M. WATSON & Co. South Jefferson Street, Dublin, Georgia

You may know that P.M. Watson, Sr., P.M. Watson, Jr. and P.M. Watson, III bought and sold junk and scrapped items.  But, did you know that the company had a dry goods and remnant store and an auto garage? 



Banned from the sport he loved so dearly, Joseph Jefferson Jackson toured the South playing for the love of the game and the bounties of the baseball promoters. Thousands of adoring fans surrounded sandy diamonds throughout the Southeast eager to catch a glimpse of the man they called "Shoeless Joe."   Back in 1925, this unjust exile played two games in Dublin, never losing a step from the decade of the 1910s, when Joe Jackson was one of baseball's greatest players.

Joe Jackson was born in South Carolina in 1887.  At the age of six,  he began to work in the textile mills, which were a dominant part of his community's economy.  Upon his becoming a teenager, Joe was asked to join the mill's baseball team.  Since he worked half of every day in the mill, with an occasional break to play ball, Joe never obtained any degree of education, a misfortune which would haunt him for the rest of his life.    On Saturdays he would pick up a few dollars by playing baseball.  By the time he was twenty, Joe signed to play semi-pro ball with the Greenville Spinners for a lucrative $75.00 per month.  By the end of August, he made it to the major leagues, but disappointedly, Joe only played in five games. Jackson returned to the minor leagues,  only to return to the big leagues in 1910 as a member of the Cleveland Indians  of the American League.

As a rookie in 1911, Joe batted .408, the first and only rookie ever to exceed the highly coveted level of batting supremacy.  His batting average dipped to .395 in 1912, but the twenty-five-year-old phenom led the league in triples.  The following year Jackson led the league in hits and slugging average.    In 1915, Jackson was traded to the White Sox for cash and three players.    For the next five seasons, Joe Jackson was a terror in the batter's box,  never falling below .300.

Joe Jackson's colorful nickname was reportedly penned on him during a mill league game against a team from Anderson, South Carolina.    Joe supposedly discarded a new pair of spikes when they began to rub blisters on his feet.  He played the rest of the game in his stocking feet.  During his first plate appearance without shoes, Joe stroked a triple deep into the outfield, prompting an opposing fan to shout, "You shoeless son of gun, you!"

The zenith of Joe's career came in 1919 when his team, the Chicago White Sox, faced the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. The Sox lost the best of nine series, five games to three.  During the series, Joe was the only player to hit a home run and played outstanding ball in the field and at the plate.   Joe continued to excel in 1920, posting a .385 average and leading the league in triples for the third time.  Joe and seven other White Sox players, an octette dubbed the "Black Sox," were implicated in a scandal which accused Joe and his teammates of throwing the series.  Joe and the others were suspended from baseball until their fate could be determined.

In 1921, Joe Jackson was acquitted of any malfeasance in the series by a Chicago jury.  Despite his exoneration, he was banned from baseball for life by Kennesaw Mountain Landis, baseball's first commissioner, for his failure to disclose his knowledge of the conspiracy.  He returned home to Savannah, where he opened a  lucrative dry-cleaning business.   But as soon as the temperatures of the spring began to rise, offers for his services on semi-pro teams throughout the South and the North came pouring in. In the summer of 1923, Joe began the season playing in Bastrop, Louisiana. Near the middle of the season, Joe accepted an offer by a team from Americus, Georgia.  He led the team to the championship of the South Georgia League, batting .453 in 25 games and .500 in the league championship series over Albany.  He even pitched one inning, surrendering one base on balls,  but no hits or runs.    After the end of the South Georgia League season, Joe played with the railroad team out of Waycross, Georgia.  In 1924, Jackson led the Waycross Coast Liners to the Georgia Championship, doubling as the team's manager during the last half of the season.

In his last full professional season with Waycross in 1925, Joe played center field and managed the Coast Liners to an impressive record of 63-19-3.    The Waycross team played teams from Georgia, as well as ones from Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.    On June 22, 1925, the Coast Liners played the Right of Ways from Macon, Georgia, a team fielded by the Central of Georgia Railroad, on the 12th District Fairgrounds in Dublin.  The ball field, located at the western corner of Telfair and Troup streets, was the scene of a 1918 game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Braves and games between Oglethorpe University and the University of Georgia and the St. Louis "Gas House Gang" Cardinals in 1933 and 1935.

Regretfully, only sketchy details of the game have survived.  Joe's team won the first game, 8-7 on a field described as "rough and in very bad condition."    While no box score was published in the Macon Telegraph, Jackson was credited with leading his team to victory.   After the game, the field was improved for the next day's game, in which the Macon boys won by the score of  11-7.   A third game was apparently canceled, and the teams played two more games in Macon the following weekend.

One of "Shoeless Joe's" teammates on the 1925 Coast Liner team was William C. Webb.  Webb was born in Adrian, Georgia in 1903.  He graduated from Adrian High School and played college ball at Sparks Junior College.  Webb played under Jackson, whom he described as "a good baseball man." In a 2001 interview with John Bell, author of "Shoeless Summer" and "Georgia Class D Minor League Encyclopedia," Webb said of Jackson "Even though he was not educated, he had the ability to make managerial decisions that almost always turned out well.  He was a player's manager, who led by example and had great respect for his players."  Webb admired Jackson, who once let the country boy bat with his famous bat "Black Betsy," a hand-fashioned stick of hickory with a slight bend and which sounded like he hit a brick when he struck the ball.   Webb told his interviewer that he often had to help the uneducated superstar by assisting him in signing his name on the back of his paychecks.  Webb went on to play semi-pro ball well into his thirties.

Joe continued to play some mill league and semi-pro ball until 1941, when he played his first and last night games at the age of fifty-four, belting two home runs in a single game, when most men his age have long given up hopes of playing the game of their youth.  His statistics after 1925 are very scant.  Joe often played under assumed names.  Foster Taylor, the former beloved Mayor of Rentz, Georgia, always recalled the time that he played in a game with the great "Shoeless Joe."   Joe Jackson operated a liquor store and barbecue restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina until his death at the age of 64 on December 5, 1951.

More than a half century after his death, sincere and enduring baseball fans and former players are still seeking to add the name of Joseph Jefferson Jackson to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  After all is said and done, he was absolved of any wrong doing by a jury of his peers and was a player whose .356 lifetime batting average is the 3rd highest in baseball history.  Maybe one day when the  summer skies are brightly shining in Cooperstown, New York, the announcer will step up to the podium and announce the name of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson to his rightful place among the ultimate immortals of the country's national pastime.

Friday, April 29, 2016



Jack Massey knew a good deal and how to make dollars, millions of dollars, from his investments.  This native of Tennille, Georgia was a major owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a major franchisee of Wendy’s Hamburgers.  When his customers had too much fried chicken, cheese burgers and fries, his other major business interest, Hospital Corporation of America, would treat them for heart attacks, high blood pressure and other associated illnesses. 

Jack Carroll Massey was born in Tennille, Georgia on June 15, 1904.  During the latter years of the 1920s, A drugstore delivery boy in his uncle’s pharmacy, Massey obtained a pharmacy degree from the University of Florida and set his aim on operating a drug store as his life’s career.

At the age of nineteen, Massey obtained his pharmacist’s license.  He bought his first store six years later and sold his his chain of drug stores while he was in his early 30s.  In his mid 1950s, Massey ventured into the surgical supply business.

When Jack turned 57 years old in 1961, he thought about retiring.  That thought didn’t last long.

Massey was bored with playing golf and decided that buying and building businesses was what he still wanted to do.

Fate led him to John Y. Brown, Jr., a lawyer from Kentucky, who would eventually become governor of that Bluegrass State.   Brown and Massey approached Harlan Sanders, a small scale restauranteur who mainly sold his chicken to small restaurants and diners.  It was a business with little organization and corporate structure, one which was ideal for Massey and Brown to buy and make into an icon of American fast food eateries.

The two-million dollar deal was made.  Sanders remained as the face of Kentucky Fried Chicken while Massey and Brown ignited a spark with massive ad campaigns in newspapers, magazines and television and turned Kentucky Fried Chicken into the largest fast food business in America in just four years.  Fortune seekers all over America bought stock in the company.  Kentucky Fried Chicken stock became one of the hottest stocks on the New York Stock Exchange.

Elbert Mullis, who had operated the Shake and Burger in Dublin, Georgia’s  Shamrock Shopping Center, was one of the lucky ones and opened one of the first KFC franchises in Middle Georgia on June 18, 1965.

Another early franchisee and one of the chain’s largest was Dave Thomas, who founded Wendy’s hamburger restaurants.  Seven years and  some 3500 franchises later, Massey and Brown sold the business for $239,000,000.00.

Massey’s golden touch succeeded once again in 1968, when he joined with Thomas Frist, Sr. and Thomas Frist, Jr. (above) to found Hospital Corporation of America.  The organization was an unqualified success as the nation’s largest chain of for-profit hospitals with 11 hospitals within 18 months.  By the end of the Seventies, HCA registered more than a billion dollars in annual revenues. Again, in typical fashion, Massey founded the business, worked his magic and left the management, and sold the nation’s largest operator of hospitals.

Hospital Corporation of America purchased Laurens County’s Memorial Hospital  in the early 1980s and operated it for a few years until a new modern hospital was built on Industrial Boulevard.

Not satisfied with being a king, or co-king of the fried chicken business, Massey, a Nashville, Tennessee resident for a half century,  formed Winner’s Corporation, which became one of the country’s largest franchisees of Wendy’s hamburger restaurants in the United States and operated its own Mrs. Winner’s chicken restaurants.

Massey, was an entrepreneur and a philanthropist.   He helped to establish Nashville’s Baptist Hospital.  In addition to his substantial monetary donations, Massey gave twenty years of his life and sage business knowledge as a hospital trustee, twelve of which he served as chairman of the board.

Jack Massey’s gifts left a long lasting legacy on his adopted state of Tennessee.    He was posthumously honored in 2005 by Belmont University when it named a financial trading room in his memory.  The university also established the Jack C. Massey Graduate School.   The University of Florida established a fund to assist professors in his memory.

A 1987 inductee into Junior Achievment’s United States Business Hall of Fame, Massey worked to establish Corrections Corporation of America, which is today the nation’s largest private corrections company.

Of his appetite for financial adventure, Mr. Massey once said: ''Lots of people have more than I do, but not many have as much fun. The fun is in the accomplishing.''

Jack Massey died on February 15, 1990.

In commenting on his death, an editor of Advantage magazine opined, “Last month, the most improbable thing happened. Jack Massey retired. He passed away on the morning of February 15, leaving behind a legacy of mythical proportions and only likely to increase as the months roll on. Jack Massey was the embodiment of the American spirit, an amalgamation of sophisticated business acumen and frontier expansionism.  He was a liberal giver of both money and advice. But Jack Massey was no saint.  He was known as a ruthless negotiator who could, as one acquaintance put it, ‘talk you out of your last penny.’”

His HCA business partner, Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr. wrote, “His achievements in numerous business enterprises are legendary, and his ability to capture and move forward an innovative concept may be his greatest legacy.... He was truly a business genius.”


Tuesday, April 26, 2016


ELISA NIX:  My grandparents Johnny Lloyd And Eugenia Currie Redfield owned it!! It was where Signs Taylor Made is now.

GREGG RAFFIELD: Looks like the cinder block store that my grandparents(Johnny Lloyd Raffield & Eugenia Currie Raffield)had on Nathaniel Drive East Dublin, before passing my grandmother told me they sold Prime beef and the best year they had was around $17,000.00 in sales. Spent many a Saturday at their store then spend the night off the McRae Road where they lived after moving from Moore Station Road. There was another Raffield store across from Cordell Lumber and I believe one on Moore Station close to the rail road tracks , LC Raffield homeplace where the old building still has a bullet hole in it after a shoot out happened back in the day...

Looking closer, in the far right was the old pump they would sell Kerosene out of but I remember it being behind the store on the right corner, as you walked into the store in the center was a shelf that had breads, honey buns. The canned goods were sold behind the counter. They had a wooden L shaped counter, to the end was a big square glass candy display case and bags of dog food on the floor in front. Going in the door to the left was the Coca Cola bottle cooler, short and tall cokes,RC Cola, Nehi, Dr Pepper( poured my peanuts in them, Tab... Still on the left going towards the back was an area that had a large cardboard trash can with chairs around it. There was a side room on the left that my grandfather kept a folding cot where he might catch a nap. The meat counter ran across the back wall with a ban saw behind it... Used to carry CV hot dogs home in a white card board box tied with a string, my grandmother would boil us some hot dog weenies, as she called them, and then we would watch Hee Haw, Lawrence Welk Show as she rolled her hair with dippity do. My grandfather sat in his chair on Saturday evening in his white tank top t shirt with boxer undies... Grandmother wore a light green house coat... The memories 1963-1966.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Looking from bottom to top (west to east) from 
Dublin City Hall to East Dublin
along U.S. Highway 80

Sunday, April 24, 2016


The Trip From Tweed to Gretna Green

If you know where Tweed, Georgia is, you probably grew up there, or at least somewhere close by. There are no signs left of this once bustling community on theOld River Road in southeastern Laurens County, except the signs indicating the route of the Minter-Tweed Road, which terminates right in the heart of downtown Tweed.  In the years 1895 and 1896, a local correspondent of the Atlanta Constitution furnished reports of several  elopements  in the now extinct community, home to the Wilkes, Branch, Drew, Beacham and McLendon families.

The community, once populated by descendants of immigrant Scots, was probably named for the River Tweed, a large river in southern Scotland which forms the border between Scotland and England as it empties into the North Sea. Established along the old Darien-Milledgeville “the Capital to the Coast” Road, Tweed is situated along a ridge with a commanding view of the Oconee River Valley.

William Branch fell in love with Naomi Wilkes.  At fifteen, Naomi was the most beautiful girl that William ever had seen.  Her father vehemently objected to their courtship.  The couple communicated through her cousins in hopes of evading Mr. Wilkes’s scorn.  Much to his chagrin, on the very day Branch came into Dublin to secure a marriage license, he discovered that Mr. Wilkes was also resent. Realizing Wilkes was busy trading, Branch sped toward the Wilkes home to claim his bride.  Through the aid of Naomi’s cousin Miss Ricks, Branch sent a young boy inside the Wilkes home to summon his fiancé to join him posthaste.  Naomi gathered up her belongings, specially arranged for the elopement and joined her intended. Parson White married them on the spot on March 23, 1895.   The incident was Naomi’s third attempt at elopement.    A previous suitor tried and failed twice. Unused marriage licenses were his only souvenir of unrequited love.

William Livingston and his family moved into the Tweed Community in 1895. William frequently visited the McLendon home about a mile away.  He was drawn to the homestead by his increasing infatuation with the McLendon’s buxom rosy-cheeked daughter Rebecca.  Love blossomed and the couple were engaged to be married.    The Livingston family soon grew unsatisfied with their surroundings and moved across the Oconee River.    The McLendon’s thought not too highly of their daughter’s intended suitor and forbade her to marry the pretentious paramour.    By a secretive communiqué, William notified Rebecca that he would appear at her home on Christmas Day to take her hand in marriage. True to his word, the young man appeared right on time.  Following the protocol of the day, Livingston asked the McLendons for permission to marry their daughter.  Mr. McLendon consented, but Mrs. McLendon balked at the impending nuptials.

Undaunted, the couple planned a trip to Gretna Green to consummate their marriage.  Gretna Green was a village in Scotland where young couples were married without parental approval.   The following Thursday, Livingston pretended he was going home alone.  Rebecca, feigning a bout of severe depression, informed her mother that she was going to visit her grandfather.  Just above the McLendon house an friendly accomplice intercepted the lovers and spirited them away with all haste to Squire Drew’s office.  They were married on the spot and triumphantly and defiantly returned to the McLendon home.   A good old-fashioned country frolic ensued.  Mr. McLendon celebrated. Mrs. McLendon stayed home and cried.

The spirit of love was in the air.  During the celebration complete with an anvil shooting and pyrotechnic display, Joshua Branch and Mattie Wilkes announced their immediate intention to marry. Branch told his plan to Mattie’s married sister, who immediately tattled to their father.    Wilkes immediately confronted Mattie in front of her entire family, chastising her for such an impropriety.   Branch, listening to the reprimanding from a concealed spot, bolted to his horse and sped from the scene.   The young man announced to his friends that he would marry Mattie, or someone else, before the next full moon.  Just in case the situation demanded it, Joshua obtained a marriage license with a blank for the wife’s last name.

Three months later, Josh Branch found another Rebecca to marry.  Branch and Rebecca Henry appeared at the home of C.S. Beacham to complete their marriage ceremony.  Alerted to the impending matrimony, a young man named Barber, who had been spurned by Rebecca, arrived at the Beacham home.  Rebecca’s admirers commenced a knock down drag out joust to determine her rightful husband.  It was reported that “blows rained thick and fast and the combatants cursed each other in the most violent manner.”  Rebecca canceled the wedding, refusing to marry Branch for conduct unbecoming a gentleman engaged to be married.  Just days after the ruckus, Rebecca observed Branch courting a former sweetheart.  Was it the other Rebecca, Rebecca McLendon?  Or, was it one in a long line of brides Branch longed to marry.  Despite her announced intentions to the
contrary, the spurned and frustrated young man told friends that he still intended to marry his true love.    According to Laurens County’s marriage records, no Joshua Branch ever married in Laurens County.  I guess he gave up trying to marry a Tweed girl and left the area in an effort to improve his matrimonial desires.

George Miller was an orphan, but managed to accumulate a small fortune to “keep the wolf from his door.”  Naomi Beacham, a fifteen-year-old brunette, was a daughter of one of Tweed’s oldest families.  The Beachams censured their daughter for even looking at the much older Miller.  Naomi disregarded her parent’s earnest restraints and continued to keep company with her suitor.  The young swain, in the company of a friend, approached the Beacham home on a Sunday afternoon.   Miller asked Mr. Beacham for permission to have Naomi visit his home.    Beacham, obviously disconcerted with the entire circumstance, replied “Yes, she can go, and she can go for good, as far as I am concerned.”  Without further ado, George and Naomi spirited away in a buggy bound for the home of Justice of the Peace John S. Drew.  With a bible in his hand and the blazing sun bearing down on his forehead,

   Judge Drew stood against the front gate of his house.  The bride and groom sat in their buggy, situated just over the fence.    In the presence of Drew’s family and a host of friends gathered on the front porch, George and Naomi were united in marriage.  The newlyweds merrily drove toward their new home without a care in the world, except the dreaded next visit from her irate parents.

Just as a year of elopements was coming to an end, perhaps the most unusual trip to Gretna Green was coming to a finale.  Charity Wilkes, daughter of the venerable Methodist minister John Wilkes, announced her intention to marry Charlton B. Smith, son of Rev. Charlton Smith, of the prominent Hardy Smith family from the Anderson community- just up the River Road from Tweed.  Charity’s
twenty-year-old son John A. Wilkes protested his mother’s marriage shouting, “ I’ll kill him just as sure as he comes inside the house again.  You shant marry him; I’ll see to that part of it, provided my gun will fire.”  Charity secreted away and traveled to Messer’s Creek Bridge to wait for Smith.  Meanwhile the groom and his best man waited for her at Norris’ Chapel.  Soon the groom found his bride.  Approaching Charity with the marriage license in hand, Smith cried out, “I have a bench warrant for your arrest.  Will you submit?”

The couple dashed to the home of Judge John Drew, where they were instantly married.  Drew took off his marrying hat, put on his postmaster’s hat and handed a letter to the new groom.  Inside the dispatch was a forged rejection of Smith’s offer of marriage, presumably at the hand of the disenchanted son.    As Christmas Day approached, all was merry and bright.  Charity, a forty-year-old newlywed, had all but forgotten her first engagement twenty years before, one which ended in heartbreak and relegated her to the life of a single mother for two decades.

Charity Ricks, a beautiful young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M.R. Ricks, desperately wanted to marry Adolphus McLendon.  Her parents never believed their industrious and intelligent daughter was courting anyone, much less that she would ever get married.  Just before Christmas Day in 1895, the Ricks accepted an invitation  to attend a wedding in Montgomery County.  As soon as her parents were out of sight, Charity told her sister Mattie that she was going to visit a girlfriend, grabbed up her tooth brushes and headed off to the branch.  There she met her aspiring lover.  The couple made their way to Squire Drew’s house where they became man and wife, much to the consternation of the absent parents.                                                              

IMAGES OF OUR PAST - Buckhorn Methodist Church, Dexter, GA area, Laurens County, Georgia photo ca. 1950