MEMORIES OF 1873 AS RECORDED
REV. W. STOKES WALKER
We come now to the final installments of life in Monroe & Walton
County in the year 1873 as recorded by the late Rev. W. Stokes Walker, which was
passed along to his good friend, Editor Ernest Camp, in 1935.
Filling out his days as a youngster, Rev. Walker noted that: “Farm
hands received from eight to ten dollars a month and board. Foremen on a
carpenter’s job received two dollars a day and others one dollar a day,
boarding themselves and working ten hours a day. Brick masons were given $1.50 a
day. Lands were not terraced.
During winter farm hands cleared new ground to take the place of worn out
fields. Rails were split for new fences, ditches were dug and houses were
Commercial fertilizers were
not in general use. Cotton seed was
not considered valuable, but they were hauled into the fields and scattered
broadly for wheat and oats or boiled for cow feed, then made into compost with
Practically all meal and flour were water ground, and I can now count ten
such mills in Walton that have been abandoned.
Until I was grown, I had never seen a white republican, a Negro democrat
or a white barber.
Ox teams, single and double, were often seen resting in the shade of our
many white mulberry trees. Everybody felt at home and nobody was in much of a
hurry. The yellow dog under the
wagon was a fine target for a boy with a sling-shot.
Cicero Edwards, who was an aspiring example of contentment and blissful
ignorance, came to town one day in his two-wheel cart, drawn by a half-sized
steer named “Billie White.’ He
was hauling a heavy barrel of syrup
and when the steer was pulling up a steep grade back of the stores, the cargo
rolled heavily towards the rear and “Billie White” was suspended high
overhead for several minutes until he could be lowered to the ground again.
Uncle George Gibson, a
loveable character, won a law-suit in a justice court, through his favorite
attorney, Judge Felker, after which the following animated conversation took
place: ‘I will carry this case to the Superior Court of Walton County.’ ‘I
will be there,’ said Uncle George, ‘and will carry it to the Supreme Court
of Georgia.’ ‘I’ll be there.’ ‘Before you shall have what belongs to
me, I will carry this case to Hell!’ Judge Felker replied, ‘My lawyer will
Graff Harris, a fine young fellow, engaged board with Uncle George while
he clerked for the Nunnally Company. After the first meal, the old man said,
‘Graff, if I was running a gin and a sawmill, I would not board you for
$8.00 a month if I fed you on motes and sawdust!’
The clerks of our Superior courts were: Vincent Haralson, John T. Lucan,
Wm. W. Nowell, John P. Edwards, John Robinson, James Shelnutt, James
Our sheriffs have been: Judge Ivey, J.M. Ammons, John Cox, R. C. Knight,
Job Smith, Claude Arnold, Alex Smith, W.B. Stark, J.M. Riley & E. S. Gordon.
Our solicitors have been: D. H. Walker, Emory Speer, A. B. Mithchell,
Dick Russell, Clifford Walker, Charlie Brand, Sam Tribble, John B. Gamble, W. O.
Dean & Henry West.
Our Superior court judges were: Charles Davis, Judge Rice, Judge Irvin,
N. L. Hutchins, R. B. Russell, Charles H. Brand, A. J. Cobb & Blanton
The ordinaries of Walton County have been: Job Smith, Jesse Mitchell,
Robert Kennedy, Thomas Giles, R. A. Cook, R.C. Knight, Claude Arnold, E.M.
Williams and George A. Garrett.
Those who collected taxes from us were: Gus Slunder, Rufus Hughes, W. A.
Rogers, G. A. Garrett, W. T. Lee, G.N. Briscoe, Mrs. G. N. Briscoe and Gus
The lawyers who were born here or spent their lives here and are not
living are: Wilson Lumpkin, governor; George
Hillyer, judge of the Superior court; Junius Hillyer, James Jackson, Supreme
court; Charles Davis, judge Superior court; D. H. Walker, solicitor general and
judge of county court; Jack Arnold, Henry McDaniel, governor; W. J. Ray; B. S.
Walker, Toombs Spearman, George Napier, state’s attorney general, Charlie
Brand, solicitor judge, congressman; Bob Cox, solicitor city court; Allen
Arnold, Ben Edwards, judge county court; E.S.V Bryant, S. Florence, Lon Stone,
judge city court; James Rogers, Tom Galloway, Charles Blalock, Fletcher Johnson,
solicitor Hall County; Hal Nowell, solicitor of city court; Josiah Nunnally,
Judge Superior Court, Floyd County; George A. Johns, prison commissioner &
Our early merchants who provided what we needed for day to day life were:
Gallaway and Van Horne, C. G. Nowell, John Felker, Ely & Wash Smith, Bill
Baker, Malsby and Avery, Bob Sheats
and James Ray, Ray and Stanford, Michael and Kelly, Colley Breedlove, Charles
Nowell, Gibbs and Sheats, Mosely and Claud Arnold, Miss Betty Tuck (Millinery),
Roberts, Sheats and Co., and Poore and Lawrence.
Our first railroad was built from Social Circle to Pleasant Valley under
the leadership of my father and it was completed to Monroe by brother Sanders.
After six years in office as County School Superintendent, I resigned in
1901 and went to western Texas for my wife’s health.
Our first board of education was comprised of George Napier, president;
Joe Nunnally, Joe Roquemore, James Gresham and James Bradley.
To fill vacancies, Ed Gibbs, Permetus O’Kelly, Gus Cannon, and Len
Bennett were added. Our enrollment was 8,000 children, three-fourths of them
We had sixty-six schools, which number was reduced to fifty-two by
consolidation. Our teachers numbered
about one hundred. Public school lasted five months, with the choice of months.
Visits to schools were usually announced beforehand and brought out a
goodly number of parents and trustees, to whom an address was made, lasting
thirty minutes. School rallies also
were occasionally held to keep up public interest.
One at Walnut Grove, for whites, presided over by George Napier, and
another at Fellowship Church for Negroes, with the state superintendent as
principal speaker, are remembered with pleasure, including the large crowds,
fine addresses and wonderful dinners.”