Purveyors of Monroe’s history know when looking for any old information on the city or county to go straight to “Wayfarer’s In Walton” by the late county historian, Anita Butts Sams.

          Some years ago, while researching material for a column on The Walton Tribune, I found a wealth of information in Anita’s book on many of the early & short-lived newspapers prior to the founding of the Walton Tribune.  The title of one particular newspaper caught my eye, “The Walton Casket”. On page 211 of “Wayfarers” Anita writes, “John Prior Edwards brought out his ‘Walton Casket’ on Thursday, October 12, 1871 and the sheriff and ordinary promptly accorded it their patronage.  But the small, five column publication was also doomed and perished in infancy.”

          One can only imagine how difficult it was to produce such chronicles of news back during those times with little to work with and sales being slight to none at best. And in competition with others vying to have the biggest and best it had to be a duel to the death, thus quietly ending the short-lived “Walton Casket”.

          Since reading about the early demise of Mr. Edwards’ newspaper with such a unique name, I wondered what the paper contained, how it was structured and what the cost of it would have been.

          One of my good friends who shares my love of Monroe’s history and who obviously has friends in high places, took me by complete surprise recently when he presented me with a copy of an abstracted version of “The Walton Casket” by Ted O. Brooke.  Mr. Brooke took a microfilmed copy of the newspaper and had as much of the original copied to computer, where copies could printed.

          With reference to the unique name of the newspaper, Mr. Brooke stated that “one of the definitions for ‘casket’ as defined in Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary is: “a small chest or box (as for jewels).”

          What a treat it was for me to read over the pages to see what was going on Thursday, October 12, 1871 as seen through the watchful eye of Editor Edwards, who stated the subscription rate was $1.25 per annum, in advance! This issue was Vol.1 No. 4.

          In reviewing the four pages, I jotted down snippets and names from each page that will bring bits of nostalgia to Monroe’s “old guard” and another surprise is there are relatives of these early citizens still around town who will smile reading what their ancestors did 145 years ago!

          PAGE 1 items read:

Professional Cards:

J.N. Glenn, Lawrenceville, Georgia, S. C. Dunlap, Monroe, Georgia, Glenn & Dunlap, Attorneys at Law, Monroe, Georgia

D. H. Walker & H. D. McDaniel, Walker & McDaniel, Monroe, Georgia, Attorneys at Law.

Dr. W. S. R. Hardman, Monroe, Georgia, offers his professional services to the public generally.

N. L. Gallaway & J. A. Roberts,  Galloway & Roberts, dealers in drugs, medicines, oiles, dye-stuffs, perfumery, etc. Warranted strictly pure.  Broad Street, Monroe, Ga.

Dr. Milton H. Thomas, Dentist, Monroe, Ga., office at residence, first door above Stephen Felker’s on Broad Street.


Business Cards:

Miss Bettie Tuck & Mrs. Sarah Camp, Mesdames Tuck & Camp, hats, bonnets, ribbons, flowers, fancy goods, etc., Broad Street, Monroe, Ga.

G. O. Lunceford & W.W. White, Lunceford & White, dealers in dry goods, etc. Monroe, Ga.

Calvin G. Nowell, dealer in staple and fancy goods, groceries, provisions, etc. Will barter for any kind of country produce at his old stand, Monroe, Ga.

Railroad Schedule:

Georgia Railroad from Augusta to Social Circle to Atlanta, return, day & night, S. K. Johnston, Supt.


PAGE 2 items read:


Eliza A. Hayes application for letters of administration on the estate of William C. Hayes, deceased Walton County 1 November 1871, Jesse Mitchell, Ordinary.

Jonathan L. Camp, administrator of Hope H. Camp, dec’d late of Walton Co., petitions for a discharge from said administration. 24 October 1871. Jesse Mitchell, Ordinary.

Notice: I will offer for sale to the highest bidder in Social Circle on the fourth Saturday in November next, one lot in said town, fronting on Madison Street, 24 feet front and 80 feet back, adjoining the store of J. T. Eckles and the house occupied by V. H. Crawley.  Also 136 acres of land one mile from Social Circle adjoining lands of George Ivey, Bedford Robertson and others. (Signed) Mary Haralson.


Administrator’s Sale – By virtue of an order of the Court of Ordinary of Walton County, I will sell at public outcry to the highest bidder, before the court house door in Monroe on the first Tuesday in December next, the following land: 150 acres being part of land lot no. 45 in the 4th Dist. of Walton County, adjoining lands of James Malcom, Lemuel R. Cooper and others, to be sold as the property of William Brooks, late of said county, deceased, for the benefit of the heirs and creditors.  John P. Edwards, Admr., de bonis non of Wm Brooks, dec’d/


Notice: R. L. Giles is established in Dr. Hardman’s office with a good assortment of candies, oysters, pickles, sardines, nuts, sugar, coffee, tobacco and leather.

John Felker’s Store sells dry goods, groceries, etc.

Calvin G. Nowell’s Store sells dry goods, groceries, etc.


PAGE 3 items read:

Capt. George C. Selman of that popular firm of Edwin Bates & Co. of Charleston, is in town again.  Our country merchants should not fail to call on him during his stay.

Capt. James B. Sillman of Jefferson is in town this week.

Our popular Ordinary, Judge Mitchell, left last Tuesday for Atlanta, where he will witness the assembling of the Georgia Legislature.  Judge Mitchell’s acquaintance with public men and public events dates back nearly half a century and he will very probably have the pleasure of meeting with many of his old associates and friends of long ago, with whom he met in Milledgeville in antebellum times when he represented the county of Walton in the legislature.


Walton Sheriff’s Sales – From and after this date, the Sheriff’s sales of Walton County will be published in The Walton Casket, a public newspaper published at Monroe, Georgia, October 12, 1871. William J. Moore, Sheriff.


And the advertisements of the day read as follows:

Vincent H. Crawley, dry goods. “Come see me at my old stand, in the corner house known as the Haralson Old Store”.  V. H. Crawley, Social Circle, Ga.

Wm Henry Watkins, gun shop, “I am prepared for doing any kind of work on guns & pistols & stocking guns.”  Shop seven miles east of Monroe.

New Cheese – Fresh, delicate flavor, very nice, for sale by J. M. Shepard.

“The best and purest liquors for medicinal purposes, always on hand of every description.”  J.M. Shephard Boarding House, by James W. Stark; on Pryor Street, 200 yards north from car-shed, Atlanta, Ga.


          What a walk down memory lane of Monroe, Walton County and beyond!  Still being such a young town, the merchants were anxious to let everyone know where they were and were open for business.  I can just see spry Mr. Edwards making his way up and down the street, stopping in and visiting with each merchant jotting down notes to put in his newspaper. Mr. Edwards became quite a legend in town and on occasions his ego got the best of him given the offices he commanded.

          Along with providing historical facts about Monroe, Anita artfully inserted bits of humor in crafting her saga, one which reflects the “imagined” power John Pryor Edwards wielded.  The story goes: “The ancient cedars in the courthouse yard grew sparse and tall, and their removal was discussed off and on for a number of years.  Among those opposing the idea were Clerk of Superior Court John Pryor Edwards and most of the ladies of the community. After Mr. Edwards’s death, and during the administration of Ordinary Reuben Knight, the old trees were cut down.  Monroe women loudly voiced their displeasure and merchant E. M. Brand humorously declared, ‘I am going to tell John Edwards as soon as I get there!’(Thinking he possibly could have prevented the demise of the trees from beyond the clouds) In 1905 the oaks which shade the square today were planted.”

          Wouldn’t it be nice to imagine just where this newspaper could have gone had it survived?