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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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,
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
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
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?