INTEREST IN LONG AGO
Some weeks ago I was in Monroe and did something I have not done in
years; I walked up one side of Broad Street and then the other.
While I did not recognize but only a few establishments of recent years,
it was the buildings themselves that brought to mind businesses of decades ago
along with the merchants who owned or operated them.
I walked past one store front and thought, “This is where
Carmichael’s Drug was.” Further
on down the street I passed where The House of Jac’s was and when I got to
where Aycock’s Department Store was along with Mendel’s I could close my
eyes and still envision just how the interior of those businesses were and the
aroma’s associated with them. Likewise with other buildings across the street,
while the interiors were different, the buildings brought happy, nostalgic
memories back to me.
John Hamm, whose character Don Draper on the tv show, “Mad Men”, made
an astute observation when he commented: “Nostalgia…..it’s delicate but
potent!” For many of my generation
nostalgia is what it is all about concerning our hometown.
I learned very early in life to appreciate the town, its citizens and the
news that seemed to change every week as reported by various staff members of
both The Walton News and The Walton Tribune.
I was lucky in that back in the 70’s there was a writer for the
Tribune, Mrs. Jeri McNeill, who shared my interest in what went on in town way
back in the 20’s and 30’s. Her
column, “Looking Back in the Files”, brought back so much of Monroe’s
charm and history from those era’s and thank goodness I had the interest to
clip those columns and preserve them in my Monroe scrapbooks. All too sadly,
those enchanting issues from that time period Jeri reported perished in two
fires the Tribune office sustained, which makes the columns I saved even more
This time of year when Autumn & Fall begin to make their presence
known is a time when I am hit especially hard with a case of what Celestine
Sibley used to call “The Down Yonders”, and nothing can bring me back to
life faster than taking a trip down Monroe’s memory lane via my scrapbooks of
In leafing through the pages I found several of Jeri’s old columns and
decided to share with my readers what was going on in town way back when as
chronicled by Jeri’s keen eye.
From the pages of the October 18, 1929 issue we learned:
“Beauty lovers of Monroe have had the pleasure of seeing an artistic
display of pottery for the past several days.
This collection is owned by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs,
which has allowed Monroe the privilege of being the first club in Georgia to
have it on display. Mrs. Lena Felker
Lewis, president of the Woman’s Club of Monroe, has the exhibit displayed in
her home. This collection should be of special appreciation to the art lovers of
A marriage of significant importance was to take place several days after
the Tribune came out when it was announced:
“Miss Florence Arnold, whose marriage
to Mr. Marshall Pollock will occur next Wednesday evening, is the recipient of
many social attentions. The following are among the long list who are honoring
Miss Arnold with parties and events: Mr. & Mrs. R. L. Nowell, Jr., Mrs. Sid
Wheeler, Mrs. E. L. Almand, Jr., Mrs. Lena Felker Lewis, Mrs. W. L. Ricker, Mrs.
R. L. Nowell, Sr., Mr. & Mrs. Henry McDaniel Tichenor, Miss Clara Knox
Nunnally, Mrs. Allen Arnold & Mrs. Harry M. Arnold.
This same issue of the Tribune marked the big 100th
anniversary of the Monroe First Baptist Church where Mrs. B. S. Walker provided
a brief history of the church and the people connected with the church in the
“The First Baptist Church of Monroe was constituted in July, 1829 with
17 members. Happily these names
together with the names of the pastors in order of their pastorates, the names
of the deacons and the clerks have been preserved and will be read during the
exercises on Sunday and will be recorded among the permanent records of the
It is interesting to note that one of these charter members, Martha
Holliday Walker, became the grandmother of one governor and the great
grandmother of another.
The church bell, still in use, was the gift of another charter member,
Henry Hardin, who is the great grandfather of Mrs. V. V. Harris.
The Monroe church was a member of the Yellow River Association until
October 1838 when it withdrew and joined the Apalachee Association with which it
has since been connected. The
Georgia Baptist Convention met with the church in 1838.
It appears the first church house was erected about 1826 and that
religious services were held before the church organization was perfected.
It was a plain, substantial building with a balcony in the rear.
In this original church building in August, 1872, was held a remarkable
revival, the pastor, Dr. G. A. Nunnally, doing the preaching. At a single
service there were received the following members whose record of service is the
glory of the church. Miss Lula
Selman, for years the talented organist, choir director and Sunday School
teacher; Mr. W. H. Nunnally, for decades an honored deacon and consecrated
layman; B.S. Walker, whose life was an inspiration and whose memory is a
benediction; W. S. Walker, whose ministry was to be extended to far-away China
and to bear fruits in the homeland as pastor of this and other churches where
his ministry has borne fruit.
The additions included W. W. White who for years served the church as
treasurer and evangelist J. Frank Jackson, whose zeal for souls won thousands to
the Saviour and who now, broken in health, awaits patiently the call to the
The old church building was found too small to accommodate the growing
congregation and it gave way to a more pretentious house of worship which stood
on the site of the present church edifice. It
was in this house where the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated during the pastorate
of Rev. John F. Eden in 1904.
To this faithful pastor belongs the credit for the memorable event: a
three day session, marked by programs of great interest.
Pastor Eden was succeeded by Rev. L. E. Roberts.
His golden heart, his genuine piety, and scholarly attainments will
always be remembered and cherished.
The present church building was erected during the pastorate of Dr.
Daniel W. Key. Mainly through his inspiring efforts, aided by Mr. B. S. Walker
and Mr. Albert Mobley, funds were secured and the building paid for upon
What a unique thrill it must have been to peruse through those very early
papers and gleam tidbits from almost every page as Jeri did during her time
writing her column. As the season for pause and reflection nears I am gathering
up other articles that take us back many years via snippets of life in Monroe
and Walton County that will show what our town was like, “way back when”.