NUNNALLY FAMILY

PROMINENT IN MONROE HISTORY

   

          Among the many families who helped found and shape Monroe’s history, the family of the late W. H. Nunnally stands among the most prominent from the early beginnings in business, civic and social affairs which have made a major impact for several generations.

          Fifty-seven years after the founding of Monroe in 1821,William Hartwell Nunnally and Mary Eulalia Gober of Jefferson, Georgia were married December 19, 1878 in Jefferson, also the home of Dr. Crawford W. Long, a physician of great prominence, as he was instrumental in introducing the use of ether as an anesthetic in operating procedures.

          The morning after their wedding ceremony, Mr. & Mrs. Nunnally stepped in an open buggy to begin their journey to their new home near Good Hope, Georgia and a new life together on a 100 acre farm . As the years went along, Mr. & Mrs. Nunnally became the parents of two sons, J. Roy Nunnally, Harry Bell Nunnally and a daughter, Frances Nunnally. All three children of this illustrious couple were well-known in their own right.  J. Roy Nunnally became a prominent civic & business leader in Monroe, his brother Harry became one of Monroe’s most well-known and beloved doctors and sister Frances married Mr. George M. Napier of Dalton.

          Monroe has been unusually blessed in its long history of having some of the most intelligent, capable and dedicated physicians of any city but to have a family of medical doctors in our city is unique. Such was the case of Dr. Harry B. Nunnally and his son, Harry B. Nunnally, Jr. in their dedication to their patients and the Monroe community as a whole.

          Harry Bell Nunnally was born in Good Hope, Georgia on March 9, 1883. He and his parents moved to Monroe in 1885 when he was two years old.  After finishing school in Monroe, he attended North Georgia Agricultural College in Dahlonega and Mercer University in Macon where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.  After graduation from Mercer, he entered the Atlanta Medical College (now Emory University School of Medicine) where he earned a brilliant record and graduated with outstanding honors.

          Dr. Nunnally interned at Grady Hospital where he was house physician for three years.  He left Atlanta for New York where he did post-graduate work and was one of the organizing founders of the Chi Zeta Chi Medical Fraternity now known as Phi Rho Sigma.

          Returning to Atlanta, Dr. Nunnally entered the medical practice of Manget & Ayer where he achieved eminent acclaim as a specialist not only among his patients but his colleagues as well. During his tenure in Atlanta, he married Miss Lucille Brown, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. George B. Brown.

          He returned to Monroe in 1911 opening his offices in the Eulalia Building, named after his mother, where he was enthusiastically welcomed by both friends and family. In short time he built one of the largest practices of any doctor in the city due to not only his brilliance as a physician & surgeon but also for the outward display of love and dedication he had for the Monroe community.  Dr. Nunnally was one of the founding members who established the Walton County Hospital and whose support and dedication for the hospital remained with him throughout his life.

          It has been said some people wear themselves out in the service to their fellow man and that is what happened to Dr. Harry B. Nunnally.  He gave his all to his patients, his church and his community; never did he refuse when the call for help came, and because his patients and community came first always, seldom did he think of  his own health,. In April of 1936, his body began to fail and he was hospitalized in Atlanta where he was cared for by his good friend and fellow colleague, Dr. J. D. Manget.  He returned to Monroe and was treated at home until his condition worsened and he returned back to Atlanta where he died on May 13th.

          Seldom is there an occasion where a city suspends business but so well loved and respected was Dr. Nunnally, the day of his funeral all businesses in Monroe closed during the hour of his service to show appreciation and love for what he meant to the city.

          Harry B. & Lucille Brown Nunnally had two children; Harry B. Nunnally, Jr., and George B. Nunnally.  George was an officer in the gallant Ranger Batallion when he lost his life on Anzio beachhead in Italy during World War II on January 30, 1944. Wounded in action in North Africa in September 1943, he was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star prior to his death. George Brown Nunnally was the first Monroe soldier to lose his life during this war. He was 25 years old.

Brother Harry followed his father’s illustrious foot-steps in the field of medicine, serving Monroe until his tragic death from a car wreck on November 16th, 1961.

          After graduating from Monroe High School, Harry, Jr. attended Emory University where he was a member of the Emory Glee Club and graduated from the school of medicine in 1941.  He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II where he was wounded during his service in the South Pacific.  He was discharged as a major.

          After serving as a rotating intern, assistant resident in surgery and resident in surgery at Knickerbocker Hospital in New York, he returned to Monroe in 1951 to begin his medical practice and quickly established himself as a skilled practitioner and diagnostician. Dr. Nunnally and Dr. Philip R. Stewart, who had his offices in the space formerly occupied by Dr. Nunnally’s father, opened up a practice in a duplex building on Highland Avenue where they cared for many Monroe citizens.

Possessing a quiet composure and a warm, friendly personality and keen sense of humor, Harry Nunnally endeared himself to people from all walks of life. A devotee and connoisseur of music, he gave of his time and talent as a soloist in the choir of the Monroe First Baptist Church. 

 With his father’s legacy as a background, he gave of himself and stood ready to help when his medical skills were needed in Monroe or Walton County.

          When a car crash on Highway 78 near Stone Mountain ended his life in November of 1961 at the age of 45, Dr. Nunnally was fondly remembered in an editorial in the Walton Tribune saying: “Still regarded as a ‘young’ doctor, he had the maturity and experience to guide him directly in the path of his beloved father, the late Harry B. Nunnally.

          “The perennial twinkle in Harry’s eye fell in the pattern of a keen intellect and rich sense of humor that endeared him wherever he appeared.  He was genuinely loved, and rightfully so, because Dr. Nunnally loved his fellow man.  Monroe will miss Harry Nunnally as a physician, friend and beloved citizen.”

          In keeping with the legacy started by the late W. H. & Eulalia Gober Nunnally, another column will appear in the future on the life of J. Roy Nunnally and his wife, Althea (Allie) Felker Nunnally.