EARLY BUSINESS, CIVIC LEADER
By Nowell Briscoe ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in the Walton Tribune, Monroe, Georgia
work ethics instilled in Josiah Roy Nunnally by his father, William Hartwell
Nunnally at a very early age were remembered and adhered to the remainder of his
life following in his father’s footsteps in becoming one of Monroe’s most
prominent, successful business and civic leaders of the day.
Josiah Roy Nunnally was born in Good Hope, Ga. on November 13, 1880.
After his family moved to Monroe from their Good Hope, Georgia farm in 1885 and
his father opened the W.H. Nunnally Company on Broad Street, a mercantile and
general store, young Roy Nunnally learned his father’s way of dealing with
customers and staff well before his feet touched the floor from the stool upon
which he sat, serving as “cash boy” for the store.
His dedication and conscientious attitude towards his work landed him at
age eight the job of local agent for the Atlanta Journal.
After graduating from the Monroe Schools, Roy Nunnally attended North
Georgia Military College in Dahlonega. Finishing his studies there he spent two
years at the University of Georgia where he was active in as many student
activities as his studies would allow. He joined the Phi Delta Theta social
fraternity and in 1948 was presented with a 50-year certificate from the
fraternity expressing their esteem to him for his generous contributions and
help through the years.
In 1899 Roy Nunnally left the University of Georgia to return to Monroe
and joined his father in the retail business.
That same year he organized the Monroe Telephone Company, a prosperous
enterprise he headed until May of 1927 when the company was sold to the Georgia
Continental Telephone Company.
With the death of W. H. Nunnally on October 29, 1930, Roy Nunnally
continued at the helm of the business started by his father until 1934 when the
concern was sold to Gallant-Belk Company. With the sale of the company, Mr.
Nunnally retained ownership of the lumber & coal portion of the business,
buying out the interests of the other heirs and becoming sole owner of Nunnally
Lumber Company. His vision was to build a good company, representing high
quality lumber and building materials and to serve well the retail lumber and
building material trade. Besides his
lumber business Mr. Nunnally concentrated on his farms which led him to develop
an interest in the Monroe Oil and Fertilizer Company, where he served first as
vice-president and then president in conjunction with the lumber company.
With his success as a business leader, Roy Nunnally was equally involved
with the civic life of Monroe as well. He
served for many years as chairman of the City Board of Education along with
serving as Councilman from his ward for two terms.
He also served for several years as commanding officer of the local
military company and was given other signal honors and responsibilities.
All the duties and obligations he took on served to reflect back to the
sense of duty and fidelity to his community he learned as a young boy from his
In 1947 Mr.
Nunnally stepped down as the head of the fertilizer company but continued to
serve as chairman of the board of directors.
One of the
greatest examples of his generosity and civic pride was his joint gift with Mr.
George W. Felker, Jr., who, in 1947 acquired the property and residence of the
late C. T. Mobley on South Broad Street and was given to the First Methodist
Church for the construction of a new church building to be erected on the site.
On August 28, 1949, at 4:30 p.m. the ground breaking ceremony was held on
the present site of the church. W.
Elliott Dunwoody, Jr. was chosen as architect. Mr. Nunnally served as chairman
of the building committee and furnished all the materials for the building at
cost. The new church building was
dedicated on Wednesday, August 9, 1950.
tenacious force that shaped and focused Roy Nunnally’s life as a business and
community leader began to take a toll on his health in his 69th year,
forcing him to cut back on his business involvements and community functions.
In the fall of 1950 he was hospitalized both in Atlanta and Monroe
several times and upon his return to his Walton Street home it was the
understanding that with bed rest and enjoying the visits of family and friends
his health would improve. On Tuesday
morning, October 17, 1950, he suffered a fatal heart attack bringing to a close
a life filled with integrity, purpose, foresight and vision for his town and
Nunnally’s life was recalled on a front page obituary in the October 20, 1950
issue of the Walton Tribune, where Editor Ernest Camp said of his long-time
friend: “Roy Nunnally was personally one of the most amiable and companionable
of men who loved the beautiful and sublime and whose life symbolized the highest
and noblest concepts of citizenship. He
was a builder who contributed materially to the progress of the period which his
useful life graced and will be long remembered for his innumerable acts of
kindness, generosity, liberality and public spirit.”
Nunnally’s funeral took place on October 18, 1950 in the First Methodist
Church sanctuary, one of the first funerals to be held in the new building he so
carefully and conscientiously helped to create.
Along with the wishes W. H. Nunnally instilled in his oldest son, that
his business would remain in the family, Roy Nunnally’s concerns about his
family business echoed that of his father’s.
Mr. Nunnally’s devotion to his company so impressed his family, his
wife, Allie Felker Nunnally and daughter, Mrs. James M. Roberts determined to
keep the company in the family. Mrs. Nunnally made the comment, “We are old in
experience, young in aspiration and we look on every order as a trust which
requires our best.”
After Roy Nunnally’s death, the day to day operations of the company
were handled by Mrs. Nunnally, Mrs. Roberts and Roy Nunnally’s grandsons,
James M. Roberts, Jr., Roy Nunnally Roberts and William Nunnally Roberts.
In 1956 a massive fire destroyed much of the original structure and
warehouses. In 1957 the new office building complete with warehouse facilities
and building material display rooms was dedicated on April 29 to the memory of
its founder, J. Roy Nunnally.
The Nunnally family continued the lumber business until 1999 when the
company closed and the property sold to the National Bank of Walton County.
Roy Nunnally’s grandson, James M. Roberts, Jr. was president when the
company closed its doors to the public for the last time.
The family business legacy which began in 1885 by William Hartwell
Nunnally and carried on by his son J. Roy Nunnally and then by Mrs. Roy Nunnally,
her daughter and grandsons for 114 years, marked Monroe’s oldest and longest
running business enterprise which originated from the wise business counsel set
in place by the elder Mr. Nunnally all those many years ago. Monroe became a
much better city because of the love and foresight displayed by the Nunnally
family when Monroe was chosen for their new home in the late 1880’s.