Once again we come to one of the most historically important and beloved times of our year…..the time when we give thanks for the many blessings we have been given during the past years. This particular year is important for our county in another way; after Thanksgiving we will move into December and celebrate our 200th birthday for Walton County and Monroe.

          How well I remember our sesquicentennial birthday in December, 1968. I was going into my final year of college and still had the excitement and anticipation of coming “home for the holidays” along with the thrill of our hometown celebrating a significant birthday.  Things were so much different back then, life moved at a much slower pace and we were nowhere close to being connected with cyberspace and how it has forever changed the way we think, feel and act fifty years later.

                   A relative of one of the old Monroe families remarked to me back in October, “Oh, if I could only go back and revisit the folks and places I knew and loved as a child, how happy I would be.”  I had to agree with him with those sentiments as nothing says loving like remembering and appreciating the past.

          Since early summer I have given readers a glimpse back in time at how Monroe was in various years going all the way back to 1873 and moving forward. As the late Preston Adams once told me many years ago, “M’boy, in order to see what the future holds, we have to look at the past for guidance.”

          This year my “Thankful” column remembers those families which began long ago when our community was still struggling to find its way as a city.  Many of these names figured prominently in the columns from 1873, 1908, 1917, 1918, the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s & 60’s and articles from the 1968 sesquicentennial issue.

          It has been a wonderful experience to share snippets of life in Monroe as I knew it and the history I have witnessed since the 1950’s along with sharing Tribune readers those whose vision and foresight turned a newly formed town in 1818 into the city we see today. This is the perfect time to recognize and pay tribute to those citizens no longer with us in the physical sense but who will forever be remembered and recognized for their efforts for the betterment of our town.

          This year on the eve of our 200th anniversary, I am thankful for these families who were instrumental in making and shaping our city and reach  so far back in our history: The Walkers, the Selmans, the Felkers, the Arnolds, the Tichenors, the McDaniels, the Nowells, the Nunnallys, the Fields, the Pendergrasses, the Harrises,  the Kellys, the Aycocks,  the Bells, the Gallaways, the Caldwells, the Camps, the Mobleys, the Radfords, the Upshaws, the Snows, the Gileses, the Adames, the McGaritys, the Launiuses, the Mendels, the Coxes, the Pollocks, the Hammondses’s, the Clarkes, the Langfords, the Edwardses, the Wheelers,  the Deans, the Starks, the Almands, the Williamses, the Napiers, the Greers, the Garretts, the Robertses, the Bakers, the Buttses, the Hesters, the Prestons, the Landerses, the Tregones, the Days, the Bursons, the Dickinsons, the Hardmans, the LaBoons, the Malcoms, the Strouds, the Peterses, the Rays, the Hearns, the Phillipses, the Sanderses, the Knoxs, the Bradleys, the Barretts, the O’Kelleys, the Lewises, the Wrights, the Hensons & the Breedloves along with many other Monroe/Walton folks.

          From early beginnings Monroe and Walton was fortunate in having the best doctors of the day whose dedication to their practice and constant concern for their patients brought them love and great respect often times going above and beyond the call of duty.  Were it not for the education, skill and understanding of these men, Monroe would never have made it in the early years as a city.  Monroe’s first doctor was Dr. Tom Gallaway, who was the grandfather of one of Monroe’s mayors, Mr. Nath Gallaway. A partial listing of those who served our city and county from the early years were Dr.’s Colley, Barrett, McBean, Tinney, Hardman, Van Horne, Long, Reeves, Hammond, Gibbs, Spence, Cook, Mabry, Logan, Gillespie, Aycock, Pirkle, Lott, Covington, Creswell, Hinton, Carithers, Nunnally, Pendergrass, Smith, Wood, Gunter, Stewart, Huie, Head, DeFreese, Thompson, Hayes, Robinson, Briscoe, Colley, Gresham, Goddard, Jackson, Lanier, McBean, McGaughey, Mitchell, Stroud, Preston, Thompson, Callahan, Williams, Richardson, O’Kelley, Hill, Beall, Ogilby, Moore, Ramsom & Goss.

          In remembering the many people who brought recognition and honor to our town & county, two ladies stand tall in my memory. I would be remiss if I did not remember Miss Moina Michael and Anita Butts Sams, who did so much to promote our heritage and history for future generations to appreciate and study.

          In closing this appreciation of individuals who helped make Monroe and Walton County strong from its inception and whose vision has been carried forth by generations of these families, a prayer of Thanksgiving seems most appropriate and who better to turn to than the beloved minister, the late Dr. Peter Marshall:


          “Lord, Thou hast indeed been bountiful.  As we look back over the years, how gracious Thou hast been, how tender Thy mercy, how warm and constant Thy love.

          Create within us, our Father, that true gratitude that shall make this day of Thanksgiving one of rededication, when we shall  think not of how much we can eat but how thankful we ought to be.

          So may we – all across this land today – act as recipients of God’s richest mercy and bountiful blessing, as we share with others.  May we, in gratitude, get on with the job of creating not only a nation but a world in which all men shall have the right to seek happiness.

          Help us to make that dream come true in our homes day by day, in street and office and school, and so to live that Thou shalt be able to bless us and bless the nation for which we pray.  In His name, who created us a nation, we pray.  Amen.”


          It is my sincere wish for each of you to have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends while we remember and honor our past as we look forward to our next 200 years.