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
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.
“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.
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.