This week’s Time Capsule looks at the Mary Phagan case, the Cobb County courthouse and Cherokee Indian Chief Nickajack.
100 years ago …
In Friday, May 8, 1914 edition of the Marietta Journal and Courier, there was a story about “world famous detective” William J. Burns being driven from Marietta the previous Friday by a crowd of angry citizens. Burns was working on the Mary Phagan murder case in Atlanta an the testimony which he was alleged dug up on the case had turned “public sentiment strongly against him.”
After being slapped by a citizen at the Brumby garage on Church Street and threatened by the crowd, Burns was reported as running up Church Street to and through the car barn before reaching the Whitlock House, where he took refuge. Judge N.A. Morris, Deputy Sheriff Geo Hicks, Mayor E.P. Dobbs, F.G. Marchman and the editor of the Journal went to the hotel to try to prevent further violence. An agreement was reached with the crowd and Judge Morris that Burns would leave the city immediately and be driven to Atlanta.
There was a front page ad for Traffic in Souls, a six-part Universal Film Manufacturing Company photo drama, at the Princess Theatre and one for The Southern Song Birds, which was dubbed “the biggest and best Vaudeville act ever seen in Marietta” at the Gem Theatre.
50 years ago …
In the Sunday, May 3, 1964 Marietta Daily Journal there was a story about Cobb Rep. E.W. “Bill” Teague becoming the fifth candidate in the race to succeed retiring Cobb Commissioner Herbert McCollum as a flurry of late-hour contenders entered the County Democratic Primary. Teague, who had Smyrna Businessman T.L. Dickson as his running mate for deputy, paid his qualifying fee just 30 minutes before the entry deadline for all primary races.
Marietta firemen were reported in the Monday, May 4, 1964 papers as having evacuated the Cobb Theatre while they searched for a bomb. An official at the fire department said that a male caller told someone at the theater to “take heed there’s a bomb in the building.” A search of the building turned up nothing.
Another story that day reported that the “ancient and decaying” Cobb County Courthouse, built in 1872, was “ticketed for beheading.” The courthouse’s tower was to be torn down that week. Plans called for the tower to be leveled to a point just underneath the bricked-in windows under the clock. C.J. Thomas Construction Company of Marietta was in charge of the job.
There was also a story that day about two Fair Oaks boys being recommended for life-saving awards for their bravery in rescuing an eight-year-old Cub Scout from Wildcat Creek. The boy slipped off a rock from where he was fishing and fell into the swollen creek. The two 10-year-old boys jumped into the cold, swirling water and pulled the youth to safety.
In the Tuesday, May 5, 1964 paper it was reported that the Cobb Advisory Board voted to begin work immediately on construction of a new county courthouse. The construction was to include the first increment of plans to provide the county with a complex of government buildings. First to be built was the judicial building – housing courtrooms, judges chambers and administrative offices of the courts. Land for the judicial building had been purchased immediately east of the then-courthouse’s location, a tract bordered by Washington, Waddell, Lawrence and Haynes Streets. The decision came after the board heard Marietta Mayor Howard Atherton and County Attorney Raymond Reed. Atherton gave the findings of a structural inspection and Reed urging the board to start work “tomorrow” on a new building.
The following day, Wednesday, May 6, 1964, there was story that stated Marietta building inspector Fred C. Reinke and Captain Bartow C. Adair of the city’s fire department had completed a two-day investigation with a report about the Cobb County courthouse. The defects discovered in the 87-year-old building, that were known to officials before, included “holes in the room as big as bushel baskets, severe erosion in some of the brickwork, rotting timbers and antiquated construction creating an extreme fire hazard.”
Another story that day reported a fire which erupted when sparks from a welding torch flew into a paint vat and extensively damaged the Stephens Brothers Ornamental Iron works on Canton highway. Chief W.H. Williams of the Fullers Fire Department said that when his men arrived, the roof over one section of the building had already fallen in.
A café operator in Canton was reported in the Thursday, May 7, 1964 paper as being in very serious condition following an incident in which he shot Cherokee County Sheriff Dan Stringer, a longtime friend, and then turned the gun on himself. Cherokee Chief Deputy Clarence Grambling said the man shot himself twice in the side at his home minutes after wounding Sheriff Stringer, who was attempting to disarm the man at the café. The sheriff was shot once in the chest, but reported as in good condition and would undergo surgery to remove the bullet.
20 years ago …
In the Tuesday, May 3, 1994 MDJ it was reported that the grave of supposed Cherokee Indian Chief Nickajack might be in the path of a bridge on the proposed East-West Connector in southeast Cobb, Indian officials told Cobb County. A letter from Charles O. Thurmond, an archeologist and historian for the Dahlonega-based Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee, asked Cobb transportation director Jim Croy for “a complete rundown” of the much-delayed road project – which called for a four-lane road to be built between Macland and Powder Springs roads. Croy responded to the letter saying that Cobb DOT had no information as to the location of the supposed gravesite.
Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator for the Marietta Daily Journal.
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