This week’s Time Capsule looks at still busts, the death of a Confederate veteran and an acid burn.

100 years ago …

The Thursday, March 4, 1920, edition of The Cobb County Times reported that the Federal Prohibition Agents the week before had discovered “the largest and most complete distilling outfit ever captured in this part of the country,” some 15 miles west of Canton in Cherokee County.

The still was “so large and permanently built that explosives” were used to destroy it. The mill at a distance resembled a sawmill with its “long wooden shed and huge steam boiler.” Built upon a permanent foundation was a 20-horsepower upright boiler. The still was made from copper and wood, had an approximate capacity of 300 to 400 gallons and a daily production rate of over 150 gallons.

All of the “ripe” whiskey was said to have been taken by the fleeing operators.

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The Cobb County commissioners were reported as voting the Tuesday before to purchase a 10-ton Holt caterpillar tractor for road grading purposes. The tractor was expected to arrive in a few days and cost $8,425.

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The Friday, March 5, 1920, edition of The Marietta Journal reported that Confederate veteran Col. Malcom Johnson, 73, was “found dead sitting in his room at the Kennesaw House” in Marietta the Monday before.

Johnson had complained of being tired before heading up to his room the night before. When “he was called at the usual hour” the next morning, Johnson made no response. His door was unlocked and when investigators entered, he was found “sitting upright in a chair as if he had gone to sleep that way.”

Johnson, a prominent Marietta resident, had served for several years as the secretary to Sen. Hoke Smith in Washington and been connected with the federal government’s income tax office in Atlanta for the past year. He was interned in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.

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Dr. Leslie Blair was reported as finding his car missing the Wednesday evening before. Albert Dobbins was said to have seen the car being driven by two soldiers going north on Dixie Highway.

A telephone call to Rome resulted in the capture of the two men around midnight in that city. The car thieves were “ex-soldiers who were attempting to get back north with the car.” The men were to face Judge Blair in the next term of the Blue Ridge Circuit Court.

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In the Current Events column, it was reported that Red Cross doctors working in Europe developed a typhoid serum that reduced the mortality rate from 47% to 6%.

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In the Personal Mention column, written by Society Editor Odessa Gifford, it was reported that D.D. Barfield was in the Marietta Sanitarium recovering from injuries sustained the Saturday before when his horse ran away with him. Barfield was thrown out of his buggy, dislocating a hip.

75 years ago ...

Ninety-two Cobb County men were reported in the Thursday, March 1, 1945, Marietta Daily Journal as arriving at Fort McPherson for pre-induction physical examinations for service in World War II.

Also that day, it was reported that Barney Fred Durham, 52, was killed by a train on Feb. 27, 1945, near the Farmers Market in Atlanta.

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In the Friday, March 2, 1945, paper it was reported that police issued a warning to boys “annoying the Marietta Fire Department by setting grass fires” around Manget and Frazier streets and Lakewood Drive. Police believed that the boys were setting the fires just to see the fire trucks run out to answer the call.

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“A 500-gallon, groundhog still,” four miles west of Acworth near the Cobb and Paulding county line, was reported in the Monday, March 5, 1945, paper as being raided the Friday before.

The still contained about 500 gallons of fermenting beer that was ready to be distilled. No arrests were made.

50 years ago ...

In the Monday, March 2, 1970, paper it was reported that an 11-year-old Marietta boy received serious burns the Saturday before from spilled nitric acid that the parents said had been brought home by an older sister from school.

Nearly two ounces of the acid were spilled on the right arm and chest of the boy. Third degree burns went from his wrist to his elbow on the arm and there was a two-inch circular patch on his chest, according to Fire Chief Bartow Adair. The acid was said to have been sitting on a dresser and had gotten knocked off onto the boy.

Also that day, a black ski-masked man armed with a small black gun was reported as robbing the Georgia Drive-In Theater on Clay Street over the weekend. The robber escaped with over $300.

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Damon Poirier is the Newsroom Administrator and Historian for the Marietta Daily Journal.

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