This week’s Time Capsule looks at the King of Moonshiners, a bridge collapse, World War II events and a train derailment.
100 years ago …
The Thursday, March 18, 1920, edition of The Cobb County Times reported that John Henry Harden, who had won the title of “King of the Moonshiners” in Cherokee County, was being held under a $3,000 bond and charged with trying to bribe a U.S. government official.
Harden was caught after he tried to “buy” a federal Prohibition agent. After the agent reported the attempt to the district attorney, he was advised to trap Harden. When approached a second time, Harden was told to meet the agent in Room 242 in the Wilmot Hotel for a private conversation.
Inside the room, a dictophone was hidden under an overcoat and placed next to a chair. During their conversation, Harden offered the agent $500 a month to stop conducting raids on stills in Cherokee and to inform him about the activities of other raiding officers in the county.
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Cobb County Agent E.O. McMahan and School Superintendent Bernard Awtrey were reported as being in a car accident the Monday morning before.
The Benson Bakery car, driven by Paul Groover, crashed into McMahan’s Ford on Atlanta Street and the impact threw Awtrey out of the vehicle, causing him to “painfully” skin his face and right shoulder.
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Sheriff W.E. Swanson was reported as returning from Delrio, Texas with O.H. Bruce, who escaped from jail in November 1919 with Luther F. Alexander and E.E. Randolph. When Swanson discovered the prisoners were missing, he found “a very ‘sassy’ letter” from each of the men. Bruce was to face trial for forging his uncle’s name to checks that were cashed at the Marietta Trust & Banking Co.
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The Friday, March 19, 1920, edition of The Marietta Journal reported that F.G. Marchman and his associates purchased the Strand Theater from S.A. Lynch Enterprises and would take control the following Monday. At the same time, a new floor was being placed in the theater and the whole building was to be re-finished.
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The Journal editors wrote the following items:
♦An editorial, titled “Georgia Made,” talked about how Germany prior to World War I had the advertising slogan of “Made in Germany” on “every article of commerce exported from that country.” Germany spent “millions in a propaganda to make the world belive that this mark was not only a guarantee of the best goods, but that no other country could possibly produce such goods.” The editors asked why Georgia couldn’t do the same.
75 years ago ...
In the Tuesday, March 13, 1945, Marietta Daily Journal it was reported that the steel bridge crossing Knowles Creek on Powder Springs Road collapsed the day before. Residents said that a “huge bulldozer, drawn by a truck” operated by W.L. Florence Construction Company employees went down with “the 12-foot steel span,” but no one was injured.
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Pfc. Elbert L. Shirley, 30, was reported in the Wednesday, March 14, 1945, paper as being killed in action in Germany during WWII on Feb. 24, 1945 by the War Department. Shirley enlisted in the Medical Corps before Pearl Harbor and had been overseas for 16 months.
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Maj. Gen. Donald H. Connolly of Marietta was reported in the Thursday, March 15, 1945, paper as being awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in Washington, D.C., the day before by Undersecretary of War Robert P. Patterson, for his work in 1944 as commanding general of the Persian Gulf Command.
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E.M. Smith was reported in the Friday, March 16, 1945, paper as having retired as manager of the Marietta Coca-Cola Bottling Company. J.I. Hart was named his successor.
50 years ago ...
In the Friday, March 13, 1970, Marietta Daily Journal it was reported that 10 Louisville & Nashville Railroad freight cars derailed that morning near Canton Highway and just south of Ebenezer Road. Most of the cars were empty, but a few contained gravel and wood pulp. No injuries were reported.