This week’s Time Capsule looks at an electrocution, the oldest man in the South, a well rescue and a Vietnam casualty.

100 years ago …

The Thursday, May 15, 1919, edition of The Cobb County Times reported that R.G. Bentley was killed instantly the Wednesday before by contact with a live wire carrying between 75,000 to 110,000 volts.

Bentley was working with E.G. McGarity and J.E. Kinnington on the out of service telephone line at a farm near the Georgia Railway and Power Company’s high-tension line that ran “down from the main cross-country line down to Frey’s Gin, on the Roswell Road.” The telephone line had gotten caught in a tree. McGarity climbed up and tossed it out of the tree using a pitch fork, but the phone line landed on the power line.

McGarity didn’t realize that Bentley and Kinnington, who was merely stunned, were holding the phone line as he tossed it from the tree.

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Pages 6-7 were dedicated to articles and photographs about the city of Austell, which was dubbed “The Biggest Small Town in Georgia For Business, Health and Pleasure.”

The lead to the story said, “No trip throughout Cobb County is complete unless you see Austell, with its wonderful Lithia Springs; drink of its health giving water. Its streets are beautifully laid out, shade trees on all sides, many lovely homes. On the main route of the Southern Railway and Bankhead Highway makes it easy to get to; excellent hotel facilities, fine people, good business houses and one of the leading manufacturing plants in the state. Good farms and farmers live close by and find a ready market for the products here. Plan to make a trip to Austell soon. Fishing is good in Sweetwater Creek.”

The article also detailed the show rooms, office building and warehouse of Mather Brothers; Hunt’s Drug Store; the dairy farm of J.D. Perkinson’s & Sons; Mrs. A. Shannon Young’s Millinery Store; the Lithia Springs Hotel; the Georgia Trading Company; and the offices and plant of the Austell Swing & Ladder Company.

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The Friday, May 16, 1919, edition of The Marietta Journal reported that both the nation and Cobb County had gone over the top for the Fifth Victory Liberty Loan campaign. Cobb’s quota was $343,650. The county raised $353,400, nearly $10,000 over. The Marietta District raised the most in the county with $235,900.

The Girl’s Patriotic League was also reported as raising $95 from the concerts of the Royal Scotch Highlanders Band.

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William Kuhnen was reported as returning from Europe after having served in World War I. Kuhnen had been in a hospital for a long time suffering from a shrapnel wound and having been gassed in combat.

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T.H. McElvie, 114, “reputed to be the oldest man in the South,” was reported as having died the Thursday before at the home of his nephew in Phenix City, Alabama. McElvie served in the Confederate army during the Civil War and was wounded several times.

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Commencement exercises for the 19 Marietta High School seniors were to be held at the Methodist Church on Friday, May 23, 1919.

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John H. Meek of Albany, who was well-known in Marietta, was reported as resigning his seat in the Georgia Legislature in order for his predecessor, a soldier who enlisted for WWI duty, to run for re-election.

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In the “News From Over The County” column:

♦ Macland section – Journal correspondent Ruby wrote about the death of her uncle, B.W. Griggs, the correspondent from the Due West section known as Amor.

A story by the Journal editors said that Benjamin Wilson Griggs, 85, was a veteran of the Civil War and the oldest correspondent on the paper’s staff. Griggs, who died on Thursday, May 8, 1919, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. J.J. Story, had written items up until within a few weeks of his death.

♦ Lost Mountain Section – In addition to a tribute to B.W. Griggs, the correspondent Allen reported that C.J. Bullard lost a hog the week before from hydrophobia, a symptom of rabies. The hog was also said to have bit a man who was “taking the Pasteur treatment,” a vaccine for rabies that was created by Louis Pasteur.

50 years ago …

The Friday, May 9, 1969, Marietta Daily Journal reported that “Scooter” Taylor, 4, of Marietta fell into a 100-foot deep well while playing at his parents’ cabin at Galt’s Ferry Landing the Wednesday before.

Scooter had been playing by his parents, who were working in the yard at the time of the incident. Mrs. Taylor, sitting on the well’s pump house, looked up and found Scooter had disappeared.

An Acworth electrician named Huey, working at the cabin, took a roll of “heavy gauge house wire,” made a loop at the end and had Lyman M. Taylor Sr. lower it to his son while he drove off to get help. Taylor ran the line down to his son and had him place his feet in the loop in order to pull him up. The boy was retrieved him in less than five minutes.

Taylor said “a round rubber pipe, used to siphon water out for the pump” was near the surface of the 40-feet of water at the bottom and was what Scooter held onto until he was rescued.

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U.S. Army Sp-4 John Harold Crisp, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Luther G. Crisp of Marietta, was reported in the Friday, May 16, 1969, paper as having been killed by mortar fire when the helicopter pad where he was stationed in Vietnam was attacked. Crisp had been in Vietnam since August 1968 and three more months to serve in Vietnam and five months left before he was to be discharged.

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

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