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Eighty Years Ago: around The Shire (and beyond)

As August 1939 drew to close, the Great Depression, then approaching the 10th anniversary of Black Tuesday, slowly, reluctantly loosened its stranglehold grip on America. Thousands of miles away, Germany continued apace its plans to invade Poland, and the world held its breath. But meanwhile, back in The Shire...


Rev. A.P. White, president of Lindsey Wilson Junior College, confidently predicted the school would seen an increase over the previous year's enrollment of 150 when the new semester started on September 11. During the summer months, athletic director and coach A.T. Gullette and Rev. Avery Eastridge, a Methodist minister and recent LWJC graduate, had been "working in the interest of Lindsey," recruiting students in the surrounding counties. A few days after classes started, Rev. White remarked the enrollment stood at one hundred-sixty-five, a record for the school as a junior college, and that the count might yet hit one seventy-five.

The LWJC faculty for academic year 1939-40 included Miss Elva Goodhue (science), Miss Noma Dix Winston (history and modern languages), and three of Adair County's own: O.A. Durham, American government; Mrs. Foster (Carrie Grissom) Pickett, piano; and Mrs. Ray (May Hamilton) Flowers, public school music. (Mrs. Flowers, a native of Tennessee, arrived in Adair County about 1924 to teach music at Lindsey Wilson. She soon met and fell in love with Ray Flowers, and they were married toward the end of November 1927.)

Work on the Columbia-Liberty road progressed nicely, with the footings for the Barnett's Creek bridge just completed, and the state highway department continued work on the Glensfork road, grading it from the residence of Mr. Ernest Flowers on into Hard Scratch, a distance of three and a half miles.

County Clerk W.E. Harris reported the number of fishing licenses sold to date already exceeded by nearly fifty the total number sold the entire previous year.

School superintendent C.W. Marshall announced Adair County's rural schools would be open on Labor Day, September 4, but that students and faculty would be given off the Friday following Thanksgiving to enjoy a long weekend.

A recently closed revival at Zion Baptist Church drew large crowds and rescued a number of souls from the gaping maw of damnation. Revivals had also just closed at Jones Chapel, Concord, and Jay Bird, with the Gradyville correspondent reporting no fewer than thirty-three candidates for baptism "near the bridge" as a result of the latter-named series of meetings.

Down Toria way, ill fortune befell Mr. Kay Jessee when he broke a leg jumping from a wagon pulled by a runaway team, but young Miss Flora Lee Hamlett was on the mend "at this writing." The citizens of Pleasant Grove had been working on the Columbia road but were otherwise too occupied visiting, being visited, or both, to have any other newsworthy accomplishments. In the Melson Ridge community, the church sported a newly applied coat of paint, and resident Coolidge Grant had enrolled in high school at Glensfork.

Around Purdy, Miss Agnes Burton, recently returned from the Glasgow Hospital after undergoing surgery, continued to improve, and the population of the community increased by one with the arrival of a daughter at the William Burton residence on August 21.

And in Columbia, Miss Jean Allison celebrated her tenth birthday with a party for her friends. Those in attendance included the Misses Yvonne Marshall, Edith Cundiff, Martha Maupin, Elizabeth Lowe, and Mary Eleanor Pickett.

In commerce, Lany Bray announced her fall fashion parade, Royce Variety solicited back-to-school shoppers with bargain prices on school supplies, beginning September 2. Ninety-eight cents would buy a buck-twenty-five bottle of the restorative Retonga at Lloyd Pharmacy, and seventy-nine cents would allow the astute customer to take home a dollar bottle of PureTest Mineral Oil at Paull Drug.

Goff & Smith offered to broker estate sales and purchases; Columbia Gulf Service (W.J. Cundiff, prop.) had the new Goodrich Safety Silvertown tires ready to sell; both Columbia funeral homes -- Grissom and Stotts & Cheatham -- provided ambulance service; and Wethington Transfer did long and short distance hauling.

One could buy a Model 230 ABC brand wringer washer from Harold Richardson; Aden Thomas Wilhelm wanted to buy cream and had plenty of help on hand to speed the transaction; Adair Sales Co.'s list of good used vehicles included one coach three sedans, and four pick up trucks; and at Kroger that week, Educator Crax were fifteen cents a package. (An ad from about a decade later referred to this product as "The most imitated cracker in America.")_

For those with a bit of extra jingle-jangle in their pockets, entertainment choices at the Rialto included Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette in "Mountain Rhythm;" Pat O'Brien & Joan Blondell in "The Kid from Kokomo;" and Henry Fonda in the lead as "Young Mr. Lincoln."

And on September 1, 1939 almost five thousand miles from The Shire, Adolf Hitler blitzkrieged Poland and ripped the world asunder for six bloody years.

This story was posted on 2019-08-31 07:48:59
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