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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, August 10, 2007

History and Remembrance from CHS class of 92 and 93

In today's blog gonna promote the work of two of Collinsville High School's most promising 30 something graduates; most notable outside My Momma and Mary Catherine Reid Beasley of course.
Julie Arthur Johnson of the Class of 93 has started a blog. Her entry of yesterday is very well written and quite revealing of the pains of growing up in Northeast Alabama. It shows how the kindness of a good brother can help you get through most anything, as well.
Maybe Julie's sister cheerleaders will get up a petition, a card that Says We Love You Julie and send it to her. (Insert Smilie Emoticon here)

And John Morgan III has emailed some fascinating research from friends in Americus Georgia who are telling me a lot about a friend of President Carter I have come to admire from the writings of my hero Marshall Frady. Frady was a classmate of my High School Tennis Coach, Roger Smoak, at Furman in 1963. Frady is well nuanced in the ABC Special 20/20 tonight on Billy Graham and the Presidents, especially the coverage of Nixon which was previewed last night on NIghtline and again this morning on GMA.
Morgan is an architecture grad from UVA, a church organist, and all round leader of his generation. His brother Matthew can see the Church of St. John the Divine from his office in NYC. They have two other brothers.
And he designed a house nearby, Mentone, Alabama for some Episcopalians.
Fortson was the subject of a Frady essay in his collection Southerners. Fortson had a difficult summer in 1965 in Americus. Frady's essay is well worth the search for any of you serious revenants out there.
But here is an illustrious exchange between Morgan and some friends he has made in Americus about Fortson's home of the time, quite notable in its own right. It is a lot bigger than I had imagined.
Morgan sent a picture in the email that deserves your viewing. I hope to get it up for you soon as I can, but I'm not very savvy in these matters.

The EXchange on the Fortson Home

Hey Fox, I found out a little more about the house you called about. A picture of the house is attached. A co-worker and local historian (who finished a book last year on the history of First Baptist Americus) had some information. Here's our exchange:
I thought the same thing about the house until Sen. Hooks informed me of the 1922 rehabilitation. Not only is he a student of local and state history, but I thought I remembered him mentioning Fortson some years ago. That’s why I called him this afternoon.
Incidentally, the original frame house was owned by Ambrose Spencer who testified at the trial of the Andersonville Prison commandant, Henry Wirz, after the Civil War. Also, what is now Calvary Episcopal Church was organized in Spencer’s house in 1858.
Just some historical tidbits about the house.

Thanks, Alan! When I had called the library to ask about the city directories, the person who answered said she didn’t see any in the catalog from the 60’s. And Sun Valley Drive is definitely “a far piece” from FUMC, so that’s cool that you thought to contact Mr. Hooks. Did you just have a hunch it might be his house, or is he someone who shares your interest in history?

That is such a beautiful house! And fascinating that it was bricked in the 20’s. I’ve admired it many times, but always thought due to the style of the exterior that it must have been built in the late teens or early 20’s. How interesting that it goes back so much farther than that.

Thanks for your help!

Another update. I just talked to Sen. George Hooks and during 1965 Warren Fortson bought the two-story brick home now occupied by the Hooks family at 145 Taylor St. This would be the house your friend was referencing. It’s actually an antebellum house that was bricked in the 1920s by T. Firth Lockwood, a prominent architect from Columbus. Sen. Hooks has Lockwood’s original schematics.

I took a quick run to the library during the lunch break and the 1961-1964 city directories list Warren Fortson’s residence at 223 Sun Valley Dr., over near LaHacienda. That’s a long way from the Methodist Church.
Thanks, Alan! I knew I asked the right person!

Good morning, John,
You know me, I just love history questions! Warren Fortson, whose brother, Ben Fortson, was Georgia’s secretary of state, was the district attorney for Sumter County during the civil rights demonstrations in 1965. He supported a biracial committee to discuss the situation and, as a direct result, was forced out of his legal position and his church position at First United Methodist. After receiving threats, as well as accusations of miscegenation, he and his family left Americus in Sept. 1965.
You can find more information on the History link at The library has city directories from that time period that will specify Fortson’s home address.

Hey Alan, I hope that you had a good weekend. A friend of mine back home was asking about a Warren Fortson who lived in an historic brick home “around the corner from the First United Methodist Church”. Does this name mean anything to you, and if so is it something I could read about on the history website? Could you send me a link to that website? I can’t remember the address. Thanks,

Post Script
Here is Fortson on Carter from the PBS American Experience. Carter Biographer Peter Bourne is also interviewed, Bourne a friend of my friend James Dunn who along with a Maddox provide fascinating insight into the Southern Baptists of Carter's world as well a most colorful quote


Warren Fortson, Lawyer: Quitman County, historically, had been run by a man named Joe Hurst and Joe was not atypical for many, many small counties in the state, the poorer counties, you had one person who was a political power who just in effect kind of ran the county
Narrator: Hurst was used to getting what he wanted, and in 1962 he wanted another Democrat, Homer Moore, to be elected Senator.
Warren Fortson: The ballot box was a liquor box, that had been taken and a hole cut in the top of it, so that you put your ballot over in there, after you-and it sat up on the counter and you had to come up and mark your ballot right next to it with Joe and a bunch of his crowd watching, you know while your doing it.
Narrator: Fraud was rampant: voters were threatened, ballots detroyed. Joe Hurst even stuffed ballots of dead voters into the Old Crow box. That evening, when the votes were counted, Jimmy Carter had lost. He decided to contest the election.


Blogger Jules (Sporty Mama) said...

Thank you for plugging my blog.

11:01 AM  

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