Frozen potatoes, baseball headline '55

Published 8:33 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
This week I have some interesting events and people from the 1950s and the 1960s.
In early 1955, Martin Ritchie, editor and publisher of The Advance, was outlining plans for a big subscription drive. Everyone would be able to participate. All they had to do was go out and sell new subscriptions or renew old ones and the person with most sales would win a brand new automobile.
While the drive was going on people were coming and going bringing in their sales to The Advance office. One week two people brought in something not related to subscriptions. They brought in two huge eggs raised at two separate homes. Mrs. R.R. Manning on Route 3 came in with an egg weighing 6.5 ounces and was 7 inches in circumference. Later that same week N.L. Jones of Lottie brought in an egg weighing 7 ounces and was eight inches in circumference.
I read where the largest egg on record was grown in 2007 in India. It weighed 132 grams (whatever that is in ounces) and was 10cc in length and 5cm in height. My, that would be a hearty breakfast for a family of five.
These two egg stories proved to be exactly what Ritchie needed to kick off his subscription drive.
By the way I will give you the subscription winners‘ name next week.
That 1955 winter brought much cold weather to our area and to the entire south. In fact Atmore’s entire Irish potato crop was lost. The freeze wiped out many important crops in Florida and Georgia. Many local and area farmers who raised potatoes in those days kept our prolific “potato sheds” buzzing.
The Billy Glenn Rushing American Legion entered its baseball team in the Dixie Amateur League. Other teams in the league included State Farm, Monroeville, and Jay. James Robinson, post commander, named Buddy manager of the local team. All our games were played at spacious Byrne Field.
Speaking of Byrne Field, there was a big All Night Gospel Sing here that year. Quartets appearing included The Statesmen, Lefevre Trio, Wally Fowler and J. G. Whitfield and The Gospel Melody Boys. The latter group went on to become The Florida Boys and Fowler later formed the well-known Oak Ridge Boys Quartet. Fowler, who was a member of the Grand Ole Opry, had previously fronted a band known as The Georgia Clodhoppers.
In 1964, Atmore hosted “The Southern Coon On A Log” festival at their Highway 21 site. Gerald Stanton, longtime employee at the post office, was president of the group. Fred Moore and Clay Whitehead were also active in the organization. Gerald raised several dogs over the years and won of his prize animals was used on the cover of a leading dog commercial.
I never knew what they did at these events. I only knew it had something to do with dogs trying to make a coon jump off a floating log. I don’t hear anything about that organization any more. I am not sure it even exists today.
Jimmy Biggs is a friend to many here. You see, he has a big garden and raises rows and row of succulent vegetables. Growing this crop is not what he is known for. It is taking these vegetables to his many friends here. He brings us some of his yields several times a year. Just the other day he brought us a bag of okra. Isn’t it great to have friends like that?
Sheryl Vickery, who works with the Chamber, always takes fresh flowers each week to Busters. Julia Gibbs (Buster’s daughter) was an ECHS classmate of Sheryl.
Buford O’Farrell was also known for his generosity raising vegetables for his friends
And, Bill Cargill, husband of Euline (Weekly) Cargill was generous to the needy with his “leftovers” from his seafood route. Bill, who worked for many years with state, would go to south Baldwin each week, taking orders along the way, and deliver seafood to customers.
Last week my mystery question was “who had phone #1 prior to the Southland Phone Company changeover. Well, I had several who responded with the correct answer. Actually there were two people with this number, Mrs. W.S. Brantley and Mrs. Loutitia B. Cowart. Perhaps this was a party line back in those days.
Do you remember “The Cinderella Shoppe?” If so, tell me who owner and operated this well known North Main business.
More next week and more detail oil news for those of you who have been following this story.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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