Headlining some old news from 1952

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One of the advantages I have over other newspaper columnists in Atmore is the fact I have access to all the old editions of The Advance dating back to the 1920s.

I have so much to draw from to write about each week. I also am the oldest columnist in town and I can relate to so many local and area events and people and places dating back to the 1930s. I suppose you could say I could “write forever” having access to treasures like this.

Did you know I have used almost 1,000 names of local and area folks over the past four years? Many of these people I knew personally.

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Today, however, I am using only one edition of The Advance for some of my fodder. That paper comes from July 31, 1952. This is the first in a series of columns using this format occasionally over the next several months.

I’ll have some news from that paper later down in the column, but I must tell you what two nice elder ladies told me this past Saturday night at the Brooks Memorial big Gospel singing and supper. They wanted me to know they would not have been there had they not read about it in my column last week.

Of course I was glad to hear this, but you know some never say a good word about it as if they resent it. Why are some folks that way? I know one man, actually two men, who ask me if I were so bad off financially that I had to write to supplement my income.

I realize they were probably absent from class when 101 diplomacy and basic sentence structure were taught. They also seem to “get lost” when I use words containing more than two syllables.

I am also proud of my stack of emails from readers who follow all the oil drilling activities. They tell me they rely on my reporting the oil news because they look forward to their lands possibly being leased in the future. I have an advantage when writing on this subject because of my friends with the oil company that drilled the successful Mason property and State wells. And, don’t let me forget my good friend Dave Bolin, deputy director of the Alabama Gas and Oil Department, up in Tuscaloosa.

I am equally grateful for those emails and phone calls from all those who enjoy reading about stories from the yesteryear.

So why am I writing about me today? I suppose at 76 years old, I really never know how many columns I have left to write. And when I am gone these writings will cease and be inserted in our archives for readers 50 to 100 years from now.

Enough, I say, enough, about me already. Shame on me.

Now let’s take a look at Martins Ritchie’s Atmore Advance edition from July 31, 1952. By the way Ritchie was my first newspaper mentor. His wit, humor and sheer newspaper knowledge influenced me to no end. Coupled with him and those 1954-55 newspaper courses I completed at the University of Alabama, I am extremely grateful.

The headlines of that 1952 story were about my wife’s pretty sister Doris (Troutman) Cooper. You know her today as the wife of Lawrence Cooper. Doris was selected the 1952 Escambia County Maid of Cotton. She was selected over a field of eight beauties from Flomaton, Atmore and Brewton. That event, which was sponsored by the Escambia County Farm Bureau, was one of the most popular beauty contests in the county back in those days.

The alternate MOC was pretty Margaret Dixon of Flomaton.

In other news from that 1952 edition, Minnie Hanks was named to the Dean’s list at Florida State University, and six Atmore Boy Scouts participated in “Camp Big Heart” near Pensacola, Fla. Those scouts were Davis Findley, J.L. Johnson, John Parker, Joe Webb, John Barnette and Bert Jones. Sponsored by Atmore First Baptist Church, they were members of the local Scout Troop 21.

A gala shower was held for Hubert and Annie Laura Lambert Guy who lost their home and furnishings in a fire. The family resided in Vocation.

Atmore Mayor H.H. Dees was reelected to his post without opposition. In the city council race winners included Randolph Maxwell, and Grady Rhoad.

Sadly there were two notable deaths, Henry Maddox and Ollie Thompson passed away that week.

The Atmore Truckers Association welcomed their first bale of cotton for the year. It was grown by Roy Chance of Jay, Fla.

Buddy Vickery prepared to lead his crack Atmore Jaycees baseball team against an All-Star group from Mobile. Ace Doc Vickery was pegged to take the mound in the Byrne Field contest.

Two young hoodlums made off with five large baskets of golden, succulent peaches from a roadside vendor located near Preacher Well’s Hwy. 31 south potato shed. But it didn’t take long for county deputies to nab them down at Perdido Creek. A tip from a friendly Nokomis resident aided the officers in making the arrest. Actually, the vandals were found under the bridge in the creek chomping on the tasty fruits.

The state health department reported 20 new polio cases in the state. Fortunately, none were discovered in Escambia County.

Three locals made military news. Pvt. Willis M. Ray completed basic training at the Medical Replacement Training Center at Camp Pickett, Va.; Pvt. Ernest Wilson completed processing for relief from active duty at the Army Separation Center at Ft. Jackson, S.C. and Lt. George Coker reported to active duty at the Signal Corps Base in Fort Monmouth, N.J.(Hmmm, I thought Signal Corps was based at Fort Gordon near Augusta,Ga.)

McMurphy’s Dairy added a colorful neon sign on their front wall at their Hwy. 3l North location.

Well, these are some of the main stories from that edition. Did you like the new format?

Next week, I’ll be back with some more news from days gone by. Not sure what, but be sure to ‘stand by and stay tuned.”

Once again, let me say you missed some great Gospel singing Saturday night piano playing by Jettie Everette. While I am not much into contemporary soloist and duets, I am totally engrossed in traditional four-part harmony. Those quartets and ensembles have promised to add more songs to their repertoire (oh, sorry fellows, there is another one of those big words again) at our next singing. They told me the reason they didn’t sing more songs was because they only “knew a few.” I am sure they will, indeed, learn some more by the next singing event.

This week Lowell talks about news from 1952. | File Photo

“….Yes, it always whispers to me…those days of long ago……”

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net.