MAN'S BEST FRIEND? On the night of June 5, 1900, one of the legendary and more amusing events in the history of Dublin City Government occurred. Just as Alderman J.D. Smith took his seat in the old wooden city council building during the reading of the minutes, the agenda suddenly shifted. A dog, bothered by fleas, entered the room and begin to scratch his itch. Each scratch was accompanied by a pat of the dog's tail on the wooden floor. As the intensity of the pats grew so did the irritation of the council and those present. Suddenly, Alderman Henry M. Kirke noticed that the dog was mad. Mr. Kirke and reporter C.C. Smith made it out the door near where they were standing. The usually erudite Col. James B. Sanders made a dash for the door but was cut off by the dog. Col. Sanders retreated and then climbed on a table and jumped up clinging to the railing. He pulled himself up and then proceeded to jump from a second story window. The power house superintendent then decided his services were needed at the power house and slipped by the dog. Mayor James B. Hicks and Clerk, A.R. Arnau found secure positions which they tentatively held. In an act of near-perfect unison the remaining councilmen climbed on top of tables and chairs. Finally someone yelled "Shoot him!" Before anyone could get a shot off, the fleas decided to rest. The dog's pain ceased and he was easily led from the hall. Undoubtedly a short recess followed.
THE COUNTY FISH POND - Two months had passed since the destruction of the old Laurens County Courthouse. The winter rains had filled a large hole which was left when the old courthouse was torn down. The small pond became somewhat of a joke around town. J.H. Perry Company was hired by the contractor to pump out the rain water. As the last of the water was being sucked up, the workmen found a number of catfish of various sizes flapping in the mud. Judging from the size of the fish, they had to have been put in the hole by a practical joker. The mystery of the identity of the pranksters went unsolved for thirty-four years until I read about the stunt in a 1963 newspaper. I immediately had my suspicions. It seems that Mrs. R.A. Register, wife of Commissioner R.A. Register, and Mrs. A.O. Hadden, wife of Clerk A.O. Hadden, loved to fish for catfish. While the two couples were out of town, two county officials slipped a dozen or so live catfish in the pond. The two jokers were Clerk Brantley New and County Attorney Dale Thompson. 5/2/, 5/3/1963
WHO DOESN'T WANT TO BE TAX COMMISSIONER - In the fall of 1962 following the resignation of Laurens County's tax commissioner, one of the most unusual and interesting county elections in Georgia history happened in Laurens County. The qualifying fee wasn't that much so people began to qualify for the vacancy in the tax office, first one, then another. At the end of qualifying twenty-eight men and one woman put their hats into the ring in the special election. They came from all parts of the county and all walks of life. Those running for office included: Marvin Ashley, Dewey Bedingfield, Ralph Bedingfield, Ralph Bostick, Rev. S.M. Dominy, Jack Fausett, Skeet Fordham, Bob Garrard, Hank Geeslin, John Gilbert, Eugene Harrelson, Bobby G. Hester, Calhoun Hogan, Trammel Keen, Sr., A.B. Lee, Russell T. Lord, Linton Malone, Hubert Martin, R.A. Morgan, Bush Perry, Joe Radney, Grable Ricks, Jr., C. Manly Smith, O.T. Tarpley, L.L. Thigpen, Earl Wilkes, Mary Martin Willis, and Bill Young. The flood of candidates so amused the local politicos that county attorney Dale Thompson and Superior Court Clerk Brantley New, (the same pranksters who put the catfish in the courthouse pond) had paper tags printed with the following message: "Sorry, I'm a candidate for tax commissioner. I qualified too. Work on somebody else." Bob Garrard won the election with O.T. Tarpley coming in second. The last laugh went to the owners of the Courier Herald and the printing companies who printed more ads and cards in the one special election than in many general elections. Dublin Courier Herald, Oct. 4, 1962.
STARVING ACTOR - In the early Fifties, a young actor in his mid twenties toured the United States with his wife. He was a son of one of Ziegfield's Beauties. The couple performed dramatic scenes from Mark Twain, Hamlet, McBeth, and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. When the actor's wife became pregnant she was replaced by actress Lee Firestone. The new team was engaged by the Laurens County Concert Association to perform their dramatic scenes at the Central Elementary Auditorium (now City Hall) on January 17, 1952. The new acting team was known as Holbrook and Firestone. The young actor went on to fame in television and the movies. His portrayal of Mark Twain was universally recognized as one of the best in television history. The young actor was, of course, Hal Holbrook. "Dublin Courier Herald, January 14, 1952"
VIETNAM ADVISOR WINS MEDAL - Claud P. Ragan, a former school student in Dublin, left this area when his father, Claud P. Ragan, went to Washington, D.C., as Chief Clerk of the Commission on Insular and Territorial Affairs. The young Ragan attended Georgetown University and obtained his degree from George Washington University. Lt. Ragan served in Vietnam from April 12, 1963 to April 9, 1964 as an advisor to the Vietnamese Navy's 22nd River Assault Group. President Lyndon Johnson awarded the Bronze Star to Ragan for outstanding courage, leadership, and professional skill in the face of hostile fire during 13 combat operations against the Viet Cong. Despite Ragan's absence, he and his mother still maintained their family farm between Dublin and Rentz. Dublin Courier Herald, January 22, 1965.
THESE IRISH LINKSTERS WERE CHAMPIONS, TOO - The Dublin Irish football and basketball teams under Minton Williams dominated their regions and classes for most of the early 60s. Lost in the excitement was the Dublin High golfers during the period from 1962 to 1965. In their first year of competition in 1961, Coach Williams's foursome finished third in its region. During the second year Ritchie Cummings, state AA medalist, led the Irish to the state crown. Playing with Cummings were Spec Hall, Robert Swinson, and Tom Perry. In 1963, with Swinson out of commission, the team finished seventh in the state. Playing on that team was Robbie Hahn, Tom Perry, Spec Hall, and Boyd Anderson. In 1964, the Irish came from behind, making up 11 strokes in the last nine holes to tie Lovett High School. On the first hole of the playoff, the Dublin boys blew the Lovett boys off the course, capturing their second championship. The Irish foursome, under the leadership of Coach Marvin Tarpley and led by Swinson and Hall, saved their best for their last match. In the 1965 final round, Swinson won the medalist honors with a five-under-par 67. Spec Hall, Robert Brown, and Robert Dunn shot good rounds, leading the Irish to a total score of 294, a school record at the time. Swinson and Hall finished their careers with three state championships. Swinson, known to his friends as "Rabble," was named the Middle Georgia Prep Golfer of the Year by The Macon News. Swinson set a course record with a 69 and led the first two rounds of the All American Junior Tournament in Fort Myers, Florida in 1965, before losing in the final round. Dublin Courier Herald, May 11, 1965, June 22, 1965, June 28, 1965.