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The Florala News
Florala , Alabama
June 19, 1975     The Florala News
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June 19, 1975

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--- ©SMALLTOWNPAPERS, INC. ALL CONTENT COPYRIGHTED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ~UBJECT TO LICENSE AGREEMENT. REPRODUCTION, DISSEMINATION, STORAGE, DISTRIBUTION PROHIBITED. NEWS- THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 1975 I BY: Elizabeth McGee Florala, Alabama isafriend- cured from tile Library of ond best wishes ly little city of 2,701 located Congress, by the Chamber of O THE MASONS ON THE 105th Annual Masonic Day Celebration INV}TE ALL OUR FRIENDS TO COME BY AND VISIT WITH US N AUTO !ER Telephone 8-9235 YEARS CONTINUED SERVICE IN FLORALA in Covington County on Alabama-Florida line. Beautiful Lake Jackson is lo- cated partly in the city limits partly in the state of Florida. For many years the lake was known as McDade's Pond, nam- ed for one of the earliest set- tlers of this area. A map made in 1837 by J. Lee Williams gives the name of the lake as David's Lake and a property survey dated May 16, 1855, shows the name as Jacksons' Pond. The exact date of changing the name of- ficially to Lake Jackson is not known. Searcys' Map of Florida, made in 1829, shows the route taken through this area by Gen- eral Andrew Jackson in 181S when he was enroute from Tal- lahassee, Florida to Pensacola, Florida. It is believed that he camped on the shores of Lake Jackson with his army and some Indian prisoners. A copy of this map was se- in Troy, Alabama, or Milton, Florida, which was a three-day the Commerce, and sent totheHis- round trip by ox cart. torical Markers Committee of Other ea'rly settlers in this the Alabama Historical Asso- ciation. At the present time, there is a marker to com- memorate the presence of General Jackson here. The first settler to make his home in what is now the cor- porate limits of Florala, was James E. Hughes, who arrived in this area by ox cart in De- cember of 1865. Mr. Hughes, while serving in the Confederate Army, had traded for a 160 acre tract of land from a sol- dier in his company. This tract of land is now the location of the central part of Florala. Mr. Hughes set up the first store, which consisted of a box containing pins. Word spread that he would trade for any- thing and ax and hoe handles whittled from Hickory wood, hides, bones, and bees wax were among the first items traded in this area. Addition- al merchandise was purchased area were the Mannings, Led- betters, Ghents, Holleys and Cawthons. Mail was brought from Greenville, 75 miles away on horseback or by oxen. The first Post Office here was established in the home of Mr. J. E. Hughes on January II, 1875, with Mr. Hughes re- ceiving $35.00 annually for his services as postmaster. The Post Office was first known as the Lake City, Ala- bama Post Office and was la- ter changed to Lakeview on May 18, 1877. The name was chang- ed to Florala on June Z2, 1891, this name being the combina- tion of the first syllables of Florida and Alabama. The population of the com- munity had grown to about 500 by 1901 and on November 26 about 50 householders met at the storehouse of M. A. George. Sr., and signed a petition ask- OFFICE PERSONNEL OFFICERS ~bARIE : Executive Secretary E.P. RODWELL, JR. " Chairman of the Board CHAMBERS I~I~BIE NEWBERRY - Secretary REX WHITCOMB - president NGELA BRADLEY - Secretary , G.G. HART - Vice President (Retired) I~NESTINE CARROLL" Teller "Progressing JOHNNY SMITH" Assistant Vice president I~GGY WALKER - Teller MILLS - Teller ~AN BRASwELL - Teller IARILYN STRIcKLAND - proof Operator Uby HERRINGTON - Teller WAGNER " Teller 'IFFORD HODGE - Collectoc SMITH " J anitor EARL SMI TIt - janitor With Florala Since 1904" VIRGINIA WHITCOMB - Assistant Vice president OSCAR D. WOOTEN, JR. - Assistant Vice President T. J. BRITTON, JR. - Cashier & Security Officer HELEN ROBBINS - Assistant Cashier ROBERT RODWELL - Assistant Cashier "As Strong The Past, Modern The Future" MEMBER FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION " 70 YEARS OF CONSECUTIVE BANKING SERVICE" PAGE 1B ing that the town be incorpora- ted. This petition was presented to the Judge of Probate of Cov- ington County and he ordered that an election be held on December V to determine whe- ther the majority of residents favored incorporation. The election was held in the storehouse of M. A. George with 58 votes cast; 44 in favor of incorporation and 14 against. The results of this election were sent to the Judge of Pro- bate and the Articles of In- corporation of the Town of Flo- rala were issued and signed on December 9, 1901. An election was held De- cember 16, 1901 for the pur- pose of electing a mayor and 5 aldermen. W. C. McLaugh- lin was elected as mayor and 5 aldermen. W. C. McLangh- lin was elected as mayor and D. I. B. Adkison, H. A. Hugh- es, M. A. George, Sr., J. F. McRae and J. T. Manning as aldermen. The City Code was adopted in January, 1908. The present mayor is Joe R. Evans. The first church in this area was built in 1852 at Chapel Hill about 8 miles Northeast of Florala. Florala how has several churches of several denominations which welcome you to their membership and fellowship. The first Masonic Lodge was built in the Chapel Hill com- munity in 1859. This Lodge was moved to Florala in 1873. It had seven members and was called the Lake City Ledge No. 377. The first school in Florala was built on the Florida-Ala- bama line so both states could share in the payment of the teachers salary. For the first three months term the teacher received $35.00. The Florala City School first functioned in a wooden building on East 5th Avenue. The pre- sent brick building was erected in 1912 and in 1939 was al- most doubled in size. It has recently been completely reno- vated. J. P. Doster was the first principal. The Covington County High School was erected in 1914 on five acres of land donated by The Florala Land Company. A Mr. Pettus was the first principal. The present high school building was completed in March, 1963 and classes im- mediately moved into this build- ing. Upon moving into the new building the name was changed to Florala High School. The first railroad in Florala was a branch from Crestview, built in 1890. It was known as the Yellow River Railroad and was later sold to the Louis- ville and Nashville Railroad Company. The Central of Georgia Railroad was brought here through the efforts of lum- bermen to serve the many lum- ber companies which had begun to flourish the area -Jackson Lumber Company, Hughes Lumber Company, and Britton Lumber Company. The Jackson Lumber Com- pany Land purchase was made in 1897, and in June 1902, the company began operations at the site named Lockhart in ho- nor of one of the larger stock- holders of the company at that time. A number of years ago Jack- son Lumber Company sold their timberlands and other property in this "area. Lockhart, whose city limits our city and extend to you a again next year. cordial invitation to come back I asonr izens BY: Tatum Bedsole On St. John's Day, June Z4, 1717, the first Grand Masonic Lodge in England was establish- ed and although it has been some time since that momen- tous event, the picturesque City of Florala with thousands of visitors celebrate the occasion each year with pomp and pa- gentry. These colorful cele- brations have been going on more than 90 years and grow bigger and better with each passing year. It is truly Cov- ington County's outstanding day and is looked forward to by thou- sands each year. Florala's Fidelity Masonic Lodge 685, which is the focal point of the nationally known celebration, has existed at dif- ferent sites and under different names through the years. A late pioneer Mason and beloved citi- zen who lived close to 90 years in the Florala area, VirgiIWil- liams, remembered when the Lodge that ultimately became Florala's Fidelity, originated around 1850, and held its meet- ings in an old log house on a site near the present Fink water mill 7 miles southeast of Flo- rala. He stated that 40 to 50 Masons living in Florida and Alabama belonged to the early Lodge and some of them would ride horseback as many as 50 and 60 miles to be present at the meetings. It took some of them two or three days to com- plete the trip. The original name of this Lodge is not known but it later became Chapel Hill and finally Florala's Fidelity. In 1852, a large two story log house was erected at Cha- pel Hill for the purpose of a combined church and Masonic Lodge. The ground floor was used as a church and the se- cond as the Lodge. When the Masons started holding meet- ings in their new Lodge at Chapel Hill, the Lodge at the water mill site was abandoned. The Lodge at Chapel Hill functioned successfully until the outbreak of the Civil War. So many of the members were call- el into military service, the Lodge disbanded until the end of hostilities. When peace came, the Lodge was reorganiz- el in 1867. Those who reor- ganized the Lodge were W. J. D. Cawthon, Jeff Balkom, Lewis Miller, M. A. Cawthon and Ja- mes Mack Williams. The char- ter fee was $60,00. In 1873, the Chapel Hill Lodge moved to McDade's Pond (now Florala) and the name was changed to Lake City Lodge. In 1913, Lake City Lodge 377 changed its name again to the present Fidelity Lodge 685. Thus, we see from the above developments the growing of Florala's Fidelity Lodge which has meant more to the City and adjoining area than any other event in its colorful his- tory. The influence of this Lodge through the years has touched the lives of many of the nation's great and brought hun- dreds of thousands of visitors to Florala. Some of the members of Virginia. There were as- sembled in that council cham- ber men who had never met be- fore - from New England, from the banks of the Potomac, De- laware, Susquehanna, and from far down in the sunny South. But these men knew and trust- ed one another, for if a few ot them had been excluded, they could have opened their ses- sion on the Master's Degree in Masonry. Over the delibera- tions of that convention, Pay- ton Randolph, Provincial Grand Master of Virginia, presided. It was a collection of the great- est men upon the continent in point of abilities, virtures, and fortunes. The Revoluntionary War was a distinctly Masonic enterprise. The Boston Tea Party was or- ganized in St. Andrew's Lodge, at an adjourned meeting, and every member of the party which threw tea into the har- bor was a member of that Lodge. Paul Revere was Ju- nior Warden of that Lodge and the man who set the lantern in the Old South Church was also a member. More than 50 of the 56 signees of the Decla- ration of Independence were members of the Masonic Fra- ternity. All but four or five of the members of the Consti- tutional Convention were Ma- sons. Richard Henry Lee, who moved the resolution of Inde- pendence in the Continental Congress, was a Mason. Lee, and all five members of that committee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Ad- ams, Roger Sherman, and Ro- bert Livingston, were mem- bers of the order. The Am- erican flag was made by the widow of John Ross, a Mason. Washington took the oath of office as President of the United States upon The Bible brought from St. John's Lodge No. I, New York and the oath was administered by Chancel- lor Livingston, Grand Master, of the State of New York. The Governors of every one of the original 13 states at the time Washington was inaugurated were Masons. LaFayette of France who aided Washington said that the generals that caused so much trouble during the Revolution were those that did not belong to the order. Washington de- manded that LaFayette become a Mason and Von Steuben, com- ing from Germany. All of Washington's brigadier gen- erals except one were Masons. The Constitution of the United States was written by Masons. Free speech, free religion, and free schools, were the gifts of Masonry to America and these were opposed by all anti- Masonic institutions. The four Major Generals who almost ruined Washington and the cause of Freedom were the four who were not Masons. Many of the Presidents of the United States have been Ma- sons. At the time of the Ameri- can Revolution there were not join Florala, has its own gov- Lake City Lodge in 1873 were more than 3,000 Jews in all of ernment, grammar school, Jr. W. J. D. Cawthon, J. D. Jor- North America. Of the 46 High School and several indus- dan, W. L. Hurst, Alex Mc- prominent Jews who are known tries, but the welfare, interests Swain, J. M. Chance, T. J. to have been members of the and advantages of Florala and Williams, John Williams, La- craft, more than one-half of Lockhart have always beenFayette Williams, R. Miller, them were officers in the Con- closely interwoven. Alex Hart, M. A. George, Sr., tinental Army. In 1904 W. H. Britton, a and the Reverend D. C. Allen. Without Masonry the land we lumberman from North Caro- In 1913 more than 5,000are so proud of would have been lina, bought the town of Lake- people attended the celebration vastly different. wood together with much acre- and J. Thomas Heflin was the age in Alabama and Florida speaker. CONSUMERI and began a sawmill operation In 1914, the L & N Railway there, hauled over the Opp Branch O "~ ~ ~P7 I The Colonial Hotel and an and Yellow River Division over , were built by Mr. Britton. coaches were added at Geor- The first movie house in Flo- giana and every space was oc- rala was a tent with a sawdust cupiel by enthusiastic cele- !'- Jl~_l . ~LJ~,~.~;~J| floor and seats made of nail brants. kegs and boards. The first It would, no doubt, be en- movie was shown in 1906. lightening and appropriate to Florala had two hospitals, recount some of the more im- SAVE MONEY, TIME Lakeview Hospital was built by Jackson Lumber Company as their company hospital, and was owned and operated by the late Doctor J. F. Holley. Flo- rala Memorial Hospital ad- mitted its first patient on July lZ, 1964. The first Masonic Celebra- tion in Florala was held on St. Johns Day on June 24th, 1871 with the Masons publicly instal- ling their officers and provid- ing entertainment for the as- sembled guests. This celebration has been an outstanding event for the past 104 years. It is sponsored by the Masons, but observed by the whole community, and is Home- coming Day for many former residents. To the people of Florala and surrounding communities the observance of the 24th of June is on a par with national holi- days. One of the highlights of the day is the crowning of the King and Queen and the giant parade. We welcome each of you to portant events Masonry has influenced in history, not only in our country, but through- out the world. Prior to St. John's Day, mem- bers of the Masonic Order were obligated to the religion of the country in which they lived. A revision of the old constitution and.charges startea a world movement toward intellectual, religious, and civil liberty. This important change came at a time when religious bigotry was rampant, when sects and creeds were fighting against them, when public and private morals were at a low ebb. It had in- calcuable results in bringing freedom to America and other nations of the world. Masons played a most im- portant role in the American Revolution. In 1774 when the clouds of political adver- sity were gathering thick and fast over the country, a Con- gress of delegates from dif- ferent colonies were convened at Philadelphia and George Washington was a delegate from AND TROUBLE If y~)u'rq' h)~,kmt~ I(,r ;, I'ilnl ily -t)l t,;l~i I~L~ I'()()([ Ihill ~n t'( ~l~V('llii't/t, , Illl'X})('llnlVt' ;m(l tltlll'iiictlls~ [tl*'r("~ it Vi'~('i;tl)lt' Ihat miRhI tl,*tt) sav,, y~,ur xkm: l}t~l;lt~t'x, p;trti('uh,rly ill ont' of I.htqr [llilll%' i'I'{,Z/'lt forms, ,%o many Aml,ri{';lll hl)mi,makt~rs art. di~('i)vl,rillla this that over the" i;~sl ~() yt~ars thl~ per C:l|)it,;i I'rt~z,,n I)OtlitO con.~umpLiim il~crt,iL~- (,(l from ()no p(~u=~d to m,=vo Lhlm 30 [)oun(Is ;~ y~';tr! Perh;il)s ()hi' }'l~iis~)ll iS Ihat st}me o1" th(' h(~lt~'nl id~';tn Ill food |)l;tl~l/il't~ t'()l~l' rr(trn lhl, rrozen [)()tilt.(}. For Ili~|.illl{'l'~ it nirty i(lea in h()r,s (I'i)(,llVl'l,s iN Fl't~llt'h fries ill ('tips ~(,r~l,(t wilh spicy (til)~; ;lilt] I'l'i)Zl, II hash I)rowlL~ nl;d