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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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3E ©SMALLTOWNPAPERS, INC. ALL CONTENT COPYRIGHTED• ALL RIGHTS RESERVED• SUBJECT TO LICENSE AGREEMENT, REPRODUCTION, DISSEMINATION, STORAGE, DISTRIBUTION PROHIBITED. NEWS -THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 1975 PAGE ~1~ conclave, and for some three after the the company Brittons' Park delicious and had been pre- Red Cross. in the form of and the diners courtesy at ladies serving. service of the was given by the to the visi- r friends. A host includ- celebrities, visitors. Mu- furnished orchestra, and were carried of the dance punctilious REPORT ended 24th of June ~st, they say, the complete give a part of s.) A. Beauchamp installed Charles Baker and W. P. Geohagan as Worshipful Masters; J.A. Carter and W. C. Chandler, Senior Wardens, W. H. Tool, Junior Warden; Byron B. Sellers, Secretary; W. L. Jo- nes, Senior Deacon; W. L. Preechers, Junior Deacon; Als- ton Mahagan, Senior Steward; N. O. Patterson, Chaplain, and W. M. Crysell, Tyler. "Following the installation Dr. Patterson with well chosen words introduced the speaker of the day, Hen. W. W. Bran- don from Tuscaloosa. The speaker in no indefinite terms set forth the objects of Ma- sonery in the making or build- ing of the human race in a moral and patriotic way. He said in substance that Masonry stands for everything good, en- nobling, elevating and uplift- ing. Masonry begins in the home and from there builds more families, better homes and a better country. Masonry makes us believe that we have the best home, the best com- munities, the best county, the best State and the best Nation. Masonry takes out of our lives YEARS 1919 1920 the bad and makes the good have failed to find grow. reference to the "After lunch the Band and sonic Celebration a list of of- Were elected and go into those find some- at some later added to the I have failed file but I am Will be found and That being tar One, there that the an- not kept up to comedians again entertained the people with good music and in- teresting performances. A fea- ture of the day was the high diving jumps of thedogs. These dogs mount a ladder thirty feet in the air and jump off on to a mat stretched under them. There was also on exhibition, a cantamount, three coons and some guinea pigs belonging to the same man, a Mr• Ballard." find a report Celebration which wenty- Fourth Follow- of that report: ftieth year the has been cele- A Masonic ganized at Cha- In 1872 to what is now and named Lake This year the [ebrated and has to the present. -~ people began :Urday the town LO to the num- 0usand or more. who had not ~0 years. He Florala ex- :es. All day the raged the streets by either ome Band, the as, the races, the 1923 - THE CELEBRATION was listed in the report as again being the 50th big day. Quoting from the report which was carried in The Florala News June 28, 1923: "The 50th anniversary of the Masonic celebration of June 24 (25th) in Florala seemed to have been the best of all, in several respects. In regard to the people who were present they began arriving for several days before hand and early on Monday morning the streets were crowded. Of course it is not known how many people were present, but it is estimated that thousands came on ox-carts, wagons, buggies, Fords and automobiles and the writer al- most had a faint recollection of some on aeroplanes, although, it may be a picture that he had in mind. These people re- mained on the grounds all day and a large part of them stav- ed to see the grand fire works or other en-display on Lake Jackson at 7:30 The Band began p.m." O'clock on the The report said that about o'clock the line 200 Masons marched to the and fifty Baptist Temple where the in- to BrittonPark stallation was held because of George bad weather. In the report FARM SUPPLIES - INSECTICIDES GARDEN SEED & PLANTS FIELD SEED AND FERTILIZER RMERS G. L. WHATLEY, OWNER ~WQYne Brooks, Mike White, Faye Eunice ItPhane 8-3496 Florala, Alabama SHOP BY PHONE FROM HOME AND SAVE 8-6OO2 OWNED & OPERATED BY JIM CALDwELL N. 5th St. Florala AIo. was: "The installation exer- cises were conducted the most impressively of any that has ever been conducted by Grand Secretary George A. Beau- champ, for the sixteen years that he has been installing the officers at this celebration." Hon. J. Thomas Heflin, U.S. Senator from Alabama, gave the Masonic address. Accord- ing to the report the afternoon consisted of athletic contests, Sacred Harp singing and base- ball games. AN INTERESTING article was carried in the June 19, 1924 issue of The Florala News, prior to the celebration but in reference to the big day. I am giving this article in its entirty. The article was entitled "June 24 a Sacred Day For Florala Masons," with a subhead "On This Occasion In Years Gone By, Masons, Their Families and Friends Would Gather On Day Before And Dance All Night and Have A Good Time Generally." The article as it appeared in 1924: "St. Johns Day, June 24th, is a very sacred one for the Ma- sons of this community. It is the fraternity, far and near. Masons from every section of the State come to the city to enter into the va- rious rites and ceremonies, which are performedwith splendor and simplicity. "In no city of the state, how- ever, has the day become so permanently linked with the history as in the City of Fie- rain. This day has been re- gularly observed here long be- fore the city received its pre- sent name. We used to be de- signated as McDade's Pond, ra- ther an insignificant name for the future metropolis of South Alabama. But that was in the second decade of the nineteenth century, when Gen. Andrew Jackson passed through the sec- tion enroute to New Orleans to administer the death blow td the invading British army. "We honor the old general, however, by calling our beau- tiful lake after him. Lake Jack- son is a clam and peaceful namesake, truly unlike the tur- bulent old warrior while com- bating the evil forces, physical and political, that threatened his country. "The constant observance of St. Johns Day in Florala was brought about by the establish- ment here in East Florala of the old Lake City Lodge. The be- ginning of this lodge antedates the war between the states, and around the spot where the old lodge room stood clings me- mories filled with love and en- eration, and dear to the heart of every Floralian. "This lodge originated as far back as 1859 at Chapel Hill, obtained a dispensation and held regular commu- nications for the short time intervening between that year and the beginning of the great Civil War. Their monthly meet- ings were attended by faithful Masons, many of whom came a distance of forty or fifty miles on horses and slow moving ve- hicles to attend the meetings. The lodge met in a church building erected by the father of the late Rev. D. C. allen. This building was a two-story pine-pole affair, located five or six miles north-east of Flo- rala. "With the opening of hostil- ities between the states, the members took up arms in the defense of the South, and the lodge, without attending mem- bers, soon went into decay. Its doors were closed - a mute testimony of the faithfulness of its members in giving their time and even their lives that their beloved Southland might live, and breathe the breath of freedom. "When the war ended, how- ever, the lodge was reorganiz- ed. That was in 1867, and the charter members of the reor- ganized lodge were: W. J. D. Cawthon, Jeff Balkom, Lewis Miller, M. A. Cawthon, James McWilliams and a few others. In 1873, the lodge was moved to Florala, or at that time Mc- Dade's Pond, and from that time, dates the annual obser- vation, would gather in the beautiful grove almost adjoin- ing the simple structure, and public installation of officers would be conducted. But there was lots of fun and merry- making, too. The best that the section afforded in the way of good things to eat was gen- erously provided by visiting and local participants. The visitors usually gathered on the 23rd, preceeding the cele- bration and enjoyed the dancing and merry-making throughout the night to the old-time tunes played by the 'feddlers' of the section. "To Floralians, memories of these past days are very dear, and they look backward with eyes filled with tears and hearts filled with affection. Those were the days of South- ern chivalry and a time when Southern Knighthood was in flo- wer. On next Tuesday, (which, by the way, was the same day of the week as this year of 1975) we rehearse again the ceremonies of the annual occa- sion but we will not be forget- ful of the past traditions and the past celebrations. In our minds we will review again the brilliant ceremonies of the past and hope for the continuance of this beautiful custom for many, many years to yet come." IN THAT SAME ISSUE of The Florala News was an article entitled, "How Florala Got It's Name." Quoting that article: "It seems that the first man here was McDavid, and conse- quently the lake was called Mc- David's Pond, shortened to Mc- Dade's Pond. The territory was inhabited by Indians until Andrew Jackson came through and drove them out. The lake was then called Lake Jackson. In some instances Indians were killing trying to enter dwell- ings. Even in 1857 the coun- try was thinly settled. The first men were cattle men as the country was full of good grass. Among them are men- tioned the Ledbetters, Holleys and Cawtbons. "The first post office in this section seems to have been at Paxton, across the line in Flo- rida. Mails were carried in ve- hicle from Geneva to Milton, Florida. About 1866 a post office was established, known as Lake City, changed to Lake- view and finally about 1887 to Florala, by W. B. Gilmer. This name is derived from parts of the names of Florida and Ala- bama. The post office was at first run by J. E. Hughes, who received a cancellation to $35.00 per year. "The first school was pro- bably taught by a Mr. Charles of New Orleans, La., at $35.00 per month. It was on the line from both states and was taught only three months. "A small pile of goods under the bed was the first store in about 1870. These had to be brought from Greenville, Anda- lusia, Geneva or Brewton. This store was operated by J. E. Hughes. W. B. Gilmer open- ed one at Lake City, but later moved to Florala. D. I. B. Adkison also opened a store. 'BoWs' Tisdale began here but moved to Andalusia. (He was the father of Sol Tisdale, Cov- ington County's Tax Assessor). "The first church inthis sec- tion was at Chapel Hill, eight miles northeast from Florala, 1858, a Baptist church. The Baptist church was the one first organized in Florala, and then came Methodist, Presbyterian and Universalist. Now counting both white and colored there are three Baptist, two Metho- dist, one Presbyterian, one Uni- versalist and one Holiness church in Florala. "About 30 years ago the Jack- son Lumber Company bought 150,000 acres of timberedlands and five years later began op- erations. W.B. Wright built a branch road from Crestview to Florala about 1890 to get logs to his mill at Pensacola. WWWW -W r rlI' MASONRY IS TRADITIONAL AT McDANIEL W.H. McDANIEL Mason & Shriner This was the Yellow River road, and was sold to the L & N Railroad when Mr. Wright had cut his timber." AND THEN a report of the June Z4, 1924 celebration af- ter the affair was carried in the June 26, 1924 issue of The Florala News and quoting: "Estimated 5,000 visit Flo- rain Last Tuesday- People come on foot, ox wagons, bug- gies, automobiles, trains from all directions and miles away. Last Monday afternoon for mi- les out on the roads leading into Florala, travelers met people driving toward the city with camping outfits on their wa- gons, preparitory to spend- ing a full day in Florala on June 24. And early Tuesday morning almost by the time day began to dawn, vehicles of all kinds began to arrive filled with human forms anxious to see what would happen. Six o'clock found many people al- ready here, seven found the number fast swelling, eight found them pouring into the streets and by ten the throng was shoving for walking room. The principal streets were covered with a throng, a ver- itable walking mass of huma- nity, all the rest of the day. "Estimates vary as to the H. G. McDANIEL Mason & Shriner 1889- 1970 JACK McDANIEL Mason & Shriner number of people in the city on this, the biggest day of the year in Florala. 5,O00 visitors are said by many to be a con- servative estimate. It is claimed by some, although, dis- puted by others, that more people were in Florala last Tuesday than ever before ex- cept one. "While the clay-time enter- tainments were not as elaborate as we have had in years past, we still had some very good entertainment. The Hinda Grotto Dram Corps, of Mont- gomery, serenaded the streets and was received well; Prof. Clem Hackney, famous vent- tiloquist and magician of Ma- con, Ga., was here with his talking dolls and other slight- of-hand tricks; Captain L. H. Steffins led his blackface dan- cing comedians out in the after- noon and gave a free demons- tration, and the Holiness prea- cher got the attention of a few thousands at one time or another during the day. "The baseball game between Florala and Opp got under way at four o'clock. The cards flopped against Florala and let Opp boys get away to the tune of 7 to 4 in their favor. "The grand display of fire- works on the shore of Lake Jackson beuinninu at 8:15 was well received. This wouldhave been better if it had not been for the shower that came up late afternoon after some of the works were put up, wetting the fuses so that they did not go off well. The United States flag failed due to the fuses be- ing wet and the Niagara Falls developed only a pertain at its beauty due to the same cause. "There was no mad rush of business on this June 24th The business houses report less sa- les than in most former' years. the crowds having come for a day of pleasure rather than to spend a day shopping. All tu all, the fifty-second annual Ma- sonic Celebration will be re- membered as one of the best ever pulled off. Florala only hopes to make it still bigger on June 24, 1925, when the 53rd annual celebration will be pull- ed off." ENJOY THE CELEBRATION .WW WWWWWW JERRY McDANIEL Mason & Shriner