18 April 2010

The First of Many About Bridges Smith

Bridges Smith
Beneath this simple, nondescript gravestone rest the mortal remains of Bridges Smith. He worked in the Confederate States Arsenal at Macon, GA during the Civil War, and he was a newspaper man. He was mayor of the city of Macon, and he was a clerk for the City Council. He was also a juvenile court judge. One might think the tombstone memorializing him would be much more ornate. Without doing the research, most would probably walk right by his grave in the Eglantine Square section of Rose Hill Cemetery without giving it a second look or thought.

Bridges Smith was born in North Carolina to James H. and Mary L. Smith. James, a painter, brought his family to Macon, GA in the year 1858.

Bridges, as Mayor of the City, and his second wife Katrina (she was also laid to rest in Rose Hill) were living at 855 Second Street in Macon during the year 1900. This would be his address for the remainder of his life. By 1920, Bridges was married to a third wife (her names was Margaret) and was a juvenile court judge. Margaret, too, was buried in Rose Hill upon her death in 1928.

In 1919, Bridges Smith was interviewed for an article in the Macon Telegraph. I will post excerpts from that article over the next several days. Here it begins with Bridges writing the opening himself, answering the question of how he likes being interviewed.

Macon Telegraph
10 October 1919


Recalls Inquiring About Jefferson Davis' Health and Quizzing Ben Tillman Unawares.

Never Wrote a Line That Would Hurt a Human Being -- Is Author of Poems and Opera.

How do I like being interviewed? Oh, well, so far as that's concerned, I'm used to it. Time was, when I was worth it and knew lots, to be interviewed was a part of my daily duties; and there was also a time when interviewing others was my daily task. But this thing of being interviewed by a pretty girl reporter is something else, something new.

Just a plain man reporter simply holds you up, and whether you know or think anything you must stand and deliver. You've just simply got to know something, and if you don't know it he'll know it for you and sometimes better than you do. You spend an hour, more or less, in mortal dread, fearing he'll ask about something you wouldn't have him know for worlds; then after he is gone you spend another miserable hour fearing he'll ball up what you did tell him.

Now, being interviewed by a pretty girl -- well, that's another thing. You get interested in her, her methods being so gentle, and you forget about being afraid of letting cats out of bags by telling state secrets. She has such a sweet winning way of drawing you out, and, like the goose you are, you would tell her the secrets of your very soul were she to ask for them. You find yourself talking unguardedly, saying things that after she is gone, leaving the fragrance of her smile to linger long with you, you wished you had put in better shape.

After she is gone you seem to wake up as if from a dream and wondering what the dream was about. And some how you feel all the better for her lending her presence. It was like sunshine let into a sick room, and her leaving as though the shades were pulled down and the sunlight shut out. And now I'm wondering what she'll say in print. Though why should I care? A man who can't trust his words to a pretty girl reporter deserves the worst she can write about him."

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