25 April 2010

Walked Under the Stars Bareheaded

This is part four of the 1919 interview of then 71-year-old Bridges Smith (1848-1930) entitled "BRIDGES SMITH, AFTER FIFTY YEARS OF NEWSPAPER WORK, INTERVIEWED FOR FIRST TIME BY GIRL REPORTER." Upon his death, Mr. Smith was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery...

Never Wrote a Better Story
Judge Smith reveled in the shock Senator Tillman received when he saw the story for, as he said, he knew he was only amazed and not hurt. He never wrote one thing about him that could have harmed him, he declared. This was the rule he followed during his newspaper life.

"I never hurt anyone intentionally in my writings," he earnestly said. "If I ever injured anybody's feelings I don't know it. I was always especially careful not to hurt a mother. The father did not make so much difference, but I used every precaution to keep from injuring a mother. Every night when I went home from the office, between 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning, I would remove my hat and walk under the stars bareheaded and go over everything I had written that day. I recalled everything I had said in each story and if there was anything in them that would injure unnecessarily a human being I would go back and smoothe that story over. On several occasions I had reached my gate before I thought of a hurt a certain story might do, but I went back to the office anyway and changed them."

The actors and actresses interviewed by this veteran reporter are legion. Edwin Forrest and Edwin Booth stand out in his memory clearer than any of the rest.

Broke in During Civil War

It was during the civil war that Bridges Smith first broke into print. He was not a regular reporter in those days, but a contributing reporter, being engaged during the war in making ammunition for the Confederate army. His contributions were printed in the "Daily Citizen," a little pioneer newspaper published in the exact place where the Telegraph is today. During that time newspapers had few facilities and were published under difficulties.

These years as a contributing reporter are not included when the Judge says that he has been in the newspaper game for half a century. During that half century he has been connected directly or indirectly with the Telegraph.

In 1778 [maybe should read '1878'] he came to the Telegraph as a local reporter and for ten years he filled that position of writing all the news that "broke" in and around Macon. It was the business of the one reporter to attend all weddings in town, funerals, shows, entertainments, and everything else that "turned up."

"In those days there was no such thing as a city editor," he declared with a reminiscent look on his face. "The one reporter was known as the local editor. I was that lone reporter and local editor for ten years. During those years I ran my life on a set schedule, leaving home at 9 o'clock in the morning and working until after midnight every night."

...Next up -- Bridges Smith Got Malaria at Wet Hanging.


  1. I am looking for someone who is willing to find the graves of my ggg grandmother, Sarah Licette, and her children who are buried there at Rose Hill Cemetery. Her daughter Tero Estelle Licette Cherry is buried in Riverside Cemetery with her husband, William Henry Cherry, and their children. There is a McAgee/Cherry plot in Rose Hill where my gggg grandfather, Hilliard Judge Cherry was laid to rest. Our Cherry Street there in Macon was named after him. I have pictures of that plot but could not find Sarah's. I would love to have pictures of the graves. Thanks in advance!
    Dawn Besancenez

    Name Cemetery Ridge
    Licette, Gilbert Rose Hill Cabiness
    Licette, Gilbert L. Rose Hill Cabiness
    Licette, Pink Rose Hill Cabiness
    Licette, Sarah A. Rose Hill Cabin

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Dawn. Photos of the gravestones of Mrs. Sarah A. Licette and family are now on the blog.


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