13 May 2010

Emptied One Tankard of Beer After Another

This is part five 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...

Got Malaria at Wet Hanging
Bridges Smith was away from his beat twenty-six days during that first decade. He never took a Sunday, a Thanksgiving, a Christmas, a Fourth of July, or any other holiday off in those years. Of the twenty-six days he was absent, sixteen of them were because of illness and the other ten he accounted for.

In explaining the cause of his illness the Judge said, "One day I went to Eastman to a hanging of six rioters. It was a big story, for as you know six men are not often hung at one time. The rioters had been held in the Bibb County jail for safekeeping until the day of the hanging, when they were carried to Eastman guarded by the Volunteers. It poured down rain and as I had on a cap the rain ran down my back in streams. Coming home on the train I couldn't write a line because the Volunteers were on board and there was considerable excitement. When I reached the office, H. C. Hanson, who was then business manager of the paper, told me to sit down and write my story that he would feed me.

"The story had to be written in long hand, as typewriters were not used then. As I wrote I emptied one tankard of beer after another, Mr. Hanson filling it up as fast as I could drain it. There is no telling how many tankards I drank before I finished that night. The next day I woke up sick. The water falling down my back all day gave me malaria and I had to go to Indian Springs for two weeks."

"The other ten days I missed," he began and stopped for several minutes before continuing. "Oh, well, just between us I got married and went to Florida on my honeymoon," he bashfully asserted.

In December, 1788 [should be 1888?], Mr. Smith was elected clerk. Later he ran for mayor and was elected. He served as Mayor until 1907, when he retired, Judge A. L. Miller taking over the reins of the city's government.

...Next Up -- Conditions Change in Interim.

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