15 May 2010

Walked His Feet Off on the Streets

This is part six 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...

Conditions Change in Interim
"One night in 1907 I turned the city over into the hands of Judge Miller before a large number of citizens who had gathered to see him installed as mayor," the mayor-reporter said. "After the installation services were over I walked down to The Telegraph and took the same seat I had left nineteen years before when I went into politics. When I left the paper I was the only reporter and there was no city editor. When I returned that night there were five young fellows acting as reporters and a city editor. Nineteen years before the type had been set up by hand and when I returned it was set up by machinery."

"Instead of reporters handing in the copy in long hand they were writing it on typewriters. I realized at once that if I was going to keep up with those young fellows I must learn to write on the typewriter. Mr. Pendleton, who was then at the head of the paper, bought me a machine and soon I was grinding out copy with the best of them. Ever since I have done practically all of my writing on the typewriter," he said, waving his hand towards his machine by his desk where some copy for "Just 'Twixt Us" lays half completed.

Frank Mangum was one of those five young reporters he had to compete with on his return to the paper. He has never lost track, he said, of Mangum, but the other four have passed entirely out of his life.

Bridges Smith did not remain a reporter for long, but soon became city editor of the paper, which position he held for a number of years. It is not of these later years that he loves to talk though. He enjoys recalling most those days when he nearly "walked his feet off on the streets" and wrote practically every thing that went in the paper.

...Next Up -- Bridges Smith Recalls Great Human Interest Story.

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