30 June 2010

Fred T. Abel: a Good Old Pipe Smokin' Rebel

F. T. Abel (1844-1909)
Fred T. Abel was born in Georgia to German parents Henry and Elizabeth Abel. Just a month after his eighteenth birthday, on 17 May 1862, Fred joined Captain George A. Dure's company in the Jackson Artillery, Massenburg Battery, Confederate States Army.

Fred survived the war and surrendered with his unit at Citronelle, Alabama 4 May 1865.

Fred was listed in the 1870 Bibb County, Georgia Federal census along with his first wife Camilla. His occupation was policeman. Camilla died 19 March 1878. Some time later, Fred married Rebecca G. Holloway.

Fred T. Abel was quite prominent in Macon. His name was often found in the local paper. One article stated Fred was "of a German extraction" and loved his pipe. "For thirty years he never missed a day that he did not smoke his pipe, and that meant that he smoked it all day...He enjoyed his smoke and smoke he would." However, a few weeks after the death of an old friend and neighbor, Fred laid the pipe down and never smoked again. Fred was also described as a "good old Rebel."

I found two instances where Fred was thrown from his buggy by spooked horses. He was bruised but OK both times.

In the 1880's, Fred and his brother William were owners of "fertile swamp land below the city." Other articles detailing swamp land owners' crops stated oats were often grown in these lands. The brothers sold their land in 1887. Around 1890, Fred was named park keeper of what I believe is now Central City Park. The paper described the park as being located in the "swamp lands," and these lands were located below Cherry street in downtown. He readied the field when the Brooklyn and Philadelphia clubs came here to play a major league baseball game. Fred was also a volunteer fireman.

Fred died 11 September 1909. His funeral was held at his late residence of Log Cabin Heights two days later. He was laid to rest in the Eglantine Section of Rose Hill Cemetery near his first wife. Fred's second wife Rebecca was buried there as well, after her death on 14 April 1932.

Go here for a transcription of Fred's Last Will and Testament.

27 June 2010

The Care of a City's Burying-Ground is a Pretty Fair Gauge of the Community's Civilization

Macon Telegraph
4 April 1919
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)


Going back to the greatly needed beautification and upkeep of Rose Hill cemetery, in which all Macon is interested, here is a communication to The Telegraph written in 1903 by the late Hugh V. Washington, not only a lover of the beautiful but pre-eminently a public-spirited citizen:

"The long, mild fall has made Rose Hill more than usually beautiful this season. Every rose bush is covered with beautiful blossoms -- red, white, yellow and pink -- and more perfect than spring blossoms. The forest trees also present a wide variety of colors and tints, and many have been the admiring visitors of late. Said a citizen after a stroll through the cemetery Sunday:

"Rose Hill is growing more beautiful all the time, more people visit it than ever, and some attention is being given lots by the lot-owners, and the sexton, and its general condition is better than for many years. But many lots show neglect because it is not required for the authorities to keep the lots in order. Every lot should be cared for out of the cemetery fund by the sexton, and this uniformity would make Rose Hill the most beautiful cemetery in America, as Henry Ward Beecher declared it was."

Some years ago the Southern railroad agreed to pay the city $2,000 annually for the privilege of going through the cemetery, and it is only right and fair that this money should be applied to the care of the cemetery. It is only a question of time before this will be done, and the sooner the better. The care of a city's burying-ground is a pretty fair gauge of the community's civilization."

Mr. Washington's article, written sixteen years ago, applies with equal force to the present condition of Rose Hill, plus the ravages of the elements on the roadways and walks, and the continued neglect on the part of lot-owners." [end transcription]

Hugh V. Washington, the writer of the 1903 communication to The Telegraph, is buried in the Central Avenue district of Rose Hill.

24 June 2010

The Marriage and Death of Charles McKay

Macon Telegraph
5 May 1893

Dr. Charles McKay and Miss Leila Raiford Made One.

Yesterday morning at the residence of the bride's aunt, Mrs. James Boone, on Second street, Dr. Charles McKay and Miss Leila raiford were united in marriage, Rev. W. B. Jennings performing the ceremony.

The marriage was a very quiet one, only a few relatives and intimate friends of the contracting parties being present. Immediately after the ceremony Mr. and Mrs. McKay left on a bridal tour to Charleston where they will spend a week or ten days. Upon their return they will be at home to their friends on Oak between Second and Third streets.

Dr. McKay is a popular young gentleman with a large circle of friends and holds a responsible position with H. J. Lamar and Sons, in his bride he has secured a wife that will be an honor to him through life. As Miss Raiford, she was admired for her beautiful character and disposition.

The bride and groom received many handsome presents from their many friends who wish for them bon voyage through life."

Seven years later, almost to the day (8 May 1900), this appeared in the same newspaper:

He Passed Away This Morning After a Lingering Illness.

Dr. Charles S. McKay, for a number of years one of the sanitary inspectors of the city, died at his residence on Oak street this morning at 1 o'clock after a lingering illness of several months.

Dr. McKay came South from Michigan several years ago at the instance of the late Henry J. Lamar, who formed a friendship for him while visiting the famous springs of that state. On his arrival in Macon he took a position in the drug store of Lamar & Sons, but his health requiring out-door exercise, he applied and was elected a sanitary inspector some six years ago, and was noted as one of the most efficient ever in the employ of the city.

He was a prominent member of the Knights of Pythias, Red Men and Odd Fellows, holding in each responsible and important offices.

He leaves a wife, who was formerly Miss Leila Raiford. Notice of funeral will appear tomorrow."

After a funeral at his home on Oak Street, Charles S. McKay was laid to rest in the Eglantine Square section of Rose Hill Cemetery. His wife, who never remarried, was laid nearby more than thirty years later.

18 June 2010

Way Back Yonder When the Population of Rose Hill was Not so Great as Now

Macon Telegraph
31 March 1919
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)


MADE mention the other day of the need of good roads in Rose Hill cemetery, and how it is necessary to pave the walks and driveways to keep them in passable condition, and which could not be done with the present limited means at the disposal of those in charge of the cemetery, and the rains causing an erosion that is constantly requiring attention.

Can tell you one thing, and if you will only think about it yourself you will agree, that unless more funds are provided from some source other than the sale of lots -- Macon being so healthy that the proceeds from this source are small -- some of these days you can take a walk over Rose Hill and then go over the old cemetery at the foot of Poplar street, and it will be a fifty-fifty proposition which is the most unkempt, the most neglected.

Here it is in April, the month in the year when thousands will go over Rose Hill, some as visitors to what should and can be the most beautiful spot in Macon, some to lay a flower on the tomb or grave of a loved one and many to honor the graves of the soldier dead on Memorial Day. Naturally beautiful, especially at this season, how much more attractive and inviting it would be if the roadways and walks were smooth and clean.

And if the lots of unknown owners, with no one to care for them, and of those whose owners are known but who seem to have forgotten them, were cleared off and cleaned only this one time in the year, how much dearer Rose Hill would be to the living. But the inadequate force of hands cannot look after the roadways, washed as they are by every rain, and do the necessary work of interments. What a saving there would be if the roads and walks were paved. The rains would be welcome then, because they would keep them as clean as brooms or sweepers.

The suggestion was made that the $2,000 paid every year by the Southern railway to the city for the privilege of desecrating that hallowed spot by running its trains through Rose Hill be applied to the upkeep. While this fund might not go far, it would go far enough, in the opinion of many, to paving the roads.

Way back yonder when the population of Rose Hill was not so great as now, and of course fewer lots to keep up, and labor was cheap, the place was kept so beautiful and attractive that on Sunday afternoons that was the one spot in Macon to visit. It was where every stranger wanted to go, for the fame of beautiful Rose Hill extended far. Every Macon man or woman felt a distinct pride in it.

We now speak in sorrow of the neglected condition of the old cemetery at the foot of Poplar street, of the sunken graves, the tumbled down monuments, of the weeds and briars growing over the graves, and of the dastardly deeds of the sacrilegious; but unless something is done toward paving the roadways and walks and prevent their being washed away, and lot-owners aroused to a sense of duty, those that come after us will tell the same story of the once beautiful Rose Hill.

06 June 2010

Love of Human Beings & Macon was the Propelling Force in His Life

This is the final part 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...

Opera Destroyed in Wreck
The names of two of the songs composed by the Judge in his youthful days are "Sweet Face in the Window" and "Greeny Brown Eyes." The title of his opera that was, but which was destroyed in a wreck, was "Dollie, or the Wedding __[?]__." The music was written by Arthur Wood.

The opera was staged in Macon by local talent, Luther Williams, J. W. Nesbit, Miss Rebecca Isaac, now Mrs. Julius Mack, and Miss Annie Massenberg, who afterwards married Capt. E. V. White, lieutenant commander of the "Merrimac," the ship which had the famous battle with the "Monitor" at Hampton Roads, were members of the cast.

Judge Smith was secretary of the first baseball club organized in Macon. The club began its existence, so the records say, in 1876. John Boifeuillet is the only man living now wha was on the team then.

Running on through the little dark green book, the Judge came across an account of a velocipede tournament, promoted by him in 1880...

So Bridges Smith's life has been one of activity. From the time when he was a young man walking his beat with a brisk, energetic step until now, when he walks every morning from his Juvenile Court to The Telegraph with a rather slow step, leaning on his walking cane, and with his broad shoulders bent slightly over, he has worked diligently, always with a constructive end in view. Love of human beings and of Macon has been the propelling force in his life.

As he expressed his love for his city, kindly eyes beamed with happiness, because he realized that he had served it with the best of his ability. He said: "I have been with The Telegraph for fifty years, writing a saying good words for Macon."

...Stay tuned for future postings with more writings by Bridges Smith about Rose Hill Cemetery...

02 June 2010

Bridges Smith & the Macon Amateur Minstrels

This is part nine 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...

Author of Opera and Songs
Besides being a reporter, fifty years of his life and mayor a good part of it, Bridges Smith has been a manager of a theatrical company, secretary of a baseball club, a promoter of a tournament, a composer of a number of songs and one opera, and an actor and singer in odd moments.

The theatrical company of which he was manager was the "Macon Amateur Minstrels," organized in 1877. He not only acted as manager of the company, but wrote the speeches of the actors and songs of the singers.

While talking about this old company the Judge went over to one of the shelves stacked high with books and picked out a little green scrapbook, all musty with age.

The front and back of the little old book had severed relations with each other.

As he opened it caressingly he said, "I think a lot of this little scrapbook."

Among the clippings pasted in it were several programs given by the minstrels in the days of the seventies. Judge Smith appeared on the programs as "Bones." On one occasion, according to the program, yellow and faded now, "Bones" sang a ditty entitled, "Run Home, Levy."

At the reporter's exclamation, "I didn't know you could sing," Judge Smith smilingly said, "I never knew it either. You wouldn't suspect me of it, just to look at me, would you?"

Banks Winter, author of "White Wings," sang at the same performances at which the Judge rendered "Run Home, Levy." The title of Mr. Banks' hit was "When the Birds Have Gone to Sleep." Mr. Winter is now living in Detroit.

...Next up - the finale.
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