Town/City of Buchanan timelineby R. I. Feigenblatt and L. Tamasi
(Preliminary version: your corrections are invited.)
This timeline is a collection of interesting and significant events. In a few cases, sadly only an oral source can be cited.
One-time student at what became Princeton University, original US Senator from NC, and United States Agent to the Creek Nation Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, whose 1796 writings depict Creek society, may have been among the first English-speakers to pass near what would become Buchanan, GA.
Hawkins may have travelled on the "Sandtown Trail," likely passing just south of what is now Buchanan, of which a marker at the intersection of Georgia Routes 100 and 120 in Tallapoosa writes: This road was orginally the Sandtown Trail traveled by several tribes of Creek Indians. It connected Sandtown on the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta, Ga. with another Sandtown in Tallapoosa Co., Ala. Later became Old Ala. Road over which early white settlers traveled. It was at one time a stagecoach route through this section. An 1865 map shows Buchanan located on a spur just north of this road. (Caution: As many as four routes heading west from the Chattahoochee would eventually be called the Alabama Road.)
Floyd Gammage builds a double log cabin on what is now the city square. He lives there one or two years and sells to Fred Glass.
Fred Glass sells his land on the will-be city square to Jesse Jeanes. Thirty acres of land are cleared during these early few years.
The area in which Pierceville (now Buchanan) will be founded in the next year is shown
in this map.
Georgia creates Haralson County from abutting parts of Carroll and Polk Counties on the 26th.
County business is to be conducted at Tallapoosa until county officials are chosen.
Oath of office given to the original Justices of the Inferior Court and other county officials.
On the 14th, after some bickering as to where they would locate the court house, the Inferior Court accepted Jesse Jeanes' offer of forty acres, and located on his property, and called their town Pierceville. [now Buchanan] (The quote is from the August 24, 1906 memoir of "Old Timer," published in Buchanan's The Tribune.) On the 22nd in the US Senate chamber, US House Representative Preston Brooks (SC) attacks Senator Charles Sumner (MA) from behind with a cane, disabling him from service for three years. The civil war in Kansas between free-soil and slave-holding settlers reaches the halls of Congress itself and shocks the nation.
Roads ordered built from Pierceville toward the following: "Villerica", Carrollton and Cedartown.
Democrats nominate James Buchanan (Old Buck) for US president, shunning Democrat Franklin Pierce, the incumbent.
Roads ordered built from Pierceville toward the following:
Jacksonville (AL), Van Wert, Pine Grove Academy (Tallapoosa area),
Draketown (then in Paulding County) and Arbacoochee (today a tiny place 5 miles southeast of Heflin, AL)
Newly created Haralson County votes for 1856 Presidential electors pledged to one of two men:
James Buchanan is chosen US president by the electoral college. On the 29th he writes: The great object of my administration will be to arrest, if possible, the agitation of the slavery question at the North, and to destroy sectional parties. Should a kind Providence enable me to succeed in my efforts to restore harmony to the Union, I shall feel that I have not lived in vain.
Map of the area in which Pierceville, now Buchanan, is founded this year.
James Buchanan is
inaugurated as the 15th president of the United States on the
On the 6th, the
US Supreme Court rules
First Haralson County courthouse ordered built at the exact town center. The original specifications had provided for a foundation twelve inches under the surface to be laid with rough rock. The house to be thirty-five feet square, the walls to be built of good brick two stories high. On the 14th of this month the Inferior Court orders that ten feet be added to the west side of the building and obligates itself to pay the contractor $630.
The county Ordinary's minute book refers to "Buchanan," rather than "Pierceville". George R. Hamilton becomes the first federal postmaster in Buchanan.
Buchanan is incorporated as a TOWN by Georgia on the 22nd with a 1 mile diameter circular extent. The original five town commissioners appointed to serve until the election of Jan 1859 are T. C. Moore, W. N. Williams, Thomas Farmer, John Duke & Mr. Coston. (A modest attempt in Dec 2007 to track down more biographical data of them fails.)
The act specifies: On the first Saturday in January annually [starting in 1859], all free white males living within the corporate limits of said town, who are entitled to vote for members of the Legislature, shall be entitled to vote for the election of five commissioners.
John Marey was ordered paid for furnishing and erecting lightning rods on the courthouse.
The original Tallapoosa lodge of Masons moves to Buchanan.
George T. Carroll was ordered paid $1,500 in drafts for building the courthouse.
Buchanan (Post Office) pop. 207
On the 2nd Georgia voters go to the polls and select delegates to a convention which would decide the issue of state secession from the United States. In many counties candidates divide along two divergent views. Immediate secessionists advocate leaving the Union at once, while cooperationists are more conciliatory, ranging from devout unionism to a desire to postpone any secession commitment. An analysis published in Georgia Historical Quarterly LVI (1972), 259-75 shows a very close popular vote, offering a best estimate of defeat of the immediate secessionists by 42,744 to 41,717. Political speeches, newspapers, and the contentiousness of state leaders reveal the deep divisions over the issue at the time.
At the convention, Alexander Stephens, who in the end would serve as the Vice-President of the Confederate States of America, argues secession is an unwise measure, but there are conflicting claims about what he says. In the end, the final convention vote on the 19th reveals a major shift of opinion and immediate secession triumphs 208 to 89. Haralson County's reps William J. Head and Abner R. Walton vote with the majority; neighboring Polk County men vote the other way.
The succinct Declaration of Secession is supplemented by a detailed Declarations of Causes, which explains
For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery... The feeling of anti-slavery, which it was well known was very general among the people of the North, had been long dormant or passive; it needed only a question to arouse it into aggressive activity... The North demanded the application of the principle of prohibition of slavery to all of the territory acquired from Mexico and all other parts of the public domain then and in all future time... The... reason was her fixed purpose to limit, restrain, and finally abolish slavery in the States where it exists... The prohibition of slavery in the Territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by [Republican] leaders and applauded by its followers... The prohibition of slavery in the Territories is the cardinal principle of this organization... For twenty years past the abolitionists and their allies in the Northern States have been engaged in constant efforts to subvert our institutions and to excite insurrection and servile war among us... for above twenty years the non-slave-holding States generally have wholly refused to deliver up to us persons charged with crimes affecting slave property... A similar provision of the Constitution requires them to surrender fugitives from labor... The non-slave-holding States generally repealed all laws intended to aid the execution of... law to give full vigor and efficiency to this important provision... These are the same men who say the Union shall be preserved... their avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our firesides. To avoid these evils we resume the powers which our fathers delegated to the Government of the United States...
It is proposed that the town name be changed from Buchanan to Bartow. Today the name Buchanan is still in use; did the Pierce-Buchanan switch eventually persuade people against changing the human namesake every time the old one falls into disfavor?
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
The territory of today's eastern Buchanan appears on the edge of a very detailed campaign map made for General Sherman. (The linked map indicates 1990s roads with thin lines added by R. I. Feigenblatt)
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
The county Ordinary minute book spells the county seat as "Buckhanan", suggesting the current (2007) pronunciation was also in use then.
On the 24th, the legislature incorporates the North & South Railroad Company of Georgia for the purpose of constructing a railroad from the city of Rome, Georgia, via Carrollton and LaGrange, to the city of Columbus, Georgia. Might this railroad lay track through town? Its members include Wyatt Williams, Walker Brock, William J. Head and Richard C. Price, of Haralson county.
Buchanan pop. ?
Buchanan is marked on a new map. Note the never-built east-west railroad which was to have passed through Carrollton.
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
Bridge for road from town to "Villarica" to cross the Little River approved for $87 to low bidder N. L. Goldin.
The North & South Railroad Company of Georgia is reorganized as the Columbus and Rome Railroad Company. It would never build track through Haralson County.
Buchanan Methodist Church organized at first Haralson County courthouse; a wooden building will house the church.
Buchanan pop. 158
Buchanan town incorporation amended on the 20th, now providing that the government of said town shall be vested in a Mayor and four Councilmen... who shall hold their offices for one year. G. M. Roberts is appointed Mayor, while J. Williamson, T. H. Riddlepurger, T. J. Lovelace, and D. B. Head are appointed Councilmen until the first Saturday in November.
These officers are now obliged to keep, or cause to be kept, open to the inspection of the citizens of said town a record of its proceedings in full, as well as the acts and doings of all its officers, and a full and itemized statement and account of all moneys...
The town gains the explicit power to establish, open, change and abolish streets and alleys... by paying the owners of such property required to be taken... just compensation for the same which passages the town is obliged to keep unobstructed and in good repair and order by using a power to require and compel persons resident... who are subject to road duty, to work on... not to exceed fifteen days in each year, but may receive in lieu thereof such commutation fee as may be by said Mayor and Council prescribed.
The town can now tax real and personal property at up to 50% of the state tax rate on same, as well as levy special taxes on shows and exhibitions for gain, on peddlers and itinerant traders, and on billiard tables, pool tables, bagatelle tables, and all other establishments for amusement and gain,.
The town gains the power to license and regulate the sale of liquor.
The mayor gains judicial power, and the mayor and council can provide for the arrest, trial, and punishment of offenders and impose upon the guilty fine, imprisonment, or work on the streets of said town; Provided, such fine shall not exceed fifty dollars, and such imprisonment or work shall not exceed thirty days; and any one or all of said punishments may be inflicted in the discretion of the Mayor and Councilmen.
Town limits are expanded to a 1.25 mile diameter circle.
Buchanan is marked on a new map. The proposed route of the Georgia Pacific Railroad through Haralson County is shown. In 1881, the Rome And Carrollton Railroad is chartered to build a rail line between the two towns, but would never lay any track under that name.
Pay $80 for bridge for road from town to Draketown crossing the Little River built by W. H. Bush and J. R. Davenport
Under the title A Girl's Mysterious Death, dateline Buchanan, GA, The New York Times reports this month ...a sister of Mr. Alford Morgan, 18 years of age, who resides near Poplar Spring, Harralson [sic.] County, left her mother's house to bring up some sheep from Wood's pasture, half a mile off. She did not return and search was instituted... It is thought that some scoundrel attempted an outrage, failed, and concealed her body where it was found. Photograph of original article.
The Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee Railroad Company is incorporated to build a railroad to run from Rome, Georgia, by way of Buchanan, in Haralson county, to Carrollton, or Bowden, in Carroll county, Georgia. The details of its failure to serve town are unknown.
Buchanan is marked on a new map. The new Georgia Pacific Railroad runs east-to-west several miles south of town.
Haralson County Banner starts publication in Buchanan. This is Haralson County's first local newspaper. A Georgia Dept. of Agriculture book published next year would take note of it as a locally-focused weekly. Also in 1885, a book titled The Nursery and Orchard: A Practical Treatise on Fruit Culture would carry a paid ad by the paper submitted by editor/publisher A. B. Fitts and reproduced here.
The New York Times this month carries a report from Rome, GA, titled WHY THE COURT ADJOURNED. It reads so: In Buchanan, the county seat of Haralson County, the court proceedings were to-day enlivened by an altercation which arose between J. M. McBride and W. J. Head, Sr., two leading citizens. M. J. Head, son of one of the participants, joined in the dispute by drawing out his pistol and firing three shots, one of them striking Dr. Smith in the hand, and another lodging in the head of Officer Woolley. The court adjourned until the trouble was settled. Surely this W. J. Head, Sr. is the same (cf. above) William J. Head who, as one of two county delegates, voted for Georgia secession at the start of the US Civil War, and five years after the war ended helped incorporate the North & South Railroad Company of Georgia, presumably the first (failed) attempt to provide rail service to town. During their lives both W. J. Head and J. M. McBride would serve Haralson County in both chambers of the Georgia statehouse. Head was assemblyman 1871-2 and senator 1878-9, while McBride was assemblyman 1880-1, 1882-3, 1892-3 and senator 1884-5. The courtroom shooting which Head's son did in Jun 1884 apparently did not prevent the son's appointment as mayor in Nov 1889, when Buchanan's incorporation was amended (cf. below).
Buchanan Academy opens. Monthly school tuition: elementary $1.50, high $3. So-called "Old Field Schools" serve others in countryside.
The Columbus and Northern Railway Company is incorporated to build a railroad from the city of Columbus, in Muscogee county, by way of... by way of Carrollton, in Carroll county, Buchanan, in Haralson county, and Cedartown, in Polk county. The details of its failure to serve town are unknown.
Under the title Killed With A Stone, dateline Buchanan, GA, The New York Times reports this month The murder of J.W. Holland by Bud Hughes has created a great sensation here, where both men were well known. Both were prosperous farmers, and were members of the same Baptist church. Some time ago Hughes contracted a debt with Holland, in satisfaction for which he proposed to give notes to cover the new year. This he failed to do. Photograph of original article.
The New York Times this month reports the murder in the Buchanan area of George Elliot by Henry Norris for what it calls a trifling cause. It adds The friends of the murdered man are terribly enraged, and threaten summary measures.
The New York Times this month carries an item from the Haralson (Ga.) Banner, writing: Living between Buchanan and Draketown is one of the most thorough-going women we know of... Mrs. [M.E.] Smith's husband died three or four years ago, and since that time she has built a dwelling worth $400 and cleared up over 30 acres of land. She hired a young man and went with him to the woods... The financial management of this lady surpasses a majority of our men and would do credit to most of them.
Until 1924, judicial execution of criminals in Georgia was carried out by the counties. The only such act in Haralson County took place in town on the 24th of this month, when Henry Norris, a white man many considered mentally unbalanced, but ruled sane and convicted of murder, was gruesomely executed by a botched hanging.
The Chattanooga, Rome and Columbus Railroad (until this year called the Rome And Carrollton Railroad) lays track through town, connecting it with Bremen, Felton and points far beyond. It is 17 years since the first hope of railroad service was raised! Undated photograph of the depot in Buchanan. Undated photograph of steam locomotive train passing the Buchanan depot. Undated photograph of steam locomotive train south of Buchanan.
Buchanan Methodist Church southwest of courthouse burns; rebuilt church, also framed, sits due west of courthouse. Presumably it is this blaze which was the one which damaged the (first) Haralson County courthouse this year.
Buchanan High School, housed in a wooden building, opens - boarding of students typical. Monthly school tuition: elementary $1.25, high $3.
Buchanan town incorporation amended on the 7th, providing for a Mayor and Council. M. J. Head is appointed Mayor; J. Williams, T. P. Moore, Isaac Weathersby, and R. E. Loveless are appointed Councilmen until the election of Jan 1890.
The Mayor and Council have the new duty to appoint three upright, discreet and intelligent free-holders of said town to serve as a Board of Tax Assessors. Taxes of up to 1% on both real and personal property, as well as financial assets within the town are now authorized. Real property with street frontage is subject to a lien to finance its sidewalk and every male inhabitant of said town, who is subject to road duty under the laws of the State can be compelled (apparently without explicit limit) to work on the town streets, or pay a commutation tax the Mayor and Council prescribe. Special taxes are authorized for shows and exhibitions, as well as pool & billiard tables and ten pin alleys.
A variety of other regulatory powers are created, including those relating to the prohibition of free-ranging animals, the speed of animals & vehicles, guarding against fire hazards, keeping combustibles, steam engines, the taxation of liquor dealers, and the creation of street lighting and public parks.
The Mayor's judicial power expands to exclude the Council in setting punishment, and he can now impose punishment on convicts by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the calaboose of said town not to exceed thirty days, and to work at hard labor on the streets, or such other public works of said town as the Mayor shall adjudge, not to exceed thirty days. Any one, or all the punishments may be inflicted...
Buchanan pop. 324. A letter published in The Haralson Banner says: ...steps should be taken at once to build a commodious courthouse instead of the dilapidated structure that now occupies the public square. It is whispered now that Buchanan is dead and that we (Tallapoosa and Bremen) will draw straws for the county seat.
Buchanan newspaper Haralson Banner renamed Banner-Messenger. It will publish until at least November 1900. Also this month, the decision is made to build a new county courthouse.
G. W. Goulding gets a contract to build the second Haralson County courthouse, (now the Historic Courthouse) for $19,000. County leader, Ordinary S. M. Davenport will later supplement this by warrant with an additional $1,000 and be turned out of office at the next election.
The Banner-Messenger describes the newly completed courthouse so: The dimensions on the ground are 64x92 feet... [On] the second floor... [is] the Superior Court room... [which includes] seating, on raised floor, [of] 250 to 300 person comfortably... The exterior... makes a very neat and attractive building with a large corner tower about 110 feet high, and on the other corner a small round turrett..."
The courthouse is christened with a dance.
The Atlanta Constitution runs this headline: Down the Gentry Desperadoes in Haralson. FOR THE MURDER OF BYRNES, Irish Peddler, Who Was Killed Near Buchanan in March
Buchanan is marked on a new map. The Chattanooga, Rome and Columbus Railroad is shown passing through town.
Under the title Killed a Masked Robber this month The New York Times reported that Three masked man last night attempted to kill and rob B. D. Summerlin, an old man living at Buchanan, Ga., who was reported to have money at his house. The old man seized a knife and in the encounter killed one of his assailants. One of the robbers shot the old man, and he will probably die. The other two assailants escaped, but a posse is in pursuit. Photograph of original article (at bottom). One wonders what relation B. D. Summerlin might have been to William Wesley Summerlin, aid and successor to Ralph Spencer, the Tallapoosa promoter.
Town votes $3,000 in bonds to build elementary school building.
Town school opens, supported by both local taxes & student tuition.
Photograph of Buchanan High School and students.
The Tribune newspaper begins publication in Buchanan. With the demise of the Banner-Messenger in a few years, it would style itself successor to the shuttered journal. In our composite profile of The Tribune in this era, we aggregate 1913 photographs of the staff with a 1906 masthead. The paper comes out every Friday, and an annual subscription runs $0.75 in 1906, but ...widows of ex-Confederate soldiers, residing in Haralson county, can receive the paper free. The 1906 masthead lists a telephone for this Official Organ of Haralson Co. - 'Phone No. 25.
The Chattanooga, Rome and Columbus Railroad serving town is sold and renamed the Chattanooga, Rome and Southern Railway.
The surviving original written records of the town begin with those created in its fifth decade, the so-called Mayor's Books, almost completely devoted to recording outcomes of Mayor's Court cases. These three volumes survived the 1950 record fire and are archived at the Historic Courthouse today. (Dec. 2007). A popular offence of the time is "drunk and disorderly", which often draws a $2 fine, the daily wages of the highest county official (the Orderly). $2 also happens to be a typical price in newspaper ads for a gallon jug of "mountain dew" corn liquor, giving the typical fine a liquid volume equivalent - one gallon!
Mar-Aug 1898 +
Mayor J. S. Ridgdill
Mayor Pro Tem W. R. Hutcheson
Nov 1898 - Feb 1899 +
Mayor [Dr.] J. T. Cobb
Apr 1899 - Jan 1902 +
Mayor E. S. Griffith
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
"John Robinson's big show in Carrollton" leads the railroad to run a one-day excursion train to it. Roundtrip fares from various towns are as follows: Cedartown $1, Youngs, $0.90, Dug Down $0.80, Felton, $0.75, Buchanan $0.65, Bremen $0.40, Mandeville, $0.40.
Buchanan pop. 359
Photograph of Buchanan High School and students.
The 20th century arrives (there being no year zero) and The Tribune runs an article titled WHITE WEDS BLACK. It reads in part: Charles Johnson, a white man, and Eleanor Moody, a mulatto girl, were arrested in Atlanta, Ga., Thursday morning on the charge of having violated the state law by getting married... Johnson admits the charge, and makes a statement which would indicate that the man is either a degenerate or a lunatic... The woman says she married the white man because he worried her so, and that was the only way to get rid of him... Johnson and the woman arrived in Atlanta from Rome... The couple finally went to the office of Justice Cook, so they stated, and were married... It is presumed that Justice Cook, if he performed the ceremony, supposed Johnson to be a man with negro blood in his veins... Johnson's home is in Rome, Ga., and he is said to belong to one of the best families in that city. He has travelled a great deal, and is a stock trader by trade... Johnson is about thirty years of age and the woman about twenty... To a reporter of The Constitution the man stated that he married the mulatto girl because he loved her, and it was nobody's business. He said he intended to take her to Cuba, where such marriages are not socially barred. He claims not to have known that he had violated the law of Georgia... Johnson sent for a reporter and handed him a manuscript which he said was a sketch of his life which he wanted published. It was a lot of allusions to his love for the negro race, which were unfit for publication. A follow-up article bore the following heading: LAW IS DEFECTIVE / Whites and Negroes Can Marry In Georgia With Impunity. / NO PROVISION FOR PUNISHMENT / Statute Aims Only at Ministers or Justices Who Perform Such Ceremony.
Late last month The Tribune reported Booker T. Washington, colored, president of the Tuskegee, Ala. institute, was a guest of President and Mrs. Rooosevelt at dinner at the white house... Washington is probably the first American negro to dine with a president of the United States and his family, although it was reported that President Cleveland once entertained a negro friend at the white house board. This month the paper offers these opinions: Whatever else may turn up, it is certain that Mr. Roosevelt will never be loved for his "nigger" dinner guests... The negro preachers are doing their best to keep the country from forgetting Roosevelt's dinner to Booker Washington... No man has ever been great enough, and no man will ever be great enough to wipe out nature's line between a superior and an inferior race.
Demonstration in town of an innovative mining device by Mr. Chas. F. Durr, reports the local newspaper.
The Chattanooga, Rome and Southern Railway is purchased by the Central of Georgia Railway (sic.).
Jan 1902-Dec 1902+
Mayor W. T. Eaves
Local newspaper item from Principal R.L. Dodd, A.B. of Buchanan High School notes that: We do not solicit idlers - boys and girls who attend school for a 'big time'. We do desire those who are earnest and in whose minds we can inspire a thirst for knowledge, and for the higher and better things in life... Our boys must be gentlemen. Our girls must be ladies. Slovenly habits, swearing, and 'cigaretteing' will not be a part of our school. In an issue four years hence, The Tribune will say of the school: The curriculum is high and standard. A graduate of Buchanan High School may enter the sophomore class at the university, Emory or Mercer.
Newspaper item advocating state-wide textbook
uniformity compares Georgia, using county-wide systems,
with lower-cost North Carolina, using a state-wide system.
Buchanan, until now a town, is re-incorporated as a CITY by Georgia on the 13th.
Jan 1903-Dec 1903+
Mayor Dr. J. T. Cobb
Tests in Buchanan have proved the worthiness of the first road-working machines in the county. Ordinary Tom Hutcheson plans to work on actual roads in a few weeks. These machines are financed by the Alternative Road Law, which permits conscripted (non-exempt) males, aged 16-50 and living outside incorporated towns, to avoid a 3-day biannual road duty by paying $1.50 instead.
The Tribune offers the following opinion this month: [President Theodore] Roosevelt is lauded by the negro incendiaries of the country and despised by the decent white people of the south. It is a fitting estimate of the man. Last December, the paper had published a letter from Roosevelt to a prominent citizen of Charleston, SC concerning the appointment of Dr. Crum as collector of the port there. Roosevelt had written:
...you add, as a further reason for opposition to him, that he is a colored man, and, after reciting the misdeeds that followed carpet bag rule and negro domination in South Carolina, you say that "we have sworn never again to submit to the rule of the African, and such an appointment as that of Dr. Crum to such office forces us to protest unanimously against this insult to the white blood." ...At the time of my visit to Charleston last spring I had made, and since that time I have made, a number of such appointments from several states in which there is a considerable colored population. For example, I made one... in Mississippi, and another in Alabama... I had... appointed... two colored men as judicial magistrates in the District of Columbia... I have recently announced another such appointment for New Orleans, and have just made one for Pennsylvania... The great majority of my appointments in every state have been of white men. North and south alike, it has been my endeavor to appoint only men of high character and good capacity, whether white or black. I do not intend to appoint any unfit man to office... but I cannot consent to take the position that the door of hope -- the door of opportunity -- is to be shut upon any man, no matter how worthy, purely upon the grounds of race and color.
An anonymous person (the editor?) asks in the local newspaper: Why don't [sic.] Buchanan have a small library? One can be secured without much cost, and it would be a lasting benefit to the town and community.
This month an issue of The Tribune contains an article about prominent civic men and firms in Buchanan, whose accomplishments are lauded. This includes Thomas A. Hutcheson, business partner in the firm of Smith & Hutcheson, cotton ginners and grist mill men, the capacity of whose gin exceeds forty bales of cotton daily, and Ordinary of Haralson County for the best part of a decade; Wilson P. Howell, just this year clerk of the superior court, recorder of county business and custodian of the county's property, such as the courthouse [today's Historic Courthouse] and its belongings; T. R. Mothershed, storekeeper and charcoal manufacturer; H. D. Lasseter, the store where you can get anything you want or need from a jack-knife to a traction engine; The Loveless House, a hotel managed by Mr. A. C. Auchmuty, valued because outside of a newspaper, nothing advertises a town or city as much as a first-class hotel; and finally, Eaves & Sons, a dry goods and grocery establishment, with no individual or corporate concern [standing] more prominently before the public.
For women with money who think their hair is too "curly", an ad in the local newspaper promises chemical relief for $0.25. In an age when paper money did not come in small enough denominations, the ad solicits payment for a mail order by means of postal stamps. The dark-complexioned woman in the ad provokes us to remark that in 1903, while among whites, basic literacy of those over 14yo was enjoyed by well over nine-in-ten, among non-whites, over two-in-five remained illiterate, although this was down from four-in-five in 1870. (Before the Civil War, white illiteracy in the South had been over twice that in the North, and in 1903 it was probably still less likely for a Southener than a Northerner to believe in the advantages of mass education.)
That colored illiteracy could not be attributed (at least alone) to disinterest or inability, the brutal resistance of whites to colored education had been documented a half-century earlier in A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (1853) by Harriet Beecher Stowe:
"...But in America the laws, throughout all the slave states, most rigorously forbid, in the first place, the education of the slave. We do not profess to give all these laws, but a few striking specimens may be presented. Our authority is Judge Stroud's "Sketch of the Laws of Slavery."
The Smith & Hutcheson cotton ginnery advertises in the Buchanan newspaper. In another issue the paper remarks that Some localities in Georgia are refusing to allow strange negroes to locate in them unless the negroes bring recommendations of good moral character with them. Most of the fiendish crimes committed by negroes has [sic] been done by those who are idly drifting around the country without places of permanent abode and who have no good object to subserve by shifting about.
As one could expect, the paper has nothing to say about strange whites who may be drifters and whether one might also impose upon them the written-pass etiquette reminiscent of that applied to ambulatory negros in the antebellum era. One should remember that there is nothing like radio or television for an illiterate person to learn about things indirectly - like work and other opportunities for betterment - and idle word of mouth is no more accurate then than it is now. Even nine decades later, just before the mass-market Internet revolution, despite diligent literary and electronic preliminary investigation, this writer found it essential to mobilize to Haralson County for a great many weeks to locate and close the purchase on land he would homestead. What does a poor and illiterate person a century ago do when there is no local opportunity to earn a living or there is unchecked danger from neighbors? He probably does what many Americans of all colors, illiterate and not, would do even a generation after this newspaper item appeared - hit the road in hopes of something better elsewhere.
Mayor Jesse Beall
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
Jan 1905-Jan 1906+
Mayor E. S. Griffith
Mayor Pro Tem S. O. Smith
The local newspaper observes that: Yesterday three out-of-town parties [wrote] to this office inquiring for homes. These gentlemen are... willing to pay reasonable prices... Not a home is on the market today in Buchanan, neither is there a home to rent, and the demand continues to grow daily.
A newspaper ad advertises: beautiful, Top Buggy... fine Leather Quarter Top... Spring Bottom Cushion, and Leather Back, is Elegantly Painted It costs $49.00. $4.90 more buys a fine Collar and Hame harness... regular retail price $12.50. Another ad, for Moore Bros. in Buchanan, offers: Ladies' shoes from 75c to $3.00. Men's shoes from $1.00 to $4.00.
On a Sunday, just after midnight, a fire does several hundred dollars damage to Eaves & Sons' large dry goods establishment on the east side of the public square, and for a few minutes it seemed that the entire block was doomed to destruction by the angry flames. Thirty-four years later, the building will not be as lucky.
Buchanan's newspaper The Tribune writes that The white people, the great majority of them in Haralson... will refuse to be divided by designing politicians who know that they could not hope to get a nomination in a non-partisan white primary... Dr. E. B. Hutcheson, chairman of the republican executive committee of Haralson County.. has said that the word 'white' as used in connection with the primary ordered to be held on the 14th of July is nauseating to him...
Progressive Movement leader Hoke Smith, running for Governor, places an ad in the local paper in which he promises to vigorously work for the disenfranchisement of blacks - while assuring white voters none of them will lose their vote in the process.
The so-called "white primary" was a mechanism to evade the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution. Serious legal resistance to it only began in the 1920's, and not until 1944 did the US Supreme Court declare it unconstitutional and the work of dismantling it begin. In Haralson County it was proposed by the Democratic Party and acceptance by the People's Party ("Populists") assured its success.
In Buchanan this month, The Tribune editorializes so: The candidates in this campaign, on both sides, are gentlemen, so far as we know, but it is what they stand for that the people must pass upon. ...Every white voter who is willing to vote for the safety of his home, his wife and his daughters, will vote for white supremacy, and in Haralson county it means that he will vote for the white primary nominees, because political equality for the negro, ultimately means that he will construe it as social equality, which the white people will never tolerate, and the result is rape, burglary, larceny, riot and lynchings... White men, settle these grave questions at the ballot box by always voting for white supremacy.
Also this month the infamous Atlanta Race Riot of 1906, greatly damages the city's "New South" image when white mobs kill dozens of blacks. [Note added Sept. 2009: An interesting multimedia learning project on the Riot is proposed in a YouTube video here.]
This month The Tribune wrote under the subtitle White Primary Plan Firmly Established in Haralson County the following: The election passed... it was a forgone conclusion from the very start that the ticket nominated in the white primary on July 14 would be successful... The upbuilding of Haralson county should be the chief aim of all our people. Discord breeds hatred and destruction, and to buy votes and use liquor at elections tend to destroy our morals. The people of Georgia have spoken in no uncertain terms that they are tired of the negro in politics...
This month an issue of The Tribune contains "informercials" about very many Buchanan merchants; a cotton gin firm offers to gin for $0.30 per hundred pounds of lint. A sales ad in the paper this month relates the following: Sugar costs $1.00 for 20 lbs. A bushel of corn is $0.75, while $0.90 gets you 50 pounds of flour. A pound of meat is $0.10 and a pound of Sweep Stakes Tobacco is $0.30. Another ad that month says the latest high-tech consumer gadget is Good enough to satisfy experienced photographers, yet so simple that children can use it. This No 2. Folding [Kodak] Brownie camera costs $5.00 and even Loads in daylight with film Cartridges, making pictures 2.25"x3.25"
Also this month, the paper reprints an Augusta Tribune editorial which begins... It is very possible that the historians of the future and posterity generally will place Abraham Lincoln as the wisest, best and greatest of our line of presidents to this date. The item goes on to praise Lincoln as an heir to Jefferson and takes note of his expressed skepticism that whites will accept blacks as equals.
Jan 1906-Jan 1907+
Mayor Joel Phillips. Undated photograph of the eastern side of the Square, showing four men (left to right): Joel Phillips, Mr. Sanders(?), Jos. A. Rowell, and Grady Richardson(?) Mr. Phillips and son-in-law Rowell probably owned the phonograph shop in front of which they are standing; it later went bankrupt, according to Phillips grandson H. P. Griffith. For a better view of the shop and three men at the left, look at a cropped photograph.
Mayor Joel Phillips reports that for the year 1906 the amount of taxable property was $131,800.00. The 6 mills tax raises $790.86. The railroad tax brings in another $114.97, while the telephone tax renders $0.43. With the $1.05 tax from the Southern Express Company, these tax sources for 1906 total $907.31. Estimating the city population of 1906 as 421, that comes to $2.16 per capita. An additional entry of $191.00 is made for "street taxes". With 36 cases tried during the year assessing $172.50 in fines, and costs coming to $57.80, the Mayor's Court raises an additional $114.70.
Mayor J. S. Edwards
In the local newspaper, a letter-writer quotes statistics saying southeast US farmers haul average loads of 1,702 pounds to market, at a cost of $0.16 per hundred pounds, and argues for the economic advantages of better roads. An ad by an Atlanta Bank argues for telecommunication-based finance in this modern age, arguing that Banking by mail is no experiment but a tried success.
S. D. C?emean compares Haralson County in 1907 to itself in 1893 in a letter to Buchanan's The Tribune, noting vast improvements. Cotton has climbed from 4+1/8 cents to 10 or even 12 cents per pound and Roads that were almost impassable for an ox cart... are now being tracked by automobiles.
A local newspaper ad from the Georgia School of Technology (now Georgia Tech) notes that 15 free scholarships are assigned to each county in Georgia.
A full-page Buchanan newspaper ad announces a Big MID-Summer Clearance Sale, offering men's suits worth $8-$15 marked down to $5-$9.50 as well as Shirts for young men, old men and boys, 50 to 75c values, Sale price 48c and Underwear - both long and short Drawers.. Sale Price 48c
Buchanan High School enrollment reaches 246, a month into the new term. Land totalling 255 acres, 1.25 miles south of the city, is offered up for sale at $6.50 to $7 per acre.
Popular and historically important County Ordinary, Judge Thomas A. ("Tom") Hutcheson, calls on people to take part in an all-day song service at the Haralson County courthouse.
Buchanan Lecture Association sponsors free lecture by Trustee Board Chairman N. E. Harris of the Technological School (now Georgia Tech) at the Haralson County courthouse. A newspaper letter by Buchanan High School's principal, A. H. Moon, promotes this as the first of many lectures to span the fall and winter months.
Buchanan High School defeats Dallas High School in debate held in the Haralson County courthouse on issue of compulsory school attendance by children 6-14. In April, Buchanan High had beaten Hamilton College in debate on its home turf in Bremen.
Buchanan 50th anniversary
Georgia alcohol prohibition comes into effect
State College of Ag educational railroad train lays over in City; lectures, exhibits and free circulars provided to farmers.
Buchanan city incorporation amended on the 17th. Jail terms of up to 60 days may now be imposed, and convictions in Mayor's Court can now be appealed to the Superior court of Haralson county. The city can punish people for gambling and suppress rowdy and disorderly houses, houses of ill-fame.
The city may now operate a water supply, a sewer system, and sell gas or electric lighting and electric power to people in the city.
Tax increases require approval of two-thirds of the voters in an election. The city gains the power to collect a special license tax from any person, firm or corporation, or agent thereof, engaged in carrying on either temporarily or permanently, or who shall offer to so carry on or engage in, any business, profession or calling of any kind or character within the corporate limits...
Buchanan Methodist Church - present building erected north of the courthouse; it is shown in an undated photograph.
This month the Atlanta Constitution reports 34 PERSONS KILLED IN GEORGIA / Tornadoes Work North and South PROBABLY 100 OTHERS INJURED / THIRTEEN KILLED BY CYCLONE AT BUCHANAN
The Sanford-Wade Heritage House is built diagonally opposite the northwest corner of the courthouse, and immediately opposite the Methodist Church.
Earliest surviving bird's-eye photograph of the City, viewed from the south.
Resistance to support of schools by local taxes in Georgia ebbs; of US adults 25+, 13% are high school grads, 3% are college grads. About 2/3 of US high school matriculants graduate, with women grads outnumbering men about 3 to 2. But among college grads, men outnumber women 3 to 1.
Buchanan pop. 462. Buchanan is marked on a new map. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), Buchanan branch, is organized.
One killed, two mortally injured and 25 others seriously hurt by train wreckers; the southbound Central of Georgia express passenger train, travelling at 40mph, is derailed near the City the morning of the 8th, thrown over an embankment by spikes in rail joints, reports The New York Times. Engineer Samuel Ayers dies, crushed under his engine, while fireman William Solmon and conductor Littleton will die of their injuries. Photograph of original article.
Stovall Amendment finally provides tax support for high schools
LDS Church burns while members debate a local minister elsewhere; new cement building, serving into the 21st century, is built at once.
Mayor J. F. Reid. The Tribune publishes a photograph of a busy scene in cottonfield near Buchanan this year.
Buchanan will replace its old frame school house with a brick building using $15,000 in bond funding. Bond vote is yes-125 and no-3.
Under the headings $250,000,000 Bubble Charged in Arrest; Post Office Inspectors Take Texan in This City in Cotton-Selling Scheme; Was Indicted In Atlanta; Charge Says Philip C. Wadsworh Promised That Planters Would Get 15 Cents a Pound; Co-operative Idea Used; Southrons Told Manipulators Were Robbing Them Of $120,000,000 a Year Beacuse They Failed to Unite this month The New York Times reported that it was charged that the representations made by Wadsworth, who managed, operated and controlled the society, in letters mailed at Atlanta, were false and made with the intention of defrauding investors including W. J. Speights and J. H. Mizie, both of Buchanan, GA. Photograph of original article.
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
The Tribune reports Haralson county produced 10,652 bales of cotton in 1915... valuing the crop at $55 per bale, or an average of 11 cents per pound, brought the producers approximately $586,960.... John William Humphries, commander of Haralson County Confederate Veterans, calls a meeting at the courthouse to select delegates to the annual meeting of the United Confederate Veterans. He writes: A few more years and we all will have answered the last call, so let us meet once more and have a grand and glorious time. (The last Confederate veteran in Haralson County to die, on April 18, 1937, was Thomas U. Dobbs.)
Buchanan Elementary School erected.
Mayor E. S. Griffith
Buchanan newspaper The Tribune renamed The Haralson County Tribune
Motorized tractor improves Highway 27 (?) north of the City
In Buchanan's Haralson County, there are 2,069 farms, averaging 68.2 acres, with 66,009 toal improved acres. 24,123 acres are planted in cotton and 20,483 in corn in 1919. Hay and forage accounted for 3,874 acres and wheat and oats combined, only 1,112 acres. The four largest municipalities in the county - Tallapoosa 2,719; Bremen 917; Buchanan 491; Waco 333; total 4,460 souls - about 31% of the county population of 14,440. Depending on how many farms lie within the towns, there are between 5 and 7 residents on the average farm.
Mayor W. C. Moore
Buchanan pop. 491. Buchanan High School becomes first such "accredited" school in the county. Its first building, a wooden structure, burns this decade and is replaced by a brick building, shown in a photograph from early 1920s. Compare to the Circa 1910 photograph of the City linked above.
Mayor G. N. Moore
Buchanan High School senior class photograph.
Photograph of Buchanan's first telephone switchboard (Ruby Gray, operator). Photograph of Ben Davis in front of his barber shop.
Photograph shows Tom Hutcheson wearing bow tie in front row, wife and daughter next to him, at the celebration for the opening of bridge crossing Little (Tallapoosa) River east of the city.
Photograph of Buchanan High School students.
Photograph of eastern side of City Square.
Photograph of fruit stand next to Sinclair.
Bird's-eye photograph of the Square, viewed from the south.
Central of Georgia RR plans to build new overhead bridge at the Van Wert Street crossing; will be only 20 feet wide.
The Buchanan spot cotton market closed at 15.00c [per pound] on the 23rd reports The Haralson County Tribune
Buchanan pop. 429 (or 426)
The Buchanan spot cotton market closed at 9.75c [per pound] on the 25th reports The Haralson County Tribune
Original First Church of God erected on Buchanan-Draketown Road. Undated photograph of the church.
Baseball legend Whitlow ("Whit") Wyatt temporarily retires to 700-acre Buchanan farm.
Whit Wyatt departs to play baseball again. Grist mill photograph.
Flatwoods, Tallapoosa East, and Mount Vernon schools merged with Buchanan High School, as part of school consolidation enabled by bussing of students.
Two-story Eaves Building on eastern side of Square burns down.
Buchanan pop. 504
Photograph of the northwest section of the square.
Baseball legend "Whit" Wyatt retires as player; later coaches. Undated photograph as an older man.
Bremen school system becomes independent and about 200 country students previously transported there are reassigned to the Buchanan school. Old Army barracks are used to provided added space.
City Square contains 2 grocery stores, 2 dry-goods stores, and 1 bank. Also in City is a hardware store. David Eaves and Hardy McCalman begin work toward attracting what would become a large factory making shirts.
Cluett, Peabody and Company open a shirt plant in Buchanan, producing products for Arrow Shirts. Panoramic photograph of staff made in 1959.
Route 120 reaches the City and the railroad underpass is built. Also this year the Haralson County Hospital (public, non-profit) is built on Depot Street. Western side of the square features the Dr. Sanford properties.
Buchanan First Baptist Church being built.
A new 25yo lawyer starts practicing at the courthouse: Thomas B. Murphy. He'll one day serve as Georgia's House Speaker over a quarter century. The old county maintenance building as it appeared circa 1949.
The Buchanan cotton market closed at 40.10 [cents per pound] on the 19th reports The Haralson County Tribune. A newspaper subscription costs $2 annually in-county and $2.50 outside. This month the paper reports that Buchanan Chief of Police Harris Williamson has been suspended from the force pending the outcome of his trial for the alleged shooting of Homer Marks, Buchanan citizen and one time member of the Buchanan force... Marks, who was shot in the abdomen... says that Chief Williamson came to his home after midnight asking him to go with him to arrest some men that were giving trouble. Marks says that he got in the car with the Chief who drove out the Dallas highway to the intersection of the road leading to the Haralson County Hospital and when they got out of the car Williamson pulled his gun and fired at him.
City water works constructed
Buchanan pop. ?
Fire destroys City records
Clean-up day near the Van Wert entrance of the courthouse.
State School Building Authority finances Buchanan [?] School with 21 instructional rooms; est. construction cost of $281,288.
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
Church of God moves to northern Buchanan.
Buchanan High and Elementary school photograph. Another photograph of same.
The City opens its waste-water treatment plant.
Buchanan is marked on a new map.
Photograph of Buchanan Elementary School sixth grade.
Mayor Jim Barger
Church of God rebuilt after fire of previous year Undated photograph of the new church building.
The earliest surviving motion pictures of the City are made: Harold Jeffers shoots Buchanan on Parade - Part I. It includes the only movie images of the second (brick) Buchanan High School before it was destroyed by fire. Sugar costs 49 cents for 5 lbs.
Buchanan 100th anniversary
LDS Church bricked and enlarged
Buchanan pop. ?
Buchanan Housing Authority created
Harold Jeffers shoots Buchanan on Parade - Part II
Mayor Noel Cook
The Central of Georgia Railway passing through the City becomes part of Southern Railway.
Buchanan pop. ?
Buchanan High School closes; building now used as Primary School. County students outside Bremen's independent school district start to attend new, racially-integrated, Haralson County High School outside Tallapoosa. Retired anthem of Buchanan High School is sung by alumni during 2007 reunion.
Bird's-eye photograph of the City, viewed from the west.
Mayor Evelyn Shepard Sanford Wade - first female in office. Undated photograph of Mayor Wade shaking hands with Newt Gingrich, later US Speaker of the House.
Southern Railway's Central of Georgia Railway division, passing through the City, is renamed the Central of Georgia Railroad.
Erected in town: Third Haralson County courthouse.
The Haralson County Historical Society is founded to save the (second) Haralson County courthouse in Buchanan from the wrecker's ball. It will take three decades to rehabilitate and reopen the building.
The City upgrades its waste-water treatment plant.
Second (retired) Haralson County courthouse placed on the National Register of Historic Places
Tom Murphy raises $10,000+ from two anonymous donors to rehabilitate the Historic (second) Haralson County courthouse
City police officers cooperate with the Haralson County sheriff in apprehending smugglers importing 3,260 pounds of marijuana and 85 kilos of hashish, together worth an estimated $2 million. The contraband enters the country via a 1940s-era DC-4, a 93-foot-long airplane normally requiring a 5,000-foot runway. The plane has landed in under 400 feet on a clandestine last-minute 1,000 runway completed only an hour before the crash-landing on Treat Mountain near the Polk County border of Haralson County.
Buchanan pop. ?
Haralson County Tribune publishes last issue known to this writer. This year sees big changes in newspapers throughout the county.
Photographs of City Hall, eastern side of City Square, Historic Courthouse (before addition of elevator annex), Buchanan Junior High School.
The New York Times carries an AP report this month that A Federal jury today convicted three Ku Klux Klan members of civil rights violations in what prosecutors called racially motivated beatings in western Georgia in 1982 and 1983... [including] Mailon Wood, 54 years old, of Buchanan, Ga. Next month Wood received a 40-year prison sentence and $40,000 fine for just one of the convictions.
The New York Times carries an AP story this month that The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission this week honored... 19 people from 11 states and Canada who risked their lives to help others. Five died in their attempts... the commission... awarded... $2,500 to each of [them... Those honored include] Joel C. Clark, 26, of Buchanan, Ga., who pulled a year-old boy from a burning car in Douglasville, Ga., on July 15.
Buchanan pop. 1,009. Southern Railway Company, whose Southern Railway's Central of Georgia Railroad division passes through the City, is renamed Norfolk Southern Railway Company. The Central of Georgia Railroad division continues to exist today (2007).
Under the heading New Task for the Computer: Making Clothes, this month The New York Times reported that Engineers and computer scientists at two colleges here say they have harnessed computers to standard industrial sewing machines to produce a larger variety of garments more quickly and cheaply than conventional clothing factories do... Southern Tech and Georgia Tech engineers said that new computerized systems are in use at an Arrow Shirt plant at Buchanan, Ga... The industry, which has long trailed others in integrating computers in its factories, is taking seriously the experiments...
Factory making Arrow shirts closes after many decades.
Mayor Donald Rainey
14yo eighth-grader levels loaded shotgun at teacher in Buchanan Middle School.
City limits extended.
Olympic torch visits City.
Georgia Highway 120 section in eastern half of city limits is designated "Evelyn S. Wade Highway".
The New York Times takes note that Buchanan's Whitlow Wyatt, a key figure in the Brooklyn Dodgers' celebrated 1941 National League pennant victory and a leading pitcher of the early 1940's, dies this month at 91.
Buchanan is marked on a new map. The new Georgia 27 Bypass east of the city is shown.
Buchanan pop. 941
Mayor Jerry Hood
36 ADSL (broadband Internet) accounts access the Buchanan BellSouth wire center.
Ribbon-cutting ceremony for new City Hall. An undated photograph shows the old City Hall.
Restored Historic Courthouse reopened, housing the muncipality's first public library, the Buchanan-Haralson branch of the West Georgia Regional Library system.
Historic Courthouse recognized by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation with an Excellence in Rehabilitation award.
An 11yo boy, a fifth grader at Buchanan Elementary School, is eventually charged with 46 counts of sexual battery. Arrested on a charge of tampering with evidence is the principal at Buchanan Elementary School and on charges of failing to report sexual crimes is the principal at Haralson County Middle School. The latter is town Mayor Jerry Hood, who will leave the country.
Photographs from this year show the old railroad depot site, western side of the square, eastern side of the square.
LDS church consecrates new building at City limits
historical pageant about the US presidential race
of 1856, debuts at the City's
The Haralson County Historical Society, headquartered at the Historic Courthouse in Buchanan, receives the Roger K. Warlick Local History Achievement Award from the Georgia Historical Society for its Media Project, The 1856 Handbook, which features the US presidential race of 1856, including the Buchanan, GA pageant Decision 1856.
A comprehensive new City charter, sponsored by Rep. Howard Maxwell, comes into force. Provision is made for a city manager.
an annual historical pageant about the US presidential race
of 1856, plays at the City's
Famous Georgia House Speaker and Buchanan courthouse veteran Tom Murphy dies on the 17th. Buchanan 150th anniversary on the 22nd; a celebration takes place at the Historic Courthouse on the 23rd.