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Talbot County Schools

The Talbotton New Era
Thursday, February 18, 1909
Page Six

Collinsworth Institute

The renovation of the Institute awakens interest in this historic spot and revives associations of the old, old past.  The building is a house of memories, a volume of records.  Nearly a century it has stood a monument to the dreams and ambitions of our forefathers.

Back from the village street, through an avenue of majestic trees, the chapel loomed invitingly.  The old bell, on its primitive belfry chimed the mellow summons at early morning hour, and gentle dismissal at eventide.  On each side cottages of two rooms, made comfortable dormitories, and flowers bloomed in luxuriant beauty.  Across the grass-covered campus, the students romped with eager joy, or sat neath the wide-spreading trees, conning the lesson for the morrow.  Every Sabbath a goodly band marched up College Street while all Talbotton looked and admired.

They worshipped at the Methodist Church, and there was ever a brighter, more

Those were days when parents were vitally interested in education.  At examination time, they came for miles across country in their rock-a-ways, phaetons and barouches.  Friends and neighbors opened wide their hearts and homes in warm-hearted, genuine Southern hospitality.

Romance, too, played its tender part and many beautiful love stories could be written, if the past could be written, if the past would only reveal its secrets.

Out from its sacred walls these young men went to take their place in Lifes great drama.  Some have been rulers of men, some leading souls into the path of the infinite, others have gained glory, wealth and power, while many have joined the choir invisible,but they live again in minds made better by their presence.

It would be intensely interesting to receive messages from some of the sons of old Collinsworth and we shall be glad indeed to publish reminiscences of this hallowed institution, whose records are among the things that were, but whose memory is fair and unfading in the hearts of those who gathered knowledge in her vast storehouse.

The Talbotton New Era
Thursday, March 4, 1909
Page Six

To The Editor:

Upon reading your article, Collinsworth Institute in the New Era, under date of Feb. the 18th, I am reminded of a conversation I had with Mr. Belton Gilreath of Birmingham, Ala. while passing thru that city last Tuesday.

Mr. Gilreath, as many of the older citizens of Talbotton will remember, passed his boyhood days there, and was a pupil of Rev. J.T. McLaughlin at Collinsworth Institute.

In speaking of old times and associates, Mr. Gilreath referred very feelingly to my cousin George Leonard and our old teacher, Rev. J.T. McLaughlin and asked after Messrs. T.A. and C.W. Kimbrough, Tucker Persons, T.N. Beall and others.  He also related an incident when he was a barefooted boy how my cousin Mrs. Eleanor ONeal did him a kind deed and of its being so indelibly impressed on his memory.

Mr. Gilreath is today one of the foremost men in Alabama, and a leader in educational and philanthropic work.

Referring to old Collinsworth Institute, I wish a day could be sent for a general homecoming and reunion of all the old pupils of that institute, and all could be notified that they would be expected to be present.  No doubt such an event would not be without some sad features, yet be overshadowed by the pleasure that might be derived.

The article in the New Era and my meeting with Mr. Gilreath prompted this letter.  With high regard, I am,

Sincerely yours,
R.D. Leonard

Dallas, Ga., Feb. 27, 1909

Submitted by Carla Miles

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