Remember when: Archives include March madness

Published 9:13 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

     “March came in like a lion,” “March Madness,” and “Spring into Savings” are familiar phrases we hear and read this time of year in poems, songs, and advertisements.

Looking back at the preserved copies of The Andalusia Star on microfilm at the Andalusia Public Library, I decided to check out what was happening in Andalusia and Covington County in past years recorded in print in the months of March. Good, bad, happy, sad, unbelievable, tragic, treacherous, progressive, industrious – it was all going on in the makings of a town from a village.

March 24, 1910 – “Cutting affray at Opp; The home of Mrs. Dunn near Gantt was destroyed by fire last week.; Man charged with horse stealing.; Man arrested for cruelty to animals.”

March 16, 1911 – “A dead baby was found in the toilet room of the L & N Depot at Florala last week.”

March 23, 1911 – “Death at the ParsonageMrs. Crawford, wife of the Methodist minister at Andalusia died Monday.”

March 6, 1913 – “Mr. Miller conducting a disorderly house was fined $25.00.”

March 13, 1913 – “Gruesome Sight – Watchers of the high waters at River Falls last Sunday evening saw a mule and wagon floating down stream. No one knows to whom it belonged nor did anyone know the fate of the one who occupied the wagon.; Mrs. Shira living on Bay Branch Hill at Andalusia fell in the fire last Wednesday evening and was almost burned to a crisp before neighbors arrived and pulled her from the flames. Husband and one month old baby survived.”

March 31, 1914 – “Dedication of First Presbyterian Church – Next Sunday, April 1. The new church building will be dedicated with appropriate exercises.”

March 19, 1915 – “Mr. Johnson and Miss Griggs were quietly married at home.; Mr. Bradley was charged with grand larceny. His case was dismissed by death.; Mr. Carter died at Montgomery where he was carried for a surgical operation.”

March 16, 1916 – “People in this community will plow the farm of Widow Browder.”

March 20, 1917 – “On Saturday morning March 17, the death angel visited the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. S. Chesshire and called their baby girl.”

March 27, 1917 – “Andalusia sustained a $30,000 fire lost Saturday morning where the big three-story Masonic building was burned.”

March 8, 1918 – “Double Killing at Dixie; Pistol duel at Opp.”

March 5, 1920 – “Papers of incorporation of Opp Cotton Mills were filed in the Probate office on Tuesday.”

March 20, 1920 – “Fair Site Purchased – Just as we go to press, we learn that the committee appointed to select a site for the county fair has purchased 60 acres near the packing plant of Swift & Co. This land is ideal for a fair site. There is plenty of ground suitable for a race track, ballpark, and a fine place for a park to be fitted up for the use of the people of Andalusia.”

March 4, 1921 – “The Opp Messenger was purchased by owners of The Andalusia Star.; Messrs. Wright, McGowin, Dugger, and Crenshaw were elected to the Chamber of Commerce.”

March 13, 1922 – “Statement given out that the war (WWI) caused a big shortage in supply of draft animals in the South.”

March 16, 1922 – “Swift & Co. manager is hopeful of re-opening plant in full.; T. E. Henderson named president of the baseball club for 1922.; Athletic Association formed this week with over 60 members.”

March 3, 1924 – “Ground broken on new Methodist Church edifice.”

March 4, 1924 – “River Falls Power Plant now supplies Andalusia current.”

March 5, 1924 – “Benson Brothers to operate new casket factory.”

March 26, 1924 – “March marriages not hindered by March winds.”

March 28, 1924 – “Andalusia bids to have $45,000. post office soon.; They have loved to see five generations come on and get much joy as life’s shadows creep on them – Mr. Henry and Mrs. Ann O’Neal.”

March 29, 1924 – “Hotel Covington to open at Opp next Monday.”

March 7, 1925 – “TB (Tuberculosis) caused death to 2,328 people in Alabama in 1924.”

March 13, 1925 – “Sons of Confederate Veterans form Andalusia camp.”

March 18, 1925 – “Mother and Daughter Buried in Same Grave Mrs. Miller and her 15-month old daughter died within 30 minutes of each other. Cause pneumonia.”

March 1, 1927 – “Work to start on the Brewton-Andalusia Highway Monday.”

March 15, 1927 – “City Drug to give formal opening Thursday – Owners are W. R. Wright, G. G. Dunn, and Bert Nelson.; 83 Schools to Participate in Field Day Saturday.”

March 20, 1928 – “Construction is started on a new business block on South Three Notch Street.”

March 1, 1929 – “Quarter million dollar plant for Andalusia – Scherf announces completion of organization of the Alabama Textile Products Co. with local citizens taking $75,000 of preferred stock.”

March 8, 1929 – “27 inches of rain fell here in the past two months.”

March 15, 1929 – “12 inches of rain does much damage.; Gantt Dam breaks.; Covington County sustains heaviest loss to property in its entire history.”

March 22, 1929 – “River Falls is scene of wrecked homes and flood debris.; Convicts are River Falls heroes.; Gantt schoolboy drowns.”

March 28, 1930 – “Star Cleaners install modern dry cleaning equipment. Located on East Three Notch Street in the 5 & 10 cent building. Mr. Jonas Hair is the proprietor.”

When we Remember When and study the past, it is no surprise that a lot changes from one decade to another, from one century to another, but a great deal stays the same as is exemplified by the following March 16, 1915 news report.

Probate Judge J. M. Robinson tells The Star that 25 years ago today, March 16, 1890, Covington County was frozen solid. Oak and chinaberry trees were killed and all early crops had to be replanted.”

By the time this column is read, Covington County will have thawed out from hopefully the last freeze in March. Plan to visit the Three Notch Museum during spring holidays. Take a picnic lunch and sit a spell on the porch of the log cabin. Linda Castleberry, docent and historical society member, plans to keep the museum open for visitors.

Time does MARCH on!