Story by Jamie Miles • Photos taken from “The Ideas of a Plain Country Woman”
hat began in 1915 as an agreement with a young teacher to furnish “occasional school notes” to The Madisonian, the local newspaper, evolved into 63 years of chronicling her life as a country woman. Genie Maude’s weekly columns or “letters” as she referred to them quickly became the most anticipated corner of paper. She wrote through the Depression, wars, joys and sorrows. When age forced Genie Maude to lay down her pen, the paper’s publisher, Adelaide Ponder, wrote an open letter pleading:
“Please don’t quit! ... To be honest, I don’t think that anyone CAN take your place. Your Fairview News in The Madisonian has been everyone’s favorite column for more years than even I can remember.”
December 14, 1978
The best of her beloved columns have been compiled into a book for long time Morgan County residents to relive and recent arrivals to discover. Compiling “The Ideas of a Plain Country Woman” was a labor of love by two of Genie Maude’s granddaughters, Rachel Wilson Harper and Sally Wade Stephens. “Some people even started a collection but never finished it.” Rachel added with a laugh, “Now we know why.”
Born in Morgan County in 1892, Genie Maude graduated from Madison High School and gave the valedictory speech. After receiving her teaching degree from The Normal School in Athens, she came back home to fill a position in the one teacher school in Fairview just a few miles south of Madison. It was there she agreed to pen her first column under “School Notes.”
“Our school is going steadily forward in the improvements begun in 1913-1914. The floor has been reoiled, the lawn cleaned and the woodpile straightened.
Story by: James Faucett
From her second floor office in Madison, Tara Cooner conjures up people from the past, summoning them at will, bringing them flickering to life on her backlit computer screen.
Story by Van Jensen • Photos of Ross Mason by Kelvin Kuo
Mathematician Edward Lorenz was preparing to run a computer weather prediction in 1961 when he took a shortcut. He entered .506 into the number sequence instead of the full .506127.
That seemingly insignificant difference completely changed the predicted weather pattern. Lorenz’s finding helped establish chaos theory — the idea that dynamic systems can be highly sensitive to the smallest of influences.
A talk by Lorenz famously was titled “Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”
On the evening of Aug. 2, 2007, a bee was flying along the Silver Comet Trail near Atlanta. The bee came into the path of a small but athletic man riding a bicycle. It collided with his face, becoming stuck in his helmet. The rider raised a hand to brush away the bee. As he did, his elbow grazed the handlebar.
The man was a competitive cyclist, and the bike was moving so fast that the slight movement of the handlebar threw it off course. The bike launched off the trail and landed with the rider’s feet still locked into the pedals, both sliding headfirst down a hill.
The cyclist’s head collided with something large and hard enough to crack open his helmet. When he and the bike finally came to rest, a piece of brush was pressed against his throat. He could barely breathe.
By instinct, the rider’s brain commanded his hands to push away the brush.
His hands would not move.
Story by George L. Batten, Jr.
Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
Rubbing by Kathryn Schiliro
I blame my friend.
My friend loaned me a copy of the book “Rambles Through Morgan County, Georgia” by Louise McHenry Hicky (1971, reprinted 1989), and in reading this book I discovered that Elizabeth Lumpkin is buried in our fair county.
Elizabeth Lumpkin, who died at age 33 in the year 1819, was the first wife of Wilson Lumpkin, a man who held several important public offices during his life, including that of governor of the state of Georgia (1831 to 1835). Elizabeth Lumpkin is just the sort of minor historical figure that intrigues me, and so I decided to visit her grave.
It is interesting to visit the graves of the famous, and I’ve visited my share, but the graves of the nearly famous can be just as rewarding. I value a photograph of the grave of Ottmar Mergenthaler that I took in the late 1970s or early 1980s, in Baltimore. Once upon a time school children learned about Mergenthaler and his invention, and I suspect that even today newspaper publishers of a certain age still recall fondly the inventor of the Linotype machine. He is no longer famous, but still intriguing.
And so it is with Elizabeth Lumpkin. She married a future governor, gave him children, lost three in infancy, and died young. Best of all, she is buried nearby. I had to see her grave. The problem was finding the grave.
Mrs. Hicky was not very helpful. Here is her description of the grave’s location, in its entirety:
A journey into the Past: “Mapping the Present Just Went By” is a multi-media exhibition that examines the history of Morgan CounSubmitted by editor on Thu, 07/22/2010 - 20:43.
Story by: James Faucett
Bridge of Quiet Courage: Late county commissioner Walter Curtis Butler, Jr. honored with bridge over Interstate 20Submitted by editor on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 15:57.
Story and Photos by Patrick Yost
At the same moment the black cloth covering the sign designating the U.S. 441 bridge over Interstate 20 as the Walter Curtis Butler Jr. Memorial Bridge fell so did the tears on Laura Butler’s face.
Under the glare of police car blue lights at the bridge ceremony, Laura Butler wept. It was a moving moment and one born out of the more than year–long efforts to have her husband’s accomplishments recognized. The more than 200 people at the dedication, including a wide host of local and state officials, cheered.
“My heart is overjoyed that the work Walter did in Morgan County is not in vain,” Laura said.
The memorial was made possible by a city of Madison resolution, approved in January, 2010, that called for the naming of the bridge in Walter Curtis Butler, Jr.’s honor.
Walter Curtis Butler, Jr. died August,1 2008 after suffering with lung cancer.
He was the first African–American voted to public office in Morgan County when he won a seat in 1982 on the Morgan County Board of Commissioners that he would not relinquish until his death. He also served as president of the Georgia NAACP for many years and founded the Morgan County Branch, NAACP where he served as president or vice president for decades.
At the bridge ceremony, the Rev. W.J. Reid remarked that the memorial will stand as a remembrance for generations to come. “His name will be observed and kept in the minds of people for years to come.”