News from Barrow County

The items below are a small sample of the information available from the Athens Historic Newspapers Archive. Unless otherwise stated, I have transcribed each article in its entirety, and exactly as written.

Winder News

[The Banner, Tuesday, January 8, 1918; Note:  I omitted some items which included few names of local interest.]

Paragraphs Which Tell of the Activities of the Neighboring City in Barrow

The Barrow Times has secured the services of Mr. L. H. Jenkins to act as foreman and business manager during 1918.  He is an experienced newspaper man and with Editor J. C. Flanigan will put the Times well to the fore as one of Georgia’s leading weeklies.  With the two splendid weeklies, the Barrow Times and the Winder News, this section need fear no news famine for 1918.

Farm Demonstrator

Mr. W. Hill Hosch Barrow’s most popular farm demonstrator, is in Athens taking a two weeks’ course at the State College of Agriculture.  The county under his able leadership is going to forge to the front this year.  Already a new interest is being feld in stock raising and grain producing.

Ministerial Association

The Appalachee Baptist Ministerial Association met at Bethlehem, just below here, Wednesday for its first monthly meeting.

The attendance was good and the hospitality of the Bethlehem people royal.

The following officers were elected for 1918:  Rev. D. W. Key, D.D., Monroe, president; Rev. T. C. Buchanan, of Winder, secretary-treasurer; executive committee:  Dr. D. W. Key, Revs. H. J. Gose and W. S. Walker.

The next session convenes with Bethel Baptist church, near Bostwick.  The 11 o’clock sermon will be preached by Rev. W. H. Faust, of Winder.

Winder W. C. T. U. 

On last Friday afternoon the Winder W. C. T. U. met with Miss Ida Kilgore, Mesdames S. T. Ross and G. W. Smith at the home of the latter.

After a short program the business part of the meeting was in order.

The union is doing a good work in Winder and Barrow county.  Literature is being placed in each school throughout the county for the benefit of the children.

With its many works, the union has not forgotten the soldier boys who have gone from Barrow county.  A comfort kit has been given to each one and a goodly number is ready for the colored men who will be called soon — about 100 in number.

Many bandages have been made by the union for the army and navy.


First Barrow Court


Only County in Georgia Named for a Living Man Judicially Began Career Yesterday at Winder When Judge Brand’s Gavel Fell

The Banner, 26 Mar 1915, p. 4


“Barrow” county, which has the distinction of being the only county in the state of Georgia and one of the few in the United States to be named for a living man (Chancellor David Crenshaw Barrow of the University of Georgia at Athens) began its official history today when Sheriff Otis Camp cried: “O yez! Oyez; the first superior court of Barrow county is now in session; God save the State and the Honorable Court!”

The gavel of Judge Brand of Athens, Western circuit, to which the new county has been added, fell amid a hum and murmur of voices and the work began on the first term of court in Winder.

Held in Opera House.

The old Opera House has been leased for a few years by the county authorities and re-arranged and remodeled to meet the requirements of the court in very convenient manner.

From 1200 to 1500 were packed in the auditorium – a large number of ladies being present. People from the town were there in large numbers; representative citizens from every one of the twelve new and old militia districts and nearly a dozen nearby counties were represented by attorneys and other visitors.

Athens Was Present.

The judge and solicitor of the circuit are both from Athens – Judge Brand and Mr. Gamble. A number of other Athenians of the legal profession were present: Judge West of the city court, Judge Geo C. Thomas, Mr. Howell Erwin, Mr. Wolver M. Smith, Mr. H. M. Rylee, Judge J. J. Strickland, Mr. Roy M. Strickland, Mr Thomas J. Shackelford, and Mr. J. M. Merritt.

A number of other citizens from Athens were present for a part or all of the day.

Chancellor Barrow Present

Judge Brand, as a surprise for the people of the new county and a neat compliment to the man for whom the county is named, had invited Chancellor Barrow, of Athens, to be present and after appropriate introduction requested the chancellor to conduct a brief devotional exercise.

The chancellor read an impressive passage containing the prayer of King Solomon at the dedication of the Temple, making a few appropriate and impressive remarks and lead in an earnest benediction on the organization of the new county.

Others Made Speeches.

During the day there were remarks made, fitting for the historic occasion for the new county, by the local members of the bar, Messrs. L. C. Russell, W. H. Quarterman, and A. G. Johns.

Visiting attorneys from other counties spoke in felicitation upon the auspicious beginning of the county from a judicial standpoint: Mr. Orrin Roberts, of Monroe, speaking for Walton, Mr. J. A. Perry, of Lawrenceville, for Gwinnett, and Judge J. A. B. MaHaffey (recently succeeded to the place of Judge G. A. Johns on the city court bench at Jefferson) for Jackson County – the three counties from which the new county of Barrow was taken; Messrs J. J. Strickland and Roy M. Strickland and Judge H. S. West, of Athens, for Clarke county; and Mr. Percy Middlebrooks, of Madison, for Morgan county.

Judge’s Charge Strong.

Judge Brand made an exceptionally fine charge to the grand jury, of which Mr. H. P. Rainey, a former representative from Jackson county in the legislature, was elected foremen.

Judge Brand, in addition to the things which the law required to be given in general and special charge, took occasion to deliver a forceful lay sermon, impressing on the minds of the people of the new county duty to the state and respect and reverence for law. A better or a more fitting charge could not have been delivered upon such an occasion.

First Case Tried

The first case tried was a divorce case – a verdict being found for the plaintiff. There was quite a pleasant and interesting rivalry among the lawyers as to who should get the first case disposed of on the records. An Athens lawyer, Mr. J. M. Merritt, was the attorney for the plaintiff in the divorce case which received the first attention of a jury in a superior court in Winder.

Clerk Bagwell was directed by resolution to record the proceedings of the day – with some account of the exercises, remarks of the Judge, the Chancellor, and the attorneys who spoke.

The calendar was made out of civil business and the first prisoner to be brought up in the criminal side of the court is one that has been confined for several weeks past in the Clarke county jail at Athens.

Social News

[The following appeared in the Social Items column of The Athens Daily Herald on 19 Feb 1915]

Mrs. J. H. Malcolm of Statham spent the day here[Athens] Thursday.
Mrs. J. L. Williamson and Mrs. S. T. Ross, of Winder, are the guests of Mrs. J. R. Bullock on Prince avenue.
Miss Louise Daniel, who is attending school at Lucy Cobb, has returned from a visit to her parents at Statham.
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel and Miss Ola Daniel will leave next month for Athens where they will make their future home. Winder people regret to lose this excellent family. [originally reported in] Winder News

Winder Murder Case

  • Athens Banner, 26 Nov 1915, p. 1
    Two Little Girls Star Witnesse for State in Winder Murder Case
    Winder, Ga., Nov. 25 ~ With the adjournment of Barrow county superior court yesterday, Judge Brand and Solicitor Gamble, at their posts, a record was made – about ten days’ ordinary business being packed into two and a half days – and the work done well. A day and a half of that time was consumed in the trial of a murder case – that of the State vs. Charles Tanner, accused of the killing of Mark Sells at the Bethlehem church annual celebration last spring.

    The feature of the trial, which resulted in a verdict of guilty and recommendation to life service, was the testimony of two little girls, the star witnesses for the state – Urania Hayes, nine years old and Maggie Oliver, aged thirteen. On their testimony principally the state hung its case – and made it out.

County Line Dispute Settled

  • Athens Banner, 24 Oct 1915, p. 7
    Gwinnett County Wins County Line Dispute With Barrow

    Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 23. ~ The Barrow-Gwinnett county line fight has been decided by Secretary of State Phillip Cook in favor of Gwinnett county, his decision, rendered today, holding that the constitutional amendment creating Barrow county clearly defines the western border line of Barrow county to start at a point where Jackson, Hall and Gwinnett counties meet, and thence run straight down.

    The fight was quite an important one in that section and the following opinion therefore, will be interesting:

    “The above stated case, in which the boundary line between the counties of Gwinnett and Barrow was disputed, was heard on the 22nd of October, 1915, both counties being represented by their attorneys, and evidence and argument heard.

    “The report of the official surveyor, in conjunction with the law and evidence submitted, contains on its face reasons sufficient to cause its rejection. In making this statement I mean no reflection upon the engineer who ran the line. I am impressed with his skill and sincerity and the deep study he made in an effort to run a line in accord with his interpretation of the law. Upon the map he officially filed in this office appear two lines No. 1, which is, in his judgment the proper boundary line, and No. 2, which would be the proper line provided his judgement was at fault. I mention this fact in no spirit of criticism, but to show that the surveyor, at the time of making the survey, must have entertained a doubt as to the correctness of his judgment.

    “In creating the county of Barrow the legislature certainly intended to take a portion of Gwinnett county and place the same into the new county; this portion of Gwinnett is that part which would be effected by a direct line drawn from the corner of Hall, Gwinnett and Jackson counties, in a direct line to the center of the Appalachia river at Freeman’s Mill, and which is shown on his map as line No. 2.

    “The first clause in the act: Beginning at a point amid-stream, where the Mulberry river crosses the Hall county line joining Jackson county, thence following the line between Hall and Jackson counties to the corner of Hall, Gwinnett and Jackson counties,” does not in my opinion effect the territory which is to be taken from Gwinnett, and has nothing to do with the boundary between the contesting counties; but the next clause, but the next clause, from the corner of Hall, Gweinnett and Jackson counties “thence in a direct line to the center of the Appalachia river at Freeman’s Mill is the one which takes territory from Gwinnett and places same into Barrow county. It is, therefore –

    “Ordered: That the map of the survey of the boundary line between the counties of Gwinnett and Barrow, filed in the office July 22nd, 1915, by C. M. Strahan, engineer, be placed of record in this office, and it is further ordered and declared that the line marked Line No. 2 on said map is the true and lawful boundary line between the said two counties.”

    This 23rd day of October, 1915.
    Secretary of State

County Line Dispute

  • Athens Banner, 21 Oct 1915, p. 5
    County Line Dispute Between Gwinnett and Barrow is Warm
    Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 20. – The county line dispute between Gwinnett and Barrow, over which a contest is to be heard by Secretary of State Phil Cook Friday, may eventually go into the courts, and likely will have to go back to the legislature to be straightened out by amendment. Under the law there is no appeal from the finding of the secretary of state, when he fixes a disputed county line, but this one appears to be rather complicated by the act defining the line of the new county of Barrow. Under the strict construction of the wording of the act creating the new county, the line defined in the act, and it is highly confusing in its wording, is a considerable distance east of the point where the people of the new county have sought to locate it. The Gwinnett county people hold that the act did not intend for the line to be run as far over into their territory as is claimed by the new county, and in that contention there is a territory of 6,030 acres involved.

    When the argument first came up, a petition was presented to Governor Slaton to have an engineer run the line, under the act, and C. M. Strahan, engineer, of the University of Georgia, was assigned to that work. He has made a map and a report, in which he shows his own doubt of just what the act really means, by establishing two lines, one an arbitrary line under a construction which he puts on the constitutional amendment, and another which would be the line under a strict construction of the amendment as it is confusingly worded. His arbitrary line gives Barrow the large slice of disputed territory. In his report on the contention, Mr. Strahan says: “Recognizing the possibility of two interpretations of the constitutional amendment creating Barrow county, and being required by law to report a definite line, I have surveyed and marked line No. 1 (which is his arbitrary line) shown hereon as in my judgment the dividing line called for by the said constitutional amendment, between the counties of Gwinnett and Barrow.”

    This line the Barrow county contingent is declaring should be the established line, but on the same map Mr. Strahan makes another report in which he says: “This line would be the line between Gwinnett and Barrow counties if it be held that the first clause of the description in the constitutional amendment is so seriously in conflict with existing facts as to have no meaning whatever, and that it is incompetent to give the words a meaning in the light of other official records and other relevant testimony as to intent.”

    This is the line Gwinnett county contends is the proper one, and they hold that the surveying engineer has no right to attempt to construe the meaning of the act or intent of the legislation but it is merely his duty to have a run a line strictly under the description of the act.

    In the hearing to be held Friday it will devolve upon the secretary of state to say what the wording of the act of the legislature means as it was passed, and on that basis to define the course of the dividing line. Once that decision is rendered the only change will be by legislative amendment to the act, though the case could be gotten into the courts by some property owner refusing to pay taxes in one county or the other and action be brought to force payment contrary to his position, in which case the court would have then to pass on the county line as defined in the act.