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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 4
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

Our beautiful countryside was once thought good only for sheep grazing.

In The Moultrie Observer of May 20, 1911, the late R. E. Cheshire, who was reared in Colquitt County and later moved to Lakeland, Florida, returned for a visit and had this to say about the comparison of Colquitt County in the 1880s and 31 years later.

"I have just returned from a trip that took me through the western part of Colquitt County where I was principally reared - my father moving there about 31 years ago (which, at this time, would make it 1880). The then stately pine trees that almost darkened the ground have been cut away and have given place to some of the best farms to be found in the South."

"Thirty years ago the people thought that this county was only good for grazing the vast herds of sheep and cattle that roamed the woods and never dreamed of the wonderful resources that lay beneath the grass."

"Anyone who has not traveled this territory for the past two years will sometimes ask himself this question, "Where am I?" as the clearing and improvement of land during these two years have been something like one hundred percent. Figuring this rate of increase for the next two years, there will be nothing but lanes and fields."

"The farmers are taking every possible advantage and are doing away with old fashioned methods. They have equipped themselves with all of the latest improved labor saving machinery and as soon as Mr. Harrell gets a sufficient number of stumping machines in the hands of farmers, there will be real farming in Colquitt County."

Mr. Cheshire said he passed "one of the oldest, if not the oldest, settlements in the county, in which lives one of the pioneer citizens of this section. She is Grandma Suber, who if she lives to see the 28th of May will be 83 years old. Mrs. Suber said her father moved to his place when she was 28 years old. (That would have been 1856.) That would be the same year Colquitt was carved from Thomas County.

A huge "gar-fish" was caught which measured 4 and one half feet in length and weighing more than 30 pounds. It was caught by a group of local fishermen in the Little River in May of 1911. It was reported to be one of the largest ever caught in Colquitt County waters. It was hung from a pole in front of the Cash Drug Store in Moultrie and attracted hundreds of spectators during the day.

Did you know that rice has been a Colquitt County crop? As late as 1911, Theo D. Kline of the Ty Ty district planted one bushel of rice which had been sent him by a friend. He threshed his crop in October, obtaining about 100 bushels of rice. He said at the time that the straw for hay "was worth the price of raising the crop" leaving the rice as profit. The late G. W. Newton recalled that rice was planted on a limited scale in the 1870s and 1880s.

A Georgia-Florida Tennis League was organized in July of 1932, electing D. R. Joyce of Thomasville as president. The seven teams in the league were Thomasville, Albany, Quitman, Valdosta, Moultrie, Bainbridge and Tallahassee. Members of the Moultrie team were Duncan Sinclair, Kersey Smith, Selman Johnson, Wiley Belvin, M. P. Brogan, A. V. Johnson, C. W. Isom, Howard Belvin, Lloyd Kennedy and Russell Rogers.

Pistol play was fairly common in Colquitt County in the early 1890s and 1900s - just as it was in other parts of Georgia. Citizens of the area breathed easier in mid-October of 1910 when a new state law went into effect requiring registration of all pistols and making it unlawful to carry a pistol concealed and without a permit. Citizens, beginning in the fall of that year, had been required to register the number, make and serial number to obtain a permit to carry a pistol. Old-timers said that generally, there was less pistol-toting after the law became effective.

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