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Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 64
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

   Did you know that the Norman Institute was once a football giant in the early 1900s!

   Norman Institute began its football history on November 1 1909.

   The local college beat Douglas, 20-0, which started a reputation of Norman Institute as a football powerhouse in the early years of the school.

   A report of that first game said Norman Institute failed rarely to make 10 yards in beating Douglas and for frequent penalties would have run the score higher.

   The lineup for the first game included Broad Bradford, Wall James, Dupree Austis Nesmith, P.J. Jones, W. Foxworth and Holloway Fletcher. 

   In the following years, great rivalries developed between Norman and Tifton (now ABAC).  Other teams Norman Institute played were Douglas, Columbia of Lake City, Florida, Waycross, Mercer’s “B” team and the University of Florida’s second team.

   In 1912, Norman Institute had one of its best teams to finish with a 5-1-1 record and set a school scoring record.  The local college set the record by beating Cyrene Institute, 72-6.  Other scores that year included an 18-6 victory over Columbia and one which seems hard to believe or imagine – a 1-1 tie with Douglas.

   The Norman Institute team finished the season with a 28-0 victory over the Tifton Aggies.

  Moultrie got a direct “copper wire” long distance telephone line in the latter part of 1905 when the Bell system stretched a new line from Thomasville to Tifton via Moultrie.

   Until that time, galvanized wire had been used.  The copper was said to “improve the long distance service considerably.”

   Moultrie’s first motorized fire-fighting unit was purchased in 1911 and a new brick station was built on First Avenue Northwest, just behind the then-Carnegie Library on the corner of Main Street and First Avenue.  The building later served as headquarters for the County Health Department, but it was torn down in 1966 and the land now is a parking lot for an attorney’s office. 

   One of Colquitt County’s early citizens died May 14, 1902.

   James Barrow, termed one of the “county’s oldest landmarks,” died at the age of 82.

   An obituary notice called him “one of the oldest and foremost men” of his day and said he “served his county and country as soldier, citizen and patriot.”
   Mr. Barrow is buried in Big Creek Cemetery.  (Where is this?)

   An Atlanta agricultural writer once envisioned Colquitt County as a principal producer of silk.

   The write in 1900 told of General Oglethorpe, before the Revolutionary War, bringing a colony of silk weavers to Georgia, locating them in what was later Emanuel County.  They planted mulberry trees, raised silk worms and spun the silk into robes for royalty.

   With evidence of “what can be done in Georgia,” the agricultural writer said conditions are “ripe for the silk business in the state.”  He said he had found Colquitt County “especially adapted for the culture of mulberries, culture of silkworms and the spinning and weaving of silk.” 

   “Cotton mills are bound to be located near the fields, he continued.  “Silk mills would make a proper adjustment.”

   For some years in the earlier history of Moultrie, citizens had a habit of shooting in the air when trying to summon help – especially in cases of fire.

   In late July the city of Moultrie passed an ordinance prohibiting “promiscuous shooting” and staged that anyone doing so would be “considered disorderly.”

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