April 2, 2009
Caitlyn Brooks celebrates 12th birthday with afternoon party
Hank Wheeler of Newnan, Ga., spent the weekend with Mary Clay and Gene Brooks and children, Caitlyn and Grady. While here, he also visited with his youngest daughter, Laura Wheeler.
We had an emergency situation Saturday afternoon with Grady. With blood free-flowing and ear piercing screams, Momma and I flew him to Williams Clinic. Richard Wiseman was on call over there. As soon as the doors opened and the receptionist heard the screams, she got us to a room. “Dr. Richard” immediately sent us on to the emergency room at Alliance. Once again, we were swept into a room quickly by the ER staff. Dr. Stallworth was on duty and was more than accommodating. A CAT scan was ordered for our little 7-year-old, which was scary in and of itself. The sweet nursing staff (Jeanie Fant, a sweet younger nurse whose name I did not catch and “Nurse Smoot,” a younger man who could not have had more compassion!) cleaned up his bottom lip and tried to calm him down. Both front teeth went through his lip, chipping a few teeth and definitely gashing open his lip. When he went for the CAT scan, the lady in charge of that was so friendly and patient with Grady. I was extremely impressed by the facilities at Alliance. The new CAT scan is an open one rather than the old fashioned “coffin style.” The technician talked Grady through the process and asked him to sit perfectly still. At the end of it, he got to see the scan on the computer screen, which tickled him to no end.
We all need to be thankful for the emergency services that we have in Holly Springs. For situations that crop up unexpectedly, like our incident with Grady on Saturday, it is comforting to know we do not have to drive to get help! Kudos to Alliance and Williams Clinic for being here for our community!
Saturday, Caitlyn Brooks celebrated her 12th birthday at the Service Station. The party goers enjoyed playing pool, the Wii, shooting geese on the video game and line dancing. They were served Shirley Temples with umbrellas for the girls and army men for the boys. Caitlyn’s dad grilled hotdogs for the group. The double layer cake was adorned with pool balls and the candles were actually sparklers. Susie Murphy was the cake designer. Those who attended were Grady Brooks, Cheyenne Bolden, Wesleyann Ray, Mary Catherine Hutchens, Maura Jane Autry, Lexi Cupp, Anna Summerlin, Hallie Kazemba, Mary Neely Jones, Will Kazemba, Jake Jones, Josh Bonds, Stephen Elgin, Kevin Harris, and Peyton Thomas.
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Notable Holly Springs woman of the past
Sherwood Bonner was born in 1849 here in Holly Springs into a home of refinement and culture. Her parents were Dr. Charles and Mary Wilson Bonner. She inherited from her father a love of books and a sense of humor and from her mother came beauty and charm. In her school years, history, literature and compositions were a delight but she looked askance at the sciences and math - she thought “life is too short for geometry.”
Her first book, “Laura Cavello” was published in the “Boston Ploughman.” Lately, her published books have been surfacing on the Internet. I bought one of her books, “Like Unto Like,” and was astonished when I read it that the tales she wrote about were the same tales I tell today about Holly Springs history. When people ask, “Where did you get your information?” and I reply, “From the museum,” I am telling the truth. I never tell things unless I have found the history in among the myriads of information from long ago that somebody saved for us so that we can pass it down to future generations.
Sherwood’s real name was Katherine Bonner and she lived in the house on Salem called “Cedarhurst.” When she reached her teen years during the Civil War she was sent away to Alabama to finishing school. When she returned her family wanted her to marry Edward McDowell, who was her neighbor who lived in the house with the ballroom (really a big enclosed porch) that burned in 1951. It was on the lot between Montrose and Airliewood.
McDowell had never been real successful in business. After their marriage they moved to Texas where they were like typical newlyweds, they were beginning anew. They had a little daughter, Lillian.
Sherwood didn’t last long in Texas. She parted from her husband, which wasn’t usually done in that day. She left Mr. McDowell and came home. The divorce didn’t come until 1881. She left her baby with her sister and traveled to Boston and went to work for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He taught her to write. She was the first person to write in Southern dialect.
During this period, Sherwood was a free spirit. She learned to smoke cigars, which was unheard of that a woman would smoke, especially cigars! She traveled Europe alone (imagine that!) I wouldn’t want to do that today.
In 1878, the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Holly Springs. Sherwood came home to be with her family. Her father and brother died of the plague. She then lived at home with her child and her sister, but they became destitute. During holiday seasons she visited with relatives in Memphis so she could meet Colonel Colton Greene, the most eligible bachelor in Memphis, but he was too elusive for her.
After this, Sherwood came down with a malignancy. When she realized that she was dying at age 34, (maybe from smoking those cigars) she wrote Colton Greene and asked him to adopt her daughter. Colton Greene did this after Sherwood died. He came down from Memphis and paid off the mortgage on Cedarhurst and sent Lillian, whom they called Lilly, to finishing school in Paris. He willed her his vast treasure lode of paintings, rugs, antiques, houses, and money.
She married Orlando Hammond and they bought a home in New York City. They produced one daughter, Martha, who became an Episcopal nun. Martha willed all of her vast fortune to the Episcopal Church, so Holly Springs missed that fortune long ago.
When Lillian died she was cremated. Orlando brought her ashes in an urn home to Holly Springs. One of the Craft girls had been his sweetheart until he married Lillian.
Chesley Smith said the Craft ladies were watching and waiting for him to come and here he came with Lillian’s ashes slung over his shoulder while he hugged the Misses Craft (I don’t know which one, but neither one ever married when I knew them.)
When Sherwood died in 1883, she left a legacy of being the best known female writer that the 19th century produced.
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