Thursday, July 23, 2009
Interesting people of the ’30s
By LOIS SWANEE SHIPP
In the 1930s, on Craft Street, the block between Gholson Avenue and Chulahoma Avenue was full of interesting people. On the big southeast corner lot lived Deadrick Smith, who was the first person in town to own a radio and he was a ham operator. He was the only son of Judge and Mrs. Eagleton Smith.
When he was born, his mother (like a lot of us) declared, “One day he will be president of the United States!” He turned out to be a plumber and electrician instead. But he and his cute, piano-, jazz-playing wife produced just one child and she was the belle of Holly Springs and her name was Margaret.
She was so cute-looking and was sweet and smart too. She was the first queen of the Pilgrimage because it was the year of the Centennial, 1936. My brother, Jimmie, was really smitten with her. Judge Smith was very important to the community but he was before my time.
Across the street lived the Brown family and they had two boys and a daughter. Horace married Dorothy Seale, Dr. Seale’s beautiful china-doll daughter and he became a professor at the University of Oklahoma. The other son was William Russell Brown, who became a Texas lawyer. The one daughter, Lucy Matthews, also became a lawyer and she, too, practiced law in Texas.
On the next street corner of Gholson and Craft lived the three Cochran brothers; Vadah, Bin and Clark. They were all so handsome. One day when Vadah was in the seventh grade, he was playing in the backyard with fire and caught on fire. He was burned, but, thankfully, survived to become a teacher.
Vadah was delightfully dramatic and studied drama and art in New York. He became a college professor of art. He married Dr. Sandusky’s daughter, too, who was a doll and she is still one. Bin went to the Naval Academy and was an officer in the war. He was lost at sea for a few days and the town prayed diligently for him. He survived. He moved to Mobile and lived there until he recently died.
Clark lived here. He was very popular, not only through school, but all of his life as he was everybody’s friend. He married beautiful Harriett, another artist for the Cochran family. When all three boys went to war in World War II, they received a wonderful surprise, a baby sister, Rita, who later was fantastic Rita. She, too, lived and still does in Mobile.
Across the street lived the two Buchanan brothers, Jim and George. Their daddy was mayor and later Jim became mayor too. He married wonderful Frances Moore. On the morning of December 7, 1941, Jim was in the war and he was flying into Pearl Harbor. Just as the plane approached Hawaii, the Japanese planes had done their dirty work and were leaving, flying back to Japan. Jim’s plane wasn’t equipped to do any damage to the Japs.
Later, Jim was downed at sea and we prayed him home too, where he later followed in his father’s footsteps and he, too, became mayor. George married lovely Ann Ferris, who in World War II, served as a Red Cross worker. They all lived here and the Buchanan brothers reared their families here, proving Holly Springs is a great place to live.
Carey James Tucker, daughter of Jim and Carey lived in Tuckahoe, now Polk Place, She was an incredible, vivacious and gorgeous Southern belle. After high school, she moved to Memphis. Her mother was a fantastic artist. She was one of the ten children of the Howard girls (another generation back) She had a little antique shop behind Tyson’s Drug Store that was filled with treasures like I ’d never seen before.
On the corner was the Gholson family. He was a doctor, who practiced here but I don’t know where his office was. They, too, had two sons and a daughter. One son was named Don Penick and the daughter was named Mary Caruthers.
Since their daddy was in medicine and very clean, the house smelled like Lysol out to the street. I was never in their house. One of the sons lived in Washington, D.C., for years, but now lives in Texas where he is a fantastic artist. I thought he was going to leave his paintings to us since we’re his hometown.
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