Thursday, January 25, 2007

Noted country doctor Dr. William H. Rogers

Union County citizens of a past generation owe a debt of gratitude to exemplary country doctors like Dr. Herbert Monroe Edge (subject of last week's column) and Dr. William H. Rogers, each of whom practiced for over fifty years among the country people they loved.

William H. Rogers was born July 27, 1872 in Union County, just seven years after the end of the Civil War. He was educated in one-room schools in the county. Having a desire to become a doctor, he entered and graduated from Southern Medical College in Atlanta and from Emory University School of Medicine. While he was still in medical school, he married the love of his life, Frances Iowa Reid, a Union County girl.

To this couple were born nine children, six sons and three daughters: Bessie, George Reid, Roy, Franklin Randall, Andy Ralph, Lucille, Rain, Nora Lee, and W. H. The Rogers family lived in the Young Cane District of Union County.

Dr. Rogers' long years of service to his home county brought memorable rewards, none of which he sought but which he received by virtue of his unselfish work. He received Presidential Citations for his service to the war efforts during both World War I and World War II. The American Medical Association recognized Dr. Rogers for fifty years of outstanding service.

He saw the need of his own people in Union County for better medical service, and returned to his home county where he practiced for over fifty years. With his medical bag and compassionate personality, he went to country homes to deliver hundreds of babies and to give treatment and medications to young and old. He rode miles on his horse, and then after the advent of the automobile, he bumped along dusty and muddy country roads to meet the demands of a full and burgeoning practice.

Dr. Rogers died February 23, 1959 and was laid to rest in the Confidence United Methodist Church Cemetery in Lower Young Cane. His beloved wife, Frances Iowa Reid Rogers (born December 13, 1877) had preceded her husband in death on September 27, 1958.

The Rev. Claude Patterson gave the eulogy at Dr. Rogers' funeral. He related how Dr. Rogers had a moving religious experience when he was a lad, and often gave public testimony to his love for Christ and the Lord's leadership in his life.

"He was indeed one of us," the Rev. Patterson said. "He could rightly be called 'The Missionary Doctor' for he was a missionary to many of us. The weather was never too bad, the night never too dark, to deter his errands of mercy. The family was never too poor for him to minister to them. The roads were never so rough that he didn't manage somehow to get to his patient. Many times he [went] to his sick neighbor when his own body was racked with pain, or [he] was near exhaustion from long hours in the saddle or at the wheel of his little automobile. He lived a sacrificial life."

The eulogy praised him as 'The Good Samaritan' who bound up physical wounds and ministered to spiritual needs as well.

Several descendants of this good doctor still live in Union County. And, beyond that, many of the babies at whose birth he was the attending physician can be thankful that they got a good start in life from this country doctor's ministrations.

[Sources used for this article: Sketches of Union County History, Volume 2, pages 95- 96. The Heritage of Union County, page 278.]

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 25, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Respected mountain doctor, Herbert Monroe Edge

Dr. Herbert Monroe Edge (1892-1974) was a respected mountain doctor whose care for many people throughout Union County was memorable.

I remember Dr. Edge as a kindly man who attended my mother in the last period of her life. Making house calls was still in vogue in the years when he practiced. If he was at our house near mealtime, my father always invited him to eat with us. I can remember that I, as a "child cook," would feel that our country fare, and especially my inept cooking, would not be good enough for this noted man, our family doctor. But after he prayed the blessing, he always ate with relish and appreciation whatever we served him from our garden and farm.

I was often beset with sore throats (needing a tonsillectomy which I had several years later). My father would instruct me to get off the school bus at Dr. Edge's house and have him "paint" my throat with iodine, a procedure I dreaded with a passion. But with that treatment, and other medications Dr. Edge would administer, I would walk the distance to the high school from his house and my sore throat would be bearable. Dad would, in turn, stop later to pay Dr. Edge for my doctor's visit. It was just such a trusting relationship that Dr. Edge had with his patients and their families.

Dr. Edge was not born in Union County, but he had Union County ties. He was born in Lake City, Fla., September 21, 1892. His father was John B. Edge and his mother was Laura Ann Owenby Edge. John Edge was a businessman, operating a large store in Lake City. He also had business interests in Blairsville. It was at Ivy Log that John Edge met his second wife, Laura Ann Owenby. John Edge's first wife had died, leaving him with seven small children. When he married Laura Ann, she assumed the care of her husband's older children, five boys and two girls. John and Laura Ann had six children, Herbert Monroe (1892), Belle, Ethel, Johnnie (a girl), Mae, and Homer.

When Herbert Monroe was 6, the family moved to Union County, Ga., and settled at the Owenby farm in Ivy Log. Herbert Edge's first education was in the country school near Ivy Log Creek where he finished the fifth grade and then dropped out to help on the farm.

At age 20, Herbert Monroe Edge had the strong impression that there was more he should do in life than walk behind a plow. He enrolled in Blairsville Academy where he was the oldest student. He was willing to take the jibes his fellow students gave him at being so old and back in school. He graduated from Young Harris College and entered Emory University to study medicine. On June 7, 1921, he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He was then 29 years of age, not so old considering how many years he had been out of school and how much he had gained, educationally, in the past nine years.

Dr. Edge did his internship at Knoxville General Hospital, Knoxville, Tenn. There he met registered nurse Chloe Philmon, but she went a different way, to Denver, Colo. She married John Arrowood, and their son, John Arrowood Jr. was born. Then John, Sr. died in 1927. Dr. Edge and Nurse Chloe Philmon Arrowood were reunited and married. Dr. Edge reared her young son as his own, but never changed his name or adopted him.

Dr. Edge's medical career spanned over 50 years. He was a compassionate doctor and held the care of his patients as a sacred trust. He attended the birth of babies and stood beside a bed when a patient was near death. From 1936 through his death in 1974, he was a loving doctor to Blairsville and Union County, going when he was called to the humblest homes.

When Dr. Edge died May 31, 1974, he was laid to rest at Antioch Cemetery in Union County, near the graves of his parents, John B. and Laura Ann Owenby Edge, and his sister Mae who had died of typhoid in 1905 at age 20.

Dr. Edge enjoyed collecting antique clocks and had them scattered throughout his house. I can remember admiring some of them as I stopped by his office to get help for my ailing sore throat when I was a teenager. Much time has passed since those days in the 1940s when he cared for my sick mother and when the clocks ticked and chimed from rooms near his office in his home on Pruitt Circle. Time has moved into another dimension since then, and the days of the doctor making house calls has passed.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 18, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Going home A tribute to Virginia Parks Souther

Lt. Col. John Paul Souther (1915-2006) and Virginia Parks Souther (1919-2007)

On August 24, 2006 this paper published my column entitled "Going Home - A Tribute to John Paul Souther (1915-2006)”. Lt. Colonel (Retired) Souther entitled Chapter 11 in his memorable book, War Not Forgotten, "Going Home." As he returned from rigorous service in World War II in the North African and Italian Campaigns, he was finally "going home" to see his wife, Virginia Parks Souther and his thirty-month old son, Billy, whom he had not seen before.

Then on Friday, August 18, 2006, Lt. Colonel Souther had his final "Going Home" as he crossed quietly into the Great Beyond after several months of illness.

On Wednesday, January 3, 2007 my telephone rang. The call was from Lynn Souther Godshall, daughter of Lt. Souther and Virginia Parks Souther.

I heard the tears in Lynn's voice as she said, "Ethelene, Mamma died yesterday" (Tuesday, January 2, 2007). I could hardly believe Lynn's report. I had a strong impression to telephone Virginia on Tuesday. When I told Lynn, she said, "But it would have been too late!"

Virginia's grandson Mark went to tell her a final goodbye before leaving for Cincinnati after being home for the holidays, and he could not get her to the door. Going inside, Mark Souther and his wife, Stacy Sue, found Virginia Souther as though she were peacefully asleep on her bed--no apparent struggle, just a "gentle passing on." Four and one-half months before, Virginia's beloved husband had "passed quietly" about 3:00 a. m. on August 18. He had been extremely ill and his death was expected. Virginia, however, had enjoyed this past Christmas and New Year's with her family. She was tired, of course, after a long period of care-giving for her beloved "Bill" (John Paul). But none in her family expected her death so soon after her husband's.

I thought about this gentle, genteel lady. She always had a smile and kind words for everyone she met. She and John Paul had sixty-five years of a very strong marriage before his death. I could imagine that, even though she was bravely "carrying on" following his demise, enjoying family and friends, she still longed to be "going home" to join John Paul in that "place prepared" for the blessed. She had told me how much she missed him and how lonely her life was without him.

The lines of William Cullen Bryant's poem, "Thanatopsis" ran through my mind as I thought of her sudden and unexpected death:

So live that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him and lies down to pleasant dreams.
Lt. Colonel Souther left his mark as one of "The Greatest Generation," a brave and much-decorated participant in World War II. But on the home front, his beloved wife, Virginia Parks Souther, was making her own mark, as she continued to do through the sixty-five years of their marriage.

I love the romantic story of how this young couple met. On June 23, 1938, John Paul Souther and some fellow forestry students from the University of Georgia were at a forestry camp near Lake Burton at Clayton, Georgia. They had a few hours free from camp duty, and went fishing at the lake. John Paul got his first glimpse of Virginia Parks who was with her uncle, aunt and cousin from Gainesville, looking for an available place on the lake to build a cabin. Even though Virginia and her cousin Elizabeth Parks had their boyfriends along on that trip to Lake Burton, that did not deter John Paul from determining to get in touch with "the vivacious young girl Virginia" whom he saw for the first time that day. Learning where she lived, the young forester penned a letter to her that night, addressing it just with her name and Gainesville, Georgia. In those days before zip codes and exact addresses were required, the letter reached Virginia in Gainesville at the home of her parents, Roy Webb Parks and Edith Garrett Parks because they were well-known Gainesville residents and Virginia was their only daughter. With that letter, their courtship began. Virginia transferred from Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville to the University of Georgia. That way, the young couple could "court" without so much distance separating them.

She continued college, earning a bachelor of science in home economics in 1941 with honors. While she studied there, and during John Paul's senior year (he graduated with a degree in forestry in May, 1940), Virginia lived in Soule Hall, a part of the Home Economics Department. The house mother, Mrs. Myers, "took a liking" to John Paul Souther, and allowed him to come and eat the "goodies" the home economics students had cooked that day. Mrs. Myers also allowed him and Virginia to use the parlor for dates. He writes in his book, Between the Blood and the Bald, (2000, p. 124): "I cannot imagine anyone enjoying college more than I in his senior year."

Virginia Parks and John Paul Souther were married June 8, 1941 in Gainesville in what the groom termed "a quiet home wedding…on a hot Sunday afternoon." They spent their first months of marriage at Ft. Knox, KY, where he was stationed in the army.

After maneuvers in Louisiana and a period of intensive war preparation at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, Lt. Souther was shipped out to Europe on May 11, 1942 on the Queen Mary with his 1st Armored Division.

Virginia returned to her parents' home in Gainesville to wait and pray for thirty-seven months for the return of her husband. On December 7, 1942, their first child, William Parks Souther (Billy) was born in Gainesville. Because Virginia often showed their son pictures of his father, when Lt. Col. Souther returned from war on June 10, 1945, his little son ran to him with his arms outstretched, saying "Hello, Daddy!" That first meeting of father and son happened in a happy way because the child's mother had prepared him well for his first meeting with his dad.

Virginia Parks Souther was an exemplary military wife and civilian wife of a returning hero. In addition to being wife and mother (the couple's second child, Virginia Lynn, was born August 6, 1946), she was a career woman. She served in the Hall County Department of Family and Children's Services as a caseworker and as director. She was actively involved in community service through the Garden Club, Tallulah Falls School Study Club, Gainesville Federated Music Club, the Northeast Georgia History Center, and the Northeast Georgia Medical Auxiliary. She and her husband were active members of Gainesville First United Methodist Church.

Virginia Parks Souther supported her husband in his work and in his community service. If he had a project going, like getting the bust of Georgia Washington erected in Gainesville (December 14, 1999) in the bicentennial year of Washington's death, or having a permanent marker placed at the grave of Revolutionary War ancestor John Henry Stonecypher, Jr. at Estanollee, GA, or going with him on booksigning and speaking engagements to promote his two books, War Not Forgotten (1995) and Between the Blood and the Bald (2000), or placing an historical marker at the site of the Old Souther Mill, Choestoe, Virginia Parks Souther was ever the thoughtful, polite, sweet supporter and helpmeet of this man born in Choestoe, Union County, Georgia on May 4, 1915 to Jeptha and Mintie Dyer Souther. And although she was a "city" girl, born and bred in Gainesville (b. December 19, 1919), far from the mountains and valleys where John Paul grew up, she always enjoyed visiting in the mountains with him.

In her quiet and unassuming way, she endeared herself to family and friends.

At the Dyer-Souther Heritage Association July 21, 2007, we will pay tribute to these two staunch genealogical supporters, as well as several others, whose "going home" since our last reunion have left us with many precious memories but with feelings of loss and vacancy because we will miss their physical presence with us.
Virginia Parks Souther, in life, was one who lived exemplarily; and in death, one who "wrapped the drapery of (her) couch/About (her), and lay down to pleasant dreams."

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 11, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Paying Tribute to Gerald Rudolph Ford

This week America has focused on the life, times, contributions and death of the thirty-eighth president of the United States, born July 14, 1913, died December 26, 2006, who served in the nation’s highest office from August 14, 1974 through January 20, 1977 when he was succeeded by Jimmy Carter.

Never elected to be either vice-president or president, Gerald R. Ford has sometimes been referred to as the “accidental” president.

Some highlights in Ford’s life reveal the possibilities for persons in America who come from ordinary circumstances to rise to the nation’s highest office. In America, land of opportunity, class and privilege are not prerequisites for greatness.

In his eulogy, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger stated that Ford was “a good man, whose word was solid, whose politics were principled, and whose heart was devoid of lust for power. In his understated way, he did his duty as a leader, not as a performer playing to the gallery. Gerald Ford had the virtues of small-town America: sincerity, serenity and integrity.” (from Kissinger eulogy).

Gerald Rudolph Ford was born in Nebraska July 14, 1913. As an infant, his name was Leslie Lynch King. His father was Leslie Lynch King, Sr., a wool trader, and his mother was Dorothy Ayer Gardner King. When the baby was only sixteen days old, his parents separated, divorcing in December of that year. The separation, according to James M. Cannon, executive director of the Domestic Council during the Ford administration, cited domestic violence as Mrs. King’s reason for leaving her first husband and moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan to live near her parents. She feared for her life and that of her child in an abusive relationship where alcohol had a part in King’s rages.

On February 1, 1916, Dorothy King married Gerald Rudolff Ford in Grand Rapids. He was president of a paint and varnish company. She began calling her son Gerald Rudolff King, Jr., although records show he was never formally adopted by his step-father. Ford himself legally changed his name on December 3, 1935 and adopted a more traditional spelling of his middle name (Rudolph). Ford did not know about his parentage until he was seventeen and his mother and stepfather told him. He grew up with three half-brothers from his mother’s second marriage to Ford. Ford paid homage to his step-father, stating that he was a “magnificent person,” and that his mother was “equally wonderful.” He enjoyed a home life that provided a “superb family upbringing.”

The same year he found out that he was not Gerald Rudolff Ford’s son, he met his natural father, Leslie Lynch King, Sr. King, whom the young Ford described as a “carefree, well to do man” met Ford in a Grand Rapids restaurant where Ford was a waiter. Ford had three half-siblings from his birth father’s second marriage. He and King kept in contact irregularly until his birth father died.

As a boy Gerald R. Ford, Jr. was a member of the Boy Scouts of America. He reached the highest achievement, that of Eagle Scout. To date, he was the only American President achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. In May, 1970, the BSA awarded him the “Distinguished Eagle Scout Award” and the Silver Buffalo Award. Ford often referred to these two awards as his “proudest” accomplishments.

The Fords were not wealthy people. Early on, the young Ford worked at various jobs such as mowing lawns and working in restaurants. In high school, he was highly athletic and was on the football, track and basketball teams. He received a scholarship to the University of Michigan, but supplemented the scholarship by working in the hospital cafeteria and doing janitorial jobs. He played center and linebacker on the University of Michigan’s football team, and during his senior year was named the team’s “Most Valuable Player.” His prowess as a football star is recounted in several biographies about him. He had offers from both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers to play professional football, but kept his aims focused, instead, on his goals. He graduated in June, 1935 from the University of Michigan with majors in economics and political science.

He wanted to go to Yale University but did not have the money or a scholarship to attend. He accepted a job as an assistant football coach there, and in whatever time he had from his job, he pursued his studies in law. While at Yale, he joined an active group on campus called “America First.” This group advocated neutrality and did not want America to get involved in World War II. Ford graduated from Yale Law School in 1941. Shortly thereafter he passed the Michigan Bar and opened his first law practice with his friend, Philip Buchen, who would later serve as Ford’s White House counsel.

He joined the U. S. Naval Reserves on April 13, 1942 and was commissioned an ensign. Five days later, he reported for active duty at Annapolis, Maryland. At first he was an instructor, teaching seamanship, ordnance, gunner, first aid and military drill. He coached in nine sports.

For one year he served at the Preflight School where he was promoted to Lieutenant. Applying for active sea duty, he was assigned to the new aircraft carrier USS Monterey. His naval record was marked with bravery and distinction. He received numerous medals for his service in the Pacific Theater of War. At the time of his honorable discharge, he held the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was mustered out on June 23, 1946. He remained in the Naval Reserves until June 28, 1963.

Ford took two major steps in 1948. On October 15, 1948, he married Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren, a department store fashion consultant. They were married at Grace Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids. The couple had four children: Michael Gerald (1950) known as “Biff”; John Gardner (1952) known as “Jack”; Stephen Meigs (1956) known as “Skip”; and Susan Elizabeth (1957). On November 2, 1948, he was elected for his first term to the House of Representatives. In the first and his twelve subsequent elections as representative from Michigan, Ford maintained over 60% of the vote. He held the House seat for twenty-four years and became the House Minority leader in 1965. He aspired to be the Speaker of the House, but another political turn was in the wings for him.

On December 6, 1973, he was affirmed as the nation’s 40th vice-president after President Richard Nixon appointed him to fill the unexpired term of Spiro Agnew who resigned after “no contest” charges of income tax evasion and taking bribes. Terms of the twenty-fifth amendment to the US Constitution formed the basis of Nixon’s appointing Ford as vice-president. The appointment was confirmed by a vote of the House and Senate.

The Watergate Scandal brought on the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Vice-president Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. was sworn in as the 38th president of the US on August 9, 1974. In US history, he is the first president not to be elected either president or vice-president.

In September, 1974, President Ford pardoned former President Nixon for any “crimes he committed or may have committed” while in office. Many opposed the pardon and saw that as Ford’s downfall to winning the presidential election of November, 1976 against Jimmy Carter.
Ford came to the presidency in a troubled time. The Watergate scandal was front and center.

The Vietnam War was drawing to a close, but not in victory for the United States and its allies. Human rights and civil rights were hot issues. Nuclear test bans and the “Cold War” were raw problems. The Helsinki Accords to recognize existing lines between Eastern European nations and East and West Germany were signed August 1, 1975.

During his short tenure as president from August 9, 1974 through January 20, 1977 he served unpretentiously. His goal was to restore a measure of trust to government after the debacle of Watergate. The National Day of Mourning on Tuesday, January 2, 2007, helped us to view and review the life of a “common man” lived uncommonly.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 4, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.