Monday, May 31, 2010

Slideshow: Goodbye Camp Evans ............. Hello Phouc Vinh

When I arrived in Camp Evans it was raining heavily. When I left Camp Evans, it was still raining frequently. Our walk-in theater (right) was the ultimate in modernity. About a 6x16 screen painted white. I helped fill the ammo boxes full of dirt, stacked and nailed them for a protective wall. We were still in tents but were proud of what we had built in between hours of repairing all kinds of equipment. Orders came from above and we moved south with our entire First Cavalry Division.

Our new home: Phouc Vinh. Where are the tents? Do I see real buildings? Looks like they may even have a courthouse. We will see after the next batch of slides are ready. In the meantime, enjoy the sixth segment of my Vietnam slide show. The trees at right are a rubber plantation.

1985 THS Graduates

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May 29, 1985

Did I make this picture, or was somebody else behind the camera. The students were standing under the tall trees of Million Pines, the Fowler Home. After 12 years of practice we had developed a style of the graduates standing in rows with the camera overhead to see the faces. I wonder why the rows were short and so many. Possibly to keep the shade away from the faces. Nevertheless, there was the squinting into the sun, a few dark spots and bright spots. Breeze was blowing. Negative was the best exposure, but the others are printable, too. Only one honor graduate, Ronald Baker. I can't believe this was 25 years ago (2010 now). From your facebook photos, you look just as young as you were then.

Others that week: Band concert, Kindergarten graduates, Al Garner - Coast Guard, and yet another accident at GA 29 & GA 46.

Friday, May 28, 2010

1980 THS Graduation Class

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May 28, 1980

There were 57 graduates. Nobody rounded up the tall ladder, so the stands were used for the birds-eye view, causing the students to squint into the morning sun. There were some sudden breezes. For those students whose tassels were in their faces, be advised that there are two different negatives to choose from.

Others that week: Large group of kids on courthouse steps, TES students, Barron Gillis tennis, Kindergarten graduation, piano recital, band concert, group on the floor of TPS gym, TPS field day, honor graduates, flags downtown for Memorial Day, little twirlers.

1975 THS Graduating Class

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May 28, 1975

There were 66 graduates, and you're welcome to count them. That year Mrs. John P. Smith had arranged for a tall ladder for a birds-eye viewpoint and for the students to face the end zone instead of the morning sun, so they wouldn't be squinting, and for the faces to show more form. (Bet you didn't know what pains we were taking.) I don't remember the upside down Panther sign in the background (cropped out in the blog view).

Others that week: State track championship, a family, Beta officers, Coach Berry, TES students, TES sign, three honor grads, VOT employees and employers, UCWC pageant winners, little twirlers, kindergarten individual photos and group photo, sports awards.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Slideshow: Vietnam - First Cav - Preparation to Move South

Like Noah, we gathered up everybody, packed the wagons, and headed to the ark. Actually some of the C-130's that would transport all of our equipment from Camp Evans to Phouc Vinh. The entire First Cavalry Division, 20,000 strong, moved from I Corps to III Corps. Most of our people went down on troop ships.  I was airlifted as part of the advance detachment. This batch of slides was probably shot in September or early October 1968. The only thing I can remember to date it is that the World Series was playing on the radio at one of my stops. Seems that I went through batallion HQ south of Hue, Da Nang, possibly An Khe and Binh Hoa. 

Click on the slideshow to stop and look at larger images.

Friday, May 21, 2010

1985 Gillis Shot by Gainer

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May 22, 1985

The lifeless body of Johnnie Lee Gillis, Sr., age 42, was removed from the ditch on GA 227 across from the Jim Day residence. J. D. Gainer, Jr., turned himself in after Gillis was shot twice in the head. Sheriff Wayne Hooks said that the shooting happened as a result of a dispute over a girlfriend.

Others that week: 4-H shooting classes, Mulberry Bush opened under new ownership, new batting cage, class party for subscription sellers, sports awards, and an unusual cucumber.

1980 Crime Scene

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May 21, 1980

Eddie Williams found the body of Martha Mitchell, 69, of Dublin, close to this old building near his home in the area referred to as Cedar Grove at the Treutlen-Montgomery line. (The Post Office name was Red Bluff.) Henry Gaston Wesley, Jr. was arrested. He and Mitchell had lived together in a mobile home on Ga. 257 near Dublin. Mitchell was clothed with girdle, panty hose, with blouse and rope tied around her neck. She had received three or four blows to the back the head, allegedly from a piece of TV antenna.

Others that week: Band Concert, farm tour, TPS field day, softball, sports awards.

1975 Country Music Jamboree

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May 21, 1975

Emcee Terry Wright is shown with members of the Peterson Family at the popular jamboree sponsored by the Treutlen Elementary Football League.

Others that week: Sportsman's Club raffle, FBLA & VOT sponsored an Employer-Employee Appreciation Banquet, Tully Barwick, Fishing Rodeo, Boy Scouts, Track, Training Center birthdays.

Bonus Photo

This selection from the Big Snow, February 1973, has been printed and framed in a 11x14 matted size, on display at Soperton Pharmacy.  It's the old Zaidee Store that stood on the southwest corner of the Old Louisville Road.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Camp Evans, Vietnam Slide Show

Our slide show of Camp Evans, Vietnam, continues this week with slides with process date of October 1968, probably made in September right before we moved down to Phuoc Vinh in III Corps.  Conditions were the best ever for Camp Evans with two or three wooden and tin roof buildings, 2x4 frames under the tents, solid bunkers. Work continued everyday with an hour off for religious service Sunday morning. Sometimes we had a dab of wine for Catholic Mass, other times the chaplain was Episcopalian (wine again), and one time it was an Evangelical who doctored his sermons with cussing.

You know you can click on the show anytime to stop it to read the captions and look at other albums.

William A. Ricks

Saturday, May 15, 2010

1985 Sylvester Spivey Entertains Seniors

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May 15, 1985

Before there was a Senior Center on West Louisiana Avenue, the seniors met at the Soperton Community House. Sylvester Spivey played music on the Harmonica and Guitar. Everybody hated to leave the air conditioning, but they did it anyway for the pictures. Faye Eller was director.

Others that week: Headstart's first graduation class, Lea Hall's Twirlers, TPS program, Donnie Cammack presented awards to Donald Nobles and Darryl Harden for finding and reporting a fire in Soperton, Senior Play, James and Sammy Miller caught a 6.5 pound bass at the Sterling-Tharpe-Peterson millpond.

1980 Plaiting the May Pole

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May 14, 1980

May Day activities always included plaiting a May Pole 30 or 40 years previously, but it unusual in 1980. Mrs. Lillian Smith and Miss Runell Smith coached the TES third graders, and they did it perfectly. That would be the THS class of 1989. Do you remember this event? Do you recognize any of the students? Let's have your comments.

Others that week: A Y-shaped fish bait, DFCS honored foster mothers, Welcome Center, annual fishing rodeo, Primary kids, Mistake Pageant (won by Sammy Young), Beta Sigma Phi new officers led by the sisters Robbie and Terri, TES students of the month, livestock judging, Pinevista dedicated to Mrs. Mary Spikes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

1975 Soperton UMC Parking Lot

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May 14, 1975

Does anybody remember the Rowe House that stood on the corner of South First Street and West Alabama Avenue? Seems that it may have been a two-story. Your comments will be appreciated. The property was acquired by the Soperton United Methodist Church and was turned into a paved parking lot. In 2010 First Street is now MLK Drive.

Others that week: Track, TPS field day, tilling, Cub Scouts and Webelos, DOT paving on College Street near TES, new signs for Soperton done by Kenton Gillis.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Million Pines Souvenir Book #7 Is Now On-Line

In 1973 when Mayor ProTem Jack Pournelle created the Million Pines Festival, a souvenir booklet was printed and sold for 50 cents per copy. The book was a project of J. Clayton Stephens, Jr., James T. Windsor, and William A. (Bill Ricks).
A different book was published each year for over 10 years. The 7th book in 1979 was devoted to the schools of Treutlen County. The content was mainly pictures.

The prints created for the book were donated to the J. Clayton Stephens Museum of Local History at the Fowler-Lawton House on South Second Street, diagonally from the Courthouse.

We are fortunate that a number of the educators and/or their children survive today, living in Treutlen County.

Mrs. Hayes Lawton - daughter of Mrs. James Fowler (second county supt.)

Mrs. Laurianne Pullen - niece of Mrs. Louise C. Thigpen (only person serving as teacher, superintendent, and chairman of the board of education. Mrs. Pullen's mother, Mrs. Laura Hall, was a teacher.

Mr. William J. (Will) Peterson, still active at age 90, who served on the board of education from 1966 to 1978. He, Superintendent Bobby Driggers, and Principal Augustus McArthur were responsible for the peaceful integration of Treutlen Schools, probably the most important event in school history.

In reviewing the book, it is obvious that only one black face appears, that of BOE member Timothy Spikes. This book was provided to a local committee which is working to publish the first history book of Treutlen County.  We can be grateful that Mr. Franklin McArthur, Mr. Mac's son, has donated pictures and other items to the County Library's Local History Room. 

I'm age 66, and I attended the Soperton school from 1950 to 1961. I remember the hookworm tests, small pox vaccinations, Salk and Sabin vaccines for polio. State-paid textbooks were a new thing. I remember the black school buildings - remnants from the CCC camp near Fairground Circle, foundations still exist. The black school looked similar to the pictures of Rosemont School. The WPA built brick buildings at the white school (today's primary school). We have come a long way.

Bill Ricks, September 6, 2009 - Posted on blog May 13, 2020

Technical information on the scanned files
Original book printed 2-page up and trimmed. Scanned each page at 600 dpi, photo setting. Cropped at 600 dpi 7"x11" to fit 8.5"x11" standard sheet of paper for each page. - Reduced to 90 dpi for blog and picasa album.
The map (pages 20-21) is a much larger file 1200 dpi cropped to 17"x13"

I hope the files will work for printing or power-point. In viewing them, I used the zoom tool to make the picture clearer, to avoid the moire pattern. It comes from the halftone picture dots scanned in dots per inch (dpi).

Look for all pages of Souvenir Book 7 at:

William A. Ricks

Monday, May 10, 2010

1985 Courthouse Roses

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May 8, 1985

The Soperton Garden Club has worked hard over the years to enhance the beauty of Soperton and Treutlen County. The members were responsible for bringing the Magnolia trees from the Oconee River and planting them at the Courthouse in the first years of the club's existence. In more recent years they planted the Bradford Pear trees on the southeast lawn. In this view, the ladies gathered to check on the bulbs and flourishing roses. Wonder how many of our young blog readers can identify the ladies?

Others that week: UCWC Pageant, 4-H Cloverleaf members at Camp Chatham, Mitchell Joiner and Barry Driggers with a string of fish, Training Center clients head for Nashville, Laura Thompson with a small broom promotes the Lions Club broom sale.

1980 MOD Superwalk

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May 7, 1980

A well promoted March of Dimes Superwalk raised over $4,000. The City Police led the walkers from Farmers Furniture to downtown and out the Dublin Road. The crowd was widely dispersed as the walk ended.

Others that week: Nurses Week, softball, Nursing Home, Beta Sigma Phi at Sweat's, Laurianne Pullen won a bicycle from Woolworths for a client, Bo Whaley, TPS kids, B&PW officers, Soperton Clean-Up, Jenny Smith with a little broom promoting the Lions Club broom sale, and a rabbit half-swallowed by a rattlesnake, found by Bob Braddy near Tarrytown. He killed it by punching a sharp stick through its head.

1975 THS FHA Officers

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May 7, 1975

One of Mrs. Mullis's FHA officers was missing from the picture. How many of the 11 can you name. Please express your answers as a comment.

Others that week: Gene Bowers and the County Commissioners proclaimed Soil and Water Conservation Week, TPS program,, TES 5th graders studied Alaska, FBLA visited Fort Stewart.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pray for Lessons of Childhood

Most of the people at the Soperton observance of the National Day of Prayer offered personal prayers. All of them were earnest and sincere and came in good variety. It seemed that everybody there was Christian. 

As I listened, I began to consider the reference of America being a Christian nation. From the downtown gazebo I could look straight to the Ricks house and the funeral home next door, and I can remember when the Estroffs were my neighbors.

Hardly anyone in the prayer group had a reason to know the Estroffs and all they meant to Soperton and America. Some may identify the name with Vidalia's most successful clothing store. That family was close kin to the Soperton Estroffs. 

A. Estroff was one of Soperton's early merchants. The Historical Society has a picture of his half-block of stores on Railroad Avenue in spitting distance of the gazebo. He was into clothing and hardware. Along about 1920 the Bank of Soperton sponsored a small collection of large pictures, one of which was of new farm implements arriving at A. Estroff's Soperton Hardware (now the Crow Mart building). The Estroff Department Store was right next door (the Southern Belles Florist). The office was at back on a second level over-looking the customers and merchandise. 

A. Estroff immigrated to America from Russia. People said that he spoke English with a strong accent. He used his newspaper ads to praise America and to warn of the dangers of European despots like Hitler. He was decent, honest, and honorable, as was his entire family.

The family home stood on Georgia Avenue facing the Pullen house. At some point, before my time, the house burned and the new home (now Sammons Funeral Home) was built. 

Mr. and Mrs. Estroff died together in a car wreck. Their son, Bill, and wife Faygie, had four children, and you may find their names on street signs between Wommack Avenue and the Adrian Road: Norman, Glenn, Sarabel. Oops, no Abram.  But the youngest son does have a street, but with no sign. It's the dirt lane along the railroad that splits off Wommack Avenue.  The houses on the lane have Wommack Avenue addresses, but they are really on Abram Lane.


The Estroff children grew up Jewish.
My siblings and I grew up Christian.

The Rickses went to the Soperton Baptist Church on Sunday.
The Estroffs went out of town to Synagogue on Saturday.

As individual families, the Estroffs and Rickses had some wide cultural differences. But the key thing... the important thing is....


Many years ago I saw Norman at the family business in Orlando, FL.  I last saw Sarabel at their father's funeral in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah. Abram still stops by in Soperton when business takes him this way. Mr. Bill attended the Million Pines Festival for many years. When he gave the keynote address at the 50th anniversary of the Soperton Lions Club he expressed his undying love of his community and club. Nellie Fuqua was a dearly loved member of the Estroff family, and she helped us Ricks children to grow up decent.


When we become like little children and we play together we learn Godly love. We can discuss politics, religion or whatever, but I don't do it with the Estroffs or any other person who I played with as a child. 

I believe in Jesus. I believe He is the Way. But I know in my heart that God created freedom. He allowed Adam and Eve the freedom to choose.

I do not accept the idea called Judeo-Christian. There is no such thing.  The two religions are poles apart. I try to respect every person, but we don't have to agree with everything to be friends. All we have to do is play with each other.

Jesus never denied his Jewish upbringing. He condemned the distorted teaching and examples set by the religious leaders of the time.  He emphasized the value of all people. Jesus knew his human family tree. He knew that even the Arabs were children of Abraham.

The founding fathers, not just those of the Revolution, but also those who carved out the wilderness, knew first hand what it meant to be without freedom.

The European history of the Catholic Church shows hundreds of years of non-Christlike behavior, and suppressed religious freedom.  The Church of England was suppressive.  Every national government was suppressive. We can't understand it, because we've never been there.

America would not ever have been America without the Martin Luthers of Euope who fought the bonds of Catholic practice in favor of freedom of conscious, and individual access to the throne of grace.

Roger Williams proclaimed religious freedom as a Baptist in Rhode Island. 

John Leland, a Baptist of Massachusetts and Virginia, expressed the real "founding father" concept of religious freedom:

"The notion of a Christian Commonwealth should be exploded forever...Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians." --- A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia

When we can respect our differences and play together, we move a tad closer to loving God supremely, loving each other more, and loving all those about us, especially our enemies.


William A. Ricks

We sang this song in elementary school.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

1985 WOW Donates Playground Equipment

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May 1, 1985

Lynette Coleman accepts a check from the Woodmen of the World for playground equipment for the Tarrytown Baptist Church. Please leave your comments and name as many people as you can.

Others that week: Primary pictures, Dr. Lyn Holmes at Historical Society, Million Pines Garden Club Variety Sale, Cook-Out for boys and girls varsity basketball teams in the backyard of T. C. and Ray Helen Little, wreck at the Holland Place Apartments, Baseball, Robbie Hardy is Secretary of the Year for the 36-county Extension Service District.

1980 Orland's New Fire Station

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April 30, 1980

A group of firemen from the Orland District gathered at the new fire station, equipped with a mini fire knocker. How many of the group can you name? Put your answers in the comments.

Others that week: Pressure washing on the old bank building to become the headquarters of the Soperton News, at Lions Club meeting - Lester Porter of Dublin, Larry Braddy and Wesley Crowe, Subscription sellers at Six Flags, Primary kids, new city dog kennel at sewage plant.

Bill's Slide Show - Vietnam Batch 2

I arrived in Vietnam in late March 1968, right after the Tet Offensive. Last week the slide show on this blog was playing my first batch of pictures. From Binh Hoa to First Cavalry Division Headquarters at An Khe, to 27th Maintenance Batallion HQ south of Hue, to Camp Evans north of Hue.

From May 1 to May 8, I plan to  show my second batch of pictures, April-May 1968.  When you click on the slide show, you will be accessing my Google Picasa site. You may visit all of my public albums. I've added captions on these 2 Vietnam Albums. Others have been scanned and will be added soon along with captions.  The Signs Album is self-evident, not needing captions. Most of the black and white pictures were automatically added when they were put on this blog.  Use the blog to find information about each picture.

Thank you,

1975 Loyal Baseball Fans

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April 30, 1975

Watching  how the big boys do it are three ardent fans of the THS varsity team playing on the old field on the TES campus, (bus shop location). Identifications, please. Leave your comments. Another bit of history, Mr. Bobby Driggers used to speak at every sports banquet and tell about how Mr. Jim Sherrod, who loved baseball, helped to clear up Mr. Jim Fowler's blueberry bushes to make that field. Mr. Eulie Keene, who died recently (2010) told about playing 6-man football and falling on the hard stubble that was cut for them to play. The location later became the parking for the field where the SHS Panthers played (In 2010 in Jean Gillis Park.)

Others that week: Majorettes of all ages, TPS program, first graders field trip around Soperton, band members in a Bank of Soperton ad, PTA honoring top scholars, grades 3-12, and pictures of Herbert Warnock escorting James Windsor to the Willis Warnock (brother) pond in Wheeler County. Mr. Windsor had bought the Wheeler County Eagle from Wallace Adams's family a short time earlier.