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Rabun County

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Logan Edwin Bleckley was born in Rabun County, Georgia, on July 3, 1827, and in 1846 was admitted to the bar. To accumulate a small working capital he obtained a clerical position with the State Railroad of Atlanta and subsequently secured the appointment of secretary to the governor. In 1851 he opened an office for practice in Atlanta; served as reporter of the Supreme Court in 1864-67; in 1875 was appointed one of the judges of the State Supreme Court and served as chief justice of that body in 1887-94. Whether as a practitioner or a judge he stood in the front ranks. Judge Bleckley died at Clarkesville, Georgia, on March 6, 1907. [A Standard of Georgia and Georgians, Volume 6, 1917, submitted by C. Danielson]
During a residence of more than forty years at Anderson Sylvester Bleckley acquired a fortune as a merchant, and identified himself so completely with the life and spirit of the community that he deserves permanent memory as one of the builders of the city.
He was born at Clayton, Rabun County, Georgia, July 16, 1832, son of Judge James and Catherine (Lutz) Bleckley. Grandfather James Bleckley was a North Carolinian of English and Irish lineage and a teacher by profession. Judge James Bleckley was born in Lincoln County, North Carolina, in 1803. His wife was a native of Burke County in the same state, born in 1800, daughter of John Lutz and granddaughter of George Lutz, who came from Germany, settling first in Pennsylvania and afterward in North Carolina. James Bleckley and Catherine Lutz were married in 1823, and soon afterward moved to Rabun County, Georgia, where they were early settlers. Though a farmer, James Bleckley was a man of great influence in his community and filled successively the offices of sheriff, clerk, ordinary and judge of the County Court. He died in 1870 and his wife in 1874. The late Chief Justice Logan E. Bleckley of Georgia, was their son.
Sylvester Bleckley grew up on a farm in his native county, acquired a fa1r education at Clayton, and at the age of nineteen was working as a clerk and bookkeeper at Athens, Georgia. In March, 1853, at the age of twenty-one, he came to Anderson and forthwith became a member of the firm England, Bleckley & Company, general merchants. He soon became the leading sp1rit in the organization and finally sole proprietor, and continued the business alone until he admitted his son-in-law, J. J. Fretwell, as a partner. He was engaged in business with Mr. Fretwell at the time of his death.
He was a democrat, but held only minor positions of a political nature. He was a member of the Baptist Church, and his influence was always sought in support of every public spirited enterprise. He is remembered as a gentleman of fine appearance, large, portly and dignified. He died at Anderson in 1896. In September, 1856, he married Miss Ann Elizabeth Hammond. She was born in Anderson County, a daughter of Benjamin F. Hammond, and she survived her husband several years. Mr. and Mrs. Bleckley became the parents of five daughters: Josephine, widow of John E. Peoples, of Anderson; Mary C., who married J. J. Fretwell and is deceased; Ella, wife of William Laughlin, of Anderson; Annie M., who is married to Albert G. Means, of Anderson; and Zoe, wife of Fred Maxwell, of Anderson. [History of South Carolina, Volume 3, 1920, submitted by C. Danielson]

MUNSEY, DAVIS --(Interview)
David Munsey, father of Dr. Munsey, was by nature no ordinary man. After he deserted his family, he went to Georgia, married again in the lower walks of life, straightened up, was relicensed to preach— for he had been a local preacher—and was so good a preacher that he sometimes preached to packed audiences. Occasionally presiding elders would send him to take their places in the pulpit at their quarterly meetings when they could not attend. But it seems that this second probation was not more successful than the first.
The Rev. H. W. Bays gives the following account of an interview with Mr. Munsey in his last days:
I met David Munsey, father of the famous W. E. Munsey, in September, 1869, in the little village of Clayton, Rabun County, Ga. He was then an old man, but straight and finely built. He was poorly clad. I was standing in the store of Mr. Newton McConnell, in Clayton, when a tall, poorly clad old man came in and asked for some tobacco. Before I had learned his name I was struck with the inherent force of his utterance and with the marks of intelligence in his face. As soon as he had gotten the tobacco he left without a word, and his step was as light and springy as that of a boy of fifteen years.
Learning who he was, I followed him to the street, hailed him, and told him who I was. He seemed glad to meet me, and yet saddened at the meeting. We stepped behind an old building near by and had a hasty conversation. I said to him: "You are the father of William E. Munsey." He replied: "Yes, sir; and I am proud of him." He then drew from the inner pocket of his well-worn coat a neat little photograph of that great preacher, and added: "Here, sir, is a small picture of my son Elbert which he sent me not long ago, and here is a letter from him asking me to go and live with him, and I am going as soon as I can." I think that Dr. Munsey lived at that time in Baltimore. In our conversation he mentioned the facts that Elbert was fond of books in his early boyhood and that he had tried to put books into his hands.
I begged him to go to his son, and he said that he would; but he never did, for he was murdered by a negro not long after the interview. He was at that time miller in a little grist mill, and was perhaps accustomed to lodge in the mill. While standing in the door of his mill after night a negro man approached him and shot him fatally. This killing took place near Clayton, Ga., in the winter of 1870.
There was something in David Munsey's make-up which f1lled me with regret and at the same time with admiration. He must have been six feet and three or four inches in height, and at the time of the above interview he was as straight and erect as an Indian. His speech was measured, his grammar correct, and he spoke with a force rarely heard in private conversation. His head was oval and well balanced on his shoulders; his legs and arms were long and well-shaped; his eye was deep sky-blue, large and of a somewhat melancholy cast. [Holston Methodism, Volume 5, 1913, submitted by C. Danielson]

Charles A. Rogers. Undoubtedly the diversified knowledge, the prudence, the practical judgment and the persistent industry whereby men become successful agriculturists, are the same desirable and even necessary qualities for thorough understanding and satisfactory performance of the duties of many public offices. Technical details may soon be learned, but these are only a small part of the measure of usefulness expected in a responsible public official. A long and successful contest with the soil, through changing seasons and under both favorable and unfavorable conditions, well prepare a man for the proper consideration of other problems and for the exercise of the steady and faithful attention which these are liable to demand. Thus a wise choice was made when Charles A. Rogers, county clerk of Rabun County, was called from his agricultural activities, in which he had been successfully engaged for many years, to assume the duties of his present position, in which his efficiency has been amply proven.
Charles A. Rogers was born in Rabun County, Georgia, September 8, 1879, and is a son of Clennie and Mollie (Hummicut) Rogers, the latter of whom was born in Georgia in 1857 and still resides in Rabun County. The father of Charles A. Rogers was born in Tennessee and in boyhood accompanied his parents to Rabun County, Georgia, where he was reared, educated and married. He engaged in agricultural pursuits and continued the same until his death, when aged fifty-four years. Of his family of six children, Charles A. was the second born, the others being: Catherine, Mrs. Monte Rogers, residing at Mountain City, Georgia; and Logan, Jessie, Walter and Mrs. Bessie Giles, all of whom reside in Rabun County.
Through boyhood Mr. Rogers, who is now secretary and treasurer of the Clayton Board of Education, attended the public schools here, after which he assisted his father and in the course of time embarked in farming for himself, continuing to be actively engaged until 1913, when he was elected county clerk of Rabun County, since which time his attention has been largely given to the duties of his office. He retains the management of his farm, however, one of the best in this section of the state. Mainly through his own efforts has Mr. Rogers become a man of ample fortune and that he has also won the confidence and regard of his fellow citizens is shown by his election to an important public office. He has always given his political support to the democratic party.
In 1900 Mr. Rogers was united in marriage with Miss Eva Mozeley, a daughter of William Madison Mozely, of a well known old family of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers have four children: Alma, Annie, Brandon and Maude, the youngest having been born at Clayton, February 1, 1915. Mr. Rogers and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Fraternally he belongs to the Masonic Blue Lodge and Chapter and also to the Odd Fellows and the Red Men. [A Standard of Georgia and Georgians, Volume 6, 1917, submitted by C. Danielson]

Martin V. Russell, M. D., F. A. C. S.
More than forty years have gone by since Martin V. Russell received his doctor's degree. During all those years he has practiced in Arkansas, and for half of that time he has been a practicing physician in the city of El Dorado. After seven years as a general practitioner, Dr. Russell took special studies and qualified as an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist. The medical world has conferred high honors on Dr. Martin V. Russell, and even more than that he treasures the heart-felt gratitude of the multitude he has relieved from pain and possible handicap. In time of war, medical men are severely pushed by the pressure of necessity. Dr. Russell has seen two major wars, and has served without stint as the need of the country required. His services to the United States have gained for him recognition from the two great war-time Presidents. He received a certificate of appreciation from President Wilson awarded for his work as a medical officer in World War I, and his patriotic response to war-time duty brought him similar recognition in World War II from President Roosevelt.
On July 3, 1881, Martin Van Buren Russell was born in Town Creek, Gilmer County, Georgia. His father, Elijah Russell, was a native of Raborn County, Georgia. He was a farmer, and being a man of considerably more than average ability, he was prominent in public life. He was Justice of the Peace and was Ordinary of Gilmer County, Georgia, for several years. Devout in his religious beliefs, he was a Deacon in the Baptist Church, and he also was a prominent member of the Masonic Order. Dr. Russell's mother was Amanda (Jordan) Russell. She was a daughter of William and Amanda Jordan.
Martin Russell went to school near his home in Town Creek, Georgia. When he was fifteen years of age, his mother died and he was sent to Cartecay, Georgia, where he graduated from Oakland High School. Then followed a period of study at Ellijay Seminary, and from there he set out to teach. His first school was in Gilmer County, Georgia, and the salary was eighteen dollars per month. After two years teaching in Gilmer County, an offer came from a school in Falcon, Arkansas. The salary was to be forty dollars per month, meager according to present-day standards, but a considerable increase over the Georgia position. He accepted the offer, and came to Falcon, Arkansas, in 1899. He taught in a one-room school house, and he had to cover all the grades from first to eighth. The school term ran for an eight month period, and at the end of that time Martin Russell said farewell to pedagogy. He decided to study medicine, and in the summer of 1900 he entered Sewanee Medical School, Sewanee, Tennessee. The next year was spent at Medical College in Atlanta, Georgia, and in 1904 he graduated in medicine from Grant's University, Chattanooga, Tennessee. He had in the meantime taken an examination before the Medical County Board in Prescott, Arkansas, and having secured a license, he practiced medicine between terms of school at Falcon, Arkansas.
Dr. Russell's first practice after graduation was at Bodcow, Arkansas. This was a real "horse-and-buggy" medical practice, embracing the village and county, and offering a challenge to every variety of medical knowledge. After five years, Dr. Russell had a right to feel that he was indeed well grounded in the general practice of the profession. He decided to specialize in diseases of the eye ear, nose and throat. Accordingly he took post graduate work in the Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. He then established himself in specialized practice at Hope, Arkansas, where he remained for twelve years. In 1924 Dr. Russell spent a year as extern and intern in the Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Hospital in Louisiana. This was a year of intensified study and practical application of the most modern and approved scientific methods. Following this course, Dr. Russell moved to El Dorado, Arkansas, and went in partnership with Dr. J. G. Mitchell. They practiced together for two years, then Dr. Mitchell retired and left the business to Dr. Russell.
In December, 1904, Martin V. Russell married Letha Elma Hamilton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. S. J. Hamilton, Falcon, Arkansas. Dr. and Mrs. Russell are the parents of a daughter, who is a graduate of Ouachita College, and also graduated from Chicago College of Music. She married Dr. Garth Akridge, who is president of Jacksonville, Florida, Junior College. They have a young son, named Russell Akridge. Dr. and Mrs. Russell worship at the Baptist Church, where Mrs. Russell is a particularly valued active member. She is State President of Delphins 1933 and takes a lead in various other organizations. The family residence is at 1101 West Elm Street, El Dorado.
During World War I, Dr. Russell was commissioned a First Lieutenant, and was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. In World War II he was a member of the Medical Advisory Board. He has certificates of appreciation from President Wilson and President Roosevelt, and also from Colonel Compere for services rendered during World War I and World War II. In June, 1930, Dr. Russell was given a certificate from the American Board of Otolargology, and in October, 1931, was made a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, and is Past President of the Union County Medical Society. He was reelected President of the Union County Medical Society for the year 1946. When he was practicing at Hope, Arkansas, he was President and Secretary of Hempstead County Medical Society. He also held office as Secretary of the Medical Advisory Board of Howard, Nevada and Hempstead Counties for one year. Dr. Russell was a charter member of the Hope Rotary Club. At that time he was extremely active in Masonic affairs, and held many offices in the lodge. He was also prominent in the work of the Mystic Shrine. At one time Dr. Russell was intensely interested in farming, and owned and operated one thousand acres of land in Hempstead County. He has been a member of the American Legion since it was organized. Dr. Russell is a charter member of the El Dorado Kiwanis Club. He is a member of the El Dorado Golf and Country Club, and his prowess on the links is attested by the fact that he has won two prizes in tournaments. Dr. Martin V. Russell has made his life count to the utmost. He has endeavored always to make the best use of the talents with which nature has endowed him, not only in his professional field, but also in church and civic affairs. He is a man of generous purposes and kindly heart, and he has constantly striven to make his every act tell for progress, for development, and for righteousness. [Source: "Annals of Arkansas," by Dallas T. Herndon, published 1967; transcribed by G.T. Transcription Team.]


James F. Smith was born in Rabun County, Georgia, in September, 1851, and is a son of John F. and Sarah H. (Fuller) Smith. Both parents of Judge Smith were born in Georgia and their entire lives were spent in the state. Farming was the father's occupation and practically his only absence from his estate was during the years he gave to serving as a private in a Georgia regiment, in the Confederate army, during the war between the states. He survived to the age of eighty-one years, passing away in 1905, having reared a family of eleven children, James F. being the fifth in order of birth. The mother died in 1907 at the age of eighty-three years.
James F. Smith attended the country schools in boyhood and then became a farmer and still continues to manage a large farm in his native county, owning many acres of well improved land, although since 1909 he has not been actively engaged. He has been a factor in democratic politics for a long time and occasionally has accepted a public office, at one time serving two terms as tax collector of Rabun County prior to being elected to his present office of ordinary. The close of his first term found his public duties so efficiently performed that his party and the public generally accepted him as a candidate again and re-elected him. He has some additional interests, being a director of the Georgia Engineer & Construction Company.
In 1871 Judge Smith was united in marriage with Miss Clarissa A. King, who is a daughter of Marcus L. King, a representative citizen of old family settlement in Rabun County. The following children have been born to Judge and Mrs. Smith: Mrs. Sarah Burrel, who is a resident of Clayton. Georgia; Mrs. Mary A. Blaylock, who is a resident of Burton, Georgia; Mrs. Georgia E. Flanders, who resides in Emanuel County, Georgia; James L., who lives in Stevens County; Thomas F. and Augustus L., both of whom live at Clayton, Georgia; Hope, who lives in Stevens County; and Buren C, Coburn and Ray, all of whom reside at Clayton. Judge Smith is a member of the Baptist Church and is back of many of its benevolent and philanthropic movements.
Although for many years a man of affluence, owning valuable property at Clayton in addition to his farm, Judge Smith has known less prosperous days and what he has accomplished in every way has been due largely to his own industry and enterprise. He is widely known over Rabun County and is one of the ablest judges oŁ Northern Georgia.
[A Standard of Georgia and Georgians, Volume 6, 1917, submitted by C. Danielson]



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