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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Moultrie
Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 76
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)


  We’ll finish out this 8-week series of columns with some more browsing in the local newspaper. 

   One of the most unique events of the early 1900s was staged in Doerun on December 18, 1901.

   It was the Horse Swappers Convention.

   Horse traders from near and far, and more horseflesh than most south Georgians had ever seen, congregated at Doerun.

   As early as 10 AM, a report of the convention said, Doerun held “about the jolliest crowd of typical horsemen” one could imagine.

   The report said a number of trades occurred during the day “and everybody seemed satisfied!”

   Colquitt County’s wettest day, officially occurred between 6 PM, March 31, 1948 and noon on April 1, 1948 when 8.5 inches of rain unloaded on the area.  Almost all highways out of the city were blocked and several homes in low-lying areas were flooded.

   Most of the county roads were made impassable for several days, causing classes to be canceled, and Governor M. E. Thompson ordered all highway construction and maintenance crews to south Georgia to work on flood damaged roads.

   Colquitt County’s wettest year was 1964 when 71.78 inches of rain was recorded.  That broke the old record of 68.45 inches recorded in 1947.

  On average, Colquitt County gets from 48-54 inches of rain each year.

   One of the first men in the United States to recognize the commercial value of turpentine – and a Confederate veteran who was a personal friend of General Robert E. Lee –helped open the Moultrie-Colquitt County territory.

   He died in Colquitt County in December of 1902 at the home of a daughter, Mrs. J. M. Heath.  He died at age 77.

   He was Major N. M. K. McNeill, a North Carolinian by birth, who was reared at Cheraw, South Carolina and came to Georgia about 1885, drawn by the great potential of the forests and naval stores.

   Mr. McNeill, described as a man “of fine physique,” began the manufacture of turpentine while a young man and is recorded as “one of the first pioneers in naval stores in Georgia,” which included Colquitt County. 

   Old reports say he established one of the first turpentine stills in the county and in later years was known as “the grand old man of the community.”

   Mr. McNeill served four years in the War Between the States, being an officer in the volunteer army.  He was among the first to volunteer and raise a company of his own.  Just prior to the close of the war he was promoted to colonel, but the name “major” stuck through his civilian life.

   No only was Major McNeill a personal friend of General Lee, but a report of his death in The Observer on January 2, 1903 said, “He was near General Lee when he surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.”

   Major McNeill actually lived in Colquitt County some 12 years.

   He was survived by several children including T. I. McNeill, Mrs. W. C. Vereen, Mrs. J. M. Heath, Mrs. M.D. Allen and Mrs. R. C. Lindsey.  A number of grandchildren and great grandchildren also survived.

   More newspaper browsing next time!


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