A collection of animal stories

Random animal stories have lit up newspapers for centuries.

We read them for for a few reasons. We’re inspired by the loyalty of a pet, a constant companion, beacon of love. Even the old Unsolved Mysteries program aired a story of a heroic pig that squeezed through a dog door and laid down in the street to call attention to an ill master. We love animals whose intelligence is more akin to ours. Dogs capable of intricate tricks. Gorillas using sign language. And we have a love/repulsion about  – though usually at more of a distance – tales of animals getting one over on humans, be it grizzly attacks, hungry Florida wildlife or an abused animal finally having enough.

James Herriot captured the world with animal stories, starting with All Creatures Great and Small, which was later turned into a television series.

With other story work underway, the summer hiatus of the Georgia High School Basketball Project blog is ending gently here, with a few unrelated, utterly tossed together vintage animal stories out of newspapers.

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How Georgia reacted to teen marriage

We want to get married
But we’re so young
So young
Can’t marry no one
The Beach Boys, I’m So Young (1965)

High school marriage is not often a topic of discussion these days. As Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston announced their upcoming marriage in 2008, the New York Times cited census records for 10 years earlier, that a mere one percent 15- to 17-year-old boys and girls had ever been married.

Outside of MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” television series, the idea of marriage at such an age seems bizarre. In 2015, the average age for first marriage was 27 for women and 29 for men, ages that have been on the rise for several years.

A few generations ago, marriage at a young age was much more common. In 1950, the average man married for the first time at 22, the average woman at 20. The numbers were the same in 1960, with slight fluctuation. The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, in a 1973 study, said 7.2 percent of females aged 15-17 were wed.

With kids marrying so young and much more often, it is natural that it was a concern for school systems. Students were staying in school longer and Georgia systems were adding 12th grade, hopefully keeping their charges at their desks until they were 18.

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Linton Ingraham and other school name honorees

Many, many Georgia schools have been named for geography. The announcement that the soon-to-open Denmark High in Forsyth County was to be named for a person was a bit of a surprise. Few persons see their names on high school buildings here.

In the days of segregation, many schools were named for geography: Gray High, Tift County Industrial, Houston County Training, etc.

But there were many that weren’t, especially with new buildings opening in the 1950s.

George Washington Carver was a popular name for schools.

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Chartering the ‘State of Dade’

Dade County is about as far out of Georgia as you can get in Georgia.

dade1864map
Dade County, 1864. From Lloyd’s Topographical Map of Georgia and GeorgiaInfo.

Mountains all but isolate it from anywhere else in the state. In the days of segregation, its black school, Hooker, was too small to support a high school. Instead of going somewhere else in Georgia, it was easiest to transport these children to Howard High of Chattanooga, Tenn.

When Dade High’s gym burned in 1951, it perhaps became the only Georgia school to play home games in another state, as the school booked the gym at John A. Patten School, located near Chattanooga, to use until a new facility could be built in Trenton.

Dade County is sometimes referred to as the “State of Dade” or “Independent State of Dade.”

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When supporting integration could get educators fired

The 1950s were a time of upheaval in Georgia.

At the beginning of the decade, community schools were widespread, though there was little money and little to offer students beyond the school being local. Consolidations came to improve standards and with them, plenty of protests about the schools leaving the communities.

By the middle of the decade, many of these debates had subsided, with only a few major ones – Tennille’s objection of losing their high school to Sandersville and Oglethorpe versus Montezuma, for example – still on the table.

But there were other crises.

In 1954, Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, was decided. Effectively considered the end of separate but equal racial policies, the battle was just beginning.

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Counties not Tooke

The state of Georgia is the 21st largest in the United States of America based on land area. It is the largest state by land area east of the Mississippi River.

Despite the fact there are 20 states in America larger than Georgia, the state rockets up to No. 2 in another category: counties.

There are 159 counties in Georgia. At its peak – 1924-32 – there were 161 counties. Only Texas is more ridiculous in county numbers. The Lone Star State has 254 of them.

Georgia was always plentiful in counties.

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Scenes from a dead town

appling1874map
Holmesville and Baxley, from the 1874 Augustus Mitchell’s Map of Georgia and Alabama, posted on Georgia Info.

Holmesville is not a town that rolls off the tip of the tongue. Nor it is a town where anyone says they are going.

Holmesville is not a town on any major maps. It has not been in nearly 150 years.

Located in Appling County, Holmesville probably never properly thrived.

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