Keep Reading. Subscribe Today.

Stay connected with our community and support nationally-acclaimed local news coverage. Sign up for a subscription today. Cancel anytime.

  • Already a subscriber?

Yesteryear by Sammy Way: Red Cross Canteen members greet every troop train; 'puff mud' found

Archivist and historian
Posted 3/22/20

75 YEARS AGO - 1945

Oct. 12 - Oct. 18

- Four air bases in the two Carolinas, including Shaw Field at Sumter, are included in the list of 85 flying fields, depots, hospitals and other establishments the Army Air Forces has recommended for …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Yesteryear by Sammy Way: Red Cross Canteen members greet every troop train; 'puff mud' found


75 YEARS AGO - 1945

Oct. 12 - Oct. 18

- Four air bases in the two Carolinas, including Shaw Field at Sumter, are included in the list of 85 flying fields, depots, hospitals and other establishments the Army Air Forces has recommended for retention. The War Department, in making the announcement, said the list of stations is based on maximum requirements for the air force to be maintained in the interim between war and eventual peacetime needs. If a field is not included on the list, the AAF said, its status remains unchanged for the present. Stations in the Carolinas recommended for retention by type are: combat units: Seymour-Johnson Field, Goldsboro, North Carolina; and Shaw Field, Sumter.

- Motorists are encouraged to make application for their 1946 motor vehicle license which must be on cars by Nov. 1. On and after the first of November, there is a 50-cent penalty, and the motorist is subject to arrest. Application forms may be filled out at the local office of the South Carolina highway department and fees paid. The license plate will be mailed to the motorist from the Columbia division of the department.

- A deer drive sponsored by the Gamecock Club was held below Bar Pit and resulted in three large bucks being bagged. Two were eight points, and one was 10 points. Mr. Lee from Alcolu shot the biggest buck. There will be another drive on Black Oak Island. All members are asked to meet at the end of the dam at 8 a.m., as the gates will be unlocked at this time so club members can get in. Beginning the first of November, there will be two deer drives each week on each Wednesday and Saturday. All parties wanting to join this club must contact G. L. Garner at his home.

- A memorial service for Cpl. Clarence Lee Brunson was held at Zoar Methodist Church. Cpl. Brunson, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ervin Brunson of Sumter, was killed in action Jan. 11, 1945, in Alsace-Lorraine, Germany. He entered the United States Army in June of 1943 and received his training at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. From there, he went to Camp Breckinridge, where he completed his training. He left for overseas in June of 1944. He landed in France and into Germany, where he was later killed.

- Lt. John Bailey Littlejohn arrived on terminal leave to visit his parents, Dr. and Mrs. T. R. Littlejohn. He is a member of the 12th Infantry of the 4th Division and holds the Bronze Star medal, American Theater ribbon, ETO ribbon with Invasion Arrowhead and five battle stars, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Belgian Four de Garre and the Presidential Unit Citation.

- Charles H. Dabbs, formerly administrator of the Tuomey hospital and more recently superintendent of Northeastern hospital of Philadelphia, set sail last week for the city of Beirut, where he will direct the American University hospital. Beirut, home of the 166-bed hospital, is the seat of the French high commissioner, who administers the mandate placed by the French after World War I over the states of Syria, Alexandretta, Latakia, Jebel al-Druze and the Lebanese Republic.

- It is well worth a trip up town to see the exhibit of the Sumter County Tuberculosis Association now on display in Alpert's window. In the center of the window stands a red double-barred cross, the symbol of tuberculosis work, and the various programs of work of the association are grouped around the cross.

- Servicemen on their long journey home from war will have pleasant memories of Sumter because Mrs. P. A. McDonald and her Red Cross Canteen members have undertaken to meet every troop train which stops in town and supply the boys on board with a treat as the gift of the Red Cross. Three long trains stopped over several days ago and were greeted by canteen members and a few volunteers from other Red Cross services. Many other trains have been served since, and others will be taken care of daily.

- The Winthrop Daughters held their first fall meeting at the community room at 5:30 p.m. Mrs. Rosa Williams was the special guest. About 85 members were present; Miss Abbie Bryan, president of the Sumter chapter, presided over the meeting. After the guests found their places, they sang the alumnae song and repeated the alumnae creed. Miss Ethel Turbeville said grace. A delicious chicken dinner was served by D.W. Cuttino.

- The Hi-Y club is holding an initiation of new members at Cain's Mill. Club members and their dates will enjoy a delightful meal before the initiation ceremony takes place. On Sunday morning, Hi-Y club will meet at Trinity Methodist Church, where they will attend the regular Sunday morning church service. All members are urged to be at church.

50 YEARS AGO - 1970

June 14 - 20

- Miss Hobbie Davis, a member of the freshman class, was awarded a $700 scholarship for her sophomore year at Gulf Park, a junior college for young women. Miss Davis won the third-place scholarship based on her academic achievements.

- Miss Pansy Ridgeway of Manning has been awarded the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Furman University. Miss Ridgeway, an alumna of Furman, was presented the honor at the university's annual alumni luncheon. This award is given each year by the faculty "to those persons who by their general conduct and their relations with others indicate that they possess to a marked degree a spirit of helpfulness and an awareness of the beauty and value of the intangible elements of life."

- Plans for a large-scale expansion and modernization of production facilities at Georgia-Pacific's Williams Furniture Division of Sumter were announced. Cost of the project will be approximately $3 million and will include new production, finishing and environmental control facilities designed to increase production volume and improve air quality.

- For the fifth time this season, two Clarendon County drivers walked away with top honors at Sumter Speedway on the same night. Larry Hill, who calls Alcolu home, picked up his fifth win in the claim division, and the Manning Flash, Slick Gibbons, made it four in a row and eight in nine tries in the modified action.

- The Sumter P-15's extended their winning streak by raking Manning for 12 hits to take their fourth consecutive victory 9-2 at Riley Park. Manning once again played fairly strong ball during the early innings only to lose its momentum later in the game, falling to Sumter for its third-straight loss.

- What was suspected as raw sewage discovered in Swan Lake-Iris Gardens has turned out to be decomposed vegetation, also known as "puff mud." According to Arthur C. Stanley, chief of the environmental health division of the Sumter County Health Department, the decomposed vegetation probably came from swampy areas along the path of the Shot Pouch drainage canal, which empties into Swan Lake. As "puff mud" begins decomposing, gas forms in it, and it floats to the surface. Eventually it completely breaks down and disappears.

- Ernest C. Stroman Jr., executive vice president and general manager of Belk Stroman Co. here, has been elected to the local board of South Carolina National Bank. Stroman is also secretary-treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of Belk Stroman.

- Although Shaw is known primarily for its fast jet-powered aircraft, the 704th Tactical Air Support Squadron fulfills a very important mission with its propeller-driven O-2A aircraft in the "Aerospace Power for Peace" program. The 704th was activated in July 1969 and features the 0-2A, a converted Cessna 337 Super Skymaster, visual reconnaissance and traffic-directing aircraft. In Vietnam, similar aircraft mark targets and spot enemy movements every day, making the burden of strike, airlift and ground combat much easier for others to bear.

- One of Shaw's smallest tenant units, Detachment 1372, 1030th USAF Auditor General Group, recently received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. The detachment was one of many like organizations within the Auditor General Group to be so honored. A citation accompanying the award cited the group for "its display of professionalism, skill, knowledge, management acumen and leadership."

- The first black man elected to the District 17 school board says he is ready to contribute to "the best education possible" for all the children of Sumter. James L. Solomon Jr., acting dean at Morris College and a mathematics instructor, talked about his views on public education in an interview. Solomon said he felt that his victory hinged on the fact that "the people of this community, black and white, realize that a time has come when each segment of this community shall have a voice in setting the policies for our children in the school system."

- Three young men from Clarendon County are the latest graduates of a novel instructional program at Sutter Area Technical Education Center which is designed to take unemployed or underemployed adults and teach them the basic factors so they can find and keep a useful job. The students are introduced to the physical environment of production work and are shown how to develop necessary job attitudes, stamina and skills to become useful to industry.

- Enemy troops severed two more major highways out of Phnom Penh, cutting traffic between the threatened capital and Saigon and isolating a large Cambodian force at the military headquarters town of Kompong Cham.

- S.A. Harvin, president of Harvin Packing Co., today announced the appointment of John Harvey Drafts as general manager of the company. Drafts, a native of Batesburg-Leesville, has been engaged in the meat-packing business for 24 years.

- The Turbeville American Legion team scrambled for 12 hits and five runs to take its first victory of the 1970 baseball season with a 5-4 verdict over Manning. The strong pitching of Larry Cantey held Manning to only eight hits and four runs. Cantey went the distance for Turbeville to pick up his first win.

25 YEARS AGO - 1970

March 15 - 21

- Sumter County Council voted to buy eight new cars for the sheriff's department at a total cost of $171,200, prompting some members to call for a review and better accounting of vehicle usage. Sumter County Sheriff Tommy Mims was not at the meeting but said in a committee meeting last month that the cars were needed to replace ones that are no longer fit for the rigors of "emergency response" patrol vehicles.

- A Georgia-Pacific Corp. official recognized the company's Alcolu plant employees for their safe work record. With only one on-the-job injury in 1994, the Alcolu plant was deemed the safest in Georgia Pacific's Industrial Wood Products division.

- Losing your home to a fire is traumatic enough, but the struggle to survive doesn't end when the flames are extinguished. Many families don't have insurance or don't have the financial means to reconstruct their lives after a house fire burns away a life-time of collected possessions. The Sumter County chapter of the American Red Cross already this year has helped almost 70 fire victims recover by providing necessities until the victims get back on their feet.

- For almost five innings, it appeared that Sumter High School's baseball team was on the verge of opening its home schedule with its second no-hit victory of the season. Only this time the Gamecocks were the ones with the goose egg in the hits column. Fairfield Central left-hander Eric White held Sumter hitless for 4 2/3 innings before faltering in the fifth as the Gamecocks improved to 5-0 with a 10-2 win at Sumter High.

- They'll patch a square and promenade, but don't expect any drinking or cussin' in the family affair of square dancing. "The family atmosphere is what attracted us to square dancing," said Cindy DuBose. "And square dancers are real friendly people, everywhere you go." Their motto is: "Square dancing is friendship set to music." There are young and old dancing in the cafeteria of the Sumter County Recreation Department facility.

- The spring games for area Special Olympics athletes will be held at Hillcrest High School. More than 200 athletes from Kershaw, Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties will compete in track and field events, including running events varying from the 50-meter dash to the mile run, walking, the softball throw, shot put and running and standing long jumps. There will also be some wheelchair events. Four hundred volunteers will help staff the games.

- Local school district officials say they've helped keep Shaw Air Force Base off the latest base-closure list by building new schools, replacing roofs and improving teacher-student rations. Somehow it doesn't seem fair, then, that Congress may cut impact aid, money the federal government gives to school districts to teach students living on base. The funds are provided in lieu of local property taxes the district doesn't collect because families living on federal property don't pay local taxes.

- Three high school literary magazines in South Carolina have won top honors from the National Council of Teachers of English. Magazines from Irmo High School, Saluda High School and Sumter High School received "highest award" honors from the judging teams. The top honors went to 41 magazines across the country. The magazines were evaluated on the quality of content, types of writing included, editing and proofreading, design and production. Five South Carolina schools were rated superior, six were excellent, and three were classified above average. Wilson Hall was among the schools receiving an excellent rating.

- William F. Bruton Jr., city manager of Hartsville, talks to guests and law enforcement officers who gathered in Bishopville's Levy Park for the graduation of COPS officers Stephen Harness and Selwyn Davis. COP stands for Community Oriented Policing. Bruton was on hand to talk about the program and how it has worked in Hartsville.

- Sumter native and former college football coach Art Baker is one of six men who will be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. Entering the hall with Baker will be former major league baseball player Mookie Wilson, former National Football League players Jim Stuckey and Billy Gambrell, former Clemson baseball standout Rusty Adkins and former state amateur golf champion Frank Ford Sr.

- The game of soccer consists of two 40-minute halves. In order to be successful, a team must play consistently well in both. Sumter High School's boys' soccer team nearly abandoned that philosophy in their Region IV-4A opener against Lancaster. The Gamecocks dominated the first half, scoring three goals and controlling the tempo of the game. But they came out a different team in the second and had to hold on to claim a 3-2 victory.

- Some of the grandest plantations of the antebellum South are located here, and unlike many homes in historic Charleston, most in Stateburg remain private residences, often held by the same family for generations. Four homes and two historic churches will be open to appease the curiosity of history buffs and inquisitive souls, and the grounds of two homes will be available for tracking. The funds raised will be used to assist with renovations of The Church of the Holy Cross.

- A former employee who filed a whistleblower's lawsuit against Clarendon County was awarded $100,000 by a jury. Clarendon County will likely discuss a possible appeal of the decision. Former County Purchasing Director Pauline Whack sued the county for $2 million under the state's Whistleblower's Act, saying she was mistreated and harassed after questioning the county's spending of federal relief funds received after Hurricane Hugo struck in 1989.

- Judy Roman just wants a home to call her own. But she can't meet the high monthly mortgage payments and interest rates many banks and finance companies charge. She has worked for 16 years in Sumter School District 2 and has rented homes to house her only son and ailing mother. Judy's rented Wright Street house has expensive-to-heat cathedral ceilings and is in what she considers an unsafe neighborhood. Her new neighborhood, where her Habitat for Humanity house is being built, is located in a quiet subdivision off Lewis Road.

- Chad Hoshour had a day off Monday, in essence, a one-day spring vacation. But the freshman pitcher at North Carolina State University didn't take a day off. The former Gamecock returned to Sumter High School, glove in hand, for a bullpen session with Sumter coach Rick Hatcher, a former pitcher in the Atlanta Braves minor league system.