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?

Ship named in honor of Sumter; 'Renaissance' program begins

Posted 2/10/19

75 YEARS AGO - 1944

Sept. 2 - Sept. 8

- School children who wish to help with the harvest of the county cotton crop will be released from their duties for that specific purpose, Superintendent William Henry Shaw announced, but they will be …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Ship named in honor of Sumter; 'Renaissance' program begins


75 YEARS AGO - 1944

Sept. 2 - Sept. 8

- School children who wish to help with the harvest of the county cotton crop will be released from their duties for that specific purpose, Superintendent William Henry Shaw announced, but they will be required to report along with the rest of the students at school opening. At the opening, teachers will take count of those who desire to pick cotton, and they will be released for the job. It was emphasized that they must enroll, however, before leaving for the fields. The shortage of labor in the county to pick the very heavy cotton crop prompted the move by school officials.

- Sgt. Joe E. Cockerill, member of an infantry division participating in the battle of France, has been missing in action since Aug. 7, his mother has been notified by the War Department. Sgt. Cockerill has served in the Army since January 1941 and has been overseas since January of this year. He attended the Sumter schools and was employed at Williams Furniture factory before entering the Army. Sgt. Cockerill has three brothers and five sisters.

- Horace Harby said today that the booth at the courthouse will be open on Labor Day for registration for the forthcoming general election. The booth will be open for this purpose on Tuesday and Wednesday also. By law, no registration takes place within 30 days of the election (Nov. 4), so those who have not registered are urged to do so.

- Another landmark is disappearing; St. Joseph's Academy, next to St. Anne's Catholic Church, is being torn down because the lumber is needed for building purposes. The academy was under the management of the sisters of the church for many years.

- Fulton B. Creech has accepted the position as general chairman of the Sumter County Community and War Chest's 1944 campaign, officials announced today. The drive will be conducted Oct. 10-14. Chairman Creech is outlining plans and setting up a steering committee for the coming canvass. The total budget has not been announced yet as the Community Chest committee has not completed plans, but the quota for the War Chest portion of the drive is $21,520, Mr. Creech said this morning. Mr. Creech, who has lived in Sumter for the past 35 years, served as treasurer of the chest last year.

- Pfc. William R. Davis was killed in action on Aug. 8 in France, his sister, Miss Elizabeth T. Davis, has been notified by the War Department. Pfc. Davis was previously reported missing on that date. He is also survived by his mother and a brother, Sgt. Dickie Davis, who recently returned from duty overseas.

- Dooley Matthews, former University of Georgia backfield ace, is the new Sumter High School coach. He got the squad together for a first practice this week. The grid season will open on Sept. 22 with a game here against Rock Hill. Seven of the games are scheduled to be played here.

- Capt. Richard I. Manning, son of Col. and Mrs. Wyndham M. Manning of Fort Jackson, and husband of the former Miss Sarah Louise Hearon of Sumter, was among the first paratroopers to land in France on the recent D-Day invasion. Capt. Manning's experience in this was recently recounted in a story cabled from Europe by a member of the New York Tribune's staff. A description of one phase of the first day's parachute landings was given by Capt. Richard Manning of Sumter, who dropped into a cemetery three miles from Le Muy an hour before dawn on D-Day.

- Shaw Field's Fliers will battle the Blytheville, Arkansas, Army Air Base team under the lights of Maxwell Field for the Eastern Flying Training Command championship. The Fliers moved into the finals behind the southpaw pitching of Tech. Sgt. Nicky Najjar who held Laredo, Texas, Army Air Base All-Stars to four runs while his teammates were making eight runs for a victory in the semi-finals played at Maxwell Field.

- Lt. Willie Lee Ashley, Tuskegee Airman, is here at Army Air Forces Redistribution Station No. 1, where he will receive a new assignment in one of the AF continental commands, and wears the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the ETO campaign ribbon with three bronze stars for the part he took in the Tunisian, Sicilian and Italian campaigns. A graduate of Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia, he entered service in February 1942, while he was serving as assistant instructor in industrial education at his alma mater. He played on his college's basketball and football teams. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Ashley Sr. of Sumter.

50 YEARS AGO - 1969

May 4 - 10

- Arnold Hutto, Slick Gibbons and Carl Pack were feature event winners at Sumter Speedway. Hutto led all the way in capturing his first win of the season in the late model sportsman event and had little trouble as he stormed across the finish line. Slick Gibbons trailed Joe Carter for 24 laps before forging ahead and picking up first place in the rookie event. Carl Pack took the lead on the fifth lap and coasted home a winner in the claiming race.

- Dr. Samuel M. Willis, director of Clemson University at Sumter, has been promoted from associate professor to professor of industrial management. The promotion was announced at a faculty meeting on the Sumter Campus by Dr. Claud B. Green, Clemson's assistant dean of the university.

- Walter Sharp was elected president of Sumter Little Theatre at the annual meeting which was held in the new theater building. Other officers chosen were Marvin Trapp, vice president; C.J. Milling Jr., secretary; and Fred Willson, treasurer.

- O.B. Riley and Cody Palmer shot an 18-under par 122 to win the Annual Men's Four-Ball Championship at Sunset Country Club. Those two were tied with Bebo Alderman and Barry Murphy after one round but managed one stroke better the last day to take the title. Eighty-four players took part in the event which enjoyed one of the largest galleries in history.

- Allen Johnson will serve as student body president for the 1969-70 school year. Vice president will be Ned Parker and secretary/treasurer will be Judy Searight. These students will hopefully provide the strong leadership needed at Edmunds next year.

- Shaw personnel will have the opportunity to aid the deprived and underprivileged by donating unused and discarded clothing to the Sumter County Office for Economic Opportunity. To facilitate the collection of these donations, a receptacle has been placed on base near the hardware store where clothing may be dropped off. Mrs. Patricia Thornber, an OEO volunteer, was responsible for the idea.

- Sumter's city government, which was turned over Monday to youthful officers elected from the Edmunds High School senior class, seems none the worse for wear today. The morning of exercises in governmental affairs was kicked off at 8:50 a.m. at city hall with a mock city council meeting presided over by the mayor for the day, Bobby Ross.

- The tank landing ship Sumter will be christened Sept. 13 by Mrs. Strom Thurmond, wife of the South Carolina Republican senator. The ship, to be launched at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, is named in honor of the city and county of Sumter. Announcement of the launching was made by Rep. Thomas S. Gettys, D-S.C.

- Eddie Weldon, Edmunds High School golf coach has won the Fifth annual Galloway and Moseley Golf Tournament at Oakwood Hills Country Club by defeating Franz Johnson 2-up. It was the first win of his amateur career. Heads-up golf was witnessed by spectators when Weldon played near perfect golf with two birdies, 15 pars and only one bogey.

- The Ashwood Central Rams today reign as Conference 6A Champions as they crushed Wallace to sweep a best two out of three series in two games. Ronnie Teal batted in two runs and hurled a three-hit shutout to spark the Rams. He struck out 10, walking four. Only one Wallace runner advanced to third base.

- Sad faces, as a rule, are not considered good for morale, especially in the children's ward of a hospital. However, when the woeful countenance belongs to Emmett Kelly Jr., the "Clown Prince of Pantomime," such rules naturally go out the window. Kelly was a very special guest of the pediatrics ward at Tuomey Hospital.

- A run scoring single by Lee Stogner in the bottom of the seventh inning ended the Manning Monarchs' baseball season on a high note. With the single Stogner broke a 3-3 dead-lock between Manning and Kingstree, giving the Monarchs a 4-3 victory. Manning ends the season with an 8-5 overall record.

- The young airman's right little finger was sore and stiff. Part of his "pinkie" had been removed from the top section in an operation. The service doctor told him to go to the base chapel and run his fingers up and down the scale on a piano for exercise. Dave Scott followed the doctor's advice 20 years ago. He expected to make noise, not music. After a few hours, Scott realized his fingers were capable of picking out something more than noise. He discovered there is such a thing as natural talent. It came to him by "ear."

- Sumter artists with a yen to place their work before the public will have an excellent opportunity to do so in the Iris Festival Sidewalk. The annual Art Exhibit sponsored by the Sumter Artists Guild, is one of the most popular of the special events held in connection with the Sumter Jaycees' Iris Festival. Out of-town artists as well as local painters, are invited to display their works in the exhibit.

25 YEARS AGO - 1994

Feb. 3 - 9

- The Sumter County Museum will kick off its latest exhibit with a presentation by Elaine Nichols, curator of African-American History and Culture at the S.C. State Museum. Nichols was the curator of "The Last Miles of the Way: African-American Homegoing Traditions, 1890-Present." This exhibit, developed at the S.C. State Museum and borrowed through the Traveling Exhibit Program, may currently be seen at the Sherman Smith Gallery at the Sumter County Museum.

- Administrators at Sumter School District 2 are trying to reinforce the importance of good grades by rewarding students with something they can appreciate - cold, hard cash. The district plans to implement an incentive program that recognizes academic achievement with incentives such as free meals at restaurants, discounts at stores and yes, even money. The program, called "Renaissance" and developed 10 years ago by Larry Biddle, an assistant principle at Conway High School in Conway, is featured in more than 2,000 schools nationwide.

- A Shaw Air Force Base pilot safely parachuted from his F-16C fighter after experiencing mechanical problems while practicing dogfights over the Great Smoky Mountains. Capt. Michael A. MacWilliam, 32, landed in a tree and was helped down by a farmer. MacWilliam was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he walked in without assistance and was held overnight for routine observation.

- It's been 12 years since Pete Surette left the Turbeville Police Department to go into business for himself, but now he's back. Surette, who was the department's police chief from 1975-1982, returned to that position Jan. 13. "It's good to be back in my 'hometown'," the Boston native said, while sitting behind his desk in Turbeville's police station. The chief's desk is the only one in the small office because the town has only one policeman - Surette.

- The jurors for the death penalty trial of James Neil Tucker will be picked from Richland County and the trial itself delayed until May or June to allow defense lawyers more time to prepare their case, a judge ruled. Third Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper ruled that extensive media coverage of the murder has warranted that a jury be selected from another county. The case will be tried in Sumter.

- An ambitious community project for the South Sumter area is finally taking off. A Columbia construction firm will begin renovations to the South Sumter Resource Center on Manning Avenue and city officials hope to open the center sometime this summer. The center, which will be located in the old Piggly Wiggly building on Manning Avenue, will include a branch of the Sumter County library, offices for area social agencies, and adult literacy and youth job training programs.

- Nancy Hunter Lowder scored four points in the final 17 seconds to lift Wilson Hall to a 42-36 win over Thomas Sumter at Baron Gymnasium. The game was tied at 38-38 when Hunter Lowder stepped to the free throw line with 17 seconds left. She calmly hit both shots to put the Lady Barons up by two. TSA's Marty Thames hit was would have been the tying basket, but was called for traveling prior to the shot.

- Lee County Memorial Hospital is battling to keep its doors open as spreadsheets indicate the facility is losing nearly $100,000 a month. The hospital's growing financial problems have prompted its board and Lee County Council to form a committee that is expected in two weeks to either determine how the hospital can get out of the red or recommend that the facility be closed. The Committee is considering closing part of the hospital, turning it into a clinic or getting another hospital to buy it.

- Close games were seldom seen by Thomas Sumter through their first 16 games. They have been a fact of life in the last three games and the Generals got a taste of what it was like to win one. TSA, which opened the season with 16 straight wins, snapped a two-game losing streak by holding off a stout challenge from cross-county rival Wilson Hall in a 59-54 win in front of an overflow crowd.

- Operation Bass will hold the first Red Man bass tournament of the Carolina Division Feb. 20 on Lake Murray at P&L Landing. The tournament signals the start of the six-event Carolina Division Red Man season. The entry deadline for the event is Feb. 9.

- Sometimes Phil Mixon likes to sit in a lawn chair by the water's edge and watch his young ones cavort about as the sun slowly dips in the western sky. "It's a beautiful sight when they come flying in at sunset and make kind of a silhouette against the sky," he says of his dependent. No, Mixon isn't papa to a group of Peter Pan clones. He is, however, the proud caretaker of approximately 300 young ducks. Founder of the Lake Marion Waterfowl Association, Mixon used some of the organization's funds to purchase 300 six-week-old Mallard ducklings and has been raising them for the past seven months.

- Sumter Catholic led throughout and pulled away in the fourth quarter to upset Wilson Hall 60-51 in varsity boys basketball action at the Padres' gymnasium. Sumter Catholic, which won for only the second time in 15 games, led 11-6 after one quarter and 29-25 at halftime. Ricardo Wilson led Sumter Catholic with 19 points. Terrance Townsend added 17 and Mike Mitchell had 13. Will Dinkins paced the Barons with 19 points and Danilo DeAssis added 10.

Sumter, Yesteryear