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Yesteryear by Sammy Way: 5,000 attend bass fishing derby fest; Baker Street oak cut down

Sumter Item archivist and historian
Posted 4/18/20

75 YEARS AGO - 1945

Nov. 9 - Nov. 15

- South Carolina's current crop may be the third smallest in 58 years, Federal-State Agricultural Statistician Frank O. Black has estimated. Predicting a 640,000-bale yield on the basis of Nov. 1 reports, …

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Yesteryear by Sammy Way: 5,000 attend bass fishing derby fest; Baker Street oak cut down


75 YEARS AGO - 1945

Nov. 9 - Nov. 15

- South Carolina's current crop may be the third smallest in 58 years, Federal-State Agricultural Statistician Frank O. Black has estimated. Predicting a 640,000-bale yield on the basis of Nov. 1 reports, Black said that although this was 5,000 bales ahead of the October forecast, it was 80,000 bales less than prospects on Aug. 1.

- Bitter fighting broke out when French troops were met by strong resistance from Annamese Nationalists in the vicinity of Tan An, 35 miles southwest of Saigon. The engagement began after French overland columns and river-bourne forces sought to continue reoccupying territory south of the capital. When they neared Tan An, a stronghold of the Viet Minh (native Nationlists), the Annamese hit back. There were indications that Japanese deserters were collaborating with the Nationalists.

- The Miller Home Demonstration Club met with Mrs. A. J. Hatfield at her home on Broad Street. The meeting was called to order by the president, Mrs. Ward, and the club song, "For the Beauty of the Earth," was sung. Two new members were added to the roll. The plan to help furnish milk at Miller school was discussed by Mrs. Ward and adopted by the club. Miss Elizabeth Trowell, county home demonstration agent, talked to members on "A Well Arranged Kitchen."

- The Sumter County Fair neared a close with possibly a new attendance record being set during its six-day run. A large crowd, including many school children, jammed the grounds yesterday afternoon and last night. The North Charleston-Sumter High football game was played in the afternoon, and awards were presented last night.

- A memorial service for those who lost their lives in World War II will be given at the Presbyterian church at 7:30 by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The program includes: Organ prelude - "Recessional," Reginald deKoven; advance colors - "Star-Spangled Banner;" invocation - Capt. R. M. Hall, post chaplain; reading names of those honored; and stand in silent tribute.

- Complete inactivation of the 30th (Old Hickory) Infantry Division by Nov. 25 has been announced by its headquarters at nearby Fort Jackson. The 30th returned from the European theater in August and reassembled at Fort Jackson, where it had been reactivated in 1940. Its reactivation as a National Guard unit for Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas is under consideration, according to division headquarters.

- American Education Week will be observed throughout the entire nation Nov. 11-17. This will be the 21st anniversary of the first American Education Week, which grew out of World War I. "Education to Promote the General Welfare" is the theme for American Education Week being observed in the schools of our community. Its purpose is to develop understanding between the schools and the community and churches, which have much in common in the development of the character and ideals of our young people.

- Sumter High's Gamecocks went down before North Charleston's football team at the Sumter County Fair. A crowd of 4,000, including the governor of South Carolina and special guests, saw the Blue Devils chalk up their 19-6 victory. The Gamecocks scored first when Capt. Theron Cook, who was the offensive and defensive star for the birds, snatched an aerial just as it left the hands of Mobley, North Charleston quarterback, and raced 35 yards for the score. A line plunge for the extra point was stopped.

- The USO will send a National League all-star team on an eight-week tour of the Pacific area to entertain the troops, it has been learned from the National League sources who declined to permit the use of their names. The all-stars are expected to leave between Nov. 25 and 29 and will play against service teams on various islands. A nine-inning contest against a picked service team at Tokyo Stadium will wind up the trip. The group also will stage baseball shows featuring comedy exhibitions and diamond chats.

50 YEARS AGO - 1970

July 12 - July 18

- Sumter County craftsmen have produced a prodigious variety of art for the Sumter County Crafts Show at the Art Gallery. The Crafts Show is one of three such art displays sponsored by the Cultural Arts Committee. The Art Gallery is carrying out the show in cooperation with the Tercentennial Committee, according to Mrs. Herbert A. Rosefield, committee chairman.

- The 1970 World Championship Landlocked Striped Bass Fishing Derby is over as the big event climaxed with the "Derby Awards Night Festival" held at the Rocks Pond Campground. Barbeque catfish stews and country music enticed some 5,000 anglers, campers and friends to the big show. Charles Couliette of Pinewood took first place in the largemouth bass division with a 12-pound, 10-ounce largemouth bass. Couliette's bass was the largest landed during the 13-week contest.

- The Annual State Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress of South Carolina will be held at Morris College on July 14-17. The Congress is made up of representatives of Sunday schools in the churches within the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention. The theme selected for the Congress is "the Church's Response to the Challenges of the '70s."

- The 13th race of the season at Sumter Speedway started out as usual Saturday night with warm-ups and then the four heat races to qualify the two classes for the main events with the crowds cheering their favorite drivers. The heats came off in the same manner as they had for the past 12 times with Carroll Kirby winning the first claim heat and Tim Holladay winning the second.

- With the opening of the Cambridge Square apartments, a new concept in luxury living will be available to the people of Sumter. The complex includes 17 townhouses of Tudor design, and each has approximately 1,100 square feet of living space. The exterior features are of brick and stucco. Each apartment offers a living room, two bedrooms, 1 ceramic baths, dining room, all-electric kitchen with dishwasher and disposal, a utility room with washer-dryer connections, cablevision and carpeting. Duct heat and air conditioning are also included.

- Twenty Sumter County 4-H Club members competed in the S.C. State 4-H Horse Show. The show, being held at the state fairgrounds in Columbia, began at 10 a.m. 4-H'ers from this area who competed were Charles Brunson, Cathy Weathersbee, Lisa Boggs, Candace Kudra, Julia Mattson, Rusty Riles, Starr Geddings, Dusty Rhoad, Don Rhoad, Amanda Hall, Louisa Phifer, Jo Shenk, Joel Burnett, Marilyn Ross, Kay Benbow, Ann Penny, Beth Hamilton and Beth Chapman.

- They used to laugh at the Sumter Indians, just like they laughed at the Mets. The Mets turned these laughs into amazed admiration, just like the Indians are doing now. They had reason to chuckle at the Indians a couple of months ago, but not now. Now the Sumter Indians are No. 1 in the Western Carolina League and the Kingpin, the leader by one-half game.

- Boll weevil infestation is on the rise in the majority of Sumter County cotton fields, according to the cotton insect report given by County Agent Dick Tillman. Of 96 Sumter County fields scouted, 32 showed boll weevil infestation above five percent level; some were as high as 25 percent. An increase in the activity of the two-spotted spider mite was also noted. Mites thrive during dry periods, according to Tillman.

- It lived a good life. But alas, all good things must and will come to an end. The old oak tree standing in the middle of Baker Street will soon feel the biting wrath of the city's axe. The oak has been standing for an undetermined number of years. It was saved by the Anderson and Haynsworth families, who deeded the land to the city with the stipulation the tree remain. So the street was built around it. However, according to two experts on the health of trees, the old oak has breathed its last. It is rotted and decayed and dangerous.

- "Away we flew on the wings of the wind at the speed of 15 to 25 miles an hour, annihilating time and space and leaving all the world behind." These were the words of one daring passenger to describe the six-mile trip in 1830 aboard the "Best Friend of Charleston." Built for the purpose of reviving the lagging trade between Charleston and fast-developing inland areas, the "Best Friend of Charleston" was the first steam locomotive built in America for actual service on a railroad. It was the first passenger railway of any length to be operated by steam and was the first to carry the United States mail. The "Best Friend" also had the dubious honor of being the first locomotive to explode.

- Tucked neatly away in the southeastern corner of Shaw's perimeter is one of the busiest units at Shaw - the base Small Arms Military Training Unit. The unit trains almost 11,000 "shooters" a year, of whom about 97 percent qualify. Under the direction of Lt. Col. James R. Jarrell, 363rd Combat Support Group operations and training branch, and MSgt. Bobbie G. McGee, non-commissioned officer in charge of SAMTU, the range has been acclaimed "the most efficient small arms range in the Tactical Air Command."

25 YEARS AGO - 1995

April 12 - 18

- Ten Sumter schools are among the state's 200 worst based on standardized test scores from the past three years, according to a list released by state education officials. Seven schools - about half - in Sumter School District 2, including Hillcrest, Mayewood and Furman high schools, are on the list of poor performers, as are three elementary schools in Sumter School District 17.

- True to their reputation, Southerners haven't forgotten the Civil War. In fact, some re-create key battles in full historical dress and weaponry, such as the battle that will be fought at Boykin's Mill Pond. The Battle of Boykin's Mill, the last in South Carolina during the Civil War, will be re-enacted for the first time on the actual battle site.

- First Presbyterian Church won the YMCA's 11-12-year-old Church League's tournament this season. Team members are: Robert Stoddard, Blake English, Matt Mabe, Michael Quetti, Paul Davis, Will McLeod and Paul Weissenstein. Coaches are Mike Carnes and John Bailey.

- A flock of friendly RVers descended on Sumter, seeing the town and checking out the flora and fauna. About once every two years, Sumter businessman Clyde McManus joins 90 of his friends from across the United States for a six-week motor home tour of some of the nation's most interesting cities. This year, McManus brought his friends through his hometown. The group, Vogue Motor Home Owners, stopped at the Sumter County Exhibition Center, ate lunch at Swan Lake-Iris Gardens and walked through the park before climbing back into their 46 motor homes and heading for Myrtle Beach.

- When the Corporate Cup competition was started 13 years ago, it was a one-day event where local companies and businesses entered three-man teams in a three-mile road race. It remained a one-event competition until last year when the Corporate Cup golf tournament was added. The Corporate Cup will expand again this year but not by one event. There will be 11 different events offered this year beginning on May 1 before culminating with the annual three-mile race on May 13.

- Sumter's Dr. Mary Blanchard will be honored this weekend during Winthrop University's alumni reunion. Blanchard, a 1948 Winthrop graduate, will receive the university's oldest award - the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. The award has been given to an outstanding female alumna for 55 years. A retired obstetrician and gynecologist, Blanchard, 66, practiced medicine for 30 years in her West Calhoun Street office with Drs. J. J. Britton and H.T. Harvin Jr.

- "This holiday is just too commercial." It's a refrain you hear often at Christmastime, but not so much at Easter. And though some area ministers say the secular and commercial aspects of Easter seem to have overwhelmed the religious ones, others say the holiday most important to Christians is holding its own. "Yeah, it bothers me that the emphasis is on bunnies and eggs and all that," Dr. R.E. Bligen Jr., pastor of Sumter's Second Presbyterian Church, said. "The emphasis should be on Christ and how He died for us. I think if you follow the Scriptures, there's nothing in there about bunnies and eggs."

- Reading is fun. See, you're reading right now. Isn't this fun? But if you'd rather hear a story than read one, perhaps the "Reading Rocker-Rama" will be more fun - for children and adults, too. On April 22, the beginning of Reading is Fun Week, adults in uniform (police officers, nurses, military) will be reading aloud to children at Jessamine Mall. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., children and adults can gather 'round the rocking chairs that will be in front of Belk and J.C. Penney department stores.

- The more things have changed for Glenn Hesselbart, the more they've stayed the same for the Cutler-Hammer plant manager. In Hesselbart's 15 years at the Sumter Industrial Complex plant on U.S. 15 South, he has had to adapt to a number of changes in technology and market demands. But the biggest switch may have occurred in 1994, when the plant was sold to the Cleveland-based Eaton Corp. to become part of Eaton's Cutler-Hammer electrical manufacturing subsidiary. The plant had been operated by Westinghouse to that point.

- The annual Morris College Fine Arts Festival will be held Tuesday through Friday on the Morris College campus. Scheduled events are free and open to the public. The featured artist this year will be Ed Pierson. Raised in Chicago's Southside, Pierson went on to become internationally known in opera, musicals and recitals. He will be featured at the Fine Arts assembly in the school's Neal-Jones Auditorium.

- Concert pianist Andrew Manfred-Brown will perform a program of classical selections in Nettles Auditorium on the USC Sumter campus. Sponsored by the university's Division of Arts and Letters, the program is free and open to the public. Brown, who studied piano with Janette Giguere and Alfredo Fondscaro, received a bachelor's and master's degree in music from Boston University. He also has a master's in German literature from the University of Connecticut and a doctor of education degree in adult education from the University of Georgia.