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Yesteryear by Sammy Way: 'Very best observer in the American Army' honored; Summerthing program draws record attendance

Posted 4/26/20

75 YEARS AGO - 1945

Nov. 16 - Nov. 22

- The formation of the Dixie Life Insurance Co., a locally owned and operated corporation, organized with a capital stock of $150,000, was announced this morning. S. L. Roddey is president of the new …

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Yesteryear by Sammy Way: 'Very best observer in the American Army' honored; Summerthing program draws record attendance


75 YEARS AGO - 1945

Nov. 16 - Nov. 22

- The formation of the Dixie Life Insurance Co., a locally owned and operated corporation, organized with a capital stock of $150,000, was announced this morning. S. L. Roddey is president of the new organization, which expects to engage in writing all forms of life insurance, industrial, ordinary, health and accident. The City National Bank building has been purchased by the company and will be the home office. The corporation's charter was issued, and organization plans are being perfected for opening the home office by Dec. 1.

- Memorial services for Alwin C. Burns Jr., who was killed in action Sept. 25, 1944, will be held at Trinity Methodist Church on Sunday at 4 o'clock. At the time of his death, young Burns was on his 12th mission as a bombardier-navigator. He received his commission on Feb. 5, 1944, and went overseas on July 9. He had received the Air Medal, Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart. Lt. Burns was born in Sumter and graduated from Sumter High School in 1938 and from Davidson College in 1943.

- Plans are being completed for the construction of a new modern theater on the property recently acquired by Sam E. Reevin, the owner of the Lyric theater, from the Parker Brothers, on East Liberty Street. The property fronts 70 feet on East Liberty Street and is at present occupied by the Sunrise Caf , a barber shop and a tailor shop. The new theater will be of brick construction, fire proof and modern in every detail, will have two small stores fronting on Liberty Street and four offices on the second floor, and will seat about 600 people, all on the main floor.

- Autumn had touched the South Carolina countryside gently. There was still much green among the garnet and gold. And in the waning sunlight of a November afternoon, a small group of officers from nearby Shaw Field stood in the shadows of the historic old Church of the Holy Cross at Stateburg and watched their commanding officer lay a wreath upon the grave of Maj. William Harrison Saunders, the first American Aero Observer to qualify as a pilot in World War I. Col. Donald W. Titus spoke briefly as he placed the flowers upon the tomb. He said: "By high-ranking officers who were in a position to know, Maj. Saunders was considered the very best observer in the American Army."

- The Gamecock Lodge No. 17 Knights of Pythias will have a supper after the closing of the lodge on Monday evening. A barbecue "Dutch style" will be served by Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Cuttino Jr. in the dining room of the Masonic Temple. J. Ed Cook, chairman of the supper committee, said about 75 were expected to be present. Talks and other featured entertainment will be enjoyed during the evening. This will be the second supper of the lodge since Oct. 1."

- Staff Sgt. Edward C. Jones Jr., son of Dr. and Mrs. E. C. Jones, living on Washington Street, is at home with an honorable discharge from the U. S. Army. Sgt. Jones is a graduate of South Carolina State College and spent three years and four months in the service as clerk-typist. One year of the time served was spent in the European Theater of Operations.

- The executive board of the South Carolina Federation of Temple Sisterhoods met on Monday at the Wade Hampton Hotel in Columbia. The board, which is composed of officers and committee chairman of the federation, will discuss and plan the organization's work for the coming year. There are 12 local units of the National Federation in South Carolina including Sumter. Officers of the S.C. Federation include Mrs. Nina M. Phelps, Sumter, second vice-president, and Mrs. Same Reevin, Sumter, treasurer.

- Neiman's Inc. Jewelers, who have been serving the Carolinas for 34 years, will celebrate the formal opening of its store in Sumter next Tuesday and is cordially inviting the people of this section to visit the new addition to Sumter's fast-growing business district. Manager of the Sumter store will be A. B. Neiman, one of the sons of the founder of the business. Mr. Neiman, who recently received his honorable discharge from the Army, has been associated with the company's other two stores in Charlotte and Florence. In announcing plans for the formal opening, Mr. Neiman said that special events were being planned.

- Sumter County stands 13th in the state of South Carolina in the overall quota of war bonds sold since the Victory Loan drive opened here on Oct. 29, with total sales amounting to $260,887.25 or about 29.84 percent of the $874,000 goal, according to the Federal Reserve report of Nov. 14, it was announced this morning by R. L. McLeod, chairman of the bond drive. In the sale of series E bonds, Sumter stands 14th in the state with $70,938.75 in bonds sold, attaining about 28.38 percent of the assigned quota of $256,000.

50 YEARS AGO - 1970

July 19 - 25

- The regular 1970 American Legion season is over and in the record books, but tonight a completely new season begins for the P-15's as they enter the first playoffs with the Mullins team. Although Sumter lost its final game of the season to Camden, its overall record will allow that game to be overlooked. Mike Steen will be the starting pitcher in this game. He has pitched tremendous ball for Sumter and has the best record of any pitcher on the staff.

- Slick Gibbons won his 12th modified feature event of the season, Guy Gamble won his second claim feature, and the "rinky dink" race was a complete flop at Sumter Speedway with the grandstands packed once again.

- The Ninth Air Force Band will present a concert at Clemson University at Sumter, and Clemson has invited the public to attend. The concert will be given on the lawn in front of the administration building. Chairs will be placed on the lawn for persons attending. Directing the band for the last time will be Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Veltre, who is retiring soon.

- The Region III Junior Olympic Championships were held at the Alice Drive Track. More than 200 entries were involved in the competition, which included youth from North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. The winners in the events will advance to the national finals to be held later this summer in Knoxville, Tennessee.

- The Sumter P-15's scrambled for three runs in the third inning, but they could get no more and had to fall to Mullins in the opening game of the first round American Legion playoffs 8-3. Very few conclusions can be drawn from the quality of play by either team because the steady rain which began in the second inning and continued into the eighth hampered the defensive work as well as the pitching and hitting.

- Peaches are big business in S.C. This queen of fruits is shipped from S.C. to all parts of the U.S. - even to Europe. And since S.C. is the No. 1 exporter of fresh peaches, it is a natural that we get to enjoy peaches more than anyone.

- Visitors to the Stateburg District Magistrate's Court have often reacted with open-mouthed amazement to the form in which justice presents itself here. For the last 25 years, Magistrate J. H. Chandler, a retired railroad man, has sat behind a desk in his one-room cement block shoebox of a courthouse and administered the law to petty offenders.

- Sumter 4-H members left Tuesday for a week-long conference at Clemson University where more than 500 high-achievement 4-H members are expected from across the state. The theme of the State 4-H Conference is "Make Tomorrow Happen." 4-H members will be competing in numerous projects and activities for state honors and titles.

- The staid yellow brick and white columns of the Sumter County Courthouse have presented an unchanging facade to Sumter since 1906, but inside, the business of county government goes on in modern fashion. The courthouse exterior was repaired and the interior completely refurbished in 1965. A tour of the building reveals new facilities and equipment which have been steadily added for the last few years.

- A "Cinderella" pitching performance by Allen Johnson lifted the Sumter P-15's over powerful Mullins 4-0 at Riley Park last night to even the American Legion first-round playoffs with each team having won one game. Sumter will return to Mullins to attempt to take the lead in the best-of-five playoff series.

- American fighter-bombers attacked anti-aircraft guns 65 miles inside North Vietnam after the North Vietnamese fired on an unarmed U.S. reconnaissance jet, the U.S. Command announced. It was the first American attack on North Vietnam reported in nearly a month.

- The Regional Youth Advisory Council representing Sumter, Lee, Kershaw and Clarendon counties held its organizational meeting in the Sumter County Courthouse. According to D. Allen Thames, director of the Law Enforcement Assistance Program, the council is being formed to assist juvenile officers and all youth-related agencies through the study of the problems of juvenile offenders in the four-county area.

- Attendance at the Sumter Parks and Recreation Department's summer program reached an all-time peak last week as preparations for Summerthing III (scheduled for Aug. 10-14 at the fairgrounds) continued. Each of the department's playgrounds has been featuring activities designed according to the needs of the community it serves, but the emphasis on Summerthing has made arts and crafts popular at all locations in the past week.

25 YEARS AGO - 1995

April 19 - 25

- About a month from now three police officers from Florida, Georgia and Ohio will travel to Sumter to scrutinize the Sumter Police Department. The visit is part of the department's voluntary effort to gain accreditation by the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. As part of their first-hand evaluation, the three-member assessment team wants to hear comments on the department from the public and department employees.

- Perhaps it's only fitting that a vote to remove partisan politics from local government would split down party lines. In a 6-1 vote, Sumter City Council gave final approval to a measure that will end political party distinctions in city elections. Council's six Democrats supported the move, while Bob Galiano, council's lone Republican, cast the dissenting vote. Council has for years considered holding non-partisan elections, but until now the issue has never come to a vote.

- Clarendon School District 2 trustees approved an $11 million budget for the 1995-96 school year. District Finance Director Bob Clark said the budget isn't likely to call for a tax increase, but if one is necessary, "it shouldn't be much." The budget was approved on a 5-0 vote, with three trustees abstaining, saying they may have a possible conflict of interest because each of their wives teaches in the district.

- Sumter High School's baseball team shoveled another load of soil on its once-promising Region IV-4A championship hopes with a 2-0 loss to Lancaster at Sumter High. The Gamecocks, who began the season ranked No. 1 in the state, fell to 11-5 overall and 5-3 in regional play and trail Richland Northeast and Lancaster in the region standings.

- Susan Simpson, a broom maker from Boykin, will conduct a demonstration of her craft for the Sumter Artists Guild. Simpson is owner and operator of the Broom Place and Craft Shop, located next door to the Mill Pond Restaurant inside a restored slave house built in 1740. She has been making brooms "the old-timey way" for more than 25 years on equipment that is more than 100 years old.

- In a scene repeated in a dozen cities across the country, workers from Sumter's Department of Health and Environmental Control and Department of Social Services office filed out of their building after a bomb threat. At least 200 employees were evacuated so a bomb-sniffing dog from Shaw Air Force Base could search the four-story E. Alex Heise Building at East Hampton Avenue and North Magnolia Street, Sumter County Public Safety Director Vic Jones said.

- Robert E. Lee's Stephen Welch has been the runner-up in the individual portion of the SCISAA 3A state golf tournament each of the last three years. Hudgens Academy has had a golf team for only two years. When the two teams met at the Bishopville Country Club golf course, the outcome was inevitable. REL defeated the Cougars 149-177 in a nine-hole match. Welch, who has signed a scholarship with the University of South Carolina, led the way with a 33.

- About 250 Shaw Air Force Base personnel began deploying to Kuwait as part of Operation Southern Watch, according to a statement released by the base. The group, most of whom are members of Shaw's 55th Fighter Squadron, will operate A-1-10 Warthogs out of Kuwait during a regular 90-day rotation. Shaw squadrons, along with other Ninth Air Force squadrons, have maintained a presence in the area through Operation Southern Watch since the end of the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq.

- A former soldier was arrested and accused of bombing the federal office building in an apparent attempt to exact vengeance against the U.S. government for the cult disaster at Waco, Texas, precisely two years earlier. A second man surrendered in Kansas. Timothy McVeigh, 26, was arrested by the FBI at a small-town Oklahoma jail where he had spent two days on minor traffic and weapons charges before agents realized he was right under their nose.

- The budding development around the Wilson Hall Road/Wesmark Boulevard intersection may be in full bloom as early as next year. Already, construction is underway on an exclusive subdivision, a funeral home and a clinic in the area, which is situated along the western city limits of Sumter. "By this time next year, I'm sure this area will be well-developed," said Mack Kolb of the Century 21 Hawkins and Kolb real estate firm. "It may be difficult to recognize."

- The answer: The South Carolina Waterfowl Association. The Question: What kind of an environmental group would accept more than $2.5 million from a company with a long history of serious environmental violations, help the company obscure one of those violations under a banner of voluntary environmental restoration and - as part of the deal - give the company a "corporate Conservator of the Year" award? Laidlaw Environmental Services, which owns a hazardous-waste landfill on the shore of Lake Marion in Sumter County, has spent about $2 million to build the Wetland Wildlife Education Management Center for the South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA).

- When Sumter High School senior Lee Hatfield climbs onto a pitcher's mound, he carries with him a good fastball, a better slider and a developing changeup. A solid repertoire, to be sure, but that is not what sets the 6-0, 200-pound right-hander apart from the average high school pitcher. The answer lies somewhere within the furrow in his brow as he eyes an opposing hitter. "It's his desire to win," said Sumter High coach Rick Hatcher, "His competitiveness, and then the ability to get it done."