Yatesville Girl’s Basketball Championship

Perhaps not many people throughout Georgia had ever heard of Yatesville in 1944, but after the Yatesville High School Girls Basketball Team finished their season, many more had.  This team may have been one of the least likely teams to succeed, as they had many obstacles before them, but none of which could stop them.  For instance, this team had no coach, as the school Superintendent Gordon Holston and a teacher Miss Sarah Chatfield helped on game nights and when they could.  Therefore, the girls practiced on their own which speaks highly of their discipline and character.  Although, I am not certain where they practiced as they did not even have a court and thereby had no home games the entire season.  These road warriors left from their small hometown and when they returned, the entire state knew their names, as they never lost a game.  The girls who comprised this team consisted of half of the population of girls in the entire school.  Such an unheard of feat is unlikely to have been repeated and these Ladies accomplished something that most teams cannot even imagine.  Even the ones with home games, a full time coach and a court of their own.  

Below is an article regarding the Champions from The Thomaston Times Feb. 10, 1944



Drake: School of Champions

If you wanted to see talent in Upson County in the early 1960’s, all you needed to do was drive over to watch the Drake Yellow Jacket Basketball team.   The gym could hardly contain the abilities these young men had as the hardwood was their canvas, the basketball their brush and when combined, created a masterpiece.  Hard work and determination pushed these world-class young men into excellence which created an honor which will stand for all future generations to admire.  To reintroduce what these athletes achieved is futile as their incredible accomplishments far excel this writer’s ability.  Therefore, see below the article below written by Arthur Stroud in Monroe Worthy’s Column in the March 1, 1962 Thomaston Times and the photographs from Monroe Worthy’s column in the February 8,1962 Thomaston Times and the plaque which hangs in the Drake Building.  This team will soon be inducted into the Thomaston-Upson Sports Hall of Fame.    


War Valentine

For most of us, we have lived in a world where the direct ramifications to a war have not reached our doorstep.  Most of us have not had to ration gasoline, ration sugar, save the fat from our food for glycerin to make explosives or other various activities due to our country being involved in a war.  However, those who lived through World War II had to do these things, as everywhere they turned there was something to remind them about the war.  The War was so prevalent that even there expressions of love where monopolized by this conflict.  An example of this is an incredibly unique Valentines card Archivist Bonnie Smith recently discovered while meticulously working and organizing a collection.  As you can see, it was designed for a female to give to her male Valentine and it specifically states “My First Mate in the Service”.  This is proof that so many people were affected by the War, that there was a market for unambiguously Military related Cards.  We are very proud and grateful for those who lived that life and the sacrifices they made.  Please enjoy the images of the card below, which is just one of the many fantastic things Archivist Bonnie Smith uncovers every day.  



The Posse and the Yatesville Shootout

Gunshots rang out, shattering the Yatesville, Georgia fall night air and just a few minutes later, they rang out again, and again, and again.  It was just after Midnight when the Upson County Sheriff’s department received the call from frantic residents of gunshots in the eastern part of the County.  Sheriff E.T. Bray collected men from his department, the Georgia State Patrol and the State Revenue Department and with this nine-man posse set out to right what was wrong.  Upon their arrival, the group thought that perhaps someone was lost in the woods, so the Sheriff fired a round into the air and immediately got a response, but the shooting did not stop.  Another shot went off and then another from the perpetrator, convincing the posse that whoever was shooting was very well armed with plenty of ammunition and was trying to repel rather than attract.  The intrepid group soon realized the shooting was coming from a pecan orchard and the men moved in.  One member shined his flashlight hoping to illuminate the shooter’s position, then a shot went off, and he realized the light was only a target so, in the darkness they would continue.  As they crept with guns drawn, they began to narrow down the location of the apparent Mad Man who was slinging lead at anything that moved.   They finally got close enough to see the flame of the muzzle blast as the gunfire went unabated.  One of the men, the fastest of the posse, decided he would make his move and rush in on the outlaw; but when he got close enough to hear the distinct sound of the ears of the double-barreled shotgun pull back, he realized distance was his friend and it was time for a retreat.  As the group set crouched in that orchard the Sheriff knew, it was time to talk reason with mad gunman.  Therefore, he stood up and professed to be the Sheriff, in the company of bona fide lawmen, and stated the best solution would be for a peaceful surrender.  However, the reply was a gunshot and then another gunshot from the unrelenting gunslinger and the posse knew surrender was no longer an option, the gunner would have to be taken by force.  Rather than flee in fear and hope the crazed soul would tire out, the brave men knew their duty and knew they must apprehend this wild shooter lest, others should come upon his wrath.  Therefore, the men prepared to storm the hideout of the gun loving, man-hating bandit. Thus, with cavalier hearts they converged, with caution in the wind, upon the position and insisting, I am sure, to stand down and drop the weapon.  However, there would be no relinquishing of the firearm, and even with flashlights fixed upon the menace; shots rang out again.  It seems that this lunatic had no feelings; he had no conscious, as “he” was actually not a man at all.  Rather, when the light uncovered the subject the posse found themselves staring at a double-barreled shotgun, which functioned on a buildup of gas that fired on a flint spark setting on a metal frame in middle of the orchard.  It seems this merciless contraption never harbored ill will toward man but rather had other prey in mind.  Actually this was a technologically advanced scare crow intended to keep other creatures from eating the cash crop of the pecans.     

Upson Sons Who Saved The World

For those long ago, who left their home to save the world yet, were never to return.  Below are the names, burial places, and some of the photographs, of Upson County sons who lost their lives in World War II and were not brought home but rather destined to eternal rest, in the fields of yonder.

Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in Saint-James, France         

  4,266 miles away

-Robert Eubanks was killed in action on August 6, 1944 in France. He was a First Sergeant in U.S. Army. One of the first burials as the cemetery was not established until August 9, 1944

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial Colleville-sur-Mer, France

4,267 miles away

Lashley Orin 8-17-1944 Thomaston Times

-Orin Lashley was killed in action July 18, 1944 in France.  He was a Technical Sergeant U.S. Army

Teal John A. 8-24-1944 Thomaston Times

-John A. Teal buried in John was killed in action August 1, 1944 in France. He was a Private U.S. Army

Parkerson Raymond 9-14-1944 Thomaston Times

-Raymond Parkerson was killed in action on July 24, 1944 in France.  He was a Private First Class U.S. Army

Trice Thomas B. 4-6-1944 Thomaston Times

-Thomas Trice was killed in action on August 1, 1944 in France. He was a Corporal in U.S. Army 

Whittle Joseph H. 8-17-1944 Thomaston Times

-Joseph Whittle was killed in action on July 17, 1944 in France. He was a Private U.S. Army

Oglesbee Vemma 2

-Vemma K. Oglesbee was killed in action on July 11, 1944 in France. He was a Private U.S. Army

Nixon Ralph Feb. 8 1945 Thomaston Times (3)

-Ralph Nixon was killed in action on August 25, 1944 in France.  He was a Corporal in U.S. Army

-Otis Brown’s death was non-battle related on October 12, 1944 in France.  He was a Private First Class U.S. Army

                                Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Kleve, Germany                          

          4,495 miles away

Kinsler Thomas Dutch 11-9-1944 Thomaston Times2

-Thomas “Dutch” Francis Kinsler was killed in action on October 29, 1944 in Germany.  (Although from Upson County Dutch joined Royal Canadian Air Force and served as a Pilot)

Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial Margraten, Netherlands

4,508 miles away

-Willie   James Worthy’s death was non-battle related on April 29, 1945 in Germany.  He was a Private in U.S. Army

Canup Grady 3-8-1945 Free Press

-Grady Canup was killed in action in Germany November 16, 1944.  He was a Staff Sergeant in the Army

 Honolulu Memorial Honolulu, Hawaii

4,510 miles away

*Willie A Tomlin’s death was non-battle related on 8-14-1943. He was a Corporal U.S. Army

Chambley Ralph April 5 1945 Thomaston Times

*Ralph Chambley was killed in action on Aircraft carrier U.S.S. Bismark when it was sunk on February 21, 1945 by kamikazes during the Battle of Iwo Jima.  He was a Fireman First Class U.S. Navy

*Wiley Hanson was killed in action on May 10, 1945. (not certain of location).  He was a Seaman 1c U.S. Navy

* Hawaiian burials/memorials. Those listed at the Honolulu Memorial were lost at sea and therefore their earthly resting place lies abroad from their loving home of Upson County.

Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial Liège, Belgium

4,515 miles away

Bishop Ralph E March 15 1945 thomaston times

-Ralph Bishop buried in Belgium as well as a grave marker in Shiloh Baptist Cemetery in Upson County.   Ralph Bishop was killed in action in Germany on his 19th birthday February 18, 1945. He was a Private First Class in U.S. Army

Orosz Joseph 3-22-1945 Free Press

-Joseph Orosz was killed in Action in Germany March 3, 1945.He was a Sergeant in U.S. Army.   (Joseph was from Pennsylvania but married Inez Brown of Upson County)

Ellerbee Merritt March 1 1945 Thomaston Times (6)

-Merritt Ellerbee was killed in Action in Germany February 2, 1945.  He was a Private First Class in the U.S. Army

Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial Hamm, Luxembourg 

4,556 miles away

Ryles James Thurman March 1 1945 Thomaston Times

-James Thurman Ryals was killed in action on January 26, 1945 in Belgium.  He was a First Lieutenant U.S. Army

Shirley John Feb. 1 1945 Thomaston Times obit

-John H. Shirley was killed in action January 10, 1945 in Belgium.  He was a Private First Class U.S. Army

Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial Saint-Avold, France             

4,591 miles away

Whatley Clifford Dec. 21 1944 Thomaston Times

-Clifford Whatley was killed in action on November 25, 1944 in France.  He was a Private First Class in U.S. Army

Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial Draguignan, France           

     4,742 miles away

Smith James E Oct. 26 1944 Thomaston Times

-James E. Smith was killed in Action on August 23, 1944 in Southern France. He was a Private in the U.S. Army.

Florence American Cemetery and Memorial Florence Toscana, Italy        

 4,949 miles away

-Joseph N. Winkles was killed in action October 17, 1944 in Italy. He was a Private in U.S. Army.

Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial Nettuno, Italy              

5,088 miles away

Fallin Thomas Sept. 28 1945 Thomaston Times

-Thomas Fallin was killed in action February 5, 1945 in Italy.  He was a Private U.S. Army. Repatriated and buried in Valley Grove Cemetery

Lynch Frank 3-30-1944 Thomaston Times

-Frank A. Lynch was killed in Action February 17, 1944 in Italy. He was a Corporal in U.S. Army

 North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage, Tunisia        

5,136 miles away

-Webb H. Daniel was killed in action March 30, 1943. (not certain of exact location of death.)  He was a Private First Class U.S. Army

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila City, Philippines      

8,766 miles away

Dickens James Harvey Feb 15 1945 Thomaston Times

-James Harvey Dickens was killed in action on January 21, 1945 in the Pacific. (not certain of exact location). Store Keeper First Class U.S. Navy

Shaw Ernest March 29 1945 Thomaston Times

-Ernest Shaw was killed in action on March 8, 1945 on Luzon in the Philippines.  He was a Private First Class U.S. Army

-Clifford Lee Crawley was killed aboard USS Juneau when it was sunk on November 13, 1942 in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. (I believe the 5 Sullivan brothers were aboard this ship as well) Chief Electrician’s Mate U.S. Navy

Mallory Fred, March 19, 1942 Thomaston Times  pg 1copy

-Fred Mallory was killed in action on March 1, 1942 aboard the USS Houston when it was sunk in the Battle of Sundra Strait.  He was an Ensign U.S. Navy

Perkins Thomas Leonard 2-22-1945 Free Press

-Thomas Leonard Perkins was killed in action on Luzon in the Philippines January 27, 1945.  He was Private First Class U.S. Army

-Curtis V. Bunn died of a non-battle related death on April 12, 1944.  He was a Private U.S. Army

-Clarence W. Dixon’s death was non-battle related on June 13, 1944.  He was a Private U.S. Army

Dumas Frank 1-18-1945 Thomaston Times

-Frank Dumas was killed in action December 18, 1944. Killed aboard the USS Monaghan in a typhoon. He was Quartermaster 1c U.S. Navy

Copy of Ellington Stanford 1940 R.E. Lee High Yearbook

***   Stanford Edison Ellington memorial unknown.  Stanford was killed on board the SS West Ivis on Jan 24, 1942 when the German Submarine U-125 sank it. He was Seaman 2nd Class in the U.S. Navy and was 17 years old.

***      James Floyd Melton was first buried in military cemetery in West Germany per the newspaper account (not certain of cemetery) but now in Meriwether County Ga. at the Woodbury Cemetery.  James died March 20, 1945 in German Prison Camp.  He was a Technical Sergeant U.S. Army Repatriated