Hunting for the Peculiar Soul of Georgia

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Don Rhodes Presents James Brown

Don Rhodes on James Brown

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Historic Augusta Downtown Church Tour

Historic Augusta Downtown Church Tour
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Noon – 5 pm

Fourteen historic Augusta downtown churches have partnered to host a tour of churches on Sunday, October 26, 2014 from noon until 5 pm. The event is free and open to the public. Please note that each church has its own opening times. Visit them in any order you wish. At each open location, you will be greeted by tour guides and receive more information on the churches. Light refreshments will be offered at some of the sites. Also, for more information on each church, please visit their websites. Any further questions prior to the tour may be answered by calling St. James United Methodist Church at 706-722-8373.

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A Brief History of Windsor Spring Water Company

The Windsor Spring Water Company was established in 1905 by William H.T. Walker, Jr., son of Confederate Major-General W. H. T. Walker, killed during the Civil War in the Battle of Atlanta, and grandson of prominent United States senator and Augusta’s first mayor, Freeman Walker.  Although the Company was established in 1905, the spring itself was allegedly named for Windsor, England by British soldiers encamped in the area during the American Revolution. In the mid 1800s, Valentine Walker, brother of Freeman, built Seclusaval on the grounds, which in 1988 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1907, the Greek Revival home became the dwelling of George M. Clarke, his wife, Fannie Perrin Clarke, and their children, Ella Irene, Frances Louise, Minnie Leticia and George Miller, Jr. Walker and Clarke were business partners until 1920, when Walker sold his portion of the business to Clarke.

Under the ownership of the Clarke family, the Windsor Spring Water Company boomed, providing not only Augusta, but Savannah, Charleston and Aiken with the “purest water the earth affords.” 15,000 gallons flowed from the spring daily, and was advertised in 1909 as “containing less solid matter per gallon than the celebrated Poland Spring Water” of Maine. Promotional material published in the early twentieth century provides testimonials from scientists and doctors attesting to the water’s “exceptional purity”, its beneficial use in the treatment of a number of health disorders, including, “indigestion, dyspepsia, biliousness, malaria, chills and fever, lumbago, neuralgia, and rheumatism.” The spring water, which at the time was said to flow from an unknown source, was also a favorite of President William H. Taft, who reportedly traveled with a dozen five gallon bottles on both of his visits to the Panama Canal during its construction.

George M. Clarke died in December of 1933, and his wife, Fannie Perrin Clarke took over the business, and single-handedly saved it from ruin. Clarke’s death occurred in the midst of the Depression, at which time the family became unable to pay off a mortgage of $15,000.00 Clarke had taken out on the property in 1925. With Windsor Spring Water Company and Seclusive Val in jeopardy, Mrs. Clarke traveled to Warm Springs, Georgia where President Franklin D. Roosevelt was seeking treatment at the time for infantile paralysis, and met with Presidential Secretary, Marvin H. McIntyre. During the visit, she secured a homeowners loan, and was able to pay off the mortgage and save the business. Fannie Perrin Clarke operated The Windsor Spring Water Company until her death in 1961, when her daughter Ella Clarke Nuite took over the Company, and continued bottling spring water by hand well into her eighties. Mrs. Ella Clarke Nuite died on June 15, 2007 at the age of 103, her long life surely a testament to the purity of Windsor Spring waters. The century old business closed upon her death.

Pictured are Ella Clarke Nuite, nee’ Ella Irene Clarke, and her brother George Miller Clarke, Jr. The photograph was taken by a private photographer hired by Mr. Clarke. The setting is the original springhouse, built from locally quarried rockd by Paul Fitzsimons, then owner of Windsor Spring. This image is included in an exhibit of historic photographs on loan from the Augusta Chronicle to the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library through the month of September.

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The Windsor Spring Water Company memorabilia was graciously donated to the Georgia Heritage Room by Charlotte Nuite Kitchen, daughter of Ella Clarke Nuite.

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Monday, September 15 at 2:00 pm
Augusta’s own Bill Kirby will be here to present WE WERE THERE: CHRONICLING AUGUSTA HISTORY FOR 230 YEARS.
One of Augusta’s oldest institutions, the Augusta Chronicle, has been documenting local and national news day after day, month after month, year after year for over two centuries. Please join us as Bill Kirby explores the story of “The South’s Oldest Newspaper,” and its place within the history of American journalism. In conjunction with the program, a series of historic photographs taken by Chronicle journalists will be on exhibit throughout the month of September on the first floor of the Headquarters Library. Please call (706)826-1511 for details.

Friday, September 26 at 10:00 am
Maxwell Branch Library
Tina Floyd from the Georgia Heritage Room will present a beginner workshop on the fundamentals of starting a family research project. Topics will include, how to get started, basic rules for genealogical research, conducting interviews and how and where to gather documentation. This is a beginner level class, but computer skills are necessary. The class is interactive so come prepared to start growing your family tree! Space is limited. Please call (706) 793-2020 to register.

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We Want Your Yearbooks!!

yearbook flyer (2)

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The Joyce Poole Collection

The Georgia Heritage Room is thrilled to announce a significant donation of genealogical materials given by Mrs. Joyce Perkerson Poole. Mrs. Poole has been researching family genealogies since 1976, and has generously donated her books and family histories in an effort to preserve the collection within a controlled environment, and to allow other genealogists access to these important materials.

Mrs. Poole is a professional genealogist and for many years was Registrar for both the College Hill Chapter National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Rev. Pierre Robert Chapter of the National Colonial Dames of the 17th Century. In 1980, she became an adviser for THE HEARD FAMILY JOURNAL, and began research, using the materials she discovered in county courthouses and tax digests on a book about the Heard family. Published in 2004, A HEARD FAMILY RECORD-BASED HISTORY, follows the lineage of the family for whom Augusta’s “Heard Avenue” was named.

Mrs. Poole has published articles in the MAGAZINE OF VIRGINIA GENEALOGY and contributed family histories to books published by the Gwinnett County Genealogical Society and the East Georgia Genealogical Society, as well as Heritage Books for other Georgia Counties, such as Paulding, Meriwether, Cobb; and South Carolina counties, such as Abbeville. She has also contributed family history research and publications to the Augusta Genealogical Society.

Included in the donation are approximately 150 books on Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia genealogy, and roughly twenty family history files.

The Augusta-Richmond County Public Library is honored to accept Mrs. Poole’s donation.

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If you think this season’s celebrities are fascinating, wait until you meet their ancestors.

Your favorite family history show is back with all-new episodes, premiering Wednesday, July 23 on TLC. Meet six of today’s biggest celebrities—including Cynthia Nixon and Jesse Tyler Ferguson—and generations of their intriguing families. You could even win a grand prize to discover your own family story.

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The Ancestry Library Edition is once again available to our patrons. Thank you for your patience as we worked out the technical difficulties.

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