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AUBURN IN THE LONG AGO

 


J. Henry Burnett was the son of Rev. J. H. Burnett (Professor & Preacher). J. Henry lived in Auburn until the 1930s when he went to Atlanta, Georgia. His love of Auburn prompted him to write to the Auburn Times about the many people he knew and admired so well. He named his writings "Auburn in the Long Ago."

Subject:     Mr. J. A. Peak      -        J.A.P. – The One and Only.


Auburn Times –   Jan 6, 1939

Everyone who lived in or near Auburn in my boyhood days knew J.A.P. He was unique and peculiar. His name was J. A. Peak and in his writings, whether for the county paper or articles for other papers, he always signed himself “J.A.P.” He was the town printer and the world’s champion red cedar breaker.” He was a bachelor and lived with his mother on the bank of Black Lick Creek across the railroad track from the pumping station. He made the round trip from his home to his office twice a day, each time he would pass the depot. He carried a basket, which would hold about half a bushel, and going to his office each trip he would stop by where coal was being unloaded from the freight cars and pick off the group a basket of coal, which he emptied in the box in his office, and as he went home each trip he would carry a basketful home. Quite shifty – and thus his coal bill was no problem financially. I recall asking my father if every town had a “J.A.P.” I thought he was such an institution that every town should have one – and no more. His printing (job work) did not take much time, his writing only a bit more, so he busied himself breaking red cedar sticks. You could trace him around town by the cedar chips he broke, as he looked at various points in the stores in bad weather, and in front of them in good weather. He would spend some spare time gathering and preparing these cedar sticks. He cut them about six inches long and half an inch wide and very thin so they would break easily. He tied them in round bundles of 200 or more sticks and stacked them on shelves in his office to season and dry out. He was an interesting writer and the money he got for his weekly “gossip” to the county paper at Russellville and for his job printing, furnished the means upon which he and his mother lived frugally. His office was on Pearl Street and I was in it many times. He had a sort of sniffle, which was his very own. We lived neighbors to he and his mother for many years, so knew them better than “common” as folks sometimes say. He was a kindly spirit, quiet and interesting and everyone liked him. He had a very good education and was above the average in intelligence. He was not a great man, but a most unique and interesting one and a good citizen.

Yours sincerely,

J. HENRY BURNETT
                        Macon, Georgia


 

 

 


 

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