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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. Jim Smith      - Honest Jim

Auburn Times –   November 9, 1938

The Auburn twins were daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Smith. They were lovely girls and very few could tell Annie from Carrie. They were in the same teen-age group that I grew up with.

Mr. Smith was a very unusual man and highly deserved the name “Honest Jim.” Notwithstanding he was a good businessman, he made the fourth venture before he fit perfectly – a square man in a square position. In turn, he invested in the grocery, dry goods and farming business and finally when past middle age, he secured a position to travel for a wholesale dry goods company in St. Louis, in Western territory and he made a wonderful success from the very first.

Honest man that he was, he brought all his savings above personal and family expenses back to Auburn and paid 100 cents on the dollar to every one with whom he had made legal settlement for less. There was a real man. He was my Sunday school teacher and I only recall one thing he taught me in the class: “Repentance is Godly sorrow for sin and a determination to turn away from it.” That is the best definition for repentance I have ever heard. But the lesson in sterling integrity he taught me by paying 100 cents on the dollar after legal settlement had been made has had a lasting influence on my life. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Smith were: George, Will Carson, Annie, Carrie (the twins) Maggie and Bessie. Sorry I do not know how many of them are living and where. Mr. Smith and father were warm friends and he was a fine patron of Auburn College. How I rejoice to recall to my own mind these outstanding men of my boyhood and pay tribute to them. “No man liveth to himself,” and we all have influence. May we ever exert it for good as these men did in the long ago.

Yours sincerely,

                        Macon, Georgia




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