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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. 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,

J. HENRY BURNETT
                        Macon, Georgia


 

 

 

 

Mr. Jim Smith      (Honest Jim)

 Auburn In The Long Ago                       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.

Sincerely yours,

J. Henry Burnett
        Macon, GA

 

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Mr. Harry Woodward, Postmaster

Auburn In The Long Ago                                  Auburn Times – April 14, 1939

Every town in the United States has a post office and a postmaster or postmistress, but only Auburn had an “Uncle Harry” Woodward as postmaster. He was the BIGGEST man in town physically, and being postmaster was about the BIGGEST politically. In those days, every family appointed their own mail carrier. It was the duty of this mail carrier to go to the post office; usually reaching there about the time the mail in the bag was brought from the train. These mail carriers would assemble about twice daily and each time would have to wait until “Uncle Harry” opened the window, which was closed while the mail was “put up” as Uncle Harry called it. When he opened the window and called “all up,” the line formed and unless you were financially able to rent a box, you would pass by the open window. Uncle Harry would look over his specs, see who was there and hand out the mail if any for your family. It was customary in our home to care for some of the out-of-town students at the college. Sometimes one of these boarders would be appointed mailman. One day the mailman came back and upon reaching our home he realized he had lost a possible card addressed to my father. With becoming embarrassment, he told my father of the loss and added, “but I can tell you what was on it.” Guess curiosity caused Uncle Harry also to read postal cards when he had a little spare time. He had a very large home and ran a sort of hotel. It was half a block from the mill and across Main Street from Stagner’s Shop. The post office was in a front room of this residence. I recall when Yellow Fever rages in Memphis and refugees left there by the hundreds and thousands. Many stopped in Auburn and Uncle Harry had his place filled to overflowing, as did every home in town where there was a spare room. The hotel was full, of course. Some may have come from New Orleans also, as it was raging there at the same time. It is wonderful that Yellow Fever has now been stamped out in the United States.

Yours sincerely,
    J. HENRY BURNETT
        Macon, Ga.

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