The photo shows a group of men, some with musical instruments, all amicably standing together with the old Lindale school in the background. It’s 1914 and many of those men were musicians and among them were some country music legends.
They weren’t the big names, even in their day, but legends nonetheless.
Russell McClanahan, archivist with the Rome Area History Museum, brought the photo to us. It was shown in episode one of Ken Burns’ documentary on the history of country music.
He said the photo included Gid Tanner, “Fiddling” John Carson, Punk Stephens and his father Bob Stephen. In the front, two men sat together — Sheriff W.G. Dunahoo and his deputy, Wash Smith
Something almost always happens when you really delve into history. You find out some pretty interesting things. If you think the 2020 election for sheriff has been contentious so far, well it’s nothing compared to the one in 1914.
When he went to look for information about a fiddler’s convention in 1914, McClanahan discovered that Dunahoo had tried to shoot Smith in a free-for-all at the county jail a few years later.
The shootout was the result of an election fiasco where Smith was running on a ticket against the sitting sheriff and possibly implied that, if elected, the new administration would be a sober one.
Dunahoo took it as a reflection on his personal character and well, you already know the rest. He was fined $1,000 for the crime and was not reelected.
Thank goodness our methods of dealing with conflict have changed since then.
Stepping even further from the photo itself, McClanahan told a story about how Bob Stephens later informally adopted his friend Stranger Malone, who was no stranger to Rome in his lifetime.
When deciding what we’re going to cover on any given day there are always questions.
First and foremost, we attempt to determine if a story is newsworthy and, in the overload of information we live in, choosing which news becomes an even larger question. So as we sift through all that information we attempt to decide what we’ll cover that day.
Seems pretty straightforward right?
In general, if someone leaves a position without scandal or criminal charges being filed, we don’t write much — if anything — about it. It may seem like we’re in the business of rubbing in the bad news, but that’s really not true.
So when Ken Wright, the now former director of business and industry services at the Rome Floyd Chamber, said he was leaving without comment, well, we let him. Ken’s been a vocal arm of the chamber and worked hand in hand with the Greater Rome Existing Industries Association for some time now.
He’s soldiered through the changes our chamber has been through during this past year. He was present when former chamber president Al Hodge was all but dismissed from service. He was there when Missy Kendrick was named as president of the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority. He was there when Jeanne Krueger was named as president and CEO of the Rome Floyd Chamber.
At this point everyone, including Ken, has been mum about why one of the most vocal supporters of the chamber has up and left. Whatever the reason, we hope the best for him.
While we’re on the topic, we’ve also been hearing there is possibly big news in the works, possibly a multimillion dollar expansion ... but let us stress, that’s rumor at this point.
Whatever the news may or may not be, it could be the type of thing a new development authority or a recently downsized chamber might like to have under their belt. Business cred if you will.
But to be frank and to the point, the credit shouldn’t and doesn’t matter. Both of those organizations should work hand in hand with each other (and any or all other organizations) to do what is best for our community.
While our unemployment numbers are low, we’re seeing enough neighborhoods in decline that it’s a problem. It’s indicative of the fact that we do have jobs, but we need the type of jobs that bring prosperity. We need to show businesses who are looking for a place to land, or a place to expand, that Floyd County is where they want to be.
Pretty in pink
The color is everywhere — you’ve seen it wrapping the newspaper twice this week — in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Floyd Medical Center’s “paper dolls” are out and about across Rome and if you get pulled over, or maybe you just needed to ask for directions, you’ll see Rome and Floyd police officers wearing their pink (or pink banded) badges for the cause.
Some football games have had “pink outs” to show their support and businesses — for example Chick-fil-A and Hardy Realty — have also put their pink hats in the ring.
The disease has killed entirely too many of our friends, mothers, wives and daughters each year. The best way to beat breast cancer — and really any type of cancer — is an early diagnosis. Please get checked.