Down memory lane to 1948-49

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By Tom Watson

A lot happened in Spencer County during 1948-49. Of Course, things happen around these parts every year, but for some reason, the here-to-fore mentioned two-year period included events that beg for recollection.

  This writer was a mere 9-year-old Taylorsville town brat in 1948 who took in everything going on and was duly impressed by major items, although not understanding the significance of many of them.  My father, Orville “Tape” Watson, was mayor of Taylorsville after serving on the city commission. All I knew was he went to a bunch of meetings, but later learned he worked very hard to help secure the floodwall.  

Nineteen-forty-eight was the year the floodwall was completed, Edna Mae Bentley was crowned Miss Spencer County and Anna Heady died at the age of 102. She had been born into slavery. Catherine Hume was married to John McMillan Briscoe, while Ben Black Jr. tied the knot with Ann Shelburne.

Catherine Briscoe was one of my Taylorsville High School teachers and I had the  highest respect for her ability to keep order in the classroom. Some teachers didn’t hold onto the reins tightly enough, but Mrs. Briscoe let you know from day one that you had to walk the straight and narrow.

Burlyn Pike became editor of the Spencer Magnet in 1948 with Claude A. Brock soon following and his wife Dolly was society editor. Local residents watched Dolly progress to editor and publisher of the paper after Claude’s death.

In the spring of 1949 one of Taylorsville’s most talented musicians, George Henry, was the featured pianist for the Louisville Philharmonic. In her professional debut as a soloist, the talented girl from Taylorsville with the boy’s name, played Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 54. She obtained a master’s degree in music from Yale and taught music at William Woods College in Fulton, Mo.

Nannie Wootton died at the age of 73 in 1949 and Etta Thurman was 53 when she passed on that year.

Edwin McNeal was elected Spencer County clerk in 1949 and Thad Cheatham, who had served as judge and county attorney, died. Katie Beauchamp, who changed the name of the Spencer Courier to the Spencer Magnet, wrapped up many years as editor of the paper. It had begun as the Spencer Journal before Lew Brown operated it as the Spencer Courier.

Norman S. Collier was 53 when he died in 1949. His son, the late Norman G. Collier, was my long-time friend and I’m told the marbles we used to “shoot” are still found  in Reasor Avenue yards and ditches.

A school for African American students was finished in Taylorsville in 1949 as was the Elk Creek School.