LAWYERS WHO ARE PRACTICING OR HAVE PRACTICED IN TURNER
J. A. Comer, first city court solicitor, reared in Tennessee
and finished his education in the Houston High School at Arabi.
A. J. Davis, educated at Ashburn and Mercer University,
was formerly Judge of the County Court of Worth.
J. J. Story, educated at Ashburn, Emory and Mercer. Clerk
of City Council and Manager of the Pearsons, Taft Company.
James H. Pate, educated in the Houston High School, North
Georgia Military College and Mercer University. Was Solicitor of the City
Court and represented his county in the Legislature.
E. A. Rogers, educated at Emory University, was City Court
Solicitor for many years.
R. L. Tipton, educated at Sylvester and Mercer University,
was Judge of the City Court for quite a number of years.
W. T. Williams, now deceased, was a practicing attorney
and was Clerk for the Commissioners of Roads and Revenues for a number
John B. Hutcheson, Judge of the Stone Mountain Circuit,
practiced law in Ashburn and represented the county in the Legislature.
W. A. Hawkins was the first Judge of the City Court of
Ashburn. The following list of Turner County boys once practiced law in
Ashburn: A. S. Bussey was educated at Sycamore and other schools; J. H.
Adams, educated at Sycamore and Mercer University, served this district
as State Senator; Wayland Hardy, educated at Mercer University; Z. Bass
who was largely self educated.
The above are living and practicing law in different places,
several in Florida.
Three more once practicing law here were Ben White, John
C. Powell and Mr. Aaron.
PHYSICIANS WHO HAVE PRACTICED IN TURNER COUNTY.
R. C. Smith, W. L. Story, T. W. Tison, T. H. Thrasher,
C. E. Walker, W. J. Turner, J. T. Dickey, W. W. Terrell, J. H. Baxter,
H. W. Harris, W. A. Harrison, J. T. Moore, H. M. Belflower, L. S. Stephens,
W. W. Rutland, W. H. Houston, J. W. McElroy, D. P. Luke, G. R. Luke, J.
F. Covington, R. P. Adams, J. W. Bradley, F. W. Rogers, W. J. Dickson,
Archie Griffin, R. D. Rawlins.
W. G. McKenzie, Waller, Johnson, C. W. Gardner and Mark
Anthony also practiced here at one time.
DENTISTS WHO PRACTICED IN TURNER COUNTY.
W. M. Thornton, G. W. Cooper, James E. Paulk, H. P. Baugh,
W. H. Hansard, A. S. Sanders and Doctors Ellis and Cone.
Rev. Wilson Conner was a native of South Carolina and
a contemporary of Rev. Jesse Mercer and at one period of his life, at least,
was as loyal to the organized work of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and
was as great and energetic in the sphere in which he lived and moved, as
was Mercer in his work among those in more elevated paths of life.
In 1824, the Georgia Baptist Convention employed D. C.
Mallorey, Jonathan Davis and Wilson Conner as missionaries.
Davis and Mallorey were each to receive a salary of one
thousand dollars per year, while Conner was to receive only four hundred
dollars per year for his work. It seems that Conner's position with the
Georgia Baptist Convention lasted from 1824 to 1839, or for a period of
Brother Conner, a resident of Effingham County, and a
member of the Sunbury Association, to be near his work, moved to Dooly
County. Before moving here his daughter Lucy married a Mr. Joseph Ryals
of Montgomery County. They were the parents of Rev. J. G. Ryals, D. D.,
of Cartersville, Georgia, who was born in Montgomery County in 1824, the
same year that his grandfather, Rev. Wilson Conner, was employed by the
Georgia Baptist Convention.
Under the employment of the Georgia Baptist Convention,
Rev. Conner's territory was South Georgia, west of the Ocmulgee River.
This was a new field of labor, as the Indians only a few years before had
ceded their ]ands to the pale faced settlers. The exact dates were 1818
The territory included what is now the following associations:
The Houston, Little River, Pulaski, Turner, Ben Hill, Irwin and Mallory
and at that time was considered as belonging to the Ebenezer Association.
Brother Conner lived to be a very old man and it is said,
died in the pulpit after having preached a great sermon from the text,
"Verily I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall
hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live."
His membership at one time was held by Ozias (now Bethlehem)
Church in Ben Hill County. Rev. Wilson Conner and Rev. John Martin organized
this church in 1832., as the minutes of that church show, being well preserved.
When the Georgia Baptist Convention met at Forsyth in 1835, Rev. Wilson
Conner preached in the Presbyterian Church on Sunday, which shows the old
wiregrass pioneer preacher was a man of no mean ability.
Rev. Wilson Conner organized the Hawkinsville Baptist
Church at old Hartford just across the Ocmulgee in 1830. He also organized
New Hope, two miles south of Abbeville, Georgia, January 25, 1830, and
was assisted by Rev. David Wood and Rev. Jordan Baker and in 1839 the Houston
Association met with New Hope and the missionary sermon was preached by
Rev. Jesse Mercer and while here he was doubtless the guest of Rev. Wilson
Conner. At this session New Hope withdrew from the Houston Association
and joined an anti-missionary association known as the Pulaski. The church
still exists and is a member of the Pulaski Primitive Association; Ozias
(now Bethlehem) Church, near Bowen's Mill in Ben Hill County; Dorminy's
Mill in Ben Hill County; Rock Hill near Arabi, became a primitive Baptist
Church and was disorganized in 1855; Mt. Ariel, Camp Creek, Ebenezer, Mt.
Bezer of Dooly County; Pindertown of now Worth County, long since discontinued;
Hepzibah, near Byromville; Bethel above Cordele, dissolved about thirty-five
years ago. Antioch and Big Creek of Pulaski County; Mount Oliver, Dry Creek
and Beulah in Houston County.
Whether or not Rev. Conner organized all of these churches
cannot be determined. He probably did not but undoubtedly he assisted the
local preachers and encouraged and advised them in all of this great work.
About 1830, Rev. William Pate and Rev. Warren Dykes, two
very prominent Baptist preachers moved into this territory and with burning
zeal labored for the salvation of souls. Many young ministers of that day
were ordained, among them being Sylvester Walden, Thomas Aldridge, Wiley
Willis, Sam Stone and Dan Reeves.
These young preachers labored long and grew old, and long
since have passed away and another generation of preachers has come and
gone, and still another has grown old, and another generation of preachers
is now rising up to carry on the work of redemption.
Some of the early churches became Primitive in faith and
fought the State Convention, whose missionary zeal brought them into existence,
while the majority of the churches have remained true to the organized
Rev. Wilson Connor's old Bible dictionary and a few more
old books were destroyed two or three years ago when the home of his grandson,
Lewis Connor, was burned.
Faithful to the last and expecting a brighter day, old
Brother Connor passed away and lies resting from his long life of service.
OLD TIME BAPTIST PREACHERS.
Rev. Thomas Aldridge, whose residence was on lot of land
number twenty-three in first land district of old Irwin County, was ordained
to the full work of the Gospel ministry by Ozias, now Bethlehem, Church
in old Irwin County, near Bowen's Mill in 1848. And in that year, his name
appears in the minutes of Houston Missionary Baptist Association as a pastor
of churches. He was pastor of old Friendship Church from 1850 until 1863.
It was a long and fruitful pastorate of thirteen years.
In 1850, his name appears on the minutes of Cedar Creek
Church near the Ocmulgee River, as the moderator when the church in conference
elected their delegate to the association.
In 1863 and 1864, he and Rev. W. J. Collins were missionaries
from the Houston Association to the Confederate Soldiers.
The association, at the time spent five hundred dollars
in sending the Christian Index to the soldiers of the Southern Confederacy.
Rev. Mr. Aldridge's missionary labors were confined to
General Colquitt's Brigade at Washington, North Carolina, and at a late
period with the same brigade in South Carolina.
Rev. W. J. Collins' missionary labors seems to have been
confined to work among the sick and wounded of General Longstreet's corp.
In 1874, Rev. Berry Hobbs and Rev. Thomas Aldridge, two
life-long friends and co-laborers in the Master's Kingdom, in the pioneer
section of South Georgia fell asleep in Jesus.
Rev. Sylvester Walding, was in the early days, another
tireless worker in the Master's kingdom. In 1853 he was ordained by Union
Springs Church in Dooly County at the request of old Cedar Creek Church.
His name appears in the minutes of the Houston Association
in 1857, as a busy pastor. In 1860 and 1861 he and Rev. J. G. Taylor were
missionaries of the association, and it was during this period that Union
Church, north of Seville and Abbeville Church were organized as a result
of their labors.
The records of old Mount Zion Church, eight or ten miles
south of Abbeville, show that Brother Walding was one of her beloved and
successful pastors. Rev. T. J. Bullington, who for half a century, worked
in this territory so successfully both as pastor and evangelist that his
name is almost a household word in every family, said that Sylvester Walding
(who was an old preacher when Bullington was but a youth) would cross swollen
streams, often getting drenched in icy waters and stopping at pioneer homes
to dry his clothes and braving flooded streams and blizzards, generally
reaching his appointment in time for services.
All honor to these brave old pioneer preachers, who could
plow as well as preach; who could split rails as well as pray for and with
the sinners; who could face the "perils of the wilderness" as well as the
perils of sin; whose voice that so often made sinners weep, quake and tremble,
could be heard echoing over hill and vale while rounding up cattle or sheep.
Forget not those old heroes, for their names are written on high. From
among the stalwart sons of toil, God, who doeth all things well, called
into his service two faithful ministers, Ed Bullington, tall, black-eyed
and eloquent, and Ed Hunter, short and heavy set, and with a zeal for souls
seldom found among preachers of our day and time, for he baptized more
than one thousand persons among the sparsely settled communities of wiregrass
In 1855, Rev. Ed Bullington and Rev. D. E. Hunter, organized
a church near Amboy, and for years one or the other would pastor this church
and years later the older people would talk of those old days when Hunter
and Bullington were their pastors, and well were they counted worthy of
Rev. J. R. Fields and Rev. T. J. Adams, were missionaries
of the Houston association in 1867 and 1871 and Rev. Mr. Fields continued
his missionary labors till the 80's. In 1857 Mr. Fields gathered the fragments
of old Bethel Church together and organized old Emmeus, near the old Jincy
Pate farm and from this church, what was then called "arm," was extended
to several places and the following churches were organized.
Pleasant Hill, near Rebecca in 1876; Big Creek, near Irwinville
in 1877; Salem Church, near Rochelle in 1878; Deep Creek, near Amboy in
1879-80. Also New River and Zion Hope Churches, in Tift County.
Rev. Mr. Fields was a tall austere man, with stooping
shoulders, and resembling very much the picture of Abraham Lincoln.
Time would fail to mention them all, but the names of
Elias Turner, G. W. Murray, O. D. Mulkey, George Williamson, Larkin Joiner,
R. Bullington, R. Reynolds, Redding Pope, O. V. Fuller, C. W. Ashley, Wiley
F. Willis, Isaac Hobby, J. M. Champion and many others who are worthy to
be known as heroes of faith for the sacrifice they made. They lived and
preached in crude log houses, far from the congested centers of population.