Jan 17

1884 Autograph Book

Posted on January 17, 2020 at 9:55 AM by Jamesan Gramme

Pictured is an autograph book, dated January-December, 1884.

2020-01-16-Mollie Parham _Autograph_01

Measuring about 3” by 5” this small booklet was a popular choice for college students to obtain well wishes and sentiments from their professors and classmates between the 15th and 19th centuries. They were eventually replaced by the more modern yearbooks.

This particular autograph book was given to Ms. Mollie Parham of Thomaston. Inside, pages of poetic prose authored by Mollie’s cousins contain wishes for her health and happiness. Parham’s future husband, Thomas Parham Nelson, made two entries in the booklet as well. The first reads, “Each autograph the signet be of some truehearted friend; The memory of whose genial soul will ever sunshine lend.”

Cousin Etta McFarlin wrote, “May the roses of happiness ever grow in the garden of thy destiny.”

My favorite comes from Emma Jorden Middlebrooks. “May heaven its choisest (sic) blessing send, to cheer thy day my Dearest Cousin. May you be blessed with mind serene, to see what is and what has been. Nothing be wanting the good may want. All this and more may Heaven send.” May 17th, 1884.

2020-01-16-Mollie Parham _Autograph_02

Sadly, Mrs. Mollie Parham Nelson passed away at the young age of 34 on January 9th, 1895. She is buried in the Nelson Cemetery in Upson.

This unique autograph and portrait of Mollie are just two things you can come across when you visit the Archives!

2020-01-16-Mollie Parham _Autograph_03

Nov 13

Remembering Hugh Frank Radcliffe

Posted on November 13, 2019 at 1:27 PM by Jamesan Gramme

Remembering Hugh Frank Radcliffe:


Hugh Radcliffe was born in Fort Valley, GA, November 27th, 1928. As one of the first ten inductees in the Thomaston-Upson Sports Hall of Fame, Radcliffe is well remembered for his recording holding game in which he pitched a staggering 28 strike-outs against the Poets of Macon’s Lanier High School. The day was April 19th, 1948. The monumental nine inning game, held at Silvertown Ballpark, led to a career with both the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees organizations which lasted until 1954.

So how was the “one in a million” feat of pitching 28 strike outs possible in a regular nine inning game? Typically, striking out every batter would have resulted in 27 total strikes, but this one extra was the result of the catcher dropping the ball. The Lanier runner was able to make it to first base before the ball was thrown there, and the pitch was still counted as a strike.
After his baseball career, Radcliffe worked for telephone companies and was also the Recreation Director for Cordele, GA in Crisp County.

The Hugh Frank Radcliffe Clubhouse was dedicated in the Historic Silvertown Ballpark on April 21, 2008.

As shown here, this incredible athlete was voted Most Athletic Boy in his senior year at R.E. Lee Institute, 1948.

(Lateral Files: Genealogy, Hugh Frank Radcliffe. Thomaston-Upson Archives)

2019-11-13-Radcliffe Hugh Frank-1948
Hugh Frank Radcliffe, R.E. Lee Institute, Rebel Annual. 1948.

Oct 25

Did the Spanish Flu impact Thomaston?

Posted on October 25, 2019 at 4:48 PM by Jamesan Gramme

It’s scary to imagine, but around 100 years ago, the world experienced one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. The Spanish Flu, also known as the 1918 H1N1 flu, killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, with 670,000 of those deaths being American. The amount exceeded the military deaths from WWI and WWII combined.

So, did the flu ever impact Thomaston? Well, it’s difficult to say. The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Resources states that most victims of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic died of bacterial pneumonia rather than the flu itself.


News of the Spanish Flu was widely downplayed as a result of President Woodrow Wilson’s Sedition Act. According to the Smithsonian, Wilson urged Congress to pass this act which would make it punishable by up to 20 years in prison to “utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States...or to urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of anything or things...necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war.” This meant that public health officials would conceal outbreaks of the flu, or state that service men passed away from old-fashioned flu or grip. The Spanish Flu was worse than previous strains of influenza as it would rapidly attack the lungs and cause bacterial pneumonia. “The 1918 pandemic virus infected cells in the upper respiratory tract, transmitting easily, but also deep in the lungs, damaging tissue and often leading to viral as well as bacterial pneumonias.”


Most of Upson’s reported WWI fatalities attribute pneumonia as their cause of death, including Joe Pete Thurston and Lucious Worthy, the first Caucasian and African American casualties of the war.

This article from the Thomaston Times, October 25, 1918, was the only local mention of a WWI fatality that actually named Spanish Flu as the cause.

What do you think? Could the Upson fatalities attributed to pneumonia actually be victims of this pandemic?


Thomaston Times, October 25, 1918


Thomaston Times, November 01, 1918