Sheriff John W. Callaway - Washington, Georgia 1889
A Distinguished Party of Atlantins in Wilkes County
The Party Leave in Hon. Pat. Calhoun's Private Railroad Car - They Visit Hillman and the Electric Shaft
Washington, Ga., Auguest 25 - [Special] -
There is a tradition in this section of Georgia, that the very first barbecue ever served was in Wilkes county. Two and three barbecues a week are not unusual during the summer season. In fact, barbecues are a pastime for Wilkes county citizens.
Whenever one of Washington's merchants, bankers or professional men find time hanging heavy upon him he simply passes an invitation around, and in a half hour the beef, the hog and the sheep are cooking over the trench, the appetizing odor going in every direction. The Wilkes county barbecue can't be duplicated, and a seat around one of the tables beats a year's board of the Kimball.
One day last week Hon. E. Y. Hill, M. P. Reese, T. B. Green, James Benson, Judge Hardeman, Colonel Frank Colley and Henry Colley arranged for one, and a day or two later extended invitations to Hon. Pat Calhoun, Mr. Don Bain, Captain E. P. Howell and other Atlantians to attend.
Saturday was the day fixed for the feast. The Atlanta party was organized and decided to leave Atlanta Friday afternoon and pass the night at Hillman. That afternoon, when the Georgia fast mail rolled from under the union depot, Hon. Pat Calhoun's private car, the "Ellenita," was coupled behind. The car, one of the finest in the south, was "equipped" especially for the party, and the trip was a most delightful one.
About dusk the train reached Barnett, where the private coach was sidetracked. A few minutes later the Washington branch train coupled on, and a run of seven miles put the party at Hillman. At the depot the visitors were met by Mr. James Benson and Captain White and a delegation of Washington citizens, and escorted to the hotel.
The hotel is located upon a hill, and gives the visitor a magnificent view of the country for miles around. It is a large, well-arranged building, neatly furnished and supplied with all modern improvements. It is scrupulously clean and presenting an inviting appearance. Then, too, it is managed in a most excellent manner.
A tempting supper awaited the party upon arrival, and every one did full justice to the good things Manager Brown had provided. A delightful breeze prevailed, and after tea the gentlemen congregated upon the piazza, where they remained until bed time.
Early yesterday morning everybody responded to roll call, and, after an excellent breakfast, led by Colonel Adair, started for the shaft.
That shaft has been written about and described so often, still no one can conceive what it is, and no one can explain satisfactorily the many miraculous cures which it has produced.
In the shaft the visitors found a man whose right arm had been perfectly dead for twelve years, and before he left the place he "used" that arm pumping water.
H. O. Hagan is an employe of the Louisville and Nashville railroad in Chattanooga. Twelve years ago his right side was paralyzed and his arm rendered entirely useless. For years he had never opened his hand and the fingers were rigid in a cramped position. The skin and flesh appeared perfectly dead and no amount of hard rubbing would produce the slightest color. A few weeks ago he went to Hillman, and in less than a week opened his hand and began to move his arm. Today he can grasp a pump handle in that hand and use it almost as well as ever.
Mr. Hagan enters the shaft twice a day, and removing his coat places his bare arm against the wall. In a few minutes a twitching, nervous motion appears, and this increases until he acquires control of the arm and hand.
Two young ladies, the Misses Fallon, of Sharon, entered the shaft while the party was there. They placed chairs near the wall and in less than three minutes after sitting down the effect of the current was apparent. First their fingers began to show a nervousness, then their hands began to jerk and a minute more both ladies were shaking from head to foot. The party congregated around the ladies and joining hands formed a circle. Some of the visitors could detect the shock. Others could not. The Misses Fallon remained in the shaft about twenty minutes and then returned to the hotel. The shocking, however, did not leave them, and sometimes it has continued throughout the day.
Many most remarkable cures have been wrought at Hillman and some of the stories are hardly creditable.
About ten o'clock the party returned to the "Ellenita," and in a few minutes the train was moving towards Washington. The ride was a delightful one. On both sides of the road magnificient crops abound. The cotton crop is the finest in years, while the grain is all excellent. Wilkes county is a fine one at all times, but it never looked better than it did yesterday. The farmers are all in fine spirits, and a large business is predicted.
The visitors were met at the depot by a committee of citizens. A line of private carriages was near the road, and in a few minutes everybody found a seat. Then a rapid drive through the city and into the country and the party was upon the barbecue ground. The drive was over a magnificent country road and through some of the finest plantations in the county. The grove selected for the barbecue was a delightfully cool and shady place.
Sheriff John W. Callaway was in possession and was superintending the work. The long trench was a live bed of coals, over which shoats, lamb, birds and calves were toasting.
Sheriff Callaway, who knows more about barbecues than any man in the country, was watching closely for the time to season. A long table, just long enough for one hundred people, was placed near the edge of the grove and upon it was everything that the ingenuity of Mr. Callaway could suggest. Nothing could have been added.
Before the repairing to the table the gentlemen assembled in the grove, where introductions followed. Some of Wilkes ablest, oldest and wealthiest gentlemen were present, and in that pleasant affable way which has made Washington famous, they entertained the visitors.
At the table there was no ceremony. Everybody pitched in and ate. Eating was what they were there for. And they ate.
Captain Howell, at one end of the table, tried to down Don Bain, who was on his right, but it was a case of draw. The meal was enlivened by conversation. When the table was deserted it looked like a cyclone had struck it. And that made Sheriff Callaway look happy. If there is anything Callaway loves more than to superintend a barbecue it is to see those present enjoy it. And that is just what the Atlanta contingent did. They enjoyed it.
After dinner Don Bain made the sheriff happy by saying: "Callaway, I would like to have struck that dinner when I had an appetite."
Colonel Adair fainted.
The gentlemen remained in the grove until 3:30, when the carriage started for the city. It was then a drive over town. No place on earth is fuller of historic interest than Washington. Every corner has its own story. The first Catholic church ever built in the state. The house in which the last meeting of the Confederate cabinet was held. The residence of Toombs are amoung the points which attract the visitor.
The party was driven to the train, and at five o'clock pulled away from Washington. As the train rolled away the visitors gathered upon the platform and gave three rousing cheers for Washington, Wilkes county, and her people. But all Washington was not left behind.
Mr. Benson, Colonel Colley and Mr. Horton accompanied the party to Barnett. At Barnett the car was sidetracked to await the Atlanta passenger train. Supper was served upon the car and a nice supper it was.
After supper, Hon. Lindsay Johnson, of Floyd, was selected to deliver an address of thanks to the Washington committee. Mr. Johnson is a happy talker at all times, but his speech was the speech of his life.
Mr. Benson who is the silver-tongued orator of Wilkes, responded.
Then the gentlemen made themselves at home, and the best story got the loudest laugh. The Atlantians went away thoroughly satisfied that the best barbecues in the world are to be had in Wilkes, and that the cleverest men in the world live there.
~ from The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, August 26, 1889
Sheriff John W. Callaway is a "Mystery Callaway". His line of descent may be as follows:
Job Callaway, Sr.
John West Callaway
~ picture above of the Kimball House in Atlanta, GA circa 1905 is from Pat Sabin's web site showing some Vintage Atlanta Postcards. (http://www.patsabin.com/atlanta/postcards/)
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