Tales of Old Troupville: The Pranksters

Tales of Old Troupville, GA

General DeLoach (1795-1884) was a resident of Old Lowndes county in the 1830s, later moving to Hamilton County, FL.

General DeLoach (1795-1884) was a resident of Old Lowndes county in the 1830s, later moving to Hamilton County, FL. DeLoach was among the characters who frequented Troupville, GA.

Back in the days when Troupville, GA was the county seat of old Lowndes County, the town had a notorious reputation, especially during “court week” when the Superior Court was convened.  Troupville then was the site of “much drinking and horse swapping, and for indulgence in cock fighting, horse racing, and other ‘Worldly amusements’. Indeed, among the Godly, it was regarded as a wild town – almost as wicked as Hawkinsville.” Troupville also had a notorious gaggle of pranksters who were ever ready to play a trick. Perhaps the most infamous prank perpetrated by “the boys” was the time they turned the Lowndes Superior Court into a menagerie. Among many hapless victims who fell into their clutches were General DeLoach, Carter Newsome, innkeeper William Smith, Robert Kendrick and Jesse Pipkins.   General DeLoach, who was alleged by Montgomery M. Folsom to imbibe freely, “once swinged his eyebrows off and loosened his front teeth” in an intoxicated mishap while playing with explosives. Deloach lived to the age of 87 and was said to have fathered 24 children.  Carter Newsome brought his family from Warren County some time in the 1850s to settle in the Clyattville district. Robert Kendrick was known for a prodigious appetite. Jesse Pipkins in 1855, according to Pines and Pioneers, was “accused of adultery, fornication or running a lewd house” with  Martha McDonald (1855 Lowndes census shows they were co-habitating), and had to get married to avoid conviction.

An 1885 Valdosta memoir reprinted in the Savannah Morning News recounted some of the Troupville pranksters’ more memorable exploits:

Savannah Morning News
May 18, 1885

Old Troupville.

How the Boys Got Rid of Drunken Characters – Rough Practical Jokes.

“Little River” in Valdosta Times.

         Among the odd characters who frequented old Troupville was old Gen. DeLoach. His rule was “red eye” first, business afterwards. The business was swearing that he could whip the best man in the State, getting down on his hands and knees, bellowing and pawing up dirt in imitation of a bull. The General was once put in jail for some offense. He was a stutterer. The boys gathered around the jail window to tease him, and says he: “B-boys, I c-can c-crow b-but I can’t f-fly down.”
        Another humorous character was Bob K. Uncle Billy Smith was noted far and wide for his excellent table. The boys had a habit of occasionally paying the fare for some famous eater like Carter Newsome and others to have them clean out Uncle B. Bob was on one occasion employed for this purpose. Well fortified with “red eye” Bob fulfilled their expectations, but the red eye and the feast proved too much for him, and Uncle Billy had to wash his floors. The next day he called on Bob for extra damage, which he settled under protest, and in retaliation sang at all the street corners the following:

“Old Billy Smith, that good old man,
I ne’er shall see any more,
He charged the Kendrick seventy-five cents
For spewing on the floor.”

        Jesse Pipkins would come to town and stay for days drinking. Finally the boys got tired of him, and one Sunday morning Jesse was found cooped up in a big crockery crate hanging to the limb of an oak 20 or 25 feet from the ground on the public square. He begged hard to be let down, and having got sober was afraid to make the least movement. Jesse declared that it was 50 feet to the ground.
        Another drinking character, Tom M., would remain in town for weeks together. Circumstances favored the boys in getting rid of him. One dark night Tom was talking with someone in from of Godfrey’s bar. A buggy was standing in the street nearby. It was only a short distance to the river, and there was a high and steep bluff close by the bridge, fringed at the water’s edge by stout trees covered with thick branches. The boys saw there opportunity. While the rest hid behind trees and houses, one of them called Tom off for a private talk and going towards the buggy for convenience they took a seat in it. Now a half dozen or more of the boys rushed from their hiding places, some got between the shafts and some behind the buggy, and a race for the river began. Tom was too drunk to jump out, but on the way his companion jumped out into a sand bed. Just before they reached the edge of the bluff all hands turned loose. On went the buggy. The shafts stuck in the group, capsized the buggy and threw poor Tom headlong on and through the branches of the trees into 10 feet of water. The buggy was left hanging and dry among the trees. All was quiet for a few moments and then Tom’s head was soon above the black waters for an instant only, and then disappeared with a gurgling sound. The frightful truth then flashed upon the boys that Tom could not swim, besides being too drunk to even float. Here the point of the joke was broken off and matters had become serious. Off with coats and into the cold black water plunged several of the boys, and they pulled out poor strangling Tom. He was never seen in Troupville again.

Tales of Old Troupville, GA in the Savannah Morning News, May 5, 1885

Tales of Old Troupville, GA in the Savannah Morning News, May 5, 1885

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