Tales from the Swamp: Snakes and Skeeters of Berrien County

The editors of Berrien County’s early newspapers were always up for a story that brought attention to their district.

The tall tale was an art form which seemed to required an outrageous allegation and an unimpeachable, civic-minded witness.

One community supporter was William K. Roberts, merchant of Nashville, GA. W. K. “Bill” Roberts was a son of Bryan J. Roberts, pioneer and Indian fighter of old Lowndes county.

Another unabashed promoter of Alapaha, GA was Dr. James A. Fogle:  veteran, physician, innkeeper, Mason, and Justice of the Peace.  Dr. Fogle was a public figure of Berrien County, well known to the citizens of Ray’s Mill. In 1884, he challenged Hardeman Giddens for bragging rights to the fastest horse in Berrien County.

Later that same year, the names of Dr. James A. Fogle and William K. Roberts, among others, were invoked to assure readers of the veracity of a summer tale of Berrien County swamps, snakes and mosquitoes.

June 12, 1884 Leavenworth Weekly Times Attending physician Dr. J. A. Fogle reports "mosquitoe cure" for snake bite in Berrien swamp.

June 12, 1884 Leavenworth Weekly Times. Attending physician Dr. J. A. Fogle, of Alapaha, GA reports “mosquito cure” for snake bite in Berrien swamp.

Leavenworth Weekly Times
June 12, 1884

The Story of a Rattler and a Prominent Citizen of Georgia.

Berrien (Ga.), News.

On last Friday, the 28th ult., Messers. R. Q. Houston, B.R. Johnson, George McMillan, and W. K. Roberts went on a deer hunt in the Alapaha river swamp, about three miles from town. After taking their respective “stands,” Mr. Houston went below about three miles to “drive” up the swamp. When he was near the Brunswick and Western railway bridge which crosses the Alapaha three miles east of this place, on his return, an immense rattlesnake sprang from the bush and buried its fangs in the calf of his leg. He at once called for help, and fortunately Mr. J. P. Loyd, section master, who was having some work done near, heard and responded to his call. By the time Mr. Loyd reached him Mr. Houston’s leg below the knee was swollen to twice its natural size and he was suffering great pain. Mr. L. bound a ligature around the leg above the knee, and then boarded his hand car to come to Alapaha for a physician. Dr. Fogle was soon found and hastened to the scene of suffering. When they reached Mr. Houston’s side, wonderful to relate he was found sweetly sleeping and the swelling was almost gone from his leg. Around him were lying dead nearly a half bushel of mosquitoes, who had drawn the poison from him. The gentlemen, in great surprise, aroused Mr. Houston, who, barring a little weakness from the loss of blood was as well as he ever was. This is a wonderful story, and some may be inclined, just as we were, to doubt it at first, be we are personally acquainted with all the parties mentioned, except Mr. Houston, and we do not believe they would vouch for a story not true in every particular. The snake was killed by the section hands and measured five feet and four inches in length, and had nineteen rattles and a button.

 

 

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Dr. J. A. Fogle of Alapaha, GA

Dr. James A. Fogle,  a surgeon trained during the Civil War, was a physician of Alapaha, GA and an associate of Hardeman Giddens, of Ray’s Mill.  He was well known in Berrien County – an M.D.,  farmer, Mason, census enumerator,  innkeeper, merchant, and Justice of the Peace. In his judiciary role, he notably heard the 1879 case of John Cooper for the murder of Reese Byrd at Paxton’s turpentine farm.

Dr, J. A. Fogle, physician and Surgeon

Dr, J. A. Fogle, Physician and Surgeon of Alapaha, GA

Alapaha Star
October 2, 1886

Dr. J. A. Fogle
Physician and Surgeon,
Alapaha, Georgia

Returns thanks the citizens of Worth, Berrien, Irwin and Coffee counties for patronage in the past, and hopes to merit a continuance of the same. Calls by letter or telegraph promptly attended to. Charges are reasonable.

James A. Fogle was born September 12, 1838 in Columbus, GA. He was a son of Nancy L. Turner and Dr. Jacob Fogle, dentist and prominent citizen of Columbus.

As a young man, James A. Fogle attended the University of North Carolina, receiving the Bachelor of Arts degree  in 1860.

James A. Fogle served in the Civil War. He enlisted as a private in Company G, Georgia 2nd Infantry Regiment on April 16, 1861. He was detailed by the Secretary of War to work in a Confederate hospital. He was promoted to Full Hospital Steward on October 6, 1862. At that time he was posted at General Hospital Camp Winder, Richmond, VA. He was later promoted to Full Assistant  Surgeon on November 14, 1864.

General Hospital Camp Winder hospital ward, Richmond, VA. Dr. James A. Fogle was an Assistant Surgeon at the hospital in 1864. Fogle later practiced medicine at Alapaha, GA.

General Hospital Camp Winder hospital ward, Richmond, VA. Dr. James A. Fogle was detailed as a nurse at the hospital May 24, 1862. Fogle was later promoted to Assistant Surgeon, and practiced medicine at Alapaha, GA after the war.

http://civilwarodyssey.blogspot.com/2014/12/edge-of-obscurity-tracking-ailing.html

On November 1, 1862 Fogle was reassigned as a steward at Chimborazo Hospital No. 3, Richmond, VA.

Chimborazo Hospital, the "hospital on the hill." Considered the "one of the largest, best-organized, and most sophisticated hospitals in the Confederacy."

Chimborazo Hospital, the “hospital on the hill.” Considered the “one of the largest, best-organized, and most sophisticated hospitals in the Confederacy.”
Library of Congress

Fogle was at Chimborazo Division No. 3 in June of 1863 when Green Bullard, of Ray’s Mill, was admitted in the No. 2 Division with typhoid fever. In November 1864, Fogle was promoted to Assistant Surgeon and continued to work at Chimborazo Hospital. The Civil War ended six months later with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

After the war, Fogle returned to South Georgia. He took the loyalty oath in Baker County, GA on July 10, 1867.

James A. Fogle, Oath of Loyalty to the United States of America, July 10, 1867.

James A. Fogle, Oath of Loyalty to the United States of America, July 10, 1867.

On April 2, 1868 James A. Fogle married Sarah E. Leonard in Taylor County, GA.

Marriage certificate of James A. Fogle and Sarah E. Leonard, Taylor County, GA

Marriage certificate of James A. Fogle and Sarah E. Leonard, Taylor County, GA

James and Sarah Fogle made their home in Newton, Baker County, GA. The 1880 census shows they employed Sarah Gamble as a live-in cook. Dr. Fogle established his medical practice in Newton.

1870 census enumeration of Dr. James A. Fogle, Newton, GA

1870 census enumeration of Dr. James A. Fogle, Newton, GA

In the winter of 1872,  while traveling near Camilla, GA., Dr. Fogle plunged into a  a flooded creek to rescue a drowning African-American man.

Albany Herald, March 1, 1872 reports Dr. J. A. Fogle's rescue of two men from drowning in Racoon Creek, Camilla, GA

Albany Herald, March 1, 1872 reports Dr. J. A. Fogle’s participation in the rescue of two African-American men from drowning in Racoon Creek, Camilla, GA

Albany Herald
March 1, 1972

Narrow Escape.

We are informed by our agent, Dr. J. A. Fogle, that on the 14th inst. the two negroes of the Panitheopticonicon, while attempting to cross “Raccoon Creek,” had their horse drowned and came near loosing their own lives. Dr. Fogle, although the water was near freezing, swam in after one and rescued him by means of a rope.- Mr. Stokes Walton, with the assistance of Mr. Lee and four or five negroes, constructed a raft of logs and rescued the other. A half hour’s longer delay would have resulted in the death of both parties. Although nearly frozen, they were the happiest beings imaginable when taken out of the water.

This creek should, by all means, have a bridge over it. Last week Dr. Fogle came near losing his own and his horse’s life in the same place. Dr. Kirksey, Dr. F’s companion, lost his baggage, containing valuables to the amount of one hundred and twenty-five or one hundred and fifty dollars. [Camilla Herald.

The two rescued men were employees of the Panitheopticonicon.  The Panitheopticonicon was a religious dramatization presented with a stereopticon, or “Magic Lantern.”  A stereopticon is a slide projector  which has two lenses, usually one above the other. These devices became  a popular in the 1850s as  a form of entertainment and education, and continued in popularity into the 1900s. Mashburn’s 1913 “Possum Supper” for physicians in Valdosta, GA featured as stereopticon.  The Panitheopticonicon was billed as the “Great Religious Wonder of the Age!” where “Adam and Eve pass the scene… with the serpent following at their feet,” and attracted “almost the entire population without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Dr. Fogle Comes to Alapaha
Some time before 1879, the Fogles made their way to Alapaha, GA. In the census of 1880 of Berrien County, James A. Fogle was the enumerator for the 4th District. He enumerated himself as 41 years of age, and employed as an M. D. and a farmer. His wife, Sarah, was keeping house.  Also in the household was Sarah’s widowed sister, Frances S. Leonard.

1880 Census enumeration of Dr. James A. Fogle, 1156 Georgia Militia District, Berrien County, GA

1880 Census enumeration of Dr. James A. Fogle, 1156 Georgia Militia District, Berrien County, GA.

In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Fogle opened a drug store in Alapaha.

1886-0ct-2-alapaha-star-ad-fogle-drug-store

Alapaha Star
October 2, 1886

Drug Store

Dr. J. A. Fogle,
Proprietor,
Alapaha, GA

My stock of drugs, medicines, perfumery, toilet articles, cigars, tobacco, etc., is the largest and best selected ever brought to this market.

Prescriptions

Carefully and accurately compounded day or night.

Thankful for liberal patronage in the past, I shall endeavor to merit a continuance of the
the same.

In the spring of 1886, the Macon telegraph reported that Dr. and Mrs. Fogle were opening a new hotel at Alapaha.

Fogle House, Alapaha, GA

Fogle House, Alapaha, GA

Macon Telegraph

March 24, 1886

At Alapaha. Her New Hotel. Her Clever Social People. Her Prosperous Merchants, Etc.,

[Alapaha has]…a new hotel, two stories high, nicely fitted up and well kept. Dr. J.A. Fogle, one of the most clever men you would met in a week’s hard riding, is the proprietor, but his time is mostly devoted to an extensive practice and to his well stocked drug store. The hotel is presided over by Mrs. Fogle, a lady of refinement and most pleasant manner, ably assisted by her sister, Miss Fannie Leonard. The table is bountifully supplied with tempting fare, the sleeping apartments are models of cleanliness and comfort, and the attention to guests is prompt and courteous The commercial tourists are fond in their praise of it, and you know they are, generally speaking, a difficult set to please.

 

1886-0ct-2-alapaha-star-ad-fogle-house

Dr. James A. Fogle died on Friday, January 6, 1888 at Alapaha, Georgia.  His death was reported in the Americus Weekly Recorder. Americus was the home of Dr. Fogle’s sister, Mary E. Fogle, and brother-in-law, Uriah B. Harrold:

Death of Dr. James A. Fogle, 1888.

Death of Dr. James A. Fogle, 1888.

Americus Weekly Recorder
January 12, 1888

Death.

Mr. U. B. Harrold Friday received a telegram announcing the death of Dr. James A. Fogle, at Alapaha, Berrien county, Ga.  As he had been suffering from inflammatory rheumatism, it is supposed that that was the cause of his death.  Dr. Fogle was an eminent physician and the brother of Mrs. Harold.  Mr. and Mrs Harrold left for Alapaha Friday night.

Dr. Fogle was laid to rest at Alapaha in Fletcher Cemetery.

Grave of Dr. James A. Fogle, Fletcher Cemetery, Alapaha, GA. Image source: D & D Fletcher

Grave of Dr. James A. Fogle, Fletcher Cemetery, Alapaha, GA. Image source: D & D Fletcher

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Green Bullard Fought Sickness in the Civil War

Green Bullard  was a pioneer settler of Berrien county. He came to the area of present day Ray City, GA with his parents some time before 1850.  They settled on 490 acres of land acquired by his father, Amos Bullard, in the 10th Land District, then in Lowndes county, GA (cut into Berrien County in 1856).

confederate-camp

Following the commencement of the Civil War Green Bullard, and his nephew, Alfred Anderson, went to Nashville, GA and signed up on March 4, 1862 with the Berrien Light Infantry, which was being formed at that time.   The company traveled to Camp Davis, a temporary training camp that had been established two miles north of present day Guyton, GA (then known as Whitesville, GA). There they received medical examinations and were mustered in as Company I, 50th Georgia Regiment on March 30, 1862.

For many of the men in the 50th Regiment, this was the farthest they had ever been from home and the largest congregation of people they had ever seen.  Coming from the relative isolation of their rural farms and small south Georgia communities, many received their first exposure to communicable diseases such as Dysentery, Chicken Pox, Mumps,  Measles, or Typhoid fever. The first cases of Measles were reported within days of the men’s arrival and at times nearly two-thirds of the regiment were unfit for duty due to illness. On April 7, 1862 Bullard’s nephew, Alfred Anderson, reported sick with “Brain Fever” [probably either encephalitis or meningitis] while at Camp Davis, with no further records of his service.  With so many down sick, the Regiment could barely drill or even put on guard duty.  As the summer wore on, those that were fit participated in the barricading of the Savannah River and in coastal defenses.

 “In May 1862 the Confederate Government established a General Hospital in Guyton, GA,”  near Camp Davis. “This hospital was located on a nine acre tract of land adjacent to the Central Railroad… From May 1862 to December 1864, this hospital provided medical care, food, clothing, and lodging for thousands of sick and wounded Confederate soldiers.”  – Historical Marker, Guyton Confederate General Hospital.

Finally, in mid-July the 50th Regiment moved out via train to Richmond, VA where they joined Drayton’s Brigade in the CSA Army of Northern Virginia. The Regiment bivouacked first at Camp Lee.  Camp Lee was a Confederate training camp that had been converted from the Hermitage Fair Grounds near Richmond, with the exhibit halls converted into barracks and hospitals. The grounds were filled with the tents of infantry and artillery companies. The men bathed in a shallow creek, “but it is doubtful if their ablutions in that stream are productive of cleanliness,” opined the Richmond Whig in August of 1862.

Camp Lee, near Richmond, VA

Camp Lee, near Richmond, VA. Text from Confederate Military Hospitals in Richmond, by Robert W. Waitt, Jr., 1964.

On August 20, 1863  the 50th Georgia Regiment moved out to see their first real action.  but by that time company muster rolls  show that  Green Bullard was absent from the unit, with the note “Left at Lee’s Camp, Va. sick Aug 21st.”  On September 7, 1862  Bullard was admitted to the Confederate hospital at Huguenot Springs, VA.  Company  mate Pvt William W. Fulford was also attached to the convalescent hospital at that time.  The hospital muster roll of October 31, 1862 marks him “present: Bounty Paid”.  He remained “absent, sick”  from Company I at least through February, 1863.

In 1862, the Huguenot Springs Hotel was converted to a Confederate hospital.

In 1862, the Huguenot Springs Hotel was converted to a Confederate hospital. On September 7, 1862 Private Green Bullard, Company I, 50th Georgia Infantry, was one of the patients convalescing at the hospital.

On June 19, 1863 Bullard was admitted to Chimborazo Hospital Division No. 2, Richmond, VA  this time with typhoid pneumonia. Typhoid fever was a major killer during the war. At that same time, James A. Fogle was a Steward at Chimborazo Division No. 3. Fogle was later promoted to Assistant Surgeon, and after the war came to Berrien County to open a medical practice at Alapaha, GA.

Chimborazo Hospital, the "hospital on the hill." Considered the "one of the largest, best-organized, and most sophisticated hospitals in the Confederacy."

Chimborazo Hospital, the “hospital on the hill.” Considered the “one of the largest, best-organized, and most sophisticated hospitals in the Confederacy.”
Library of Congress

Sometime before February of 1864 Green Bullard returned to his unit. Records show he drew pay on February 29, 1864 and again on August 31 of that year. By October, 1864 he was again sick, but remained with his company. He continued fighting through his illness through November and December,1864. It was during this period (1864) that the 50th Georgia Regiment was engaged in battles at The Wilderness (May 5–6, 1864), Spotsylvania Court House (May 8–21, 1864), North Anna (May 23–26, 1864), Cold Harbor (June 1–3, 1864, Petersburg Siege (June 1864-April 1865, and Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864.)

At Cedar Creek, it is estimated that the Georgia 50th Regiment suffered more than 50% casualties. Among those captured was Jesse Bostick of Company G, the Clinch Volunteers. Bostick was sent to Point Lookout, Maryland, one of the largest Union POW camps. (see Jesse Bostick and the Battle of Cedar Creek.)

Receiving and Wayside Hospital, Richmond, VA.  was an old tobacco warehouse converted to a receiving hospital because of its nearness to Virginia Central Railroad depot.

Receiving and Wayside Hospital, Richmond, VA. was an old tobacco warehouse converted to a receiving hospital because of its nearness to Virginia Central Railroad depot.

By January, 1865 Bullard was too weak to continue fighting. He was sent to Receiving and Wayside Hospital (General Hospital No. 9), Richmond, VA.  From there he was transferred to Jackson Hospital, Richmond, VA where he was admitted with dysentery,  which was perhaps the leading cause of death during the Civil War.  Two months later, March 14, 1865 Bullard was furloughed from Jackson Hospital. No further service records were found.  Following less than one month, on April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, VA ending the War.

Twice  as many Civil War soldiers died from disease as from battle wounds, the result  in considerable measure of poor sanitation in an era that created mass armies that  did not yet understand the transmission of infectious diseases like typhoid,  typhus, and dysentery… Confederate men died at a rate three times  that of their Yankee counterparts; one in five white southern men of military  age did not survive the Civil War.  http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/death.html

Despite the odds and repeated  bouts of serious illness, Green Bullard survived the war and returned to home and farm in Berrien County, GA.

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Georgia Gossip about Hardeman Giddens

Hardeman Giddens (1843- 1910) led an active life that often caught the attention of citizens in Berrien County and beyond. In March of 1884, the Georgia Gossip was about the horse racing at Alapaha, GA, and whether Hardeman’s black stallion was as fast as he believed.  The Challengers were W.N. Fiveash, Dr. Fogle, and Mr. Henley.  William Newton Fiveash, a young man of Magnolia, GA and later of Ocilla, GA entered his bay pony.  Dr. James A. Fogle, a surgeon trained during the Civil War, put his sorrel horse into the race. (Fogle was the original proprietor of the Alapaha hotel later known as the Schockley Hotel)  The winner for the evening was Mr. Henley’s sorrel mare.

The Atlanta Constitution 25 Mar 1884, pg 2 Alapaha is now engaged in the pleasures of the turf. In a recent race — half mile heat – between Mr. W. N. Fiveash’s bay pony and Mr. Hart Gidden’s black horse, the bay came under the string two lengths ahead. The next race was between Dr. Fogles’s sorrel horse and Mr. Henley’s sorrel mare. The horse was beaten by a neck. Then, Mr. Giddens still believing in his black, a race was arranged between the black and Dr. Fogle’s sorrel. The sorrel was again the winner. The last race of the evening was between Fogle’s sorrel horse and Henley’s sorrel mare. Henley’s mare came under the string ahead, but it was claimed that if a good start had been obtained the horse would have won. The races were quite exciting and proved that Alapaha contains some good horseflesh.

Hardeman Giddens, born MAR 1844 in Lowndes (nka Berrien) County, Georgia , was a son of Jacob Giddens and Sarah Ann “Annie” Sirmans.  The 1860 Census shows he was a resident of Berrien County at the time, Berrien having been cut out of Lowndes in 1856. During the Civil War, Hardeman Giddens joined the 29th Georgia Regiment, Company D,  the Berrien Minutemen, enlisting for  12 months. He mustered in at Sapelo Island, GA on 4 November 1861 as a private in Captain John C. Lamb’s Company D (later Company K) .  Records show in 1862 he was on duty at Camp Young, near Savannah, GA.   In October he was  on extra duty there as a mail carrier. He was documented on payroll record rolls for  April 1862, December 1862, and January – March 1863 at a rate of 25 cents.  In September 1863, Hardeman Giddens was at the Battle of Chickamauga. His war experience and amazing good fortune in battle were the subject of a previous post:  Civil War Bullet Dodger Hardeman Giddens Finally Catches One in 1887

Georgia 29th Infantry, monument at Chicamauga battle field.

Georgia 29th Infantry, monument at Chickamauga battle field.

After the war, Hardeman Giddens returned to Berrien County, GA.  On the day before Valentines Day, February 13,  1870 he married Martha J. Gaskins.  She was a daughter of Harmon Gaskins & Malissa Rowland Rouse,  born on February 16,  1838 in Lowdnes Co, GA.   Martha had been widowed twice.  Her first husband was Thomas N. Connell, who died in the Civil War; her second was William Parrish. After marriage, the Giddens made their home in the 1148th Georgia Militia District, where Hardeman was farming land valued at $225 dollars. His father Jacob Giddens, age 68, lived in Hardy’s household and assisted with farm labor. In the census of 1880, Hardeman Giddens was enumerated in Georgia Militia District 1148 with his wife Martha, and sons James and Lyman. In 1900, Hardeman Giddens and  Martha, now his wife of 30 years, were living on the family farm near Ray City, GA. The Giddens owned the farm free and clear, and their two sons, Lyman and William, lived with them and helped their father work the farm.  It seems Martha Giddens must have had a hard life. She birthed 9 children, only four of whom were living in 1900. Martha J. Gaskins died in Berrien Co, GA on 26 February 1910 at age 72. The 1910 Census shows in that year Hardeman Giddens was living with his eldest son, Lyman F. Giddens, who was a prominent citizen, barber, and (later) mayor of Ray City, GA.    Hardeman Giddens died later that year on October 2, 1910 and was buried in the Harmon Gaskins Family Cemetery, Berrien County, Georgia. Related Posts: