There are famous names and famous people, and I have been lucky to experience both. Here are some of my remembrances, not in any particular order.
D. X Gordy was a well-known potter born in Aberdeen in 1913, and in 1959 this community became known as Peachtree City. His father was a famous third generation potter and passed this skill along to D. X. I’ll let you in on a little known secret, his given name was Dorris Xerxes. At the time we met, D. X. had a pottery down the road in Alvaton. C. J. Mowell and I were going to put together an event to celebrate the county’s 150th birthday, and having heard of him, I thought it would be great to have him as a part of the ceremony.
D. X. obliged and became a dear friend of my children and me. He would spend the day before Christmas with his sister and brother in Newnan and Christmas Day and that night with us. I’m sure someone will straighten me out if I’m wrong, but I think a sampling of his pottery is in the National Archives. I know my daughter has a cup he made for her with her name fired on it – that is quite invaluable.
Another family friend was Atlanta historian, Franklin Garrett. Though born in Milwaukee, he lived in Georgia from boyhood until 2000, when he died at the age of 93 years old. He dined with the children and me more than once, and when I was president of the Fayette County Historical Society, he was so good to visit the county and speak here for special occasions, such as the rededication of our famed courthouse in 1984.
I ended up owing him an apology though, in 1977. He was gracious to write a brief message to appear in the front of our newly published history of the county. However, I had the page entitled “Forward” and the correct word was “Forword.” Like learning any lesson the hard way, I never made that mistake again.
Chief Waldo Emerson “Dode” McIntosh also became a dear friend. He served as the Principal Chief of the Creek Indian Nation from 1962 to 1972 and that is obviously how we met. Since we live smack dab in the land of his forefathers, I was always eager to pick his brain and he was always anxious not only tell me what I asked for, but tell me as much as my brain could absorb.
When it was opening night in the Peachtree City amphitheater in 1976 for the play on his great grandfather, many Creek relatives were in town. One evening I hosted them in my home, and listened to their many conjectures about what could have been done on their behalf in the past and what might be done in the future to benefit the Creek Nation.
For once, I sat quietly to one side, and kept my mouth shut. As my friends know, there haven’t been too many occasions when I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut.
Chief Dode, that’s a nickname his father gave him when he was young, gave my son a pair of Indian slippers and my daughter and me an Indian shawl which will be treasured forever.
These men were fine, honest, upstanding gentlemen, immensely well thought of by their peers.
They were men I wanted my children to learn from and to look up to. They were men whose knowledge and specialty I wanted my fellow citizens in Fayette County to also get to know about since each one had a connection to our county. Photos and letters and treasures from these distinguished visitors are on file at the Fayette County Historical Society.
More names next week.