REFLECTIONS

Columbia to Sumter in 3 hours

BY SAMMY WAY
Posted 11/4/18

Reflections looks back at a remarkable achievement of one of Sumter's well-known residents, Aubrey Hatfield. The following article was featured in The Sumter Daily Item in April of 1943 and is being reprinted with a degree of editing. The photos …

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REFLECTIONS

Columbia to Sumter in 3 hours

Posted

Reflections looks back at a remarkable achievement of one of Sumter's well-known residents, Aubrey Hatfield. The following article was featured in The Sumter Daily Item in April of 1943 and is being reprinted with a degree of editing. The photos utilized are courtesy of The Sumter Item archives and Sumter Military Museum.

Hatfield Auto Parts Co. enjoyed a long history and was closely identified with the career of its founder and owner, Arthur Julius Hatfield. A Sumter county native, Hatfield at an early age learned to clerk and repair automobiles and bicycles. He opened a shop in 1919, and within a few years the business grew to feature a complete line of auto parts and equipment. His enterprise soon became essential to the many garages and repair shops that had sprung up in Sumter.

The focus of this article is the extraordinary achievement of his youngest son, Aubrey. An article published in The Sumter Daily Item noted that "Aubrey Hatfield recently averaged almost 15 miles an hour riding his Victory model bicycle from Columbia to Sumter in three hours. Aubrey, 18 years old at the time of this feat, left for Fort Jackson to be inducted into the U.S. Army shortly after finishing this ride. He started his journey from 1527 Senate St., Columbia, at 12:25 p m. and arrived in Sumter at 3:25 p m. The bicycle used was secured from his father and had been in continuous service since the preceding August. Following this tremendous physical undertaking, the bike required no repairs except replacement of one valve core at a cost of five cents.

Mr. A. J. Hatfield, Aubrey's father, had another son in the armed forces, Arthur J. Hatfield Jr., stationed at Nashville, Tennessee, in the Army Air Corps. Young Arthur, who volunteered for the military, was killed in an air crash in Italy on Sept. 14, 1944. "At the printing of this article, Mr. Hatfield was celebrating his 24th anniversary as the owner and operator of a bicycle and automobile accessories business. He was the sole owner of this business which had served the people of this community for a quarter of a century without a break. In reference to bicycles, he claimed without fear of contradiction that the bicycle was the most economical form of transportation known. "Riding a bicycle is helpful to your pocketbook and to your health," he said. "My advice is to ride a bicycle and invest the money you save in War Bonds."