Reflections by Sammy Way: 1909: A year of prosperity and change in Sumter: Part II


Part two of Reflections continues its "look back" to the year 1909. The second installment continues to discuss the arrival of the 20th century and how it ushered in momentous transformations in living styles, mechanical devices and philosophies that assisted in building a new perception of life. The author used The Sumter Item archives to obtain data and photos; the following articles were obtained from The Watchman and Southron newspaper. To read the first part of this issue of Reflections, go to

April 7 - The last body to be disinterred and removed from the old St. Lawrence Catholic cemetery on West Liberty Street was that of Rev. Father Timothy J. Sullivan, who died on Aug. 5, 1865. His remains were reinterred in the new Catholic cemetery on Oakland Avenue. Altogether about 80 bodies have been moved from the old cemetery to the new burial ground.

April 7 - The baseball team of Sumter High School defeated the team of the Summerton Graded School for the first time ever. The score was 11 to seven.

April 14 - The macadam on Main Street in the business section is deteriorating so rapidly that something will have to be done in the near future to improve its condition. Instead of being the best and most slightly street in town, as the chief thoroughfare should be, Main Street is just about the worst.

April 14 - May 1 is dog muzzling day; it is hoped that the dogs that now infest the streets will go into retirement for the summer months.

April 17 - The bids on the new post office will be opened on Monday next, and it is thought that work on the building will begin within 90 days. Allowing a year for the construction of the building, which is not too much time for a job of this sort, the building will be occupied in the late summer of 1910.

April 21 - The beautiful residence of Mr. H.C. Bland was completely destroyed by fire about 4:30 a.m. The origin of the fire is unknown. This residence was among the most beautiful in town and very tastefully furnished.

April 24 - Post office bids for the construction of the new federal building (post office) were opened in the office of the supervising architect of the treasury today at Sumter. The lowest bid submitted was that of George A. Clayton of Atlanta, who proposed to construct the building for $52,352.

May 1 - The ball given at the Jackson Hotel was undoubtedly one of the most delightful ever given in the community. The spacious dining room of the hotel was tastefully decorated, pink and blue being the color scheme.

May 12 - The Sumter Telephone Manufacturing Co. is doing a very big business, and during the past six months, the orders have increased to such an extent that it has been found necessary to build another addition to its large plant, which now covers more than 400,000 square feet. Orders are now being received for telephones to be shipped to all sections of the United States, the Philippine Islands and to South America.

May 19 - The public library will be located in the old Haynsworth law office on Main Street, a place convenient to all, and Miss Ingram will serve as librarian. Dues will be 50 cents quarterly or $2 for the whole year.

May 22 - By a vote of 48 to 24, the school district yesterday voted to issue 20-year bonds for the erection of a $10,000 school building. No other action taken in recent years means so much to Paxville and her citizens.

May 29 - Ground was broken for the new Catholic Church which St. Lawrence congregation will erect on the lot adjacent to the rectory on East Liberty Street. The new church will be a beautiful structure of pure Gothic design with double towers. It will be built of red brick with stone trimmings, and the interior will be finished with Gothic arches and vaulted ceiling. It will cost, when completed, $27,000. The building of the church was made possible by the bequest of the late Miss Alice Poole, who left $10,000 for this purpose.