Volume 36 , Number 3 , Winter 1997
This is always a difficult task for me even when things are going well, and that has not been the case this time, it seems it slips up on me even when I think I have spent enough time thinking about what I should say in this message. I dislike repeating things and try to bring forth something new and inspiring each time, hopefully to increase our membership and to inspire those of the membership to get involved with various subjects suitable for our publication. We all know there are many stories to be told, events to be recorded, dates and places that only you may know about, which should help fill the pages of our publication each Quarter with worthwhile and important material so it will not be lost forever. Now is the time, for you may hold a piece of the puzzle someone is looking for.
Example, recently Roger Fortner called to my attention a book about an early doctor, who resided in Taney County that he had acquired, and asked if I knew about this doctor and I had to admit that it was news to me. Roger, in his constant search for more and better information, agreed to loan me the book so I could read it.
The story is about Dr. John Gable Breckenridge Johnson, M.D. The book which has a copyright of 1949 was written by his youngest daughter, Amy Johnson Miller. First things first. I just now noticed that the spelling of the middle name has two different spellings, Cabel and also Cabell, the author should have caught that.
Anyhow as I read the story, I also was aware that the Dr. Johnson that I knew about had a date of death different from this Dr. Johnson, but as I read on many of the things in this story made it abundantly clear to me that this as a new person, different person than I had knowledge of. An event she described in the book in regard to the hanging of John Bright caught my eye, that is according to her, Dr. Breckenridge Johnson was requested to come to the site to pronounce the man dead. The story says he did so and in fact cut the rope releasing the body from the noose. In part of this event, George Williams deputy sheriff, was shot and killed as the mob removed Bright from the county jail when he refused to release the prisoner to the mob.
I talked with Douglas Mahnkey about Dr. Breckenridge Johnson to see if he had any information about him and he told me that he remembered his mother calling him Dr. "B," but couldnt remember anything about him. The doctor was often called Dr. Breck for short. While we were talking about the above, I told Douglas that recently I had found out from a story I had read in one of the Quarterlies that George Williams had been buried in the Helphrey Cemetery north of Taneyville and Douglas said that was true but later some of his family moved his body back to North Carolina where he came from.
Douglas has not been in his office for several weeks. Maybe once a week he will ride in to town with his son Pat on his way to work, but then return home after a short visit. The task of driving is getting difficult for Douglas, traffic is ten times what we have ever known here in Forsyth.
Dr. Robert Gilmore has undergone surgery a couple of weeks ago (December), and now has returned
home for rest, and then the possibility of radiation treatment about the middle of January. Along with Dr. Gilmore and Douglas Mahnkey, let us also remember Glenn Eslinger our former Director from Harrison Ark., Boone County, who has been ill for some time now. All have been powerful contributors to this Society for many years, thanks to all of you and all the members who work on behalf of the Society.
Starting a new year is nothing new, but the last 12 months have seen much progress on the Old Jail building, but much yet remains. The last few weeks have seen the installation of a new steel door at the entrance of the top floor, and the replacement of the two large windows in the south end of the top floor. Both were major projects because of the original construction of this building, but now are finished and we can get on to bigger and better things.
All of the improvements to date are paid for and no debt has been incurred. We still have a good bank balance in the building fund, however, any contribution can be put to a good use.
See you in March. Jerry W. Gideon
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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