Wednesday, April 2, 2014
The Scottsville section of Dublin is located in the northeastern section of the city. Named for a Rev. Darling, or Nathan, Scott, an early resident of the area and founding pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church, Scottsville is generally bounded on the southeast by East Gaines Street, southwest by North Decatur Street, northwest by East Mary Street and northeast by the Oconee River swamp. The area first began to develop in 1898 when the Dublin Furniture Manufacturing Company establish a factory on the corner of Ohio and Georgia Streets. Several cottages and a boarding house were constructed along with a factory building. The company, headed by J.M. Simmons and several of Dublin's leading businessmen, specialized in medium-priced bedroom suites. The location was chosen because of its proximity to the Oconee River. Lumber was transported by river which lies within a half-mile of the factory. The choice of the location turned out to be a poor one. The waters of the Oconee flooded the area when the river was high. The owners of the factory subdivided the surrounding lands into tiny lots to accommodate "shot gun" style houses for factory workers. After the factory went out of business about 1907, the factory and its out buildings were abandoned.
In 1909, R.A. Carter, A.J. Cobb, and Lee O'Neal, all from the Atlanta area, purchased thirty acres of land which included the former Dublin Furniture Factory on Ohio Street. They sold one block of the land to L.H. Holsey, G.L. Ward, J.H. White, P.W. Wesley, R.A. Carter, A.J. Cobb, Lee O'Neal, W.T. Moore, E. Horne, and C.L. Bonner as Trustees for the Harriett Holsey Industrial School. The school provided education in agriculture, domestic science, and other technical skills and was open to all of the Negroes of Laurens County. The school became known as the Harriet Holsey Industrial School, in honor of the wife of Bishop Lucius Holsey of the C.M.E. Church. Today the city maintains a small park on the site of the school. Throughout the mid-20th Century, M&M Packing Company maintained a slaughterhouse and abattoir on the site. Today Roche Manufacturing Company maintains a cotton gin on the fringe of the old college campus.
The subdivision around the homes was renamed Holsey Park. Streets in the subdivision were named after some of the United States. The northern part of Scottsville was owned by Mary Wolfe and called North Dublin. New streets in the southern part of Scottsville were named for several American states, including Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and California, the latter of which was never apparently opened. Northern streets in Scottsville were named for Republican presidents and in one case an unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate, James G. Blaine. Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, James Garfield, William McKinley and Ulysses S. Grant had streets named in their honor.
The heart of the Scottsville community was on North Decatur Street where it takes a jog to the left. Located at that spot was the Second African Baptist Church, the city cemetery and most likely Scottsville School. The Second African Baptist Church was founded in 1900 as the Scottsville Baptist Church The original sanctuary building was donated to the members of the church by members of the First Baptist Church who completed their present church building in 1907. The cornerstone of the church was laid on November 22, 1908 by Pastor B.J. Parker and J.L. Cullens and J. Glenn as Trustees along with the Board of Deacons, which was composed of W.H. Hall, L. Lewis, J. Smith, L. Labinyard, A. Askew and V.B. Rozier. It was used until May 1, 1934, when it burned. A second wooden church was dedicated on November 11, 1934 under the pastorate of Rev. C.H. Harris and is still in use, but covered now by bricks. A second Scottsville church is was established as a Church of God in Christ in 1924 at 410 Alabama St.. It later became Fields Temple Church of God in Christ and finally Zion Hope Baptist Church in the late 1950s. A third church, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church was established at 806 N. Decatur Street in the 1920s.
The city of Dublin maintained a school at 709 N. Decatur Street across the street from the church. In 1909, the school was staffed by Principal E.L. Hall, First Assistant Pearl Simmons and Second Assistant E.B. Caldwell. In 1926 Decatur Street school was located in the building that later became a missionary hall for Scottsville Baptist Church. The school burned and its students were sent to Washington Street School.
Across the street from Second Baptist Church is Dublin's first cemetery for blacks. Although the city purchased twelve acres of land in 1906 for a cemetery (Cross The Creek Cemetery) on the northern banks of Hunger and Hardship Creek, the city cemetery was used for burials into the 1930s. Among the more famous persons to be buried in the cemetery were Rev. Norman McCall, a well known and revered minister of First African Baptist Church, and his wife, along with Susie Dasher, a dedicated teacher, who is the only person in Dublin to ever have a school named for them. Though there are less than two dozen marked graves in the cemetery today, a 1936 obituary stated that the cemetery contained the remains of "hundreds of Dublin's finest Negroes."
H.H. Dudley established a cemetery at the northern margin of Scottsville in the 1920s. Dudley's land was also used as a ball field for the Dublin Athletics, a highly successful semi-pro Negro League team, which included Herbert Barnhill and Jimmie Reese, both of whom eventually made it into the Negro Leagues.
Among Scottsville's most prominent residents was Dr. Benjamin Daniel Perry. Dr. Perry, a graduate of Meharry Medical College, was one of the city's first black physicians. Perry was an educator, as well, and was prominent in the promotion of educational endeavors and a promoter of Colored Fairs for three decades.
Though most signs of their existence are now gone, Scottsville was filled with small business such as groceries, dry goods stores, cafes and laundries. Among the earliest businesses were Mattie Tinsley's grocery at 508 Alabama St. and M.H. Hall's grocery at 506 E. Mary St. in 1926. Milo and Elizabeth Castleberry established a grocery and café at 501 N. Decatur in the 1930s. Pearl Carroll operated a grocery on Ohio Street in the late 1930s. In the late 1940s, Mattie Miller and Wilson Coley operated general merchandise stores in Scottsville. Minnie Stinson opened her grocery on Alabama St. about the same time. The The new café in the area in the post World War II era was the Green Pastures at 401 Alabama St..
The Scottsville neighborhood businesses were at their peak in the 1950s. Mattie Mitchell operated a luncheon room at 403 Alabama St.. Down the street at 508 and 514 Alabama St. were the groceries of Mattie Miller and Doretha Miller. May and George Bell operated still another grocery store at 508 Georgia St.. Robert Trawick and his family operated a laundry and cleaners at 517 Alabama Street for several decades, sometimes operating under the name East Side Cleaners. In the mid 50s, Wiliam Redick opened another cleaning establishment at 507 Alabama St.. Rosa Moore operated a grocery at 700 N. Decatur for several years as did Susie Mallard at 319 McKinley St.. and James M. Jackson at 506 Ohio St.. In the late 1950s, Ervin and Idearest Jones took over the operation of the former Castleberry's place on North Decatur. Amos Parks opened still another grocery at 1008 Ohio in the latter part of the decade. Ruth May operated a grocery at 414 E. Mary St at its intersection with N. Decatur Street for many years in the 1960s and 70s.