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9-21-09 Oconee Remembered 1940s # 4 Sad Death of 9 year old Edd Dawson in 1947

Edds death was a shock to the Dawson and Jones families, to Union Church and the entire community. The funeral was held at Union with a large attendance.

AVOC

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September 6, 2009

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Oconee Remembered 1940’s # 4 – Sad Death of 9 year old Edd Dawson in 1947

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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I started school in the first grade at Watkinsville in 1946 in what has served as the Oconee County School Superintendent’s office in recent years.   Four grades were in that building- 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.   My twin first cousins, Edd and Ned Dawson, were in the fourth grade.  One of my memories of that first year was seeing Edd coming to the First Grade room to get the roll information to take to the office.   He and Ned wore corduroy knickers.    Edd was a very outgoing and personable child.   He would often speak or nod to me when he was there to get the roll call information.

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Uncle Raymond, Aunt Patt, Ned & Edd

Dawson Homeplace ca 1939

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Edd Dawson Ca 1946

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Ned Dawson Ca 1946

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In the mid and late forties, there was no television or telephone.   Families would visit in the evenings and parents would sit on the front porch.  Uncle Raymond and Aunt Patt Dawson lived in a house on Burr Harris Road, not far from Hog Mountain Road.   There is a rounded roof barn at the site now.    The house had large shade trees.   My brother, Terry, and I would play pitch with Edd and Ned.   They had a ball glove.   We also played under the big trees.   We would string bottles together and push them along the ground pretending they were trucks, trains and cars.   Our imaginations were very much in use.   We were close to Ned and Edd as family.  They had an older brother, Billy, who was eight years older than me.  We all attended Union Christian Church in those days.

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Billy, Ned, Edd Dawson Ca 1946

This picture of Edd, Ned and Billy sat on the end of Mama Hassie’s mantel for years

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Mama Hassie and LR Mantel – Pics Grandchildren 1954

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http://www.avoc.info/info/images/site_images/SPECIAL%20SUBJECTS/Edd%20Dawson/Dawson.Raymond.Ca.1939.jpg

Uncle Raymond Dawson Ca 1939

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Across Hog Mountain Road was the Carl Maxey Farm (the area of now Oconee Presbyterian Church and a shopping Center).   The Maxey place was a large farm and had a dairy barn as did most Oconee Farms in those days, including Uncle Raymond’s house and at our Homeplace.

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Down the road toward Butler’s Crossing was the Abe and Tannie Jones home.   My memory of Nancy (Miss Tannie) was as a blind lady who sat in the corner of Aunt Patt’s living room in her last years. She had also suffered hearing loss and everybody talked loud.  The Jones family was large and many times we would see Dickens families, Ken and Virginia Ross, and other Jones and Dawson family members visiting while we were there.   Aunt Patt loved cooking and setting a large table.   It was some “good eating” and fun times.

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Edd, Ned, Maternal grandparents, Abe & Nancy Jones Ca 1939

This historic house sits across Hog Mountain Road from Oconee Chapel -2009

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Edd & Ned and Daddy Cliff Dawson at Dawson Homeplace Ca 1939

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During the summer months, boys in the community (Neal Lord, Carl and Cecil Maxey, Wheelers boys, Bud, Dit and Bay Powell et al) would play outside.   In those days we all went barefooted.   One day in the summer of 1947, Ned and Edd and others were playing around the Maxey Dairy Barn.   Edd stepped on a rusty nail and also stepped in cow manure.   I am sure Aunt Patt cleaned it and put mercurochrome on it as did most mothers in rural Oconee of those days.   In a few days, Edd got sick.   Ned remembered when he left the house to go to the Hospital, that he was in considerable pain and his head arched back.

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Edd was taken to St Mary’s Hospital and was diagnosed with tetanus (we called it lockjaw).   He was sick for several days with a fever and much pain.   Uncle Raymond stayed at his bedside as Edd’s condition worsened.   Aunt Bert and others were in the room from time to time, including Daddy Cliff Dawson and my Daddy (Rayford).

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Aunt Patt stayed home with her mother (Miss Tanny).   Ned and Billy milked the cows.   As Edd’s conditioned worsened, Daddy Cliff and my Daddy went to the home to tell Aunt Patt that the doctors said Edd would not make it.   Ned wanted to go see Edd.    Daddy Cliff and Daddy agreed to take him and they parked on Milledge Avenue in front of St Mary’s Hospital and Daddy went in to check.   He came back and said that they would not let Ned in the hospital because of his age.   They sat with him a while and then Daddy Cliff suggested to Ned that they take him back to be with his mother.

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Edd died later that night, in August of 1947.    (I remember Union Church was having revival and the New Church was being constructed with lumber on the ground and we boys talked about nails).    I remember Daddy coming home and telling us about Edd’s death early the next morning.   We were all saddened and could not believe Edd was gone.   We had played together a few days before.

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It was my first experience with death of a close relative.   We did not quite understand it but were very sad.   The funeral was attended by a lot of relatives and friends.   Family members would talk about it for years at gatherings.   After Edd’s death, any foot injury or cut would result in a trip to the doctor.   Mama carried us to Dr. Elder’s office in Bogart on many occasions.   We learned about and experienced many tetanus shots.

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Edd’s death was hard for all of the relatives but especially Aunt Patt, Uncle Raymond, Billy and Ned.   In those days, Human Remains were brought home in a casket for viewing.   Edd’s casket was in the left front bedroom of the house on Burr Harris Rd.   I remember Billy taking a comb and adjusting Edd’s hair.

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There was much concern about Ned’s loss of his twin.   I heard some comparing it to losing a spouse.   I always felt that Aunt Patt never really recovered from the loss of her son, Edd.   I remember that Uncle Raymond and Aunt Patt bought Ned a bicycle to help him through his grief.   In my memory and experience, Ned became more outgoing in years to come though he seemed to be more reserved before Edd’s death.

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Edd’s death was a shock to the Dawson and Jones families, to Union Church and the entire community.   The funeral was held at Union with a large attendance.   He was interred in the east side of the cemetery toward the south side.   Edd’s death impacted us all.    It also brought about restrictions on playing around barns barefooted.   It was a watershed moment in my life and that of many of my relatives.   It was a very sad time.

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Aunt Patt Jones Dawson sitting on porch in Watkinsville Ca 1989

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Uncle Raymond at Dawson’s Grocery the day it closed August 10, 1983.

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Ned Dawson – 12-19-04

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Edd Dawson was interred at Union Church Cemetery where many relatives are buried

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Edd Dawson Cemetery Marker at Union Church Cemetery

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Raymond Ambros Dawson (second son and child of Cliff and Hassie Dawson) was born April 9, 1907, married Patt Jones September 21, 1929, died August 31, 1984, and is buried at Union Church.Aunt Patt died in 1996 and is buried at Union Church.The twins were born in November of 1937.

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