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October 22, 2017
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Jernigan writes of Petrie
Jernigan writes of Petrie

AUBURN MAN AUTHOR — Mike Jernigan is shown at left with a copy of his book “Auburn Man: The Life and Times of George Petrie”. He wrote the book in 2007, and it’s now in its second publication. A native of Montgomery County, Petrie was the first Alabamian to earn a Ph.D. degree, receiving it from Johns Hopkins University in 1890. Petrie founded the school’s history department, its graduate school and started the football and baseball teams. He is best known among Auburn alumni on having written the Auburn Creed, a statement of basic principles that has been known as a symbol of the school since Petrie penned the words in 1943. (Photo by Wayne Clark)


Times-News News Editor

VALLEY — If anyone could ever be called a Renaissance man it’s George Petrie. In a 53-year career at what’s now Auburn University, Petrie taught Greek and Latin, founded both the History Department and the Graduate School, organized and coached Auburn’s first football team in 1892, started and coached its first baseball team and even built the university’s first golf course.

“No single person ever impacted a university more than George Petrie did for Auburn,” author Mike Jernigan told members of the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society at Sunday afternoon’s quarterly meeting of the organization.

In 2007, Jernigan wrote a book about Petrie. It’s titled Auburn Man: The Life and Times of George Petrie. With this being an anniversary year for the school, Jernigan’s book is being republished. This is largely due to the influence of Leah Rawls Atkins, the former world champion water skier who has served as director of the Auburn University Center for the Arts and the Humanities.

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Auburn’s first football and baseball teams and the school becoming a coed university. That all happened in 1892. Three women students – Kate Broun (daughter of the university president), Margaret Teague and Willie Little – broke the gender barrier in the same year.

There were some restrictions. Alabama A&M College, as it was then called, had been an all-male school with uniformed cadets. The girls were told that they were strictly forbidden to flirt with them. They also had to follow a strict dress code and could only be on campus when they were attending class.

Petrie was born in Montgomery County in the year following the Civil War’s end. He grew up during the period when the Deep South was totally devastated. It would take decades to recover. He was the son of a minister, and though educational opportunities were very limited, he was highly motivated to achieve an advanced education.

In the 1880s, he received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Virginia, and in 1890 became the first native Alabamian to earn a Ph.D., receiving it in “history, political economy and jurisprudence” from Johns Hopkins University.

Petrie returned to his home state and accepted a position on the Auburn staff. “He was the star of the faculty,” Jernigan said. “He loved to teach history and was legendary for the very high standards he had in the way of academic honesty.”

Jernigan said his students knew not to even give a hint of dishonesty in his classes but were not beyond playing practical jokes. One day during a test, Dr. Petrie noticed one of his students repeatedly pulling up his shirt sleeve to look at something he’d written on his arm. He confronted the student about it, and the young man sheepishly pulled up the sleeve to let him see it.

Much to his astonishment, Dr. Petrie read the phase “Curiosity killed the cat.” Everyone, including Dr. Petrie himself, got a good laugh out of it, “His nickname was cueball,” Jernigan said. “That’s because he was prematurely bald.

In the early 1890s, the university president asked Dr. Petrie to find ways the university cadets “could work off energy.” Petrie knew that a sport called football was growing in popularity in the east. His alma mater, UVA, had a team, as did the University of North Carolina and many schools in the Northeast.

Petrie had a former classmate at Virginia, Charles Herty, who was starting a team at the University of Georgia. He got in touch with him about it, and his old friend invited him to a practice. He went to Athens by train and was most impressed with the way the Georgia boys looked on the practice field. “If we could only have a team like that at Auburn,” he said to himself.

Dr. Petrie got to organizing a team. They trained in a gym in the attic of Samford Hall and practiced on a field just outside Samford. Dr. Broun was proud of the way the cadets were working off so much energy.

Petrie got back in touch with Herty and they started talking about having a game. It would take place at Piedmont Park in Atlanta in February 1892.

Most of the players on Auburn’s first team had never traveled outside the state of Alabama before. Some were students and some were members of the faculty. “Professor McKissick of the Chemical Engineering department was the biggest player,” Jernigan said.

Prior to the big game, Dr. Petrie was asked to officiate a game between Georgia and Mercer. One stipulation was that the game had to end before 5 p.m. “That gave people time to get to the liquor store,” Jernigan said to some laughter.

As the game in Atlanta approached, Dr. Petrie used the scant funds he had to purchase uniforms from a sporting goods store in Boston. A receipt for that purchase is among 20 boxes of Dr. Petrie’s belongings that are kept in the University Library’s Special Collections.

There should have been no way Auburn’s inexperienced team could play with Georgia that day at Piedmont Park, but they did, winning a 10-0 shutout. Those new uniforms got very dirty that day. “It was a cold, wet, dreary day,” Jernigan said. “It was the first college football game played in the Deep South and Auburn won 10-0.”

Georgia would get their revenge later on that year when the two teams played baseball.

Georgia had a mascot that year, and it wasn’t a bulldog. “It was a goat,” Jernigan said. “They dressed him in red and black. It’s said that they cooked and ate him when they got back to Athens.”

When the two schools met in a baseball game, Auburn couldn’t afford new uniforms. Most of the players had been on the football team and wore their football pants in the game. They must have looked more like Georgia Tech that year, wearing some yellow t-shirts.

“Georgia felt that their honor had been redeemed when they won the game,” Jernigan said.

Jernigan said there’s one thing about the game that best illustrates the kind of man Dr. Petrie was. The Atlanta Constitution wanted a signed contract, committing the two schools to lots of specifics. Dr. Petrie refused, saying “all I need is a handshake. Our word is our bond.”

Dr. Petrie is best known for having written The Auburn Creed in 1943. He was despondent at the time, his wife having died the year before. Mrs. Petrie was the daughter of James H. Lane, a professor of mechanical engineering at Auburn. “Lane had been the youngest Confederate general in the Civil War,” Jernigan said. “He studied under Stonewall Jackson at VMI.”

Ironically, Lane was in command of the North Carolina troops who mistakenly shot General Jackson in the darkness following the Battle of Chancellorsville. “James Lane never forgave himself for that,” Jernigan said. “He always felt like it was his fault.”

Petrie wrote The Auburn Creed in November 1943. It was first published in The Auburn Plainsman the following January. It was first known as the Auburn Student’s Creed. “It remains a mystery why he did it,” Jernigan said. “He was retired at the time. The last line was not in his original handwriting. It was added when it was published in The Plainsman.”

At first, the Creed was not that well known. It has grown in popularity over time. One Auburn student who was impressed by it, a young man from Selma named Ralph Jordan, had a clipping from The Plainsman in his boot when he landed with U.S. troops at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.

Jordan studied under Dr. Petrie when he was a student at Auburn. He and many other students loved to go to his home and talk to him about life on his front porch. That house was located across the street from Samford Hall, in the area where the university library and Mary Martin Hall are located today.

Another one of his students who credited Dr.Petrie for his success was a student named Holland Smith. In World War II he was a Marine general better known as “Howling Mad” Smith. He commanded the amphibious landings in the Pacific Theater.

Young Smith did get in trouble at one time at Auburn. As a Halloween stunt, he put a privy at the intersection at Toomer’s Corner. When someone opened the door, they found a skeleton sitting inside.

NHCT presents 'Farce of Habit' as next production
NHCT presents 'Farce of Habit' as next production


Times-News Staff Writer

WEST POINT — New Horizon Community Theatre in downtown West Point will present the explosive comedy “Farce of Habit” October 26-28.

Set in the town of Mayhew, Arkansas, this sequel to 2015’s “Farce of Nature” again finds D Gene Wilburn (played by Mike Morehouse) and his wife Wanelle (Janet Morehouse) trying to make ends meet at The Reel ‘Em Inn, finest little fishing lodge in the Ozarks.

There’s stormy weather approaching and D Gene is looking forward to a peaceful weekend on the lake and some serious fishing because, as every avid fisherman knows, “the best fishing is always just before a storm.”

As usual there are two chances of that dream happening: slim and none – or should we say “nun.” While D Gene’s sister, local police officer Maxie Wilburn Suggs (Lydia Johnson) is busy keeping the peace, Wanelle, with the help of her daughter-in-law Jenna (Laura Bright) is busy trying to attend to the needs of the Inn’s guests: Jock McNair (Bill Dorminy), a nationally known relationship guru whose colossal ego threatens everyone’s sanity; Huddle Fisk (Rick Adams), a hapless, shy retiree, recovering from a heart attack and anxious to cut loose and embrace his inner caveman and “live, live, live;” and a barn full of nuns on a retreat, led by the feisty Sister Myrtle Agnes (Paige Collins). Add Jenna’s husband (or is he?)

Ty Wilburn (Chase Golden), who has a secret (or two), and Jock’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Barb (Patti Landreau) and the table is set for this comedy romp of silly fun, complete with caffeine addictions, terminal psoriasis, the storm of the century, sugar rushes, a gaggle of nuns determined to experience nature, an impending storm, an egotistical marriage counselor, a wild woman who may or may not be who she claims to be, and – for good measure – an axe murderer.

This preposterous, take-no-prisoners comedy will be presented Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; October 26 – 28 at New Horizon Theatre. Curtain is at 8:00 each night with an additional 2:00 matinee on Saturday. For tickets or other information, please visit the website at www.nhct.org call the ticket hotline at 706/518-6234, or email the theatre at info@nhct.org.

School board approves Troup athletic facilities
School board approves Troup athletic facilities


LaGrange Daily News

LaGRANGE— The Troup County Board of Education voted 5-2 Thursday to approve the construction of gymnasiums at Troup High School and LaGrange High School.

The gymnasium vote was tabled for two months in August after board members asked for more time to get all of the information needed to make an informed decision. Alfred McNair, Joe Franklin, Cathy Hunt, Allen Simpson and Ted Alford voted yes Thursday. Kirk Hancock and Brandon Brooks each voted no.

“I have gone back and forth on how I would vote tonight, but I have ultimately decided to go forth with the projects as currently designed,” Hunt said in a prepared statement.

The funding for the construction of both gymnasiums will come from E- SPLOST V. Originally, $18 million was allocated toward the project. However, the initial cost projection ended up being way off the mark and the board was forced to decide whether to contribute another $7 million for the project.

The vote Thursday approved a guaranteed maximum price of Ra-Lin Construction of $12,662,040 for Troup High’s gymnasium and approved a construction budget of $13,400,000 for LaGrange High’s gymnasium. John Radcliffe, assistant superintendent of Maintenance and Operations, said during Tuesday’s work session that the LaGrange High number does not include the cost of the land acquisition.

Until a contractor is named and geotechnical work is performed, there’s not a definitive cost for the LaGrange High project, but the board will vote on a guaranteed maximum price for that gymnasium at a later board meeting. The original plans were edited to save costs and several more millions of dollars could’ve been saved by cutting two indoor, multiuse facilities, which can be used by multiple sports teams. The board discussed that dilemma during its previous meetings and during public forums in West Point and LaGrange.

In the end, the multi-use facilities made the cut, giving each school a gymnasium similar to what Callaway High School has.

Hunt said her vote came down to a discussion with a former educator in the community, who pointed out that the school system has traditionally had a habit of “under building” and then paying more later.

“As a staff member, who was affected in this way many years ago during a building project that meant a great deal to me and my school, I understand the value of that statement,” Hunt said. “We must strive to do projects right the first time, and we must provide quality facilities that are a source of pride for our students.”

Hunt discussed her concern about what the final cost will be, and others on the board echoed those worries.

“We’ve got some cost overrun that I’m concerned about, but we are going to build the facilities as close as we can to what we promised to the people,” said board member Joe Franklin.

Hancock said the process revealed two administrative failures and called it “unacceptable.”

“We will have to use every available capital dollar to build these gyms. This will eliminate flexibility to invest in other academic needs,” Hancock said. “The second major process failure occurred when the administration failed to notify the board that the facilities were going to be considerably more than budgeted. At this point, back in February I asked for an update. At that point, we could authorize the additional money to proceed. We never got that update… By the time the board was notified in August, we had no ability to influence the outcome. It was too late. This is another major process failure and is unacceptable in my opinion.”

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W.F. Burns seventh, eighth grade teams post wins
W.F. Burns seventh, eighth grade teams post wins

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

VALLEY — Thursday was another successful day for the W.F. Burns seventh and eighth grade football teams as both squads posted big wins over visiting Gardner Newman Middle School of LaGrange.

Coach Jason Phillips seventh grade team posted a 30-14 win to complete the year with a 4-2 record.

Zamarian Stallworth led W.F.Burns with 89 yards rushing on 11 carries and one TD, Tirus Patten tallied an additional 81 yards on nine attempts and three scores and tacked on a two-point PAT run as well. In addition, Malik Flournoy had 18 yards and a two-point PAT run, Chase Childs rang up 18 yards on one carry.

The defense was led by Quendarius Story and David McCoy each with four tackles.

The W.F. Burns seventh grade team finished second in the Chattahoochee Regional Middle School League.

•In the eighth grade game, W.F. Burns completed a perfect 6-0 regular season with a 26-14 win over GNMS.

They will now host the first-round of the playoffs next Thursday.

W.F. Burns jumped out to 26-0 halftime lead and never looked back in the 26-14 win.

Kalen Sherrell led W.F. Burns with 90 yards rushing on six carries, B.J. Baker added 88 yards on six attempts and three scores, K.D. Hutchinson tallied 18 yards on two carries and M.J. Atkinson added a three-yard scoring run and Jarquez Banks scored on a 10-yard run.

In addition, Atkinson tossed a two-point PAT pass to Jordan Benbrook.

Kross Colley led the defense with six tackles, Hunter Burdette added four stops while Dylan Earle and Banks both had three.

•W.F. Burns will play GNMS again in the first-round of the Chattahoochee Regional Middle School League playoffs at Ram Stadium, Thurs., Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. ET.

Must-win weekend for Valley, Springwood
Must-win weekend for Valley, Springwood

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Writer

It’s Week 8 for most teams this week and for two of the seven, it’s win Friday in region showdowns or they’ll be no postseason party for either.

Of the seven local teams, four are locks for the state playoffs — Lanett, LaFayette, Troup and Chambers. At least three of the “Fab Four” will host first-round state playoff games as well.

Troup must defeat Cedartown Friday in order to earn a home playoff matchup and with it, a ticket for the region championship game against No. 1 Cartersville.

A possible Troup-Cartersville region title showdown would be the biggest game a Troup team has played in at least 30 years, if not in its nearly 60-year football history. The Tigers last won a region championship in 1987.

Coach Clifford Story’s No. 2-ranked Lanett Panthers are on the road at region foe Woodland. With a win, Lanett is set for the showdown with LaFayette Oct. 27 for the 2A-Region 5 championship.

The LaFayette Bulldogs are at Ranburne and like Lanett, the Bulldogs need a win to set up a winner-take-all region showdown with the Panthers.

Coach Jason Allen’s Chambers Rebels play its most important game of the season Friday at region rival Abbeville. With a win, the Rebels will clinch the AISA 1A-Region 1 championship and with it, the first two rounds of the playoffs at the friendly confines of Torbert Field.

The three remaining teams — Valley, Springwood and Beulah — are all still in playoff contention but two of the three could secure postseason bids Friday or all together could be eliminated.

Valley hosts Talladega for homecoming and with a win, coach Buster Daniel’s Rams will be in the AHSAA 5A state playoffs. A loss and Valley will conclude its season Oct. 27 at home against Eufaula.

The Beulah Bobcats have two region games left and must win one of the two to earn an AHSAA 3A state berth. It won’t be easy for coach Cody Flournoy’s Bobcats as they host traditional state power and multi-state champion Pike Co. at Bobcat Stadium.

For the Springwood Wildcats, it’s quite simple. Beat Glenwood and Springwood is in the AISA 3A state playoffs. A loss, however, will officially eliminate the Wildcats. Springwood’s last regular season game is scheduled for Thurs., Oct. 26 at home against the unbeaten and No. 4-ranked Chambers Academy Rebels.

LaFayette defense paving the way to success
LaFayette defense paving the way to success

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LaFAYETTE — In 2016, the LaFayette Bulldogs established an all-time school and local record of 646 points and it was the offense that rang up almost all the headlines. A year later, it’s the Bulldogs defense which has been the strength of the team and carried them last week to a hard-earned 21-7 2A-Region 5 win over Reeltown.

The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 5-0) are now just one win away from setting up a showdown with No. 2 Lanett Oct. 27 for the region championship for the second straight season.

LaFayette’s defense has been stellar all year led by Lajaeron Bryant, Omar Boston, Corey Boston, Julius Bullard, Omar Turner and others.

In a 21-7 win over Reeltown last week, Bryant had a terrific game, posting 15 tackles as LaFayette shutout Reeltown for the last three quarters of the game.


Obituaries for Friday, October 20, 2017
Obituaries for Friday, October 20, 2017


LaFAYETTE — Mrs. Jeanette Avery, 67, of LaFayette passed away on Monday, October 16, 2017 at LaFayette Extended Care in LaFayette, Ala.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. CDT on Monday, October 23, 2017 at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in LaFayette. Burial will follow in Handy Memorial Cemetery in LaFayette.


VALLEY — Rufus Michael Peacock, age 64 of Valley, AL and formerly of Troy, AL died Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika. Funeral services will be held Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. Central time from the chapel of Dillard Funeral Home in Troy. Interment will follow in Hinson Cemetery with Dillard Funeral Home of Troy directing.

Visitation will be held Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Central time at Dillard Funeral Home in Troy.


WEST POINT — Sara Anita Sanders, 92, of West Point died July 29, 2017. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at the Pinewood Cemetery in West Point.


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