Newpaper Article - Hodges, South Carolina

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Photograph of home of GW Hodges published with the article transcribed below.

Data Description:Newpaper Article - Hodges, SC
Submitter: Jimmy Rosamond
Date Posted:21 July 2001
File Size:__



No Policemen Walk Streets OF HODGES And Jail Doors Yawn


Only One Man Among Three Hundred and Fifty Inhabitants
Ever Gets Drunk- People Threaten to Rehabilitate Bastile
In Order to Take Care of Visiting Automobilists From North
Carolina and Georgia - Story of Girl Who Was Forced to
Wed Indian Who Killed Her Sisters.


HODGES, S. C., is a town without telephones. It hasn't had 
them in 12 years. Hodges scores unique distinction on two other
counts.  It hasn't had a policeman in 12 years. Out of its 350 
inhabitants only one man ever gets drunk and he doesn't do it
more than three times a year.

Which is a record for a town once notorious for its many saloons, 
and dreaded from one end of the state to the other for its lawless 


"Once the worst place in the world, it's now the best place in the 
world," declares W. H. Emerson, 75 years of age, and its oldest 
inhabitant, who has been living there for 53 years and has seen it 
grow from a terror-spreading community into the most placid and 
peaceful of little towns.

Nothing ever disturbs the village peace.  A burglary has been 
unheard of for years.  Drunkenness is a thing of the past.  The only 
disturbance recorded in years was a street fight between two negroes, 
one of whom fled the community as soon as the mayor intervened.

"Just move up here a little farther," said S. L. Brissie, the mayor, 
to the reporter who sat parked in a Ford in front of the Southern 
passenger station, "and you can see our calaboose there behind the 
station.  Its door is all off the hinges, and you could throw a calf 
through the hole in the roof.  We've been threatening, several times 
this year, to fix it up," he apologized.

"But why fix it up if you don't ever need it?"  he was asked.

"Well," he drawled, with a twinkle in his eye, "somebody from Georgia 
or North Carolian might come through and disturb the peace, and we'd 
just like to be ready and have a place to put him."


"What about this no-telephone situation, though--just exactly why haven't 
you got them and how do you manage to get along without them--for 
instance in case of illness and the immediate need for a doctor?"

"Well," he reflected, "we've just got used to doing without them--you know 
how it is when you get used to anything. "Not having any telephone worries 
everybody else worse that it does us," he said with dry humor.

"Travelers passing through," he continued, "sometimes stop at a store to 
use a telephone and when they are told there isn't one here they exclaim, 
"What!  No telephone, Surely this must be the only town in the Unitd States 
without a telephone."

"Several years ago when there were two banks here, one of the men in town 
was visiting at a mountain resort and someone asked him where was his home 
and when he said "Hodges, about nine miles from Greenwood,"  the other 
fellow said, "Oh yes, I recall it--the little town with two banks and no 

"We used to have telephones here about 12 or 15 years ago.  There were 
about 30 in the town and surrounding country, but the Piedmont and 
Northern (electrical) railway was what killed the line here.  The wires 
of the trolley crossed over the telephone wires and ruined the connection.  
Every time you picked up the receiver you could hear trains shifting in 
adjoining towns, but you couldn't hear the person you were trying to talk 
to.  The telephone exchange was owned and controlled from Due West and the 
owner didn't want to go to the expense of putting the wires underground, 
so he just let it fall through."

"After that, " said Mrs. J. W. Cobb, who has been station agent at the 
Piedmont and Northern for four years, "a telephone line was built here 
for Mr. Will Anderson, rural policeman, who was stationed here, but he 
was sent to Augusta and since then there hasn't been either a policeman 
or a telephone in the town.  That was bout 12 years ago."


There is a telephone, entirely beyond control of the town, in the Piedmont 
and Northern station and owned by P. and N. officials.  This, however, is 
not available for general use to the town and might just as well be miles 
way as far as casual convenience goes.  In case, though, of extreme illness 
or death, and help is needed from another city and time is not taken, as is 
usually the case there, to get in a car and go for it, Mrs. Cobb will call 
from this phone to the P. and N. station agent in Greenwood, the nearest 
city, and ask him to get in touch with the doctor or undertaker, as the 
case may be, and deliver the urgent S. O. S. call from Hodges,  Other that 
this telephone, which is not the town's, there is absolutely no telephonic 
communicatior with the outside world from Hodges, an otherwise up-to-date, 
beautiful and prosperous a small town as can be found in all of 
South Carolina.

There is much wealth there as is evidenced by the number of handsome homes 
and the luxurious automobiles of its citizens,   It has 12 stores, one bank, 
one modern brick schoolhouse, three churches,  two hotels--and radios!  
But no telephones.  Two main railways, the Southern and the Piedmont and 
Northern, pass through it, and a paved national highway skirts its border.  
Its sons and daughters go away to college and come back either to have 
fashionable weddings or to pay a brief visit before setting forth on some 
other worthy career.  And they do it all without telephones in the old home 

The consensus of opinion among a number of its leading citizens 
interviewed on the subject of why Hodges citizens continue to dwell 
contentedly without telephones is"  They have gotten used to doing without 
them and nobody wants to be bothered with the trouble and expense of having 
a line built, or the nuisance of answering phones calls.  Whenever they want 
anything, from making a date to calling an undertaker, they just step in 
their Cadillacs or Fords and go see about it in person instead of depending 
on wire connection.


To the frenzied city dweller whose nerves are on edge with the constant 
jangle of an insistent telephone bell, Hodges seems like a paradise of 
peaceful quietude.  And just as that phrase "peaceful quietude" is written, 
one who recalls "the good old days," which were the bad old days in Hodges, 
says that its peacefulness of today is in sharp contrast to what it once was.  
"I remember as a child," she says, "that I used to be afraid to pass through 
Hodges on account of the drunken men reeling up and down the street."

"There was a time," said Mr. Emerson, who has been in the mercantile 
business there for half a century, "when there were five saloons to four 
stores here.  I've seen farmers, time and again, too poor to buy groceries 
in cash, give a lien on their crops in order to buy food which they would 
immediately take to a saloon and exchange for whiskey."

The saloons were voted out years ago.  This first step toward prohibition 
was the beginning of the present-day peace and prosperity of the jailless, 
policeman-less village of Hodges, which thrives undisturbed over its lack 
of telephones.

"Is there anything else unusual about your town?"  the mayor was asked.  
He thought a minute and answered with unconscious seriousness:

"Well, we've got a pretty good cemetery.  They come here to bury from 
Everybody that ever has lived in Hodges comes back here to bury their dead.  
You see, our cemetery is well-kept.  It has a good iron fence around it--and 
land is cheap,"  he explained.  Hodges--a haven of peace for 
the living and the dead.

To the question--how did Hodges originate and where did it get its name--
comes an answer that carries with it a story as colorful and thrilling as 
melodrama with a romance scarcely paralleled in American history.  An 
authenic record is given in the following sketch written in 1876 and taken 
from the family history of the grandson of General George Washington Hodges, 
for whom the town is named--B. S. Hodges, who resides there in the ancestral 
home of the Hodges family, built by General Hodges over a hundred years ago:


"George Washington Hodges, one of the oldest and most respectable citizens of 
Abbeville county, died at his late residence in the town of Hodges on Friday 
night last (1876) after an illness of two days, at the advanced age of 84 
years, and as his career has been an eventful one, we append some sketches 
or incidents connected with his life which we doubt not will be read with much 

"Gen. Hodges' grandfather, of Culpepper, and his grandmother, of Richmond, Va., 
were married and emigrated to this country prior to the Revolution and settled 
near where the town of Hodges now stands.  They were the first settlers of that 
vicinity, where they bought a tract of land, a portion of the English grant to 
Salvador, the Jew, which had been sold to Rapley, an Englishman, and comprised 
perhaps one-fourth of the land in Abbeville county, and was for a great many 
years known as "The Jew's Land."

"During the Revolutionary war, General Hodges' father, John Hodges, who held 
the commission of major in the army of the Revolution, and the general's 
grandfather were actively engaged in the war against the tories and the redmen.  
On one occasion the grandfather was at home on leave of absence, when the fact 
was ascertained by the Indians, who came to this house unexpectedly, shot the 
furloughed soldier dead in the presence of his family, tied the ladies, his 
daughters, some four in number, preparatory to burning them and the house, 
when the Indian chief, who was with the murderous gang, became enamored of the 
beauty of one of the sisters, Dorothy, and proposed to her that if she would 
become his wife her life should be saved.

"Her condition then might not be easily imagined.  Here she was in the hands of 
the murderers of her father, in the presence of his lifeless body, tied with her 
sisters in the house which was soon to be enveloped with the consuming element.  
Her only rescue from the impending doom was to swear that she would ever love, 
cherish and obey, and keep in sickness and health a natural enemy and the murderer 
of her father and sisters.  The exultation of the demoniac fiends over the grief 
and heartrending exclamations of these defenseless and distressed creatures was 
beyond description.  Finally, when this young lady, more beautiful than the rest, 
was forced to a choice, she reluctantly consented to be the wife of the Indian 
chief, and was loosed from the cords which bound her limbs, to be the more firmly 
bound soul and body by a solemn oath to the leader of these cruel assassins.  
Being removed from the dwelling she was rescued from the flames whilst the torch 
was applied to the house, and her sisters perished in her presence whilst the war 
dance and the song kept up the fiendish carnival.


"Dorothy was perhaps the most unhappy and the most unwilling bride upon whom 
the genial sunlight of South Carolina had ever fallen.

"She was carried west with the retreating foe of the white man, as the whites 
gained supremacy, and as the days, weeks and months passed she was farther 
removed from the pale of civilization.  In the meantime, however, her husband 
loved her with a devotion not characteristic of the Indian.  The chief was proud 
of and rejoiced in the possession of his beautiful "pale faced wife."  His love 
for her and his association with her had a wonderfully refining influence over 
the red man.  At the birth of their son his affection seemed warmer than before.  
If Dorothy had not learned to love her husband this child was loved by the mother 
as only mothers can love.  Away from the presence or association of a white person, 
it seemed that her whole soul concentrated in her babe, and the love of father and 
mother met in the infant boy, and they held sweet communion with each other as to 
their child.

"Years passed by and the Indian was as kind as one of his nature could be, and she 
had almost become reconciled to her fate.  

"After the war had smoothed his wrinkled front" Dorothy expressed to her husband 
a desire to see her friends and relatives in Carolina, and her husband, having 
unbounded confidence in her loyalty now, arrangements were soon completed for a 
visit to her old home.  They were then living in Alabama.  The Indian chief, 
accompanied by Dorothy and her child, set out on the journey.  When the husband 
had come to the borders of the state, as far as it was safe at that time for him 
to come, pledging anew their faith and love for each other, and after making 
arrangements as to when he should meet her at the same place, on her return, 
they separated.

"Little did either think that this was their final separation, but it was even so.  
At the time in this country there was but little facility for the conveyance of 
letters anywhere, but especially was this true as regards communication between 
this place and the territory occupied by the unfriendly Indian.  As a consequence 
no word had been heard from her since her capture years before, and her friends 
had mourned for her as for the dead.

"Very unexpectedly to everybody she returned to Cokesbury, and her friends 
greatly rejoiced.  At the meetiing of her relatives tears of joy were shed 
and the father of General Hodges gave a grand feast to which all the relatives 
and neighbors were invited, and they assembled in joy to greet the long lost 
friend and relative.

"Once more in the bosom of her family, she became the prey of a thousand 
conflicting emotions, until at last, when the time arrived for her return, 
she yielded to the intercession of her friends and cast in her lot with 
them henceforth.

"In the course of years she seemed to forget her troubles, and being yet of 
fine personal appearance and possessed of attractive manners, a citizen by the 
name of Rosemond sought her heart and hand in marriage.  In the course of time 
they were married, after which they remained in this county for a number of years 
and to them were born a number of children.  The family moved west, taking all 
the children by the second marriage, and it is believed that there is now no 
descendant of this branch of the Hodges family remaining in Abbeville county.


"Before their departure the little Indian boy grew up, was sent to school, 
and soon began to show the characteristics of the race.  Having heard of his 
father and wishing to learn more of his father and his people, he set out 
before he had arrived at the age of maturity for the Indian territory from 
which he never returned, and from him nothing was ever afterwards heard.

"General Hodges remembered seeing the Indian boy and heard the story, which we 
have just related, from his mother's own lips.

"General Hodges father lived within a mile and a half of the present site of 
Hodges' depot.  General Hodges himself lived all his life within a mile and a 
half of his birthplace.  When he first went to housekeeping there was but little 
cleared land in the county, and game was so plentiful that it ravaged the crops--
Mrs. Hodges once having shot a deer that was feeding in their turnip patch.

"General Hodges, by his industry and economy, managed to amass a considerable 
fortune, and when he built his late dwelling 54 years ago, it was considered 
the finest house above Columbia.


"He was once a member of the state legislature, and long held a commissioned 
office in the militia of the Savannah regiment.  In all matters of public 
interest he always took an active part, and at one time he was sent as 
commissioner to the Indians, with whom he was exceedingly poplar, and who 
were delighted because of his smoking with them the pipe of peace.  The general 
could send up volumes of smoke so much larger than they could, and they were so 
much delighted that great numbers of the men and women of the neighborhood 
assembled on the second day after his arrival to see the white man smoke the 
pipe of peace.

"The town of Hodges was named for him, on the establishment of the railroad 
depot at that place.  When the telegraph line was finished to that place a few 
years ago the first message, a congratulatory epistle was addressed to him as 
the "Patriarch."  He preserved this message, which is still in possession of 
the family.  He was the 'Pater Familias' of the town which bears his name."

Which is the town with no telephones.

Read Any Good Books Lately!
The floor to ceiling shelves in the "The Attic," a shop at Hodges, are crammed 
with books of all sizes, ages and types of contents.  Proprietor Donald Hawthorn 
checks to keep them arranged "More or Less" by content categories.

'The Attic' In Business In the Center Of Hodges

Note written on side of article reads: 
"When you visit Hodges, be sure to come by The Attic 65,000 old books."

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