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John Whitlow Evans Powell
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Birth: Dec. 4, 1872
Clinch County
Georgia, USA
Death: May 14, 1933
Berrien County
Georgia, USA


John Whitlow Evans Powell was born Wednesday, 4 Dec 1872, at his parents home on Mud Creek, Clinch County, GA. He was the first born of Rev. Thomas William Powell and Albina Tabitha "Allie" Whitlow. He was named for Allie's older brother, John Gholston Whitlow and the maiden name of his paternal grandmother.

The Powells had removed from Walker Co., GA in Nov 1872, when Allie was eight months pregnant, in order for Rev. Powell to accept the pastorship of Stockton Baptist Church in Clinch Co., GA. Less than a month after their arrival, the young couple was blessed with their first child.

Allie bragged in a Dec 1872 letter to her sister "I have the largest and prettiest baby you ever saw." She also mentioned in a later letter, in 1883, that John looked a lot like her (brown eyes and dark hair) while the others looked like "the Powells" (blue eyes and light hair.) Judging by a photograph of Allie's sister, Nancy Whitlow Williamson, those physical features predominated on the Whitlow side of the family.

John Powell received an education in the common schools of Berrien County and finished at Nashville Academy. He was influenced to initially pursue education as a career by his mother, Allie Whitlow, who had been a teacher in her native Walker Co., GA. His later political aspirations were likely inspired by his father, who served as Judge of the Court of Ordinary of Berrien Co., GA from 1885 until his death in 1887.

He was only fifteen years old when his father died of tuberculosis in 1887. His mother died three years later of the same dread disease. John was instrumental in settling his parents' estates, taking over the administration of his mother's estate in 1894.

Fortunately, none of the Powell children contracted pulmonary tuberculosis from their parents, although John's brother, Alva Roy Powell, developed "lung trouble" during his tour of duty in the Army in the war with Spain. Based on medical records, this diagnosis progressed from chronic bronchitis to pulmonary emphysema.

John W.E. Powell, developed "bone tuberculosis" (so described by his brother, A.R. Powell, in an affidavit regarding family medical issues), resulting in surgical amputation of his right leg, about 1909. This physical impediment resulted in his disqualification for service in World War I in 1917-8.

Despite being doubly orphaned, John Powell and his siblings escaped the bane of the orphanage, independently maintaining themselves on the two hundred acre family farm inherited as a legacy from their father. John, as the eldest son, took charge of the family, ensuring that his younger siblings had all they needed to gain a purchase in life.

Postings in the local newspapers chronicled John W.E. Powell's life and career. From the Tifton Gazette:

x1 Jul 1892: "The third monthly meeting of the Teacher's Institute for Berrien County was held at Nashville on Saturday on the 25th. The meeting was called to order by Commissioner Williams and J.W.E. Powell acted as Secretary."

x6 Apr 1894: "The Teacher's Institute to be held at Tifton, Georgia, Saturday, Apr. 21st, 1894. Program, 11a.m. 'Object of the Recitation and How to Conduct It' - J.W.E. Powell and R.P. Glenn."

x18 May 1894: "Court Matters - In the Court of Ordinary, John W.E. Powell, applied for permanent letters of administration on the estate of his mother, Mary A. Powell."

x29 Jun 1894: "Mr. John W.E. Powell of Nashville announces his candidacy for Clerk of the Superior Court of Berrien County. He is a competent and serving young man and should the people elect him to fill the office, he will do so with credit and distinction."

x1 May 1896: "Mr. J.W.E. Powell announces as a candidate for Tax Collector. Mr. Powell bears the reputation of being an able and competent gentleman, and will, doubtless, make the county a good officer, if elected."

x4 Jun 1897: "Among the teachers attending the Teacher's Institute from this county: Messrs. J.W.E. Powell of Nashville and J.D. Lovett of Lenox."

x15 Oct 1897: "J.W.E. Powell administrator on estate of Mary A.T. Powell, deceased, has in due form, applied to the undersigned for letters of dismissal. A.W. Patterson, Ordinary, Berrien County, Ga."

x15 Oct 1897: "Tax Collector, J.W.E. Powell, with his genial smile, was in Tifton last week, but not many shekels were coming his way."

x4 Jun 1898: "Appointed as delegates to the Georgia Judicial Convention to be held in Atlanta, July 20th were Judge Fish, Hon. H.B. Peeples and Hon. J.W.E. Powell."

x6 Oct 1899: "Handsome John Powell, Berrien's clever tax collector, was in Tifton yesterday on his first round of 1899."

x6 Apr 1900: "To the Voters of Berrien County: I hereby announce myself a candidate for the office of Ordinary of Berrien County, subject to the requirements of the Democratic Party, promising a faithful discharge of the duties of the office, and thanking my friends for past favors, I am, Yours to Serve, J.W.E. Powell."

x13 Dec 1901:

"A Beautiful Wedding

Thursday, at the home of Mrs. M.S. Knight, Mother of the bride, Miss Leila Knight, was wedded to Hon. John W.E. Powell, of Nashville.

The marriage took place at 8 o'clock, in the presence of the family and a few friends. The ceremony was beautiful and impressive, performed by Rev. Strong.

After the marriage, the bridal party drove to Nashville and were met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Lovette by a number of friends invited to partake in a 7 o'clock dinner in honor of the newly wedded couple. Many handsome gifts attested to the tender love of friends and dear ones.

The dining room elicited much admiration by reason of the lovely table and the tasteful decorations of the overgreens, tied with ribbons in love knots. The dinner was very elegant and reflected much credit upon Mr. & Mrs. Lovette and their able assistant, Mrs. A.W. Patterson.

The bride, as Miss Leila Knight, was esteemed one of the most cultured and intelligent young ladies in the county. Mr. Powell needs no commendation at our hands, among the people, he has served so efficiently in many public capacities. He is, at present, Cashier of the Bank of Nashville, and has hundreds of friends who join with us in wishing a long and happy life to him and his fair bride."

x14 Aug 1903: "Mr. and Mrs. J.W.E. Powell are placing the [foundation] for the erection of a handsome seven room residence."

x18 Mar 1904: "Nashville Lodge No. 210, Independent Order of Odd Fellows met and the following officers were elected: J.W.E. Powell, Treasurer."

Nashville Herald,
x 5 Aug 1904: "Mr. & Mrs. John Whitlow of Texas are the guests of Mr. & Mrs. Jno. W.E. Powell."

John Gholston Whitlow was the Uncle and namesake of John Whitlow Evans Powell. He was the brother of J.W.E. Powell's mother, Allie Whitlow Powell. The last known visit of Mr. Whitlow, prior to this instance, was a trip to Georgia and Alabama in 1894 where he visited the Powells in Nashville, as well as a trip to Walker Co., GA where he married his young bride, Miss Mollie Neal. J.W.E. Powell traveled to Weatherford, TX in 1914 to settle Mr. Whitlow's estate.

x 9 Sept 1904: "Mr. & Mrs. J.W.E. Powell accompanied Miss Nid Powell to Macon on Sunday. Miss Powell goes to enter Stanley Business College."

Mollie Enid Powell's scholarship was funded by her Uncle John Gholston Whitlow of Weatherford, TX, per J.G. Whitlow's estate papers, Parker County, TX. Uncle J.G. Whitlow visited the Powells in August and likely coordinated Mollie's scholarship during this trip.

x 16 Sept 1904: Nashville Telephone Directory:

J.W.E. Powell - Phone # 33
Bank of Nashville - Phone # 21

Tifton Gazette,
x13 Jan 1905: "Bank of Nashville. The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Bank of Nashville was held here Tuesday afternoon at 1 o'clock. President J.F. Lewis was absent and Vice President H.B. Peeples presided. Cashier J.W.E. Powell made a very satisfactory report of the year's business, he reported that the institution made a neat profit of 33 per cent last year.

The Board of Directors re-elected J.W.E. Powell as Cashier. The stockholder's meeting was participated in by a large majority of those holding stock. All were pleased with the showing made by Cashier Powell, and there is not a man on this earth that can get his job away from him."

x9 June 1905: "The Odd Fellows elected officers for the ensuing term Wednesday night. J.W.E. Powell was elected Noble Grand and W.E. Norris was elected Vice Grand."

"Cashier J.W.E. Powell of the Bank of Nashville left yesterday afternoon for Atlantic Beach, Fla., to attend the Georgia Bankers' Association which convenes there tomorrow."

x20 Oct 1905: "March 1905, Superior Court, Grand Juror: J.W.E. Powell."

x13 Jul 1906: "Cashier J.W.E. Powell, of the Bank of Nashville, was in Tifton, Tuesday, returning home from a trip to Albany."

Nashville Herald:
x 1 May 1908: "J.W.E. Powell, cashier of the First National Bank, visited his brother, Jim Powell, in Tampa, Saturday and Sunday. Jim has been suffering with appendicitis, but is improving now."

x 11 Sept 1908: "Jim Powell came up from Tampa last week to visit relatives and old friends."

Tifton Gazette:
x23 Apr 1909: "The Georgia Bankers Association was in session in Atlanta this week, delegates present included our own J.W.E. Powell, of First National Bank of Nashville."

x11 Jun 1915: "The residence of Col. J.D. Lovett was completely destroyed by fire this morning. The cause of the blaze is unknown. The fire department did splendid work in saving Hon. J.W.E. Powell's residence, which is the next house to Col. Lovett's."

The 1911 voter list of Berrien County, GA shows J.W.E. Powell, along with his brothers, to include James Harvey Powell, who had recently returned to Nashville from Jacksonville, FL.

In 1914, John's Uncle and namesake, John Gholston Whitlow, died in Weatherford, Texas and left considerable property to the Powells in Georgia. John Whitlow Evans Powell traveled to Texas in 1914 & 1915 to settle the estate and sell the property on behalf of the Powell & Whitlow heirs in Georgia, the Williamson heirs in Alabama and the Garrett heirs in Texas, all families of men who married daughters of Miles Washington Whitlow, 1812-1885, of Walker Co., GA:

"In the County Court, Parker County, Texas, Case # 1731, Estate of John G. Whitlow, dec'd, T.A. Wythe, Executor.

On this the 24th day of July, 1914, this court, being in regular session came on to be heard the application of Mrs. Mary Whitlow, surviving wife of J.G. Whitlow, deceased, and the application of J.W.E. Powell, et. al., legatees and devisees under the Will of J.G. Whitlow, deceased, for division of the estate, as between the said applicants and a settlement of their claims to the same, said applications both filed this day."

"The right, title and interest of the applicants, J.W.E. Powell, T.W. Powell, Mattie Wilkes, A.R. Powell, J.H. Powell, and Mollie Turner, heirs and only heirs at law of T.W. Powell & Albina Powell, also T. Hale and N. Hale, Charlcie Williamson, Bessie Williamson, Mattie Waldrop, Mamie DePoo, Lillian Sheppard and S.E. Williamson, heirs and only heirs at law of S.G. & Nancy Williamson and also Luther Garrett, E. Garrett, Gertrude Youngblood, Nellie Clowdus, Allie Tweddle and R.P. Garrett, heirs and only heirs at law of W.H. & Martha Garrett be and the same is divested out of said parties and the same is vested in the said Mary Whitlow [and] all Parker County deed records of [deceased] be vested in aforesaid legatees."

Mr. Powell was elected County Treasurer and served in that post with distinction from 1915-7.

John W.E. Powell registered for the World War I draft on 12 Sept 1918. The registrar's report shows J.W.E. Powell was 45 years old, of medium height, slender build, brown eyes and dark hair. He was disqualified for service. The comments section indicated "right leg" as the disqualifying issue. Mrs. Leila Knight was his nearest relative. His employer was the First Bank of Nashville.

John Powell was active at his church, serving as deacon there for a period of time. He often made presentations, along with his brother, Rev. A.R. Powell, the other deacons, A.H. Giddens and R.L. Moore, on special occasions, such as the following on Mother's Day, as cited in the Nashville Herald: "Mother's Day Will Be Fittingly Observed Here." J.W.E. Powell gave an appropriate speech entitled "Mother in Heaven", likely inspired by the thought of his own mother, who died in 1890.

From the Nashville Herald:

x21 Mar 1919: "Mr. and Mrs. J.W.E. Powell spent Sunday afternoon in Ray City with relatives." The purpose of this visit, no doubt, was to see Leila's mother, Mrs. Knight.

x7 July 1921: "Messrs. J.W.E. Powell, Bill Rentz and A.H. Giddens, in the company of their lovely wives, left Wednesday at noon for Miami, Fla., to visit Dr. and Mrs. W.C. Rentz. While on the trip, they will also visit other Florida cities and expect to return to Nashville Saturday night."

x18 Jun 1924: "Mr. Whitlow Powell spent Sunday afternoon in Lakeland."

x28 Aug 1930: "Mrs. J.W.E. Powell spent the weekend in Dublin with her daughter, Mrs. Troy Edwards. Mrs. Edwards and children, Martha and Andy, returned Sunday with Mrs. Powell to spend several days in our town."

x15 May 1930: "The following have been elected as teachers of the Nashville Public Schools for school year 1930-1: Principal Mr. Whitlow Powell."

John Whitlow Evans and Leila Knight Powell were parents of two children:

1. Evelyn Powell b. Sept. 19, 1902, Nashville, GA, d. Oct 1955, Nashville, GA. Mar. 27 Jun 1923 to Troy Edwards. Mr. Edwards was b. 24 Jan 1900 Walton Co., GA, the son of Wm Bartow Edwards (1862-1922) and Wilma Abigail Giles (1863-1939). Troy Edwards graduated from the University of Georgia, Class of 1922 (see photo.)


A. Martha Leila Edwards was b. 10 Apr 1924, d. 22 Jun 2003. Mar. 10 Jun 1950 to Norman Horowitz, WWII veteran. Norm was born in The Bronx, NY, son of Max and Lena Horowitz. The elder Mr. Horowitz was an immigrant to the U.S. from Poland. Norm Horowitz passed on 2002 in Valdosta, GA:

VALDOSTA -- Norman Horowitz, 77, died at home on March 13, 2002, after a long illness. Norman was a civilian electrical engineer with the Navy Department, where he served as project engineer for the Navy Satellite Communications System; served as an underwater shock and vibration engineer for the nuclear test program; and was a disabled World War II veteran with the 69th Infantry Division. He was preceded in death by a son, David Lee. Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Martha Edwards; sons, Michael Warren of Valdosta ; Dr. Steven W. Horowitz; daughter-in-law, Adrienne Benjamin; and two grandchildren, Matthew and Zoe Rose, all from New Britain, Conn. Remains will be buried in a private, family ceremony. No flowers please. Memorials may be sent to the Unitarian Church of Valdosta, 1521 E. Park Ave., Valdosta, GA 31602.

From The Chalice, Universal Unitarian Church, Valdosta, GA:

In Memory of Martha Horowitz who died Sunday, June 22, 2003: Martha was 79. Martha and Norm moved to Valdosta in retirement in 1981 and were for many years extremely active members of our congregation, serving in almost every office. Although they had lived for many years in the Washington, DC area, where they were UU members, and Norm was from New York City, they moved to south Georgia because Martha had grown up in this part of the world and they chose Valdosta because there was a UU church here. Norm died about a year ago shortly after he moved to his son Stephen’s home in Connecticut, after a short battle with cancer. Some of you will recall the memorial service at our church several months after his death. Martha suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and no longer recognized those of us who knew her. She will be cremated.

B. Andrew Soule Edwards was b. 2 Jan 1929, graduated Mercer University 1950. Married Thanksgiving Day, Nov, 1954. Mr. A.S. Edwards died Statesboro, GA 7 Feb 2007.

Obituary, Statesboro Herald, February 9, 2007:

"Dr. Andrew S. "Andy" Edwards, age 78, passed away Wednesday at the Eagle Health and Rehab Center. The native of Chatham County moved to Statesboro in 1963. He was a professor emeritus, teaching at Georgia Southern from 1963-1991. Dr. Edwards was a veteran of the United States Army Infantry, having served during the Korean Conflict. He taught and was principal of schools in Cook, Berrien and Chatham County. He was very active in volunteer services in the community. He served as treasurer of the Bulloch County Food Bank and was on the Board for the Homeless. Also, he was a volunteer for the HICARE Program of Elderly Rights, which was supported by the Georgia Bar Association from 1997-1999. He was a strong supporter of Concerted Services and was always willing to help anyone in need. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Statesboro.

Survivors include his wife, Anne M. Edwards; one son and daughter-in-law, Mark Edwards and Kathleen Comerford; one grandson, Elliot Edwards, all of Statesboro; and one nephew, Steven Horowitz of New Britain, Conn.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Ogeechee Area Hospice, P.O. Box 531, Statesboro, GA 30458; The GSU Planetarium or The Andrew S. Edwards Scholarship, c/o GSU Foundation, P.O. Box 8053, Statesboro, GA 30460."

The Andrew S. Edwards Scholarship provides financial aid to incoming freshman students from Berrien, Bulloch, or Putnam Counties and majoring in Education, Humanities, or Science at Georgia Southern University.

Find A Grave Memorial# 64980376.

2. Whitlow Harrison Powell b. 24 Aug 1907, d. 26 Sep 1969.

Obit from Valdosta Times: "Whitlow H. Powell, age 62, died in a Tallahassee, Fla., hospital Friday, 9-26-1969. He was a son of John W.E. and Leila Knight Powell of Berrien County. Whitlow Harrison Powell was born on 8-24-1907 and he served two terms as Principal of Alapaha High School and the same position at Nashville High School. Survivors: his wife, the former Couturier Long; one son, Dr. James Whitlow Powell, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla."

J.W.E. Powell continued his career at the First National Bank of Nashville until the Great Depression forced him to close the doors in 1932. This episode was described by one of the bank employees in Roots, Rocks and Recollections: A History of Berrien County, Georgia, on page 115:

"During the Depression years of 1931 and 1932, many banks all over the nation failed. There was no Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or government backing of the banks in those days. Of course, in order to make money, the banks had to lend out their money. When the Depression came, the people who had the money borrowed simply could not pay it back. When word got out around that a certain bank was in trouble, depositors started withdrawing their money, oftentimes in a panicky fashion. Not many banks had the cash or ready assets to withstand a run.

Upon hearing rumors that the Bank of Nashville was in financial trouble, Mr. Roquemore and the two other tellers, Phillip Rogers and Jake Rutherford, mustered the courage one day after work to confront Mr. J.W.E. Powell about the rumors. Mr. Powell did what was probably the only thing he could do: he assured them the bank was in good shape.

About two weeks later, the bank employees balanced their books as usual at the end of the day. If there was even a 1 cent error, everybody stayed until the error could be found, sometimes until 10 o'clock at night. On this particular fateful day, they all balanced late in the afternoon and everyone was preparing to leave the building.

In the process of locking the doors, Mr. Powell said, "I want to see y'all a minute." So they all stopped. He got the door locked and said, "Well, we are not going to reopen. We can't make it. This is it. The bank has failed. Now y'all can go in and get all your personal goods out of the bank because you can't go back in here after tomorrow."

When a bank failed, it was turned over to a liquidator and it was a serious offense, once it was recognized that a bank had failed, to do anything else. No depositors could get preferential treatment."

The bank closed that night and never reopened. To compound his misfortune, J.W.E. Powell and the other officers of the bank faced several charges that were pressed by an overly zealous young local prosecutor, hoping to make a name for himself on other's honest troubles.

Mr. Powell, a man whose impeccable character was beyond reproach, did not take this charge lightly. He immediately applied for a license to practice law in 1932, filed counter suits, and spent the final year of his life defending his good name in the courts. He was ultimately able to clear himself and his fellow officers of any malfeasance before his death.

John Whitlow Evans Powell died of influenza 14 May 1933 in his home and is buried in Nashville Old Cemetery. His wife Leila died 4 Sep 1944 and is buried beside her husband. Her obituary from the Valdosta Times:

"Mrs. J.W.E. Powell, age 63, of Nashville, died 9-4-1944 from a heart attack. Before her marriage in 1901, she was Leila Knight, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Knight of Ray City. Forty three years ago, she and her husband moved to the home they built where she resided at the time of her death. Burial was in Nashville City Cemetery where her husband was buried in 1933. Survivors: one son, Whitlow H. Powell of Nashville; one daughter, Mrs. Troy Edwards of Stephens Pottery; four brothers, A.S. Knight of West Palm Beach, FL, J.T. Knight and L.J. Knight of Augusta, E.M. Knight of Ray City; a sister, Mrs. W.C. Johnson of Valdosta."


Deposition J, Case of Alva R. Powell, # 1.360.220.

On this 15th day of October, 1908 at Nashville, County of Berrien, State of Georgia, before me, N.D. Avis, a special examiner for the Bureau of Pensions, personally appeared John W. E. Powell, who, being, by me, first duly sworn to answer truly all interrogatories propounded to him during this special examination of aforesaid claim for pension, deposes and says:

I am 35 years of age; I am cashier at First National Bank, Nashville, Georgia; I live in Nashville, Georgia.

Alva R. Powell and I are brothers. We had our home together until about 1900 but each has [gone] away occasionally for a short period. I was intimately familiar with his condition up to the time that he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

At the time he went to the Army, I thought that he was fit for a soldier, except that he was too young. I know nothing to ail him up to that time. He was active and vigorous and I never heard any complaint. Exercise did not seem to affect him differently from what it affects any young person - not his breathing nor his heart - before his term in the Army, I had never heard anything about his heart troubling him in any particular and I have never had reason to suspect that his heart was irritable or easily affected.

I understand that Alva now has lung trouble - I have noticed that he coughs and he has lost flesh and his general health does not seem to be what it used to be.

It was very soon after he came back from the Army - in a few months - that I got an understanding that he was ailing. When he returned from the Army, I noticed that he did not look as well as he had looked before - that he was not as fleshy and not as red and rosy in color as he had been. Very soon after he returned from the Army, I noticed that he had a slight cough but I did not think it anything serious but that slight cough continued with him - I noticed that it did - and when he and I were associated in the grocery business, 1901-2, I noticed that the cough seemed to be a more serious matter and he kept on coughing in the similar way until the last two years (or about that). Through the last year or two, I haven't noticed that he coughs so much as he coughed before but he has been weak and run down and unable to stand as much. I have understood that he has raised blood when coughing but I haven't seen that he has done so.

I have no distinct recollection that Alva was at home on a furlough from the Army. I was tax collector at the time and I may have been away from home when he was on furlough. I have not known anything other than what we call lung trouble to ail Alva.

Alva is the only one of my parents' children that has been affected by disease of the throat or lungs. I don't know whether any of my father's relatives was affected by consumption or not; father died of that disease but he had it only a short time; mother contracted the disease from father.

I saw Alva only once from the time he moved to Savannah until he relocated here from Pierce County.

I have no pecuniary interest in this claim.

I understand the foregoing as it was read by the examiner and it is correct.

/signed/ J.W.E. Powell

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 15th day of October, 1908, and I certify that the contents were fully made known to the deponent before signing.

N.D. Avis
Special Examiner

Captain Levi J. Knight, mentioned as the keynote speaker at the 4th of July celebration, Franklinville (Valdosta), Ga., 1835, in the following Southern Recorder article:

Southern Recorder
August 4, 1835



According to previous notice, a large and respectable number of our citizens convened at the Court house at an early hour of the day – when the Rev. Jonathan Gaulden was chosen President of the day and John Dees, Vice President. About half past 12 o'clock, the company was formed at Mr. Smiths', and marched into the court-house headed by James Williams, Marshal of the day, when a Throne of Grace was addressed by the Rev. J. Gaulden. The declaration of American Independence was then read by H. W. Sharpe, Esq., after which a chaste and patriotic Oration was delivered by Levi J. Knight, Esq., Orator of the day.

Oration of Sen. Knight:

Fellow Citizens – We should regard it as an interesting occasion which calls us together. Every association, whatever its character, which sets apart a day for rejoicing and for recollection, consecrates a period when the heart shall go back with memory to revisit the spring time of its existence. On this occasion, as the organ of your sentiments, it is to me a source of singular gratification to reflect upon the nature of the object which has gathered us here. Casting aside our every day occupations and cares of life, we have come up on the jubilee of our country's liberty, to honor the day that gave birth to the greatest republic in the world. Perhaps the day could not be more appropriately honored, or the hour more agreeably occupied, than by dwelling briefly upon the proud merits of our country.

This day 59 years ago, our chivalrous sires from the then thirteen States, in the burning language which you have just heard read, declared we would be free from the yoke of Great Britain, which at that time hung over us, and to which pledge they bound themselves in the strongest of all human obligations – no less than their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. It is a theme from which none can turn away; it lays claim to our hearts, not only as a magnanimous people, but as the children of that country which it is a pride and glory to call our own, our native land. No one surveys the physical resources of our country with more gratification than myself. It furnishes me a noble satisfaction to behold its broad lands covered with an vigorous and rapidly multiplying population; to know that the busy hand of civilization and industry is fast invading the stillness of the forest; to view our commerce stretching — white sails over every wave — feel that in the hour of danger, brave hearts and skillful hands are ready to gather beneath the folds of our country's banner. No one returns from such a contemplations with a higher sense of his country's excellence and glory, or with deeper gratitude to God, who hath given us such an inheritance, than I do.

There is another circumstance which this view will not permit us to overlook. An immense ocean rolls its waters between us and the old world. We inhabit a continent far removed from the influence of other nations. It is difficult to comprehend the immense importance of this circumstance, or feel and know the force and peculiarity of its results. We can however feel that it promises a lasting and undisturbed operation of our free institutions. Should the political atmosphere of Europe all become poisoned, it dies before it reaches our healthful clime; no breeze can waft it over the rolling waves. Let their lands degenerate into falsehood and crime, till demons occupy and pollute their altars of Christ, their victory closes with their shores; they cannot overleap the mighty barrier which the God of nature hath thrown between us. Did we occupy some portion of the continent of Europe, our juxtaposition to other powers might prove fatal to our liberty. Though their elements of civil society may heave, their systems may totter, the volcanoe may burst forth and flame the heavens; yet we feel not the shock; secure in the distance, we look on and learn wisdom. Who, in the contemplation of such a scene, does not rejoice that providence has cast his lot in this land, in behalf of whose liberty nature itself does battle!

What a beautiful scene does our own State present, of the excellent system under which we live. Over its fertile land there is spread out already an intelligent, noble, and rapidly increasing population. It seems as but yesterday this spot was a wilderness – the forest of centuries waved over it – the only contrast to its unbroken gloom was the glare of the council fire, and the wild song of the Indian.

Today how different! – Beauty, taste, and civilization, here have met to honor the day that gave birth to our liberty. There is another matter I cannot pass silently by – it is education. To this we owe the present greatness of our nation; it is to this we may look for a perpetuation of our institutions. Education alone can render us capable of judging of the abuses of our Government, from whatever source they may emanate. It is ignorance alone that can make a slave. Here, then, let us examine the peculiar influence which our government is likely to exert upon the intellect of the country. It is scarcely necessary to remark, that it is free, essentially free, not in name alone, but in spirit and in action. It throws a broad shield over every citizen, but it leaves each to the exercise of his gifts. It recognizes no established spheres in which men must move, without the hope or power of passing beyond. It throws open wide the great lists of society, and bids all contend for its distinctions, trusting to their own valor and their own skill. It forgets the artificial distinction of birth, and passing by the unworthy descendants of patrician blood, seeks the humblest and poorest of its enterprising sons who have divorced themselves from the obscurity of their origin by the might and grandeur of their intellect. Minds that would sleep cold and silent on the gloom of despotism, start forth into glorious life and power under the light of liberty.

I regard the intellectual character of our country is of the greatest importance. The power of political ascendancy is gone by. This is an age in which moral influence is felt. There have been times, when the barbarian trod learning into the dust; when the brutal spoiler overwhelmed the contriver of arts; but the conquest of mind has begun; the dark days of blood have departed, the sun of peace has arisen; never again shall science be chained by despotism; the empire of mind is established, and henceforth nations are to be ranked, not according to their physical but their moral strength. What are bright skies and balmy breezes, when man is crushed by the iron hand of despotism? What inspiration can wake up the genius of him, who lives under a system of government that writes slave on his forehead?

It is remarked by distinguished writers, that a nation has no character unless it is free; and indeed the history of mankind would go far towards establishing the assertion, that unless it be free it can have no literature worth the name. It is always satisfactory to be able to try our opinions by the actual experience of others. Free institutions alone present to the mind a fair opportunity for expansion; they do most towards stimulating intellect, and afford man the greatest inducement to exercise his best powers. Let us pass for a moment to other lands, and compare France with her neighbor Spain. Can geographical varieties so slight creat so wonderful a difference in the degree of intellectual development? The one great in every department of learning, the other yet in the gloom of the dark ages and bare of genius.

While France can vie with any nation on earth except our own, as to the glory of her institutions, her liberal principles and her proud and lofty intellect, we see Spain enveloped in despotism and superstition. No! not to climate, not to the separation which nature hath placed between the two lands, but to the difference of their political systems, the cause must be traced. What one of our fair guests, but must feel a secret pride and emotion as she looks on her tender offspring, or some one of near relations, and sees a prospect of their enrolling their names on the list of their country's intellectual excellence. No nation in its infancy has ever done so much in this way. The early history of the most of them is little better than a distinguished detail of petty feuds and bloody contests. But already how much has our country accomplished? What a delightful encomium on our system it must furnish, to visit each State, from the oldest and most established, to the youngest that is just pouring its enterprising population into the bosom of the forest. You pass from the magnificent city, where the chief objects which meet your glance are temples of worship with their tall spires pointing to heavens, and institutions of learning nobly testifying to the munificence of the government, and your enter the forest, just falling beneath the axe, you find people, though rude and unpretending, who hold it as their first duty to worship God, the very next to educate their sons. Though we have no wealth to pour into the lap of science; though the scholar must content himself with poverty; yet all is not barren. As our country becomes older, and wealth increases, the influence of these causes will outstrip calculation; the grandeur of their results no man conjecture.

My heart swells with a lofty conviction that our political system is the best adapted of any on earth to elevate the character of man, to energize his intellect, and to call it forth in the noblest and boldest shapes, where it dreads no human power. Here, it is where opinions may be expressed fearlessly, and where there is nothing to tempt from the pursuit of truth. A free press upon which government lays no fetters, ready to spread their opinions to the world, to detect corruption and applaud virtue – a free people, early taught to think right on all subjects – what may we not hope for? We have an age friendly to intellectual development. Grim visaged war hath smothered his front; ambition of men has assumed a holier aspect; truth has touched them with her wand; they no longer make it their great business of life to marshal victorious hosts upon the tented field or strive for an empire of blood; they have discovered that glory is to be won elsewhere than in the red path of battle; the effort now is to be wise, to be learned, and to be good. Let these things, fellow-citizens, fill us with an ardor in the cultivation of our literature. This only can enable the rising posterity to maintain and hand down to generations yet unborn, our glorious system of government, which is the true desire of a republican people.

The following article, published anonymously in the Berrien County Pioneer 7 Jan 1891, likely sums up the feelings of loss that J.W.E. Powell had when his Mother died in 1890:

"What Is Home Without a Mother?

The question is, what is home without a Mother? It isn't anything. A Mother should be next to God in our adoration and affection. Young men, do not grieve your Mother's heart; treat her kindly, gently and obediently. You may think you can get a neat little wife and it will beat Mother, but it isn't so. When your Mother is dead and gone, you'll find out her true worth. You can not go to her then for advice, nor hear her sweet voice calling you to do her a little act of courtesy.

But what is home without a Mother? Some seem to think a Mother is of no account, a perfect non-entity; that Father is far better than Mother because Mother is not as calm and considerate with you, seemingly, as your Father.

You may esteem your Mother as an old fogey, credit yourself with having forgotten more than she ever knew, and remind her she can't do anything properly and that you'll be twenty-one years of age and then can do as you please. But in a coming day, when Mother is placed in the cold embrace of the grip of Death, you will find out your great error.

Young gentlemen, if you are all like me, you have no love for a home without a Mother. You will esteem your Mother as your best friend on earth. Young friends, I am only a tender age but have learned the true value of a Mother, having recently lost mine.

A Georgia Boy."

Letter from John Whitlow Evans Powell's granddaughter, Mrs. Martha Edwards Horowitz, to Mrs. Barbara Roberts, of Baton Rouge, La. Mrs. Roberts was the granddaughter of Jesse Mercer Shaw, who was the "Best Man" at the wedding of Rev. Thomas Wm Powell and Allie Whitlow:

"August 21, 1982

Dear Mrs. Roberts,

In October of last year, my husband and I were in Lafayette, Ga. looking for information on my ancestors, some of whom came from Walker County. At that time, I knew only that they were Whitlows and Powells. Now that I know more, I am writing you, since I found your card in the genealogical room of the Walker-Lafayette Library.

You have listed Nancy Mae, daughter of Bolden Whitlow, as your ancestor. My great, great grandfather was Miles W. Whitlow, son of Bolden Whitlow. Miles Whitlow had a daughter, Mary Albina Tabitha, who married a young Baptist preacher named Thomas William Powell on October 21, 1871 at Antioch Church. These two were my great grandparents on my mother's side. My grandfather, John Whitlow Evans Powell, was their first child, born in December 1872, in Clinch Co., Ga.

Nancy Mae and Avery Camp had a daughter, Mary (1831-1881) who married Jesse Mercer Shaw. This family evidently lived close by the Miles Whitlow family as Mary Albina Whitlow and Sarah E. "Sallie" Shaw (1843-1909) were not only cousins but close friends. She was "Cousin Sallie" in the letters I have. My information about these families comes from James A. Sartain's History of Walker County, from the US census of Walker County for 1860 and 1870, and from letters written by Mary Albina Whitlow and Thomas W. Powell to each other during their courtship in 1870-71. There are some in 1872 from others. They wrote about their daily lives, people they knew, and events taking place in the "Cove" and in other parts of the county. His home was in the Cane Creek area.

I would like to know your relationship to Nancy Mae and any other information you are willing to share. I am anxious to know how you found the marriage date of Nancy Mae and Avery Camp. Do you have a family Bible? The Walker County courthouse burned in 1882 and destroyed many records.

I would love to hear from you. Hope some of this is useful to you.


Martha Edwards Horowitz
1208 N. Toombs Street
Valdosta, Georgia

The following three letters, spanning eight years, are correspondence between Evelyn Powell Edwards, daughter of John Whitlow Evans Powell, and Edith Patterson, who served in the position of what would now be considered the Alumni Affairs Director at Georgia State Woman's College.

These letters were discovered by the writer while rummaging through the archives at Odum Library, Valdosta State University.

The "M.R.S." degree was meant, tongue in cheek, to explain that Evelyn Powell was now Mrs. Troy Edwards, having married in 1922 after graduation from the University of Georgia at Athens, Ga., and the "M.A." was "Maternity Arts", meaning that Evelyn was now pregnant with her first child (Martha Edwards born June 1924):

"Nashville, Ga.
May 23, 1924

Dear Miss Edith,

I am sorry that I haven't been able to respond to your letter before this, but such has been the case.

I see you have received the news that I have my A.B. degree, but have you heard about the M.R.S. and now the M.A.? I have them, as well.

The latter is the reason for my not being able to write sooner - and may be the reason for my not coming next Tuesday - but just at present, I am intending to come, just for the dinner and the banquet that evening.

I surely consider myself lucky to be able to come. It will be my first real visit back, although I've been down once or twice for short minutes.

I'm visiting Mother and Father here now. My address is McRae, Ga. however, your letter was forwarded to me there.

I'm sorry I didn't get to write to the members of my class - I hope to see all of them Tuesday.

Best regards,

Evelyn Powell Edwards
(Mrs. Troy Edwards)
McRae, Ga.

Claxton, Ga.
Dec. 10, 1926.

My dear Miss Edith,

I feel more as if I'm writing home if I write to you.

I am enjoying The Pine Branch throughly. The girls who write are unknown to me, but in every article I can recognize the spirit of our school.

Is it really a gift? If so, I will tell you how much it is appreciated. But, if I misunderstood and am supposed to send the subscription price, please inform me.

I notice not many alumnae are contributing. All too busy, I know. It is interesting to learn what we are all doing. I am not, as I once planned, teaching. I decided that perhaps I was needed at home more, since my little two year old is in sad need of discipline.

I have about gotten out of the habit of writing. But, if the alumnae don't come up better, I will get down and try at something just for the sake of our reputation. No doubt our reputation will fare better if I do not.

Would love to be there at the Christmas Festival. I believe that is the most beautiful occasion of the whole year at the college.

With kindest regards,

Evelyn Powell Edward
(Mrs. Troy Edwards)
Claxton, Ga.

January 2, 1932

Dear Miss Edith:

I am ashamed of myself because I've waited so long to answer your letter. However, if you could see how I spend my time with children, I believe you would forgive and forget.

I am glad that you have been feeling better lately. Don't work too hard - just save it for me because I'm getting so fat and strong. My weight was 107 the last time I weighed. My back hasn't bothered me at all and I believe it's because I have the proper typist's chair. Tell Lillian she must get one.

Please give me Georgia's address. I haven't written her a line since I went to Atlanta to see her.

Was Santa good to you this Christmas? We had a regular family reunion - the first time all of us have been together in four years.

Miss Edith, do not wait as long as I did to write. If I have to stay up all night, I'll answer it right away. Don't forget to let me know all the G.S.W.C. news.

Much love,

Evelyn Powell Edwards
(Mrs. Troy Edwards)"

Family links: 
  Thomas William Powell (1839 - 1887)
  Albina Tabitha Whitlow Powell (1847 - 1890)
  Leila Knight Powell (1881 - 1944)
  Evelyn Powell Edwards (1902 - 1955)*
  Whitlow Harrison Powell (1907 - 1969)*
  John Whitlow Evans Powell (1872 - 1933)
  Thomas William Powell (1874 - 1939)*
  Alvah Roy Powell (1878 - 1953)*
  Mattie Powell Wilkes (1878 - 1941)*
  James Harvey Powell (1882 - 1949)*
  Mollie Enid Powell (1886 - 1932)*
*Calculated relationship
Old City Cemetery
Berrien County
Georgia, USA
Plot: Powell plot
Created by: Epictetus
Record added: Nov 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100805847
John Whitlow Evans Powell
Added by: Epictetus
John Whitlow Evans Powell
Added by: Epictetus
John Whitlow Evans Powell
Added by: Epictetus
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