|Thomas Madison Aubrey|
The Roanoke Leader May 1912
NEWSPAPER issue of Wednesday, May 29, 1912
BIRTHDAY OF AN AGED GENTLEMAN CELEBRATED LAST THURSDAY; T.M. AWBREY IS 94
Last Thursday, Hon. Thomas Madison Awbrey was 94 years of age and the happy occasion was celebrated by a birthday dinner given by his grandchildren, Mr. and Mrs. J. Ware Awbrey at their home on Rock Mills street. It was the good fortune of the editor of the Leader among others, to enjoy the excellent dinner and the pleasant associations of the day.
The guest of honor, though blind and heard of hearing, was cheerful and proved an interesting talker. There is a strange fascination in listening to the experience of one who has lived almost a century and witnessed the marvelous changes that have transpired in these momentous years.
Mr. Awbrey was born in Morgan County, Georgia in 1818 and moved with his parents in 1828 to Carroll (now Heard) County, Georgia where he lived a full and active life until six years ago, when on account of failing sight and hearing, he moved to Roaonke. He now makes his home with his son J.T.B. Awbrey, Esq.
When the senior Mr. Awbrey first settled in Heard county the marketing was done in Columbus, 50 miles distant and in Macon, 60 miles distant. Mr. Awbrey states that the first railroad in Georgia was built in 1836 and extended from Macon to Forsyth, a distance of twenty miles. Upon one occasion, a ruralist from Heard county was examining the first locomotive he ever saw and while meddling with it, he pulled open the throttle. The machine pulled out with its amazed occupant and the engineer had to give chase on a fast horse to catch and stop it.
"Uncle Mat" recalls that Franklin, the present capital of Heard county was established in 1831 or 1832. His father represented that county in the legislature in 1836 and he himself in 1881-1882. He also served in the last constitutional convention held in Georgia in 1877. He was present at the first election and the first court held in Heard county in 1832 and from that time till he left the county he did not miss attending an election or a county court. He served as justice of the peace 30 years and then notary public 2 years.
Although past the age for military duty when the Civil War began, he later entered the Confederate Army and served 12 months becoming an officer. Before the war he drilled his county men under an old law which required all men from 18 to 60 years of age to attend muster. The sword he used in those days is now in the prized possession of Mr. Ware Awbrey.
At the time of Mr. Awbrey's first acquaintance with Randolph County, there were but few settlements in this territory and Indians were here in numbers. He passed through the place where Roanoke now stands, enroute to Louina, when not a house had been erected at that point. He was also in Atlanta, Georgia when only log houses marked the spot, even the stores, churches and school building being of logs.
Our venerable friend is not a pessimist, though almost shut out from the world and living largely in the past. He says that times are better than they used to be. In his early experiences he has seen as many as 20 fights in one day, though killings were not so numerous as they are now. It was an evidence of a coward to use a weapon.
This oldest citizen of Roanoke now has 115 living descendants, one of the number being a great-great grandchild, representing the fifth generation. This aged and honored father bids fair to live to celebrate his 100th birthday
and The Leader trusts that it may be so.
Created by: Jayanna Dotson
Record added: Mar 20, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 106990148