|Birth: ||Jul. 28, 1852|
|Death: ||Jun. 3, 1887|
Tanners Church Stampede as remembered by Walter Estes(1975).
One of the most spectacular events to happen in Clayton Co GA since the Civil War, that I can recall, was the Tanners Church Stampede, on 4 Jun 1887.
So far as I know, no written record of that event exists. Therefore, I, Walter Estes, ninety two years old, citizen of Rex GA, hereby, as of 1 Jan 1975, present my recollection of the details of that historic occasion.
On 3 Jun 1887, Mr Jake Bauknight, a prominent citizen of Adamson Militia Dist of Clayton Co and member of Tanners Baptist Church, was killed by lightning at his home. His funeral service was held at Tanners Church on 4 Jun 1887 and it was during that service that the stampede occurred.
In those early days, a spectacular death by other than natural causes attracted greater crowds to funeral services. The small church was filled to utmost capacity. The service was conducted by Rev J M Defor, a tall distinguished looking man, with a long full black beard, a slow and impressive manner of speaking. Nearing the end of his sermon he was using the sudden death of this man to impress on the audience the importance of being always ready to face death, was in fact slowly repeating the phrase "Are you ready," "Are you ready," when the floor of the right rear corner of the church collapsed under the heavy load and dropped about twelve inches. That was the men's side of the church and the twelve or fifteen men on those three or four benches jumped up and made for the nearest exit.
The commotion caused instant pandemonium to break loose all over the building. There were three doors, but the mad scramble of 150 to 200 people trying to get out at once, it has seemed a miracle that none were seriously hurt.
I was only 4 1/2 years old, was there with my parents, who were members of that church. So far as I know, I am the only living survivor of that group of people. Of course I do not remember much of the details, but I grew up in this community where many of the details were often repeated. More than 90 percent of the people did not know what was happening. Some yelled "FIRE", some "MAD DOG", some "SNAKE", and some thought the dead had come to life. At the time it was a serious and sad affair, but in retrospect many of the details have humorous aspects.
A Mr Sid Waggoner, a tall, distinguished looking, prominent citizen seemed to be the only one in the house to retain his wits, as he stood on a bench about the center of the church, waving his hat and yelling at the top of his voice "Stop, Stop, Sit Down." Many men jumped out windows. Mr Gus Arnold, a short, fat man, a regular 5x5, pushed up a window sash, dived out head first. The sash came down and caught his feet, fortunately he could just reach the ground with his hands, but he had to hang there until rescued. The corner of the building where the "Old Ladies" door was located had a floor level of about four feet above ground and the pressure of the people was so great that none could walk down the steps. The women fell out that door face down and piled up like cord wood. When the men began to pick them up, many looking for their own wives, they found them piled five deep, yet none were seriously hurt. In the crush some babies were knocked from their mothers' arms. They were found under benches, safe, not trampled. In those days it was customary for several colored people to attend the funeral of their beloved "white folks". Always, when the house was crowded, they would stay outside. On this occasion there were six or eight standing around a wagon in the shade of an oak tree not far from the church. During the commotion in the church they were clapping their hands and in sing-song fashion yelling, "Thank God mos Jake done come to life" - over and over again.
Charlotte Carolina Bickley Bauknight Dunson (1832 - 1918)
Margret U Burks Bouknight (1854 - 1943)*
Mary A Bauknight Allen (1877 - 1903)*
James Clarence Bauknight (1849 - 1923)*
Leahilla Margaret Bauknight Daniels (1850 - 1883)*
John Jacob Bouknight (1852 - 1887)
Joseph Drury Bouknight (1852 - 1939)*
Charlotte Elizabeth Bauknight Milam (1856 - 1911)*
Susannah Frances Victoria Dunson Daniel McKown (1867 - 1953)*
Samuel Irvin Dunson (1868 - 1940)*
Tanners Road Baptist Church Cemetery
Created by: Barry White
Record added: Apr 11, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 18878141
Added: Dec. 18, 2012
Dear John, older brother of my g-grandmother Charlotte Elizabeth Bauknight Milam and younger brother of James Clarence Bauknight. Rest in peaceful slumber.|
Peggy Milam White
Added: Aug. 4, 2009