Preserving history: Allen takes senior adults back in time
Published 4:00 am Thursday, August 27, 2015
History might seem like a dull and boring subject but when Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen began flipping through a binder of Pike County history, he drew a steady crowd.
Allen visited the Brundidge Nutrition Center at noon Wednesday. His purpose was two-fold – actually three-fold considering the hamburger lunch he enjoyed.
Allen treated the senior adults to the dessert everyone screams for in the summertime, ice cream. Then he “threw the books” at them.
He brought two bound volumes of the town’s early newspaper, The Brundidge News, for the senior adults to view. One volume was dated 1912 and the other 1895.
“All of the county records are stored in a vault at the Pike County Courthouse,” Allen said. “Among those records are newspapers, which are recorded histories of the Pike County community. Many of the documents had started to deteriorate. In an effort to preserve these records and documents, the probate office has dedicated funds and resources to restore and preserve them for future generations.”
To do so, the pages of the newspapers have been laminated in plastic and placed in binders. The pages may be handled extensively without causing any further deterioration.
“Years ago, newspapers were the social media for the towns,” Allen said. “Newspapers were how people knew what was going on. Reading the newspaper, you could find out who was ‘in town’ and get the train schedule from Troy to Tennille. You could learn the details of the cyclone that hit Banks. People got their news from the newspaper.”
But it wasn’t just local news that newspapers recorded.
“Newspapers included all kinds of history,” Allen said. “They included national news as well as local news. Newspapers are the recorded history of our communities and, at the Probate Judge’s office, we believe that newspapers should be preserved. We are dedicated to seeing that the county’s newspapers and all the county’s recorded history are preserved.”
Freddie Turner said looking through the old newspapers made him realize the value of what the judge and his staff have done.
“If it had not been for these newspapers, much of the history of towns like Brundidge would have been lost,” he said. “These papers tell how it was a hundred years ago.
“I didn’t know that back then general stores sold coffee and coffins. You could get the Brundidge News for a dollar a year. I didn’t know Brundidge was such a bustling town with so many stores. I learned a lot about Brundidge in just a few minutes looking through those binders.”
Turner said he appreciates the work Allen and his staff are doing to preserve the county’s history.
“You won’t find that kind of history in a book,” he said. “I’m glad to know that Judge Allen and his staff are taking care of that for us.”