Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"We thank God we have a 'dry town.'"

The Pensacola Journal of Sunday, Aug. 7, 1911 contained a 9 page, special advertising section devoted to Jackson County.  Amid the usual boosterism ("Handsomest Court House in the State of Florida"!) and enticements for immigration and investment, appears another of Mrs. Fannie B. Chapman's delightful essays.  In this article, she describes the state of Marianna society in 1911.


Lady Who Has Spent LifeTime There Describes it for Journal Readers

By Mrs Fannie B Chapman

The Journal has requested me to give a sketch of the social life of Marianna. My residence here from youth to old age enables me, I think, to form a just estimate of such matters. The majority of the people are of the old-time stock of Southern aristocracy, and while proud of their ancestry, they are not in any wise offensively so.

People are accepted in society not for what they have but for what they are. “A degenerate son or daughter of an illustrious sire” is not more acceptable socially than degenerate children of anyone else. Culture, refinement and nobility of character are indispensable to admission into the best society.

This being true, our people are generous, genial, hospitable, conventional, only in the right and best sense. Our women are cultured, refined and of the highest and best I type of womanhood. They are above reproach as wives, mothers, daughters and sisters as well as friends.

The community as a whole is free from petty jealousies, envy and disturbing elements that do so much to mar the social peace wherever it is found. The men of our town are worthy to be the friends and companions of the women with whom they are associated. There is plenty of life and gaiety among our young people without excess.

Above all we thank God we have a “dry town,” and if ladies are on the street morning, noon or evening they have no fear of a drunken crowd of men, white or black, blocking the sidewalks about saloons, and we have the faith in God and in the honor of the men of our county that saloons are buried in our past- never to come up again.

We have a flourishing Epworth League, Baptist Young Peoples’ Christian Union, U. D. C. chapter, Knights of Pythias, Masonic lodge, and several other good things-Baptist, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Methodists are all well represented. I cannot assert that a religious sentiment predominates but am inclined to believe that it does in quite an eminent degree.

While I do not think ours quite a model town in everything, as there is always room for improvement. In this world of ours, I am quite sure many places might be benefited by a little patterning after us. Is that egotism? If so pardon it-this is my home and mine own people.


The entire special section is very worth examining, particularly for the many photographs and advertisements.

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