From the Jan. 8, 1917 issue of the Lumberton Robesonian. The play that Rev. Willis attended and so enjoyed, decried the end of slavery and promoted the Ku Klux Klan.
Plans and purposes are subject to changes. We cannot see far enough into the future to know how things will materialize, therefore, we find ourselves doing or not doing the things that come to us unexpectedly.
When I left the “Old North State” on the 13th of November and came to Augusta, I expected to be in Lakeland, Fla., ere this, but here I am and will remain here until about the 28th of Dec. The opportunity for seeing new things and visiting strange places, to me, has been good, and I assure you I have enjoyed looking upon the scenery which is unlike that of my home land. The hills are beautiful, the growth upon them small and scattered; and when you ascend the highest you can see for miles and miles in all directions. In North Augusta, just across the Savannah River from the city proper, is the Hampton Terrace Hotel, a magnificent building which contains more than 260 rooms. This is known as “the tourist hotel.” Dr. Deas and I went through the building one day and up into one of the domes. The gentleman who conducted us through said, “Now, if you had glasses you could see into four states, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia.” Of course, we were then in South Carolina and could look over into Georgia and see the city of Augusta spread out before our eyes in all its splendor. North Augusta “is beautiful for situation,” using a Bible phrase, as it has many palatial residences with beautiful growth surrounding.
Twenty-five years ago there was no “North Augusta” but today it is a splendid town and a beautiful place in which to live. A trolly line running from Augusta to Aiken, S.C., passes through North Augusta and this is well patronized and must be a money-making proposition. When going from Augusta to Aiken on this line you pass through several small towns. The prettiest and largest are Langley and Graniteville. One Sunday, in the afternoon, Dr. Deas carried us over to Aiken to see the town. Our party was composed of Dr. and Mrs. Deas, Misses Birdie and Leola Deas and Mr. Maxwell Deas, who guided the large car up and down the steep hills, and around the curves, as only an expert at the wheel can do. Aiken is a beautiful and prosperous town and in a few more years will be numbered among the cities of South Carolina.
I went over on the street car to Graniteville some days after and spent the night. About sundown I visited the cemetery, which is located upon the top of a high hill. On reaching the top, almost out of breath—for the ascent is steep—I saw the plateau, or level land, consisting of 12 to 15 acres, perhaps, where the dead are laid to rest. There are many fine and costly monuments here and the grounds are kept in good order. I could not help thinking that the grave, to the living, is very dark; we dread to enter there. The sleep is long; and we are told “there is no knowledge nor devise in the grave whither thou goest” but to stand in the midst of the sleepers and behold the beautiful workmanship of God’s hands, as portrayed in nature, assisted by man’s ingenious skill, I felt in my heart, it is not so bad, after all. Only be particular with the record left behind and the repose will be sweet.
It was too late to see the setting sun and too smoky to obtain the best view, but to my mind I was well paid for my trip.
Christmas will be here and gone before this letter reaches The Robesonian office. As I write, preparations are going on in the city to celebrate the day. Holly is being brought in from the country in great quantities to be sued in various ways to suit the fancies of the purchasers. Many of the stores are beauties to behold, as they display their goods to the best advantage to catch the eye of the purchaser.
There is nothing that can take the place of advertising in the business world. It works well and counts for much in progressive life.
The great play on canvas “The Birth of a Nation” is here for three days beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday the 21st. I had heard it spoken of when in Lumberton, as being the best ever seen by those who witnessed the performance, so I went to the grand opera and saw it myself. It is worth the price of admission to anyone who cares to see a reproduction of the “dark days” during and just after the civil war.
There is something going on here all the time that will entertain all who feel disposed to take it in. There are other places I have visited, both in the city and country. I would like to speak of, but this letter is too long already and must be closed. I will say, however, that I expect to leave Augusta about the 28th inst. And go straight to Jacksonville, Fla. After remaining there a week or ten days I will then go to Lakeland, Fla., 200 miles further south.
In closing, I desire to extend to the Robesonian, together with all my friends, my Christmas greetings. So farewell for the present. You may possibly hear from me again later.
--W.W. Willis, Augusta, Ga.