Photograph of home of GW Hodges published with the article transcribed below.
Data Description:Newpaper Article – Hodges, SC
Submitter: Jimmy Rosamond
Date Posted:21 July 2001
THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1928
No Policemen Walk Streets OF HODGES And Jail Doors Yawn
ONCE NOTORIOUS COMMUNITY NOW MODEL OF PEACEFULNESS
AND “BEST PLACE IN WORLD”
Only One Man Among Three Hundred and Fifty Inhabitants
Ever Gets Drunk- People Threaten to Rehabilitate Bastile
In Order to Take Care of Visiting Automobilists From North
Carolina and Georgia – Story of Girl Who Was Forced to
Wed Indian Who Killed Her Sisters.
BY MARGARET WRIGHT.
HODGES, S. C., is a town without telephones. It hasn’t had
them in 12 years. Hodges scores unique distinction on two other
counts. It hasn’t had a policeman in 12 years. Out of its 350
inhabitants only one man ever gets drunk and he doesn’t do it
more than three times a year.
Which is a record for a town once notorious for its many saloons,
and dreaded from one end of the state to the other for its lawless
WORST PLACE IN WORLD.
“Once the worst place in the world, it’s now the best place in the
world,” declares W. H. Emerson, 75 years of age, and its oldest
inhabitant, who has been living there for 53 years and has seen it
grow from a terror-spreading community into the most placid and
peaceful of little towns.
Nothing ever disturbs the village peace. A burglary has been
unheard of for years. Drunkenness is a thing of the past. The only
disturbance recorded in years was a street fight between two negroes,
one of whom fled the community as soon as the mayor intervened.
“Just move up here a little farther,” said S. L. Brissie, the mayor,
to the reporter who sat parked in a Ford in front of the Southern
passenger station, “and you can see our calaboose there behind the
station. Its door is all off the hinges, and you could throw a calf
through the hole in the roof. We’ve been threatening, several times
this year, to fix it up,” he apologized.
“But why fix it up if you don’t ever need it?” he was asked.
“Well,” he drawled, with a twinkle in his eye, “somebody from Georgia
or North Carolian might come through and disturb the peace, and we’d
just like to be ready and have a place to put him.”
LEARN TO DO WITHOUT.
“What about this no-telephone situation, though–just exactly why haven’t
you got them and how do you manage to get along without them–for
instance in case of illness and the immediate need for a doctor?”
“Well,” he reflected, “we’ve just got used to doing without them–you know
how it is when you get used to anything. “Not having any telephone worries
everybody else worse that it does us,” he said with dry humor.
“Travelers passing through,” he continued, “sometimes stop at a store to
use a telephone and when they are told there isn’t one here they exclaim,
“What! No telephone, Surely this must be the only town in the Unitd States
without a telephone.”
“Several years ago when there were two banks here, one of the men in town
was visiting at a mountain resort and someone asked him where was his home
and when he said “Hodges, about nine miles from Greenwood,” the other
fellow said, “Oh yes, I recall it–the little town with two banks and no
“We used to have telephones here about 12 or 15 years ago. There were
about 30 in the town and surrounding country, but the Piedmont and
Northern (electrical) railway was what killed the line here. The wires
of the trolley crossed over the telephone wires and ruined the connection.
Every time you picked up the receiver you could hear trains shifting in
adjoining towns, but you couldn’t hear the person you were trying to talk
to. The telephone exchange was owned and controlled from Due West and the
owner didn’t want to go to the expense of putting the wires underground,
so he just let it fall through.”
“After that, ” said Mrs. J. W. Cobb, who has been station agent at the
Piedmont and Northern for four years, “a telephone line was built here
for Mr. Will Anderson, rural policeman, who was stationed here, but he
was sent to Augusta and since then there hasn’t been either a policeman
or a telephone in the town. That was bout 12 years ago.”
There is a telephone, entirely beyond control of the town, in the Piedmont
and Northern station and owned by P. and N. officials. This, however, is
not available for general use to the town and might just as well be miles
way as far as casual convenience goes. In case, though, of extreme illness
or death, and help is needed from another city and time is not taken, as is
usually the case there, to get in a car and go for it, Mrs. Cobb will call
from this phone to the P. and N. station agent in Greenwood, the nearest
city, and ask him to get in touch with the doctor or undertaker, as the
case may be, and deliver the urgent S. O. S. call from Hodges, Other that
this telephone, which is not the town’s, there is absolutely no telephonic
communicatior with the outside world from Hodges, an otherwise up-to-date,
beautiful and prosperous a small town as can be found in all of
There is much wealth there as is evidenced by the number of handsome homes
and the luxurious automobiles of its citizens, It has 12 stores, one bank,
one modern brick schoolhouse, three churches, two hotels–and radios!
But no telephones. Two main railways, the Southern and the Piedmont and
Northern, pass through it, and a paved national highway skirts its border.
Its sons and daughters go away to college and come back either to have
fashionable weddings or to pay a brief visit before setting forth on some
other worthy career. And they do it all without telephones in the old home
The consensus of opinion among a number of its leading citizens
interviewed on the subject of why Hodges citizens continue to dwell
contentedly without telephones is” They have gotten used to doing without
them and nobody wants to be bothered with the trouble and expense of having
a line built, or the nuisance of answering phones calls. Whenever they want
anything, from making a date to calling an undertaker, they just step in
their Cadillacs or Fords and go see about it in person instead of depending
on wire connection.
PARADISE OF PEACE.
To the frenzied city dweller whose nerves are on edge with the constant
jangle of an insistent telephone bell, Hodges seems like a paradise of
peaceful quietude. And just as that phrase “peaceful quietude” is written,
one who recalls “the good old days,” which were the bad old days in Hodges,
says that its peacefulness of today is in sharp contrast to what it once was.
“I remember as a child,” she says, “that I used to be afraid to pass through
Hodges on account of the drunken men reeling up and down the street.”
“There was a time,” said Mr. Emerson, who has been in the mercantile
business there for half a century, “when there were five saloons to four
stores here. I’ve seen farmers, time and again, too poor to buy groceries
in cash, give a lien on their crops in order to buy food which they would
immediately take to a saloon and exchange for whiskey.”
The saloons were voted out years ago. This first step toward prohibition
was the beginning of the present-day peace and prosperity of the jailless,
policeman-less village of Hodges, which thrives undisturbed over its lack
“Is there anything else unusual about your town?” the mayor was asked.
He thought a minute and answered with unconscious seriousness:
“Well, we’ve got a pretty good cemetery. They come here to bury from
Everybody that ever has lived in Hodges comes back here to bury their dead.
You see, our cemetery is well-kept. It has a good iron fence around it–and
land is cheap,” he explained. Hodges–a haven of peace for
the living and the dead.
To the question–how did Hodges originate and where did it get its name–
comes an answer that carries with it a story as colorful and thrilling as
melodrama with a romance scarcely paralleled in American history. An
authenic record is given in the following sketch written in 1876 and taken
from the family history of the grandson of General George Washington Hodges,
for whom the town is named–B. S. Hodges, who resides there in the ancestral
home of the Hodges family, built by General Hodges over a hundred years ago:
SOME FAMILY HISTORY.
“George Washington Hodges, one of the oldest and most respectable citizens of
Abbeville county, died at his late residence in the town of Hodges on Friday
night last (1876) after an illness of two days, at the advanced age of 84
years, and as his career has been an eventful one, we append some sketches
or incidents connected with his life which we doubt not will be read with much
“Gen. Hodges’ grandfather, of Culpepper, and his grandmother, of Richmond, Va.,
were married and emigrated to this country prior to the Revolution and settled
near where the town of Hodges now stands. They were the first settlers of that
vicinity, where they bought a tract of land, a portion of the English grant to
Salvador, the Jew, which had been sold to Rapley, an Englishman, and comprised
perhaps one-fourth of the land in Abbeville county, and was for a great many
years known as “The Jew’s Land.”
“During the Revolutionary war, General Hodges’ father, John Hodges, who held
the commission of major in the army of the Revolution, and the general’s
grandfather were actively engaged in the war against the tories and the redmen.
On one occasion the grandfather was at home on leave of absence, when the fact
was ascertained by the Indians, who came to this house unexpectedly, shot the
furloughed soldier dead in the presence of his family, tied the ladies, his
daughters, some four in number, preparatory to burning them and the house,
when the Indian chief, who was with the murderous gang, became enamored of the
beauty of one of the sisters, Dorothy, and proposed to her that if she would
become his wife her life should be saved.
“Her condition then might not be easily imagined. Here she was in the hands of
the murderers of her father, in the presence of his lifeless body, tied with her
sisters in the house which was soon to be enveloped with the consuming element.
Her only rescue from the impending doom was to swear that she would ever love,
cherish and obey, and keep in sickness and health a natural enemy and the murderer
of her father and sisters. The exultation of the demoniac fiends over the grief
and heartrending exclamations of these defenseless and distressed creatures was
beyond description. Finally, when this young lady, more beautiful than the rest,
was forced to a choice, she reluctantly consented to be the wife of the Indian
chief, and was loosed from the cords which bound her limbs, to be the more firmly
bound soul and body by a solemn oath to the leader of these cruel assassins.
Being removed from the dwelling she was rescued from the flames whilst the torch
was applied to the house, and her sisters perished in her presence whilst the war
dance and the song kept up the fiendish carnival.
“Dorothy was perhaps the most unhappy and the most unwilling bride upon whom
the genial sunlight of South Carolina had ever fallen.
“She was carried west with the retreating foe of the white man, as the whites
gained supremacy, and as the days, weeks and months passed she was farther
removed from the pale of civilization. In the meantime, however, her husband
loved her with a devotion not characteristic of the Indian. The chief was proud
of and rejoiced in the possession of his beautiful “pale faced wife.” His love
for her and his association with her had a wonderfully refining influence over
the red man. At the birth of their son his affection seemed warmer than before.
If Dorothy had not learned to love her husband this child was loved by the mother
as only mothers can love. Away from the presence or association of a white person,
it seemed that her whole soul concentrated in her babe, and the love of father and
mother met in the infant boy, and they held sweet communion with each other as to
“Years passed by and the Indian was as kind as one of his nature could be, and she
had almost become reconciled to her fate.
“After the war had smoothed his wrinkled front” Dorothy expressed to her husband
a desire to see her friends and relatives in Carolina, and her husband, having
unbounded confidence in her loyalty now, arrangements were soon completed for a
visit to her old home. They were then living in Alabama. The Indian chief,
accompanied by Dorothy and her child, set out on the journey. When the husband
had come to the borders of the state, as far as it was safe at that time for him
to come, pledging anew their faith and love for each other, and after making
arrangements as to when he should meet her at the same place, on her return,
“Little did either think that this was their final separation, but it was even so.
At the time in this country there was but little facility for the conveyance of
letters anywhere, but especially was this true as regards communication between
this place and the territory occupied by the unfriendly Indian. As a consequence
no word had been heard from her since her capture years before, and her friends
had mourned for her as for the dead.
“Very unexpectedly to everybody she returned to Cokesbury, and her friends
greatly rejoiced. At the meetiing of her relatives tears of joy were shed
and the father of General Hodges gave a grand feast to which all the relatives
and neighbors were invited, and they assembled in joy to greet the long lost
friend and relative.
“Once more in the bosom of her family, she became the prey of a thousand
conflicting emotions, until at last, when the time arrived for her return,
she yielded to the intercession of her friends and cast in her lot with
“In the course of years she seemed to forget her troubles, and being yet of
fine personal appearance and possessed of attractive manners, a citizen by the
name of Rosemond sought her heart and hand in marriage. In the course of time
they were married, after which they remained in this county for a number of years
and to them were born a number of children. The family moved west, taking all
the children by the second marriage, and it is believed that there is now no
descendant of this branch of the Hodges family remaining in Abbeville county.
RETURNS TO FATHER.
“Before their departure the little Indian boy grew up, was sent to school,
and soon began to show the characteristics of the race. Having heard of his
father and wishing to learn more of his father and his people, he set out
before he had arrived at the age of maturity for the Indian territory from
which he never returned, and from him nothing was ever afterwards heard.
“General Hodges remembered seeing the Indian boy and heard the story, which we
have just related, from his mother’s own lips.
“General Hodges father lived within a mile and a half of the present site of
Hodges’ depot. General Hodges himself lived all his life within a mile and a
half of his birthplace. When he first went to housekeeping there was but little
cleared land in the county, and game was so plentiful that it ravaged the crops–
Mrs. Hodges once having shot a deer that was feeding in their turnip patch.
“General Hodges, by his industry and economy, managed to amass a considerable
fortune, and when he built his late dwelling 54 years ago, it was considered
the finest house above Columbia.
“He was once a member of the state legislature, and long held a commissioned
office in the militia of the Savannah regiment. In all matters of public
interest he always took an active part, and at one time he was sent as
commissioner to the Indians, with whom he was exceedingly poplar, and who
were delighted because of his smoking with them the pipe of peace. The general
could send up volumes of smoke so much larger than they could, and they were so
much delighted that great numbers of the men and women of the neighborhood
assembled on the second day after his arrival to see the white man smoke the
pipe of peace.
“The town of Hodges was named for him, on the establishment of the railroad
depot at that place. When the telegraph line was finished to that place a few
years ago the first message, a congratulatory epistle was addressed to him as
the “Patriarch.” He preserved this message, which is still in possession of
the family. He was the ‘Pater Familias’ of the town which bears his name.”
Which is the town with no telephones.
Read Any Good Books Lately!
The floor to ceiling shelves in the “The Attic,” a shop at Hodges, are crammed
with books of all sizes, ages and types of contents. Proprietor Donald Hawthorn
checks to keep them arranged “More or Less” by content categories.
‘The Attic’ In Business In the Center Of Hodges
Note written on side of article reads:
“When you visit Hodges, be sure to come by The Attic 65,000 old books.”