James Daley Edmondson in Atlanta about 1910.
Louisa Anderson Edmondson in 1899, shortly after her marriage.
Lewis Edmondson (left), Frank Cornett (a friend), and Clarence Edmondson (right) in Miami in 1923.
James Daley Edmondson and his wife Louisa Anderson Edmondson came to Gilmer County by train in the fall of 1913 when he was 37 and she was 36. Daley was the son of Hugh and Sophia Plemmons Edmondson. Louisa's parents were John Washington and Lucenia Lowman Anderson. Daley and Louisa did not come directly from Gilmer County; they had been living in Atlanta for a short while. According to family stories, Daley had opened a store in Atlanta to provide a means for the whiskey makers in Gilmer County to sell whiskey. During this era in Gilmer County history, many of the residents chafed at government restrictions on their whiskey making. According to George Gordon Ward in his The Annals of Upper Georgia Centered in Gilmer County,
Everybody was free, legally, to engage in the manufacture of whiskey till 'the surrender' of the Civil War. Then the national government denied the people this privilege, and set in to stamp out its illicit manufacture which followed....The large number of violators of liquor laws reported by the government show the individuality and the determination on the part of a large segment of the County's citizenship to maintain a reasonable degree of temperance.
More information about the history of bootleg whiskey can be found in the North Carolina Moonshine site and the It's All Legal Til You Get Caught: Moonshining in the Southern Appalachians site. Also, The Heritage of Gilmer County, 1832-1966, has an excellent summary on pages 56-57 (Item 196). The usual procedure before the store opened was to bring whiskey by wagon to Atlanta and make the rounds of regular customers. This was a risky procedure, because the revenue agents could be waiting at every turn in the road. Daley had a trained mule that was used for these trips. Whenever he neared a spot in the road where agents would be hiding, he would get out and walk around the area, leaving the mule to pull the wagon down the road. If agents were waiting, they would confiscate the mule and wagon; if not, he would just get back in the wagon at a safer spot. Confiscated property would be auctioned off regularly and one of his friends would always buy the mule back for him at the auction. A store in Atlanta appeared to be a less risky means of getting the whiskey to the customers; someone else would have to run the risk of getting caught on the trip down. However, government liquor agents were hot on his trail when a typhoid fever epidemic broke out in Atlanta. Daley and his eight-year old daughter Roma were stricken with the fever. Roma died on August 30, 1913, and Daley was near death when the agents arrived at their home in Atlanta. Daley's brother-in-law, Dr.W.V. Garrett, came out of the house to meet the agents and told them that there was typhoid fever in the house and that Daley had died. The agents left, not wanting to come in the house and search.
As soon as Louisa had taken Roma's body for burial on "The Horseshoe" on Tickanetley Creek, the family left for Wayne County. They had communicated with the Withrow and Harper families about the area before they came down. They arrived by train that fall with their household belongings and $10. Their children at that time were Lewis, who was 10, Clarence, who was almost 6, and Ivon, who was just 2. Their youngest child, Gladys, was born 4 years later. Daley called himself James Daley (sometimes spelled Dailey) after coming to Wayne County, although his birth name was Lewis Daley.
The first place they lived was a house on the Mark Kicklighter farm in the corner field where GA 203 and the Odum-Screven Road intersect. That first year, Daley was too weak to work and Louisa managed to make some money picking cotton. The boys fished from the nearby creek. One of the other Gilmer County emigrants came to see how they were doing, having heard the family was having a hard time. He found that they were eating well and were managing fine even though they had no money.
As soon as he was able, Daley "got on his feet" by dynamiting stumps out of fields. He later had a rail gang to work on the railroad. In February of 1924, Daley was able to buy a farm about 5 miles from Screven from R.L. Withrow. Their grandson and his family live there now. Daley made his living by farming that place and renting other land to farm.
All of the children grew up, married, and raised their families in Wayne County. Daley died suddenly on July 11, 1937, but Louisa lived until June 18, 1968. They are buried in the Screven City Cemetery. Clarence, who married Minnie Ellis, died in 1972. Lewis, who married Inez Carter, died in 1978. Ivon, the only surviving member of the family who was born in Gilmer County, married Bill Jackson and now lives in Lakeland, Florida. Gladys, who married Pat Denison and after his death Ralph Miller, lives near Screven. Many of the Edmondson grandchildren and great-grandchildren still live in Wayne County.
The Jesup Sentinel, July 15, 1937
JAS. D. EDMONDSON DIED HERE SUNDAY A.M.
Prominent Wayne County Screven, GA., Farmer
James D. Edmondson, of Screven, age 61, a prominent Wayne County farmer, died in Jesup at the office of Dr. J. A. Leaphart, Sunday morning following a stroke of paralysis. He was stricken while in Jesup on business Saturday afternoon and was taken to the office of Dr. Leaphart where medical aid was rendered, but his condition was so critical that he did not respond to treatment and died Sunday morning at five o'clock despite of the fact that everythingwas done to save his life.
Mr. Edmondson was born and reared in Gilmer County and was married to Miss Louisa Anderson also of Gilmer County in 1898 and moved to Wayne County in 1913, where he reared a family and lived near Screven until his death.
Surviving Mr. Edmondson is he wife and four children, two daughters, Mrs. Ivon Jackson, Mrs. Gladys Denison, all of Screven, two sons, Lewis and Clarence Edmondson, all of Screven; two brothers, Ira Edmondson, of Arco, Ga., and R. V. Edmondson, of Ellijay, Ga., and eight grandchildren.
Funeral services were conducted by Rev. Barton, pastor of the Screven Methodist Church and Rev. Robert L. Whipple, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Jesup, held at the Screven Baptist church Monday afternoon at four o'clock. Interment followed in the Screven cemetery.
The pallbearers were: Robert E. Warren, David S. Price, W. Brantley O'Quinn, Pierce Harris and J. B. Harper, of Jesup and N. E. Joyner, of Screven.
Clyde Hill of Wayne Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
The Jesup Sentinel, June 20, 1968
MRS. EDMONDSON TO BE BURIED TODAY
Mrs. Louisa Anderson Edmondson, 90, of Route 2, Screven, died Tuesday morning in the Duncan Memorial Hospital in Hazlehurst after a long illness. The Gilmer County native had been a resident of Wayne County for 55 years. She was a member of the Macedonia Baptist Church.
Survivors are two daughters, Mrs. Ivon Jackson, of Lakeland, Fla; Mrs. Gladys Denison, of Screven, two sons, J. C. Edmondson and Lewis Edmondson, of Screven; 21 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. today (Thursday) from the Screven Baptist Church with Rev. Joseph W. Bland officiating.
Interment will be in the Screven Cemetery.
Active pallbearers will be grandsons.
The Rinehart & Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
The Jesup Sentinel, Oct. 5, 1972
Clarence Edmondson, 64, of Route 2, Screven, died Tuesday, Sept. 26, in the Memorial Medical Center in Savannah after a long illness. The Gilmer County native was a farmer and had been a resident of Wayne County most of his life.
Survivors are his wife, Mrs. Minnie Ellis Edmondson of Screven; a daughter, Mrs. Marcelle Yeomans of Jesup; a son Daryl Edmondson of Screven; two sisters, Mrs. Ivon Jackson of Lakeland, Fla., Mrs. Gladys Dennison of Screven; a brother Lewis Edmondson of Byron, Ga., and two grandchildren.
Funeral services were held 3 p.m. Thursday from the Spring Grove Free Will Baptist Church with Rev. Harris B. Nix and Rev. James E. Bacon officiating. Interment was in the church cemetery. Active pallbearers were nephews: Jimmy Denison, David Denison, James Edmondson, Roy Gene Jackson, J. V. Jackson and Norman Jackson.
The Rinehart & Sons Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.
The Press-Sentinel, Aug. 7, 1978
LEWIS C. EDMONDSON
Lewis Clay Edmondson, 75, of Jesup, died Tuesday in the Wayne Memorial Hospital after a lengthy illness. The Gilmer County native had been a resident of Wayne County for 60 years. He was a retired carpenter.
Survivors are his wife, Mrs. Inez Carter Edmondson of Jesup; one daughter, Mrs. Jeanette E. Moody of Jesup; two sons, James Edmondson of Cleveland, Tenn. and Grady Edmondson of Deland, Fla.; two sisters, Mrs. Gladys Denison of Screven and Mrs. Ivon Jackson of Lakeland, Fla.; 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were 3 p.m. Thursday from the Calvary Baptist Church with the Rev. W. D. Johnson officiating. Intermet was in the Screven City Cemetery. Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home was in charge.
Active pallbearers were nephews; David Denison, Jimmy Denison, Darryl Edmondson, Johnny Jackson, J. V. Jackson and Roy Gene Jackson.