| || Notes for William Alsa Shackelford:|
The widely-noted editor of the "Oglethorpe Echo," known as Uncle Shack. The paper is still in print today. He hired the young Pat Stevens in about 1892 as a "printer's devil" at the Echo, and after Pat enlisted in 1898 and headed to the Philippines, published his long letters of his experiences. I have the issues of the Echo carrying these, and must one day transcribe them.
From the web:
SHACKELFORD CLAN MAGAZINE,Genealogy of Shackelfords and Shacklefords, Editor: T. K. Jones 716 Ave. A Lubbock, Texas, Lubbock, Texas January 1949 Vol. 4. No. 9
"Uncle Shack", was the affectionate appellation given to the late William Alsa Shackelford, who for a period of sixty three years was the Editor and publisher of the Oglethorpe Echo, a weekly newspaper at Lexington, Ga.
The Atlanta Journal, of Atlanta, Ga., said of him, and we quote -- "In the death of William A. Shackelford, The Georgia weekly press has lost one of its venerable and most beloved members. For more than half a century, until his retirement a few years ago, "Shack", as he was affectionately known, had been editor and publisher of the Oglethorpe Echo, at Lexington. Brave and forthright, yet courteous and compassionate, he stood solidly for what he believed to be the best interest of his community, his State, and his beloved country. The Journal feels a very real sense of bereavement in his passing" -- end quote.
Another editor had the following to say of him, and we quote -- "The death of venerable William A. Shackelford, for 60-odd years editor of the Oglethorpe Echo, removed one of Georgia's best known citizens from the current scene. He was a remarkable person who did a remarkable job. He made his small weekly publication famous in newspaper offices all over the land. His quick wit and unfailing good humor characterized his paper andbrought him nationwide recognition. Georgia and the fourth estate will miss "Uncle Shack". He was of a stamp of which too few remain."
Such were the opinions of those of the press. But on our recent journey while in Lexington we did a little snooping, so to speak, among the local gentry concerning the opinions of the press, they elaborated on it. And one prominent citizen told us that in his opinion, no better man had ever set foot on the sacred soil of these United States than William Alsa Shackelford.
So beloved was this good man among his neighbors and townpeople that a movement has now been startedto erect a memorial to him; and from the Oglethorpe Echo, the paper that he published so many years of his useful life, we find the following, and we quote: -- "Oglethorpe County, named for the founder of Georgia, has had many illustrious citizens of our State to live within its borders, many of whom were native born and some who became residents of the County by choice.The County has furnished three governors of the State; four U.S. Senators, including William H. Crawford, who was at one time a member of the Cabinet and Ambassador to France; one Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court; two Chancellors of the University of Georgia. In addition seven congressmen from the County have graced the legislative halls. And in the realm of religious matters, the County has been honored to have among its citizens such outstanding ministers as Dr John Gibson, Phillip W. Davis, W. H. Faust, Wm N. Coile, John F. Cheney, P. P. Butler, M. S. Weaver, and others, whose spiritual welfare and contributions to the people, cannot be evaluated in mere words. But it is not of these illustrious sons that I want to make the subject of this brief sketch, but of W. A. Shackelford, who for 63 years was Editor and Owner of the Echo. At an early age he learned the printing business under T. Larry Gantt, who established the Echo in Crawford, Ga., in 1878,moving it to Lexington in 1875. Mr Shackelford was the first Editor of the news, published at Harmony Grove, the town now known as Commerce. But after a brief period Mr Shackelford sold the News to John Shannon, who was its Editor for many years. Returning to Lexington Mr Shackelford accepted, or acquired ownership of the Echo.His educational advantages during his youth were necessarily limited during the period of reconstruction days; but by hard work, application, study and natural ability he became one of our well educated and best posted men. His weekly editorial page compared favorably with those of our best metropolitan dailies. He was a charter member of the Georgia Press Association and was its secretary for twenty four years, declining re-election after that time. He possessed three cardinal virtues, fidelity, sobriety and industry, to which was added a great fund of common sense and knowledge of human nature. His success in life can be attributed to the fact that he laid hold upon his opportunities, coupled with his strong integrity and faithfulness to his every trust. He hated sham and hypocrisy.When asked to state what in his opinion, was the major task for Georgia, the nation and civilization, he replied: - "Georgia should formulate a State government that will inspire more confidence in the people. The nation should become so united as to impress other nations that come what may we can and we will take care of ourselves. And civilization should become more civilized.
For more than three score years the power of his influence, and of his pen, was ever wielded on the side of progress, civic righteousness, and for those things that make for better citizenry and a better country in which to live.It would be fitting and proper if the County where he lived so long and labored for such a number of years should, in an appropriate manner, honor the memory of this noble and useful citizen" - End of quote. And this writer feels the same way.