The 1924 Glomerata, part two

We’re going back in time 100 years for a quick look at a bit of the ol’ alma mater. These aren’t the old buildings, but some of the young people. They, of course, knew a different world than ours. (Part one is here. All of the selected images from the 1924 Glom are going here.)

Let’s see what’s inside.

One last action shot from the Athletics section of the yearbook. This is meant to offset the posed portraits that will follow. And this isn’t the best quality, but the cameras they were using in 1923 and 1924 were from the 1920s, at best.

Anyway, to the football field, and the rivalry game against the hated and evil Georgia Tech. (No one liked them very much, but it was all in decent fun.)

That’s Ernest Williams, the sophomore from Chattanooga, intercepting a pass from Tech. They called Williams Buckshot, and Clabber. He was a 170-pound halfback and he played defense, because everyone played both sides of the ball. There were only 27 guys on the team that year. Ol’ Clabber was in his first year with the Tigers, but he had a great game against Tech. This interception, recovered a blocked punt. Auburn and Georgia Tech played on a cold and rainy Thanksgiving Day, and no one was thankful for the 0-0 draw.

This is Major. John E. Hatch, commandant of the ROTC detachment. He graduated from West Point in 1911, making him just 37 or so here. He studied artillery, taught at West Point from 1917 to 1920 and was promoted to captain the year he left the USMA and was shipped to Fort Bragg. (His father-in-law also graduated from West Point.)

So this was just another stop for the man in uniform. Hatch and his wife had three children, including two sons who also went into the service. One, John Jr., a major, died in a plane accident in Germany just after World War 2. The other, McGlachlin, served in Korea, and was himself a colonel. John Sr. also left the service as a colonel. He died in Texas, in 1981. He was 94.

I might be a little fuzzy on my fuzzy photos of old weapons, but I believe Company A was “stopping an advance” here with a Browning M1917.

The crew-served, belt-fed, water-cooled machine gun came into service late in World War I, and was a part of the American weapons selection into Vietnam. Depending on the model, it could shot between 450 to 600 rounds per minute.

College kids, amirite?

We move now to the Beauties section, which is the lead item in the Features portion of the book. And, I must admit, I do not understand what the yearbook staff was after here. It’s just the photos and names. This is Miss Ellie May Lawley.

She was from Birmingham, she’s 21 or 22 here. She married Frederick Hahn, who was a senior at the university, and pretty good at basketball. He’d led the team in scoring three years in a row and, indeed, was the captain for his senior campaign. Fred ran the family construction business. (He put in, it turns out, one of my favorite features at The Birmingham Zoo. He built the houses on the old Monkey Island, one of the original attractions at the zoo, dating back to 1955. It delighted guests for 44 years, until they repurposed it and, eventually, demolished it.) The couple raised two sons, one an important banker in Alabama, the other an insurance man in Georgia, both of whom died in 2007. They had a daughter, too, a well-traveled X-ray technician. She passed away in California in 2014. So it sounds like Ellie and Fred did well, family-wise. She died in 1968, he survived her by 16 years.

This is Miss Sarah Bullock. And good luck finding out anything about her. I think, I think she was from Eufaula, a small river town two counties away.

About 5,000 people lived there in the 1920s, and there were some Bullocks, and there was a Sarah of roughly that same age. There’s one dark and blurry photo from a 1923 newspaper that almost helps me confirm it, but it’s not enough to say definitively. The trail doesn’t get any warmer after that, and anything else would be speculation.

Bullock doesn’t show up elsewhere in the 1924 Glom that I’ve found, either. Nor does Miss Hazel Mathes. But I’m a bit more confident in what I’ve found online.

I know someone with this haircut today.

There’s a Hazel Mathes from Fayette, a town of less than 5,000 people today and less than 2,000 then, who is the right age. The Hazel I am following married a man named A. Jesse Duke. (This guy was also a basketball player, and a senior, at Auburn. He was in business in some manner with Hahn, above.) They had a daughter, and then Hazel died in 1943, at just 38 or 39. Their daughter, Doris, died even younger, at just 25 or 26 in 1954. Jesse passed in 1965. There was also a son, Jesse, Jr. He died in 1969, in his late 30s. All four of them are buried close to one another in the same large Birmingham cemetery.

There a lot more to those people’s stories, but it’ll remain a mystery.

You weren’t expecting a big full smile from a 1920s photograph, were you? This is Miss Celeste Vance.

She might have also been from Eufaula. If I have the right person, she shows up a few times in a variety of society pages and seemed to enjoy going to dances. What made up her larger story I do not know.

Isn’t it off-putting when you look at an ancient photo and you think you see eyes that you know? This young woman looks like someone I had in a class four generations later. This is Miss Elizabeth Hill.

Like all of these women, she does not show up in the yearbook elsewhere that I have found, and I spent approximately 45 seconds trying to find that common of a name before giving up.

Another reason to move on was because I have this incredible collage. I’m not sure why she received the special visual treatment. Let’s see if we can find anything on Miss Amante Semmes.

She’s maybe from Mobile. Perhaps she’s the descendant of some celebrated old Confederate naval officer. It’s possible she married a Navy man herself, and if she did, he was a captain in the U.S. Navy during World War 2. If I’ve got it right, they had a son and daughter and she died in 1981 at 75.

But I still want to know about that outfit.

Finally, there’s a little bit of Hollywood dreams down on the Plains.

There are dozens of mentions of Katherine Thorington in the society pages. She traveled a lot, to see friends and take part in events like dances and musical performances, and someone made sure the papers knew about it. She was, I think, from Montgomery, the state capital, a short interstate trip away today. She worked in state government. Seems that she became a secretary for someone(s) in the state senate. But then, after 1932, she doesn’t appear in (the digitally scanned archives of) print again.

I really do want to know about that flower. Proper or perfect accident? Was it symbolic or something she tossed aside? And, just what she was thinking of when this portrait was being taken?

“Good skin day, good hair, a photographer that understands me. This is my moment …”

One of many, Katherine, one of many.

More from 1924 next week. The full collection will live in the Glomerata section, of course. You can see others, here. Or, to just see the beautiful covers, go here.

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