LIFE IN THE CAMELLIA CITY – THE QUITMAN YEARS, 1950-1955

The Parson and his family were very excited; they were ready to begin new adventures with a new church, a new town, new friends and a new parsonage. They were ready to begin life in Quitman, Georgia, located eighteen miles from Valdosta and thirteen miles from the Florida line.It is known as the Camellia City because Mrs. Betty Sheffield, the horticulturalist who developed the cameliia named for her, lived in Quitman.

Since this was the first time the South Georgia Conference had made pastoral appointments in June, rather than November, it was on a hot June afternoon that the Parson pulled his car to a stop outside of town and got out to check that all the hubcaps on his battered 1940 Plymouth, were still in place. Satisfied that they were, he put on his coat and the family continued the journey into new adventures.

They pulled up the sandy street lined with palms, to the front of the Quitman Parsonage. The sight which greeted their hot, tired eyes was astonishing; they were standing in front of a house that was a palace compared to the tiny shoebox they had just left. It was white painted wood with a wide enveloping porch that wrapped around three sides and,amazingly, that porch was full of people, men, women and children, waiting to welcome them to Quitman! This kind of reception was unheard of for the Parson’s family! It was royal treatment, truly love at first sight!

Upon venturing inside the house they discovered flowers everywhere, a sumptious meal in the dining room and someone on hand to serve it!

On the street where the Parsonage stood were lovely white wood two-story ante-bellum homes. One of these was occupied by two sisters, Mrs. Wallace Matthews (Miss Hazel) and Mrs. Mary Bowman (Miss Mary). Each afternoon ,weather permitting, the sisters entertained friends who dropped by to visit. They began inviting Judy to come up on the porch and have lemonade and cookies served by Tom, the houseman. Judy really enjoyed listening to the grown-ups talk!

One day disaster struck the Parsonage kitchen; hot water for the kitchen came from a coal-burning stove connected by a flue. This flue took soot and smoke to the outside. For some reason on this day the flue decided to fall and great was the fall of it! Soot and coal dust were everywhere! When she saw the mess Grace didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. She did neither. She set to work to clean up the mess, along with help from everyone she could commandeer!

Next time ” TOYS FOR LUNCH?”

Author: Judy Shippey

I was an elementary teacher for 36 years with three degrees in education, young children being my speciality. I also enjoy gardening, reading and my main interest is cooking, hence the Adventures.

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