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Probate Books Rebound

Two of Candler County's oldest probate books have recently been rebound and covered at the direction of Probate Judge Tony Thompson. Candler County was formed by Legislation approved on July 17, 1914. The Candler County Ordinary's Court Docket Book A begins with an entry from March 22, 1915. The last entry in that book is dated October 22, 1960. This book and the Candler County Will Book "A" (1915-1973) have some of the county's oldest probate documents. "On the eve of our County Centennial which will happen in 2014 it was appropriate that we got these books restored," said Thompson.

Over 80 years of use had taken a toll on the old books and they were in need of repair. "We had the earliest marriage volumes repaired last year and this year we targeted the earliest probate records for repair. The Court is tasked with preserving these records forever and even though they have been microfilmed these bound copies are still what most people use," added
Thompson. Archivist Ed Clyburn did the restoration work on May 8th at the Courthouse. "Mr. Clyburn is an old style craftsman. His father taught him bookbindery so he knows what he is doing. He rethreaded the pages together then replaced the spines and bindings with new ones.

The books retain the look and feel of the originals with all new construction," said Thompson. "Most of the information in these books was hand written by the past Probate Judges (or Ordinaries) who served our county during those decades beginning with George R. Trapnell and continuing with M.Y. Parrish, W. Kitchens, J. Lonnie Jones, S.W. Warren, Ned Warren, Oscar P. Phillips and Juanita Mullings. It is good to see their work properly preserved," Thompson added.


Before repair

During repair

After repair

Silver Star Ceremony

Metter's VFW Post Commander Lt. Col. Mark Cauley and Candler County Probate Judge Tony Thompson solemnly announce that on Monday October 25 at 2:00 at the front lawn of the Candler County Courthouse, Specialist Oscar Barker Jr. of 2nd Platoon, A Co., 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment will be posthumously presented with the Silver Star for gallantry under fire.

The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States Armed Forces for valor in the face of the enemy.

Judge Thompson explains the story of Specialist Barker's long-delayed recognition.

"Over four decades ago, the 1st Cavalry Division (including the 7th Cavalry Regiment) deployed from Fort Benning, Georgia for Vietnam. On 14 - 16 November 1965 in the Ia Drang valley they fought the first major battle between the American Army and the People's Army of Vietnam. The
battle was immortalized in the book "We were Soldiers Once and Young", by Lt Gen Hal Moore, the commander of US forces in the engagement, and Joe Galloway, a journalist present during the fighting. The book was later made into the movie "We Were Soldiers" starring Mel Gibson."

"On November 6th, 2009 I received a letter from Congressman Stephen Lynch of the 9th Congressional District of Massachusetts. He wrote, 'Dear Judge Thompson, I am searching for the family of Specialist Oscar Barker Jr. (Oct. 30-1938-Nov. 17, 1965). A resident of Metter, Candler County, Georgia, Specialist Barker was married before serving in the Vietnam Conflict. While serving in Vietnam he was killed by enemy fire while protecting his fellow soldiers. Recently, Specialist Barker has been awarded the Silver Star. I am in the process of trying to locate Specialist Barker's family. I would appreciate the release of all records related to the case and any other information that may be pertinent."

[ Read more about the ceremony ] [ Read John Eade's Letter ]