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Finding the story behind an old photo

POSTED: May 9, 2013 8:45 p.m.
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Above is the Clyo depot.

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For several years I had looked at this photograph from my mother’s family pictures. My great uncle Emmette Joshua Hinely (1889-1944) is on the left. Mr. Ulysses Lawrence Elzey (1869-1937) is on the right.


Many depots along the railroads bear the name of nearby forts from battles of war. I had always thought this was somewhere in our vicinity until Norman Turner noticed the sign says ___ miles to Montgomery (faded numbers —  perhaps 38.8?).


I let the picture sit awhile and questioned family members regarding my late Great Uncle Emmette. He married Gussie Morgan from near Clyo and they had no children. He worked for the railroad and was depot agent in Rincon at one time.


The other man in the photo is the late Ulysses Lawrence Elzey. His son was the late Miller Elzey who stayed in this area while his sisters left Clyo. Mr. U.L. Elzey lived across the railroad in Clyo from the depot. For many years he was the Clyo depot agent. The depot was on the opposite side of the railroad from the current U.S. Post Office. Mr. Ulysses operated a little store beside his house. In June of 1937, a man got into a dispute with Mr. Elzey at the store and cut him. Mr. Elzey died as a result. A posse was formed as they knew the alleged perpetrator, but he was never found. Some say he fled to South Carolina, perhaps during the night, leaving the area possibly by train and he was never seen in Clyo again.


The accompanying photograph shows Emmette Hinely on the left and Ulysses L. Elzey on the right on the platform of the depot in Fort Davis, Ala. Fort Davis is in the south metro area of Tuskegee, Ala., in Macon County. I was able to locate a 2006 photo of the then still-standing abandoned depot on an internet site of photographs of old depots. It still had the unique wood trim as shown to the left of Mr. Elzey, but the building had been painted white. The arm that operated the mailbag was still intact. Fort Davis, Ala., was not named for a military training or battle site, but rather for a man who was named Fort Davis.


I do not know if the gentlemen in the photograph were passing through, workers off the train or working as depot agents there. As best I can find out, Mr. Elzey and Uncle Emmette did work away from here at times while employed by the railroad. There are no descendants of Emmette Hinely. Mr. Miller has no relatives here for me to ask.


I wish I had all the answers about the photo. The year is unknown. The attire of the era for men is remarkable. I think it is worth publishing this just to show how a photo can inspire a search and how the internet can sometimes help close the information gap.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: hesexleyherald@aol.com.

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