Fear was the first emotion citizens in Atlanta experienced when they heard the plight of the people of Brunswick, Georgia. First the reports of yellow fever cases followed by a hurricane that hit the area on August 27, 1893. The people were starving and needed assistance.
One Atlanta man who answered the call was Cap Joyner, Chief of the Atlanta Fire Department. On September 19, 1893 he set out along with Steve Johnson, a well-known Atlanta auctioneer, W.B. Walker, superintendent of the fire department’s alarm service, and Joyner’s brother, Howlett Joyner, a waterworks employee, as their driver, around the streets of Atlanta to collect various items to send to Brunswick. The Atlanta Constitution reported Cap Joyner’s ride through the city streets was one of the brightest chapters that had been written since the gloomy history of the yellow fever epidemic at Brunswick had begun.
It’s an interesting view regarding relief efforts in 1893 and a look at some early Atlanta businesses.
For more background regarding the early reporting of yellow fever in Brunswick and the situation there please read part one of this article here.
The four men set of at nine o’clock on the morning of August 19, 1893, and they wouldn’t stop until well past nightfall when a baggage car was filled with a variety of food articles. Howlett Joyner took the reins with his brother Cap, Steve Johnson, and W.B. Walker riding in the body of the wagon. Prior to starting out Cap had acquired two donated signs from Ed Grant, a local sign painter, that was placed on each side of the wagon saying “BRUNSWICK…HELP US OR WE PERISH.”
Fred Allen was the first man the party encountered. He saw the wagon near the Constitution building and took in the situation from the signs on the sides. “I’ve got something for you,” he said. “just drive around during the day.” The chief did drive around and got a nice collection of groceries. Mr. Goldsmith, of the Goldsmith real estate agency, was nearby and he quickly contributed a barrel of flour.
The wagon drove down Broad Street and stopped in front of the commission house of Dimmock & Wallace where the company’s porter loaded a barrel of oatmeal which Steven Johnson immediately used as a seat. The wagon then reached J.W. Phillips & Co., where a sack of flour was waiting for them. T.J. McLendon saw the wagon coming and upon reading the sign on the wagon’s side he placed a barrel of grits where it could be put into the wagon without too much trouble. A.M. Shomo was nearby and didn’t wait to be asked about a contribution. He simply rolled out a crate of juicy looking cabbages for the wagon.
A visitor to Atlanta, W.E. Daniel of Arcadia, Florida was passing by and glanced at the sign on the wagon. “Here,” he called to Howlett Joyner, who was driving off, “wait a minute; I want to help you a little.” Daniel went into a store and bought as much oatmeal as he could with a dollar. He then walked outside, handed the oatmeal to Cap Joyner telling him he was always ready to help yellow fever sufferers.
Another gentleman standing nearby yelled, “Hey, catch this,” and he pitched a silver dollar to Cap who asked for the gentleman’s name. The stranger wishing to remain anonymous answered, “Brunswick. Brunswick is a good name for me.”
The wagon made the circuit of the leading business streets. Most of the time the four men didn’t even have to get out of the wagon. The merchants would bring out something which they would put into the wagon.
They were in Dohme & Corrigan’s place on Whitehall Street, when a member of the firm of Bliem & Leyh, the pretzel bakers, came in and called Cap Joyner aside, “I’ve been looking for you all day,” the baker said. “I saw in this morning’s paper you were going around for contributions. I’ve loaded up my wagon with bread and have been driving all over town hunting for you.” Cap Joyner removed his coat and took the big barrel full of bread in the baker’s wagon on his shoulder and transferred it to his own.
Cap passed Albert Howell on the street and held up a dollar suggestively. “I can match it,” said Mr. Howell, and he did.
The big wagon was driving down Alabama Street past the Merchants Bank, when Peter Woodson, from behind the teller’s counter, called to the driver to stop. “Here’s two dollars from Sam Wall and myself,” said he, coming out of the bank to deliver the contribution.
They did not intend to stop for dinner (lunch), but were caught on the run by Henry Durand, a local caterer, and given a splendid meal.
Manager Steiner, of the Atlanta City Brewing Company, caught sight of the wagon in front of Oglesby & Meador Grocery Co. and called to Howlett Joyner to halt. “Let them have $25 worth of groceries and charge to me,” said Mr. Steiner, and the groceries were loaded on the big wagon. Atlanta City Brewing Company had been around since 1876 at the corner of Courtland (then Collins) and Harris Streets and would exist by variations of the name through the 1950s.
The relief efforts weren’t simply a whites-only affair. A negro barber ran out and stopped the wagon on Marietta Street. He reached up and handed Cap Joyner a dime. “It’s all I have,” the barber said. “If I had more, you could have it.”
Professor Cox of the LaGrange Female college was in Bass’s store (E.M. Bass & Co.) on Peachtree buying a bill of goods, when Cap Joyner and his party went in there. The professor stopped his purchases and diving down into his pocket produced a shining dollar, which he handed over. This was around the time when the college moved to College Park changing its name to Cox College. W.H. Patterson pitched a dollar at Steve Johnson’s head.
W.A. Hemphill (William Arnold Hemphill 1842-1902), owner of The Atlanta Constitution, saw the wagon as it was passing the paper’s office and stopped it. He handed Cap Joyner a crisp five-dollar bill. Welborn Hill, then a deputy sheriff, chanced by at the same moment and tossed a dollar from his bicycle to the men in the wagon.
Dr. Joe Jacobs, of Jacob’s Pharmacy fame, did not wait for the wagon to pay him a visit. He sent to the chief a big box of medicine for the sufferers. Joe Thompson gave a case of whiskey.
The wagon continued its tour until late in the afternoon, when it was stopped to load the baggage car. Superintendent Beauprie kindly placed at the disposal of Cap Joyner and Mr. Johnson, an extra baggage car, which was placed at the Whitehall Street crossing where it could be handily loaded. It was filled with the groceries that had been collected during the day and left for Brunswick on the seven o’clock train. A conservative estimate placed the value of the load of goods at $600.
A telegram was sent to Brunswick’s Mayor Lamb, telling him that the goods were on the way, and notifying him that Cap Joyner had in his possession upwards of fifty dollars, which awaited his direction. Atlanta’s Chamber of Commerce had also shipped a load of goods to the Brunswick sufferers.
Atlanta and her citizens have always had a generous spirit, and that tradition continues today!
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The following is a list of donations collected by Cap Joyner and Steve Johnson. You might find one of your relatives listed among these Atlanta businessmen.
Fred Allen 1 barrel flour, 1 ham, 5 pounds coffee
Goldsmith Real Estate Agency 1 barrel flour
Dimmock & Wallace 1 barrel oatmeal
J.W. Phillips & Co 1 sack flour
J.T. McClendon 1 barrel grits
A.M. Shomo 1 crate cabbage
W.E. Daniel, Arcadia, Florida Oatmeal, one dollar
J.J. Barnes 1 sack dried fruit
Wilds Murphy 2 crates apples
Lint & Lovelace 1 cheese
Sam Wall cash, $1
Dr. Dan Howell cash, $1
Crawford & Purtell 1 ham
C.R. Snider cash, $2
J.M. Coleman 1 ham
Wilson Seal Company 1 barrel flour
Tappan & Co 8 sacks meal
Hightower, Hallman & Co 100 pounds meat
J. Tye & Co 1 box sausage
Dr. Moran cash $1
J.M. Wilson 1 sack potatoes
Rice & Saxe 1 ham
L.S. Morris 100 pounds flour
W.S. Duncan 1 barrel flour, 1 sack meal
F.E. Brock, 5 boxes crackers
G.E. Johnson 50 pounds sugar
Sigmund Selig 100 pounds flour
Percy W. Rose 25 pounds coffee
G.W. Jack Manufacturing Company 1 box cream crackers
Warren & Co 1 barrel flour
Shropshire & Dodd 1 can lard
J.W. Moore 1 barrel flour
Morgan Grain Company 1 bushel meal
H.L. Schlesluger 1 box crackers
W.G. Haynes 3 sacks flour
Arnold & McCord 1 can lard
H.A. Boynton 1 sack flour
Atlanta City Brewing Company $25 in groceries
A.C. Wooley 1 barrel grits
Porter Woodson cash $1
Sam Wall Cash $1
W.D. Williamson cash $1
Atkinson & Burge 1 barrel flour, Cash 50 cents
O.M. Ray cash $1
Louisville Packing Company 2 cases lunch tongues, 2 cases corn beef
Josh Kerr cash $1.50
Warren Jordan cash 25 cents
F.J. Coolidge & Bro. Cash $10
Humphrey’s Castleman 2 barrels Flour, cash 25 cents
Jake Meako cash $1
H.R. Durand 1 ham, 100 loaves bread
Joseph Thompson 1 case whiskey, cash $2
L.B. Folsome 1 ham, 8 packages of oatmeal
R.M. Rose Company 1 case whiskey
B & B 1 case whiskey
Hooper Alexander cash $2.25
S.C. Glass 4 packages coffee, 1 pound of tea
Sharp Brothers 1 bottle carbolic acid
Taylor & Galphin 1 package underwear
Helvetia Milk Company by Ackerman & Co 1 case milk
A.L. Holbrook flour and rice
W.J. Keling 1 barrel bread
W.J. Roberts & Son 1 sack flour
C.R. Henry 1 ham
Echols & Richards breakfast bacon
Mrs. Hogan 1 sack flour
J.A.S. Balsden 1 sack flour
E.M. Bass & Co 1 lot dry goods
Bailey & Carroll 1 galloon brandy
M. Keldin & Carlton 4 pair shoes
Frank Kelley, cash $1
Professor Cox cash $1
Albert Howell cash $1
Liberman & Kaufman cash $5
S. Goldsmith cash $1
Mr. Rankin cash $1
Barber cash, ten cents
W.H. Brotherton 1 lot dry goods
C.D. Kenny sugar, $1, 4 pounds roast coffee
C.A. Raushenberg, sausage
L.S. Mitchell, 100 pounds flour
W.D. Whey & Bro. 2 hams
F.R. Walton 50 pounds flour
T.R. Sawtell 1 ham
Camp Bros. 1 sack flour, 1 ham
Georgia Produce Company 1 barrel oatmeal
H.Y. Snow 1 barrel apples
O.L. Stamps 1 crate cabbage
J.J. Donnelly $1
McDonald Bros. 1 crate cabbage
Carlton & Smith 1 ham
B.A. Daniel Cash $1
Broomhead 1 barrel flour
R.Co DeSaussure Cash $1
Burgess & Co 1 sack potatoes
John J. Hahn cash $2
Judge Rosser cash $1
GE Hoppie cash $1.50
Star Manufacturing Company 1 box baking powder
George DeSaussure cash $1
Brown & King Supply Company half dozen buckets
J.M. High & Co Cash $5
Dohme, Corrigan & Co 50 pounds flour
Bleim & Leyh 1 barrel bread
W.J. Wood cash $1 dozen baskets
Peter Lynch cash $3
Mose Hirsch cash $1
Dr. Douglas 50 cents
W.H. Patterson $1
Kangra Tea Company 1 chest tea, 1 drum coffee
Joe Jacobs 1 box medicine
Isaac W. Carr 1 box Scotch oats
W.A. Hemphill $5
A.W. Hill $1
William Erskine 1 ham
George Hillyer cash $1
Henry Hillyer cash $1