The Historical Society’s second Tuesday program in January Judges of the 1800s and 1900s featured speakers J. Harold Thurmond, retired Clerk of Court, and Mike Carter, retired County Judge.
Thurmond’s remarks included: H.L. Henderson (1871), W.T. Duval (1873, 1877), W.A. Giles (1881), B.S. Smith (1885), W.A. Giles (1887), C.M. Cox (1888), William H. Walker (1890), W.W. Giles (1891), and S.J. Giles (1895). WCHS member Helen Harvey, who regularly attends the programs, commented that she was impressed with the “spectacular research Harold did to share so many interesting facts.” Thurmond’s humor, teaching background, and talent for storytelling mesmerized the audience. He commended the effort of his “whole family” to produce the presentation while daughter Jana monitored the slide show.
Mike Carter litigated the last case ever tried in the Historic Wakulla County Courthouse (c. 1892) and his remarks began with R. Don McLeod who presided as county judge from 1901 to 1928. McLeod’s famous ruling that a mullet is a bird because it has a gizzard occurred in the old courthouse which has sported a mullet weathervane since it was restored by the Chamber of Commerce. Carter continued the topic with Raney Whaley (1928), A.L. Porter (1932), George Harper (1956), Evelyn Flack (1974), Michael Carter (1983), and Jill Walker (1990). Carter shared many stories of personal interaction with Judge Porter and fellow lawyer Jewell Hudson during his career of practicing law. Carter also recounted with good humor the controversial election between himself and Judge Flack.
Both Carter and Thurmond are active Historical Society members. Program Chairman Betty Green said, “We are so thankful to have people who are willing to share the rich history of Wakulla County with such fascination. We really appreciate their support.” Alongside Thurmond’s family in the audience were Judge Harper’s widow, Naomi, and sons George, Kenny, and Larry. All historical programs are recorded and available on CD upon request in the Old Jail Gift Shop. Historical Society meetings are on the second Tuesday, September through May, except October and December, at 7:00 pm in the Public Library at 4330 Crawfordville Highway. The Wakulla County Historical Society Museum & Archives is located on Courthouse Square at 24 High Drive in Crawfordville and is open Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.