Southern Research busy around the state, researches Hobo Ken

Submitted by Southern Research, Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc. (706-582-2440)

Southern Research has recently carried out a number of projects in Georgia that may be of interest to the members of SGA.

Barnes Cemetery Relocation, Bibb County

The Barnes Cemetery was first recorded in 2007 during a reconnaissance for the Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority conducted by Southern Research. The reconnaissance was required by a site certification program for Georgia Allies and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The Authority gained the important certification and began to market the property for development. When Kumho Tire Corporation selected the Authority’s Property to build a new manufacturing facility, plans to relocate the Barnes Cemetery were developed. In April 2008, Southern Research delineated the cemetery and conducted genealogical research for the Authority. The Industrial Authority petitioned the Superior Court of Bibb County, Georgia for a permit to disinter and relocate the human remains present in the Barnes Cemetery, an Abandoned Cemetery as defined by state law (OCGA 36-72). The Court issued a Consent Order permitting the activity as proposed in the Permit Application’s Disinterment and Relocation Plan. The Authority enlisted the services of Southern Research to carry out the Court’s Order. The Disinterment and Relocation was conducted in late October (yes, on Halloween) and early November 2008. The work discovered 13 individual graves interred in the Barnes Cemetery: four adults, one adolescent and eight children or infants. The results of this effort determined that the living direct descendants included Mr. Thomas Carlton Barnes, his children and grandchildren who live nearby. Based upon the genealogical research, we determined that the individuals were interred between the 1880s and 1907.

Fort Valley State University Reconnaissance Survey, Peach County

During the first two weeks of June 2008, Southern Research, Historic Preservation Consultants, Inc. conducted a Level One Archaeological Reconnaissance at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. This effort was part of the development of the first Campus Historic Preservation Plan by a team of preservation professionals. The purpose of the reconnaissance survey was to conduct a literature and records search to determine if previously identified archaeological sites had been recorded on the university campus and to assess the potential for as yet undiscovered sites to be present. The archaeological reconnaissance survey recorded artifacts and features dating from the establishment of Fort Valley High and Industrial School (started in the early twentieth century) as well as evidence of earlier mid-nineteenth century occupations. Using the 1920 Sanborn Insurance Map, we projected the footprints of earlier buildings long since demolished, onto a modern aerial photograph using ArcGIS 9.2. Locating the earliest features of the school contributed to the sense of place that will enhance the students, faculty, staff and alumni’s appreciation of the school’s history as well as what came before.

Don Carter State Park Survey, Hall County

Southern Research has completed the fieldwork and laboratory analysis for an archaeological survey of the portions of Don Carter State Park. A Draft Final Report is in preparation. The area surveyed for the Don Carter State Park consisted of three separate parcels encompassing approximately 400 acres belonging to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District (USACE). The land lies adjacent to Lake Lanier in northeastern Hall County, Georgia. The tracts that were surveyed are where the first improvements will occur on the largely undeveloped property. The land belonging to the USACE was surveyed under Archaeological Resources Protection Act Permit Number DACW01-4-09-0457 issued to the DNR. The survey resulted in the identification of 20 previously recorded archaeological resources: 18 sites and two artifact occurrences. Site 9Hl530 is a cemetery with at least 15 marked and unmarked graves dating to the mid to late nineteenth century. Additional unmarked graves are likely present. Archaeological sites 9Hl537, 9Hl540, and 9Hl542 are house sites that date to the mid nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. All three have retained some integrity as witnessed by intact stone and/or brick ruins and have the potential to yield important information about the history of Hall County. Archaeological sites 9Hl538 and 9Hl540 are prehistoric artifact scatters that yielded pottery sherds from the Middle Woodland Period. These two sites also produced quartz and chert lithic artifacts, fire-cracked rocks, and charred plant remains in sufficient quantities and in context that would suggest they have retained enough integrity to yield important new information regarding prehistory in the Upper Chattahoochee River Valley. Other archaeological sites included quartz lithic scatters of unknown age.

Survey of the Mountain Creek Drainage, Harris County

In 2008, Southern Research conducted a reconnaissance survey of private property located on and adjacent to Pine Mountain in Harris County, Georgia. The work included a search of archaeological records for information regarding past archaeological research on the property and in the region. Historical research in the Harris County Court House yielded important chain of title data for several land lots on the property. During a fieldwork, archaeologists examined at a reconnaissance level, approximately 1,000 of the 8,000 acres. Two previously recorded archaeological sites are located on the property and the field crews found 52 previously unrecorded resources during the survey. These include Native American camp sites, a stone mound, a prehistoric quartzite quarry, historic house sites, cemeteries, a steel truss bridge and a water powered mill site. Most of the sites are disturbed to the extent that little important scientific information about the past remains intact. Poor agricultural practices in the nineteenth century and subsequent timber harvesting activities have contributed to the erosion and disturbance. These resources are for the most part small Native American camp sites probably from the Archaic and Woodland periods. There are some very important resources that are judged to be significant or potentially significant with further investigations. These include the previously recorded archaeological sites, the stone mound, eight cemeteries, a Champion steel truss bridge, the small water powered mill site and four archaeological house sites. These resources are unique, or have retained enough integrity to be able to contribute substantially to our understanding of the past through additional research. The property owners intend to protect and conserve the sites.

How Hoboken got its name

Southern Research recently conducted a cultural resources survey for a client in Hoboken, Georgia. While no archaeological resources were discovered, our historian uncovered the origin of this South Georgia town’s name. Historical research was conducted using traditional published sources, online sources such as NAHRGIS, and informant interviews. It is the latter interviews that proved so interesting. Below are excerpts from some of the informant interviews (edited for general audiences).

One informant suggested that the town was named for Hobo Ken, a country music singer who appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1940s. Another informant countered that Hobo Ken was a professional wrestler on the Southern circuit back in the 1950s to early 1980s. This elderly gentleman went on to say “I went up against him a few times when I was on the circuit, wrestling under the nom de guerre Buddha the Magnificent back in the mid to late 1970s. He was getting on in years back then, while I was an up-and-coming slab in my late 20s. You might have caught us out at the J & J Center on the Commerce Highway (north of Athens) on Tuesday nights back then.”

Another informant suggested that while he had not actually seen the match, he had heard that Hobo Ken whupped Buddha’s a**. Another old timer who said he witnessed the match added “… it’s been many a year since I thought of ‘Buddha’ the Magnificent and his match with Hobo Ken. First off, and this is a fact, ‘Buddha’ started his career as Bubba the Magnificent. But the kid was dyslexic, often getting his b’s and d’s mixed up. So when he wrote his name in Elmer’s glue and glitter on the back of his bathrobe, it came out ‘Budda’ the Magnificent. Now, concerning his match with Hobo Ken at the J & J, it wasn’t really an a** whuppin’, with bodies bouncin’ off the ropes and lots of blood and all. Ken just applied his own form of the ‘sleeper’—a hobo armpit over the nose. It was over in a couple of seconds.” Informant Buddha disputes this version in a tersely worded retort that cannot be repeated here! Further research uncovered this fact: “Hobo Ken” is track 4 on the A side of Ain’t But the One Way written by Vaetta Stewart (aka Vet Stone), little sister of Sylvester Stewart (aka Sly Stone). This was the last album by Sly and the Family Stone released in 1983. Vet Stone was with the vocal group Little Sister which sang backups for Sly and the Family Stone and also did their own thing. Little Sister included Mary McCreary who married Leon Russell, which some say resulted in the recording of the “Wedding Album.”

Finally, our historian settled on this version: Hoboken, Brantley County was incorporated as a city August 16, 1920. This town in the western part of the county may have been named for the city in New Jersey, which was named from the Algonquian word hopocan, meaning “tobacco pipe” or “pipe country.”

Now, who you gonna believe?