Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Edward Sylvanus Mauney (1897-1977) – Union County Historian

People in Union County held Edward Sylvanus Mauney in great respect. He was born in the Ivy Log District of Union County on May 12, 1897 in a log cabin. His parents were Charles Stanhope Mauney (1868-1950) and Theodocia Carroll Mauney (1878-1973). Edward Sylvanus was one of eleven children born to his parents. Other children in the Mauney family were Clyde Charters Mauney; Luther Rush Mauney; Charles Pershing Mauney; Mazie Mozelle Mauney; Mary Willard Mauney Jordan; William Roy Mauney; Minnie Mauney Teague; Bess Mauney Conley; and Johnnie Mauney Gladson. Edward Sylvanus Mauney, like most of the youth in Union County who grew up in the early twentieth century, had his share of "making do" with what the family had. His father, Charles Stanhope Mauney, was a farmer, a teacher, Union County School Commissioner (Superintendent) and a rural mail carrier.

Early on, Ed Mauney learned to "carry his weight" in farm work. Noted for his mathematical skills and his bookkeeping abilities, Ed Mauney began to prepare himself to be a teacher. No doubt influenced by his father who had been a teacher in one-room country schools, that the elder Mr.Mauney spent from 1900 through 1912 at the helm of Union County Schools and for many years was chairman of the Union County Board of Education, Ed Mauney began to prepare to be a teacher.

His teaching itinerary took him to at least five country schools. Whether he spent more than one year at each school is not known. In the days when Ed Sylvanus Mauney taught, schools and churches often met in the same building. He is known to have taught at Gobble Hill Baptist Church house at Gum Log; Mount Zion Baptist in Dooly; Providence Methodist in Young Cane; and Ebenezer Baptist, also at Gum Log.

When he was 18 years of age, he left home for the first time to take a job at the bank in Blairsville. He served as a cashier under the bank owner's scrutiny. Mr. Chester Beacham was owner of the bank and the young teller's supervisor.

In 1918, he was inducted into the U. S. Army. He was 21 at the time. After rigorous training at Camp Gordon, he was deployed to England on November 8, 1918. Fortunately for the young soldier, World War I ended on November 11, 1918, so he did not see fighting. He was sent to France for some of the postwar occupation. In May, 1919, Ed Mauney returned to the United States. He was soon discharged honorably from the U. S. Army.

He entered Draughn's Business College in Atlanta and remained in that city until 1921 when he returned to his native Union County and his parents' home in Ivy Log. He walked from the train station in Culberson, NC, nine miles to his home upon his return from college.

In 1927 he took the Civil Service Examination, passed it, and became a rural mail carrier. Then in 1930, even though the Great Depression was in its infancy after the failure of banks and the stock market in October, 1929, the Georgia Legislature appointed Edward Sylvanus Mauney as official historian of Union County, Georgia. The appointment of historians was an effort throughout the state to get valuable historical information recorded before it was lost. Two examples of his historical writings are in the "Sketches of Union County History,” Teddy Oliver, Editor, published in 1987. On pages 85-87 is reprinted the article he wrote about his home district, "Ivy Log," in 1948 and on page 74 his account of "Gum Log." Ivy Log, his own home district, shows the flair this historian had for writing:

"The pioneer of Ivy Log cleared the virgin forest, built the log cabin, and tilled the soil with crude implements made by his own hands. He was tanner, shoemaker and his own wheelwright. He sheared the sheep that browsed on the hillsides covered with blossoming dogwood. The family carded, spun and wove the wool into warm clothing and household necessities. And at the close of the long weary day of labor that extended far into the night, there went up from hallowed hearthstones many fervent prayers from true and noble hearts." (p. 87).
One of Edward Sylvanus Mauney's deep interests was collecting Indian artifacts and making visits to the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina where he became good friends to Chief Carl Standing Deer. The rumor went about the county that Ed Mauney was also interested in "a beautiful Indian princess" at Cherokee. Was she the daughter of Chief Standing Deer? Whether this was fact or rumor remains to be discovered.

It is known that many of Ed Mauney's trips "up North Carolina way" were to see Blanche Elizabeth Henson (1909-1993) who lived at the Martin’s Creek Community of Cherokee, NC. Perhaps she was the "Indian Princess" he went to see. Her parents were Edgar W. and Bertha Jane Hatchett Henson. Her father, like Ed's, was a rural mail carrier and was postmaster at Culberson, NC, where the post office was a part of his general merchandise store there. The beautiful Blanche Elizabeth could weave, make crafts, and was a noted gardener. She attended the Bachman School and the Lees McRae School in Banner Elk, NC. The couple married October 18, 1941, and he brought her home to Blairsville to live.

With her "green thumb," Blanche Henson Mauney had a yard and garden about their house that was second to none. She grew prize-winning Iris, among other noted flowers. Blanche Mauney operated a crafts store in Blairsville where she sold quilts she had pieced and quilted and linen placemats she had woven. Her store was also a consignment shop for other mountain crafts persons to display their wares and sell them.

Perhaps many of you remember Ed Mauney's pet bear, Bozo, who he got as a little cub from Charlie Turner "below the mountain" at Charlie's Corner (intersection of Highways 19/129). Ed would go on his rounds with his pet bear chained in the back seat of his convertible automobile.

Petting that bear was, for children, like going to the zoo to see a captured animal, except that Bozo was more people-friendly. His fiancée, Blanche Henson, did not share Ed's love for his pet bear. They postponed their marriage until after Bozo's death.

Both Ed and Blanche had an interest in antiques. Ed collected vintage guns, such as the Gillespie rifle. He had a collection of Stradivarius violins, and could, himself, play "a right mean fiddle." In Blanche's craft shop and in their home were excellent examples of antique furniture and glassware.

Highly intelligent, personable, and talented, this twentieth century citizen of Union County left his mark on historical documentation and the lives of people to whom his infections personality left great memories.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Feb. 1, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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