The Tennille Woman’s Club began as a sewing circle in 1914 but suspended activities during World War I to assist with the war effort on the home front. After branching out to civic involvement the club was incorporated in 1920. They were accepted into the state and national federations in 1921 after certifying that they had no political or sectarian entanglements. Women’s clubs became very active in the last decade of the 19th century and continued well into the 20th. The club is still active today and has shared the clubhouse with various groups over the last century.
Upon its dedication, the facility was christened the Washington County Memorial Clubhouse, in honor of local men who served in World War I.
National Register of Historic Places
Located in Rees Park, this monument honoring the soldiers of World War I was actually designed while its creator, Indiana native E. M. Viquesney, was living in Americus, though the first one to be manufactured was placed in Nashville, Georgia, prior to the erection of this one. The design was mass-produced in the 1920s and 1930s and is the most popular of its kind, with hundreds located in parks throughout the United States. It’s known as the Spirit of the American Doughboy.
Americus Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Burt Herman Browning, Veteran of World War I (1892-1951), Photographed in Fitzgerald, Georgia, 1939
In honor of all those serving today and in memory of those who have gone before us, I’m sharing a photograph of my great-grandfather, Burt Herman Browning, who as a veteran of the French theater in World War I represents the sacrifice of service. He was gassed with mustard gas and suffered shell shock in the trenches of Alsace and though he survived the war, he suffered the effects for the remainder of his life. A native of Scotland, Georgia, he mustered into the North Carolina infantry because he was working there at the outbreak of the Great War. Upon his return he married my great-grandmother (Sadie Harrell Browning) in Eastman, and after traveling around from one South Georgia town to another they finally settled in Fitzgerald in 1929. The damage of war made it difficult for him to farm or do manual labor and he was a grocer and small store owner as long as he was able to work. Much of his life in between working was spent shuffling back and forth between Fitzgerald and the Veterans Hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi. It made my great-grandmother’s life difficult, but since the government wouldn’t do its part for veterans, then as now, she worked in various textile mills around Fitzgerald and helped provide. That’s just what people did.
I don’t have a photograph of my great-grandfather in his uniform. I’m not sure if there ever was one or if his flashbacks motivated my great-grandmother to do away with them. But I’m lucky to have his dog tags.
“The Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue was designed by Ernest Moore Viquesney (who was living in Americus at the time) in 1921; the impetus for the monument was the death of about 25 Berrien County men during the collision of the Otranto with the Kashmir off the Isle of Islay in 1918. This was the first of hundreds of such memorials placed in public spaces around the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. An alternate nickname for the statue is “Iron Mike”.
This is located in Spring Hill Baptist Church Cemetery between Lax and Gladys.