Kirby: Old club figures in Augusta’s Irish lore

St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.

– Adrienne Cook

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, a grand time for those of us who share a greenish tint to our hemoglobin.

My friend Mike Rucker is the grand marshal of this year’s annual parade, and I hope he gets the weather he deserves. I will be thinking about him and my Irish ancestors as I continue to research the curious Emmett Club, an Irish society of many years past.

I discovered the Emmett Club in The Chronicle archives, which mentioned Emmett Street off Walton Way was named for this Irish association once popular hereabouts. Such associations honored Irish nationalist Robert Emmet (one T), who was executed by the British for treason in 1803.

He became a legend for the speech he made in the courtroom. He really ticked off the British, too, because they also arrested his housekeeper, a woman named Anne Devlin, and tortured her to get information. She kept her mouth shut.

Maybe the wives of Emmett Club members had a women’s auxillary to honor Anne. We don’t hear as much because they were good at keeping secrets. I’m also not sure why the Emmett Clubs spelled “Emmett” with two T’s.

Emmett Clubs became so popular in the 1920s that the Georgia Legislature started one. According to a 1921 Chronicle news story, it was made up of six legislators who all had the first name of “Emmett,” including one from Burke County.

Club meetings consisted of the six lawmakers getting into a touring car furnished by a club member. They would proceed to drive around Atlanta until they got tired, then go to dinner.

 

GREATEST SPORTSMAN: If today is March 17, it is also the birthdate of Bobby Jones.

I had always heard that Jones was connected to Augusta not only through his golf club and its popular tournament, but through marriage. So I looked and found this 1924 wedding announcement in The Chronicle.

“Augusta friends will be interested in the announcement in the Atlanta paper of Sunday of the engagement of Miss Mary Rice Malone and Mr. Robert Tyre Jones Jr., the marriage to take place in June. Miss Malone is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Norton Malone and granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Rice, of this city.”

This grandaughter of Augustans met the young golfer when he was a freshman at Georgia Tech in 1919, and they remained married until his death in 1971. She died in 1975.

 

TODAY’S JOKE: Shared by a Hibernian who likes parades – Grand Marshal Mike Rucker.

How many Irishmen does it take to change a light bulb ?

Six. One to change it and five to sing about how grand the old bulb was.

 

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344​ or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.

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