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Past Honorees Remembered –
By Tiffani Ireland – The Town of Johnston is currently seeking applications for another addition to the Cotton Exchange Mural.
To be considered, honorees must be deceased, must have resided in the town of Johnston for 10 years or more, and/or must have been a business owner in Edgefield County with service to the Johnston area for 20 years or more. Applications may be obtained from the Johnston Town Hall at 500 Mims Ave., Mon. – Fri., from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. and will be accepted through Friday, Feb. 22, at 4:00.
The Johnston Mural, which became known as the Peach Exchange, originated from a 1987 proposal to Johnston Town Council from Columbia painter, Ralph Waldrop. With Council’s approval, the following year Waldrop painted on the wall the likenesses of six distinguished Johnston citizens. They were Luke Aull, Roland Eidson, Bill Hall, Mimnaugh Amos, Forrest Edwards, and April Abel Long. Waldrop’s services were again employed in 2001 when the images of Handy Robinson, Lon Courtney, Sr., Sara Anderson, and Dr. Sam Garrison were added to the wall. The town hopes the painter will again be available to add the likeness of the newest, and yet to be decided, honoree.
Besides being a resident of Johnston, what does it take to be included on the Peach Exchange? Judging from the achievements of those currently represented, a whole host of talents and contributions are considered.
Aull was chosen because he was editor of The Ridge Citizen which served as the newspaper for the Johnston area for many years.
Eidson was Senior Vice President, Director, and Emeritus of Bankers 1st in Johnston.
Hall assisted with baseball in Johnston for many years until failing health impeded his involvement. He was also the first person to receive the Johnston Jaycee’s President’s Cup and was twice awarded the Sertoma Club’s Service to Mankind Award.
Amos began his professional service to Johnston in 1934 when he became embalmer and manager of Amos Funeral Home.
Edwards served as a banker at Banker’s 1st for 39 years and was Mayor of Johnston for 22 years.
Abel, who interestingly has been the only person to have still been living at the time they were placed on the mural, gained her place on the wall for being selected as 1987 Miss South Carolina USA.
Robinson was a builder for 65 years and a banker in the town for nearly 50 years.
The senior Courtney was a local businessman who opened Ridge Gas & Oil Co. as well as Courtney & Maxwell Real Estate. He also started a men’s club which ultimately became the Lions Club of Johnston.
Anderson was a licensed mid-wife who delivered over 1,100 babies in the Edgefield/Saluda areas as well as a few in Aiken County. Working under Drs. Sam Garrison and Richard Steadman, she kept records on all the babies she helped bring into the world. The aforementioned Dr. Garrison opened a medical practice in Johnston in 1946. His 50 years of medical service to the community earned him his spot on the mural.
To choose the latest honoree, the Johnston Town Council has appointed a selection committee that will assist in the task. The committee is comprised of Johnston residents Artie Emanuel, Darlene Smith, Kay Campbell, Willie Campbell, John Edwards, Jr., Annette Holloway, and Donna Livingston. They will meet Feb. 28 to review all applications.
They plan to narrow the field, and then present their recommendations to the Town Council at Council’s March meeting. The Johnston Town Council will then make the final selection as to which Johnston citizen will have the honor of being represented on the Peach Exchange.