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Byron Smith to portray George L. Summers at Nov. 3 Lantern Tour

By Walter Geiger At the first Greenwood Cemetery Lantern Tour two years ago, Byron Smith portrayed his grandfather Walter B. Smith. This year, Smith will portray his great-grandfather’s one-time partner in the buggy manufacturing business George L. Summers. Historic Summers Field, now Summers Field Park, is named for Summers who donated $500 for the grading and development of the old peat bog that for generations was home to a tannery. Summers (1837-1916) was a native of Virginia and served in the 17th Virginia Regiment in the Civil War. When the hostilities ended, Summers returned to Barnesville where he had spent some time before the war. In 1866, Summers entered into a partnership with Smith and they developed the business of manufacturing the Barnesville buggy, known for quality and durability. In 1878, Summers split with Smith and opened Summers-Murphey Buggy Company with Capt. E.J. Murphey. The firm thrived until its factory was destroyed by fire in 1885. Murphey left the business so Summers and his son, Charles O. Summers, reorganized as Summers Buggy Company and thrived, producing 6500 buggies per year in the fine new brick facility. The Lantern tours are set for 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Nov. 3 at Greenwood Cemetery where Smith and Summers are interred. Advance tickets are $25 and available at the chamber of commerce office. On the day of the tours, tickets will be $30. Participants will meet at the depot for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before being transported via golf cart to the cemetery. Descendant Glenn Collier will portray Jena Cuthbert (J.C.) Collier, a wealthy planter. Susan Walter will portray her grandmother, Evelyn Collier Cason. Monica Walters will bring Augusta Lambdin to life. Capt. Dan Rainey will play Col. J.J. Rogers and Al Medcalf of the SCV will hold forth in the Confederate portion of the cemetery and honor Dr. J.H. Connally. Stafford King Gudenrath of Macon, a direct descendant, will portray Sarah Ann Blalock Stafford, wife of J.W. Stafford. For more information, contact the chamber office at 770-358-5884.

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