Aug. 1946: Newborn abandoned at courthouse; Jasper welcomes WWWB radio station


A Parrish woman had second thoughts after leaving her three-week-old daughter on a bench in the basement of the Walker County Courthouse in August 1946.

The child was discovered by building superintendent Monroe Williams, the courthouse janitor and Travis Johnson, whose presence at the courthouse was not explained by the Jasper Advertiser. 

Johnson noticed the baby and joked that it must have been abandoned. Williams went over to the child and found a note pinned to her clothing that asked "some good father" to take the baby to the welfare board.

There was also a letter explaining that the guardian of the child could not work and take care of the child.  

Dr. J.S. Camp of People's Hospital examined the baby and determined that it was "in reasonably good help."

The child's mother, Mrs. Cliffin Latham Jones, came to People's Hospital on Friday, Aug. 30 demanding to see her baby. She was quickly arrested by Jasper police after she identified herself to hospital staff. Her husband, Elzie, was also taken to jail after he followed his wife to the hospital.

Mrs. Jones plead guilty to abandoning a minor under age 18 before Judge T.K. Selman the day of her arrest. Mr. Jones plead guilty to a vagrancy charge.

"In an interview with the city judge, it was learned that the abandonment of the child by its mother had been a part of a ruse made by the woman to bring back her husband, from whom she had been estranged for some few weeks. 'Apparently it worked,' was the judge's comment," the Jasper Advertiser reported.

Selman agreed to give the baby back to the Joneses on the condition that they take good care of the child and return to court later to prove that they were complying with the order. 

In other news, Walter Will Bankhead's WWWB was almost ready to go on the air. 

"This is a definite milestone in the development of Jasper and Walker County, but it will require the 100 percent backing of Jasper and Walker County business firms to make it the success it should be," Bankhead told the Jasper Advertiser.

The station, which would operate from sunrise to midnight, was set to open in October. It studios would be in the Bankhead-Long building on Third Avenue. A 150-foot tower was under construction at the foot of Coke Oven Hill behind Stephens Garage. 

Huntsville native Jim Reese was named as station manager.

Also creating a buzz around town was the news that Mrs. George Lum of Jasper would be mentioned as the "Good Neighbor of the Day" on Tom Breneman's "Breakfast from Hollywood" radio broadcast.

The morning program aired from 1941 to 1948, the year of Breneman's death. 

Lum was chosen for the honor of being recognized on the broadcast after Nancy Gibson, a teenager, wrote a letter detailing her contributions to a local youth center.

"She spent weeks interesting people in the idea. She obtained furniture and a building. Games were donated and the young people pitched in and painted, remodeled, etc. Mrs. Lum was always working night and day, even though it was a strain on her health. She organized the mothers so as to have at least three chaperones a night. The youth center is a real asset to Jasper and all the credit belongs to Mrs. Lum," Gibson wrote.

When asked for her thoughts, Lum said she was especially honored that she had been nominated by one of the local youth.

"I think the children themselves deserve the award as much or more than I do," she said.