Ferrol Sams uncorks tales about Fayette

Tue, 05/15/2007 - 5:07pm
By: Carolyn Cary

[Editor’s note: Dr. Ferrol Sams Jr. has written a roman á clef, a novel in which real people appear with made-up names. Fayette County historian Carolyn Cary knows many of the characters by their real names, but judiciously avoids revealing the secrets in her review of Sams’ book below. The Fayetteville physician’s first novel — 1982’s “Run with the Horsemen,” published when he was 60 — was a regional bestseller and won several awards.]

By Ferrol Sams
To be published June, 2007
Hardback 309 Pages
Mercer University Press
Price $25.00

Once again, our local humorist, storyteller, and recently retired physician, Ferrol Sams, 84, has told the story of his beloved county.

It is told in the voice of a lawyer, who was reared and worked until retirement in the county of his birth.

The books is subtitled, “The Journal of James Aloysius Holcombe, Jr. for Ephraim Holcombe Mookinfoos.”

Lawyer Aloysius relates the rising and falling fortunes of the town’s former and present citizens, beginning with those returning from the War Between the States. It introduces various men and women who come from poor backgrounds, backgrounds similar to Aloysius and those who pretty much were townspeople most of their life.

It includes shrewd politicians, not very nice politicians, honest business store owners, shrewd store owners, the local mortician who always went above and beyond, men who marry women who do not show their manipulative characteristics until after the “I do” and bankers who are determined to remain the only bank in town, no matter what.

It tells of the hard times after Reconstruction, those returning from World War I, surviving during the Depression of the 1930s, World War II veterans, and what happens to the 190 square miles of the county when pilots seek land away from the airport and their first wife, when businesses discover a brand new pre-planned community, complete with train tracks, and an industrial park all rolled into one.

He relates with pride the peaceful integration of the schools and the love of the families for each other, both black and white, through the years.

Aloysius chronicles how the native-born cope with the changes, and seeing the population increase 1,100 percent in the last 30 years. They are still active in the Kiwanis, the Rotary, etc., their churches, and looking out for those less fortunate.

As Aloysius frequently states, “this is a marvelous town, we sure tend to look after our own. If Geoffrey Chaucer had known these folks, “Canterbury Tales” might have been longer. And possibly even richer. What a town!”

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