GARLAND — For decades, many residents have made contributions to make a small town in southern Sampson County prosper.
Garland celebrated its 110th birthday during the month of February. It continued Tuesday during the Board of Commissioners meeting. Former town leader Anthony Lynn Johnson was honored with a plaque for his years of service to the town, which lasted about 22 years. He was a commissioner from 1989 through 2001 before becoming mayor. Johnson served in the leadership role for 12 years.
During the recognition, he spoke about his interactions with Milton Carter, who served as the 13th and 17th mayor of the town.
“A lot of knowledge was in that gentleman,” Johnson said. “S.J. Smith also, he’s been a lot of help to us. You learn a lot about the history of the town and there’s a lot of caring people. I just thank y’all very much for this opportunity.”
Current mayor Winifred Murphy expressed how it takes everyone working together to make the town successful.
“It takes a village,” she said. “From 1907 to 2017, a lot has transpired and a lot has happened. We had ups, we had downs and we had challenges. But it took all of us.”
Following Murphy’s remarks, Johnson encouraged residents to get involved with public service.
“Each and every one of you need to service at some point in time,” he said. “You get appreciate the job that they’re doing.”
Prior to the Tuesday meeting, residents visited town hall viewed pictures from the past and enjoyed cake. A birthday celebration was originally scheduled for Feb. 7 at Garland Baptist Church, but was cancelled because of the passing of Dorothy Cain Hart, a longtime educator in the community. During a previous meeting, town officials scheduled the event for the early February date, but the church was being used for Hart’s funeral services.
Town officials, including town clerk Pamela Cashwell and the deputy town clerk, are in the process of collecting Garland’s history to be published in a booklet. Some of that work involved going over recaps of meetings from the past.
“They’ve gone through all of the minute books and collected a lot of notes,” Murphy said. “It’s very interesting to read all the minutes and they just had a hoot laughing at all the things that happened.”
Since Feb. 8, 1907, the town went through many developments under the leadership of mayors, commissioners and residents. It’s named after Henry Garland, an assistant postmaster general of the United States. Many businesses played a major part in Garland’ economy. One of them includes the Garland Shirt Company, which now produces Brooks Brothers products.
Dr. Amos Neill Johnson and Henry Lee “Buddy” Treadwell, a duo of medical professionals, changed history by innovating the physician assistant concept. A mural was made in their honor.
A town timeline was compiled by Murphy which includes all the mayors. Jefferson Deems Johnson Sr. was the first and served for 12 years. In all, the town has had 26 mayors who have led the town since 1907. Murphy is the 27th. Another tidbit of information was having only 11 female commissioners in 11 decades.
“That’s something to be said considering that we have two on the board now,” Murphy said about Commissioners Judy Smith and Carolyn Melvin. “There were some decades where there were no female commissioners.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.