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Article About 126718C Benjamin Whittington Robertson



126718C Benjamin Whittington Robertson

SIX N.A. BOYS IN 1898 BUILT LINE FOR TELEGRAPHING

Gazette Hails "Many Pleasant Evenings" As Bank Cashier Instructs Youths In Mysteries of Dot-Dash System; Three of Original Now Living

"Several of our boys have erected a nice telegraph line to be used in learning the business of telegraphing. The line runs from Tom Coker's place a mile out of town to S. D. Owen's residence on Residence street and is nearly two miles long. The following young men will have offices on the same: Egbert Coker, Ben Robertson, Bobbie Smallwood, Guy Pannell, Guy Robbins and Nat Owen. It is ready for use and will afford the boys many a pleasant evening besides learning them a trade. We wish you all sorts of success, boys."

--Gazette, March 4, 1898.

Only three of those six young men are living today -- R. L. Smallwood, president of the Bank of Commerce; Ben Robertson, connected with the Southern Railway at Memphis; and Col. Nat Owen, president of Gulf Coast Military Academy at Gulfport.

Egbert Coker, the father of Thomas and Catherine Coker, is also survived by his wife, Mrs. Alma Coker; Guy Pannell was the brother of Mrs. Herbert Rogers; and Guy Robbins is survived by his wife, Mrs. Belle Robbins, longtime postmistress of Sanatorium and now living in Brookhaven, and by his sister and brother, Miss Maude Robbins and Maurice Robbins, both of New Albany.

G. P. McCorkle, cashier of the Bank of New Albany, helped the boys buy equipment. He is a sound technician in Los Angeles now, and will likely return for the Centennial.

"Ben Robertson was the best operator on the line," says R. L. Smallwood. "He really knew how."

New Albany (Mississippi) Gazette, Thursday, July 11, 1940.

Last updated: Monday, September 27, 2004

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