Thursday, March 1, 2012

Obituary of Margaret Rhett Cuthbert Ezzell

Margaret C. Ezzell
Nashville, Tenn.
Margaret Cuthbert Ezzell, 79, formerly of Charleston, died Thursday, Feb. 17, in Nashville.  The funeral will be at 3 p.m. Satufday, March 5, in St. Philips' Episcopal Cemetery, according to Stuhr's Downtown Chapel.

Mrs. Ezzell was born in Charleston, a daughter of Charles P. Cuthbert and  Margaret Rhett Cuthbert.  She graduated from the College of Charleston.  She was a member of the Colonial Dames and the Junior League of Nashville. She was an Episcopalian.  She was the widow of John M. Ezzell.

Surviving are a son, James B. Ezzell of Nashville, a daughter, Margaret E. McClellan of St. Louis; a brother, Charles P. Cuthbert Jr. of Sumter, and four grandchildren.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Who was John Moran Ezzell?

"You are asking me about John Ezzell as an Old Sewanee Football Player?  Well, I would say that, pound for pound, and he only weighed 144, he was recognized as one of the finest and fiercest competitors Southern football has ever known."

This was how Fred Russell, the Nashville Banner's nationally-known sports writer, put it when we asked him about the character who today is the head of our Fortune Shoe Company, until recently known as Richland-Davidson Shoe Company.

John was a great end on some of the finest of the University of the South's teams in the fading 20's, and just before Sewanee dropped its big time football aspirations, never to go back to them on such a scale.  But for all of the 20th century Sewanee's fame was great and wide, and our John Ezzell wrote his own bright page in that history.  In 1928 a fine Vanderbilt team beat Sewanee 13-0, but the Nashville Banner sports-page files record that "the star offensive-defensive end of the game was a 144-pound Nashville boy named Ezzell, whose tousled blonde hair was seen in every play, making the kind of tackles that were impossible--unless of course you were playing for Sewanee and against Vanderbilt and your name was Ezzell.  "There has never been a finer symbol of courage and competitor-ship that represented Sewanee of that day, than John Ezzell," said Sportwriter Russell with a mixture of nostalgia and admiration.  

John brought these characteristics to General Shoe, all except the tousled blonde hair, which must have been lost irretrievably on those southern gridirons 30 years ago.  In all these years he has become one of our best-known and best-liked personalities, and by the testimony of top company executives is coming to be known as one of the best fashion authorities in the men's shoe industry.  He stepped right out of Sewanee's June 1931 graduating class into the Jarman Shoe Company's stock room.  By October he had become a correspondent in the Credit Department.  A year later Maxey Jarman sent John out on the road with the very first sample line of Fortune shoes, and for more than three years, he ploughed some mighty deep furrows in this business, up and down and across Georgia and South Carolina.

Then George Noland, wanting an assistant to himself as sales manager of Richland-Davidson, brought John in from the road to take that job.  But selling was really in his blood, and he was back in a Fortune territory from 1937-1942.  His experience broadened out with two following years as Supervisor of Customer Service.  "By that time," said Earle Bumpous, "I had made up my mind that John was the man we needed as Sales Manager of Richland-Davidson,"  John got the job in 1944, and now has had eleven years of outstanding work in heading up that division, just recently changed to Fortune Shoe Company.  He has consistently been among the leaders in all-round performance among the many competing sales divisions.

We visited around the building, asking stray questions about John.  Here are some of the things his employees, company associates and executive superiors say about him:  "has loyalty--to the extreme,...Never have seen a man thought as much of by all his accounts.  Bends over backwards to treat them his own. He's slow to criticize, quick to praise. ...He's especially liked by 'the little people.'  He's their friend."  Among other things, Matt Wigginton praised "his style sense as demonstrated by the group of Light Step shoes which he designed and the lead he has taken in pioneering the Italian influence in the volume price field; the regard in which he is held by his salesmen and by his customers."

John Moran Ezzell was born on October 28, 1909 at Newsom Station, Tenn., with a population of 36 colored and four white:  John, his siter, mother and faterh.  His very first job was in Newsom Station--water boy in a stone quarry--totin' drinking water to dark-complected workmen.  He attended Buffalo school there, then switched to Tarbox in Nashville, and later to Wallace University School, where his football talents were first revealed, as a prelude to those four years at Sewanee.

John is and always will be a Sewanee man.  He raises money for the University with deep devotion, goes back to alumni reunions, follows the football team even with its program of sanity and de-emphasis.  He also raises money and works in other ways for St. Bartholomew's Episcopal church, Nashville's newest, in Lealands, where he is a charter member and a top man.  At Sewanee he was a big Phi Delta Theta man, and an O.D.K. honor man.  At Bluegrass he is a pretty fair golfer; on lake or stream he is a good fisherman, and in a wet and breezing blind he's never happier than when banging away at ducks.

When he was traveling in South Carolina, John made the sale of his life.  He sold Margaret "Peg" Rhett Cuthbert of Charleston on the idea of becoming his wife.  They were married in 1938 (I believe he meant to say 1939) and now have tall, blonde daughter, Peggy who was captain of Julia Green grade school's basketball team last winter, and eight year old Jimmy, the spitten image and model of his father.  

Margaret Cuthbert Ezzell and Margaret Rhett Ezzell, Mother and Daughter

A year or two after her dazzling wedding to John Moran Ezzell, the couple were blessed with a daughter.  Named appropriately Margaret Rhett Ezzell.   At the birth of John and Margaret's (Peggy) son they named him after his grandfather James Benjamin Ezzell who had passed away in 1941.

Many people thought the B in James Ezzell's name stood for Battle and it is even what is carved on his tombstone but according to his death certificate his middle name was Benjamin, not Battle but that's another blog post entry on my to do list.

The pictures byline says they were visiting the home of John Ezzell's sister.  Before she was Mrs. Matthew Hughes Dobson Jr, John Ezzell's older sister was Sophia Eleanor Ezzell.  Known to succeeding generations of relatives as Aunt Sophie.  In many ways she was the inspiration for this blog.

After their wedding the Ezzell's lived in South Carolina but at some point it appears they moved to Nashville and lived there for quite a few years.

Margaret Rhett Ezzell
Yearbook Picture
Harpeth Hall

Margaret Rhett Ezzell attended and graduated from Harpeth Hall, a prestigious all girl college preparatory school located in Nashville Tennessee.  She was a member of the Angkor Club, a cheerleader, Club vice-President, Junior Classical League, French Club, Science Club, Student Council Representative, Sophomore and Senior Class Cheerleader. Her pet peeve was listed as summer romances.  Her future forecast was Official keeper of the "Sewanee Date Book".

Apparently the future forecast was incorrect as she attended Hollins College in Roanoke Virginia, another all girl school.

Like her mother before her, Margaret Rhett was presented into society at a Christmas Debutante Ball in Charleston South Carolina.  In addition, another young lady was presented, Miss Pamela Gunning Caples.  The Caples and Pringle families were old friends of the Ezzell's and Cuthberts so it was fitting that their daughters made their debut into society together.

The News and Courier
Dec 26, 1959
Miss Caples and Miss Ezzell Make Their Bows to Society Christmas Day
Two more of Charleston's debutantes made their bows to society here at a Christmas Day Ball held last night in the Gold Room of the Francis Marion Hotel.

Miss Pamela gunning Caples, a daughter of Mrs. John T. Welch Jr, of 29 Begare St., and Miss Margaret Rhett Ezzell, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Ezzell of Nashville, Tenn., were presented by their parents.

Receiving with their parents, the debutantes both wore the traditional white and each carried a bouquest of talisman roses.

Miss Caples wore a satin gown with Rhinestones and appliqued beads on the bodice and front panel.  Her full skirt was caught with a bow at the waistline.

Miss Ezzell's dress was of satin, appliqued with lace, and embroidered with sequins and seed pearls.

Mrs. Welch chose an aqua flowered Chinese silk brocade dress and wore a white orchid corsage.  Mrs. Ezzell wore a gold brocade gown and a similar corsage.

Arrangements, of magnolia leaves and gold Christmas balls were used as decoration for the event, carrying out the golden theme through the entire ballroom.  A large arrangement of talisman roses flanked by brass containers holding gold-colored leaves, decorated the mantel.

Miss Caples, a granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Ashmead F. Pringle and the late Col. and Mrs. William G. Caples, is a graduate of Ashley Hall and now attends Converse College, Spartanburg.

Miss Ezzell was graduated from Harpet Hall and is now attending Hollins College, Roanoke, VA.

Out of town guests included Miss Caples' uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. W. Benton Pipkin, and thier son Mr. Ashmead Pringle Pipkin, all of Reidsville, N.C.

Miss Caples and Miss Ezzell were also honored Christmas Eve with a reception given by Mr. and Mrs. John E.F. Maybank, 39 South Battery, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Latane Montague of Asheville, N.C. at the South Battery Address.

Today Mr. and Mrs. Richard Dabney Tucker, Jr., of 2 Water St. will be hosts at an oyster roast at their home from 5-7pm The party will honor Miss Anne Johnston Bailey, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Herndon Bailey.

At 8 p.m. a reception will be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. Trenholm Hopkins, 39 East Battery, honoring her daughter, Miss Mary Alston Osgood.

At 10 p.m. Miss Grayson Hanahan Carter will be formally presented to society by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hayward Carter of Millbrook Plantation at a dance at the Francis Marion Hotel.

Tomorrow Mrs. Marguerite Sinkler Valk will hold a reception at her home, 42 Meeting St, from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Honored guests will be Miss Joan Leonard Hitt, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Melvin Hitt Jr.; Miss Vida Barnwell Fitzsimons, a daughter of Mr and Mrs. Waveland Sinclair Fitzsimons Jr., and Miss Osgood.

At 8 p.m. tomorrow Mr. Charles Heyward Jervey, 7 King St. will be a host at a supper party at Old Twon Club for Miss FitzSimons and Miss Susan Blythe of Greenville.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

John Moran Ezzell and Margaret Rhett Cuthbert Wedding Event of 1939

The Ezzell's of Newsom Station Tennessee and the Cuthbert's of Charleston, South Carolina were well to do families.  The marriage of John and Margaret was a stellar event in the social season of 1939.  John is our first cousin once removed.

John Moran Ezzell
Junior year
Univ. of the South
John Moran Ezzell (1909-1988) was the youngest child and only son of Fannie Lemira Moran and James Benjamin Ezzell.   He attended The University of the South in Sewanee and graduated in 1931.

Margaret Rhett Cuthbert (1914-1994) was the daughter of Charles Pinckney Cuthbert and Margaret Butler Rhett of South Carolina. She is the great great grand daughter of Robert Barnwell Rhett "the Father of Secession".  Had he been more moderate in his politics he would probably have been selected as the President of the Confederate States of America rather than Jefferson Davis.

Here and Hear About
by Belle Meade
We extend our very best wishes to Peggy Rhett Cuthbert of Charleston, S.C., and our congratulations to John Ezzell, whose engagement is being announced today.  Peggy, who lives in a lovely old house on South Battery, is one of Charleston's most popular girls.  She is extremely pretty and charming, so much so, in fact we understand it was love at first sight with John.  She was in Nashville for a few days last summer, en route to the dances at Sewanee (you know The Mountain is John's happy hunting ground) and won many friends by her graciousness.  She was formally presented at the exclusive St. Celia Society ball in Charleston.

John, who has more friends than almost anybody we know, was one of Sewanee's star football players.  He served as captain of the tigers, was head proctor at the university, a top honor, and was prominent in all college activities.  The wedding will be a June event with many friends and relatives trekking to Charleston for the ceremony.  John's lovely little niece, Lillian Dobson, we understand is to be the youngest member of the bridal party.  John left Nashville last Saturday and rode all night to Keep a date Sunday morning with Peggy in Charleston, when they announced their engagement to a group of close friends at a breakfast.

Several pictures of Margaret in sports outfits, posed in some of Charleston's most beautiful gardens, appeared last year in one of the leading fashion magazines for women.

Mrs. John Moran Ezzell is the former Miss Margaret Rhett Cuthbert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pinckney Cuthbert, of Charleston, S.C. The wedding of social note took place in Charleston at Saint Philip's Episcopal Church on Saturday evening, September 30.  Mr. Ezzell, formerly of Nashville, son of Mr. and Mrs. James B. Ezzell (Fannie Moran), and his bride will live in columbia, S.C., upon their return from their wedding trip.

Ezzell-Cuthbert Attendants Are Announced
Attendants in the wedding of Miss Margaret Rhett Cuthbert, of this city, and Mr John Moran Ezzell, of Nashville, Tenn., which will take place at 8 o'clock Saturday evening, September 30, in St. Philip's Protestant Episcopal church, have been announced.

Miss Cuthbert will have as her matron of honor, Mrs. William G. Caples, III, of Chigao, the former Miss Julie Pringle, of Charleston.  The bridesmaids will include Miss Alice Cuthbert, of Summerville; Mrs. Jack T. Walker, the former Miss Margaret Ficken, and the Misses Mary Deas Gadsden, Augusta McDowell and Nancy Kollock, all of Charleston, and Miss Frances Lamar, of Newport, R.I.

Mr. Ezzell's best man will be Mr. Matthew Dobson, Jr., of Nashville.  The ushers will be Mr. William C. Schoolfield of Bridgeport, Conn.; Mr. John Bruton, of New York city, Mr. Charles P. Cuthbert, Jr., of Charleston, brother of the bride; Mr. Charles Poellnitz, of Florence Ala; Mr. John Ball, of Nashville, and Mr. Herndon Fair, of Columbia.

The ceremony will be followed by a reception at the Battery Park Inn.  After a wedding the couple will reside in Columbia.

Mrs. John Moran Ezzell, whose marriage was brilliantly solemnized at Saint Phillip's Church in Charleston, S.C., on September 29, was formerly Miss Margaret Rhett Cuthbert and is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pinckney Cuthbert of Charleston.  Mr. Ezzell, who is a son of Mr. and Mrs. James B. Ezzell of this city, and his bride will make their home in Columbia, S.C., following a stay in Havana, Cuba.

Miss Cuthbert and Mr. Ezzell To Wed Tonight
The wedding of Miss Margaret Rhett Cuthbert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pinckney Cuthbert, of 28 South Battery and Mr. John Moran Ezzell, of Nashville, Tenn, will take place at 8 o'clock this evening in St. Philip's Protestant Episcopal church.

The Rev. Albert Rhett Stuart, rector of St. Michael's Protestant Episcopal church, will perform the ceremony.  Miss Dorothy Bellwinkle, organist, will play the wedding music.  A reception at the Battery Park Inn will follow the ceremony.

Miss Cuthbert's attendants will include Mrs. William Geff Caples, III, of Chicago, as matron of honor, and the Misses Alice Cuthbert, of Summerville; Miss Frances Lamar, of Newport, R.I. and the Misses Mary Deas Gadsden, Augusta McDowell and Nancy Kollock and Mrs. Jack T. Walker, all of Charleston, as bridesmaids.

Mr. Matthew H. Dobson, Jr., of Nashville, will be Mr. Ezzell's best man.  Serving as ushers will be Messrs. William C. Schoolfield, of Bridgeport, Conn; John Bruton, of New York City; Herndon Fair and Wilis C. Evans of Columbia; John Ball, of Nashvill,e and Charles P. Cuthbert, Jr., brother of the bride, of Charleston.

Mr and Mrs. Walker entertained at 4:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon with a cocktail party at thier home, 10 Ladson Street, for members of the bridal party and out of town guests.

Following the wedding rehearsal last evening Mrs. Caples entertained at the home of her parents Mr. and Mrs. Ashmead Forrester Pringle, 29 Legare street in honor of the bridal party and out of town guests.  Mrs. Caples is the former Miss Julie Pringle.

Miss Gadsden will entertain for the members of the bridal party with a cocktail party at 12:30 o'clock this afternoon at her home, 7 Atlantic street and the bridal party also will be guests at a luncheon to be given by Miss McDowell.

Out of town guests expected for the wedding include Mr. and Mrs. James B. Ezzell, parents of the bridegroom, and Mrs. Matthew H. Dobson Jr. (the grooms sister) of Nashville; Mr. and Mrs. Woodward Williams, Mr and Mrs. John DuBose, Mr. John Dubose, Jr. Mr. H.C. Nucols, Miss Mary Louise James, Mr and Mrs. Alderman Duncan, Mr and Mrs. W.H. Tuller, Miss Katherine Griffin, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Barron, Jr., Miss Frances McColl and Dr. Richard Josey, all of Columbia; Mr. Fain Craven, of Charlotte, and Mr and Mrs. Hubert Owens, of Athens Georgia.