Adams planted seed for 4-H

For­mer New­ton County su­per­in­ten­dent to be in­ducted into Ga. Agri­cul­tural Hall of Fame

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­news.com

A late New­ton County farmer, ed­u­ca­tor and founder of 4-H in Ge­or­gia will be in­ducted into the Ge­or­gia Agri­cul­tural Hall of Fame, and his descen­dants are elated that their fam­ily mem­ber will be re­mem­bered as part of agri­cul­tural his­tory.

The Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia an­nounced Tues­day that Ge­orge Claud Adams, known as Ge­or­gia’s fa­ther of 4-H, and Louis Boyd, a lead­ing an­i­mal sci­en­tist, would be in­ducted Sept. 20. The hall of fame was es­tab­lished in 1972 to rec­og­nize peo­ple who made ex­tra­or­di­nary con­tri­bu­tions to agri­cul­ture and agribusi­ness in the state, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the school.

Here in New­ton County, Nancy Adams Tiede, the great-grand­daugh­ter of Ge­orge Claud Adams, lives in the house her great-grand­fa­ther built in 1914. At the home, she holds tan­gi­ble mem­o­ries of the fam­ily’s trail­blazer, who passed away when she was just a girl. Her cousin, Hu­lon Adams, was raised by Claud and worked on his farm.

The two rel­a­tives looked through old pho­tos and talked about their great-grand­fa­ther’s legacy.

Tiede said Claud Adams, the 12th of 16 chil­dren, grew up work­ing on a farm with his fam­ily.

“He was a hum­ble man with very hum­ble be­gin­nings. He was raised on the farm and could not go to school be­cause only one per­son in the fam­ily of 16 could go to school; ev­ery­body else had to work the farm,” Tiede said.

She said as Claud Adams grew older, he worked the farm all day and con­tin­ued to study at night. His younger brother Homer, who at­tended Pe­abody Col­lege in Nashville, Tenn., taught Claud all he knew while they plowed the fields. It was said that Claud at­tended col­lege by proxy — given an hon­orary de­gree by Pe­abody Col­lege, Tiede said.

“He re­ally was fas­ci­nated by ed­u­ca­tion. He made the supreme ef­fort to study at night af­ter he worked all day in the fields,” she said.

In 1886 Claud met Lil­lie Green, and mar­ried her in 1887. The cou­ple had seven chil­dren, Henry Gary Adams; Frances Kate Adams Moors; Mar­garet Louise Adams; Wil­liam Cleve­land Adams; Charles New­ton Adams; John Green Adams; and Sarah El­iz­a­beth Adams Lovvorn.

Ac­cord­ing to Hu­lon Adams and Tiede, Claud Adams loved the new­est tech­nol­ogy and wanted to find more tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances in agri­cul­ture as well as teach oth­ers about what he learned.

“He was a hard-worker. When I got off the school bus, he al- ways had some­thing for me to do,” Hu­lon Adams said. “He was con­tin­u­ously ask­ing ques­tions or ask­ing you how to spell a word or give you arith­metic prob­lems. … He taught me more than I ever learned in school.”

Claud Adams or­ga­nized the

Boy’s Corn Clubs in New­ton County in 1904, said to be the pre­de­ces­sors of Ge­or­gia’s 4-H club; and later, in 1913, formed the Girl’s Tomato Can­ning Club. Tiede said both clubs were formed to help teach chil­dren about agri­cul­tural and their crops.

In Oc­to­ber 1905, the first Corn Show in Ge­or­gia was held at the New­ton County Court­house, with 20 ears of corn pro­duced by stu­dents in each ex­hibit. In 1906, the first club show at the Mu­nic­i­pal Au­di­to­rium was held in At­lanta, Tiede said.

“The boys would get to­gether their corn and they would bring ex­am­ples of what they had grown and then they would dis­play them,” Tiede said.

“What hap­pened was they started dis­play­ing them lo­cally … well, no­body pays at­ten­tion to any­thing lo­cally,” she said. “He had some con­tacts with the state … [and] they

Ge­orge Claud Adams with his wife, Lil­lie Green Adams, and chil­dren, Henry Gary Adams, Frances Kate Adams Moors; Mar­garet Louise Adams; Wil­liam Cleve­land Adams; Charles New­ton Adams; John Green Adams; and Sarah El­iz­a­beth Adams Lovvorn. were look­ing for a big­ger place to have their corn ex­hibit and the state said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come on up here? So they went to At­lanta, and, of course, all of a sud­den they had a huge au­di­ence of peo­ple to see what they were do­ing.”

“The other states that at­tended that started say­ing, ‘Hey, this is a great idea,’ and they took it to the other states and even­tu­ally they said, ‘You know, we need a national or­ga­ni­za­tion, and from that came the 4-H Club.”

Tiede ex­plained great-grand­fa­ther’s

that method her of “learn­ing by do­ing” caught on quickly with ed­u­ca­tors, and they sought him out to ex­plain his “new and ef­fec­tive” teach­ing method. As a re­sult, agri­cul­tural clubs were man­dated as the way to teach agri­cul­ture in Ge­or­gia.

As an ed­u­ca­tor, Adams taught at schools and was elected to the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion in 1912. He also served as New­ton County’s school su­per­in­ten­dent, elected in 1902 and in 1914. He served un­til 1924 and con­tin­ued his work with 4-H clubs, Tiede said. Ge­orge Claud Adams died in 1949 at the age of 81.

“I think it’s some­thing that should have been done a long time ago,” Hu­lon Adams said.

“It’s a great honor, you know,” his great-grand­daugh­ter Tiede said. “We are very ap­pre­cia­tive of the fact that what he did has been rec­og­nized, which is not an easy thing to have peo­ple way down the road—60, 80,100 years later, think that what you did was wor­thy enough to be in the hall of fame. So we con­sider it a great honor.”

Danielle Everidge /The Cov­ing­ton News

Hu­lon Adams and Nancy Adams Tiede hold a pic­ture of their great-grand­fa­ther, Ge­orge Claud Adams, as they stand in front of the house he built in 1914.

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