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Luther Cleveland Chastain

Picture taken around 1909.

25 years old.





Luther Cleveland Chastain was born 21 October 1884 to Sarah Webb Aldredge and James Jackson Chastain, in Boston, Georgia. He was a Primitive Baptist. He married Mary Effie Harrell in Boston on 4 July 1915. During his life, he owned Chastain Bicycle Company around 1920, Chastain Transfer Lines around 1932 and Southern Sand Company around 1935. He died on 24 December 1940 of a heart attack. He is buried on Street #7 in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Thomasville, Georgia.

L. C. was raised in Thomas County, Georgia. Little is known about that period of his life, except one incident, a bit humorous, but typical of a creative little boy. “Teve” and his family were moving into a ‘new’ house, one that had wood floors with cracks between the boards. Little Teve used his imagination and managed to even make the cracks useful, as he later boasted of being the FIRST person to use the cracks --- as a place to relieve his bladder!

L. C. attended school as a child for only two or three years, then had to drop out in order to help work on the farm and support the family. Times were hard, and the family large (12 children). Nevertheless, education and learning were important to L. C., so when he was around 21 years old, the determined young man moved in with his uncle, John Aldredge in Grady County, just so he could attend the grammar school nearby (Chason School). He lived there, working to pay for his room and board, and added about two semesters to his formal education. He had a passion for learning that did not end with his school days. After he married, L. C. bought a speller and a dictionary, then every single night, he went through both, trying to learn all the words and meaning he could. Next he bought a set of “How to. . . . “ books, in order to improve himself. He read every one of them. Then came a complete set of encyclopedias. That was only the beginning of L.C.’s library, as in spite of depression and little money, L. C. loved to read, so he bought books, books and more books. Not only did he buy them, but he read every single book he ever bought, including some of the works of the great philosophers. Being such a well-read man, it was inevitable that others would seek him out for advice, even many who were




far better educated than he formally. Many people would listen with awe and respect when L. C. Chastain spoke.

L. C. was also a fearless, courageous man, standing up always for what he believed was right and fair, no matter what. Once he was called on to use his big white truck and winch to pull a large truck out of the ditch that was lying on its side. He was told that the man had already called every wrecker in town, and that they could not pull the truck out, as their equipment was too small. L. C. accommodated the man. Then, “Shorty” Arnold, the man in charge of licenses, made a court case against him for doing business without a license. The judge asked Mr. Chastain what he had to say for himself. L. C. replied that it was his practice to help anyone in need, and then added, ‘even you, Shorty Arnold, if you were in the ditch, I would pull you out.” The judge smiled and said “Case dismissed”.

L.C. was a small, quiet man, weighing only 135 pounds. He stood up even to police officers at times, and talked to them as if they were children. When confronted by anyone, he would stand tall and look him/her in his/her eyes, daring him/her to do anything, and always won the battle.

An example of this was one day, when L.C. had taken his wife and a few of the children to the river. He was looking for the best place to pump sand. There was an unfriendly man, a Mr. Hurst, that owned land near the river. When Mr. Hurst saw the Chastains near his property, he must have gotten upset, as he marched right up to them, his shotgun barrel aimed right at L.C. The children were so frightened they did not move. Mary Effie started crying. Mr. Hurst bellowed, “Teve Chastain! Don’t you dare take one step onto my property or I’ll blow your damn brains out!” L.C. walked quietly closer to Mr. Hurst, looking him square in the eye, and simply stated, “You S-O-B, you ain’t got the guts.” Mr. Hurst put his gun down, turned away and walked off.

L.C. knew a widow lady that had several small children. She had no money, no job. For as long as the lady needed it, L.C. had his wife take a basket of groceries to her every week and would accept no money for it.



Once, one of his brother’s sons was hitting the booze too heavily. The man’s wife wanted to have him committed to a confined institution. L.C. posted bond and testified to stop this from happening.

He was a family man and felt very strongly about all of his relatives. He was loyal and would defend his kin at any time. It seemed as if all his relatives, while visiting in Thomasville, would make the house of Mr. and Mrs. L.C. Chastain the meeting place. There were often relatives sleeping all over the floor and in cars, as they seemed to prefer those sleeping arrangements at L.C.’s house, than a bed at someone else’s house. In addition, his mother often came and stayed with them for months at a time, also his sisters and their children as well. Several of them lived with him for a few years and were always welcome in his home.

L.C. always talked about ‘fairplay’, honesty and walking upright. He had a very good stoic philosophy, wanting only for his family, nothing for himself.

As a father, he was strict in some ways, as he had strong ideas about what was right and what was wrong and insisted his children do as he felt was right. He was a father who listened to his children, as each one was important to him.

L.C. was also a dreamer. He wrote several poems and even received $50 for one that was commercially used.

One of his favorite quotations was, “Only a fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” He was a deeply religious man. He felt that no one could look at even a small blade of grass and NOT believe in God.

Even though the races were segregated quite distinctly during his time, L.C. realized that Negroes were also people made by God. He often helped Negroes he knew who were in need. He kept many of these things he did to himself, rather than boasting and wanting praise for doing simply what he saw as the right thing to do.

Probably the most tragic day of L.C.’s life was 3 December, 1932 when he accidentally backed his truck over his little son, Teddy, crushing his chest so that



that night in the hospital, little Teddy died. All who knew L.C. realized that for the rest of his life, he carried the burden of that tragic accident on his shoulders . Many times, when he thought no one was around, he was overheard quietly sobbing, still mourning the loss of a son he loved dearly.

Compiled from information written or told to me by his children, Billy Chastain, Pat Chastain and Eileen Dupree, and his wife, Mary Effie Chastain.





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Saturday Afternoon, February 13, 1932 

Thomasville Times Enterprise    Page 7

Above is a photo of Thomasville’s best known transfer operator - Mr. Luther Cleveland Chastain, known to his friends as “L.C.” He is a native of Thomas County, and a member of one of the oldest and best known families in this section. He was born within five miles of Thomasville on Oct. 21, 1884, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Chastain, and remained on the farm with his parents until he was about 18 or 19 years of age when he decided to leave the old homestead and go out into the world on his own account.
For a number of years he was engaged in various kinds of work in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, and in 1911 moved back to Thomas County, locating at Boston where he opened a bicycle sales and repair business which he operated for several years. In 1918 he moved to Thomasville and in a short time afterward in the following year he opened a bicycle sales and repair business in this city, and continues to operate this business today, even though he gives most of his time to the conduct of the affairs of the Chastain Transfer Line which he organized in 1921, just eleven years ago.
The Chastain Transfer Line has grown from year to year since its organization having started off with just one small truck, and having had others added from time to time each succeeding year until today this concern operates an entire fleet of trucks, which range in sizes all the way from small ½ ton capacity to 3 ½ and upward, with accessory equipment such as giant ten ton wenches on a big White truck, and monster extension trailers such as the United States Government used during the war days of 1918.
It is the slogan of his company that “We haul anything, anywhere, anytime” and when one has knowledge of the equipment operated by this company, it is easily understood how this is so practical. In fact trucks operated by this company go into practically all the southern states, including Texas to the west and northward into the Carolinas, and Tennessee and of course into Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. An illustration of some of the heavy hauling that is done by the Chastain Transfer Line is found in the removal of a big boiler weighing 44,000 pounds which was transported at a single load from Whigham to Pelham, Ga., and the big Thomasville water tank which was erected two years ago, with a total weight of approximately 75 tons, many pieces which weighed 10 and 12,000 pounds, was handled without a moment’s delay by this concern, under Mr. Chastain’s personal supervision.
Mr. Chastain just recently has opened another transfer line in Tallahassee, Fla., and is giving the Florida Capital City the same high class service as he has in the City of Roses for so many years.
A special feature of his equipment is enclosed moving vans in which entire households of furniture are moved from one place to another at times across several states, and because of his special facilities for packing furniture, not even a scratch can be found when the shipment is unpacked.
Mr. Chastain is ably assisted in the conduct of his business by his wife who has charge of the book-keeping department and the general supervision of the bicycle and transfer business during his absence. Before her marriage to Mr. Chastain on July 4, 1915, she was Miss Effie Harrell of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Chastain have six children, four boys and two girls, and when not in school the oldest boys are “on the job” at the shop, where they are learning the bicycle and transfer business from the ground up.
Mr. Chastain is a conscientious worker and in his dealings with his customers and the public at large has been found to be fair and considerate, and because of the close study he has made of his business and the large outlay of the capital invested in equipment, he can always be depended upon to carry out his contract when moving or hauling work of any kind is entrusted to his company. He has numbers of friends in all walks of life, and because of his own genial disposition his success in the business world has been rapid.








L.C. Chastain Dies Suddenly At His Home Here Today
Funeral Services to Be Held Tomorrow at the Primitive Baptist Church

Friends were shocked today to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of Mr. Luther C. Chastain at his home at 202 Reid Street this morning at about nine o’clock. His sudden passing was a source of great sorrow to many relatives and friends throughout the county and came so unexpectedly as to prove a severe blow for the gladsome Christmas season.
The funeral services will be held at the Primitive Baptist Church at the four o’clock on the afternoon of December 26th, with the Rev Bruce Hall and the Rev. T. F. Callaway officiating. Interment will be in Laurel Hill cemetery. Pallbearers will be Messrs. Russell Dickey, Jack Chastain, Robert Chastain, Mack Chastain, Jimmie Chastain and Paul Chastain. Honorary pallbearers are Messrs. P.C. Searcy, Young Vann, E.C. Cochran, Bob. Chastain, John Dixon, and J. W. Blanton.
The deceased was a native of Thomas county, born October 21st 1884, son of James and Sarah Aldredge Chastain. After attending county schools until a young man he was married to Miss Mary E. Harrell on July 4th, 1915. She survives together with four sons, B.W., L.C. Jr., P.M. and Konrad Chastain and two daughters, Mrs. Bob Dupree and Miss Oresa Chastain of Thomasville. There is one brother T.H. Chastain of Plant City, Fla., and four sisters, Mrs. J. M. Robison, Gurley Ala., Mrs. J. M. Barrow, Mrs. J. W. Cooley of LaFayette, Ga. and Mrs. G.A. Cooley of this city.
For his entire lifetime Mr. Chastain has been a resident of this city and county. He has been a most useful citizen, unassuming, energetic, civic minded and wholly reliable in everything that he pledged or at tempted to do. His character was such as to endear him to many people in all walks of life and to bring to him friends, confident of his virtues and faithful in fellowship. It is a sad blow to many to know that he has gone and particularly to those whom he served in various mercantile capacitates during his life here .
Funeral services will be held by Whiddon’s Funeral Home.