You may remember hearing about our ongoing project to map the hometowns of Thomasville’s winter resort vacationers. A volunteer has recently finished transcribing a hotel ledger from The Willows, a boarding house and banquet hall, which includes guest and visitor names, cities and states of origin, and the location they were staying in town.
Some entries were clear and easy to read, and others’ penmanship left much to be desired. All of the information has been compiled on a spreadsheet that Dhruket Patel is working to add to a Google Earth project.
This visual map will help us to note the patterns of visitation amongst a sample of Resort Era visitors. Additional visitors can be included in the spreadsheet in the future as we continue to add visitor information from local newspapers.
Eventually, it is our hope to conduct additional research on these visitors to learn more about their lives and what may have brought them to Thomasville just as we did with the mystery visitors profiled on the next page.
Recently, the volunteer transcribing the ledger encountered a couple of entries that were very difficult to decipher. We called in reinforcements in the form of our social media followers. We posted the tricky names to our Instagram page and within a day or so, had correct identifications for both names. They were H. H. Kohlsaat and M. Ohl. Here’s a little of what we’ve been able to learn about them:
Herman Henry Kohlsaat (1853-1924) was an Illinois business man and newspaper publisher from Chicago, Illinois. He became involved in the newspaper business in the mid-1890s and at the time of his visit to Thomasville, was the editor and publisher of the CHICAGO EVENING POST and TIMES HERALD.
He visited Thomasville in March 1895 and listed himself in the guest register of The Willows Boarding House & Banquet Hall as staying at the Hanna House, likely referring to the home on Dawson Street. He was in town as a part of future president McKinley’s campaign strategy session.
Kohlsaat was a friend and confidant of 5 sitting US Presidents including McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, and Harding. He helped draft the gold standard policy of the Republican Party’s 1896 national convention.
Maude Annulet Andrews Ohl (1862-1943) was a Georgia writer, journalist, and world traveler. Maude was the first female reporter for the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. She was born in Taliaferro County, GA and raised in Washington, GA.
She published poetry as a child and entered the larger field in 1889 when letters she sent from New York City to the Constitution were published. She married Josiah Kingsley Ohl, whom she met at the CONSTITUTION, in 1889. She was the society editor, and he was the city editor. She visited Thomasville in March 1895 with her husband who signed the register separately.
She served as a “lady manager” of the Cotton States & International Exposition in 1896 and president of the press committee. She contributed to periodicals in London and Paris and co-founded the Georgia Women’s Press Club in 1891.
Published in The Hourglass, Summer 2023