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Johnny Vardeman: Candler School made memories from basketball in barnlike gym
Johnny Vardeman

Follow-up on Hall County’s Klondike, etc.:

Articles in this space recently have concerned the Bennett pioneer family, as well as the Tanners, for whom the old Tanner’s Mill on Tanner’s Mill Road in south Hall County was named. 

Mose Tanner, left, stands with his first wife Martha and an unidentified person in front of the Tanner homeplace in the Klondike/Candler area of south Hall County in a photo dated from 1911. - photo by For The Times
Joe Tanner, now of Greensboro, turns out to be connected to both Tanners and Bennetts. Nevil Bennett, whose claim to fame in Hall County history is he shot a deer on Gainesville’s square decades ago, had a daughter named Messina Jane Bennett Tanner. She was Joe Tanner’s great aunt, married to Joseph Henry Tanner, brother of Joe Tanner’s great-great-grandfather, Mose T. Tanner.

Joseph Henry Tanner was killed in the Civil War. Messina placed a marker for him at Hopewell Baptist Church, but he is buried at Cedar Creek, Fla., where he died in the war.

Hopewell Baptist is on Poplar Springs Road just off Candler Road, Ga. 60. Tanner’s Mill Road, Ga. 211, runs between Candler Road and Gainesville-Winder Highway, Ga., 53.

Bobby Jones, who lives in Gainesville now, grew up in Candler, a neighboring community to Klondike, home of the Tanners and their kin. He has especially fond memories of Candler School and its basketball teams, which won several championships. His brother Jerry, who was 6-feet-5, set a school record of 27 rebounds in a game. Ray Hooper was the coach.

The gymnasium was familiar to many school basketball players in the area for many played in the school’s tournaments. The gym wasn’t much by today’s modern palaces; it was more like a barn with limited seating. Some players joked when they dribbled the ball, it wouldn’t bounce back up from the floor. Nevertheless the quaint gymnasium had its charms and many fans who still cherish the memories they made there.

Bobby Jones remembers Candler School Principal S.S. Allen as a small man, stern and tough but fair. He was sharp at math and could stare a hole through you if you got out of line. He also admired teacher Dean Myers, also a Baptist preacher, who went on to become principal of River Bend School before being elected Hall County school superintendent.

Bobby lived near Candler School and in warm weather would attend barefooted. The janitor nicknamed him “Boll Weevil” for some reason he never knew. Those who live in that area would remember a hill approaching the communities being called “Tater Hill,” why he didn’t know.

A painting contractor, Bobby almost died after falling from a roof. Lying almost lifeless in the hospital, he said, “The Spirit him me in the head,” he immediately improved and recovered.

Candler School, which was on Ga. 60 south of Gainesville, isn’t to be confused with the former Candler Street Elementary School on, obviously, Candler Street off Green Street in Gainesville. Both got their names from Gov. A.D. Candler, who lived in Gainesville. 

This is Hall County’s 200th anniversary of its founding. Look for more local history in this column next week.

Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times whose column appears Sundays. He can be reached at 2183 Pine Tree Circle NE, Gainesville, GA 30501; e-mail.