By Dianne Yost and Patsy Harris
A reunion of Madisonian staff recently gathered at the home of a local priest who now resides in the historic building that once housed the prized local newspaper. The group enjoyed at tour of the renovated building and shared stories from days past.
The Rev. Dann Brown, Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Madison, Ga., hosted the reunion of current and former staff of the Madisonian newspaper, a weekly that merged with the Morgan County Citizen in 2001. Founded in 1842, The Madisonian name continues to grace the Citizen’s masthead.
In the 1960s the newspaper’s owners, the late Graham and Adelaide Ponder, purchased the historic downtown building from Mrs. Sue Reid Manley and moved the Madisonian name, staff and equipment there from its home of many years just next door. According to Morgan County records, the building was built in 1880.
The Ponders blasted old paint off the exterior and cleaned the brick, replaced old windows, and re-styled the interior two floors to house the weekly newspaper and printing service for more than 30 years.
At the turn of the millennium, new owners renovated the Madisonian building, this time into living and museum space. Just last year, a subsequent resident/owner deeded the historic building to the Episcopal Church of the Advent, and today it serves as church gathering space and the home of the church’s rector.
Guests attending the event at the home of Father Dann Brown were:
* Patsy Harris and her husband Dudney. Patsy was a writer and copy editor for the Madisonian in the 1990s.
* Philip Lee Williams and his wife Linda. Williams is a renowned Georgia novelist, poet and essayist, who started his writing career at the Madisonian, beginning as a part time employee when he was 15 in high school and later as a reporter. In 2010, Williams was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, alongside such luminaries as Flannery O’Connor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Dickey and fellow University of Georgia graduate Natasha Trethewey.
* Monaray Powers was hired at the Madisonian in 1959, worked for the Ponders and subsequent owners through its sale, and continues her newspaper career with the Morgan County Citizen/Madisonian as manager of the legals department.
*Patrick Yost is editor and publisher of the Morgan County Citizen/Madisonian. He began his work at the Madisonian in 1987 as managing editor. His wife Dianne Yost is currently marketing director and a columnist.
*Billy and Peggy Arthur, worked at the Madisonian for decades. Billy began as a pressman and was later in charge of layout and design. Peggy was a typesetter and helped with layout.
Anne Ponder Young was a managing editor of the Madisonian. Her parents owned and operated the Madisonian from 1957 until 1996. Her late mother, Adelaide Ponder, served as editor and her late father, Graham Ponder, served as publisher.