from The Albany Herald
Mathews Funeral Home
George Dennis Moreland Jr.
ALBANY — The graveside funeral service of George Dennis Moreland, Jr., 81, of 115 Coney Lake Road, Leesburg, who died Friday, January 4, 2008 at his son’s home will be conducted today (Sunday, January 6, 2008) at 2:00 p.m. at Leesburg Cemetery. The Rev. Bobby Moye will officiate.
Born to George D. and Nora Davis Moreland, Sr., he was a native and life long resident of Lee Co., GA, and was a graduate of Lee County High School. Mr. Moreland was a retired farmer and owner/operator of Coney Lake Plantation.
He had owned and managed Moreland’s Grocery, Big Mo’s Barbecue and won the Pig Jig in Vienna, GA, in 1986. Mr. Moreland was inducted into the Field Trial Hall of Fame in 1985 and was a member of The First Baptist Church of Leesburg. His door was always opened for anyone who was in need.
Survivors include a son, George Dennis (Bubba) Moreland, III and his wife, Sarah; a daughter Brenda (Boo) Moreland, all of Leesburg, GA; a sister, Ida Murphy of Albany, GA; and two granddaughters, Courtney Moreland and Haily Moreland, both of Leesburg, GA.
Those desiring may make contributions to Albany Community Hospice, 2332 Lake Park Dr./ P.O. Box 1828, Albany, GA, 31702.
excerpt from 2005 Lee County trial report written by Tom Word in The American Field
“From the white folks cemetery [in Leesburg] to the Flint River—bof sides de road,” said Doc, legendary muleskinner and hunting guest entertainer for the Morelands, when asked about the landholdings of the first George D. Moreland, father of Big George and grandfather of Bubba. When the boll weevil hit Georgia in ’22, he worked as overseer of the lands where Big George’s legendary establishment, Coney Lake Plantation, now sits. The weevil wiped out the then owners, and at the bankers’ invitation, George Moreland the First rented the property, plowing around the buildings for fire prevention being the first year’s only rent. He introduced peanuts to the country, and soon prospered, supplying black tenant farmers with mules, seed, and fertilizer for a share of the crop. Other farmers chose to work for him by the day. He expanded his holdings as chance permitted. He was good working men and managing a farming business. After World War Two, he bought acreage north of the highway that had been set aside by the federal government for relocation of people displaced by wartime airfield development, but who never came to use it—this for $15.80 per acre, Big George remembers. “He paid for it the first year from timber sales,” says Mr. George with a smile.
Mr. George saw the efficiency of Ford tractors, which had easily mounted rear cultivators. But George the First insisted on John Deere’s with hard-to-install front-mounted cultivators, believing a man couldn’t cultivate properly if he couldn’t see the work ahead of him. Finally, Fords held sway in the Moreland operations. At one time, there were forty mule-farming families, but the ratio fell as tractors were introduced. When George the First died, his properties were divided among his children. Some acres have been sold, but the siblings and their descendants still hold much adjoining acreage.
In addition to his legendary status as a dog man, Big George is a world-class cook. His breakfasts and suppers for all during the Lee County trial included fried mullet and catfish, pork chops, venison, roasted chicken, and, perhaps most unusual, fried young guinea. A passing vehicle killed five of Mr. George’s flock, and Judge Bobby Roberts picked up the road kill, which Luke Weaver dressed and Mr. George presented for breakfast. They were declared delicious. Mr. George is assisted in his cooking by daughter Brenda, or “Boo,” who also lovingly attends to Mr. George’s personal needs. In the last year, Mr. George has undergone successful hip replacement surgery and had two bouts of pneumonia, but he is undaunted, with a love of life and the company of friends that inspires.
courtesy of Tom Word
excerpt from 2007 Lee County trial report written by Tom Word in The American Field
The friendship of George Moreland, Jr., and John S. Gates began in 1943. Big
George and his father were working a large crew threshing peanuts when Mr. Gates dropped by to inquire about renting bird-dog training privileges on Moreland lands. He offered 10¢ an acre. The Morelands would keep the hunting rights. The deal was made.
“I’d be supervising our help harvesting and hear them coming, whooping and hollering at the dogs running wild through the cover, John and two or three mounted helpers. I’d never seen a field trial, didn’t understand what they were up to. We had bird dogs for hunting, of course, but no field-trial dogs.
“We became friends, and I learned about field trials. The Dixie Puppy Classic was a big deal then, and before long I was starting puppies with it in mind. (Big George enjoyed considerable success at the Puppy Classic.
In the 1950s the Moreland tenants were working fifty mules and fourteen Ford tractors in peanuts, cotton and corn. The Gates and Moreland families remain close through a third generation. Bubba and Robin are like brothers, and their children call them “Uncle Robin” or “Uncle Bubba.”
John Thompson has been a patron of the Morelands and a volunteer helper in their hunting and dog-training operations for five decades. Like Big George, he has a marvelous memory. “In the 1960s and 70s, the bird population on Coney Lake was phenomenal,” John recalls. “It was nothing for a dog to have ten finds in an hour workout. The first year the Morelands leased hunting rights to Mr. Cousins, his parties harvested over 1,700 birds, and Mr. George and his crew probably took another 300 or so in training.”
For many years the Morelands leased quail-hunting rights to Mr. Winton Blount’s companies, and Mr. Blount and Big George enjoyed a special relationship. This led to the building of the magnificent hunting lodge at Coney Lake, currently operated by Eddie Scholar under the trade name Southern Tales Plantation.
courtesy of Tom Word
Mr George with Leon Covington
in both pictures Mr George on the left
picture on left with Dr. Nitchman and with John Criswell in picture on the right
pictures courtesy of John Criswell