Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
BUCCANEER CLUB 'JUST HAPPENED'
0 Comments

BUCCANEER CLUB 'JUST HAPPENED'

  • Updated
  • 0

On Sept. 29, approximately 30 men and their guests will gather at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Greensboro for a reunion.

They won't be wearing tuxedos, however.The men are former members of the Buccaneer Club.

Most graduated from Greensboro High School (now Grimsley High) between 1930 and 1941 when the war and other events caused the club's demise.

In the late 1930s, the Greensboro Daily News ``Society Page' editors asked David W. Morrah Jr. to write a history of the club.

``One day we just happened,' Morrah wrote.

``We didn't have a name at first, nor any plans, ambitions or excuses for being. It was on Feb. 18, 1931, that the original three decided to form a club. Joe Gawthrop, Alvin Bayer and Jack Ogburn, were there at the creation ...'

Morrah was to become a writer and cartoonist for the Greensboro Daily News and the Saturday Evening Post. Gawthrop is a retired vice president of Pilot Life Insurance Co. He is slated to be master of ceremonies at the reunion. Bayer now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., and is in the real estate business. Ogburn still lives in Greensboro and is retired from the real estate and motel business.

According to Morrah, the founding members of the Buccaneers held their organizational meeting the next night, or Feb. 19, 1931. Morrah was at that meeting and therefore was listed as a charter member.

Morrah said the founding members underwent a ``solemn initiation, including peppered marshmallows, candles, creaking stairs, mumbo-jumbo and an impressive oath, composed for the moment and forgotten.'

``Gawthrop was chairman (first names were considered too informal) as that first meeting got under way and we entered into the important task of designating ourselves charter members,' Morrah wrote. ``Jack Ogburn was the first president.'

From the time the club was formed, it had several different names. Some of the names lasted only a few days. One of the names that was discarded after a few days was simply ``The Club.'

Some other names were ``The Gilded Galleon,' ``The Carolinians,' and ``Skippers.'

Finally, on Dec. 9, 1931, the club chose its permanent name, ``The Buccaneer Club.'

The club grew rapidly and over the years, had a total of several hundred members. Most are still alive. Many are still residents of the Piedmont, but others are scattered all over the country.

The Buccaneer's club rooms were in downtown Greensboro: first on Commerce Place, next to what was then the Southern Life and Trust Building on Greene Street, then to larger quarters above the Younts-DeBoe clothing store on Jefferson Square and finally to the Watson Building just down the street on South Elm Street.

``In all the time we were in existence we never had any problem with rowdiness or lawlessness,' Morrah says.

Most of the young men in the club went on to become successful business and professional people such as airlines pilots, business owners, governmental employees, doctors and lawyers.

The club celebrated all holidays with dances and had many other dances during the year. Each time, the newspaper noted the event in its society pages or women's pages.

``Two dances and a banquet seem ample for one day's celebration and the Buccaneer Club found that their holiday arrangements met with general improvement,' the newspaper wrote during one Christmas season. ``One of the largest crowds in the long history of the club attended the annual tea dance in the afternoon yesterday at the O. Henry Hotel and the evening crowd at Sedgefield Manor found Jere King's musical offerings no less pleasing ...'

Even when the Buccaneers made a trip to the beach, the newspaper reported it.

``The entire Buccaneer Club, 23 strong, is planning to take off Sunday morning bright and early for a week but will eschew doing their own cooking, rather than be bothered with a cook and the details of provender,' the newspaper said.

``The Buccaneers, for several years a leading contributor to social life in Greensboro's younger set, are planning a dance for Wednesday, September 5, at Sedgefield Country Club. It will be a coming-home-from-the-beach dance, but also, and more important, a farewell dance for several members who are soon to leave for college ...'

``They had just about every big band you can think of to play at one time or the other,' says Morrah, who still lives in Greensboro.

When Tommy Dorsey came to play for the club's ``Autumn Swing Dance,' apparently in the late 1930s, admission was only $2 per person (including taxes) and $2.35 if bought at the door.

A dollar was worth a lot more in those days. Admission to the Sept. 29 cocktail and dinner reunion will be $25 per person.

Another thing will be different about the reunion. Every time the newspaper ran a photograph of a Buccaneer social function, the Buccaneers and their young women were in formal dress.

But the Buccaneers won't be in tuxedos at the reunion.

``We took a poll and decided not to,' says Gawthrop. ``That shows, I suppose, that you get wiser as you get older.'

O. Frank York of Greensboro and D. L. Wyant of Spartanburg are co-chairmen for the reunion. Joe Westbrook is treasurer. For further information call York at 373-8406 or 299-9448, Westbrook at 854-0752, or Dave Morrah at 272-8918.

0 Comments

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Dakota Stevens, 27, was found unresponsive but breathing inside a holding cell about 4:15 p.m. on Monday, the Guilford County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. Detention and medical staff started life-saving measures and EMS arrived about 4:25 p.m. to take Stevens to High Point Medical Center. He was later transferred to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem where he died about 4:10 a.m. Tuesday, the sheriff's office said.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News