Aiken Standard, 27 Jun 1934; page 8; William A. Giles and Samuel Giles, Checker players!!
AIKEN IN THE EIGHTIES By Janxa H. Hard, 1405" Beech St, Birmingham, Ala. Th« Journal and Review is c*r- Uinly a fine advertising medium. In the iwue of the-12th instant, .1 had in it a small advertisement a«k- <ni for information in rearard to a certain habit of snake* about which I had hwd but of which I wanted confirmation by eye witnetnes. The day after the receipt of my copy of the Journal and Review I rtceirvd two letters one from Mr. Wetter (We») Kearden, of G,ran- Itevill* and the other from Mr. John B. Gow, Route 6, of Aiken, both of which WBA exactly what t wanted. I knew that if T could gel them to •-tell-it-j T cotjd #ely on JUknn County folks to give mu the facts. People In and. from that county seem to I am going to «sk you to publish these letters later on for they form a valuable contribution U> natural history, and are very interesting, "but Today 1 aai Ruing to tell the story of one of Aikcn County's Fa- mous Checker Players, who wns none other than Squire William A. Gil** who in the eighties successfully defended the till* of the Champion Checker Player of Aikcn County •fainift all comers, no matter from what part of the country they came. 1 have already Riven some illustra- trationti in my letters as to why the Squire was worthy to be called an extraordinary man but I am indebted to hi* soff W. A. Giles, of Granitc- villt for reminding me of some of "his exploits in the line referred to and quc:c from a letter received some weeks ago. ,"Squire Giles was one of the best checker players the South ever produced and only an occasional frame was ever lo.it by him. In all his life he was never beaten a majority of frames. He started to play the game in his younger days in the town of Lowndesville, Abbeville County, where he taught, school for many years. By the way Lowndesville produced quite a number of good checker players among them Hop Baker, J. B, LcRoy and others whose names I do not recall. After Squire Giles moved to Graftitcville in 1874 he continued to play all comers for several year? and under his tutelage many fine players were developed. Among them were Sam Giles who n-ext to squire was perhaps the best: John Murphy was another good one FO was Will Edwarfls. In his latter years Squire Giles suffered with severe headache? and was in very poor health, so he gave up playing the game except on rare occasions. .Many people came from other states to try their mettle with him but he would generally tell them that he had about quit the game, but that he had a little nephew Sam Giles . (Sam weighed nearly 400 pounds) who wa» a pretty good player and if they would play Sam and beat him then he would take them on otherwise it was no u§« a* he could, beat Sam every game. They were always accommodated by Sam who ax a rule won very cas- i»jr. | There wait a man who lived in Graniteville for many years, a retired superintendent of the Granite- villf Mill, Mr. George Kelly who also was a very-large- man. H e boarded at the Grariitovillo Hotel which under the management of Mrs. Nancy E. S?nn had a reputation far and wide as an eating place. - —Mr. Kelly, of cotir«M> came in eon- tnct with all transients who stopped at the Hotel nnd on one occasion a man by the name of Phronsbergcr, (I guess that is the correct spelling) came in on the evening train. After supper he and Mr. Kelly got into a conversation with each other and the game of checkers was mentioned. Mr. Phronabcrger said that he was very fond of the game but that he could not find a player good "enough to interest him. Mr. Kelly immediately began to plan a game between him and the Squire but he knew the Squiro would not play unless he wan weighed into it, so he wrote him a note and asked him to cotnc to the hotel on an important matter of business. Of course the Squire not knowing what was wanted came up there. After he arrived Mr. Kelly managed to get the two started to playing. This was about 8 or 8:30 in the evening. They played until 5:30 next morning and when they stopped Squire Giles was 15 games ahead. Squire himself said afterwards that Mr, Phronaberger was the best player he had ever met in hi? life. In 1-888. «t the Augusta Exposition 'they had an Autometon called Ajeeh which played all comers either checkers or chess Squire -Giles was one of the- few that beat it. This is just another illustration of the fact that you can't go ahead of an Afken County man. The Squire when ho lived in Lowndesville, South Carolina was a fine shot and many a squirrel fel! ht-fore his srun, ami many were the fish he caught in Rocky River and later on in the lakes and ponds around Granitevillo., T . \vondo-r if the patienro and ' ^lersert-ance rr- quired In make a good hunter and nnclor, has anything to <io with the patience required of a checkor Squire was one of the brained player or if it was just because the ir.cn who ever lived in Aiken <V.;;n- tv."