As reported 25 years ago in the pages of The Columbia News and The Martinez-Evans Times, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1981:
New probate judge
The newly elected politicians and a large crowd of well-wishers gathered at the courthouse on Jan. 2 for the swearing-in of office-holders.
Superior Court Judge William M. Fleming administered the oath of office to Pat Hardaway, new probate judge of Columbia County. Hardaway was presented a gavel by attorney Jim Blanchard Jr.
Hardaway then swore in Donald D. Thornhill as superintendent of Columbia County schools.
Next to take the oath were three men who have been sworn in for many terms in their elected positions. Hardaway swore in G.B. "Jake" Pollard Jr. as clerk of superior court, Pierce A. Morris as tax commissioner and Tommy King as coroner.
Newly elected justices of the peace Jean Ann LeVallee and Lee Morris were then sworn in.
Last to repeat the oath were four members of the board of commissioners: Charles Allen Jr., Al Dempsey, Lynn J. Norris Jr. and A.R. (Ted) Lane.
New Columbia County Sheriff Tom Whitfield was sworn in Dec. 29 by then-Probate Judge Kathryn Morris, who retired on Dec. 31 after 44 years in that position.
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