Law Day was celebrated Tuesday in Long County with the unveiling of five portraits that will hang next to that of former State Court Judge Richard Phillips.
Former State Court judges Melville Price and H.M. Hodges and sitting State Court Judge Jeffery Arnold had their portraits revealed to a crowd of more than 100 people in the upstairs courtroom. Also, former sheriffs W.M. Jones and L.G. Mitcham II had their portraits unveiled.
Ludowici resident Frank McClelland Jr. assisted Long County Superior Court clerk Sherry Long with the unveiling of the portraits for Price and Jones. McClelland, the great-grandson of Price and grandson of Jones, tearfully said his great-grandfather was Ludowici’s first city-court judge, a president of the bar association, and a 50-year member in the Masonic Lodge of Ludowici. He said that in addition to these honors, he also worked in Long, McIntosh and Liberty counties, serving as a judge for 46 years.
McClelland said his grandfather was the third sheriff of Long County, serving for 24 years from 1940-64. He said that his tenure as sheriff is the second longest in the county, behind only the late Cecil Nobles.
Tattnall County Judge Hugh McCullough assisted Long in the unveiling of the portrait of Hodges. McCullough, who is Hodges’ grandson, said his grandfather was born in the Rye Patch community of Long County, served in World War I and was a school teacher and school superintendent before he sought his law degree. He said Hodges passed the bar and became an attorney, but still served as a school superintendent. McCullough said his grandfather first was elected judge in 1943 and was re-elected five times, serving until his death in 1967.
L.G. Mitcham III assisted Long in the unveiling of the portrait of his father. He said that his father served in law enforcement in many different areas, including as a military-police officer and a motorcycle patrolman, and became the first Ludowici police chief in 1962, remaining in this capacity until he died in 1988.
Mitcham said his father loved Long County, and his primary concern was the safety of its citizens.
Arnold also spoke to the crowd, saying that unlike his fellow honorees he is “still kicking” and hoped to do so for a long time. He praised both Long and Craig Nobles, stating that to be a successful judge, one has to have a great sheriff and clerk of court and he has both.
Arnold said many women have positively impacted him. He recognized his wife for her support, longtime friend and mentor Charlotte Long, and new friend and confidant Ann Parker.
Arnold said that when the state-court judgeship became vacant, he pursued it because of the quality of people in Long County.
“Long County is a great place to be, and it is because of the people … it is a pleasure to be your judge,” Arnold said.
The Law Day/portrait memorial dedication was put together by Long, Nobles and Arnold.