The 103rd convention of the National Watermelon Association was held in late February
in Incline Village, Nevada …. On the northern
shores of Lake Tahoe. There were a number of
award winners and honorees that we would like
to share with you. Amongst them are:
Class II – Future Watermelon Farm Leaders
Jesse Wiggins, an inaugural member of the
FWFL program, inducted three young men into
Class II. The program is designed to attract,
encourage and recognize young watermelon
farmers and packers that are interested in
becoming more involved with the Association,
and becoming leaders of the Association in the
future. The Class II inductees are:
• Rob Glover of Bailey, North Carolina
• Garrett Howell of Goldsboro, North Carolina
• Rob Gibson of Vero Beach, Florida
Annual Watermelon Raffle
Congratulations go to our Grand Prize winner of
$3,000. Young Mr. Jacob Eubanks of Eubanks
Produce in Lucedale, Mississippi.
John Gee, the
Chapter Membership award to the
Georgia Chapter’s Samantha
Kilgore. The GWA
achieved a membership increase in
excess of 38% in
The boys and
grand-boys of Melon 1 were honored
for their support of
the annual watermelon auction with
four crystal tractor
trailers. John, Jeff,
Ben and Nate.
Thank you very
supplier with the
the auction, from
Ray Vincent, the
NWA 1st Vice-President,
Promotion of the
to the Georgia
Chapter and their
Capt. E. Bell was the co-owner of Wade and
Bell, a 200-acre watermelon growing and
distributing company from Trenton, Florida.
David Brown of Shackelford & Brown of
Albany, Georgia was the first president of the
National Melon Distributors Association.
Mercer Brown of Johnson and Brown Company was just 20 years old when the National
Melon Distributors Association was formed.
B.J. Christman was the general manager of
the Georgia Fruit Exchange, with prior experience with the Atchison, Topeka and Sante
Fe Railroad, and the Armour Company.
Ike Cohn, a Russian immigrant, was a well-known broker from Chicago that purchased
car-loads of produce from growers all over
the United States.
S.G. Gay of Trenton, Florida was a watermelon grower and distributor. He had over
100 acres in the north Florida area.
D.H. Gilbert was a seed grower from
Monticello, Florida. He prided himself in
being “the only man in America who devotes
his whole time to the exclusive growing of
The National Watermelon Association Hall of Fame is established to recognize the past leaders and
pioneers who made major contributions to the Association in key aspects of the business.
The inductees of Class II hold a special place in our Association. They are the original 18 men that
came together in 1914 to create the Melon Distributors Association, the original name of the NWA.
Fuller Groover of the Fuller Groover Company in
Quitman, Georgia was said to be one of the pioneer
melon growers in the country.
W.A. Gulledge, the owner operator of Gulledge
Brothers of Verbena, Alabama, was a watermelon
V.L. Hansen was the representative of the Chicago
watermelon distributing company, B.D. Anguish (a
company owned by famed Dr. Anguish, the Watermelon Expert).
R.L. Higgs of Fitzgerald, Georgia was a watermelon
O.K. Jelks owned O.K. Jelks and Son, and shipped
over 400 cars of melons each year. Mr. Jelks was well
known to the trade.
Frank H. Johnson of Hilton, New York was
a prominent buyer of watermelon. When the
association was formed, he had been selling
watermelon for 17 years.
E.H. Kalmon was the general manager of
the Albany Produce Company in Albany,
Georgia. He also served as an agent for
Swift and Co.
James Leonard was a pivotal member in the
Melon Distributors Association. He founded
one of the largest watermelon distributing
firms, Leonard, Crosset and Riley. “He has
done more for the watermelon industry and
this association than all of the rest of us put
together.” President L.E. Holloway -
April 20, 1934
Henry Mabbett was a partner in the fairly
new partnership firm of Whipple and Mabbett in Quitman, Georgia.
J.A. Murrell Company was a produce distributor from McIntosh, Florida.
R.H. Pennington was one of the most devoted members of the National Melon Distributors Association. He owned the Pennington-Geissler Company of Evansville, Indiana.
We are truly honored to place the names
of our forefathers into the records of the
National Watermelon Association.