MONROE — The name of Jim Daws Road will remain after the Development Authority of Walton County decided not to proceed with a suggested change.
Shane Short, the authority’s executive director, suggested changing the name to honor Minerva Beauty, which is located at the intersection of Jim Daws Road and U.S. 78 on the east side of Monroe.
But the proposal died for lack of a motion at a recent meeting of the authority, Short said.
Daws has been in the news recently after a podcast, “In the Red Clay,” about the Dixie Mafia that ran roughshod over northeast Georgia in the 1960s and ’70s. Daws owned a grocery store in Monroe that sold sugar for use by moonshiners and went missing days before he was expected to testify in a federal trial.
However, prompted by questions from “Red Clay” host Sean Kipe, Sheriff Joe Chapman contacted Billy Stonewall “Stoney” Birt, son of the late legendary Dixie Mafia member Billy Sunday Birt.
Stoney Birt said his father killed Daws in November 1971, but not because he was about to flip. It was because Daws allegedly beat his wife, Ruth Chancey, who with her son, Harold, was in the Dixie Mafia.
Daws was found in the Mulberry River in Barrow County, about a month after he went missing.
Short said he wasn’t aware of the history of Daws when he suggested the name change.
“I thought that … would be nice to have it named after one of our companies since it runs alongside our industrial park, just like Unisia Drive was named after Unisia Corp., now known as Hitachi,” he said.
Short said board members didn’t want to “change history,” and he wasn’t upset with them for that.
“It was my own naivety,” he said. “It really had nothing to do with Jim Daws — purely coincidental about the most recent story about him.”
Short said he’s been “fascinated” by the podcast, which debuted in late August. The fifth episode of 12 was released Tuesday.
“I’m learning more about our history and the interesting characters involved,” he said.