The Story Behind the "Chickasaw" Collection

Ted Perez and John Hayes, the latter then Chairman and Chief Engineer of the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation and later Alabama State Senator, first met at the Mobile estate of oil baron Jacob P. Ufferton in the Spring of 1939. The two men, guests at the d'butante ball of Ufferton's youngest Bailey, were immediately bound by their shared interests in the human condition, disdain for the sons and daughters of Owen, Engels and Marx and an appreciation for all things distilled. Amongst their sharp, at times combative, yet always amicable discourse was the concept of revitalizing the town of Chickasaw, Alabama where Hayes' company would soon take residence producing ships for the United States Navy.

Challenge accepted, Ted assumed, or more correctly, invented the role of Special Executive Officer for Civic Planning in the interest of reconstituting a town long left dormant.

With the blessing and backing of GSC Ted would go on to remodel the southern hamlet introducing services and a modest civic infrastructure between the summers of 1940 and '41 as waves of migrating workers filled the streets and shipyards.

"We are here first and foremost to launch the finest ships science and sweat can muster for Edison and our country. Beyond that, as man produces at his peak when rested and rounded, ours will be a town anchored by industry and colored with by a broad swath of simple, thoughtful pleasantries and diversions."

The General's Surplus 2011 T-Shirt Collection pays homage to a handful of the businesses Ted personally backed in Chickasaw. Perhaps tragically recluse in later years, 1940 saw Ted as a man of the people who never shied from the charge nor celebration. By August of 1941 the town plan had been fully realized, save the overly-ambitious and mostly unnecessary, certainly for a town of Chickasaw's breadth, trolley car route, and Ted made his way west.

back to collection