and a nice surprise came in my email today. Family researchers on collateral lines to my Murray family are now participating in DNA research as well. One of them sent me this photo of a railway ticket that one of our ancestors bought in 1863. A cousin in Birmingham has the original. It is a ticket that James T Murray purchased in 1863. He died that same year. He died while serving as a the War Between the States as did his brother-in-law, John Lawrence, He was but 30 years old. He left a wife and five young children, among them a set of twins.
James T Murray was a son of John M Murray who fought with Andrew Jackson in the Creek War aka the War of 1812. John M Murray was my great-great-grandfather on my paternal side. James Thomas Murray served in the same Company during the War Between the States as did the husband of his sister Sarah Ann Rebecca Murray Lawrence (John Lawrence). John Lawrence died while being held prisoner of war at Rock Island Prison in Illinois. They both died in the year 1863 and both widows applied for and received Confederate Widow’s pensions. Both served as a Private in Co D of the 6th Regiment of Alabama Volunteers, CSA. James Thomas Murray’s wife was Jane Wood Dowdle. His children were: Sarah Elizabeth Murray Lawrence 1854 – 1935, John Robert Murray 1856 – 1938, Mary Jane Murray Wood 1860 – 1928 . William Moore Murray 1860-1904, and David Jefferson Murray 1862-1948. Mary Jane and William Moore Murray were the twins.
is the subject of this 1913 photograph.
near Margerum? At one time Riverton was a thriving little community and there was more to the neighboring communities like Margerum than exists today. This is a photo of what used to be the old Post Office but at the time of this photo it was used as an asphalt and limestone company.
U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 about James A Murray
This was the question on my mind for a number of decades. I knew some of my Vandiver family had been buried in Hood Cemetery and had spent considerable time researching for it. I had the information that included Hood Cemetery, near Warren. It was quite the goose chase.
I finally found it when I asked Aunt Gene Murray Slaton where her grandparents were buried. She was a little over ninety years of age at the time. She was alert and sassy. She still drove and she liked speed. I admired her. Aunt Gene died in April of 2008 at the age of 98.
Alrighty then, it was Hood Cemetery also known as Feathers Chapel Cemetery, near Warren. But this Warren was in Tennessee.
Tyree Glass and Mary Vandiver Glass moved to Somerville, Tennessee as he was a railroad man and he went there to work at the railway station or on the railroad trains. He had worked at the Tuscumbia railway station and then at the Decatur railway station before moving to Somerville to work on the railway station in Memphis. You just must read the article about Tyree Glass and his first wife; a link to this article is at the end of this writing. It is a fascinating read. Mary Vandiver was his second wife.
They took my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side with them. The family had lived at Stouts and Saints Crossroads in what was Franklin County but is now Colbert County for almost forever. Ryland O’Bannon Vandiver was known as Riley Vandiver and his name is sometimes given as Ryland Bannon Vandiver. Matilda Clementine Allen Vandiver was called Clemmie. Along with the Glasses came Riley and Clemmie Vandiver’s youngest daughter Walker Vandiver. They resided in Somerville, Fayette County, Tennessee, not far from Memphis where the railroad was located.
I had always felt a lonley twinge in my heart about Miss Walker Vandiver and Miss Evaline Casey. Walker Vandiver was on my paternal side of the family and Evaline Casey was on my maternal side. Neither ever married, and that would seem to make for a very lonely life. Neither have a marked grave. Neither have much to document that they ever lived and breathed the air God provides to everyone.
There were three daughters born to Riley and Clemmie Vandiver. There was daughter Mary E Vandiver who married Robert TYREE Glass as his second wife. There was daughter Minnie E Vandiver who married Sidney NEWT Hunter. [Newt Hunter's father Ambrose D Hunter served in Co K of the 35th Alabama Regiment during the War Between the States] And there was Lou Ella Vandiver, beautiful Lou Ella Vandiver who married Levi Murray. They were my paternal great-grandparents.
There is one photo of Evaline Casey and mother gave me a good description of her before she left us in 2007. But no one ever shared any information about Miss Walker Vandiver. Walker Riley Vandiver, the youngest daughter of Riley and Clemmie Vandiver lived with her parents all her life and removed to Somerville, Tennessee with them and her sister and brother-in-law. There she lived. There she died. It was just this day that I discovered a tidbit of information about her.
That information came in the form of her death certificate. A copy will follow below. It gave her whole name as Walker Riley Vandiver. It could be supposed that they gave her the Riley name after her father and that there were no sons, but there is no way to know where the Walker name originated. There was a mistake on the death certificate as it states that her mother was Matilda Hurst. Well, it is just a little mistaken since that was not her maiden name. Her maiden name was Matilda Clementine Allen. Her first marriage was to a Hurst. It has not been ascertained what his first name may have been as there are several who could fit in that spot as far as the little information goes to date. It is believed that he was killed during the War Between the States or died shortly after. She had two sons by the Hurst husband, John H Hurst and Arthur Hurst. Matilda or Clemmie as family called her, secondly married to Riley Vandiver.
Rest in peace Miss Walker Riley Vandiver. She died in Somerville, Tennessee and lies at rest at the head of the gravemarker for her parents at the Feathers Chapel Cemetery near Warren in Fayette County, Tennessee. The cemetery is just a pleasant drive from the Shoals area. There is not even a bump now where her body was placed. It is like she never existed. No pictures. No stories. No memories except for those like me who are willing to turn over heaven and earth to know their family. But, wait, the saddest part will come at the end with the photos of Riley and Clemmie Vandiver’s gravemarkers that are the only thing that would indicate where Miss Walker Riley Vandiver is buried.
Walker Vandiver was born in Franklin, now Colbert County, Alabama in the Saints Crossroads community in January of 1880. She moved with her parents and sister’s family to Somerville, Fayette County, Tennessee after 1910. She never married. She died 9 April 1946 in the community of Warren in Fayette County, Tennessee. She is buried on the ‘Vandiver” side of her parents’ gravemarker in Hood Cemetery in the Feathers Chapel community of Fayette County, Tennessee. She lies in an unmarked grave.The following photos are of the gravemarkers for Riley and Clemmie Vandiver at Feathers Chapel aka Hood Cemetery near Warren, Tennessee. The first time I visited there was with my aunt Alice Murray Thompson and Sue Murray Burden. The markers were in very bad shape at that time. The material they were made from was not granite as it may have been sold as, and was crumbling from the bottom in the elements. The second time I visited there and took these photos, the deterioration was even more concerning. Chunks of the gravemarkers were gone. And all those who would have cared and taken care of repair or replacement are gone now. Sad. Sigh.
Miss Walker Riley Vandiver who died 9 April 1946 is buried on this side of her parents’ gravemarker in an unmarked grave.
Related articles: A tragedy, a tragedy… http://rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/a-tragedy-a-tragedy/
were the kitchens of the plantations in our area of northern Alabama. Or at least the Pond Springs Plantation and the Cunningham Plantation seemed very far from each other in the horse and buggy days. One commonalty of the two plantation homes were their kitchens.
Pond Springs Plantation, also known as the Joseph Wheeler Home, Hillsboro, Lawrence County, Alabama
The three houses now on the property include a dogtrot or double log cabin possibly built before 1818, a somewhat later two-story Federal-style house (1830′s), and the main wing built around 1872.
This photograph by Alex Bush, 1935 shows the kitchen at Pond Springs located in Lawrence County, Alabama in the Wheeler Basin community was typical of the kitchens of many plantations. Pond Springs originally was owned by the Hickmans who apparently sold their interest in the plantation, known as Pond Spring, to Colonel Benjamin Sherrod, partner in the initial purchase of the property.
Colonel Sherrod was born in Halifax County, NC, migrated first to Georgia, then about 1818 settled in Alabama where he established several cotton plantations throughout the Tennessee River Valley. Sherrod’s own home, Cotton Garden, was located north of the nearby town of Courtland, and it appears that his eldest son, Felix, and his family lived at the Pond Spring place.
The owner of more than 300 slaves, Benjamin Sherrod was an early Alabama tycoon, with extensive and varied business interests. He also served as chief promoter and stockholder of the Tuscumbia, Courtland, and Decatur Railroad, one of the earliest west of the Appalachians.
The Pond Spring plantation passed from Sherrod’s son, Felix, to a grandson, also named Benjamin Sherrod. In 1859, Benjamin married Daniella Jones of nearby Caledonia plantation, and at the time of his premature death in 1861, the plantation became Daniella’s. Daniella (known as Ella) Jones Sherrod, born in 1841, was the daughter of Richard Harrison Jones and his wife, Lucy Early, who was the daughter of Georgia Governor Peter Early. The Jones family had moved from Georgia to Alabama in 1822.
After Benjamin Sherrod’s death, Daniella returned to her parents’ home. Caledonia, where in the fall of 1863, she met General Joseph Wheeler while he and his troops camped near the Jones home. They were married following the War in 1866. Wheeler moved his family to New Orleans after the War Between the States for four years, then relocated back at Pond Springs where they raised their family of children.
Cunningham Plantation, now known as Barton Hall, located near Cherokee in Colbert County, Alabama
This reproduction of a drawing by Harry J. Frahn, 1937 of the plan of the kitchen at the Cunningham Plantation in Colbert County, Alabama seems typical of plantation kitchens of that day.
These kitchens both, at Pond Springs and at the Cunningham Plantation, include a bedroom, presumably for the cook and her family. Thus confined, the cook was never relieved from work as she faced constant demands from the main house. John White, a former slave from Texas who lived in a kitchen- quarter, remembered that his proximity to the Big House made him a frequent target of his owner’s temper.
as is the case with this posting by a 1964 graduate of Colbert County High School, Wayne Austin. I just don’t understand why I remember all these people when I was so very young way back then.
Hatton Elementary School, 1957, (East), Colbert County Alabama
HATTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 1958 Graduation of the 6th Grade.
Hatton School was located about 10 miles east of Muscle Shoals Alabama on what was then known as Second Street. A new school building was built around 1970 after integration and the old rock building used for programs such as Head Start. [Wayne Austin 1/25/2004]
Hatton Elementery School 1958 Teachers and Administrators. East Colbert County Alabama.
Left to Right: Sue Striet, Principal from about 1924 to about 1961; Eileen Striet, Teacher of 1st & 2nd grades, Mrs. Simpson, Teacher of 3rd & 4th Grades, Mrs. Earl Gamble teacher of the 5th & 6th Grades. All of the above teachers were related except as far as I know Mrs. Simpson. She came from the nearby Shoals area in the mid 1950s to teach there. Mrs. Gamble and Eileen Striet were probably sisters and Sue was related someway from the previous generation probably the mother of Eileen and Sue. They lived in the Brick Presbyterian Church Community and are all buried there in the church yard cemetery today Feb 2004. In some sense these ladies were a part of the old south tradition that resulted from the large farmer land-owner culture. They were descendents or married into the descendents of the old Striet place and the historic Presbyterian Brick Church families of the area. The Striet place was an 1800s farm located one mile to the south of this school and has a unique Civil War history. Story goes that this large old antebellum home was spared by the federals because there was a star on the upper crest of the home. The federals used it as a hospital instead of burning it. The old home stood for many years being occupied by the ancestors of the Striet ladies above who preceded earlier families going back well into the early 1800s. It finally collapsed under its own weight from neglect and ruin beginning about 1955. Today parts of the home lie decaying on the ground.
Hatton Elementary Graduation from the 6th grade 1958. Wayne Austin is standing and reading the Gettysburg Address when he should have been quoting it. He (I) can well remember that I had it memorized. The paper was probably a reflection of shyness and a method of hiding from the crowd. Left to right: others; Jim Peden (back); Gloria Davenport (front); Sam Aday (back row), Billy Chaney (front); Wayne Austin (Standing); Joan Rutherford seated in front and partially blocked by Wayne; Truman Collier (front & deceased), Rodney Hamby (back & completely blocked behind Truman); Betty McGregor (front); Cathy Ledlow (just to the right behind Betty, deceased).
Mrs. Earl Gamble presenting award to Gloria Davenport; Left to Right: Sam Aday (back), Billy Chaney (front, deceased),
Joan (Rutherford) Bogle (front), ______(behind Joan), Truman Collier (front) Rodney Hamby(behind and just the left of Truman), Gloria (Davenport) Johnson (excepting award or grad. certificate) and Betty McGregor (seated), Mrs. Earl Gamble making presentation. Notice in these photos how attentive these little kids in the audience are whom I am unable to identify from the back of their heads. It is like some major event worthy of their full attention.
Left to right: Johnnie Rutledge, ______ girl unknown, Wayne Austin (front), Jim Peden (back), Gloria Davenport (front), Sam Aday (back), Billy Chaney (front), Joan Rutherford (front), Truman Collier (front), Rodney Hamby (behind Truman not visible), Betty McGregor (front), Cathy Ledlow (behind Betty, unseen). The kids in the audience no doubt contained the other five children of Paul & Ruby Lee (Barlar) Austin. I see the back of the head of Warren the eldest son. His ears stick out at the top and just to his right is probably the younger brother Ernie. One can only see part of he right side of his head. Notice the one little girl from behind who is sitting in a chair without the back support. She is making the best of it by wrapping her arm behind her back to serve as a cushion. This would have been photographed in May of 1958. Photography by the Mother or Dad of Gloria Davenport. The writer received these photos from Gloria via her son Ashley Johnson who digitized them for publication. [Wayne Austin 1/25/2004]
Joan (Rutherford) Bogle making her presentation. Believe the little girl in the back row of the audience who turned around is Amere Austin. If so the little blond gal to Amere’s left is Mary Austin her sister.
Rodney Hamby making presentation.
Betty McGregor making presentation.
Hatton School Building – photo graphically restored to look similar to the old school I remember in the 1950s.
Wayne Austin November 28, 2005.
In another posting, Wayne Austin, gives this report of neighbors near the homestead of his Austin family on Hatton School Road:
From Hatton School going south the first family were the Peden family about 500 yards down on the left coming south. He drove the Hatton School Bus for a number of years. If a student misbehaved in those days he would put them off the bus and let them walk home no matter how far. Yes, yours truly was one of the misbehaving trudgers one time, but only one time, because that is all it took.
Next and almost across the road was the farm of George Oldham. This was a home built probably in the 1890s. In a freak accident George’s wife was run over by a road grader. George was so despondent that he also ended his life leaving this house vacant and after many years fallen down.
Another 200 yards on the right was a frame house that sat next to the road where the son of George Oldham ,Virgil Oldham lived for a time until he built a new house in the Brick Church neighborhood. Hillard & Joyce Hatton lived there for a time early in their marriage.
Next house was a small frame house on the right back off the road. It was at one time an old sharecropper rental residence. The people that live there the longest were the Peden family possibly related to the first Peden family mentioned above. Jim the son was in fifth grade at Hatton Elementary School in 1956. Later Fitz Newson (black) the grandfather (I think) of the star Alabama tight end (Ozzie Newson) and later Pro-football player lived for a time there (Fitz) when times were hard for that family. Next house was the the nice home of the Sam Streit family. At one time the kin of this family owned the Streit Dairy Products in Sheffield Al. Later the Simmons family owned this home and ran the Simmons Tire company on 2nd street in Sheffield during the 1960s & 1970s. About 300 yards further down the road and across the street was a stately old mansion of about 5,000 square feet with 20 feet ceilings. It was an old Antebellum home they say built in the 1840s.
Next back on the other side of Hatton School Road was the home of the Posey family. I don’t believe they had any children Charles Ray Posey worked for Robbins tile company on 6th Street in Tuscumbia, AL and he enjoyed all night stints at hunting raccoons using coon hounds.
The next house was on the right was the house displayed above as the Austin house but it actually fronted on Jarmon Lane.
The next family was a black family on the left that I do not remember the surname, but I believe he had two or three young sons.
The next family was the James Family farm. They reared 4 or five children. The father was killed by a drunk driver in a traffic accident at Underwood Crossroads (2nd Street & County Lind Road) about 1951. Albert Streit witnessed that accident and described it this way: “My family witnessed the death of the James family father. . We were going to church on a Sunday morning and their truck was a about 200 yards ahead of us. The father was riding in the back of the truck, standing up. They were heading west on second street road. As they were turning right to head north a vehicle occupied by a drunk driver came from the south and hit their truck throwing the father out of the truck. They were en-route to the Ford City Baptist Church.
The children were: 1. Blanton, 2. Paul, 3. Kay and 4. Douglas (Doug), Kay was homecoming queen at Colbert County Hi School in 1962. Members of the James’s family were very personable and talented folks, but they were messy housekeepers.
Next on the right across the street were the Crittendon family who moved there in the mid 1950s. Jerry Lee was the eldest son and had a few behavior issues as a youngster. He was always getting into trouble with authorities but I don’t recall any major problems with the law. His sister Jo-Ann was just the opposite always in control. I believe there were a young set of twin boys living there in the late 1950s early 1960s. The father was strict and domineering & I don’t recall the name.
Last house was the Grissom family. They lived on the right at the intersection of Hatton School Road and 6th Street. Very friendly folks. The lady was always trading flowers with my mom Ruby. I do not remember any children from this family. They might have been older.
I do not have a recollection of the black families that lived down Jarmon Lane in the 1950s Except for our neighbors the Cobb family, the balance of them kept to themselves. There was one Jarmon family that had something over 15 kids that lived down that lane.
- The history of Mountain Mills… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
this photo may have been taken?
This is William Roscoe McDougal, son of Annie Mae Hand and William Carroll McDougal. The information with the photo says Florence, AL. The girl with him is possibly Lillian Katherine McDonald who became his wife in 1949. William Roscoe was born 3 October 1929 in Colbert County, Alabama. He died 24 August 2003 in Mishawaka, Indiana.
W R McDougal lived in Colbert County where he was born ; then lived at Woodland in Lauderdale County. Annie Mae Hand is the daughter of James Henry Hand and Welthy Ann Alizabeth Pace Hand. He moved to Indiana after 1949 and lived in Mishawaka, St Joseph County, Indiana until his death. He is known to have been in Indiana as early as 1980, but likely before that. More information on the photo and the people would be welcomed.
James Henry “Jim” Hand and Welthy Ann Hand were also the parents of William Riley Hand. William Riley Hand and Josephine Fleming Hand were the parents of Mamie Louanne Hand who married Grady Sledge.
- Class photograph of a class at Old Ray School in Florence Alabama circa 1938… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- The history of Mountain Mills… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- We all came from somewhere else first… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
think of what is going on in America today? The Shoals area abounds with men and women who have answered their nation’s call, sometimes during war time. We honor all veterans for their service and for protecting our freedom.
Thomas Franklin Woodis is one of those veterans. He served during World War I. Tom enlisted in the Army 6 March 1918 and was released 21 February 1919. He is first row seated on the right in the photograph. He was a very handsome soldier.
Tom was born 4 December 1898 in Colbert County, Alabama. The Woodis family lived in Allsboro. Tom Woodis was the child of Charlie Bud Woodis and Lucy Francis McCaig Woodis. He was in a large family of children. His siblings were John Fletcher Woodis, Joseph Andrew Woodis, Charlie H Woodis, Mary Effie Woodis, William Wesley Woodis, Jessie James Woodis, Shelby L Woodis, Roe Harris Woodis, and Terry Cohal Woodis.
Thomas Franklin Woodis, 90, Route 2, died Thursday, Feb. 9 1989, at Tishomingo County Hopsital, Iuka, Mississippi, after a brief illness.
In addition to being a veteran, he was a Methodist, and a retired farmer. The funeral was held at Alsboro Methodist Church. Burial was at Alsboro Cemetery near Cherokee, Alabama.
Survivors included his wife, Dora M Turner Woodis, Cherokee; son, Arthur Woodis, Cherokee; daughters, Marie Johnson, Lodi, California, Virginia Smith, Golden, Mississippi; and brother Terry Cohal Woodis, Florence; nine grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren. Son Roe Stanley Woodis died at the age of 48. He was a World War II veteran and was involved in a crash of the Sweat’er Out aircraft during the war.
in history. Quite a few influential people were born, or lived in the Shoals area. Among them were the Rand family. They lived in Tuscumbia. Carl Rand lived at 501 East Third Street. His homeplace housed some tools used in antebellum times. Below is a photo from the Library of Congress that shows some of the classic tools used in the early days of the Shoals.
- The history of Mountain Mills… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- Music Hall of Fame May Skip a Beat (whnt.com)
- Colbert County history as reported by Captain Arthur Keller… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- TVA declares 1,000 acres in Muscle Shoals available for auction; chestnut program not in jeopardy (al.com)
By Lewis C. Gibbs, Jr.
Around 1835, after the Indians were moving to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, the whites began to buy the land west of Caney Creek, the boundary line.
Armstead Barton was the oldest son of Dr. Hugh Barton, one of ten children. He was also Governor of the Mississippi Territory. In this position he became friend to the Colberts, who were leaders of the Chickasaw Indians. Through this friendship, he came into possession of most of the land in the western part of what is now Colbert County.
His brother, Arthur C. Barton, came into possession of most of the land around Barton, Alabama, or range 13 and township 4. The rest of the land in this area was bought by the Prides, the Thompsons, the Rutlands, W. W. Bayless, Hextor Atkisson, the Gibbs brothers (Alexander and Jack or J. E. Sr.) and the Greenhills.
The Hextor Atkinson family lived near the site of the future Mountain Mill Industry Village. The Bayless family lived about a mile east; the Thompson and Rutland families a mile east and south; the Prides about two miles east and A. C. Barton two miles north.
The Hexton Atkisson family consisted of nine children, eight girls and one boy. Bob Garner married one of the girls. Another girl married three times, Mr. Moore, Mr. Donley, and Mr. Whitley. The son married twice, Susan Danley and Lucy Sherrod. His name was Arthur Atkisson. Two of the sisters never married and they out-lived all of them. They later lived at the James S. Barton home which was owned by John Whitley, a nephew. Not only a landowner, Hextor Atkisson was a Justice of the peace for many years. His wife was named Sally Franklin and was said to be from the same family as Ben Franklin. W. W. Bayless was also a Justice of the peace and a large land owner.
Capt. J. S. Stickels was from the North and connected with steam boating on the Tennessee River before the War between the States, but fought for the South in the war. He was married to Elizabeth Olds, a niece of Mrs. Hextor Atkisson. It is said that he was a brave and courageous soldier and was a gallant defender of the South. He was born April 19, 1827, and died April 5, 1883. His grave was marked in the fall of 1995 in the Atkisson Cemetery.
After the war was over, J. H. Stickels and James Johnston put in a sawmill near the Mountain Mill Village. This mill was powered by steam. Later they put in a grist mill. It was a practice then to use this machinery on Saturday to grind meal. There were two different engines, run by the same boiler.
At a later date, a foundry and machine shop were installed. James Wright was brought in as a pattern maker and machine shop man. He had been in this business all through the war at Florence, Alabama, near where Mars Hill Bible School is today. All of these operations were successful.
Asa Messenger, publisher of the North Alabamian and other publications was encouraging Southerners to start manufacturing their own goods. This would save the high tariff on raw material shipped to the north and the shipping cost to ship the finished product back.
In 1872 the group of men mentioned above, along with N. F. Cherry and others, organized the Mountain Mill Company. Their purpose was to build a cotton mill to make thread from cotton and maybe cloth and other items also.
N. F. Cherry was born in Hardin County, Tennessee, near Savannah. The ten years before coming to Mountain Mills had been spent in merchandising and steam milling.
The Mountain Mill Company started with seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) in stock. A corporation was formed under the laws of Alabama. Shares were sold to local people. It is said that every rich person in the county bought stock in the company.
The factory was built and machinery from New Jersey was bought and installed. It is said that the machinery was used. The building was a three-story brick and we think it was about 100 feet by 200 feet, with boiler room and engine room attached, with about a 100-foot smoke stack. After the machinery was installed they began to hire people to operate the mill.
Some of these families are still in this area, the Blankenships, Burrows, Hargetts, Inmans, Keetons and others. These families consisted mostly of girls. Women and children were used a lot in operating the mill. They also built a company store or commissary. Mr. Houston Ramsey was brought in to operate this business. He is referred to in the East Florence story. Homes for the people and a church and school were built. They built one building and used it for church and school. This building is still in use today in the Barton area by a black congregation.
Some of the preachers that preached at Mountain Mill were E. C. Fuqua, J. D. Tant and others. A professor Blaylock was brought in to run the school. Another teacher was E. C. Hamilton.
|Edward C. Fuqua
Preacher at Mt Mills Church
A small town of about three hundred people came together around the mill. It was written that there was no need for law enforcement or courts.
In 1874, more money was needed. Twenty-five thousand dollars in bonds was floated with the German National Bank of Memphis, Tennessee, at 10% interest, payable every six months.
The company operated for twelve years, but seemed to be in financial trouble all the time. Miss Nina Leftwich stated in her book “Two Hundred Years in Muscle Shoals” that this was due to the used machinery that was installed when the operation started.
In 1883, the German National Bank foreclosed on the Mountain Mill Company. We have no record of their closing. We assume that W. N. Cherry bought their stock or debt. On April 7, 1883, W. N. Cherry bought out Arthur C. Barton and W. W. Bayless for $9,100.00. Miss Nina Leftwich said it sold for 5% of the original investment.
After this W. N. Cherry formed a partnership with N. F. Cherry and C. N. Brandon. Mr. Brandon was an experienced cotton mill operator. He came out of Cypress mill, a mill near Florence, which had closed. They invested $100,000.00 in capital stock, brought $35,000.00 worth of new machinery, and began operating in a big way. They loaned money to every farmer in the county. We have a copy of many of the loans on crops and stock and equipment. I believe the mill contracted fro the cotton they raised. However, this is not stated on the loans.
Some of the chief clerks who signed some of the loans are E. C. Hamilton, who is our great uncle; John Whitley, who was a grandson of Hextor Atkisson; Mr. Charles Womble, who was the first Probate Judge of Colbert county; and James H. Simpson. Simpson was connected with the mill in its early stages, but was later in business for himself in Tuscumbia, Alabama. He was our great-uncle twice. He married two of our grandfather’s sisters.
The operation continued for about ten years. In 1892, it was decided to move the mill to Florence, Alabama. We have heard several stories about the reason for moving. One states that the company wanted the county to donate 2,000 acres of land. Another says the roads were barely passable in the winter; therefore, they wanted a railroad spur built to the mill.
We know that this route was considered at one time for a railroad through to Russellville, Alabama, by way of Frankfort.
This is the story of Mountain Mill as I see it from my research and word of mouth all my life.
After 1893, the foundry and machine shops were left in place, and perhaps the sawmill and gristmill. Mr. R. E. Blankenship said he helped move the boiler and machinery to the railroad as a young boy. He was born in 1901.
The picture of the school was made about 1895 or later. Some of the people went to Florence while others stayed and did other things. There is nothing at the site now but briars and bushes.
My mother’s family lived in the store house about 1910. We think the Blankenship family lived in it at one time. About 1915, a sawmill company came into the area and used this for headquarters. Mr. Sam Williams ran a store for them. Some of his family are still in this area. Around 1920, this building was moved to Barton, Alabama by Mr. Sam Williams we think. Some time in the 1950’s this building burned. That was the last of Mountain Mills.
Source: ancestry.com, accessed 2011
as it pertains to Tuscumbia, Alabama in the year 1888.
BY CAPT. A. H. KELLER
This is one of the oldest towns in Alabama, with a history full of interest to those who are the descendants of the pioneers of the Tennessee Valley, as well as to the student, who can find in its pages the record of adventures as thrilling, and achievements as heroic, as any that have been depicted by either historian or novelist.
This sketch, however, will be confined mainly to chronological events and statistical matters connected with the settlement and development of Tuscumbia and the country immediately surrounding it.
As far back as 1780, the French Colony on the Wabash River established a trading post at the mouth of the Occocoposo, or Cold Water, Creek on the Tennessee River, about one mile from the northern limit of the present site of Tuscumbia. This creek runs through the town, and is the outlet for the immense spring which rises from the earth near the center of the town and flows in a circuitous route to the Tennessee River two miles away. It affords a fine power for mills and factories, and has been utilized as such for many years.
Professor Toumey, in his “Geological History of Alabama,” gives the measurement of this spring at 17,724 cubit feet of water flowing from it per minute, or enough to furnish every person in the United States about four gallons each per day. The temperature is 58 degrees, and although strongly limestone it is pleasant to drink.
At the time of the establishment of the colony alluded to at the mouth of Spring Creek, Nashville was the most important trading station in the Southwest, and was not exempt from hostile incursions by the Indians, who held the country from the Alabama River to the Cumberland. For a number of years depredations by them upon the Cumberland settlements were frequent and destructive. In the early part of 1787, Col. James Robertson organized an expedition, which descended the Cumberland and ascended the Tennessee, as far as the mouth of Duck River, but at this point he was defeated and forced to return. In June, 1787, he started on a second and more successful trip, marching south from Nashville with 130 men to Bainbridge, a small village on the Tennessee, about ten miles from Tuscumbia. Moving from this point westward, along the south bank of the river, he found the Indian village, at or near the mouth of Spring Creek, or Occocoposo, as it was then called. The Indians, and their French allies, retreated to a strong position, a short distance up the creek, where Robertson attacked, and defeated them with heavy loss, and destroyed their village and captured the trading post and a large quantity of supplies.
The French prisoners were taken to Colbert’s Ferry, ten miles below, and allowed to return to the Wabash Colony, Colony Robertson returning to Nashville by land. [See Pickett’s History of Alabama.]
In 1802 General Wilkerson made a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians, whereby he secured from them permission to cut out a wagon road from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville, Tenn., crossing the Tennessee River at Georgetown, twenty miles below Tuscumbia. In 1814 Gen. Andrew Jackson and Col. Benjamin Hawkins were empowered to make treaties with the Indians, with a view to securing some of the vast and fertile territory then held by them. In the fall of 1816 they granted to the United States all the territory from the headwaters of the Coosa westward to Cotton Gin Port, Miss., and thence north to the mouth of Caney (now Cane) Creek on Tennessee River, ten miles below Tuscumbia.
The first white family to settle in Tuscumbia was that of Michael Dickson in 1815. Soon afterward, four of his brothers-in-law, from Smith County, Tenn., Isian McDill, James McMann, ____ Matthews and Hugh Finley, arrived. The following year, 1816, was remarkable for an unprecedented drought, which prevailed all over this territory. Capt. Jno. T. Rather, who died in Tuscumbia a few years ago, when nearly ninety years old, often spoke of the distress of the people on account of the scarcity of breadstuffs at that time. Corn sold at five dollars per bushel. The nearest mills were at Huntsville, Ala., and Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., about seventy miles distant, from whence all of their meal and flour was hauled in wagons.
The first white child born in Tuscumbia was Miss Anna Dickson, who married Dr. W. H. Wheaton, who died in Nashville since the late war. She was living but a short time ago.
Hugh Finley was a blacksmith, and owned the first shop opened in the place. In 1816-17 quite a number of families arrived and settled in the present limits of Tuscumbia, which was then known as Big Spring. Col. James McDonald was afterwards appointed Postmaster for the Big Spring office. He was a distinguished officer of the United States Army, having won distinction in the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane, and came to Tuscumbia from Knoxville, Tenn. He was joined here by his brother-in-law, David Keller, from the same place, and both moved to Russell’s Valley, remaining two years, when they returned and purchased farms near Tuscumbia. Colonel McDonald died on his farm, “Glencoe,” in 1827, and Mr. Keller, having sold his farm and accepted the office of Superintendent of the Tuscumbia & Decatur Railroad, died ten years later. Mr. Keller and a man named George Miller, from Fayetteville, Tenn., owned the first stocks of goods ever sold in Franklin County, or rather in the territory afterwards embraced in the county. Col. Thomas Hindman, father of Gen. Thos. Hindman, of Confederate fame, brought Mr. Keller’s stocks from Knoxville, and sold it out at York Bluff, on the present site of Sheffield.
In 1817 a battalion of United States soldiers arrived at Tuscumbia, and began the work of cutting out a new wagon road from Nashville, Tenn., to Columbus, Miss., called the Military Road. This was done under General Jackson’s supervision, and the point at which he crossed the Tennessee is now known as Jackson’s Landing, in the limits of Sheffield. About this time General Jackson purchased the large tract of land lying between the river and Tuscumbia and upon which the larger part of Sheffield is now located. In 1816-17, a number of families located at York Bluff, which was laid off by General Coffey in 1820 as a city, with broad and regular streets running north and south and east and west. This town was soon abandoned, its citizens moving to the more prosperous town of Tuscumbia, and had not a house left when Sheffield was formed, to tell where a town had been.
Mr. Miller, who first sold goods at York Bluff moved to Tuscumbia and built the first brick house, now known as the Glendall House on Sixth street, in 1819. He afterwards moved to West Tennessee and died there.
Tuscumbia was surveyed and laid off as a city by General Coffey in 1817. Its limits were a mile and a half east and west and a mile north and south. None of the streets are less than ninety-nine feet wide, and the commons on the margin are much wider, that on the north being 334 feet. These streets and commons were dedicated by the Government for the use of the citizens of Tuscumbia, and the Supreme Court of Alabama has decided that the fee to them is still in the Government and they can not be disposed of by the city authorities.
In March, 1817, Congress passed an act establishing the Territory of Alabama. At that time only seven counties had been organized in the Territory. These were Mobile, Balonni, Washington, Clark, Madison, Limestone and Lauderdale, and they had been organized under the territorial government of Mississippi. Upon the assembling of the Territorial Legislature at the town of St. Stephens, Franklin County was organized, but the act provided that the jurisdiction should not extend beyond Cane Creek, ten miles west of Tuscumbia, that being the boundary line between the lands granted by the Indians and those reserved by them under the treaty of 1816. The lands west of Cane Creek were held by the Indians until they were removed beyond the Mississippi in 1836.
The first superior or circuit court ever held in Franklin County was at the house of William Neeley, on Spring Creek, a few miles southeast of Tuscumbia, September 7, 1818. Obadiah Jones was judge, Henry Miner, district attorney, and Richard Ellis, clerk. The grand jury was composed of William Neeley (foreman), Jacob Humble, William Welch, Andrew Blackmoor, Strange Caltharp, John Bell, Goldman Kimbro, Isaac Pickens, Argyle Taylor, James Wilex, Pryor Landsford, Matthew Maree, Matthew Gwynn, and William Scott. For lack of a room large enough, the court adjourned to the house of Michael Dickson, at Cold Water (Tuscumbia).
Anthony Winston was the first representative from Franklin County, in the Legislature. He was the grandfather of Col. John Anthony Winston, who was Governor of the State afterward. He was raised in Tuscumbia. Robert B. Lindsay, Esq., of this place, a native of Scotland, and a brother-in-law of Governor Winston, was elected Governor of the State in 1870. Tuscumbia was also the former home, if not the birthplace, of two United States senators. Robert Ransom, the father of Senator Matt Ransom, of North Carolina, was one of the early settlers of Tuscumbia, and opened the hotel called the Franklin House.
Thomas Hereford, father of the West Virginia ex-Senator Hereford, was also a hotel keeper here, and was proprietor of the Mansion House, near the Big Spring.
Ex-Senator Henry S. Foote also commenced his career here as a lawyer and editor, and fought a duel with Edmund Winston, an uncle of Governor Winston. Tuscumbia has also had a representative in the lower house of Congress, in the person of Major Joseph H. Sloss, now of Huntsville.
Upon the assembling of the first Legislature of the State, at Huntsville, on the first Monday in October, 1819, a bill was passed, incorporating the town of Occocoposo (now Tuscumbia). Thomas Limerick was appointed mayor, with Philip G. Godley, Micajah Tarrer, Abram W. Bell, and Littleton Johnson, aldermen. At the next session of the Legislature, the name of the town was changed to Big Spring, and, the following year, to Tuscumbia, after a celebrated chief of the Chickasaws.
The first railroad that was built west of the Alleghanies was that from Tuscumbia to the Tennessee River. It was commenced in 1831 and finished in 1832, and was two and one-eighth miles in length. In 1834 it was merged into the Tuscumbia & Decatur Railroad. For twenty-five years after this road was built there was an immense trade done with New Orleans by the river. Magnificent steamers ran to that place, some of the carrying 6,000 bales of cotton. They were palatial in their appointments and accommodations for passengers. Parties in search of pleasure could find no pleasanter nor more enjoyable pastime than an excursion on one of these elegant boats to the Crescent City. Other steamers ran regularly, as they now do, to the cities on the Ohio and to St. Louis; but the New Orleans trade was broken up soon after the completion of the Memphis & Charleston Road in 1857, which road bought the Tuscumbia & Decatur Road, and abandoned the branch to the Tuscumbia Landing.
For a number of years previous to the great financial crisis in 1837, Tuscumbia did a large wholesale business. Most of this was done in two rows of brick storehouses known as “Commercial” and “Planters’ Row.” The latter was destroyed by fire about the year 1837. The former is still standing, all of the stores being occupied and in a good state of preservation. A street railway from the depot to Main and Sixth streets, for the delivery of freights, was built in 1834.
Until the completion of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad the Tuscumbia postoffice was a distributing office, and probably the largest and most important from Nashville to New Orleans. A number of state lines converged here, which were owned by such veteran stagers as Patrick, Ficklin, Chichester, and others. The immense warehouses at the Tuscumbia Landing, which were constructed of stone and brick, were burned in 1862 by Turchin’s Brigade of Mitchell’s Division of Federal Troops.
In its former and better days, probably no town of its population in the South had more wealth in its immediate vicinity; but that did but little towards building up the town. The planters bought their supplies in New Orleans and Louisville, and sent their children abroad to be educated, leaving only the poorer classes to do their trading at home.
In the fearful struggle between the North and the South—1861-5—there was no part of the South more completely devastated than was the beautiful Tennessee Valley. Tuscumbia was in the center of the fiery, desolating track of the armies of both sides. Large blocks of brick stores and many private houses were destroyed and condemned. Cavalry horses roamed at will through grounds that were formerly the pride of their owners. Upward of thirty of Tuscumbia’s young men were killed, and for years after the sound of battle had died away she sat on the ashes of desolation, waiting for the dawn of a better day, which, although long delayed, has come. The giant young city of Sheffield has stretched her limits to within half a mile of her gates, and she has caught the contagion of progress and enterprise, and within the last two years has doubled her population. She is experiencing some of the doubtful effects of a hot-house boom, but observant and far-seeing men recognize the fact that she has every natural advantage that any other place in Northern Alabama has, and that which money can never secure. Her society is as good as can be found anywhere. She has churches of all denominations and first rate schools. The Deshler Female Institute stands in the front rank of Southern schools. It stands as a monument to the memory of Brig. Gen. James Deshler, of Tuscumbia, who was killed at the battle of Chickamauga. The sum of six thousand dollars has been voted by the City Council to enlarge the free school for white males, and the rapidly increasing revenue from taxes will amply justify the expenditure, and support the school.
Tuscumbia challenges comparison with any town in the South as to its healthfulness and exemption from epidemics.
An examination of the tables of mortality for the last twenty years will not show an excess of one per cent, per annum, as the death rate, including both black and white.
Where parties desire to engage in business at Sheffield, they can reside at Tuscumbia and avail themselves of the convenience of two “dummy” lines to reach their business in a few minutes. Real estate, although greatly enhanced recently, is still comparatively cheap. A water works company has been organized to supply East Sheffield and Tuscumbia from the spring, and gas or electricity will speedily be introduced to light up the streets.
The Presbyterian Church.—This church was organized in 1824, by Rev. Dr. Blackburn, of Frankfort, Ky., and the church building now standing was commenced and completed in 1826-7. For several years the large frame building near the spring was used for church services.
Rev. Dr. Campbell was the first pastor of the church, and Messrs. Arthur Beatty and James Elliott were the original elders, with Susan Winston, Elizabeth Johnson, Ann Beatty, A. W. Mitchell, Eliza Mitchell, and Sarah Mitchell as members. Soon after this Rev. G. W. Ashbridge, of Philadelphia, Pa., took charge of the church, which received many additions from this time own.
Mr. Ashbridge was pastor from 1827 to 1830; Mr. Arnold was pastor from January 1, 1831, to June, 1831; james Weatherby was pastor from 1831 to 1837; J. O. Steadman was pastor from 1837 to 1845; N. A. Penland was pastor from 1845 to 1852; C. Foster Williams was pastor from 1853 to 1855; Abram Kline was pastor from 1856 to 1860; B. N. Sawtelle was pastor from 1861 to 1872; Mr. Brown was pastor from January, 1873 to June, 1873; Jorace P. Smith was pastor from 1873 to 1877; James G. Lane was pastor from 1878 to the present time. Messrs. Sawtelle and Smith died during their pastorate.
In 1828 a Presbyterian Camp-meeting was held near LaGrange, Ala., and was largely attended, and a great revival took place.
During Dr. Steadman’s pastorate there was a series of meetings held in the church by Rev. Daniel Baker, of Texas, resulting in a great religious awakening; also another in 1848 by Rev. Dr. Hall, and still another several years ago, when Mr. Lane was aided by Rev. J. W. Hoyte, and many additions were made to the membership.
The Baptist Church.—This church was established in 1823, Elders J. Davis and Jeremiah Burns composing the Presbytery. J. Burns was pastor until 1832. John L. Townes was the next pastor, and filled the pulpit ten or twelve years. He was succeeded by R. B. Burleson, and he by Jackson Gunn. Rev. james Shackleford and his son-in-law, C. W. Hare, have filled the place since Mr. Gunn’s pastorate.
The church building was erected by the Campbellites, or Christians, mainly through the personal efforts of Dr. W. H. Wharton, but it was not paid for, and the contractor. W. H. Patterson, sold his claim to George W. Carroll, who sold it to Edmund Elliott, a member of the Baptist Church. Through him the title passed to his church.
The Methodist Church was organized in 1822 by Thomas Strongfield, then stationed at Huntsville.
The first Quarterly Conference was held March 13, 1824. Alexander Sale was presiding elder, and David Owen and James Smith were local preachers; W. S. Jones was steward, and Richard Thompson class leader. In this year Rufus Ledbetter was assigned to the Franklin Circuit.
In 1826 Finch P. Scruggs had charge of the Circuit. He died in Holly Springs, Miss., in 1881. At that time J. B. McFerrin, who died in Nashville a year or two ago, and who was editor of the Christian Advocate, and author of a work called “Methodism in Tennessee,” was a young preacher at this place. Mayor James Lockhart was an earnest and influential member of the church at that day, and it is said that he paid one-half of the expenses of it. Mr. McFerrin, aided by John Sutherland and Mr. Haynie, raised the money to erect the present building, which was commenced in 1826. Edward Stegar did the brick and Nelson Anderson the wood work. The first sermon was preached in the church by John Haynie in May, 1827.
Rev. Mr. Shoemaker is the present incumbent, and the membership is about 250, being the largest in town, except that of the colored Baptists, which is over 500. During the pastorate of Rev. F. A. Owen, in 1828, the largest revival ever known in the church took place.
St. John’s (Episcopal) Church. This church was built in 1852, mainly by Dr. William H. Newsum, who died in February, 1862. He donated the lot upon which it stands, and contributed more to build the house than any one else.
The Rt. Rev. N. H. Cobbs was then bishop of the diocese, and his son, Rev. R. A. Cobbs, was the first rector, and remained in charge six years. The rite of confirmation in this church was administered for the first time on November 14, 1852, when six persons were presented by the rector.
Upon the occupation of Tuscumbia by the Federal Army in 1862, they camped in this church and destroyed the large part of the register, in consequence of which a complete and accurate history of it can not be given to include the period between 1858 and 1866. Rev. George White, the venerable rector of Calvary Church, Memphis, Tenn., lately deceased, Rev. W. H. Thomas, of Maryland, and Rev. Mr. Whiteside were rectors during that period. On April 1, 1886, Rev. J. B. Gray, now of Washington City, took charge of the parish. At that time there were only fourteen communicants, some having moved away and others having died. Rev. T. J. Beard, now of Birmingham, was next in charge and he was succeeded by Rev. Peter Wager, who remained six years.
Rev. B. F. Mower came to the south pastorate of the Tuscumbia and Florence churches in June 1878, and resigned in October 1887. The church building was much injured by the cyclone of November 22, 1874, and Mr. F. D. Hodgkins, his wife and four children were killed at the same time. Mr. Hodgkins was superintendent of the Sunday school of this church. Two handsome memorial windows in the church attest the loving remembrance in which they were held. The three chancel windows are memorials to Dr. W. H. Newsum, the founder of the church, and to his two sons, William O. and Alexander M. The former was killed at the battle of the Wilderness, May 6, 1864, and the latter died of yellow fever contracted in Memphis in 1878. There are also memorial windows for Mr. John Curry, and Mrs. Lou McFarland, Mrs. Emma Eggleston and Mrs. Maria Hicks. These windows are of stained glass, and the interior of the church presents quite a handsome appearance. This church is in the diocese of Bishop R. H. Wilmer, whose first official act in the church was the confirmation of a class of 12, presented by Rev. J. B. Gray, March 24, 1867.
Rev. Mr. Phillips, of Baltimore, has recently taken charge as rector.
The Catholic Church.—The commencement of Catholicity in Tuscumbia is associated with two families of the great Celtic branch of the commonwealth of nations. One was an Irish family, the other French. The name of the former is no longer anything more than a local reminiscence; the latter is still identified with all the active enterprises—religious, educational and social—of the growing town and its vicinity. Far from the influences attaching to the environment of the house of worship, and the accustomed and established services of religion, the heads of those two families, Mr. John Baxter and Dr. William Desprez, exhibited in their lives the teachings of their faith and how deep were the roots of their early religious training. Mr. John Baxter was born in Ireland and came early to this country. He died of apoplexy in 1874. A son of his, John B. Baxter, lives in New York. Dr. Desprez was born in Paris in 1806. He lived some years in Ireland and came subsequently to this country. He died in Tuscumbia of yellow fever during an epidemic of that disease, in October, 1878. He was a man of most upright character and sincere piety. He accomplished what is found by experience to be the most difficult, albeit the most important of all the duties of a parent; he educated his children so thoroughly in the knowledge and obligations of religion that they and their children are to-day [sic] the most prominent and edifying in its observance. Dr. Desprez married an Irish Presbyterian lady, sincerely and earnestly attached to her own faith, but who, seeing what a potent factor Catholic doctrine was in moulding her husband’s character and inspiring his conduct, could with difficulty believe that faith to be wrong, and consequently seconded his efforts in the training of their children in the religion which gave lustre to his own life. Shortly after the death of her husband, Mrs. Desprez embraced the Catholic faith. She still lives, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, honored and respected by her neighbors.
The first Catholic Church was built in 1869, through the exertions of Dr. Desprez and Mr. Baxter, assisted very liberally by the non-Catholic portion of the community. The site upon which it was erected was donated by Mr. Baxter. It was solemnly dedicated, under the title of “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart,” on the 30th day of September, 1869, by the Rt. Rev. John Quinlan, Bishop of Mobile, assisted by several priests, and attended by a large concourse of people. Rev. Father John B. bassen, who is at present pastor of Pensacola, Fla., was the first pastor of the young community. This church was never fully completed, and it was destroyed by the tornado which did so much damage to the town in November, 1874. Father Baasen again built a small temporary chapel, still standing, and now used as a store-room by the Benedictine Sisters, where the people worshiped until 1878. In that year, the Rt. Rev. Boniface Wimmer, Abbot of the Benedictine Order in Pennsylvania, purchased from Father Baasen the house and property situated at the eastern extremity of the town. Rev. Matthew Sturenberg, O. S. B., was sent by the Abbot to take charge of the congregation. By his exertions a new church was erected, and, on the 8th of August, 1880, was solemnly consecrated, under the same title as the old one, by Bishop Quinlan, assisted by Rev. Benedict Menges, O. S. B., and Rev. Joseph Keeler, O. S. B. In the evening of the same day, the bell of the church was blessed by the Bishop.
On February 24th, of the following year, four Benedictine Sisters arrived, and have since conducted the parochial school. They have also kept a few children as boarders. Their accommodation for this class of scholars has been and is still very limited, but the increasing demand will necessitate the erection of more extensive buildings. The Catholic congregation of Tuscumbia is increasing. There are two masses every Sunday, at 8 and 10 o’clock, and vespers and benediction in the afternoon at three o’clock. Every morning there is mass at 7:30 o’clock, at which the children of the parochial school attend. The Benedictines are established in perpetuum in the two counties of Colbert and Lauderdale, and, besides Tuscumbia, have churches and stations in St. Florian, Florence, Sheffield, Decatur, Huntsville, Cullman, Hanceville, Dickson, Courtland, Moulton and some minor places. They are hard workers, and self-denying men. The character of the men sent on these southern and arduous missions may be inferred from the fact that, when the Right Rev. Abbott Wimmer, a most ardent friend of the South and of Southern missions, died, the Pastor of Tuscumbia, Rev. Andrew Hinterach, Order of Saint Benedictine, was chosen as his successor to govern one of the most extensive religious Orders in America. Reverend Oswald Moosmuller, Order of Saint Benedictine, pastor of Cullman has been appointed Prior of the head house of the Order in Pennsylvania. He is the founder of the Industrial School for Colored Boys in Skidaway Island, near Savannah, Ga. By the product of his own literary labors and without collecting a cent, except two or three times having an innocent “strawberry festival,” which brought not much, he has accomplished what perhaps no other priest in America has ever done. He has built three churches; one at Skidaway for the colored boys and people of the island, and two at Savannah, one for white and the other for colored Catholics. Rev. Benedict Menges, Order of Saint Benedictine, for ten years identified with the missions of Alabama, has recently been appointed Superior of those missions, and will shortly reside in Tuscumbia.
The development of the mineral resources and the growing industries of North Alabama will necessarily induce immigration and create a commensurate demand for educational facilities, and it is the intention of the Benedictines, as soon as circumstances will permit, to select a suitable site for a college, in which the youth of our own and neighboring States may, at little cost, receive an education to fit them for the positions and callings which may offer, and enable them to contribute to the future material and moral well-being of our city and State.
The Deshler Female Institute is a handsome two story brick building on Main street, located in the center of the block or square which includes the residence of the late David Deshler, who bequeathed the entire property as a site for a female school. The building, which cost about $12,000, was destroyed by a cyclone in 1875, was rebuilt, and has been well patronized and is now in a flourishing condition under the management of Mr. Dell. It is called “The Deshler Institute,” in honor of General James Deshler, who was a native of Tuscumbia and a graduate of West Point, and was killed in the late war at the battle of Chickamauga.
The city council have recently appropriated $6,000 for the benefit of the public male school for the whites, which will put it on a good footing.
In addition to the above there are several smaller private schools.
Source: This is a reprint from Northern Alabama Historical and Biographical Illustrated 1888 Smith & DeLand, Birmingham, Ala.,VII. Sheffield, by William Garrett Brown.
from one of my family lines that after a point in time is so mysterious; the Vandiver family. This photo is of John Robert Vandiver and wife Nellie Ann Vandiver and their children. The girl in the back is Flora E. Vandiver who married a Creel.
with time to spare. Here is Leanna Reed Clemmons’ story on her breast cancer survival and her courageous fight every step of the way:
Waiting for the results of my biopsy seemed to take forever even though it was just one day. I knew by the way the technician looked at my breast as she was doing the mammogram the week before, there was a reason to be concerned.
The phone rang and Dr. Deselle confirmed it. Cancer. He immediately wanted to schedule me for a lumpectomy within a matter of days however I wanted to get a 2nd opinion. I met with the same doctor that treated me for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when I was 19 years old, and she referred me to Birmingham. I know a lot of people think very highly of Kirklin Clinic, however I am not one of those people. I feel like they dropped the ball with me. I spent a total of 5 weeks having tests done, biopsies, meetings with doctors, scans, etc.. and never got a treatment plan in place. Finally, I met with a team of doctors and got news that was worse than finding out I have cancer. I don’t think anyone is prepared to hear the words, “You have about 3 years left.” This news was given to me with my then 15 year old son sitting within feet away from me. The doctor stood at the door, hand on the doorknob, and hardly looked at me. No surgery. No treatment. Just wanted to send me home and (in their words) “keep me comfortable”.
The ride home, my mind was spinning. How could this be? I feel fine. I look fine. (other than the lump in my breast) I made a phone call to my lifelong best friend, Deana Wilcox, and she let me do nothing but cry uncontrollably in the phone to her. Still to this day, when I think about that phone call, my eyes fill with tears.
So, five weeks have passed at this point and this cancer is still inside me. Growing. My dad makes me an appointment in Nashville at Vanderbilt. They do their own series of tests (oh, and might I add that when I called Kirklin to have my records faxed to Vanderbilt, they said they had no record of me even being a patient of theirs. HUH? WHAT?). I met with Dr. Ingrid Mayer and she sat across from me and looked me dead in the eyes and said:
“Yes, you have an aggressive form of breast cancer. You are Stage IV Triple Negative. Its hard to treat this form since the cancer doesn’t feed off estrogen. Its not going to play nice. We’re not going to play nice either. We are going to fight this aggressively and you might only HAVE three years to live, but… my job is to keep you here long enough to spoil some grand-babies. I don’t believe in putting a time limit on patients. I could walk out of here today and get hit by a car. We just don’t know. What I want to do with you is treatment, surgery, reevaluate and if needed, there are clinical trials we can put you in. We will do everything medically possible to prolong your life, as long as your quality is good.”
That is all I wanted. Someone who was willing to try to save my life. I had only been married to my husband a few years. My son was only 15. I want to watch him graduate, settle into a career, get married, have children…. all the things parents expect to be a part of. So.. now at least there is a plan.
I had surgery to have a port inserted since chemo was a for sure thing. I had 6 months of chemotherapy. Taxol and Cisplatin. We traveled to Nashville once a week for my treatment. I handled it fairly well. It took more of an emotional toll than anything.. losing my hair was extremely difficult and something I struggle with even still. I still have neuropathy in my feet & toes and recently started having trouble with lymphedema, from having lymphnodes removed during my bilateral mastectomy.
Since I am Stage IV, I have to repeat PET scans every 6 weeks to make sure the spot on my spine and kidney are “behaving”. If anything changes with them, then its back on chemo I go. I am scheduled for reconstruction in January. It will be a big surgery. 10 hours. They are taking the tissue from my stomach area and moving it up to make boobs. Hello tummy tuck! (lol)
I have learned a lot over the past year. Most of all, that God has a plan for each of us and I have decided to make each day count.
I created a video of the past year, and also included some other things I have learned. I am always open to helping those that are faced with this horrible news, whether it is guiding them in the steps they need to take medically, or just an ear to listen. Cancer not only takes its toll on us physically, but emotionally as well.
*Those you think will be there for you, won’t.
*Those you didn’t think would be there for you, will.
*Chemo is no joke, and as well as I did with it, I still had some pretty rough days.
*I never knew how much my hair meant to me until I lost it.
*I never knew how important my breast were until they were gone.
*My husband is the most amazing person I know.. he has dealt with my ups and downs and I can’t imagine how hard this has all been on him.
*I’ve lost friends, but I’ve gained friends. Thankfully I have gained more than I lost.
*I’ve laughed as much as I’ve cried.
*It’s hard to watch everybody carry on “business as usual” when you’re struggling to make it through the day.
*No matter how many times you go, you never get used to the smell & taste of Heparin.
*I never know when I’ll wake up with numb toes, but I am thankful that at least I’m waking up.
*Very few things made me forget why I had to make a trip to Vanderbilt Breast Center.. but a “girls trip” was one of those things.
*Snuggles from a pit bull ( or TWO ) always make me feel better.
*Visits from my best friend, Deana, always make me feel better.
*No matter what kind of “friend drama” may be going on, at the end of the day, as long as I have my son and my husband- I’m good.
*Cancer can destroy so much of a person, but it can also show you what you’re made of. I found out I am a lot stronger than I thought I was.
*I haven’t given enough credit to my husband, who has taken over household responsibilities, made sure I stayed on schedule with my medications, pampered me when I probably needed a good smack in the mouth (lol), got in the shower with me while fully clothed to help move stupid drains out of the way after my surgery, held on during all my emotional roller-coaster days, and never had a negative word to say. In the midst of me falling apart, he was there to hold me together and never complained, but constantly told me how beautiful and strong I was when I felt just the opposite.
*While its rare for a teenager to think about someone other than themselves, Jordan tweaked his social life quite a bit so he could stay home with me when I didn’t feel good. I have done something right in raising that boy.. he has one of the most caring hearts I’ve ever seen.
*Its no fun to sleep in a recliner for a month.
*When your hair starts to grow, the wig has to go. (it starts to slip and slide… lol)
*Ports are a god-send.
*If I help one person, then getting on 10 people’s nerves is worth it.
*I’m thankful for the many texts, chats, phone calls, etc.. to and from people I’ve never met in person, but have an unbreakable bond with. Funny how you can be comfortable talking to someone you don’t know, only because they have experienced the same things you have.
*Its ok to cry, its ok to be scared.. but its not ok to give up.
Leanna Reed Clemmons, a Shoals Survivor
are to be treasured. This one is of Rubye D Freeman. Rubye is posed by the No Pass Way sign during the construction of the TVA substation at Wilson Dam in 1934.
of the many of the Garrett family of Colbert County, Alabama. This photo is taken at RoundTop School. It is believed that the RoundTop School was located in southern Colbert County near the Franklin County line.
from Roundtop School in the early 1900s. The two students named in the photo are Riley Bond Garrett and his brother Charles Jackson Garrett. Riley Garrett was born 21 August 1896 in Winston County, Alabama. Brother Charlie Garrett was born 1894 and died 1968. There may well be other siblings in the photo as well, just not named. Riley Garrett lived near Leighton in Colbert County for many years and at time of his death in 1989. They were two of a dozen children of Fountain Ambrose Garrett.
of relatives are precious. This one is related to people from Colbert County, Alabama. The soldier pictured is Sam Manford Sledge. He is one of two sons of Clarence Williamson Sledge and Lillian Claire Manford Sledge; C. W. Sledge is a relative of the Sledge’s from Colbert County. This branch of the Sledge family had relocated to areas in Texas where Sam Sledge was born and raised.
- I wonder aloud as to how much history has been forgotten… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
from Montgomery, Alabama.
Amos D. Brenneman served in Company C, 167th U.S. Infantry, served overseas and was severely injured in combat at Croix Rouge Farm in France on July 26, 1918. The last letter in the library collection written by Amos is dated 17 January 1919. Amos Brenneman remained in the military after the war, eventually achieving the rank of Master Sergeant.
Amos Brenneman served in the 42nd “Rainbow” Division, one of the first U.S. divisions to engage in fighting in Europe. The division participated in six major battle campaigns and served in occupation duty in Germany after the armistice was signed.
Amos Brenneman had a brother who also served in World War I. William Roy Brenneman probably spent the entire war at Fort Dade, Florida. He served in the Coastal Artillery Corps, Company 1. The last letter in the collection written by Roy Brenneman is dated 2 September 1918. Roy Brenneman was born 12 December 1894, and he died 8 October 1961, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is buried in the Crawfordsville Masonic Cemetery.
well, not really postcards, but letters from the past. And the Shoals area has a past very saturated with historic people, happenings, places, and events. Take, for instance, one Amos Brenneman.
documents plantation homes in the south. There are photos included of former slaves.
The Big House was a two-story house; white like most houses during that time. On the north side of the Big House sat a great big barn, where all the stock and stuff that was raised was kept. Off to the southwest of the barn, west of the BigHouse, set about five or six log houses.
– William Henry Towns, former slave describing a plantation near Tuscumbia, Alabama.
U.S., Interviews with Former Slaves, 1936-1938 about William Henry Towns
is an excellent summation of a lady and her life that I hold dear in my memory; and it is as àpropos during my childhood as it is now. Back in the day, there did not seem to be much coveting of someone else’s success or wealth; nor was there jealousy. It seemed that those who had been successful illuminated the way for others to follow to attain the American Dream. And if the American Dream is dead, it was not the people who slaughtered it.
The lady I write about is Lena Mae Myhan. She was an extraordinarily ordinary woman. That was part of what made her extraordinary in the crossed eyes of my childhood. You would have thought that I would have been spoiled as the only
girl, but uh uh. And I am thankful for that as I learned independence at an early age. Miss Lena Mae was one of the few who exclaimed to me as a little girl that I had beautiful blue eyes; notwithstanding that the right one was firmly placed in the corner of my eye socket next to my nose. And she remembered every birthday of every child in the near neighborhood for as long as I could remember; that was really special because for the most part our family really did not pay much attention to birthdays back then. I loved Miss Lena Mae; and came to think of her in my adult life as a bonus grandmother.
What about this ordinary woman made her so extraordinary in the eyes of a little Sheffield girl? Let me count the ways. For one thing, she taught me a lot of things that are virtues in today’s world – and all without even knowing it. A little background is in order here.
The Myhan family has known and have been neighbors of my Murray family for more than 150 years now. Most of them are gone now. Our families go way, way back.
Miss Lena Mae Myhan’s family history is one of great pride. Her earliest known ancestor, John Myhand and wife Mary MacMiel immigrated from Lietrim, Ireland. John Myhand and Mary McMiel Myhand were devisees in John MacMiel’s 1729 will and upon his death his son-in-law John Myhand received several hundred acres of property while daughter Mary MacMiel Myhand inherited his plantation.
Their son James Myhand also immigrated from Lietrim, Ireland; he lived in Rowan County, North Carolina and he and his wife Sarah Bryant Myhand are buried in Sampson County, North Carolina. Their known children were Jesse Myhand, Silas Myhand and James Myhand.
Their son, James Myhand was born in Morgan, Rowan County, North Carolina in 1755. He married Rosannah Owen in 1782 in North Carolina. James and Rosannah Owen Myhand migrated to Georgia and lived in Morgan County. There someone on his behalf was a fortunate drawer in the 1820 Georgia Land Lottery that rewarded his service in the Revolutionary War with the gift of land. In 1820 James Myhand’s fortunate draw was in Irwin County, Georgia which was claimed on 3 November 1823, likely by his widow Rosannah Owen Myhand since he had died in 1819. You will find the Myhand family well represented in the Daughters of the America Revolution files. Rosannah Myhand left a “Deed-of-Gift” when she died and it is recorded in Harris County, Georgia Deed Book “A” (1828-1832) page 623.
Here is the text of the gift; Georgia Date of “Deed-of-Gift Morgan County August 12, 1831 Between: Rosannah Myhand,of Morgan County, Georgia, Give unto: My two sons: Alvin and James Myhand, Jr. of Morgan County, Georgia Land Lot – 108, 5th District, Troup County, Georgia, containing: 202 1/2 acres, granted to myself widow of Revolutionary Soldier on April 23 1828. Her signature was an ‘x’ mark; witenss was Caswell J Allen, John J McNeel, J. P.
The Myhand family males provided military service to protect and defend this nation in most of the wars in which America was engaged. James and Rossannah Myhand had a number of children likely: John, William, Nancy, Sarah “Sallie”, Thomas, Alvin, Jesse, Abner L, and James Knight Myhand.
James and Rossannah Owen Myhand’s son James Myhan was born in North Carolina or Cass County, Georgia; he married Bersheba McCowan in North Carolina. He migrated to first to Warren County and then to Morgan County, Georgia. He and his wife are buried there. Their known children are Mary Myhand, Thomas Butler Myhand, and John Myhand. It is their son John Myhand that continues the lineage for our Miss Lena Mae Myhan.
John H Myhand was born circa 1815 in Cass County, Georgia which then was considered the [New] Country. He married Eliza A Horne. In 1850 they were living in Cass County, Georgia [Country]. By 1860 they were living in Franklin County, Alabama. Their children were: William, Mary, John H, Susannah, Missouri A, Edward J, Zachary (or Zachariah) Taylor, Sarah, and Benjamin Franklin Myhand. John reportedly died in 1880 and may be the John Myhand buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Cypress Inn, Wayne County, Tennessee.
John H and Eliza A Horne Myhand’s son, William T Myhan was Miss Lena Mae Myhand paternal grandfather. He was born in 7 March 1833 in Georgia and died 11 Dec 1905 in Sheffield, Colbert County, Alabama. He is buried at Morning Star Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama. William T Myhand married Susan MATILDA McCorkle, daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Susan M McCorkle. They had the following children: Alice P Myhan Finney 1867 – 1933 Ella Minerva Myhan Clark Rumph 1867 – 1952, Laura P Myhan 1870 – 1953, Betty Elizabeth Myhan Kimbrough 1875 – 1968, Jo Ann or Joan Myhan Elledge 1879 – 1962, William M Myhan 1880 – 1959, Martin Myhan 1881 – , Thomas E Myhan 1877 – 1944 and Charles Everett Myhan 1884 – 1965. A large number of the Myhan and related families are buried at Morning Star Cemetery where three or four generations of my Murray and related families are buried.
William Myhand served in the Confederacy during the War Between the States. He served as a Private in Company K of the 5th Arkansas Regiment entering in April of 1861 and afterwards served in the 11th Alabama Regiment of Cavalry from 7 April 1861; entering this regiment at Prides [Landing]. He was captured and taken prisoner of war being held a prisoner in Nashville, Tennessee. He continued to serve until being honorably discharged in 1865 in Montgomery. His widow, Susan M Myhan, made an application for a pension on 26 Jun 1903. The application was granted and the pension was for the total of $2.50 per month.
Their son William M Myhan was Miss Lena Mae Myhan’s father. Her mother was Minnie Lee Ida, but her maiden name is yet to be discovered. Ida Myhand died in 1918 and is buried in Morning Star Cemetery. They had two girls: Lena Mae Myhan and IvaDell Myhan.
IvaDell Myhan was born 29 Nov 1908 in Colbert County, Alabama and died 1 November 1985 in Sheffield. She and her husband, Willie J Young are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Sheffield. They had two girls named Lola M and Betty A Young. Ivadell and her family lived in Chattanooga at one time, and on another census record it was inferred their residence was in LaGrange, Georgia. The Young family returned to their native Alabama and lived in Sheffield when she died.
Miss Lena Mae, that is what we all called her, was born 19 January 1906 in Colbert County. Her family had lived in the neighborhood of my paternal family for nigh over one hundred and fifty years at the time of her death; they had lived in the neighborhood of my maternal family for nearly fifty years. So, the history is steep and deep between our families.
Miss Lena Mae was not a pretty woman; at least to the time I remember her. But I had always pictured her as a young girl to be as pretty as she was in my mind’s eye as a child. Of course, she seemed a woman of ancient maturity by the time my memory set in; but even until her death I saw no change in her appearance from how I remember her. There is a photo of one of her ancestors that looks how I imagine her to have looked at the same age; beautiful and young and vibrant. She was not a silly, flighty girl, who lived on airs and pretentiousness. She was pragmatic, and she loved her father. She was taller than my mother and a little on the stout side. She wore little cotton house-dresses and always seemed to have an apron tied around her waist. She and Mr. Lon always grew the most luscious looking and green garden behind their home. She had a huge dip in her forehead where a metal plate resided; and her hearing was all but nonexistent. Her hair was mostly a light gray and she kept it in a ball at the nap of her neck; obviously she had black hair in her youth. There always seemed to be a little wisp of hair blowing in the breeze from her temples. She must have had back problems since her gait was a little on the awkward side; if I recall correctly she had a steel rod in her back. But in all my lifetime, I never heard her complain. Her life was dedicated to the care and welfare of her father; she was a worker. Lest you get the idea that she was just a girl from Appalachia without many virtues; the record will be clear now. She had a four-year college degree but evidently never used it; her father consumed all her time. She had lost her mother when she was just twelve; and for some reason when her father became crippled she assumed the role of caregiver 24/7. Her father, William M Myhan, had been a rural route Mail Carrier for the U S Government during his working days. He drove a horse drawn wagon to deliver the mail to my family and others in rural Colbert County for decades. After moving to Sheffield he worked at King Stove and Foundry and retired from that employment. He was a member of the Okolona Baptist Church that still exists on the corner of Sixth Street and Wilson Dam Road in Muscle Shoals, as has many of my relatives and ancestors.
It was said that he had an ingrown toenail which had became gangrenous and had to have one of his legs amputated. He was pretty much bedridden by the time I was a child. I remember his armless wheelchair which seemed to take up most of the room where his bed was located. And I remember his shockingly white hair. I always thought he looked pretty healthy, except for the missing leg. The family had a boarder, Alonzo “Lon” Marlar, who lived in with them for many years and helped her take care of her father; but also had a day job and worked at Martin Stove which was a foundry across the railroad tracks. The family had no phone, no car, no television and Miss Lena Mae never had children. Their seating under the shade trees outside were those wooden straightback chairs with the woven seat. They did have the most beautiful dog that I have ever seen. He was a collie and all fluffy and energetic; his name was Carlo and he would be in the street where we would travel and play a lot of the time. Many would consider them poor, very poor. But you are not poor because someone else is wealthy.
Miss Lena Mae was one of the influences that taught me pride, independence, and that you do not have to have a lot of money, riches, property, beautiful clothes, or worldly possessions to be rich – and neither does any person worth his/her salt covet or envy those who are more fortunate than they for that is a biblical sin. Actually, that is the backbone of my families on both sides. Growing up in the little city of Sheffield made myself and my siblings what we are today; we had so many good influences to model after.
I remember as a child, standing with my jaw dropped when Miss Lena Mae’s sister and her family would visit. The juxtaposition of the lifestyle of the sister and my beloved Miss Lena Mae was stark, even to a child. They came in a car, what seemed like a nice car. They had nice clothes, unlike the little cotton house-dresses that Miss Lena Mae wore. The sister had a husband and two beautiful children. I imagined they lived in a Norman Rockwell house and had a Norman Rockwell life. Whereas, Miss Lena Mae and her family had rented that lonely looking house at 1001 West 13th in southwest Sheffield for what could have been a lifetime, by my estimation more than forty years. I think the rent was less than $75 per month likely much less for them. but they had rented it long enough to have bought it a dozen times or more. Those houses were removed from TVA property when one of the Villages was done away with. They were originally shotgun houses with a dog trot through the middle. They look nicer now, but as a child they were unpainted and a bleak gray. They heated the house with coal. I remember getting Miss Lena Mae some pretty towels one Mother’s Day. When I took them to her and went to hang them up in her bathroom, I was unable to hang them because the bathroom was bare and did not even have a towel rack or a toilet paper holder.
My heart ached for my Miss Lena Mae because I thought she deserved just as good as her sister and I did not understand the difference in the two lives. It seemed to me that the sister lived a charmed life and did not visit that often, perhaps they lived out of town. And Miss Lena Mae was dedicated to the welfare and care of her invalid father all her adult life; it just was such a stark contrast in the mind of a child, but Miss Lena Mae never took a breath that showed resentment or jealousy or envy. It was as it was supposed to be. She was rich.
I had become aware of the Vocational Rehabilitation Center in Muscle Shoals. When I asked them about a hearing aid for someone like her; they suggested that she come in and were sure that they could help her. I was ecstatic at the thought of her getting help with her hearing and I eagerly told her about their service. It was then I learned a good life lesson about independence and pride. She told me that she would not be getting the hearing aids. She stated that was ‘charity’ and that charity was for those who were poor. There was a jolt to my system because I had (mistakenly) thought she was poor just because she did not have many worldly possessions. Well, she taught me and I have remembered that lesson for a lifetime now. That is how our past generations of family were; proud and independent. Those attributes are likely why those in the deep south are so mistrusting of the government. When I think back on that incident, I get chills; oh, how I loved that wonderful extraordinarily ordinary woman.
Mr Lon was born in Missouri and was living in the household of his sister Grace Thomas in Sheffield on the 1930 census record. He was age 31 and single. Grace and her husband William E Thomas were the parents of Paul Thomas. We called him Mr Paul and his wife Miss Audie. They lived next door to my maternal grandparents on West 8th Street in southwest Sheffield as long as I could remember and until their deaths.
After her father died in 1959; she was such an upright person that she told Mr. Lon that it wouldn’t be right or look right for them to continue to live in the same house without being married. So that is what they did. Her father died in January of 1959 and in February of 1959 they married. They lived in that shotgun house on West 13th in Sheffield until he died, and then she lived there until she was put in a nursing home and then died. She and Lon Marlar are buried at Colbert County Memorial Gardens.
What good memories I have of my Sheffield childhood; and Miss Lena Mae Myhan Marlar is one of them. She taught me that WE ARE ALL RICH.