The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history

Sometimes you just happen across history…

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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s