Thursday, March 21, 2019

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., March 21, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.75 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 16.90 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 13.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Book relates tall tale of Wilcox County turkey-calling champion


I especially enjoyed listening to the latest episode of the “Gettin’ Outdoors Podcast,” which is hosted by well-known Wilcox County outdoorsman, James “Big Daddy” Lawler. The latest episode, which was released on March 14, was almost entirely about the start of turkey season and featured special guest David Hawley of the Wild Turkey Report. As I traveled down the road, listening to the podcast on my iPhone, I got to thinking about an unusual Wilcox County turkey story that I read years ago.

In 1981, the University of Alabama Press published a book called “Ghosts and Goosebumps: Ghost Stories, Tall Tales and Superstitions from Alabama” by Jack and Olivia Solomon. Most of the stories in this book were gathered during field investigations made between 1958 and 1962 by Troy State University students enrolled in an introductory folklore course. The book also includes folk tales from the Alabama Slave Narratives gathered in Alabama by field workers in the National Writers’ Project: Folklore Division of the Works Progress Administration.

In a section of the book called “The Tales,” readers will find a story titled “The Turkey Calling Champion,” as told by Bonnie Dean. According to this tall tale, a Wilcox County man won the title of champion Turkey Caller, and, as things go, a somewhat unusual story was told about this outstanding turkey hunter.

A “story is told that this man was out hunting turkey one day, and he was lying down behind a big log, using it for a blind. He started to call at short intervals, and it wasn’t long before a big gobbler started to answer. He could hear the big gobbler as he got closer and closer, but he could not see him because of the log.

“He knew if he raised up to look over the log, the turkey would see him, so he reached through the hole (under the log) and grabbed. The man couldn’t pull the turkey under the log through the hole because the turkey was so big. He didn’t know what to do since he knew he wouldn’t have time to let loose, grab his gun and shoot the turkey, so he finally decided what to do. He let loose the gobbler, picked up his call and called the turkey around to his side of the log and killed him.”

Now I know as well as the rest of you that this tale sounds a little hard to believe, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not true. After all, the man in this story was not your average turkey hunter. He was a champion turkey caller. Of course, if he could call a turkey around a log after grabbing it through a hole, his calling skills were truly extraordinary.

In the end, I’d like to hear from anyone in the reading audience who might be able to shed more light on this tale. Who was Bonnie Dean? Who was the unnamed champion turkey caller in her story? When and exactly where did this turkey calling incident supposedly happen? Also, let me hear from you if you have your own tall tale you’d like to share, especially if it has to do with hunting and fishing.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., March 20, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.75 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 16.90 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 13.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

100-year-old news highlights from The Evergreen Courant

Governor Charles Henderson

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the March 19, 1919 edition of The Evergreen Courant newspaper in Conecuh County, Ala.

The Courant has a number of times adverted to the danger and treachery of circumstantial evidence in the trial of persons charged with crime. And the strongest case in point came to light last year in Blount County, Ala.
A number of years ago up in the mountains of Blount, there lived a family who did not get along well together, and it was said that the man and wife frequently had disagreements and quarreled. On one occasion, the man and his wife and small daughter were seen together in the mountains. The wife and daughter were suddenly missing and were never again seen at their home or in the mountain haunts, though the husband was as much at a loss to know what became of them as his neighbors, yet he was looked up with some degree of suspicion. Time passed and still the mystery of their disappearance was unsolved. Finally after the lapse of many months, the bleached bones of an adult and that of a child were found in a cave in the mountains. The mystery was solved in the eyes of the populace, and William Wilson was taken in custody, put on trial for murder, convicted by a jury of his peers and was sentenced to imprisonment in the state penitentiary for the remainder of his natural life for the alleged murder of his wife and daughter. He went to the pen and there did penal servitude for more than three years, often being whipped, when some time last year, the wife and daughter “showed up.” Those whom he was convicted of murdering were yet alive. The facts were  made known to Governor (Charles) Henderson and he speedily gave William Wilson his liberty. And the Legislature during its January session was asked to appropriate $3,500 to compensate Wilson for his term in prison. When the vote was taken to pay this man the small sum asked there was not a protest nor a dissenting vote. Wilson, broken in health, went to Montgomery last week to claim the amount given him by lawmakers.

A feed house at Prof. Worley’s poultry yard on the school grounds was destroyed by fire on Sunday morning. No other damage resulted.

Ralph McCreary reached home last week from France, where he landed in October but too late to see active service at the front. He says the Huns knew his outfit was about to get in the mixup and they were anxious for the armistice before that happened. Ralph doffed the khaki quickly and is ready for business. He goes to Arkansas in a few days to take up where he left off to go to war.

Hon. E.C. Page reached home a few days ago from Detroit, Mich., where he has been in the trial of a case for more than three months.

Bob Kendall is making an excellent record as sheriff. He has been on the job so long that he does not seem like a new officer.

Veterans to Meet: A meeting of Camp Capt. Wm. Lee will be held at the courthouse on April 1. A full attendance is desired as business of importance will come up for consideration. – J.T. Fincher, Commander.

Pensacola, Fla., March 14 – Bud Johnson, a man who according to police, confessed to an attack upon a well known white woman near Pace, Fla., was taken from Sheriff Harvell near Castleberry, Ala. early today and burned to death near the scene of his crime. Before disposing of (Johnson), the mob, it was reported here, carried him before his alleged victim who asserted positively that he was the guilty man.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for March 19, 2019

Kennesaw Mountain Landis

19 YEARS AGO
MARCH 16, 2000

Coaches James Brantley and Earnest Boykin will accompany the two Evergreen All-Star Basketball teams from the Evergreen Youth Basketball League to Pensacola Saturday for the Florida Youth All-Star Tournament. The 13-and-Under All-Star team is Brandon Lusane, Frank William, Bobby Mims, Gregory William, Jamarlin William, Alshuan Holder, Coco Spears, P.K. Riley, Terrell Sanders, Vernon Sanders, Willie Dixon, Clarence Jackson and Justin Williams.

The 14-and-Under All-Star team is Seneral Lee, Jason Ingram, Desty Taylor, B. Bryan Boykin, Demetric Tolliver, Derrick Cook, Jamie Simpson, Frank Tolbert, Larry Hudson, Roderick Dukes and Maurice Bradley.

Roberts to sing national anthem at Celtics game: Meg Roberts of West Barnet, Mass. will sing the national anthem at a Boston Celtics game on April 10. Roberts is the niece of Billie Golson of Evergreen.
This honor is especially gratifying for Roberts. She survived quite an ordeal several years ago after an incident that occurred while vacationing in Maine.
Roberts was severely injured after she jumped from a 35-foot cliff and landed on a rock.
The impact shattered both ankles and doctors were not sure that Roberts would ever walk again. She also suffered severe internal injuries, cardiac arrest, seizures and was in a coma for 24 hours. Roberts spent 18 days in intensive care.

44 YEARS AGO
MARCH 20, 1975

Evergreen High Quarterbacks meet Monday 7:30: The Evergreen High School Quarterback Club will meet Monday night at 7:30 in the school gymnasium.
Three important matters will be taken up: discuss plans for a junior football team; make plans for next season; and plan the annual banquet.
All members and supporters of the Aggie sports program are invited and urged to attend.

Men’s Softball: There will be an organizational meeting of the Evergreen Men’s Softball League at the Conecuh County Courthouse on Monday night at 7:30 o’clock.
All teams wishing to enter the league and take part in play this summer must be represented.

69 YEARS AGO
MARCH 16, 1950

Eagles Win Conference Cage Tournament Again: The high-flying Eagles of Conecuh County Training School trounced Snow Hill, 43-21, here last Saturday night to cop their second straight South Alabama Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament. The tournament was a one-day affair and played in the gym of the local colored high school.
The Eagles advanced into the finals with wins over Central High School of Mobile and Atmore. Evergreen was heavily favored to repeat as conference champs because of a fine 23 won, four lost record in regular season play.
Evergreen placed two on the all-tournament team. The team as selected by the coaches was as follows: (Richard) Price, Evergreen, and James Denuault, Snow Hill, forwards; Herbert Rankins, Evergreen, center; Ozell Jackson, Atmore, and James Pendleton, Grove Hill, guards.
Price topped the Eagle scorers with 40 points in the tournament. Rankins had 39; Louis Ingram, 35; Richard Rabb, 20; and Willie Fred Rabb, 12.

Rain Hampers Football Drills At Evergreen High: Thirty-four grid hopefuls were running through their paces in spring football drills at Evergreen High this week in spite of daily rains that kept the field soggy. The first week of practice ended yesterday (Wednesday) and Coach Wendell Hart and John Lockwood report that the squad has good spirit with all the boys trying hard to learn fundamentals.
Coaches Hart and Lockwood have a busy two weeks ahead before spring training ends Wed., March 29. The Evergreen squad suffered heavy losses by graduation and starters must be found at both ends, center and both halfbacks.
Coach Lockwood has 21 candidates for the seven line positions. Heading this group are four starters from last year, Capt. Jeff Moorer, 178, Max Pope, 186, Shelton Craig, 183, and Douglas Potts, 186. Pope and Craig have been moved to guard from tackle with Potts taking over one of the tackle posts. Capt. Moorer is at center. Ranking candidate for the other tackle post is Jack Robinson, a 200-pounder who played a starting tackle for Repton last year.
Lettermen Franklin Williamson heads the field of end candidates. Cleve Robinson is the only other candidate for end with any experience and he isn’t a letterman. Others battling for a terminal spot are Clinton Cobb, Autrey Palmore and Joe Stowers.

94 YEARS AGO
MARCH 18, 1925

Kennesaw Mountain Landis, baseball czar, will speak to the Montgomery post of the American Legion between April 1 and April 6. He will be in the south on a tour of big league training camps and will speak in behalf of the legion endowment campaign while there.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., March 19, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.75 inches.

Winter to Date Rainfall: 16.90 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 13.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Old newspaper excerpts from The Monroe Journal newspaper of Monroe County, Alabama

Marquis de Lafayette

19 YEARS AGO
MARCH 16, 2000

Mixon is named superintendent: Smiles were abundant in Beatrice Thursday evening when the Monroe County Board of Education unanimously appointed Dennis Mixon of Excel as superintendent of education during its monthly meeting.
With some 30 excited and enthusiastic parents, teachers and support personnel looking on in the auditorium at Beatrice Elementary School, Mixon said he was honored to accept the appointment.

J.F. Shields improved to 2-0 Tuesday of last week when the Panthers defeated Southside of Selma 13-7 in Beatrice behind the pitching combination of Cory Stallworth and Eric Johnson.
On offense, Kendall Montgomery went two-for-two with a double and two RBIs. (Other standout Shields players in that game included Leonard Stallworth, Joseph Manuel and Cedric James. Ron King was head baseball coach at Shields.)

Washington tickets for sale: Tickets for the debut of “To Kill a Mockingbird” play at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater in Washington, D.C. are for sale. Tickets can be purchased at the Monroe County Heritage Museums office in the old courthouse for $40 each. A performance will be held for the 96th U.S. Congress June 14, and performances for the public will be at the Terrace Theater June 16-17. The play will be performed those days at 2 and 7:30 p.m., according to Kathy McCoy, museums director. “I believe we will be the first amateur act to perform at the Terrace Theater,” said McCoy.

44 YEARS AGO
MARCH 20, 1975

Fire destroys Uriah Café: Uriah Café was destroyed by fire early Friday morning. Monroeville Fire Chief Wilbert Pickens, whose department was one of three fighting the blaze, was bruised when the brick front of the building fell on him.
The fire gutted the building on Uriah’s main street, leaving two walls and the back standing, but firemen avoided any apparent damage to adjacent buildings, said Monroeville Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Everette.

The Monroe County High School Tiger baseball team officially began practice Monday, preparing to defend the Alabama High School Athletic Association 3A baseball championship, which it won last season.
Last year’s 10-0 regular season record and 16-1 record overall are a hard act for Coach Ronnie Dees and his Tigers to follow – especially since five of last year’s starters graduated last spring.
Lost from the team were Buddy Black, a pitcher and first baseman; Tim Pullen second baseman; Al Carr, shortstop; Reid Nettles, catcher; and James Brown, outfielder.

Fisherman’s body found Sunday: The body of 24-year-old Bruce Wright of Robertsdale, who drowned after the fishing boat in which he was riding accidentally hit a buoy and he was thrown into the Alabama River March 7, was found floating in the river early Sunday afternoon.
Volunteers James McKinley of Frisco City, a member of the Monroe County Rescue Squad, and John Salter of Burnt Corn found the body about 150 yards upstream from the state grain elevator near Claiborne, and 40-50 feet from the river’s east bank, said rescue squad captain Ike Williamson.

69 YEARS AGO
MARCH 16, 1950

‘Groundbreaking’ Service Is Held At Peterman: Special “groundbreaking” services were held at Peterman Sunday morning, when the traditional first spade of earth was turned as the initial step in the construction of a new Baptist Church there.
Joe Smith, senior deacon in the church, turned the first shovel of earth toward the building of the new church.
The Rev. C.M. Gullette of Beatrice is pastor of the church.

(Spring football) drills at J.U. Blacksher High at Uriah began Monday with about 20 boys answering Coach J.M. Sawyer’s opening practice call.
Only five letter-winners from last year’s team, which won four, lost four and tied two, are returning. These include center John Madison, guard Luke Dees, right half Jeffie Johnson, left half Curtis Harris and quarterback Evins McGhee.
Losses from last year’s team include John Weatherford left half; all-county tackle Mac Dunn; Charles Wasden, fullback; Russel Woods, end; second all-county left half James Madison; tackle Elliott Ward; guard Sam Turberville; end O.C. Caylor; and Carleton Turberville and Charles Cumbie.

Beatrice Kiwanis Club Is Installed: During special ceremonies Monday night, a Kiwanis Club was formally installed at Beatrice with 25 residents of that town and the surrounding area joining the organization as charter members.
During the evening, officers of the new unit were selected. These included T.N. Stallworth Jr., president; G.K. Simpkins vice president; and James E. Black, secretary-treasurer.

94 YEARS AGO
MARCH 19, 1925

PROGRAM Of the LaFayette Centennial Celebration to be Held at Claiborne, April 9, 1925: The Marquis de LaFayette, represented by a member of the French Embassy at Washington will arrive at Fort Claiborne Thursday morning at 10 o’clock April 9, 1925 on the Alabama River packet John Quill. He will be escorted from the ferry, the original landing place of the Marquis April 5, 1825 by Hon. John McDuffie, representing Mr. Dillette of old Fort Claiborne, a company of prominent men of the county, a group of old soldiers of the Confederacy, Boy Scouts, Indians and a United States Marine Band to the grounds prepared for the celebration. The addresses will be made from the rostrum on which LaFayette made his address 100 years ago.

SPECIAL NOTICE: The LaFayette Ball to be given at the Masonic Hall, Perdue Hill, April 9, will be in costume. The costumes may be rented from J.C. FISHER, Inc., 255 South 9th St., Philadelphia, Pa. Less than 20 costumes $2.50 each; 20 or more, $2 each; wigs, 50 cents extra. Orders should be mailed not later than March 25.

SPECIAL NOTICE: The people of the county attending the LaFayette celebration at Claiborne April 9 are requested to bring baskets containing the following: cakes, pies, sandwiches, salads, pickles. The bread will be furnished and the meats will be barbecued on the grounds. The dinner will be served in cafeteria style and ladies from different communities have been appointed to help. On arrive, please deliver baskets to the committee in charge.

119 YEARS AGO
MARCH 15, 1900

A post office has been established at Monroe with Mr. Sam H. Tucker as postmaster. The office is served daily from Monroeville.

The Baptist cemetery has been greatly improved under the direction of the Ladies Aid Society.

Agent Kelly informs The Journal that it is the purpose of the L&N authorities to begin running regular trains with passenger accommodation over the Southern Alabama division on Monday, 19th inst.

Hon. George W. Ellis, the present efficient State Treasurer, was in Monroeville Saturday receiving the cordial greeting of his many friends. Mr. Ellis is a candidate for State Auditor, a position for which he is eminently qualified.

Died, at her home near Wait, on Sun., March 11, 1900, Mrs. Mary Henderson, aged about 80 years. Deceased was most estimable Christian lady and had a large circle of devoted friends. An only grandson, Mr. E.E. Henderson, survives her.

Mr. H.W. Boulware of Excel was here Wednesday and remembered The Journal. Mr. Boulware expects to make it interesting for his competitors on the day of the primary.

An excursion to Defuniak, Fla. will be run over the Southern Alabama on Sat., 17th inst. Train will leave Beatrice at 12:05 a.m., passing Monroe at 1 a.m. The occasion will be Veterans Day at the Chautauqua.

Mr. J.G. Johnson of River Ridge spent a few days with friends in Monroeville this week and gave The Journal an appreciated call. Mr. Johnson is hale and hearty at the advanced age of 84 years.