Sunday, December 16, 2018

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

Melvin Foukal
DEC. 18, 1986

Former Monroeville Police Chief Charles Colbert has been hired by Monroe County Sheriff Lenwood Sager as a deputy sheriff.
Colbert, 45, served as chief of police for 12 years and as a policeman before that. William Dailey was appointed police chief in October by the Monroeville City Council, and Colbert began work Tuesday as a deputy sheriff.

Excel High School’s basketball team avenged a 41-39 loss to J.U. Blacksher Friday at Uriah when the Panthers squeezed past the ninth-ranked Bulldogs 45-44.
Senior guard Shannon Countryman put the Panthers ahead 45-44 with 25 seconds left when his jump shot from 19 feet centered the hoop. Countryman, who had a tough time in the first half, rallied the Panthers in the final two quarters with his 14 points to finish the game with 20 of Excel’s 45 points.
(Other top Excel players in that game included Tony Hollinger, Lance Marrow, Ron Millender and Brian Thomas. Brad Moore was Excel’s head coach. Top Blacksher players included Michael English, Orland Frye, James Jackson, Anthony Norris, Vincent Wallace and Willie Wallace. Gary Lambert was Blacksher’s head coach.)

Melvin Foukal has been elected as second vice president of the Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce.
The normal rotation will make Gary Crawford the president next year, and Mike Patrick the first vice president. Glenda Bullard, a chamber employee, will continue as secretary, and F.D. Clark has agreed to serve another year as treasurer.

DEC. 21, 1961

Heavy Rains Damage Some County Roads: Probate Judge E.T. Millsap said Wednesday that heavy rainfall and resulting high water during the past 10 days has caused considerable damage to several roads in the county. However, no roads are closed, he said.
Mr. Millsap also stated that the Bureau of Public Roads has approved the construction of a bridge across Brushy Creek near Peterman. The county has refloored the old steel bridge already there in order that it may be used during construction of the new bridge.

Tommy Ray Waters, senior at Monroe County High School, and son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Waters of Burnt Corn, has an enviable record as a halfback for the MCHS Tigers. He was top scorer in the Pine Belt Conference this season and was one of the leading scorers in 1960. He made a total of 75 points for the Tigers this year. In addition to his scoring prowess, Tommy Ray was on the receiving end of several good passes, made some spectacular interceptions of passes by opposing teams and was outstanding on defense.

Raymond Owens, owner of Owens Hardware and Electric Co., has been named president of the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce for 1962. He succeeds F.J. (Andy) Kress, 1961 president.
Election of officers was conducted at a meeting of the board of directors Monday night which was held in connection with a quarterly membership meeting of the Chamber at the Community House.
Other officers named to serve with Mr. Owens include George Gibson, first vice president; and W.R. Carter Jr., second vice president.

DEC. 17, 1936

Landmark Being Razed: The razing of the old Yarbrough house which for many years has stood on the southeast corner of the Monroeville square was started this week. The old home, constructed here some years preceding the War Between the States, will be removed in order that the new Federal building may be placed on that lot.

Frisco City Boy Gets All-State Mention: Honorable mention in its all-state selection for football honors among the high school teams was awarded Mose Smith of Frisco City by the Montgomery Advertiser.
Mose Smith, in the list of halfbacks, was one of 34 boys in the state to be thus designated.
Smith led the Frisco City team through a victorious season during 1936 and to the county championship. He, probably more than any individual player on the teams of the county, ran up an impressive number of points for scoring and carried the ball a fair share of every game in which his team was entered.

Tunnel Springs Man Dies In Mobile: David D. Maxwell of Tunnel Springs, died in a hospital in Mobile shortly after eight o’clock Sunday evening. Mr. Maxwell was a native of Burnt Corn, but for some years had made his home at Tunnel Springs. He had been employed by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. for 32 years.
The body was sent to Tunnel Springs by rail on Monday afternoon for funeral services and interment.

Monroe County school children will be dismissed on Wed., Dec. 23, for the Christmas holidays, according to Superintendent H.G. Greer. The week following Christmas Day will also be granted as a holiday and the regular school work over the county will be resumed on Monday morning, Jan. 4.

DEC. 21, 1911

Work on the County High School building showed rapid progress up to a week ago, but is temporarily suspended on account of the nonarrival of necessary material. The walls are up to the window level of the first floor but can proceed no farther until the stone required for the belt course is received. Contractor Ward is doing all in his power to rush the work to completion by the date specified in the contract. He will doubtless put on an extra force of workmen as soon as the material comes to hand.

Rev. D.F. Ellisor, the newly appointed pastor of the Monroeville circuit, has written to members of his official board that he expects to arrive at Monroeville with his family about the second or third of January.

There will be a meeting of the Democratic Executive Committee of Monroe County on Mon., Jan. 15, 1912 at 12 o’clock at the courthouse, to transact any business that may properly come before it. All candidates who expect to enter into the next primary are requested to be present. – D.M. Maxwell, Chairman.

Miss Lloyd Entertains Class: Miss Clara Lee Lloyd entertained her music class, some 30 in number, in a most delightful manner at the home of Mrs. B.H. Stallworth on Saturday evening. The instrumental recitations showed remarkable progress by the pupils during the brief time they have been under the tutelage of Miss Lloyd, speaking volumes for her skill and painstaking care. After the recital, light refreshments were served and each pupil was presented with an appropriate souvenir of the occasion.

DEC. 20, 1886

Mount Pleasant – W.A. Shomo was recently appointed postmaster at Mount Pleasant.

Master Lamar Roberts of near Perdue Hill has accepted a position in Sowell & Son’s store.

Capt. John DeLoach went to Mobile on business last Thursday via Repton.

Mrs. Hays and Mrs. Richardson of Scotland passed through Monroeville last week en route to Perdue Hill.

Col. D.L. Neville has been quite sick for some time, we hope however to be able soon to chronicle his entire recovery.

Capt. C.M. Marriott of Dennard was in Monroeville last Tuesday.

Mr. Cochran, representing the well known dry goods house of J. Pollock & Co. of Mobile, called up our merchants Friday.

Married – At the residence of the bride’s father, on the evening of the 9th inst. by Rev. E.E. Cowan, Mr. Thomas Pritchett and Miss Lowery.

Married – At the residence of the bride’s father, Col. H.J. Savage, on Wednesday evening, the 15th inst., Mr. J. Frye Gaillard and Miss Mamie Savage, both of Perdue Hill.

Mr. W.G Riley of Newtown Academy was in town last week.

Dr. J.M. Wiggins of Lower Peach Tree was on a visit to his father’s family near this place last week.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Singleton tells of boyhood memories of Christmas in rural Alabama

(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Christmas memories are sweet” was originally published in the Dec. 24, 1992 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

With Christmas just hours away, we hustle and hurry to get that last-minute shopping done and then try to settle in for the most celebrated holiday of the year.

Nowadays we spend considerable amounts of money for many presents and many times mount up a considerable debt that has to be paid back the following year. Then, it’s time to start all over once again.

This perhaps sounds like a broken record as the holiday season repeats itself each year. But it hasn’t been this way all of the time. I don’t profess to be old, but I remember very well when the Christmas season was celebrated in a fine manner with little or no money spent.

You could tell that the holiday season was apparently due to the fact that my darling mother would sit at her sewing machine for countless hours. She would be making various items of clothing for the family. As she sewed, she didn’t allow any of the family to stand around and see what was being made. There was no need to ask what she was making because you would be told to go on and mind your own business; she would let you know if she needed you.

There were certain signs that you could look for, and this would give you a pretty good idea as to what this darling woman was making. If there was a small pile of cotton on the floor and an old sock or two there, this was a sure bet that small rag dolls were in the making.

If I should pass by and she should stop me and make me turn around, placing her hands on my shoulders, this was a sure sign that a new shirt would be under the Christmas tree.

She never had to measure; she could look and tell how wide the shoulders of the shirt needed to be, and the neck size also. For a small, four-year-old country boy, about the only thing that you wore that came from the store were your shoes. Even the socks that you wore was knitted right there by the fireplace.

Colorful stocking caps, or tams, as they were called, would appear from out of nowhere. These caps would be knitted out of several different colors of thread. These would be large enough so that they could be pulled down below your ears on a cold, frosty morning. You could just about expect a new tamm every Christmas.

Successful cotton crop

If the cotton crop had been successful that year, you knew that something was in the wind when my father returned from the store and slipped the packages into the house. Every effort was made to see that the smaller children, my sister and I, was elsewhere when he arrived home.

If we did witness his arrival, we were told that it was sewing supplies for our mother and that we should go bring in the firewood; we would be called, if needed. We would find out Christmas morning that those packages in question had been perhaps a toy or two and always a considerable amount of fruit and raisins. Sometimes a new pair of shoes would show up on Christmas morning; depending again on the cotton crop.

An abundance of good, dry firewood would have been gathered and brought to the house just before the holiday. This wood had been stored nearby in the woodshed, where it had been placed to dry and cure.

Peanuts had been picked off the stacks of vines, washed, dried and ready for parching. Popcorn had been placed in large jars that could be brought forth at a moment’s notice.

Plenty of lightwood splinters had been split and bundled for handy use in the starting of the early morning fires. Harvested and dried sassafras roots hung in the smokehouse to be used in the making of sassafras teas.

Sassafras roots

Dear old Uncle Tony was the authority on the selecting and drying of the sassafras roots. The red sassafras root was the one chosen to be used for the making of tea. The white sassafras was known to be poisoned. You had to know the difference.

And then, a small boy of four knew when the Christmas cooking was getting under way. Delicious and wonderful odors would float from the kitchen at times when the noon and supper meals had already been prepared. This small boy would volunteer to bring in wood for the cook stove, hoping that a small amount of goodies might happen his way. All knew that something had to be happening; this young lad didn’t volunteer to bring in wood unless there was something in  it for him.

Then, there was the worry about the selection of the size of the box or container that would be placed under the Christmas tree for Santa Claus to put his presents in. This four-year-old didn’t want to appear greedy, so he had to be very careful in the selection of the container. If he played his cards right, his darling mother might let him use her large dish pan. If he didn’t, he had to be satisfied with that small shoe box that seemed to show up always around this time of year.

Large box

For reasons he couldn’t explain, he thought that the larger the box under the tree, the more he would get for Christmas; but it never turned out that way.

Now as I look back, after the passing of the many years, it would have been worth it all just experiencing the anticipation of the coming of Christmas and the togetherness of those you loved and the ones who loved you.

There is no greater feeling of security in this world than when on that Christmas Eve night, that wonderful friend, Aunt Lellia, tucked you in bed under those heavy covers. She would explain that I should hurry to sleep so Santa Claus could come.

Finally, a goodnight kiss was given from a mother more wonderful than words can describe, as she made the final adjustments on the heavy bed covers that protected her baby boy from the chill of the crisp Christmas air.

Ah, memories, sweet memories, may they dwell for always. May they burst forth at Christmas time that I may return once again in memory to that special time, that special place, to relive the happiness that only a small country boy could know.

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born to Vincent William Singleton and Frances Cornelia Faile Singleton, during a late-night thunderstorm, on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served as a U.S. Marine paratrooper in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to warrant officer in May 1972. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Dec. 14, 2018

Old-fashioned whiskey still from the 1930s.

DEC. 13, 2012

Evergreen weather observer Betty Ellis reported no rain between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9. She reported highs of 77 degrees on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 and a low of 49 on Dec. 5.

Local UFO mystery deepens this week: The mystery surrounding the UFO reports made in Conecuh County over the past several weeks only deepened during the past week as more witnesses reported seeing strange lights in the night sky.
During the past week, a woman reported that she and her 16-year-old daughter saw a “weird light that blinked red, blue and white” Wednesday of last week and on Sun., Dec. 2, near their home on County Road 15 in the Baggett’s Chapel community.
“Whatever it was moved real fast and went west toward Lenox and Deer Range,” the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said. “And it was real quiet. We hear planes all the time from the airport in Evergreen, but whatever this was, it didn’t make any sound at all.”
The woman and her daughter spotted the unidentified light around 9 p.m. on Wednesday of last week and around 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 2. On both occasions, they were able to see the object for 15 to 20 minutes, she said.
“I thought it was a star at first,” she said. “But then it got bigger and started to move around, and I knew then that it couldn’t be a star.”

DEC. 1, 1988

Evergreen weather observer Earl Windham reported no rain between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7. He reported a high of 63 on Dec. 5 and a low of 28 on Dec. 5.

Judge of Probate Frank Salter administers the oath of office to the newly appointed City of Evergreen Personnel Review Board: Jeanette Turner, secretary; John Murphy, Cecil Caylor, co-chairman, and James Cowart, chairman. The other member, Gerald Salter, was not present.

Connie Manufacturing Co. of Evergreen has announced plans to create a new division of the company, CMC Apparel. This new division will manufacture men’s dress slacks for distribution by Seminole Manufacturing Co. of Columbus, Miss. Forty new jobs will immediately be created in Conecuh County when production begins in January 1988, eventually resulting in the creation of 125 jobs with an estimated annual payroll of $1,000,000, according to John Law Robinson, President of Connie Manufacturing Co.

The Conecuh County Board of Education will host a reception honoring Mrs. Pat Cassady from 8:30 to 10 o’clock Monday morning in the central office located in the Rutland-Price Building. Mrs. Cassady was named one of the nation’s 100 winners of the 1987 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching in October. The award is presented to one math and one science teacher from each state by the National Science Foundation.

DEC. 13, 1962

Cold wave blasts county and state: The weather made big news in Alabama this week as the season’s first “cold snap” gripped the state. There was no prospect of a thaw until Friday.
The week started off cold and a blast of Artic air late Tuesday sent the mercury plummeting all over the state. Lows near zero were recorded in North Alabama early Wednesday. Locally, the temperature dropped to an unofficial 12 degrees with some reports from out in the county of lows of 10 and 11.

MISS GERRY SEALES has been chosen one of the four beauties to be featured in the yearbook at Judson College. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Seales of Castleberry, Gerry is a member of the senior class at Judson.

Local CAP Flies Dangerous Mission: In the face of dangerously high winds on Sunday morning, Dec. 9, the Evergreen Composite Squadron and Covington County Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, flew their first radiological survey. The purpose of this mission was to test the possibility of Civil Air Patrol units gathering essential radiation data for the state Director of Civil Defense in the event of nuclear attack.
Personnel from Evergreen Squadron participating in this mission were: Major Lee F. Smith, acting as Mission Commander, Capt. G.D. McKenzie, acting as Operations Officer and pilot, Capt. David E. McKenzie, pilot; 2nd Lt. Otto Stacey, pilot, and acting as observers in the aircraft, Major Alton L. Dean, 2nd Lt. L.E. Dean and Warrant Officer Roy Lewis.

DEC. 11, 1947

Officers had no clues Wednesday as to the identity of the burglar who entered Coker Service Store late Saturday night and stole $62 in cash, a large portion of which was in silver dollars. The thief entered the service station through a rear window and apparently did not bother anything else in the place. Stanton Coker is owner and operator of the service store.

The Eastern Star will hold its regular meeting Monday night at seven o’clock. This will be the annual Christmas party and all members are urged to attend.

What was perhaps the largest wildcat still ever seen in this county was captured one mile south of Nymph Thurs., Dec. 4, by Sheriff W.D. Lewis, Deputy Hobson Lewis, J.E. Jones and S.S. Patrick of the ABC Board.
The giant still was in operation when the raid was made, Sheriff Lewis told The Courant. A keg containing about 10 gallons of shinny was also captured. Approximately 1,000 gallons of mash was destroyed.
Sheriff Lewis stated that the still would probably turn out 100 gallons of liquor per day when in full operation. The cooper still would have held something like 1,000 gallons of mash. Nearby was a concrete vat used for fermenting the mash. It was 15-feet by three-feet and would have held 1,000 gallons or more.
Apparently, the still had been in use for a long period of time. It was located deep back in the swamps something like 1-1/4 miles from any road except the little used trail over which materials were carried to the still.

DEC. 9, 1937

Lowest Temperatures Since 1925 Record: This entire section has been shivering this week as it was gripped by the coldest weather recorded since the winter of 1925. According to J.R. Kelley, local weather reporter, the thermometer dropped to 14 (18 degrees below freezing) on Monday of this week, thus chalking up the lowest reading since it dropped to 12 in 1925.
Much inconvenience and considerable damage resulted from the unusually low temperatures. No doubt many flowers and shrubs have been killed and many residents report damage to their plumbing. The weather began moderating late Tuesday and by Wednesday was raining. At press time Thursday morning another cold snap is on with a forecast from the weather bureau predicting another severe freeze with the possibility of a temperature as low as 10 degrees above zero.

Charles Tomlinson, who is attending college in Marshall, Texas, is at home for the holidays with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.P. Tomlinson. Charles is making a record in the newspaper field being publisher of the college paper as well as reporter for a city paper in Marshall.

A.B. Cline, formerly of Miami, Fla., arrived here the latter part of last week to become associated with the firm of I. Long & Sons. He will assist Mr. Robert Long in the management and operation of this large store.
While in Miami, Mr. Cline was engaged in publishing a newspaper and operating a commercial printing plant.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Two UFO reports filed in Alabama during the month of November 2018

Photo taken by Alabama UFO witness on Nov. 18.

Today marks the second Thursday of the month, so this week I’m giving you an update on UFO reports in Alabama from the previous month, courtesy of the Mutual UFO Network. A search for UFO reports in Alabama between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30 on MUFON’s website,, resulted in two reports from within our state during that time.

Both of these incidents occurred on the same day – Sun., Nov. 18 – but about nine hours apart. The first incident took place around 10:30 a.m. in Mobile. The witness in this case was walking from his front yard into his back yard and when he closed the gate behind him, he saw something unusual out of the corner of his eye.

He was facing north and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and he first thought the unusual object in the sky was some type of airplane.

“It was only when the craft was parallel with me that I could see it had no wings,” the witness said. “It was a disc but how it appeared from my line of sight made it look like a Tylenol. It was silver, white reflective with a darker strip in the middle with three blueish-white glowing round lights.”

The witness went on to say that it’s common for helicopters to fly over his neighborhood and that these helicopters often fly very low to the ground. As best that he could remember, he’d pretty much seen these helicopters every day for the past seven years, but not on the day that he saw the UFO. In fact, he didn’t see one that entire day, he said.

The second incident took place on Nov. 18 between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. The report doesn’t say exactly where the incident took place other than that it occurred somewhere in Alabama. The witness in this case was a photographer who was taking night photos with a slow shutter speed of about 30 seconds.

A couple of days later, the witness began to review the pictures he took, and he noticed something very strange in one of the pictures, something he didn’t see on the night he took the photo. The witness posted the photo online along with his report, and it does contain something very strange. Not only when you look at the photo do you see stars in the sky, but you can also see a series of 12 to 13 lights that are different than the stars in the sky.

While the stars are mostly white pinpoints, the unusual string of lights looks almost pink. Given that this photo was taken with a slow shutter speed, I think it’s actually an image of one object traveling across the sky. Whatever it is, it’s definitely something out of the ordinary.

Before closing out this week, I just want to put it out there again that I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has witnessed a UFO, especially in Conecuh County. I think a lot of other people would be interested in hearing your story too, and I’m willing to accept your report anonymously.

Dec. 29 will likely be the last football game for Oklahoma's Kyler Murray

I almost fell out of my recliner Saturday night when Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was awarded the Heisman Trophy over Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

On the surface, for anyone who has watched Tua play, it seems preposterous that they’d give the Heisman to anyone else this season. Tua, despite nagging injuries, has put up big numbers this season and has rarely been on the field during the fourth quarter. He also made it look easy, playing with a confidence rarely seen out of a 20-year-old.

Murray also put up big numbers this season, but that’s been my biggest hang-up with him. Unlike Tua, who had to run the gauntlet of one SEC defense after another, Murray ran up his stats against a host of lackluster Big 12 defenses that would have a hard time stopping a bunch of pee wees. No doubt Murray is a good player, but Tua is a great player and deserved to win the Heisman Trophy.

Oklahoma might end up wishing that Tua had won the Heisman because the snub has fired up Tua’s teammates. Alabama and Oklahoma will play in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29, and Oklahoma better strap it on because it’s shaping up to be a classic beatdown with the winner to advance to the National Championship Game. My feeling is that Alabama is going to inflict a skull-dragging on the Sooners that they will not soon forget.

In the event that Alabama does win that game, it will likely be the last organized football game for Murray, who also stars on Oklahoma’s baseball team. Murray was the ninth overall selection in the Major League Baseball Draft earlier this year, and he’s set to report to training camp next spring with the Oakland A’s. I may be wrong, but I predict that Murray will disappear into obscurity at that point, but he’ll always have that Heisman to hang his hat on.

I do follow Murray on Twitter, and he seems to be an OK guy. He’s got about 94,000 followers and seems to be a decent kid. When you think about it, he didn’t cast all those votes that got him the Heisman, and he probably wanted to win it as bad as the other two finalists.

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was the third Heisman finalist, and, like Tua, he’s just a sophomore, so both of them stand a good chance of winning the Heisman on down the road. The only thing that really concerns me about Tua is how he seems to have been bitten by the injury bug as this season has gone along. If he can stay healthy, Tua might end up being the greatest player in Alabama history.

With that said, Alabama fans have all of that to look forward to. And, let’s not forget, this season isn’t over yet. Just as firmly as I felt that Tua would win the Heisman, I feel just as sure that Alabama is destined to win the national title again this season. What are the odds that I will be wrong about both?

100-year-old news highlights from The Wilcox Progressive Era

1917 Model T Ford Roadster

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the Dec. 12, 1918 edition of The Wilcox Progressive Era newspaper in Camden, Ala.

Willie Snell Gives Life To His Country: On Saturday last, Mr. and Mrs. L.L. Snell of Caledonia received notice from the War Department telling of the death of their son, Willie, who died from pneumonia in France. The death of this promising young man is a severe blow to his devoted parents and a shock to his and their many friends. His death is truly that of a hero just as much as if he had fallen on the firing line. He was universally liked by his associates and was faithful unto the trusts imposed on him. This is about 10 boys that Wilcox has given as a sacrifice for democracy, but they have not died in vain nor shall their glory be forgot. To these parents as well as to the other loved ones who have passed through the vale of sadness, we extend our sympathy.

A letter from Pvt. Richard C. McWilliams to his father, Mr. R.E. McWilliams, tells of his safe arrival overseas after an exciting voyage in which a severe storm was encountered which lasted 24 hours. Soldiers were not allowed to remove life preservers and engaged frequently in life-saving drills. He did not know whether he would be returned to the States at once or not, having reached port the day the armistice was signed.

Owing to continued prevalence of influenza, the Camden schools have been closed until Dec. 30. Pine Apple, Fatama, Griffiths and Mt. Hope schools were also closed the past week.

Canton Bend has suffered more from the prevailing scourge than any other Camden district. In the dormitory of Millers Ferry school, there were 53 cases at one time and the distress so great among the poorer classes of negroes, where many deaths occurred, in some instances three and four in one family, that the charitable white people of the community got together and sent food and wagonloads of wood to numerous needy homes.

Dr. T.W. Jones, who has been at home on a furlough, returned to Camp Greenleaf Saturday to receive his discharge from U.S. service. His return to Camden will be welcomed by a host of friends as he is one of our best physicians.

Prof. C. Hardy of Camden, Dr. W.P. Roberts of McWilliams and Mr. W.W. Ptomey of Pineapple represented Wilcox at the meeting of the Grand Lodge in Montgomery the past week.

Tuesday evening about 8 o’clock our town was startled by alarms of fire. The girls dormitory at Wilson’s colored school was burned. It will be rebuilt at once.

Mr. Mark Grier, son of Rev. B.H. Grier, is at home from Camp Hancock, having been discharged from war service. He will enter the seminary at Princeton, New Jersey in January.

Mrs. Wallace and little son of Pensacola arrived in Camden last week where the expect to make their home for some time. Mr. Wallace represents the Newport Rosin & Turpentine Co. of Pensacola.

FOR SALE – A 1917 Model Ford Roadster with top. Equipped with shock absorbers. Self starter goes with car. Car in perfect running order. – F.F. Tait.

Mrs. W.J. Bonner, three sons and master Joe Bonner visited Selma Saturday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Old Wilcox County church and school listed on state's 'Places in Peril' list

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and Community Day School

One of my favorite magazines is Alabama Heritage, and I always make sure to read it from cover to cover. The latest issue of Alabama Heritage featured an article marking the 25th anniversary of the state’s “Places in Peril” list, which has “profiled more than 250 (historic) places that have suffered from neglect, indifference and insensitive development.” The list is published annually and is the result of a partnership between the Alabama Historical Commission, the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation and Alabama Heritage magazine.

The recent “Places in Peril” article in Alabama Heritage, which was written by Michael W. Panhorst, discusses places on the list that have been saved, partially saved, lost and partially lost. The article also contains a section of places “Still In Peril,” which I think will be of especial interest to history buffs in Wilcox County.

Among these places considered “Still In Peril” is a list of Historic African American Schools, including the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and Community Day School in Wilcox County’s Hamburg community. For those of you unfamiliar with Hamburg, this community is located in eastern Wilcox County, between Oak Hill and Snow Hill.

The Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and Community Day School was first listed on the “Places in Peril” list nine years ago, way back in 2009. One day last week, I went digging through my stack of old Alabama Heritage magazines and found the original article on this historic property at Hamburg. According to that article, this church was built in 1912 and was the only African American Baptist congregation in the Hamburg community. The school, which is located adjacent to the church, was built in 1915 and served the community for decades.

As best that I could determine, at least three other Wilcox County properties have been listed on the state’s “Places in Peril” list, going back to the first list in 1994. Those properties include the Snow Hill Institute, the Thomas Dunn House in Camden and Pine Apple’s downtown historic district.

Dating back to 1893, the Snow Hill Institute was placed on the “Places in Peril” list in 1995 due to structural deterioration, lack of funds for restoration and the abandonment of many structures on the property. Going back to the early 1900s, Pine Apple’s downtown historic district was placed on the list in 1998 due to the needed restoration of four old commercial buildings and a livery stable in the town’s historic district.

The Thomas Dunn House dates back to the 1830s and was placed on the “Places in Peril” list in 2001 due to structural deterioration and poor maintenance. This property is actually considered a big success story when it comes to the “Places in Peril” list. It’s now considered a “saved” property as it was restored by the Wilcox Historical Society and sold.

In the end, I think you can say that having a location listed on the “Places in Peril” list is a good thing. Not only does it bring a historic location into the public eye, but it also draws attention to the fact that the property is in need of some tender loving care. As evidenced by the fact that the Thomas Dunn House is considered a “Places in Peril” success story, there’s nothing to say that the other Wilcox County properties on the list won’t benefit in the same way.