Saturday, August 30, 2014

Singleton's adventurous thoughts stirred during the month of October

George Buster Singleton
(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 “October: The month of change” was originally published in the Oct. 9, 1986 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

As the early days of October come forward and the fading days of September disappear from the horizon, change fills the air. The hot sulky dog days that began during the last of July have faded in oblivion. And on the evening winds, the touch of autumn blows across the hills.

October is a time for change, just as the old Indian legends describe it to be. The murky days of hot and sticky weather are giving way to cooler temperatures, and the pace of life begins to wind down, just as an exhausted runner does after a long and tiresome journey. A time of adjustment comes upon us as our bodies begin to lose the tension that has been with us during the hot summer months.

The urge to travel is ever present as the evening winds whisper in the pine needles, and the thoughts of distant places play tricks on the minds of those with wanderlust. The thoughts of adventure become stronger, and the feel of restlessness stirs through the passages of the mind, as the distant hills call silently to that part of you that is yet primitive and will always remain so.

The blood of the vagabond rushes through the veins as though it wants to release itself and climb upon the winds, never to return. And in the distance, the thoughts of approaching autumn add to the impatience, and memories of the changing colors slowly creeping across the faces of the evening make one know that the time of change is at hand.

Then, as the cool evening air slips steadily down from the north, the thoughts of burning wood and the smell of evening campfires play havoc with the imagination. The desire to search for high places becomes an obsession, and your eyes scan the evening sunsets for the flocks of wild geese that are so vivid in your memory.

And you wait and listen for the first faint sounds of the leaves, as they flutter down through the branches to their final resting places there on the ground.

For behind are the hot sticky days that have been so uncomfortable, and ahead are the changing days of Indian summer. Then, as one looks further, the cold chilly days of winter loom far on the edges of the horizon.

October is truly a time for change, a time for adjustment, a time for the evaluation of one’s thoughts, and a time for making plans. And, too, it is a time for making peace with oneself.

October is the month for all these things, and, above all, it is a time to seek out the high places – places where one can be alone and reach for the sky. A place where one can reach up and touch the heavens, and pray to the Great Spirit, as man once did, asking for the help that he knew was needed for the days ahead.

“O Great Spirit that holds all life in one hand
And the warm sun in the other,
Reach down and touch my soul,
And give the strength that I may run
With the swiftness of the deer
And I may have the strength of the giant oak tree
That grows beside the rippling waters.

Give me the wisdom, that I might seek food
And shelter from the cold winter winds
That howl down from the north.
Guide my hands, that I use only
That which I need, and that I walk
Straight and true toward the sunset.

As I grow old from the passing of many winters,
Let me look into the dawn of that great day
When I will rest forever
By the waters that give Eternal Life,
And where the air is pure
And the sky is forever blue.”

(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 on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. 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.)

Today in History for Aug. 30, 2014

Historical marker at Fort Mims in Baldwin County.
Aug. 30, 1797 – “Frankenstein” author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in Somers Town, London.

Aug. 30, 1813 – About 1,000 Creek Indians under the command of William Weatherford attacked Fort Mims in what is now Baldwin County, Ala., killing nearly 250 settlers gathered there for protection. The attack caused fear and hysteria among frontier settlers, who quickly raised militia companies to fight the Indians in the Creek War of 1813-1814.

Aug. 30, 1825 – Creek chieftain William McIntosh was killed by Creeks who believed he betrayed them in his role of getting treaties signed that ceded Creek lands to the U.S. government.

Aug. 30, 1833 – The post office at Centerville, Ala. had its name officially changed to “Monroeville.”

Aug. 30, 1862 - Confederates defeated Union forces at the second Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Va.

Aug. 30, 1862 - Confederate troops under Edmund Kirby Smith soundly defeated a Union army under General Mahlon D. Manson at Richmond, Ky. Manson and his entire staff were captured.

Aug. 30, 1862 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Larkinsville, Ala. in Jackson County.

Aug. 30, 1868 – Minnie Lee “Miss Minnie” Robbins of Beatrice, who operated Robbins Hotel (built 1861) as “an elegant haven for commercial men,” was born.

Aug. 30, 1873 – Rev. Pitts Milner, founder of Georgiana, Ala., passed away at the age of 67.

Aug. 30, 1905 – Baseball legend Ty Cobb made his major league batting debut with the Detroit Tigers.

Aug. 30, 1908 - Officials of the United Mine Workers (UMW) in Birmingham called off a bitter coal strike, prompting The Birmingham News to declare that the result would be "Prosperity in the Birmingham District." Workers had walked out of the mines in early July to protest wage conditions, and almost two months of violence ensued. As many as 18,000 black and white workers had joined UMW, but resistance by employers, intervention by Gov. B. B. Comer, and public dissatisfaction broke the strike and debilitated UMW's strength in Birmingham for years.

Aug. 30, 1918 – Baseball legend Ted Williams was born in San Diego, Calif.

Aug. 30, 1918 - The New York Giants beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 1-0, in a game that only took 57 minutes to play.

Aug. 30, 1925 – During the closing sermon at the end of a three-week revival in Andalusia, about 5,000 people in a “big, open air tabernacle” watched as 24 masked and white robed members of the Ku Klux Klan silently presented the Rev. Bob Jones with a $1,568 check from Andalusia Klan No. 29. The donation to Jones was believed to be “a record for the amount of such contributions.”

Aug. 30, 1965 - New York Mets Manager Casey Stengel announced his retirement, ending his 56-year career in professional baseball.

Aug. 30, 1966 - Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a game against St. Louis.

Aug. 30, 1984 – The Central of Georgia Depot on Central Street in Andalusia was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Aug. 30, 1985 – J.W. Weaver, Superintendent of the City Electrical Department in Evergreen, retired after 37 years of service to the City of Evergreen.

Aug. 30, 1985 – Lyeffion opened the 1985 football season by blasting Alabama Christian, 60-0, in Montgomery. Willie King led Lyeffion’s offense with eight carries for 240 yards and five touchdowns.

Aug. 30, 1985 – Evergreen High School beat Wilcox County High School, 26-0, in Camden

Aug. 30, 2002 - The major league baseball players union and the team owners came to an agreement that avoided a player's strike set to begin on this day.

Aug. 30, 2007 – The final high school football game between Excel and Frisco City was played in Excel. Excel won, 22-14, closing out a series that is believed to have begun in 1921. 

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Aug. 30, 2014

Temp: 73.4 degrees F.

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Humidity: 83 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Birds and bees audible and visible; Partly cloudy skies; light dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance.

Barometric pressure: 29.60 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 0.95 inches

Summer to Date Rainfall: 3.25 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 46.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 242nd day of 2014 and the 71st day of Summer. There are 123 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Today in History for Aug. 29, 2014

'Massacre at Fort Mims'
Aug. 29, 1813 – Paddy Welsh and William Weatherford hid their main force in the woods and tall grass about six miles from Fort Mims, where soldiers and settlers were enjoying a supply of whiskey that had arrived that day.

August 29, 1813 - Two black slaves tending cattle outside Fort Mims also reported that "painted warriors" were in the vicinity. But, mounted scouts from the fort found no signs of the war party. To the detriment of Fort Mims, Major Daniel Beasley had the second slave flogged for "raising a false alarm."

Aug. 29, 1861 – During the Civil War, in North Carolina, Confederate troops at Fort Hatteras surrendered after a two-day battle.

Aug. 29, 1862 - The Second Battle of Bull Run continued. Confederate troops defeated Union troops under General John Pope at Manassas Junction. Pope retreated the next day.

Aug. 29, 1863 – The H.L. Hunley submarine sinks during training exercise, killing five of her crew.

Aug. 29, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Carperton's Ferry, Ala.

Aug. 29, 1864 - Democrats nominated George B. McClellan for president to run against the Republican incumbent, Abraham Lincoln.

Aug. 29, 1892 – “Pop” Billy Shriver of the Chicago Cubs caught a ball that was dropped from the top of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.

Aug. 29, 1896 – The first issue of The Monroe Democrat newspaper was published by D.M. Gordon and associates. That newspaper moved to Daphne about two years later.

Aug. 29, 1911 – State Superintendent of Education Henry J. Willingham and State Auditor C. Brooks Smith visited Monroeville and Jones Mill (now Frisco City) to announce that the state high school commission had awarded Monroeville the County High School by a unanimous vote on Aug. 24.

Aug. 29, 1911 – The 19th Annual Session of the Second District Agricultural School opened in Evergreen with Henry T. Lile as President.

Aug. 29, 1911 – The Evergreen Motor Car Co., which “featured entirely and completely Ford automobiles and Ford products,” was established by C.P. Deming Sr., H.W. Dunn, W.B. Ivey and R.B. Lee. It operated under that name in the same block on Rural Street until Sept. 1, 1955 when it sold out to Bryon Warren, who changed the name to Warren Ford Co.

Aug. 29, 1918 – Laula M. Middleton born near Evergreen. He would later become a military pilot and would be killed in World War II. Evergreen’s airport was later named in his honor. A memorial marker for Middleton came be found in Belleville United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Aug. 29, 1940 – Evergreen’s Rotary Club defeated Brewton’s Rotary Club, 19-9, in a softball game in Brewton.

Aug. 29, 1957 – Future NFL player Benjamin Rudolph born in Evergreen.

Aug. 29, 1971 - Hank Aaron became the first baseball player in the National League to hit 100 or more runs in each of 11 seasons.

Aug. 29, 1977 - Lou Brock brought his total of stolen bases to 893. The record he beat was held by Ty Cobb for 49 years.

Aug. 29, 1983 - The anchor of the USS Monitor from the U.S. Civil War was retrieved by divers.

Aug. 29, 1985 – Sparta Academy opened the 1985 football season with a 34-12 win over Greenville Academy at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen. Chad Grace and Danny Reed led Sparta’s offense with two touchdowns each, and Mark Rigsby, who also scored a touchdown, led the defense with eight solos, six assists, an interceptions and two caused fumbles.

Aug. 29, 1988 – Public schools in Conecuh County opened on this day to start the 1988-89 school year.

Aug. 29, 2008 – Hillcrest upset Class 6A Theodore, 21-20, at Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen. The game included Theodore junior linebacker C.J. Mosley, who would go on to star at Alabama and to be selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. 

Another season of high school football kicks off tonight for Conecuh County

Another season of high school football will officially begin tonight when Hillcrest High School and Sparta Academy kick off their regular season schedules, and both football programs will pass a few milestones this year.

This year marks the 44th season of football at Sparta Academy and tonight’s game at Southern Academy will be the 461st official game in the history of Sparta football. It will also be the 234th road game in the history of Sparta football and the tenth all-time game between Sparta and Southern. It’ll mark the fifth time that Sparta has faced Southern in Greensboro.

Tonight’s game will also mark the first official game for young head coach Justin Chandler, an experienced assistant coach who is getting his first crack at being a head coach. Chandler is the 19th all-time head football coach at Sparta, which goes through a head coach about once every 2.3 years.

Chandler will be out to top last year’s 3-8 record and to keep Sparta’s playoff streak alive. The Warriors have made the playoffs two years in a row and a trip to the playoffs this year will be Sparta’s 16th all-time trip to the state playoffs.

This year also marks the 26th season of football at Hillcrest High School and tonight’s game at Monroe County High School will be the 261st official game in the history of Hillcrest football. It will also be the 151st road game in the history of Hillcrest football and the 23rd all-time game between Hillcrest and Monroe County. It’ll also mark Hillcrest’s 12th all-time trip to Tiger Stadium in Monroeville.

Tonight’s game will also mark the start of Larry Boykin’s fifth season as head coach at Hillcrest. Boykin, who is a lock for the AHSAA Hall of Fame one day, is the sixth all-time head coach at Hillcrest and enters the season with a 21-21 record at Hillcrest.

I think it’s worth noting that Boykin was in his fifth year at Southern Choctaw in 1998 when he began to put that program on the map in a big way. In the four seasons prior to that, he was 15-27 overall, including a 1-9 season in 1995. However, in 1998, Southern Choctaw went 15-0, won the Class 2A state title and garnered Boykin the 2A Coach of the Year Award. His teams at Southern Choctaw would repeat again as state champions in 1999 and 2002.

I say all that to say that you shouldn’t be surprised if Hillcrest becomes a big winner this season. Last year, the Jags won a school record seven-straight games, and this year’s team could be poised to do even better. Only time will tell, but I won’t be surprised if this year’s team turns out to be one of the best in school history.

In the end, everyone at The Courant is wishing both teams all the best as they enter their respective seasons, and we hope that they have all the success they can earn this season. 

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Aug. 29, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 0.95 inches

Summer to Date Rainfall: 3.25 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 46.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 241st day of 2014 and the 70th day of Summer. There are 124 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today in History for Aug. 28, 2014

Leroy, Alabama's Kelvin Moore.
Aug. 28-30, 1862 – The Second Battle of Manassas (Second Bull Run) took place in Prince William County, Va. and four members of the Conecuh Guards were killed there - Thomas Robertson, Joseph Stallworth, James H. Thomas (who’d been wounded earlier at Seven Pines on May, 31, 1862) and Jasper Newton Stinson (who’d been promoted to color sergeant of the Fourth Alabama Regiment about a month before). Five other members of the Conecuh Guards were wounded - 1st Lt. Alfred Christian, 1st Lt. John G. Guice (who was wounded in two places, lost a leg and was honorably discharged), William Morrow (who was later wounded at Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864 and returned to live in Mobile County after war), Buck Stuckey (who would be killed at the Battle of Darbytown Road in September 1864) and Francis M. Sampey (who would be wounded later near Farmville, Va. in April 1865 and die in Selma in 1874).

Aug. 28, 1862 - Confederate General Braxton Bragg captured a Union garrison at Mumfordsvilled, Ky.

Aug. 28, 1863 - Confederate Naval Lt. George W. Gift paid a visit to the shipyard above Mobile Bay, Ala. to observe the progress in construction of the two vessels, the Tennessee and Nashville.

Aug. 28, 1864 - Union General Alfred Terry was promoted from brigadier general to major general in the United States Volunteers.

Aug. 28, 1941 - The Football Writers Association of America was organized.

Aug. 28, 1963 – In a disappearance attributed to the “Bermuda Triangle,” two new KC-135, four-engine jet Stratotankers, on a refueling mission out of Homestead Air Force Base, Fla. on their way to a classified refueling range in the Atlantic, disappeared shortly after giving their position as 300 miles southwest of Bermuda.

Aug. 28, 1963 - Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C.

Aug. 28, 1981 – Leroy native Kelvin Moore would make his major league debut, playing first base for the Oakland A’s against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston. Oakland lost, 12-5. Batting fifth, Moore went 1-for-4, his hit coming on a single to center field in the top of the eighth.

Aug. 28, 1985 – Hurricane Elena, which destroyed about 300 coastal Alabama homes, formed in the Atlantic.

Aug. 28, 1986 – Five historic districts in Greenville were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Those districts included the Commerce Street Residential Historic District, the Fort Dale-College Street Historic District, the King Street Historic District, the South Greenville Historic District, the South Street Historic District and the West Commerce Street Historic District.

Aug. 28, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast of the United States. At least 1,200 people were killed in Louisiana and Mississippi.