The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Ala., under the direction of Editor and Proprietor Q. Salter, published five editions 120 years ago during the month of May 1895. Those issues, which were dated May 2, May 9, May 16, May 23 and May 30, can be found on microfilm at the Monroe County Library in Monroeville, Ala. What follows are a few news highlights from those five editions. Enjoy.
MAY 2, 1895
The business of the Circuit Court is being dispatched in a very rapid and satisfactory manner. The civil docket was completed last Friday and the court adjourned until Monday morning, when the criminal docket was taken up. There have been a number of convictions for minor offenses and parties sentenced to hard labor for the county. Judge Anderson’s profound knowledge of the law, strict business methods and courteous manners have won the respect and admiration both of the bar and of the public.
W.D. Atkinson, Esq., a prominent lawyer of Evergreen, and late editor of The Star, was a visitor to The Journal sanctum this week.
Concert at Perdue Hill: A concert will be given at the Masonic Hall, Perdue Hill, on Fri., May 10, at eight o’clock p.m. for the purpose of raising funds to purchase an organ for the Methodist church. Refreshments will be served by the ladies of the church at the conclusion of the entertainment.
Died – At the home of Mr. A.C. Lambert, at Manistee, this county, on April 29, 1895, Mrs. Anna Newbery, aged 79 years.
Mr. J.I. Bizzell, late of Selma, was in Monroeville this week, and gave The Journal a call. Mr. Bizzell has recently embarked in the hotel business in Atlanta, and will be glad to see his Alabama friend attending the Cotton States and International Exposition.
News has been received of the lynching of another negro implicated in the murder of Watt Murphy at Butler Springs.
S.C. Cook, Esq., and Mr. Gordon of Wilcox County, gave us a pleasant call on Tuesday.
After interviewing a number of well informed gentlemen from various sections of the county, The Journal is convinced that there has been or will be a material decrease in the cotton acreage in Monroe this year and a corresponding increase in that of corn, peas, potatoes and other food and food producing crops.
S.C. Jenkins, Esq., of Camden is among his many Monroeville friends this week. Mr. Jenkins was recently admitted to the practice of law and is destined to rise to eminence in his profession.
J.F. Jones, Esq., of Evergreen was among the visiting attorneys in attendance on the Circuit Court this week.
B.M. Miller, Esq., a prominent lawyer of Camden is in attendance on the Circuit Court this week.
Teachers Institute: Superintendent McClure requests The Journal to announce that an Institute for the white teachers of Monroe County will be held at Perdue Hill on Fri., June 7, 1895. An exhaustive program has been arranged for the occasion and a number of prominent educators are expected to attend, among them Hon. J.G. Harris, late State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
An Institute for colored teachers will also be held on the same date at Bethel church, near Monroeville, to be conducted by F.J. Marshall.
MAY 9, 1895
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau’s station at Claiborne reported 1.20 inches of rain on April 6, .60 on April 25 and .20 on April 26. Total rainfall for the month of April 1895 was 2.00 inches.
Lower Warehouse Burned: We learn just as we are ready to go to press that the Claiborne Lower Warehouse was destroyed by fire at an early hour this (Thursday) morning, together with a large quantity of merchandise stored therein. The origin of the fire is not known, but is supposed to have been accidental. Mr. J.H. Moore, the proprietor of the warehouse and a number of merchants and others sustain heavy losses. It is not known whether or not there was any insurance on the building.
Monroeville has had two narrow escapes from disastrous fires this week.
On Sunday afternoon an out house near Judge Sowell’s residence was discovered to be one fire, and but for the prompt arrival of assistance, the dwelling would have been consumed.
On Wednesday night, the large lamp used for illuminating Dr. Wiggins’ store fell to the floor and exploded, the escaping oil catching fire and filling the room with flame. By the presence of mind of Mr. Charles Russell, a clerk in the establishment and Mr. Chas. Wiggins, who chanced to be present at the time, the fire was quickly extinguished and no material damage done.
At the late term of the Circuit Court of Monroe County, two prisoners were sentenced to terms in the penitentiary and eight to hard labor for the county.
Those sentenced to the penitentiary were: Sam Brown, grand larceny, two years; Tom English, manslaughter, two years.
The following were sentenced to hard labor for the county to pay fine and costs: Pos Finklea, 11 months; Chas. Westry, six months; Jack Gibson, 11 months; Mose Horn, 11 months; Anna Stallworth, two months; Ed Young, six months; Frank Finklea, 11 months; Jim Parker, five months, all colored.
Jones Mill: Prof. Lee is teaching a flourishing school at the Moseley school house.
Circuit Court adjourned on last Saturday morning, and Judge Anderson and Solicitor Elmore left immediately for their home in Demopolis.
Mr. and Mrs. Jno. I. Watson went to Mobile Sunday per Steamer Nettie Quill, returning Wednesday.
A Pleasant Incident: A pleasant incident of the late term of the Circuit Court occurred on last Saturday morning. Just before adjournment sine die, Capt. Thomas S. Wiggins arose and read a resolution adopted at a previous meeting of the Monroeville bar, cordially welcoming Judge Anderson to Monroe County, and expressing its high appreciation of the able, fair and impartial manner in which he presided during the term. The bar desired to thank him for the many courtesies shown it, and hoped that the pleasant relations thus begun might continue uninterruptedly.
MAY 16, 1895
Houseburners Captured: At the time of making up the paper for last week’s edition of The Journal, very meager information had been received as to the burning of the Claiborne Lower Warehouse, hence it was stated that the fire was presumed to have been of accidental origin. The peculiar circumstances under which the house was burned, however, excited suspicions of incendiarism and an investigation was instituted, resulting in the arrest of one Lazarus James, a negro, who confessed to the crime, and of George Agee, also colored, for complicity. Both are now in jail.
The aggregate loss by the fire exclusive of buildings and fixtures is estimated at $2,500. No insurance. Mr. Moore will rebuild as quickly as possible.
Bold Break for Liberty: Moses Hall, a young white man confined in the county jail charged with an assault with intent to murder, made a bold break for liberty on last Saturday evening.
Late in the afternoon when Jail Nick Harrengton visited the jail accompanied by a number of young ladies, Hall asked to be allowed to get a bucket of fresh water. Permission was readily granted and Hall went to the well, only a few steps from the jail door, and affected to busy himself about drawing the water. Awaiting a moment when the jailor’s attention was drawn in another direction, he hastily dropped the bucket and tore off down the street at the top of his speed. For a moment Harrengton did not realize what had happened, but as soon as the true situation dawned upon him he started in pursuit of the fleeing prisoner.
The alarm rapidly spread and soon a little army of volunteers enlisted in the chase, which for about 15 minutes was quite exciting. Being close pressed by his pursuers, Hall took to the woods, but being unfamiliar with his surroundings, was soon overhauled and escorted back to his cell a sadder and wiser man.
The Bear Creek Railroad: Messrs. W.H. Louiselle and L.N. Lambert of the Bear Creek Mill Co. were in town this week. From these gentlemen The Journal learned that the Bear Creek Company has about completed all necessary preliminary arrangements and will begin within the next two weeks to survey and locate the route of the company’s railroad, mention of which was made in these columns some weeks since. The company expects to complete and operate seven miles of the road within six months, beginning at their mill and running in the direction of Repton. The remaining seven or eight miles will be built within the succeeding 12 to 18 months, giving the company easy access to market for its manufactured product.
A Peculiar Freak: Mr. R.E. Smith of Mount Pleasant is the possessor of rather a peculiar freak of nature in the shape of a hairless calf. The little animal is entirely nude, but lively as a cricket and seemingly perfects in every respect with a single exception of the usual hirsute adornment. The calf is an object of no little curiosity and interest in the community.
Masonic Notice: Monroe Chapter No. 4 will hold a regular convocation in the Masonic Hall at Perdue Hill on June 6, 1895 at 10 o’clock a.m. Election of officers, paying dues and other business of importance will come before the Chapter. Every companion is expected to be present. W.J. McCants, Sec’y. River Ridge, May 9, 1895.
MAY 23, 1895
Closing Exercises: The closing exercises of Monroeville Academy which took place at the courthouse on last Friday evening, consisting of a number of appropriate recitations by the pupils of the Primary and Intermediate grades, were of most entertaining nature and greatly enjoyed by all so fortunate as to be present.
The epidemic of whooping cough and measles prevailing in the community so deranged the plans for the exercises that it was necessary to dispense with that part of the program arranged the higher grades.
This was especially to be regretted because of the fact that it detracted largely from the showing the school would otherwise have made.
Mr. J.H. Moore Jr. of Perdue Hill was in Monroeville on Tuesday. He informed us that he has already begun the erection of a new and larger warehouse on the site of the one recently burned and expects to have it ready for occupancy in a few weeks. In the meantime, temporary arrangements have been made for handling all kinds of goods with the greatest safety to consignees and shippers.
George Agee, colored, who was arrested last week for complicity in the burning of Mr. J.H. Moore’s warehouse at Claiborne had a preliminary hearing before Judge Stallworth on Tuesday and was discharged, there being no evidence to implicate him in the crime.
MASONIC – A regular communication of Monroeville Lodge No. 153 will be held on Saturday before the 3rd Sunday in June. The annual election of officers and other important business will come before the Lodge. A full attendance of the members is desired. F.M. Jones, Sec’y.
Items from the Ridge: There was a rain and hail storm here on the 10th inst., the heaviest witnessed in 40 years, say our oldest inhabitants.
Notes from Nero: Rev. Dr. W.A. Locke delivered a very able and instructive sermon to a large congregation at Poplar Springs church Sunday. Dr. Locke was unable to fill his appointment there on Saturday, being detained at the bedside of his son, whom we learned with regret through the doctor, was dangerously hurt at the Monroe Mill a few days previous. Rev. A. Parker preached at Poplar Springs on Saturday, by request of the brethren, in the absence of their pastor. Mr. Parker was on his return from a trip to Repton.
Dr. Jas. M. McDaniel left last week to practice medicine in Monroeville, the county seat of Monroe County. This is a good location and this young physician enters upon the practice of his profession well equipped for its every requirement. He is a full graduate of the State Medical College in Mobile and during the last term took a special course in that institution in order to more thoroughly prepare himself for his work. He was reared among our people and has the best wishes of a host of friends for his success. He is a worthy and promising young man and we commend him to the people among whom he resides. – Camden New Era.
MAY 30, 1895
Water works and a new school building are among the improvements being discussed by our citizens. Both are needed and would be of great benefit to the town.
Pension Commissioners: Governor Oates has appointed Capt. Thomas A. Nettles, John I. Watson and Thos. A. Rumbly members of the Board of Confederate Pension Examiners for Monroe County, provided for by an act passed by the last legislature amending an act for the relief of needy Confederate soldiers and sailors, residents of Alabama, who from wounds or other causes, are now unable to earn a livelihood, and for the widows of such as were killed or died in the war, and have not since remarried.
The duty of the Board of Examiners will be to examine and report upon the applications of all persons petitioning for relief under the pension act, and for this purpose will meet annually at the courthouse on the first day of June or as soon thereafter as is practicable. The first meeting of the board will be held on next Saturday.
Jones Mill: Mr. Robt. Wallace entertained quite a crowd at Mr. Ned Watts’ on last Saturday night, playing on his violin.
The new bridge across Escambia Creek on the Repton road will be a great convenience to all who travel it.
The white caps have been lying low since court. Hope they have abandoned their meanness sine die.
We learn with deep regret of the removal of another of Monroe’s landmarks in the death of Mr. Richard H. Rumbly, which occurred at his home six miles east of Monroeville on the 21st inst. Mr. Rumbly was, perhaps, the oldest man in the county, having reached the extreme age of 95 years, seven months and 28 days.
A useful citizen and Christian gentleman is gone, and we tender sympathy to the bereaved family. A suitable tribute to his memory will doubtless be prepared for future issue.
Dr. S.W. Yarbrough is boring another well at the City Hotel.
Prof. J.N. Powers of Butler, Choctaw County, is on a visit to his father, Rev. W.I. Powers, at this place.
The Mobile Herald of the 22nd says: Miss Virginia Shomo, a sister of Dr. J.W. Shomo of Mount Pleasant, Monroe County, died yesterday at 11 p.m. at the Providence Infirmary. The remains were sent to Mount Pleasant at 1:30 o’clock this afternoon for interment in the family cemetery.
Capt. and Mrs. W.S. Wiggins are spending several weeks at the Sulphur springs near Brewton. His many friends hope the Captain will soon return entirely restored to health.
Rev. and Mrs. J.H. Riffe left a few days ago for Cane Valley, Ky., where they will spend several weeks with relatives and friends.
Mr. H.E. Hudson is having his handsome new residence neatly painted.
Mrs. T.J. Emmons is visiting her mother, Mrs. Foster, at River Ridge.