Wednesday, February 24, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 260: Visit Rocky Head in Dale County, Ala.

Rocky Head Baptist Church.
I’ve always had an interest in Civil War history, and I think this is mostly because when I was young I learned that my fourth-great-grandfather Lewis Lavon Peacock was with Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia when Lee surrendered at Appomattox in April 1865. Lewis Lavon Peacock was born in Coffee County, Ala. in 1844 and, in April 1862, he enlisted at the age of 17 in Kolb’s Battery and served in Kentucky and Tennessee, including the famous Battle of Chickamauga.

At the time of the war, apparently Rocky Head, a small community in Dale County, Ala., was Lewis Lavon Peacock’s hometown. In August 1864, after two years of military service, he was granted a furlough to return home to Rocky Head. After that time off, he returned to duty in January 1865 and after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, it’s said that Lewis Lavon Peacock walked all the way home, presumably to Rocky Head, from Virginia, a distance of 631 miles along modern roads.

I’ve always wanted to see Lewis Lavon Peacock’s hometown for myself, which is why I put a trip to this Southeast Alabama community on my bucket list several years ago. On Saturday afternoon, my son and I found ourselves in that part of the state, so we made a quick trip to Rocky Head to see the place that our Confederate ancestor called home. In all, we probably spent 20 to 30 minutes there, and it was nice to finally see Rocky Head for ourselves.

For those of you unfamiliar with Rocky Head, it’s a small, unincorporated community on State Highway 51, just south of Ariton. Rocky Head is in Dale County, but it’s just north of the Coffee County line, not far from New Brockton. I was unable to find out how many people live there, but my guess is around 100 people.

My son and I drove slowly through Rocky Head, and tried to imagine where Lewis Lavon Peacock’s home might have stood. During our short visit there, we only made two stops. First, we checked out the Rocky Head Baptist Church and noted that it wasn’t established until 1889, which means it wasn’t around when Lewis Lavon Peacock lived there. He moved to Burnt Corn, which sits on the border between Monroe and Conecuh counties, sometime between 1865 and 1867, not long after the end of the Civil War.

Also while in Rocky Head, we stopped and visited the Mount Olive Cemetery, which is just south of the church. When we got out, I told my son that I’d give him a dollar if he could find any Peacocks, and despite our best efforts, we didn’t find any during our casual search. According to the Web site,, there are 631 graves in this cemetery (and no Peacocks are buried there).

In the end, it was nice to finally see Rocky Head, Alabama for ourselves. It’s a place my son and I have talked about from time to time, and now that we’ve seen it for ourselves we have a little better understanding of the man who has so heavily influenced my interests. Next time we're in the vicinity, we'll probably swing through Rocky Head again to see if we can see something we may have missed the first time around.

How many of you have ever been to Rocky Head, Alabama? What did you think about it? Do you know anything more about the community’s history? Let us know in the comments section below.

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