|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 “The headless horseman of Gin House Bottom” was originally published in the Aug. 26, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
Every community that one visits has its own stories and legends about the unusual and the supernatural. There was a time, not many years ago when the local folks had the time to tell and pass these stories on to their children. Then they in turn passed them on down to others.
But now in our changing world, we are inclined to forget, or don’t have the time, to listen to these stories of the older generation. Gone are the days when a father or mother would hold their children spellbound with some of these hair raising tales, while sitting around the fire, or the supper table.
Let us go back in time for a few years; back to the time when there was a sizeable community north of Monroeville near the place where Ridge Road joins the Camden highway. There was a couple of stores in this vicinity. Several families lived in and around, and down the road was a cotton gin.
In these days the cotton gin was the focal point for the local citizens during the ginning season. The area where the gin was located became known as Gin House Bottom. It was during the late hours, where there was a lot of cotton to gin that the headless horseman came on the scene. On moonlight nights, when one could see, the headless rider could be seen riding the road along Gin House Bottom.
This was a common sight to the men folks who had to travel the road late at night, after a hard day at the cotton gin. I have been told that on several occasions, the horse and rider would pass so close to the traveler that several had reached out and tried to touch the headless rider.
Gone are the stores and gin of this community. Gone too, are most of the people that lived along this road. The stories of the headless horseman have faded from the scene; almost forgotten. But on the night when the moon is full, I’ll bet the headless horseman of Gin House Bottom still rides on his big red horse, searching for the unknown; riding into the night.
(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, graduated from Sweet Water High School, served in the Korean War, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County in June 1964 (some sources say 1961) and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s column “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. Some of his earlier columns also appeared under the heading of “Monroe County History: Did You Know?” 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.)