Saturday, August 6, 2016

Singleton encourages readers to take advantage of county's 'Lost Dutchman'

Andrew Jackson
(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 “Monroe has its own Lost Dutchman” was originally published in the July 28, 1977 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Deep in the heart of the Superstition Mountains in Arizona lies a large and very rich gold man. In the early 1800s, Spain received much of her wealth from this valuable vein of gold.

In the years that followed, the mine was lost and rediscovered many times. Always the person or persons who stumbled across the great mine shaft would grow very rich in a very short time, only to vanish, never to be heard from again.

Today, no one knows where the Lost Dutchman, as it became known, is located. Many have tried to locate this rich bonanza, but to no avail. Time has played the winning hand, and the great gold shaft has passed into oblivion.

To the many who don’t know it, Monroe County has a Lost Dutchman. This is not a mine with a great shaft of pure gold as the one in the mountains of Arizona, but one that is much more valuable to our area and our well-being.

Our lost bonanza is the many historical locations scattered throughout the county. With little improvement, many of these could become major tourist attractions.

This would bring wealth from all points of the compass. This would also create a number of jobs for local citizens who cannot find employment elsewhere. This would be an ideal situation for the elderly citizens to work at these sites as caretakers or guides, or in maintenance and restoration.

The money that this industry would bring into the area (and it would be an industry) would yield dividends for years to come. There would not have to be expensive equipment purchased and maintained. There would not be any pollution problems. Everyone would benefit.

Fossil bed

Did you know that the fossil bed at Claiborne is the only one of its kind in this hemisphere? Did you know how important the old Federal Road was to the early settlers of this area?

Do you know the route of Old Hickory (Andrew Jackson) and his troops as they passed this way in their struggle against the British? Do you know the important role Ft. Claiborne played in the war between the North and South?

Did you know that a great number of people outside Monroe County have family ties with such old communities as Old Scotland, Claiborne, Red Hills and many, many more? Did you know that there were a school and churches and a post office at Ajax, Ala., less than six miles from downtown Monroeville? And did you know that Monroe County has its own meteorite crater?

As our county grows with industry and the great machines of man dig up and destroy out past, we, too, one day will look for our lost bonanza.

But, as with the Lost Dutchman, time will again have played her trump card, and we will stand helpless amid the smoke and rubble or progress, and search in vain for this bonanza.

(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.)

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