Saturday, July 1, 2017

Singleton tells of 'Indian workshop' on ridge near Franklin community

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 “Franklin flint rock supplied early Indians with implements” was originally published in the July 1, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Many years ago on a ridge near Franklin, the early Indians of Monroe County stopped and replenished their supply of flint axes, arrowheads and digging tools. The locale has one of the largest accumulations of flint rock I have seen in this area. One needs only to look around and see the chips of stone to know that here was probably one of the biggest workshops of the prehistoric Indian era in Monroe County.

During the short period of time that we (Aaron White and myself) were there, we found several unfinished axes (celts) and several sharp stones used for digging and scraping skins. Had time permitted, we could have picked up a bushel basket of unfinished tools of various sizes and descriptions.

According to Mrs. B.H. Bailey, now 85 years young, who has lived in the immediate area all her life this ridge has been noted for its arrowheads and pieces of flint. “When I was a little child,” stated Mrs. Bailey. “We used to go there and find all kinds of things, such as pieces of pottery, arrowheads, axes or what we thought were tomahawks. My daddy used to say that the Indians came and camped by the spring located at the bottom of the hill and made their tools and weapons.”

Located among the rolling hills near the Franklin community, this small ridge was probably a valuable piece of real estate to the wandering bands that roamed the area, following the game as it migrated into this vicinity. Here they could replenish their weapons before moving on to other horizons.

Standing there among the scrub oaks and gallberry bushes, I was reminded that in years to come, someone would wonder about the passing of our era, just as I wondered about the passing of this one.

(This story also was accompanied by a photo taken by Aaron White. The caption of that photo read, “Flint rock is all that remains of Indian ‘workshop.’)

(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 on June 28, 1964 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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