Saturday, May 19, 2018

George Singleton describes 'Holy Ground' between Monroe County's Limestone and Flat creeks

Flat Creek, Limestone Creek area described by 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 “Indian legacy: Holy Ground revisited” was originally published in the Sept. 16, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

The hooting of an owl broke the silence over the swamp as we stood knee deep in grass and viewed the area around us. “This is the place all right; this is it. It’s been a long time, but I never forget a place like this.” These were the words of Tom Snyder, who had shown me the way to a small section of land, deep in the swamps of Limestone and Flat creeks, known as the Holy Ground.

“It’s about a quarter of a mile across,” stated Tom. “There’s places sunk in the ground just about the size of a grave all over the area. The ground is real soft, won’t hold up much. When I was a boy, we used to cross this place with wagons on the way to Claiborne. Just about every time we crossed here, the wagons and mules would bog down. The ground just won’t hold any weight at all.

“They used to tell that the reason the ground gave way was that the spirits of the Indians that were buried here didn’t want no one to cross over the ground. I think that’s why it’s called the Holy Ground.

“It’s been this way ever since I can remember. I’m 86 years old. I guess that I’m about the only one left that knows about the Holy Ground.

“Don’t ever hear anything about these kind of things any more. All forgot about; but I’m glad you brought me here. If you hadn’t, I would never have got to come.”

I had talked to Tom Snyder one afternoon about some places of interest in and around the Hixon Quarter settlement. Having lived in the vicinity all his life, I had been told that if anyone knew about these things, Tom Snyder did. In our conversation, the Holy Ground was mentioned. I became interested in the place and began to ask questions.

“I’ll show you sometimes, when we got more time,” Snyder had said. The right time presented itself and here I was, standing right in the middle of the Holy Ground. While standing there among the weeds and timber, I thought of all the people who had passed this way and probably never knew this place existed.

Whatever the reason, I’m sure that the early Indians of this area had cause to name this place what they did. It would be interesting to learn of its history. Being part Indian myself gives me much more reason.

(This column was accompanied by a picture of Snyder, and the caption read as follows: Tom Snyder visits the area known as the Holy Ground. It is located in the swamps of Limestone and Flat Creeks.)

(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 to Vincent William Singleton and Frances Cornelia Faile Singleton, during a late-night thunderstorm, on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served as a U.S. Marine paratrooper in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, 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 June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “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. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. 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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