Wednesday, October 31, 2018

100-year-old news highlights from The Wilcox Progressive Era

1918 Dort sedan and sedanet advertisement.

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the Oct. 31, 1918 edition of The Wilcox Progressive Era newspaper in Camden, Ala.

Henry Autrey of Sunny South is listed in the slightly wounded in this week’s casualty list.

The following young men from Wilcox were reported slightly wounded during the past week: Grover C. Morgan, Pine Hill; Benjamin Jenkins, Pineapple; Henry M. Autrey, Sunny South.

Mr. T.A. Carleton, who has resided in Camden for several years, died suddenly Tuesday afternoon while at work for Mr. G.D. Albritton at Furman. Death was due to stroke of apoplexy, and deceased was ill for only a few hours. Interment was made Wednesday afternoon in Camden Cemetery.

Rev. A.J. Kempton of Evergreen was in Camden this week.

We have a good stock of riding saddles. They will not last long, so if you need one, you had better get it quick. – Matthews Hardware Co.

Mrs. T.W. Jones returned home this week from Fort Oglethorpe where she has been with Dr. T.W. Jones for some time. Mrs. Jones will leave in a few days to rejoin her husband, who expects to be at the training camp for several weeks longer. Mrs. Jones has been active in all patriotic activities and her absence will be keenly felt.

DIED --- SKINNER: Little Francis Marion Skinner, aged two and one-half years, daughter of John L. and Emma P. Skinner, died of pneumonia Saturday night, Oct. 19, and was buried in Camden Cemetery, Sabbath afternoon at 3:30 o’clock.
Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, this baby’s death came, shocking loved ones and friends and casting a gloom over the entire community, for though so young, she was one of the Savior’s sunbeams, sent to cheer the lives and sweeten the thoughts of all she came in contact with.
No child can be more missed or deeply mourned than little Marion.

FOR SALE – One 1918 Cloverleaf Dort Car, in excellent condition. One tire extra. Will be sold at sacrifice. See Mrs. T.W. Jones, Camden, Ala.

NOTICE TO TRUSTEES: The schools of Wilcox County are permitted to open Nov. 4. In those communities where influenza is prevalent to a degree deemed dangerous by the school authorities, schools may be closed on their order for another week. This permits each locality to determine for themselves the expediency or opening or continuing closed. It is hoped that all schools can be safely reopened.

Mr. J.D. Bryant of Canton Bend brought to our office the past week several ears of corn that are as fine as we have ever seen. Some of the ears measured 12 inches. One stalk had four ears, three large and one small. This corn was raised from seed corn secured from the government. No section of our country is better adapted to raising corn than Wilcox, and the intelligent application of farming principles will get the results.

Mr. Clarence M. Dannelly of Montgomery has been selected as Associate Editor with Leon Palmer in conducting the Sunday school page which will be a feature of the Sunday Advertiser in the future. Mr. Dannelly is well fitted for this important work and the Sunday school board is fortunate in enlisting his services.

Ten creepy locations make annual list of 'Spookiest Places in Wilcox County'

Flowerbed atop 'Unfilled Hole' in Camden

Today (Wednesday) is Halloween and in the spirit of that ghostly holiday, I present to you my third annual list of the “Spookiest Places in Wilcox County.”

As in years past, I compiled this list after discussing Wilcox County’s “haunted history” with many of the county’s longtime residents and with more than a few local history buffs. This year, I’ve narrowed down the list to a “Top Ten,” but be sure to check out the “honorable mentions” at the end. Without further ado, here’s my Top Ten List of the Spookiest Places in Wilcox County.

1. Purifoy-Lipscomb House: Located at Furman, this house was built by the Purifoy family in the 1840s and is arguably Wilcox County’s most famous haunted location. An old well behind the house is said to be haunted by the ghost of a man who accidentally died after being buried by tons of dirt while digging the well. This house has been featured in numerous books, including “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey” by Kathryn Tucker Windham and “Haunted Places: The National Directory” by Dennis William Hauck.

2. Gaines Ridge: Located off State Highway 10 east of Camden, this iconic house-turned-restaurant is said to be haunted by several spirits. According to one history of the house, Gaines Ridge “has its share of ghosts: the woman who screams and calls out, and has been seen from outside floating past the windows, the incessant crying of a baby, the aroma of pipe smoke in one room when nobody in the house is smoking, and the reflected image of a tall, gaunt man, dressed in black with a long beard.”

3. Intersection of County Roads 59 & 24: Located north of Pine Apple, this spooky intersection is said to be haunted by the ghosts of slaves and Civil War soldiers. Visitors to the site at night say that they’ve heard the rattling of chains. Others say that the sound is caused by the clanking of military gear as ghostly soldiers march through the area after dark.

4. Unfilled Hole: Located on the northwest corner of Camden’s downtown square in front of the Old Courthouse, this unusual hole is now covered by a large, brick flowerbed. Historians say that a large pecan tree once stood on this spot, and it was used for public hangings more than a century ago. Supposedly, the spot beneath the hanging limb would not stay filled, despite the county’s best efforts, and visitors to the site today report feeling “cold spots.” This “haunted hole” is also described in the book, “Haunted Alabama Black Belt” by David Higdon and Brett Talley.

5. Gee’s Bend Ferry Landing: Located at the end of Ellis Island Road, northwest of Camden, this landing is said to be the site of a ghostly light that rises to the surface of the Alabama River. Witnesses say that this light grows up to 60 feet in diameter, and some say that it may have something to do with a military plane that crashed near the landing decades ago. Other say it’s the ghostly remnants of someone who drowned there while others say it has to do with a riverboat disaster.

6. Coy Railroad Crossing: Located on County Road 13, stories about the haunted railroad crossing at Coy vary, but sources say that a group of children died in a tragic bus accident there in the 1950s. Now, the story goes, if you visit the crossing late at night, you can hear the sounds of children playing and laughing on the tracks. Others say that if you visit the crossing late at night or early in the morning, you can actually see the ghosts of children playing there.

7. Haunted Hills of Furman: According to “A History of Furman, Alabama” by Dr. William Bradley Palmer, two high hills called “Old Savage Hill” and McCondichie Hill were considered “haunted places” by many older residents of Wilcox County. These two hills are located within one mile of each other, south of Furman. Many people were afraid to travel near these hills, and Palmer believed that the spooky tales about the hills had to do with “several deaths in houses that stand, or once stood, on these hills.” Later, Palmer wrote that, of all the “ghost-infested places,” a location called “Rock Hill,” near Wildcat Creek, is the setting for many “weird tales” told by older residents of the Furman community, who claimed to have seen lights and heard chains being dragged down the hill.

8. Millie Hole: Located on private property on Pine Barren Creek, west of County Road 59, this old swimming hole is supposedly haunted by the ghost of slave named “Millie.” The story goes that Millie was going to be sold away from her family, so she drowned herself in the creek. On moonlight nights, she supposedly rises up out of the creek, wearing a long white dress, and some claim to have heard her moans.

9. House of the Dancing Skulls: Located on County Road 51 north of the Rosebud community, the attic of this house was supposedly filled with human skulls. The belief is that spirits from these skulls are easily excitable, and when they become upset, they dance about in the attic and frequently about the walls and the ceiling. In times of great excitement, especially during storms, these “hants” even venture out into the yard and hover around the tombs that hold their companions. For more information about this story, check out “Ghosts and Goosebumps: Ghost Stories, Tall Tales and Superstitions from Alabama” by Jack and Olivia Solomon.

10. Castro’s Tree: Located behind the old Progressive Era newspaper office in downtown Camden, this pecan tree is said to be visited by an unusual informant with uncanny knowledge about events in Camden, including the names of wanted criminals. The late Mark Curl, who worked at the newspaper, said that Castro was a young, clean-cut black man who often rode up to the tree on his bicycle in the late 1970s. Curl indicated that there was something otherworldly about Castro especially since no one else in town had ever heard of him or seen him, including the police. This tree was damaged by Hurricane Nate in October 2017.

Other nominees for this year’s “Spookiest Places in Wilcox County” list included the Camden Cemetery, the Coy Cemetery, the Dale Masonic Lodge in Camden, Harris Hill Cemetery, the Harris-Jones House, the Liddell-Burford House in Camden, McIntosh Cemetery in Camden, McWilliams Cemetery, the Moore Academy in Pine Apple, Prairie Bluff Cemetery, the Reaves Chapel Cemetery, Snow Hill Institute and the Wilcox Female Institute in Camden.

Before I close out, I want to make it very clear that many of the places mentioned above are on private property, so if you get the idea to visit any of these places (especially at night) you’d better get permission first to avoid getting in trouble for trespassing. Also, if you plan to visit any of these places, especially cemeteries, respect your surroundings.

In the end, contact me if you know a good local ghost story or if you have information about a spooky location in Wilcox County.

Today in History for Oct. 31, 2018

Oct. 31, 1632 – Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, sometimes known as “Jan,” was baptized in Delft.

Oct. 31, 1776 - In his first speech before British Parliament since the leaders of the American Revolution came together to sign of the Declaration of Independence that summer, King George III acknowledged that all was not going well for Britain in the war with the United States.

Oct. 31, 1776 - General George Washington chose to withdraw his forces to New Jersey before British General Howe could plan another attack with his newly arrived reinforcements.

Oct. 31, 1789 – In Lovecraftian fiction, preacher James Boon and his congregation attempted a ceremony contained within Ludwig Prinn’s “De Vermis Mysteriis.” On that night, all of the people of Jerusalem’s Lot vanished and were never seen again.

Oct. 31, 1795 – Romantic poet John Keats was born in London.

Oct. 31, 1843 - Alabama author Idora McClellan Moore was born on her family's plantation near Talladega, Ala.

Oct. 31, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Morgantown, Ky. with a Confederate attack on a Federal camp repulsed.

Oct. 31, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought near Greenbrier, W.Va.

Oct. 31, 1861 - Union General Winfield Scott stepped down as general in chief citing failing health, and George B. McClellan was elevated to the position. Scott, a hero of the Mexican War, recognized early in the Civil War that his health and advancing years were a liability in the daunting task of directing the Federal war effort. His resignation on October 31 did not end his influence on the war, however, as President Abraham Lincoln occasionally sought his counsel, and many of his former officers commanded forces and executed the same maneuvers that he had used in Mexico.

Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal forces advanced from Bolivar, Tenn. and Corinth, Miss. upon Grand Junction, Tenn.

Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, an 11-day series of operations began on the Mississippi Central Railroad from Bolivar, Tenn. to Coffeeville, Miss.

Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, Federal reconnaissance was conducted in Monroe County, Mo.

Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Federal bombardment of Lavaca, Texas took place.

Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Aldie, Franklin, Mountville and Snickersville in Virginia and near the Falls of the Kanawha, W.Va.

Oct. 31, 1862 – During the Civil War, the Congress of the Confederate States of America passed a bill authorizing two new divisions of the Navy Department. Brig. Gen. Gabriel J. Rains was placed in charge of the Torpedo Bureau, and Lt. Hunter Davidson was named to command the Naval Submarine Battery Service. The purpose of both bureaus was to investigate, organize and improve creative methods of “torpedo” warfare, what would today be described as mines.

Oct. 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Barton’s Station, in Colbert County, Ala.

Oct. 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Washington, La.; at Yazoo City, Miss.; and near Weaverville, Va.

Oct. 31, 1863 – During the Civil War, the Federal bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, S.C. continued to reduce the fort to rubble.

Oct. 31, 1863 – 59TH ALABAMA: The 59th Alabama was attached to Gracie’s Brigade, Buckner’s Division, Cheatham’s Corps, Army of Tennessee.

Oct. 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred near Shoal Creek, in Shelby County, Ala. as Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood prepared to move his Confederate Army in Tennessee, assuming Union Major Gen. William T. Sherman would pursue him. Instead, Sherman moved in the opposite direction toward Savannah, Ga. and the sea.

Oct. 31, 1864 – 59TH ALABAMA: The 59th Alabama served in Gracie’s brigade, Johnson’s Division, Army of Northern Virginia; and Anderson’s Corps.

Oct. 31, 1864 - Anxious to have support of the Republican-dominated Nevada Territory for President Abraham Lincoln’s reelection, the U.S. Congress quickly admitted Nevada as the 36th state in the Union.

Oct. 31, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Federal naval occupation of Plymouth, N.C. began.

Oct. 31, 1876 – Hugh T. Fountain was named postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.

Oct. 31, 1892 - On this day, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” by Arthur Conan Doyle, was published. The book was the first collection of Holmes stories, which Conan Doyle had been publishing in magazines since 1887.

Oct. 31, 1893 - Alabama author Hudson Strode was born in Cairo, Ill.

Oct. 31, 1895 – The Monroe Journal reported that C.W. Zimmerman of the Bear Creek Mill Co. had visited Monroeville during the preceding week and informed the newspaper that the company had completed and was operating about three miles of its railroad.

Oct. 31, 1895 – The Monroe Journal reported that in Monroe County Circuit Court, Lazarus James had been sentenced to work four years “in the coal mines” for burning J.H. Moore’s warehouse some months before. Albert Jackson was also sentenced to 25 years in the penitentiary, and Mose Hall was given a three-year sentence.

Oct. 31, 1903 – The Purdue Wreck, a railroad train collision in Indianapolis, killed 17 people, including 14 players of the Purdue University football team.

Oct. 31, 1906 – The Evergreen Courant reported that a “handsome new organ” had been placed in the Evergreen Methodist Church.

Oct. 31, 1908 – The members of Camp William Lee, No. 338, were scheduled to meet at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala. on this Saturday “for the transaction of business in connection with the state reunion to be held at Mobile” on Nov. 24-26, 1908. G.R. Boulware was the camp’s commander and J.C. Travis was the camp’s adjutant.

Oct. 31, 1910 – Confederate veteran Francis Marion Grice, a member of the Conecuh Guards (Co. E of the 4th Alabama Infantry), died at the age of 73. Born on Jan. 7, 1837, he was buried in the Fort Crawford Cemetery in East Brewton.

Oct. 31, 1913 – The Lincoln Highway, the first automobile road to traverse the entire continental United States, was officially dedicated. The highway ran from New York City’s Times Square to San Francisco’s Lincoln Park and was the first national memorial to Abraham Lincoln, predating Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial by nine years.

Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 1914 – The four-part “Photo-Drama of Creation” was shown for free at the Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen, Ala.

Oct. 31, 1917 – During World War I’s Battle of Beersheba, the "last successful cavalry charge in history" took place.

Oct. 31, 1917 - Early on this morning, Allied forces under General Edmund Allenby launched an attack on Turkish positions at Beersheba, in Palestine, beginning the Third Battle of Gaza.

Oct. 31, 1918 – During World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was officially dissolved.

Oct. 31, 1918 – This day marked the end of the deadliest month in United States history: 195,000 Americans died in one month as a result of the Spanish influenza pandemic. By the time the pandemic had run its course, an estimated 500,000 Americans had died of the flu. That's more than the American combat fatalities in all the wars of the 20th century, combined. Worldwide, the flu may have claimed as many as 100 million lives.

Oct. 31, 1926 – Magician Harry Houdini, 52, died of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix. His appendix had been damaged 12 days earlier when he had been punched in the stomach by a student unexpectedly. During a lecture Houdini had commented on the strength of his stomach muscles and their ability to withstand hard blows.

Oct. 31, 1926 – In Lovecraftian fiction, Lavinia Whateley, the albino daughter of Wizard Whateley and mother of Wilbur by an unknown father, vanished, perhaps killed by Wilbur. She first appeared in “The Dunwich Horror” by H.P. Lovecraft.

Oct. 31, 1939 – South African cyclist Rowan Peacock was born in Wynberg, Cape Town, South Africa. He competed in the team pursuit at the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Oct. 31, 1941 - Mount Rushmore was declared complete after 14 years of work. At the time, the 60-foot busts of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were finished.

Oct. 31, 1943 – Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo was born in Pittsfield, Mass.

Oct. 31, 1944 – Erich Göstl, a member of the Waffen-SS, was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, to recognize extreme battlefield bravery, after losing his face and eyes during the Battle of Normandy.

Oct. 31, 1951 – During the Korean War, Army Pfc. Leonard E. Worrell, 20, of Conecuh County, Ala. was killed in action while serving with the 5th Cavalry (Inf.), 1st Cavalry Division in Korea. Born on Jan. 5, 1931, he was buried in Cedar Creek Baptist Cemetery in Castleberry.

Oct. 31, 1951 – University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban was born in Fairmont, West Va.

Oct. 31, 1954 - Martin Luther King Jr. of Atlanta was installed as minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. A little more than a year later, on the first day of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, he was named president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, a role which made him a national civil rights figure.

Oct. 31, 1955 – Journalist and writer Susan Orlean was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

Oct. 31, 1956 - Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole. Dufek also became the first person to set foot on the South Pole.

Oct. 31, 1959 - Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine from Fort Worth, Texas, announced that he would never return to the U.S. At the time he was in Moscow, Russia.

Oct. 31, 1960 - On Halloween, an eight-foot-tall cross was burned at the home of Hazel Brannon Smith in Holmes County, Miss.; Smith blamed local teens influenced by adults' hate. Etowah County, Ala. native Hazel Brannon Smith (1914-1994) was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing and supported the civil rights movement while running newspapers in Mississippi. She was awarded the prize in 1964 for her career of editorializing in the face of strong racial opposition and threat of violence.

Oct. 31, 1961 – Filmmaker Peter Jackson was born in Pukerua Bay, New Zealand.

Oct. 31, 1963 – Major League Baseball first baseman Fred McGriff was born in Tampa, Fla. He would go on to play for the Toronto Blue Jays, the San Diego Padres, the Atlanta Braves, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Oct. 31, 1968 – Thomas Charles Littles of Brooklyn, Ala. was inducted into the U.S. Army. He would be fatally wounded in Vietnam.

Oct. 31, 1968 – Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announced to the nation that he had ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1.

Oct. 31, 1970 - South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu delivered a speech on the state of the nation before a joint session of the South Vietnamese National Assembly, asserting that 99.1 percent of the country had been “pacified.”

Oct. 31, 1980 – On homecoming night at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen, Sparta Academy lost to South Butler Academy, 13-12. Andy Hammonds scored both of Sparta’s touchdowns, the first on a four-yard run and the second on a 23-yard touchdown reception from Jeff Johnson. Karen Brown was crowned Miss Homecoming, and she was escorted by Mike Raines. Jeena Simpson was crowned Miss Football, and she was escorted by Scott Baggett. Jack Miller was Sparta’s headmaster.

Oct. 31, 1982 – An air show, sponsored by the Conecuh County (Ala.) Rescue Squad, was scheduled to be held Sunday afternoon from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Evergreen’s Middleton Field Municipal Airport.

Oct. 31, 1983 – Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and player George Halas died at the age of 88 in Chicago, Ill. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963, he is considered one of the original founders of the NFL.

Oct. 31, 1988 - Debbie Gibson held a séance at her Halloween party to contact the spirits of Liberace and Sid Vicious.

Oct. 31, 1992 – Auburn University officially retired Bo Jackson’s No. 34 football number during a halftime ceremony.

Oct. 31, 1998 - Iraq announced that it was halting all dealings with U.N. arms inspectors. The inspectors were investigating the country's weapons of mass destruction stemming from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Oct. 31, 1999 - Bryan White sang the National Anthem at the Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville prior to the game between the Tennessee Titans and the St. Louis Rams. Following the game, White gave his second annual Howl-O-Ween concert at the north end of the coliseum.

Oct. 31, 1999 – Yachtsman Jesse Martin returned to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

Oct. 31, 2001 - In Miami Beach, Fla., Jose Canseco was involved in a nightclub brawl. Canseco later violated his probation and was sentenced to two years of house arrest and three years of probation.

Oct. 31, 2001 - Evergreen weather reporter Harry Ellis reported that total rainfall for the month of October 2001 was 3.50 inches.

Oct. 31, 2003 – Two Mobile, Ala. residents lost their lives in a four-car accident on Interstate Highway 65 at the Owassa exit in Conecuh County, Ala.

Oct. 31, 2003 – Sparta Academy wrapped up the 2003 football season with a 26-16 win over Ashford Academy in Evergreen, Ala. Quarterback Will Ivey led Sparta’s offense with 17 carries for 170 yards and completed three passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Other outstanding Sparta players in that game included Brandon Burleson, Paul Castleberry, Perry Castleberry, Patrick Cumagun and Cody Lowery.

Oct. 31, 2003 - Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 1.73 inches of total rainfall in Evergreen, Ala. for the month of October 2003 and year-to-date rainfall was 54.0 inches.

Oct. 31, 2007 – The episode of CSI: NY first broadcast on this date was a Halloween edition based on “The Amityville Horror.: Entitled "Boo," it featured a house in Amityville where a family has died in circumstances similar to the DeFeo murders.

Oct. 31, 2010 - For the first time in Major League Baseball history, two former presidents attended the same World Series Game. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush both attended Game 4 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

Oct. 31, 2010 – “The Walking Dead” TV series debuted on AMC.

Oct. 31, 2012 – Searcy Hospital at Mount Vernon, Ala. closed permanently.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

100-year-old news highlights from The Evergreen Courant

Grave of Andrew Jay Burt at Belleville, Ala.

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the Oct. 30, 1918 edition of The Evergreen Courant newspaper in Conecuh County, Ala.

In a note to the editor, Mrs. L. Cantrel of Palatka, Fla. states that she is just in receipt of a telegram announcing that her brother, Edwin B. James, had been wounded in action “degree undetermined.”

Special Notice: Our gins will be kept running all next week up to Saturday night Nov. 9. After that date, we will gin only on Thursday and Friday during the remainder of the month. – Union Seed and Fertilizer Co.

Another Solider Boy Goes to Final Reward: Andrew Jay Burt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Burt, died at Camp Mills, N.Y. last week. His body was shipped here on Friday and conveyed to Belleville for interment. He was 22 years old and has been in the Army two years. He went from Camp Jackson, S.C. to Camp Mills to embark for overseas service when he fell a victim to influenza. The family have the sympathy of many friends.

Brooklyn Citizen Passes Away: Henderson Brewer, a well known and highly esteemed citizen of Brooklyn, died on Sunday night from the effects of influenza. Deceased is survived by his wife and several children who are sympathized with by many friends.

NOTICE: Appointment to a free scholarship in the school of medicine of the University of Alabama will be awarded by the Commissioners Court of Conecuh County Nov. 4, 1918 to the applicant applying and qualifying for the same. – S.P. Dunn, Judge of Probate.

Wheatley Johnston: Our hearts have been made sad many times in the past few weeks. We have heard and read of friends dying with the influenza, but none so sad and unexpected as that of our beloved friend, Wheatley Johnston, the pang of our sorrow was deep from the fact that our close associations with him in business, we became very much attached to him and admired the true manly qualities that made him the high type of young man he was. Reliable and trustworthy, putting his best thought and effort in every transaction. We missed him when he left for Army training camp, but thought some day to have him with us again, that hope is gone. Now that he has passed over the river into the great beyond, we want to be remembered among the many friends who mourn his loss. We deeply sympathize with his grief-stricken parents and wish that we could say something to help them bear their grief and sorrow, all that we can do is to remind them of the “hope beyond the grave” and that some day they will see their dear boy again. – James K. Kyser, “Short” Millsap

Mrs. J.B. Murphy of DeFuniak Springs, Fla. is visiting her sister, Mrs. J.C. Lundy.

J.H. Witherington is spending a few days with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Witherington at China. He has been demonstration agent for Etowah County for some time past but has recently been transferred to Dothan.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Oct. 26, 2018

USS Kearsarge (CV/CVA/CVS-33)

OCT. 25, 2007

Evergreen weather observer Harry Ellis reported 1.10 inches of rain on Oct. 9. He also reported a high of 89 degrees on Oct. 9 and lows of 47 on Oct. 12 and Oct. 13.

Train derails near Castleberry – again: For the second time in less than a year, a train has derailed near the Town of Castleberry.
Early on Friday morning, eight cars loaded with coal left the Louisville & Nashville Railroad tracks about two miles south of Castleberry, according to Castleberry Fire Chief Paul Calloway said.
Friday’s derailment is the second train derailment to have taken place near Castleberry within the past year, officials said.
According to Heather Walton, County Emergency Management Director, none of the cars involved in Friday’s derailment were carrying hazardous materials and while one of the cars did spill its load of coal, none of the coal spilled into any nearby creeks or streams.
According to Calloway, as of Tuesday afternoon, the exact cause of the derailment was not known.
Seven Castleberry firefighters responded to the derailment with the department’s pumper truck, but there was no fire or injuries as a result of the incident, Calloway.
The Courant contacted CSX Railroad officials earlier this week with a request for information about the incident, but those calls had not been returned as of press time.

OCT. 28, 1982

Evergreen weather observer Earl Windham reported no rain between Oct. 18 and Oct. 24. He reported a high of 83 degrees on Oct. 21 and a low of 39 on Oct. 24.

Air Show at local airport Sunday 2 to 4: An air show will be staged Sunday afternoon from two until four o’clock at Evergreen’s Middleton Field Municipal Airport on Highway 84 West. The gates will open at 12 noon for the big show which is sponsored by the Conecuh County Rescue Squad.
The show will feature such thrilling events as acrobatic planes, stunt pilots’ performances, parachute jumping, helicopters, radio-controlled planes, antique airplanes on display, military aircraft, World War II airplanes, plane rides for spectators and a display of antique cars.

A freak accident ended with this big North American Van tractor and trailer rig blocking the Rural Street-West Front Street intersection in downtown Evergreen for several hours Monday afternoon. A sliding tandem on the rear of the trailer broke loose, dumping the back end of the trailer on the street. The rig was heading south when the tandem broke loose. Evergreen police did an excellent job of directing traffic while folks from Knud Nielsen Co. unloaded the 30,000-pound cargo onto a flatbed trailer from Poole Truck Line and Conway Diesel Co. got the trailer up, the tandem back under and the truck able to move. It all created a good bit of excitement on an otherwise dull Monday afternoon.

OCT. 24, 1957

Grace Serves Aboard Carrier In Far East: Joe L. Grace, seaman apprentice, U.S. Navy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Rinnie A. Grace of Belleville, Ala., is serving aboard the attack aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge with the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Far East.
The Kearsarge arrived in Yokosuka, Japan Sept. 21, following visits to Guam, M.I. and Hawaii.

From “As a Man Thinketh” by R.G. Bozeman – This issue of The Courant is reaching you readers a day later than usual. This is all due to the illness of our very capable linotype operator who spent the past week in the local hospital nursing an ailing leg. Bob is a pretty fair linotype operator and had it not been for him I guess you might have missed this issue altogether. In addition to being a day late, we also had to curtail news and advertising coverage. Glad to tell you that Herbert Harpe is out of the hospital, and we hope we can do a better job next week.
The Courant has a new employee these days – Arthur Pendleton, who came to us from Milton, Fla. Arthur is a printer and had considerable experience in this work in the shops at Milton.

Halloween Carnival At Lyeffion School: There will be a Halloween Carnival at Lyeffion High School Thursday night, Oct. 31, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be games and fun for everyone, climaxed by crowning the Queen and Princess, to be chosen from the 12 candidates representing their classes. Come prepared to meet spooks and hobgoblins, or perhaps you might win a turkey for Thanksgiving.

OCT. 27, 1932

ROTC Appointments Given Two Conecuh Boys: Auburn, Ala., Oct. 27 – Of the 162 cadet officers appointed in the ROTC at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, two are from Conecuh County. They are J.T. Millsap, Evergreen, and E.A. Price, Castleberry.
These appointments come at the beginning of the fourth year of study in the department of military science and tactics, under the direction of a staff of army officers stationed at Auburn. Next spring, prior to graduation, these young men will be awarded commissions in the Reserve Army.

HALLOWEEN PARTY: A Halloween Party given at Lyeffion High School Friday night, Oct. 28, for the benefit of the school. Lots of fun and refreshments for all. Come, bring your money and your friends.

Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Deal and two children who have been residing in Thomasville, arrived today to make their home in Evergreen, and will operate “The Oaks,” which has been under the management of Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Riley.

Evergreen Theatre – Program – Friday and Saturday – Oct. 28-29 – “HUCKLEBERRY FINN” – with Jackie Coogan, Mitzi Green, Junior Durkin and Jackie Searl – Also, “I Ain’t Got Nobody” and “Mystery Trooper” No. 5.

Mayor J.L. Kelly, Sheriff J.G. Moore, J.E. Jones, County Solicitor, and W.S. Dreaden, Circuit Clerk, spent several days this week in Montgomery on business.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

New book presents fascinating history of Alabama's covered bridges

“Covered Bridges of Alabama,” a new book by Wil Elrick and Kelly Kazek, is one of the most fascinating books that I’ve read in a long, long time, and I highly recommend it to anyone in the reading audience with an interest in Alabama history and historic structures. 

Officially released by The History Press on Monday of last week, this 155-page book is perhaps the most complete book ever written on the subject of covered bridges in Alabama. I must admit that prior to reading this book, I only had a passing interest in the subject of covered bridges, but this book was so well done that I was left fascinated by the subject. The book also contains dozens of photos of historic covered bridges, which serve to illustrate what’s been persevered – and lost – when it comes to covered bridges in Alabama.

I was especially interested in the portions of the book that discussed the legends and lore associated with many covered bridges. The book actually includes an entire chapter on supposedly haunted covered bridges in Alabama and a chapter on general myths and legends related to covered bridges. The “haunted” bridge closest to Conecuh County is said to be in Livingston, which is about 2-1/2 hours from Evergreen.

Livingston residents have claimed for over 130 years that the Alamuchee Bridge in Livingston is haunted by a ghost, and some say that this spirit is the ghost of Sumter County Sheriff Steve Renfroe who was hanged on the bridge by an angry mob in 1886. Some say that his ghost only appears on the anniversary of his death – July 13 – but others say that he appears at the bridge nightly. Whatever the case, it’s said that many of the town’s older residents refuse to cross this bridge, especially at night.

According to “Covered Bridges of Alabama,” there are only 11 authentic historical bridges left in the state, but at one time there were many more. Most of these were torn down, but some were destroyed by floods and other disasters. Some were even burned by arsonists.

Elrick and Kazek describe dozens of these old bridges, and they even give a county-by-county account of known covered bridges that either exist or once existed within the state. Sadly, there are no accounts of any Conecuh County covered bridges in the book. This may be because there were never any covered bridges built in Conecuh County or that information about those bridges has been lost to history.

With that said, it would be interesting to know if anyone in the reading audience knows of or remembers any covered bridges in Conecuh County. These types of bridges were often located near old grist mills, like the covered bridge at Rikard’s Mill in northern Monroe County.

Information about these old bridges is extremely important to scholars and historians, so if anyone knows of any old covered bridges in Conecuh County, please let me know. I’ll be sure to pass along this information to Elrick and Kazek. In the meantime, if you enjoy reading about Alabama history, and especially historic structures like covered bridges, I highly recommend that you check out “Covered Bridges of Alabama.”

Skipper and Johnston are tied for first in local football pick 'em contest

The eighth weekend of the college football season closed out on Saturday, and we also closed out another weekend in our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest.

This week, when the dust settled after Saturday’s slate of games, we had a two-way tie for first place with Drew Skipper and John Johnston tied for the No. 1 spot. Ricky Taylor, Mark Peacock and Jeremy Matheny were locked in a three-way tie for third place.

Justin Mixon, Travis Presley, Brett Loftin and myself found ourselves in a four-way tie for sixth place. Clint Hyde, Darrell Burch, Vanessa Sales and Calvin Casey were all tied up for the No. 10-spot.

With that said, if you didn’t do so hot in the contest last weekend, don’t beat yourself up about it. As you’ve read here before, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve got six more weeks to go, and the standings will no doubt change a lot during the next month and a half.

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By my count, we’ve got five games this weekend featuring SEC teams, and all five are head-to-head conference games. For what it’s worth, here are my picks in those games. I like Vanderbilt over Arkansas, Georgia over Florida, Missouri over Kentucky, Mississippi State over Texas A&M and South Carolina over Tennessee. Last week: 6-0, Overall: 60-12

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Today (Thursday) is Oct. 25, a date that will live in infamy in the minds of many Boston Red Sox fans. It was on that day in 1986 (when I was just 10 years old) that the Red Sox lost Game 6 of the World Series to the New York Mets. The winning run was scored in the tenth inning when a ground ball went through Boston first baseman Bill Buckner's legs. Among baseball fans, this incident is among the most famous moments in baseball history.

At that time, the Red Sox had not won a World Series since 1918 and after the 1986 season the Red Sox wouldn’t return to the World Series again until 2004. The Red Sox broke their long World Series title drought in 2004 and have gone on to win the World Series twice more since, in 2007 and 2013.

The Red Sox are back in the World Series again this year and they’re facing one of the most storied franchises in baseball history, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The first two games of the World Series were scheduled to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday night at Fenway Park in Boston with the best-of-seven series to resume tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday night at Dodger Stadium in L.A. If necessary, the series could continue on this coming Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Many sports fans in the audience will know that the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988, but they made it to the series last season only to lose to the Houston Astros. I’ve never been a big Dodgers fan, but I’ve always sort of pulled for the Red Sox, so I guess I’ll be pulling for them again this year. For many years, they were world class underdogs and it was hard not to pull for them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

100-year-old news highlights from The Wilcox Progressive Era

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the Oct. 24, 1918 edition of The Wilcox Progressive Era newspaper in Camden, Ala.

A new residence is about completed near the railroad. It will be occupied by L&N Railroad employees.

Hon. Sol. D. Bloch of Mobile is looking after business interests in Camden this week.

S.J. Ervin, who has been at the Gulf Port Military Academy, is at home for a few days. He has just recovered from an attack of influenza.

All schools of the county have been closed until Mon., Nov. 4. If the influenza epidemic is still unabated, they will be suspended longer. Notice will be given through these columns.

The following young men left Tuesday morning for Camp Wheeler: David L. Daily, William Pool, Matthew Wilkerson, Julian P. Sigman, Enoch Shoutz and George Oscar Rikard.

Camden friends of Messrs. McCrea Turner and Clem Harris will be pleased to learn that both of these young men were recently commissioned second lieutenants. These promotions are well earned and well deserved.

Mr. R.L. Hawthorne has recently received a letter from his son, Judson, who states that as a diversion from the noise of battle strife, he amused himself by playing on a piano in a captured German dugout. He is making a collection of souvenirs from the battlefield, which no doubt will be most interesting to folks back home.

The casualty list of this week names three from Wilcox among the number wounded. They are Robert Cannon of Camden, Poat Hudson of Annie Manie and Woodie Bennett of Millers Ferry.

Two more Wilcox boys have made the supreme sacrifice, Autry and Kelley, both of Pine Hill. This makes four of our boys to find their last resting place on the fields of Liberty. Beneath the “popies of Flanders they sleep, but ever they live in the hearts and minds of the French and Belgian, whom they help to free from the clutches of German atrocities.

Oscar Autrey, son of Mr. and Mrs. Haddox Autrey of Pine Hill, has given his life for the cause of democracy. Mr. Jessie Kelley of Pine Hill is reported as wounded in action. Two other soldiers, Robert Cannon of Camden and Woodie Bennett of Millers Ferry, are reported severely wounded.

Camden so far has been very fortunate in the attack of influenza. Only a few cases have so far been reported and none serious. However, strict precautions is the common sense course and we fear that we have escaped so far more from luck than through our use of discretion.

Lt. Sidney Bryant, who has just completed his course in aviation, is at home with his mother, Mrs. J.D. Bryant, Sr., on several days furlough. Sidney says flying is the ideal sport and is anxious to take a shot at the Hun from the air.

A telegram from New York to Dr. E.T. McWilliams states that Joe McWilliams died Oct. 15. For several days, conflicting telegrams had come, leaving an uncertainty in the minds of relatives and friends regarding his condition. Joe has one brother in France, Prime, who has suffered wounds. The cause of death was Spanish influenza.

Readers reveal location of 'mystery bridge' described in new book on Alabama covered bridges

Readers say this bridge was located on Hamburg Road.

The Wilcox Progressive Era has some of the most knowledgeable readers of any newspaper in the state. If you want to know the answer to a question, just put it out there in the paper, and you’ll get your answer. Such is the case this week regarding the unknown covered bridge that I mentioned in this space last week.

Many of you will remember that in last week’s paper, I talked about how a new book by Wil Elrick and Kelly Kazek called “Covered Bridges of Alabama” contains an old photo of an unidentified covered bridge in Wilcox County. The black and white photo, which the authors found in the Alabama Department of Archives and History, showed the bridge as it looked in 1938. Nothing else was known about the bridge except that it was no longer standing.

Even though the photo was taken in 1938, I figured there was a good chance that the covered bridge remained in place for some period of time afterwards and that some county residents would remember where it was located. As it turns out, I was right. Shortly after last week’s paper hit the streets, I began to hear from several readers who had more information about the bridge.

Dolly Albritton was among the first to respond and reported that her mother said the covered bridge was between Snow Hill and Hamburg. Mary Lois Woodson echoed her remarks, saying that more than the likely the bridge spanned Pine Barren Creek.

The next day, I received an e-mail from Cecil Skinner Jr. of Ozark, who said that he knew exactly where the bridge was located. It was between Oak Hill and Snow Hill, on a dirt road near Hamburg. His father, Cecil Skinner Sr., grew up about two miles from the bridge. Skinner also noted that the bridge did cross Pine Barren Creek and was no longer there.

Armed with this information, I checked my trusty Historical Atlas of Alabama and determined that the old community of Hamburg was located on Hamburg Road, a dirt road which runs from State Highway 21, north of Oak Hill, and into Snow Hill. Interestingly, my copy of the Alabama Atlas & Gazetteer does not show Hamburg on the map, but it does show the McBrydes community between Pine Barren Creek and Snow Hill. Google Maps also doesn’t show the Hamburg community, but does show the McBrydes community.

In any event, a more modern bridge now takes travelers on Hamburg Road over Pine Barren Creek. As far as I can tell, no sign of the old covered bridge remains, but it’s easy to imagine the old bridge sitting there deep in the woods.

In the end, if anyone else in the reading audience has any more information about the old covered bridge, please let me hear from you. It would be interesting to know when it was replaced and why. Had it become unsafe? Was it destroyed by disaster or fire? My feeling is there is more to the story of this old covered bridge, and one of the newspaper’s knowledgeable readers just might have the answers to these questions and more.

100-year-old news highlights from The Evergreen Courant

Percy Wheatley Johnston

What follows are 100-year-old news excerpts from the Oct. 23, 1918 edition of The Evergreen Courant newspaper in Conecuh County, Ala.

Within three short weeks, Spanish influenza has developed and spread so widely and rapidly that America’s death roll here at home is greater than that of all her huge armies in Europe. Moreover, the number of prostrations from this disease from day to day in America is probably greater than the combined casualty lists of all the fighting forces engaged in this World War. The number of cases in New York City alone has increased from a total of 47 cases and no deaths reported to and included Sept. 20, 2018 to 4,293 new cases and 393 deaths in a single day.

Four Conecuh Boys Wounded In Action: Yesterday’s casualty list from overseas contained the names of four young men from this county: Perry Tolbert of Old Town, “wounded, degree undetermined,” and Eugene Higdon of Repton; Lewis Pugh of Castleberry; and Geo. H. Salter of Evergreen, “slightly wounded.”

Death of P.W. Johnston Jr. – Percy Wheatley Johnston Jr. died on Saturday at the army camp at Jacksonville, Fla. from bronchial pneumonia, following an attack of influenza. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. P.W. Johnston of Brooklyn. The funeral and interment occurred at that place on Monday afternoon.
Wheatly Johnston had many warm personal friends who learned of his death with profound sorrow. He was a handsome young fellow, perfect physically and full of life and energy, and it is hard for his family, friends and former associates to realize that he is no more. The grief-stricken family have the sincere sympathy of many friends in this bereavement which has come to them so unexpectedly.

Death of Dr. Claud Dean: Relatives and friends in Evergreen were sorely shocked and deeply grieved on receiving a message on Sunday afternoon announcing the death of Lt. Claud Dean, U.S. Army Medical Corps, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., following an attack of influenza.
Lt. Dean left Evergreen on Oct. 5 to enter upon his duties for his country. When he bade goodbye to his relatives and friends here he never looked a more perfect specimen of manhood. He had been at his post of duty only a few days when stricken with the dreaded malady that finally resulted in his death.
Relatives of deceased have had trouble in getting in touch with the authorities regarding the shipment of the remains, and it was not until yesterday that they were definitely informed that the body would be shipped today. It is expected to reach here tomorrow. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made. The body will be interred in Evergreen cemetery.

Death of Mrs. Nancy Joyner: Mrs. Nancy Joyner, relict of the late Ashley Joyner, died on Saturday last at the home of her son-in-law, R.T. Shipp of Cedar Creek, after a several week’s illness, aged 79 years. The funeral and interment took place at Owassa Cemetery on Sunday afternoon. Deceased was the mother of Cal Joyner of Flat Rock, who was faithful in nursing his mother during her illness.

Conecuh Baptist Association Postponed: Owing to the prevailing epidemic of influenza, the Conecuh Baptist Association, called to meet Oct. 30 at Jones Chapel, has been indefinitely postponed. – S.P. Lindsey, moderator.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Oct. 23, 2018

Evergreen High School's Wendell Hart.

OCT. 25, 2007

Hillcrest to face Jackson Friday night: BREWTON - You could say that Friday night’s Hillcrest-T.R. Miller game was special. In fact, you could say that it was triple special.
T.R. Miller won the game, 43-25, during its annual homecoming game here at Brewton Municipal Stadium, but the Jags kept the Tigers on their toes thanks to three touchdowns on three separate special teams plays.
The Jags scored on an 85-yard kickoff return by Malcolm Rudolph, a 24-yard punt return by Aaron Dees and a 67-yard run on a fake punt by William Ferguson.
(Other Hillcrest standouts in that game included Dexter Chapman, John Dees, William Ferguson, Malcolm Jackson, Antonio Jordan, Justin Nared, Quienton Nettles, Jimmy Peters and Neil Presley.)

Sparta seeking win over rival Monroe: You could argue that Friday night’s Sparta-Southern game was a pretty close case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.
Sparta Academy entered Friday’s home game against Southern Academy with the No. 2-ranked team defense in the AISA, while Southern entered the game with the AISA’s No. 1-ranked offense and defense.
Sparta lost the game, 47-0, but managed to hold Southern to less than 50 points, a rare feat for most of Southern’s opponents this season. Just ask Jackson Academy, who suffered an 84-0 defeat against Southern on Oct. 12.
(Top Sparta players in the Southern game included Cody Baggett, Dalton Baggett, Mason Black, Taylor Brown, Chris Cinereski, Dylan Davis, Damon Godwin, Hunter Hutcheson, John McDonald, Drayton Rodgers, Neil Salter, Steven Stuart, Perry Thompson, Peyton Thompson, Myles Wiggins and J.R. Williams.)

OCT. 28, 1982

Lyeffion High Homecoming: Lyeffion High School will celebrate its 1982-83 homecoming Saturday night, Oct. 30, at the Mabry L. Covin Football Field.
Pre-game festivities will begin at 6 p.m. with a tea which honors the alumni of 1962 and 1972. Miss Homecoming and Miss Football will be crowned at 7:15 p.m. The homecoming court will also be presented.
Kickoff begins at 7:30 p.m. when Lyeffion meets J.U. Blacksher High School. Cheerleaders will be featured at pre-game, also the alumni of 1962 and 1972 will be recognized.

Debra Padgett, Miss Homecoming, and Phyllis Samuel, first alternate, and Rachael Hagan, second alternate, were featured in Evergreen High School’s homecoming parade Friday afternoon and at the game that night.

Anner Faye Henry, Miss Football, and Lisa Brock, first alternate, and Carolyn Ingram, second alternate, were featured in the Evergreen High School homecoming parade Friday afternoon and at the game that night.

The Sparta Academy Warriors made homecoming happy for their fellow students and their fans as they beat Thomasville Academy, 21-6, here Friday night. The victory pushed Coach Richard Brown’s Warriors’ record to six wins and two losses for the season.

OCT. 24, 1957

Aggies Rip McKenzie, Spoil Homecoming With 27 To 0 Victory: The Evergreen Aggies played the role of spoilers at McKenzie High School’s annual homecoming celebration Friday night.
Quarterback Billy Grace donned starting robes for the contest as he sparked the Evergreen club to its second win in four starts. Grace scored once and passed for another TD.
(Other Evergreen players in that game included Robert Ellington, Robbie Boykin, Robert Daniels and Howard Claybrook. Wendell Hart was Evergreen’s head coach.)

Repton To Observe Homecoming Friday, Will Play Beatrice: Repton High School will hold its annual homecoming Friday.
Miss Julia Farrish will reign as homecoming queen. Mrs. Gwendolyn Brantley is her attendant.
Feature of the celebration will be the homecoming game at 7:30 tomorrow night. Beatrice will be the Bulldogs’ opponent in this game. Coach Mack Primm’s club is all even for the season with two wins and two losses going into Friday’s game.
Probable starting lineup for Repton will be left end J.C. Brantley, left tackle Rufus Allen, left guard Carlos Brooks, center Cleveland Morris, right guard Marvin Cotton or Ervin Baggett, right tackle James Lee, right end Barry Ryland, quarterback Rayburn Nall, wingback Guy Miniard, tailback Johnny Owens and fullback Franklin Baggett.

OCT. 27, 1932

Conecuh High Wins Again Over Brooklyn: Castleberry, Ala., Oct. 20 – Meeting Brooklyn for the second time this year, Conecuh High School won again Friday, 38-0.
Carter was the principal figure in the first four touchdowns. He threw passes to Weaver and Barfield for two of them, carried one over himself and placed the ball within striking distance of the goal line for the fourth touchdown with a 15-yard run.
Jay Quimby pulled the most spectacular play of the day. He caught a Brooklyn punt on his own 35-yard line and, after picking his way through a group of Brooklyn players, raced the remaining 65 yards for a touchdown. The line plunging of Wilson Walters featured the Brooklyn attack. The visitors showed the effect of the absence of Graham Jones, their star back, who was on the sidelines with an injured knee.
The line-ups: Brooklyn – C. Finlay, left end; Pate, left tackle; Blair, left guard; B. Finlay, center; M. Finlay, right guard; McCreary, right tackle; Aycock, right end; W. Walters, quarterback; Uptografft, left halfback; R. King, right halfback; Robinson, fullback; sub, S. Walters.
Castleberry – Barfield, left end; Barlow, left tackle; Phillips, left guard; Nealy, center; Smith, right guard; Oliver, right tackle; Stapleton, right end; Carter, quarterback; G. King, right halfback; J.C. Quimby, left halfback; Weaver, fullback; subs, W. Quimby, Brewton, G. Ellis, Finlay, P. Ellis, Suddith, N. Walters, Boling.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Old newspaper excerpts from The Monroe Journal newspaper of Monroe County, Alabama

Excel's Lee Roy Jordan

OCT. 16, 2008

The Monroeville Fire & Rescue Department held its annual banquet on Thurs., Oct. 9, at the Vanity Fair Golf & Tennis Club. This is the 79th year the department has held an award banquet at the club.
Michael Lambeth was selected as this year’s Firefighter of the Year. He thanked his fellow firefighters, who selected him for the honor. During an earlier meeting, firefighters cast ballots to select the recipients of each award.

J.U. Blacksher’s offense rolled up 417 total yards and the defense gave up just 72 to key a 42-6 win over Class 1A, Region 1 rival J.F. Shields Friday night at Uriah.
Blacksher’s senior fullback Isaac Nichols rushed for 148 yards on 16 carries, caught two passes for 33 yards and scored four touchdowns to help the Bulldogs improve to 6-1 on the season and 6-0 in the region standings.
(Other standout Blacksher players in that game include Seth Baggett, Trey Brooks, Alex Brown, Cameron Cobb, Wykein Dean, Chace Godwin, Logan Gorum, Chris Snowden, Ethan Taylor and Frank Taylor. Top Shields players included Travarrius McArthur and Damien Stallworth. Tim Moorer was head coach at Shields.)

Plane crashes Tuesday: A private plane piloted by E.J. Tenney of Monroeville crashed in a wooded area about 10 miles southeast of the Monroe County Airport Tuesday afternoon. Conecuh County Emergency Management Director Johnny Brock said the cause of the crash is under investigation. LifeFlight and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department participated in the search.

OCT. 20, 1983

Conecuh Junior Miss: Kim Watson was chosen Conecuh County’s 1984 Junior Miss at the annual pageant held Oct. 8 at the Evergreen City School auditorium. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Palmer Watson of Bermuda, Kim is a senior at Monroe Academy. The local pageant was sponsored by the Pilot Club of Evergreen, and Kim will represent Conecuh County in the state Junior Miss competition. She also reigns as Monroe County’s Agriculture Queen.

Monroe Academy celebrated its homecoming Friday with a 35-22 victory over Pickens Academy in Monroeville, bringing the Volunteers’ 1983 winning streak to six in a row.
Vol senior quarterback Keith Langham had his best game of the season Friday. He combined his passing and running for a total of 222 yards and three touchdowns. He scored on a 60-yard run from scrimmage and threw touchdown strikes of 31 and 14 yards.
(Other top Monroe players in that game included Jody Brannon, Tim Carter, Keith Dees, Wally Dunn, Billy Elliott, Donald Foster, Chuck Jordan, Steven Simmons, Don Smith and Troy Wilson. Rob Kelly was Monroe’s head coach.)

Private First Class Kenneth L. Wright of Monroe County is participating in REFORGER ’83, a NATO-sponsored military exercise in western and norther Europe. He is with the First Cavalry Division of Fort Hood, Texas, a major component of the annual military training program in Europe. The division is expected to return to the Texas post later in October.

OCT. 16, 1958

Brewton Native Named Frisco Baptist Pastor; Reception Is Planned: The Rev. Chester H. Jernigan, a native of Brewton, has been named as new pastor of the First Baptist Church of Frisco City.
Rev. Jernigan comes to Frisco City from Gonzales, Fla., where he served as Baptist pastor for four years.
Mose Dangerfield, music and educational director at the church, has been serving as acting pastor until Rev. Jernigan’s acceptance of the pastorate.
A reception honoring Rev. and Mrs. Jernigan and Mr. and Mrs. Dangerfield will be held Sunday afternoon from four until five o’clock in the educational building of the church.

Excel Squad Edges MCHS Tigers, 12-7: County rival Excel edged past the Monroe County High Tigers, 12-7, in a heated contest Friday night.
(Top players for Excel in that game included Sonny Burkett, Lee Roy Jordan and Paul King. Top players for MCHS included Johnny Johnson, Jim Lazenby, Branchard Tucker and Ronnie Wiggins.)

Charles Locklin Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Locklin Sr., 323 Pineville Road, Monroeville, joined the Regular Army this week under the Graduate Specialist Program, Master Sergeant Ben Phillips, US Army Recruiter for the Monroeville area, announces.
Locklin, a 1958 graduate of Monroe County High, received a pre-arranged assignment under the Graduate Specialist Program before he enlisted. He is scheduled to enter the Army’s Medical Specialist School upon completion of basic training.
Initial processing for his enlistment and Graduate Specialist Program assignment was accomplished by Master Sergeant Phillips, Brewton Army Recruiting Station Commander, who comes to Monroeville on Tuesday of each week.

OCT. 19, 1933

TIGERS TAKE GAME FROM URIAH FRIDAY: The Monroe Tigers went to Uriah last Friday and defeated the J.U. Blacksher team, 6-0. This is their first victory of the season. On Fri., Oct. 20, the locals go to Atmore for a game against the Atmore eleven.

EXCEL: The Fiddlers Convention was a complete success. The merchants of the surrounding districts were very liberal in their contributions. A large crowd was on hand, and the musicians did not let them down. All of the music was fine. The contributions of Kenneth Lier, a traveling musician, was especially enjoyable, and he was called back time and time again.

C.B. Stenson Dies After Week’s Illness: Cleveland Bertrum Stenson, 22, died in a Selma hospital Saturday morning following a week’s illness of influenza. Complications had set in and he had been removed from his home in Tunnel Springs to Selma.
Mr. Stenson was the son of Mr. and Mrs. G.C. Stenson of Tunnel Springs. He was graduated from the high school at Beatrice and the Marion Military Institute. He was a member of the Baptist Church at Vredenburgh, a young man of good habits and high ideals, as well as an ambitious and industrious worker. Mr. Stenson held a responsible position with the Vredenburgh Saw Mill Co. at their logging camp.
Exactly two weeks before his death, Mr. Stenson was married to Miss Virgie Mae Cobb of Midway by whom he is survived.
Funeral services were held at three o’clock Sunday afternoon at Tunnel Springs.

OCT. 16, 1883

Personal - Died at his home in Monroe County, 10 miles south of Pine Apple, on the 10th inst., J.S. Bizzell, in the 73rd year of his age. Mr. Bizzell, the father of our townsman, Jas. I. Bizzell, was well and favorably known in this community, and notwithstanding his death was unexpected as he had been ill for quite a while, many will be pained to hear this intelligence. – Pine Apple Gazette.

Claiborne – The Selma Times of the 12th inst. gives a very interesting account of a “double wedding” in that city on the 11th, one of the grooms being Mr. R. Hundly Agee, an old Claiborne boy, and a son of Hon. N.A. Agee, one of the most intelligent citizens in Monroe. Mr. Hundly Agee was married to Miss Julia Graham of Selma, and her sister and Dr. Goldsby King were united in the bonds of matrimony at the same time.
In referring to Mr. Agee, the Times says: Mr. R. Hundly Agee has for several years past been a favorite young businessman and is most highly regarded by the many who know his character and capacity. He holds an important position in the office of the Real Estate Loan & Banking Association.
The same paper, in alluding to the two young ladies, says they “were among Selma’s most esteemed, accomplished and attractive daughters.” We congratulate our friend, Hundly Agee, on his good fortune, and wish him a long life of unalloyed happiness.
Mr. Hundly Agee is one of several brothers, all of whom are making their mark as businessmen and trustworthy gentlemen. One of them, Pelham, recently graduated at the Naval Academy at Annapolis, and another brother is in business in Montgomery, where he is rapidly coming to the front as one of Montgomery’s most useful young business men.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

George Singleton talks of section of Conecuh County road that crossed sacred Indian burial ground

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 “Do the spirits of the past guard that which was theirs?” was originally published in the Nov. 12, 1992 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

I know that Halloween is over, and the spirits and goblins have been put to rest until next October. But during the past two or three weeks, several people have approached me and asked the same questions. None of these people knew that I had been asked by others.

The question, though not worded the same, was “Do you believe that the spirits of the past guard or protect that which was rightfully theirs in real life?” Each time the question was asked, I was told about certain happenings that led these people to investigate these strange circumstances.

One story involved a certain section of road in Conecuh County where several serious vehicle accidents had occurred. These accidents resulted in several serious injuries or deaths.

Story has it that when the road was built, it was surveyed across an ancient Indian burial ground. As the machinery plowed up and moved much of the dirt for the road, there was no regard for the sacred burial ground. Those who know and believe in the supernatural seem to think that these accidents happened because the spirits who slept there were disturbed.

Just today, I ventured to the Franklin community. Stopping at the old store, I became involved in a conversation with a group who were discussing a strange light that had been seen in the area for many years.

One present in the group had just seen this strange light only a couple of days before. He reported seeing the unusual light moving along the top of his pasture fence.

Since I have been in Monroe County, I have had no less than 20 people tell me similar stories of seeing this strange phenomena in the area of Franklin. Could this be the spirit of someone seeking a lost friend or loved one who might have disappeared for whatever reason? It has to be something; all that had seen this strange sighting would not tell the same story if it wasn’t true.

In many instances, when being told about a sighting of the supernatural I have been asked not to use the name of the individual who told me.

A few days back, as I sat in my favorite stop atop Crazy Nancy Mountain, this vehicle pulled up and stopped. Out of a pickup truck stepped an elderly gentleman whom I didn’t know.

Strangely, he knew my name; after asking me if I was the one who wrote the weekly article in The Monroe Journal, he relayed this strange event to me.

This fellow went on to tell me that he liked to get up before daylight and go down to the river and fish during the early morning hours. He stated that a few weeks back, he decided to come down to the park, near where the ferry is located, and do some fishing.

As he approached the ferry landing, there in the early predawn light he saw an old woman dipping water from the river with a small pail. He stated that she was tall and appeared to be very slim. She wore a long dress and had a bonnet on her head. He also mentioned that she had a long stick in her left hand, one that might have been used for a walking stick. He said that he noticed especially her long, snow-white hair that fell down her shoulders from under her bonnet.

He could not understand why this woman would be down here on the river at such an early hour in the morning, dipping up river water. He said he thought she might be with a group camping nearby, but he could not understand why she was dressed as she was.

As he opened the door of his truck to ask if something was wrong or if he could assist her, he realized that he was dealing with a spirit or a ghost; the old lady in the long dress and bonnet had disappeared from sight.

I asked him if he had been frightened, and he said that he had been very frightened. He did not understand how she could disappear so quickly. One second she was standing there, pail in hand, and the next second she was gone, vanished into thin air. I told him that he had seen Aunt Nancy. He had never heard the story of Nancy Mountain, the area where we now sat.

Hardly a week passes that someone doesn’t call me or stop me on the street to relate a story of some strange happening. I have come to realize that these people are serious and want to be heard. They want to relate their stories to someone who won’t take lightly these happenings, one who will listen and believe.

Since early childhood, I have been extremely interested in the study of the supernatural and have devoted many, many hours in investigations of the unusual. I believe we must approach this dimension, if one wishes to call it that, with an open mind.

I know for a fact that one doesn’t have to be ignorant or lack a certain amount of education to believe. Some of the most educated and talented people I have known believe that there among us walk the spirits of another time.

In this world of fantasy and make believe that we now live in, we should recognize and investigate that which cries out from the distant past to be remembered. A better knowledge of this dimension would greater enhance our lives, and we could live together on this planet in closer harmony and understanding.

The mysteries of our past cry out to tell us something. It’s best that we stop and listen…

(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. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to warrant officer in May 1972. 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.)