Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for May 21, 2019

Belleville Baptist Church

14 YEARS AGO
MAY 19, 2005

Evergreen weather reporter Harry Ellis reported .03 inches of rain on May 15. He also reported highs of 87 degrees on May 11, May 12 and May 13 and a low of 57 on May 9.

The vault built on the Probate Office that held all of the public records was the first victim of the demolition crews that began tearing down the Conecuh County Courthouse last Thursday morning. Two track hoes made short work of the 1956 addition to the building and work was progressing as rubble was being removed Tuesday afternoon.

Kara Layton, daughter of Jerry and Karen Layton and Sharon Layton, was named Conecuh County’s 2006 Junior Miss Saturday night at Reid State Technical College Auditorium. Whitley Roberts, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Roberts, was named first runner-up and Erin Brock, daughter of Randy and Pam Brock, was named second runner-up. The program was presented by the Conecuh Women’s League.

Evergreen’s Miss Troy University, Avington Hart, will be honored with a “Miss Alabama Send-Off Party” on Mon., May 23, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Bolden-Cardwell Building at the Evergreen First United Methodist Church. Avie’s Miss Alabama Platform is “Volunteering” and she will be recognizing members of the STARS Program (Students Taking a Responsible Stand). Avie is the daughter of Bill and Ruth Hart.

39 YEARS AGO
MAY 15, 1980

Evergreen weather observer Earl Windham reported 2.41 inches of rain on May 7 and 0.1 inches of rain on May 9. He reported a high of 87 on May 8 and a low of 47 on May 10.

Members of the 1980 graduating class of Sparta Academy are Reta Mixon, Lesa Ralls, Missi Thacker, Selina Garvin, Sara Philyaw, Ginger Blackmon and Nancy Armstrong; Cook Morrison, Greg Crabtree, Michelle Street, Robert Bozeman, Cindy Joyner, Ira Cook, Leigh Daniels and Richard Tate; Ronny McKenzie, Lisa Bowers, Sonny Bradley, Melinda Carter, Gary Johnson, Margie Birkhead, Terry Peacock and Angie Mullen.

Bob Morris exhibited the Grand Champion Monday at the 15th annual Conecuh County FFA and 4-H Market Hog Show at Conecuh Cooperative Stockyard’s show arena on North Main Street. J.W. Andrews, president of the Stockyard, is congratulated by John Bewley, master of ceremonies and member of the sponsoring Evergreen Kiwanis Club, after buying the champ for the stockyard for 87 cents per pound.

Selina Ann Garvin, who will graduate summa cum laude, is valedictorian of the 1980 graduating class of Sparta Academy.

Lesa Ellen Ralls, who will graduate magna cum laude, is salutatorian of the graduating class of 1980 of Sparta Academy.

64 YEARS AGO
MAY 19, 1955

New Armory, Ft. Dave Lewis, To Be Dedicated Sat., May 21: Large Crowd Expected At Dedication Ceremony: The late Major Dave Lewis will be honored Saturday morning at 10 a.m. when the new armory in Evergreen will be officially designated Ft. Dave Lewis and presented to the local unit, Battery C, 117th Field Artillery Battalion, 31st Infantry (Dixie) Division, in conjunction with the Armed Forces Day celebration here. The new armory was completed several months ago at a cost of approximately $100,000.

Salk Polio Shots To Be Resumed Next Tuesday: The Salk polio vaccine clinics which were scheduled to begin Tuesday of this week were postponed one week due to a shortage of vaccine. The Conecuh County Health Department was notified by telegram from the State Health Department Monday of the postponement. The vaccine will be available next week and the clinics will begin Tues., May 24, and continue each day through Fri., May 27.
The clinics are scheduled ONLY for those children who were given the first polio vaccine shots.

DAR’s Sponsor Historical Tour: On Thursday morning, May 12, members of the local D.A.R. chapter took 12 girls from Evergreen High School on a county historical tour that featured a trip to the Baptist Church in Belleville.
During the tour, Mrs. Jeretta Newton told the history of the church, which is the oldest one standing in Conecuh County. Each student will write a theme about the tour. The writer of the best theme will receive a five dollar prize.

89 YEARS AGO
MAY 15, 1930

Evergreen-Castleberry Highway Now Open: The paving on Highway 31 between here and Castleberry is now open to the public, the opening having taken place last Sunday. Work on the shoulders is not quite complete, but is being finished as rapidly as possible. The newly made shoulders on this section of the highway present a danger that the traveling public should take notice of, and avoid accidents which might easily occur in the event cars are driven off the paving while going at high rate of speed.

Conecuh County High School at Castleberry announces its complete commencement program which begins on Thursday night, May 15, with an operetta followed on Friday night by the junior play. The commencement sermon will be delivered on Sunday by Rev. T.Y. Fleming, pastor of the Baptist church at Brewton. Then on Tuesday night, the graduating exercises will occur with Rev. A.S. Shafter, pastor of the M.E. Church at Andalusia, delivering the graduating address.

CONCERT TO BE GIVEN IN REPTON: The Repton music pupils of Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Trueman will be presented in a concert at Repton Tues., May 20, at 8 p.m. The public is cordially invited to attend.

392 Cars Berries Shipped From County: Figures gathered by this newspaper this week disclose that a total of 392 cars of berries have been shipped from this county during the season just closed as compared with 613 cars shipped last season.

139 YEARS AGO
MAY 15, 1880
THE CONECUH-ESCAMBIA STAR

XX: Please notice the XX mark upon the margin of your paper. Your subscription has expired and we will be very glad to have you renew.

Rev. Bishop Wilmer baptized three persons at the Episcopal Church, Sabbath last.

The regular publication day of The Star is Saturday, but for “fear of accidents in a well-regulated family,” we frequently print this paper several days ahead of time.

Mr. Richard Shipp, one of our oldest citizens, is dangerously ill at his residence in Evergreen.

John Buffington of Conecuh County has been carried to the Insane Asylum at Tuscaloosa by Sheriff Robt. McCreary.

NOTICE: On the 31st day of May next, between the hours of 10 o’clock a.m. and 4 o’clock p.m. in front of the courthouse door of Conecuh County, we will let the building of a new bridge over Sepulga River, where or near where the Staple’s Bridge now stands, to the lowest and best bidder. The successful bidder will be required to give a good and sufficient bond in double the amount of bid to keep said bridge in good repair, and for the safe passage of the traveling public, for the term of five years, we reserving the right to reject any and all bids. Specifications and dimensions of bridge on file in Probate Judge’s office. – F.M. Walker, Judge, For the Comissioners.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., May 21, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for May 20, 2019

Adolph and Elizabeth Toepperwein

14 YEARS AGO
MAY 19, 2005

Miller graduate joins SA coaching staff: Sparta Academy’s renewed conviction to reviving its football program took another step recently when the school hired Daniel Wilson as an assistant football coach.
Wilson, who has coached junior high sports at Monroe Academy the last three years, is a product of T.R. Miller High School, where he was a standout lineman.
He added that Sparta has hired a gem in head coach Don Hand, who has a “ton” of experience. Hand has been director of the AISA’s athletic department for the past several years.

Salter to appear on national TV show: Eddie Salter of Evergreen, will appear on Turkey Call, a hunting series produced by the National Wild Turkey Federation. The show will air on The Outdoor Channel on the following dates: Thurs., May 19, 2005 at 5:30 p.m. (EST); and Sun., May 22, 2005 at 7 p.m. (EST).
Salter, an NWTF member and Hunter’s Specialties Pro-Staff member, will hunt eastern longbeards in Ohio with NWTF member and Hunter’s Specialties Pro-Staff member Matt Morrett. The show will take viewers on a behind-the-scenes look at what pro-staff members do in the hunting industry and take a look at some of the country’s best-known hunters.

Tony Hodges and his son, Samazki, caught this 11-pound catfish on Mon., May 9, while fishing at the Evergreen Municipal Park.

39 YEARS AGO
MAY 15, 1980

Sparta girls do well at Tri-State Track Meet: The Sparta Academy Girls Track Team did themselves, their school, their parents and their town “proud” with their performance in the Tri-States Private Schools Track Meet held Saturday in Jackson, Miss.
The mile relay team placed fourth with a time of 4:28.2. Lynn Hyde placed fifth in the long jump with a leap of 15 feet, 7-1/2 inches (short of her jump of 16 feet, four inches that won first place in the state meet).
The mile relay team, which also won first place in the State Private Schools Association Track Meet, is composed of Lynn Hyde, Lesa Ralls, Miss Price and Cheri Johnson.
The girls are coached by Richard Brown. Coach Brown, who also is head coach of the male football and basketball teams at Sparta, said “I am extremely proud of these young ladies and their achievements in track this year. I would also like to point out that of the four only one, Lesa, is a senior. So, the Sparta Girls Track Team could well be considered ‘hard-to-beat’ in future state and regional competition.”

64 YEARS AGO
MAY 19, 1955

Honors Received By Evergreen High School Students for 1954-55: The following is a list of Evergreen High School students who have won various honors and awards during the past year – New Cheerleaders for 1955-56, Erin Cook, Eddie Bell Kindig, Ann Stillwell, Anita Johnson and Pattie McGehee; Advertiser-Journal All-State Football Team, first string, Richard Taylor, Ward Alexander, honorable mention, Randy White, Wayne Douglas, Buck Lewis; First District Tournament Basketball team, Randy White; Football Scholarships, University of Alabama, Ward Alexander; Junior Colleges, Jimmy Frazier, Wayne Douglas, Richard Taylor; Winner first Flight Evergreen Golf Tournament, Joe Hagood.

Lyeffion Stops McKenzie In 10 Innings 10 to 9: Lyeffion outscored McKenzie in a close, extra-inning ball game last Sunday, 10-9.
Donald Evers started off on the mound for Lyeffion and was relieved by Eugene Davis. Kenneth Tomlinson completed the battery.
Lyeffion will play in McKenzie next Sunday.

89 YEARS AGO
MAY 15, 1930


Shooting Experts Here Monday, May 19: For those who like their thrills early and often the shooting exhibition to be given here on May 19 by the Topperweins, Mr. and Mrs., will provide a measure of satisfaction that can seldom be equaled. Topperwein, a veritable magician with rifle, shotgun and revolver has roused audiences all of America to vigorous enthusiasm for the past third of a century. He is widely acclaimed the world’s greatest fancy shot. The exhibition is given under the direction of Wild Brothers Hardware Co.
But, while Topperwein is a whole show in himself, local residents are to have the opportunity for a real double header, for in Mrs. Topperwein, they will see a woman shot as sensational in her breath-taking stunts and accurate quick shots as her famous husband himself. Together, they make a shooting team never to be forgotten and, once seen, never to be missed if opportunity presents them again.

139 YEARS AGO
MAY 15, 1880
THE CONECUH-ESCAMBIA STAR

The young gentlemen of Evergreen desire to organize a Base Ball club, to continue during the dull Summer months. Cannot this be done? Our young friend, Ernest McCreary, will take the names of those who desire to become members.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Mon., May 20, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

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

Mary Badham as 'Scout Finch'

14 YEARS AGO
MAY 19, 2005

‘Scout’ to visit here on Saturday: Child actor Mary Badham, who portrayed “Scout” in the movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” will return to Monroeville Saturday at the Old Monroe County Courthouse.
Badham will reminisce about her work on the film with Oscar-winning actor Gregory Peck during the “Scout Returns to Maycomb” event from 2 to 3 p.m. A question-and-answer period will also be held.

Frisco City High School’s football team rolled up 382 yards of total offense on their way to a 32-0 stomping of John Essex in spring football action Friday night in Frisco City.
Junior Jeffery Williams, who missed the entire 2004 season due to injury and who hadn’t played a down of football since spring drills last year, led the Whippets defensively and was one of the team’s top ground-gainers.
(Other top FCHS players in that game included Donald Dees, Scotty English, DeAngelo Hill, Leonard Hollings, Chris Mason and Carlos Powe. Troy Quinn was FCHS’s head football coach.)

COTTON PATCH FESTIVAL: Music in the form of soloists, quartet groups and guitar-playing energized approximately 700 folks at the 13th annual “Cotton Patch” Festival in Uriah last Saturday.
Ronnie Lambert was emcee and several quartets, vocalists and instrumental groups brought an air of excitement to this yearly event.
“This year’s festival was a big success,” festival chairperson Patricia McCullers noted, and she believes that proceeds will be highly beneficial to the Uriah Arts Council.

39 YEARS AGO
MAY 15, 1980

The Monroeville Jayceettes chose Jennifer Carmen Byrd and Jessica Carlie Byrd, the twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. John Wiley Byrd Jr. of Pleasant Hill, as the Monroe County Healthy Babies for 1980. The babies, selected in conjunction with Healthy Baby Week (May 11-17), were chosen because they were the first babies born in Monroe County Hospital on Mother’s Day. Jennifer weighed six pounds, 15 ounces, and Jessica weight six pounds, 7-1/2 ounces. On the side of Mrs. Byrd’s bed are some of the gifts she received from local merchants, including two towel and washcloth sets, two layette shirts, several gift certificates, a newborn set and a receipt for a free dinner.

Vols make semifinals: A five-run rally in the bottom of the second inning gave the Monroe Academy Volunteers a 5-2 victory over Ashford Academy, sending the Vols into the state private school semifinals.
The third and deciding game at Volunteer Park Tuesday was made necessary when the two teams split a doubleheader Monday in the opening day of the best-two-of-three series.
(Top players on MA’s baseball team that year included Boyd Bradley, David Carpenter, Sammie Carter, Tim Chunn, Trip Hendrix, Joey Langham, Doug Smith, Greg Tatum, Jeff Tatum, Rick Williams and John Wilman. Eddie Tyler was MA’s head baseball coach.)

This 4-foot, one-inch rattlesnake was shot near Clausell about 3 p.m. Sunday by Charlie Boulton, Lonzo Mosley and Roy Tate of Monroeville. The rattler, which Boulton estimated to weigh about 20 pounds, had 17 rattles and one button.

64 YEARS AGO
MAY 19, 1955

Pvt. George E. Snow of Uriah is now serving with the U.S. Army and is a member of the 447th Signal Battalion (Construction), located in Pirmasens, Germany. Snow will have 17 more months of duty before he returns to the States. He graduated from the J.U. Blacksher school in 1954 and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Snow of Uriah, Rt. 2.

Locals Lose One, Win One In Week: Righthander Joe Stevens, who pitched so creditably for Monroe County High this season, made his debut on the mound for the Monroe County entry in the Dixie Amateur League Thursday night in Atmore, and hurled seven-hit ball only to lose, 8-6. However, seven-hit pitching by Bill Hite conquered the State Farm by a score of 9-2, in Monroeville Sunday afternoon, as the locals ran their season record to four wins against five defeats.
(Other players on Monroe County’s team that season included Al Clenner, Paul Fowler, Frank Hadley, Edsel Johnson, Les Prouty and Curt Wideman.)

Kiwanians To See Color Film Friday: Color films of Nebraska, having to do with farming in that state, and color movies made on a trip through the mountains will be shown to members of the Kiwanis Club when they meeting Friday.
Ward Ostberg will show the films and give the program discussion. The session will be held at the Hi-Ho Restaurant during the noon hour.

89 YEARS AGO
MAY 15, 1930

MRS. LUCIAN JONES ENTERTAINS STUDY CLUB AT LUNCHEON: Mrs. Lucian Jones entertained the Monroeville Study Club at luncheon on Saturday morning. This social meeting took the place of the regular meeting. Mrs. C.G. Yarbrough of Pensacola, who was formerly a member of the Club, was a guest. Mrs. E.T. Millsap was made a member of the Study Club. Mrs. Straughn was the winner in the penny wise contest. She was presented with a chiffon handkerchief.

Mrs. W.R. Blackwell of Frisco City, accompanied by her son Howard, Mrs. T.E. Stacey, and little Grace Blackwell of Repton, left Sunday for Kerrville, Texas to visit Mr. W.L. Blackwell, who has been out west for the past two years on account of his health.

BAND CONCERT MONDAY; MUSIC RECITAL WEDNESDAY: The Monroe County High School Band and Orchestra will be presented in a concert at the school auditorium on Monday evening, May 19, at eight o’clock, Mr. J.C. Williams, directing. The music class under the direction of Miss Sara Dennis will give a recital on Wednesday evening, May 21.

The Grand Lodge Knights of Pythias of Alabama will meet in 58th annual session in the city of Montgomery on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 20th and 21st, and this promises to be one of the most constructive sessions ever held by this body in the Grand Domain of Alabama. The meeting will be presided over by Grand Chancellor Tully A. Goodwin of Florala, and recorded by Grand Keeper of Records and Seals, Joe King Stanley of Montgomery.

139 YEARS AGO
MAY 17, 1880

Mr. Rikard was born in Edgefield District, S.C., Jan. 14, 1805 and with his father removed to this state at an early age, settling on Limestone Creek, near Monroeville, where his boyhood days were spent. He afterwards moved to Flat Creek, where he died. A good citizen, a devout Christian, an honest man, has gone. Let us greatly draw the mantle of charity over his frailties, and strive to emulate with possible zeal, his honor, his integrity and his uprightness.

Perdue Hill – We had the pleasure of meeting in our office last week Dr. F.D. Thompson, now a prominent physician of Sherman, Texas, and formerly a resident of Perdue Hill in this county. The doctor is an educated and cultivated gentleman, is modest and dignified in bearing, with pleasing address and polished manners, and we are not surprised to know that he captivated the heart and won the hand of one of Sherman’s most wealthy and accomplished belles. We regret to learn that Dr. T will only remain a short time with us.

River Dots – We regret to learn from the Montgomery Advertiser that Capt. Finegan, who has been for many years well and favorably known along the Alabama River as a popular and successful steamboat commander, has concluded to take his boats, the John T. Moore, Maggie Burke, Robt. E. Lee and Lucy Grastrell, out of the Alabama River trade and transfer them to the Memphis and Helena trade, on the Mississippi. The many friends of Capt. Finegan here, and all along the Alabama River, will regret his determination to go elsewhere, but as he has done so they will wish for him both fame and fortune.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., May 19, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Son of freed slaves recalls seeing the Nettie Quill for the first time in 1886


(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 “At 93 he recalls the good old days” was originally published in the Jan. 27, 1972 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

“I can still remember just about anything that has ever happened in my lifetime. See this scar on my chin? I fell against the cooking pot when I was three years old and burned my chin. My mamma was cooking peas. I liked peas so well I couldn’t wait for them to get done. I was going to slip me some out of the pot.”

I visited Mack Lawrence Johnson of Beatrice one afternoon and as we talked about the old days, he told me about his life as a child on the banks of the Alabama River. Mack Lawrence is blind now and doesn’t hear too well, but his memory is remarkable. He remembers dates, days of the week and time of the day as though it happened yesterday.

“I was born on Tuesday, the 10th of December 1878, near Johnson’s Woodyard on the Alabama River. I was the fifth of 15 children. My mamma and papa was born in slavery and was freed about the time the war was over. There was seven boys and eight girls in the family. I am the only one of them that is living now.

“We used to raise cotton on the river bank, and we would watch the river boats come up the river on their way to Montgomery and Wetumpka. The boats would tie up at Johnson’s Wood Yard and pick up firewood and unload freight for the people along the river. We would go aboard and look around just about any time we wanted to.

“I remember the day the steamboat ‘The Nettie Quill’ came up river for the first time. It was on a Wednesday evening, during the first week in September of 1886. The sun was about tree top high on the west bank of the river. She took on about three and a half cords of wood for her boilers. She was the first boat to come up the Alabama that was equipped with electric lights. Capt. Quill let us children go up in the wheelhouse and look around.

“In later years, I worked at Johnson’s Wood Yard. I was freight agent there in the early 1900s. After I left there, I started to do blacksmith work. I could always build good wagon wheels. I built the tall ones for the log carts.

“I could still build a good wheel, if I could just see. That’s my biggest trouble. I’m still as limber in my joints as I ever was. Do you believe that I can put my foot behind my head?”

I told him that he might hurt himself, but in spite of my objections, he placed his right foot against his right ear, with little or no effort. I was glad that he didn’t ask me if I could do the same.

As I was about to leave, I asked this amazing man what he liked to do most of all, now that he didn’t get around like he used to.

“I like to talk. A good conversation with my old friends is better than going to the doctor. I plan to live a long time yet, and I want you to tell my friends to come and see me. You come back too. You’re a good listener.”

He gave the names of some of his old friends, and I promised I would see these people and give them his message. As I left the room, the thought occurred to me that somewhere in this man’s life, some of the iron that he worked as a blacksmith must have gotten into his bloodstream. A man with his determination couldn’t be all flesh and blood.

[This column was also accompanied by a photo of Johnson and included the following caption: Mack Lawrence Johnson, 93, of Beatrice recalls memories of his early life.]

(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.)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., May 18, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Eli McMorn & the Strange Case of the Missing Professor - Part III


I watched as the eerie orb of light crossed the edge of the dark river and moved up onto the muddy bank. It was about 50 yards from where I stood in the dark of the trees up on the slope. I was sure that this weird ball of light was bad news and that it had something to do with the missing professor.

The orb was about the size of a cannonball, surely no larger than a basketball, and it was yellow-white, like a small, dim version of the sun. It reminded me of a car’s headlight or of a coon hunter’s headlamp. I’d say that it illuminated an area of about 10 feet.

Trees dotted the side of the slope, and the orb moved toward me at about the speed of a walking man. A chill shook me as I realized that the woods had gone unnaturally silent. Gone were the sounds of buzzing insects and the plaintive calls of night birds.

I was overwhelmed by the feeling that this thing was no good and that if I didn’t want to end up like the professor, I needed to do something fast. I quickly drew my Berretta M9 and chambered a round. I drew a bead on the ball of light, which continued to thread its way around tree trunks, as it made its way toward me, implacable as the waters flowing south in the darkness behind it. I was reminded of some nocturnal beast, stalking its prey through the African jungle.

“Stop!” I shouted, deep and forceful. Why I thought the orb would obey me, I do not know, but I made up my mind that if it got within 20 yards of me, I would open fire. In the faint available light, I picked out a large tree about 60 feet away and determined that if it came that far, I would pull the trigger.

As it continued toward me, I held the gun on it. The muzzle jiggled as I aimed for center mass. I took a deep breath and yelled “Stop!” once more as the thing passed the tree I’d picked out. As soon as I knew that it wasn’t going to stop, I fired.

Over and over, I sent round after round into the orb of light, which continued towards me, only a little slower. In the dim glow, I saw a few of the rounds strike the trees behind the orb, sending small chunks of bark flying into the dark woods. Eventually, my ears were met with the “click” of the empty handgun. I’d fired all 15 rounds into the orb with no real effect.

How many people heard those shots? How many would dial 911 to report gunfire in the woods along the river? Probably few, if anyone at all. After all, this was Claiborne. People tended to mind their own business.

Time slowed as my mind raced through my options. I watched the orb turn from yellow to red as I reholstered my sidearm. The orb was about 40 feet away, and I knew that something bad was about to happen. I had to act.

I was still standing next to the large ash tree where I’d spent the last three nights waiting and watching for something to happen. At the base of the tree, I saw the shape of my black backpack. I could think of only one thing that might work.

I dropped to one knee, threw back the top flap of the pack and reached all the way to the bottom of the bag. My hand eventually fell on what I was looking for – a large, 26-ounce canister of all-purpose table salt. I pulled it out of the bag, flipped up the metal spout in the top and quickly poured a wide circle of salt on the ground around me.

I looked up to see the orb still moving towards me. It was close, and I had only a few seconds to wonder if the makeshift protective circle that I’d made would hold.

(All rights reserved. This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.)

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., May 17, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Evergreen should name Chris Hines as the city's 'ambassador' to China

Evergreen's Chris Hines

Conecuh County basketball legend Chris Hines was in town earlier this week and stopped by the radio station in Evergreen Monday morning for a nice visit.

Luther and I always enjoy talking with Chris, and Chris also got to meet Terry Dailey for the first time. Terry is a big Alabama fan and told Chris that he remembered when he used to grab all those rebounds at the University of Alabama. Chris, who was wearing an Alabama warmup jacket, just smiled and gave Terry a big “Roll Tide.”

Chris told us that he’s spent the better part of the last year in Atlanta working with the Atlanta Dream professional women’s basketball team. He said the team had a great season, noting that first-year head coach Nicki Collen had led the team to the Conference Finals. I told him that I’d never been to a WNBA game before, and he said I should check it out because they play a pretty good brand of basketball.

He also weighed in on the NBA playoffs, which entered the Conference Finals round earlier this week. He said that early on, he was pulling for the Houston Rockets, but they got put out by the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors. Now that Houston is out of the picture, he looks for Golden State to win it all.

We also talked about the recent announcement that Hillcrest High School boys basketball coach Chenson Griffin was leaving Hillcrest to be the head coach at Alma Bryant High School in Mobile County. Chris and Coach Griffin go way back. In fact, Chris was a freshman on the varsity basketball team at Hillcrest the year that Griffin was a senior on the team.

Chris said he looks for Griffin to do well at Alma Bryant. Chris also looks for Hillcrest to remain a dominant force in high school basketball. Hillcrest has never had a shortage of athletic talent, he said, but they’ll need to get the right coach to replace Griffin to keep the program moving forward.

Chris also reported that his sister, Natalie, and her husband, Harrison Mims, were doing well. Both are former coaches at Hillcrest, and Natalie, a former college player, even served as Hillcrest’s head girls basketball coach for a while. They are living in Andalusia now and are both working at schools in that part of the state.

While in town, probably for the summer, Chris said he planned to contact Evergreen city officials to see what he could do to help breathe new life into the city’s summer rec program. Not only does the program give local kids something to do, but it also helps them sharpen their basketball skills in the off season. Chris said he has fond memories of the city’s summer program and would like to help with it while he’s in town this summer.

Chris noted that he’s hoping to travel to China later this year to help play or coach in the professional basketball leagues over there. He said that he’s worked over there before and really enjoyed it. He said he would jump at the chance to return, but only time will tell.

In the end, it was good to see Chris. Not only is he a genuinely nice guy, but everywhere he goes, he’s a great ambassador for Conecuh County and Evergreen. Also, he’s still young, so there’s no telling what sort of success lies ahead of him.

Deans community once thrived in northeastern Conecuh County

First Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Conecuh County is riddled with old communities that were once heavily populated but are now shadows of their former selves. One such community is the Deans community, sometimes called Deans Crossroads, due north of Evergreen.

According to historical maps available at the Evergreen library, the Deans community first appeared on the 1965 edition of the county highway map, but other sources say it is much older than that. Those of you who are familiar with the Deans community will know that “downtown” Deans is located at the intersection of Mixonville Road and County Road 33, in the northeastern corner of the county, not far from the Monroe and Butler county lines.

Last Thursday afternoon, as dark clouds began to gather in the west, I rode up to the Deans community with an eye toward seeing it for myself. I took my time easing up the Mixonville Road from Owassa, crossed the Sepulga River, and finally arrived at the Deans intersection to find several houses, but not much else to indicate that this community used to be a bustling crossroads. After snapping a few pictures, I got back in the truck and continued north of Mixonville Road.

A short distance from the Deans intersection, about half a mile down the road, I came upon the First Mount Zion Baptist Church, where, according to the sign out front, the Rev. Willie Rudolph is the pastor. According to the church’s cornerstone, the original First Mount Zion Baptist Church was built in the early 1800s and was remodeled in 1992. Deacons at the time of the remodeling were Cleve Carter, Arthur Maye, Terry Mixon and Joe Mixon. The Rev. Johnny F. Atkins was pastor, and Katherine Parrish was the church’s clerk.


Back in my truck, I continued north on Mixonville Road a short distance, before cutting left onto First Mount Zion Road, a dirt road that will take you south on a roundabout way back to Mixonville Road. Not far from the turnoff, I encountered the First Mount Zion Cemetery, a large graveyard that, as the crow flies, isn’t far from the church of the same name on Mixonville Road. Through the woods, I’d guess that they’re less than half a mile apart.

I spent a few minutes walking around this isolated, old cemetery, which is located on a gentle slope just off the side of the road. As best that I could tell, the oldest marked grave that I could find was a stone marker belonging to Arthur Lee Carter, who died at the age of 20 in 1839. Eventually, as thunder boomed in the distance, I returned to my truck and continued on down the road.


Those of you who are familiar with this cemetery will know that there is a tall brick and iron gate near the road. As I pulled away, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe at one time, the original First Mount Zion Church was located on this road and adjacent to the cemetery. Perhaps at some point, church members agreed to build a more modern church building on the paved road a short distance away through the woods.

As I eased back to the Mixonville Road, I took note of how sparsely populated this area seems to be. Aside from a few homes and hunting camps, there’s not much else to see before you cross a wooden bridge over an unnamed tributary that flows into Duck Creek, which makes up a good portion of the boundary between Conecuh and Butler counties.

King snake on First Mount Zion Road.
Not far beyond the bridge, I encountered a large king snake that was making his lazy way across the road. I stopped, rolled down my window and snapped his picture before asking him where he was headed. Seeming to have important business elsewhere, he reversed himself and disappeared into the roadside grass without comment.


In the end, I made it back to Evergreen just before the bottom fell out. As chance would have it, on my police scanner I could hear county road crews going out to tend to downed trees on County Road 33, not far from the Deans crossroads. No doubt many storms over the years have changed the landscape of this old community, and one is left to wonder what it will look like many years from now after the passage of the storms to come.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., May 16, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wilcox County author Mike Stewart celebrates his 64th birthday today

Wilcox Academy grad Mike Stewart

Happy 64th birthday to Wilcox County author Mike Stewart.

Many of you in the reading audience will know or remember Stewart, who was born on May 15, 1955. He grew up in Vredenburgh and graduated from Wilcox Academy in 1973. From there, he went on to Auburn University and then earned a law degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham.

By my count, Stewart has written four novels, which have garnered acclaim in such prestigious publications as The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. His books (and the year they were published) include “Sins of the Brother” (1999), “Dog Island” (2001), “A Clean Kill” (2002) and “A Perfect Life” (2004). The first three books feature fictional Mobile attorney Tom McInnes, and the bulk of those tales are set in Alabama. “A Perfect Life” centers around a fictional Boston psychologist named Scott Thomas.

I will never forget the first time that I met Mike Stewart, who makes a strong first impression. As part of the promotional tour for one of his early novels, he held a book-signing at the Old Monroe County Courthouse in downtown Monroeville. At that time, I was a young reporter at The Monroe Journal newspaper and had been tasked with making the short walk over to the courthouse to snap Stewart’s picture for the following week’s edition.

Stewart’s book signing was held in the old courthouse’s large courtroom, which was used as the model for the courtroom in the Academy Award-winning motion picture version of Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Stewart was seated in the judge’s chair and was busy signing a big stack of books for the people who’d came to see him in person. After taking his picture for the paper, I hung around to interview him, and we hit it off right away.

At that time, I had a year of law school under my belt, so we shared a common interest in the law. Also, come to find out, Stewart was an old newspaper guy, having worked at The Atlanta Journal at one time as a copy editor. I remember that Stewart had a lot of encouraging things to say, and I’ve followed his writing career closely ever since.

Those of you in the reading audience who have read Stewart’s novels will already know how good they are. Those of you who haven’t read them are in for a real treat. Stewart grew up in our neck of the woods, and it really shows in his novels. The way he describes people and places in Alabama are spot on and are a lot of fun to read.

I don’t know if it’s even in the works, but I’ve always felt that his books would make great movies. I’d describe them all as suspenseful thrillers, and it would be a lot of fun to see them on the big screen. No doubt the film rights have already been scooped up by an enterprising studio somewhere.

In the end, I again want to wish Stewart another big happy birthday, and I hope that he has many more. I know I speak for a lot of his fans when I say that I hope he’s working on another book. While we wait, I might just go back and re-read his earlier ones just for old time’s sake.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., May 15, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for May 14, 2019


21 YEARS AGO
MAY 14, 1998

Evergreen weather reporter Harry Ellis reported .01 inches of rain on May 6 and a trace of rain on May 7. He also reported a high of 86 degrees on May 9 and lows of 53 on May 4 and May 5.

Marcia Michelle Griffin was chosen as Conecuh County 1999 Junior Miss this past Saturday night at the Ed Reid Technical College.
“Marcy” also won awards for the best creative and performing arts category and for the best judge’s interview.
Gina Michelle Harper was chosen as first alternate. She was recognized as the best in two categories: poise and appearance and physical fitness.
Sunshine Lualhati Floyd was chosen as second alternate and will receive a $300 scholarship to the college of her choice.
Jessika Wallace was presented with the Scholastic Achievement Award and she will receive a $300 scholarship. Wallace had the highest grade point average.
Two other $100 scholarships were presented. Amity Reeves received one as Star Sponsor Winner, while Monique Johnson won for the Spirit of Junior Miss.

Bill Ferguson has taken over as the new Veteran’s Affairs Officer for this area, with the transfer of Francis McGowin.
Ferguson was hired on April 13, 1998, and he is no stranger to Conecuh County.

46 YEARS AGO
MAY 10, 1973

Frank Murphy is promoted: Franklin E. Murphy, son of Mr. and Mrs. James T. Murphy, has been promoted to lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. L-Cpl. Murphy is stationed at Glynco, Ga.

The tenth annual Conecuh County Barrow Show will be held Mon., May 14, at the Conecuh County Cooperative Stockyard Show Arena at 8 a.m.
The show is sponsored each year by the Evergreen Kiwanis Club in cooperation with the State Department of Agriculture and Industries and departments of Vocational Agricultural Education and Extension Service of Auburn University.
There will be approximately 100 head of top barrows shown in 13 breed and weight classes.
Officials for the show are: show chairman, Marvin Johnston; advisory chairman, D.C. Fleming; official judge, Wesley Grant; showmanship judge, Phillip Ellis; official veterinarian, Dr. Carl Wilson.

Navy Fireman Eric G. Pugh, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Pugh of Evergreen, graduated from recruit training at the Naval Training Center in Orlando, Fla. A 1971 graduate of Monroe Academy, Monroeville, he is a former student of Patrick Henry Junior College there.

Mrs. Pat Jones, secretary to Tax Assessor Delma Bowers, was named “Secretary of the Year” at a party Saturday night, April 28, hosted by the Holiday Inn and Innkeeper Gerold Galloway. Mrs. Mary Ellen Ethridge, secretary at Mobilux Corp., and Mrs. Sara Elizabeth Dailey, secretary-bookkeeper at The Evergreen Courant, were named alternates. The party climaxed National Secretary Week.

71 YEARS AGO
MAY 13, 1948

DEMOLAYS MEET: The Evergreen Chapter of Demolay met Wednesday night April 21 at 7:30 p.m. with 18 members and nine Masons present. The initiating degree was given to the following boys: Robert Wells, W.K. Salter, Carl Stacey, Kenneth Thompson, Harry Booker, Bayne Petrey and Brown Hagood.
These boys were given the Demolay degree Wednesday night, May 5, which made them full-pledged members. The Demolay boys gave the Rainbow Girls a party at Binion’s Pool Monday evening, May 10. Refreshments were served.
The next meeting will be May 19. – Curtis Walker, Scribe.

ON STAGE in 5 BIG SCENES – Dr. Silkini’s ASYLUM OF HORRORS – Direct From Hollywood – FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER IN PERSON – Ghastly! Horrifying! Chilling! Warning: If You Have A Weak Heart Don’t See It! – On Screen Comedy “Scooper Dooper” – PIX THEATRE – Fri., May 21, 10:30 p.m., One Show Only – Tickets Go On Sale Fri., May 14, 1948 – ADMISSION – All Seats 60 cents including Tax.

The commencement season was ushered in at Evergreen High School Saturday night, May 8, 1948 with a Senior Banquet and Prom. On Sun., May 23, 1948 at 11 o’clock, the baccalaureate services will be held in the Evergreen High School auditorium. Concluding the commencement program will be the graduation exercises which are to be held in the E.H.S. auditorium Friday night, May 28, 1948 at eight o’clock. Rev. A.A. Staples will deliver the commencement address.

96 YEARS AGO
MAY 16, 1923

Prof. W.H. Bogard has been elected principal of the Agricultural School here, having been transferred from the school at Sylacauga. Prof. Chappell was not an applicant for re-election. He has presided over the school for the past three years very successfully and retires with the good wishes of his many friends for his future success. He will probably engage in another department of school work.

Work will begin within the next few days on the bridge across Murder Creek. The contract was awarded the Smith Construction Co., and Benj. B. Smith was here last week taking preliminary steps to begin work. It is also learned that Keenan & Kyser, contractors for the Evergreen-Belleville road, will begin active construction work about June 1. It is said, though not authentically, that the work will be started at the Belleville end.

Death of Jas. H. Kyser: Castleberry, Ala., May 14 – James H. Kyser died here, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. A.N. Riggs on Mon., May 1.
He was a devout member of the Baptist church. Truly a noble man has fallen, for he filled well his place. He has departed from the walks of life, and is now resting in the shade of the trees awaiting the coming of loved ones.
He was born near Belleville 54 years ago, and spent most of his life in Conecuh County, being a citizen of Evergreen for a number of years. His body was laid to rest in the Belleville cemetery.

121 YEARS AGO
MAY 13, 1898

Mr. J.F. Irwin, Evergreen’s newly elected mayor, was formally inducted into his office on Monday.

MASONIC: Greening Lodge No. 53, A.F.&A.M., meets third Friday night in each month. Visiting members welcomed. – H.A. Shields, Worshipful Master; Wm. H. Hawkins, Secretary.

A large fire and burglar proof iron safe has just been purchased for the county treasurer and he is now fitted up with an office in the courthouse, which is decidedly more convenient for him and the public than formerly.

Flour has taken a sudden advance in price and is now selling in Evergreen at $8.50 per barrel and is going up every day. This is due to some extent to the war but more largely to the corner recently made on wheat, which is now fast approaching the $2 per bushel mark.

Mr. Willie Ellis has been appointed night marshal of Evergreen.

Stores and business houses in Evergreen now close their doors at six o’clock in the afternoon except Saturdays, thus affording clerks and employees an opportunity for recreation. This is a custom that has been observed for several years from May till September of each year.

Capt. M.A. Gantt left last week for an extended trip to Washington, New York and other points. We wish the Captain a pleasant trip.

Commissioners court was in regular session on Monday and Tuesday.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., May 14, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for May 13, 2019

Gene Sarazan

21 YEARS AGO
MAY 14, 1998

Frank Porter Sr. and Frank Porter Jr. are showing everyone how to start the spring off with this fine string of bass they caught recently. When asked where they caught the fish, they replied “in the mouth.”

46 YEARS AGO
MAY 10, 1973

The Sparta Academy Warriors did well in the Alabama Private School Association State Junior High Track Meet held at Fort Dale Academy in Greenville last Thursday. Walker Scott won the broad jump with a leap of 17 feet, 2-1/2 inches. He teamed with Bobby Johnson, Jerry Peacock and Jay Phillippi on the 440-yard relay team, which placed fourth. Larry Reid was fourth in the discus with a toss of 123 feet, two inches.

Conecuh County High wins track meet: Conecuh County High of Castleberry captured first place in six of 16 events and piled up 91 points to easily win the 2A sectional state track qualifying meet Saturday in Andalusia. The nearest challenger, Slocomb, had only 5-1/2 points.
Godwin won first place in three events to pace the Blue Devils. He won the 100-yard dash with a time of 10.3, the 220 in 22.6 and the triple jump with 40.8.
Carter won the mile in 4:45.7 and Holland took the two-mile event in 11:15.3. The CCHS team also won the mile relay.
Other Blue Devils picking up points were: Etheridge, second, and Darby, fourth, in the 440; Stallworth, third, and Booker, fifth, in the 880; James, third in the mile; Lyons second in the two-mile; Philyaw, second, and McGuire, fourth, in the 120 hurdles; Carter, second, and Ryals, fourth, in the 120 high hurdles; Ryals, second in high jump; Godwin, second, and Ryals, fifth, in board jump; Philyaw, third in triple jump; Coleman, fourth in shot put; Coleman, second, and Carter, fourth, in discus. The CCHS team finished second in the 440 relay.

Sparta Banquet Saturday night: The Sparta Quarterback Club’s Second Annual Awards Banquet will be held Saturday night at the Holiday Inn. The banquet was originally scheduled for the past Monday night, but had to be postponed due to a conflict. Academic and athletic awards will be presented.

Daniel Byrd is in tennis finals: Daniel Byrd of Evergreen will meet Mike Rutland of Daleville and Enterprise Junior College in the finals of the Andalusia Spring Tennis Tournament for boys 18 and under at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Byrd entered the meet unseeded but won four matches including upsets of two seeded players to make his way into the championships. He knocked off the Andalusia Team’s No. 1 player, Tommy Walker (seeded second) in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. In the semi-finals, he defeated the No. 3 seed, Bill Marquez of Fort Rucker, 6-0, 6-1.
Byrd is the son of Mr. and Mrs. B.L. Byrd of Evergreen.

71 YEARS AGO
MAY 13, 1948

Greenies Slash Out 11 To 7 Win Over Brewton: The Evergreen Greenies inaugurated the 1948 baseball season Sunday with a decisive 11 to 7 victory over Brewton. Before an opening day crowd of about 250 spectators, the locals launched a 16-hit assault on the visitors to completely overpower them.
The scoring started early as the Greenies pushed across two runs on two hits in the first inning. After Bolton had led off with a single, Harper slashed out a hit scoring Bolton from second. Harper’s hit got thru the centerfielder’s legs and he raced home with the inning’s second tally.
The visitors’ bats began to crack in the second, and before the locals could stop them, they had scored three runs on as many hits.
Three more runs in the third enabled the locals to regain their lead. After Edsel Johnson had opened with a double to center, Ottis Johnson pushed him across with a single. Nobles forced Otis at second. W.T. Tolbert tripled, scoring Nobles, and himself on a Brewton error.
The locals added three more runs in the fourth on two walks by Bolton and Harper, E. Johnson forcing Bolton at second, followed by Ottis Johnson’s three-run homer to center.
Wendell Hart blasted another circuit clout in the fifth to make the count 9 to 3 in favor of Evergreen.
After the visitors had tallied once in the sixth on three bingles, the Greenies made the score 10 to 4 in their favor on McDonald’s single, followed by White’s one-base knock.
The local’s last marker came in the seventh on Bolton’s triple and Edsel Johnson’s double.
Edsel Johnson had to come to the mound in the eighth after Brewton had made a three-run rally off Hart. The visitors collected four hits in this inning.

C’Berry Nine Beat Repton, Evergreen; Lose To Repton: The Panthers of Castleberry High opened the baseball season in Repton losing a 14-9 decision to the Bulldogs. Repton used a base hit barrage to put the skids under the Castleberry squad.
Returning to Castleberry for their second game the Panthers evened the score by defeating Repton 6-5 in an exciting game. “Pill” Dees hurled the Panthers to this victory.
Herbert Smith pitched the Panthers to their second victory of the season defeating Evergreen in a close battle 3-2. Smith spotted the Evergreen squad two runs in the first inning and held them scoreless the remainder of the game.
The fourth game of the season for the Panthers was brought to a halt by rain. Lyeffion was furnishing the opposition, but less than half the game was finished before it was called.

96 YEARS AGO
MAY 16, 1923

The game of baseball last Thursday between the locals and Monroeville was witnessed by a large crowd at Gantt’s field. In the first inning, it looked like a walk-away for the home team, the visitors not being allowed to see the first base, and the locals marking up three scores. But the visitors tightened up and did not allow Evergreen to cross the plate again until the eighth frame, when two more runs were made. For a while, the score stood tied, 3 to 3. The final result was Evergreen 5, Monroeville 3. The Monroeville team will return here for another game tomorrow, and if our boys don’t look well to their laurels a different tale may have to be told. So far, the locals have not lost a game this season on the home diamond.

Sportsmen’s Headquarters – The Winchester Store – You make no mistake when you buy Winchester Base Ball Equipment – The Winchester Repeating Arms Co., the largest manufacturer of sporting goods in the world, have bought the controlling interest in the D&M Co., the makers of base ball equipment. Winchester base ball equipment measures up to Winchester standard of quality. – Exclusive Winchester Agent – Dunn Hardware Co.

Buick is Baseball’s Favorite – Big League Stars Choose Buick for Their Personal Use – Like attracts like! The leading stars in baseball’s firmament are in turn Buick fans!
Appreciating the tremendous importance of all round performance these leading players of both major leagues own and drive Buicks.
These men – some of whom are pictured in this advertisement – selected Buicks for the same sound reasons that governed Jimmy Murphy, champion of the race track, Gene Sarazan, national golf champion, and other noted celebrities who have purchased Buicks. – Morrissette Motor Car Co., Monroeville, Ala. – When better automobiles are built, Buick will build them.

121 YEARS AGO
MAY 13, 1898

Prof. C.B. Glenn and Dr. Marcellus McCreary went out fishing last Saturday and report the best luck of any fishermen we have yet heard from, having caught 103 fishes in exactly 110 minutes. Such royal sport is enjoyed and appreciated by none more than by a teacher or a pill-roller, unless it is a weary quill driver.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Mon., May 13, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.40 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.40 inches.

Spring to Date Rainfall: 8.80 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 22.30 inches.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily in Monroe County, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.405783N Lon -87.479861W. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-6, Station Name: Frisco City 5.0 WSW.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Eli McMorn: The Strange Case of the Missing Professor - Part II


I went out to the east bank of the Alabama River the next night and again the following night, but it wasn’t until the third night that something finally happened. I was sitting in the dark, wrapped in my old poncho with my back to a large ash tree. My wristwatch told me it was about three a.m.

This would be the last night of my investigation into the disappearance of Professor Gruner. I wanted that $10,000 reward, but I hadn’t turned in a newspaper story in several days. It wouldn’t be long before my editor began to ask questions. If nothing happened tonight, Plan B was to write a quick story on the fact that the professor remained missing.

I fished a couple of caffeine tablets out of my shirt pocket, popped them in my mouth and let them dissolve. I then glassed the opposite bank with my binoculars. Other than the headlights of a few cars on Water Street, there wasn’t much to see, just dark trees on the other side of the river.

Not for the first time, I wished for a pair of night vision goggles like I’d had in Iraq. With a pair of those I would have been able to see much more. I doubt it would have helped much in light of what happened later.

My back ached from sitting too long, and I stood to stretch. I tried to be as quiet, but it was nearly impossible not to make some noise. I flinched when a night bird that I couldn’t see took flight from a treetop off to my right.

I’d read the professor’s notes and logbook. Some of it was in cipher, but I could tell that he’d come to this same area countless times over the course of many months. He never said what he was looking for, and I wondered if he wasn’t a little touched in the head.

A cold chill ran down my spine, and I considered walking back to my truck and calling it a night. I could ride back to the office, type up a quick story about the lonesome quiet of the riverfront at night and tie it in with Gruner’s disappearance. I’d snapped a picture of a lone jogger running through Travis Park last night that I could use with the story. It wouldn’t win any awards, but it would justify my paycheck for another week.

I could feel the caffeine kick in, and I promised myself that I’d stay at least until five. The first fingers of sunrise would begin to show a little after that, and I could go on home and hit the rack. Instinctively, my right hand dropped to the reassuring weight of the Beretta M9 on my belt.

Suddenly and without warning, something caught my eye across the river. At first, I thought it was a small light from a fishing boat, but realized seconds later that that wasn’t what it was at all. It looked to be about the size of a cannonball, and I watched as it slowly made its way across the top of the dark river.

I stood there, frozen in place, as it reached the muddy bank in front of me. It paused for a second before it began to ascend the hill. It came closer and closer, about four feet off the ground. Winding its way around the few trees in its path, it occurred to me much too late that it was headed straight for me.

(All rights reserved. This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.)

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


21 YEARS AGO
MAY 14, 1998

Ribbon cutting set: The Monroe County Health Department will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new offices on Agricultural Drive in Monroeville at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 28. After the ribbon cutting, the Health Department will hold an open house. The public is invited to tour the department’s new offices between 3 and 4 p.m. that day.

MA makes AISA state tourney: Monroe Academy’s Lady Volunteers capped off the school’s best ever softball season Saturday with a third place finish in the Alabama Independent School Association’s 2A state tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.
“I’m very proud of the season the girls had,” said MA coach Don Smith, who led the team to a 24-11 overall record and the West Area 1 regular season and tournament championships.
(Players on MA softball team that season included Jennifer Johnson, Taryn Kilpatrick, Elizabeth Lane, Tabitha McKenzie, Jamie Norris, Courtney Robertson, Lori Sellers, Krista Smith, Tiffany Stokes and Amy Yelverton.)

Cotton Patch Festival Saturday: This Saturday, the Uriah Arts Council will host its Fifth Annual Uriah Cotton Patch Festival. This year the council will give an original handmade quilt and print by Jack Deloney titled “Saturday Morning.” The festivities will be capped off that night with “An Evening with Uriah’s History,” at 7 p.m. at the Fire Station. Local panelists will discuss Uriah’s early history and the J.U. Blacksher Drama Class will present an original play about Uriah’s history.

46 YEARS AGO
MAY 10, 1973

National register lists courthouse: The old Monroe County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the Interior Department in Washington Wednesday.
Congressman Jack Edwards made the announcement from his Washington office, pointing out that inclusion on the register is a prerequisite for application for certain federal restoration funds.
State Reps. Maston Mims and Jimmy Warren announced last week that the old courthouse had been nominated for inclusion in the national register.

With 10-1 record, MCHS Tigers end season: The Monroe County High Tigers ended their season with two big wins over W.S. Neal and Repton by scores of 12-0 and 16-1.
These two wins brought their record to 10-1, with the one defeat being dealt to the Tigers by Robertsdale in the state playoffs.
(Top players for MCHS that season included Mike Cobb, Terry Coleman and Reid Nettles.)

Megargel and Excel areas hit by twister: A tornado swept through the Megargel and Excel communities Tuesday morning between 7:30 and 8 and left devastation in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and two injured, one seriously.
Mr. and Mrs. J.G. (Babe) Kennedy were admitted to the Monroe County Hospital, where Mrs. Kennedy’s condition was termed critical Tuesday.
The Kennedy’s mobile home, located on their farm and pecan grove in Megargel, was completely demolished. Mrs. Kennedy was blown from the trailer and rescue workers found her pinned under limbs of a pecan tree that had blown down.

71 YEARS AGO
MAY 13, 1948

Funeral services for A.G. Owens, 38, deputy sheriff of Monroe County, were conducted from Owens’ Chapel near Bermuda at 10:30 Friday morning with the Rev. Clark Headley and the Rev. A.L. Higdon officiating.
A deputy sheriff for the past 18 months and a former town marshal for Monroeville, Mr. Owens suffered a heart attack approximately two weeks ago and died at Repton Hospital last Thursday in the early morning hours. He spent four years in service during the last war and had resided in Monroeville for the past two years.

Officials of the W.D. Owens Construction Co. of Clearwater, Fla., which recently was awarded a contract to extend the municipal water system here a distance of some eight miles, have indicated they will begin work on the project about May 25, members of the Monroeville Water Board said Wednesday.
L.L. Dees, secretary of the board, said the company has declared it will start the work as soon as a contract now being fulfilled at Jackson is completed. He said the Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., which has the contract to construct a 150,000-gallon water tank here, will begin its work later but in sufficient time to have the job completed when the additional water mains are installed.

Monroe County High School seniors will present their class play, “Campus Quarantine,” in the local high school auditorium tomorrow (Friday) night at eight o’clock.
The cast will include Joyce Nicholas, Mary Kay Jernigan, Jo Ann Jackson, Mary Louise Taylor, Jean Morris Feagin, Dorothy Ann Crutchfield, Tommy Watson, Thomas Andress, Bob Ryland, John Skipper Jr., Julius Farish III and Neal Terry.

96 YEARS AGO
MAY 10, 1923

DR. HARPER INJURED IN AUTO ACCIDENT: Dr. G.H. Harper is suffering from broken ribs and other injuries as the result of an automobile accident which occurred Tuesday night. While returning from a professional call in the Manistee neighborhood, he observed another car approaching and in attempting to pass in the narrow roadway his car struck a tree or some other object and was badly damaged. Dr. Harper is resting as comfortably as could be expected under the circumstances but will be confined to his room for several days.

GRADUATES OF THE BEATRICE HIGH SCHOOL: The following received diplomas at the recent closing of the Beatrice High School: Rebecca Sanders, Sarah Andress, Olive Adams, Mazie Stallworth, Annie Mae Fountain, Myrtle Fountain, Lola Foxworth, Riley Foxworth, Tom Robbins Harper.

Deputies who were guarding a dipping vat killed one man and seriously wounded three others who attempted to dynamite a vat in Escambia County Sunday night. One of the men confessed that the party had been hired by prominent citizens of the community to destroy dipping vats.

The Monroeville Ice & Power Co. drew its first cast of ice on Monday, the first ice ever produced by artificial process in the history of Monroeville. The incident was hailed as quite an event in local annals.
The process employed in the manufacture is known as the Carbondale Low Pressure type, utilizing raw water and dispensing altogether with steam or vapor employed in the older methods.

126 YEARS AGO
MAY 11, 1893

Mr. Jas. Jenkins, deputy sheriff of Wilcox County, was in town this week. He returned with Phoebus Lewis, wanted in that county for robbery, in custody.

MASONIC – Monroe Chapter No. 4 will hold a convocation in Masonic Hall, Perdue Hill, Ala., on Thursday morning, May 25, 1893 at 10 o’clock a.m. There will be work, such as conferring degrees, electing officers for the ensuring year, paying dues, etc. Companions are all specially asked to be on hand. – W.J. McCants, Secretary.

Commissioners Court convened Monday with the full board in attendance. The usual business was transacted.

A delightful basket picnic, given for the benefit of the pupils of Miss Imie Russell’s school, was enjoyed by the little folks and some of the larger as well, at Mineral Springs near Dr. Russell’s last Saturday.

Dr. Clarence E. Bizzell, son of Mr. J.I. Bizzell, late of Pineapple, now of Selma, was in town Saturday to go before the County Medical Board. Dr. B. is a graduate of Vanderbilt University of the Class of 1893, and a very bright and promising young man. He will locate at Bursonville, this county.

Commissioner Shomo reports heavy rains and a big river at Mount Pleasant. He says the farmers were about through planting and had good stands of both corn and cotton when rains set in. Many of the river plantations are submerged and it will be impossible for more than a small percent of the cotton acreage to be replanted on account of the scarcity of seed. The cotton crop all along the river will be greatly reduced, even if no other calamity befalls later on.