Sunday, November 10, 2019

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

U.S. Senator John Sparkman

28 YEARS AGO
NOV. 14, 1991

‘Mockingbird’ days: Atticus and Scout Finch, played by the Rev. T.M. McMillan and Allison Brown, performed for two sellout performances Friday and Saturday when “To Kill a Mockingbird” was presented in the courtroom of the Old Monroe County Courthouse. The cast performed two scenes from the play version of Monroeville native Nelle Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about racial injustice in the South. It was the first time the play has been presented in the courtroom, a project that was first envisioned as a yearly event by the Old Courthouse Restoration Committee.

MA wraps up first region title in seven seasons: Monroe Academy won its first region championship since 1984 Friday when the Volunteers rallied from a 12-0 deficit to defeat Marengo Academy 16-12 in Linden.
(Mitchell) Turberville resurrected MA’s passing game Friday, completing 13 of 20 passes for 121 yards. Michael Stacey recorded 10 tackles to pace MA’s defense.
(Other top MA players in that game included Tim Andrews, Jason Moore, Troy Norris, Shane Stafford, Sam Ulmer, Andy Waters, J.J. Watson and Tommy Weatherford. K.J. Lazenby was MA’s head coach.)

Alabama Railroad buys Flomaton-Beatrice line: The newly founded Alabama Railroad Co. started operation in Monroe County Oct. 28 on 60 miles of former CSX (L&N) track that runs between Flomaton and Beatrice, said company president G.L. Brenkman. The new company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pioneer Railroad Co. Inc. of Fort Smith, Ark.

53 YEARS AGO
NOV. 10, 1966

Loans Rifles, Tar Bucket: Mrs. Lois Bowden of Monroeville made a contribution to the Monroe County Museum and Historical Society recently when she gave the museum the use of two rifles, one used during the Civil War, and a tar bucket which were owned by her grandfather. Many items such as these are being sought by the historical group to help preserve the history of Monroe County.

Panthers Maul Fruitdale 26-6: Backed by the two touchdown efforts of Stanley Wilson and Tommy Jordan and a stout defense, the Excel Panthers mauled Fruitdale 26-6 Friday night to bring its record to the .500 mark with four wins against four losses and one tie.
Excel’s defense proved the difference many times throughout the contest. Leading defenders for the night were Amos Stacey and Tommy King, defensive backs, and (Harold) Johnson. End Dan Boothe and center Donald Turberville were outstanding in the offensive line, leading the way for Wilson and Jordan on many occasions.

Mrs. George C. Wallace, running on the Democratic slate for governor, carried Monroe County as she did throughout the state, by about a four-to-one margin over Republican James Martin and independent Dr. Carl Robinson.
U.S. Senator John Sparkman also carried the county as well as the state for another six-year term and Republican Congressman Jack Edwards had a close battle in Monroe County, but carried the First Congressional District by about a two-to-one vote difference.

78 YEARS AGO
NOV. 13, 1941

Fire Destroys Monroe Theatre Sunday Night: The Monroe Theatre was completely destroyed by fire Sunday night about 7:30 o’clock. The two men employed in the theatre went to the basement in the rear of the building to check the heating system for the night show when they noticed a small blaze. Both men ran to the front to give the alarm, and they hardly had time to reach the front of the building when flames burst through the front windows and doors. The fire did not start in the projection room as was reported Sunday night.
Firemen reached the scene and only heroic work saved adjoining property. The Frisco City fire department answered to a call and rendered valuable service in keeping the flames from spreading to adjoining buildings.
The Veazey Hardware store roof was damaged and some stock damaged by water. The fire in the theatre building gained headway so rapidly that it was impossible to save any contents of the building.
The Theatre was one of the most modern in South Alabama, the owner, Mr. W.H. Hendrix, having recently installed new projection equipment of the very latest model.

Five County Men Ordered To Service: The following men will report at the City Hall at 5 a.m. on Nov. 14 to be sent to an induction station of the United States Army at Fort McClellan, Anniston: Charles Bryant Vickery, Edward Robert Ousley, Charles Willard Porter, Grady Luve South and John W. Boyett.

Mrs. H.H. Conner and little son, of Eufaula, are visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Lee.

103 YEARS AGO
NOV. 9, 1916

HIGH SCHOOL DEFEATS SELMA: Local Gridiron Scene of Decisive Contest – Score 15 to 0: The football team of the Monroe County High School entertained the eleven from the Selma High School on the local gridiron Friday afternoon and incidentally furnished amusement to quite a number of fans.
Captain Massey proved his worth, making both touchdowns for Monroeville, running through the line 20 yards for the first. In Waren, Coach Jones has uncovered a line-plunger of the highest class.

A burglar made a midnight raid on the Fancy Grocery Tuesday night but was interrupted in the midst of his purloining. The only articles missed was a small shotgun with a number of shells, a few dozen cigars and four or five dollars in small change from the cash drawer.
The burglar made his escape through the rear window by which he gained entrance.

Dr. J.J. Dailey was down from Tunnel Springs Monday.

Dr. J.F. Busey of Roy was at the county capital the first of the week.

Capt. J.L. Marshall visited the Gulf Coast Fair last week. He was accompanied by his daughter, Mrs. T.C. Marriott and children of Perdue Hill.

The fall term of the Monroe circuit court will convene next Monday for a two weeks session.

Ideal weather prevailed on the occasion of the election Tuesday but the vote cast at the Monroeville box was light, there being no local contest to call out the full voting strength.

128 YEARS AGO
NOV. 5, 1891

The “oldest inhabitants” say that the present drought is the worst that has been experienced in this section since 1839. Every day it becomes more serious and great uneasiness is felt for the possible outbreak of forest fires, which under existing circumstances would be impossible to control. Many branches and streams are going dry that were never known to do so before.

Mr. W.J. McCants, the popular postmaster at River Ridge, was in town Monday.

The Southern Exposition at Montgomery is being patronized quite liberally by Monroeville this week. Messrs. W.G. McCorvey, J.T. Jones, B.S. McMillan, C.A. Seymour, J.T. Salter and a number of others went up Monday.

Sherriff Harrengton is putting things in “apple pie” order for circuit court which convenes on the 16th inst. The hotels are also making extensive preparations.

The price of cotton continues to decline and there is little hope of a rise for some time to come. The bulk of the crop in this section has been marketed, and very many who held their cotton last year and suffered thereby will not repeat the experiment this year, but rush it to market as soon as gathered.

Dr. Yarbrough is having the finishing touches put on the interior of his handsome new office on southside.

Commissioners court will convene next Monday.

George Singleton tells of field trip to 'Indian Potato Hill' near Frisco City

"Indian Potato Hill" as it looked in 2006.

(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Indian Potato Hill: It may be growing” was originally published in the May 11, 1972 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

The evening was hot as Fred Brake, James Qualls and myself left the intersection at Caines store below Frisco City and headed west. We were going to look at a peculiar rock formation that Qualls had contacted me about earlier.

We left the struck and started out on foot, across a section of cut-over timber land that had been stripped of just about every growing tree. We descended a hill and started across the bottom below. In the distance, we could see an odd-shaped formation of rock rising to about 50 feet in the air and about 100 feet long. At a distance it resembled a huge oversized potato that had been dropped on the ground by a passing jolly green giant.

We climbed to the top, where we noticed that instead of one huge rock, there was a series of many smaller rocks of many colors and shapes. Along the sides were several larger boulders that had separated from the main formation and rolled down the slope.

We discussed at random why the rocks had broken away from the main body. As we began to observe more closely, we could see that the earth was loose around the base of the formation structure. This gave the impression that the rock table on which we were standing might be slowly rising. This could be the cause of the breaking away of the smaller rocks from the main formation. Deep underground pressure could be forcing this structure slowly out of the ground as the years pass.

Unless measurements were taken and accurate readings recorded periodically, one would never be aware that the change was taking place. Even if this formation was rising at only one half an inch each 100 years, this would mean that it has elevated five inches in a thousand years, more of less.

As one stands atop the formation and looks at the many colors and shapes that the underground pressure apparently has pushed into our surroundings, we can vaguely grasp the birth of our high mountain ranges. The great amounts of pressure that it took to do this is almost impossible to comprehend.

In all our discussion and speculation about this phenomenon of nature, we didn’t once get around to speculating on how the formation got its name. Somewhere, way back through the years, someone pinned the name “Indian Potato Hill” on this pile of lava rock. And to the untrained eye, that is what it resembles; nothing more, nothing less.

[The column above was accompanied by a photo by Singleton that bore the following heading and caption – “Hill stirs curiosity: Fred Brake and James Qualls, both of Goodway Junction, examine rock composition of Indian Potato Hill.]

(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.)

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Nov. 10, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.50 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.75 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.20 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, November 8, 2019

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Nov. 8, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.30 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.50 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.75 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.20 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, November 7, 2019

Woman remembers 'hairy' creature looking in school house window


Many readers will recall that in early August I told of an unusual Bigfoot sighting that occurred on Interstate Highway 65 on July 23. The witness in that case said that he and his son were traveling from Greenville to Belleville around 10 p.m. and had just gotten on the interstate at the Greenville-Pine Apple Exit (Exit 128). About 1-1/2 miles south of the exit, they saw a tall creature with “long, stringy, black hair that covered its face.”

The creature’s body was black and covered in hair, the witness said. Only its fingers were visible, he noted.

“Whatever it was, it was as tall as a speed limit sign,” the witness said. “It stood right by the road, toeing or almost toeing the white line, staring at the ground. As we passed by it in our van, it never looked up. It never moved. It just stood there.”

Since that story first ran in the paper, I’ve received a number of emails about the July 23 incident, including a message from a person who said his father and brother saw the same creature at different times. This person said that his father hunts in the Greenville-Pine Apple area and several years ago the father came home saying he’d seen a “very tall and very hairy” creature in the woods. At first, he thought it was a poacher dressed all in black.

The man called out to the suspected poacher, but when he got closer, the creature “crouched down on all fours and ran off.” He said that it didn’t look like a bear, saying instead that it looked like a “really tall, long stringy-haired man with big hands.”

“It freaked him out,” the reader said, noting that his brother saw the same creature, but at a later time.
Another reader said that on July 30, 2006, he was traveling with his wife and two children from Ohio to Lower Peach Tree. As they traveled down I-65 near Evergreen, a “big, black thing covered in hair” suddenly ran in front of their car. Their car, a 2006 Chrysler, struck the creature so hard that they felt the impact of the collision, the man said.

“Yes, I believe it because I saw it,” the man said.

A few weeks ago, on Oct. 19, a reader named “Nick” said that his mother, who is now 69 years old, has often retold an unusual Bigfoot-type story from her early school days in Butler County. Years ago, when she was a young girl, she attended school in the Forest Home area and tells of the day when she and her classmates saw a Bigfoot-type creature looking in their classroom window.

“They called it a hairy man,” Nick said, noting that if this truly was some type of Bigfoot creature there may be many of them in the Butler County woods. He also theorized that the creatures seen nowadays might be the offspring of those seen years and years ago.

Nick joked that family members have been calling his mother crazy for years, but now they’re not so sure.

Many readers will know that Forest Home is located in western Butler County, about half way between Greenville and Pine Apple. As the crow flies, Forest Home is about 35 miles northeast of Evergreen. Give or take a mile or two, Forest Home is around 10 miles from I-65 as it passes through Butler County.

In the end, I’d like to hear from anyone else in the reading audience who has seen anything unusual on I-65, whether you think it’s a Bigfoot or not. If you’ve seen something out of the ordinary out on the road, apparently you aren’t alone.

Cotten, Grant tie for No. 1 spot in College Football Pick 'Em contest


The tenth week of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest wrapped up on Saturday night and once the dust settled, we found ourselves with a two-way tie for first place in the local standings.

Mark Cotten moved into a first-place tie with Casey Grant, who had been in sole possession of the No. 1 spot for weeks. Cotten and Grant both have 72 total points in the contest through the end of the day’s games on Saturday.

Drew Skipper and Blake Stringer were tied for third place with 71 points each. Brett Loftin, Clint Hyde and Jesse Jordan were tied for eighth place with 70 points each. Justin Chandler was in ninth place with 68 points, and I came in tenth with 67 points.

This Saturday, we’ll move into the final third of the contest with just five more weeks to go. In other words, we’re getting down to the short rows, so it’ll be interesting to see if the top competitors can maintain their lead or if a dark horse will come out of no where and steal their thunder.

----- 0 -----

Hillcrest’s varsity football team will begin its postseason run tomorrow (Friday) night when they play Alabama Christian in the opening round of the 4A playoffs. Like most area football fans, I know that Hillcrest has a 6-4 record, but I’m optimistic about their chances of returning to the 4A title game. In fact, I won’t be surprised if they win it all.

UMS-Wright has been ranked No. 1 in 4A all season, and they’re the two-time defending 4A state champs. However, those of you who watched the Hillcrest-UMS game a few weeks ago at Brooks Memorial Stadium will know that Hillcrest can hang with UMS. If they can hang with UMS, they can hang with any other team in 4A.

With head coach Clinton Smith at the helm and with the help of his other top-notch assistants, Hillcrest is never out of the game. I call Coach Smith the “Miracle Worker” because he did something that I never thought I’d see at Hillcrest, that is, he won a state championship there in football. In my book, if he can do that, he can do anything.

The win-or-go home nature of the playoffs also brings a different mental approach to the playoff games ahead. I know that the talented group of seniors at Hillcrest this season wants nothing less than to win another state title before getting their diplomas. In the weeks ahead, I look for them to lay it all on the line because if they don’t, they’ll fall short of what could have been.

In the end, if for the next five weeks, Hillcrest can limit their penalties and turnovers and play to the best of their ability, they’ve got a great shot of running the table. They’ve just got to take it a game at a time and take care of business. If they do that, we’ll be having to make plans for another ring ceremony in the near future.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., Nov. 7, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.20 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 46.90 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, November 6, 2019

Book documents at least 10 ancient Indian mounds in Wilcox County

Alabama Indigenous Mound Trail Map
A few weeks ago, before the weather turned cold, I went on a paddling trip to Mound Island, which is deep in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta in Baldwin County. Because of its remote location in this dense, jungle-like delta, the only way you can get reach this island is by boat. With that said, Mound Island still receives a fair number of visitors, especially from history buffs, because this secluded island is the home of the prehistoric Bottle Creek Indian Mounds.

On the day of our trip, we launched three canoes and a pair of kayaks at the Rice Creek Landing near Stockton and paddled across Briar Lake and the Tensaw River before following Bayou Jessamine to Bottle Creek and Mound Island. Take my word for it when I say that this is a physically demanding trip, and I wouldn’t suggest going alone or without a guide. Simply put, Mound Island is one of the most remote places I’ve ever been to within the borders of Alabama.

When we reached the island, we followed a dim trail through the thick forest to the foot of the largest mound on the island, where we found a weathered sign that said that the island’s mounds were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1994. We then climbed to the mound’s summit and began to realize the immense amount of work it took to build an earthwork that size in such a remote place. We eventually hiked back to our boats, ate a quick lunch and paddled back to Rice Creek Landing.

I like to think that I’ve done a lot of exploring in my day, but Mound Island is one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been to in Alabama. Later at home, I did some more research and learned that researchers believe that Indians occupied Mound Island between 1250 and 1550 and that the island contains at least 18 mounds. Archaeologists theorize that these mounds have been relatively undisturbed over the years due to their remote location.

All of this got me to thinking about Indian mounds in Wilcox County. The best source that I know of regarding Indian mounds in Alabama is an old book called “Alabama Encyclopedia, Vol. I: Book of Facts,” which was published in 1965 by the American Southern Publishing Co. in Northport. 

According to that book, there is a group of three Indian mounds four miles south of Furman and there’s another mound about three-fourths of a mile southwest of Webb’s Landing on the Alabama River. That book goes on to say that there is an “extensive mound” at Burford’s Crossing, about a half-mile south of Holly Ferry on the Alabama River.

Another Wilcox County mound can be found about three miles north of the mouth of Pine Barren Creek, on the south side, about 100 feet from the bank. This mound is four feet high and 100 feet in diameter, according to the “Alabama Encyclopedia.” In addition, a group of four mounds can be found near Matthews Landing on the Alabama River.

I feel sure that at some point in the state’s past, a survey was done to locate and identify Indian mounds statewide. It would be interesting to know what this research has to say about Indian mounds in Wilcox County. More than likely, we’d discover that we drive by or live near Indian sites that we’ve forgotten or failed to recognize over the years.

In 2018, the University of Alabama’s Office of Archaeological Resources and Center for Economic Development established what’s known as the Alabama Indigenous Mound Trail to celebrate the state’s ancient monumental architecture. Currently, there are no Wilcox County sites on this trail. The closest site to Wilcox County is the mound at the Old Cahawba Archeological Park in Dallas County.

In the end, I’d like to hear from anyone with more information about Indian mounds in Wilcox County. I’d love to see these places for myself and document their locations for future generations. Local sites are bound to be easier to get to than Mound Island, so if you’re up for a field trip to a local Indian mound, please let me know.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., Nov. 6, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.20 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 46.90 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, November 5, 2019

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Nov. 5, 2019

USS Rhind (DD-404)

TWO YEARS AGO
NOV. 2, 2017

Evergreen weather observer Betty Ellis reported 0.04 inches of rain on Oct. 27 and 0.24 inches on Oct. 28. She reported a high of 73 degrees on Oct. 26 and lows of 35 degrees on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29.

Bridge claims another victim: Evergreen firefighters responded to another wreck on the Murder Creek Bridge on Interstate Highway 65 early Monday morning when an 18-wheeler struck the bridge and jackknifed in the highway.
According to state trooper reports, Carroll E. Jacobs of Hazel Green was traveling south on I-65 in a 2018 Volvo tractor-trailer on Tuesday at 3:30 a.m. when she became involved in a one-vehicle accident just north of Exit 93.
Ten Evergreen firefighters responded to the accident with a fire engine and a rescue truck and arrived to find that Jacobs’ 18-wheeler had struck the first southbound bridge over Murder Creek and jackknifed in the highway. No one was injured in the accident, but firefighters remained on the scene until 7:34 a.m. while workers cleared the wrecked 18-wheeler from the roadway.
Many readers will know that this bridge has been the site of numerous automobile accidents in the past. Evergreen Fire Chief Ricky Nobles estimated yesterday (Wednesday) that there had been six to eight accidents in that same general area already this calendar year with three or four having occurred during the past few months.

27 YEARS AGO
NOV. 5, 1992

Evergreen weather observer Harry Ellis reported 0.08 inches of rain on Oct. 27, 0.20 on Oct. 30 and 1.75 inches on Nov. 1. Total rainfall for October 1992 was one inch. He also reported a high of 83 degrees on Oct. 26 and a low of 49 on Oct. 26.

The Conecuh County Young Woman of the Year competition will be held Sat., Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at Ed Reid State Technical College’s Wiley Salter Auditorium. The theme for this year’s competition will be “Tour of the Islands.” Participants competing for the title and the opportunity to represent Conecuh County in the statewide event include Elizabeth Potts, Cynthia Thompson, Becky Yancey, Kim Stallworth, Tangiela Lee, Susan Brewton, Amy Bodiford, Michelle Covan, Teresa Moncrease, Nikki Hall and Tomika Coleman. Not pictured are Martha Barlow, Michelle Pate, Kristy Sims and Terry Turner. The event is sponsored by the Conecuh Women’s League.

Services are held for Dr. Crawford: Dr. E. Stanley Crawford, a native of Evergreen and pioneer cardiovascular surgeon, died Tues., Oct. 27, 1992. He was 70.
Conecuh County paid tribute to its favorite son on May 16, 1992, proclaiming Dr. Stanley Crawford Day. City, county and state officials were joined by many of Dr. Crawford’s associates from around the world to honor the man who dedicated his life to the service of others.
During the festivities an historic marker was unveiled in downtown Evergreen, forever reminding visitors and residents of the area of the accomplishments of the famous surgeon.

52 YEARS AGO
NOV. 2, 1967

Board names group to study courthouse: The Conecuh County Grand Jury, fall term, recommended that a commission be appointed by the Board of Directors for the purpose of studying the present and future needs of the courthouse. During a recent meeting of the board, such a commission as recommended by the grand jury was duly appointed: William D. Melton, Chairman, Mabry Huggins, Jack Daniels, Lee Stallworth and Hugh Brown.
The old courthouse structure is approximately 65 years old. The roof framing, flooring and ceiling joists are structurally weak. The old clock tower was removed several years ago because it was judged structurally unsound by the architects and engineers.

The Ed E. Reid Vocational Technical School of Evergreen graduated its first class of practical nurses on Fri., Oct. 27. These students began their training at the technical school and completed their clinical training at the D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital in Brewton. The 12-month training program equips the graduates for medical and surgical duty in hospitals and nursing homes. There is a severe shortage of nurses in Alabama and this type training should do much to alleviate this situation. (The graduates included Nell Gladwell, Maurice Carter, Linda Gibson, Mary Burke, Ernestine Ellis, Patty Helton, Delois Jefferies, Sybil McDowell, Margaret Sutton, Patricia Cooper, Judith Hyde and Lucy Ogletree. Helen Howell was their instructor.)

77 YEARS AGO
NOV. 5, 1942

Miss Mary Cunningham Saturday assumed the duties of postmaster of Evergreen, succeeding Mrs. Laurie B. Kelly, who has served as acting postmaster since the resignation of R.G. Bozeman Aug. 1, 1941. A postal inspector came here to effect the transfer which was completed late Saturday night.

Fire which broke out in the furnace room at the local high school about 10 o’clock Tuesday night did considerable damage to this portion of the building, according to information given The Courant by Prof. M.A. Hanks, principal. Mr. Hanks is of the opinion that the fire was caused by defective wiring. When discovered the blaze had gained considerable headway in the overhead wooden framing of the furnace room and on the top of the coal pile in the furnace room. The fire department quickly got the blaze under control before it spread to other portions of the building.

James Kelly of USS Rhind, who is at home on a 15-day furlough, will spend the weekend with his father, J.L. Kelly, at Fort Ogelthorpe.

There were 5,763 bales of cotton, counting round as half bales, ginned in Conecuh County from the crop of 1942 prior to Oct. 18, 1942 as compared with 4,743 bales ginned to Oct. 18, 1941.

102 YEARS AGO
NOV. 7, 1917

Boy Killed by Train: A boy was killed by a freight train near the McMillan street crossing yesterday afternoon.
He undertook to catch the train and was hurled under the wheels and killed, both legs being cut off and his head crushed.
It is common to see boys swing on to passing trains and it is a great wonder that more tragedies do not occur from such foolhardiness.

There were 3,687 bales of cotton ginned in this county up to October 18, compared with 1,379 for the same date last year, showing an increase over the production last year of 2,308 bales. These figures are official, being furnished by the U.S. census bureau.

County Fair Opened This Morning: The County Fair opened this morning and the indications are that it will be a complete success.
All day yesterday exhibits were being brought in and placed in the exhibit halls and it now appears that the showing will be very creditable.
It is expected that Friday will be the most interesting of the entire week, being school day. School children from all parts of the county will assemble at the agricultural school grounds, will form in parade and march to the fairgrounds. Last year there were about 3,000 children in the parade. The number on next Friday will in all likelihood be much larger. At 11 o’clock, Judge W.W. Brandon of Tuscaloosa, will deliver an address on education at the courthouse. This address should be heard by every person who can get into the courthouse, as Judge Brandon is a forcible, interesting speaker.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., Nov. 5, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.20 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 46.90 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, November 4, 2019

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Nov. 4, 2019


Hillcrest's Joshua Jackson (2) picks up yards against Excel.
TWO YEARS AGO
NOV. 2, 2017

Hillcrest wins 3A Region 1 title: Hillcrest High School, led by head coach Clinton Smith, wrapped up the 3A Region 1 championship Friday night by beating region opponent, Excel High School, 38-7, at Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen.
Smith reported earlier this week that Hillcrest junior quarterback Ryan Nettles finished the game with 15 pass completions for 227 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball once for a seven-yard gain.
Tyson Nicholson led Hillcrest’s rushing attack with seven carries for 59 yards and Andray Pope followed closely with 52 yards on eight carries.
(Other top Hillcrest players in that game included Octavius Ballard, Kobe Bradley, Joshua Jackson, Tyrek Lee, Tyler Lowery, Mehki Nobles, Brandon Rudolph, Quadarius Rudolph, Tyler Sigler, Dorian Simpson and Chancely Thomas.)

Sparta wraps up 2017 season: Sparta Academy’s varsity football team closed out its 2017 football season with a 38-0 loss to seventh-ranked South Choctaw Academy Friday night at Jackson Memorial Stadium in Toxey.
Senior quarterback Sean Kelly led Sparta’s offense with seven pass completions for 82 yards. He also ran the ball 12 times for 62 yards.
(Other top Sparta players in that game included Gavin Durrance, Jesse Anderson, Hagen Holder, Noah Pettis, Caleb Riley, Taylor Ward, Colton Lambert, Clay Conway and Trenton Glass.)

27 YEARS AGO
NOV. 5, 1992

Trojans defeat Jaguars 27-6: The powerful running attack of Charles Henderson High School’s Trojans battered the Hillcrest Jaguars Friday night, handing the Jags a 27-6 loss.
The Jaguars came into the contest at Troy State University’s Memorial Stadium fresh off their first victory of the season.
The ball bounced the Jaguars’ way during the first drive of the evening as a Hillcrest defender scooped up a Trojan fumble and raced 48 yards for a touchdown. The Jags threatened but were unable to sustain a drive to put additional points on the board.
(Top players for Hillcrest in that game included Cecil Gill, Anthony Richardson, Bryant Richardson, Michael Stanton, Shawn Tunstall and Antonio Woods.)

Sparta Academy Warriors end season with 30-14 loss: The Greenville Academy Tornadoes overpowered the Warriors of Sparta Academy last Friday night with a tremendous running attack. The 30-14 Warrior loss ends the 1992 football season for Sparta Academy, finishing with a record of three wins and seven losses.
According to the statistics of Sparta Academy Sports Information Director Byron Warren Jr., Bryant Robinson scored the first Warrior touchdown with a four-yard run. The two-point conversion after the touchdown was good as Terry Conway connected with Reggie Kendrick.
Sparta’s only other score came on a Shane Harrell 13-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed.
(Other top Sparta players in that game included Greg Atkins, Chip Gibson, Chris Pate and Britt Ward.)

52 YEARS AGO
NOV. 2, 1967

The Marshall High School Eagle Band paraded here Friday before their football game. The Eagle footballers whooped it up for fans and alumni that night by routing Pensacola High School 54 to 6.

A fired up (for homecoming) band of Red Level Tigers pulled off a big upset as they edged Evergreen’s Aggies 7 to 6 in Red Level Friday night.
Elliott ‘Buck’ Quarles topped the rushing game with 48 yards on 10 tries.
(Other standout Evergreen players in that game included Lavon Tolbert, Eddie Ralls, Don Montgomery, Hollis Tranum and Jimmy Davis.)

Lavon Tolbert was named Player of the Week for the Red Level game by the Evergreen Jaycees.
Lavon has been a valuable member of the Aggies this season, playing primarily on defense as linebacker, cornerback and tackle, but also logging some time on offense as guard and tackle. This is his third and senior season, and he will earn his third letter. Lavon is one of the hardest tacklers on the club.

Coach Buck Powell’s Lyeffion Yellow Jackets crushed Coffeeville 19 to 0 Friday night in Coffeeville.
(Other standout Lyeffion players in that game included Don Salter, Douglas Williams, Johnny Riley and Mickey Williams.)

77 YEARS AGO
NOV. 5, 1942

Pat Tharpe Painfully Injured By Gunshot: Pat Tharpe, young son of Mrs. R.S. Smith, was painfully injured early Saturday morning by a gunshot while hunting squirrels near Murder Creek trestle just below Evergreen. With him at the time was Willis Tippin, another youth about the same age. The occurrence was said to have been due to boyish pranks and carelessness.
The effects of the load, which was fired from a .410 shotgun, took effect in all parts of the boy’s body, the most serious wounds having been in the chest. He was picked up by the L&N section crew and brought to Evergreen where medical attention was given promptly. He is reported to be improving but is still confined to his bed.

Sheriff Moore Warns Sunday Hunters: Sheriff J.G. Moore says that he is receiving complaints from various sections of the county about Sunday hunting. Citizens living near where the hunting is being done have made complaints to him and requested that he take steps to enforce the law against such practice. The laws of Alabama prohibit Sunday hunting and the Sheriff warns those who have been doing such hunting that he expects to vigorously enforce the law.

Haywood Hanna and Rube Millsap attended the Alabama-Georgia football game in Atlanta Saturday.

Mr. and Mrs. R.G. Kendall Jr. and Shelton Dunn spent the weekend in Atlanta and attended the Alabama-Georgia football game.

Joe Andress, Butler County, killed a 19-pound bobcat in Persimmon Creek swamp near Huggin’s bridge. A shot or two finished the animal – but there were exciting moments in the interim.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Mon., Nov. 4, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.20 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 46.90 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, November 3, 2019

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


27 YEARS AGO
NOV. 5, 1992

Tim Whitten, a member of the Excel Volunteer Fire Department, received the firefighter of the year award at the first Monroe County Firefighters Appreciate Banquet on Oct. 24.
Rusty Till, president of the Monroe County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments, read a letter from the Excel fire department recommending Whitten for the award. Although he cannot physically fight fires due to a physical handicap, said Till, his work with the fire prevention bureau and his love and dedication make him an essential part of the fire department.

Whippets collect 69-12 victory over Cyclones: Frisco City High School piled up 424 total yards Friday to collect a 69-12 victory over Southern Normal School and a second straight 1A Area 2 championship in Brewton.
Junior quarterback Tony Gibbs accounted for 124 yards by completing six of eight passes. (A.J.) White led Frisco’s defense with nine tackles.
(Other top FCHS players in that game included Anward Andrews, Adrian Bullard, Chris Davison, Brent Enzor, Artis McGinnis, Shannon Richardson, Johnny Sirmon, Eric Williams and Greg Williams. Scott Fountain was FCHS’s head coach.)

Kiwanian award: Former Frisco City resident Randy Silcox was recently selected Kiwanian of the Year by the Union City Kiwanis Club in Tennessee. Silcox is an assistant manager at the Vanity Fair outlet in Union City. He and his wife, Linda Godwin Silcox, who is originally from Excel, live in Union City with their five-year-old daughter, Beth.

52 YEARS AGO
NOV. 2, 1967

Southeastern Contractors of Birmingham has submitted the low bid for the four-laning of Highway 21 south from Monroeville to the entrance of the Monroe County Airport, about three-quarters of a mile beyond the U.S. Highway 84 intersection.
The low bid, announced by the Governor’s office this week, totaled $413,000 and covers a stretch of the highway totaling approximately four and a half miles.
The project is supposed to tie in with South Alabama Avenue at a point approximately 50 feet north of its intersection with Poplar Street and provide a 66-foot curb and gutter roadbed for 1.7 miles of the work. The final 2.8 miles will consist of 50-foot-wide pavement.

The J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs upset Jay, Fla. by a score of 14-12 Saturday night to spoil the Royals homecoming celebration.
Junior end James Bohannon led the Blacksher offense with 165 yards. Senior quarterback Keith Cardwell followed with 103 yards.
(Other top Blacksher players in that game included Jessie Bohannon, Robbie Colbert, Steve Gregson, Joe Harris, Mitchell Harrison, Gary Lee Hilburn, Edwin Jeter, Joe Mims and James Porterfield.)

STEVE STACEY HONORED: Mr. and Mrs. Joe Powell and children of Atmore entertained Wednesday night with a dinner party honoring Steve Stacey, who returned to Fort Hood, Texas Thursday after spending several days leave at home. Guests included Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Stacey; Marsha and Mike of Atmore; Mr. and Mrs. O’Neal Stacey; Susan, Kenny and Steve and Mrs. Janie Hawkins of Monroeville; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Stacey and Beverly of Excel; Marvin Merrill of Selma; and Mrs. Walter Smith of Atmore.

77 YEARS AGO
NOV. 5, 1942

Small Vote Cast In Tuesday’s Election: An unusually small vote was cast in the election on Tuesday, but early returns indicate that a large majority of the voters favored the countywide and district school tax.

Air Raid Wardens Taking First Aid: All air raid wardens of Monroeville will start taking the Red Cross First Aid Course Thursday night (tonight) in the basement of the First Baptist Church, and lessons will be held twice weekly, Monday and Thursday, until the course is completed. The classes will start at 7 p.m. and last for two hours. Four teachers have been secured, and they expect every warden to be present and on time as the intensive course requires it in order to pass the test required.

Coffee Rationing Begins Nov. 28: Price Administrator Leon Henderson announced that coffee rationing would be effective at midnight, Nov. 28. Each person over 15 years of age will be limited to one pound every five weeks. Henderson has ordered all retail coffee sales stopped for one week beginning midnight, Nov. 21, to permit merchants to stock their shelves.

Aux. Myrtle Dot Hendrix has returned to Fort Des Moines, Iowa after having spent several days furlough with relatives in Monroeville and Mexia. Aux. Hendrix has completed her eight weeks training in Des Moines with WAAC and will soon be transferred where she will begin active duty.

Pvt. Kenneth Fountain, who is stationed at the Advanced Flying School, San Angelo, Texas, is spending a 12-day furlough with his parents at Ollie.

102 YEARS AGO
NOV. 1, 1917

DEATH OF R.L. WIGGINS: In the passing of Mr. Rollin L. Wiggins on Oct. 17, Monroe County looses one of its most promising citizens and the Baptist church one of its most faithful members.
He was the son of William N. and Lauera Wiggins; was born May 24, 1885; joined the Missionary Baptist Church in 1906, the Masonic fraternity in 1908 and the Woodmen of the World in 1909.
Nov. 22, 1911 he was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Snider who was a devoted companion.
Death suddenly followed a surgical operation. Burial from Old Salem Church of which he was clerk on the 18th instant. Service by Rev. Kempton; burial service by Monroeville Lodge F&AM, of which deceased was a member.

A force of workmen are making rapid progress on the new Methodist church and from present indications the walls will be completed in a few days.

The Olsen Sisters appeared at the auditorium Tuesday night and entertained a full house for nearly two hours. Everyone present seemed to enjoy the program and especially the readings by Miss Ethel Olsen.

The fall term of the circuit court convened Monday afternoon at 1:30 with Judge Ben D. Turner presiding and Solicitor McDuffie representing the state. After prayer by Rev. Kempton, Judge Turner empaneled the grand jury. In his charge, he laid special stress on gambling and the making of blind tiger whiskey and charged the jury to thoroughly investigate all such violations.

152 YEARS AGO
NOV. 9, 1867

THE “HOP” – We attended the dance given at “Masonic Hall” last evening, at which we spent the evening, exceedingly pleasant. The dance was conducted in style, and the young folks seemed to enjoy themselves finely – especially those who took an active part in the Terpsichorean performances. We would feel irreprehensible, if dancing was the worst of our transgressions.

CASTALIAN ACADEMY: This school was opened the third Monday of September 1867 and is pleasantly situated one and a half miles from Claiborne, near the site of the old Academy, and near also to three beautiful springs, from which was suggested its Classic name.
We have no further guarantee to offer the public than our past success, here and other places, as a teacher of youth.
Our session of 9-1/2 months will close the last Friday in June 1868. Board can be obtained in Claiborne or on “Perdieu Hill” at reasonable rates. Sons of clergymen of all denominations will be educated at half price. – W.W. Spence, Principal and Proprietor.

TIN SHOP – J.M. Merry has opened a Tin Shop at his old stand (next door above Agee & Co.’s store) where he is now prepared to do everything in that line of business better and cheaper than it can be bought elsewhere, for cash.

BEEF AND MUTTON! I am now prepared to furnish the citizens of Claiborne and vicinity with fresh beef and mutton on short notice. POSITIVELY no beef or mutton delivered without the CASH. – J. Goldsmith.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Nov. 3, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 3.80 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.20 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 46.90 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.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Singleton witnessed the dedication of the James Salter monument in 1972

James Salter monument near Burnt Corn, Alabama. 

(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 “Tribute to a man” was originally published in the May 4, 1972 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

The white granite marker gleamed in the morning sun as the two descendants of the late James Salter placed a wreath of flowers at its base, on the white sand just recently scattered there. The dedication ceremony was drawing to a close and the crowd listened attentively to the proclamation being read.

I had heard of this man several months before, from his fourth generation grandson, Mildford Champion. We had, on one occasion, visited the final resting place and old home site of this early settler. All that marked the grave then was a long skinned place on a sweet gum tree.

“This is where he’s buried,” stated Champion. “There’s nothing here now, but the family is working on getting a marker of some kind placed here. He is the only veteran of the Revolutionary War buried in Conecuh County. The highway there is the county line between Monroe and Conecuh counties. He’s buried almost on the line.”

I looked around, and all that was visible was a few briars and brush. No trace of a grave could be seen. The ground was flat, as though it had been cultivated in times past.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m sure. This is the place,” replied Champion. “Buried right on the piece of ground that the President of the United States deeded him. President John Quincy Adams gave him a land grant of 450 acres when he moved down here from North Carolina. This was given to him for his services in the Continental Army against the British. He settled on this land and raised a large family. A large number of his descendants are living in this area today. He served in the Alabama Legislature from 1823 to 1828. He was also one of the charter members of the Baptist Church of Burnt Corn.”

I looked at the bare grave site and thought that someone must have forgotten.

My mind traced back from the graveside, under the sweet gum tree where the conversation had taken place months before; back to the dedication ceremonies at the marker. The words of the proclamation were being read – “…in memory of this man, and to his devotion to God and Country, his eagerness to help his fellow man… At this time the bugler will sound Taps.”

As the ringing notes from the Last Call floated over the green pine thicket that bordered the clearing, I looked up the hill and read the marker: James Salter 1760-1835. I knew then that this soldier, settler and statesman had been remembered, and would be for generations to come.

[The column above was accompanied by a photo by Singleton that bore the following caption: Descendants of Revolutionary War veterans James Salter placed a wreath at the huge monument erected to him near Burnt Corn Wed., April 26.]

[That week’s edition of The Monroe Journal also featured a front-page story and photo about the Salter monument. The headline of the story was “Revolutionary War veteran remembered.” The photo of the monument, taken by Singleton, bore the following caption – “This nine-ton, white granite marker was erected near Burnt Corn to James Salter, Revolutionary War veteran, settler and statesman, Wed., April 26. Another photo and story of the event appear on Page 5A of this issue of The Journal.” The text from the front-page story is given below.]

Revolutionary War veteran remembered: A ceremony was held three miles north of the Burnt Corn community last week to dedicate a nine-ton white granite marker to the memory of James Salter, Revolutionary War veteran, settler and statesman.

The marker is located only a short distance from the old Salter home place and the final resting place of the Revolutionary War soldier, settler and statesman.

Born in North Carolina in 1760, James Salter served in the Continental Army before migrating to this area. President John Quincy Adams deeded the veteran 450 acres of land for his services against the British. Salter was elected to the Alabama Legislature from 1823 to 1828 and lived on the land near Burnt Corn until his dead in 1835.

Among his many descendants are State Rep. Wiley Salter of Conecuh County and Judge Frank T. Salter of Evergreen.

He was one of the charter members of the Baptist Church of Burnt Corn.

Another story and picture appears on Page 5A.

(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.)

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Nov. 2, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 3.80 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.20 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.45 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 46.90 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, November 1, 2019

The Strange Tale of Eli McMorn and the Vampire - Chapter Two


There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that October day when we went down to play in Galliard Creek. I was in the sixth grade at Claiborne Middle School, and it was the last Friday afternoon in the month of October. It was a week or so after the big earthquake in Flomaton, the one that toppled the old theater building there and blacked out a bunch of high school football games as far north as Evergreen.

In most respects, this particular day was a fall day like any other. Me and my two buddies – Adam and Chuck – had played in that creek many times before, splashing along its banks in the cold, ankle-deep water without regard to anything other than the loose rule that we be home by the time the streetlights came on. Truth be told, we would have never gone down to the creek had we known what lurked there, old and hungry.

About half a mile from where it flowed into the muddy Alabama River, the creek funneled its way through a stretch with high limestone banks, green with dank moss and riddled with the dim fossils of ancient shells. We had searched those banks closely time and again and knew them as well as anyone. We had even seen the crack before.

Only this time, this fissure in the limestone bank was wider. In the time before the earthquake, the crack in the damp, gray rock had only been a few inches wide, just wide enough for small bats to fly through. We’d seen these rabies-carrying vermin fly in and out of the crack before and figured there must be hundreds, maybe thousands, of them roosting somewhere underground in the darkness.

The Flomaton earthquake had been a big one for our part of the world, and it had apparently made the crack just wide enough for three 11-year-old boys to wriggle through. If memory serves, Adam had been the first to notice the change in the crack because a stream of water was now running out onto the soft bank of sand at the base of the widened crack. Before, there had been no stream, just a wide fan of dry sand crossed here and there with the occasional set of raccoon tracks.

Adam, tall and lean, was the oldest of our trio, nearly 12, and he was also the most adventurous. He ran up to the crack for a closer look and turned back to us with a look of excitement. Chuck and I soon joined him and peered into the impenetrable blackness of the widened crack, which ran from the wet sand at our feet almost all the way up to the top of the bank, a distance of at least 10 feet.

“Guys, we need to bring flashlights back with us tomorrow and see where this goes,” Adam said. “There’s no telling how far back it goes. I bet it leads to a big cave or something. We’d be rich if we find some outlaw treasure or Confederate gold inside. We might find a bunch of old Indian stuff.”

We stood there for a long time, throwing gravel rocks inside the crack to see if we could tell how far back it went. We even turned sideways and went in as far as we dared without lights. I imagined sightless bats clinging to the walls in the darkness, their tiny teeth dripping with bacteria that would make us seize and foam at the mouth. We eventually lost our nerve and inched our way back to the daylight, our shoes filled with cold water.

Not long after, we began to make our way home. As the sun set and our thoughts turned to what our mothers had made for supper, we discussed the other gear we’d need to bring the next day along with flashlights. I volunteered to bring a long roll of heavy kite string to help us find our way. To this day, I believe that string’s the only reason I lived to tell the story.

(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.)

The Evergreen Courant's 2019 list of 'Spookiest Places in Conecuh County'

Jackson Bridge in southwestern Conecuh County. 

Yesterday (Thursday) was Halloween, and in the spirit of that ghostly holiday, I present to you The Courant’s annual list of the “Spookiest Places in Conecuh County.”

As with previous editions of this list, I compiled it after discussing the subject with a number of the county’s lifelong residents and individuals well versed in the county’s long history. Without further ado, here’s the list:

Booger Bottom: Located on County Road 5, between Burnt Corn and Pine Orchard, old-time residents say that an entity named “Harry Bill” lives in these woods and will nab travelers who linger too long in this area. Others have seen unexplained “balls of fire” in trees in this area, and others have seen unexplained white creatures dash across the road there in the middle of the night. Some also claim to have seen a mysterious stranger with a white dog walking up and down the road in this area.

Church’s Chicken: Located on West Front Street in Evergreen, this is one of Evergreen’s best places to stop for fried chicken. However, former employees say the restaurant’s haunted and what many readers may not know is that the restaurant was built on land once occupied by a large, two-story house that served for many years as Evergreen’s only funeral home. The house, which saw an untold number of funerals, was torn down decades ago to make way for the restaurant building.

  Conecuh County Department of Human Resources Building: Built on the site of the county’s old poor house, convict farm and a former World War II German prisoner of war camp, DHR workers claim to hear unexplained footsteps in the halls, especially in the building’s north wing, late in the day and after hours. Other employees have had their hair “blown back” by unexplained forces, and others claim to have seen the ghost of a “lady in a long, drab skirt.” Others claim to have seen the ghosts of “women walking with laundry” and the unexplained sounds of “clanking dishes.”

  Conecuh County High School Building: Former teachers at this Castleberry school claim to have heard, after school hours, the unexplained sound of running footsteps in the building’s attic when no one else was in the building. Built in 1936, this building now houses the Conecuh County Junior High School.

·         Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library: Employees at the library have had all sorts of unusual experiences in the building, which is on Cemetery Avenue in Evergreen. Unusual occurrences at the building include unexplained temperature changes, thumping noises and the sound of someone coming up the stairs when no one is there. Staff members have also found lights on that should have been off and books “turned topsy-turvy” or misplaced on shelves as well as items on the floor, even though things had been in their proper place when they closed the building the day before. Other library workers claim to have seen a ghost outside on the library grounds. They describe this ghost as a young girl, wearing what looks like turn-of-the-century clothing and riding breeches, standing next to a phantom horse.

·         Greasy Bottom Cemetery: Located near the intersection of U.S. Highway 31 and Jaguar Drive in Evergreen, this cemetery is said to contain between 300 and 500 graves, most of which are unmarked. Several of these graves are surrounded by “spirit cages” that are painted with light blue “haint paint” and are believed to keep ghosts near their graves. Oddly, most Evergreen residents are unaware of this large cemetery despite its size and location near one of Conecuh County’s busiest highways.

·         Hawthorne House Site: This residence, which was located in Belleville and burned down in 2003, was used as a hospital for individuals injured in a train collision in October 1862 and as a hospital for Confederate soldiers hurt near the end of the Civil War. Many in the Belleville community believed that the Hawthorne House held the lingering spirits of countless Confederate souls. Lights, televisions and other modern conveniences in the home would often malfunction for no apparent reasons.

·         Interstate 65: The 40-mile stretch of the interstate between Evergreen and Greenville was designated “The Haunted Highway” in the book, “Haunted Places: The National Directory” by Dennis William Hauck. Book claims that this section of highway is haunted by the spirits of displaced Creek Indians and has resulted in an “accident rate that is well above average.”

·         Jackson Bridge: Located on the Range Road in southwestern Conecuh County, some say that this bridge is haunted by a woman named “Mad Sally,” who lost her family in a wagon accident at the bridge years ago. Others say that the bridge is haunted by a headless woman who can be seen toting her head on moonlit nights. Others claim that Confederate gold is buried in the woods near the bridge.

·         Murder Creek Bridge on I-65: Site of numerous unusual accidents over the years, including several that have resulted in fatalities and catastrophic fires. One truck driver said that he struck the bridge after a ghostly horse-drawn carriage crossed the interstate in front of him. Others have reported seeing large, panther-like cats cross the highway in this area.

·         Old Croom House: Located on North Main Street in Evergreen, this antebellum house is said to be haunted by the “Grey Lady,” the ghost of a woman who supposedly has haunted this house for almost a century. In recent years, at least two women visitors to the house have reported seeing the ghost of a woman standing in the bathtub in the home’s master bathroom. Others claim to hear ghostly music in the house while others have heard tales of a ghostly woman who sings softly while rocking in a rocking chair.

·         Stoddard House: Said to be the most haunted location in all of Conecuh County, this one-story brick house is located south of Evergreen on U.S. Highway 31, near the Alabama Department of Transportation office. Former residents claimed to have endured a wide variety of unexplained experiences, including the sound of footsteps in the attic, knocking on walls, a baby crying, disembodied voices and seeing ghostly figures. Members of the Delta Paranormal Project’s Alabama Chapter investigated the home in January 2013 and reported that they believe the house is haunted by at least one spirit and maybe as many as three.

·         Bloody Bones Well: A short distance north of the Old Flag Tree on Old Town Church Road in the Old Town community, you’ll find an old home place with an old-style well in the backyard. Local tales about this site have been passed down for at least the past half century and say that a creature known as “Bloody Bones” lives in the well. Supposedly, if you venture too close to this well at the wrong times of the day or month, “Bloody Bones” will drag you down into the darkness.

·         The Evergreen Courant Office: Located on Rural Street in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Evergreen, unexplained noises can be heard during the day and after hours. Long time employees at The Courant jokingly say that the noises are just former employees who don’t know that they’ve passed their final “deadline.”

·         Flat Rock: Purported to be the home of Pukwudgies, that is, two-to-three-foot-tall troll-like creatures from Indian folklore that resemble humans. Witnesses say that they have large ears, fingers and noses and smooth, grey skin. Native Americans believed it best to leave these creatures alone because they were said to shoot poison areas, start fires and lure people to their deaths.

·         First Evergreen Cemetery: Small cemetery located in Evergreen, just off Main Street, about a 1/4-mile south of the old Evergreen High School location. Contains some of the city’s earliest graves, including several unusual-looking unmarked vaults made with handmade bricks. Many of the cemetery’s graves are unmarked.

·         Gallows Hollow: Located north of Lyeffion near the intersection of the CCC Trail and the Sepulga River, it’s where outlaw brothers Irvin and Stephen Ward were hung for the murder of Allen Page on Nov. 18, 1859. After the hanging, the old gallows were not removed following the execution and it stood for many decades as a reminder of the tragic murder at Fork Sepulga. The location of that murder and hanging, where the old gallows stood, was known thereafter as “Gallows Hollow.”

·         King’s Crossing: This railroad crossing, located at the intersection of West Front Street and Belleville Street in downtown Evergreen, has been the site of countless accidents and deaths during the past century. At one time considered the most dangerous railroad crossing in Alabama and one of the most deadly in America, Evergreen Mayor Pete Wolff told The Mobile Press-Register in October 2013 that the crossing was “almost like a ghost crossing. It just invites people to run into trains, and not only do they pull in front of them, they even run into them from the side sometimes. We’ve had people that walked on the tracks and been run over. Sometimes a train will come and you can’t hear it. There’s just something weird about it.”

·         Monster Road: The traditional nickname of what was also called the Hagood Road, which once connected Conecuh County Road 29 and Brooklyn Road, southeast of Evergreen. No one can say with any certainty how this road came to be named “Monster Road.” In May 2012, the Conecuh County Commission officially closed a portion of this road, three miles north of its intersection with Conecuh County Road 29.

·         Old Beulah Cemetery: One of the county’s oldest cemeteries, which contains a number of old fashioned headstones and monuments. The cemetery is located near the intersection of Hagood Road and County Road 29, southeast of Evergreen.

·         Old Carter Hospital: Located on Burnt Corn Street in Repton, this was once the only hospital for a hundred miles in every direction. Closed in the mid-1950s, when Monroe County Hospital opened in Monroeville, this structure has seen more than its fair share of pain, sickness and death.

·         Old Castleberry Bank Building: Located in downtown Castleberry at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and West Railroad Street, this building is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former bank president who committed suicide there during the Great Depression. A former employee who worked there in the 1980s said that she and fellow coworkers would hear a man’s voice even when there were no men in the building and would often catch an unexplainable whiff of cigar smoke. Objects inside the bank would also get moved around overnight while the bank was empty, employees said.

·         Old L&N Train Depot: Located in downtown Evergreen and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this building is over 100 years old. Thousands of people passed through this train station during its heyday, and former employees have shared tales about hearing unexplained noises in the building at all times of the day and night.

·         Old Sparta Site: According to “Shadows and Dust, Volume II” by Kevin McKinley, this is the location of a haunted well. The story goes that whispers can be heard coming from the well, which may have been constructed near the burial grounds of some long since removed Indian tribe.

·         Pine Orchard: This community on the border of Conecuh and Monroe counties is the site of multiple sightings of a Bigfoot-like creature and witnesses, including a local minister, have reported seeing the creature on more than one occasion. Unusual noises, rock-throwing and other activity in the community have been attributed to the creature. This community is also the home of the “Mystery Stones of Pine Orchard,” that is, wheel-shaped stones of disputed, possibly Native American, origin.

·         Sanders Cave: Large cave located about 3-1/2 miles northwest of Brooklyn. According to the June 1, 1967 edition of The Brewton Standard, it’s believed that Joseph Thompson Hare’s gang of robbers buried gold in the cave. Hare’s gang, which was organized in New Orleans in 1801, robbed overland travelers from New Orleans to Pensacola. Hare was eventually hanged in Baltimore in 1818 for robbing a U.S. Mail coach.

·         Sepulga River: Multiple reports of a Bigfoot-type creature have been reported along the length of this meandering river, especially near Travis Bridge and Staples Bridge. Reported sightings of this creature date back as far as 2004, and multiple sightings of the creature were reported during the 2016 calendar year, garnering attention from Bigfoot investigators across the Southeast.

·         Shipps Pond: This 43-acre lake is located between Castleberry and Brewton. In 1862, during the Civil War, plantation owner Henchie Warren supposedly sank a chest of gold and other valuables to the bottom of the lake to hide it from Union troops. Over the years, many have unsuccessfully tried to find this hidden chest, and a number of people believe that Warren’s chest of gold remains there today, waiting to be discovered beneath layers of black mud.

·         Weaver Pond Road: Located near the Conecuh-Escambia County line and Weaver Pond and L Pond, game cameras in this area in October 2011 captured an unexplained “ghost image” of a man walking through the wooded area. Individuals living near L Pond said the person in the photo looks like Pott Weaver, who once lived in the area but passed away in 1984 - 27 years before the picture was taken. This ghostly image was so mysterious that The Mobile Press-Register published a full-length feature story about the unusual photo in its Oct. 31, 2011 edition.

Other nominees for the list have included the Baggett Cemetery in Castleberry, the old Civil Air Patrol Building in Evergreen, the Hampden Ridge Cemetery near Old Fort Autrey, the Old Evergreen Hotel site in downtown Evergreen, the Old Huggins Grist Mill site at Cohassett, the old Price Hotel-Stagecoach Stop at Owassa, the Old Pritchett Home in Evergreen, the old Ray Brothers Store site near Travis Bridge, the Old Red Wine Bridge near Castleberry and the Old Ward Plantation.

Before I close this thing out, I want to make perfectly clear that more than a few of these places are more than likely located on private property, so if you get the idea to visit any of these places (especially at night) you’d better get permission first or run the risk of trespassing. Also, if you plan to visit any of these places, especially cemeteries, respect your surroundings.

In the end, get up with me if you know a good local ghost story or have information about a spooky location in Conecuh County.