Thursday, October 31, 2019

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Oct. 31, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 2.40 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 2.60 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  7.25 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 7.25 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 45.70 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, October 30, 2019

Creepy locations make annual list of 'Spookiest Places in Wilcox County'

Snow Hill Institute in Wilcox County, Ala.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is Halloween and in the spirit of that spooky holiday, I present to you my fourth annual list of the “Spookiest Places in Wilcox County.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Institute Creek: Located on County Road 26 near Snow Hill Institute, legends say that a girl came all the way from Boston to take advantage of the fine education offered at the Snow Hill Institute, but she became severely depressed by her inability to adjust to life in the Deep South. One day, the distraught girl walked to Institute Creek and drowned herself in its waters. Some say that even to this day, if you go down to the creek, you can hear the sound of her ghost sobbing.

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

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

9. Snow Hill Institute: Located off State Highway 21 at Snow Hill, this historic school was founded in 1893 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. A wide variety of ghosts have been seen on this old campus and at the slave cemetery nearby. For more information about this supposedly haunted school, I recommend that you read “Haunted Alabama Black Belt” by David Higdon and Brett Talley.

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

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

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

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

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Oct. 30, 2019

Old Castleberry Bank building in Conecuh County, Ala.

SEVEN YEARS AGO
OCT. 25, 2012

The 21st Annual South-East Regional Fly-In is scheduled to officially open tomorrow at Middleton Field in Evergreen.

The Courant teamed up with Monroe Journal reporter Josh Dewberry and paranormal investigator John Higginbotham Saturday night to investigate the supposedly haunted old Castleberry bank building.

In what investigators are calling a ‘low down’ crime, they are asking anyone who might have information about the vandalism of a scarecrow display on the grounds of the Old Evergreen City School to contact the Evergreen Police Department.
In the days leading up to Saturday’s 10th Annual Evergreen Sausage Festival in downtown Evergreen, members of the Conecuh County Cultural Foundation staged a ‘Scarecrow Convention’ in front of the old school building. The display of scarecrows included dozens of scarecrows made by young children from every school in the county.
According to Evergreen Police Detective Mike Ellis, an unknown number of vandals destroyed almost all of the scarecrows in the display except for those closest to Perryman Street. Police believe that the vandalism took place sometime between 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

Evergreen native Gaston Bozeman was among a number of entertainers that took part in the 10th Annual Evergreen Sausage Festival Saturday in downtown Evergreen.

22 YEARS AGO
OCT. 30, 1997

Cass Ralls, daughter of Eddie Ralls and Sandra O. Ralls, was crowned Miss Homecoming 1997 during Sparta Academy’s Homecoming activities Friday night, Oct. 24.

Local weather reporter Harry Ellis reported 1.11 inches of rain on Oct. 24 and a total of 3.46 inches between Oct. 21 and Oct. 26.

Cary’s Grocery Murder Trial Set To Begin In Mid February: After much anticipation, a trial date has been set for one of the men accused of three counts of capital murder.
Ethan Eugene Dorsey, a 28-year-old black male, will stand trial beginning Feb. 16, 1998 in Judge Sam Welch’s courtroom.
Dorsey is accused of killing Richard Cary, 52, Scott Williams, 39, and Timothy Bryan Cane, 13, on Nov. 20 at Cary’s Store in the Brooklyn community.
Also charged in that case is Calvin Middleton. Both of the accused are residents of Andalusia.
The three victims were found gunned down at the store on Wed., Nov. 20, 1996, sometimes after 8 p.m.
According to District Attorney Tommy Chapman at the time of the murders, forensics determined that three guns had been used to kill the victims.
Cary was killed by a blast from a shotgun to the head. Williams was apparently killed with a .357 caliber pistol and Crane died as a result of being shot with a .22 or .25 caliber weapon.

37 YEARS AGO
OCT. 28, 1982

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

Heritage Festival is Nov. 6: Artists and craftsmen are registered for the arts and crafts division of the Conecuh Heritage Festival to be held in downtown Evergreen on Sat., Nov. 6.
Exhibits of historic interest will go on display in downtown show windows on Mon., Nov. 1, and remain throughout the week. In addition to the Arts and Crafts Fair and the historic exhibits, the festival will include a mini-county fair in the historic Evergreen Depot.

An air show will be staged Sunday afternoon from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Evergreen’s Middleton Field Municipal Airport on Highway 84 West. The gates will open at 12 noon for the big show which is sponsored by the Conecuh County Rescue Squad.

52 YEARS AGO
OCT. 26, 1967

Members of Battery D – 278th Artillery – Brewton National Guard pulled a surprise inspection at the Boy Scouts Fall Rally Camp at Camp McMillan this past week end.
National Guard members were impressed with Evergreen Troop 40 and their ready answers to questions. Leaders for the Camp were Ruben Hyde, Ralph Garrett and Fred Stevens.
Boys attending from Evergreen were Sammy Garrett, Kenny Brown, Allen Covin, Mike Chambers, Len Price, Troy Bakel, Fred Stevens, Lewis Price, Frank Murphy and Lester Daw.

VIETNAM – Marine Lance Corporal Calvin D. ‘Snuffy’ Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith of 147 Knoxville St., Evergreen is serving with the 7th Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division of Vietnam. The mission of the battalion is to build and maintain roads, support the infantry units and instruct Marines in the use of mines and booby traps. In support of infantry units, the engineers clear mine fields, destroy caves and tunnels and other enemy fortifications.

Carl Wilson, DVM announces The Opening of a new Veterinary Clinic to be known as Animal Health Center with Facilities for large and small animals. Located on Yarbrough (Old Sparta) Road.

Power outage is set Sunday: A power outage to do necessary work is scheduled this Sunday morning beginning at the City Café and extending to the Highway 31 South area. The current will be turned off at 7 a.m. and should be back on at approximately 9:30 a.m., according to J.W. Weaver, City Electrical Superintendent.

67 YEARS AGO
OCT. 30, 1952

The Evergreen City Council has approved the zoning plan and ordinance as presented to them by the City Planning Commission. The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed plan and ordinance at a date to be advertised soon. Following the public hearing, the plan and ordinance will come up before the council against before going into effect.
The council also announced the employment of a new member of the city police force. The new policeman is Otto Bush of Greenville. He will start work on Nov. 1. H.L. Riley, present member of the force, has been given a leave of absence.

Most Deeds Are Signed For Paving Of Highway 84 County Board Reports: The Conecuh County Board of Directors reports that most of the remaining right-of-way deeds on the paving of Highway 84 through Herbert and Cohassett to Andalusia have already been signed.
Once all the right-of-way deeds have been secured the project will be advertised for bids and the contract let. County officials have sought to have this highway paved for a number of years.

The state has completed the construction of the new bridge over Murder Creek between Evergreen and Fairview. The approaches to this bridge are now being completed. The project should be finished at an early date. It is a federal aid project.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Oct. 30, 2019

Coach Wendell Hart

12 YEARS AGO
OCT. 25, 2007

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

You could argue that Friday night’s Sparta-Southern game was a pretty close case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.
Sparta Academy entered Friday’s home game against Southern Academy with the No. 2-ranked team defense in the AISA, while Southern entered the game with the AISA’s No. 1-ranked offense and defense.
Sparta lost the game, 47-0, but managed to hold Southern to less than 50 points, a rare feat for most of Southern’s opponents this season.
Friday night against Southern, Taylor Brown, a 6-foot-3, 155-pound junior, led Sparta’s offense with six pass completions for 31 yards. Peyton Thompson, a 6-1, 185-pound senior, led Sparta’s defense with four solo tackles and 11 assists, including a tackle of Southern’s punter.

37 YEARS AGO
OCT. 28, 1982

The Evergreen Aggies completed a successful homecoming celebration by defeating the Choctaw County Tigers 21-7 last Friday night in Brooks Memorial Stadium.
Leading the way on offense for Evergreen was quarterback Tracey Hawsey with 99 yards rushing on just nine carries. On defense, the Aggies were led by Fredrick Middleton with five solos and seven assists.
(Other standout Evergreen players in that game included Mark Bell, DeWayne Booker, Don Jackson, Frank Likely, Marion Oliver, Ben Rigsby, Ricky Stallworth and Deatrich Wise.)

The Sparta Academy Warriors made homecoming happy for their fellow students and their fans as they beat Thomasville Academy 21-6 here Friday night.
Sparta used a powerful rushing game to push past the visiting Panthers. Joey Johnson netted 149 yards and a touchdown, and Ed Carrier, the other half of the running tandem, collected 120 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.
(Other standout Sparta players in that game included Chris Blatz, Russ Brown, Wes Brown, Trent Carrier, Al Etheridge, Charles Floyd, Scotty Grace, Don Langham, Joe McInvale, Britt McNeill, Tom Reed, Dewan Salter, Scott Smith and Mike Wilson. Richard Brown was Sparta’s head coach.)

Lyeffion High School will celebrate its 1982-83 homecoming Saturday night, Oct. 30, at the Mabry L. Covin Football Field. Kickoff begins at 7:30 p.m. when Lyeffion meets J.U. Blacksher High School.

62 YEARS AGO
OCT. 24, 1957

Aggies Rip McKenzie, Spoil Homecoming With 27 To 0 Victory: The Evergreen Aggies played the role of spoilers at McKenzie High School’s annual homecoming celebration Friday night.
Flashing their strongest offense of the season, the Evergreens rolled to a convincing 27 to 0 win over the Tigers. The Aggies punched across one score in the first period, two in the second and a final tally in the third quarter.
Quarterback Billy Grace donned starting robes for the contest as he sparked the Evergreen club to its second win in four starts. Grace scored once and passed for another touchdown.
(Other top Evergreen players in that game included Robert Ellington, Robbie Boykin, Robert Daniels and Howard Claybrook. Wendell Hart was Evergreen’s head coach, and Jeff Moorer was assistant coach.)

City turns golf links over to club members: At a meeting Monday night the Evergreen City Council officially turned the municipally-owned Evergreen Golf Course over to the Evergreen Golf Club.
The council met with members of the golf club and worked out the transfer Monday night. The golfers will also have charge of and be responsible for the clubhouse at the course some four miles north of town on U.S. 31.

Repton High School will hold its annual homecoming Friday. Feature of the celebration will be the homecoming game at 7:30 tomorrow night. Beatrice will be the Bulldogs’ opponent in the game.

87 YEARS AGO
OCT. 27, 1932

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

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., Oct. 30, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.20 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  4.85 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 4.85 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 43.30 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, October 27, 2019

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Oct. 27, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 1.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  4.65 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 4.65 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 43.10 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, October 26, 2019

Singleton recounts the old legend of the fabled 'whippoorwill storm'

Painting of an Eastern Whippoorwill. 

(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 “Legend of whippoorwill storm” was originally published in the April 20, 1972 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

During the last days of April, according to an old, old legend, we will have a spring storm in this area. The strong winds of this storm are supposed to bring with them the whippoorwills back to the surrounding countryside.

This old legend has been handed down through the years by older generations whose ancestors came into the country and settled. It does not specify the exact time the storm is due, other than it is to take place during the last days of April. It does state, however, that it will come in the nighttime, when all is still.

As of this writing, I have not heard the sound of the whippoorwills in the wooded areas surrounding the county. I have listened, to no avail, for their wailing calls during the twilight hours.

The whippoorwill is a small, brownish colored bird with small white spots mingled in no certain pattern, along the back and breast. This bird is only heard during the late evening hours just before darkness, and during the late evening hours after darkness has fallen. It can be found nested around the edges of the fields, in the thick underbrush bordering the clearings and pastures.

Many stories and songs have been written about the whippoorwill. Usually most of these are sad tales of broken loves and-or tragedies, when the whippoorwill is part of the lyrics. It is probably because of the wailing call of this bird and the hours in which it is heard that people associate it with sadness. Also, the first hours of darkness have always been linked with the passing from this life, just as the dawn has been compared to the beginning.

I have never ceased to be amazed at the closeness of the human race to our surroundings, and most of the time without anyone ever being aware of it.

As the legend has it, soon the whippoorwill storm will come, and upon the winds will ride the sad sounding little birds that have become as much a part of spring as love and flowers. And before you know it the lonesome cry will be heard during the quiet hours of the evening, when work is done and shadows fall.

(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.)

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


I pulled up to the curb, stepped out of my car and looked up at the house on Claiborne’s Academy Street. I checked to make sure that I had everything I needed for the interview before walking up the steps to the front door. Eli McMorn, now retired, had agreed to talk with me and nothing would embarrass me more than to have to stop and return to the car for something I’d forgotten.

A few minutes later, I stood on his small front porch. There was a folding chair on the stoop. I imagined the old man there in the evenings, watching the shadows grow long across the neighborhood.

I pressed the doorbell and heard it “bing bong” somewhere deep inside the house. I waited for what seemed like a long time, but no one came to the door, even after I pressed the bell twice more and knocked a few times. A pickup truck sat in the driveway, so I presumed McMorn was somewhere inside.

Was something wrong? Had he changed his mind about the interview? Was he napping? Was he dead?

I stepped back down into the grass and took a few steps towards the backyard. I planned to find a backdoor and ring the bell there in hopes that he would answer. As it turned out, that wasn’t necessary.

The back of the house featured a small, screened-in porch and when I reached the steps, I found the old reporter asleep in a weathered Adirondack chair with a paperback book turned down across his stomach. In an effort not to surprise the old man, I called out to him, and he awoke with a start. Quick as a cat, he produced a large handgun, seemingly from out of nowhere.

“Who the hell are you?” he asked, setting the book down on a low table beside his chair. It was a battered copy of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” Before I could answer, he moved to the screen door and pushed it open.

He was tall and well-built for an old man. His eyes were dark, but his hair was white, what some would call patrician. He’d shaved and his khaki pants were ironed. There was a small notepad in the breast pocket of his shirt.

I held up both hands to show that I was unarmed and forced a smile. “I’m Molly Webster from The Claiborne Herald,” I said. I fished my reporter’s ID out of my purse and handed it to him.

He smiled and stuffed the gun in the small of his back. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I forgot that today is Thursday. Come on up and have a seat.”

He held the door open and motioned me to an empty chair. He offered me a soft drink and, to be polite, I accepted. Before returning to his seat, he popped open a can of beer and took a big swallow.

“Your editor said you wanted to talk with me about the old days,” he said.

I nodded. “I think it’s important that someone put to bed some of the rumors about your career and document some of your experiences.”

“You know you’re not the first reporter to come to me like this,” he said. “A few others have had the same idea. None of them stuck with it.”

“I’d like to give it a shot if it’s all the same to you,” I said. I produced a small recorder and placed it on the small table between us, right beside his worn copy of “Dracula.” “Is it ok to record the interview?”

He looked out across his small backyard and considered this for a few seconds. “I’m sure it’s fine,” he said with a smile. “Where do you want to begin?”

“Let’s start with your early days at The Herald,” I said.

“That was a long time ago,” he said. “I was younger than you are now. I didn’t know a cutline from a byline when I started.”

I pointed to his copy of “Dracula” with my pen. “That’s one of my favorites,” I said. “You believe in vampires?”

He gave me a good-natured smile. “Oh, yeah.”

“Really?”

“You bet.”

“Why is that?”

“Because they’re real. I’ve seen them.”

I flipped open the cover to my notepad and began taking notes. “Tell me more,” I said.

“Miss, if you write that up, we’ll both look like nuts,” he said.

“If there’s something to it, I want to hear about it,” I said.

“You sure you want to go down that road? I could just as easily tell you about all the heinous crimes, bad wrecks and awful fires I went to over the years.”

“I’d like to hear what you have to say about vampires.”

“Of course you do.” He took another swallow of beer and looked out across his yard. “Ok. I’ll tell you. You can write it up like you want. I’m an old man. What do I care?”

“Sounds good. Where do we start?”

“That’s easy. I’ll tell you about the first vampire I ever saw. That was a long time ago, long before you were born.”

“You remember it well?”

“Absolutely. It wasn’t just the first one that I ever saw. It was also the first one that I had to kill.”

(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 Sat., Oct. 26, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.65 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 3.65 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 42.10 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, October 25, 2019

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Oct. 25, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.65 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 3.65 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 42.10 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, October 24, 2019

How many Indian mounds are within the borders of Conecuh County?

Map of Mound Island in Baldwin County, Ala.

This past Saturday, I accompanied my son’s Boy Scout Troop on a paddling trip to Mound Island, which is located in Baldwin County, deep in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.

Due to its location in the swampy delta, the only way to reach Mound Island is by boat, but it’s often visited by history lovers because it’s the home of the prehistoric Bottle Creek Indian Mounds.

On Saturday morning, we put in three canoes and two kayaks at the Rice Creek Landing near Stockton and paddled many miles across Briar Lake and the Tensaw River before following Bayou Jessamine to Bottle Creek and Mound Island. I assure you that this was a physically demanding trip, and I wouldn’t suggest attempting it alone or without an experienced guide. When I say that this was one of the most remote places I’ve ever been to within the borders of Alabama, that is not an understatement.

When we arrived at the island, we followed a rough trail through the jungle-like forest and eventually arrived at the base of the largest mound on the island, where we found a battered, old sign that noted that the island’s mounds were designated as a National Historic Landmark years ago. We proceeded to climb to the top of the mound and began to realize the immense amount of work it would have taken to construct the mound in such a remote place. We eventually returned to our boats, ate lunch and paddled back to our vehicles at Rice Creek Landing.

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 this site was occupied between 1250 and 1550 and contains more than 18 mounds. Archaeologists believe that it has gone relatively undisturbed over the years due to its remote location.

All of this got me to thinking about Indian mounds in Conecuh County. I don’t know if it’s an urban legend or not, but I’ve heard it told that when I-65 was being built through Conecuh County, workers cut a path through Indian mounds to make way for the highway. Some even say that this is why so many accidents occur on I-65, that is, these wrecks are the result of some type of curse brought on by the desecration of Indian burial sites.

I’m 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 survey has to say about Indian mounds in Conecuh County. More than likely, we’d learn that we drive by or live near Indian sites that we’ve forgotten or failed to recognize over the years.

Last year, the University of Alabama’s Office of Archaeological Resources and Center for Economic Development established what’s called the Alabama Indigenous Mound Trail in an effort to celebrate the state’s ancient monumental architecture. Currently, there are no Conecuh County sites on this trail. The closest such site to Conecuh County is the Bottle Creek site that I visited on Saturday.

In the end, I’d be interested in hearing from any readers who have more information about Indian mounds in Conecuh 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 site, please let me know.

Casey Grant remains atop local college football contest standings


The eighth week of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em contest wrapped up on Saturday night, and Casey Grant held on to the lead in the local standings for another week. When the dust settled after Saturday’s slate of games, Casey was No. 1 in the local standings with 62 total points in the contest, which has seven more weeks to go.

Blake Stringer found himself in second place with 59 total points to his credit. Mark Cotten was in the third place, just one game out of second, with 58 total points. Defending champion Drew Skipper, Jesse Jordan and Clint Hyde were locked in a three-way tie for fourth place with 57 points each.

Brett Loftin was in seventh place with 56 points. Cody Thomas, Justin Chandler and I were tied for eighth place with 54 points each. Austin Weaver and John Johnston were tied for 12th place with 50 points each.

----- 0 -----

Tomorrow (Friday) night’s slate of games will wrap up region play for most of the high school football teams in the state, and many local fans are already looking forward to the start of the state playoffs. After Friday night, the final standings in 4A Region 1 will be set, and we’ll know which teams made the playoffs and which didn’t. For those making the playoffs, the all-important seedings will determine who they’ll face in the first round of the playoffs.

Based on seedings, that is, where each team finishes in the final region standings, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will host games in the first round while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will have to travel in the opening round. In the second, third and fourth rounds of the playoffs, the home team is based on who traveled in the earlier rounds. If both teams have traveled the same amount, the home team will be the higher seed.

If both teams have traveled the same and have equal seeds, then the team on the top of the playoff bracket will be the home team. If two teams from the same region meet in the playoffs, the highest seeded team in the final region standings will be the home team.

In this year’s playoffs, teams like Hillcrest from 4A Region 1 will play teams from 4A Region 2 in the first round. The No. 1 seeds will play the No. 4 seeds and the No. 2 seeds will play the No. 3 seeds in the opening round of the playoffs. Teams in 4A Region 2 include Catholic-Montgomery, Trinity Presbyterian, Dale County, Alabama Christian, Headland, Ashford and Booker T. Washington.

As of Monday, the top four teams in 4A Region 2 were Catholic-Montgomery, Trinity, Dale County and Alabama Christian. Going into tomorrow night’s game against 4-4 Headland, Catholic-Montgomery was undefeated and was ranked No. 3 in Class 4A in the latest statewide prep football poll. More than likely, barring any surprises this week, Hillcrest and Catholic-Montgomery probably wouldn’t have to play each other until the semi-final round of the playoffs.

In the end, it’s hard to predict at this point what will happen because the picture will change this week and as the playoffs progress. You can bet there will be an upset or two, but it’s fun to try to figure out what is coming down the pipe. I know I’m not the only one looking forward to Hillcrest making a deep run in the playoffs.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., Oct. 24, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.65 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 3.65 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 42.10 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, October 23, 2019

Ghostly soldier said to maintain fiance's grave in Wilcox County

George Buster Singleton

One day last week, a reader with Halloween in mind asked me what was my favorite Wilcox County ghost story. I told them that was an easy question to answer. In my mind, it’s hard to top the story of Elizabeth Dixon Smith, which is still clouded in much mystery.

Those of you familiar with this spooky old tale will know that Smith lived in Wilcox County during the Civil War, and she was engaged to a young Rebel soldier who was off fighting for the Confederacy. One day, a messenger arrived to tell her that her fiancé had been killed while fighting in Tennessee. Overwhelmed by grief, Smith went into an upstairs bedroom and hung herself.

However, as the story goes, the news about the young solider had been wrong. He was alive and well and returned home to the news of Smith’s unfortunate death. He went to the nearby cemetery where she’d been laid to rest and had a tall grave marker placed over her grave. In ongoing devotion to the woman he loved, he vowed to always take care of her grave.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to this young man, his days were numbered. He returned to duty and was killed before the end of the war. Apparently though, his death did not keep him from fulfilling his promise to take care of Smith’s grave.

Over the years, visitors to the cemetery where Smith is buried say that if you go there, you’ll find the grass and weeds pulled up from around her tombstone and thrown in all directions away from her grave. Some visitors to the cemetery have even reported seeing a ghostly figure, dressed in a Confederate uniform, kneeling by Smith’s grave in the early morning hours, pulling up the grass and weeds.

For a number of years, I have tried to locate the cemetery where Smith is buried, but have not had any luck. I’ve searched cemetery records. I’ve examined numerous maps and strained my eyes looking at Google Earth. I’ve even scouted around the area where the cemetery is said to be located, but with no results.

Almost all of what I know about the cemetery’s location comes from the writings of the late George Buster Singleton, a ghosthunter and paranormal investigator who for decades wrote a weekly column for The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville. Singleton, who died in 2007, wrote about Smith and her Confederate fiancé more than a few times over the years, but he never specifically said where she was buried other than to say it was a small cemetery in Wilcox County. However, a careful reading of Singleton’s stories does provide us with a few clues.

Singleton said the cemetery was north of Beatrice and Chestnut, on a “high and scenic hilltop” just over the Wilcox County line. He said that to reach the cemetery, you have to turn off the paved road, which I presume to be State Highway 265, and go up a narrow dirt trail. You then have to get out of your vehicle and walk up a steep, narrow trail to reach the hilltop cemetery. Smith’s grave is said to be the tallest marker in the cemetery.

In the end, this old ghost story leaves us with many questions. Who was Smith’s Confederate fiancé and where was he killed? When and where did Smith take her own life? Where is the cemetery where she was laid to rest? In the end, if anyone in the reading audience knows, please let me know because it would be nice to officially document her final resting place.

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Oct. 23, 2019


12 YEARS AGO
OCT. 25, 2007

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

Train derails near Castleberry – again: For the second time in less than a year, a train has derailed near the Town of Castleberry.
Early on Friday morning, eight cars loaded with coal left the Louisville & Nashville Railroad tracks about two miles south of Castleberry, according to Castleberry Fire Chief Paul Calloway.
Friday’s derailment is the second train derailment to have taken place near Castleberry within the past year, officials said.
According to Heather Walton, County Emergency Management Director, none of the cars involved in Friday’s derailment were carrying hazardous materials and while one of the cars did spill its load of coal, none of the coal spilled into any nearby creeks or streams.

Conecuh Relay ranked No. 9 in state: Conecuh County’s 2007 Relay For Life event was recognized for its No. 9 ranking during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life Reunion Conference on Oct. 12-13 in Birmingham.
Conecuh County’s 2007 Relay, which was held in June and raised $68,000 for cancer research, ranked ninth in the state in the category of funds raised per capita.
Monroe County’s 2007 Relay finished first in the state per capita and second in the nation based on population.

37 YEARS AGO
OCT. 28, 1982

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

Heritage Festival is Nov. 6: Artists and craftsmen are registered for the arts and crafts division of the Conecuh Heritage Festival to be held in downtown Evergreen on Sat., Nov. 6.
Exhibits of historic interest will go on display in downtown show windows on Mon., Nov. 1, and remain throughout the week. In addition to the Arts and Crafts Fair and the historic exhibits, the festival will include a mini-county fair in the historic Evergreen Depot.

An air show will be staged Sunday afternoon from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Evergreen’s Middleton Field Municipal Airport on Highway 84 West. The gates will open at 12 noon for the big show which is sponsored by the Conecuh County Rescue Squad.

62 YEARS AGO
OCT. 24, 1957

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

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


Marti Mart Says – It’s Always Movie Time At The PIX – Saturday – Oct. 26 - HORROR BEYOND HUMAN BELIEF! The Beast of Hollow Mountain – CinemaScope – Guy Madison, Patricia Medina – One day after a million years it came out of hiding to – Kill – Kill – Kill!

87 YEARS AGO
OCT. 27, 1932

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

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

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

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

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

112 YEARS AGO
OCT. 20, 1915

The Pythia Banquet: Armor Lodge No. 31, Knights of Pythias, gave a banquet on Tuesday night last, 15th inst., to the members, their families and friends. It was held in the armory of the Conecuh Guards and was a great success. Hon. C.R. Bricken, past chancellor of the grand lodge of Alabama, was present and made an exceedingly thrilling speech, captivating his hearers with his eloquence and well-rounded sentences.
Armor Lodge is one among the oldest in the state, and it is a matter of gratification to its members that it was never in a more flourishing conditions, its growth for the past year having been phenomenal.

There will be a large number of the old veterans of the Confederate service in Montgomery on Nov. 13-14, when the state reunion is to be held. The committees are busy with the work in hand and are arranging to give the old war horses the greatest time they ever had. Col. Harvey Jones, adjutant general and chief of staff to General Harrison, is anticipating a happy time.

The residence of J.M. Butler, near Gravella, was destroyed by fire one day last week together with nearly all of its contents. His many friends sympathize with him in his misfortune.

Greening Lodge No. 53, AF&AM, meets third Saturday in each month. – F.J. Dean, Secretary.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Oct. 23, 2019

Jimmie Thompson, golfer. 

FOUR YEARS AGO
OCT. 15, 2015

Zane Lambert and Kirsten Etheridge were named Mr. Football and Miss Football, respectively, during pre-game homecoming festivities on Oct. 2 at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen.

Sparta Academy’s varsity football team improved to 6-2 overall and to 3-1 in region play Friday night by beating region opponent Lowndes Academy, 40-20, in Lowndesboro.
Stone Riley led Sparta’s offense with 29 carries for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Hunter Bolton followed with 138 total yards and had a hand in three touchdowns.
(Other top Sparta players in that game included Tanner Bledsoe, Austin Cain, Tyler Davis, Daren Draper, Sean Kelly, Zane Lambert, Peyton McCraney, Lanse Robbins, Ethan Tyree and Griffin Weaver.)

The Lyeffion Mighty Mites beat Beatrice, 36-8, Saturday in Beatrice. Players on the team include Ja’Karie Cheathan, Stephen Holder, Gregory Lee Jr., Peyton Keith, Elijah Harris, Eliah Hall, Kevin Henderson Jr., Javoris Hall, Jamarius Barlow, Yasen Brown Jr., Jakyran Watkins, Keaston Dailey, Thomas Brown, Jamel Poindexter, Marqueal Simmons, Jayvin Evans, O’Marius Lee, Tarus Lymon, D’Neyro Gathing, Jon Pope Jr., Keontra Palmore, Malik Poindexter, Tyress Tillman, Skyler Ledesma, Kristofer Guizar, Kydarian Dienye and LaPatrick Bradley.

29 YEARS AGO
OCT. 18, 1990

Hillcrest sets first homecoming: Hillcrest High School will hold its first homecoming this Friday. Activities will include a homecoming parade through downtown Evergreen at 4 p.m. Miss Homecoming, April Bullock; Miss Football, Cynthia Pugh and the Homecoming Court are: ninth grade, Chiquita McMillian and Shannon Morgan; tenth grade, Susan Brewton and Melissa Lett; eleventh grade, Traci Harter and Nikki Likely; and twelfth grade, Tonya Taylor and Kertina Wiggins.
Pre-game activities will be held at 7 p.m. and will include the presentation of Miss Homecoming and Miss Football. The game between Hillcrest and the Atmore Blue Devils is set for 7:30 kickoff. A homecoming dance will be held from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the school. The dance is for Hillcrest High School students and their dates only. Dress at the dance is semi-formal.

Sparta Academy Homecoming Friday: Homecoming activities will be held this Friday at Sparta Academy. Class skits and a pep rally will be held beginning at 12:30. All parents are invited to come and watch the skits and stay for the pep rally.
Pre-game activities will begin at 6:30 with the presentation of the senior football players and the senior cheerleaders. Kickoff for the Sparta v. Grove Hill game is set for 7:30 p.m. Presentation of Miss Homecoming and the Homecoming Court will be held at halftime.

54 YEARS AGO
OCT. 21, 1965

Lyeffion Jackets sting Aggies, 23-7: In the big game of the county Friday night, Lyeffion’s Yellow Jackets toppled the winless Evergreen Aggies from their spot at the top of Conecuh County football fortune by swamping the Aggies 23-7 behind signal caller Homer Chavers, tackle Harold Brown and backs Stanley Wilson and Don Jones.
Lyeffion proved it was there to play ball when a double reverse sprang Stanley Wilson loose in the first quarter for a 56-yard run to pay dirt. Minutes later, Jones concluded a Yellow Jacket drive by plowing five yards through green jerseys for a touchdown. Jones then added the extra point with a kick to make it 13-0, Lyeffion, at the end of the first quarter.
Oland Robinson, the only bright spot in a dismal evening for the Aggies, led the Aggies back into the game with a 36-yard scoring jaunt. Wayne Caylor booted the PAT, putting the score at 13-7 at the half with Lyeffion in the lead.
After the half, the Aggies put together a drive which looked like the best offensive play Coach Cliff Little’s team had mustered all year but a fumble on the 25 gave Lyeffion possession of the ball in their own territory to end the Aggie threat.
In the fourth quarter, Don Jones split the uprights with a 30-yard field goal giving Lyeffion a nine-point lead and putting the game on ice. Shortly afterwards, Homer Chavers circled end on a 25-yard scoring romp and big Jones ran for the PAT to close the scoring at 23-7, Lyeffion over Evergreen.

The Repton Bulldogs were defeated by Red Level Friday night by the score of 34-0 at Red Level.
(Players on Repton’s team included Larry Baggett, Maury Conner, Terry Andrews, David Ivey, Frank Watson and Ralph Baggett.

79 YEARS AGO
OCT. 17, 1940

World’s Longest Driving Golf Pro To Give Exhibition: Golfers and others will be keenly interested in the fact that Jimmie Thompson, the world’s longest driver of a golf ball, will give an exhibition and play in a match at the country club in Andalusia on Wed., Oct. 23.
No admission will be charged as Mr. Thompson is appearing under the auspices of A.G. Spaulding & Bros. He has been invited to bring along Mrs. Thompson, the former Viola Dana, former well known silent screen star.
Mr. Thompson will play in a match with Bill Davis, club professional; Abner Powell, local amateur; and another outstanding out-of-town amateur. The exhibition will be staged in the afternoon.
Climaxing the day’s activities, an outstanding orchestra has been secured for a dance at the club house that night.
Joe Jones, chairman of the golf committee, extends a cordial invitation to golfers and others of Evergreen to see this exhibition, and to take part in the day’s activities.

CCC News: Published Weekly by Members of Co. 4436-Camp ALA-SCS-20: The camp has not organized a basketball team yet, but hopes to have a good one going soon. We would like to play as many of the surrounding teams as possible. The camp is proud of its tennis court, which was built soon after the camp moved to Evergreen, and is now in good condition. Mr. William McGehee and Mr. William Porter from town used to come out quite often to play tennis with Lt. Jones and Lt. Decker.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., Oct. 23, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.65 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 3.65 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 42.10 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, October 22, 2019

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., Oct. 22, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.30 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.65 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 3.65 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 42.10 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, October 20, 2019

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

USS Simon Lake

28 YEARS AGO
OCT. 17, 1991

Helipad site is approved: The Alabama Department of Aeronautics has approved a site for a helipad near the emergency room of Monroe County Hospital.
Administrator Steve Shepherd presented the letter of approval to the hospital’s board of directors during a regular meeting Tuesday night.
The site is on a hill on the northwest side of the hospital. Because of this hill, a steel structure must be built to support the 50x50-foot elevated pad.
SouthFlite, the aeromedical helicopter that has been landing at Monroe County Airport to pick up seriously injured patients for transfer to the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile, would be the primary user of the helipad.

Vols record 17-14 win over Eagles: Monroe Academy built a 17-6 lead on homecoming night and held on to upend Sumter Academy, 17-14, Friday at MA.
(Shane) Stafford led MA’s offensive charge with 22 carries for 146 yards. MA’s top tackler was Stafford, who amassed 13 tackles.
(Other top MA players in that game included Nick Ackerman, Conan Ivey, Jason Moore, Troy Norris, Doyal Phillips, Michael Stacey, Mitchell Turberville, Andy Waters, Tommy Weatherford and Ron Wiggins. K.J. Lazenby was MA’s head coach.)

Navy Seaman Kensel V. Lieb, son of Rebecca I. Black of Monroeville, recently reported for duty aboard the submarine tender USS Simon Lake, homeported in Holy Loch, Scotland. The 1989 graduate of Monroe Academy joined the Navy in February 1991.

53 YEARS AGO
OCT. 20, 1966

Try-Outs Are Set For Next Play: Try-outs for the next production of the Monroe County Theatre Guild will be held Friday night, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at the courtroom in the new courthouse.
L.E. Whiting, president of the guild and director of the play “The Night of Jan. 16,” which is a re-enactment of a murder trial, said the play calls for 21 different characters in the production.
The guild was organized this summer and one play has already been held, that one at the end of the summer.

Ex-MCHS Player Starter At UND: Coy Tatum, former Monroe County High School fullback, has made it in a big way with the University of North Dakota football team at a new position – offensive right guard.
The 6-1, 200-pound sophomore broke into the starting lineup after he recovered from an early season ankle injury that caused him to miss the team’s first three games.
The 1965 MCHS graduate made the traveling squad for the fourth game and the next week cracked the staring offensive unit’s lineup.

John Bradley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Bradley, was among the members of the University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band, who attended the Alabama-Tennessee game in Knoxville.

HAVE SON: Dr. and Mrs. Grayson Simmons of Birmingham announce the birth of a son, whom they have named Stephen Wilson. The baby was born Oct. 10.
Paternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Simmons and great-grandmother is Mrs. A.D. Simmons.

78 YEARS AGO
OCT. 16, 1941

SMALL BLAZE AT JOHNSON HOME FRIDAY: The roof of the Dr. J.M. Johnson home was slightly damaged by fire about noon last Friday. Sparks from the stove flue probably started the blaze.
An alarm was sent out and the fire department responded, but the fire was under control before the truck reached the scene.

Monroeville Suffers Second Defeat, 13-0: The Monroeville High eleven went down in defeat for the second successive week last Friday night when they played the McCullough team on the local gridiron. The score was 13-0.
Monroeville showed decided improvement in this game as their passing, kicking and returning of punts were much improved. If they continue to show as much improvement in the coming games, Monroeville will have one of the best little high school teams in this section, despite the fact that seven or eight of the players had never been in a game before this season.

Mr. Billy Black, who has been on Army maneuvers in Louisiana the past two months, spent last Thursday in Monroeville with his many friends. He is stationed at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. for the present.

NOTED MISSIONARY TO SPEAK HERE SUNDAY: Dr. V.A. Anderson, for many years a missionary to the Belgian Congo, will speak at 11 a.m. Sun., Oct. 19, at the Monroeville Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Anderson was born and reared in South Alabama, and he has enjoyed a fruitful service in Africa. He will bring a very interesting message. The public is cordially invited to attend.

103 YEARS AGO
OCT. 19, 1916

THE MONROE COUNTY FAIR – Weather Conditions Unfavorable for Important Event: Today is the date appointed for the opening of the second annual Agricultural Fair and Livestock Show of Monroe County. As The Journal goes to press, however, circumstances do not appear altogether propitious for the celebration of the event to the best advantage. Yesterday dawned with murky, shifting clouds overspread, followed shortly by gusts of wind that threatened a gale.

The county board of revenue has purchased one of the most approved types of traction engines for use in dressing and maintenance of the public roads of the county. Investigation has convinced the board that the tractor as a road implement is not only more satisfactory from the standpoint of efficiency but in the matter of economy as well.

County Engineer C.E. Barker made a trip to the west side of the river the first of the week. He reports about 70 men employed in that community under the storm relief arrangement, and that good work is being done.

Mr. R.P. Purifoy and family of Snow Hill are welcomed as citizens of Monroeville. Mr. Purifoy is manager of the Mathison House, formerly the Patrick House.

D.L. Neville, county game warden, has received from the state game and fish commissioner peremptory instructions to prosecute to the limit of the law all persons hunting without license or violating any other provisions of the game and fish laws. All may rest assured that the local warden will carry his instructions into effect without fear or favor.

128 YEARS AGO
OCT. 15, 1891

A SMALL BLAZE: Fire broke out in the Locklin House one night last week, which but for the early discovery and prompt action of the citizens, would have laid the business portion of the town of Perdue Hill in ashes.
The fire was caused, it is assumed, from a defective flue. As soon as the alarm was given, the town flocked to the rescue and the flames were quickly brought under control and finally extinguished, resulting in slight damage to the building but a severe shock to the nerves of all concerned in the threatened calamity.

ROBBERY: An unusual occurrence in our quiet village was reported Monday morning.
Mr. T.L. Millsap, agent for the Manhattan Insurance Co., N.Y., was reported to have been robbed at the Watson House.
Mr. Millsap occupied a room on the ground floor and retired late Sunday night, placing his pantaloons containing his pocketbook under his pillow. On awaking Monday morning, he found his pants on a chair and his pocketbook containing $78 in money missing. He attaches blame to no one connected with the hotel.
Mr. Millsap was driving out all Sunday evening and it is possible that he lost his pocketbook and did not miss it, and that no robbery occurred.

BUSINESS CHANGE: Mr. R. Thames, the clever young salesman, lastly with Messrs. Roberts, Locklin & Co., has recently purchased and assumed control of the grocery business of Mr. Wm. Pharr, Perdue Hill. Mr. Thames is an energetic, enterprising gentleman and will be pleased to meet in the capacity of proprietor the many friends who knew him as junior clerk.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Oct. 20, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 3.15 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.35 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 3.35 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 41.80 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, October 19, 2019

Did Red Eagle's wife have a premonition as an omen of his death?

William Weatherford

(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 “The Eagle’s flight: William Weatherford’s exploits, death” was originally published in the April 13, 1972 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Much has been said and written about William Weatherford, “The Red Eagle.” Many stories both true and false, have been spun about his exploits as farmer, settler, landowner and war chief of the Creek Indian Nation. Probably no other man had as much impact on early Monroe County history as this man.

Lomachette, which means “The Red Eagle” in the language of the Creeks, was born in the Indian town of Coose, located near the point where the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers join to make up the Alabama River. His father was Charles Weatherford, a Scotch trader. His mother was “Sehoya,” a Creek Indian princess.

As Weatherford grew into early manhood, the clouds of war between white man and red man had begun to form on the horizon. The ties of his Indian blood proved stronger than those of his white kindred and he cast his fortune with the red man. After the decisive battle at Horseshoe Bend and the defeat of the Creek Nation by Andrew Jackson (Old Hickory) and a ragtag Army of volunteers. Red Eagle eventually returned to Little River, in the lower part of Monroe County. Here he lived the remaining years of his life.

At his death in 1824, William Weatherford was laid to rest across Little River, outside of his native country, only a short distance, as an eagle flies, from his plantation home. During his last years, he spent much of his idle time hunting bear in the swamps along the Alabama River. It was during one of these hunts that he became ill with the sickness (believed to be pneumonia) that resulted in his death.

Just a few days before his return from this last hunt, Weatherford’s wife was sitting in the hallway of their home. Her thoughts were of her husband. She happened to turn and look in the direction of the road, leading up to the gate. There was Red Eagle dismounting his horse and in the process of tying the reins to the hitching post. She rose and went into the main room of the house for a moment before greeting him. When she returned into the hall, he was not to be seen anywhere. She waited for a moment, thinking that her husband had gone to the barn to stable his horse. Strangely though he did not return to the house. She did not see him again for several days. When he did return, he was very ill.

Lomachette, war chief of the Creeks, never recovered.

His wife always regarded her premonition of her husband as an omen of his death.

So it was, the spirit of the Eagle spread its wings for the last time in this world and mounted the winds from the Great Beyond for his final flight in the Realm of Eternity.

[This story also included a photo of William Weatherford’s grave, taken by Singleton, that included the following caption: Here lies Red Eagle.]

(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., Oct. 19, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): Trace.

Week to Date Rainfall: 3.15 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  3.35 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 3.35 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 41.80 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.