Wednesday, December 30, 2020

How many Wilcox County players played in the old Negro Baseball Leagues from 1920 to 1948?

Hank Aaron in 1952.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced earlier this month that Major League status will be bestowed on the approximately 3,400 players that played in the seven professional Negro Baseball Leagues that operated between 1920 and 1948. That means that those players will be considered official Major Leaguers and that their stats and records will become an official part of Major League history. This has interesting implications for Wilcox County native Hank Aaron.

While most sources say that Aaron was born in Mobile, members of the Wilcox Historical Society say that Aaron was born at Possum Bend, which is just west of Camden. Society members say that Aaron still has family members in Wilcox County, and that they have often told stories about Aaron’s birth in Wilcox County. A short time after his birth in 1934, he moved to Mobile, where he grew up and began to play baseball.

Aaron made his Major League debut with the Milwaukee Braves on April 13, 1954, but prior to that he played for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League. The Clowns were formed in the 1930s as an independent team and joined the Negro American League in 1943. Any of you who saw the 1976 baseball comedy “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings” may remember that it was loosely based on the Clowns.

Prior to signing with the Clowns on Nov. 20, 1951, Aaron played for two semipro teams in the Mobile area, the Prichard Athletics and the Mobile Black Bears. During the 1952 season, Aaron played three months for the Clowns as a shortstop and clean-up hitter. The future Hall of Famer, who would go on to break Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, made a whopping $200 a month.

Researchers at the Howe Sports Bureau are the recognized authority on Negro League stats and records. According to their research, Aaron played in 26 official Negro League games, compiling a .366 batting average, which drew the attention of Major League scouts. In those games, Aaron also recorded 41 hits (including five home runs), drove in 33 runs and stole nine bases.

Jimmy Newberry of Camden
The only other Negro League player from Wilcox County that I know of is pitcher Jimmy Newberry, who was born in Camden in 1919. Beginning in 1944, Newberry played for the Birmingham Black Barons and the Cincinnati Clowns, who would later change their name to the Indianapolis Clowns. In 1952, Newberry made history when he and former Black Barons teammate John Britton became the first two African American players to play on a Japanese professional baseball team, the Japanese Pacific League’s Hankyu Braves.

In the end, my feeling is that Wilcox County has probably produced other Negro League players, so please contact me if you know of any others besides Aaron and Newberry. Also, please let me know if you have any additional information about Aaron and Newberry’s ties to Wilcox County. In light of Major League Baseball’s recent announcement regarding the Negro Leagues, there is no better time than right now to document this information.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Dec. 29, 2020

U.S. Senator Jim Allen
28 YEARS AGO
DEC. 24, 1992

Local weather reporter Harry Ellis reported .52 of an inch of rain on Dec. 15, 3.41 on Dec. 16, .06 on Dec. 17, .06 on Dec. 19 and .08 on Dec. 20. He reported a high temperature of 73 degrees on Dec. 20 and a low of 38 on Dec. 17.

The Conecuh County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors officially welcomed Rosalyn Skipper back to the area last Tuesday evening with a reception at the Quality Inn of Evergreen. Ms. Skipper was recently named as the executive director of the EDA and of the Evergreen-Conecuh County Chamber of Commerce.

Members of local volunteer fire departments proudly display their awards as “Volunteer of the Year” from each department. The winners are Judy Poole of Sandcut, Aline Quinley (accepting for Elmer Quinley) of Flat Rock, Harvey Boatright of Pine Orchard, Elbert Mooney of Burnt Corn, Ruby Powell (sister of the late Lois Reeves) of Lyeffion, Mrs. McMillian (accepting for the late Robert McMillian) of Repton, Mrs. Helen Nelson (accepting for the late L.M. Nelson) of Evergreen, Sonny Holmes of Johnsonville, Johnny McDonald of Range, Michael Lambert of Belleville, Zolen “Skeeter” Pugh of Brownville-Owassa and Melinda Morrison of the Conecuh County Rescue Squad.

43 YEARS AGO
DEC. 22, 1977

Local weather reporter Earl Windham reported .43 of an inch of rain on Dec. 14 and .88 on Dec. 17. He reported a high of 70 on Dec. 17 and a low of 24 on Dec. 12.

U.S. Senator Jim Allen visited Conecuh County on Thursday of last week. Here the outstanding senator visits with some of his constituents: County Commission Chairman David L. Burt Jr., Al Ball and Alton Johnson. The senator spent the afternoon in the county commission office talking with country folks. Earlier at noon he addressed the Evergreen Rotary Club. His talk was based on prayer in recognition of the National Day of Prayer, which was observed Thursday.

District Judge Tommy Chapman presents a silver engraved serving tray to Leon A. Salter in recognition of his long service as Circuit Clerk. Salter retired Nov. 30. The tray was presented by ‘The Bar and Bench’ of the Conecuh County Bar Association. Judge Chapman is president of the County Bar Association and also of the 35th Circuit Bar Association. The presentation took place Monday morning in Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key’s office.

Demphsey McNeil was awarded Conecuh County’s Distinguished Leadership Award for this year at the recent Auburn University Extension Service Leadership Awards Banquet in Selma. Attending from Conecuh County were the Rev. Fred Bailey, Mrs. Avie Lee McInnis, Mrs. Helen Watson, Mrs. Joyce Watson and Mrs. Lucy Watson, all representing the Bermuda Community Improvement Club, Mrs. Mildred McNeil, Commissioner McNeil, Mrs. Louise Ostrom and Herbert Oakley.

58 YEARS AGO
DEC. 27, 1962

Larry Yeargan, who attends the Baylor School for Boys at Chattanooga, Tenn., is spending the Christmas holidays with his parents, Dr. and Mrs. R.L. Yeargan Jr.

From “Front Page, Upper Left Corner” by Bob Bozeman – No news is good news the saying goes and certainly there must be a lot of good news around here. This is a tough time of the year for newspaper folks. People are so wrapped up with the holiday that they neglect to do the ordinary things that make news.
Compound that by trying to get the paper out early which is what we are doing this week, and it is all the harder. It’s hard for us to let our employees off for long periods, so following our custom of many years, we are closing down next week for a short Christmas vacation, so this paper is being completed Saturday.
We won’t be able to get out any printing, but the front office will be open to take orders and sell office supplies other than the normal holiday period.
Winding up a year you sorta look back and remember and always there is much to be grateful for and many people who have been so nice. 1962 hasn’t been such a bad year. It marked something out of the ordinary for this writer who for the first time in his life voted for a winning candidate for governor. Ordinarily my vote is the kiss of death for a gubernatorial candidate.

73 YEARS AGO
DEC. 25, 1947

Rev. Alfred A. Staples, pastor of the First Baptist Church of this city, tendered his resignation at the 11 o’clock services Sunday morning and asked that the same become effective Jan. 9, 1948. He has accepted a call to serve the Fairfield Baptist Church near Birmingham.

The United States Civil Service Commission has announced an open competitive examination to fill the vacancy of postmaster at Castleberry, in accordance with an Act of Congress, approved June 25, 1938.

State Public Safety Director J.D. Mitchell last week announced the assignments that have been made under the highway patrol ranking system which went into effect Dec. 16.
The patrol was originally established on the military basis, but the rating plan was changed during the administration of former Gov. Chauncey Sparks.

A LITTLE REST FOR THE WEARY: Through your cooperation by getting in copy and advertisements early and by virtue of much extra effort the employees of The Courant will enjoy a brief vacation the remainder of this week. They finished The Courant Tuesday and don’t have to report back for work until Monday.
We thank you for your cooperation that made possible this well earned vacation. We wish to thank the employees of The Courant for their patience, hard work and hearty cooperation during the past year. We wish all of you the merriest Christmas that you have ever enjoyed and truly hope that the New Year will bring you greater happiness and prosperity than ever before.

88 YEARS AGO
DEC. 22, 1932

The new Chevrolet was introduced to Evergreen people Saturday at the Wilson Motor Co.

J.B. O’Bannon, for many years prominent in the political and fraternal life of Brewton and Escambia County, died at his home near Brewton early Monday morning.
He was one of the oldest members of the Masonic Lodge, having served as the worshipful master of the A.F. and A.M. Norris Lodge at Brewton a number of terms.
Funeral with Masonic rites was held from the home Tuesday morning with burial in Union Cemetery.

SATURDAY WAS GOOD DAY FOR SNAKES: Saturday was a bad day as we human beings ordinarily term weather, cold and rainy with the rain turning into sleet sometime during the night Saturday night. According to B.E. Waters of the Spence community, it must have been just the kind of day snakes like. While hauling wood to his home that afternoon, he killed three snakes. The first one was a rattler, four feet long with nine rattles. Next, he killed a smaller snake of some specie unknown to Mr. Waters. Then while unloading the wood he discovered a moccasin, which he also killed. Now, if Saturday wasn’t a good day for snakes, how many do you suppose Mr. Waters would kill on a genuine, old “snake day”?

Monday, December 28, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Dec. 28, 2020

22 YEARS AGO
DEC. 31, 1998

The varsity cheerleaders from Sparta Academy took first place honors in the 10th annual Alabama Cheerleaders Coaches and Advisors Association State Cheerleading Championships. The competition was held Dec. 5, 1998 at Etowah High School in Attalla, Ala. Squads from private and public schools all over the state competed with routines consisting of cheers, chants, stunts, jumps and dance. Members of the Class 1A state champion Sparta varsity squad that competed are Sunshine Floyd, co-captain; Gina Harper, captain; Lauren Salter, Amy Jones, Wendy Crabtree, Jessica Bennett and Katie Johnston.

36 YEARS AGO
DEC. 29, 1983

Wilcox Academy swept four games from Sparta Academy in Camden on Dec. 16.
Wilcox won the boys varsity game, 79-69. Russ Brown had 23 points for Sparta. Connery Salter and Al Etheridge 12 each; Britt McNeill, 11; Vince Watts, six; and Danny Reed, five.
Sparta’s girls lost a close one, 31-29. Leah Carrier had 11 points; Jan Coker, eight; Tammy Booker, six; and Raye Ann Gall, four.
Sparta’s Boys B Team lost 40-34. Lynn Ralls had 10 points; Glynn Ralls, eight; Brandon Salter, six; Tim Wilson and Jason West, five each.
The Sparta Girls B Team lost 24-15. Kim Searcy had eight points; Susan Ward, five; and Jeannie Vonderan, three.

47 YEARS AGO

DEC. 28, 1972

Texas Cowgirls play men’s team here Jan. 10: The World Famous Texas Cowgirls Basketball Team will appear at the high school gym in Evergreen on Jan. 10 at 8 p.m.
This appearance will be sponsored by the high school.
The Texas Cowgirls will be commencing their 23rd season of play and have played over 4,000 engagements coast to coast and abroad.
The Texas Cowgirls will play against a men’s team with men’s rules. An entertaining program has been planned. Advance tickets may be obtained from members of the organization for adults, $1.50; and students, $1.

From “The Colyum” by Bob Bozeman: Better get your eyes in shape again, if they have recovered from last weekend. The bowl season is upon us and eyestrain threatens us football nuts.
Of course, to fans around here the strong attractions are the Gator Bowl on Saturday afternoon and the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Auburn’s unbelievable Tigers will do battle against Colorado in the Gator. Coach Shug Jordan’s club lost its starting quarterback as practice started for the bowl game.

57 YEARS AGO
DEC. 27, 1962

Castleberry Wins County Tournament: The Blue Devils of Conecuh County High School at Castleberry firmly established themselves as one of South Alabama’s top cage powers by winning the Conecuh County Invitational Tournament. Castleberry racked up Pineapple, 58-19, in the finals Thursday night.
Coach Pope’s host team is unbeaten this year. The Blue Devils lost only one player off their 1961-62 squad and have had little trouble downing all foes this year.
Castleberry placed three players on the all tournament team chosen at the conclusion of the meet. Janes, Foster and Kast were named. Others chosen were Robinson of Repton, Raines of Beatrice, Barlow and Sasser of T.R. Miller and Cochran and Stafford of Pineapple.

Janes tossed in 18 and Kast 17 to pace the Blue Devils in the championship tilt. Others scoring were Foster nine, Findley five, Sims four, Shipp three and Godwin two. Cochran led Pineapple with five points.

The tournament concluded play for the Blue Devils until the regular schedule is resumed in January.

 

Frisco City Wins Holiday Tourney: Frisco City captured the Evergreen Holiday Invitational Tournament Thursday night by whipping J.U. Blacksher of Uriah, 65-53. Greenville took the consolation game by a 64-29 score from Evergreen.

Greenville handily won the battle of the boards and Evergreen shot only 13.2 percent from the floor in the second half as the Tigers coasted to victory led by 19 and 16-point performances by Paul Burch and Joe Terrell, respectively. Joe Sasser with 10 was the only Aggie in double figures.

 

65 YEARS AGO

DEC. 31, 1953

 

The Conecuh County basketball picture should be some clearer after Tuesday night’s game between undefeated Repton and Evergreen.

Coach (Albert) Arnold will depend on the high-scoring antics of Paul Brantley and Ray Blackwell who share the scoring honors. Billy Farrish, Harry Giles and Eddie Kelly have been standouts too.

Coach (Wendell) Hart will pin most of his hopes on the shooting of tall Randy White, who averaged 15 points per game before Christmas, Ward Alexander Jr. and Jimmy Frazier insofar as scoring is concerned. Hosea King, Wayne Douglas, Charles King, Buck Lewis, Tommy Melton and Dale Blair will give them plenty of support.

Wednesday night the Aggies will take on Coach William Andrews’ improving Lyeffion Yellowjacket team. These contests are also scheduled to be played in Memorial Gym with the Bees meeting at seven o’clock in the first game. Friday night the Aggies journey to Pineapple for games with Moore Academy.

 

Mr. and Mrs. R.G. Kendall Jr. and children are visiting relatives in Dallas, Texas and will attend the Cotton Bowl game there Friday.

 

76 YEARS AGO

DEC. 31, 1942

 

Aggies to engage Pleasant Home here tonight: Coach E.L. McInnis’s green and white clad cagers will engage probably their toughest foe of the year today at 7:30 when they play the Pleasant Home basketeers on the local court.

The Pleasant Home cagesters have long been known in this section for their hardwood antics. Among the state’s better teams for the past several years, they wound up in sixth place last year.

The locals are the proud possessors of a four-game winning streak and as yet haven’t met their master. They have defeated Castleberry twice, Repton and Lyeffion once each. In these contests, they have scored 171 points to their opponents’ 52. Johnson has led the locals high-powered offense with 87 points scored. Thames holds runner-up honors with 48.

With transportation a big problem, this may be one of the last home games of the season. Both teams will be after the other’s skins and a close and thrilling scoring battle is forecast. The game will start at 7:30 p.m. Admission, schoolchildren, 15 cents; others, 25 cents.

 

91 YEARS AGO

DEC. 29, 1927

 

Local All Stars Defeat Monroeville: A football ball team composed of Evergreen all stars met and defeated an all star team from Monroeville Tuesday afternoon at Gantt’s Field to the score of 3 to 0.

The game was staged under the auspices of the American Legion and was well-attended by fans from both towns.

The only counter of the game came early when Watson Spence, former Aggie star but now of Auburn, booted the oval over for a field goal. After this, neither team was able to score. As evidenced by the score, the teams were well matched and no ground was gained except by fierce struggling.

 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

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

Mary Badham and Phillip Alford.
34 YEARS AGO
DEC. 25, 1986

Dr. B.L. Hanks plans to retire at end of year: Dr. B.L. Hanks of Frisco City has announced that he will retire as of Dec. 31.
Hanks, 76, a native of Frisco City, has been practicing medicine there for the past 38 years. He has actually been practicing medicine 42 years, but before coming to Frisco City he was in the Army.

MCHS surprises high-flying Lions: Monroe County High School’s Tigers delivered a hearty Yuletide greeting to Williamson High’s Lions Friday when they upended the Mobile team 61-54 in front of a partisan crowd in Monroeville.
After finishing the first half five points behind the highly touted Lions, the Tigers used an aggressive man-to-man defense to spark a third-quarter explosion.
(Top MCHS players in that game included Sidney Carmichael, Scott Daniels, Creg Johnson, Tyrone McCall, Tony McPherson, Michael Rankins and Allen Richardson. Joe Allen was MCHS’s head coach.)

Alex Roberts to take oath Wednesday: Alex Roberts will take the oath of office as a Monroe County commissioner in a ceremony starting at 10 a.m. Wed., Dec. 24, in the courtroom of the Monroe County Courthouse.
Roberts, a Monroeville photographer, was elected Nov. 4 to succeed Frank Dees, who did not seek re-election as commissioner for District 3. Probate Judge Otha Lee Biggs will administer the oath. Roberts will be the first black commissioner in modern times.
The other newly elected commissioner, Carlisle McClure of Monroeville, plans a separate swearing-in ceremony later. Both men’s four-year terms will start officially on Jan. 1.

59 YEARS AGO
DEC. 28, 1961

Two Children Selected For Roles In “To Kill A Mockingbird” Movie: Two Birmingham youngsters, Phillip Alford, 12, and Mary Badham, 9, have been selected for leading roles in the movie version of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning story, “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
Candidates were interviewed in all major southern cities by Miss Alice Lee Boatwright, representing Pakula-Mulligan Productions, who will film the novel.
First scenes of the story will begin unfolding before the cameras about Jan. 15, and according to reports there is a possibility the world premiere may be held in Birmingham with Harper Lee and the two young players as guests of honor.

Local Interest High In Sugar Bowl Game: The Alabama-Arkansas football game, which will be played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., Mon., Jan. 1, will be of much local interest as two players with local connections who made All-American will be playing, one on each team.
Lee Roy Jordan, top center for the Crimson Tide, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Jordan of Excel. Lance Alworth, All-American halfback for Arkansas, is the nephew of Rev. L. Reed Polk, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Monroeville.

State Senator Ryan deGraffenried of Tuscaloosa will be guest speaker at the regular meeting of the Monroeville Kiwanis Club Friday at noon at the Hi-Ho restaurant.
P.S. Jackson is program chairman for the meeting and urged all members to be present and avail themselves of the opportunity to hear Sen. deGraffenried speak.

84 YEARS AGO
DEC. 24, 1936

Monroeville Has Christmas Tree On Town Square: The Chamber of Commerce of Monroeville held a supper meeting last Friday evening at the Commercial Hotel. At this time, the organization authorized Dr. M.F. Parker, county health officer, to light a tree on the local square in honor of the approaching Christmas season.
On the next afternoon, Dr. Parker and H.H. Funderburk of the health office decorated one of the large shrubs on the north side of the courthouse as a Christmas tree, using a quantity of colored lights. The tree is lighted each evening and will be so until after the holiday season has passed. It presents a gay appearance and adds to the spirit of the season as expressed through the decorations of the business houses about the square.

Napoleon Hardy was injured last Thursday afternoon when he fell from the Yarbrough house where he was employed with the crew engaged in razing the building. Mr. Hardy fell from the second story and it was feared at first that his injuries might be very serious. However, latest reports are to the effect that he is recovering nicely.

The Journal office will be closed on Saturday following Christmas in order to give the office force an opportunity to have an extra day out of the office. We ask that our friends please bear this in mind and govern themselves accordingly.

C.L. Hybart, Monroeville attorney, received painful cuts about the face and neck as the result of an automobile accident which occurred last Tuesday night. The accident took place during the downpour of rain and the car driver was said to have been blinded by the lights of an approaching car and the rain and the machine struck a telephone pole.

109 YEARS AGO
DEC. 28, 1911

So far the holidays have passed uneventfully in Monroeville. Everyone seems to have enjoyed the good cheer of the season in a very quiet manner and there was less evidence than usual of indulgence in the cup that inebriates. For this we should be profoundly thankful.

Mr. E.W. Sessions died near Excel on Friday of last week from injuries inflicted by some person unknown. Sessions was at Excel on the night of the 20th inst. to attend the Wild West show. In the darkness just outside the tent someone struck him a heavy blow on the head. He was found shortly afterwards in an unconscious condition and died some hours later without being able to give any information regarding the personality of his assailant. A thorough investigation of the crime is being made by authorities at Excel.

On the theory that “half a loaf is better than no bread,” The Journal appears this week with a very limited quantity of local reading matter. It has been our custom heretofore to omit an issue during the holidays in order to allow our printers a brief season of rest and recreation. A number of important legal advertisements make it necessary to issue the paper this week even though the reading matter be limited.

The sentence of Henry Sanders, condemned to be hanged on Dec. 29, has been again stayed by reason of an appeal by his attorney to the supreme court.

Miss Daisy Green is spending Christmas week with home folks at Burnt Corn.

134 YEARS AGO
DEC. 27, 1886

Our reporter is on a strike and consequently the local column is short this week.

Mt. Pleasant – W.A. Shomo was recently appointed postmaster at Mt. Pleasant.

The following is clipped from The Pineapple Gazette: A man by the name of John Gray, living near Activity in Monroe County, hung himself last Sunday. He was found in the woods some distance from the house, hanging to a limb of a tree. He was intent on taking his life it seems, as there was a razor found on his person and the supposition is that should he fail in hanging himself, he would cut his throat. He evidently was crazy, as his actions for several days before his death was strangely noticeable. Financial embarrassments is the supposed cause.

Married – At the residence of C.P. Walker near Monroeville, on Thursday, the 24th inst. by G.W. Salter, Esq., Mr. Marion Frye and Miss Della Walker.

Escaped Convict – I will pay to anyone the sum of $25 for the capture of a convict who left my place last week, William or Bill McWilliams, also defray any expense they may have in getting. He is black, 21 years old, five and one-half feet high, large features, wears a small black hat, dark Jeans overshirt piped into red, buttons on each shoulder, No. 9 shoe, brown pants and carried with him a pair of No. 8 Sunday shoes and vest of common checked material, face is bumpy. – John McDuffie, River Ridge, Ala.

We are glad to see our esteemed townsman, Col. D.L. Neville, on the streets last week, after his recent severe illness.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Questions remain about how the Boiling Springs community in Wilcox County, Alabama got its name

Boiling Spring Baptist Church
In the northwest corner of Wilcox County, on State Highway 28, about 21 miles from the courthouse square in Camden, sits the old community of Boiling Springs. Aside from a couple of old churches and cemeteries, little remains from the heyday of this once thriving village, which was once large enough to have its own post office. Today, even the community’s exact name appears up for debate.

Most sources give the name of this community as Boiling Springs, and this was the official name of the post office that was in operation there from 1877 to 1904. Other maps list it as Boiling Spring (without the “s” at the end) or Boling Spring, while other historical maps list it as Bolling Spring. Oddly, there is no entry for any of these names in Virginia O. Foscue’s authoritative book, “Place Names in Alabama.”

Just the other day, I happened to be traveling west on Highway 28 and found myself in the Boiling Springs community. Traffic was light, so I eased along with an eye towards taking a good, long look around. Not having anywhere pressing to be, I turned down the short road that leads to the Boiling Spring Baptist Church.

I spent a few minutes walking around the church, looking for a cornerstone that might indicate when the church was founded or when it was built. Finding none, I walked over to the small adjoining cemetery and closely examined the headstones, reading the names of many who no doubt once attended services at this remote country church. Just eyeballing it, I’d say there are about 40 graves here, many of which are unmarked.

I eventually climbed back in my truck and traveled a short distance down Highway 28 before cutting north on Boiling Spring Road. I eased down this dirt road for a few minutes before pulling over for a closer look at the Bethel A.M.E. Church. Here, I also walked around the church looking for a cornerstone, but did not find one that indicated when the church was founded or constructed.

Those who have been to this church before will know that there is an old, wood-frame building behind the church that looks somewhat out of place. It looks like it could have been an old house, and I wondered if maybe it had served as a pastorium at one time. On the other hand, maybe it was a small fellowship hall or perhaps a Sunday school building. In any event, today it is overgrown with brush with portions of the building falling in, and I could not help but wonder what purpose it served in days gone by.

Before leaving, I walked over to the church’s adjoining cemetery, which looks to contain about 30 graves. One grave in particular caught my eye, that of Tommie “Buster” Bryant, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 83. According to his headstone, he was the “Homecoming Founder of Bethel A.M.E. Church.”

Back in my truck, I again pondered the origin of the name “Boiling Springs.” I pulled out my trusty National Geographic map of Wilcox County, and it showed several creeks and streams in the area, but none so significant to be named on the map. Where then does the name “Boiling Springs” originate?

In the end, maybe someone in the reading audience will know how this community came to be called Boiling Springs. If so, please let me hear from you. I’d also like to hear from anyone in the reading audience with more information about this community’s history or from anyone who knows any old ghost stories or local legends from this part of the county.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Dec. 22, 2020

28 YEARS AGO
DEC. 24, 1992

Local weather reporter Harry Ellis reported .52 of an inch of rain on Dec. 15, 3.41 on Dec. 16, .06 on Dec. 17, .06 on Dec. 19 and .08 on Dec. 20. He reported a high temperature of 73 degrees on Dec. 20 and a low of 38 on Dec. 17.

The Conecuh County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors officially welcomed Rosalyn Skipper back to the area last Tuesday evening with a reception at the Quality Inn of Evergreen. Ms. Skipper was recently named as the executive director of the EDA and of the Evergreen-Conecuh County Chamber of Commerce.

Members of local volunteer fire departments proudly display their awards as ‘Volunteer of the Year’ from each department. The winners are Judy Poole of Sandcut, Aline Quinley (accepting for Elmer Quinley) of Flat Rock, Harvey Boatright of Pine Orchard, Elbert Mooney of Burnt Corn, Ruby Powell (sister of the late Lois Reeves) for Lyeffion, Mrs. McMillian (accepting for the late Robert McMillian) of Repton, Mrs. Helen Nelson (accepting for the late L.M. Nelson) of Evergreen, Sonny Holmes of Johnsonville, Johnny McDonald of Range, Michael Lambert of Belleville, Zolen ‘Skeeter’ Pugh of Brownville-Owassa and Melinda Morrison of the Conecuh County Rescue Squad.

43 YEARS AGO
DEC. 22, 1977

Local weather reporter Earl Windham reported .43 of an inch of rain on Dec. 14 and .88 on Dec. 17. He reported a high of 70 on Dec. 17 and a low of 24 on Dec. 12.

U.S. Senator Jim Allen visited Conecuh County on Thursday of last week. Here the outstanding senator visits with some of his constituents: County Commission Chairman David L. Burt Jr., Al Ball and Alton Johnson. The senator spent the afternoon in the county commission office talking with country folks. Earlier at noon he addressed the Evergreen Rotary Club. His talk was based on prayer in recognition of the National Day of Prayer, which was observed Thursday.

District Judge Tommy Chapman presents a silver engraved serving tray to Leon A. Salter in recognition of his long service as Circuit Clerk. Salter retired Nov. 30. The tray was presented by ‘The Bar and Bench’ of the Conecuh County Bar Association. Judge Chapman is president of the County Bar Association and also of the 35th Circuit Bar Association. The presentation took place Monday morning in Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key’s office.

Demphsey McNeil was awarded Conecuh County’s Distinguished Leadership Award for this year at the recent Auburn University Extension Service Leadership Awards Banquet in Selma. Attending from Conecuh County were the Rev. Fred Bailey, Mrs. Avie Lee McInnis, Mrs. Helen Watson, Mrs. Joyce Watson and Mrs. Lucy Watson, all representing the Bermuda Community Improvement Club, Mrs. Mildred McNeil, Commissioner McNeil, Mrs. Louise Ostrom and Herbert Oakley.

58 YEARS AGO
DEC. 27, 1962

Larry Yeargan, who attends the Baylor School for Boys at Chattanooga, Tenn., is spending the Christmas holidays with his parents, Dr. and Mrs. R.L. Yeargan Jr.

From “Front Page, Upper Left Corner” by Bob Bozeman – No news is good news the saying goes and certainly there must be a lot of good news around here. This is a tough time of the year for newspaper folks. People are so wrapped up with the holiday that they neglect to do the ordinary things that make news.
Compound that by trying to get the paper out early which is what we are doing this week, and it is all the harder. It’s hard for us to let our employees off for long periods, so following our custom of many years, we are closing down next week for a short Christmas vacation, so this paper is being completed Saturday.
We won’t be able to get out any printing, but the front office will be open to take orders and sell office supplies other than the normal holiday period.
Winding up a year you sorta look back and remember and always there is much to be grateful for and many people who have been so nice. 1962 hasn’t been such a bad year. It marked something out of the ordinary for this writer who for the first time in his life voted for a winning candidate for governor. Ordinarily my vote is the kiss of death for a gubernatorial candidate.

73 YEARS AGO
DEC. 25, 1947

Rev. Alfred A. Staples, pastor of the First Baptist Church of this city, tendered his resignation at the 11 o’clock services Sunday morning and asked that the same become effective Jan. 9, 1948. He has accepted a call to serve the Fairfield Baptist Church near Birmingham.

The United States Civil Service Commission has announced an open competitive examination to fill the vacancy of postmaster at Castleberry, in accordance with an Act of Congress, approved June 25, 1938.

State Public Safety Director J.D. Mitchell last week announced the assignments that have been made under the highway patrol ranking system which went into effect Dec. 16.
The patrol was originally established on the military basis, but the rating plan was changed during the administration of former Gov. Chauncey Sparks.

A LITTLE REST FOR THE WEARY: Through your cooperation by getting in copy and advertisements early and by virtue of much extra effort the employees of The Courant will enjoy a brief vacation the remainder of this week. They finished The Courant Tuesday and don’t have to report back for work until Monday.
We thank you for your cooperation that made possible this well earned vacation. We wish to thank the employees of The Courant for their patience, hard work and hearty cooperation during the past year. We wish all of you the merriest Christmas that you have ever enjoyed and truly hope that the New Year will bring you greater happiness and prosperity than ever before.

88 YEARS AGO
DEC. 22, 1932

The new Chevrolet was introduced to Evergreen people Saturday at the Wilson Motor Co.

J.B. O’Bannon, for many years prominent in the political and fraternal life of Brewton and Escambia County, died at his home near Brewton early Monday morning.
He was one of the oldest members of the Masonic Lodge, having served as the worshipful master of the A.F. and A.M. Norris Lodge at Brewton a number of terms.
Funeral with Masonic rites were held from the home Tuesday morning with burial in Union Cemetery.

SATURDAY WAS GOOD DAY FOR SNAKES: Saturday was a bad day as we human beings ordinarily term weather, cold and rainy with the rain turning into sleet sometime during the night Saturday night. According to B.E. Waters of the Spence community, it must have been just the kind of day snakes like. While hauling wood to his home that afternoon, he killed three snakes. The first one was a rattler, four feet long with nine rattles. Next, he killed a smaller snake of some specie unknown to Mr. Waters. Then while unloading the wood he discovered a moccasin, which he also killed. Now, if Saturday wasn’t a good day for snakes, how many do you suppose Mr. Waters would kill on a genuine, old “snake day”?

Monday, December 21, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Dec. 21, 2020

Clint Jackson
13 YEARS AGO
DEC. 20, 2007

Sparta Academy’s varsity boys basketball team captured third place in Monroe Academy Christmas Tournament by beating Escambia Academy, 70-39, in Monroeville.
In the win over Escambia, Chris Cinereski, a six-foot-four senior, led Sparta with 17 points.
(Other players on Sparta’s team that year included Mason Black, J.R. Williams, D.J. Buckhault, Drayton Rodgers, Brannon Jordan, Justin Webb, Myles Wiggins, Matt Johnson, Nicholas Hardin, Michael Cook and Michael Morris.)

Hillcrest High School’s varsity boys whipped perennial 1A powerhouse J.F. Shields, 51-40, in Evergreen.

Hillcrest High School’s Lady Jags beat previously undefeated J.F. Shields, 44-34, on Tuesday of last week in Evergreen. Catorica Floyd led Hillcrest with 12 points.
(Other players on Hillcrest’s team included Kemara Bawlson and Kawanis Thomas.)

Sparta Academy’s girls basketball team improved its record to 11-2 overall Saturday by whipping Escambia Academy, 60-44, in the Monroe Academy Christmas Tournament in Monroeville.
BreAnna Pate, a five-foot-three junior, scored 20 points to lead the Lady Warriors, who entered the tournament ranked No. 4 in the AISA.
(Other players on Sparta’s girls team included Susan Ann Cook, Erica Palmer, Christin Booker, Camarena Godwin, Morgan Harden, Ashton Raines, Savannah Brown and Mallory Kendrick.)

28 YEARS AGO
DEC. 17, 1992

Four Sparta Academy Warriors scored in double figures last Monday night as the Warriors triumphed over Greenville Academy, 65-59.
Sr. Bryant Robinson and junior Britt Ward led the scoring with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Senior Terry Conway and junior McPherson Cook also scored in the double figure range, each with 10 points. Also scoring during the contest were Chip Gibson with six points and Casey Grant with two.

Competitors and fans at the Division 2 eight-mile Firestone-TNN E.T. Racing Tournament Finals in Atlanta saw a prime specimen from drag racing’s early days in Aubrey Padgett’s Big Iron C/Gas ’50 Chevy; its appearance has remained unchanged for nearly four decades.
Padgett, of Evergreen, Ala., has raced the car since 1959. He and former partner Dennis Bailey campaigned it as a class-legal C/Gasser until 1965, when they put the car in mothballs.
Padgett and son, Allen, 28, brought out the car a couple of years ago and now compete regularly in Atmore Dragway’s Pro class and at various nostalgia events across the South.

43 YEARS AGO
DEC. 15, 1977

The Lyeffion High School Yellow Jackets picked up their seventh and eighth wins by defeating Repton in a come from behind win, 72-64, and by whipping J.U. Blacksher of Uriah, 61-28.
Adrian Woods led scoring (against Repton) with 32 points, followed by Willie Hunter with 22, Eric Finklea with 12, Harold Kyser with four, Ricardo Hall with two.
Adrian Woods had 12 rebounds and topped scoring with 26 points (against Blacksher).
(Other players on Lyeffion’s team included Ricky Johnson, Jerry Johnson and Kenny Nevlous.)

Bouncing back from their first loss of the season Thursday night, the Sparta Academy Warriors eased past the South Butler Academy Raiders by a 72-66 count here Friday night in the Sparta Gymnatorium.
Terry Peacock was the top gunner with 22 points as Sparta had three players in the double figure bracket. Gray Stevens had 19; Bobby Padgett, 10; Johnny Ralls, seven; Steve Dubose and Tony Raines, six each; and John Hall, two. Padgett pulled in 14 rebounds and Dubose 12 to lead the boardwork for the Warriors.

Evergreen’s Olympian Boxer Clint Jackson will lead his six-man team into matches at the Pensacola Boxing Club this Saturday. Clint is a deputy sheriff of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department, which sponsors the team. Davidson County includes Nashville, Tenn.

58 YEARS AGO
DEC. 20, 1962

Two Monroe County high schools meet tonight in the finals of the first annual Evergreen Holiday basketball tournament. Frisco City and Blacksher High of Uriah are the finalists.
Frisco City advanced into the finals after edging Greenville 52 to 49 in a semi-finals match Tuesday night.
In the nightcap, Uriah eked out a 41-40 decision over the host Evergreen High Aggies in a real thriller. Jimmy Raines fired 13 points and Joe Sasser 10 to pace the Aggies. Larry Ellis had six; Sid Lambert, five; Ronnie Jackson, three; Scott Cook, two; and Donnie Jones, one.

Tall Atmore Trips Aggie Cagers 62-37: The Evergreen Aggies suffered their first basketball loss of the season Friday night at the hands of the taller Atmore Blue Devils. Ronnie Jackson led the Aggies with 11 markers.

73 YEARS AGO
DEC. 18, 1947

Coach Harry Engle’s Lyeffion Yellow Jackets grabbed their first win of the current cage campaign by edging past a fast-breaking Excel 25 to 21 last Friday night.
Hamp Hardee, Lyeffion center, played an outstanding game both defensively and offensively and led the scoring with 11 points. Heywood Jones, team captain, followed with seven points.

Coach Wendell Hart’s Evergreen High Aggies opened the 1947-48 cage season here last Friday night by marking down a 36 to 19 win over the W.S. Neal five of East Brewton.
Gillis “Crip” Jones played an outstanding game under the baskets constantly grabbing the rebounds. Jones, the Evergreen lay-up ace, tossed in five field goals and two free throws to pace the scorers with 12 points.

The fast-breaking Aggies of Evergreen High racked up win number two here Tuesday night downing the Georgiana Panthers by a 59 to 23 score.
Mickey Logue paced the high scoring Aggies with 15 points for the night. Brown, Evergreen center, put on a fancy exhibition of faking and passing and bagged 14 points for runner-up honors. Benton Carpenter poured 13 points through the hoop and Jones, nine.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

George Singleton tells of becoming a blood member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe after Korean War

(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 “Celebrating a birthday is time for reminiscing” was originally published in the Dec. 14, 1995 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Dec. 14 is just over the horizon. As you might have probably guessed, this is my birthday. It seems only last month that I just celebrated my 39th. Well, they say that is what happens when the peak of the hill of life is reached and you start the decent on the downward side.

I guess you might say that I’ve started on the down grade. I suppose the proper thing to do is to lock the back wheels of the wagon and take as much time as I can on the way down.

Each December, as another birthday approaches, I try to do something different or unusual. In the past, I have gone special places or have eaten special foods that I don’t especially care for, to prove that I yet have control of myself. On some birthdays, I have gone into the deep woods and stayed for a day and night, something just to be different on that day when another year is being added to the grand total.

Important events

This year, I have decided that I will do nothing more than sit down and try to remember some of the important events that have taken place over the past 39 or so years. I will be the first to admit that I have had a quite interesting life. I have done a lot of things and survived, things that some people try a whole lifetime and spend a great deal of money and never accomplish.

For example, who of my readers jumped out of the first airplane they ever rode in? I did just that; I would go on and jump out of five more before knowing what it was like to land in one. This was no great feat, but you have to admit that it was unusual.

How many of my readers received their high school diploma on a Friday night and left the following Saturday morning for boot camp at Parris Island Marine Training Base? Again, this neither was a great feat, but for a country boy from Sweet Water who had never been any farther from home than Mobile, I assure you it was a very new and different experience.

Which of you were bitten by a poisonous rattlesnake at eight years old? I was alone and about three miles from home when it happened to me. The horse that I was riding spooked and left me to walk the distance back home. I was frightened out of my mind. When I was finally taken to a rough country doctor, he asked my father how long had it been since the rattler had bitten me. My father told him that it had been almost four hours: “Hell, if he ain’t dead by this time, he ain’t gonna die.” I never did really like that doctor after that.

Possum grape record

For several years, I held the record in the community where I was reared for eating the most possum grapes in the shortest amount of time. I considered this an accomplishment within itself, considering the competition that I was up against.

I ate five large bunches of possum grapes in less than two minutes. I never was awarded a medal for this, my darling mother threatened to pump my stomach out if I ever did such a foolish thing again. I was the only one in the group who didn’t complain with the stomach ache. I was afraid to. I was afraid that my mother would make good her threat and pump my stomach out for sure.

I am also the only one who ever finished high school at Sweet Water who was forced to wear someone else’s shoes when I received my high school diploma.

Prior to going out on stage for the presentation of my diploma, this large young lady in my class grabbed my slippers that I was wearing as we sat waiting back stage. As the rest of the class giggled, I was unable to persuade the young lady to return my shoes. She was wearing my shoes when she received her diploma; I had to wear hers as I went forward to receive mine. I did the best that I could, walking in those high heels.

Crazy girl’s shoes

Luckily, no one knew about this but the class. Even to this day, I don’t understand how I made it across the stage without being noticed, wearing that crazy girl’s shoes. Mr. Johnson, the principal of the school, would have killed us both had he known all this was going on during our graduation ceremony.

In looking back over the past events of my life, there are many that stand out in times that you might call special. Time and space won’t permit me to list them all; perhaps, another time or a later date, or another birthday. I can’t let my readers in on all my secrets, just a few, from time to time as birthdays come and birthdays go.

In continuing to look back at all those yesterdays, I shall always consider the time when I visited the Apache Indian family in the state of Arizona as one of life’s most memorable. I shall treasure the memories of being adopted by the family of Slow Man as a son. I would replace his only son who was killed in the terrible fighting of the Korean Conflict.

Always, the events of the adoption ceremonies will forever stand foremost in my mind. As I emerged from the ceremony as the son of Slow Man, my life seemed to take on a new and different meaning. Also, in another ceremony, I would become a blood member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

More about life

For a country boy from the small town of Sweet Water, this experience will be remembered for all times to come. In a short time span of a few hours, I would come to know more about life than I have ever known before. From that day forward, life has taken on a totally new concept.

I’ve come to know that man cannot continue to waste and destroy the environment in which The Creator has placed him. We must live in harmony with all forms of life on this earth, regardless how small, if we are to survive. We must return from time to time to the protective bosom of our Mother Earth, just as a small child returns to its mother for love, protection and guidance.

The soft winds of the coming tomorrows speak of change. Are we smart enough to heed the warnings? Perhaps by the time of another birthday or two, the winds will have spoken, and those things that we don’t understand will have explained themselves.

(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 also helped organize the Monroe County Museum and Historical Society and was also a past president of that organization. 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.)

Two UFOs were reported in Alabama during the month of November

It’s the third Saturday of the month, so this week I’m giving you an update on UFO reports in Alabama from the previous month, courtesy of the Mutual UFO Network. A search for UFO reports in Alabama between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30 on MUFON’s website, www.mufon.com, resulted in two reports from within our state during that time.

The first incident occurred on Wed., Nov. 18, at 5:17 p.m. in Chelsea, which is in Shelby County, not far from Birmingham. The witness in this case was outside in his backyard playing fetch with his dog when he pulled out his phone to take a few pictures of the moon. He looked up and saw a “bright, white sphere of light” traveling northeast. The witness said this light was “moving pretty quick,” but “not absurdly fast,” and it appeared to be lower in the sky than three or four other visible aircraft in the sky.

“It was the brightest thing I’ve ever seen flying away from me,” the witness said. “There were no blinking lights to indicate it was an airplane or helicopter. The witness noted that aircraft are commonly seen in this area because there is an airport on two sides of the city, which results in a lot of overhead traffic.

The light eventually traveled out of view, disappearing behind a neighbor’s roof. To get a better look, the witness climbed onto a small patio table to see if the light was still visible. Unfortunately, it had disappeared from sight. Later, the witness went online to check aircraft tracking websites, but none showed any aircraft traveling northeast through that area at that time.

The second incident occurred on Sat., Nov. 21, at 9 p.m. in Alabaster, which is also a suburb of Birmingham located in Shelby County. The witness in this case was in his backyard, sitting by a fire pit and looking up into the sky when he saw an object that he initially thought to be a satellite or possible meteor.

“After looking at it for a second, I could see three distinct, white lights in a triangle formation and could make out the rigid triangle structure of a craft,” the witness said. “The moon was just below view behind my house from where I was in my backyard. This light provided a faint silhouette of the craft.”

The witness watched the craft fly due north at what he estimated to be supersonic speeds, that is, around 800 miles per hour. The witness said the craft was only a few thousand feet above the ground and produced no sound or exhaust.

“I saw it for about three to five seconds as it flew almost directly overhead and over trees, which obstructed my view from seeing it any further,” the witness said.

Before closing out this week, I just want to put it out there again that I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has witnessed a UFO, especially in Conecuh County. I think a lot of other people would be interested in hearing your story too, and I’m willing to accept your report anonymously. You can contact me by e-mail at courantnewsdesk@gmail.com.

Hillcrest High School's Eric Bailey takes part in 34th Annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game

Hillcrest High School's Eric Bailey.
Big congratulations this week go out to Hillcrest High School’s Eric Bailey, who served as the All-Sar Percussion Instructor for Alabama’s All-Star Marching Band, which performed during Saturday’s 34th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.

Bailey, who is assistant band director and percussion director at Hillcrest, is widely known for his outstanding musical talents and abilities. He was selected to instruct the all-star band’s percussion section this year because of his long and impressive musical resume. Not only is he a composer for Devmusic Co. and J.W. Pepper, he is also a highly sought-after percussion instructor, who travels widely during the summer teaching percussion camps.

To date, Bailey has taken part in well over 100 summer band and percussion camps and has judged band and percussion competitions all over the Southeast, including contests in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Bailey is also beloved by many of his former students, including students who have gone on to play in college marching bands in such places as Auburn University, Troy University, the University of South Alabama, Alabama A&M, Alabama State and the University of West Alabama.

I’ve known Mr. Bailey for years and was proud to see him get selected to participate in this year’s all-star game in Montgomery. Hillcrest is lucky to have him, and he sets a great example for everyone he encounters. He is enthusiastic about his work, always has a smile on his face and is just an all-around good man to be around. Bailey, a native of Century, Fla., is married to Angela Meeks Bailey, and they have one daughter, 14-year-old Aunnie Bailey.

By the way, Alabama won this year’s all-star game, 19-7, ending a three-year drought against the Mississippi All-Stars. If you enjoy high school football and have never been to this all-star game, I highly recommend it. You’ll not only see some of the top high school seniors in the state, but you’ll also get the chance to see players who will become big stars in college and eventually in the NFL.

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The 12th weekend of the SEC football season closed out on Saturday, and college football fans had five conference games to enjoy as the regular season draws close to an end.

This week, we’ve got five SEC games lined up for Saturday, including the SEC Championship Game, presuming one or more don’t get cancelled due to COVID-19: Alabama v. Florida, Vanderbilt at Georgia, Texas A&M at Tennessee, Ole Miss at LSU and Missouri at Mississippi State.

For what it’s worth, here are my predictions for that slate of games. I like Alabama over Florida, Georgia over Vandy, Texas A&M over Tennessee, LSU over Ole Miss and Missouri over Mississippi State. (Last week: 4-1. So far this season: 47-14)

Alabama will meet Florida in the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. That game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m., and it will be televised nationally by CBS. As of Monday afternoon, Alabama was favored by 17 points in that game.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Today marks 55 years since the death of U.S. Marine from Wilcox County

USMC Sgt. Jesse Frank Morgan
Today – Dec. 16 – marks 55 years since the tragic death of 24-year-old Jesse Frank Morgan in Vietnam.

Morgan was born in Camden on Feb. 3, 1941 to Jesse and Louise Dumas Morgan, and he apparently enlisted in the United States Marine Corps right out of high school. He’d been in the Marine Corps for six years when he reenlisted in Los Angeles on Sept. 18, 1964. At that time, Morgan had risen to the rank of sergeant and was assigned as a rifleman to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

Morgan’s unit arrived in South Vietnam in early 1965 and during Morgan’s time there, the division was involved in Operation Starlite. This mission took place in August 1965 and aimed to protect the air base at Chu Lai from Viet Cong forces with Marines like Morgan making amphibious landings and coming into the action by helicopter. Viet Cong forces faced overwhelming firepower from U.S. forces and eventually had to withdraw from the area, but both sides claimed victory.

Later that year, in December 1965, 1st Battalion Marines were still conducting operations around Chu Lai with Morgan and the rest of Bravo Co. located at a small patrol base near the village of Xuan My, in the Quang Tin province. Tragically, the pilot of a Huey helicopter on its way back to its base spotted the Marines, mistook them for Viet Cong and fired two 40-mm rockets into the group of Marines on the ground. Morgan was one of two Marines killed in the deadly incident.

The other Marine killed that day was a 21-year-old corporal named Auburn Wood Foreman Jr., a machine gunner who was also from Alabama. Foreman was a native of Etowah County, who by chance had also been assigned to Bravo Co. Foreman was laid to rest in the Shiloh Cemetery in Atalla.

At the time of his death, Morgan was married to Barbara E. DeWitt Morgan of Hampton, South Carolina. They had two sons, Jeffery Morgan and Patrick Morgan. Oddly, according to Morgan’s obituary, “just a week before (Morgan’s death), Mrs. Morgan had won a free Christmas telephone call to her Marine husband at his post in Vietnam, and arrangements were being made to put his call through. She was excitedly anticipating a phone conversation with her husband when a U.S. Marine Corps officer from Parris Island arrived at her home to deliver the tragic message to her.”

As a decorated U.S. Marine with over six years of service under his belt, Morgan was a credit to himself and to his hometown of Camden. Morgan received a number of awards and medals during his military career, including the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and a Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation. He also received the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and a Marksmanship Badge.

Morgan was laid to rest in the Johnson-Saint Paul Cemetery in Hampton, S.C. In the months and years to come, if any readers find themselves in Washington, D.C., take the time to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on the National Mall. It’s there – on Panel 04e, Line 19 – that you’ll find Morgan’s name etched in black granite alongside 58,317 other names of service members killed in Vietnam.

In the end, I’d like to hear from anyone in the reading audience with more information about Morgan or from anyone with memories to share about his early life in Wilcox County. Where did he attend school and when did he graduate? Did he play sports? Where did he go to church? Any information is welcome as we remember the life of this Marine, who made the ultimate sacrifice thousands of miles from home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Dec. 15, 2020

Jeff Sessions
20 YEARS AGO
DEC. 21, 2000

Local weather reporter Harry Ellis reported .05 inches of rain on Dec. 11, 2000, 1.40 inches on Dec. 13, .22 inches on Dec. 14, .32 inches on Dec. 15 and .22 inches on Dec. 16. He reported a high temperature of 77 degrees on Dec. 16 and low of 22 degrees on Dec. 17.

Saturday’s high winds destroy Christmas in the Park displays: Mother Nature took a hand in Evergreen’s annual Christmas in the Park this year, destroying most of the displays with high winds late Saturday afternoon.
The weather didn’t cooperate at all, beginning Friday afternoon with heavy showers, which continued into the night. Luckily, judges were able to choose the winners of this year’s event before the weather turned nasty.

Senator Jeff Sessions visited Evergreen this past Friday afternoon to discuss several important issues with local residents.

Joseph A. Bratton, Chairman and President of Regions Bank Covington-Conecuh, along with Pam Hammonds, Senior Vice President and Branch Manager, announce the retirement of Janella R. Baggett, effective Dec. 31, 2000, and the promotion of Carol H. Cook to Vice President and Branch Operations Officer.

BellSouth Pioneers donated bluebird houses to the Conecuh County Board of Education in an effort to help raise public awareness about the decline in the bluebird population over the last five decades.

35 YEARS AGO
DEC. 19, 1985

Local weather reporter Earl Windham reported 2.49 inches of rain on Dec. 11, 1985 and 1.60 inches of rain on Dec. 12. He reported a high of 79 on Dec. 12 and a low of 28 on Dec. 14.

The Greening Masonic Lodge on South Main Street was slightly damaged by a fire discovered at 6 p.m. Monday. The Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department was able to quickly put out the blaze.

The City of Evergreen recently improved the services of its Sanitation Department with the purchase of this new trash truck with knuckle boom loader. The approximate cost was $26,000.

Captain and Mrs. Ellis W. Golson (nee Rachel Ellis) of Killeen, Texas proudly announce the birth of a daughter, Amber Lynn, weight eight pounds, nine ounces born Dec. 15.

The Evergreen Industrial Park continues to expand. Work is progressing rapidly on this building for Interspec.

The FFA’s champion corn grower for the Southwest District is Maurice Lee of the Evergreen FFA Chapter.

This, the home of Randy and Rita Baggett, 103 South Main St., winners of first place in the Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Christmas Entrance Decorations Contest. They received a prize donated by Cassady Insurance Agency.

50 YEARS AGO
DEC. 17, 1970

Book published by Miss Riley: Miss Elizabeth d’Autrey Riley has published some of her memories in a book that will be of great interest to people throughout the country who enjoy a well told tale from local history.
The Evergreen Old Historical Cemetery as written by Miss Riley will lead one down each lane of this hallowed spot, and her comments concerning those buried there will bring before the reader a past that has faded away except as it lives in the memory of older citizens.
Miss Riley is well qualified for her role as historian being descended as she is from the representative pioneer families of South Alabama. She is a native of Monroe County, having been born in the ancestral mansion at Flat Creek Plantation, the daughter of Enoch George Riley and his wife, the former Narcissa Davidson. Her uncle, Dr. B.F. Riley, was an author and historian of note and a president of Howard College.
Miss Riley has already appeared in print, having written an account of an antebellum Christmas in South Alabama for the magazine of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. She is a charter member of Conecuh Chapter of this organization.
The Evergreen Old Historical Cemetery, Miss Riley’s latest work, will enrich those who share with her these memories and will add luster to her reputation as an historian.

65 YEARS AGO
DEC. 15, 1955

SELECTED SOLDIER OF THE MONTH: Army PFC Clayton C. Hale of Repton, Ala. receives congratulations from Lt. Col. Clyde Kennington, Battalion Commander of the Army Medical Service of the Army Medical Service School, after being selected Soldier of the Month for the enlisted student section at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. A dental laboratory technician at the school’s Medical Center, Private First Class Hale was selected for his soldierly appearance, knowledge of duties and military courtesy. He entered the Army in January 1955 and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie L. Hale of Rt. 1, Repton.

Robert Boone, administrator at the Conecuh County Hospital, was elected president of the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce Monday night. He will serve a six-month term of office until the first of July 1956 and succeeds Bill Gaines.

Wayne Hutcheson, manager of the Cotton Tractor Co., Ford tractor and implement dealer of Evergreen, returned Sunday from a four-day visit to Havana, Cuba via Delta Air Lines.
This all-expense-paid trip was given to 42 Ford tractor and implement dealers in Alabama and Georgia by Southeast Ford Tractor Co. of Decatur, Ga. as a reward for excellent performance in a nationwide sales contest sponsored jointly by the Tractor and Implement Division of Ford Motor Co. and Southeast Ford Tractor Co. during August and September of this year.

Bermuda Community, representing Conecuh County in the State Community Improvement Contest, was visited by state judging team on Thurs., Dec. 8.

80 YEARS AGO
DEC. 19, 1940

Rat Extermination Campaign To Start This Week: On account of the general complaint of rat infestation the Mayor and Council have asked the Health Department to put on a campaign for the extermination of these pests and carriers of diseases, especially Typhus fever.
The P.W.A. crew will begin poisoning Thursday or Friday morning of this week, and we hope everybody will cooperate 100 percent since it is for the common good of all. This work will be supervised by Mr. Spann, county sanitation officer, and Mr. Kyle of the State Health Department. (Signed) E.L. Kelly, County Health Officer.

Former Resident Dies In Plane Crash: Funeral services will be held in Montgomery tomorrow afternoon at three o’clock for Clarence M. Dannelly Jr., son of Dr. and Mrs. Clarence M. Dannelly of Montgomery, formerly of Evergreen.
According to reports from the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, the 24-year-old ensign and a student pilot, Max Lettau of Manchester, Mass., were killed Tuesday morning about nine a.m. when the plane in which they were practicing water landings dived into the bay and sank. The bodies of Dannelly and Lattau were not recovered from the sunken ship until late Wednesday afternoon.
Ensign Dannelly was graduated from the University of Alabama in 1937, majoring in aeronautical engineering. Shortly after receiving his B.S. degree, he entered the Navy and received his training at the Pensacola Air Station, graduating about two years ago.
For two years, he was assigned to duty in the Panama Canal Zone and while there Ensign Dannelly was selected for special coastal survey work in Colombia and Ecuador. He remained in South America two months and shortly after his return to the United States was stationed at Charleston, S.C. Last September, he was sent to Pensacola as a flight instructor.
Surviving are his parents, Dr. and Mrs. C.M. Dannelly; two sisters, Hermione and Mary; one brother, Frank Perry, all of Montgomery; his grandmothers, Mrs. A.B. Farnham, Evergreen, and Mrs. J.M. Dannelly, Selma; four aunts, Miss Aline and Augusta Farnham, Evergreen, Mrs. George Hobbs, Selma, and Mrs. George Clinkscale, Spartanburg, S.C.; two uncles, Milton Dannelly, Birmingham, and G.R. Farnham, Auburn.

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Dec. 14, 2020

28 YEARS AGO
DEC. 10, 1992

Warriors explode in second half to take Vols 65-47: Junior guard Britt Ward scored 30 points, leading the Sparta Academy Warriors basketball team to a 65-47 victory over Monroe Academy last Tuesday night.
Chris Pate also scored in the double figures with 14 points in the game against the Volunteers.
According to Byron Warren Jr., sports information director for Sparta Academy, the first half was a defensive struggle with neither team being able to generate much in the way of offense. Sparta held a 21-18 lead at halftime.
But the second half was a different story as the Warriors out-scored the Volunteers 44-29 to clinch the victory.
The Warriors will play in the Greenville Academy tournament tonight (Thursday) and Friday.
Scoring summary as follows: Britt Ward, 30; Chris Pate, 14; McPherson Cook, six; Bryant Robinson, five; Terry Conway, three; Casey Grant, three; Brian Gorum, two; Chip Gibson, one; Reggie Kendrick, one.

53 YEARS AGO
DEC. 14, 1967

From “Front Page, Upper Left Corner” by Bob Bozeman: Lest my Auburn friends worry that I’m getting soft in my mid-years, I’ll say it just once. We really don’t care for any more movie reviews, and he may not be “good ole Shug” anymore, but 7 to 3 is still the score.

78 YEARS AGO
DEC. 10, 1942

CASTLEBERRY SCHOOL: Our basketball team, which has suffered two defeats in the two games played, is looking forward to a return game with Evergreen and also some other scheduled games. We hope to get on the winning side in our future games. Student interest is high and the boys appreciate this backing very much. They promise to repay this by winning the rest of their games.

Mr. and Mrs. Herndon Cunningham of Montgomery spent the weekend with relatives here. Mr. Cunningham, while fishing in the Country Club Pond, had the rare experience of catching two fish on one hook, one a jack fish and the other a seven-pound trout.

Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Wild left Saturday for McIntosh, where they will be the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Andrews on a deer hunt.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

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

U.S. Marine PFC James Cecil Gaston
28 YEARS AGO
DEC. 10, 1992

Animal shelter will be started by Christmas: The Monroe County Animal Shelter Committee hopes to spend only about $3,000 on the first phase of the shelter building and have that part finished by Christmas.
The first phase includes all work up to and including the laying of the cement slab and the plumbing.
The entire building should be completed by January and ready to open in February, said (committee chairman Don) Taylor.

MA boys capture first place with victory over Greenville: After opening last week’s schedule with a 65-45 loss to Sparta Academy, Monroe Academy’s varsity boys bounced back to win a four-team tournament in Greenville.
MA blasted Crenshaw Academy, 56-28, in the first round of the Fort Dale-South Butler Academy tournament Wednesday of last week, then beat Greenville Academy, 46-40, Thursday in the championship game.
(Top players for MA in those games included Jeff Fountain, Justin Hart, Conan Ivey, Johnny Pickens, Landry Sawyer, John Shealy, Tom Stallworth, Adam Till and Brian Walker. Hugh Wilson was MA’s head coach.)

Jaye is honored for service to professional law fraternity: Vinson W. “Vince” Jaye, a native of Monroeville, was honored Nov. 21 in Montgomery for his service as an officer in Sigma Delta Kappa, a professional law fraternity at Jones School of Law at Faulkner University in Montgomery.
Jaye received a plaque for his service as the fraternity’s reporter. A 1981 graduate of Frisco City High School, Jaye is in his third year of law school.

53 YEARS AGO
DEC. 14, 1967

Thirteen Girls Seek Title In Junior Miss Pageant: A cash scholarship of approximately $300 awaits the winner of the annual Monroe County Junior Miss pageant Saturday night, Dec. 16. The eliminations will be held at Greer Auditorium, Monroeville Elementary School, beginning at 7 p.m.
Thirteen girls have entered the competition and are expected to appear in the pageant Saturday night. They are Gail Jay, Excel; Kathy Brown, Monroeville; Vickie Pebbles, Monroeville; Hilda Ryder, Frisco City; Noel Peavy, Frisco City; Marilyn Pearce, Monroeville; Charlotte Ferrell, Uriah; Anita Manning, Frisco City; Gayle White, Uriah; Cherry Elaine Teague, Uriah; Debbie Algood, Monroeville; Kay Marshall, Monroeville and Faith Bilbro, Monroeville.

Tigers Defeat Beatrice 61-41: The Monroe County High School Tigers captured their second victory of the 1967-68 basketball season by defeating the Beatrice High Eagles 61-41 at Beatrice Tuesday night, Dec. 5.
Mike Colquett led the Tigers with 17 points, followed by Butch Andress with 11. Scruggs led Beatrice with 16.

Museum To Show Old Christmas Tree: A Christmas tree more than 100 years old will be on display at the Monroe County Museum when it opens from 1 to 3 p.m. Sat., Dec. 16. Other items on display Saturday and during the Christmas season will be a variety of dolls, many over 50 years old, and toys from years gone by. Members of the museum met Monday night and made plans for the Christmas displays.

78 YEARS AGO
DEC. 10, 1942

CECIL GASTON REPORTED KILLED IN ACTION: News has been received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Gaston of Loxley, that their son, Cecil Gaston, a member of the Marine Corps, was killed in action recently. The Gastons have numerous relatives in Monroe and Conecuh counties.

Mr. H.A. Lee of Marianna is visiting his brother, Mr. A.C. Lee and family.

First Lt. Albert Nettles is stationed at Fort Sill, Okla. and judging from a card received last week, Albert is as busy in the Army as he was as cashier of the Peoples Exchange Bank and looking after various things about the town up in Beatrice.

Thomas Black, who is serving in the Navy, spent the weekend with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Black at Uriah.

Mrs. Raymond Owens, who has been on The Journal force for the past three years, left Saturday to join her husband who is an instructor in the Army Air Service in Columbus, Miss.

Midshipman Sam Yarbrough Jr., son of Dr. and Mrs. S.J. Yarbrough, stood second in his class of 47 men taking cadet officers course and with two of his class has sailed for an unknown port as cadet officers of the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Howard Grantham, son of Mrs. Evie Grantham of Monroeville, Route 1, is stationed at Camp Walters, Tenn., where he is in training as an infantryman in the replacement training center.

101 YEARS AGO
DEC. 11, 1919

Work on the new Baptist church, which had been suspended for several weeks for lack of material, will be resumed as soon as weather conditions permit, three cars of brick having arrived during the last week. The work will be pushed as rapidly as circumstances will allow.

A.C. Lee, Esq., went over to Demopolis Saturday to enjoy a day at the Methodist annual conference.

Mr. J.W. Dozier of Lower Peach Tree was a business visitor to Monroeville Thursday. Mr. Dozier is the popular postmaster of his town.

Dr. W.M. Hestle’s family joined him here Friday and have apartments at Hotel Matheson until Dr. Bayles and family vacates the dwelling recently sold to Dr. Hestle.

LOST – One pair of nickel-plated handcuffs. Return to T.W. Russell and receive reward.

Taken Up – One black horse, weight about 700 pounds. Came to my place Dec. 2. Owner can get same by proving property and paying expenses of keeping. A.W. Blanton, Perdue Hill, Rt. 1, Ala.

At a called meeting of the Woodmen of the World Camp, a resolution was adopted assessing a fine of 25 cents on all members who fail to attend the regular meetings without satisfactory excuse, the fee to be collected as dues. Regular meetings are held on the second and fourth Saturday nights in each month. – W.T. Bayles.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court has received dog tags and requests that all owners of dogs promptly register them and get the necessary tag.

128 YEARS AGO
DEC. 8, 1892

County court convened Monday. A number of cases were disposed of.

Mr. Q. Salter is attending the annual meeting of the grand lodge in Montgomery this week.

We learn that one night during last week unknown parties took from Mr. D.J. Hatter’s stable his fine blooded horse and fled. The thief at last accounts was heard of at Grove Hill but had not been captured.

There will be an Oyster Supper at the Masonic Hall at Perdue Hill on Thursday night the 15th, inst., given by the Ladies Aid Society for the benefit of the Presbyterian Church. There will also be a tree laden with articles suitable for Christmas presents. The public are invited.

The Willing Workers of Perdue Hill will open a Bazar on Saturday, the 17th, until Saturday night, the 24th, for the benefit of the Baptist Church in the building adjoining the Locklin House. Also an oyster supper on Wednesday night.

Mr. Carl Shiff of Claiborne was in town this week.

Sheriff Foster and W.G. McCorvey, Esq., are in Montgomery this week.

SINGING CONVENTION: The next session of Shiloh Singing Convention will meet with Ramah church six miles southeast of Repton on the second Sunday and Saturday before in December. Everybody and especially singers and lovers of vocal music is invited to attend. – J.W. Jones, Chairman; Sidney M. Jones, Secretary.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

George Singleton tells of finding a large turtle-shaped rock near old Indian village site

George Buster Singleton
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Near Indian village site turtle-shaped rock discovered” was originally published in the July 3, 1975 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

When I first saw this rock at an old Indian village site, I couldn’t believe my eyes. When I first discovered it, it looked like a large turtle creeping through the tall grass.

I was alone and a long way from any road or trail where I might bring a vehicle close enough to haul it out. I knew that I wanted to get it out so that it could be seen by someone else. I decided to hide it until I could get help in carrying it out to the road.

A year came and went before the right opportunity presented itself. This good friend of mine, who seemed strong and healthy enough, mentioned about our doing some hiking in the woods.

I thought of my rock that was shaped like a turtle that I had hidden the year before. I suggested we go in and bring it out, all the time, keeping in mind how heavy the rock was.

Hot day, heavy rock

The Sunday afternoon came, and we, along with our wives, proceeded to the spot where I had hidden the rock. The afternoon was hot, and the rock was heavy.

It didn’t take us long to decide to hide it again and wait for cooler weather. So, once again, my turtle-shaped rock went into hiding.

Another year passed: then last October, I vowed to bring it out of the woods. I fashioned myself a backpack of sorts and headed for the hiding place.

If anyone, without knowing what I was doing, had happened by just as I was lifting the pack with the huge boulder fastened to it, he would have thought that I was doing a drunken war dance.

I had to lie down on my side and fasten on the pack, which was placed on its side with the rock secured to it. I had to slip into the shoulder straps and then roll over on my stomach, slowly raising my shoulders. Then I brought my knees up under me, and after considerable effort – with the help of a strong sapling – I climbed to my feet.

Leaned against trees

I was unable to rest because I couldn’t put the pack down. I didn’t want to go through the ritual of lying down on the ground again, so I learned to back up to a tree and, leaning hard against the tree, let the tree support a part of the weight.

I’m sure if the Indians of that village could have seen me, staggering along through the woods, with a rock weighing over 200 pounds that was shaped like a turtle on my back, I would have been the topic of many fireside legends.

(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 also helped organize the Monroe County Museum and Historical Society and was also a past president of that organization. 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.)