Sunday, November 30, 2014

Former Conecuh County coach to be inducted into Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame

Twelve major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected to the 25th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame, including former Conecuh County Training School basketball coach Steve Jefferson.

The 2015 class, which includes coaches, administrators, officials, media and an “oldtimer,” will be inducted at a special Silver Anniversary banquet commemorating all 25 years of the Hall of Fame at the Renaissance Hotel at the Convention Center in Montgomery on March 23.

Joining Jefferson in the class of inductees are tennis coach Nancy Becker, basketball coaches Jack Doss and Bobby Wright, football coaches Steve Rivers, Doug Goodwin and John Tatum, athletic director Myra Miles, track official Houston Young, and administrators Alan Mitchell and Ron Ingram. Selected in the “Old Timer” category was longtime Geneva County football coach James D. Chesteen.

Jefferson, age 76, graduated from Escambia County Training School in 1958 and from Alabama State University in 1962. Jefferson went on to coach at Conecuh County Training School in Evergreen from 1965 to 1968 with one trip to the AIAA state tournament during that time.

The highly respected boys basketball coach went on to record over 650 career wins in his 31-year career at Carver High School in Birmingham. He led the Rams to back-to-back Class 4A state championships in 1978 and 1979 – playing before the largest high school crowd in the AHSAA’s state tournament history at Coleman Coliseum against Parker in the 1978 finals. His Carver teams also reached the state finals three more times (1983, 1997 & 1998). 

He served as an assistant coach on Carver’s 1981 Class 4A state runner-up team. He was head football coach at Birmingham’s Ullman High School for one year.

He was named Birmingham City Schools Coach of the Year 10 times, the Birmingham Tip-Off Club Coach of the Year twice (1979 and 1998) and received the Frank Nix Distinguished Service Award in 1998 presented by the Tip Off Club. He was named Birmingham Times Coach of the Year four times. 

The 18-member Hall of Fame Committee made the selections from the 50 nominations on the Hall of Fame ballot. The Hall of Fame is located at the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) office in Montgomery.

Sponsors of the Hall of Fame program are the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the AHSAA. The corporate sponsors are Cadence Bank, Coca-Cola, EBSCO Media, Encore Rehabilitation, Farmers Insurance, Russell Athletic, TeamIP and Wilson Sporting Goods.

To order tickets ($35 each), mail requests along with check or money order (payable to AHSADCA) to: Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, P. O. Box 242367, Montgomery, AL 36124. Additional information is available at 334-263-6994.

Today in History for Nov. 30, 2014

Alabama's famous Hodges Meteorite.
Nov. 30, 1707 – The second Siege of Pensacola came to end with the failure of the British to capture Pensacola, Fla.

Nov. 30, 1811 – Capt. Matthew Arbuckle of the 3rd Regiment U.S. Infantry commanded a road construction party from Fort Stoddert that met a construction party working from the east to open the Federal Road to Georgia.

Nov. 30, 1818 – Autauga County was created and the town of Washington became the first county seat.

Nov. 30, 1835 - Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, was born in Florida, Mo.

Nov. 30, 1864 – During the Battle of Franklin, the Confederate Army of Tennessee led by General John Bell Hood mounted a dramatically unsuccessful frontal assault on Union positions commanded by John McAllister Schofield around Franklin, Tennessee, with Hood losing six generals and almost a third of his troops. Hood attacked John Schofield again at Nashville on December 15.

Nov. 30, 1931 - Legendary football coach Bill Walsh was born in Los Angeles, California.

Nov. 30, 1950 – Army MSG Tellis W. Donaldson of Covington County, Ala. was listed as “died/missing” in Korea.

Nov. 30, 1953 – Award-winning writer Rheta Grimsley Johnson was born in Colquitt, Ga. She would later live in Monroeville, Ala. and work at The Monroe Journal newspaper.

Nov. 30, 1954 – At 2:46 p.m., a meteorite weighing 8-1/2 pounds crashed into Ann Elizabeth Hodges of Sylacauga, Ala. as she rested on her living room couch. The event gave Hodges a severely bruised hip and instant celebrity status. The meteorite, the first one known to have caused injury to a human, is housed at the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa.

Nov. 30, 1962 - Football and baseball star, Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson was born in Bessemer, Ala. Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 1985 and was the first professional athlete to be named an all star in two major sports.

Nov. 30, 1968 – Manager Harmon Gunter announced that an open house would be held at the new Steven Robert Corp. plant on Kendall Avenue in Evergreen, Ala. from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Nov. 30, 1971 - ABC-TV aired "Brian's Song." The movie was about Chicago Bears' Brian Picolo and his friendship with Gale Sayers.

Nov. 30, 1983 – The National League of Cities Congress of Cities meeting began at the New Orleans Hilton Hotel, and Evergreen, Ala. Mayor Lee F. Smith attended as one of 20 voting delegates representing the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Nov. 30, 1983 – Evergreen, Alabama’s annual Christmas Parade was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Nov. 30, 1992 - The video "NFL Country," by various artists, was certified Gold by the RIAA.

Nov. 30, 1993 - The NFL awarded the league's 30th franchise to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Nov. 30, 1998 - Author and poet Margaret Walker passed away in Chicago, Ill. at the age of 83. Her mother’s relatives lived in Greenville, Ala. and she set a portion of her 1966 novel, “Jubilee,” in Greenville.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Nov. 30, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.15 inches

Fall to Date Rainfall: 5.15 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 55.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 334th day of 2014 and the 70th day of Fall. There are 31 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Does a mysterious preacher's ghost haunt the backwoods of Marengo County?

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 “The ghost of the circuit-riding preacher visits,” was originally published in the Oct. 27, 1994 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

Journey with me into the back roads of northwest Marengo County. The sun is about to set in the western sky, and there is no traffic along the narrow dirt road that winds its way through what used to be a thriving farm community.

The farm houses that used to dot the landscape have vanished from the scene as the rich, fertile fields that used to grow an abundant amount of cotton and corn now are planted in thousands upon thousands of pine trees.

The deep, heavy sand that makes up the old road bed was once marked by the wheels of the local farmers’ wagons. As the families traveled to the grist mill and the country store for their meal to be ground and to purchase the few needed supplies, many happy memories waited around almost every bend in the country road. Laughing children ran along behind the wagons, jumping back on and off as they grew tired of running or the deep sand grew too hot for their bare feet.

But down the road a ways, all would jump into the wagons and sit down in total silence as the slow wagons made their way by a small log church that sat atop a steep hill near the narrow road. All in the wagon would turn their heads and look in silence near the sagging front door of the small log church. Leaning back against the log wall of the church in a rough, handmade straight chair sat the preacher.

The preacher was dressed as usual. He had on his tall stove pipe hat and his frock-tail coat. His long snow-white beard covered his face so completely until all that could be seen was his piercing dark eyes that seemed to look straight through you. And, as he stood behind the crude hand-carved pulpit while delivering his sermons, hell fire and brimstone were always his subject and the order of the day.

No one really knew for sure where the preacher stayed during the time he was in the area. Some said that he slept in the loft of the old log church. Others said that he camped down the hill behind the church beside a large, freshwater spring.

Once in a great while, he would appear out of nowhere at one of the local farm houses at meal time for a free meal and some feed for his horse. Then, he and his gray horse would seem to disappear into thin air for a few weeks or so. But, he would always return to the small log church and his crude straight chair that rested by the front door.

Rumor had it that he had been married at one time to a very rich lady in northeast Alabama. No one knew for sure. He never talked about his family. The rumor went on to say that one day when he was away on one of his circuit preaching tours, his very rich wife disappeared from the area, leaving only a goodbye note bidding him farewell. The note went on to say that he need not look for her, she was never to return. The story goes on to say that the life of the circuit-riding preacher was never the same from that day forward.

Years would pass, but the old man continued to ride his horse around the countryside, preaching wherever he could in the small churches that would permit him to do so. Always, he would return to this small log church to sit for days in the crude old chair and stare down the narrow dirt road at those who passed.

The small church had now been almost abandoned since a large newer one had been built nearer to the center of the small community. Large holes appeared in the wooden shingle roof of the small log church. Rain poured in on the crude church pews. The large oaks that grew next to the old church shed their leaves to almost cover the small log building.

An air of mystery seemed to have settled around the aged log structure. Many times, there would be no one for Sunday service but the old circuit rider preacher and one other old man who lived by himself down the road a ways. But regardless of the number, the sermons were said to be preached as if the church was packed full.

Seen for the last time

Then one morning the old preacher was seen for the last time as he slowly mounted his thin gray horse in front of the abandoned log building. Over a year would pass before word finally reached the small farm community that the old circuit rider preacher had been laid to rest in a small family burial ground near the town of Centreville.

By now, the decaying log walls of the little church had begun to crumble and sag. No one went inside for fear of being hurt by pieces of the falling roof or the decaying walls. But, outside the sagging front door, the rotted and broken old chair leaned crazily against the crumbling log wall.

Word began to circulate in the small community that the old circuit rider preacher had been seen as he sat in his old chair in front of the church, there by the door. He was dressed in his tall, stove-pipe hat and his frock-tail coat. Both feet rested on the chair round as was his usual custom, and over under one of the huge oak trees, the preacher’s tall gray horse was tied to one of the tree limbs. And down under the hill, near the large freshwater spring, the smell of a burned-out campfire filled the early morning air.

Very few of the community would travel the narrow dirt road by the old log church during the late hours of the evening. Stories were told about those of the community who had passed the abandoned log church on horseback during the hours of darkness. These frightened riders told of suddenly feeling someone or something sitting behind them on their horses as they approached the ruins of the abandoned church. The ghost or spirit of the old preacher would ride for a distance of about 200 yards before it would disappear from behind the rider as suddenly as it had appeared.

Walk with them

And those who had to travel on foot by the old church during the night hours told of seeing the ghost of someone dressed in a tall stove-pipe hat and wearing a long frock-tail coat. The ghost of the old preacher would walk alongside them for about the same distance as reported by those who had ridden by.

Those brave enough to glance up the hill at the ruins of the old church reported seeing the faint light of a small coal oil lamp that had been used to furnish the light for the evening services all those many years ago.

If one dared to linger for just a moment, words of hellfire and brimstone rode the winds of the evening around the crumbling old pulpit and throughout the ruins of the small church.

A few days back, I traveled the narrow dirt road through this once thriving farm community. Nothing remains of the small log church but a pile of rotted timbers and old wooden roof shingles. The fallen limbs of the aged oak trees has only added to deepen the solitude of an era that has passed almost into oblivion.

Parking my motorcycle, I ascended the hill up to the pile of rubble that once was the small log church. The remains of the crude, straight-back chair yet rested by what was once the small door of the front entrance. Looking around for a while, I started down the hill to where my transportation awaited.

Turning back and looking up the hill at the pile of rubble where the remains of the crude old chair yet stood, my blood ran cold. There, leaning back against the wall in the rickety old chair, sat a shadowy ghost-like figure of someone with a long snow-white beard. He was wearing a long frock-tail coat, and on his head, he wore a tall stove-pipe hat.

The stories were true. The old preacher had returned.

(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 on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. 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.)

Today in History for Nov. 29, 2014

William McIntosh
Nov. 29, 1813 – During the War of 1812, the Battle of Autosse took place at the Indian village of Autosse, on the southern bank of the Tallapoosa River, 20 miles above its junction with the Coosa River in Alabama. The battle lasted about two hours and was won by an American force of about 950 Georgia militia led by American Brigadier General John Floyd and 400 friendly Creeks led by William McIntosh and the son of Mad Dog. During the raid, over 200 hostile Creeks were killed and 400 dwellings were destroyed at the cost to Floyd of 11 killed and 54 wounded.

Nov. 29, 1862 - During the Civil War, John Palmer and John Scholfield were promoted to major general for the Union army.

Nov. 29, 1864 – In what is now known as the “Sand Creek Massacre,” Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington massacred at least 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants at Sand Creek inside the Colorado Territory.

Nov. 29, 1864 – During the Battle of Spring Hill, a Confederate advance into Tennessee missed an opportunity to crush the Union Army. General John Bell Hood, who approached Franklin, Tenn. on this day, was angered, which led to the Battle of Franklin the following day when Hood attacked troops under John Scholfield.

Nov. 29, 1890 - Navy defeated Army by a score of 24-0 in the first Army-Navy football game. The game was played at West Point, NY.

Nov. 29, 1902 - The New York Medical Record published an account of Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performing the first open heart surgery in the western hemisphere when he sutured a knife wound in a young boy’s heart. Dr. Hill was the father of Alabama politician and U.S. senator Lister Hill.

Nov. 29, 1902 – The Pittsburgh Stars defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 11–0, at the Pittsburgh Coliseum, to win the first championship associated with an American national professional football league.

Nov. 29, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. Lee Montgomery of Beatrice, Ala. “died from disease.”

Nov. 29, 1946 – Thomas Charles Littles was born in Brewton, Ala. He would be fatally wounded during the Vietnam War.

Nov. 29, 1961 – During Project Mercury’s Mercury-Atlas V Mission, Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched into space aboard the Mercury-Atlantis V. The spacecraft orbits the Earth twice and splashed down off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Nov. 29, 1962 - Major league baseball decided to return to only one All-Star Game a year beginning in 1963.

Nov. 29, 1963 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Warren Commission, headed by Earl Warren, to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Nov. 29, 1980 - "Monday Night Football" was on the cover of TV Guide.

Nov. 29, 1987 - Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers completed a record 22 consecutive passes.

Nov. 29, 1987 - Venice Glenn of the San Diego Chargers ran back an interception for 103 yards. It was an NFL record.

Nov. 29, 1990 - The United Nations Security Council authorized the use of "all means necessary" to remove Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait, giving Iraq the deadline of midnight on January 16, 1991, to leave or risk forcible removal.

Nov. 29, 1991 - The worst US highway mishap took place in which a zero visibility dust storm caused 33 accidents, involving 164 vehicles near Kern County, Calif.

Nov. 29, 1992 - Dennis Byrd of the New York Jets was paralyzed after a neck injury in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Nov. 29, 1992 - Jerry Rice caught his 100th NFL touchdown pass.

Nov. 29, 1997 - Grambling State University football coach Eddie Robinson coached his last college football game as Grambling’s Tigers played the Southern University Jaguars at the Superdome in New Orleans. Southern won, 30-7. Robinson had been coaching at Grambling, a historically black college near Shreveport, for 55 seasons. 

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Nov. 29, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.15 inches

Fall to Date Rainfall: 5.15 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 55.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 333rd day of 2014 and the 69th day of Fall. There are 32 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Local football fans predict who will win this year's Iron Bowl and the final score

Few will argue that when it comes to college football rivalry games, there is no bigger rivalry anywhere than the Iron Bowl, the annual meeting between the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers.

This year’s Iron Bowl, which will kick off Saturday at 6:45 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, is shaping up to be a good one. Alabama enters the game with a 10-1 record and ranked No. 1 in the nation. Auburn, ranked No. 14 in the country, enters the game with an 8-3 overall record and looking to upset their archrivals.

Leading up to the game this week, The Courant polled a wide variety of local football fans to see how they thought the game would turn out on Saturday, and there were no shortage of opinions. The vast majority of prognosticators believe that Alabama will win, but more than a few predicted that Auburn would carry the day. Some said it would be close while others predicted a blowout.

Over at Hillcrest High School in Evergreen, head girls basketball coach Natalie Nelson, a former Auburn University-Montgomery basketball star, predicted Auburn to upset the Tide, 31-27. Assistant coach Arthur Ingram III agreed, saying that Auburn would win 38-33.

Elsewhere on the campus at Hillcrest, track and field coach Harrison Mims, a cousin to Auburn former defensive lineman Nick Fairley, predicted Alabama would win, 38-17. Band director LaFrancis Davis agreed, saying the Tide would roll, 24-14. Assistant coach Derek Korbe predicted a 48-21 Alabama win.
Local school board member Willene Whatley, a diehard Auburn fan, predicted Auburn would win, 35-32, but Robbie Moorer, arguably Conecuh County’s biggest Auburn fan, predicted that Alabama would win, 38-17.

A number of other self-proclaimed, life-long Auburn fans predicted an Alabama win on Saturday, including “100 Percent Auburn fan” Donnie Ricketts, who said the Tide would win, 48-17. Over at the National Guard armory in Andalusia, Auburn fan Chris Garner, a former standout athlete at Sparta, predicted Alabama would win, 42-30.

Auburn fan Justin Nared, who starred at quarterback at Hillcrest and Tuskegee University, said that Alabama would come out ahead, 38-35. His sister, Auburn fan Courtney Nared-Lowe, begrudgingly agreed, predicting Alabama will win 34-14.

Over at the Conecuh County Jail, it was a split decision. Deputy Chad Emmons said he was sticking with Auburn and predicted the Tigers would win, 24-21. Dispatcher Audra Covin disagreed, saying Alabama will win, 31-28.

Down at the Wolff Motor Co. car lot, salesman and Auburn fan Carl Tillery predicted Auburn will win, 26-23, in overtime. Next door, at the radio station, local radio personality Luther Upton predicted that Alabama will win, 39-17.

At Evergreen City Hall, City Attorney Richard Hartley predicted that Alabama would win, 31-24, and City Economic Development Director Bobby Skipper predicted a 9-3 Alabama win. Local grant writer Cara Stallman predicted this year that Alabama would win, 45-38. Stallman’s opinion carries more than a little weight this year, because, as many of you will remember, she most closely predicted the final score of Auburn’s upset of Alabama in last year’s Iron Bowl.

Up the street a bit, attorney and Alabama grad Tommy Chapman predicted the Tide to roll, 45-10, and Assistant District Attorney Todd Watson agreed, saying Alabama would win, 42-17. Around the corner at Miller Trading Co., Alabama fan Justin “Detroit” Webb said Alabama was going to win, 38-23.

Former Sparta basketball standout Michael Campbell disagreed. He predicted a 35-28 Auburn win as did former Hillcrest Jaguar Jeff Hallford, who said Auburn will win, 38-35.

Former Hillcrest baseball pitcher Marc Barlow said Alabama will win, 35-21, and former Sparta baseball pitcher Tristan McPhaul agreed, saying Alabama would win, 34-24. Former Sparta coach Clint Lowery predicated a 23-17 Alabama win, and Evergreen native Keith Pugh, who played wide receiver at Alabama, predicted that Alabama will win, 27-14.

Media representatives from around the area also chimed in with their predictions. Courant publisher and editor Robert Bozeman predicted a 37-17 Alabama victory. Over at The Monroe Journal, editor Mike Qualls, who’s been covering sports for decades, predicted a 35-7 Alabama win. Monroe Journal staff writer Josh Dewberry agreed, predicting the Tide will win, 56-13.

Sports writer Ross Wood at The Clarke County Democrat in Grove Hill predicted a 35-14 Alabama win while sports writer Adam Robinson at The Brewton Standard predicted a 30-20 Alabama win. Retired Auburn journalism professor Ed Williams, a native of Evergreen, said Alabama will win, 35-10.

Others making predictions included: 
Bo Minchew, Alabama, 52-0; 
Jimmy Grantham, Alabama, 45-24; 
Linda McLaughlin, Alabama, 45-14; 
Stephen Pierce, Alabama, 42-24; 
Chris Davis, Alabama, 42-14; 
Mike Williams, Alabama, 42-7; 
Cindy Anderson, Alabama, 35-24; 
Chris Coleman, Alabama, 35-17; 
Reginald Hunt, Alabama, 35-10; 
Robert Sims, Alabama, 34-24; 
Brandon Lee, Alabama, 34-24; 
George Jones, Alabama, 34-10; 
Randy Silcox, Alabama, 31-17; 
Travis Presley, Alabama, 27-20; 
David Johnson, Alabama, 27-17; 
Kurt Myers, Alabama, 24-17; 
Cameron Barfield, Alabama, 21-13; 
Steven Dunn, Alabama, 20-14;
Renee Staff, Alabama, 17-10; 
Regina Waters, Alabama, 34-21; 
Mike McIntyre, Alabama, 59-0; 
Tracy Logan, Auburn, 34-31; 
Nick Watson, Auburn, 38-34; 
Shaw Evans, Auburn, 21-17; 
Carlton Waters, Alabama, 48-14; 
Danny Joyner, Alabama, 48-10; 
Josh Reeves, Alabama, 42-17; 
Brian Crandall, Alabama, 41-14; 
Jesse Jordan, Alabama, 38-28; 
Justin Riley, Alabama, 38-21; 
Butch Cobb, Alabama, 38-17; 
Stephen Riley, Alabama, 35-17; 
Billy Kendall, Alabama, 34-20; 
Chris Lanier, Alabama, 31-27; 
Ronnie Davis, Alabama, 31-20; 
Sherdrick Rankin, Alabama, 31-10; 
Roy Lowery, Alabama, 30-24; 
Joye Fordham, Alabama, 28-21; 
Sean Klaetsch, Alabama, 28-14; 
Gary Wayne Pate, Alabama, 28-3; 
Debbie McCulley, Alabama, 27-14;
Lavon Lee, Alabama, 21-3.

Last, but not least, Evergreen City Clerk Mary Jackson jokingly said she would have to decline to predict the final score because her superstitions get the better of her sometimes.

“I don't do predictions or bet on Alabama,” she said. “Because it always turns out unfavorable. However, since I'm not an Auburn fan, I will predict their fate. They’ll lose by 17.”

Today in History for Nov. 28, 2014

General John Marmaduke
Nov. 28, 1814 – “The Times” newspaper in London was for the first time printed by automatic, steam-powered presses built by the German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer, signaling the beginning of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience.

Nov. 28, 1862 – In the Battle of Cane Hill, Union troops under General John Blunt drove Confederates under General John Marmaduke back into the Boston Mountains in northwestern Arkansas. The battle was a prelude to a much larger fight at Prairie Grove, Ark., nine days later.

Nov. 28, 1863 - Confederate reinforcements arrived at Knoxville, Tennessee. Confederate General James Longstreet continued his siege in order to draw Union troops away from Chattanooga. Ultimately, Longstreet retreated back to Virginia.

Nov. 28, 1881 – In a letter to Alabama Gov. R.W. Cobb, Covington County Probate Judge Malachi Riley recommended Joseph Tarpley Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s father) for appointment as constable for Beat 12 (Red Level, Ala.) – apparently to fill a vacancy, since regular elections were held in August. He would be elected to the position on Jan. 9, 1882.

Nov. 28, 1894 – Young Madison Rabb, the author of “The Early History of What is Known as the Evergreen Beat,” passed away in Brewton at the age of 68. He was buried in the Old Evergreen Cemetery.

Nov. 28, 1910 – Brit Nelson allegedly murdered Manuel Rankin, who lived a short distance from Evergreen, Ala. A $100 reward was offered for Nelson’s capture.

Nov. 28, 1925 – The Grand Ole Opry made its radio debut when it began broadcasting on WSM in Nashville, Tenn. as the “WSM Barn Dance.”

Nov. 28, 1929 - Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals set an NFL record when he scored 40 points in a game. He scored six touchdowns and kicked four extra points.

Nov. 28, 1942 – NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Paul Warfield was born in Warren Ohio. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.

Nov. 28, 1948 – NFL defensive end Vern Den Herder was born in Le Mars, Iowa. He would play for the Miami Dolphins from 1971 through 1982.

Nov. 28, 1948 - Dippy Evans of the Chicago Bears became the first NFL player to score two touchdowns on recovered fumbles in a game.

Nov. 28, 1950 – During the Korean War, Marine PFC Carl Hubert Lloyd of Monroe County, Army Cpl. Leonard Watson of Escambia County and Army PFC Joseph D. Chancery of Escambia County were killed in action.

Nov. 28, 1953 - New York City began 11 days without newspapers due to a strike of photoengravers.

Nov. 28, 1964 - The U.S. spacecraft Mariner 4 was launched on a flyby mission of Mars, providing the first ever close-up images of another planet. Many credit Mariner 4's images and data for altering the course of science fiction, shifting the home of intelligent aliens from Mars (or other planets in our solar system) to planets circling distant stars.

Nov. 28, 1968 – Alabama Highway Director Robert G. Kendall Jr. issued an advisory urging motorists not to travel on the unfinished sections of Interstate Highway 65 between Montgomery and Georgiana due to safety concerns and the presence of workers.

Nov. 28, 1969 – Excel won the 1A state football title by beating Sweet Water, 30-6, in Linden. Excel quarterback Jimmy Dale Dawson ran for two touchdowns and kicked two extra points. Tony Narrimore also ran for two touchdowns. Mike Ledkins and Danny Wiggins scored on PAT attempts each.

Nov. 28, 1974 – In Monroe Academy’s “fifth quarter” state championship win over Hooper Academy, three Vols scored touchdowns in the game – Ray Atkins, Keith Pugh and Fella Owens.

Nov. 28, 1989 – The Monroe County Commission, led by Commissioner Silas G. Tucker, proclaimed the week of Nov. 27-Dec. 2, 1989 as “Excel Panther Week” to mark the school’s participation in the 1A state championship football game.

Nov. 28, 2002 - LeAnne Rimes performed at the half time show at the Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins Thanksgiving Day game.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Fri.., Nov. 28, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.15 inches

Fall to Date Rainfall: 5.15 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 55.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 332nd day of 2014 and the 68th day of Fall. There are 33 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Did Murdock McPherson receive first Masonic burial? Where is he buried?

Today (Thursday) marks a unique anniversary in the annals of Conecuh County history. It’s the 185th anniversary of the death and burial of Murdock McPherson of Sparta, who is believed to have received the first Masonic funeral in the history of Conecuh County.

According to Benjamin F. Riley’s 1881 book, “History of Conecuh County, Alabama,” it was on Nov. 27, 1829 that McPherson “is said to have been the first Mason buried with the honors of that Fraternity upon the soil of Conecuh.”

Little is known about McPherson, but from all indications, he was an interesting man. He was among the first settlers at Sparta and is said to have been the first county clerk of Conecuh County. The first school at Sparta was directed by a man named John McCloud, who taught at Sparta’s first school for only a brief period, Riley said. McPherson succeeded McCloud as the director of the school, but McPherson must have died a short time later. (Some sources say he died before 1825, but others confirm that he passed away on Nov. 27, 1829.)

By 1820s standards, McPherson’s funeral was a big event, so big that Riley made sure to include it in his history of Conecuh County. “To give marked solemnity to the occasion, a fiddle was brought into requisition, and its solemn tones were evoked in the strain of a funeral march, by a wooden-legged doctor, named Ogden,” Riley wrote in his book.

Given the details about his funeral, McPherson was obviously a prominent early freemason in Conecuh County, and he was likely around when Conecuh County’s third courthouse building was built at Sparta in 1823. According to Riley, this building was built by a man named Simmons from Tallahassee, Fla. and the local Masonic fraternity paid him $500 more to add a Masonic lodge room and attic to the building. Adjusted for inflation, this was no small amount of money. In 1823, $500 was worth $11,364 in today’s dollars.

I first read about McPherson in Riley’s “History of Conecuh County” a few years ago, and on and off since then I’ve tried to find out more about him. Riley’s book didn’t contain his exact date of death, but historian Sherry Johnston at the Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library was able to supply me with that several months ago.

I’ve often wondered about where McPherson is buried and if his grave is accessible to the public today. Is he buried in the Old Beulah Cemetery as some say or is he buried somewhere on private property near the site of Old Sparta? Can anyone just walk up and visit his grave today or has the location been lost to time?

If anyone in the reading audience knows, I’d like to hear from you. Anyone with more information about Murdock McPherson is encouraged to contact me at The Courant office at 251-578-1492 or by e-mail at You can also write me at The Evergreen Courant, ATTN: Lee Peacock, P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401. 

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Nov. 27, 2014

Higginbotham, right, in his heyday.
NOV. 24, 1983

“Sparta girls beat Jackson, but boys lose: The Sparta Academy girls basketball team beat Jackson Academy, 33-28, in Jackson Thursday night. Jan Coker led Sparta with 12 points. Leah Carrier had eight points; Carol Kendrick, six; Tina Bybee, four; Kim Searcy, two; and Tracy Holmes, one.
“Jackson Academy beat the Warriors boys varsity, 75-66. Al Etheridge led the Sparta scorers with 22 points. Rush Brown had 17 points; Connery Salter, 13; Britt McNeill, seven; Jim Wagstaff, four; Mark Rigsby, two; and Jason Evers, one.”

“Football Banquet Dec. 10 at EHS: The Evergreen Quarterback Club’s annual football banquet honoring the 1983 Aggies will be held Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Evergreen High School Cafeteria.
“The guest speaker will be Coach Tom Goode, offensive line coach of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.
“Tickets are $5 each and are on sale at the school, at The Evergreen Courant or may be purchased from any QB member.”

“The 1983 Repton High School Bulldogs concluded a successful season by advancing to the state playoffs after winning their area championship.”

“35th Annual Senior Bowl College All Star Game, Jan. 14th at Ladd Stadium, Mobile – Tickets are $12 and may be purchased locally at Boykin Jewelers, The Evergreen Courant or see John Bryant Bolton. A portion of each ticket sale will go to the March of Dimes.”

NOV. 28, 1968

“Quarterbacks set banquet Dec. 12: The Evergreen Quarterback Club will stage its annual football banquet honoring the Evergreen High Aggies, coaches and cheerleaders, on Thursday night Dec. 12 at seven o’clock in the high school cafeteria.
“Coach Morris Higgenbotham of Livingston State University will be the featured speaker. He has taken Livingston from the depths up to the top of the small college circuit. Livingston has compiled an 8-1 record this season with Samford University to be played today. Livingston has been invited to play in the Peanut Bowl.
“Coach ‘Hig’ will have with him one of his stars who needs no introduction here. That’s Homer (Bubba) Faulkner, former Evergreen High star, who is the team’s punting specialist. Bubba will also appear on the program.
“Tickets are $1.50 each and are now on sale.”

“Homer (Bubba) Faulkner, star punter for the Livingston University Tigers, will return home Dec. 12 to appear on the program at the Evergreen Quarterback Club’s annual football banquet. His head coach, Morris Higgenbotham, will be the featured speaker at the event. Bubba, a sophomore who is earning his second letter this year, has averaged 41.9 yards per kick this year.”

NOV. 26, 1953

“Evergreen Batters Georgiana 25-0 To Close Season With Eight Wins: The Evergreen High School Aggies pounded out a 25 to 0 win over a stubborn Georgiana Panther eleven here Friday night to rack up their eighth win of the season against one loss and one tie.
“Capt. Sam Cope, a 215-pound all-state tackle candidate, had his favorite dream come true when he shifted to fullback to score the Aggies final touchdown and his first in five years of football.”
Other Evergreen standout players in that game included Ward Alexander, Wayne Bell, Shelton Brown, Wayne Douglas, Ronnie Edson, Jimmy Frazier, Eddie Johnson, Buck Lewis, Alvin Reeves, Lamar Sheffield, Richard Taylor and Bud Ward. Wendell Hart was head coach.

“Pix Theatre To Award Football Trophies Dec. 3: The Martin Theatres Football Trophies will be awarded to the outstanding player on the Evergreen High Varsity team and the player selected for this honor from the junior team next Thursday night, Dec. 3. The trophies will be presented on the stage of the Pix Theatre at about eight o’clock.
“Martin Theatres awards these trophies each year to encourage good sportsmanship and recognize the players who play the game hard but clean carrying out the best principles of sportsmanship and leadership.
“The players are selected by votes of the fans. Ballots may still be cast in the election of the players to be honored this year. Fans wishing to vote will find ballots in the lobby of the Pix.
“Mrs. Gladys Barron, Pix manager, will award the trophies to the players chosen. The Evergreen coaches, Wendell Hart and Bill Parsons, and the varsity and junior teams will be the theatre’s guests at the movie next Thursday.”

NOV. 24, 1938

“Warden Adams Gets Big Buck After Struggle: Warden I.E. Adams of Greenville was in Evergreen Wednesday boasting of having killed a large buck near Brooklyn early that morning after a most exciting struggle and a man to buck, hand to horn fight.
“Mr. Adams was in the vicinity of Brooklyn checking licenses and otherwise attending to his duties as game warden and was not a member of the hunting party. However, he had carried his shotgun along with four buckshot shells and two loaded with No. 6 shots. As is his custom, he also carried his pistol. While passing through the woods where the drive was in progress, the buck came by him. He fired all four of his buckshot shells at the deer and succeeded in wounding him pretty badly but failed to stop him entirely. Having shot him down several times and checking his speed, Mr. Adams was able to get closer and fired his No. 6 shot shells at him, which he said merely made the buck shake his head and get madder. Not having any more ammunition for his shotgun, he took out his pistol and emptied it at him and one of the bullets broke one hind leg. By this time, Mr. Adams overtook him and succeeded in getting hold of his horns. Realizing that he would have to have help, he began calling to the other hunters in the woods and Mr. Benefield who was about a quarter of a mile away came to his rescue. There were able to cut the buck’s throat, thus ending the struggle.
“Mr. Adams said he called in the hunters who were in the party and after the deer was dressed he only asked for a mess for himself, telling them to divide the remainder among themselves. Mr. Adams was good enough to divide his mess with the editor of The Courant, which we think a fitting climax to a very fine deer story.”

NOV. 28, 1923

“Girls Win First Game of Season: The girls basketball team opened the season last Friday with Junior High with a score of 5 to 2 in favor of Evergreen. The lineup for Evergreen was, forward, Carrie Shoemaker, Leona Moore; guards, Zettie Dickinson, Atiline Smith; center, Pauline Dreaden; side center, Kate Gaillard; sides, Erin Stallworth, Katherine Williams, Edith Cunningham, Francis Lee, Myrtle Brundage; manager, Sara Binion.”

“The hunting season began in Alabama this year 20 days later than the old law provided and as there has been a strict enforcement in the laws during the last few weeks, there is said to be an abundance of birds and other game.”

“Paul and Fish Pond had a very interesting game of basketball Saturday night on Brooklyn court.”

“The Paul basketball team has hit its stride. Two games to our credit in one week is going some. Wednesday night we journeyed to Brooklyn and beat them to the tune of 15 to 9. The second game was played Saturday night on the Brooklyn court, Fish Pond being our opponent. The result of this game was 18 to 9 in our favor. Paul should feel proud of its basketball team.”

Magic Eight Ball predicts 8 to 9-point Alabama victory in 2014 Iron Bowl

It’s been a while since I’ve pulled out my trusty, old “Magic Eight Ball,” so I figured since this week is Iron Bowl week, now would be a good time to dust it off to see how it felt about the annual Alabama-Auburn game. Here’s what the “Magic Eight Ball” had to say about this year’s game.

Q: Will Alabama beat Auburn Saturday in Tuscaloosa?
A: Reply hazy, try again.

Q: Will Alabama’s home field advantage make a difference in the game?
A: My sources say no.

Q: Will the crowd be a deciding factor in the game?
A: Ask again later.

Q: Will the fact that the game is a night game make a difference?
A: Reply hazy, try again.

Q: (For the second time) Will Alabama beat Auburn Saturday in Tuscaloosa?
A: It is decidedly so.

Q: Will Alabama, a 9-1/2 point favorite, cover the point spread?
A: Don’t count on it.

Q: Will the game be decided by a touchdown or less?
A: My reply is no.

Q: So Alabama will win by eight or nine points?
A: It is decidedly so.

Q: (For the second time.) Will the fact that the game is a night game make a difference?
A: Concentrate and ask again.

Q: (For the third time.) Will the fact that the game is a night game make a difference?
A: Ask again later.

Q: (For the fourth time.) Will the fact that the game is a night game make a difference?
A: Most likely.

Q: Should readers of The Courant take these questions and responses seriously?
A: Outlook not so good.

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The thirteenth week of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em contest is in the books, and the standings after the dust settled Saturday night showed that Glennis Curry remained in the No. 1 spot for the eighth straight week.

Mike Dailey jumped from third place to second place, and two contestants were tied for the third place spot. Steve Stacey dropped from second place to third place, and Sharon Peacock jumped from sixth place to third place.

Ricky Taylor dropped from third place to fifth place, and Mark Peacock dropped from fifth place to sixth place. Rod Sims dropped from sixth place to seventh place, and Ricky Powell went from ninth place to eight place.

Arthur Ingram III and Jeremy Matheny were tied for ninth place. Last week, Ingram was in tenth place, and Matheny was in eighth place. Joan Stetz was in 11th place this week.

The contest is down to the short rows this week as this coming Saturday represents the final week of the contest. However, if you’ve been playing, don’t give up. With all the rivalry games on the table this week, almost anything can happen and the final contest standings will probably reflect this.

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In the SEC this week, there are five head-to-head games between conference opponents on Saturday and four other games involving SEC schools.

For what it’s worth, here’s how I see each of those games playing out. I like Alabama over Auburn, LSU over Texas A&M, Arkansas over Missouri, Mississippi State over Ole Miss, Tennessee over Vanderbilt, Clemson over South Carolina, Georgia over Georgia Tech, Florida State over Florida and Louisville over Kentucky.

Last week: 6-2. So far this season: 79-24.

Today in History for Nov. 27, 2014

Charles Tait
Nov. 27, 1809 – Charles Tait began serving as a U.S. Senator from Georgia after being elected to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Milledge. Tait was reelected in 1813 and served in the Senate until to March 3, 1819. He would pass away in Claiborne, Ala. on Oct. 7, 1835.

Nov. 27, 1816 – The Town of Jackson, Ala. (originally called Pine Level) was officially incorporated by the Mississippi Territorial Legislature, a little over three years before Alabama even became a state in December 1819.

Nov. 27, 1829 – School teacher Murdock McPherson of Sparta, Ala., the first county clerk of Conecuh County, received first Masonic funeral in county history.

Nov. 27, 1863 – Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and his officers tunneled out of the newly opened Ohio State Penitentiary and escaped to the South. Morgan would be killed in battle almost a year later.

Nov. 27, 1863 – During the Battle of Mine Run, Union forces under General George Meade took up positions against troops led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Nov. 27, 1864 - In Georgia, Union General Judson Kilpatrick began pursuing Confederate General Joseph Wheeler between Waynesboro and Millen. The engagement ended on Dec. 4. The battle allowed Union General Tecumseh Sherman to march to Savannah, Ga. on his famous "March to the Sea."

Nov. 27, 1909 - Alabama author James Agee was born in Knoxville, Tenn.

Nov. 27, 1910 – Around 9 p.m., Will Stallworth was killed at the “warehouse crossing” in Evergreen, Ala. by a passing train.

Nov. 27, 1939 – During a meeting of the Monroeville, Ala. Chamber of Commerce, four Mobile, Ala. Kiwanis Club field representatives (Hoyt W. Lee, Ed Rincher, R.W. Golsby and Ed Shortess) proposed the organization of a Kiwanis Club in Monroeville.

Nov. 27, 1980 - Dave Williams of the Chicago Bears became the first player in NFL history to return a kick for touchdown in overtime.

Nov. 27, 1984 - The Seaboard System Railroad ceased all railroad service to Elba, Ala., including freight service.

Nov. 27, 1994 - Joe Montana of the Kansas City Chiefs became the fifth quarterback to surpass 40,000 yards passing.

Nov. 27, 2003 - U.S. President Bush flew to Iraq and spent time with U.S. soldiers stationed there.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., Nov. 27, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.15 inches

Fall to Date Rainfall: 5.15 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 55.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 331st day of 2014 and the 67th day of Fall. There are 34 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Historical marker tells of early college building burned during Civil War

'Site of Franklin Hall' marker with 'The Mound' in background.
This week’s featured historical marker is the “SITE OF FRANKLIN HALL” marker in Tuscaloosa, Ala. This marker is one of several located on The Quad on the campus of the University of Alabama.

This marker was erected by the Alabama Historical Association in 1981. There’s text on both sides of the marker, but both sides are the same. What follows in the complete text from the marker:

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“SITE OF FRANKLIN HALL (The Mound) Franklin Hall, an early University dormitory designed by Capt. William Nichols, was erected on this site in 1835. Was one of the buildings destroyed by the Union raid on April 4, 1865. After Civil War the remains of structure were shaped into present mound. By early 20th century this mound had become traditional site for honorary tappings by the University.

“Marker donated by Phi Mu sorority in commemoration of its 50th anniversary at the University of Alabama.”

----- 0 -----

Franklin Hall was a three-story building that was one three buildings that were once located on the west side of The Quad. None of them remain standing today. The other two buildings were Washington Hall and Johnson Hall, both dormitories. Washington was a three-story building like Franklin, and Johnson was a one-story building between Franklin and Washington.

Capt. William Nichols was an interesting man. Born in Bath, England in 1780, he grew up to become a famous architect, who moved to the United States in 1800. After a term of service as North Carolina’s state architect, he moved to Alabama in 1827 and became Alabama’s state architect.

While in Alabama, he designed the University of Alabama’s original campus, using Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia as a model. Union soldiers burned all of the college buildings Nichols designed except on during their raid in April 1865. If I’m not mistake, the only building that wasn’t burned as the Little Round House, which wasn’t far from Franklin Hall.

During the Civil War, Union troops arrived in Tuscaloosa on April 3, which was six days before Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, effectively ending the war. On April 4, about 200 Union troops under General John T. Croxton began making their way toward the university campus. They were met by the university’s cadet corps, who were led by Col. James T. Murfee.

These two groups fought a short battle that took place near the present-day intersection of University Boulevard and Greensboro Avenue. Overmatched, the young cadets retreated, allowing the Union troops to burn the campus. One of the buildings they burned was the main library, and the only book saved from the fire was an 1853 edition of the Quran. That book can still be seen today as part of a display at the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.

In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another historical marker. I’m also taking suggestions from the reading audience, so if you know of an interesting historical marker that you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments section below.

Today in History for Nov. 26, 2014

Vlad the Impaler (Dracula)
Nov. 26, 1476 – Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) defeated Basarab Laiota with the help of Stephen the Great and Stephen V B├íthory and became the ruler of Wallachia for the third time.

Nov. 26, 1819 – The Alabama state legislature approved the articles of incorporation for Coffeeville, Ala.

Nov. 26, 1863 – United States President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed November 26 as a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated annually on the final Thursday of November.

Nov. 26, 1863 - Confederate troops under General Braxton Bragg retreated from Chattanooga, Tenn. Bragg resigned shortly thereafter.

Nov. 26, 1863 - The Mine Run campaign began when Union General George Meade moved against General Robert E. Lee after months of inaction following the Battle of Gettysburg. Meade sent three corps against Lee's right flank around a small valley called Mine Run. By Dec. 1, Meade realized that to continue his attack would be foolish and he began pulling his men back across the Rappahannock River into winter quarters.

Nov. 26, 1885 - The first meteor trail was photographed in Prague, Czechoslovakia. It was part of the Andromedid meteor shower.

Nov. 26, 1896 – Witnesses in Oakland, Calif. observed in the sky on this date a "giant cigar shaped ship." It was one of thousands of mysterious airship sightings that continued into the spring of 1897.

Nov. 26, 1922 – Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3,000 years.

Nov. 26, 1923 – The “horribly mangled” body of George Neferos, a Greek man from Chicago, was found on the railroad tracks near Sparta, Ala. during the morning. Papers in his pockets showed that he’d been discharged from the Army at Camp Grant, Ill. on May 31, 1919. Authorities believed that he was riding on a flat car, fell asleep and feel off a fast moving freight train.

Nov. 26, 1946 – NFL lineman and head coach Art Shell was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He was an offensive lineman for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders from 1968 until 1982. He coached the Raiders from 1989 to 1994 and again, briefly, in 2006.

Nov. 26, 1968 – The Evergreen City Council created a Public Housing Authority and agreed to proceed with plans for a low rental housing project in Evergreen, Ala. D.T. Stuart III, an official of the Bank of Evergreen, was named chairman of the authority. Other directors included Byron Warren, H.E. Scott Jr., Walter Poole and Ed Smith.

Nov. 26, 1950 – During the Korean War, Army PFC Robert H. Hart of Conecuh County died while a prisoner of war in Korea. Army Sgt. Herbert W. Frazier of Escambia County died while missing in Korea.

Nov. 26, 1965 – The Betts Family of Monroeville presented the State Archives in Montgomery with a portrait of early Monroe-Conecuh County settler John Green. The Betts were descendants of Julia Green, a daughter of John Green and wife, Nancy Betts Jones.

Nov. 26, 1977 – Former Conecuh County athlete and coach Wendell Hart passed away in Atlanta, Ga. at the age of 60.

Nov. 26, 1998 - Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions became only the second running back in NFL history to run for more than 15,000 career yards.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., Nov. 26, 2014

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.20 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.15 inches

Fall to Date Rainfall: 5.15 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 55.60 inches

NOTES: Today is the 330th day of 2014 and the 66th day of Fall. There are 35 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Nov. 25, 2014

NOV. 24, 1983

Evergreen weather reporter Earl Windham reported .17 inches of rain on Nov. 14, .02 inches on Nov. 15 and .45 inches on Nov. 16. He also reported a high of 80 degrees on Nov. 15 and a low of 29 on Nov. 17.

“Powell made permanent Police Chief: James Powell’s appointment as chief of police of Evergreen was made permanent by the Evergreen City Council at its meeting Monday night. Powell had been acting chief for a number of months.”

“Ala. League elects Smith as a delegate: Evergreen Mayor Lee F. Smith has been named one of 20 voting delegates to represent the Alabama League of Municipalities at the National League of Cities Congress of Cities meeting which will be held on Wed., Nov. 30, in the New Orleans Hilton Hotel.”

“The (Evergreen) Christmas parade date is almost here – Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. – and things are really looking good!
“The National Guard Armory will be opened for float builders starting Mon., Nov. 21, through the 30th from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (closed Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 26-27).”

“Plans are now being made for Castleberry’s annual Christmas parade to be held Sat., Dec. 3, at 1:30 p.m. Floats from various churches and organizations will be featured as well as several bands and other entries.”

NOV. 28, 1968

“Accidents Claim One More Life In Conecuh County: Samuel Moore, five-year-old deaf mute boy of Repton, was killed when he ran in front of a 1967 Datsun driven by Ronald W. Howington of Range on Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in Repton.”

“Do not drive on unfinished I-65: Alabama Highway Director Robert G. Kendall Jr. advised today that persons who persist in traveling the uncompleted section of I-65 from Montgomery to Georgiana are taking their lives, the people traveling with them and the contractors’ personnel into their own hands.
“Recently, a significant number of vehicles have been ignoring the barricades and attempting to travel the highway section under construction. Until construction is completed the area is under the jurisdiction and responsibility of contractors.”

“The Evergreen City Council has created a Public Housing Authority and will proceed with plans for a low rental housing project here. The council took this action after a public hearing Tuesday night.
“D.T. Stuart III, an official of the Bank of Evergreen, was named chairman of the authority. Other directors named are Byron Warren, H.E. Scott Jr., Walter Poole and Ed Smith.”

“Open house will be held at the new Steven Robert Corporation plant on Kendall Avenue just off Highway 31 South on Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5 o’clock, according to Harmon Gunter, manager.”

NOV. 26, 1953

“Varnie Neal Peavy Loses Life In Auto Accident: Varnie Neal Peavy, age 53, popular and well known resident of Belleville, was killed about seven o’clock Wednesday night, Nov. 18, in an auto accident which occurred a short distance below Belleville.”

“Eight lovely girls were nominated this week by the county’s four high schools to compete for the title of Queen Joy and reign over the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual Christmas Carnival. The winner will be chosen by an impartial board of judges from out of the county and will be crowned at the carnival on Wed., Dec. 9.”
The contestants included Betty Jo Jernigan and Lynell Graddy, both of Conecuh County High School in Castleberry; Emily Baggett and Margaret Dees, both of Repton High School; Margaret Hawsey and Shirley Ellis, both of Lyeffion High School; and Annette Bolton and Patricia Alexander, both of Evergreen High School.

“Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce members continued working this week with preparations for the biggest and best Christmas Carnival yet staged in Conecuh County. The Jaycees and merchants will hold their fourth annual Conecuh County Christmas Carnival in Evergreen on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 9.”

“According to the Bureau of Census, there were 10,677 bales of cotton ginned in Conecuh County from the 1953 crop prior to Nov. 1, 1953 as compared to 9,945 bales ginned to the same date in 1952.”

NOV. 24, 1938

“Depew (Pete) Meredith, who has held a position with The Courant for the past three months is leaving the last of this week for Brundidge where he has accepted a position with the Brundidge Sentinel as editor and business manager, effective Dec. 1.
“Since coming to Evergreen in August, Mr. Meredith has acted as advertising manager of The Courant.”

“Cooperative Hog Sale And Trade Day Set For Tuesday: Classifications Given, Trade Day Program Includes Free Show: All arrangements and plans for holding Evergreen’s first hog sale of the season next Tues., Nov. 29, are complete, according to County Agent T.P. Whitten and J.L. Kelly, secretary of Evergreen Chamber of Commerce.
“In addition to the hog sale, a community Trade Day has been arranged in which virtually every merchant and business concern is participating. Business houses are offering special bargains for that day only. The business concerns of the city are cooperating with the local theatre to give those who come a free picture show.”

“Noted Speaker Will Talk At Legion Gathering Tuesday: Members of the Alma Martin Post No. 50 of the American Legion will have the opportunity of hearing Chaplain M.M. Witherspoon of the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, at their regular meeting next Tuesday night, Nov. 29, according to announcement made this week by J.L. Kelly, post commander of the local Legion organization.”

NOV. 28, 1923

“Judge Dean’s Home Destroyed by Fire: The home of Judge F.J. Dean was completely destroyed by fire on Thursday afternoon last, together with practically its entire contents.
“The origin of the fire is unknown, but it is believed it was caused by rats in the attic igniting a match.”

“Greek Killed by Falling from Train: The horribly mangled body of a white man was found on the railroad tracks near Sparta on Monday morning. An examination of the body disclosed its identity to be that of George Neferos, a Greek of Chicago, papers in his pockets showing that he had been discharged from the army service at Camp Grant, Illinois on May 31, 1919. He also wore a service seal No. 1389468. He was said to have been riding on a flat car and it is supposed that he fell asleep and toppled off the fast moving freight train.
“The body was turned over to Dunn Hardware Co. for burial.”

“Prominent Citizen Passes Away: H.A. Shields, one of Evergreen’s foremost citizens, is dead. The end came suddenly and unexpectedly early Sunday morning. Thus is ended a useful career and his memory will live in the lives of those whom he touched during his long and eventful life.”
Shields first came to Evergreen about 35 years before his death as the roadmaster of the L&N Railroad. He was a leading member of the local Methodist Church and for many years was Sunday School superintendent.
He served several terms as Evergreen’s mayor and also served as Evergreen’s town clerk and treasurer. He also served as Worshipful Master of the local Masonic Lodge. He was 72 years old at the time of his death.