Thursday, November 28, 2019

'Backwoodsman' reader from British Columbia says 'Bigfoot does exist'

One magazine that I read from cover to cover every time it hits the newsstand is “The Backwoodsman.” Billed as the “Magazine for the 21st Century Frontiersman,” this magazine comes out every two months and is filled with articles about frontier living, hunting, fishing, survival and folklore. Each issue also includes articles on really cool how-to and do-it-yourself projects.

Each issue also includes a letters section in which readers write in to sound off on topics that were in earlier issues of the magazine. In the latest issue, one such letter caught my eye. Written by 65-year-old William Wallace Surrey of British Columbia, Canada, this letter was written by an outdoorsman who is convinced that Bigfoot is real.

“Bigfoot does exist,” Surrey wrote. “What few seem to pick up on is that they have a very well-developed sense of smell and very good night vision. The scent of oil or gunpowder tells them man is around, same for gas and processed foods.”

Surrey, a lifelong bowhunter, suggested that if you want to see a Bigfoot in the wild, you need to go into the woods wearing clothing made of undyed wool and carry a wooden bow with cedar arrows.

“Don’t wear any manmade scents,” he said. “Eat a diet of fish (vegan mostly) and no scent of manmade anything. If you light a fire, use old dead branches.”

Surrey noted that just because humans can’t smell plastic, paint or wax, that doesn’t mean that animals and Bigfoot can’t because of their heightened sense of smell.

“Now think how good a bear can detect scent,” Surrey wrote. “Bigfoot fears man because they shoot at them. Would you not be afraid?”

Surrey believes that these creatures are intelligent and hide to avoid encounters with humans, especially armed hunters.

“They are not stupid,” Surrey said. “Think how good a wolf avoids man. They are out there – but if every time you saw someone they were armed and aggressive, would you show yourself?”

Surrey makes an interesting point and reminds me of something someone told me a few months ago about the type of eyesight that these creatures might have. This man was telling me that many species of owls have vision that allows them to see outside the visible spectrum that humans can see. Humans can see all of the colors of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet), but owls can see into what is known as the ultraviolet spectrum.

This ability aids owls, who are nocturnal hunters, to find food at night. The example that was given to me was that an owl at night can sit in a tree and not only see the heat given off by small animals like mice, but they can also see the faint urine trails they leave behind. To humans, these trails are impossible to see, especially at night.

If Bigfoot has this type of eyesight, maybe they can see humans from great distances due to the heat our bodies and vehicles give off. Maybe this is also why they seem to avoid stationary game cameras, which is why they are seemingly never photographed by these high-tech devices. If you add in highly sensitive senses of smell and hearing, then it’s little wonder that Bigfoot is so elusive.

In the end, I highly recommend that you check out “The Backwoodsman” magazine. It’s full of all sorts of interesting articles, and I always look forward to the next issue. For more information about this publication, visit

Grant, Loftin locked in tie for first in local college football pick 'em contest

The 13th week of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest wrapped up on Saturday night, and once the dust settled after Saturday’s slate of games, the standings showed that we had a two-way tie for first place. Casey Grant and Brett Loftin are now tied for first place with 96 total points each. Earlier this season, Casey led in the standings for about one week straight, and Brett was in sole possession of first place last week.

Clint Hyde, Drew Skipper and Mark Cotten were tied for third place with 95 points each. Jesse Jordan and Blake Stringer were tied for sixth place with 94 points each. Justin Chandler was in eighth place with 91 total points. Austin Weaver was in ninth place with 90 points, and I rounded out the Top 10 with 89 total points.

As you can see, only seven points separates first place from tenth place, so there’s still a lot of room for change as the season draws to a close. This weekend and next weekend will wrap up this year’s contest, so we’re getting down to the short rows. Who will claim this year’s local pick ‘em championship? Can those in first place fight the pressure to hold on to their top spot in the rankings? Only time will tell, and we’ve still got a lot of good football to look forward to.

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This year’s Iron Bowl is set for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Auburn and will be televised on CBS. Alabama enters the game ranked No. 5 with a 10-1 overall record. Auburn enters the game ranked No. 15 with an 8-3 overall record. As of Monday, Alabama was favored by four points.

Alabama has a lot more to lose in this game when you consider that they are still in the hunt for one of four playoff spots. If Alabama can beat Auburn, they’ve still got a chance to claim a playoff spot, but if Alabama loses, their chances of playing for another national title will probably have to wait until next year. Auburn is usually very hard to beat on their home field, so Alabama will have to bring their “A-game” to get by Auburn.

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The New Orleans Saints barely squeaked by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, winning 34-31 on a game-winning field goal with just a few seconds left in the game. New Orleans dominated the game early, but Carolina managed to battle back to tie it up with about two minutes left to go in the game. It was a good, fun game to watch, but I wouldn’t be saying that if the Saints had lost.

I hadn’t seen Carolina play all year, and I was particularly impressed by quarterback Kyle Allen and running back Christian McCaffrey. After their loss on Sunday, Carolina has a 5-6 overall record, but they looked a lot better than that against New Orleans. For a few minutes, I thought New Orleans was on the verge of suffering another lackluster loss like the one against the Atlanta Falcons a few weeks ago.

Speaking of Atlanta, New Orleans will play a rematch against the Falcons today (Thursday) in Atlanta. That Thanksgiving Day game is scheduled to kick off at 7:20 p.m. and will be televised on NBC. As of Monday, New Orleans was a six and a half point favorite over Atlanta.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., Nov. 28, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.60 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.75 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.65 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 9.90 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 48.35 inches.

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Questions abound about Wilcox County's old Kimbrough community

Located on State Highway 5, just a few miles north of Pine Hill, the old Kimbrough community is one of the most unique places in Wilcox County.

According to the book “Place Names in Alabama” by Virginia O. Foscue, the Kimbrough community was probably named after its first postmaster, Flavius F. Kimbrough. Kimbrough was appointed postmaster when the post office was established there in 1889. Other historical records reflect that the Kimbrough post office remained in operation until it closed in 1966.

Last Friday afternoon, I happened to be passing through Kimbrough and decided to take a few minutes to scout around to see if I could locate the community’s old post office building. For those of you familiar with Kimbrough, you’ll know that most maps show “downtown” Kimbrough to be located where Highway 5 and Highway 162 intersect, just south of Annemanie. When I arrived there on Friday, I turned down Highway 162 and then down Kimbrough Street.

Kimbrough Street took me past a number of residences and eventually down to the Kimbrough United Methodist Church. I stopped there for a few minutes and searched unsuccessfully for a cornerstone that would tell me when the church was established. A sign out front noted that Dawn Bond serves as the church’s pastor.

From there, I rode back down to Highway 162 and pulled over in front of what looked like an old store. Almost directly across the road from this old brick building stood an even older wood building that may have been an old store or warehouse at one time. Had one of these old buildings once served as the Kimbrough post office?

Anyone who has ever looked at a map of the Kimbrough community will also know that two railroads intersect there at a sizeable interchange yard. As I stood there by my truck between the two old store buildings, I could hear the distant booms of railcars as workers moved them together in the nearby railyard. I suspect that this major railroad intersection had much to do with the growth of the Kimbrough community in its early days, and it would make sense for the post office to be located near the railroad.

Back in my truck, I studied my maps once more and noted that a number of creeks also pass through this area, including James Creek, Turkey Creek and Goose Creek. All of this freshwater flowing through the area would have made it prime real estate for ancient Indians, who would have needed a good water supply to survive. I couldn’t help but wonder if there were any old Indian mounds or ancient village sites in the vicinity.

I eventually headed back towards “downtown” Kimbrough, looked around a little more and then pointed my truck back towards Camden. As I made my way back to the county seat, my thoughts returned to all that I’d seen during my brief tour of Kimbrough. As so often is the case, I was left with more questions than answers.

Where was the old post office located? When were the railroads constructed though Kimbrough? Are there any ancient Indian sites near the Kimbrough community? Are there any old ghost stories or local legends associated with this unique place on the map?

In the end, let me hear from you if you know the answers to any of these questions. I’d also like to hear from anyone with any other information about the Kimbrough community’s early history. No doubt, there is much to tell, and it would be a shame for it to fade away into the forgotten fogs of history.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Wed., Nov. 27, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.15 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.15 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.05 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 9.30 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.75 inches.

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Nov. 26, 2019

NOV. 27, 2008

Joe Faulk, the Chairman of the Elmore County Commission and the President of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, visited the Conecuh County Commission Monday morning. Faulk succeeded Conecuh County Commissioner Jerold Dean as the ACCA’s president in August.

Evergreen Mayor Larry Fluker signed a proclamation last Thursday morning making the month of November “American Music Month” in the City of Evergreen.”

Conecuh County firefighters from departments across the county spent much of the last week dealing with a rash of brush and woods fires in a variety of locations.

Conecuh County’s E911 dispatchers are set to receive additional training after the first of the year, according to a report given by County E911 Director Johnny Brock on Monday.

Five motorists were injured in three separate automobile accidents during the past week on area roadways.

The Conecuh County Board of Education recognized three individuals and two media outlets for their contributions to local schools during a meeting last week.
During a school board meeting last Thursday in Evergreen, the board recognized long-time school supporter Willie Crutchfield, WPPG 101.1 FM station manager Gary Downs and Evergreen Courant reporter Lee Peacock.

NOV. 25, 1993

Brigadier General John Watkins was honored for his accomplishments last Saturday night during the NAACP’s 17th Annual Freedom Awards dinner at Hillcrest High School. Gen. Watkins, a native of Conecuh County, is pictured with Bill Bundy of the Alabama National Guard and Freddie Stallworth, Conecuh County Commissioner.

A decision was made by the Conecuh County Board of Education, which along with the juvenile court, hopes to seek assistance for a 14-year-old local youth who admitted making false reports for bombs at two area schools.

Annie Jo Baggett, custodian of school funds for the Conecuh County Public School System for 24 years, was recently honored by fellow workers and school administrators with a reception.

The “anti-business” climate of California has economic developers watering at the mouth over the possibility of a mass exodus of industries to other parts of the nation and world, bringing more jobs to starving work forces. Rosalyn Skipper, economic development director for Conecuh County, recently returned from a trip to the west coast in an attempt to lure these companies to Alabama. She said her trip may prove successful.

Workers at Poole Truck Line stand by as Mike McKenzie ties a ribbon on a company truck in support of Poole’s joining the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) campaign for a safer holiday season on the nation’s roads and highways.

NOV. 23, 1978

Earl Windham, bent-but-not-broke by earlier predictions of rain, reports no rainfall during the week and his weak comment was: “Sorry, Old Bob, we did not have any rain. Maybe next time.”

Staff Sgt. Frank Murphy was promoted to his present rank on Oct. 14. He is stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., but is being reassigned to the Panama Canal Zone.

State Representative James E. “Jimmy” Warren was administered the oath of office for another term by Judge of Probate Frank T. Salter recently. Looking on were Rep. Warren’s wife, Betty, and children, Sharon and Keith. The Castleberry legislator was re-elected to a third term of office on Nov. 7. He won the Democratic nomination in September and in so doing also received the highest number of votes ever given an Alabama State Representative since the Legislature was re-districted.

Cathy Johnston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne E. Johnston, was named Miss Congeniality at Sparta Academy’s Miss Alpha Contest held Thursday night in the school gymnatorium.

Mayor O.B. “Bert” Tuggle was among those paying tribute to Evergreen native Joe Louis Reed at the Joe Louis Reed Jubilee Day Celebration held here Saturday under sponsorship of the Conecuh County Branch NAACP.

NOV. 28, 1963

Thousands jam city for Christmas parade: Queen Joy Margaret Hagood of Evergreen High School reigned over the 1963 Conecuh County Christmas Carnival here Wednesday. Already the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce production is being hailed as the biggest and best in history.
A tremendous crowd estimated to be several thousand strong thronged the downtown streets. The parade was long, beautiful and entertaining.
A brief program at the bandstand emceed by Chamber of Commerce President Blake Campbell featured the introduction of the queen, princess and honor court, presentation of the key to the city to Santa Claus by Mayor Pro Tem Henry Sessions and Santa’s proclamation that the holiday season was now open in Conecuh County to last through Jan. 1.
Immediately after the program, the city’s decorative lights were turned on to burn through the season.

From one truck to major industry: When Walter Poole drove off with his first flatbed trailer-load of cotton, hauling for Kendall & Kendall, in 1946 neither he nor anyone else even dreamed that one of Evergreen and Conecuh County’s major industries had been born.
Poole had just that trailer and just the truck pulling it, no money and a lot of courage and faith.
Today, he owns and operates Poole Truck Line, employer of 65 persons with an annual payroll of over $300,000.

NOV. 25, 1948

Conecuh Reports No Polio During 1948: During approximately the first 10 and one-half months of this year (through Nov. 13) 193 Alabama cases of Poliomylitis (infantile paralysis) were reported to the State Health Department’s Bureau of Preventable Diseases. This total included none occurring in Conecuh County, the department announced today.

On Tuesday afternoon from four to six the Evergreen Study Club entertained at a tea. The occasion was a double celebration, this being the 25th anniversary of the club and the opening of the library.

From “The Week’s Wash” by Bob Bozeman – The boss and I attended what Dr. W.R. Carter called a “shindig” at Repton High School last Thursday night. The “shindig,” and I believe that’s a good name, was held in Repton High’s beautiful auditorium-gymnasium, and the purpose was to raise funds so that a new curtain might be placed on the stage of the auditorium.

W.E. Brooks Jr., Editor of the Brewton Standard, was the guest speaker at the regular meeting of the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce Monday night. Mr. Brooks spoke on “Two Party Politics In The South.”

The Maggie Dunn Sewing Circle will meet Friday afternoon at three o’clock with Mrs. Percy Brantley with Mrs. B.A. Herbert co-hostess.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., Nov. 26, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.90 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 9.15 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.60 inches.

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

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Nov. 25, 2019

Neil "Dick" McGowen

NOV. 28, 1985

Nell Stuart of Evergreen along with team members Claire Kyzar, Brenda Moyers and Judy Jefferies, all of Montgomery, placed third in the American Cancer Society’s National Golf Championship recently at Doral Country Club in Miami, Fla.

The Sparta Academy basketball team opened its 1985-86 season with a 69-55 win over Fort Deposit Academy in Fort Dale on Nov. 19. Sparta’s girls also raced to a 49-34 win.
Sparta’s varsity boys were led by Scott Salter with 13 points and Jason West with 10 as 11 Warriors got in on the scoring. Tim Brantley had eight points; Danny Reed and Mark Rigsby, seven each; Brian Bybee, Brandon Salter and Glynn Ralls, six each; and John Weaver, Brad Watts and Lynn Ralls, two each.
Kim Searcy led the Sparta ladies with 14 points, 16 rebounds and two steals. Julie Johnson had 11 points, six rebounds and one steal. Carol Kendrick had eight points, four rebounds and seven steals. Tracy Holmes, seven points, five rebounds and six steals; Susan Ward, six points, 12 rebounds and four steals; and Leah Carrier, two points, three rebounds and two steals.
(Players on Sparta’s junior varsity boys team included Craig Blackburn, Ted Robbins, Baxter Stinson, Chris Weaver, Richard Melton and Jerry Cotten.)

NOV. 26, 1970

Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Ryland visited Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Padgett in Auburn Saturday and while there attended the football game.

One of the newcomers Coach Neal Posey is counting on for help as he shoots for his 200th victory as mentor of the Huntingdon College Hawks this basketball season is a sharpshooter from Repton.
Scott Dyess, six foot, four inches, comes to the Hawks from North Florida Junior College where he was an outstanding performer for two years. He played forward for the Florida club.
During his prep years at Repton High School, Scott was one of the top players in South Alabama. He is an outstanding rebounder and excellent shooter.

Big things are in store for basketball fans of Evergreen High School. This season gets under way with a Thanksgiving tournament on Nov. 26, 27 and 28.
(Evergreen’s regular season opponents that season included Monroeville, Excel, Greenville, W.S. Neal, Atmore, Frisco City, J.U. Blacksher, Repton, Castleberry, Bay Minette, Andalusia and Lyeffion.)

NOV. 24, 1955

The Evergreen Aggies overcame a 13-point deficit Friday night and took sweet revenge over the Georgiana Panthers by a 20-13 score, sending a capacity crowd of homecoming fans home deliriously happy.

The Evergreen Quarterback Club will stage a banquet Thursday night in honor of the graduating seniors on the Evergreen High School football squad.
Letters will be awarded to members of the team earning them that night by Coach Wendell Hart. High spot in the evening will be the awarding of the D.T. Stuart trophy for the outstanding player of the year.
Speaker for the evening will be Dick McGowen, freshman coach and chief scout for the Auburn Tigers.
The following are seniors on the 1955 squad: Eugene ‘Pee Wee’ Hyde, Walter Carrier, Wendell Tolbert, Ronnie Edson, Buck Lewis, Eddie Kelly, Milton Moorer, Neil Hyde, Murray Johnson, Randy White, Timmy Boykin, Robert Mason, Ernest Tolbert and Tommy Watts.

The China Junior High School Athletic Club was organized Fri., Nov. 18. The following officers were elected: President, Evelyn Lee; Vice President, Maxine Sumpter; Secretary, Willie Mae Sumpter; Secretary, Willie Mae Jones; Assistant Secretary, Alva Jean Jacobs; Treasurer, Lafarick Jacobs; and Advisor, John Floyd.

NOV. 28, 1940

Mrs. L.T. Rutland and Miss Louise Rutland spent the weekend in Birmingham and attended the Alabama-Vanderbilt football game.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Mon., Nov. 25, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.90 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 9.15 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.60 inches.

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

Sunday, November 24, 2019

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

NOV. 22, 1990

Welch activated; court to continue: Circuit Judge Sam Welch, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was called to active duty Saturday and ordered to report yesterday (Wednesday) in Montgomery. Regular activities of Monroe County Circuit Court, including the criminal jury term scheduled to begin Monday, will continue with the help of district judges.
Welch told The Journal Monday night that he was notified Saturday morning that his unit, the 926th Engineers Group, had been “placed on active duty in the U.S. Army.”

Vols defeat Lowndes: Monroe Academy’s Volunteers assured themselves of a spot in the second round of the Alabama Independent School Association 4A state playoffs Friday when they upended Lowndes Academy, 13-6, at MA.
Senior fullback John Abernathy scored on an eight-yard run in the first quarter, and senior Chris Hare kicked an extra point and two second-half field goals to lift the Volunteers over Lowndes.
(Other top MA players in that game included Dallas Gamble, Josh Mixon, Jason Moore, Shane Stafford and Jerrod Thompson. K.J. Lazenby was MA’s head coach.)

Nall starts second school-board term: Alfred Nall of Excel, who won the Democratic primary last spring and was unopposed in the Nov. 6 general election last week, was sworn in for his second term on the Monroe County Board of Education Nov. 9.
At the board meeting that followed, Johnny Snyder of Monroeville was re-elected board chairman and Caswell P. Carmichael was re-elected vice chairman.

NOV. 25, 1965

Initial Debut Of FM Is Delayed Here: The initial debut of FM radio in Monroeville will be postponed until about Dec. 2, Harold Harris, manager of radio station WMFC, said Tuesday.
Mr. Harris said the delay is due to the large number of applications now on file in the office of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, which has to signify approval prior to a new station going on the air.
Providing FCC officials find no discrepancies in the final papers for the station, WMFC-FM should begin broadcasting sometime during the first few days in December, Mr. Harris said.

MCHS Is In 10th Spot In State Poll: The Monroe County High Tigers finished tenth in the final poll of Class AA teams in the state. The Tigers completed the season with an 8-1-1 record.
In compiling its 8-1-1 record, Monroeville didn’t have any team on its slate to score more than seven points in any one game. The only loss was to T.R. Miller by the score of 6-0 while the tie was with Grove Hill, 7-7.
Excel, with a 6-4 record, was given an honorable mention among the state’s Class A teams.

The Monroe County Commission gave the City of Monroeville permission to place parking meters around the square, except on the north side of the courthouse and the parallel parking spaces on the east side. These areas will be reserved for employees in the courthouse. The city voted to install parking meters in the downtown area two weeks ago but needed the permission of the county board to place the meters on county property.

NOV. 28, 1940

Mr. Edwin Lee, student at Auburn, spent the Thanksgiving holidays with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Lee.

Frisco City All Stars Defeat Monroeville: The all-star football game between Frisco City and Monroeville Tuesday night resulted in an easy victory for Frisco City, 13 to 0.
Monroeville was never able to do much gaining any time during the game, while Frisco City piled up yardage at will, although they were able to score two touchdowns.
Frisco City was in fine condition and showed good teamwork. Monroeville was handicapped by lack of practice, which was apparently the difference between the two teams.
A nice crowd witnessed the contest.

Mr. George Thomas Jones, student at Emory University, Georgia, spent the Thanksgiving holidays with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lucian Jones.

Additional Floor Space For Jitney-Jungle: An addition of 15 to 20 feet on the back of the Jitney-Jungle is under construction and when completed, the stock in the store will be rearranged and enlarged. Mr. Gardner, manager, stated that he expects to completely renovate his store in January.

NEW SHIPMENT! Fine Young Texas Mules – REASONABLE PRICES – F.P. Jones – Monroeville, Ala.

Misses Mary Carter and Jewell Farish of Beatrice spent the holidays with home folks.

NOV. 25, 1915

Mr. R.G. Scott of Eliska, accompanied by his son, Lt. Charles Scott of the United States Army, favored The Journal sanctum with a pleasant visit while in the city Monday. Lt. Scott has been assigned by the war department to an important post in the Philippines and will sail for that far away archipelago early in December. In the meantime, he and his family are spending a few weeks with parents at Eliska.

Mr. E.L. Covan, who lives in the northeastern part of the county and who is serving on the jury here this week, killed a 17-month old shoat recently which dressed 522 pounds. The pig was of the Duroc-Bekshire-Tamworth strain. He also killed three others a little older, the aggregate dressed weight being 1,115 pounds.

The County Board of Revenue has determined to apply for Monroe’s quota of state aid funds for the improvement of county highways. Between four and five thousand dollars have accrued to the credit of the county and if the application is granted this fund will be supplemented by the county and employed in the building and improving the Old Federal Road from the Butler County line to Burnt Corn.

The fall term of the circuit court adjourned Wednesday evening. The docket was unusually light and all cases were disposed of either by trial or continuance. Judge Turner and Solicitor McDuffie will go from here to Clarke County where court will convene next Monday.

NOV. 28, 1890

Died – At his residence on Perdue Hill, Ala., Nov. 19, 1890, Philip Bradley, aged 42 years. The deceased was born at Ontario, Canada, April 17, 1848 and had resided in Monroe County for the past 10 years, and at Perdue Hill for eight or nine years, where he engaged in the mercantile business.
He was a member of Alabama Lodge No. 3, F&A Masons and also of Monroe Chapter No. 4. He was interred by the Masonic Fraternity with the customary solemn funeral rites, accompanied by a large concourse of friends.

MONTHLY DRILL: Thanksgiving was celebrated by the regular monthly drill of the Monroe County Corps at Perdue Hill Thursday, and the attendance was larger than upon any previous similar occasion. The generous people of the charming little village tendered free entertainment and a cordial welcome to the company, its lady friends and their attendants.
The company met at 10 a.m. and formed line in front of the Masonic Hall and marched down Main Street to the Union church where very beautiful and impressive Thanksgiving services were conducted by Rev. W.D. Heath. The company then returned to the Hall, was dismissed and the members dispersed to the homes assigned to partake of the unabridged hospitality of their generous hosts.
At 2 p.m., the company assembled in the Hall and proceeded to nominate Maids of Honor, as follows: first, Miss Mary Agee; second, Miss MayBelle Sowell; third, Miss Lizzie Nettles.
The afternoon was passed in review of the troops, which was witnessed by a large number of interested spectators.
At 8 p.m., the company reassembled at the Hall for the election of a Sponsor and Maids of Honor and for competitive drill, the entire company exclusive of those having had previous military experience, competing for the prize for the best drilled private in the manual of arms.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sun., Nov. 24, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.40 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.40 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.90 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 9.15 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.60 inches.

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

Singleton said that mystery surrounded the origins of Aunt Lellia

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 “Fond memories of Aunt Lellia” was originally published in the Nov. 19, 1987 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

She was a tall woman, mulatto-skinned with long braids of hair hanging down her back. She was in excellent health despite her advanced years. There were those who said that she was well over 70, and then there were those who said that no one rightly knew just how old Aunt Lellia was.

But one thing was for sure: there was always an air of mystery around this woman. And for a boy of six, there wasn’t anything in the whole world that Aunt Lellia didn’t know about.

I can see her now – tall, straight, with eyes that seemed to look right through you, especially when you did something wrong. That look got your attention.

She didn’t talk much unless she liked someone; then she would talk for hours on end about the past years and the many things that could keep a young boy’s attention. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that she was the smartest person who lived anywhere.

Tales and legends

She would sit for hours and unfurl the tales and legends of her early years. The stories she told would raise the hair along the neck of the boy who absorbed every word.

She could walk like no one else. Her pace was such that I had to trot just to keep up with her. The long, straight walking stick was never used to assist in her walking. The stick rarely touched the ground. When asked why she carried it at all, the answer was that if she needed it, she would have it with her.

Always, across her left shoulder, hanging by a stout strap, Aunt Lellia carried her mystery satchel. There was always many good things that came out of that satchel. Things like parched peanuts, roasted pecans, popcorn candy sweetened with honey, and many other goodies.

Also in that satchel of mystery were carried all the medicines and cures for almost any ailment. There was the black, evil-smelling salve that was always used for a stumped toe, which happened quite often. A certain piece of bark that you chewed, should you have the toothache. Then there were the everyday cures for sorehead on the chickens. And a certain grass that, when boiled, was an ideal spring tonic. Aunt Lellia had a remedy for everything; she had the cure for it all.

Background was a mystery

No one knew just where Aunt Lellia came from. She didn’t talk much about this subject – only the times past. Never did she mention her family during her early childhood. She and her husband had come through the area where I was raised and had settled near our homeplace.

Aunt Lellia delivered me when I was born. I have heard the story many times. I was born on a rough and stormy night. Due to road conditions and the fact that I was two weeks early, and the lack of communications, the family doctor didn’t get the word in time. Aunt Lellia was summoned as a midwife.

I was, in some way, very special to this wonderful woman. Since she had no children of her own, she called me her “baby.” I was to learn over the years that this privilege of being called “baby” brought with it many benefits that would have otherwise been denied, and had I not been her favorite. Because of this, I had access to all the patience and knowledge that Aunt Lellia possessed.

A lifetime friendship

When Aunt Lellia’s husband passed away many years before, she was left alone. Since she had no family to look after her, she became almost totally dependent on my family for survival. This was no problem because one or two extra around at mealtime at our house didn’t make any difference. There was always plenty of good homecooked food for everyone. And my mother saw to it that Aunt Lellia had the things that she needed. A bond of friendship between these two was to last a lifetime. Aunt Lellia was always there to help.

Since I was the youngest, the baby of the family, many of my teachings about everyday life were administered by this stern and wonderful woman. The times that I would get spanked when I was naughty, would end up with me getting petted and hugged. These hugging sessions quickly taught me that during these times I could utilize many other side benefits also. I could get almost anything I wanted if I cried just right.

The years passed, and Aunt Lellia became more and more dependent upon her walking stick. Her step became slower, her walks not so far. She became quieter. She often spoke to me about her taking a long journey. Being young and full of energy, I didn’t realize that she spoke of death and the passing from this life. Her talk of traveling beyond the sunrise seemed strange to me.

Saying goodbye

Then that day in May, the day after my graduation from high school, I saw Aunt Lellia for the last time. I told her goodbye prior to boarding the bus and beginning the journey that would eventually end at the Marine training barracks at Parris Island, S.C.

I wasn’t told of her death until my first leave home. I was told then, also, about a promise made between her and my mother several years back. Just before her plain and simple coffin was closed forever, a tiny photograph of a small, barefoot boy was placed almost unnoticed by the side of this gentle and sleeping woman. The promise had been fulfilled. Aunt Lellia’s wish had been granted.

(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 Vinc
ent William Singleton and Frances Cornelia Faile Singleton, during a late-night thunderstorm, on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served as a U.S. Marine paratrooper in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to warrant officer in May 1972. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Nov. 23, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.50 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.75 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.20 inches.

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

Friday, November 22, 2019

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

Eyeless, albino cave fish.

The next morning, we set out early and hiked back up Gaillard Creek to the mysterious crack in the limestone bank. A stiff wind blew between the high banks on both sides of the creek, and a steady fall of dying leaves drifted down into its cold waters. Although the day was young, an overcast sky set the scene with an air of ominous twilight that foreshadowed what was to come.

Adam and I carried small flashlights, but Chuck had snagged a large waterproof light from his dad’s fishing boat. I also brought a spool of thick, white butcher’s thread that I’d found in the shed behind my house. Each of us had a backpack that we hoped to fill with the treasure we expected to find somewhere inside the black cave.

A clear stream of water flowed from the base of the crack and across the fan of sand that led down to the edge of the creek. We searched the sand closely for any sign that someone else had been there. The only tracks we found had been left behind by a coyote sometime during the night.

We stepped to the opening in the limestone fissure and switched on our lights. Chuck stuck his head inside and yelled “Hello!” In answer, a brown bat flew out of the crack and passed a few inches from Chuck’s plump face.

“Jeez, I didn’t know bats got that big,” Adam said. “Wonder how many more are inside? You know they carry rabies.”

As Adam and Chuck pondered bat-borne diseases, I pulled out the spool of string and tied the free end to a dirty root near the crack’s entrance. I pulled on the string to make sure that it wouldn’t come loose and explained to the others that I would unroll it as we went along so that we’d be able to find our way back if our lights gave out.

“Sort of like Hansel and Gretel and their trail of bread crumbs,” I said. “Come on, let’s go.”

Adam took the lead as we entered the crack, and, at first, we could only walk in single file. Chuck was in the middle while I brought up the rear. Not far from the entrance, we moved around a slight bend and lost sight of the entrance.

All the while, the stream of water rushed cold at our feet as it made its way towards the sunlight around the bend. The passage was still narrow, and my mind conjured up images of hairy bats and spiders clinging to the walls of the cave. The air was thick with a chalky smell that made me think of grave dirt.

“Check this out!” Adam yelled. He was about 20 feet ahead, and the tunnel there was about a yard across. Chuck and I made it to him a few seconds later, and saw what he was pointing at. In the dim light of our flashlights, we could see drawings on the side of the tunnel. One was an image of a setting sun. Another resembled a bat and a number of others looked like stick men with spears.

As I stood there, I thought about the time in school that we read “Beowulf,” a story of an old hero who killed a monster named Grendel. After killing the monster, Beowulf had to enter a cave where Grendel’s evil mother lived. There was a big battle, and she nearly killed Beowulf, but he eventually cut off her head.

“These are Indian drawings,” Chuck whispered. “Reckon how old these are?”

“Don’t know,” I said. “It’s a wonder they’ve held up so well with all this water around.”

“One thing’s for sure, people have been in here before,” Adam said. “If this thing widens into a real cave ahead, there’s no telling what we’ll find.”

We continued on for another 50 yards or so, and the feeling that we were now deep within the earth took hold. It was in that moment that Adam yelled, “What the heck is that!?!”

From out of the darkness ahead, a white object about the size of my hand swam toward us in the water at our feet. Adam stood frozen with fear as his flashlight beam shined down on the thing as it swam closer. Just before it reached Adam’s feet, I stepped past him and snatched up the slimy object and held it for my friends to see.

“It’s an albino fish,” Chuck said as he and Adam kept their lights played on the squirming white thing in my hand. I’d never seen a fish quite like this one. It was without scales, like a catfish, and its skin was so white that it seemed to glow. Adam was the first to notice that this strange creature had no eyes.

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

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Nov. 22, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.50 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.75 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.20 inches.

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

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Memories of Conecuh County, Alabama's old Karen community have faded into the forgotten past

Railroad track in "downtown" Karen.

The more that I look at old maps, the more I realize that the countryside is dotted with old, forgotten communities that have disappeared into the fog of passing time. One such community is the old Karen community, which first appeared on maps as long ago as 1912.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Karen community, it was located on Conecuh County Road 107, just north of the Shreve community in eastern Conecuh County, not far from the Butler and Covington County lines.

Before last week, I couldn’t honestly say that I’d ever been to the Karen community, so last Thursday I hopped in my truck and took a quick field trip to Karen to see it for myself. On the way there, I wondered if there was anything left that might indicate that this was a much larger community at one time, perhaps an old store building, post office, school or train depot.

The Karen community is almost exactly 24 miles from Evergreen’s Four Points intersection and to get there, I took U.S. Highway 84 out past Herbert and over the Sepulga River at Staples Bridge to County Road 47. From there, I cut north on County Road 47 and headed up to the Beat 8 community, where I turned onto County Road 51. I then turned onto County Road 54, which took me over the railroad tracks at Shreve.

At that point, I cut north on County Road 107, which took me past Sweet Home Church and Wingard Pond to State Highway 55. Looking carefully both ways, I crossed the four-lane there and entered “downtown” Karen. According to the old maps I’d studied, the northern boundary of this community appears to have been Arnold Road, a dirt road that runs along the border between Conecuh and Butler County.

I turned around at this point, pulled over for a few minutes and realized that I was a short distance from the town of McKenzie. In fact, when you cross the Butler County line, Conecuh County Road 107 becomes Main Street in McKenzie. While standing there, I remembered that my late grandmother grew up in this area and went to school at McKenzie High School, where she’d been a cheerleader years and years ago.

My uncle, Tony Weaver, and Kenny Walden both told me that their grandparents had lived in this community. Kenny said that he’s hunted in this area many times and noted that he couldn’t remember ever hearing anyone call this community Karen. He did mention that there was an old beer joint not far from there back in the early 60s that exploded mysteriously one night due to a gas leak.

County Commissioner David Campbell also lives in this area and told me that he doesn’t remember ever hearing anyone call it Karen. His father, who recently turned 80, actually lives in a house that sits on the Conecuh-Butler county line. Campbell said his father and 92-year-old Carl Wingard might possibly remember the days when the community was called Karen.

From the Butler County line, I drove a short distance down to the railroad crossing where Wilson Farm Road crosses the railroad tracks, parked and got out for a closer look. While I’m no expert, the tracks looked to be in relatively decent shape and a lack of rust on the rails indicated to me that they may still be used from time to time. Later, someone told me that he remembered there being a platform in this area near the tracks where loggers would pile timber to be loaded on trains. Lavon Lee also told me that the railroad through the community dates back to 1900.

Looking around, I suspect that at one time this community, like so many other small communities, probably had a small store and post office. I’d also be willing to wager that the community got its name from the post office as it was common practice to name post offices after the wives and daughters of the postmaster. Examples of this type of thing are Beatrice over in Monroe County and Estelle in Wilcox County.

Before getting back into my truck, I took one last good look around and wondered if there were any ghost stories or local legends from this corner of Conecuh County. Before settlers came to this part of the world, had Indians lived in great numbers here beside its creeks and streams? Had they left behind any mounds or old village sites?

I eventually headed back to Evergreen and on the way into town, I couldn’t help but wonder what the Karen community looked like way back in the early 1900s. Perhaps some of that area’s older residents will remember what it was like and recall the true story behind how the community got its name. In the end, if anyone in the reading audience knows more about the history of the old Karen community, please let me know, so that we can keep the memory of such places alive for future generations.

Brett Loftin moves into first place in local ESPN College Football contest

Wendell Hart

The 12th week of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest wrapped up on Saturday night, and Brett Loftin found himself atop the local standings once the dust settled after Saturday’s slate of college games. Going into last Saturday, Loftin was locked in a four-way tie with three other players for third place, but he correctly picked the outcomes of all 10 games in the contest on Saturday to take sole possession of first place. He currently leads all other contestants with 88 total points.

Casey Grant, who was in first place for weeks and weeks, is now in second place with 87 total points. Clint Hyde, Drew Skipper and Mark Cotten were tied for third place with 86 total points each.

Jesse Jordan and Blake Stringer were tied for sixth place with 85 points each. Justin Chandler was in eighth place with 82 points. Austin Weaver and I were tied for ninth place with 80 points each. Arthur Ingram III was next, in 11th place, with 79 points.

As you can see, less than 10 points separates those of us in the top 10 and with three weeks left to go, everyone’s still got a chance to win top honors. The top 10 has reshuffled itself a number of times in recent weeks, and there’s bound to be a few more changes in the weeks to come. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: We’ve still got a lot of good football to look forward to.

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The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced on Saturday the names of 12 major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama who have been selected for induction into the 30th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. This group, which includes an “old-timer,” will be enshrined at a banquet held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa Convention Center on March 16, 2020.

This year’s group includes coach and administrator Samuel “Hamp” Lyon, who was chosen in the old timer category. Lyon, who died in 1974, was born in 1911 and came to Alabama from Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, Tenn. in 1932 when he joined the University of Alabama athletic program. Upon graduation in 1937, he went straight to Alexander City High School where he served as head football coach from 1937-1941 – leaving to serve in the U.S. Army in Europe in World War II from 1941 to 1945.

He returned to Alex City in 1946 as head football coach remained as head coach through 1957 – compiling a 107-47-10 record. His 1953 team was the first in school history to go undefeated, compiling a 9-0-1 record. He served as athletic director from 1957-1972 until he retired. The football stadium in Alexander City was named in his honor in 1970. Lyon also founded the Alex City Quarterback Club and served in the Lions Club and Shriners Club and retired as a Colonel in the Army Reserve.

When it comes to Conecuh County and the “Old Timer” category, I think that former Evergreen High School coach Wendell Hart more than deserves a place in the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame.

Hart’s sports life in Conecuh County spanned decades. Anyone who’s read The Courant’s regular Sports Flashback feature over the years will have seen that Hart was not only a successful football, basketball and baseball coach, but he also excelled in those sports as a player. Hart touched many lives, and there are still many of Hart’s former players and teammates in the community and elsewhere who have fond memories of Hart.

Hart passed away at the age of 60 on Nov. 26, 1977, well before the first class was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991. Known as “Coach Hart” to hundreds of former students and players, he served as a head coach at Evergreen High School for 20 years. He also coached at Luverne, Elba and Lyeffion. In his heyday, he was one of the state’s most successful coaches and the coach with the most senior years of service in the state.

He was also a graduate of Evergreen High School, where he was an outstanding athlete before going on to play at Sunflower Junior College in Moorehead, Miss. and Millsap College in Jackson, Miss. In both high school and in college, Hart lettered in football, baseball and basketball. He went on to graduate from Troy State University.

After serving in World War II, he was named the head coach at Evergreen in 1946 and successfully coached football, basketball and baseball. In 1949, he coached the only undefeated football team in Evergreen High School history, going 8-0-2. His teams in 1949 and 1950, had a combined record of 17-1-2.

Later, he left Evergreen to coach at Luverne and Elba and had success at both of those schools. He eventually returned to Evergreen as a head coach and teacher, and later coached at Lyeffion. His health eventually forced him to give up coaching.

When you take into account his entire career and the impact he had on so many young people, he more than deserves inclusion in the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in the “Old Timer” category.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Thurs., Nov. 21, 2019

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall:  1.50 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 8.75 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 47.20 inches.

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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

Alexandre Dumas

NOV. 17, 1988

Frisco City to place time capsule, to be opened in bicentennial year: A time capsule, containing assorted memorabilia mostly about Frisco City’s centennial celebration, will be encased next month at the town’s Jones Park.
A spot in Jones Park, which displays the Frisco City caboose, has been designated to encase the capsule. A brief ceremony is tentatively set for Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. The capsule will be encased and covered by a plaque noting it should not be opened until October 2088.

Perfect season: Excel High School’s junior varsity football team recorded a 5-0 record this season. The Panthers defeated J.U. Blacksher 36-6 and 32-0, pounded Frisco City 34-0 and 16-0, and dumped Sweet Water 28-0. (Members of the team were Brian Luker, Trey Harris, Steve Goodman, Scott Baker, Brady Wright, Shawn Manning, Chad Addison, Shannon Kelly, Ray Pharr, Lamar Andrews, Jason Bell, Steven Ledkins, Mike Cole, Chris Casey, Larue Spears and Gene McMillian. Coaches were Jack Booth and Bubba Nall.)

Cutting ribbon: A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday for a new motel at the intersection of Highway 84 and 21 at Ollie. Present for the grand opening of the Western Motel were Frisco City Mayor Billy McCrory; motel manager Roger Leva; Monroeville Mayor Pro Tem Jim Davis, who represented Monroeville Mayor B.C. Hornady; and Mr. and Mrs. I.J. Leva, motel owners. Leva, who also owns a motel in Columbia, Miss., announced his son, Roger, will manage the local motel.

NOV. 21, 1963

David M. Nettles Is Appointed Probate Judge By Gov. Wallace: David Miller Nettles, Monroeville attorney, has been appointed by Gov. George C. Wallace as probate judge of Monroe County to fill the unexpired term of Judge E.T. Millsap, who died a few weeks ago. The appointment was made public Tuesday.
Mr. Nettles will take over the office immediately and will serve until the new term begins in January 1965. A judge will be elected in the 1964 primaries to begin a regular six-year term in 1965.
Judge Nettles, age 33, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Lee Nettles of Monroeville. He is a graduate of Monroe County High School. He studied pre-law at Auburn and obtained his law degree from the University of Alabama.

SENIORS AND STILL CHAMPS – Most of the Monroe County High School seniors pictured above have high school memories that probably few football players will have. The MCHS Tigers have won the Pine Belt Championship and the Monroe County championship every year they were in senior high school. The team has won both titles for the past four years. Pictured with their coaches are Billy Sellers, Richard Otterberg, Tim Jones, Paul Griffin, Robin Sanderson, Don Cox, Larry Godwin, Louie Hayles, Lloyd Sturtevant, Eugene Wilson, Ray Owens and James R. Allen, head coach, and Ronald Dees, assistant coach.

NAMED SENATOR: Kay Ellen Ivey, Camden, the granddaughter of Mrs. Earl Nettles of Tunnel Springs, has been named freshman senator at Auburn. Miss Ivey is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nettles Ivey, former residents of Monroe County.

NOV. 17, 1938

While hunting one day last week, Mr. John Alexander of Uriah, killed a pure white squirrel. White squirrels have been reported in the county, but this is the first one killed by a hunter in many years.

Monroeville Defeats Beatrice, 39 to 0: The Monroeville High School football eleven added another team to their string of victims last Friday night when they defeated Beatrice High in a one-sided contest on the local field. The final score was 39 to 0.
Both teams showed good coaching and played fine, clean football, but Monroeville was too powerful for the visitors.
This was the seventh consecutive victory for Monroeville, having defeated all the High School teams in the county and three other teams out of the county.
The games played to date, together with the scores, are as follows: Monroeville 13, Pine Apple 0; Monroeville 48, Uriah 0; Monroeville 37, Excel 0; Monroeville 7, Jackson 6; Monroeville 6, Frisco City 0; Monroeville 33, Camden 13; Monroeville 39, Beatrice 0. Total points scored: Monroeville 183; Opponents, 19.
The next and last game of the season will be played on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving when Monroeville plays Brewton High.

Faulk-Ingram: Miss Jennie Faulk announces the marriage of her niece, Miss Lucille Faulk, to Mr. James Gilbert Ingram of Tuscaloosa on Fri., Nov. 4, in Tuscaloosa.

Mr. J.W. Barganier of Frisco City brought a stalk of cane to The Journal office Tuesday morning. The stalk had four well-developed joints and above these joints grew two perfect stalks.

NOV. 20, 1913

Mrs. A.C. Lee and little daughter returned Monday from a visit with relatives at Finchburg.

Mr. S.M. Roberts, who was recently appointed postmaster at Monroeville, has entered upon the discharge of his official duties. The formal transfer was made on Tuesday.

Jeptha Langham Shot by James Mixon: Jeptha Langham was shot and fatally injured by his son-in-law, James Mixon, near Midway, this county, last Saturday night. Particulars have not been learned further than that the trouble occurred at Mixon’s home. Langham was taken to a hospital in Selma where he died Sunday night. Langham was the same man who was held in jail here a few weeks ago on the serious charge of having administered poison to his wife, but who was discharged on the certificate of the state chemist who failed to discover any traces of poison in the contents of the stomach submitted to analysis.
Mixon came to town Monday and voluntarily surrendered to the sheriff and is now in jail awaiting the action of the grand jury.

HIGH SCHOOL NOTES: The Brewton Collegiate Institute basketball team played the Monroe County High School Friday afternoon. The result was a score of 18 to 0 in favor of Monroeville. The visitors were a fine set of young athletes, but our boys were too much for them. Prof. Harris wore the smile that wouldn’t come off when the game was over.

NOV. 16, 1888

Monroeville Lodge No. 153 – Regular communication, Saturday before third Sunday in each month. – F.M. Jones, Secretary.

The County Farmers Alliance organized Monday. A large number of delegates were present, 12 out of the 14 Primary Alliances in the county being represented, and the following officers elected and installed: President, W.J. Mason; Vice President, G.W. Salter; Secretary, Q. Salter; Treasurer, D.C. Mims; Chaplain, A. Holloman; Lecturer, G.W. Burns; Assistant Lecturer, - Chapman; Sergeant-at-Arms, - Higdon; Doorkeeper, J.T. Salter; Assistant Doorkeeper, W.T. Ryland; Executive Committee, W.B. Kemp, N.J. Stallworth, W.M. Hestle.

The Journal introduces a new feature of interest this week in the way of a serial story, which it hopes will be appreciated by its readers. The story (“The Fisherman of Naples” by Alexandre Dumas) is fully illustrated, intensely interesting and will run for several months.

MAIL SCHEDULE: Evergreen to Claiborne, daily, arrives at Monroeville from Claiborne, 8 a.m., arrives from Evergreen, 3 p.m.;
Monroeville to Repton, leaves Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 3:30 p.m., arrives 10 p.m.
Pineapple to Monroeville, arrives Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 p.m., leaves Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6 a.m.
Monroeville to Bells Landing, leaves Monday and Friday at 6 a.m., arrives Tuesday and Saturday, 3 p.m. – F.A. Seymour, postmaster.

The weather has been very disagreeable for several days. It has been neither warm nor cold, wet or dry.

Singleton tells of unusual Asian fruit that grew in Eliska and Monroeville

Akebia fruit.

(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 “Vine from the Orient thrives in Monroe soil” was originally published in the May 18, 1972 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

The Akebia (Ake’bia) grows wild in the Far Eastern countries of China, Korea and Japan. The name Akebia, in Japanese, means running vine that bears fruit. This vine grows well in the Far East because of the climate, and mostly the soil conditions. Strangely enough, it will also grow in parts of Monroe County. One of these places is around the Goren Scott home at Eliska. Also, this rare vine is adapted to the soil of Monroeville.

Miss Frederica McClellan was the daughter of Dr. George McClellan, a resident of Philadelphia, Pa. Miss McClellan met and later married Thomas C. English. They moved to Alabama and Eliska sometime before the Civil War. Prior to their wedding, one of Miss McClellan’s relatives made a trip to the China mainland and brought back a cutting of the Akebia vine. When the English family moved to Alabama, they had in their possession a piece of the original vine that came from China.

The Akebia grows very rapidly. It has unusual but lovely blooms. The bloom comes early in the spring, and after the bloom comes the small sausage-shaped fruit. This fruit is about two and a half inches long and can be eaten.

Orientals prepare this fruit much the same way that we prepare small sausage for frying. They split the Akebia fruit in half and then fry lightly. The fruit is cooked just long enough so as to brown the split side. When cooked, it is very tasty when served along with other vegetables, I am told.

The climate does not have much effect on the Akebia. It is a hardy vine that grows quite large. The soil is the deciding factor as to whether the Akebia will or will not grow. In our part of the country, the Akebia vine stays green year-round. In the colder climates of the Far East the vine will die down with the cold weather, only to sprout again when warm weather returns.

Mrs. Goren Scott states that the original vine, which grows at their Eliska home, has been pruned away many times, only to sprout up again and bloom as beautiful as ever.

This strange and beautiful vine has traveled many thousands of miles from its native soil in the Far East. Like many other species of both plant and mammal, it has grown roots deep in the soft warm soil of Monroe County, as if telling the world that it is here to stay.

[The column above was accompanied by a photo by Singleton that bore the following caption: Akebia vine grown in Monroe County. Although the plant originated in the Orient, it appears to grow well here.]

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born to Vincent William Singleton and Frances Cornelia Faile Singleton, during a late-night thunderstorm, on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served as a U.S. Marine paratrooper in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to warrant officer in May 1972. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Relic hunters excavated many Indian sites in Wilcox County in the 1890s

Clarence Bloomfield Moore

A couple of weeks ago in this space I wrote about ancient Indian mounds that have been documented over the years in Wilcox County, and much of what is known about these sites is due to the work of Philadelphia archeologist, Clarence Bloomfield Moore.

Moore, who was born in Philadelphia in 1852, was a wealthy, Harvard-educated man, who loved archeology and relic-hunting. During the 1880s, he began nearly 30 years of traveling the southeastern United States, where he located, excavated and wrote about hundreds of ancient Indian sites. Most of his travels were along rivers in his steamboat, The Gopher, which served as the mobile headquarters for his veteran team of diggers.

In early 1899, Moore, who would have been in his late 40s by this time, and The Gopher found themselves in Wilcox County, and in his report to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, he noted that “no systematic investigation” of archeological sites along the Alabama River had been made prior to his arrival. During this time, Moore and his team investigated Indian mounds in Wilcox, Monroe, Clarke and Dallas counties, in addition to other points up and down the Alabama River.

In Wilcox County, they investigated mounds near Burford’s Landing, Webb’s Landing and Matthews Landing and found a wide variety of Indian artifacts and remains. Moore and his diggers routinely found skulls, teeth, shells and arrowheads as well as other not-so-common items, including stone knives.

Moore's steamboat 'The Gopher,' pictured in foreground.
In one instance, they found a “beautifully wrought” celt, that is, a prehistoric implement with a beveled cutting edge that was used as a weapon and tool. The one found by Moore’s team was about 10 inches long and was thought to have been made out of greenstone. One is left to wonder if this stone knife is on display today in some museum out there in the world or perhaps in storage somewhere like the Smithsonian Institute.

Moore’s team also found small gorgets made of shells that Indians wore to cover their throats. In another location, they found a broken piece of earthenware pottery carved to look like the head of a duck, and Moore theorized that this had been part of the handle of some type of earthenware vessel. Again, one is left to wonder what became of these unique artifacts.

Probably the most gruesome find unearthed by Moore in Wilcox County were at mounds near Matthews Landing, where they found numerous burial sites. In one case, they found a burial urn that contained the skulls and skeletons of several infants. Moore noted that in all his travels he had not seen a “plural burial” of this type.

Eventually, Moore moved on to points elsewhere along the Alabama River, but he left behind a trail of disturbed Indian sites. Many of the artifacts that Moore collected ended up in museums in Philadelphia and around the world. If you’re interested in reading more about his explorations in Wilcox County, I recommend that you read “The Southern and Central Alabama Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore,” a 2001 book which was edited by Dr. Craig T. Sheldon Jr.

In the end, I’d be interested in hearing from anyone in the reading audience with more information about old Indian village sites and mounds in present-day Wilcox County. No doubt many of these sites still exist today, and it would be fun to see them in person. I think it’s important to document these locations for future generations, and it would be a shame for them to become lost in the fogs of time like so much of our history.