Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Evidence of ancient Indian game of 'chunkey' found in Wilcox County

Black chunkey stone at far right was found in Wilcox County, Ala.

If you’re ever walking through a freshly plowed field or along a local creek, and you look down to see an old stone that resembles a hockey puck, you may have just found a rare Indian artifact known as a “chunkey” stone.

Chunkey (sometimes spelled “chunkee”) was an immensely popular sport among the ancient Indians of Alabama, and if you keep your eyes open, it’s still possible to find remnants of it today. Just about every sizeable Indian village had a chunkey field, an area of hard-packed dirt where two players would meet with two spears and a chunkey stone. Sources say that these prized, highly-polished stones were so venerated that they usually belonged to the entire village rather than an individual player.

A game of chunkey would begin when one of the players would roll the stone out onto the playing surface. Once the stone came to a stop, players would take turns throwing spears at the stone to see if they could hit it. The person whose spear hit the stone or landed closest to it would win the contest.

According to Wake Forest University historian Eric E. Browne, “historic accounts make it abundantly clear that chunkey played an integral role in southeastern Indian societies of the time. In many ways chunkey and other early games of the region played roles similar to those in contemporary societies, but they differed greatly in one important aspect—most included ritual or religious components.”

Games of chunkey attracted large crowds, and spectators often gambled heavily on the outcomes of these events. The rulers of different Indian groups and tribes also put a lot of stock in these contests, which were often held during annual ceremonies and observances like the Green Corn Ceremony. Indian athletes who excelled at chunkey were also considered celebrities among their people, and they were often depicted in Indian artwork.

Historians know that Indians played chunkey in Wilcox County because chunkey stones have been found within the county’s borders. In fact, the October 2004 issue of the Central States Archaeological Journal featured an article on chunkey stones and included a photo of one such stone from Wilcox County. That stone was made of black quartz and was in the collections of C.H. Baggerly and Bruce Butts of Winterville, Ga.

In preparation for this story, I attempted to reach out to Baggerly and Butts for more information about the Wilcox County chunkey stone, but I wasn’t able to make contact with them in a timely fashion. It’s possible that in the 16 years since the article and photo were published that one or both of these artifact collectors have passed away. If that’s the case, the Wilcox County chunkey stone could be in another collection or perhaps in a museum somewhere.

In the end, I would like to hear from anyone in the reading audience who has ever found a chunkey stone (or any other interesting Indian artifact) in Wilcox County. Also, if anyone has information about the stone in the Baggerly-Butts collection, please let me know. It would be interesting to know how and where it was found and where it resides today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for April 28, 2020

APRIL 27, 2017

Evergreen weather observer Betty Ellis reported 0.16 inches of rain on April 22 and 0.01 inches on April 23. She reported a high of 87 degrees on April 19 and a low of 51 on April 23.

Officials with the Evergreen-Conecuh County Chamber of Commerce held a special ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon to announce the official grand opening of Evergreen Paint & Body on Wild Avenue. Business owner Robbie Bolton uses a pair of giant scissors to cut the ribbon as family members, friends, employees and Chamber officials look on.

Workers repair founders grave: City employees teamed up last Thursday to repair the historic grave of one of Evergreen’s co-founders.
For years, the City of Evergreen has been in charge of the maintenance and care of the Old Evergreen Cemetery off Perryman Street in Evergreen, and last Thursday workers in several city departments joined forces to repair one of the most historic graves in the entire county.
Brian Martin, who oversees cemetery maintenance for the city, noticed last Thursday that the large obelisk marker atop the grave of Evergreen co-founder Jeptha Vining Perryman had fallen over and cracked many of the gravestones beneath it.
(Electrical Superintendent Virgil) Adams estimated that the marker weighed about 1,800 pounds, and workers used a “choker strap” to move the obelisk much like they would move a concrete utility pole. 

APRIL 23, 1992

Evergreen weather observer Harry Ellis reported 0.15 inches of rain on April 13, 0.22 inches on April 18 and 0.03 inches on April 19. He reported a high of 85 on April 13 and a low of 52 on April 16.

Rescue Squad given cellular telephone: Southeastern Cellular, a cellular telephone communications company, has made a donation of a cellular telephone to the Conecuh County Rescue Squad for emergency use.
According to a rescue squad spokesman, the telephone will be instrumental in contacting emergency personnel who do not have emergency radio equipment.
“We are going to utilize this mainly for contacting persons who do not have radio communications,” said Bill Hart of the rescue squad. “Also, on HazMat (hazardous material) spills, the spilling of a particular type of chemical might be identical except for one or two letters. We have had a problem trying to be distinct on the regular radios, where with the telephone we can call directly to get the information we need.”
Hart said the cellular telephone would help eliminate “dead spots” in the county that affect the medical radio utilized by the squad.

Visitors from all over made their way to Castleberry for the Sixth Annual Strawberry Festival last weekend. An estimated crowd of over 5,000 was in attendance throughout the day. Arts and crafts were displayed and sold while children of all ages enjoyed the carnival rides.

APRIL 27, 1967

Cpl. Charles Salter dies in Vietnam: Cpl. Charles L. Salter was killed in action in Vietnam on April 5 while serving with C Co., 1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, U.S. Marine Corps. He died as the result of wounds received from a grenade explosion.
Funeral services were held April 13 from the Norwood Assembly of God, Birmingham, and burial was in the Castleberry Cemetery.
At the age of 19, Cpl. Salter entered the U.S. Marine Corps and had served for two years at the time of his death. He began his tour of duty in Vietnam only six weeks before his death.

Gov. Lurleen issues challenge to school: The Ed E. Reid State Trade School was formally dedicated here Tuesday afternoon at an impressive program that was highlighted by an address by Gov. Lurleen B. Wallace and response by State Supt of Education Ernest Stone.
Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key presided ably over the program which was held before an enthusiastic audience of about 800 persons included educators and public officials from over South Alabama.
A portrait of former Governor George C. Wallace was presented to the school by Mayor Henry Sessions in behalf of the people of Evergreen.

Sgt. Tom P. Melton, veteran member of the Alabama State Troopers, will retire effective July 1, it is announced today. Melton has been stationed in Evergreen since 1945 and been sergeant in charge since 1947.

APRIL 23, 1942

Henderson Is New Rotary President: At the regular weekly meeting of the Evergreen Rotary Club last week the annual election of officers was held and W.O. Henderson was elected president; D.T. Stuart Jr., vice-president; P.L. Pace, secretary-treasurer. Old officers whose terms are ending are: E.C. Page Jr., president; W.N. McGehee, vice-president; and H.J. Kinzer, secretary-treasurer.

The senior class of Evergreen High School will present its play, “Good Night Ladies” Fri., May 1, in the high school auditorium. There will be a small admission charge.

J.T. Coker, Evergreen, sold 30 hogs this week, six months old for $20 each. Hogs constitute one of our chief sources of farm income in Conecuh County.

Sparks Will Speak Here Next Saturday: Judge Chauncey Sparks, candidate for Governor of Alabama, is scheduled to address the voters of this county next Saturday afternoon, April 25, at 4 p.m. The address will be delivered from the band stand in the business section through the facilities of a loudspeaker system. This will be Judge Sparks’s first appearance in this county and so far as is known he will not be here again during the campaign.

The two Garden Clubs of Evergreen announced this week that they were sponsoring a May Day program to be given at the band stand in the business section about dusk on May 1. The principal feature of this program will be the crowning of May Queen, who will be selected next week from among the high school girls in a popularity contest.

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for April 27, 2020

APRIL 27, 2017

Hillcrest soccer season ends: Hillcrest High School saw the first soccer season in school history come to a close on Tuesday of last week with a 10-0 loss to Andalusia High School at Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen.
Hillcrest head soccer coach James Riley Jr. said on Monday that even though the Jags didn’t win a game this season, he was proud of his team and noted that he saw steady improvement throughout the season. Riley noted that most of his players had never played soccer prior to early February and that they often faced teams with veteran players from well-developed soccer programs who had been playing together for years.

Sparta Warriors fall to Eastwood: Sparta Academy’s varsity baseball team closed out the 2017 season with a pair of losses to Eastwood Christian in the opening round of the AISA Class A state playoffs.
On Friday in Montgomery, Sparta opened the best-of-three playoff series by beating Eastwood, 12-8, but Eastwood rebounded with a 7-0 victory over the Warriors that evened the series at one game apiece. In Saturday’s tie-breaker, Eastwood beat Sparta, 15-1.
Saturday’s game was the final high school baseball game for three veteran seniors on Sparta’s varsity roster: Griffin Weaver, J.T. Baker and Stone Riley.
Sparta’s varsity baseball team finished the season with a 7-17 overall record. They went 2-4 at home, 5-13 on the road, 3-5 against Class A, Region 1, Area 2 opponents and went 0-2 against ranked opponents.

APRIL 15, 1992

Sparta Academy head coach Mike Bledsoe is pictured with the top award winners from the Sparta Academy sports banquet. Pictured with Coach Bledsoe are Steven Gall, Mark Watts and Richard Weaver. Gall, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ken Gall, received the Outstanding Senior Athlete Award for athletics and academics. Watts, son of Mr. and Mrs. Doug Watts, received the D.T. Stuart Sportsmanship Award. Weaver, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tony Weaver, received the Jerry Peacock Award, presented to the senior who excelled in football, basketball and baseball.

Bob Meeks Day is set for Friday, May 1: A day honoring the accomplishments of a Conecuh County native is planned for May 1. Bob Meeks Appreciation Day will be filled with activities for area public school students, concluding with a reception open to the public at Hillcrest High School.
Meeks is completing his final year at Auburn University where he has been a standout on the Tiger football team for the past four years. Bob is the son of Robert and Genetta Meeks of Evergreen. He is majoring in distributive education.
Meeks began his football career on the playing field for the Evergreen High School Aggies. He started three years at offensive tackle and two years at defensive tackle. He was a 3A all-state selection as an offensive lineman his senior year in high school.
Following a red shirt year in 1987, Meeks shifted from guard to center during spring drills. Here, he found a home which should become a comfortable one following Sunday’s NFL draft.

APRIL 27, 1967

SCOUT CORNER: The Boy Scouts of Troop 40, Evergreen, met Monday night at the Scout Hut. The meeting was opened with the Scout Laws. After the business was discussed, the scouts played soccer.
The meeting was closed with the Indian Benediction. After the meeting was over, a board of review was held. The board consisted of the following men: Mr. Leonard Price, Mr. Fred Stevens, Mr. Walter Poole and Mr. Reuben Hyde. The boys meeting the board for Second Class were Howard Fore Jr. and Len Price. Frank Bentley met the board for Star. All the boys passed with flying colors. – Crawford King, Scribe.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

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

APRIL 23, 1992

Storm damage: This unoccupied house at Mexia was one of at least two county dwellings hit by falling trees or limbs during high winds Monday afternoon. Formerly the “Stuff and Such” shop, it belongs to Mr. and Mrs. William James of Mexia. The nearby house of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Nettles was also damaged by limbs. Students in several schools were sent to hallways and other safe areas to ride out the storm and accompanying tornado watches and thunderstorm warnings.

Whippets beat Blacksher: Frisco City High School’s baseball team captured the 1A Area 2 pennant Tuesday of last week at Uriah when the Whippets beat J.U. Blacksher High School, 17-12.
Eric Williams started on the mound for the Whippets. He had two strikeouts, five hits and seven runs charged to him.
(Other top Frisco City players in that game included Chan Adams, Randy Coleman, Mark Cotten, Derrick Crayton, Brent Enzor, Tony Gibbs, Andy Lambert, Bo Minchew and Shannon Richardson. Larry Snowden was FCHS’s head coach.)

Medcrest plant coming to Frisco: The burned-out site of the former Williamson-Dickie manufacturing plant in Frisco City will soon see fresh activity when ground is broken for a new plant to be built there for Medline Industries Inc. of Mundelein, Ill.
Frisco City Mayor Billy McCrory said the Medcrest Division of Medline officially committed Friday to locating a new 35,000-square-foot plant in the town after about three months of searching and negotiating for such an industry. Construction is expected to start about June 1, and the company hopes to have the plant in operation by Oct. 1.

APRIL 27, 1967

Junior College, Airport Are Dedicated Sunday: Hugh Maddox, standing in for Gov. Lurleen Wallace, delivered the dedicatory speeches at Patrick Henry State Junior College and the Monroe County Airport Sunday afternoon.
Dr. Ernest Stone, state superintendent of education, also gave a dedication speech at the junior college.
State Senator Roland Cooper of Camden, who was to introduce Gov. Wallace at both events, announced that Gov. Wallace was not able to attend due to the serious illness of her mother.

Little League Opens Play May 1: The 1967 Little League season will open in Monroeville and Frisco City next Monday night, May 1, with three games on tap. Again there are six teams in the Monroeville-Frisco City Little League with four from Monroeville and two from Frisco City.
Bill Miller of Monroeville, who was reelected president of the league for another year, said the games will be scheduled as in past years with two games each night on the scheduled nights at Monroeville and one game at Frisco City.

Culpepper Is Newest Author: Meet Monroeville’s newest author.
He’s A.V. “Shorty” Culpepper, whose home-spun humor is fed to the readers of The Journal and several other papers each week through his familiar column, “Taxes and Termites.”
The lanky and affable Monroe County farm agent has gathered some 114 pages of his best columns into book form, and they have been published by the Southwest Alabama Publishing Co., parent company of The Journal.

APRIL 23, 1942

TUCKER BROTHERS WIN GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP: A 4-H Club Fat Calf Show, that was head and shoulders above previous shows, was held in Monroe County at Monroeville Tuesday.
Showing the Grand Champion, an Aberdeen Angus, were Silas and James Tucker, sons of Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Tucker of Mineola. This calf was an outstanding individual and was made a champion by two deserving and hard-working Club boys. He weighed 965 pounds and every pound represented good feeding and management by the Tucker boys.

BUFFET SUPPER HONORING MONROEVILLE SENIORS: Mrs. F.F. Feagin entertained a group of the Monroe County High School seniors with a buffet supper on Friday night, April 10. Those enjoying this supper were: Misses Dot Simmons, Mildred Feagin, Saline Wiggins, Nancy Brantley, Frances Croley, Nelle Lee and Fannie Williams, and Bob English, Courtney Belcher, Dick Carter, Landis McMillon, Aubrey James, Charles Baggett and Bill Walden.

BOY SCOUTS GATHER PAPER: The local Boy Scouts gathered paper last Friday afternoon. They gathered this paper out of Courtney Belcher’s and Mr. Foster Finklea’s house.
They are also collecting scrap metals of all sorts. The Scouts are also looking for tires, so if you see any, will you kindly direct them to the Scouts. The paper is divided into cardboard, magazines, newspapers and any loose paper will be bailed.

APRIL 26, 1917

The walls of the Lazenby Mercantile Company’s new brick store on Northside are practically completed. The building will probably be ready for the transfer of stock within a few weeks.

Dr. T.E. Dennis is occupying his elegant new dwelling on North Main Street.

Mr. J.D. Ratcliffe’s handsome new bungalow on North Main is in course of erection.

Mr. Hugh Cameron and family are cozily domiciled in their pretty new home in Monvil Park.

J.B. Barnett, Esq., attended the State Sunday School Convention in Montgomery the early part of the week.

Mr. G.B. Barnett took in the meeting of the Alabama Good Roads Association in Birmingham last week. He ran down for a few days stay with his father in Pike County on his return.

L.J. Bugg, Esq., was called to Kirkwood, Ga. last week to attend the funeral of Mrs. R.W. Swann, sister of Mrs. Bugg. Mrs. Bugg remained over for a few days with relatives in Montgomery.

There is complaint in many sections of the county of damage to young corn from the depredation of drill worms. There seems to be no remedy for the pests except to continue replanting and results secured from extensive practice of this method are rarely satisfactory. The peach and fig crops will be negligible as a result of killing frosts in the early spring.

APRIL 28, 1892

Prof. A.M. Scott of Dale County spent last week lecturing the members of Monroeville Lodge. He left the Lodge in fine working order.

Hon. James T. Jones of Demopolis, candidate for Circuit Judge, is circulating among his many Monroe friends this week. Capt. Jones has no opposition.

DIED – Mr. David Salter, one of the oldest and most highly esteemed citizens, died at his home near town last Friday and was buried at the Methodist cemetery on Saturday with Masonic honors.

Hon. John Purifoy of Wilcox, candidate for State Auditor, was in Monroeville this week. Mr. Purifoy is a most genial and pleasant gentleman, thoroughly qualified for the position he seeks, and made many friends among our people.

STRAWBERRY SUPPER: The ladies of River Ridge and vicinity will have a strawberry supper on the 5th of May, and other refreshments will be served to raise a fund to build a Presbyterian Church. Everybody is invited to come and contribute. The Masonic Hall will be opened up and a good social time can be had for a nickel entrance. Music will be had for the entertainment of those present.

Circuit Court convened Monday at 12 o’clock, Hon. W.E. Clarke presiding and Solicitor George W. Taylor in attendance. The attendance during the week has been quite large. In addition to the county bar, we note Col. J.W. Posey of Brewton and Col. R.N. Miller of Camden among the visiting attorneys.

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

I froze in place, struck tarn like a rabbit in the face of a larger, faster predator. Adam and Chuck, now dead, had dropped their flashlights, and their beams shined at weird angles across the dark underground chamber. From my place against the wall, I saw the dust-covered vampire as he loomed over Chuck’s limp body, gorging himself on hot blood from the boy’s exposed throat.

I dared not move, afraid that the slightest motion would draw the vampire’s lethal attention. Seconds later, the vampire threw Chuck’s corpse to the back of the chamber, where it smashed into the coffin that had held the vampire only a few minutes before. The coffin, with the year 1862 carved on its lid, splintered into a pile of dusty planks and shards of rotten wood.

The vampire seemed addled by its belly full of blood. He turned slowly towards me, his eyes yellow-green in the trembling beam of my flashlight. Blood covered his chin and the front of his old-fashioned suit, his face bloated leech-like with blood.

Fight or flight kicked in. I made a move towards the exit, but it was in vain. The vampire was too fast. He was on me in an instant.

It was in that moment that my right hand closed around the jack-knife in my pocket. The vampire reared up, his fangs bone white in his monstrous face. I could think of only one thing to do. I pulled the knife from my pocket, flipped it open with my thumb and slashed the vampire across his bare throat, just below his upturned chin.

Surprise passed over the vampire’s face like a black cloud. He clutched his throat with one clawlike hand, black blood pouring over his wrinkled fingers, while his other hand held me by my shirt. He roared and flung me across the room with an unnatural display of strength.

I landed atop what remained of the busted coffin. When I hit the dirty floor, I heard a sickening snap as my left wrist broke like a dry twig, leaving me with an injury that almost kept me out of the army years later. I dropped my flashlight, and its beam fell across Chuck’s dead white face.

I fought the urge to wretch. The pain in my left arm was excruciating. I’d dropped my knife and began to search for it in the dim light. Like the beat of a bat’s wing, I heard the vampire move behind me, and it was then that my right hand fell on a long stake of wood, part of the busted coffin.

I gripped the wood so tightly that splinters dug into my fingers and palms. I spun just in time to meet the vampire’s charge. Fear and rage came down on me in an adrenaline-fueled wave, and I did the only thing I could to protect myself.

I brought the sharp point of wood down with all my strength on the vampire’s breast. His clothes were old and dry-rotted, and the wood passed easily through the yellowed dress shirt he was wearing. The wood sank deep into his chest, and the vampire let loose a demoniac howl that echoed deep within the subterranean chamber.

The vampire staggered back and clutched at the piece of wood protruding from his chest. The creature stumbled backwards over Adam’s body and fell to his back on the floor. His feet kicked wildly, and I crossed the room in a flash.

The vampire was down, and I meant to keep him that way. For the moment, I had the advantage. I ran to the vampire, leapt atop him and pulled the stake from his chest. I brought it down again and again like a berserker, stabbing him in his chest, neck and face.

How the wooden stake did not break is beyond me. Tears and sweat streamed down my face. I gasped for breath and again fought the urge to vomit.

Eventually, the vampire stopped moving, and I got to my feet. I stooped to pick up my flashlight and saw that the creature was covered with gore. I had killed it. It had ceased to be undead.

Suddenly and without warning, the chamber began to shake. Dirt and dust rained down from overhead, and clumps of brick broke away from the chamber walls. It was another earth tremor.

Remember that I was only 11 years old. Had I been older, I might have stopped for my dead friends. Instead, I bolted from the chamber and plunged headlong back down the narrow tunnel of the cave. I fell countless times as all manner of debris rained down on my head and back. I barely made it outside before the tunnel collapsed.

A cloud of dust belched from the cave as I stumbled down into the fan of sand between the mouth of the cave and Gaillard Creek. Exhausted, I passed out in the sand and didn’t wake until after the sunset. The walk back home alone was long, cold and dark.

When I entered my house, my mother took one look at me and called 911. The police and an ambulance showed up minutes later. At first, I told them the truth, everything about the cave and the vampire.

As you might imagine, they thought I was mentally confused as a result of my injuries and whatever had happened out in the woods. As the search for Adam and Chuck began, I told a big, burly captain with Claiborne Search and Rescue where to find the cave. It wasn’t on any maps, but they went there and found the collapsed tunnel just like I described it.

Efforts to clear the tunnel were fruitless. There was just too much debris, and the entrance to the cave was so deep in the woods that it was impossible to get heavy earth-moving equipment there. After a week, rescuers just gave up. Many never believed that there’d been a cave there to begin with.

I was the lone survivor.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Singleton voiced displeasure over U.S. donations to North Korea

Heartbreak Ridge in Korea.

(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 “A time to cry” was originally published in the April 24, 1997 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

During the 25 or so years that I have been trying to write this article, I have always tried to steer away from getting involved in politics. But, now the time has come when I think that I must stand up for what I believe and say my piece about a certain event that has just appeared on the horizon in our national politics.

Recently, our fine president, who served with honor on the battlefields of Vietnam, has decided to donate a considerable sum of money, somewhere around $30 million, to the North Korean Army. This large sum of money is supposed to be used to help buy food and clothing for people that our heroic president feels sorry for. Perhaps, this may be the proper way adapted for him to take, to feed and clothe an army that was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands upon thousands of American young men who will never have the opportunity to see their families and loved ones ever again. Many will forever sleep in a harsh land that we, as Americans, have nothing in common.

I don’t wish for much in this world, but I would like to come face to face with our fearless and heroic leader and ask him a few questions, and bring before him a few of the families that I know lost loves ones on the frozen hills around the 38th Parallel. I also wish that it was possible for him to have to experience some of the hardships of the 30 below zero weather while trying to survive in a frozen foxhole. I know he would have enjoyed spending Christmas Eve night of 1950 on a frozen hillside, in 31 degree below zero temperatures while waiting for those thousands of North Korean soldiers to attack. He would have enjoyed lying there in the frozen snow and listening to the sounds the thousands of small tin bugles being blown by the enemy prior to the charge up the hill of death. And, his Christmas evening meal of C Rations, and the frozen beans would have been just delightful while trying to eat and wait for the attack that would come only minutes away.

T’was the night before Christmas
And across the dark hills,
The mortars were silent
The battle had stilled.

I know he would have enjoyed looking across the vast bottom that Christmas morning and seeing the many thousands of dead and wounded, lying so thick until it was impossible to walk down the slopes without stepping on a dead or dying enemy soldier. He would also have enjoyed hearing the cries of the dying as they lay in the bloody snow banks along the bottom of the hill, waiting for help from their comrades in arms that never came. He would have thought it a very pleasant sight as the dawn broke across the vast bottom and witnessed the Turk soldiers walking among the corpses of the enemy and checking the mouths of the dead, looking for any gold teeth that they might find. Yes, Mr. President, you should have ben there. I know you would have enjoyed every minute.

The full moon gave luster
With a warm steady glow
On the dead and the dying
In the valley below.

Your patriotism and your willingness to defend your country would have stood out like a sore thumb as a head count was conducted within your assigned platoon. You would not have been alarmed when the names of your best friends were added to the list of the dead who died that fateful Christmas Day thousands of miles from home and loved ones. Those that fell that day did not try to denounce their citizenship. They gave their all for the country they loved. But, they would have preferred to live and return home to families and those they loved.

Then a roar in the darkness
With a rattle and a boom,
Machine guns and mortars firing,
Was this to be our day of doom?

Had you been there, Mr. President, you would have remembered the screaming from the thousands of North Koreans as they charged up the snow-covered hill leaving death and destruction every step of the way. The moon had minutes before disappeared behind a heavy cloud and darkness had covered the hillside.

Like the waves of the ocean
By the thousands they came,
Like the gates of hell had opened,
Like the roaring of a thousand trains.

Many fell so close to our foxholes that one could see the expressions of death on their faces that were lighted up by the flashes of the muzzles of our weapons. Those of the enemy that crawled into the positions of our forces were killed with bayonets in hand-to-hand combat there in the frozen foxholes. But, they were not the only ones to die. Many friends and buddies died.

As wheat before the reaper
Wave on wave piled the dead.
Blood flowed like a river,
Til the ground was nearly red.

I believe, Mr. President, that had you been there, you would be giving second thoughts about sending those millions of dollars over there to help the North Koreans get on their feet to perhaps fight us again. I would not want the youth of our country to witness another Heartbreak Ridge or another 38th Parallel or another Frozen Chosen.

With the dawn came the end of battle
As our buddies lay around.
T’was a Christmas to be remembered
As we placed them in the frozen ground.

The decision will be made by you, Mr. President, but I believe that the many thousands of those in need within this country we call ours, should be helped first. There are those who yet remember the horrors of a war that our president and many of our citizens have forgotten.

And, to add to that decision, it should be a law hat anyone who tries to sing our national anthem and disgraces it by adding bop and funk rock should be burned at the stake. Some versions that I have heard lately is a disgrace to the memory of those gallant men and women who gave their lives in the defense of our beloved country.

(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.)

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Baggett descendants take great pride in 200-year-old family cemetery

John Quincy Adams

I always enjoy hearing from readers of the newspaper and this week I received a nice letter from Phillip Baggett, who lives all the way out in Baldwin, Missouri.

Phillip’s letter included four color photos of the Baggett Family Cemetery near Castleberry, and he noted that this cemetery is now 200 years old. Phillip said that this old family cemetery contains 43 graves, including the grave of his grandfather, James Augustus Baggett. James was the son of Richard Thomas Baggett, who was the first white child born in Conecuh County after this part of the world was opened up for settlement. Richard is Phillip’s great-grandfather.

Phillip also noted that the land adjacent to the Baggett Family Cemetery has been in his family since the early 1820s, and the family also has a land grant for a portion of the property that was signed by John Quincy Adams in 1823. In 1823, Adams was the U.S. Secretary of State. He would later go on to serve as the sixth President of the United States from 1825 to 1829.

Phillip also said that his brother, Stephen Baggett, and his sons, Craig and Rick, help maintain the cemetery along with Lamar Hodge, who has a landscaping business in Brewton. Over the years at the cemetery, they have planted white oak, swamp white oak, sawtooth oaks, a magnolia tree, three camellia bushes and several crinum lilies. The cemetery property also features a couple of natural hickory trees as well.

“We are trying to take good care of this old cemetery and honor our loved ones,” he said.

Many readers will be familiar with Richard Thomas Baggett, and when Phillip mentioned Richard in his letter, I could not help but think about the Richard Thomas Baggett historical marker that was once located on County Road 23. That marker, which was erected in 2001, “disappeared” a number of years ago and was probably stolen by some lowlife. As far as I know, that historical marker hasn’t been replaced.

For those of you, like myself, who never got to see this marker in person, here’s what it had to say – “Richard Thomas Baggett, March 30, 1817 - October 26, 1881: Richard Thomas Baggett was born and buried here on the Baggett family farm, NE 1/4 Section 4, Township 4 North, Range 10 East. According to early local histories, Richard, the son of pioneers Jesse Baggett and Zilla T. Godwin Baggett, was the first child born to white settlers in Conecuh County. Richard Baggett married Octavia Olivia Tippins and fathered four sons: James Augustus, Jesse Pinkney, George W., and Phillip Henry Baggett.”

I have to admit that I’ve never personally been to the Baggett Family Cemetery near Castleberry, but I’ve heard a lot about it over the years. It’s located not far from East Railroad Street and Red Wine Drive in the Castleberry area. Maybe one day soon, when the weather is nice, I’ll take a field trip down there to see if for myself.

In the end, I’d like to thank Phillip for his nice letter. I always enjoy hearing from readers, especially when it has to do with historical information about the county. As always, I’d like to hear from anyone out there in the reading audience with interesting information about the county’s history, especially old ghost stories, tall tales and local legends as well as information about old Indian village sites and mounds.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Prairie Mission was listed on National Register of Historic Places in 2001

The old Prairie Mission school building. 

If you’ve ever traveled along State Highway 28 in northwestern Wilcox County, you’ve probably noticed a historical marker located at the intersection of McCall Road, just a few miles west of Millers Ferry. My 11-year-old son and I happened to be riding through this area on Saturday afternoon and stopped for a closer look. Those of you who have taken the time to do the same will know that the marker describes the old Prairie Mission school.

According to the marker, Prairie Mission was “established in 1894 by the Freedman’s Board of the United Presbyterian Church of North America to educate the children of ex-slaves. The Mission consisted of a church, school building, dormitories for male and female students, a teacher’s home and a cemetery. The school, also known as Prairie Institute during its history, was discontinued in the late 1960s. The church still maintains an active congregation. Prairie Mission was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.”

From there, we cut down McCall Road, and a few minutes later we found ourselves parked in the driveway leading up to the old school. We walked up the drive for a closer look and noted what looked like an old concrete well in front of the school and a tire swing hanging from a large cedar tree out back. As we stood there, I tried to imagine what this place must have looked like a century ago when students attended classes here, back when the school was still relatively new.

We then took a short walk across the road to see the Prairie Presbyterian Church, which is also known as Prairie Mission Church. The grounds of this neat little country church are well-maintained, a sign that the congregation takes pride in their place of worship. I scouted around briefly for a cornerstone that might indicate when the building was constructed, but did not find one. I would not be surprised to learn that it was built around the same time as the school across the road.

Behind the church, there is a small cemetery, which appeared to have been damaged by a large tree that fell at some point in the recent past. The fence around the cemetery and the metal sign near the entrance, as well as a few graves, had received heavy damage. Just eye-balling it, I’d say this cemetery contains about 30 graves, and the oldest that I saw belonged to a one-year-old named Mary Lou Gotton, who died four days before Christmas in 1911.

As we walked back to my truck, my son asked why this community was named “Prairie.” I had to admit that I did not know, but when we got home we learned that, according to the book “Place Names in Alabama” by Virginia O. Foscue, while the community’s name is “descriptive of the town’s location, it may have been borrowed from the nearby river town, Prairie Bluff.” The book also noted that a post office was first established at Prairie in 1838, and other sources say that a post office existed there from 1894 to 1993.

On the way home, as my son napped in the seat beside me, my thoughts returned to all that I’d seen at the old school site. Were there any old ghost stories, tall tales or local legends associated with the Prairie community? Also, as close as this community is to the Alabama River, one is left to wonder if there are any old Indian village sites or mounds in the Prairie community.

In the end, please let me hear from you if you have any additional information about the Prairie Mission school, church and cemetery. Also, if you know of any good ghost stories or information about old Indian sites in this area, please let me know. It would be a shame to let this information fade into the past before it can be documented for future generations of Wilcox County residents.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for April 21, 2020

APRIL 19, 2001

Evergreen weather observer Harry Ellis reported 0.04 inches of rain on April 13, 0.16 inches on April 14 and 0.28 inches on April 15. He reported a high of 88 degrees on April 10 and a low of 58 on April 15.

C’berry Strawberry Festival slated for April 21: Strawberries, strawberries and more strawberries. The final preparations for the 15th annual Castleberry Strawberry Festival are now being made. Along with fresh strawberries for sale, residents can enjoy crafts, food, pony rides, a dunking booth and continuous entertainment in Castleberry on April 21.
This year the line-up for entertainment will include New Revelation, a gospel group from Pensacola, Fla. New Revelation has been at the festival for the past four years. Also performing will be Perfect Image from Mobile who perform songs from the 50s, 60s and top 40 country.

Anniversary celebration honors Dr. S.C. Tucker: The 38th Anniversary celebration in honor of Dr. Sidney C. Tucker as pastor of Belleville Missionary Baptist Church will begin Fri., April 29, at 7 p.m. with Rev. J.O. Malone of Monroeville as guest speaker. The program will climax Sun., April 22, at 2:30 p.m. with Rev. W. Oliver, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Tunnel Springs and Lilly Baptist Church of Monroeville.

APRIL 15, 1976

Weather Report: Earl Windham reports that rainfall for the first three months of 1976 was considerably less than for the same period in 1975. Last year, the three-month total was 24.2 inches compared to 14.09 inches this year.
Rainfall by months in 1975 was January, 7.1 inches; February, 8.6 inches; and March, 8.5 inches compared to this year’s January, 4.84 inches; February, 2.85 inches; and March, 6.4 inches.
(Windham also reported highs of 82 on April 5 and April 11 and a low of 40 on April 10.)

Fat Calf Show is set here Monday: The 31st Annual Conecuh County 4-H and FFA Fat Calf Show will be held Monday at the Conecuh County Cooperative Stockyard Show Arena, starting at nine o’clock.
The show, considered the best county show in the state, is sponsored by the Conecuh County Fat Calf Show Committee, an affiliate of the United Fund, and the State Department of Agriculture & Industries in cooperation with the Extension Service of Auburn University and the State Department of Vocational Agriculture.
Twenty-eight exhibitors will show calves.

Genie Webb will represent Conecuh County in the State Spelling Bee finals in Birmingham on May 1. To achieve this honor, she had to win both her school and county spelling bees. Genie is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Webb of Evergreen and a sixth-grade student at Marshall Middle School.

APRIL 19, 1951

Dennis Bailey Jr. Shows Champion At Conecuh County Fat Calf Show: A 725-pound Black Angus-Hereford crossbreed owned and shown by Dennis Bailey Jr. was judged the Grand Champion of the Sixth Annual Conecuh County 4H-FFA Fat Calf Show held Monday at the Conecuh Cooperative Stockyard. The Reserve Champion was owned and shown by Dudley Ellis.
Something like 1,000 people took in the show in which 33 fine beef calves were entered. Entertainment before the show was provided by the Evergreen High School Band under the direction of Frank Wilkerson. Charlie Roberts and his String Band played during the show.
Vernon Millsap, President of the Evergreen Junior Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the show each year, was master of ceremonies during the show.

Boy Scout News: The weekly meeting was opened at five o’clock Monday by the troop repeating the pledge to the flag. Mr. Mac said we were going to furnish our own tents. We met behind the City School this Wednesday and practiced our camporee events. Then we held our patrol meetings. We closed the meeting by singing “Taps.” After the meeting, Mr. Engle showed us a film entitled “Wheels Across Africa.” – Troop Scribe, David McKenzie.

Mrs. Warren E. Bolton and daughter, Sherry Lynn, are leaving today for Norfolk, Va. where she will join her husband, S. H-1c Warren E. Bolton of the U.S. Navy.

APRIL 21, 1926

Quick and efficient work on the part of John Oliver Monday night prevented a conflagration when he discovered the residence of Lamar Matkin on fire, climbed to the roof and extinguished the blaze before serious damage could be done.

MT. UNION: Mesdames R.C. Smith and G.L. McIntyre attended the Andalusia District Campaign of the Women’s College of Montgomery, held in the Methodist Church at Andalusia last Wednesday.

MAY DAY FESTIVAL AT EVERGREEN: Plans for the May Day Festival, to be held in Evergreen Friday, April 30, under the auspices of the Parent-Teachers Association, Orpheus and civic clubs, are rapidly maturing.
Under the direction of Mr. W.B. Sexton as general chairman, with Mrs. L.D. King Jr., as assistant, the public is assured a day of wonderful entertainment. Dr. W.G. Hairston has charge of the grounds and will have the City School campus in readiness.
Music for the day will be furnished by the Evergreen Orchestra. Mrs. S.P. Shoemaker is chairman of the committee on music.
One of the main features of the day will be an automobile parade. Mrs. Gilma Dunn, the chairman, expects at least one hundred and fifty cars to enter.
Three handsome prizes will be offered for the best decorated cars.
The May Queen and her attendants will lead the parade. Much interest is being manifested in the choice of a queen. The voting for the May-day Queen has started.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for April 20, 2020

Thomas Roy "Goat" Walker of Troy, Ala.

APRIL 19, 2001

Pictured above is the Championship Women’s Softball Team from Lady Arrow. It is obvious that this photo is several years old, and we are certainly not going to say how old. Our thanks to Lois English for bringing by a copy of this photo for our use. Members of the team are (some of the ladies’ last names have changed since this photo was taken) Jean Booker, Charlotte Brackett, Betty Raines, Ruby Brown, Wyenette Manning, Kathy Powell, Ann Miller, Joy Powell, Pat Brown, Laura Adams, Lois House, Debra Williams, Elaine Grace and Becky Williams.

EverFun Golf Tourney set for May 9: The Second Annual EverFun Golf Tournament will be held Wed., May 9, 2001 at Cambrian Ridge at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Greenville.
The tournament will begin at 2 p.m. with a shotgun start and will be a scramble and four-ball mix. Lunch will be provided at noon in the clubhouse for the participants.
Entry fee is $400 per team and hole sponsorship is $100 per hole. Checks should be made payable to Project EverFun and mailed to David Gorum, Golf Tournament Chairman, Evergreen Chamber of Commerce. Deadline for entry is April 25.

The Evergreen Rotary Club, administrators of the Wendell Hart Scholarship Fund, announces that applications for the $2,500 scholarship are now available. This scholarship is dedicated to the memory of the late Coach Wendell Hart, who deeply cared for his students and desired that all deserving young men and women be able to advance their education.

APRIL 15, 1976

Jim Ryan Jr. successfully defended his championship in the Evergreen Golf Club’s annual Spring Invitation Tournament Saturday. Ryan of Greenville’s golfing Ryans is congratulated by Tournament Chairman David T. Hyde Jr.

David Gorum and Paul Deason laid joint claim on this fine gobbler which they bagged Wednesday morning of last week in “Murder Creek Swamp.” The Tom weighed 19 pounds, three ounces and had a nine-inch beard.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 225, Castleberry, attended the Gulf Coast Council bicentennial encampment held April 2-4 at Ellyson Field, Pensacola.
The encampment was attended by over 2,500 scouts and adult leaders. Sam Geck, scoutmaster, accompanied the 14 boys from Troop 225 on the encampment.
Addresses were given by General “Chappie” James, U.S. Air Force, Commanding General of the North American Air Defense Command at Colorado Springs, Colo., Congressman Bob Sikes, and Vice Admiral James B. Wilson, Chief of Naval Education and Training.
Rickey Downing, dressed as “Uncle Sam,” was winner of the bicentennial costume contest in the Alabama-Florida District.

APRIL 19, 1951

Centerville Nips Rockets In Conecuh Loop Opener: The Centerville Rookies bunched their hits for five runs in the fifth inning to come from behind and edge the Flat Rock Rockets, 11-8, in a free-hitting game Sunday. It was the season-opener for both teams. It was played at Flat Rock.
The Rockets got away to a three-run lead in the first inning. The Rookies knotted the count in their half of the fourth and went out front to stay in the fifth.
George Gaston worked on the mound for Centerville with Clint Ward behind the plate. James Barlow hurled for Flat Rock with Huston Bailey catching.

Paul Aces Whip Shreve In Conecuh Loop Tilt: The Paul Aces opened their Conecuh Amateur League schedule Sunday with a 16-3 win over the Shreve Eagles. The game was played at Paul and puts the Aces into a first-place tie with the Centerville Rookies who downed Flat Rock in the league’s other opening game.
Harold Godwin and J.W. Windham were the Paul pitchers who kept the Shreve bats silent through most of the game. Godwin hurled the first seven innings and Windham finished it up. McIntyre started for Shreve but turned it over to Sanford in the third inning. Sanford left the mound in the seventh and Yancy finished it up. Joe McClain was behind the plate for the winners and Smith for the losers.
J.W. Windham sparked Paul’s hitting attack with four hits in as many trips to the plate. He smacked a homer in the second inning. Ray Yancy with two hits in four trips topped the Shreve sluggers.

APRIL 21, 1926

PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL AT MONTGOMERY – Festivities to Open With the Columbus, Ga. Club on Sat., April 24 – Montgomery, Ala., April 20 – The Montgomery Lions, Alabama’s entry into the new Southeastern League, will open festivities with the Columbus, Ga. club here on April 24.
After many years, Alabama’s Capitol City is again to have professional baseball. Knowing that the people of Montgomery and this section of Alabama wish to see real fast baseball, a promising bunch of swatters and hurlers have been induced to sign on the dotted line. Some idea of the class of sports this aggregation is going to hand out under the management of Joe Brennan, was given the large gathering which attended the exhibition game on April 11 when the Birmingham Southern Leagues went down in defeat at the hands of the local outfit by the decisive score of 5 to 3.
The opening battle will begin promptly at three o’clock on the date mentioned above, and thousands from all over this section are expected to attend and help Montgomery keep at home the handsome loving cup to be awarded by the trustees of Cramton Bowl to the town in the league that has the largest crowd on opening day.
Other towns represented in the new league are Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Fla.; Albany, Columbus and Savannah, Ga.
Citizens of Alabama will be interested in knowing that Roy “Goat” Walker, the noted young pitcher of Troy, who made such a reputation as a twirler during his high and prep school days; “Red” Stewart of Greenville, veteran hurler of the South Atlantic League, and Eddie Pratt, the latest scion of that noted West Alabama baseball family to join the ranks of professionals, will all do mound duty for the Montgomery Lions during the race for the first Southeastern pennant.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

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

Winston Groom

APRIL 19, 2001

Symposium to feature Groom: Some of Alabama’s most celebrated writers and scholars will come to Monroeville May 3-5 for the fourth annual Alabama Writers Symposium.
Among the authors scheduled to speak are Winston Groom, author of “Forrest Gump.”
Groom is scheduled to speak at the opening banquet on Thurs., May 3, at 7:30 p.m., titled “An Evening with Winston Groom.”

MCHS edges THS 5-4: Monroe County High School dropped two of three games last week, beating Thomasville High School 5-4 before losing to Andalusia High School 3-1 and 12-2.
Southpaw Jonathan Black picked up the win on the mound Monday of last week when the Tigers nipped Thomasville 5-4 in Thomasville. The win improved his pitching record to 6-2.
(Other top MCHS players in that game included Mark Beasley, Ben Busby, Travis Granberry, Derek Holley, Bragg Jordan, Dustin Kilgore, T.J. Mann and Taylor Ryland. Reid Utsey was MCHS’s head coach.)

Repton Town Council fills two vacant seats: Immediately following an executive session, without any discussion, the Repton Town Council filled two vacant seats by unanimously electing Don White and Denease Watkins at its meeting Tuesday of last week.
Watkins and White will be sworn in when the council meets May 8.

APRIL 15, 1976

Water over the dam: Last Thursday, the Claiborne Lock and Dam was still mostly under water after the Alabama River crested the previous Tuesday at 53.7 feet. Wednesday at 8 a.m., however, the river had dropped to 36.8 feet above the dam and 35.6 feet below. At its peak last week, the river was the highest since 1961 when it crested at 58.9 feet.

The Monroe Academy baseball team, with only a week of practice behind them, opened their 1976 season by splitting a pair of games with Fort Dale Academy in Greenville.
In the opening game Tuesday of last week, the Vols salvaged a 3-1 win with Coach Curtis Evers using three pitchers at Fort Dale. Fort Dale turned the story around in a game played at Monroe Academy Thursday. The Fort Dale team used a big inning to take a 3-2 win.
(Players on MA’s team that season included Melvin Wilson, Zane Nelson, Sammy Carter, Lawrence Knight, Tommy Kennedy, Hudson Lazenby, David Middleton, Ronnie Cauley, Kevin Norris, Johnny Till, Mitch Jones, O’Neal Jordan, Tim Asnip, Alan Jaye, Perry Nye, Bubba McDonald, Jimmy Lambert and Mark Dawson. Celie Brown, Sandy Jordan and Kay Powell were water girls.)

James L. McAlarney III of Monroeville was awarded the Eagle rank, Boy Scouting’s highest, in a ceremony Sunday afternoon at Monroeville United Methodist Church.
For McAlarney, son of Mr. and Mrs. James L. McAlarney Jr., the award climaxed 10 years of Scouting that began as a Cub Scout in Bethlehem, Pa.
His family moved to Monroeville nine years ago. He now is assistant scoutmaster of Monroeville Boy Scout Troop 76 – a position his father also holds.

APRIL 19, 1951

Bowden Named County Coroner: John L. Bowden, Monroeville Bowden Brothers Funeral Home, has been appointed coroner for Monroe County.
Mr. Bowden’s appointment fills a vacancy created by the death of the late W.G. Daniels several years ago. Since Mr. Daniels’s death, the county has been without a coroner.
Mr. Bowden is a former Sheriff of Monroe County, having served two terms in that capacity.

Whippets Score Late To Nose Out Beatrice High Nine In Opener, 4-3: Frisco City’s Whippets, pushing across a run in the top half of the seventh inning, nosed out the Beatrice High nine 4-3 in a tilt played at Beatrice Friday afternoon.
The game, originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon, was Frisco’s first diamond tilt of the season, and marked Beatrice’s fourth straight loss.
(Players for Frisco City in that game included B.B. Barnes, William Ed Baas, Bevis Hayes, Keith King, Wiley Long Jr., Charles Pugh, LaRue Rumbley and Joe Smith. Beatrice players were Dale Brown, Glen Brown, Andy Everette, J.Y. McIntosh, Marcus Simpkins, Grady Westley and Claude Wright.)

Wilkins Resigns; English Acting County Engineer: Bob English, Monroeville resident and former assistant Monroe County Engineer, has been named acting county engineer following the resignation of Marion Wilkins.
Mr. Wilkins, who had been county engineer here for the past three years, resigned recently to accept a position with the U.S. Engineers in Mobile.

APRIL 15, 1926

Dr. F.H. Gardner, vice-president and principal of the Coley-Blacksher Vocational School, was a visitor to Monroeville Monday. Dr. Gardner reported the school prospering, the dormitory building being filled with boarding pupils, besides a large number of day-students from the community.

Misses Thornbury and Larmore, teachers in the Coley-Blacksher Vocational School, Vocation, were visitors to Monroeville Monday.

J.B. Barnett, Esq., president of the Monroe County Bank, and also of the banks at Jones Mill, Excel and Uriah, left Sunday on his semi-annual visit to New York, Washington and points in the East.

Contractor W.E. Ward of Pine Apple is erecting a brick building for Mr. S.H. Tucker on the lot between the S.B. Martin Variety Store and the Sanitary Market. The building will be 25x70 feet and will be occupied by the Monroeville Bakery.

NOTICE – All persons are warned against hunting or fishing on any lands owned by me near Manistee. – G.H. Harper.

TAKEN UP – At my place on April 10, one black mule with white mouth, weight 700 or 800 pounds. Owner can get same upon identification of property and payment of expenses. – George Wiggins, Hixon, Ala.

Mr. T.W. Weatherford of Mt. Pleasant was a business visitor to the county capital Saturday. Mr. Weatherford reported farm work in his community somewhat retarded by unfavorable weather.

APRIL 25, 1901

Several cases of mumps are reported in the vicinity of Monroeville.

D.C. Henderson has been appointed by the governor as Notary Public in Pineville beat.

There were no services at the Presbyterian church last Sunday, Rev. Mr. Haney being detained, presumably by bad weather.

Dr. Yarbrough sent to this office a few days since the largest radish we have ever seen, weighing eight pounds. It was too large to be of edible quality.

Obituary: Mr. Joseph S. Brantley was born in Conecuh County, Ala., May 3, 1837 and died at his home near Monroe, Ala., March 29, 1901.
After serving four years in the Confederate army, he returned to find the accumulations of his young manhood swept away, but by his energy and perseverance, he made a comfortable living and left his family well provided for.
His remains were interred in the Baptist Cemetery at Monroeville, the solemn service being conducted by Rev. C.S. Talley and the Masonic fraternity.

Mr. H.J. Savage of Atmore passed through Monroeville Saturday en route to his old home at Perdue Hill where he will spend some time with his daughter, Mrs. J.F. Gaillard, and the friends of bygone years.

Esquires O.O. Bayles and H.W. Jones attended Justice court at Perdue Hill Saturday.

Sheriff Harrengton returned Monday from a trip to the Gulf City.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Singleton encouraged citizens to remember sacrifices of American service members during WWII

USS Arizona burns during attack on Pearl Harbor.

(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 “Take time to remember Pearl Harbor” was originally published in the Dec. 4, 1997 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

We Americans are a forgetful and a forgiving people. A few, like myself, believe that we should keep in mind the acts of aggression that have been committed against us and remember that it could, and might, happen again.

This coming Sunday, Dec. 7, should be remembered for 56 years ago on this date an act of aggression against us set into motion a war. The intent of that war was to wipe us, the United States, from the face of the earth.

Many who read this were too young to remember that dreadful Sunday when the Japanese Empire launched the attack on our fleet that lay at anchor in the still and peaceful waters of Pearl Harbor. This peaceful Sunday morning was transformed from a day of worship and relaxation into a living hell for the members of our armed forces who were present on board the naval vessels that lay in the waters of the harbor that fateful morning.

Without warning, the morning skies grew dark with hundreds of fighter planes and bombers that swept downward, leaving death and destruction in their wake. The cries of the wounded and dying settled over the waters of the Pacific as though a giant fog of death had appeared from nowhere, as wave after wave of Japanese returned time and again to drop their loads of death upon our unsuspecting fleet.

Hundreds of our young fighting men would never see the dawn of another day. Most of them never had the chance to fight back or raise a hand against the Land of the Rising Sun. The still waters of the Pacific received the remains of those who would never see their beloved homeland again. The mothers and fathers of those who died could only guess what tragedies befell their beautiful sons. They now sleep eternally in the sunken hulls of the bombed out ships still at anchor there in Pearl Harbor.

But, the killing and the destruction did not stop at Pearl Harbor. The armies and navies of the Rising Sun continued to run roughshod over the islands of the Pacific where any Americans were to be found. Bataan, Corregidor, Gaum and several more islands fell to the guns of the Rising Sun. The atrocities that befell Allied and American prisoners taken by the Japanese was worse than death itself.

Thousands upon thousands of American and Philippine soldiers were tortured to death. No mercy was shown to the wounded and the starving as the Japanese used every sadistic way known to mankind to torture and kill those that were unlucky enough to be taken prisoner.

The Bataan Death March was to go down in the annals of history as one of the worst atrocities ever. More than 60,000 American and Filipino soldiers were taken prisoner by the Japanese Army. These poor miserable men, many suffering from wounds, starvation and mistreatment, were forced to march more than 70 miles to prison camps. More than 10,000 of these miserable souls died or were killed during this long march of death.

But, time and good living has dimmed most of the memories of this dreaded time in our history. Little thought is given to those that sleep forever in far away soil so that we may enjoy the good life of today. We turn a deaf ear to the stories of horror and the atrocities that border on the very edge of our worst imagination. Our hearts bleed for the Japanese people that are buying up our country by leaps and bounds. We spend billions for the defense of their country, while not one cent of their money is offered as payment for the destruction and death and sorrow put upon us during that dreadful war.

We hold our heads low when we are scolded for trying to export our manufactured goods to Japan. Then we sit idle when our seaports are swamped with the imported goods from the Land of the Rising Sun. Our kind and gentle nation turns a deaf ear when the news reports another billion-dollar real estate deal being silently closed by our trusted friends, as they bow politely. We lay back and enjoy the good life, while watching a television set that was made in Japan and while a Japanese-made automobile sits in our garage. Truly, truly, truly, we Americans are a forgiving and forgetful people.

So, this coming Sunday, I feel that a total of 60 seconds will be devoted to Dec. 7, 1941. A few will remember, ones like myself and some of those that are older. Some of those that survived the marches of death conducted by the armies of the Rising Sun.

I remember too well that fateful day, Monday, Dec. 8, 1941, when a general assembly was called at Sweet Water High School. I remember our principal standing before the school assembly with tears rolling down his cheeks saying, “You have slept through a night that will be remembered as long as mankind walks the face of this earth.” At that time, I thought he was right, but now, I’m not sure.

Let us not forget the thousands that sleep today in some far away land who never had the opportunity to live the good life in this wonderful country of ours. Perhaps the words of a little known poet might say it better:

When at last the Colors fade,
And the final roll call made,
The fading notes of Taps are played.
What if?
When face to face to millions slain,
For the cause of freedom’s gain,
The anguished cries, “We died in vain,
We died in vain.”
What if?

(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.)