Author Archives: Barb Carruth

About Barb Carruth

Researcher of history of West Alabama and its people. Collects historical photographs.

Personal Stories – Historic Artifacts and Memorabilia Displays

July 21 Activities

On Saturday, July 21, 2018 Carla Waldrep will present stories of the life and legend of Aunt Jenny Brooks.  Edward Herring wrote “Willis Brooks, Jr., was born April 3, 1854 in Alabama, the son of Willis Brooks Sr., and Louisa Elisabeth Jane Bates. Willis Sr. was a saddle and boot maker and Jane or “Jenny” Brooks was a beautiful, blue-eyed, half Cherokee woman, twenty years his junior. Willis and Jenny raised their large family in the rugged mountains of southwest Lawrence County and operated a road house for travelers of the historic Byler Road. During the war of Northern Aggression, this area of North Alabama was a hotbed of Confederate discontent. The hill country of Northwest Alabama was full of “Tories,” or those opposed to the Secession Convention in Montgomery and who wanted to remain loyal to the Union, or at least to remain neutral.  It was suspected that Willis Brooks had been giving aid to a number of Tories in the area. For this perceived act of treason, sometime in late 1863 or early 1864, a renegade band of Confederate Home Guards tortured and killed Willis and his oldest son, John. This sparked the beginning of a blood feud that would span thirty years and lead all the way to Texas and Oklahoma.  The Brooks boys were just little shavers when their pa and teenage brother were killed. Jenny Brooks was left a widow with a newborn baby and large family to feed. Jenny Brooks gathered her young blood around her and all swore to avenge the deaths of their father and brother. “Aunt Jenny,” as she came to be known, would proudly say in later years that she “wasted many a keg of powder teachin’ my boys to shoot!” Eight men were implicated in the deaths of Willis and John Brooks and at least seven of the killers paid for their cruel deed with their lives. Aunt Jenny was said to have accounted for two of the men herself”.

Aunt Jenny Brooks

Carla Waldrep, Historian, Herbalist, Story Teller & Librarian, Haleyville Public Library has been portraying Aunt Jenny (living history) for about 12 years.  Mrs. Waldrep said “From deep in the Black Warrior Mountains (now known as the Bankhead National Forest) comes the tales of the life and legend of Aunt Jenny Brooks. By way of a number events she became one of the most noted and famed individuals of North Alabama. Her life story is as rich and intense as any good novel, but it’s real. And then there are the legends and ghost tales. You can decide for yourself if those are real”.



Lamar County Kin Volume One

A collection of stories, written or collected by Barb Carruth of the people of Lamar County, Alabama. Many are untold, interesting and informative to read.

Note from Barb: “It is my intent for this book to serve as an easy reference in the reader’s search of Lamar County people. I focus on many who have been forgotten, bringing their stories to life again.   You will likewise read about the  lives of present day Lamar people who have and are contributing to the preservation of our history or community. I am not a writer but a COLLECTOR of local historical information which may help you discover your family history or solve your family mystery.”

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Pioneer settlers came by covered wagon, many walked, rode horses, mules, oxen, bringing everything they owned with them on their backs or either in a wagon. Many left everything behind. They came with a dream, a dream of finding land, a better place, to build a future with hope for themselves and their family. Most came from Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.

Many saw our area for the first time after the War of 1812 as soldiers returning back to Tennessee, recognized the potential, later coming back to claim land or work on the Military Road (Known as Andrew Jackson’s Military Road) built after the war.

Some came with nothing more than determination and a desire for a better life. They built homes, worked the land growing their food and crops to sell, began traditions that we keep today.

Many have been forgotten, their footprints are gone, washed away by the rains of time. But their hardworking spirit and their pride in our land is not forgotten. This pioneer spirit is alive today in remnants of the past. We will not forget.



You can order from or me if you like. I should have my books in by November 17th. Be sure to get your copy/copies, order from me NOW $19.99 each plus 8.00 shipping = $27.99; 2 books ship priority mail for $8.00.
You may pay by check, paypal or money order.  Email me at to order.

Books will be available at Falkner Antique Mall  in Vernon, Alabama.


Armstrong Murder

A terrible tragedy happened in the Moore Hill house in the old Moscow community near Sulligent owned by Ezekial Armstrong and his wife Malinda Marchbanks Armstrong about 1882. The Winston Armstrong family were living in the Moore house at this time. Wint’s wife had a new baby. One chilly morning, Wint had gone to the next farm to help his brother-in-law John Burton Woods with hog killing. Cap Bankhead a trusted old Negro man was splitting wood in the back yard. He went in the house carrying the ax going into the bedroom where Eliza was lying in bed with her little baby. He stood there looking at mother and baby. There were three other people in the room: Mrs. Malinda Armstrong Eliza’s mother-in-law, ten year old Emma Armstrong and Elvira Hill a neighbor.
Mrs. Armstrong thought he had come in to see the baby. She asked, “Well Cap what do you think of our baby?” Without a word he went beserk, took his ax and spit Eliza’s head open. Cap hit Mrs. Malinda Armstrong with the ax but she evaded him. Elvira Hill slipped out of the house and ran on the path through the woods to the home of Burt Woods and told the terrible news. ……..Read the rest of the story in Lamar County Kin Volume One by Barb Carruth

Jane Clouse

Over One Hundred Years.
Lamar County comes to the front with the oldest living person in the state.
Mrs. Jane Clouse, who lives on the Military road ten miles north of Crews, is now one hundred and five years of age. She has been very active until of late. For the last six months she has failed considerably and it is with difficulty that she does her house work. She says that she counts herself but a little over one hundred years old; but the record of her birth which is now in the possession of a well-known gentleman of Marion County shows her to have been one hundred and five last autumn. Read the rest of the story in Lamar County Kin Volume One by Barb Carruth

Jesse Hollis & Eunice Tomlin Cole

They were born in Lamar County Alabama to John Cole and Ida Vernon Cole and Jacob Lafayette and Mary Emily (Molly) Tomlin. Both were reared on farms. The grandfathers of Jesse and Eunice were confederate soldiers. Jesse’s formative years were spent in the Walnut Grove community while Eunice’s were in the community between Mount Olive and Kingsville.
Their courting began prior to World War I and were married before Jesse’s entrance into the army. Jesse served with the infantry. His duties moved him rapidly and was unable to get mail from Eunice until he left the front line. Jesse was wounded, gassed, was blind and without food for seven days while serving in France. He served with a close friend and first cousin Edgar Louis Cole throughout his military career.
Upon being discharged from the Army they farmed on a farm adjoining Jacob Tomlin’s farm until Jesse entered Mississippi A & M. His attention in college was studying raising and marketing poultry. Upon their leaving college they resumed fruits of his education as well as general farming. The depression soon terminated the growing of poultry because it was too difficult to protect the chickens from theft by people desperate for food.
Jesse and Eunice had six children. The three eldest were girls: Ratha, Christine and Jean. The boys Glen, Thad and Jake respectively.
The Coles continued on the farm near the Tomlin’s homeplace. The farming experience included: cotton, corn, hay, truck farming (selling fruits and vegetables) and pure bred Guinea hogs. The marketing of these vegetables was a house to house approach in Kennedy and Fayette. The pigs were sold locally as well as advertised in farm publications and shipped throughout the America’s farming communities. The hogs were famous for the large amount of lard they produced. Read the rest of the story in Lamar County Kin Volume One by Barb Carruth

A. L. Guin

On Saturday afternoon about one o’clock Sulligent was shocked by the news that one of her citizens had been fatally shot. For some time bad feelings have existed between A. L. Guin and A. Q. Smith, growing out of a partnership business. Smith had been absent from there some days and had returned to Sulligent, either that day or the day before, and was at that time waiting for his brother to come and take him to his home at Bedford. Read the rest of the story in Lamar County Kin Volume One by Barb Carruth

James Holladay

Memory Of Jas. Holladay
Mr. James Holladay, an old man and full of years, died on Saturday the 23rd day of April 1887. He was 72 years of age; had lived in this county from his infancy. He was a good and peaceable citizen; had been a member of the Baptist Church for many years, a good and charitable neighbor and a kind husband. He has left an aged companion and many relatives and Read the rest of the story in Lamar County Kin Volume One by Barb Carruth

Girthie Coker Knight

Girthie Coker Knight celebrated her 99th birthday on Saturday, January 24, 2004. Mrs. Knight is the mother of Robbie Knight, Jewel Sandlin and Dennis Knight. Having served on the Lamar County Board of Education for a number of years and his love for sports, Dennis Knight is widely known throughout the area. Robbie Knight, who worked at the pants factory, lives with her mother. Jewel Sandlin lives out of state, but is visiting with her mother and family.
I had a nice visit with daughters, Robbie, Jewel and granddaughter-in-law Lucy Knight late Sunday afternoon. Mrs. Girthie was taking a nap, so I missed speaking with her. When, Robbie, Jewel and Lucy spoke about Mrs. Girthie’s life, their faces filled with love and admiration. Read the rest of the story in Lamar County Kin Volume One by Barb Carruth


Below is a list of person titles of the articles or stories. Other persons are mentioned, these are like main characters. May be a story or a small tidbit, but it will be interesting. The tidbits are most likely from historical newspaper.

Akens, J. J.
Allman, Minnie Lee Pennington
Anderson, Robert Houston
Armstrong Family
Armstrong Murder
Atkins, Spenser
Baines, Lona
Baines, Wayne & Kathleen
Bankhead Family
Bankhead, G. E.
Bankhead, John Hollis
Bankhead, Marion
Bardon, Betty Etma
Beard, Andy
Beard, Onay Ray
Black, Ralph
Blackwell, Levina Catharine
Blaylock, James David
Bobo, Raymond
Bobo, W. L.
Bolin, Nellie
Bolin, Robert Donathan
Bolin, R. D. Mrs.
Boman, Sammie Lee
Boman, Thos S.
Bonman, Egbert
Box, William Lyles MD
Bradley, Emma
Bradley, Robert Luther
Bridges, Francis R.
Brock, Berneal
Brock, Hubert
Brown, Burrell
Brown, David
Brown, James
Brown, J. W.
Brown, Rias
Brown, Watson
Buckley, Corky
Burnett, Robert A. and E. Loucinda Traylor
Burns, Samuel
Burrow, John T.
Burrow, Martha Caroline Terry
Burrow, Rube and Sim Green
Byrd, L. D. Killed
Caldwell Family
Cantrell Family Travel to Roots
Carden, Avist 95th Birthday
Carr, Jean Smith
Carruth, Robbie Omary
Christain, Loree Hankins Butler
Clark, Erah Burks
Cleveland, Dorothy Noe
Clouse, Jane
Cobb, R. W.
Coker, F. M.
Cole, Jesse Hollis and Eunice Tomlin
Cole, Nellie Price
Collins, James
Combs, P. C.
Cooper, W. T.
Cox, Diaderea
Cox, Will
Danner, Levi Mrs.
Darnel, G. B.
Davidson, Lillie Millican Evans
Draper, Isaiah
Duke, Mose
Edgeworth, Carolyn Black
Edgeworth, Clovis and Ola Robinson
Edwards, John Bankhead
Edwards Infant
Edwards, Henry Tracy
Elliott, Billie Brooks
Evans, Charles
Evans, Richard Green
Falkner, B. L.
Flinn, W. J.
Flynn, Erma Jaggers
Gibbs, Farmer
Gilmer, John Thompson Fraizer
Gilmer, Virginia Woods
Goodwin, S. P.
Gosa, Faustina Hankins
Guin, A. L.
Guthrie, D. R.
Guyton, John Strawbridge
Hale, Harrison and Abraham Murdock
Hamilton, W. F.
Hankins, Huse
Hankins, John Franklin
Hankins, Stephen
Hankins Thomas
Harris, Milas
Hayes, Maggie Lee Davis
Hays, Hilda
Hays, Paul
Henson, L. N.
Hocutt, Rose Marie Gardner Smith
Holladay, C. C.
Holladay, James
Holladay, John Daniel Sr.
Holliday, Joe Mrs.
Hollis Family
Hollis, Darling Jones Jr.
Hollis, D. U.
Homan Family
Ingle, Louise Bankhead
Irvin – Norton Family
Jaggers, Clytee Turman
Jones, Harold
Jones, Jim
Jordan, Hiram
Jordan, J. E.
Kabell, Cynthia Mary Jackson
King, Mary Lou Kinard
Kirk, Robert
Knight, Girthie Coker
Knight, James
Lamar, Lucius Quintius Curtius
Lowery, Anderson
Livington, Richard
Lusk and Pennington Family
Marchbanks Infant
Marler, Adine
McClung, Jim
McDaniel, Albritian
McGee, Peter
McKinney, Veneta Aldridge
McReynolds, Bobby
Metcalf Family
Middleton, James
Mixon, J. W.
Mixon, William Pierce
Molloy, Thomas
Moore, George
Moore, James Field
Moore, John T.
Moore, Thomas B.
Morris, Floyd Jr.
Morris, John
Morris, Ruby Cash
Morton, M. Dr.
Morton, James M.
Mozley, John Coleman and Mary Jane Evans
Nesmith, T. B.
Nixon, W. L. Dr.
Noe Family
Noe, Lockie Reese
Noe Murders
Nolen, Ellie Ester Birmingham
Nolen, George Washington
Norton, Elmer
Oakes, Evelyn Elliott
Odom, Renzo Franklin
Pearson, Green
Pennington Family of Lamar County
Pennington, Hugh
Pennington, Mollie
Pennington, Rena
Pennington, Richard
Pennington, Silas Filmore
Perkins, Laverne Cunningham
Perry, R. J.
Pinkerton, Austin
Pollard, Mr.
Rasbury, Elizabeth
Rasbury, Isaac
Rector, Charlie Franklin and Annie Lucas
Rector Kin – Digging Up
Redden Family
Reeves, Jimmy Paul
Revolutionary Patriot Dedication Held
Roberts, John Monroe Dr.
Robertson, Fay Memories
Robertson, Tom
Sanders, Bill
Shackelford, Thurman and Margaret McDill
Shaw, Peter
Shelton, Dr. L. F.
Shields, Captain
Smith, A. Q.
Smith, L. R.
Smith, Rube
Smithson, Claud
Springfield, E. M.
Springfield, Harriet
Stanford, Martha Brown Heirs
Stanford, Thomas
Stanford, William Estate
Stone, Commissioner
Sudberry, Sabra Newell
Tate, Alfred William
Taylor, Jesse
Terrell, John D. Jr.
Terrell, S. M. Mrs.
Thomas Family Reunion
Thomas, William Murray
Thornton, Annie Belle Flynn
Todd, Ruby
Trim, J. M.
Trimm, Eunice and Willie Mae Trimm Hamm
Turner, Joe and Sibbie
Vail, Jeremiah and John Michael
Veal, Laura
Vernon, Edmond
Waldrop, W. W.
Wall, A. A.
Wall – Summers Wedding
Ward Family
Webb, Dumas
Webb, Jack
Webb, Joseph and Lucinda Emiline Evans
Wells, Dug
Wells, Susie Davis
Wheeler, A. J.
Wheeler, Andy
Wheeler, William Chester
Wilson, J. E. A. and Rody Pennington
Wimberly, L. M.
Woods, Jessie Woolbright
Woolbright, Lula King
Wright, Ellis Northington
Wright, Robert Green
Young, Alexander
Young, Dora
Young, Eddie
Young, J. P. & R. W.
Young, Judge Mrs.
Young Limited Partnership
Young, William A.



New Loyd Pottery Book in the Making

Janis Suggs Dyson author of Turning Clay into History: The Story of W. D. Suggs Pottery and sister Linda Wood visited Lamar County, Alabama May 5, 2017, a cold, blustery day, doing research for a new book on Loyd grave markers.


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Left to right: Linda Wood, Annette Otts, Janis Dyson

Loyd marker at SS

“The Patented Loyd Marker was unique for both its style and its blue glaze. The shape of the flat headstone was simple, a rectangle topped by a triangle. A clay cylinder was installed below ground to hold a clay tab piece on the bottom of the headstone, according to the patent.

The markers found in Alabama cemeteries were likely mass-produced by the Suggs pottery works in Marion County, Ala., which was licensed to make the Loyd headstones, according to the book, “Itawamba County” by Mona Robinson Mills. The headstones made by the Loyds differed slightly from those made at the Suggs shop, she wrote. The Suggs markers are typically stamped “Patented June 10, 1879.”

“Markers produced directly by the Loyd family can be distinguished from the mass-produced, licensed versions,” Mills wrote. “An original Loyd grave marker almost always contains a leaf or flower drawn either at the top of the tablet of sometimes at the base.”…/…/01/the_history_of_alabamas_rare_p.html

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Left to right: :Linda Wood, Annette Otts, Barb Carruth


The Difference in Memorial Day and Veterans Day

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By Barb Carruth

Memorial Day…….. a day to remember those who gave their lives for us….Memorial Day…..remembering the ones killed in action….. like my dad’s half-brother Roy Ruffin, young, handsome, 23 years old, from Columbus, Mississippi, killed January 3, 1945, in Belgium. Uncle Roy, a member of 1st BN 502 Prcht. Inf. 101st Airborne Div. jumps from a plane, for us……that young life ended while my granny is back home in Mississippi, praying for his safe return.

As I read on the internet about the 101st Airborn Div, I found “On 03 January 1945 2nd Battalion engaged in heavy fighting around Longchamps, Belgium. The Germans pressed forward and as many as forty jumpers, mostly from F Company, were rounded up and taken prisoner that day.” He was listed on the Casualty List 22 February, 1945.

An article, my mother kept in her big “Family Bible”, tells me: “He was one of the first to land in France June 6. He fought through the Battle of Normandy and later served in Holland before going to Belgium where he was killed in the Battle of Bastogne.”

His body, brought home, laid to rest in Tabernacle Methodist Church Cemetery in Pickens County, Alabama. Each year, nieces and nephews, place flowers and United States of America flags there, not because we knew him; he died before most of us now living were born, but because we honor him and his gift.

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His mother, my “Granny Ruffin” is resting in a grave nearby….. …..when I visit …. if I close my eyes…. I can see a little petite woman…in a small bedroom, walls lined with floral wallpaper…..opening her cedar chest…..reaching inside…..taking the purple heart medal…holding in her hand close to her heart…..tears in her eyes. This, my friends is the difference in Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Granny Ruffin

Lula Homan Woolbright  Ruffin

1887 – 1973

Cemetery Decoration Days – Lamar County, Alabama



4th Sunday:

Pleasant Ridge (near Gattman, MS) and Union Chapel, Moscow/Hollis/Holliday(near Sulligent)


1st Sunday:

Asbury, Cody Church of God, Fellowship, Furnace Hill, Kingsville near Detroit, Lampkin, Lovejoy, Mt. Hebron, Nebo, Sailors, Sandlin, Springfield, Walnut Grove, and Wesley Chapel near Detroit

2nd Sunday:

Blaylock, Bethel Church of Christ, Christian Chapel Church of Christ, Crews, Evans, Liberty Freewill Baptist, Murry Shiloh CME at Furnace Hill, Olive Hill, Piney Grove Freewill Baptist Church, Shiloh (Pinhook) Methodist, Pleasant Ridge Methodist, Springhill, Webb, and Wofford

3rd Sunday:

Antioch Baptist, Carter (Detroit), Beaverton Freewill Baptist, Ebenezer, Friendship South, Hubert Hollis aka Hollis Memorial, New Hope, Pickle (Monroe County, MS), and Vernon City

4th Sunday:

Emmaus, Fairview Baptist, Henson Springs, Lucas, Mt. Zion Baptist and Pine Springs, Wesley Chapel ( in Fayette County)


1st Sunday:

Kingville Church of Christ, Mt. Vernon Methodist, Old Liberty, Riverside Baptist, and Shiloh Baptist

2nd Sunday:

Mt. Pleasant, Mulberry, and Shady Grove

3rd Sunday:

Corinth, Higdon, and Taylor Springs


1st Sunday:

Providence Methodist, and Macedonia Freewill Baptist in Pickens County..

4th Sunday:

Blooming Grove



Fikes and Vinson – Historical Question and Answer Session

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Today, April 25, 2017, a great Historical Brown Bag lunch at Bevill State Community College in Hamilton, Alabama second in a series sponsored by Bevill State and Marion County Historical Society.

Dr. Beth Gibbs welcomed guests to the lunch. Bob Moore introduced local historians, Mr. Nelson Vinson and Mrs. Willie Fikes.

Mr. Vinson, who came to Marion County in 1949 is known as a “land line” authority ( property ownership legal boundaries) of the county. Mrs. Fikes has a vast knowledge of Hamilton and local area history, and its people. She and Mr. Vinson, know locations of many of the early buildings in Hamilton, that I only wonder about. Attendees were allowed to ask questions with Mrs. Fikes and Mr. Vinson responding.

If you love Marion County Alabama History, you should have been there.

Third luncheon in this series will be May 29th 12 Noon at Bevill. Randy Brown will be guest speaker, topic Andrew Jackson Military Road.