Cemetery Decoration Days – Lamar County, Alabama

 

 April

4th Sunday:

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

 May

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)

June

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

July

1st Sunday:

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

4th Sunday:

Blooming Grove

 

 

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Fikes and Vinson – Historical Question and Answer Session

Willie Fikes and Nelson Vinson 04-25-2017 (1024x768)

 

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.

Need Family Mysteries Solved ?

I CAN HELP YOU!

My fee is $15.00 per hour, you set hour limit. Two free hours with purchase of 10 hours during month of May.

Contact me for free consultation. Specialize in West Alabama but I have solved mysteries in other locations of the United States.

I can help you with you DAR and SAR Applications.

I now have resources available to help with Native American and African American research as well.

Barb Carruth

 

PETRIFIED BODIES FOUND MARION COUNTY ALABAMA 1885

Buttahatchie River (2) (1024x766)

The Hickman Courier, Hickman, KY – Aug 28, 1885

A WONDER VERIFIED

The Long Lost Ark of the CovenantFrom the Pulaski Citizen.

The readers of the Citizen will read an article that appeared in the Nashville American last Friday, which we copy below, headed “The Cave of Buddahattachie in which a most incredible tale of finding a small box and three petrified human bodies in a cave in Marion county, Ala., was told.  The discovery was so wonderfully strange and the supposed contents of the box so marvelous that, while it impressed the more thoughtful with the possibility of its truthfulness, there is little credence given it by the average reader, doubtless from the fact that the people and the press have been so frequently imposed upon by unmitigated liars and unprincipled writers in a manner which is shameful and outrageous. It is the privilege of the Citizen to give to its readers further evidence in regard to this miraculous and to corroborate as herein given the truthfulness of the story as published in the American.

We give the American’s article: TUPELO, MISS., Aug. 4,1885.- In coming to Hamilton, the shire town of Marion County, The other day, I was reliably informed and greatly interested in a wonderful discovery recently made by one of the citizens of the county, Mr. J. W. Hadden. A few days since, while out hunting, Mr. Hadden saw in a cluster of bushes a snow-white fawn which he approached, hoping to capture a prize. The fawn almost allowed him to pick it up, when it suddenly run off a short distance and again stopped. Hadden again approached, when the fawn again retreated. This course was pursued by Hadden and the fawn until they reached a high bluff overlooking Buddahatchie river, some four miles east of Pearce’s Mills, when the fawn suddenly disappeared over the edge of the bluff. Upon coming up, Hadden peered over the bluff, when to his astonishment he saw the fawn standing on a narrow bench, hundreds of feet below, near the root of a large spruce pine recently blown up. After much difficulty he succeeded in reaching the spot where the fawn was last seen, but the fawn was not in the range of his vision.

Upon looking around he discovered that the pine in being uprooted disclosed to view a circular orifice in the bluff some three feet in diameter. Prompted by curiosity and a desire to catch the fawn, he provided himself with a torch and entered the cavern, and made a discovery that will not only immortalize himself and be a source of fabulous wealth, but will be of immense value and interest to the scientific men and biblical scholars of the world. Stretched out at full length upon the cave’s rocky floor, lay the petrified bodies of three human beings, two males and one female – an oblong box, of curious and antique design, two feet long, eighteen inches wide and sixteen inches deep, besides many other curiosities of smaller dimensions. Surprised Hadden withdrew from the cavern and returned to his home.

The next day Hadden returned with a trusted friend to the scene of his discoveries and removed the petrified bodies and other articles from the cave. The box, also petrified, was carefully moved from its resting place and broken, and found to contain a small earthen jar, a large roll of parchment and a brass rod.

Now, the mystery is, to what race of people did these bodies belong and how came them there? The parchment manuscripts are undoubtedly written in the Hebrew language. Many theories have been advanced by our people, but the most plausible one that I have heard is that the bodies are of Hebrew origin, that the box is the long-lost ark of the covenant, the rod the veritable Aaron’s, the jar the pot of manna and the parchment manuscripts the seven lost books of the Old Testament.

The scene of this wonderful discovery is one of sublime and picturesque grandeur. Hundreds of feet above huge masses of rock lift their hoary heads high in the air, while far beneath are the limpid waters of the Buddahatchie on their way to the gulf, “gurgling kisses to the pebbled shore.  Mr. Hadden has carefully boxed his treasures and will start immediately for Washington, D. C where he will deposit them in the Smithsonian Institution. – Now, Mr. Editor, this wonderful discovery is no “Joe Mulhattan yarn,” but can be fully substantiated by calling on or addressing the following parties of Hamilton, Ala.: J. C. Hamilton judge probate court, Maj. James H. Gast, editor Marion County Herald, and Col. James Pearce, on whose plantation the wonderful discovery was made. J. W. S.

A WONDERFUL CAVE

THE REMARKABLE STORY OF A COMMERCIAL TRAVELLER

A Tupelo, Miss, letter to the Nashville Banner says:

In coming to Hamilton, the shire town of Marion County, The other day, I was reliably informed and greatly interested in a wonderful discovery recently made by one of the citizens of the county, Mr. J. W. Hadden. A few days since, while out hunting, Mr. Hadden saw in a cluster of bushes a snow-white fawn which he approached, hoping to capture a prize. The fawn almost allowed him to pick it up, when it suddenly run off a short distance and again stopped. Hadden again approached, when the fawn again retreated. This course was pursued by Hadden and the fawn until they reached a high bluff overlooking Buddahatchie river, some four miles east of Pearce’s Mills, when the fawn suddenly disappeared over the edge of the bluff. Upon coming up, Hadden peered over the bluff, when to his astonishment he saw the fawn standing on a narrow bench, hundreds of feet below, near the root of a large spruce pine recently blown up. After much difficulty he succeeded in reaching the spot where the fawn was last seen, but the fawn was not in the range of his vision.

Upon looking around he discovered that the pine in being uprooted disclosed to view a circular orifice in the bluff some three feet in diameter. Prompted by curiosity and a desire to catch the fawn, he provided himself with a torch and entered the cavern, and made a discovery that will not only immortalize himself and be a source of fabulous wealth, but will be of immense value and interest to the scientific men and biblical scholars of the world. Stretched out at full length upon the cave’s rocky floor, lay the petrified bodies of three human beings, two males and one female – an oblong box, of curious and antique design, two feet long, eighteen inches wide and sixteen inches deep, besides many other curiosities of smaller dimensions. Surprised Hadden withdrew from the cavern and returned to his home.

The next day Hadden returned with a trusted friend to the scene of his discoveries and removed the petrified bodies and other articles from the cave. The box, also petrified, was carefully moved from its resting place and broken, and found to contain a small earthen jar, a large roll of parchment and a brass rod.

Now, the mystery is, to what race of people did these bodies belong and how came them there? The parchment manuscripts are undoubtedly written in the Hebrew language. Many theories have been advanced by our people, but the most plausible one that I have heard is that the bodies are of Hebrew origin, that the box is the long-lost ark of the covenant, the rod the veritable Aaron’s, the jar the pot of manna and the parchment manuscripts the seven lost books of the Old Testament.

The scene of this wonderful discovery is one of sublime and picturesque grandeur. Hundreds of feet above huge masses of rock lift their hoary heads high in the air, while far beneath are the limpid waters of the Buddahatchie on their way to the gulf, “gurgling kisses to the pebbled shore.  Mr. Hadden has carefully boxed his treasures and will start immediately for Washington, D. C where he will deposit them in the Smithsonian Institution. – Now, Mr. Editor, this wonderful discovery is no “Joe Mulhattan yarn,” but can be fully substantiated by calling on or addressing the following parties of Hamilton, Ala.: J. C. Hamilton judge probate court, Maj. James H. Gast, editor Marion County Herald, and Col. James Pearce, on whose plantation the wonderful discovery was made. J. W. S.

Source: Thursday, August 27, 1885   Patriot Newspaper (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) ; page: 3

 

 

SHERIFF METCALFE AND C. W. HALL BRING THEM BACK

Lee S. metcalfe and Jala Guin Metcalfe cira 1889 (2) (780x1024)

Sheriff Lee S. Metcalfe with wife, Jala Guin Metcalfe about 1889.

 THEY ARE GONE – But Not to the Penitentiary

 The two prisoners, WILL COX, white and LUTHER METCALFE, col. who were sentenced to the penitentiary at the last term of the circuit court and were confined in jail here waiting for the penitentiary authorities to send for them, escaped jail Sunday evening about dark.  When Mr. WIMBERLY, the jailor, carried their supper to the jail he placed it inside and closed the door of the cell and pushed the bolt in place, then he closed the outside door, or the door of the corridor and pushed one of the bolts in place, but did not secure either – not thinking there was any possibility of the prisoners being able to reach the bolts – and went into an adjoining yard for a bucket of water, during his absence they succeeded in prizing back the bolt to the inner door with a stick of stove wood, and COX slipped his hand between the bars of the cage and reached the bolt of the outer door and slipped it back., and they were free, as the doors to the building are never fastened.  It was getting dark and no one was near the jail, so they had no difficulty in making their escape.  Mr. WIMBERLY gave the alarm, but it being dark and no dogs to trail them nothing could be done towards capturing them.

One prisoner, BOB LAMPKINS, who was committed to jail late Friday did not try to escape, and was very sensible for not leaving as he was bailed out last Monday.

Since the above was written LUTHER METCALFE has been brought back. Mr. C. W. HALL brought him in and received the reward of $25.00 which was offered for his apprehension.

COX was brought in by Sheriff METCALFE Wednesday evening.  He was caught on the platform at Guin waiting for a train. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 12, 1888.

Mr. HALEY, traveling agent for the T. C. L. & Railroad Co. was in town Wednesday after the two prisoners, COX and METCALFE, and left for Pratt Mines with them to charge. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 19, 1888. The jail is now empty. The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 26, 1888.

 

A DASTARDLY ASSAULT – Unknown Parties Shoot at Sheriff L. S. METALFE in the Dark

On last Friday night, about 11 o’clock Sheriff METCALFE walked up to his stable in town to see about his horse, which had been sick that evening, and as he was returning to the hotel when passing the north-east corner of the court-house yard, he saw two men standing out in the street about ten yards away, and supposing them to be some of the town boys spoke to them and asked “Who is there?” at the same time taking a couple of steps toward them. When he did this one of the parties threw up a pistol and fired, the ball passing through Sheriff METCALKE’S hat brim about one and a half inches from his head. Sheriff METCALFE returned the fire instantly with two shots at the then fleeing parties, who, when they saw he was going to return the fire unceremoniously took to their heels, running down in the direction of the jail. It is not known whether either of his shots took effect, as the parties made good their escape. No cause for such an assault can be given, as Sheriff METCALFE has no enemies who would attempt to take his in the dark. The night was so dark that he could not see the parties well enough to give any description of them A telegram was sent to Pratt Mines for blood hounds to be brought down to tail up the parties but none could be got all of them being in use at Pratt Mines. June 27, 1889 Vernon  Courier Vernon, Alabama.

SHERIFF METCALFE SON OF WILEY SAINT CLAIR METCALFE EARLY SETTLER OF SULLIGENT

Wiley Saint Clair Metcalfe born in 1837, married Virginia Ellen Bradley in 1858. Wiley and Virginia were early settlers of what is now Sulligent and Lamar County.

 Mrs. Virginia Metcalfe was known in Sulligent as “grandma Metcalfe”. The Metcalfe’s reared nine children and had 36 grandchildren.  The Metcalfe’s children were: Martha Elvira, who married Perry Evans; Leander Saint Clair “Lee”, married Jala Guin Lee served as Lamar County Sheriff; Henry Franklin married Melinda Shaw. Henry worked for the Frisco railroad; Sarah Anna Elizabeth, married John Bannister. John was Sulligent Marshall; James W. “Jim Buck” married Amanda May; Rosa Ellen, married first William Cobb, second Cannon Richard Weaver, after Mr. Cobb’s death; John Edward “Ed” married Lou Ella Brown. Ed founded the Metcalf Grocery and Market that was in business in Sulligent  for 70 years; Hattie Stella married Rudolphus Brown, a brother to Lou Ella Brown; George Tollivar Carrington “Toll”, married Bessie Lee Stanford. Toll worked as stock broker in Kentucky.

Historical newspapers are transcribed by Veneta McKinney from microfilm. Metcalfe picture is from Rose Marie Smith Collection housed in Mary Wallace Cobb Memorial Library Vernon, Alabama.

JOHNSON HOLDING HIS PISTOL CLOSE TO A SHADE TREE TOOK DELIBERATE AIM AND FIRED – SULLIGENT MURDER

Sulligent street

L. D. Byrd Killed. Early Thursday morning even before the sun had risen far above the eastern horizon, the alarm at the telephone rang out and “Hello what is wanted” went from the operator at this place. But how unexpected and how shocking was the reply which came from Sulligent. “Mr. Byrd was shot and instantly killed a moment ago by Burley Johnson of near this place.”

It seems that an old grudge had been cherished between them for some time past, and they were evidently expecting trouble as both were armed and when the fatal combat occurred. It also seems from the best information we can get that Mr. Byrd was using every means possible to escape, when they met for the last time. Details are meager here, notwithstanding the affray occurred Thursday morning.

According to our information, Mr. Byrd, when seeing that he must meet Johnson, said to his nephue that Johnson was hunting trouble and so saying left the side-walk, giving to Johnson the right-of-way. They had not proceeded far when Johnson holding his pistol close to a shade tree took deliberate aim and fired. He continued to fire until he had fired five shots, four of which took effect, Mr. Byrd fired two shots, neither of which took effect. Johnson succeeded in making his escape. Source: The Lamar Democrat Vernon, Alabama  07-23-1898, transcribed by Barb Carruth.

“Lucian David Byrd, son of John K. and Elvira Moore Byrd, was born September 26, 1861, near Detroit, Alabama. Later, the Byrd family moved to Splunge, Mississippi. On November 27, 1878, he married Mary F. Collier who died when their son was born. Their children were Lillian Byrd, who married R.C. Paul, and Haston Byrd, who married Donnie G. Nichols.

Later, L.D. Byrd married Lula Duncan Guthrie. They had five children, but only two lived: Gertrude Byrd, who married Byron Woods, and Annie Mae Byrd, who married Jake Green.

In the early days of Sulligent, this family moved to the new town where Mr. Byrd established a mercantile business. He owned farm land where the Hyster Company now stands. Through the years this land has been called the

Byrd Place. The old Byrd home is still standing on Vernon Street in Sulligent.

L.D. Byrd was a strong leader in First Baptist Church from its beginning. He was a charter member and soon was elected church clerk, a position he held for eight years. Many times, he served on church committees and often was sent as a messenger to the Sipsey Baptist Association. When he died on July 21, 1898, the church lost a valuable member.” Source: First Baptist Church Sulligent, Alabama 1890 – 1990 Our Heritage Our Hope a History of 100 Years, written by Mrs. Virginia Woods Gilmer.

BANG! BANG! MOONSHINERS-DISHING OUT PURE JUICE CAPTURED IN VERNON

BANG! BANG! BANG!

Pratt Mines

Smith Brothers sent to Pratt Mines. “Their friends paid up the cost in all the case which leaves them to work out only the penalties which is, JOHN 115 days and JEFF. 155 days.”

The quiet streets of Vernon presented a very excitable scene Tuesday night.  Two wild-catters, brothers, by the name of John and Jeff Smith, from Marion County, were overhauled in Yellow Creek Swamp about a half mile from town, dishing out the pure and unadulterated juice to the boys.  They were captured by Constable Haley and posse, they showed fight when the officers walked up on them, and in the tussle Jeff discharged his pistol the ball striking Mr. Tom Moore on the left arm, but being a very small pistol and at such close range the ball did not break the skin.

They were brought to town and warrants were issued by Judge Young on the charge of violating the revenue law and prohibition law, and a charge of resisting arrest was placed against Jeff.  Not being able to give bond they were committed to jail, and when the officers started with them to jail the fun commenced again.  John jerked loose from two men, one holding each arm, and started for Yellow Creek Swamp at a lively rate, with Constable Haley close behind.  Several shots were fired in the chase none of which took effect, he was soon overhauled, however, and brought back and the cell doors closed on him.

Their trial came of Wednesday in the county court.  They plead guilty to retailing and accepted the lowest fine, $375 each, and Jeff was fined $10 for the assault.  Up to going to press they had not confessed judgment but are expecting their friends from Marion county to come to their relief. Source: The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 12, 1888.

Up to the time of going to press no disposition has been made of the Moonshiners.”Source: The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 19, 1888.

The friends of JOHN AND JEFF. SMITH were in town Monday seeing what could be done towards securing their release, but while they were seeing what they could do, Mr. HAYLEY, agent for the T. C. I & Railroad Company arrived in town as soon had them dressed for a trip to Pratt Mines, and left for that place with them in charge.  Their friends paid up the cost in all the case which leaves them to work out only the penalties which is, JOHN 115 days and JEFF. 155 days. Source: The Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama October 19, 1888 transcribed from microfilm by Veneta McKinney.

PRATT COAL & COKE COMPANY HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

To meet the pressing demand for labor in the early days, the Pratt Coal and Iron Company (later TCI) employed state convicts. The practice of working convicts outside the prisons, begun in Alabama in 1866, was common across the South well into the 1900s. Private companies paid state and county governments a certain amount each month for each convict. The company built prison facilities and clothed and fed the men, who were required to work 10 hours a day and fill a quota. TCI continued the practice until 1914, and other District mining concerns worked convicts until 1928.

In 1883, a new Alabama law required the state penitentiary physician to reside where the greatest number of convicts were confined. Thus Dr. Russell M. Cunningham moved to the prisons at the Pratt mining camp to take care of some 1,000 inmates a year. His attention to sanitary conditions, hours of work, diet and recreation resulted in the reduction of the mortality rate from 18 percent in 1881 to two percent in 1884. In reports to the state inspector of mines in 1883 and 1884, Cunningham recommended a stockaded convict town be built, with 50 cabins, a hospital, adequate bathing arrangements, guardhouses, a cook room, kitchen and space for outdoor recreation, so that the welfare of the prisoners would approximate that of the free miners. His findings and recommendations created a stir among lessees of convicts and led to improvements in sanitation and living conditions at the mines.

Prison facilities were enlarged in 1888 after TCI signed a 10-year contract for 500 to 600 convicts with the State of Alabama. An 1888 Sanborn map of the Pratt mines shows a complex of frame structures including a prison, convicts’ kitchen, convicts’ dining commissary, bathhouse and kettles to boil clothes. By August 1906, probably the era of maximum use of convicts at the Pratt Mines, 906 state convicts (described as able bodied males, age 16 and over from 23 county and state prisons) resided here. Of these, 300 worked at No. 1.

Until January 1914, Cunningham retained charge of medical services for convicts employed by principal mining contractors throughout the state and served as company physician for the Pratt Company and TCI, At Ensley he constructed a private infirmary, the Cunningham Hospital, to serve his large industrial practice. During this period, he also launched a successful political career, serving as state senator (1896-1900), lieutenant governor (1901-1904; 1905-1907), and acting governor of the state (1904-1905). Throughout his political career, Cunningham worked for reform of the convict lease system, inspection of coal mines and regulation of mine sanitation.

Source: HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD National Park Service Department of the Interior P.O. Box 37127 Washington, DC 20013-7127.

https://cdn.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/al/al1000/al1048/data/al1048data.pdf

Picture source: https://www.loc.gov/item/al1109