March 26 – 27, 2021
Due to the continued coronavirus pandemic, the Wilcox Historical Society has rescheduled its Tour of Homes in Camden, Alabama to March 26 – 27, 2021. If you had already purchased a ticket to the Pilgrimage in 2020, it will be honored in 2021.
The entire weekend will operate as originally scheduled with two exciting additions. James Farmer will still be the Guest Speaker at RiverBend Plantation on Friday night, March 26th. However, the expanded Tour now includes seven homes and two churches on Saturday, March 27th. The Brittany House Antiques at Oak Hill will provide ticket holders breakfast that morning as originally planned. In addition, the Inaugural Pilgrimage Ball, sponsored by the Furman Historical Society, will be held at Wakefield in Furman on Saturday Night, March 27th.
If you currently have a reservation at Liberty Hall Bed & Breakfast or the Capell House at Pebble Hill Bed & Breakfast, you will still have your rooms in March unless you call and cancel your reservation. Visitors staying at other hotels/venues must contact your provider to change your reservation.
As a thank you for your patience and support, two historic sites have been added to our Tour of Homes! The first addition is Pleasant Ridge, circa 1844. This tall-columned “big house” is not only the last extant brick antebellum house in Wilcox County, but also one of less that a dozen brick homes of the period to survive in the Black Belt.
We are also adding the historic Antioch Baptist Church. Opened in 1885, it is one of the oldest African-American churches in Wilcox County and was a crossroads of the civil rights movement. In fact, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the church twice in 1965.
Other historic homes on the tour are: Yaupon – the Mathews-Tait-Rutherford House, circa 1840, River Bluff – the Beck-Bryant-Talbot House, circa 1840s, the Beck-Darwin-Coats House, circa 1846, the Strother-Gibbs House, circa 1900, House on the Hill – the Liddell-Phillippi Home, circa 1834, and Liberty Hall – the McDowell-Harris home (hall and formal rooms only).
The Camden Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church will also be open for Tour. The building of the ARP church is almost four decades older than the church founding. The ARP congregation was organized in 1890 and they purchased an antebellum building, constructed in 1849, from the dwindling congregation of the Camden Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Other historic sites on tour are the Old Shoe Shop Museum, the Beck-Miller Law Office, circa 1840s and the Old Wilcox County Jail, constructed 1889 as well as the Tour and WHS headquarters, the Wilcox Female Institute, constructed in 1849 and Dale Lodge No. 25, constructed in 1848.
Please know the decision to move the Tour of Homes again has not been made lightly. We are keenly aware that many of you planned travel months in advance and adjusted those plans to join us for the Tour. Ultimately, the public health and safety of both our guests, homeowners, and our community must be our number one priority.
We will be following strict COVID protocols. Everyone will have a temperature check upon arrival, masks must be worn properly indoors at all times, and admittance to homes will be in small groups. We will also have sanitization stations at each site as well. It is our primary goal to keep everyone safe during a wonderful Tour!
Finally, you can help us immensely by continuing to spread the word about our date change and that tickets are still available. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com and locally at The Pecan on Broad and Black Belt Treasures in Camden and The Brittany House Antiques at Oak Hill.
We hope to see you all in March!
For more information, please contact 256-975-7616.
WE DID IT! Our 2021 Tour of Homes was an overwhelming success. The weekend generated more than $45,000 in profit for our Historical Society. As if that were not enough, we received rave reviews from our over one thousand guests. In fact, we already have people requesting tickets for next year.
Thank you to our homeowners that made this event possible. You were absolutely fantastic as our visitors descended upon your homes. Thank you to Chris and Ryan and The Pecan on Broad for providing James Farmer and for hosting the incredible reception at RiverBend.
Thank you also goes out to all the members that assisted at the breakfast Saturday morning and that helped at the homes during the day. Without you, we could not have made it happen. From Friday night’s Reception to the Ball Saturday Night, the weekend was fantastic!
In addition to his role as Planning Committee Chair, Chris Bailey coordinated the Tour of Homes’ Corporate Sponsor Campaign. His efforts generated $24,000 in cash contributions that offset all of our Tour expenses. We were left with nearly $7,000 (after expenses) that will be go toward the restoration of both the Miller Law Office and the Female Institute. Thank you, Chris!
Over fifty people attended our May meeting at the home of Martha and James Lampkin in Pine Apple. We had twelve new members join at the meeting! Thank you to Martha and James for opening both of your beautiful homes and the barns as well.
Your Board of Directors has been busy this year. We voted unanimously to contract Mr. Richard “Dick” Hudgens as the architect for the Female Institute’s restoration. He will now begin designing Phase I of our five-year project. This phase will be the addition of bathrooms on both floors of the building and an elevator. They will be located behind the existing building at the end of the main hall. The addition will be the same width/height and the exterior will look like the original dorm wing that was torn down in the late 1960’s.
As we begin work on the Female Institute, we will launch a Capital Campaign to fund all three phases of the restoration. It is an ambitious plan that when complete will make the Female Institute a center for the preservation of our history and fully-functional center capable of hosting artistic performances, symposiums, and other special exhibitions. We will need your help to complete this project. Look for more information about the three phases of the restoration and its projected costs at our first meeting this fall.
As you may know, the Board approved a full restoration of the Miller Law Office earlier this year. A majority of the work on the interior was completed before the Tour. You will see more restoration work on the exterior this summer. When complete, the building will look as it did in the Historical American Buildings Survey (HABS) photos from the 1930’s. Nearly $25,000 in grant money and private donations have been acquired to help in this restoration effort.
As we look to the upcoming year, we find ourselves in a good position. A series of successful Tours have brought needed financial resources and positive public exposure. Our membership has grown to over 200 members, making us the largest civic organization in Wilcox County. We have a visionary Board who is working to restore the buildings in our care, protect our many historic districts, and who is working to preserve other structures in Downtown Camden.
This year we will see the completion of the Miller Law Office as a museum space in Downtown Camden, we will break ground on much needed bathrooms at the Institute, and you will see us launch other events in addition to our annual Tour of Homes. Get involved as much as you can because it will make a difference. If you have connections to corporations, foundations or individuals that might be willing to help us restore the Institute, reach out to them. Those personal connections are what will help us reach our goal.
We are just getting started on a very exciting journey. With your help we will restore the Female Institute, giving it a positive role to play in our County once again. I look forward to the coming year and all that we can achieve together.
Have a wonderful 4th of July!
Lance Britt, WHS President ☼
Welcome to new members:
from Alabama – Sue Roberson Arnold of Greenville, David and Gail Fuller of Oak Hill, Sonny and Meredith Gray of Furman, Shannon and Fran Hollinger of Camden, William and Cheryl Johnson of Greenville, Jesse Jordan of Thomasville, Kitty Lamkin of Pine Apple, Tom and Ceil McGehee of Mobile, Mike Melton of Pine Apple, Barbara Middleton of Honoraville, Carlton and Judy Niemeyer of Montrose, Kent and Laura Tabor of Furman, Albert and Sherri Ward of Pine Apple and Elizabeth Dalton of Camano Island, Washington. And welcome to new Life Members – Lee Bacon of Sparks, Nevada, William Bradford of Montevallo, Alabama, Dr. and Mrs. Donald Carmichael of Birmingham, Alabama, Jimmy and Fran Cook of Camden, Alabama, Alice Jean Godbold of Sandy Springs, Georgia, Suzanne Graham of New Braunfels, Texas, Michael James and Diane Dunlap of Sumrall, Mississippi, Haden Gaines Marsh from Homewood, Alabama and the Honorable Jeff and Mary Sessions of Mobile, Alabama. THANK YOU for joining the WHS! ☼
THANK YOU to our 2021 Tour of Homes Sponsors
The Pecan on Broad, Bailey Dunagan, Global Medical Products, UB Community Development, The Brittany House Antiques at Oak Hill, Town-County National Bank, Handiman Building Supply, Wilcox Progressive Era, Coast to Coast Hardware, Donnie McLeod, Community Neighbor Bank, Camden Jewelry & Gifts and McGraw-Webb Chevrolet. ☼
Member Spotlight – Scottie and Tammy Myers
Pleasant Ridge owners, Scottie and Tammy Myers, are veteran Living Historians and Reenactors of the Antebellum, Civil War and Old West periods.
It has been a life-long dream to care for and preserve an antebellum home, so during the 2020 pandemic when Pleasant Ridge became available, they jumped at the opportunity to make their dream a reality.
A BIG part of that dream meant remembering and teaching accurate Southern history, both the good the the ugly with other persons…others who would want to study and understand the context of the times. That’s what Scottie and Tammy strive to accomplish with each guest that visits Pleasant Ridge.
Even though they both work full time, Scottie and Tammy have opened Pleasant Ridge as a Bed & Breakfast; they are also hosting Tours, 1860s immersion dinners, Sunday afternoon Ladies’ Tea and other special events such as the authentic 1860s camping experience for fathers and sons over Father’s Day weekend.
Pleasant Ridge, which was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, was one of the beautiful homes opened for the 2021 WHS Tour of Homes. The lovely drawing of the home at the beginning of this column was done by Tammy’s 82-year-old mother, Barbara Starling Burks Neal of Montgomery.
The Myers, who are new to Wilcox County, relocated to Canton Bend from Alexander City in Tallapoosa County. They each have grown children: Scottie’s two sons and two beautiful granddaughters live in Oakman, Alabama. Tammy has two daughters; one who lives in Washington DC and the other in Denver. Together, they have a faithful ol’ Labrador mix named Sabo.
Learn more at www.PleasantRidge1838.com and follow them on Facebook at Pleasant Ridge 1838. ☼
Miller Law Office Restoration
from Chris Bailey, Chairman of the Planning and Fundraising Committee
The law office interior restoration has been completed. All walls and ceiling plaster work has been repaired and painted. Photos and documents have all been framed with UV protective glass framing and has really turned out nice. Martha worked with a custom frame shop that does very high-quality work. We are in the process of replacing interior blinds with simple bamboo shades to help with temperature and light conditions.
The exterior repairs have begun as well. We sourced Aeratis Flooring thru our local building supplier, Handiman. The product is a considerable investment, but investment is the key word. This is a high quality, national historic registry approved product for porch flooring. It has a lifetime warranty against cracking, warping and peeling. The color chosen is “battleship grey” which is an excellent historic match for our area. The steps will also be built out of this material, which should never need replacement within our lifetime.
Next week, our paint team from Birmingham will be back in town to begin the exterior painting of the building. They will scrape, sand and apply two coats of both primer and paint. Lattice work will be painted the historically correct green and will enclose the crawl space.
The body of the building will be painted Benjamin Moore Dove White, which is the color we chose at RiverBend. It’s a nice true white, but not a reflectively bright white.
Our hope is to have the project near completion by July 4th.☼
WHS May Meeting at Greenleaves in Pine Apple
On Sunday, afternoon, May 23, about 60 members of the WHS gathered in the shaded back yard of Greenleaves, the Grimes family home in Pine Apple.
Speakers Robin McDonald and Valerie Pope Burnes talked about their book “Visions of the Black Belt – a Cultural Survey of the Heart of Alabama.” Robin is an independent graphic designer and photographer. He is also the author of “Heart of a Small Town: Photographs of Alabama Towns.” Valerie is professor of history at the University of West Alabama and was the 2018-2019 President of the Alabama Historical Association. She did the introductory texts for the book about the Black Belt which was published in 2015 in cooperation with the Black Belt Cultural Arts Center.
Following the program, Martha Grimes Lampkin and her father, Harold Watts Grimes, invited members to tour Greenleaves (1854), the Pine Apple Bungalow (1925), the Old Barn Museum (1854) and other outbuildings that included a blacksmith shop, two log cabins and a pine log barn. This property and part of the original Grimes Plantation was named a Century and Heritage Farm by the Alabama Department of Agriculture in 1999. ☼
Member, Charles “Chip” Porter Schutt, Jr. of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, passed away on 23 May 2021 at the age of 78. Chip was predeceased by his wife, Katharine “Puss” Draper Schutt. He is survived by their three children: Porter, Jake and Kate and six grandchildren. He never missed one of children’s or grandchildren’s concerts or sporting events. Chip was a generous giver, dedicated to the success of many organizations including The Pilot School, the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware and The Wilmington Club. “The Captain” as many called him, was a member of the Cruising Club of America, the Northeast Harbor Fleet and the Vicmead Yacht Club. At a young age, he made his first transatlantic crossing. Many of his outdoor adventures, hunting and otherwise, happened at Galio Farms in Wilcox County. His home there meant a great deal to him and his children. ☼
PROPOSED TOWER IN DOWNTOWN CAMDEN
On Tuesday, June 8, several members of the Board and a few of our members attended a Community Meeting hosted by Black Belt Technologies (BBT) at the Ferry Terminal. Black Belt Technologies is the company that purchased the Ratcliff’s Hardware Building on Broad Street and the lumber yard behind it. They plan to install broadband internet cables in Camden.
Prior to the meeting we had learned they intended to put what we were told was a 30′ – 35′ Tower/Pole on the Ratcliff site. We informed them that the proposed location was inside the Camden Courthouse National Historic District and we would oppose it. They responded that it might be possible to put it on the existing 911 Tower attached to the Courthouse Annex or on the lumber yard site behind the Ratcliff Building as it is just outside the Historic District. We encouraged them to pursue the tower attached to the Courthouse Annex.
At the June 8 Meeting, we were informed that the Tower/Pole would he 45′ – 50′ with a white receiver on top. There was a lot of discussion about the company, its plans, its work in Selma, and the tower’s location in Camden. As a result of the discussion, we learned that the proposed tower could be anywhere in a 1.2-mile radius of the Ratcliff Building. All they need is a clear line of sight to the 2 water towers. Melissa Dove was quite helpful in offering access to the existing 911 Tower that exists on the Courthouse Annex. The existing tower is tall enough for their needs.
Please know that we are fully supportive of any group that can improve our county’s access to the internet. However, it is our responsibility to protect our historic districts and what is built in them/in clear view of them. We are continuing the dialog with Black Belt Technologies to ensure that the beauty of Downtown Camden is protected for generations to come. ☼
AN EVENING OF FLUTE AND HARP IN CAMDEN
On Thursday, July 22, Harvest Arts will present An Evening of Flute and Harp in downtown Camden from 7-8:30PM. Tickets will go on sale June 29. For more information see HarvestArtsLLC.com. Also featured that evening will be an art show with original paintings by Madeline. ☼
A Family Cemetery Passes Away
By Noma Bruton, WHS Life Member
(Reprinted with permission from https://xiigenerations.com/ )
On a cool February day in 1889, John Wyatt Threadgill sat down to write his Will. Often referred to as “JW”, John Wyatt lived in Wilcox County, Alabama for over fifty years. He and his wife, Mary, raised a large family in the area. Five generations later, there are many descendants of John Wyatt and Mary.
During the almost eighty years of his life, JW accumulated a large estate. When he wrote his Will, he had significant assets to bequeath to members of his family. JW’s final Will covers ten full pages. “
Preserving the Threadgill family legacy was on JW’s mind as he wrote. Some of the first words of his Will formalize the family cemetery and set aside land and funds for its ongoing maintenance.
John Wyatt wrote:
“I desire to be decently interred in my family graveyard, on my own lands, by the side of my deceased wife, and I hereby reserve [two?] acres of land to include said graveyard, together with a right of way through any of my lands from the nearest public road to the same. Said right of way is to be sufficiently wide for the passage of all vehicles to and from the same. The said graveyard so [illegible] to be a burial place for my children and their posterity, and for no other person or persons, unless it be such as my Executors or Trustees may permit – on application – and I for this reserve and set aside five hundred dollars to be invested in Alabama State interest bearing bonds, or such other instrument as will be perfectly secure, to be determined by my trustees or Executors with the approval of any court of the state of Alabama having jurisdiction of the same under the statues of the said State. The interest on the said investment to be applied to the beautifying and keeping in good order the said grave-yard and the right of way to the same, under the direction of my said executors and trustees or the said court or under the order or direction of the same. The said five hundred dollars to be a permanent fund for the purposes herein stated.”
Later in the Will, JW returns to the subject of the family cemetery and includes instructions for a monument.
“I desire a suitable monument erected over my grave and that of my deceased wife, one monument to cover both graves, with such inscriptions as are consistent and usual, and for the carrying out of this request I hereby direct my executor or executors to expend two hundred and fifty dollars out of my estate, or not over that amount. The said monument to be erected under the management and direction of my said executors or executor in a reasonable time after my demise.”
In late 2020, I began a search to find the location of the Threadgill Family Cemetery. After reading JW’s Will, it was obvious to me that the establishment and maintenance of a family cemetery had been important to him. I wanted to know to what extent his final wishes had been carried out.
A Find A Grave (FAG) volunteer with deep family ties to Wilcox County visited the location in 2015 and, thoughtfully, set up a cemetery profile on the website. At that time, the FAG volunteer recorded only one grave memorial in the cemetery. The grave appeared to be that of a child – “Little Lillie”. The volunteer described the location and state of the cemetery as he found it:
“Located just to the right of the dead-end dirt road off County Road 32 in the northeast corner of T.13N.-R.5E. Section 33. I am told that, as of about 10 years ago, there was an iron fence around the cemetery and 5 or 6 headstones were visible. As of March 7, 2015, the fence is gone and the headstone pictured is the only one that is still visible.”
I enlisted professional genealogist, Tonya Chandler, to further research and survey the cemetery. Her report, in its entirety, follows.
THREADGILL FAMILY CEMETERY
DATE OF SURVEY: 21 MARCH 2021
The Threadgill Family Cemetery was documented in March 1952 by William M. Cook II, his wife
Josephine Aldrich Harris Cook, and their two daughters, Garland Wingfield Cook and Jean Lindsay Cook. Their typed account and hand-drawn map were used to locate the Threadgill Cemetery in March 2021, 69 years after the Cook family’s visit.
As in their account, a right turn from Alabama State Highway 5 onto County Road 32 leads towards Arlington, Alabama. A dirt road (Robinson Road) leads off to the right of County Road 32. There is no longer a gate at the entrance to the dirt road. The Threadgill Family Cemetery was said to be located on the right-hand side of the dirt road in a stand of pine trees, an unspecified distance up the road. Pine trees are now prevalent all along the road. The road is unpaved, rough, and rocky. The right side of the road has many changes in elevation, with pits and hills. There were 2-3 occupied private trailers and homes on the right side of the road, with heavy growth in surrounding fields. In a wooded area of relatively level land, approximately .2 miles after turning onto Robinson Road, there was a gray stone just visible from the road within the trees (near utility pole 30Y8533). This proved to be the headstone of “Little Lillie.” There was no path from the road to the cemetery area, which was reached through heavy foliage and brambles. The cemetery is located about 15 yards from the road into the woods.
The iron paling fence around the cemetery described in 1952 is no longer present. Only two of the short iron fence fixtures were visible in the leaves, apparently marking off two corners of a rectangular area.
Only one headstone was visible, the stone that was seen from the road. This was a large simple headstone engraved with “Little Lillie.” There may have been additional words at the top of this stone, but the upper part of the stone is almost entirely flat. No dates were visible on the stone. The stone for “Little Lillie” leaned against a short piling of red brick, which may have once been the lower part of a monument.
There was only one other stone found, which was a small rectangular stone the size of a brick, near but at a 45-degree angle to the headstone of Little Lillie. This was likely a footstone, but it was unclear to which grave it belonged. It may have been the footstone for the brick base, as the stones appear to match and they were at roughly the same angle. There were no visible initials on the footstone.
A survey of the remaining area did not find any other stones. Due to heavy piles of leaves and debris, these were the only two stones found. The graves of John Wyatt Threadgill, Mary Threadgill, and Ardella were not visible.
Based on the 1952 Cook account, graves were present then that are no longer visible. Combining the information provided in 1952 and that seen in this survey, the following graves are known to have been present in the Threadgill Family Cemetery. Existing stones are bolded:
M. J. S. (footstone only)
Ardella, wife of Joe Robinson, born May 13, 1850 died Aug. 18, 1887
J. W. T. (John Wyatt Threadgill)
M. T. (Mary Threadgill)
Unknown, footstone only —End of Report
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONUMENT?
There is a handwritten note in the Cook family account that states:
“After talking with Ella May Cook Kilpatrick (Mrs. John Y.) I learned that there had been large marble tombstones in the Threadgill Cemetery, but that they had been stolen during WWII by men in trucks who went around gathering marble slabs from old uncared for cemeteries!”
This may explain the absence of the monument JW asked to be placed over his and his wife’s graves. The note is unsigned.
One hundred and thirty years after he wrote his Will, time, circumstances and nature will soon obliterate the action John Wyatt Threadgill took to preserve the Threadgill Family Cemetery in Arlington. The $500 JW set aside in 1889 is equivalent to about $14,300 in 2021; the $250 he set aside for a monument is worth approximately $7,100 today. It wasn’t enough.
Sources: Alabama. Probate Court (Wilcox County) 1820-1934, “Last Will & Testament, John Wyatt Threadgill,” February 21, 1889, Salt Lake City, UT, FamilySearch.org. Film #2.321.516.
“Threadgill Cemetery, ID 2571895,” Find A Grave, GPS coordinates: 32.055117, -87.574689, accessed April 11, 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2571895/threadgill–cemetery.
Appreciation to: Tonya D. J. Chandler, Southern Roots Genealogical Services, Birmingham, AL, Martin Sheffield, Birmingham, AL and Garland Cook Smith, Birmingham, AL.
Inquiries and Comments
We often receive genealogical and local history inquiries on the WHS Facebook page, Instagram page and website. If you have any information to help with these inquiries, please let us know and we will be happy to pass it along or put you in contact with the interested party. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can text or call Martha Lampkin at 334.296.1076. We also love receiving comments on our posts on social media. The more comments, likes and shares also help our posts be viewed by more people. Here are a few inquiries and comments received since our last newsletter:
I am doing research on a New Year Eve’s group who paraded in costume through the streets of Camden. Called the D.U.D.s (some referred to them as Damn Ugly Devils), they paraded from right after the Civil War up until 1908 (the last reference to them). The City of Livingston, Alabama has a D.U.D. group that can be traced from before the Civil War and still parades around the city square each New Year’s Eve even until recently. Any information whatsoever on the Camden D.U.D.s would be most appreciated. E. Wolfe, Fairhope, AL, email@example.com
I am interested in finding any pictures of the home and or warehouses at Bridgeport Landing on the Alabama River. My ancestor William Wirt Moore worked for Judge Bridges in the 1850’s and eventually purchased the landing from him. Thank you for any help on locating pictures. Russell Moore, Member, Montgomery, AL, firstname.lastname@example.org
Will you host a tour in 2022? I heard that this year was FABULOUS…but did not know about it until it was over. I’d like to put it on my calendar for 2022. Thanks so much. R. Frey, Marietta, GA (Editor’s Note – March 26, 2022 is the date for the WHS Historic Homes Tour which will be held in Furman!)
Hi, just saw your post about Ms. Betty’s Museum. We went by there Sat. on the tour. Sweet lady, I had never heard of Rosa Young or the Rosebud School. Since then, I have learned about her through watching YouTube videos. Ms. Betty is doing a service to the community and has quilts and historically significant items in the museum. The Tour was wonderful, my sister and I enjoyed every minute of it. We spent the night with Mrs. Julia at Liberty Hall. We look forward to coming back next year! S. Hendrick, Brantley, AL
Following are comments for the post Happy Birthday to Frances Donald Dudley Grimes – one of the first presidents of the WHS and heavily involved in preserving the Wilcox Female Institute in the 1960s:
Thank you for sharing this important part in our county’s history. Happy Birthday Miss Frances! Thebrittanyhouseantiques
Loved reading all of Ms. Frances’s story! Thanks! pathigs
So eloquently put! Love this. Chrissydpatronas
Awesome! Love family history! S. Matranga
So many memories of a wonderful lady. She was very special. L. Tracy
Following are a few comments on the posts for the 2021 Tour of Homes:
Well, we just had a fabulous time! Thank you for everything! Brokenhillholiday
It was a great weekend! Y’all did a fantastic job! Thanks so much. Leighpostle
Such a beautiful weekend…thank you for sharing your beautiful homes…so interesting! Toodlie52
Awesome tour guide! (The House on the Hill) memeofsix
It’s so interesting – be sure to visit! (The Old Shoe Shop Museum) amystjh
Great job guys! Lynnenoah
Such a wonderful weekend. We have come the last few years! We wouldn’t miss it! Apriljwhite
We had a wonderful time coming from Tuscaloosa! Haleymarie.87
Such a wonderful time! Thank you for the lovely hospitality. Camden is so charming! Whitgtalley
Enjoyed our weekend in Camden! Thank you! Lynnenoah
It was worth the wait! Thank you! Reddickmillie
So proud of Wilcox County efforts…hoping Butler County follows suit…starting with a Butler County Clean up day. Way to go Wilcox County! Faypoole ☼
Donation of Bibles to the WHS
Earlier this year we were contacted by Margaret Price “Peggy” Braun of Tow, Texas asking us if we were interested in two Bibles from her family. Her letter reads “In the summer of 1860 my great-great-grandmother Stella Phelps Hatfield and her husband Henry Hatfield became the principals of the Wilcox Female Institute. The Hatfields followed a Mrs. E. Upson, principal in 1850, and the L.B. Johnsons, principals between 1851 and 1856. I was never able to discover what happened in 1851 when Mrs. Upson left, but evidently so much animosity had developed between the “Upsonites” and the “Johnsonites” that there were still two factions in Camden when the Hatfields arrived. An entry in the middle of their daughter Helen’s Bible noted the end of the controversy: “A complete reconciliation amoung the Institute girls, Feby 7, 1861.” When the Hatfields closed their school in Eutaw to come to Camden, Helen’s best friend Mary Erwin Clark, daughter of James. B. Clark, an attorney and Eutaw chancellor, came with them as a boarding student. Both girls were 15 years old. In December of 1860 Mary Erwin gave Helen a Bible as a Christmas gift. That Bible is inscribed to Helen and includes pictures of both girls. Sadly, both girls died of typhoid fever – Helen in September 1861, and Mary Erwin in April, 1862. Both of their obituaries are pasted on the front cover of the book.
My father was an only child and my son is an only child; and unfortunately, I have no one in my family interested in family history or the family documents in my possession. I have both Bibles and wondered if you would be interested in having them for the museum.”
We corresponded with Mrs. Braun and are happy to report that the Bibles are in our possession and will be displayed in the Wilcox Female Institute when the planned restorations are complete. Many, many thanks to Mrs. Braun for her kind donation for these invaluable Bibles and other documents from the early days of our beloved Female Institute. ☼
Give the Gift of Membership
Gift memberships are now available! Help us grow our membership and take pride in the history of Wilcox County. If you are interested in gifting a membership to a friend or family member for a birthday or other special occasion let us know. We will mail them a beautiful gift certificate along with our latest newsletter. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com. ☼
A LOOK BACK…
5 September 1866
The Semi-Weekly Natchitoches Times (Natchitoches, Louisiana)
DIED, at Pleasant Hill DeSoto Parish La., Aug 28th. D.A.W. Patterson, aged about 57 years, formerly of Wilcox County, Alabama.
13 March 1869
Tri-Weekly Clarion (Meridian, Mississippi)
A destruction fire occurred at Camden, Wilcox County, Alabama, on Wednesday last, destroying a block of seventeen buildings.
15 May 1878
The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi) DISTRISSING. A Young Lady Missing.
On the 1st day of April last, Mr. John Gaddy, of Wilcox County, Alabama put his niece, Martha Ann Wiggins, a girl about 15 years old, upon a boat on the Alabama river, to go to Selma, and thence by rail to this city, and to go from here to her home near Energy, Clarke County. Since that she has not been heard of by her friends. She has no father, but a mother, who is now the wife of Alexander Johnson, who lives near Energy. Of course, there is distress and fear on her account, and any person having any information concerning her will do a great act of kindness by imparting it to her mother or step-father. The person who gave us this item does not know what boat she was put on.
30 July 1880
Wilcox News and Pacificator Pineapple and Snow Hill.
Grand Rallies of the Democracy.
Two Great Days in the History of the Canvas.
The strength of the East gathered together at the two above named places on Tuesday and Wednesday. Crowds of our colored friends turned out, and many of them openly expressed their intention of carrying their fortunes with the Democracy. The people were addressed by Judge Purifoy, Hon. Rob. Morrisette, S.D. Bloch, Gen. R. C. Jones, W. W. McConnico and James T. Beck. The candidate on the Radical ticket for Representative, Patrick Gaines, asked and obtained permission to speak. He was replied to by James T. Beck.
The glorious old East is fully aroused, and the whole county is going to emulate her example.
When the East takes up her glass on the second day of August, with the sugar from Mimms’ and Fox’ Mill in the bottom, and pour in the Purifying element from Snow Hill add the spirits of Allenton, sprinkle over the nutmeg of Bonham’s, drop in a slice of Pine Apple, and hold it to the rest of the county and says, “Here’s at you.”, about “seventeen more will rise up” and respond.
The people of Allenton and Oak Hill herewith extend to you a cordial invitation to participate at their picnic on Thursday, July 12th, on the W.W. McConnico place, 1 1/2 miles from Allenton. A first-class band will be on the grounds that day, also a grand Base Ball game will be played by the Allenton and Pine Apple clubs. At night there will be a grand ball at the residence of Frank Jones, near the McConnico place. Refreshments will be furnished gratis by the young men. We assure you a pleasant time and welcome everybody to come.
Respectfully, W.W. McConnico, H.E. Voltz, J.T. Jones, H.T. Lambert – Committee of Arrangements
6 July 1922
Wilcox Progressive Era
Mr. Clay Sheffield of Pine Hill visited in Camden Monday.
Capt. J.H. Fuller of Nadawah was in town Saturday.
A number of young people enjoyed a picnic Tuesday at the home of Mrs. Tom Moore.
Miss Louise Matthews left for Montgomery Monday to take a business course.
Fifteen or twenty cars of Camden ball fans went to Selma on the fourth and saw Selma beat Camden 5-0.
Miss Sarah Ervin of Rock West left Monday for San Antonio Texas to visit relatives.
Mr. Henry Hawthorne went to Selma Wednesday to bring his wife home, who has been sick at an infirmary.
The ladies Aid of the A.R.P. church will meet Friday evening at four o’clock this week with Mrs. Will Lawler in the Grampion Hills.
Messrs. Jo Mac and Wirt Moore motored to Selma Friday to meet their cousin, Margaret Moore of Due West, S.C.
Mr. Herbert Holman, son of our townsman, Mr. Brad Holman is now in an Auto School in Detroit, Michigan.
Dr. J.H. Jones and Mr. Will Liddell have issued about 200 invitations to their friends to attend a Barbecue Thursday at the Oliver place which is owned by Dr. J.H. Jones.
13 March 1936
The Birmingham News – Miller, 72, is ‘Feeling Great’
Camden, Ala. – Former Gov. B.M. Miller, in fine health and high good spirits, Friday was receiving congratulations on his seventy-second birthday.
“I am feeling fine,” the former governor declared, “the buttermilk is fine down here and I am feeling better than I ever have.”
Asked if he contemplated re-entering politics, he said. “Pshaw, I’m too busy for politics. I’ve got no time for that. I’m just resting and practicing law.”
He said he had lost between five and 10 pounds since he left the executive office in January, 1935, and now tipped the scales around 205 pounds. He stands five feet and 11 inches in his stocking feet. With his sister, Mrs. Sallie Brice he lives at his home here.
Asked if he had no fear of Friday the thirteenth, he laughed and said, “Why no. Friday thirteenth is good luck for me, because if it hadn’t been for Friday, March 13, 1864, I wouldn’t be here.”
5 August 1943
Wilcox Progressive Era – First Bale of Cotton Ginned for Wilcox
The first bale of cotton to be ginned in Wilcox County for the 1943 season was ginned here by the Peoples Gin Company Saturday. Grown by W.P. Tait of Coy, Ala., this cotton, which was handled by the Camden Cotton warehouse, brought 30 cents per pound when purchased by Matthews Hardware Company, of Camden. Auctioneer was C.M. Watts.
19 July 1956
Wilcox Progressive Era – Pine Apple HDC
The Pine Apple Home Demonstration Club met with Mrs. J. M. Feagin. Mrs. William Norred, in the absence of the president, Mrs. J.A. Thompson, called the roll. Miss Mable Watts told the story of the hymn selected for the month.
Roll call was answered by members telling of their vacation plans with their families. Three visitors were welcomed to the club.
The “Woman of the Year” was voted on by members. The score card for the afternoon was 400 points.
A demonstration on “Repairing Innerspring Cushions” was given by Miss Margaret Whatley. After the demonstration the hostess served Coca Colas, cookies and peanuts.
Mrs. J.B. Norred was selected for the club’s woman of the year.
2 August 1962
Wilcox Progressive Era – Kay Ellen Ivey at ‘Girls’ Nation’
Miss Kay Ellen Ivey of Camden and Miss Diane Waite of Centre, left Montgomery early Saturday morning for a week in Washington, D.C. representing Alabama at “Girls’ Nation” sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.
Kay Ellen, who will be a senior at Wilcox County High School this fall, represented the local school at Girls’ State at Huntington College in June where she was elected Lt. Governor, and also selected as one of the two girls to represent Alabama at Girls’ Nation.
While attending the session in the nation’s capital the girls will visit many points of interest as well as learn about national government along with girls from every state in the union.
Kay was selected by the faculty of Wilcox County High School to be the representative at Girls’ State and she was sponsored by Irby Savage – Sam McNeill Unit 84 of the American Legion Auxiliary. ☼
Please encourage others to become a member of the Wilcox Historical Society! Annual dues are $30 for a couple, $25 for single. Lifetime dues are $300 for a couple and $250 for single. A membership form is available on our website: WilcoxHistoricalSociety.org. Or if you prefer, please mail dues to: P O Box 464, Camden, AL 36726 and be sure to include your name, mailing address, email address and phone number. Payment may also be made with PayPal. Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! ☼
Wilcox Historical Society Officers for 2021 –Lance Britt, President, Garland Cook Smith, Vice President and Program Chairperson, Jane Shelton Dale, Secretary, Mary Margaret Fife Kyser, Treasurer, LaJunta “Pie” Selsor Malone, Curator and Martha Grimes Lampkin, Editor and Social Media Manager. ☼
We are pleased to offer two concerts at the Wilcox Female Institute in Camden on Friday, September 10th and Saturday, September 11th at 7PM featuring French Impressions music of Debussy, Saint Saens and more! Musicians Mary Grace Bender, cello; Madeline Cawley, flute; and Hannah Johnson, harp, as presented by Harvest Arts!
We look forward to seeing you!
TOUR OF HOMES GENERAL INFORMATION:
Our Tour includes seven homes, two churches, and several sites downtown.
Everyone must bring their ticket to registration either Friday afternoon or Saturday to the Wilcox
Female Institute, our tour headquarters, 301 Broad Street, Camden, AL.
Friday, March 26th – 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Saturday, March 27th – 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
• When you register you will exchange your ticket for an arm band that will get you into the
Welcome Reception and Tour of Homes. The Benefit Ball requires a separate ticket.
• We will you provide you with our 2021 Tour Brochure and Map at registration.
We will hold all events rain or shine. However, in the event of rain or saturated ground, we will
require you to either remove your shoes or wear shoe covers while in our Tour Homes. Each home will
have shoe covers available for your use.
The Tour of Homes Saturday, March 27th, hours are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
We will be following a number of safety protocols this year. At registration everyone will have their
temperature taken before receiving their arm band. If someone has a temperature they will receive a
full refund and will not be allowed entry. Masks must be worn properly inside at all times. Sanitation
stations will be set-up at each home with hand sanitizer, extra masks, etc.
Entry into the homes will be limited to small groups. Where possible there will be one entrance and one
exit. The Reception at RiverBend and Breakfast at the Brittany House are outdoor events (under tents),
but proper table spacing and food distribution protocols will be used. By taking these extra measures
we are doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of everyone.
There is no parking at RiverBend on Friday night. You must park in downtown Camden and ride
one of our courtesy shuttle buses to and from the Reception. They will run from 5:15 pm – 9:00 pm
except during Mr. Farmer’s talk at 7:00 pm.
RiverBend and Wakefield are not open for tours on Saturday. You can only see them by attending the
Welcome Reception or the Ball.
You do not have to register at the Female Institute to attend the Breakfast at The Brittany House
Antiques in Oak Hill. Simply show your ticket or Eventbrite printout for admission.
BREAKFAST, SATURDAY MORNING 3/27
The complimentary breakfast at Brittany House Antiques in Oak Hill (5921 AL Highway 21, Oak Hill,
Alabama – 15 miles from Camden) is Saturday morning from 8:30 am – 10:00 am. Please use proper
social distancing throughout the morning. This is a self-serve breakfast. There will be tables and
chairs for your use and you will be provided individual utensils to pick-up your food. The menu
includes: Homemade biscuits, ham, fresh fruit, breakfast pastries, coffee, and orange juice.
Here is the complete Tour of Homes Weekend Schedule:
Friday, March 26
4:30 pm – Registration opens at the Female Institute, 301 Broad Street, Camden, AL
5:15 pm – Shuttle Buses start running. There is no parking at RiverBend.
6:00 pm – Cocktail Party Begins at RiverBend
7:00 pm – James Farmer’s talk begins
9:00 pm – Last shuttle returns to Camden
Saturday, March 27
8:30 am – 10:00 am – Breakfast at The Brittany House – 5931 AL Hwy 21, Oak Hill, AL
9:00 am – Registration opens at the Female Institute – 301 Broad Street, Camden, AL
10:00 am – 5:00 pm – The 2021 Tour of Homes
7:30 pm – The Inaugural Pilgrimage Benefit Ball at Wakefield begins
Lunch locations Saturday, Saturday, 3/27 – 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Pecan on Broad – 110 Broad Street – Stand alone restaurant and gift shop, large menu
Masonic Lodge – 201 Broad Street -The Masons will be offering a Bar-B-Que lunch on the grounds of
their historic building.
Wilcox Female Institute – 301 Broad Street – Blue Spoon Catering is offering a sit-down lunch inside
the historic building. They will be offering Chicken Salad or Pimento Cheese Sandwiches and sides.
Gaines Ridge Supper Club – 933 AL Hwy 10 – Historic Gaines Ridge will be offering lunch from 11am
– 2pm. Dinner service will start at 4 pm. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED.
GET TICKETS TO THE TOUR!
GET TICKETS TO THE BALL!
There are a limited number of tickets remaining to this year’s Benefit Ball at Wakefield, Circa 1847. It
is the only opportunity to see this beautiful home during the weekend. To get tickets to go:
We would like to thank our Platinum Sponsors for their generous support!
The Pecan on Broad
Global Medical Products
UB Community Development, a community development partner with United Bank
Bailey Dunagan Properties & Investments
We look forward to seeing all of you this weekend!
See you at Tour!
The Tour of Homes is on! After discussion with our homeowners, medical professionals, and the Board of the WHS, we have decided to move ahead with the Tour March 26-27. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we are looking forward to hosting a beautiful and safe event.
First, I cannot thank our homeowners enough for their flexibility, patience, and understanding as we were forced to postpone twice. Opening your home to the public is a challenge and you work very hard to ensure everything is just right for your guests.
Having to gear up not once, not twice, but three times is going above and beyond to say the
least. If it weren’t for our generous homeowners, we would not be able to host this special
Everyone should know this year’s event will be different in that we will be following a number
of safety protocols. Every person will have their temperature checked at the Tour Headquarters
– the Wilcox Female Institute, upon arrival before receiving their arm band. If someone has a
fever, they will receive a full refund and will not be allowed entry. Masks will be required to be
worn properly inside at all times and sanitation stations will be set-up at every venue with hand
sanitizer, extra masks, etc. Entry into our homes will be limited to small groups and where
possible there will be one entrance and one exit. Even though our reception at RiverBend and
breakfast at The Brittany House are outdoor events, proper table spacing and food distribution
protocols will be used. By taking these extra measures we are doing all we can to ensure the
health and safety of everyone.
We need your help! Due to our additional safety protocols, we need volunteers to work shifts
at our homes throughout the day to man our sanitation stations and help our homeowners
with crowd control as there will be wait times to get into each home. We will have two, three
hour shifts at each location: 10AM – 1PM and 1PM to 4PM. If you are willing to volunteer,
please email me at email@example.com or call 256.975.7616 and let me know which
shift you can work. As hard as our homeowners work to get their homes ready, the least we can
do is provide them some additional help that day.
In other news, the new WHS Board had its first meeting, Saturday evening, February 20, at
Garland’s house. We had a fantastic meeting that included Tour preparation, an update on the
ongoing restoration of the Miller Law Office, and a discussion about our five-year plan for
complete restoration of the Wilcox Female Institute. The Board is excited about our potential
and look forward to using the income from our Tours to preserve and improve the Female
Institute as well as our other historic properties.
One of the ideas that came out of our board meeting is the need for a Camden Clean-Up Day,
Saturday, March 20. We will meet at The Pecan on Broad at 8AM and will spend the morning
picking up trash in town. Mary Margaret Kyser and Betty Anderson have agreed to co-chair this
important event. Please volunteer to work by contacting Mary Margaret at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I will see you there!
Finally, it is an honor to be working this year as President of the Wilcox Historical Society. I am
looking forward to working with the Board to not only host a safe and successful Tour, but on a
number of new projects as well. This organization has a rich history due to the hard work and
dedication of those that came before us. They provided a foundation on which we can build a
bright future for both our organization and our entire County. By working together, we can and
will make a difference in this community and will continue to share its history with the
hundreds of visitors that come to our events each year. See you at Tour!
Lance Britt, Tour Director and WHS President ☼
Welcome to new members Melanie Dees Andress of Monroeville, Alabama, Prince
Arnold of Oak Hill, Alabama, Gloria and William Bethea of Charlotte, North Carolina and to new
Life Member – Noma Bruton of Ranch Mirage, California! Thank you for joining the WHS. ☼
Tour of Homes – March 26-27, 2021!
Join us Saturday, March 27th, as we open six historic homes, two local churches and other historic buildings in and around Camden. If you had already purchased a ticket last year to the Tour it will be honored in 2021. Your ticket includes the Welcome Reception on Friday, March 26th at RiverBend Plantation.
James Farmer will be the Guest Speaker at RiverBend Plantation on Friday night, March 26. Guests will park at the Wilcox Female Institute and ride buses to RiverBend with the reception starting at 6PM. Refreshments will be served. Music will be provided by The Ruby Reds jazz band.
The Brittany House Antiques in Oak Hill will provide all ticket holders breakfast Saturday
morning starting at 8:30AM.
The Inaugural Pilgrimage Ball, sponsored by the Furman Historical Society, will be held at
Wakefield in Furman on Saturday night, March 27 from 7:30PM to 10PM. Guests are welcome
to wear period civilian dress or formal attire. It will be a magical evening of great music and
dancing in one of Alabama’s finest homes. The full house will be open to tour during the
evening. All proceeds from the Ball will go to save two historic structures in Furman. Tickets are
$75 to the ball and are separate from the Tour and can be purchased online at Eventbrite.com.
The link to Ball tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/89193884309 .
The Tour of Homes begins Saturday morning, March 27th at 10AM and ends at 5PM. Historic
homes on the Tour are: Yaupon – the Mathews-Tait-Rutherford House, circa 1840, River Bluff –
the Beck-Bryant-Talbot House, circa 1840s, the Beck-Darwin-Coats House, circa 1846, the
Strother-Gibbs House, circa 1900, Pleasant Ridge – the Bethea-Strother-Myers House, circa
1844 and Liberty Hall, circa 1850 – the McDowell-Harris home (hall and formal rooms only).
The Camden Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Antioch Baptist Church in
Camden will also be open for the Tour.
Other historic sites on tour are the Old Shoe Shop Museum, the Beck-Miller Law Office, circa
1840s and the Old Wilcox County Jail, constructed 1889, as well as the Tour and WHS
headquarters, the Wilcox Female Institute, constructed in 1849, and Dale Lodge No. 25,
constructed in 1848.
Tickets for the Tour of Homes may be purchased online at Eventbrite.com (the link is
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/88612435179 ) or locally at The Pecan on Broad and Black Belt
Treasures in Camden or The Brittany House of Antiques in Oak Hill. WHS members receive $10
off the regular ticket price of $40. Tickets will be sold the weekend of the Tour at tour
headquarters – the Wilcox Female Institute, located at 301 Broad Street in Camden. Tour
brochure and map will be available upon check-in. Everyone must bring their ticket or
Eventbrite.com receipt to the WFI upon arrival to receive their 2021 wristband that allows
entry into all Tour events. ☼
Member Spotlight – Greg Swanner
I want to say first and foremost, that I am extremely proud of my Wilcox County heritage.
I am the Senior Failure Analysis Technician in Division Quality at Rheem Manufacturing
Company, in Montgomery. I have been at Rheem almost 31 years. I am also a United Methodist
pastor serving Pleasant Valley UMC in Jones, Ala., and First UMC in Plantersville, Ala. I became a
supply pastor in 2013 and licensed as a local pastor in 2014. I am married to my wife Felicia,
and have three kids: Sarah, Tate and Leah, and a step-daughter, Rachel. We currently live in the
Billingsley area of Autauga County, but hope to move to our property in Wilcox County sooner
rather than later. Even though I grew up in Clanton, Chilton County, I spent many days in Wilcox
County as a youngster with my parents and grandparents. Those are some great memories.
My 5th great grandfather is Owen Dailey, a Revolutionary War soldier who settled in the
Chestnut community of Monroe County in the early 1800’s. My lineage from him is David
Dailey, Hugh, Dailey, John William Dailey, James Franklin Dailey, Ervin Delmo Dailey, and then
my mom, Sarah Faye Dailey, who married Thomas Swanner. All of the Daileys after Owen lived
in the Fatama community of Wilcox and were all part of Enon Baptist Church. My granddad,
Ervin Delmo Dailey, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps after he graduated from Moore
Academy in Pine Apple, in 1936, and was sent to Clanton. There he met his future wife, Dorothy
Faye Carter. They were married and moved to Camden. After Ervin’s stint in the Navy during
WWII, they moved to Clanton where they remained, but Camden was always ‘home’ to him.
The old home place in which he was born is still there, as well as the old John William Dailey
dogtrot home built about 1910, near Dailey’s Well.
My Wilcox lineage also contains the Griffis family, as Hugh Dailey (my GGG Grandfather)
married Sarah Griffis. Their son, John William Dailey, brings the Bursons into the mix as he
married Francis Arilla Burson, a daughter of Bartlett Burson and Ellender Watson. Bartlett died
in 1864 in Dalton, GA., while serving with the Confederate troops as a Pvt., in Co. A, 23rd Ala.
Inf. Bartlett was a son of Solomon Burson, who was a son of Joseph Burson.
James Franklin Dailey, my great grandfather, married Annie Matt Tait. She was a daughter of
Thomas James Buchanan ‘Buck’ Tait. Buck was a son of Thomas Godfrey Tate (D: 1861) and
Matilda Ann Ray (daughter of Hall Ray and Salina Wilkinson – Salina being the daughter of John
Wilkinson, a revolutionary war soldier in Wilcox County). Yes, the Tate spellings changed. Even
after Buck went with Tait, two of his twelve children used Tate. Buck Tait’s wife was Kate Ellen
Stewart, daughter of William Norris Stewart, a native of Abbeville Dist., S.C. William was the son
of Isaac and Jane Norris Stewart. Isaac is buried in the old Hamburg Cemetery outside of Oak
Hill. His wife, Jane, moved on to Cotton Plant, Miss., with some members of the family. William
was a Pvt., in Co. F, 53rd Ala. Cav. Regt. William married Martha Jane McBride, daughter of
Thomas McBride. The McBrides were another early Wilcox family from Abbeville Dist., S.C.
William Norris Stewart and Buck Tait lived in the Stewartville community (named after William
Norris Stewart and the family who lived in the area) near the crossroads of what is now
Clarence Dailey Road and County Road 16, in between the Dailey community and Neenah. I
currently own the property at the crossroads, which has been passed down from James Franklin
Dailey to Ervin Delmo Dailey to Sarah Faye Dailey, to me, and whenever we come down to the
property, it’s special and it means something.
I look back on the many times I would be with my granddad, Ervin Delmo Dailey, driving around
the Fatama and Stewartville area, and he would show me where cousin so and so lived, or
where they used to keep the cattle or plant a certain crop, or point to the places where a mill
used to be, etc. I am glad I remember a lot of the things he showed me and told me, but I often regret not learning more when I had the chance. Once our elders are gone, the information that
could have been shared with another generation is gone as well. Due to the realization of that
fact, I have started compiling information, biographies, military info, pictures, etc., of all of the
families mentioned – direct lineage as well as collateral. If anyone has anything on those
families, please let me know!!!! My email is email@example.com. ☼
WHS November Meeting in McWilliams
Philip Winters, along with sons Mal and Parker, gave the program for the
November 8th meeting of the WHS. Philip told the interesting history of the
Winters Excelsior Mill, founded 105 years ago by his grandfather, John Albert
Winters. He also had a collection of photographs from the Mill and a large display of products
the Mill produces. A capacity crowd of members and guests filled the McWilliams Methodist
Church for the Sunday afternoon program. Beth Jones Yoder entertained the group in the yard
of her McWilliams home following the meeting. Those in attendance were also invited to tour
the nearby mill. ☼
Wilcox Female Institute and Miller Law Office Repairs
from Chris Bailey, Chairman of the Planning and Fundraising Committee
Wilcox Female Institute
We have met with architect Richard “Dick” Hudgens from Selma. His firm has specialized in
historic renovation and restoration projects throughout Alabama and Mississippi and has
worked with the Alabama Historical Commission for over thirty years. Using the original
restoration plans from the 1970s from architect Joe Grant, we have suggested work to be done
in three phases: Phase 1 – Add a portion of the original back “dorm” wing on the Institute to
house restrooms on both floors and an elevator. Phase 2 – Restore upstairs. Complete the large
open area (to the right of the stairs) to be used as a gallery and venue area. Use the area to the
left of the stairs as a Genealogy Library and WHS office space. Phase 3 – Add the remainder of
the “dorm” wing at the rear of the building to be used as a caterer’s kitchen, reception and
concert hall and storage. The new addition will look period on the exterior but have modern
conveniences on the interior. These three phases would comprise our five-year plan.
Miller Law Office
The plaster walls of the interior of the office have been repaired and painted and the windows
are being glazed. One window will be replaced. The porch decks, stairs and ramp need to be
replaced. We would like to recommend a period-authentic PVC tongue and groove product
named Aeratis. This product is approved for historic renovations and can be purchased in a
traditional battleship gray color which will not require painting. The cost will be $2.57 per linear
The porch railing baluster and hand rails need to be repaired or replaced. We will also obtain an estimate of having a dehumidifier installed underneath the building to help with climate control inside.
All of the photographs, portraits and other memorabilia previously displayed in the law office
will be scanned for a digital copy and custom framed using archival quality mat boards and UV
blocking glass. The large portrait of Governor Miller is currently being restored. ☼
Member, Alonzo Heath Purser, passed away on 25 November 2020. He is survived by his wife
of almost fifty-seven years, Robbie Frye Cook Purser of Sunny South, Alabama and daughter,
Dorothy Cook Purser Kramer (Jonathan MacDonald) and grandson, Heath MacDonald Kramer of
Alonzo was born 28 February 1933 in Linden, Alabama to John Bochee Purser and Annie Judson
He retired from the State of Alabama Department of Youth Services where he was Plant
Maintenance Supervisor. As a youngster he enjoyed Boy Scouts and later served as Assistant
Scout Master in his home town. He was a member of the Oak Hill Saturday Night Supper Club,
the Lions Club, Alabama Treasurer Forest, Wilcox County Landowners, and Sunny South United.
He was active with the Alabama Treasurer Forest “Classroom in the Forest” program for many
Grover Alva “Al” Gibbs Jr., husband of member Billie Strother Gibbs of Canton Bend, Alabama,
passed away 21 January 2021. He is survived by his wife, Billie, and their children, Sara Kate
Shorter (Peasley) of Americus, Georgia, Strother Gibbs (Patty) of Camden, Al Gibbs III (Hallie) of
Mountain Brook, Alabama and Ashley Herbert (Chris).
Al was born 7 October 1943 to Grover Alva Gibbs Sr. and Billie S. Gibbs of Troy, Alabama.
He served as a volunteer coach for many years at Wilcox Academy coaching both men’s and
women’s sports. ☼
Inquiries and Comments
We often receive genealogical and local history inquiries on the WHS Facebook page, Instagram
page and website. If you have any information to help with these inquiries, please let us know
and we will be happy to pass it along or put you in contact with the interested party. Our email
address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can text or call Martha Lampkin at
334.296.1076. We also love receiving comments on our posts on social media. The more
comments, likes and shares also help our posts be viewed by more people. Here are a few
inquiries and comments received since our last newsletter:
Does the historical society have any information, especially photographs of a community store owned by a member of the Waid/Wade family in Awin? I’ve been told that the store building is still standing and possibly has been preserved. The store that I’m researching (or at least I think this is it) appears in the 1930 census as “Fancy Grocery” owned by Anderson P Wade with an address of Branton No. 10. The dates are a little odd so I’m not completely confident, but I’d appreciate hearing from anyone who might have more information. S Beasley, Milton, FL
I’m researching a family that has roots in Wilcox County and was wondering if you might provide some insight into how I could go about getting some records or searching for some records (mainly wills) since I’m located in Texas. I’m looking for information on the Hanks family –Sophia Ellen Hanks, Ray family – James M. Ray, from around 1840-1860. They married in Wilcox County in 1843 and then made their way to Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. I can be contacted at Lil.email@example.com. K. Ellis, TX
I am searching for historic information on everyday life in Lower Peach Tree and Bells Landing, Alabama 1820-1940. I am seeking copies of historic photos, maps, directories, biographies, local history and/or obituaries. In addition to this general information, I am researching Lower Peach Tree family names of Culpepper, Dortch, Purnell, McDuffie, Davis, McCaskill and Clark/Clarke. I am also seeking general historic information on Bells Landing and local families of Clark/Clarke, Jones, Odom and Dukes during the same time period. I would be interested in talking with anyone with knowledge of this place and time of families listed. I am happy to share my research with family members. Many thanks. SeattleBrigman@gmail.com B. Brigman, Seattle, WA
I have just begun working on my Starr family history and found a website showing several transcript contributions from Ouida Starr Woodson. I was very sorry to learn she passed away in November of 2019. I saw she was a founding member of your organization and thought it was possible she donated her family history papers to the Wilcox Historical Society. Does your organization have those papers or know who currently has the papers? Thank you for your help. A. Moyer, GA
Editor’s note: WHS Member, Mary Lois Woodson, was put into contact with Moyer.
I am looking for information on Richard Fowler born 1792 in SC and married to Elizabeth. I do not know her last name, and that information would be helpful. His daughter is my direct line, Samantha Fowler who married Noah L. Scarborough and they later moved to Union Parish, LA. in the 1850s or 1860s. Richard’s siblings lived in Pike, Wilcox and Montgomery Counties, AL in the years 1830-1860. I have land records from Richard Fowler that indicated he lived in Wilcox and Dallas Counties, AL in the years 1820 to 1855. He and wife deeded 38 acres for use of the male academy in Wilcox County. Do you have any history on this school? M Gerloff, Mansfield, TX
I’m researching some ancestors from Wilcox County, with the surname Voltz from the 1830s to the 1860s. Is there anyone there that might be able to help? If so, the ancestors are: Charles Voltz 1802-1853 and Robert Voltz 1838- I have the records that are commonly found online, like census records and such, including the will for Charles from 1853, which lists 9 children. I can’t find Charles’ wife, the mother of the children, but this is where it gets complicated. I suspect there were two wives. The one listed on the 1830 census was 30-39 years old in 1830, but the one listed on the 1840 census was 20-29 in 1840! Unless we can find some mention of a death or marriage, we will never know which wife the children born in the 1830s belong to. So far, I haven’t been able to find any records of a birth or marriage in Germany nor an immigration record. Can you help me? I would really appreciate it. OurPeople@mail.com M. White, Pensacola, FL
I am interested in obtaining information regarding Childers Plantation – owned by Roy Childers, Jr. in Catherine (Prairie Bluff), AL. My family is African-American. My 3rd great-grandmother/grandfather – James and Ida Mendenhall, sharecropped/lived on this land. I have them listed at this location on the 1910 and 1930 census. I am told there was a church across the road from the main house, St. Michael. My 2nd great-grandmother is buried there, yet I cannot find any information. Any suggestions on where to begin my search would be greatly appreciated. My mother remembers taking the train from Mobile to Catherine. They would be taken to the house by the mailman. My mom was baptized in a creek near this church. She thinks if there is a record somewhere her name would appear. Regarding my maternal side, surnames include: Bennett, Bailey, Mendenhall, George. K, Nall, Meridianville, AL
My great-great grandfather was Samuel James Cumming. He was a judge in Wilcox County during the 1800s. I have no idea where he lived. I am assuming he had a residence in Wilcox County. If so, I was wondering if the home might still be standing or possibly the home(s) of some of his children? I would love any information you might have on him and his family. I am a descendant of his daughter, Susan Cumming, who married John Polk Watkins of Burnt Corn, Alabama. M. Lang, Tuscaloosa, AL
I have been researching my ancestry for almost 5 years. I have hit a roadblock and am looking for more information if you can assist. The following information is what I have to date: My maternal great grandfather is Autie Hines (1906-1976). He was born in Pine Apple, AL. My maternal great grandmother is Minnie Bell Palmore-Hines (1908- 1987). She was born in Pine Apple, AL. The parents of Autie Hines appear to be Harrison Hines (1886-1970?) and Jane Durant (1875-1950?). The information I am seeking are any records for the Hines and Palmore families to include birth records, death records, property records, family pictures and/or slave owner information to include wills, slave records, etc. I would like to visit Pine Apple within the next 60 days and need the information for my visit and research. If it is possible to find any slave owner information on the Hines’ and Palmore’s that would be great. My interest is knowing where I came from and to visit the property my ancestors once lived on. T. Glenn, Concorde, NC
I am looking for any information about John Bateman who appears in the 1860 Federal census in East Division, Wilcox County, Alabama (Post office: Rehoboth). He is living in the home of John Celery (Jno. Celery in the census) and he is listed as a teacher, age 35, born in Ireland. If he was a teacher, would there be any employment records in the state archives related to his employment? John Bateman joined Capt. Jenkins’ company, Mounted rifles, Alabama Volunteers (later Co. D, 3rd Regiment, Alabama Cavalry) on about April 1861 and died in 1873 in Montgomery, AL, where he was again working as a teacher. T. Edwards, Kelowna, BC Canada
Hello, I am looking for information on my ancestors who lived in the area around the turn of the century. The family name is Evitt. Can you please direct me to sources that may be helpful in my search? J. Hewitt, GA
I’m seeking more information on my third great-grandparents, John Davis and Maryann Jones Davis. They came from Georgia in the early 1800s and settled in Portland, where they farmed along the Alabama River. Their son, Moses Davis, my second great-grandfather, was born in Georgia on 9 May 1808. Moses married Margaret Dear on 12 August 1832, in Wilcox County. She was born 29 January 1815, to Bradley Dear and Catherine Patrick, and died 7 September 1844, her burial place unknown. Moses died 23 May 1866, and is buried in Coldspring, Texas. John and Maryann both died in Portland, his death before October 1840. Most likely they were buried on their land. Their property, however, was flooded over when the state dammed the river and changed its course. I’ve been to Portland (today a ghost town) and saw where their farm would have been. Any information about John and Maryann (as well as Portland) would be most appreciated. Thank you. B. Dillard, Fort Worth, TX
Hi, I’m looking for information on Elijah Thompson born about 1836 in Wilcox County. Family history says his
father was a Thompson kin to the Tait family and his mother was Rachel Hill. I am seeking to find more information. He was my 3rd great grandfather. M. Young Jackson, Pensacola, FL
I would like to get in touch with any members of the following families: McDaniel, Cross, Spiva; from Wilcox
County. I have some very old pictures of these families. P. Greer firstname.lastname@example.org
The recent newsletter was excellent! The inclusion of queries from genealogists is helpful for any researcher in search of their roots. I have for many years (since 1976) been interested in the Hawthorns/Hawthornes who first came to Conecuh County in Alabama in 1817. Joshua and Sarah (Regan) Hawthorn were charter members of the Murder Creek (later Bellville) Baptist Church constituted by Rev. Alexander Travis and David Wood on the 28th day of October 1818. Joshua Jr. Hawthorn m. Nancy King (d/o John & Elizabeth (Coleman) King). Joshua & Nancy had 10 children. Nancy died in 1846 – her tombstone reads: Nancy King, born in SC, died 1846, age 37 years 10 days. She is buried in the cemetery at Bellville Baptist Church. Nancy joined the church December 1828 and Joshua Jr. joined the church April 1829. Joshua Jr. married (unknown date) Esther Giddens, b. in 1815. They moved to Wilcox County and my research shows he is buried in Wilcox County. Findagrave and other attempts to locate the burial site for he and Esther have been futile. M. Gaston, Georgiana, AL email@example.com ☼
School added to the Alabama Register
of Landmarks and Heritage
The WHS is pleased to contribute to the funding of an Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage marker for the Pine Apple Colored School. The school was listed on the Register in December 2019. The Pine Apple Colored School was founded by George William Watts in 1939. The school started in a classroom located in Watts Lodge No. 724 A.F. & A.M. of Alabama, Pine Apple, Alabama in the early 1930s. The lodge was located in a two-story building near where the current Pine Apple Health Center is currently located on County Road 59. We look forward to the installation of the marker in 2021. ☼
A LOOK BACK…
6 July 1883
Wilcox News and Pacificator
To the Citizens of Camden, Snow Hill and Pine apple.
The people of Allenton and Oak Hill herewith extend to you a cordial invitation to participate at
their picnic on Thursday, July 12th, on the W.W. McConnico place, 1 1/2 miles from Allenton. A
first-class band will be on the grounds that day, also a grand Base Ball game will be played by
the Allenton and Pine apple clubs. At night there will be a grand ball at the residence of Frank
Jones, near the McConnico place. Refreshments will be furnished gratis by the young men. We
assure you a pleasant time and welcome everybody to come.
Respectfully, W.W. McConnico, H.E. Voltz, J.T. Jones, H.T. Lambert – Committee of
5 June 1889
Wilcox Progressive Era
John K Robbins Dead – the Progress learns with regret, that this excellent citizen died at his
home near Furman last Thursday. He was about 35 years of age. Some eight or ten years ago he
married Miss Sallie McKee, of Allenton, and the disconsolate widow and several children
survive to mourn his loss. Mr. Robbins was buried by Furman Lodge K. of H. and Dowdell Lodge
LK. of P., of Pine Apple.
2 April 1890
Wilcox Progressive Era – The New Telephone Line
The work of distributing and erecting the poles for the new telephone line from Camden to
Catherine, commenced yesterday morning, and in the course of a few weeks, the new
telephone line will be completed. The chestnut poles, three hundred in number, have been
donated to the new line by Hon’l Sol. D. Bloch, of Camden, who also was mainly instrumental in
having the present telephone line from Camden to Snow Hill, constructed in 1884.
The line will pass along the Camden and Prairie Bluff road, and an office will be opened at
Canton, another at Prairie Bluff, and a third at Catherine. At this point, connection will be made
with the Western Union Telegraph system. The citizens of Alberta and Gaston contemplate the
construction of a connecting line to Catherine. At Prairie Bluff, connection will be had with
Rehoboth, Safford, Martin’s Station, and other points along the present line from Selma to
Prairie Bluff. Conversations can then be had from Camden with any station on the connection,
as well as with Selma. The work is under the experienced direction of Mr. Bloch, and the
contract for erecting the telephone poles has been given to Mr. Ed. Welch of Camden. At Prairie
Bluff the Alabama River will be crossed either by cable, or by slicing a long pole to a tall tree,
near the river bank.
After the line is erected, we will erect a signal service station here, the Department at Auburn
having consented to furnish us with the instruments. We will then keep up with the weather.
4 September 1895
Wilcox Progressive Era
We are gratified to learn from Mr. Wm. A. George, the principal of the Wilcox Female Institute,
that the prospect of a good first-class school for young ladies is encouraging. We feel special
interest in Mr. George’s efforts to re-establish the ancient prestige of Camden as an educational
point. Camden can draw to her schools patronage from a broad and flourishing territory if
Camden will be true to her own best interests. By united effort, harmonious co operation of the
people, and by a judicious employment of her means, Camden can maintain thriving
institutions not merely for preparing the youth and young ladies of South Alabama for
matriculation in colleges for the completion of their education, but those institutions should
render the same services that are now obtained abroad at almost prohibiting expense.
19 March 1908
Wilcox Progressive Era – A Successful Camdenite Returns Home
We quote the following from the Birmingham Ledger of the 6th: “Mr. J.B. Miller, who has been
in the practice of law in Birmingham for several years, has decided to remove to Camden, his
former home, and become partner with his father, Hon. J.N. Miller. He is partly influenced by
his health in this move, as he had been unusually successful here. He is a graduate of Erskine
College, S.C., and took a course of law at the University of Virginia, and in a modest,
unassuming way has built up a lucrative clientage in Birmingham, and a host of friends who are
loath to see him leave. Wilcox County has sent out no better man than J.B. Miller. He is a close
and accurate student and devoted to his profession, and will do well wherever fortune may cast
“Mr. Miller is a nephew of Judge J.H. Miller, another product of Wilcox soil, who has taken deep
root in the esteem and high estimation of the Birmingham bar and people.”
Camden will be glad, as well as proud, to welcome home again another of her sons who has
made a name for himself in the outer world.
19 May 1932
The Montgomery Advertiser
Camden, Ala., May 18 – (Special) – Annual commencement exercise of the Wilcox County High
School will begin Friday and continue through the following Tuesday. Friday night is Senior
Night. Sunday morning the Rev. R.C. Kennedy, of Camden Associate Reformed Presbyterian
Church, will deliver the baccalaureate sermon. Sunday night the Hi-Y program. Tuesday night is
graduation night, and Judge John Miller, of Camden, will be the speaker.
The class is composed of nine members: Bess Jones, valedictorian; Mary Sue Powell,
salutatorian; Inez Wilkerson, Edna Stewart, Mabel Felts, J.W. Curry, Heustis Cook, Margaret
Strother and Elizabeth Duke.
31 July 1947
Wilcox Progressive Era – Vacation Bible School Antioch Baptist Church (colored)
The first Vacation Bible School to be held in the local Baptist Church (colored) will open
promptly at 8 A.M. Monday, August 4th. School will be held daily through Friday from 8 until
10:30 A.M. Classes will be provided for Beginners – 3 through 5 years; Primaries – 6, 7, 8, years;
Juniors – 9, 12 years; Intermediates 13 on up. The Women’s Missionary Society of the Camden
Baptist Church (white) is sponsoring this school and will assist with refreshments each day.
Principal – Elizabeth Shelton; Beginners – Katie Jackson; Primaries – Dannie Mae
Weatherspoon; Juniors – Leola Petway; Intermediates – Elizabeth Creighton; Secretary – Addie
Bell Peavy. Every colored child in the community is invited to attend. ☼
Please encourage others to become a member of the Wilcox Historical Society! Annual dues are
$30 for a couple, $25 for single. Lifetime dues are $300 for a couple and $250 for single. A
membership form is available on our website: WilcoxHistoricalSociety.org. Or if you prefer,
please mail dues to: P O Box 464, Camden, AL 36726 and be sure to include your name, mailing
address, email address and phone number. Payment may also be made with PayPal. Questions?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! ☼
Wilcox Historical Society Officers for 2021 –Lance Britt, President, Garland Cook
Smith, Vice President and Program Chairperson, Jane Shelton Dale, Secretary, Mary Margaret
Fife Kyser, Treasurer, LaJunta “Pie” Selsor Malone, Curator and Martha Grimes Lampkin,
Editor and Social Media Manager. ☼
Tour of Homes Rescheduled (Again)
As you all know by now, we have had to reschedule our Tour of Homes yet again. Our new dates are March 26 – 27, 2021, the last weekend in March. To begin, I want to thank all of our homeowners for their flexibility and understanding as we moved not once, but TWICE! If it weren’t for their kindness, this entire process would have been a nightmare. From the middle of March, we have worked together to make the Tour of Homes a success in these very unusual times.
Another thank you goes out to Chris Bailey and Ryan Dunagan for their help throughout this process as well. Not only are they hosting the Reception, but they have been our sole point of contact with James Farmer and his representatives. Their hard work has ensured he will be with us in March!
The entire weekend will operate as originally scheduled with two exciting additions. As mentioned, James Farmer will still be the Guest Speaker at RiverBend Plantation on Friday night, March 26. However, the expanded tour now includes seven homes and three churches on Saturday, March 27. The Brittany House Antiques in Oak Hill will provide all ticket holders breakfast that morning as planned. Finally, the Pilgrimage Ball, sponsored by the Furman Historical Society, will be held at Wakefield in Furman on Saturday night, March 27.
As a thank you for your patience and support, two historic sites have been added to our Tour of Homes! The first addition is Pleasant Ridge, circa 1844. This tall-columned “big house” is not only the last extant brick antebellum house in Wilcox County, but also one of less than a dozen brick homes of the period to survive in the Black Belt. Thank you to its new owners, Mr. & Mrs. Scotty Myers for volunteering their beautiful home.
We are also adding the historic Antioch Baptist Church. Opened in 1885, it is one of the oldest African-American churches in Wilcox County and was a crossroads of the civil rights movement. In fact, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the church twice in 1965. Thank you, Ms. Betty Anderson, for making this possible!
Please know the decision to move the Tour of Homes again was not made lightly. Many of our guests planned travel months in advance and have adjusted those plans to join us for the Tour. Ultimately, the public health and safety of our guests, homeowners, and our community must be our number one priority.
Finally, you can help us immensely by continuing to spread the word about our date change and that tickets are still available. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.com and wilcoxhistoricalsociety.org. We will start selling tickets locally again in January. By working together and spreading the word we will make this our most successful Pilgrimage ever!
For more information, please contact me at 256.975.7616.
Lance Britt, Tour Director
WHS October Meeting at Gaines Ridge
It is with great delight that we are announcing our next meeting, October 8, 2020! Betty Gaines Kennedy and Haden Gaines Marsh will regale us with stories of their iconic home and restaurant Gaines Ridge. Box lunches will be provided for $15 each, and we will be socially distanced on the back porch and patio at Gaines Ridge.
Please make a reservation by replying to Garland Smith via email email@example.com or by phone 205.967.6841. Lunch will begin at 11:30 followed by their talk, “Gaines Ridge – 170 Years in the Making.” You may pay Garland for lunch at the door or send your check to: 4060 Old Leeds Road, Birmingham, AL 35213.
Gaines Ridge is located at 933 Hwy 10 in Camden. ♦
WHS November Meeting in McWilliams
We are excited to announce our meeting on Sunday, November 8 at 2 pm. Our program on the Winters Excelsior Mill will be given by Philip Winters. He will be sharing the history of his family’s business – established in 1915 to the present-day operation. Philip is the grandson of James Albert Winters, the founder of Winters Excelsior.
The meeting will be held at the McWilliams Methodist Church which is located at 706 Holly Street. McWilliams is located on Highway 21 about 7 miles south of Oak Hill. Signs will be on the road to direct you to the church.
After the program, you are invited to the home of Beth and Bob Yoder at 212 Cedar Street in McWilliams. Refreshments will be served outside, weather permitting. ♦
We are excited to announce that the Wilcox Historical Society’s Tour of Homes won Alabama Magazine’s 2020 Award for Best of Bama for Best Heritage Tour in the State. These awards are voted on by their readers each year. They choose the best of the best of Alabama’s entertainment, restaurants, people, and places from our northern border to our shores of the Gulf. It is a great honor for our Historical Society! ♦
Member Spotlight – Beth Jones Yoder
Growing up in Wilcox County, the daughter of John Ervin Jones and beloved 4th grade teacher “Miss” Nell Gwin Jones, Beth Jones Yoder lived in Camden where she graduated from WCHS in 1962. Then she was off to Birmingham to attend University Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1965. While there she met and married Bob Yoder. After his residence they moved to The Azores for military service in 1970.
After returning to the States, another year was spent in the military in Ft Worth, Texas – finally to settle down in Florence, Alabama in 1973 where they lived for 33 years. Bob practiced general surgery and when he retired in 2005, they moved to Birmingham. This was a perfect location as it put them close to their three children and six grandchildren.
In 2011 they purchased the Youngblood home in McWilliams and love spending time there where Bob is in a hunting club and Beth is close to her sister, Dale Winters, and of course she gets to come to Camden often. They also enjoy the peace and quiet the country offers.
Beth loves to travel, walk, work in her yard and spend time with family, friends and her church.
Beth says she often gives thanks for having grown up in Camden. She loves Camden, the people and all the happy memories it brings to her.
“It has been such a joy to belong to the Wilcox Historical Society, connect with old friends and make new ones. I am blessed.” ♦
Wilcox Historical Society awarded Alabama Humanities Relief Grant
The Alabama Humanities Foundation (AHF) awarded WHS a CARES Act relief grant through funding made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
AHF awarded 79 nonprofits in the state that have humanities as a significant part of their mission $507,500 in relief grants to help meet operational needs – including salaries, rent, property maintenance, utilities, supplies and equipment during the COVID-19 crisis.
After receiving funding from NEH, AHF began identifying operational needs in early May and conducted a two-week application process that saw 103 nonprofits around the state apply for $1.3 million in funding.
“This has been a difficult time for nonprofits throughout our state, and we were proud to play a role in supporting these organizations during this crisis,” said AHF Executive Director Lynn Clark.
The Wilcox Historical Society was the only organization in Wilcox County to receive funds from the relief grant. ♦
As of September 1, 2020, we have 46 Life Memberships (25 singles, 21 couple) and 162 annual memberships (89 singles, 73 couples) for a total of 235 members!
We currently have members from 12 states other than Alabama – Georgia -7, Colorado -3, California -2, Tennessee – 2, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia each have 1 member. ♦
Social Media Counts!
Our Facebook page has 1,638 fans with 72% women and 27% men. The percentages of fans in age categories are as follows: 22% are 65+, 18% are 55-64, 14% are 45-54, 11% are 35-44, 5% are 25-34 and 2% are 18-24. Most fans are from Camden, Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Monroeville. Rounding out the top ten are Thomasville, Tuscaloosa, Selma, Auburn and Greenville.
Our Instagram page has 753 followers with our top reaching post featuring photos of Yaupon, the Matthews-Tait-Rutherford Home, announcing our 2020 Tour of Homes. This post in December 2019 reached 1,200 accounts. ♦
Wilcox Female Institute and Miller Law Office Repairs
from Chris Bailey, Chairman of the Planning and Fundraising Committee
We have temporarily secured the Female Institute from water intrusion. The two main sources of leaks are at the bell tower and the front top window. The window sill needs to be rebuilt. Flashing needs to be added to the base of the tower. Luckily there does not seem to be any roofing failure and these are fairly easy repairs. We already have the heart pine material for the window repairs. We will have to purchase flashing upon starting. The contractors are scheduled to make the necessary repairs tentatively in September. They are extremely busy with several projects, but I feel like the wait is worth it. I am confident that utilizing them will be most cost effective. I also have confidence that the repairs will be completed correctly with attention to details.
The second floor of the Institute is a major project. We will begin developing the design plan to include replacing the flooring that has been removed and finishing out an area to house the WHS office and Genealogy Research Room. We will also make plans to add additional bathroom facilities.
We have done a walk though of the law office to assess where it stands in order to get a complete plan together for all our properties. The Law Office is in real need of both interior and exterior painting. The ramp and porches also need some maintenance work done. There is some repair work that needs to be done on it as well. Nothing major, but things that need to be addressed now or we are going to have to spend much more later. We will obtain estimates for the repairs and painting work. ♦
Welcome to new member James Ron Williams of Arlington, Tennessee and to new Life Member – Rebecca Welch Atwell from High Point, North Carolina! Thanks for joining the WHS. ♦
Inquiries and Comments
We often receive genealogical and local history inquiries on the WHS Facebook page, Instagram page and website. If you have any information to help with these inquiries, please let us know and we will be happy to pass it along or put you in contact with the interested party. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can text or call Martha Lampkin at 334.296.1076. We also love receiving comments on our posts on social media. The more comments, likes and shares also help our posts be viewed by more people. Here are a few inquiries and comments received since our last newsletter:
We are searching for a portrait of Mrs. Catherine Margaret ParrishEllis. She was born in Tuscaloosa in 1832 and died in Camden in 1890. She married Hewey W. Ellis in 1832. She was the niece of William Rufus King and as she was orphaned at an early age she was raised by King. Thank you. R. Kemper, PA
I hope you can give me some information about my great, great, grandfather Col. James T. Johnson and wife Corcyra E. Mathews. I know he had a law office in Camden in 1851. He was a member of the state House in 1847-1848 and the Senate in 1851-1852 representing Wilcox County. I have no record about his parents, his birth date, and place of birth. I did see one reference in a newspaper that he was born in New York and came to Georgia and Alabama as an adult. The newspaper stated he died in November, 1856. I have no record where he was buried. Any information or references about him will be greatly appreciated. I am enclosing an envelope in the hope you can send me some information and a personal check of $20 as a donation. Once the history of our families and country is lost, it’s gone forever. I commend your efforts to preserve our history. Thank you. B. Johnson, TX
Do you know where I can buy some copies of Story of Pine Apple by William L. Stanford? Thank you. B. Melton, AL
I have been researching my family genealogy. Some of my ancestors are from Camden, Alabama. Of particular interest to me is the John P. Fairley and Thomas Dunn families. My second great grandparents are a Peter Fairley (1835-192?) and Mariah Hicks (1837-1929). They were both enslaved individuals. I do not know the source of the surname Fairley. None of my available relatives know this information. My best guess is that Peter Fairley would have been owned by Thomas Dunn and then John P. Fairley, as part of an estate when he married Martha Hobbs Dunn. I did find an 1854 Alabama Supreme Court case associated with Martha Fairley. The slave in question in that case was named Jim. Hopefully, it is obvious that I am hoping to find Peter somewhere in the Dunn or Fairley records. My assumption is that Peter took the surname of his owner at the time of emancipation. Does the Historical Society have any household records that list the slaves of Thomas Dunn, John P. Fairley or Martha Fairley (after her husband’s death)? Thanks for any information, guidance or direction you might have concerning my query about the Fairley household records. I should also comment about my surname. My great grandfather was Gus Watts, born in Camden, December 1869. I believe his biological father was Gustavas Watts, the youngest son of John Watts. DNA confirms the relationship through to John Watts. Any descendant of John Watts shows as a biological cousin in the databases of Ancestry, 23andMe, and MyHeritage. The Fairley connection is because Gus Watts married Annie Fairley. As a result, I would welcome any information associated with John Watts. Some decades ago, one cousin did interviews with older relatives. A claim was made that after the Civil War, Gov. Thomas Watts would periodically visit his cousins in Camden. Corroborating stories would be welcomed. Fred Watts, III, NC
Hello. In researching my family history, I discovered a great article about my great great grandfather, David McNeill. It was published in the July 14, 1932 issue of the Wilcox Progressive Era as part of an ongoing, periodic column entitled. “Childhood Memories of Prominent Citizens of Half a Century and More Ago”. The writer of the column is shown as “Sixty”. In 1932, Stanley Godbold was the President of the Wilcox Progressive Era, Inc., and I originally thought he might be the author but his date of birth was too recent. Most of the columns were written from a child’s perspective and most note the person the column is about died in the 1870s or 1880s. This predates S.G.’s birth. Maybe “Sixty” is Leonard William Godbold, the father of Stanley, but I have nothing to confirm that. And that’s why I’m writing you today, to ask assistance in discovering the identity of “Sixty”. Please advise if you or anyone in the Society knows. If not, I would appreciate any suggestions you may have for locating this information. Regards, L. McNeill, TX
I follow you guys on Instagram (I’m not on Facebook) but wondering if you send out a periodic email to which I can subscribe. Please let me know. And assuming this would include fund raising / gift opportunities too. Question I’m hoping you can answer: do you know how I can get my hand on any of Ms. Ouida Starr’s books? I’ve found (and read) so many books about Wilcox but Ms. Starr’s I cannot find. Thank you much, J. Ferguson, GA
My ancestors who settled there were the families of Nathan Williams and MontfordStokes, who married sisters Sarah and Cecilia McMurphy in 1822 in Clarke County, GA. They went together to Alabama very quickly, as Nathan got a patent for land in southern Perry County in 1825 and in 1834 got a patent in Wilcox County. Family lore has Sarah teaching at the Wilcox Female Institute, which is almost certain not true. But there were 6 Stokes girls and I would not be surprised if one or more did not attend. My 2nd great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Williams, was born in Wilcox County in 1858 to Josephine Stokes, who I think was his first cousin. Not sure about that, though. The minister who performed the ceremony was a Reverend McCarty, a Methodist minister and interestingly enough, Benjamin’s son became a Methodist circuit rider in Northern Mississippi in the late 1800s.Could you please provide me information on how to join? I hope to come to Wilcox County soon. Regards, R. Williams, TN
I am most interested in knowing if you have 1860’s verified dated photographs of any of your still-standing buildings. I am particularly interested in verified 1860’s photographs of your Wilcox Female Institute and Ackerville Baptist Church. I am a retired teacher thinking of doing a children’s activity game book where the children would have to match 1860s photographs with their contemporary views. I believe it would be fun and educational as well. Please feel free to pass on this email to anyone who may assist and suggest a website where I might find 1860’s photographs. Respectfully, Peter Vetrano email@example.com
Does Wilcox County have an official location for your historical society? I am in North Carolina and would like to visit the area this week. A. James, NC (Editor’s note – Ms. James was directed to the Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce.)I’m researching the name Grimes. My GGG grandmother’s name was Frances “Fannie” Grimes. The census has her listed in Wilcox Co. and married in Wilcox Co. in 1829. She m. William “Willie” Lewis Crain b. 1790 in GA. They had children in Wilcox, William Lewis JR., b 1830, Harvey 1835, Ellen Elizabeth 1839, Geo. Washington 1841, Sarah Frances 1842, Emanuel 1846. They moved to Milton, Santa Rosa Co. FL and lived there until death. Harvey was my GG grandfather. He married Florida Chance 1866 in Milton. They had my grandfather Thomas Jefferson Crain who married Josephine “Josie” Chestnut and they had my mother Ellen Marie Crain. I have checked Find a grave and
ancestry.com but to no avail. There was a Thomas Grimes listed in Pine Apple who was b. 1800. I’m thinking maybe they were brother and sister? The census says Thomas was b. 1800 in Fairfield SC. I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know where else to turn. Tom had a daughter named Frances b 1845. Thomas was married to Martha Flowers. They also lived in Milton at one time. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. L. Bacon, NV
Please put me on your mailing list for the Wilcox Tour of Homes. L. McConnell, KY
Hi there. I’m doing some family research and I’ve come across a possible ancestor (DickColeman) in Snow Hill, Wilcox County, Alabama in the 1870 U.S. Census. There’s a neighbor CharlesCrawford (land owner) that I was hoping you might be able to retrieve some records on. Do you have any Freedman’s Bureau Records or know where I might find some for your county? I’m looking for possible Ration Applications or share cropper’s agreements between Charles Crawford and Dick Coleman. Thanks. K. Jacobson, NV
I am looking for information on a Hayes/ Hays family who was in the area of Wilcox and Clarke County, Alabama in the early-mid 1800s. I have a lot of conflicting information in my tree and other online trees which has me a little confused. One particular individual is a William Hays who seems to have several different birthdates across 30 years. It could be 3 different Williams that are all related. One of the descendants of this Hays family from Wilcox County – George Washington Hayes (1863-1927) served as the Governor of Arkansas. He was the son of Thomas Hays and Parthenia Jane Ross Hays. Are there any local resources that can be used to help me figure some of this out? Any help would be appreciated. O. Lundy, GA
I have some items I would like to send you. The Wilcox County items are from Gastonburg 1954-1959. During those years, my grandfather, Rev. Virgil C. Herndon was the Methodist minister there and served several surrounding communities as well. I am sending a cookbook “What’s Cooking in Wilcox County”, a picture of the parsonage at Gastonburg, a card listing the congregations “Pap” served and to toot my own horn just a little bit, a copy of a school paper I wrote when I was 17, reminiscing about good times in Gastonburg when I was 8 to 11 years old. Hope these are welcomed items for your collection. J. Rousso, AL
Editors note: The items listed have been received and will be held to place in our future Wilcox Historical Society museum. The school paper about Gastonburg is published in this newsletter on page 11.
It was nice speaking with you today about the Historical Society and my genealogy research. The 1880 census identifies Richard Williams, his Mother, Mary, sister, Sarah and brother, William in one household and brother Claiborne, living at another address. His wife Dollie died between 1902 and 1910 and they disappeared from the census rolls. Whatever additional information you can provide me on Richard, his mother and father and the rest of the family would be greatly appreciated. Note that Mary was widowed in 1880. Thank you for your help. M. Williams, GA
I have ancestors named Martin and Geck and others that lived in Wilcox County starting in the 1830’s and I am looking for documents that would show more information about them and the history of Camden, Wilcox County and towns around there like Buena Vista, Alabama. Can you tell me any kinds of histories and records that are available from about 1830-1910? I really appreciate it. R. Wright, OR
Comments to a WHS Facebook page post on September 2 for #WaybackWednesday that featured an old photo of the Alco Theater in Camden:
My daddy worked at the Alco. He has a lot of stories about it. C.M. Reynolds ~ I remember it well! Admission was 15 cents, I believe! L.L. Tait ~ I remember that theater from my childhood trips to Camden. A. Rohmer ~ Love seeing this! L. Hall
Comments to a WHS Facebook post on August 15 that was shared from the This is Alabama page featuring photos of homes in Pine Apple:
Never tire of seeing pictures of Wilcox County! R. Jones ~ It’s one of my favorite places in Alabama! It’s close to my historic home. It has the nicest people there! M. Fort~ Pine Apple is a treasure and so are its residents and their ancestry. So much history! I just love her and her people so much. S.R. Arnold
Comments to a WHS Facebook post on July 23 that was shared from the Old Alabama Family photos page courtesy of Bob Lowry featuring two photos from dinner on the grounds at Sunny South Baptist Church in the 1960s:
Nothing like a good ole dinner on the grounds. Been to many of them. S.C. Presnall ~ Remember these at Bear Creek and Shilo! B. Yoder
Comments to a WHS Facebook post on July 19 that was shared from the Furman Historical Society with photos and news of the Robbins House, circa 1845, undergoing a complete restoration by Don Bell:
My ancestor’s home. My great grandmother was born in this house. So happy it’s being restored. Don Bell is a miracle worker on old homes. M.C. Bates ~ Looks great! I have history in Furman! D. Boone ♦
Alabama Black Belt Adventures Feed your Adventure
Flavors of the Black Belt
Flavors of the Black Belt is the perfect back roads adventure for this fall!
“Enjoy a back roads weekend jaunt through Alabama’s historic Black Belt region to feed upon the bounty of drinks and eats created by the locals! You’ll be amazed at the unending baked, brewed, butchered, canned, distilled, gathered, ground, pickled, roasted and smoked goods!
The color-coded map outlines nine different themed trails. Each one is featured on the linked, PDF pages available for download. The Shopping Checklist on each page highlights each trail’s delectable creations you’ll want to sample and take home with you as well as various cultural and historical must-sees!”
Restaurants featured in Wilcox County are Miss Kitty’s, The Pecan on Broad, Gaines Ridge and Jackson’s Fried Chicken. Places to stay include Capell House at Pebble Hill, Liberty Hall Bed & Breakfast and Roland Cooper State Park. And included in what to see and where to go are Black Belt Treasures and The Old Shoe Shop Museum in Camden and The Brittany House Antiques in Oak Hill and Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective Building in Boykin.
For more information see https://alabamablackbeltadventures.org/ or call 334.343.6173. ♦
Pine Apple’s Connection to the Steiner-Lobman Dry Goods Company in Montgomery
by Martha Grimes Lampkin
In 1871, two young men formed a partnership to enter into the general merchandise business in Pine Apple. At the time Pine Apple was a prosperous town in Wilcox County. Shortly before 1870 the Selma and Gulf railroad was built bringing commercial changes to the town. It was the earliest arrival of a rail line in the county and made Pine Apple a regional commercial center. It was described as “a flourishing town of very nice and comfortable homes and located on a ridge.” According to the census the population of Pine Apple in 1870 was 1,960. In 1872 the town of Pine Apple was incorporated.
The two young men were Louis Steiner and Nathan Lobman – Jewish merchants who made Pine Apple their home in the early 1870s.
The historical marker erected in Pine Apple in 2010 cites Steiner and Lobman, along with others, as “pioneers, founding families, and entrepreneurs active in the civic and commercial life of Pine Apple.”
Louis Steiner was born in 1849 in Tachau, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) to Michael Steiner and Babette Löwy. He was educated in Germany and came to the United States as a young man in 1867. Louis settled in Montgomery and worked for Meyer Uhlfelder and Company, a mercantile business. Meyer’s wife was Elizabeth Steiner – Louis’ aunt.
Meyer Uhlfelder and Elizabeth Steiner married in Butler County on 13 November 1854. They had four children – Samuel, Esther, Morris and August. Morris died as in infant in 1859 and his mother Elizabeth died in 1860. Meyer married Mary Fraleigh in 1862 and they had four known children: Katherine “Katie”, Hellen, Bernard and Henry and probably two infants, Jacob and Sarah, who both died in 1865.
Louis Steiner married Susan “Susie” Lobman on 12 February 1873 in Montgomery. Louis and Susie had eight daughters and one son: Emma, Theresa, Michael, Maud, Beulah, Rosa, Hattie, Kate and Gertrude.
Nathan was born in 1851 in New York City to parents Henry Lobman and Theresa Steiner – immigrants from Bavaria and Austria, respectively. According to the 1860 census, the Lobman family resided in Greenville, Alabama, but moved to Montgomery by 1870. While in Greenville, Nathan received a limited education and attended a school taught by Col. Thomas Herbert until sixteen. He then clerked for Lewis Bear, a peddler at L. Bear & Company in Greenville. Nathan then moved to Montgomery where he opened a general store. Two years later, Nathan removed his $800 stock of goods to Pine Apple and opened a general store with Louis Steiner.
After Nathan’s mother’s death in 1875 his father, Henry Lobman, moved to Pine Apple and worked in the Steiner and Lobman store. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Pine Apple he is found living with Louis and his family with his occupation listed as “clerk in store.”
Nathan Lobman married Carrie Pollak in 1884 in New York. They had four children – three daughters and one son: Theresa, Walter, Myron and Bernard.
Louis Steiner and Nathan Lobman were first cousins and brothers in law. Louis’ father Michael was the brother of Nathan’s mother. Louis’ wife Susan was the sister of Nathan.
Time in Pine Apple
As young men living in Pine Apple, Nathan and Louis got into a bit of trouble. On 2 October 1873 the Town of Pine Apple charged Nathan (age 22) with assault and battery against the person of Wiley Jones. He was found guilty and fined.
Between March 1874 (age 25) and January 1888 (age 39) Louis Steiner was charged with assault and battery or fighting seven times by the Town of Pine Apple. Each time he pled guilty and was fined.
According to the Montgomery City Directory, Steiner and Lobman were also involved with Greil Brothers & Company in Pine Apple in 1880 and 1881. Greil Brothers was a wholesale grocer, cigar, tobacco, liquors and agent for Schlitz Milwaukee beer.
The population of Beat 11 – the Wilcox County district in which Pine Apple was located, was 2,426 according to the 1880 census. The Town of Pine Apple had a population of 358 as compared to 590 in the Town of Camden, the Wilcox county seat.
By the 1890s Pine Apple had eight to ten business establishments, several saloons, a post office, and a depot, which was located 1.5 miles west of town. Young men were known to ride their horses at full gallop through the town firing their pistols. Nathan and Louis were certainly not alone in being charged with fighting in Pine Apple’s heyday.
Louis and Nathan built homes in Pine Apple not far from their downtown store. Later on, Dr. William Whitman Stuart purchased the Steiner house but tore it down, leaving a vacant lot. In 1903 Paul Davidson built a Queen Anne style two-story home on the lot, which remains today. The Lobman house still stands in Pine Apple and is currently used as a hunting lodge. It is a one and a half story gabled coastal cottage type house with decorative jigsaw work brackets on the porch and gable. The Steiner-Lobman store burned in the tragic fire that destroyed most of the business part of Pine Apple in December 1903.
Move from Pine Apple
The Montgomery Advertiser newspaper published in March 1928 stated:
“As the two young men prospered, they began to look around for broader fields in a more thickly settled territory. Montgomery being the Capital City, appealed to them and in 1891 they purchased the property on the corner of Commerce and Tallapoosa streets, having in view at that time the close proximity to the Alabama River and the railroads. All the county bordering the river was served by the Nettie Quill and Tinsie Moore, two paddle wheel steamboats which maintained a regular schedule between Montgomery and Mobile. The business and political life of the entire state centered around Montgomery and these two farsighted young business men were quick to grasp the opportunity to further their dream of a great mercantile business.”
The Steiner-Lobman Dry Goods Company became one of the largest dry goods establishments in Alabama. It was also the oldest establishment of its kind in the state.
In the late 1890s the company established the Steiner-Lobman Pants Factory at 212 Commerce Street in Montgomery. The plant employed about 75 workers and made “Polly” brand overalls and other lines of work clothing. The apparel manufacturing plant moved to 152 Coosa Street and grew to over 150 employees in a factory space of 80,000 square feet producing eighteen thousand pairs of slacks and jeans per week.
In 1979 the Steiner-Lobman and Teague buildings on Commerce Street were added to the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings were completed in 1891. The structures are of the Victorian-Italianate style with pressed metal covering the upper floors. Architectural historian Jeff Benton writes, “some describe the buildings as resembling masonry palaces of the Italian Renaissance.” Further described by Benton:
“Except for roof ornaments and minor decorative details, the two buildings are identical. The three-story masonry buildings share a common firewall. They have separate hipped roofs. The Commerce Street elevation of each building has six bays separated by cast-iron pilasters that support the masonry of the upper floors, and allow for wide show windows or doors on the ground floor. Originally, each bay had a double door with lower paneled sections, large single upper light, and ten smaller colored lights. There was a large, rectangular single-light transom above each pair of doors. A full entablature of sheet metal separates the ground floor from the second floor. The upper two floors are sheathed in pressed metal embossed with rosettes, rope molding, raised panels, and with egg-and-dart and leaf-and-tongue motifs. Pressed zinc, tin, or galvanized iron provided an inexpensive imitation, very freely adapted, of the stone decorative features of Italian Renaissance buildings.”
The most well-known and unusual feature of the Steiner-Lobman building is the roof top ornamental coffin like structure. Many stories have been told about the coffin and rumors circulated about who was buried there. But it is hollow and made from sheet metal hammered out in the shape and completely empty. It may have been used to hide a water tower at one time.
Also, atop this building is an eight-foot goddess, perhaps Athena. The Teague Hardware Company building’s symbol is an anvil. Many theories have been created to explain the three features but it seems that no one knows the true meaning of each. Their symbolism has been lost.
With the store operating out one of the buildings, Teague Hardware purchased the other portion in 1895. William Martin Teague had prospered in the mercantile business in Greenville, Alabama before coming to Montgomery and founding a hardware business. Both firms were located in the buildings until the mid-1970s. Both buildings are now owned and occupied by the law firm Rushton Stakely.
Nathan Lobman died in April 1915 at the age of 66 at his residence on South Lawrence Street in Montgomery after an illness of several months. Mr. Lobman was a member of the Montgomery city council for six years, an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Masons, Elks, Knights of Pythias and B’Nal B’Rith and was a devout member of Kahl Montgomery. He left $10,000 to charity to be distributed by his wife. In today’s currency, that amount would equal about $254,000. His son, Walter Lobman, his brother, Emanuel Lobman and his long-time business partner Louis Steiner were named executors of Nathan’s estate.
Steiner-Lobman Dry Goods Company became a corporation in 1915, after the death of Mr. Lobman, with Louis Steiner as President. He was active in the business until his death, a period of 55 years and was “the dean of the wholesale dry goods business of Alabama.” He was also president of the Steiner-Lobman Realty Company and was formerly a director of the Fourth National Bank of Montgomery. Louis was a member of the Masons, Knights of Pythias and the Standard Club. He was also a trustee of the congregation of Kahl Montgomery, and an active member of Temple Beth-Or. In his will he named Temple Beth-Or, the Montgomery Tuberculosis League, the Jewish Widows’ and Orphans’ home of New Orleans and the National Jewish Hospital in Denver as beneficiaries. In today’s currency, the amount left these charities would equal over $35,000. His seven surviving daughters were given stock in the Steiner-Lobman Dry Goods Company and the Steiner-Lobman Realty Company along with cash or houses in Montgomery.
At the age of 77, in April 1926, Louis Steiner passed away while visiting his daughter Hattie Saxe (Mrs. Louis Saxe) in Mt. Vernon, New York. The news came as a shock to his family and friends as he left Montgomery in good health.
His obituary published in The Montgomery Advertiser on 17 May 1926 reads:
“The recent passing of Louis Steiner, a familiar figure in the life of Montgomery for many, many years, brought sorrow to his hundreds of friends. It was always a pleasure to visit him in his store or to stop and chat with him for a few minutes on the street. He had the ‘larger heart, the kindlier hand,’ which always does so much good for humanity. One of the secrets of Mr. Steiner’s success in the business world was his unerring judgment of men. He helped many a merchant to make a start in life, and generally the man to whom he sold his first bill of goods became a customer for life. Montgomery will miss Louis Steiner.”
The Steiner-Lobman partnership was strong for many, many years. Both men lived “to see the realization of their dreams and left their business in the hands of their children to carry on to further success.”
The Louis Steiner family and the Nathan Lobman family have adjoining lots in the Old Jewish Cemetery in the city cemetery of Oakwood in Montgomery known as the Land of Peace – partners in eternity no doubt. ♦
History of Pine Apple Wilcox County, Alabama 1815-1989 by Robert A. Smith, III and Frances Donald Dudley Grimes, published 1990.
A Sense of Place Montgomery’s Architectural Heritage 1821-1951 by Jeffrey S. Benton, published 2001
The Historical Ownership Map of Pine Apple, Alabama by Joy Maxwell Dees, Harold W. Grimes Jr. and Joyce H. Wall and originator William D. Melton
Die Geschichte Der Juden in Tachau (The History of the Jews in Tachau) by Josef Schon, published 1927
The Town of Pine Apple Justice Court Records, 1872 – 1893
United States Department of the Interior National Park Service – The National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Pine Apple Historic District, January 1999
HMdb.org – The Historical Marker database, Downtown Pine Apple Marker erected 2010 by the Alabama Tourism Department and the Town of Pine Apple
Newspapers.com – The Montgomery Advertiser, 28 April 1915, 11 May 1915, 26 February 1919, 22 April 1926, 1 May 1926, 17 May 1926, 15 March 1928, 1 March 1970, 6 July 1976, 5 April 1979, 7 May 1994; The Weekly Advertiser 3 October 1860
https://www.census.gov/library/publications U.S. Census Bureau 1870 Census: A Compendium of the Ninth Census
https://www.census.gov/library/publications U.S. Census Bureau 1880 Census: A Compendium of the Tenth Census
Ancestry.com – United States Federal census records 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900; United States Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885; Alabama Compiled Marriages from Selected Counties 1809-1920; U.S. Passport Applications 1795-1925 Immigration and Travel; Montgomery, Alabama Directories 1880-1895 Directories and Membership; Notable Men of Alabama: personal and genealogical with portraits; Cook County, Illinois Deaths Index 1878-1922,
The Butler County Historical & Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 48, No. 2 and Volume 56, No. 3
By Jo Anne Howington Rousso, written in 1966 at age 17
Small towns are often more intriguing and picturesque than the most exciting city. They are not carbon copies like larger municipalities, but each has its own distinctive characteristics. Gastonburg, Alabama, a very small village boasting a post office, one store, and two churches, has more appeal than many larger places.
The system of paved streets forms a small semicircle leaving the highway at the store, passing the lovely colonial home on the right which is the home of the Wilkersons. The next sight is the Presbyterian Church dressed in white, brightening the right side of the street. The street turns left here and makes a circle back to the highway and post office which is next to the store. At the post office, there is a fork in the street, one goes to the highway and the other to the post office. In the middle of the fork is a lovely flower garden. It always seemed to give the whole area a breath of beauty and springtime.
Another street goes straight from the Presbyterian Church past the Methodist Church where services are held once a month. There is no Presbyterian minister, so the people of Gastonburg alternate the Sunday school between the two churches.
Next on the tour is the Methodist parsonage. This is the most familiar sight in Gastonburg to me. My grandfather and grandmother lived here for six years. I can remember many happy visits to this home, and many good times in the yard with the fence around it. One of the pleasantest memories I have of my visits is the walks from the parsonage to the store. I nearly always took a short-cut, (which really was no short-cut for the distance by the road could surely not have been any longer), through what seemed to me to be like a park. There was a little trail and a cement park bench. I always stopped there on my way back home to eat my ice cream.
The rest of the shady street is the setting for about five homes. The street then is swallowed by the main highway. To passersby Gastonburg is only a “wide place in the road,” but to me it holds many memories of a quaint, beautiful community, and many happy visits to the Methodist Church parsonage. ♦
Please encourage others to become a member of the Wilcox Historical Society! Annual dues are $20 for a couple, $15 for single. Lifetime dues are $200 for a couple and $150 for single. A membership form is available on our website: WilcoxHistoricalSociety.org. Or if you prefer, please mail dues to: P O Box 464, Camden, AL 36726 and be sure to include your name, mailing address, email address and phone number. Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! ♦
Wilcox Historical Society Officers for 2020 – Martha Grimes Lampkin, President and Editor, Garland Cook Smith, Vice President and Program Chairperson, Jane Shelton Dale, Secretary, Mary Margaret Fife Kyser, Treasurer and LaJunta Selsor Malone, Curator. ♦
WHS 2020 Tour of Homes
Treasures of the Old South!
The Tour weekend which was originally planned for March 27th – 28th has been rescheduled to September 25th – 26th. The entire weekend’s events are the same – beginning on Friday at 6:30 PM with a Welcome Reception at RiverBend, circa 1848, with wine and hor d’oeuvres. Owners Christopher Bailey and Ryan Dunagan have completed a full restoration of this country residence and its grounds. The highlight of this special evening will begin at 8:00 PM with our guest speaker, Mr. James Farmer, Southern author and interior designer.
Everyone attending the reception must take the shuttle from the Wilcox Female Institute – there will be NO parking at RiverBend.
On Saturday morning, September 26th, all ticket holders are invited to The Brittany House Antiques in Oak Hill with a complimentary Southern breakfast from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM.
The historic homes on tour this year from 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday include Yaupon – the Matthews-Tait-Rutherford Home, River Bluff Plantation – the Beck-Bryant-Talbot Home, the Strother-Gibbs Home, the Beck-Darwin-Hicks Home and House on the Hill – the Liddell-Phillippi Home.
This year’s tour also includes a Living History event at Liberty Hall. The grounds of Liberty Hall will be the scene of a reenactment portrayed by Company F of the 31st Alabama Infantry CSA and the 20th Kentucky Volunteers USA. This family unit represents both sides of the War and will reenact the day in April of 1865 when Union troops arrived at Liberty Hall with the intent to destroy it.
At 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM the living historians will reenact the arrival of Union troops to Liberty Hall. At noon, living historian, Scotty Myers, will appear as Jefferson Davis and will speak from the balcony of the house. His presentation is based on actual speeches Davis gave while traveling through Alabama in 1864.
The hall and formal rooms of Liberty Hall will be open for touring.
Churches in downtown Camden on the Tour are the First Presbyterian Church and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Also on Tour will be the Old Shoe Shop Museum, owned and directed by Ms. Betty Anderson, the Beck-Miller Law Office and the Old Wilcox County Jail in downtown Camden.
Lunch will be served at the following locations from 11 AM to 2 PM: the Dale Lodge – BBQ and sides, Wilcox Female Institute by Blue Spoon Cooking Company, and The Pecan on Broad – sandwiches, salads, sides and desserts.
Tickets to the Tour Package (including the Friday night reception, breakfast and the Tour) are $40. Group ticket price is $35 (available for groups of 10 or more), WHS Members $30, Student Admission $25 and Children 6 and under are free.
In addition, the Furman Historical Society is sponsoring a Pilgrimage Ball at Wakefield in Furman on Saturday night, September 26th from 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM featuring period music by the Un-Reconstructed string band. Guests are encouraged to wear period civilian dress from the antebellum era or formal attire.
Tickets to the Pilgrimage Ball at Wakefield are $75 per person or $150 per couple. All proceeds will go to the preservation and restoration of historic structures in the Town of Furman.
Tickets are on sale now and can be bought locally at Black Belt Treasures Cultural Art Center, The Pecan on Broad or at The Brittany House Antiques at Oak Hill or online at Eventbrite.com. Please note that only full price adult tickets are available online.
Tickets may also be purchased on Friday, September 25th at Tour Headquarters, the Wilcox Female Institute, from 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM and on the day of the Tour from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM.
Everyone must pick up 2020 arm bands and maps at tour headquarters – Wilcox Female Institute – 301 Broad Street in Camden.
For more information call the Tour Coordinator at 256-975-7616 or email email@example.com or see our Facebook page, Instagram page or website wilcoxhistoricalsociety.org.
Let’s all enjoy this special Weekend in Wilcox! ♦
WHS November Meeting
The WHS met on November 14th at the Wilcox Female Institute to hear Dr. James P. Pate, independent scholar and historian, and Emeritus Professor of History at the University of West Alabama.
Dr. Pate spoke on his book The Annotated Pickett’s History of Alabama. This book was a special edition published as part of our state’s bicentennial.
The meeting was well attended by over 25 members and guests including some former students of Dr. Pate’s. ♦
Christmas In Furman
THANK YOU to the Britt family for hosting the annual WHS Christmas Open House at their historic home in Furman on December 7th. ♦
WHS February Meeting
The Wilcox Female Institute was the site of the February 6th WHS meeting. Sarah Duggan of New Orleans was the featured speaker. “Field Work Finds: Historic Furniture in Wilcox County” was the topic of the program.
Ms. Duggan is the Coordinator and Research Curator of the Classical Institute of the South, a project of The Historic New Orleans Collection that documents historic decorative arts made or used in the Gulf South. With help from graduate student fellows, she conducts annual summer field work across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to explore the region’s material culture.
Many will recall that she spoke last March to tour participants at the Friday evening welcome reception before the Tour of Homes.
About 30 members and guests enjoyed the program. ♦
Letter from the President
Dear WHS members and friends,
Our March 27th -28th Tour of Homes has been rescheduled due to the Corona virus outbreak. A huge THANK YOU goes to Lance Britt, our Tour Coordinator, for the countless hours of phone calls, texts and emails he made to work out the details to reschedule. The support of all of our homeowners is phenomenal and we look forward to a successful Pilgrimage six months from now!
According to Lance, as of this week we have sold tickets to over 600 people from nine states – Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York and Virginia.
In other news, we will soon be forming a few committees to help guide the WHS into the future. Committees will include Planning / Fundraising, Pilgrimage, Membership and Marketing. Let me know how you would like to serve.
To say there is a lot of interest in Wilcox County history is an understatement. We receive many requests for family history information and requests about various Wilcox County sites. If you are interested in being a resource for county history please let me know. Currently there are no researchers available for hire that I am aware of and being able to share some resources would be a wonderful service to those researching their roots!
I have the pleasure of serving as President and Editor of the WHS for the fourth year. I like to think my grandmother, Frances Donald Dudley Grimes, one of the first Presidents of WHS, is smiling down on us and proud that the organization is strong and active!
Thank you for your continued support of the Wilcox Historical Society!
Martha Grimes Lampkin, President and Editor
Member Spotlight –
A native of Birmingham, Mary Margaret Fife Kyser and her husband, George resided in Montgomery for thirty-seven years. She taught history at Carver and Baldwin Arts and Academic Magnet and The Montgomery Academy. She later served as the Assistant Director / Senior Services of MACCOA, Montgomery Area Council on Aging.
Mary Margaret and George, a native of Carlowville, built a retirement home on the River and moved to Camden two years ago. She became active in Wilcox Artworks and founding of The Gallery. She has volunteered with Black Belt Treasures and has taught art to youth in the community. She also serves as the Senior Warden of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Carlowville. Mary Margaret was elected as Treasurer for WHS this year.
She and George have one daughter, Mart Patton Kyser Whitten, one grandson and two dogs. ♦
Please encourage others to become a member of the Wilcox Historical Society! Annual dues are $20 for a couple, $15 for single. Lifetime dues are $200 for a couple and $150 for single. A membership form is available on our website: WilcoxHistoricalSociety.org. Or if you prefer, please mail dues to: P O Box 464, Camden, AL 36726 and be sure to include your name, mailing address, email address and phone number. Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! ♦
INQUIRIES AND COMMENTS
We often receive genealogical and local history inquiries on the WHS Facebook page, Instagram page and website. If you have any information to help with these inquiries please let us know and we will be happy to pass it along or put you in contact with the interested party. Our email address is email@example.com. We also love receiving comments on our posts on the WHS Facebook page. Here are a few inquiries and comments received since our last newsletter:
Any information about the Young family from Wilcox County? I’m looking for more info on my 2nd great grandmother Amelia Young b. 1858. My great grandfather was Zach Young b. 1893. F. Young
I am looking for information related to my mother and father who were both born in Camden. Their names were Estella Pritchett and Herbert Aaron. Estella and Herbert were also the parents of Henry “Hank” Aaron who went on to break Babe Ruth’s baseball home run record. My parents married early and left Camden for Mobile, Alabama. Majority of my family came from Camden and I have put together an extensive family tree but there are some missing pieces that you may direct me in securing. Thanks. A.A. Scott
I happened upon your website this morning and I would appreciate your sending me a form to join. Also, I am hoping someone there has information on the location of a cemetery. I was always told the name of it was Ray-Sills-McNeill Cemetery. I recently found the graves for this cemetery listed in Findagrave as being in Stevenson Cemetery. Only about 12-15 people are buried here – mid 1800’s to early 1920’s. Interestingly, one person there has a Death and Burial Record showing she was buried in Mount Hope. So, hopefully these are some clues whereby someone can point me in the right direction.
One of the main reasons I ask this, is because my GGG Grandfather, Thomas Godfrey Tate (died 1861) and an infant of his who died in 1860 are buried there in unmarked graves. Thus, I would at least like to find the location of the cemetery. Sadly, someone has placed a marker ‘in memory of’ to him beside his wife, Matilda Ann Ray Tate, in the Society Hill Cemetery, so now everyone thinks he is buried there.
If anyone can help me with this cemetery question, I would be greatly appreciative!
I am a descendant of the early peoples of Wilcox County – and proud to be so. Ancestors include the family of Stewart and McBride of the Oak Hill area as well as the Tait/Tate family and Dailey and Burson of the Fatama area. Of course, there are others – Ray and Wilkinson for examples. We still have land in the Fatama (Old Stewartville) community and get back when we can – at least yearly to Enon Baptist Church for their memorial in which I was humbled to preach at last year.
Thanks for your help and what you do. G. Swanner (Editor’s Note: Rev. Swanner was put in touch with the landowner in which the cemetery is located and was able to visit the cemetery in February.)
I am looking for a photo of Captain George Lynch of Wilcox County, Company C, 6th Alabama Regiment Volunteers. Thank you. R. Long
I am the descendant of the Hunter family originating from Snow Hill, Alabama and residing in Allenton, Alabama per census (continued on page 5)
records. I am trying to locate any records for my Grandmother, Mernervia Arnold, born Nervie or Nerva Hunter in Snow Hill, Alabama on April 21, 1916. A. James
I am looking for a 1966 Alabama license plate from Wilcox County. Please let me know if there is a place or if someone has one for sale. Thanks. D. Dobbs, AL
Greetings. Thank you for keeping history alive in Wilcox County. As a person engrossed in history, I appreciate all you do!
I am seeking information on my grandfather, Ernest Wells Green, who was killed in a logging accident at Packard’s Bend on December 13, 1933. Are there any newspaper obituaries or articles from that time? Any information you may point me to would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. J. Emert
I am researching my early family history. My family names associated with Wilcox County are Blain, Gillespie, McDonald, Gordon and Ratcliff.
One branch was Scottish and Irish who originally settled in Virginia and South Carolina in the 1700s but were living in Wilcox County Alabama in the 1800s. I believe a number were buried in the Camden Cemetery.
I am interested in how were they living while in Alabama.
Some specific names: Duncan McDonald, born in SC about 1813, married Adaline Ratcliff, who was born in Wilcox County about 1837. Duncan died 25 April 1854 in Wilcox County and is buried in the Camden Cemetery. They were married 11 October 1836 in Wilcox County.
Their children were Mary Arabella – born 11 September 1837, Lelia – born about 1838, Mourning – born about 1848 and Duncan born about 1851. S. Knight, MA.
Is there a repository online somewhere where I can find old photographs of Camden/Wilcox County – houses, people, downtown, the river, etc.? Thanks. J. Ferguson, GA
Response to a WHS Facebook page post about the Tour of Homes guest speaker James Farmer:
I had the privilege of meeting James Farmer in 2013 when he was a featured speaker during our alumni weekend in Athens, GA. He is not to be missed. J.K.B. Williams
Responses to a WHS Facebook page post for Tombstone Tuesday’s tombstone for Bertha Donald Miller (1871-1924):
Thank you for this wonderful post! Aunt Bertha cherished her family and lived with her sister, my great-grandmother, once they were both widowed. They lived together in Pine Apple for a number of years until her passing. She helped raise my grandmother (who lost her father at a very young age). Through letters we have learned more of Aunt Bertha and that her husband passed away on Thanksgiving Day. She did not celebrate Thanksgiving from that day forward in honor of him. Also, she and her husband’s families were deeply rooted in the South Carolina Presbyterian foundations established in Wilcox County via Erskine College. A.S. Williams
This was all very interesting and another history lesson! P. Peterson
Response to a WHS Facebook post about River Bluff:
My grandparents owned this home for many years. I cannot wait to see it again! G. Gault
Responses to a WHS Facebook post and photograph of “Letha with a Turkey 1910 Furman”:
The Mary Lee Simpson collection is a treasure. Thanks for sharing! M.C. Bates
What an amazing and beautiful pic! S. Matranga ♦
Wilcox Artworks Art Exhibit
Wilcox Artworks will hold a juried Art Exhibit March 21-April 18. The opening reception on Saturday, March 21 has been cancelled. Winners will be notified digitally. The Gallery is located at 103 Broad Street, Camden. A People’s Choice Award will take place during the Hog Wild for Art Celebration on April 18. The winner and prize will be announced at that time.
Wilcox Artworks is the local arts council for Wilcox County supporting the arts and culture of our rich county.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to join! Memberships are now available: $25 Single, $35 Family, $50 + for Corporate. ♦
Wilcox Historical Society Officers for 2020 – Martha Grimes Lampkin, President and Editor, Garland Cook Smith, Vice President and Program Chairperson, Jane Shelton Dale, Secretary, Mary Margaret Fife Kyser, Treasurer and LaJunta Selsor Malone, Curator ♦
A LOOK BACK…
22 July 1920 WILCOX PROGRESSIVE ERA
Mrs. Brooks Robbins of Catherine is in a Selma Hospital suffering from the effects of a congestive chill she had after coming to Selma Thursday on a motor trip with Mr. Robbins. Mr. Robbins is stopping at the Albert during his wife’s illness.
Mrs. W. S. Irby of Lower Peach Tree, who was called to Selma by the death of Mr. Geo. Herbert Kyser, left for home Thursday after spending a few days with her daughter, Mrs. R.I. Moore of Summerfield.
Misses Henrietta Irby and Mary Irby, of Lower Peach Tree passed through Selma Thursday en route to Richmond, Kentucky, to visit their sister, Mrs. Carl Park and family.
Forty dollars was the sum netted on the 3rd of July by the Watson Crossing picnic. This amount will be applied to the school needs.
Nearly $15000 has been raised by citizens of Pine Hill headed by Mr. W.J. Miller as chairman of the finance committee for erecting a new school building. The drive will not let up until sufficient funds are in hand to secure a commodious brick building.
Prof. N.J. Walker of Cameron, Texas, former Alabamian, and at present connected with Baylor University has accepted the principalship of the Wilcox County High School. Prof. Walker is highly recommended and has an enviable record as an educator. He will arrive about the middle of August.
Nine whites and seventeen colored applicants took the examination this week.
A contract will be let shortly for the erection of a new school building in McWilliams. It will be a four class room, with manual training department. The cost will be around $5,000. It will be completed in the early fall.
Miss Mildred Rutland of Evergreen has accepted a position in the Camden Grammar School.
Eight years ago, the public funds of Wilcox County were practically the same as the past year around $35,000. To maintain the same standard of schools as in the past would require a budget of at least $100,000 or $42,000 more than the total funds of the county the past year. Yet there are still many people in our county who oppose school levies, matriculation fees and supplemental plans.
The average cost in the United States per pupil for maintaining High schools is $84.94 per year, for maintaining elementary schools it is $31.65.
About 15 positions remain unfilled in the schools of Wilcox County.
The past year 110 children were transported to schools in Wilcox County. The maximum distance children were transported was about 7 miles. The average cost per month per pupil was about $3.00 or $27.00 per annum. This is rather below the average in the cost of transportation. Of the six vehicles used in transportation, one was a Ford truck, 3 cars one school has and one home equipped wagon. The most surprising feature of the transportation system is the fact that as high if not higher percentage of attendance of these children, than the regular average attendance will be shown.
22 January 1920 WILCOX PROGRESSIVE ERA
Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Burford were Selma visitors Tuesday.
Mr. J.A. Mills of Pine Apple, was a business visitor to Camden on Tuesday.
Preaching at the A.R.P. Church next Sabbath at 11 a.m. Sabbath school at 10.
Mrs. Nellie Miller was called to Mobile last week by the death of her nephew, Mr. Tucker.
Mrs. J.O. O’Neal entertained for a number of friends on Monday last.
Mr. & Mrs. John Skinner were made happy on last week by the arrival of a baby girl. She has been christened Ethel Pritchett Skinner.
For Sale – Twelve Red Burbon Turkeys. Mrs. T. A. Capell, Route 3, Camden, Ala.
Mrs. M. McArthur and Mrs. J.D. Bryant had the pleasure of hearing Madame Curci give her song recital in Montgomery the past week.
Lost-Between Station and Liddell’s Store, Love chain with engraved B. on locket. Finder return and get reward. Mrs. T. M. Baggett
Dr. C.C. Daniel, President of Birmingham-Southern College will preach at the Methodist Church on next Sunday, January 25th, morning and evening.
Mesdames S.G. Brice of Chester, S.C. and Mrs. Pogue of Gadsden were visitors to their brother, Judge B.M. Miller and family this week.
A quiet wedding ceremony, which took place at 10:20 o’clock Saturday morning in the Hotel Albert parlors united Miss Evelyn Nettles, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Z.G. Nettles, of Camden, and the Rev. J.C. Bledsoe of Pine Hill in marriage. The officiating minister was Dr. John A. Davison, pastor of the First Baptist Church of this city.
8 April 1937 THE BUTLER COUNTY NEWS
Invading Pine Apple on last Friday, the locals turned the fewest hits into the most runs, defeating the Wilcox County lads by the score of 3-1.
Nick Stallworth went the full nine innings on the slab for the local team, and did a superb job. When hits meant runs, the local hurler was cold as ice, stranding many men on the bases for the opposition.
Turner turned in a great game for the home team, but his elbowing could not offset errors of his mates and the timely hitting of the local nine.
Score by innings: R H E
Pine Apple 000 100 000 1 7 3
Georgiana 001 000 002 3 6 2
Batteries: Turner and West; Stallworth and P. Chambliss
6 April 1939 THE ADVERTISER-JOURNAL (Haleyville, Alabama)
Wilcox Farmers Grow Hay Crops
Under the leadership of E.H. Kelley and F.C. Turner, county agent and assistant agent respectively, Wilcox County farmers are making great strides in growing perennial hay crops.
Wilcox farmers recently made a cooperative purchase of nearly 200,000 Kudzu crowns to set out for the production of legume hay, control of soil erosion and as a temporary grazing crop.
Mr. Leslie Rutherford, who has one of the largest Kudzu fields in southwest Alabama, states that he gets around two tons of good kudzu hay to the acre every year. His hay is not only palatable but is even more nutritious that alfalfa. “This added to the fact that it completely controls soil erosion makes it one of the most valuable plants that we can grow,” says County Agent Kelley. The Wilcox farm agent recommends that it be grown on any of the soils in Wilcox County except the Sumter and Houston soils of the Black Belt.
Many farmers of the section believe that kudzu can and will prove valuable as a supplement of their pastures during the dry spells which come nearly every summer, which is one of the most critical times for cattle raisers throughout middle Alabama. ♦
Ouida Ann Starr Woodson (1944-2019)
Back in November we lost a very special lady – a mother, homemaker, writer, journalist and respected historian. She published several volumes of local history – Within the Bend, Books 1-6 and Men of Wilcox – They Wore the Gray.
She was a founding member and officer of the WHS and was instrumental in the restoration of the Wilcox Female Institute.
She was owner and publisher of The Wilcox American Newspaper in Camden from 1976-1984.
She was a member of the Camden Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. She was an officer of the Camden ARP Women of the Church and was active in many other church and civic affairs.
Mrs. Woodson was born in Gadsden but grew up in the Possum Bend community in Wilcox County. She spent her early years at White Columns, the family home. She graduated from Wilcox County High School and continued her education at Virginia Intermont College and graduated with a degree in journalism. She returned to White Columns in later life and reared her children there.
She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Samuel D. Woodson, Jr., three daughters, Margaret Murphy of Camden, Mary Lois Woodson of Possum Bend, and Ann Prime (Mike) of Jessup, GA, and son, Sam Woodson III of Mobile and four grandchildren, seven nieces and nephews, six great grandchildren and eight great nieces and nephews. ♦
James Farmer to Speak at Pilgrimage
The WHS Friday night, September 25th Welcome Reception will feature James Farmer, a Southern author, interior designer and speaker. Mr. Farmer is the author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling books: A Time to Plant; Sip & Savor; Porch Living; Wreaths for All Seasons; A Time to Cook; Dinner on the Grounds; A Time to Celebrate and A Place to Call Home. His newest book; Arriving Home – A Gracious Southern Welcome will be released in August!
In addition, his work has been published in various magazines including Southern Living, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Southern Home, Flower and more. A skilled and entertaining speaker, Farmer is considered a fresh voice for his generation.
Mr. Farmer will also hold a book-signing at The Pecan on Broad, Saturday, September 26th during Pilgrimage. ♦
Blue Alabama by Andrew Moore
“Moore’s photographs of the Black Belt honor its complicated histories but depart from them, avoiding stereotypes and finding the hope, resilience and creativity that animate this place.”
This new book of photographs contains several images of Wilcox County including Pearlie Smith and her home, Broken Arrow in Sunny South. The book cover features a photo of downtown Camden. Blue Alabama – a great book to add to your library! ♦
Welcome New Members!
From Camden – Sara C. Blackwell and Amber and James Wright. From Arley, Alabama – Cheryl and Burk McWilliams. From Mobile – Ms. Lynn Stewart.
From Pine Apple – Life Member Kathy Stone Perryman
Please be sure to renew your membership and encourage others to join!
Are you interested in joining the Wilcox Historical Society? Or are you ready to renew your membership for 2021?
Annual dues are $30 for a couple and $25 single. Lifetime dues are $300 for a couple and $250 single.
Members receive a $10 discount to the annual Tour of Homes and a subscription to the WHS newsletters!
For your convenience we have added several methods of payment: Credit Card and PayPal. Please contact us for more information.
Please provide the information included on the form below or email us and we can send you the form online.
If you would prefer, mail dues to: P O Box 464, Camden, Alabama 36726
Let us know if you have any questions. Our email address is email@example.com. Thanks!
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