Wilcox Historical Society Newsletter – Spring 2021

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
event.

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 thebrittanyhouse@yahoo.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
m2kyser54@aol.com. 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 tgswanner1@aol.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
foot.
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. ☼


Memorials
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
Crestview, Florida.
Alonzo was born 28 February 1933 in Linden, Alabama to John Bochee Purser and Annie Judson
Westbook Purser.
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
years.
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 wilcoxhistoricalsociety@gmail.com 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.katiedan@gmail.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 peggysgreer@comcast.net


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 hiramonrose@gmail.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
Arrangements

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
his lot.
“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 wilcoxhistoricalsociety@gmail.com. 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. ☼

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s