The 2019 Tour of Homes – A Resounding Success!
The 2019 Tour of Homes was a resounding success with a crowd of over 800 attending. The tour weekend of March 22-23 began with a Welcome Reception held at the Wilcox Female Institute on Friday night. Sponsored by WHS members Chris Bailey and Ryan Dunagan and The Brittany House Antiques, the night was spectacular – from the flowers to the food. Music was provided by harpist, Katherine Newman of the Huntsville Symphony. The guest speaker was Sarah Duggan who entertained everyone with her visual presentation on The Furniture of Wilcox County. The art of Johnna Bush featuring some of Camden’s historical landmarks was also on display.
For those wanting to get an early start Saturday morning an early breakfast was provided by the Britt family at The Brittany House Antiques in Oak Hill.
The Tour began at 10AM with six homes open along with the Beck Miller Law Office (Tour Headquarters), the Old Shoe Shop Museum, the old Wilcox County Jail, Coast to Coast Hardware Store, Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center, the Wilcox Female Institute and the Dale Lodge. he historic homes on the 2019 tour were the Bell-Moore House (RiverBend), St. Mary’s Church – Hamilton House, the Sterrett-McWilliams House, the Capell House at Pebble Hill, the Bethea-Strother-Stewart House (Pleasant Ridge), and the Jones-McIntosh-Hicks House.
THANK YOU to the homeowners for sharing their homes! THANK YOU to Elizabeth Grimes Reaves for serving as the Tour Coordinator (again). THANK YOU to all of those who worked “behind the scenes” to make sure the Tour was a success! THANK YOU to everyone who attended! It was a memorable weekend and one to highlight our Wilcox County history!
We were happy to host a thank you dinner for the homeowners at Gainesridge on July 13.
Mark your calendars for next year’s tour – Saturday, March 28, 2020! Watch for more details in the next newsletter and on Facebook!
WHS January Meeting with Dr. James Lamb
Dr. James Lamb, the Black Belt Museum Director and Curator of Paleontology and professor at The University of West Alabama spoke to the WHS at its first meeting of 2019 on January 24. Dr. Lamb shared with the group several exhibits and explained the Museum’s mission – to collect, preserve and interpret the rich history of the Black Belt and the diversity of the region. If you would like to contact the museum located in Livingston call 205.652.3828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pie and Billy Malone graciously welcomed over 50 members and guests into their home for the meeting and presentation. ~
Upcoming WHS Meetings
The next WHS meeting will be 2PM, Thursday, September 19 at the Wilcox Female Institute. Jay Lamar, Executive Director of the Bicentennial Commission of Alabama will be our speaker.
We were fortunate to be one of the first sites for the bicentennial traveling exhibit which we experienced at the Gee’s Bend Ferry Terminal Facility in Camden. We look forward to having Jay speak to us toward the end and the culmination of Alabama’s bicentennial.
On Thursday, November 14 at 2PM our meeting will be held at the McWilliams Baptist Church on Holly Street in McWilliams. McWilliams is located on Highway 21 about 7 miles south of Oak Hill. Look for signs directing you to the church.
Our speaker will be Philip Winters. He will be sharing with us the history of Winters Excelsior Company, his family’s business started in 1915 in McWilliams. Refreshments will be after the meeting at the home of Beth and Bob Yoder, 210 Cedar Street in McWilliams. ~
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 in 2019:
I am helping a lady in my community research the Nathaniel McCall family for membership in DAR. The last place I see Nathaniel is Wilcox County purchasing land on 10 April 1837. He married Mary Johnson on 2 December 1807 in Bullock County, GA. I think his parents were Charles and Nancy Williams McCall. I need to prove that Nathaniel and Mary had a daughter named Rebecca McCall who married Jesse Williams. V. Golden, Russellville, AR
Does anyone have any clues for me in researching my great-grandmother from Camden, Amandtine McKinnie Pritchett? L. Owen
I recently read an obituary from the Wilcox Progressive Era, January 15, 1931, that mentioned the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Bursonville being “blown away.” Hoping someone can explain what happened. Apparently, it was rebuilt in McWilliams. K. Christison
My great grandparents are here – Will and Delia McIntosh. V. Rose (Editor’s Note: comment on WHS Facebook photos of Jordan Cemetery and Church, Neenah, AL)
I am looking to visit the area as my family is from here. We are the descendants of Percy Smith (white) and Annie Craig Taylor (African American). They had 4 daughters – Pauline, Sarah, Mamie and Bernice. We started researching in 2011 and I just received my DNA results as well. Also, Percy Smith’s last living 1st grandchild & oldest passed away this month prompting me to want honor for his children. I am their great granddaughter. W. Harmon, Romulus, MI
I am planning to visit Camden in June. My parents were good friends of Dr. Emmett Kilpatrick and Rev. Kennedy. They were married in the ARP Church and my siblings and I were all christened there. I have not been inside the church since 1969! I would love to see if I could get inside the church. Thanks. S. Wilson, Tallassee, AL
My ancestors Robert Dewilda George and Elizabeth David McMillan married in Camden on March 23, 1864. Any information you have about them would be appreciated, but I am particularly looking for a picture. Thank you. S. Graham
I am trying to collect a little history on my family for my husband’s 60th birthday. I have found that one of his ancestors is buried in Camden Cemetery. Since I know that I won’t be able to travel to Alabama, I am wondering if you could help me? The person in question is Ernest C. Lyons. I’d be forever grateful. M. Holbrook, Midlothian, VA (Editor’s Note: a photo was taken and forwarded to Holbrook.)
Love this post…just hitting the heart icon wasn’t enough. S. Mendenhall, Gettysburg, PA (Editor’s Note: This was a comment on a WHS Facebook post regular feature – Tombstone Tuesday. Bertha Matheson Adams (1892-1972) was the subject of the post in April.)
The following comments about the 2019 Tour of Homes were received on the WHS Facebook page:
A whole lot of hard work and love went into this pilgrimage. L. Norman, Decatur, AL
What a perfect day! We had so much fun! Many thanks to all the owners who graciously opened their homes and to all of the people who made this tour of homes possible! B. Smith, Birmingham, AL
It was such a perfect event! Thank you to everyone that worked so hard on it. Camden at its finest! K. Fountain, Mobile, AL
A beautiful full day of lovely homes! A. McNeely, Mobile, AL ~
Camden in the News
Have you noticed the positive publicity around the state for Camden recently? In May, AL.com featured The Pecan on Broad in an article titled, “Upscale eatery and market give this small town in Alabama new life.” On the front page of the Mobile Press Register in June was this headline “One Pecan turns town on its head – In Little Camden, two newcomers show what’s possible when you think big.” Also, in June, The Federalist published an article featuring local resident Betty Anderson – “How this Slave Descendant celebrates Juneteenth in Alabama and you can too!” DesignAlabama published an article titled “Revitalizing Camden” in July. And Alabama Magazine featured Camden in the July/August issue. Way to go Camden! ~
Don’t forget to follow us on social media! We have over 1,300 followers on Facebook and want you to be one of them! And since opening our account earlier this year – we have 460 followers on Instagram. ~
Wilcox Historical Society Officers for 2019 – Martha Grimes Lampkin, President and Editor, Garland Cook Smith, Vice President and Program Chairperson, Jane Shelton Dale, Secretary, Anne Farrell McKelvey Wright, Treasurer and LaJunta Selsor Malone, Curator ~
A LOOK BACK…
29 JUNE 1869 FROM THE WILCOX NEWS AND PACIFICATOR
The Commencement Ball, under the direction of Mr. Willard H. Andrews, on Friday night last, at the Masonic Hall, was a complete success. We acknowledge the receipt of a complimentary ticket. It was largely attended, and many danced until a very late hour, and went away seemingly well satisfied with themselves and the Ball. But few, however, from some cause or other, came out in costume, as was at first intended, but those few certainly deserve credit. Had all appeared in costume, the interest would have been more manifest, and the spectacle more imposing.
A fine Supper was prepared by Col. J. L. Godbold, the clever proprietor of the Camden Hall, to which we were invited. The table was abundantly supplied with many of the delicacies of life, and all did full justice to them. Col. Godbold knows how to get up a good Supper on such occasions.
3 JULY 1903 FROM THE LIVING TRUTH
Branch Road Down L & N
Surveyors in The Field Running a Line out to The Little City of Pine Apple in Wilcox County.
That Town on a Boom
A gentleman who was been down into Wilcox County visiting the little town of Pine Apple, brings back a glowing account of the rapid progress that little city is making at this particular time.
He informed a reporter for The Times that a bank with a paid up capital of $40,000 had been organized, and that was ample to secure the confidence of the business public. Pine Apple is the center of a large cotton growing area and a bank will be a great benefit to the town.
A surveying party is in the field now for the purpose of running a spur for the L. & N. out to the town of Pine Apple, a distance of two miles. The money to build the spur is in hand and Pine Apple is sure to have a road running into its corporate limits at an early date.
A road is already being built toward a big saw mill, some thirteen miles out of Greenville in a straight line for Pine Apple, and the purpose of the citizens is to fill in that gap and have a line connecting Greenville and Pine Apple in the near future. They mean business and may accomplish what they are driving at.
11 MAY 1906 THE LIVING TRUTH
Judge Beck is Dead; Prominent Wilcox
Selma, Ala., May 7, Judge J. T. Beck, probate judge of Wilcox County, died at a private infirmary here at an early hour this morning. Judge Beck was brought to Selma from his home at Camden about a month ago suffering from an abscess on the liver. Medical aid could do him no good and of late he had been gradually sinking until the end came this morning. His remains were carried to Camden today for interment. Judge Beck was one of the most popular men of Wilcox county and was known throughout the state.
31 JANUARY 1908 THE LIVING TRUTH
The well being bored for oil at McWilliams, in Wilcox county, is down 700 feet and the indications are all good for a strike.
1 JULY 1948 WILCOX PROGRESSIVE ERA (Camden, Alabama)
Mr. and Mrs. P.F. Smitherman were joined here Sunday by Mr. and Mrs. W.K. Dickson of Orrville and motored to Selma to attend the DeWitt – Trainham wedding.
The Home Demonstration Club met at the home of Mrs. Murphy Vice Friday afternoon.
Friends of Mr. F.F. Harris regret to learn that it was necessary for him to return to Selma for medical treatment. We hope for him a speedy recovery.
Mrs. Boyd Agee is visiting her son, Mr. F.K. Agee and family of Athens.
A crowd of young people motored to Millers Ferry Sunday afternoon, where they enjoyed swimming.
Miss Sarah Rankin of Magnolia former Frisco agent here, spent Friday and Saturday with Mrs. Harris.
Mr. R.A. Burge was a business visitor in Selma Thursday. He accompanied Mr. Alonzo Agee.
Mrs. Newton and three children have returned from Springfield, MO., after a two weeks vacation.
Misses Ollie Ruth and Reba Autrey attended the Lowery-Gaddy wedding in Sunny South Sunday afternoon. Both were attendants in the wedding.
Mr. L.C. Sealey made a business trip to Shreveport, La., last week.
Pine Hill News
Mr. and Mrs. Lacey Huey and son of Hueytown spent last week with her mother, Mrs. O.L. Lyles and family.
Miss Virginia Dare Simpkins is visiting her aunt, Mrs. W.P. Dunn, Mr. Dunn and her grandmother, Mrs. Simpkins.
Mrs. L.H. Mayo has returned from a visit to relatives in Citronelle.
Mrs. J.M. Finley and granddaughter, Jimmie Ann Vaughn have returned from a visit to Mobile and Galveston, Texas. ~
Welcome New Members! Welcome *Life Members!
From Alabama – Camden – Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Abel, Mr. and Mrs. Reid Abel, *Ms. Laura Agee, Mr. and Mrs. Philip Creswell, *Ms. Susan Cade McKelvey; Mobile – Ms. Jan Weekly; Pine Apple – Mrs. Philip Winters; Oak Hill – *Mr. and Mrs. Ivey Griffin; Franklin – Mr. and Mrs. Tim Griffin and Sweet Water – Mr. Dewayne Allday
From New York, New York – Mr. David L. Brown
From Stone Mountain, Georgia – Ms. Jonnie Ramsey Brown
Upcoming Events in 2019
- October 19 – Pine Hill Depot Day
- November 30 – Hunter Appreciation Day in Pine Apple
- December 7 – Christmas Open House at the Palmer-Britt home in Furman, 2PM-4PM
- December 22 – Christmas in Furman
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!