An ironic time for history to repeat itself

  It amazes me to think how far we’ve come over the last 50 years, and yet how far it seems we still have to go.

All eyes were on Selma during the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and rightfully so. The march that took place all those years ago brought national attention to the evil that is discrimination, and

Read More

From the Narrows to Devil’s Staircase to Popeye

  In 1540 Hernando De Soto and his entourage were the first Europeans to enter the Coosa Valley. The tribes they encountered during their travels were more like large organized kingdoms than small villages. De Soto utilized the natives’ food, resources and women to sustain his party as it traveled across the state of Alabama. 

Displeased with the above marauder,

Read More

The Waiting Game

  In Psalm 62:5-8 we hear, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.

Trust in Him at all

Read More

Our Holy Responsibility

  “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” is a popular Christian hymn written in 1907 by Ada R. Habershon with music by Charles H. Gabriel. The first verse and chorus go like this: 

“There are loved ones in the glory, whose dear forms you often miss. When you close your earthly story, will you join them in their bliss?    

Read More

Serious problems require serious policy solutions

  It is no secret that our state government is in serious financial trouble. The hole in the state’s General Fund budget is estimated to be at least $250 million. But while everyone acknowledges the problem, what has been most surprising is how so many of those in leadership have failed to offer any solutions.

The exception has been Gov.

Read More

Delta Kappa Gamma Society Alpha Iota Chapter of Etowah and Cherokee County

  The Vagabond quite often sees a lot of folks who in the past have made contributions and are rarely recognized for their achievements. 

Members of the Alpha Iota Chapter of Etowah and Cherokee County are an example. There are many names listed here that many folks may recognize from the past.

It all got started by the Delta Kappa

Read More

Making progress on I-759 will take the whole team

Many times in my life, I’ve seen that teamwork really does work. Whether it’s in sports, business or government, every member of the team gets together and comes to an agreement - a little give from some people and a little take from others. For teamwork to really work, however, everyone involved, including the leaders, must be willing to

Read More

Hazel Oliver’s Umbrella Stand & Cook Brothers Pottery

Around seven years ago at the Etowah Historical Society, there was a big thunderstorm that soaked everyone for the May meeting. This placed Hazel Oliver in the mood to find the society a “historic” umbrella stand.

Hazel went home and looked around. She decided that since her old churn had served well as her home’s umbrella stand, it would

Read More

Blessed by the same old quality suit

I have never been all that particular about my clothes. I want to look presentable, but I usually don’t go out and purchase the highest quality clothing. My wife tells me that I have no taste. I would rather have lots of inexpensive clothing that wears out fast than a few good items that will last me awhile. 


Read More

Ministry vs. Fear

In the Book of Acts 18:1-11 we hear, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you...”  Paul was opposed and reviled in the synagogue in Corinth. He then went out to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles in the surrounding area. The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision one night saying,

Read More

Learning from history

I’ve always admired U.S. President Harry S. Truman. Even though he never earned a college degree, I believe he had more wisdom than most of our Ivy-League educated leaders.

Truman once said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” That is a profound statement. It is also very true and very relevant

Read More

Rare are Pre-Civil War document found

  The Vagabond recently discovered a rare resolution among other papers found at the Etowah Historical Society. The resolution is dated 1860 and led to events that were the start of what became the War Between the States. The story begins here...

Tensions had been buil-ding for years in Alabama. When Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency

Read More

God's choices in creation

I’ve often wondered what God was thinking when He created the Universe. Was He bored with things and decided to occupy His time in a better way? Was He like an artist and just started painting on His canvas? Maybe whatever came into His mind He would start creating as one thing led to another. Was He getting lonely

Read More

Armistead not entitled to his own facts

  Alabama Republican Party Chairman, Bill Armistead recently took to to discuss his thoughts on the state budget. It left me scratching my head, as he kept putting words like “budget crisis” and “shortfall” in quotes like he doesn’t believe we have a budget crisis. Gov. Robert Bentley himself has predicted a minimum $265 million shortfall in the general

Read More

Grow with the one you know

There’s a saying in the insurance business: “Grow with those we know.” It means when you are out looking for new business, always think of your existing customers first. I think this is a good concept that we need to apply to job creation here in Alabama.

Many of our state’s leaders have been touting a declining unemployment rate,

Read More

The 1877 Tallman map of Etowah County

  Several years ago, Etowah County Tax Assessor Jerry Jones was given an original copy of Etowah’s County first map, the 1877 Tallman’s Map. Earnest Lee, an early surveyor, gave this map to Jerry. Earnest received this map from his father, Fitzhuh Lee (born1866, died1946). Fitzhuh was the Etowah County Surveyor many years ago.

Note of interest: Fitzhuh’s daughter name

Read More

Our dogs under our table

Most of us have at least one pet of some kind. We have them for a variety of reasons: It gives us a sense of comfort having them around. They help keep all kinds of creatures from taking over our homes. They please our children. They are a form of security for our home. They are like having children

Read More

A legacy to live by

“I have decided to stick with love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here, 1967

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one I have spent years trying to not only fully understand, but also to live up to. I am amazed by how powerful

Read More

The folk songs of Gadsden’s Miss Callie Craven

The Vagabond recently came across the notes and work of Bryon Arnold, who gathered a collection of folk songs. He writes:

Gadsden Miss Callie Craven was the first singer I visited in making this collection during the 1940’s. My original appointment with her had to be postponed a day, for she had one of her heart attacks on account

Read More

Open Door Opportunities

  Have you ever thought that a “wide door” may have opened for you, but the threat of human obstacles caused you to withdraw rather than fight the good fight for a good cause? It is easy to let jealous, negative, self-serving, mean, angry and evil-minded people slow us down, intimidate us and stop us from completing good works. 


Read More

Our Wilderness Time

We are encouraged in our Christian Faith to seek God through Christ and the Holy Spirit in all things. Unfortunately, this is a mission that we are incapable of fulfilling. Try as we will, our daily interferences in life can pull us away from our mission. 

We can’t just get it right 100% of the time. Does that mean

Read More

The importance of working together

  “You can’t work across party lines when there aren’t many of them. So I’m going to work across Republican Party lines because there are a lot of divisions in the Republican Party.” - Gov. Robert Bentley

I was very disappointed when I read this quote from the governor earlier this week. Partisanship is a part of politics. And it’s

Read More

How Jerry Jones first became interested in genealogy and history - Part VI

Through the years many people have asked The Vagabond about how the late Jerry Jones, a former Etowah County Tax Assessor, first became interested in genealogy and history. Jerry’s ancestor Edmond Jones had survived an Indian massacre in what is now Rainbow City, Ala., and Jerry was trying to find out what Indian was involved and why. We continue

Read More

The Etowah County Centennial Time Capsule: Will you be around when it opens in 2068?

The Vagabond had a visitor this past week who brought a lot of information on the 1968 Etowah County Centennial and the capsule that was buried at the courthouse. We will take catch up next week on more of Jerry Jones.

Back around June 26, 1968, the Etowah County Centennial celebration got underway on the courthouse lawn with the

Read More

Still haven’t quite figured out how to help students

One of the things that makes our government work is the self-reporting of financial information. This self-reporting, and in some cases, outside auditing, allows the people of Alabama to know exactly where their money is going. And each year, at the end of the year, the Alabama Department of Revenue puts out these reports for all to see.


Read More

The Light Brigade

In the Book of The Revelation to John 21:22-27 we hear, “I saw no temple in the city, its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb...Its gates will

Read More

The hope of a new year

There’s no doubt that 2015 will be a difficult year, as our state is facing many difficult challenges. From plugging a massive hole in the budget to reforming our prisons, the legislature has its work cut out for it this spring.

Considering how daunting these challenges will be, it would be easy to be pessimistic about what will be coming. We’ve

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia L. Toles

As Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!” 

This was the expression found all over the face of Shelia Billingsley as she walked into her surprise retirement party on Dec. 19.  At around 6 p.m. family, friends and co-workers gathered to help Shelia celebrate her retirement. 

When Billy retired from the Gadsden City School System, Shelia

Read More

The Vagabond - The 1784 Indian Massacre in Rainbow City Part 4

  The Chickasaw Indian Nation was located in Northwest Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Jerry felt he needed to check to see what Indians were located in what had become Etowah County. Of course, the Cherokee Nation was the best known, and he had some knowledge of that.

The Creek Indians claimed a part of this area. Jerry also learned that

Read More

The most wonderful time of the year

Christmastime has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s a time of giving to others and a time for visiting with family, some of whom we haven’t seen in a year or more. Most importantly, for me as a Christian, Christmas time is a time to honor and praise our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This time of

Read More

Holding the One Who Saves Us - The Gift of Faith

At Christmastide, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, do we have a sense of being rescued? It is hard to think of rescue when for many of us it is a time of receiving and giving gift upon gift. The material smothers any awareness of rescue. The only rescue that we might contemplate is the rescue from an

Read More

The 1784 Indian Massacre in Rainbow City Part two

Through the years, many people have asked The Vagabond about how the late Jerry Jones, former Etowah County Tax Assessor, first became interested in genealogy and history. We continue the story from last week...

Jerry Jones will never for-get the story of the massacres. When he was grown, Jerry began a search for anything that might add to the events that

Read More

Should Montgomery be the new Washington?

If there was ever any doubt about how politicians in Alabama feel about the federal government, just look at some of their campaign ads. During this past election, Alabama politicians spent millions of dollars on ads about how they would stand up to Washington and “fight Obama”. The phrase “federal overreach” is about as common now as hearing “Sweet Home

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia L. Toles

Oh how the neighborhood was bustling with excitement and activities! 

On Friday, Dec. 12, the Gadsden Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority held its 14th Annual Peppermint-Scholarship Ball. The 101-year old sorority was founded on Jan. 13, 1913, on the campus of Howard University by 22 young ladies whose legacy lives on as a sisterhood of college

Read More

The 1784 Indian Massacre in Rainbow City Part one

Through the years, many people have asked The Vagabond about how the late Jerry Jones, who was the former Etowah County Tax Assessor, first became interested in genealogy and history.

When Jerry was eight years, old he went with his family to Old Harmony Cemetery in what is now Rainbow City. The purpose of the visit was to clean the graves

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia L. Toles

The neighborhood scoop is buzzing with activities of Christmas themes for 2014.

The annual Mt. Zion Baptist Church Ladies Christmas was held on Nov. 29 at the Northeast Etowah Community Center in North Gadsden. The tables were decked with Christmas trees, angels, holly and beautiful shining lights. A festive program was presented by the ladies, with Sister Tammy B. Woods serving

Read More

Good ideas are bigger than political parties

Without question, the biggest issue facing our state legislature this spring will be funding our state budgets, and specifically addressing the crisis in the General Fund budget. While the Education Trust Fund is expected to be in decent shape, Gov. Robert Bentley has projected a potential shortfall of anywhere between $250 million and $700 million in the General Fund budget.


Read More

Exploit of the Murphree sisters

Bobby Buggs has been posting a lot of old photos on Welcome to Gadsden Facebook page at, The Vagabond will include one of his photos this week.

Last week The Vagabond mentioned that Laura Dunning Elliott was hunting for the names of the two ladies that played a part of the capture of Union soldiers. The names were found and

Read More

Ford to sponsor lottery bill, resolution to negotiate compact with Poarch Creek

When our state legislature returns to Montgomery, legislators will have to take on a major problem: funding our state budgets.

There are no easy solutions to our budget problems. But there are simple solutions that can generate millions of dollars for our budgets and put us on a path to fiscal stability without raising income or property taxes, or other taxes

Read More

The water pipe wars and another Etowah County General Forrest incident

  Congratulations to Catherine Threadrell Nichols for the 2014 Greatest Achievement Award from the Etowah Historical Society for her research into the Water Pipe Wars of Etowah County. The following is her work.

Over the last 20 or so years I have asked as many people as I could about the alleged water pipe war. Was it just a rumor

Read More

Protecting democracy, our American birthright

There are many things about this country that make us great - our economy, our military and our people, to name a few. But perhaps our greatest accomplishment has been democracy. Democracy is our most precious and cherished blessing, and it is the foundation of our freedom.

Before America, kings with absolute power ruled nations. While there are still

Read More

In Search of the Living Water

In the Gospel of John 7:37-52, Jesus tells us in part, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 

St. John’s explanation of these words of Jesus is, “Now he said this about the

Read More

Washington sent representative to this area

The Vagabond received a letter earlier this week from Eddie Lanham of Georgia. He writes:

“Don Wells with Mountain Stewards in Jasper, Ga., and I are writing a document and route mapping the 1790 Treaty of New York. We have run into a mapping issue from Rome, Ga., to the Hillibee area of current Alabama. We think that Col. Willett, who

Read More

Alabama Democrats ready to build a better Alabama

Last week, a journalist wrote an article claiming that the Alabama Democrats are making “phony” attempts to “whitewash diversity” in an attempt to keep white voters from leaving the party and taking their money with them. We’ll ignore the ridiculous assumption that Black Democrats don’t donate and that Black leadership can’t fundraise. We’ll even look past the Republican Party’s lack

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…” Part IX

Over the past few weeks The Vagabond has been discussing a pamphlet written by the Gadsden Women’s Club called A little book about Gadsden. It tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. It continues....

Recreations and Sports

The Gadsden Country Club was incorporated Aug. 26, 1919. It is located three miles south of town on the Birmingham highway. The property

Read More

“Thank you” doesn’t always cover it

This week we had the pleasure of celebrating our nation’s true heroes - our veterans. This is always one of the most important holidays of the year in my mind. Not because I am a veteran, but because I believe it is important that we take time to appreciate and understand the sacrifice members of the military (and their families)

Read More

It’s time to work together

Now that the 2014 election is over and the people of Alabama have spoken, it is time for state legislators to work together and honor our commitments to the people of Alabama to create jobs and provide every child in Alabama with a quality education.

We have been chosen by our constituents to serve the people. That means remembering that, first

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…” Part VIII

As in the past few weeks, The Vagabond has been discussing about a pamphlet written by the Gadsden Women’s Club called A Little Book about Gadsden, which tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. It continues....

“In Memoriam, William Luther Sibert, One Of Gadsden’s Illustrious Sons, Born October 12, 1860; Died October 16, 1935.       

“The career of General Sibert encompassed the

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…” Part VII

As in the past few weeks, The Vagabond has been discussing a pamphlet written by the Gadsden Women’s Club called A little book about Gadsden, which tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. It continues....

The Public Library

“The Thursday Study Club realized many years ago, with Sir Francis Bacon, that “Reading maketh the full man.” Little did the club

Read More

There’s a lot at stake on Nov. 4

Elections are about choices - specifically, choices between different visions. And in the elections for our state legislature on Nov. 4, there couldn’t be more at stake.

But what’s been interesting to watch is how so many sitting legislators have gone to such extreme lengths to run away from their record of the past four years.

How many times this year have

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…” Part VII

Sometimes back The Vagabond came across a pamphlet written by the Gadsden Women's Club called A Little Book About Gadsden, which tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. For the last few weeks we have been reporting on this old pamphlet. It continues....


“The common school is the greatest discovery ever made by man.”

“In the home of Gabriel Hughes

Read More

Being sincere with the voters

In two weeks, voters across our state will head to the polls and decide who will be leading Alabama for the next four years. As voters are evaluating the candidates, I think it is important that we carefully look at the candidates’ background and how the candidates have presented themselves in their campaigns.

Last week, I questioned why my opponent, Doug

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…” Part Six

This week we are back on the pamphlet written by the Gadsden Women’s Club called A little book about Gadsden, which tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. It continues....

“On August 23, 1855, a small group of Baptists under the leadership of Rev. J.J.D. Renfroe, met and organized the First Baptist Church. Phillip Archer helped write the Articles

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia L. Toles

The New Canaan Baptist Church celebrated its 17th  anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. New Canaan Baptist is known as “A Little Church with a Big Heart.” 

The program included a 50-plus mens choir from Birmingham called the Men of Praise.  These men did an awesome job of singing songs of praise. 

Pastor Larry G. Weathers of the Antioch Missionary

Read More

Where I Stand

As a state representative, there are a lot of causes I am proud to make a stand for. My two biggest priorities, and what I have devoted the majority of my time to, have been job creation and education.

But I have also been proud to take a stand for our second amendment rights, and proud to say that I have

Read More

The Vagabond - Woodliff family in Gadsden

This week the Vagabond will take a break from the little pamphlet written by the Woman Club called A Little Book about Gadsden.

This week, there are 42 descendants of A.L. Wood-liffe who are in town for a reunion, coming from Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Alabama. The group is planning to visit to the Etowah Historical Society and

Read More

Why we need more women in leadership

It’s no secret that women are a little more than half of our population. In fact, out of the more than 2.7 million registered voters in Alabama, just over 56 percent are women.

And yet, women only hold a few elected offices in our state government. In the state legislature, only 14 percent of senators and representatives are women. In the

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…” Part V

The Vagabond recently came across a pamphlet written by the Women’s Club called A little book about Gadsden. It tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. For the last few weeks we have been reporting on this old pamphlet. It continues....

“The Agricola Furnace Company was organized in 1925. It manufactures warm air furnaces of cast iron and steel

Read More

The importance of voting

Now that the campaign season is entering the final five weeks, there will be a huge increase in the TV ads, mail pieces and other campaign activity - all meant to persuade voters to vote one way or another. It’s the homestretch, and things are going to be ramping up.

However you may choose to vote, the most important thing you

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Andy’s Taco Soup and Alabama Cornbread

It is only natural for me to love to make soup. My mother’s family was known for their soups. During my mother’s garden years, she would freeze quarts and quarts of homemade soup. When my sister was a student at Jacksonville State, she would carry mother’s soup back on Sunday for her roommates. They loved
Read More

We need real solutions for the budget crisis

There are many things I believe a person in leadership should be - responsive to constituents, strong in core values, possess the ability to make tough decisions and most importantly, function as a good steward of the taxpayers’ money. And being a good steward of taxpayers’ money means finding real solutions to the budget problems of our state, not simply

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…”Part IV

The growth of motor travel has brought about the rapid development of the good roads movement. Gadsden is connected with the remotest parts of the country by many fine paved highways. The coming of the bus lines in 1920 was the last step in the evolution of transportation in Gadsden. The Greyhound and the Crescent Lines serve the community.

“The next

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia L. Toles

A Praise Celebration

One of the joys of life is celebrating the length of days on earth. Saturday was a day of celebration for Gertie Thompson Lowe. Gertie celebrated her 80th birthday at the Antioch Family Life Center with more than 160 guests in attendance. 

The guests were welcomed by the hostess and memories of Gertie’s achievements were given by friends and

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Matthew’s French Toast and Apple Dip

This week I want to share with you my grandson’s favorite breakfast at his Gann’s(me) house.  His request is quite simple.  French Toast,  Thick Sliced Applewood Bacon, and Coffee with French Vanilla Cream.  Mary, my sister, and I always cook our bacon in the oven.  I use a  large cookie sheet, covered with foil, and

Read More

Leadership means listening

One of the biggest threats to our children’s education is when the politicians think they know better than the professional educators.

Last month, 30 of Alabama’s public school superintendents joined in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the so-called Accountability Act, and asking the Alabama Supreme Court to uphold a lower court’s decision that the Accountability Act is unconstitutional.

Among those 30

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia Toles

It was a busy weekend in the neighborhood.

On Saturday morning, the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of East Gadsden held a Women and Youth Conference. Three lecturers spoke on the theme “How to Reclaim, Retrain and Retain.” Jimmie Leonard kept the group moving with the song “Happy.” Guest speaker Dr. Doris Petty of Bessemer expounded on the subject of commitment, stating

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…” Part III

The Vagabond recently came across a pamphlet written by the Woman Club called A little book about Gadsden, which tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. For the last two weeks we have been reporting on this old pamphlet. It continues....


“Gadsden civic leaders were preparing for a big development program in this year, following the huge public land

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Mary’s Scalloped Potatoes and Fudge Plate Pie

Football season is here and I enjoyed every game that I watched this past weekend. It is so much fun now that Matthew is old enough to discuss a game with me. Grandchildren are such a blessing! Of course, my favorite part of the game is to know what all of you had to

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…” Part II

The following is excerpted from a book written by the Gadsden’s Women’s Club called “A Little Book about Gadsden.” The book tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. 

Civil War Days - 1861

The Civil War stopped all internal improvements. [Etowah] County, then [called] Cherokee, furnished five companies of soldiers who were part of the 19th Alabama Regiment whose first

Read More

Bold? Or Dangerous?

Recently, our state leaders have been going around patting themselves on the back for how much they have changed things over the past four years. They say that over the next four years, they are going to “be bold,” if not “bolder,” than they were before. They plan to go even further than they have in the past. This should

Read More

“And your young men shall see visions…”

 The Vagabond recently came across a book written by the Women’s Club called A Little book about Gadsden. It tells about the early periods of the Gadsden area. It begins:

“A young man trekked south, led by a dream to found a town somewhere between Nashville, Tennessee, and the Georgia coast. Spurred on by the development of the railroads, Gabriel

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia L. Toles

Once again Gadsden, Alabama, has maintained its status as the City of Champions with the help of Khamari Smith and De’Andre Riffin.  

After winning in the local elementary school track and field competition, the youngsters went on to participate in the district, state and national competitions.

Each year, Hershey’s Track & Field Games North American

Read More

Working for working families

We celebrated Labor Day earlier this week in honor of the working families throughout this country. It is a fitting time to celebrate working families, since jobs are by far the No. 1 issue on most peoples’ minds these days.

As we get closer to Election Day, you will see more and more political ads talking about “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” But

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Stuffed Jalapenos and Icebox Cookies

Football season is here! I can remember years ago when “tailgating” meant eating out of the trunk of your car. Are any of you old enough to remember packing your trunks for the college games? Ladies, do you remember wearing dress clothes and gloves? Things have really changed. As far as the food, we tried to

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Taco Salad Casserole and Mother’s Peach Macaroon Pie

On a hot summer day in the South, a salad is so light and refreshing. This taco salad is a little heavier than most salads, but it is oh so good. I enjoyed making this for my family this week. I used the fresh tomatoes from our garden, which are slowly coming

Read More

Senior Awareness

by Jon Costa

The Medicare Minute for August, 2014 provided by the Medicare Rights Center and the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, is entitled “Medicare Coverage of Home Health Care.”

Home health care is care you get at home to treat an illness or injury. If you or a loved one needs help at home, it is important to understand

Read More

The least of these…

Matthew 25 contains a description of the Last Judgment. In verses 32-41 it explains in parables, and I quote from the King James version as follows: “And the Lord shall answer and say unto them: Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done to the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.”


Read More

Education Matters

Alabama is on a political slippery slope. Our descent is being aided by millions of dollars of campaign contributions controlled by a handful of political operatives who obviously believe many Alabama citizens should be only seen, not heard. This attitude is hardly new to this country, or even to Alabama.

The Tidewater region of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and

Read More

State leaders should pledge not to combine two budgets

Alabama is definitely facing some major problems with our state budgets, and it’s time for state leaders to take these problems seriously and find real solutions. But combining the two budgets is not a real solution.

Our state leaders need to realize that simply taking money from one pile and moving it to another is not a good idea.

Read More

Joel Chandler

The Vagabond recently had someone visit the Eto-wah Historical Society about one of his ancestors, Joel Chandler, Sr. The Va-gabond came up with the following information.

The very first distance ancestor of Joel Chandler, Sr., was Gilbert Sieur Le-Chaundeler De L’Aigle of France. His son, also from France, was Le Chaundeler De L’Aigle was born in 1210 and died

Read More

Fear Not, Bear Fruit

The thing that troubled me most as I began to seek the Lord in my life was the permanence of it all. In seeking security in God I also experienced a sense of not being able to turn back to my old ways. The more that the knowledge of God was raining on me, the more afraid I became

Read More

Lloyd Wagnon and the early Noble family

The Vagabond recently spoke with Lloyd Wagnon, who manages to still keep a busy life.

After becoming Alabama’s youngest Registered Professional Land Surveyor in 1949, Wagnon entered private practice in Gadsden. Through the years, he designed and executed many of the area’s finest residential subdivisions and established many land boundaries throughout Etowah County.

Wagnon served the City of Gadsden as a member

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Cornbread Skillet Casserole and Winter Fruit Salad

My sister discovered these two recipes when she was clearing out a drawer in her kitchen. My mother had several different places that she placed her recipes. I cannot believe that I missed these when I was writing my cookbook I thought I had covered all of the little places. Mother and I talked

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia L. Toles

One of the most memorable events for a family is family reunion. Family members and friends get together to reminiscence about the past, present and future.

During the weekend of Aug.15, the Price-Wright-Green family traveled to Washington D.C. in celebration of their 68 years of the family getting together.

Some of the family members in the Alabama and Georgia

Read More

The jobs problem is solvable

There’s no doubt we have a jobs problem in the state of Alabama. We are the only state in the country with a rising unemployment rate, which is now at 7 percent. Last year, the state created only 366 new jobs, and we are now ranked 49th in the country for job creation. By Gov. Robert Bentley’s own measuring stick,

Read More

Statewide lottery could help solve some problems

Back when Gov. Robert Bentley was campaigning in 2010, he made some bold statements. Statements such as, “I believe the people of Alabama need to decide at the ballot box on a YES or NO vote whether to allow gambling or abolish all forms of gambling.”

And Gov. Bentley and I were 100 percent in agreement. I firmly believe that we

Read More

Mysterious & Legendary Caves at Lookout Mountain

The Vagabond recently showed a presentation about Noccalula Falls, which mentioned the cave that was once there. This is the story about that cave:

Throughout Lookout Mountain are many mysterious caves in which all sort of legends are connected. For instance, Confederate soldiers entering the cave and staggering out days later at a distant location. Then there are those caves that

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

German Freezer Soup and Mona’s Vegetable Spread

Yes, the weather is way too hot to think about making a pot of soup. German soup has to be made in the summer when all of the vegetables are growing in the gardens.This “freezer soup” is so close to my heart. My mother and I would bring baskets of tomatoes out of the

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

 Famous Blueberry Dessert and Apple Surprise

The comforting sounds and smells of the kitchens of the South are forever preserved. The wonderful smells that I remember as a child that came from my aunt's kitchens were unreal. My aunt, Sue Lankford, would always have a cake in the oven or a cake waiting to be sliced when you walked in her

Read More

Old Confederate Veterans camp re-chartered

The meeting for the newly chartered Sons of Confederate’s Emma Sansom Camp No. 253 will be held on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Etowah Historical Society located in the Elliott Community Center at 29th Street and Meighan Boulevard (U.S. 431) in Gadsden. The historical society genealogist will help in finding your Confederate ancestor in order to join

Read More

Why we need to start school later

This week students and educators across the state will return to school. What makes this year different from the last two years is that they will be going back to school two weeks sooner than before.

In 2012, the Alabama legislature passed a school start date bill that gave schools more flexibility in setting their schedules and allowed summers to last

Read More

The Hattery and the Mormon who never crossed the plains

In 1868, three years after the Civil War, Gadsden’s first industry came about in the form of a hat factory. The hattery, as it became known, was  established by Allen Gaylor near Noccalula Falls. He brought his family from Tennessee and came into this area to start his trade.

The hattery was located near the present-day Kiwanis Building on the old road

Read More

State leaders need to work for us and not against us

I believe that education is the great equalizer. If you give children a quality education, then with hard work they can make their dreams come true. That is why it is so disheartening to see millions of dollars taken from their education every year so that a handful of (mostly wealthy) donors can get yet another tax break.

It seems the

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

The Best Banana Muffins and

Fresh Blueberry Pie

After World War ll, a lady described a typical picnic lunch for that time in history. She said they packed a shoe box lunch and took off in the pony cart for a beautiful place in the woods.  The usual contents were:  fried chicken, tomato sandwiches, buttered

Read More

Simple principle: jobs mean revenue

There is a simple business principle that many understand and that economists have spent years dissecting and discussing in books, on television and in newspaper articles - creating jobs for people means generating revenue for all sectors.

Unfortunately, for Alabama, there are people in leadership that don’t understand that simple principle. Instead of wanting to create jobs that will help solve

Read More

The WPA and the Forrest Cemetery Chapel

This week The Vagabond talks about the Work Projects Administration and Forrest Cemetery Chapel.

In October 1929, the stock market crashed wiped out 40 percent of the paper values of common stock and triggered a worldwide depression. By 1933, the value of stock on the New York Stock Exchange was less than a fifth of what it had been in 1929.

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

 Chicken Salad and Chocolate Chess Pie

A light chicken salad plate with a small pimento cheese sandwich, fresh fruit, and a chocolate dessert is so beautiful and refreshing in the summer. I like to center a scoop of chicken salad on curly lettuce and surround it with strawberries and cantaloupe cut into bite size chunks. Add a pimento cheese sandwich that

Read More

The interesting history of the Broad Street water fountain

Have you ever wondered about the little marble water fountain on Broad Street near the Emma Sansom statue and in front of Gadsden City Hall? 

Recently on the “Welcome to Gadsden” Facebook page, a photo was shown of the old fountain, and folks began asking about it. The Vagabond did research on this subject and found it had a very interesting

Read More

Every child deserves a quality education

Maybe it’s because I am a father and my wife is a teacher that I have a unique perspective. But I believe, wholeheartedly, that every child deserves a quality education. Regardless of if they are zoned for this school or that school, can afford private school or can’t afford private school.

Alabama should provide a quality education for all of our

Read More

Remembering The Goat Man

Years ago the Vagabond had the opportunity to meet Darryl Patton, an herb expert and author of several books, including one on the late Tommy Bass, who lived in Cherokee County. Darryl has also written a book called America’s Goat Man. He writes:

“With an iron-wheeled wagon overloaded with pots, pans, car tags, lanterns, five-gallon pails and bales of hay hanging

Read More