“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

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Pat’s Squash Cornbread and Oven Garden Vegetables

When I was reading through Cherry Clements cookbook, "Mama's Bequest", she had signed the inside cover, "Do not let good cooking die out".  I love her Southern Georgia cookbook. As Southerners, we can not let Southern cooking "die out".  I have heard so many people say that Southern cooking is going to be a

Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop by Dr. Cynthia L. Toles

A special Thank You. There has been much said about the Central-Carver Reunion 2014 this past week. Yes, it has been about remembering, reminiscing and the gathering of classes, families, friends and classmates returning to Gadsden that some have not seen in 45 plus years.  Central-Carver School (Wildcats) is embedded in the hearts and minds of the alumni and community.

Read More

We deserve more than broken promises

It’s politics 101. You don’t make promises you can’t keep or lead people on to think you might do something you know you will not be able to do.

But that is exactly what Gov. Robert Bentley did to educators this year.

At the start of the year, Bentley proposed a 2.5 percent pay raise for teachers and support personnel. Newspaper headlines

Read More

A time to be proud

with State Rep. Craig Ford

I love America, and I especially love Alabama. That’s no secret, as I believe all people in politics should truly love our great nation. But I have to say, this summer, I find myself loving America a little more than usual.

With the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, celebrating everything that our forefathers tirelessly

Read More

Higher Ed’s exorbitant pay to retired presidents

By Bob Martin Recent reports indicate that our state universities are providing what most Alabamians would probably call exorbitant pay to retiring presidents. The University of Alabama System paid former UAB President Carol Garrison over $1 million dollars since she resigned over a year ago for serving on various boards, committees and foundations and participating
Read More

Senior Awareness

 By Mary Payne

Who is it?

This question can lead to a lot of problems.

If someone knocks on your door and you aren’t expecting anyone - Do Not Answer.

Home intruders are not going to answer truthfully - “Oh, it is a home invader and I am going to steal your money and injure you.” They are going to say that

Read More

Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Happy 4th to all of you! I was in Eastside Presbyterian Church most of my life and that means that I have been to more Wednesday night suppers, homecomings, Presbyterian women’s meetings, and many other “eating affairs” than most food connoisseurs.  At these gatherings, recipes are exchanged and cooking tips are discussed.  My heart is
Read More

Pondering Life with Pious Bob

Normal is as normal does  The computer-internet-social media experience for my generation and those younger has certainly helped maintain relationships with friends, classmates and teammates.  One of my contacts is an old high school football teammate who is 69 years of age and I’m 70. My friend Chuck has lived an extraordinary life of teaching,
Read More

Time for a real jobs plan

They say history repeats itself. That certainly seems to be true in Alabama politics, especially during an election year. If you go on YouTube and look at the political campaign ads our state leaders ran four years ago, you may think you are experiencing déjà vu.  Four years ago, the popular campaign slogan was “jobs,
Read More

Pondering Life...with Pious Bob

Science is moving closer to God 

 We have Holy Scripture and church doctrine that help us to understand the existence of and our relationship with God. Jesus, as God’s Word, took God’s message to a new level. Even with scripture and church doctrine, we can enhance our understanding and relationship with God in other ways as well. We can get a

Read More

Southern cooking with Andy Bedwell

Summer is here and it is time for cookies and ice cream. One of the prettiest luncheons that I have ever attended was at a friend’s home in Centre. I can not remember the lunch menu but I definitely will never forget the dessert. She had homemade vanilla ice cream, scooped in crystal sherbet goblets,
Read More

Senior Awareness

By Jon Costa The Medicare Minute for June, 2014 provided by the Medicare Rights Center and the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, is entitled “Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy.” Understanding how Med -icare covers outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy will help ensure you have access to the services you need to be as healthy
Read More

The Neighborhood Scoop

By Dr. Cynthia L. Toles The Carver High School Class of 1964 is celebrating its Golden Year (2014) as a class. Beginning with an amazing road trip of six nights and seven days, the group began exploring sites in some of northern cities. Everyone was down for the trip and excitement was everywhere. The group
Read More

I should have stayed on the cruise

By Bob Martin Maybe I should have stayed on the cruise ship.  First, a personal note It’s great to be back in Sweet Home Alabama after what is called an Alaskan Cruise. I called it a Western Canada Cruise, but we did hit those dots of Alaska off the coast of British Columbia such as
Read More

Inside the Statehouse with Steve Flowers

By Steve Flowers A recent Fortune magazine article ranked Alabama as one of the top 10 states when it comes to corruption. We were ranked sixth overall. The rankings were determined by a study of convictions of public officials for violations of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008. A good many of our sister
Read More

The Vagabond: A decision in Gadsden

By Danny Crownover Back in the early part of May of 1994, some 20 years ago, Jeff Sauls of the Turkey Town Valley Camp #1512 and Sons of Confederate Veterans wrote an article about the Civil War engagement that happened at Turkey Town. He writes: “As the leaves of the South put on its autumn
Read More

The greatest joy and responsibility a man can have

There is no doubt that God has been good to me. I have received so many blessings in my life, but none have been better or more rewarding than being a father.

With all the responsibilities a person can have today, being a parent is by far the most important in significance, and it is a responsibility that I take more

Read More

Hazel Louise Pierce Oliver

For the last few weeks, The Vagabond has been talking about Etowah Historical Society founder Mary Harrison Lister and the interesting story about her life. This week is another story that must be reported once again.

Another Gadsden’s finest and original member of the Etowah Historical Society is Hazel Oliver. Because she stays extremely active and involved in many things, no

Read More

It’s not about Obama, it’s about Alabama

There were a lot of surprises that came out of last week’s primary elections. One thing that was not a surprise was all the ads and mail pieces about Barack Obama.

It only makes sense. Republican legislators don’t want to talk about their own record. They want to make every election a referendum on Obama’s presidency.

I don’t blame them. What record

Read More

Mary Harrison Lister, Etowah Historical Society founder, Part 5 (final)

The Vagabond recently visited the state archives in Montgomery, where he discovered several photos of Etowah Historical Society founder Mary Harrison Lister. The following is a continuation of a book written by Elbert L. Watson about Mary Harrison Lister:

“Let me backtrack for a moment to September, 1961, when I spoke to the society on the life of David W. Baine,

Read More

State leaders singing a different tune

My, how the tables have turned.

Four years ago, Republican politicians in Montgomery were applauding Republican prosecutors for investigating public corruption in the bingo trials - an investigation that led to exactly zero convictions.

Now, these same Republican politicians are claiming that politics is behind the investigation into their own corruption, and that the investigation is nothing more than an attempt to

Read More

Mary Harrison Lister, founder of the Etowah Historical Society, Part 4

The Vagabond recently visited the State Archives in Montgomery, where he discovered several photos of Etowah Historical Society founder Mary Harrison Lister. The following is a continuation of a book written by Elbert L. Watson about Mary Harrison Lister:

“Another high moment for Mrs. Lister and the Historical Society occurred in the following spring, when Mr. M.M. Johnson, one of Emma

Read More

Mary Harrison Lister, founder of the Etowah Historical Society. Part III

The Vagabond recently visited the State Archives in Montgomery, where he found several photos of Etowah Historical Society founder Mary Harrison Lister. The following is a continuation of a book written by Elbert L. Watson about Mary Harrison Lister:

“We all know that the Etowah County Historical Society is here because Mary Harrison Lister was determined that such an organization should exist.

Read More

A Day of Remembrance

John 15:13 reads, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Thousands of men and women in the United States Armed Forces have not only given their life for their friends, but for all of us. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those men and women who lost their lives for

Read More

A call for action

What if Etowah County and the 4th Congressional District had the same leadership in our congressional representative as they do in South Alabama?

Last week, Congressman Bradley Byrne of Mobile made a strong public stand for construction of a bridge on Interstate 10 over the Mobile River. The congressman called the project “a national priority” and warned that inaction would endanger

Read More

Mary Harrison Lister, Etowah Historical Society Founder, Part Two

The Vagabond recently traveled to Montgomery to the state archives, where he discovered several photos Mary Harrison Lister, the founder of the Etowah Historical Society.

The following piece is a continuation of a book written by Elbert L. Watson about Mary Harrison Lister:

“My next direct contact with the society was at its Christmas gathering held at Mrs. Lister's beloved Aloha Lodge

Read More

Congratulations graduates!

I have always believed in the power and value of education. That is why I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all those who are graduating this month.

Whether you are finishing high school, a vocational program or a college degree, you should be proud of how hard you have worked and what you have accomplished!

Getting an education is a

Read More

Mary Harrison Lister Founder of the Etowah Historical Society, Part One

“I have thought about you folk a great deal the past week, and particularly so yesterday since that marked the day when we laid your mother to rest.

“I can understand that your Christmas season had overtones of somberness since it was during this season that she was taken away.

“Ramona and I have felt this lost as well, since Mrs. Lister

Read More

Gadsden was advanced with 1938 astronomical society

The Vagabond recently received an e-mail from David Vincent. He writes:

“My grandfather was W.H. Vincent and he lived over off of Robinson Avenue in East Gadsden. He was in a club called the Alabama Astronomical Society back in 1938. I have this old article and several old photos, some with names. I have attached photos. I have always been curious

Read More

We can’t get help if our leaders don’t ask for it

The storms that hit Etowah County and Alabama last week left a devastating impact on our community. While the EMA is still working on a damage assessment, it is already clear that in Etowah County we have suffered far more damage than the required threshold to be declared a federal disaster area.

In my opinion, if even one house or business

Read More

Powdered alcohol should be outlawed in Alabama

Earlier this month, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau briefly granted approval to a new powdered form of alcohol. A couple of weeks later, the agency withdrew its approval, saying it was given in error.

The incident brought powdered alcohol to the national media’s attention, as well as the attention of many parents and addiction experts. I believe Alabama

Read More

Jack Daniels Distillery once located in Gadsden

Known for its square bottles and black label, Jack Daniel’s is a brand of Tennessee whiskey that is among the world’s best-selling liquors.

Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel was born in September 1850, although seemingly no one knows the exact date because the birth records were destroyed in a courthouse fire.

If the 1850 date is correct, he might have become a licensed

Read More

Queens of the Coosa

The Vagabond spent time in Montgomery this week pulling information out of the State of Alabama Archives with City of Altoona councilman and historian Ryan Cole.

If you have never been to the state archives, you must go!

This past February, the archives opened up a new museum called “Voices of Alabama.”

The museum was a 12-year undertaking with many

Read More

Jobs should be more than just a campaign slogan

“Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.”

It’s an election year, and you have probably seen that campaign slogan on billboards and yard signs all across the state. But are we really creating jobs here in Alabama? Or is job creation just more election year rhetoric, like the teacher pay raise?

The news seems to be mixed at best. On the one hand, economists at the

Read More

Deception, broken promises the status quo in Montgomery

Despite months of promising a pay raise for educators, it turns out that all the governor’s talk was just that - more election year rhetoric.

After four years of constant assaults on our public schools, this budget and the governor’s empty promises for a pay raise are just one more attack on education from the Republican Supermajority in Montgomery.

Gov. Robert Bentley

Read More

Watch out... there may be monsters in the Coosa!

Horror stories began to surface during the late 1950s and early ‘60s when the many dams were constructed along the Coosa and other rivers in Alabama. Stories of catfish as large as a Volkswagen have been told over and over again for more than 50 years.

While these stories have been told as true, there were stories of river monsters of

Read More

Gov. Bentley has one last chance to make things right

 Another legislative session has ended in Montgomery. And like most years, this session had its share of disappointments.

While there were some positive things that came out of this legislative session, the $400 bonus and conditional 4 percent pay raise for state employees next year, as examples, the bad outweighed the good.

Once again, legislative leaders refused to pass bills

Read More

Close, but no cigar

 We should be thankful that God does not operate like the folks in the fairs and carnivals that take your good money to play a game that is almost impossible to win.

The phrase they shout at their clientele when 99 percent of them can’t win the game is, “Close, but no cigar!”  This phrase goes back 100 years when

Read More

Etowah County has a long history

 The history of Etowah County goes back much further than most hear about.

What is now Etowah County was first a part of the State of Georgia. After the war with the Creek Indians, the portion of the county lying south and west of Big Wills Creek became a part of the Mississippi Territory and was located in Monroe County,

Read More

We need more women in state government

There is no doubt that I would not be the man I am today had it not been for the women in my life. From my mother to my wife and daughter, they have all shaped who I am. But more importantly, they have also helped shape the community we live in. I have seen in all of them a

Read More

The Owens families

Last week The Vagabond received a call from Wes Gwin, who was seeking information on where the old Owens Family Cemetery was located. It became a cemetery back in 1874.

A quick call to family member Nathan Owens revealed where the cemetery was located - off Main Street in South Gadsden near the top of a hill. The cemetery entrance is

Read More

Bentley’s idle threats have cost him and educators

One of the worst things a politician can do is make idle threats – and that is exactly what has happened with the education budget. Earlier this month, Gov. Robert Bentley announced that he would veto any budget that did not include a 2 percent pay increase for educators and increase funding for their health
Read More

Doubting God

A lifelong friend recently asked me, “What did Jesus mean when he said ‘Father, Why have you forsaken me.’ If Jesus could doubt God, surely sometimes we can too and still love him. I tell my wife of 45 years sometimes I have doubts about her. She doesn’t like it and says after 45 years
Read More

More early area settlers / The McBrayer Family

For the last few weeks, The Vagabond has been discussing some of the folks who settled in the area west and north of Attalla before the Cherokee Indians were removed. This area was located from around Highways 77 and 431 and all the way up to Sand Valley Road and over to Reece City. The
Read More

Shame on them!

Budgets are about priorities. Whether it’s your personal budget or the state’s budgets, we find a way to pay for the things that are most important. What we have learned this year is that a pay raise for our educators and retirees is not important to the leadership in the Alabama legislature.

Just compare the budget proposed by Gov. Robert Bentley

Read More

Early Etowah Co. settlers: The Gilliland Family

For the last few weeks, The Vagabond has been discussing some of the folks who settled in the area west and north of Attalla before the Cherokees were removed. This area was from around Highways 77 and 431 all the way up to Sand Valley Road and over to Reece City.

Last week The Vagabond discussed the Engle (Ingle) family that

Read More

Let the people vote!

We are now more than two-thirds of the way through this year’s legislative session in Montgomery and, once again, our state leaders have denied the voters of Alabama the chance to vote on a statewide lottery.

This goes beyond just arguing over the merits of a state lottery. This is about democracy!

How can we trust the voters to elect us but

Read More

More early settlers - Engles (Ingles)

For the last few weeks, The Vagabond has been discussing some of the folks who settled in the area located west and north of Attalla before the Cherokee Indians were removed. This area was from around Highways 77 and 431 all the way up to Sand Valley Road and over to Reece City.  

Last week The Vagabond

Read More