Elected officials should pay for special elections when they resign

It’s not often that Sen. Del Marsh and I agree on political issues (take the Accountability Act, for example). But there is one issue that he and I strongly agree on, and that is the need to stop the revolving door that has become elected office.
    Since the 2010 elections, there have been 10 elected officials who have resigned. Some

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Which Indian tribes resided in Etowah County?

 For several years, the Vagabond has been asked where was the Cherokee tribe and the Creek tribe in Etowah County.
    On top of that, it is heard all the times that the Creek tribe held the area south of Wills and Line Creeks. This area would include the area south of Gadsden and Attalla.
    It is amazing that there has

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Raising rates the same as raising taxes

Mismanagement.

That is the only word to describe the state’s decision this week to raise insurance premiums on state employees instead of choosing to tap into the board’s reserves for next year.

It would be one thing if this were a small increase or if there were no other options. But this is not a small increase we are talking about.

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Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant 100th Anniversary - Final

For the last few weeks the Messenger and the Vagabond have been doing a partnership with Alabama Power Company for the 100th anniversary of the Gadsden steam plant. The Vagabond contacted Alabama’s famous historian, Leah Rawls Atkins, for her expert information. Leah wrote a very thick book on Alabama Power Company a few years ago  called Developed for the Service

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Holding the Republican Supermajority accountable on the Accountability Act

When the Republican Supermajority in Montgomery rammed the Accountability Act through the legislature, it did so without any idea as to how much it would cost.

So when the supermajority wrote the education budget, it took a guess and set aside $40 million of your tax dollars (just for this year) to pay for tax credits to send kids in certain

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Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant 100th anniverary - Part 3

For the next few weeks the Messenger and the Vagabond will be doing a partnership with Alabama Power Company for the 100th anniversary of the Gadsden steam plant.

The Vagabond has contacted Alabama’s famous historian, Leah Rawls Atkins, for her expert information.

Leah wrote a very thick book on Alabama Power Company a few years ago  called Developed for the Service of

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Not supporting Medicaid a disservice to taxpayers

One of the signs that our economy is still struggling to recover is the fact that over the past five years, Medicaid enrollment in Alabama has increased more than 20 percent. It means that more and more Alabamians are struggling to meet their basic needs.

Last year, 52 percent of the babies born in Alabama were born under care paid for

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Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant 100th anniversary, Part 2

For the next few weeks, the Messenger and The Vagabond are partnering with Alabama Power Company for the 100th anniversary of the Gadsden steam plant. The Vagabond has contacted Alabama’s famous historian, Leah Rawls Atkins, for her expert information. Leah wrote a comprehensive book on Alabama Power Company a few years ago called Developed for the Service of Alabama - the

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How we can climb out of the recession

 This week we celebrated Labor Day, a time to recognize and honor the contributions made by working and middle class families to our nation’s economy.
    But for many families, Labor Day is just a reminder that they are unemployed or cannot find a job that comes with quality pay and benefits.
    Job creation and economic growth are among the most

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Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant 100-year anniverary, Part 1

For the next few weeks the Messenger and The Vagabond will partner with the Alabama Power Company for the 100th anniversary of the company’s Gadsden steam plant.
    The Vagabond contacted Alabama’s famous historian, Leah Rawls Atkins, for her expert information.
    Leah wrote a very thick book on Alabama Power Company a few years ago called Developed for the Service of

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Is the Accountability Act helping our children?

As the new school year has begun, the Accountability Act has once again made its way into the headlines of newspapers across Alabama.

The Accountability Act was sold to the public as giving families with children “trapped in a failing school” the opportunity to claim a $3,500 tax credit to send their children to a better-performing private school.

Federal law already allowed

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Ferries on the Coosa River

The Vagabond remembers driving over the old Hokes Bluff Ferry years ago and got to thinking about the different ferries that used to operate in Etowah County.

The first ferryboat operated across the Coosa River in Gadsden was known as Walker Ferry, later known as the Ewing Ferry.

The landing was on the west bank of the river at the

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Doing what’s best for our children’s education

Education should not be a partisan issue. We should always do what is in our children’s best interests.

I believe strongly in working with the business community to develop curriculums that prepare our children not just for a college education, but also for entering the workforce.

Last week’s announcement of the new Business Education Alliance (BEA) brings this idea to the center

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Early baseball in Gadsden

The Vagabond is a member and administrator of the Facebook group, “Welcome to Gadsden.” The group has over 4,000 members and anyone is able to join.

The page includes several historical postings each day. 

If you are a Facebook member, you can find it at www.facebook.com/groups/Gadsden/

Recently, group member Robert Elton submitted the following post:

“[This is] From my old school buddy,

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Time to invest in public education and stop punishing educators

I have always been a believer in the value of education. And that is why I have always fought to protect our public schools and to fund them to the level that our children deserve.

But over the past three years, state leaders in Montgomery have done a very poor job of supporting our schools. And - for no other reason

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Etowah County’s first courthouse

This week the Vagabond will venture around some history books and talk about the first courthouse in Etowah County. Many people have told me that they remember the courthouse that existed through 1950. Some folks even have argued that it was the first courthouse built for the county, but little do they know!

Back when the Vagabond was attending high school,

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Alabama needs leaders who will be your representative to government, not the government’s representative to you

When I was growing up, one of the most important lessons my parents taught me was to always remember who got me to where I am. Like that old saying goes, “you dance with the one that brung ya.”

As a state representative, I have tried my best to be true to that principle. So when I vote in the state

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Gadsden’s Tunnel Block

This week the Vagabond visits the greatest eyesore Gadsden ever had.

Called the “Tunnel Block,” the area consisted of a group of about six or eight frame storehouses built over a creek on the north side of Broad Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. This was way back in the 1870’s and 1880’s.

A young friend of the Vagabond recently told

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Along the lower Black Creek Trail

This week the Vagabond goes down the Black Creek for an adventure. The sites he passes by include the old Clayton’s gristmill, coal mines and nearby Sulphur Springs. These locations can be reached by the new Black Creek Trail that extends from the back of the Noccalula Falls campground to the Tuscaloosa Avenue/Black Creek Bridge near the Etowah County Rescue

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Bi-partisan support for education reform begins with AMSTI

I was very glad to see Gov. Bentley come out this week in support of the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, more commonly known as the AMSTI program.

This program is something that Democrats have long been in support of, and I am glad to see Gov. Bentley and other Republicans joining with us Democrats in supporting AMSTI.

It is obvious

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Company 167 Infantry, Gadsden Part Four

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Gadsden Alabama 167th Infantry known as the Rainbow Division, a unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, donated a yearbook and the crest of the 1938 Alabama 167th Infantry to the Etowah Historical Society.

Next week a new Vagabond

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1938 Co. 167 Infantry, Gadsden Part three

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Gadsden Alabama 167th Infantry. Known as the Rainbow Division, it was the unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, recently donated to the Etowah Historical Society a yearbook about the Alabama 167th Infantry during 1938. We will be showing this

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Why we must inspire our children to public service

Earlier this month, a new Gallop poll was released showing that sixty-four percent of Americans do not want their children to pursue a career in politics.

While I understand why Americans feel this way, I am also deeply disappointed by the results of the poll.

Certainly, politics has earned a bad reputation. There’s no shortage of stories about corrupt politicians

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Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton Part Two

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Alabama 167th Infantry known as the Rainbow Division, a unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, donated a yearbook about the Alabama 167th Infantry during 1938 to the Etowah Historical Society. We will be showing this yearbook and more about

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What makes America great

Last week, in recognition of Independence Day, I wrote about freedom and democracy and how these are both a right and a privilege. Freedom and democracy are what makes this country great. They are the reason that people are willing to risk their lives to come to this country.

But freedom and democracy are not the only the reasons why this

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Freedom and Democracy: a privilege and responsibility


The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. It is a special time each year when we celebrate our nation’s birthday (this year is our 237th birthday) with fun, food, fireworks, family and friends.

But it should also be a time when we reflect on what it means to be free and to have democracy.

Thousands of Americans have given

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Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton Part One

Some time ago, the Messenger published a photo of the Gadsden National Guard band at Camp Blanding in Florida, which is located west of Jacksonville. The photo also appeared on Facebook some time back. Bill Elton was one of the few people who had his own car at Blanding, so he would sometimes loan the car to some of the

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Governor playing politics with people’s livelihoods

Alabama’s state employees work hard. They make our state and local governments function. They keep our courts running and our streets safe. And for the past five years, they have done so while having their pay and their budgets cut. Even merit raises, which are given solely on the basis of the employee’s performance, have been frozen for the past

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How did Gadsden get started? Part Six

The Vagabond has been asked many times about how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:

Chapter VI—And Still More Pioneers

“No history of Gadsden would be complete without a record of Col. R. B. Kyle who since he

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Sneaking in the back door

It is no secret that things in Montgomery have become much more partisan and tense since 2010. Some of that you would expect. After all, politics is a contact sport.

But over the past three years, our legislature - under the leadership of the Republican Supermajority - has embraced dishonest tactics to sneak radical legislation in through the back door.

This strategy

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The Vagabond - How did Gadsden get started? Part 5

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:
 
Chapter V - Some more pioneers
“Well, we finished the roll call of the Christophers last week. That is, if any of

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“Stand in Schoolhouse Door” - a lesson about opportunity

One of the things I love about the summertime is the celebration of our country and all that our nation represents, values such as freedom and opportunity.

A couple of weeks ago, we honored our fallen men and women in uniform with Memorial Day, and in about a month we will celebrate our nation’s freedom with Independence Day.

But this week also

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How did Gadsden get started? Part Four

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:
 
Chapter IV - Gadsden in the ‘Sixties

“During the week, I had a most pleasant and most profitable interview with those grand

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Republican Supermajority embraces anti-education agenda

If there was any doubt before as to whether the Alabama Republican Party and the Republicans in the Alabama Legislature are waging a war on public education, those doubts have been put to rest now.

Last week, the Alabama Republican Party ann-ounced that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would be the party’s keynote speaker at its summer dinner in Montgomery this August.

Walker

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How did Gadsden get started? Part 3

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and information about the city’s early years. One of Gadsden’s early historians and mayors, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929), wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:

“Westward Ho! The star of the Empire takes its course, so Gadsden began to grow west from the

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How did Gadsden get started? Part 2

The Vagabond has been asked many times about how Gadsden was started. One of Gadsden early historians and mayors, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:

“A brief history of Gadsden’s first steamboat in 1845 - The Coosa. She was made in St. Louis and steamed down the Mississippi river to the

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For veterans and families, every day is Memorial Day

Earlier this week, we took a day to remember our veterans and fallen heroes who have sacrificed their lives for our country.

We have all heard the famous quote: “Freedom is not free.” And it is good that we take time to remember those who have given their lives so that we can be safe and free.

Since the Civil War, Americans

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How did Gadsden get started? Part one

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started. One of Gadsden early historian and Mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. His notes are as follows:

The Earliest Days

“Gadsden has no written history, although it has been a history maker from its inception, except in encyclopedia and in

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Republican divide shows itself in legislative session

It has been a telling year in the Alabama legislature. The taxpayers have learned a lot about their representatives in Montgomery from what has taken place over the past few months.

Of course, the most notable event was the Republican supermajority’s decision to deceive the people of Alabama (and even their own education advisors) by ramming through the Accountability Act with

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A visit to Keener, Alabama

A few years back, the Vagabond along with the late Jerry Jones went up to the little community of Keener, Alabama.

This little community is located a few miles Northeast of Attalla. Located between Attalla and Keener is the town of Reece City and a long-forgotten mining town community of Crudup.

Keener long ago was once known as Greenwood, and it is

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Republicans in Montgomery take one last jab at public education

For the past three years, the Alabama legislature, under the leadership of the Republican Supermajority, has waged a war on public education in Alabama.

It started with cutting educators’ take-home pay. Next, the Republicans “dropped the DROP program,” though they waited until they could get their payout from it first.

This year, it started with the Accountability Act. Plenty has been said

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Another lost opportunity to debate Accountability Act

I learned a lot of values from my dad. He served in the state legislature for 26 years, and one of the most important values he practiced as a legislator and that he passed on to me is that our government should operate honestly and out in the open so that the taxpayers can see what they are getting for

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150th Civil War Tour at downtown Gadsden

Recently, the Vagabond was part of a 150th Civil War presentations and tour. On May 2, participants met at the Center for Cultural Arts and took a bus to see where the Sansom Crossing took place at Black Creek and where John Henry Wisdom’ began his ride.
On the afternoon of May 2, 1863, 150 years ago to the day, Colonel

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Attempts to “fix” Accountability Act only serves to make a bad law worse

This week, the Alabama House of Representatives once again has to vote on legislation that is meant to “fix” a bill that was rushed through the process and not thought-out before it became law.

If there has been a theme for the past three years since the Republican Supermajority took control of the state legislature, it has been “unintended consequences.”

Unintended consequences

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Part myth? Dramatized? The Blair’s march and an actual letter from Emma Sansom

The Vagabond is asking a hard question that even he doesn’t know the answer for. Hopefully somebody out there will help. During the Civil War there were some Confederates (or Union) soldiers that came off Sand Mountain heading to what is now Collinsville. Some of the official records indicate they went through Cox’s Gap to what we think was Mills

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General Fund Budget is insufficient

It’s that time of year when the state legislature writes the budgets that will fund our schools and government services.

Last week, the Alabama House of Representatives passed the Education Trust Fund, which funds all things related to public education. This week, the House will turn its attention to the state’s General Fund budget, which funds all state departments, agencies, and

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Mysterious cave at Noccallua Falls: Is it real?

Throughout Lookout Mountain are many mysterious caves in which all sort of legends are connected.

For instance, Confederate soldiers entered and staggered out days later at another distant location. Then there are those caves that served as a shelter for the Indians, for a hospital, moon shining operations as well as mining for gunpowder.

If this is not enough, recently found Lookout

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Education budget a slap in the face

 It has been a rough year for public education in Alabama. In fact, for the past three years, the Republicans in the Alabama legislature have been waging a war on public education.
    And because of the education budget that passed the state House of Representatives last week, next year isn’t looking much better.
    Particularly, there are two proposals included in

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The mystery of Milton ‘Skeets’ Elliott and his death

 Of the daring young men in their flying Jennies, who barnstormed the country half a century ago, the first to skyrocket to fame was Omer Locklear of Texas. His pilot and best buddy was Milton “Skeets” Elliott of Gadsden.
    Lock and Skeets were the names used by headline writers of the day and every newspaper reader knew who was meant.

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Accountability Act can’t be fixed

 Repeal is the only solution


When Gov. Bentley signed the Alabama Accountability Act into law, he acknowledged that there were, in his words, “Some concerns [that] have been raised regarding the impact of this legislation.”

The governor also said he believed those concerns could be fixed through more rules and regulation.

At the same time, Republicans in the state legislature are saying

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Gadsden and the American Restoration Movement

Last week the Vagabond discussed about the beginning of the Church of Christ in the Gadsden area.

It was part of the American Restoration Movement, a Christian movement that began on the American frontier during the Second Great Awakening (1790–1870).

The movement sought to restore the church and “the unification of all Chri-stians in a single body patterned after the church of

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History of Central Church of Christ

The Vagabond recently received many requests about Central Church of Christ for its history since it merged with the East Gadsden congregation. Wanda Womack, who has been the church secretary there for years helped out the Vagabond with the following article:

The date of the beginning of the Church of Christ congregations in the Gadsden area is believed to be sometimes

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Make our children’s safety a priority

The Bible says in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” I believe in the truth of that scripture, and over the next couple of months we will see where our state’s leadership is putting their hearts.

As the legislature returns for the second half of the legislative session, one of its top priorities will

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Be careful what you wish for…

 Be careful what you wish for…
We’ve all heard the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” It seems that Republicans in the Alabama legislature are learning the meaning of this saying the hard way after they failed to show up for work this past Tuesday and ended up burning a legislative day and

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An ugly bill passed in an ugly way

It is amazing to read what some legislators have written in the weeks since the state legislature passed the so-called Alabama Accountability Act.

The Republicans in the Alabama legislature who concocted this bill and the deceitful (not to mention illegal) tactics to pass it, are now trying to tell us that they followed the rules and thoroughly debated this bill, which

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Then and now

This week the Vagabond and the Etowah Historical Society is sponsoring several Then & Now photos from yesterday and today.

Our  representative, Gary Holloway, will go and match the old photos as to where and what they now look like.    

If you have an old unusual photo you want to submit, or you want to comment on our photo, please e-mail

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Then and Now

This week the Vagabond and the Etowah Historical Society is sponsoring some Then & Now photos from yesterday and today.

Our representative, Gary Holloway, will go and match the old photos as to where and what they now look like.   

If you have an old unusual photo you want to submit, or you want to comment on our photo, please e-mail

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We have to slow down the legislative process

There has been a lot said over the past two weeks about the tactics used by Republicans in the Alabama legislature to pass the so-called Alabama Accountability Act. You have also read about how Democrats have responded by filibustering legislation and using the rules to slow the legislative process down.

I want to explain why Democrats are doing what we are

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Jack Floyd remembers

The Vagabond received the most interesting letter from Gadsden attorney Jack Floyd and wishes to share with the reader what he had to say:
“I have been reading with interest the ‘Life Around the Dwight Mill Village.’ The Feb. 15 issue was getting to almost my time in Alabama City.

“I grew up there at 1002 (now 3002) Elliott Avenue (now Meighan

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Republicans in Montgomery broke promise

By State Rep. Craig Ford If there was any doubt that the Republican leadership in Montgomery is waging a war on public education in Alabama, those doubts were put to rest last week. By passing the so-called school “Accountability Act,” and doing so in the way that they did it, the Republicans in the Alabama
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A history of the VFW in Etowah County, and in Alabama


The Etowah Historical Society recently received a book from Tom Robertson that he had picked up in a local yard sale.
The book was titled the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Alabama 50th year anniversary, 1899-1949.
It contains the history of the VFW in Alabama, especially here in Etowah County.
The Vagabond wishes to share this article and rare photos to our reader.
The story
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Sequestration would be disaster for State of Alabama

If there has been a theme for the Republicans in Montgomery this legislative session, it would be that the federal government is bad and we don’t need the federal government’s money.

While I am all for the state being in control of its own destiny, the truth is that we rely on the federal government in order to provide the services

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Governor, legislature treating state employees like second-class citizens

I never thought that I would live to see a governor brag about how he has eliminated 4,000 jobs, especially in the middle of a recession! But two weeks ago, that is exactly what Gov. Robert Bentley did in his State of the State address.

The only thing more shocking than hearing the governor brag about how he has put 4,000

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Early history of the VFW in Etowah County Part 1

The Etowah Historical Society recently received a book from Tom Robertson that he had picked up in a local yard sale. The book was titled Veterans of Foreign Wars, Alabama 50th year anniversary, 1899-1949. It contains the history of the VFW, in Alabama especially here in Etowah County. The Vagabond wishes to share this article and rare photos to our

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Life around the Dwight Mill Village - another story

The other week the Vagabond mentioned about an incident about the old Dr. Burns at the Mill Village of Alabama City.

A pretty neat article on the doctor and information to contact Jeffie Burns Latham about her grandfather was received. Here’s a little bit about the Dr. Burns of Alabama City:

Robert A(braham) Burns, was born on a farm near Jacksonville, Calhoun

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School flexibility bill must be fixed or it should be rejected

Public education is one of the most important services our state and local governments provide. All of us want to see our schools improve and our children’s quality of education rise.

For Republicans in Montgomery, their signature proposal for public education is a bill they call the “School Flexibility Act.”

What this bill would do is allow local school systems to seek

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Why the Democratic Party is not dead in Alabama

 Since 2010, some people have argued that the Democratic Party is dead in Alabama.
    They are wrong.
    There are several reasons why Democrats not only are alive, but in good position to take back several seats we have lost.
    First, the 2010 and 2012 elections are not a good indicator of what is going to happen in 2014.
    In 2010,

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Life around the Dwight Mill Village - Part 7- Final

Ed (W.A.) Lewis of the Etowah Historical Society brought a booklet to the Vagabond about someone from the Dwight Cotton Mill Village. It is called “A USA Mill Town Saga of the 1900’s,” written by Eugene Livingston.    He wrote what he remembered about the times, hardships, laughter and love shared between two families, Jim and
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The Vagabond: Dwight Mill Village, part 6

Ed (W.A.) Lewis of the Etowah Historical Society brought a booklet to the Vagabond about someone from the Dwight Cotton Mill Village. Called, “A USA Mill Town Saga of the 1900’s,”  the book was written by Eugene Livingston, who wrote what he remembered about the times, hardships, laughter and love shared between two families, Jim and Ester Livingston and Roy

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To get results, we must invest in our children’s education

As legislators prepare to return to Montgomery next week for the 2013 Legislative Session, one of the biggest issues we will address will be public education.

Last week, Republicans in the state legislature announced their legislative agenda for this year. Their only education proposal was a school flexibility bill that would allow local school systems to seek waivers on state statues,

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Life around the Dwight Mill Village, part 5

Ed (W.A.) Lewis of the Etowah Historical Society recently brought a booklet to the Vagabond about someone from the Dwight Cotton Mill Village. Called “A USA Mill Town Saga of the 1900’s,” the book was written by Eugene Livingston, who wrote what he remembered about the times, hardships, laughter and love shared between two families, Jim and Ester Livingston and

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What we can learn from Dr. King

“…there is nothing greater in all the world than freedom. It’s worth going to jail for. It’s worth losing a job for. It’s worth dying for. My friends, go out this evening determined to achieve this freedom which God wants for all of His children.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jan. 1, 1957

As our country celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Life around the Dwight Mill Village - Part 4

This week Vagabond received a message from Mike Morgan who wrote:

“I have been reading The Messenger and I came across your stories on the mill village. The Emery family in the story is my great grandmother (Lula Emery) and her children. Lula moved in 1907 to Alabama City from Falkville, AL after her husband, J.R. Emery, died. They came

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Setting legislative goals for 2013

As legislators prepare to return to Montgomery on Feb. 5, we have to determine what issues will be our priorities in the coming legislative session. In the coming weeks, House Democrats will announce our official legislative agenda for the year. But today, I’d like to discuss what the legislature’s top priorities should be when we return to the capitol.

One of

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How to make our schools safer

Most of us have always taken for granted that our children are safe at school. None of us are ever prepared to hear about what happened last month in Newtown, Connecticut, or at Columbine High School almost 14 years ago.

Schools should be a safe place where our children can learn and grow without fear or danger. And when you consider
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Life around the Dwight Mill Village, Part 3

Ed (W.A.) Lewis of the Etowah Historical Society brought a booklet to the Vagabond about someone from the Dwight Cotton Mill Village. It is called, “A USA Mill Town Saga of the 1900’s.”

Eugene Livingston wrote what he remembered about the times, hardships, laughter and love shared between two families, Jim and Ester Livingston and Roy and Betty Emery as they

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Stop playing politics with peoples’ lives

I don’t envy Gov. Bentley. He has a tough job to do and has had to make some tough choices over the past two years. But one of the choices he has made should not have been tough at all. Yet he took months to make his choice, flip-flopped on that choice, and ultimately made the wrong decision.

I’m talking about

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Life around the Dwight Mill Village, Part 2

Ed (W.A.) Lewis of the Etowah Historical Society brought a booklet to the Vagabond about someone from the Dwight Cotton Mill Village. It is called, “A USA Mill Town Saga of the 1900’s.”

Eugene Livingston wrote what he remembered about the times, hardships, laughter and love shared between two families, Jim and Ester Livingston and Roy and Betty Emery as they

Read More

Life around the Dwight Cotton Mill Village, part 1

Ed (W.A.) Lewis of the Etowah Historical Society recently brought a booklet to the Vagabond about someone from the Dwight Cotton Mill Village. The book is called A USA Mill Town Saga of the 1900’s.

Eugene Livingston wrote what he remembered about the times, hardships, laughter and love shared between two families, Jim and Ester Livingston and Roy and Betty Emery

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Betty Kelly: A famous international singer from Attalla

Betty Kelly, who later became a well-known American singer, was born Sept. 16, 1944 in Attalla, .Her family moved to Detroit, Mich,. when she was a child. Like many children growing up in the city, Kelly found herself aspiring to a career in music.

In 1961, she joined Motown singing group The Velvelettes. Kelly was not part of the group when

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The universal Christmas gift

The holidays are a time for giving. We give gifts to our friends, families and co-workers. We give money and other donations to charities like Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army or a local food bank. But money and presents are the only gifts we can give, and sometimes are not the gifts that are most needed.

One thing we all

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Remembering Yvonne Kennedy

This week, I lost a true friend, colleague and mentor when Rep. Yvonne Kennedy passed away.

When I first heard the news, I was shocked. It was very unexpected. But as I began to mourn her passing, the thought occurred to me that this shouldn’t just be a time for saying goodbye to a friend we lost.

This should also be a

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Tommie Bass - Herb Doctor of Shinbone Ridge - remembers family Christmas

In his 1988 book about Tommie from whom this article is derived, Local author Darryl Patton writes “He is one of those rare and endangered species; a truly kind and honest person- a giver not a taker.”

“At 80, he has been treating those in his community with herbs for over 70 years...Tommie Bass is truly a diamond in a

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Which Indian tribes lived in Etowah County?

For several years, the Vagabond has been asked the question of where the Cherokee and Creek Indian tribes lived in Etowah County. On top of that, it has been wrongly said that the Creek tribe held the area south of Wills and Line creeks. This area would include the area south of Gadsden and Attalla. It is amazing that there

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Legal, responsible gun owners should not have to choose

When our founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights, they made the “right to keep and bear arms” a priority. In fact, the right to own a firearm comes second only to the First Amendment rights to free speech, freedom of religion and the freedom of the press.

The founding fathers were wise to provide constitutional protections for gun ownership.

The actual

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Structures relocated, saved for exhibition

 There is a little old log cabin that’s set up about 100 yards to the west of the Little River Canyon Center on Ala. 35. It came from Cedar Bluff just across from the Cedar Bluff School at the older Eugene Turner Mann’s place.

Early in his life Eugene Mann became interested in the mining industry and took an active part

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Governor wrong on Medicaid-Health Insurance Exchange

I have been very disappointed to read that Gov. Bentley has chosen to hand over control of the state’s health insurance exchange to the federal government.

Federal law requires the state to set up an insurance exchange. Because the governor has refused to follow the law, the federal government is going to set up the exchange anyway and without any input

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What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

 This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, and, in my opinion, it could not come soon enough.
    This year has been filled with political fights, Hurricane Sandy and a scandal involving the head of the CIA.
    With all of that, it can be easy to get consumed with the bad and forget all the good we have in our lives.
    So it

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Early Etowah County pioneer Joseph Wilson

A boy and girl romance that started in Buncombe County, North Carolina, in the late 1830’s ended in Etowah County in 1840 when Joseph Wilson married Celia Edwards, daughter of Thomas C. Edwards, and a direct descendant of Jonathon Edwards of New York.
    Young Joseph Wilson had followed the Edwards family to Etowah County from North Carolina. He bought a

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Recalling Clayton Mill and the old Etowah County Jail

This week the Vagabond talks about the old Clayton Mill and the old county jail.

There are a few out there who can remember at least one of these if not both.

Clayton Mill

Clayton Mill was located on Black Creek a mile or so below Noccalula Falls on the home place of Charles A. Clayton and his wife Nancy Richards Clayton.

The mill

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Where is the ethical government the Republicans promised?

I was deeply disappointed last week when I read about the Republican leaderships’ hypocrisy on gambling in Alabama and the subsequent threats they made to the papers that printed the story.

Disappointed, but not surprised.

For years, there have been accusations that the Alabama Republican Party and its leadership have actively sought out contributions from gaming interests in Alabama and Mississippi while

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Take time to honor our veterans this Veterans’ Day

November is a special time of year. The leaves begin changing, the fall becomes winter, and there is plenty of great football on television. Every November, our nation takes a day to give thanks for the blessings God has given us.

But November is also the month when we take a day to honor America’s veterans and to thank them for

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Confederate Veterans of Etowah County

In mid-October 1889, about seventy Confederate veterans of the county met the Etowah County Courthouse to organize the Confederate Veterans’ Association of Etowah County. The veterans elected officers for the association and made plans to attend an upcoming state convention to be held the latter part of the month.

Chairman of the meeting was Captain A.L. Woodliff and L.E. Hamlin was

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Amendment 4 has strings attached

Recently, I wrote an article about the 11 statewide amendments that will be on our ballots next week. Today, I want to talk a little more about Amendment 4, which would remove some of the racist language that is currently in our state constitution.

If you only read the description of Amendment 4 that will appear on our ballots, it appears

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The story of a familiar landmark: Gilliland Covered Bridge

Don’t forget! On Saturday, Nov, 3. The Vagabond and the Etowah Historical Society is sponsoring a tour to Arab, Alabama to see their historical village. We will leave Elliott Community Center (located at 29th and Meighan at the very back of the historical society) at 9 a.m. sharp and follow a convoy.

You can follow or ride with someone. Cost to

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Tour planned to ‘The Mountain Town Pioneers Built’

The Vagabond and the Etowah Historical Society are sponsoring a tour to Arab to see the historical village. We will leave Elliott Community Center  at 29th  and Meighan, at the very back of the historical society,  at 9 a.m. sharp and follow a convoy. You can follow or ride with someone up there. The cost to see the village is

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Remember amendments on Nov. 6

 In two weeks, we will cast our votes in several crucial elections. But there will be more than just political offices on our ballots. This year’s ballot also includes eleven statewide amendments, some of which will have significant impacts on our state.

To help voters have a better understanding of what these amendments will do, I have written a summary of

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Steam Engine Day planned in Attalla

 Take a trip back in time, to a slower paced atmosphere when railroad travel was a way of life. Relive the romance of the rails when vintage trains provided an escape from the everyday routine. Aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad #630 locomotive, you will ride a rolling time machine providing the sights and sounds of yesteryear.

The Vagabond is planning

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Fighting against domestic violence

 Recently I wrote an editorial about October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and what we can do to help raise awareness and support the work to end breast cancer.

But did you know that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

Domestic violence occurs when one person uses force or threats to control another person. This is typically done through

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Reviewing ways to repay trust fund

 We must repay the trust fund sooner and with interest

One of the reasons that voters approved the constitutional amendment to allow the state to borrow $437 million from the state’s Trust Fund was because the Governor and legislative leaders promised that they would repay the money.

The bill that Republican Sen. Bryan Taylor filed would require the state to

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