The Vagabond - Remembering The Great War: Alabama and WWI

By Danny Crownover The Etowah Historical Society currently is hosting a traveling exhibit commemorating the centennial anniversary of Alabama’s involvement in World War I. “Remembering the Great War: Alabama and World War I” tells the story of the war from the perspectives of Alabamians whose lives were shaped by the conflict. The free exhibit runs
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The Vagabond - Tales of Gadsden First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church of Gadsden was first a wooden structure built at the northwest corner of Broad and Fifth streets. When erected, the church was said by many members to be “out in the woods and inaccessible.” At that time, the little village of Gadsden was centered around the blocks bounded by First, Fourth,
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The Vagabond - Etowah County crime in the 1800s: Part one

Think Etowah County crime is bad now? Turn back to the 1800s 1876 Terrible Tragedy – On Saturday evening last one of the saddest took place between John C. Latham and Benjamin F. Hodges, resulting in the shooting of Latham by Hodges in the bowels and from which he died at 3 o’clock Sunday morning. 
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The Vagabond - Downtown Gadsden in the old days

In 1884, store displays were quite different from today. While walking down Broad Street the other day, The Vagabond got to thinking of the difference in window displays by the stores of the good old days and the present time. As a matter of fact, there were no window displays in those days. Everything was
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The Vagabond: Etowah County's role in the Civil War - Part 2

Perhaps the most fatal decision of the Civil War was made in Gadsden in October of 1864, when the Army of Tennessee, commanded by the dashing Gen. John Bell Hood, encamped here for two days. Recently driven out of Atlanta, Hood zigzagged his army up through northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama in an effort to
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The Vagabond - Etowah County’s role during the Civil War: Part 1

This week The Vagabond starts a series about the Civil War written by historian Betty Sue McElroy several years ago as a presentation to the Etowah Historical Society. The Vagabond talked to Betty Sue this week about her article. It was agreed that it would be worth repeating to the readers. Our Backyard, Gadsden, Ala.,
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The Vagabond: Nichols and the Dwight Manufacturing Company

Recently at the Jerry B. Jones Library in the Elliott Community Center in Alabama City, a photo of Charlotte Peabody Kimball Nichols, mother of Howard Gardner Nichols, was found. Charlotte was born on April 24, 1839, in Bradford, Mass., and died on Aug. 4, 1908, in Newton, Mass. In 1870 she married John Howard Nichols.
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The Vagabond: History of Gadsden city officials, Part III

This week the Vagabond continues with naming all the known mayors and officials of Gadsden through 1968. 1920 Mayor Clyde Stevenson Mayor: Clyde Stevenson President of Council: W.P. Archer Aldermen: Edwin W. Pickard and R.D. Stanfield, First Ward; I.S. Johnson and Berry Malone, Second Ward; I.M. Bensinger and B. Caldwell, Third Ward; R.W. Camp and Carl Whorton,
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The Vagabond - History of Gadsden city officials, Part II

This week The Vagabond continues with naming all the known mayors and officials of Gadsden. 1899 Mayor L.L. Herzberg Mayor: L.L. Herzberg. Aldermen: J.R. Hughes, First Ward; J.H. Holcomb; Louis M. Smith; Otto Agricola; W.H. Sutton. 1901 Mayor E. Blackwood Mayor: E. Blackwood. Aldermen: Robert L. Miller, First Ward); C.H. Ritch, Second Ward (resigned Oct., 1901, W.L.
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The Vagabond - History of Gadsden city officials

Robert Kyle, First Mayor – 1867. Officials as of June 9, 1876: Mayor: J. H. Disque; Aldermen: J. S. Paden, W. C. Liddell, W. T. Golightly, Jesse Mayne and W. N. Meeks; Town Marshall: M. M. Hughes; and City Clerk: D. B. Hicks. Officials as of 1877 (Fiscal yr. March 1 to Feb. 28): Mayor:
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The Vagabond - Gadsden's Old Commissioner Government

The Vagabond recently came across a rare document from the early 1930’s that is now at the Etowah Historical Society. Since the beginnings of the little town of Gadsden, there was different form of city government, what The Vagabond calls the pioneer form of governing, in which the mayor and other municipal officers was paid
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The Vagabond - Sales of Gadsden first lots - Boomtown & Depressions

  Gadsden has had a few booms that helped to build the city to its present prosperous stage, although some of them appeared to have caused some damage when they collapsed.

When the town was laid off into city lots, there was a boom in real estate, which was rather interesting, at least.

One year after the first steamboat on

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The Vagabond - Gadsden almost became a ghost town… three times!

Back in February of 1868, Gadsden suffered its most disastrous fire up at that time when what was called the Masonic Lodge block was entirely destroyed, along with some of the main stores of the little town. The Masonic Lodge Block was on Broad Street between Third and Fifth streets.

The blaze was discovered at 12

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The Vagabond - Local farmers became owners of “dead man”

  One of the funniest things to happen in Gadsden during the so-called “Gay Nineties” (1890’s) was the purchase of a “dead man” by four of the leading farmers of Etowah County.

The local farmers were taken in by one of the slickest swindles of the day, but could not do anything but grin and bear it.

Right in the

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The Vagabond - Smallest building in Gadsden

It is very unlikely that few if any Gadsden residents can locate where the smallest brick business house on Broad Street or, for that matter the smallest building in the city was located. 

Yet, it is right in the center of the downtown district.

The building was a one-story structure wedged in by what is today’s Gadsden Museum of Arts,

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The Vagabond - Power project at Noccalula Falls

  When there was much discussion of hydroelectric power over the country in the 1900’s, Gadsden was talking about the Coosa River as a potential asset in that direction, but there were other plans before the public. 

In this area there was much talk of harnessing Noccalula Falls for power, first by the old water wheel method and later by

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The Vagabond - 109 Years Ago Unveiling of the Emma Sansom Statue

 The Emma Sansom statue on Broad Street in Gadsden was dedicated back in 2007, and many locals celebrated the unveiling. 

This week The Vagabond once again has his nose stuck in the old history book. Sometime way back, Patsy Hanvey of Turkeytown and the late Hazel Oliver bought the dedication to my attention.

On July 4, 1907, a local

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The Vagabond - Ringling Brothers Circus first came to Gadsden in 1899

  The Ringling Brothers Circus made its first appearance in Gadsden on Nov. 8, 1899. The show had been in Birmingham and Anniston and left to Chattanooga and Huntsville. Everybody had heard of the great organization that was a rival of the Barnum & Bailey show, and equally as large and imposing.

Ringling Brothers Circus was founded in the United

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The Vagabond - Stories of Blind Tigers in Etowah County

Last week The Vagabond met a young lady from Huntsville, Sarah Belanger, who is writing a book about Prohibition in Northeast Alabama. The Vagabond in the past wrote about the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the little fountain that was built at the corner of Broad and First streets in front of Gadsden City Hall. There were

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The Vagabond - The story of Ernest Tubb’s first Texas Troubadours From Gadsden to Nashville, Part II

  Charles Reese recently spoke to the Etowah Historical Society about his father, Vernon “Toby” Reese, a famous country star from Gadsden. Charles discussed many things about his father and shared some of the photos of him. Charles wrote a book about his father and donated one to the historical society’s library. Last week we shared some of what he

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The Vagabond - History of streetcars in the Gadsden area Part II

Last week the Vagabond discussed the early streetcars in the Gadsden area, the first ones being drawn by horse and later ones by steam locomotion dummies. We continue this week to the electrified streetcars. The story continues...

As stipulated, Captain Elliott had agreed to extend a line to Noccalula Falls on Lookout Mountain. In 1891, the Hollingsworth estate granted

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The Vagabond - History of streetcars in the Gadsden area Part II

Although a precise detailed history cannot be written about Gadsden’s street railway and steam dummy systems, the following tentative history has been pieced together.

Sometime during 1886, Col. R.B. Kyle and Herman Herzberg and their associates petitioned the Gadsden City Council to grant the Gadsden Land & Improvement Company a franchise to build a horse car street railroad in the

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Vagabond - Early interesting facts about Attalla and its railroad connection

Part II


The story of the naming of Attalla is often incorrect, and The Vagabond would like to tell the factual history on how Attalla was named and how the city was connected with the early railroad that went from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Meridian, Miss.

We continue the story…

An early employee of the railroad remembers that the

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The Vagabond - The Old Mineral Springs Hotel

This past week The Vagabond was on Lookout Mountain and recalled the old hotel that once stood overlooking the mountain.

There are a few of the old families who children remember their parent talking about the Mineral Springs Hotel. Many people who settled in this portion of Northeast Alabama in the early 1900’s recall that about the time the

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The Vagabond - History of the drinking water fountain on First & Broad streets in Gadsden

Have you ever wonder 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 were asking about it. The Vagabond did research and found that the fountain had a very

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The Vagabond: A. Lloyd Wagnon: Listening is love in action

Former Gadsden-Etowah Tourism Board executive director Albert Lloyd Wagnon recently passed away. The Vagabond knew Lloyd for many years and often stopped by to see him at the tourism office. Lloyd was an inspiration to many as he was to The Vagabond. In his recent book Vapor Trails, he mentioned the Etowah Historical Society and what folks need to

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The Vagabond - In Memory of Hazel Louise Pierce Oliver

One of Gadsden’s finest Southern ladies passed away last Saturday (Dec. 26) at the age of 100. 

Until a few months ago, no one could keep up with Hazel Oliver because she stayed extremely active and involved in so many things.

Hazel’s mind was sharp as a tack, and she gave you an answer at a moments notice. She

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The Vagabond - History of the Noccalula Falls Christmas lighting

Attempts in the past for making the mountain a special place have come and gone. Back around the 1980s, local historian Joe Barnes met with many interested parties at the old Clayton’s Cafe on Noccalula Road to encourage improvements. A lot of dreams were shared. One of these dreams was to have an alpine village at Noccalula Falls and

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The VagabondStrange happenings around Etowah County - Part V

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend. The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens.

Earlier in the series we discussed Bigfoot sightings around the area. This week

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part V

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend. The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens. 

This week we continue our discussion on UFOs found around Etowah County. Unfortunately,

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part IV

The Vagabond has place together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend! The Vagabond has actually witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens. This week we will discuss UFOs found around Etowah County. Unfortunately, there have

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part III

Watch out…there may be monsters in the Coosa!

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We recently discussed a Bigfoot roaming in the area and 12-foot giants buried in Whorton Bend. Researching these stories is an adventure in itself, and The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings.

This week we will discuss river

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County - Part II

The Vagabond has place together several strange happenings in Etowah County, so over the next few weeks we will discuss such topics as a Bigfoot roaming locally, large monsters of the Coosa River and UFOs. It is an adventure in itself, and The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings.

This week we’ll discuss sightings of Bigfoots

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden, Part 6

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks back about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. 

Along with Altoona historian Ryan Cole, The Vagabond visited the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to perform mining and historical research at one of the school’s libraries.

Prior to that visit, however, and with Andrew

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden, Part 5

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks ago about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started.

Along with Altoona historian Ryan Cole, The Vagabond recently visited the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to conduct research in the W.S. Hoole’s Special Collection Library. While on campus, we discovered a wealth of information

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden Part 4

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks ago about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There was some surprising history to be found.

As mentioned earlier, the early settlers knew the presence in the Gadsden area of iron ore. John S. Moragne, one of the first settlers, discovered in 1850

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden- Part 3

The Vagabond recently started a new series about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There is surprising history to be found.

As mentioned earlier in the series, the early settlers knew the presence of iron ore in the Gadsden district. John S. Moragne, one of the area’s first settlers, discovered the outcrops

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden Part Two

The Vagabond started a new series last week about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There are some surprising histories to be found. Last week’s article was about the mine explosion near Tuscaloosa Avenue.

The region’s early settlers knew the presence of iron ore, coal and limestone in the Gadsden area. John

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The Vagabond -Early iron ore mines of Gadsden - Part I


The Vagabond is starting a new series about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There are some surprising histories to be found.

1908 explosion

On Oct. 28, 1908 at 8:15 p.m., an explosion of 400 cases of dynamite was so terrific that almost every plate glass front in downtown Gadsden was broken. Twenty-four

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The Vagabond - Grover B “Billy” Bowers of the Gadsden Pilots

The Vagabond recently looked at two baseball bats and a vendor badge that were used in the Gadsden Pilots games and owned by Grover B “Billy” Bowers, a player for the Pilots. Grover’s son was given these items. They later were given to his best friend, Richard Short, who lived a few doors down. These items were recently donated

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden 1836-1900 Part 5 - Final

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith, the mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically valuable essays,

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: Part V: 1836-1900

Recently The Vagabond pulled up an article called “Early History of Northeast Alabama.” In it was a section called “A history of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Charles P. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences for the Gadsden Evening Journal. He wrote six extremely interesting

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: Part III: 1836-1900

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900 Part II

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically

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The Vagabond: A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900, Part II

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900

The Vagabond recently pulled up some papers called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which included a section called “A History of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith.

Smith was born in Sulphur Springs, Ga., on May 20, 1863. He attended schools in Sulphur Springs and Trenton and graduated from the Chattanooga High School at the age of 17. The next

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The Vagabond - Labor Day tragedy in Alabama City

For many years, The Va-gabond had heard about a major local happening that many folks talked about for several years. Around 90 years ago, Sept. 6, of 1926 at 11 a.m., this event happened in Alabama City. It was a spectacular tragedy.

It so happened that there was a circus parade in town and lightning struck a high voltage

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The Vagabond -The Smiths of Hokes Bluff - A rich local heritage continues

The Vagabond recently spoke with John Smith of Hokes Bluff. John works for Byers Engineering Company as a quality control inspector of telecommunications contractors who design jobs for AT&T. He had studied Environmental Science at Auburn University. John comes from great heritage going back to the Civil War. His great-great-great grandfather, Joshua T. Smith, was
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The Vagabond: Robert Cannon Garrett, escort of Emma Sansom

Last week The Vagabond talked about William Alfred Williams, who supposedly escorted Emma Sansom back to her house after showing General Forrest where the ford was at Black Creek in Gadsden. It has been debatable about whether this happened or not, and even has been questioned if Williams was part of Forrest’s unit. As far as The Vagabond can

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The Vagabond- Sergeant William Alfred Williams Escort of Emma Sansom

The Etowah Historical Society is conducting valuable research work in connection with local history and persons who helped make it, and already the research has brought to light some interesting things that otherwise been forgotten.

The society recently learned something of the history of the young Confederate Army sergeant who was detailed by General Nathan Bedford Forrest to give

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The Vagabond- How did Etowah County get named? And why its first name HAD to be changed

Why did our early fathers decided to create a new county from several others? Why was the area later name Etowah, and what most important thing affected them to call it by that name? 

The Vagabond doubts one can easily find the answer under Internet sear-ches, as it took several years to come up with the answers. The Vagabond

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Hunting for gold in Southside in the 1890’s

  There have been many efforts to mine gold in Eto-wah and adjoining counties, mostly with small profit, although in some instances a few nuggets of real gold were found.  There have been several stories about Indians pointing out where gold could be found and about the various kinds of mining carried on by white men who believed the Indian

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Robert L. Adams Sr.: Early Telephone Pioneer in Gadsden

 Last week The Vagabond talked about R.A. Mitchell and Robert L. Adams Sr., who were involved in Gadsden’s first car accident on Lookout Mountain.

This week there’s more on Robert Adams, who was a son of a pioneer Alabama family and one of the early developers of the state’s telephone service. He lived to be 87 and was

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First automobile accident in Gadsden

  The first automobile accident in Gadsden was believed to have been around August of 1903. The mishap was nearly fatal for R.L. Adams and R.A. Mitchell, two of the most prominent men of the city.

A resident of Atlanta, Adams came here to become manager of the joint offices of the Western Union Telegraph Company and the Southern Bell

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Birth of steel industry in Gadsden Part II

  The Vagabond recently pulled out a speech prepared and presented in the 1980’s by The Vagabond’s father, Dr. Kenneth A. Crownover, who was a combustion engineer and energy coordinator for the Southern District of Republic Steel Corporation and gave speeches to Gadsden area clubs as a member of the Republic Steel Corporation Speakers Bureau.

Dr. Crownover continues:

“The project

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Birth and development of the steel industry in Gadsden

  The Vagabond recently pulled out a speech prepared and presented by the Vagabond’s father, Dr. Kenneth A. Crownover, who was a combustion engineer and energy coordinator for the Southern District of Republic Steel Corporation and gave speeches to Gadsden area clubs as a member of the Republic Steel Corporation Speakers Bureau.

Dr. Crownover writes:

“Republic Steel Corporation at Gadsden,

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Joe Noojin well-known local piano player: Part 4 and final

  Over the last few weeks, The Vagabond talked about the late Joe Noojin, an Etowah County native who had been a musician for many years. He is pretty famous across the U.S., and finally wrote his biography. In reading Joe’s biography, one cannot help but chuckle or downright start to laugh! He continuously makes fun about his short height

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Joe Noojin, well-known local piano player, Part 3

  Last week, The Vagabond talked about the late Joe Noojin, a Gadsden native who had been a musician for many years. He is pretty famous across the U.S., and he finally wrote his biography. In reading Joe’s biography, one cannot help but chuckle or downright start to laugh! He continuously makes fun about his shortness (at 5’-6”) and is

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Joe Noojin, well-known local piano player, Part 3

  Last week, The Vagabond talked about the late Joe Noojin, a Gadsden native who had been a musician for many years. He is pretty famous across the U.S., and he finally wrote his biography. In reading Joe’s biography, one cannot help but chuckle or downright start to laugh! He continuously makes fun about his shortness (at 5’-6”) and is

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Joe Noojin, well-known local piano player, Part II

  Last week, The Vagabond talked about the late Joe Noojin, a Gadsden native who had been a musician for many years. He is pretty famous across the U.S., and he finally wrote his biography. In reading Joe’s biography, one cannot help but chuckle or downright start to laugh! He continuously makes fun about his shortness (at 5’-6”) and is

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Joe Noojin, well-known local piano player

  The next few weeks will be devoted to stories about the famous and well-known Joe Noojin, a man I’ve heard about all my life.

Several years ago, The Vagabond finally caught up with Joe, who has been a piano player for the Kings of Swing for many years. He is pretty famous across the U.S., and The Vagabond finally

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Exploit of the Murphree sisters

Bobby Buggs has been posting a lot of old photos on Welcome to Gadsden Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/Gadsden), 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

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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

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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

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“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

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“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

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“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

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“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....

Schools

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

“In the home of Gabriel Hughes

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“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

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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

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“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

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“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

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“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....

1888 

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

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“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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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
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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

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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,

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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