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

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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

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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

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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

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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,

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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

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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
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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

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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

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More early settlers:The Rink 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 located 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 Keener family that

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Early settlers in Etowah County: The Keener Family

For the next few weeks, The Vagabond will discuss 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 all the way up to Sand Valley Road and over to Reece City. 

The area once occupied the site of an Indian

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Early area settlers Peter Avery and son Allen

For the next few weeks, The Vagabond will discuss 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 all the way up to Sand Valley Road and over to Reece City.

The area once occupied the site of an Indian

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Richard Ratliff, Sr.

A British Tory living in the Cherokee Nation in what is now Etowah County For the next few weeks, The Vagabond will discuss 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
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Richard Ratliff, Sr.- A British Tory living in the Cherokee Nation and what is now Etowah County

For the next few weeks The Vagabond will be discussing about some of the folks that 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.

This area once occupied the site of an Indian village

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Silas Choate, early area settler

For the next few weeks, The Vagabond will discuss some of the folks that settled in the area west of Attalla before the Cherokees were removed. This area was from around Highways 77 and 431 all the way up to Sand Valley Road.

The town occupies the site of an Indian village that was of considerable importance during the Creek War

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Mack Commins, part two of two

The Vagabond recently received a call from State of Alabama Historic Commission archeologist Stacye Hathorn, who was going to be at the old Sixth Street Cemetery in Gadsden and asked if I would accompany her. Stacye was checking on the status of the cemetery where a cleanup had been done.

Also called the Southern Hills Cemetery, the area was a black

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Mack Commins - Part 1 of 2

The Vagabond recently received a call from State of Alabama Historic Commission archeologist Stacye Hathorn.

She was going to visit the old Sixth Street Cemetery in Gadsden and asked if I would come along. Stacye was checking on the status of the cemetery where a cleanup had been done.

Also called the Southern Hills Cemetery, Sixth Street Cemetery was a black cemetery

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Very early settlers of Etowah County, Part 2

One of the largest families represented in early Etowah County is the Whitt family. The first of this name to come to the area was William Whitt, born in circa 1775, and his wife Feroba Middleton, born in 1786.

William’s father was Shadrack Whitt, born in 1741 and married to Mary Rogers. The couple lived in Virginia. Shadrack served with Gen.

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Very early settlers of Etowah County, part one of two

One of the largest families represented in early Etowah County was the Whitt family. The first of this name to come to the area was William Whitt, born in circa 1775, and his wife Feroba Middleton, born in 1786.

William’s father was Shadrack Whitt, born in 1741 and married to Mary Rogers. The couple lived in Virginia. Shadrack served with Washington’s

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Old Stone Fort, Tenn. and its connection with Gadsden

This week the Vagabond is in Manchester, Tenn., for Christmas to see family and decided to go by the Stone Fort Archaelogical Park.

Believe or not there is a connection between Stone Fort Archaelogical Park and a shelter hole on the side of the Noccalula Falls gorge wall.

This deep hole afforded protection from anyone. All a person had to do was

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Gadsden: the original City of Champions - with copyright

Gadsden has been known as the City of Champions for many years. But do you know that other cities also share the name? The only different is that Gadsden was the first to have it trademarked. Some of the others are: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: so named for the city’s response to the tornado of July
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History of Noccalula’s Christmas Lighting

In 2007, the City of Gadsden took over the Noccalula Falls Christmas lighting. The work for the last few years has been very impressive and city employees under Parks and Recreation Director Kerry Payne have done outstanding work.

Attempts in the past for making the mountain a special place have come and gone. Back in the 1980s, local historian Joe Barnes

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Historical items in downtown Gadsden

  The Vagabond is back with two little-known historical items of national interest in downtown Gadsden.

The old Post Office building, now known as the Federal Building, is located at the southwest corner of Broad and Sixth streets. The building was designed by a famous national architect and contains a very rare work of art by a national painter.

During

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The Green Valley Cave and old Charlie Cline

Last week, an article was written in this space about a cave and silver mine located in the Country Club Hills area in Gadsden. The Vagabond recently got to thinking about the nearby Green Valley Cave. Also known as Indian Springs Cave, the cave is part of several caves found along the mountains running pa-rallel to the Etowah/Calhoun County line

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Silver mine in the Country Club Hills area

When many people think of the natural beauty of Alabama, their minds’ eye imagines beautiful verdant forests, rivers and lakes teeming with wildlife, or perhaps a favorite white-sanded beach. However, Alabama has another tremendous natural resource - the world underground with its caves and karst systems. Karst refers to a landscape pockmarked with sinkholes, caves and underground streams.

Alabama has one

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Fond memories of Granny

Many of us share precious memories of our grandparents and the many things we’ve done with them.

The Vagabond has been blessed in so many ways growing up with his Granny.

Granny was a part of the old ways. She lived a very simple life in middle Tennessee.

She was a tough old lady and lived to be nearly 100 years old. She

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Street Cars in the City of Gadsden

On Aug. 8, 1889, Obal Christopher, J. S. Stewart and T. W. Gilmore of Attalla filed incorporation papers for the Alabama Street Car Company with an authorized capitalization of $25,000.

On the same date, the Attalla Board of Aldermen granted the company the right to lay its tracks through the streets.

The plan was to connect with the steam dummy’s line that

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A Haunted Organ in Gadsden: Psychic phenomenon…real or not?

The supernatural is defined as things that defy scientific explanation, such as ghosts, ghouls, goblins, wizards, druids and Stonehenge.

What we can touch, and feel is much more real to us, as humans, but what of the physical apparitions? Are they any less a reality?

So many of us, as physically unimpaired humans, rely so stringently upon the basic senses. Yet, what

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Happenings: Things that move and make noise

Halloween is coming up and the Vagabond thought he would share some happenings posted on the Facebook group “Welcome to Haunted Etowah County.”    It is located on the Internet at:   https://www.facebook.com/

Submitted by Shelia Freeman:

I will share with you some things that have happened in our family/homes. I live in a home that was built in 1939. I moved here about

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The Kyle Opera House

 Robert Benjamin Kyle, businessman, was born May 24, 1826, at Leakesville, Rockingham County, N.C.
    In 1845, Kyle was engaged as clerk in the dry goods store of J&J Kyle, and in 1846 was taken into co-partnership.
    He sold his interest in that business in 1850 and entered the wholesale grocery business under the firm name of Grimes, Kyle and Thornton.
  

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Forrest Cemetery “Walk Through Time” is Sunday

 On Oct. 14, from 2 - 5 p.m., the Vagabond invites you to take a step back in time to meet some of Etowah County’s most memorable residents.  You will hear their personal stories told by Gadsden’s modern day citizens clad in period dress.  Many have put this project together. Thousands of people are expected to attend this event. Admission

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A short history of the Hokes Bluff community

  The Vagabond has been hearing about a teacher and 90 of her 11th grade students at Hokes Bluff High School asking for folks to share old Hokes Bluff photos or stories of the past.

In 1999, Hokes Bluff High School students helped to publish a book, “The History of Hokes Bluff, Alabama and Surrounding Areas.” Since then, additional copies

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The origin of Gadsden’s first public cemetery

 Most folks to day do not realize there is an original, or first, cemetery in Gadsden. The Vagabond recalls talking to the late Jerry Jones on this first graveyard.

Jerry stated that it was brought up years ago when Will I. Martin first told him about it. When questioned he took Jerry behind the old City Hall on Fifth Street (across

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How Gadsden’s first free school came to be

 In the home of Gadsden’s first pioneer, Gabriel Hughes, the first school of which we have any knowledge was started. Here his children and their young friends learned the three R’s under the instruction of one J. D. McMichael, a man of unknown background who always remained a mystery. He also served as a Sunday School teacher and became Gadsden’s

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John Pratt, early typewriter inventor from this area

 The Vagabond recently wrote about LaFayette Marion Stiff, who was buried standing up. Nearby is another famous person that should be known worldwide. 

Long before the ease of computers, there were typewriters.

Before that was the use of pen and ink written by hand.

However, the man who invented one of the early typewriters lies buried just north of Etowah

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Fort Turkeytown location remains an Etowah mystery

 The site of Fort Turkeytown is clouded with the fact that research indicates that there was a council house and village established by Chief Little Turkey on Turkey Town Creek around 1789. This site was located about five miles northeast of Gadsden in Etowah County. 

The site of a later Turkey Town was again located near Pathkiller’s Ferry, but

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The intriguing tale of Capt. Lafayette Marion Stiff

 “Bury me standing up, facing the Coosa River, so I can see the damned steam boats go by”

  The Vagabond has known of a character from the past that once lived in Etowah County.

Capt. Lafayette Marion Stiff led a colorful life. Born in Baltimore in 1826, he was educated in the city’s public schools, then joined his father, Col. Edward

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 Along with several other adventurers from the Etowah Historical Society, the Vagabond recently traveled to Ashville to view all of the town’s historical landmarks. Here are some of the sites we visited:

Inzer House

The place known as the John W. Inzer home was built in 1852 by an early settler, Moses Dean. Dean and his wife, Eliza Hoke Dean, entered

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Before it was a city, Attalla played role in region’s history

Incorporated as a town on February 5, 1872, by the 44th General Assembly of the Alabama Legislature. However, the city’s history actually predates its incorporation as a town.

The City of Attalla occupies the site of an Indian village that had considerable importance during the Creek War of 1813-14. The village was located along the banks of Big Wills Creek

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Printup Hotel was a model for today’s world-class hotels

  This week the Vagabond writes about the Printup Hotel building, located at Locust and Fourth streets in Gadsden.

In the early 1880’s, the block bounded by Broad, Locust, Third and Fourth streets was partly a residential section in the middle of the original survey of the town.

There were several stores, and in front of them was a brick

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Local mountain named after Major Alford Hardwick Colvin

The Vagabond has heard of Colvin’s Mountain in the past. Joyce Stocks, a direct descendant of the Colvin family, recently came to the Vagabond. She mentioned her family and said that there will be a Colvin family reunion on Saturday July 28, from 12 – 3 p.m. at the Carnes Recreation Center in Attalla There
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How The Vagabond got his name

“I had rather be a vagabond, wandering about in God’s beautiful mountains, or beside his gurgling streams and sweeping oceans, dreaming my dreams, than to be chasing the will-o-the-wisp of fame, power, achievement and money in the great marts of commerce.”  - Milford W. Howard


Some folks throughout time have asked how The Vagabond got his name. There was never

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Ita Stocks - A famous woman of Etowah County

Ita Stocks has left her mark on the history of her time. Not just on local history, not just on state history, but on national history.

The look of the world has changed within Ita’s life span, and she has helped change it. Ita’s weapons have been a trained intellect, a crusading spirit and a compassionate heart.

Every woman

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Sequoyah invented his Cherokee alphabet in Etowah County

Just a few steps south of the Bristow Cemetery, just barely inside Etowah County from DeKalb County, is the actual site where Sequoyah first invented his syllabary or Cherokee alphabets. The old oak tree that he studied under has been gone for several years but many alive today remembers it. Many in our area do not realize that Sequoyah

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Revolutionary War soldier is buried in Gadsden

The old Garner Cemetery is located in a wooded area at the northeast end of Washington Street on a rocky hillside overlooking the Coosa River in North Gadsden.

The Garner Cemetery contains the only known Revolutionary War soldier’s grave in Gadsden. His name is Joseph Garner. The cemetery was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage, a

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Vagabond originated Black Creek Trail idea back in 1980

The official opening of the Black Creek Trail took place last Thursday with a dedication opening at the overlook located north of Black Creek Road and near the Etowah County Rescue Squad building.

The Vagabond, who was the originator of the idea, first proposed a trail from Noccalula Falls to the Gadsden Mall back in 1980 with his Black

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Amelia Earhart visited Gadsden ... twice!

One day Joan (pronounced Jo Ann) Mims showed the Vagabond a photo of her as a baby being held under an airplane among several persons. Joan also said that one of them was Amelia Earhart. She proceeded to show me an article about the incident by Benjamin S. Bradford:

Myrtice Stanfield Brooks (the mother of Joan) bought her first

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Trail of Tears bicycle tour to come through Etowah County

This coming Tuesday and Wednesday, the general public is invited to join the Trail of Tears bike tour that is now winding through Alabama. It started June 2 at Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon Georgia, and will end in Okmulgee, Okla. The bike tour was developed to commemorate, educate, and communicate about the Muscogee (Creek)
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Mysterious snakes appeared in area on Christmas Day, 1947

By Danny "The Vagabond" Crownover

Snakes, literally a thousand of them were found on Christmas Day, 1947, ‘hung’ on two thorn trees on Clayton Road.

Large crowds gathered around the two trees to see the dead snakes, most of which were about a foot long and the same dull grey color as the branches. All the reptiles were impaled

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Place names in Etowah County

Most of us that travel about in Etowah County see names of places and wonder how the name was chosen and for whom or what it was named. This article can only cover a few of these sites, since everywhere we go there are names, communities, towns, mountains, streams, roads, streets, avenues, voting precincts, and numerous other places to…

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