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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First Ladies of Gadsden- Part 2

  Recently, the Vagabond went through materials in the Etowah Historical Society archive and found some important history papers never before published. As we mentioned last week, Mary Harrison Lister who founded of the 1954 historical society, wrote before her death about some of the first ladies of Gadsden, noting that all the “firsts” were
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First Ladies of Gadsden, Part 1

The Vagabond recently went through materials in the Etowah Historical Society archive and found some important history papers never before published. Mary Harrison Lister, who founded the historical society in 1954, wrote before her death about some of the first ladies of Gadsden, noting that all the “firsts” were men. Mary herself was a “first” in many ways and

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Early settlers along the bends of the Coosa River - Part Two

The Vagabond has been asked several times about writing about the bends of the Coosa River and whom they were named for. This is what has been found so far:

The Coosa River comes into Etowah County from the west and forms part of the boundary line between Etowah and Cherokee counties.  The Coosa forms a total of eleven…

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Early settlers along the bends of the Coosa River, Part I

  The Vagabond has been asked several times about writing about the bends of the Coosa River and who they were named for. This information may be helpful for a lot of genealogists who what information of the early settlers in this area. This is what has been found so far:

The Coosa River comes into Etowah County on the…

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The Vagabond once worked at old ice plant

In the early 1930s, six ice plants were operating in Gadsden. But with progress in refrigeration, all have gone by the wayside. When he was young, The Vagabond worked several summers at one of America’s early industries.

Ice is one of the oldest methods of refrigeration. The Chinese cut and stored it as long ago as 1000 BC. In…

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Mystery Civil War signs appearing all over Etowah County

This week the Vagabond wants to share a mystery to the readers. There are Civil War signs appearing all over Etowah County by a group that calls themselves the “Gadsden Civil War Roundtable. Rumors are that it is someone living in Southside that is pushing it. Of course, this has to have been done due to the 150th Anniversary…

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Back to Cherokee Rock Village

The Vagabond was recently up Cherokee Rock Village checking out all the improvements being done. There have been many campouts at this site by the Vagabond with the stars and meteors producing a big show each time.

Cherokee Rock Village is a 200-acre public park located in northeastern Alabama in Cherokee County near the town of Leesburg. Also known…

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Early history of the Noccalula Falls

Noccalula Falls and its 40 acres of surrounding property was first owned by Thomas McClung in 1845. It was called Black Creek Falls then and for many years after. About 1870 G.O. Baker of Dallas County came into possession of the falls and added acreage to the holdings.

In 1867 a writer for a local newspaper wrote: “Reaching underneath…

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Old book talks about early Gadsden - final part

  This article was taken out of an old book called Northern Alabama, 1888. In it is much information about Gadsden and Etowah County. Let’s finish up our story for the week. “The society of Gadsden is refined and cultivated. “The healthfulness of the place, and the beauty of its surroundings, have conspired to draw
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Old book about early Gadsden, Part 2

 By Danny Crownover This article was taken out of an old book called Northern Alabama, 1888. In it is much about Gadsden and Etowah County. Let’s continue our story for the week. “Gadsden is situated on a large plateau, 700 feet above the level of the sea, about fifty feet above the highest water, with
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A Brief History of Etowah County

By Danny Crownover This was taken out of an old book called Northern Alabama, 1888. In it is much about Gadsden and Etowah County. Let’s begin our story for the week. The county of Etowah is situated in the northeastern part of the State, just above the thirty-fourth parallel of north latitude, and is nearly
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