The intriguing tale of Capt. Lafayette Marion Stiff

August 31, 2012 chris

 “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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August 24, 2012 chris

 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

August 17, 2012 chris

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

August 10, 2012 chris

  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

July 27, 2012 chris
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

July 20, 2012 chris

“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

July 13, 2012 chris

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

July 6, 2012 chris

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

June 29, 2012 chris

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

June 22, 2012 chris

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!

June 15, 2012 chris

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

June 8, 2012 chris
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

May 18, 2012 chris

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

May 4, 2012 chris

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

April 27, 2012 chris
  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

April 20, 2012 chris

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

April 13, 2012 chris

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

April 6, 2012 chris

  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

March 23, 2012 chris

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

March 16, 2012 chris

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

March 9, 2012 chris

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

March 2, 2012 chris

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

February 28, 2012 chris
  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

February 17, 2012 chris
 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

February 9, 2012 dbrickhouse
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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