The Vagabond - The fate of Parson Blackburn’s whiskey

July 12, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover The Vagabond reported in a past column about a Chickasaw Indian village once located south of Big Wills Creek around Rainbow Drive near the entrance to Whorton Bend. The village was called Natchez Village. Around the 1750s, the Principal Chickasaw Chief Chinnaby brought his people to that location. They originally were Natchez
Read More

The Vagabond: Local happenings in 1904

June 21, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover One of the funniest and strangest things ever to hap-pen in Gadsden occurred in 1904 just after Broad Street had been paved with high-grade white chert, which yielded great clouds of gritty dust when any sort of wind blew up. The dust had a very cutting edge like that of broken glass.
Read More

The Vagabond - Salt pork, sow belly and Cincinnati chicken

June 7, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover It was probably a dull day in May of 1882 when a reporter for a local newspaper wrote this item: “M.D. Lowe’s two-horse team pulled 5,446 pounds of salt-pork from the depot to S.W. Riddle’s store.” At first glance, that seems to be a trivial item and not worth printing. As a
Read More

The Vagabond - Two beaux, one belle, and a very angry father

June 3, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover The Vagabond recently wrote about Will I. Martin’s story of Bud Easterwood. We now we get to read the colorful story of his sister Ella. The following article was clipped from the Jan. 1, 1893 issue of The Columbus Daily Enquirer of Columbus, Georgia: “Gadsden has had a holiday week of a
Read More

The Vagabond - Mysterious men visited Gadsden in the late 1800s

May 24, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover Two mysterious men appeared in Gadsden in the mid-1890s, and for several months afterward, there was much speculation as to their origin and their purpose. During the first week of their stay, the men daily walked all over town. Many women and children began to call them the Wild Men, largely because
Read More

The Vagabond - Willie Elbert “Bud” Easterwood

May 17, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover William Kuner recently posted an article about local historian Will I. Martin meeting his grandmother and great-grandfather. Kuner writes: “In his office of the local newspaper, Will I. Martin was introduced to Mrs. Nancy Ellen Malone of Attalla and learned that she is the daughter of the late Bud Easterwood, a noted
Read More

The Vagabond - Legendary games took place at Ballplay

May 3, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover There was news recently about some Native American writings found in Manitou Cave in Fort Payne. The inscriptions inside the cave are evidence of the Cherokee tribe’s syllabary, which Sequoyah, also known as George Guess, developed using symbols for each sound. Sequoyah’s alphabet was formally adopted as the tribe’s official written language in
Read More

The Vagabond - Largest circus in U.S. visited Gadsden in 1899

April 19, 2019 chris
The Ringling Brothers Circus made its first appearance in Gadsden on Nov. 8, 1899. Ringling Brothers was a rival of the Barnum & Bailey show and equally as large and imposing. The two big outfits were later combined later and still bears the name of Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus. The show grounds were
Read More

The Vagabond: A canal was planned between the Coosa and Tennessee rivers

April 12, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover Back in 1869, there was an article from The Selma Times advocating a canal across Sand Mountain to connect the Tennessee and Coosa rivers. The paper’s editor said that the project would be a great boon to this part of the south and that he wished to stand on the banks of
Read More

The Vagabond - Steamboat wars on the Coosa River

April 5, 2019 chris
By Danny “The Vagabond” Crownover The first steamboat to ply the waters of the Coosa River was appropriately named The Coosa. On July 4, 1845, that gallant little steamer, came around the bend below what is now Gadsden. Captain James Lafferty commanded the boat. Large proportions and un-heard-of-profits were said to have been derived from
Read More

The Vagabond - Dr. Ralls and the first hospital in Etowah County

March 22, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover Gadsden’s historian Will I. Martin wrote extensively about early Gadsden. The following is a sample of his work: “When the Ralls Sanatorium was opened on Sept. 1, 1906, it had only 16 beds. More important, ‘at the opening of the hospital, a chartered school of nursing was started with six entrants.’ These
Read More

The Vagabond: What happened to the Etowah Rifles?

March 15, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover Many boys and older men who did not participate in the Civil War stayed behind and formed Home Guards. Those units did their best to defend their homes and towns. After the war ended, there was no official militia in this area but veterans of the war met periodically in associations. Individual
Read More

The Vagabond: John W. Potter, Gadsden’s cooperationist

March 1, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover The American Civil War remains the most significant event in Alabama’s history. Tensions that had been building for decades within the United States over the issues of slavery and states’ rights came to a head in 1860. The topic of secession was in the forefront in the State of Alabama. Gadsden was a city
Read More

The Vagabond - Mysterious tri-county killings in 1959

February 22, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover In June of 1959, two human torsos were discovered a few hours apart in Etowah and St. Clair counties and body parts were found scattered in Calhoun County. All of Northeast Alabama cringed in fear. Two men were horribly murdered by shotgun blasts and dismembered by an axe, causing an uproar among
Read More

The Vagabond: Edward (Ed) L. Gamblin, his story in World War II, Part II

February 15, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover Last week the Vagabond wrote part one of Gadsden native, Edward (Ed) L. Gamblin leaving for Germany as an American soldier in the  317th U.S Army Infantry Regiment April 11, 1945 was the day that Ed Gamblin was injured. It is not known exactly how. It is possible he fell or jumped
Read More

The Vagabond: Ed Lee Gamblin in World War II, Part I

February 8, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover America entered France in World War II with the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Two months later on August 25, the Allies liberated Paris. In the skies over the Third Reich and the occupied countries, Allied air power wreaked havoc on the Wehrmacht, German industry and all lines of
Read More

The Vagabond - Murder in Greasy Cove, near Gallant

February 1, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover Jacob C. Lutes was born on Feb. 19, 1836 in Lafayette, Ga. He was the son of George Lutes (born 1793) and Mary Steele. Lutes later moved with his father to Cherokee Count just prior to 1850, where the younger Lutes met his first cousin, Sarah Elizabeth Steele, the daughter of Toliver
Read More

The Vagabond Blind tigers in Etowah County - Part II

January 25, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover A blind tiger was an important source of revenue for some boats. An organization would reserve the vessel, hire a string band, pack food and drink if the steamer could not supply it and set off. Dancing was enjoyed in the saloon, while courting couples walked around the upper deck while being
Read More

The Vagabond: Blind tigers and gambling houses in Etowah County - Part I

January 18, 2019 chris
By Danny Crownover Back in 1882, the first prohibition law was forced upon Gadsden and Etowah County by a legislative act without vote of the people. Some of the events that followed included the advent of the blind tiger and its fellow traveler, the gambling house. Although Gadsden had 21 volunteer policemen who carried badges
Read More

The Vagabond - Charles K. Crossfield

December 28, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover The Vagabond remembers getting ice cream at Crossfield’s during his youth.  At that time, the ice cream was known all over town and continued to be known for many years. Here is the story of the Crossfields in Gadsden: One of the most useful citizens Gadsden ever had was Charles K. Crossfield,
Read More

The Vagabond - An 1895 Christmas tale from Lovejoy’s Crossroads

December 21, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover The Vagabond came across a true Christmas article originally written by local historian Marvin B. Small. It reads: “Back in the year 1895, there was a spot in West Gadsden that was known by old timers as Lovejoy’s Cross Roads. In those days, Tuscaloosa Road (now Tuscaloosa Avenue), as it was then
Read More

The Vagabond - New Deal projects in Gadsden

December 17, 2018 chris
New Deal projects were the domestic programs of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1939. The projects took action to bring about immediate economic relief, as well as reforms in industry, agriculture, finance, waterpower, labor and housing and vastly increasing the scope of the federal government’s activities. The program’s first objective was to
Read More

The Vagabond - Readers respond to Temple Beth Israel article

November 9, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover Last week The Vagabond wrote about America’s worst Jewish shooting or bombing (until recently in Pittsburg, Penn.) that happened here in Gadsden. It was also posted on Facebook on the “Welcome to Gadsden” group page. The response about the incident that happened at Temple Beth Israel in 1960 was unbelievable with over
Read More

The Vagabond - Temple Beth Israel and the Jewish community

November 2, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover Jewish folks were living in Gadsden as early as 1900. Among these locals were Jacob and Bertha Nadler, Hugo Hecht, David Reich and Albert Hagedorn. By 1903, the entirety of the Gadsden Jewish population – roughly 10 families – decided to meet communally on Sunday mornings in order to provide a Jewish
Read More

The Vagabond: Mary Elizabeth Counselman Vinyard and The Leota steamboat

October 23, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover The Vagabond recently was standing on the Coosa River boardwalk by where the Alabama Princess riverboat was once moored. The boat is no longer owned locally or docked at the location. But The Vagabond’s thoughts were about all the old riverboats that once plied the river. One of these original paddle-wheel boats,
Read More

The Vagabond: The Gadsden Fault - an earthquake waiting to hit Gadsden?

October 12, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover This week, The Vagabond will discuss the Gadsden Fault, which follows part of the High Town Path around Gadsden. Over the years, The Vagabond often has admired the local stone formations that tell an exciting geological story. There are strange examples of wind and water erosion that have been carved during the
Read More

The Vagabond: The 1823 journal of Lucius Verus Bierce through Etowah County

September 28, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover Many people have asked The Vagabond about the combined Creek Path and High Town Path that went up Penitentiary Hollow (up Fisher Creek from Cox’s Gap). This is the route Andrew Jackson used before he created a new route called the Jackson Military Trace through Highway 179 and today’s Ivalee community. Years
Read More

The Vagabond: Few know about three tribes in Etowah County

September 21, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover Many folks over the years have asked The Vagabond about what Indian tribes lived in å County. The most commonly known tribes are the Cherokees and Creeks. Yet few people realize that there was a third tribe, the Chickasaws. The Cherokee tribe was located in northern Etowah County. The Creeks were located
Read More

Infamous outlaw came through Etowah County

September 7, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover – The Vagabond Reuben Houston Burrow was an infamous train robber and outlaw in the southern and southwestern regions of the United States. During the final years of the American frontier, he became one of the most hunted men in the Old West since Jesse James. From 1886 to 1890, Burrow and
Read More

How the Phoenix Hotel became a house of disrepute - Part II

August 31, 2018 chris
By Danny Crownover Last week The Vagabond wrote that back on Feb 16, 1909, Gadsden was to have another hotel at a neat new place on the southeast corner of Chestnut and 5th streets. The new place became known as the Phoenix Hotel and was run by Miss Theo Barry. She was related to the
Read More