The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden Part Two

August 28, 2015 chris

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

August 21, 2015 chris


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

August 14, 2015 chris

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

August 7, 2015 chris

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

July 24, 2015 chris

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

July 10, 2015 chris

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

July 6, 2015 chris

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

July 2, 2015 chris

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

June 26, 2015 chris

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

June 19, 2015 chris

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

June 12, 2015 chris
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

June 5, 2015 chris

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

May 29, 2015 chris

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

May 22, 2015 chris

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

May 15, 2015 chris

  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

May 8, 2015 chris

 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

May 1, 2015 chris

  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

April 24, 2015 chris

  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

April 17, 2015 chris

  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

April 10, 2015 chris

  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

April 3, 2015 chris

  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

April 3, 2015 chris

  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

March 27, 2015 chris

  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

March 20, 2015 chris

  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

March 12, 2015 chris

  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

March 6, 2015 chris

  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

March 2, 2015 chris

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

February 5, 2015 chris

  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

January 30, 2015 chris

  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

January 23, 2015 chris

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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