How did Gadsden get started? Part one

May 24, 2013 chris

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

May 17, 2013 chris

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

May 10, 2013 chris

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

May 3, 2013 chris

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?

April 26, 2013 chris

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

April 19, 2013 chris

 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

April 12, 2013 chris

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

April 5, 2013 chris

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

March 22, 2013 chris

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

March 15, 2013 chris

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

March 8, 2013 chris

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

March 1, 2013 chris

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

February 22, 2013 chris

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

February 15, 2013 chris

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

February 8, 2013 chris
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

February 1, 2013 chris

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

January 25, 2013 chris

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

January 18, 2013 chris

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

January 11, 2013 chris

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

January 4, 2013 chris

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

December 28, 2012 chris

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

December 21, 2012 chris

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

December 14, 2012 chris

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?

December 7, 2012 chris

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

November 30, 2012 chris

 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

November 21, 2012 chris

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

November 16, 2012 chris

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

November 9, 2012 chris

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

November 2, 2012 chris

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’

October 26, 2012 chris

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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