Along the lower Black Creek Trail

August 2, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond goes down the Black Creek for an adventure. The sites he passes by include the old Clayton’s gristmill, coal mines and nearby Sulphur Springs. These locations can be reached by the new Black Creek Trail that extends from the back of the Noccalula Falls campground to the Tuscaloosa Avenue/Black Creek Bridge near the Etowah County Rescue

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Company 167 Infantry, Gadsden Part Four

July 26, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Gadsden Alabama 167th Infantry known as the Rainbow Division, a unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, donated a yearbook and the crest of the 1938 Alabama 167th Infantry to the Etowah Historical Society.

Next week a new Vagabond

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1938 Co. 167 Infantry, Gadsden Part three

July 19, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Gadsden Alabama 167th Infantry. Known as the Rainbow Division, it was the unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, recently donated to the Etowah Historical Society a yearbook about the Alabama 167th Infantry during 1938. We will be showing this

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Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton Part Two

July 12, 2013 chris

This week the Vagabond continues a little-known history of the local Alabama 167th Infantry known as the Rainbow Division, a unit that Rainbow Drive and Rainbow City were named after.

Robert Elton, Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton’s son, donated a yearbook about the Alabama 167th Infantry during 1938 to the Etowah Historical Society. We will be showing this yearbook and more about

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Carey Forrest “Bill” Elton Part One

July 5, 2013 chris

Some time ago, the Messenger published a photo of the Gadsden National Guard band at Camp Blanding in Florida, which is located west of Jacksonville. The photo also appeared on Facebook some time back. Bill Elton was one of the few people who had his own car at Blanding, so he would sometimes loan the car to some of the

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How did Gadsden get started? Part Six

June 28, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times about how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:

Chapter VI—And Still More Pioneers

“No history of Gadsden would be complete without a record of Col. R. B. Kyle who since he

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The Vagabond - How did Gadsden get started? Part 5

June 21, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:
 
Chapter V - Some more pioneers
“Well, we finished the roll call of the Christophers last week. That is, if any of

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How did Gadsden get started? Part Four

June 14, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and its early years. One of Gadsden early historian and mayor, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:
 
Chapter IV - Gadsden in the ‘Sixties

“During the week, I had a most pleasant and most profitable interview with those grand

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How did Gadsden get started? Part 3

June 7, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times as to how Gadsden was started and information about the city’s early years. One of Gadsden’s early historians and mayors, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929), wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:

“Westward Ho! The star of the Empire takes its course, so Gadsden began to grow west from the

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How did Gadsden get started? Part 2

May 31, 2013 chris

The Vagabond has been asked many times about how Gadsden was started. One of Gadsden early historians and mayors, Charles P. Smith (1863-1929) wrote about the early Gadsden and how it got started. He continues:

“A brief history of Gadsden’s first steamboat in 1845 - The Coosa. She was made in St. Louis and steamed down the Mississippi river to the

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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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