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Full text of "History of Conecuh County, Alabama. Embracing a detailed record of events from the earliest period to the present; biographical sketches of those who have been most conspicuous in the annals of the county; a complete list of the officials of Conecuh, besides much valuable information relative to the internal resources of the county"

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\^. 



HISTORY 
Conecuh County, 

ALABAMA. 

BMBBAOING A DBTAILBD RECORD OF EVENTS FROM 
THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE PRESENT; 
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THOSE 
WHO HAVE BEEN MOST 
CONSPICUOUS IN 
THE ANNALS OF 
THE COUNTT; A COM- 
PLETE LIST OF THE OFFICIALS OF 
CONECUH, BESIDES MUCH VALUABLE INFOR- 
MATION RELATIVE TO THE INTERNAL RESOURCES 

OF THE couinrr. 

—BY— 

Rev. B. F. RILEY, 

Pastor of the Opelika Baptist Church. 



COLUMBUS, GA.: 

Thos. Gilbert, Steam Printer and Book-Binder, 

1881. 



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\juA ;b I ^^ 3 . ^ 











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TO MY MOTHER, 

/ 

WHOSE ABDENT DESIBE TO TBAIN H£B OHILDBEN FOB USEFULNESS 

FOUND EXPBE8SION IN THE MOST UNTIBINO DEVOTION TO 

THEIB INTEBEST, AND TO WHOSE MA.TEBNAI1 FIBTT 

AND SAOBIFIOE THET ABE MOBE INDEBTED 

THAN TO ANT THING ELSE, 

THIS HUMBLE YOLXTME IS AFFEOTIONATELT DEDICATED 

-BT- 

THE AUTHOR. 



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PEE FACE. 



Abottt two years ago, it was suggested that the people of Oone- 
cuh take immediate steps toward the preparation of a history of 
their county. A society was formed bearing the title of ''The 
Conecuh Historical Society;" some interest was manifested, and 
after several meetings the author was requested to undertake the 
preparation of the present work. The disadvantages under which 
he was placed, however, were very great. He lived in a portion of 
the State remote from Conecuh, — and had the pastoral care of a 
church, which entailed onerous duties upon him. To secure an 
accorate record, it became necessary for him to visit the county 
quite often, and to be in constant correspondence with parties in 
different portions of Conecuh. But after two years of labor, amid 
the weighty duties of the pastorate, the work is finished and sent 
forth upon its mission. The author has striven to present facts in 
their clearest and simplest form, so that the work would be accept- 
able to all classes of readers. 

If, in some portions, the history be thought too minute in detail, 
I have to say that this is inseparable from the fact that it is a local 
history. The work is not as complete in its scope as I would desire 
to have it. It will be observed that marked details exist with respect 
to some portions of the county, while they are meagre with regard 
to others. This is entirely due to the fact that a greater amount of 
data was famished me from some quarters than from others. 

Special attention has been given to the biographical portion of 



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yi FBEFAGS. 

the work. The author regrets the absence of several biographies, 
which would have appeared, could the biographical matter have 
been obtained. 

The author begs leave to acknowledge his indebtedness to 
"Brewer's Outline History of Alabama," "Pickett's History of 
Alabama," and " Garrett's Eeminiscences of Public Men." For aid 
rendered in the collection of material he expresses his obligations 
to the following gentlemen : John Greene, Sr. , J. B. Hawthorne, 
Y. M. Babb, Andrew Jay, Willis Darby, H. Page, Dr. Feagan, J. M. 
Davison, Dr. Shaw and others. For financial aid, thanks are due 
Messrs. Bansom Simpson, Dabney Palmer, John B. Bobbins, 
Dr. Shaw, Pinkney Straughn, Dr. Bobinson, N. Stallworth, 
P. D. Bowles, G. B. Famham, J. D. Burnett, P. 0. Walker, and 
S. F. Forbes. 

With the hope that it may not prove uninteresting to the 
resident of the county, the little book is sent forth upon its 
mission. 



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/ 

/ 



Table of Contents. 



CHAPTER I.— Page 13. 

Introduction — Conecuh in the Earliest Times — Derivation of Its 
Name — Original Appearance — Abounding Game — Ferocious 
Beasts — ^Early Battle Scene, &o. 

CHAPTER n.— Page 19. 

Early Settlement of Conecuh by the Whites — Conflict at Battle 

Branch — First Settlement at Bellville — Founding of Hampden 

Ridge-^ — Alexander Autrey — Other Settlers — Land Claims — 
Emigration, &o. 

CHAPTER m.— Page 22. 

Early Privations and Struggles — Unparalleled Difficulties — Scarcity 
of Shoes — Undaunted Heroism — Meagreness of Blacksmith 
Facilities — Joshua Betts — A Barefooted Population — Scarcity of 
Grist Mills — Georgia Currency, &e. 

CHAPTER IV.— Page 26. 

Indian Hostilities — Troublesome Red Men — Their Depredations — 

Early Forts — Primitive Means of Defence Unceasing 

Vigilance — Retirement of the Indians to tUe West. 

CHAPTER V.—Page 28. 

Signs of Advancement — Influx of Population — Industrious Signs 
Prevailing — The First Store-House in Conecuh — The Court 
House at*Hampden Ridge — Churches— The First Senron — ^First 
School — Conecuh Organized into a County — Public Roads — 
Anecdote of Hayes and Austill. 



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VIU CONTENTS. 

CHAPTEB VI.— Page 33. 

A Chapter of Biography — Kev. Alexander Travis Alexander 

Autrey — Samuel W. Oliver — Dr. John Watkins — Chesley Crosby — 
Fielding Straughn. 

CHAPTER Vn.— Page 43. 

Centres of Population — Bellville — Hampden Eldge — Sparta — 
Brooklyn — Fort Crawford. 

CHAPTER VIII.— Page 55. 

Centres of Population Continued — Old Town — Fork Sepulga — 
Burnt Com — Evergreen. 

CBAPTER IX.— Page 66. 

An Early Home and Its Surroundings— Now and Then — Mode of 
Transportation Adopted by the Early Fathers — The Home of the 
First Year — The Improvement of the Second— House Furniture — 
The Happiness of Former Times. 

CHAPTER X.— Page 70. 

Customs and Habits of the Early Pioneer Families — Rude State of 
Society — Early Amusements — Styles of the Former Times — 
Horseback Riding — Scenes at Public Gatherings. 

CHAPTER XL— Page 73. 

Continued Developnient — Rapid Advancement — Tides of Popula- 
tion — Gathered Fruits of Toil — Improved Homes — Social 
Changes — Reverses, &c. 

CHAPTER XII.— Page 76. 

Transportation and the Inauguration of Postal Routes — Navigation 
of the Conecuh River — Brooklyn Again — The First Post-Office — 
Different Mail Lines. 



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CONTENTS. UC 

CHAPTER Xm.— Page 79. 

A Chapter of Biography — Rev. James King — ^Rev. Keidar 
Hawthorne — Joel Lee — Wilson Ashley — Nicholas Stallworth, Sr — 
John Sampey — William Rabb, Sr — Adam McOreary. 

CHAPTER XIV.— Paob 92. 

Conecuh from 1825 to 1835 — Current History Resumed — ^Lull of 
Apprehension — Fruits of Peace — Tragedy — Rude Customs Still 
PrevaiUng—Birth of Political Agitation. 

CHAPTER XV.~Page 103. 

Conecuh from 1835 to 1845— Interesting Epoch— Birth of Political 
Issues— Excitement Begins — Hot Contests— The Great Indian 
War — ^Democrats and Whigs — Hard and Soft Money Issue — 
Educational Improvements, &o. 

CHAPTER XYL— Page 112. 

A Chapter of Biography — Hon. J. S. Hunter — Richard Warren — 
John Greene, Sr — J. R. Hawthorne— J. V. Perryman — Samuel 
Burnett— H. F. Steams— John Bell. 

CHAPTER XVn.— Page 123. 

Conecuh from 1845 to 1855 — Status of the County at this Period — 
Acrimonious Politics — Sad Tragedy — ^Steam Navigation Under- 
taken Upon the Conecuh River — A Disaster and a Protracted 
Law Suit — Caterpillars in Conecuh — Mexican War — Sickness in 
the County. 

CHAPTER XVm.— Page 130. 

A Chapter of Biography — John Crosby — Rev. Hanson Lee — 
James M. Boiling — Thomas W. Simpson — Nicholas Stallworth, 
Jr— A. D. Cary— W. B. Travis. 



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X GOirCBNTS. 

CHAPTER XIX. —Page 146. 

Ck)neouh from 1865 to 1860— Stirring Activity— Progress— Academy 
at Bellville — Know-Nothingism— County Paper — ^Bailroads and 
Telegraph — Murder of Allen Page. 

CHAPTER XX.— Page 166. 

A Chapter of Biography— E. W. Martin — ^Rev. George Lee — 
Hezekiah Donald — Churchill Jones — J. W. Ethridge — ^Sherman 
G. Forbes— Solomon S. Forbes— M. B. Travis— J. D. Cary. 

CHAPTER XXI.— Page 167. 

War Record of Conecuh — ^Intense Excitement— Conecuh Patri- 
otism — Conecuh Guards — ^Flag Presentation at Sparta Depot — 
Address by Miss Mathews — Other Companies — Scenes in the 
Camps at Home — Invasion of the County— Disasters. 

CHAPTER XXII.~Page 177. 

A Chapter of Biography — James A. Stallworth — William A. 
Ashley— Rev. W. C. Morrow — J. M. Henderson — Dr. Milton 
Amos — ^Dr. William Cunningham. 

CHAPTER XXIII.— Page 189. 

Dark Sway of Reconstructionism — Social Chaos — Demoralization — 
Local Troubles — Sovereignty of the Bayonet — The Negro as a 
Politician — ^How the New Order of Things Affected Southern 
Society — Heroism Displayed, &c. 

CHAPTER XXIV.-Page 194. 

"Peep o' Day " — Darkness Clearing Away — Advancement of Order — 
Returning Signs of Prosperity — ^The People Becoming Them- 
selves Again — Glance at Current Events up to the Present. 

CHAPTER XXV.— Page 198. 

Present Representative Men of Conecuh — Rev. Andrew Jay — Dr. 
J. L. Shaw— Y. M..Rabb— A. J. Robinson— N. Stallworth— P. 
D. Bowles— G. R. Farnham. 



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CONTENTS. XI 

CHAPTER XXVI.— Page 214. 

Population — ^Principal Town — Climate — Soil — Stock Raising — 
Productions — Industrial Resources— Forests — Streams — Numer- 
ous Advantages, Social, Educational, Agricultural — Colored 
Population, &c — Closing Remarks. 

APPENDIX. 

I. —Constitution of Conecuh'Historical Society Page 223 

n.— Roll of Conecuh Guards " 226 



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History of Conecuh. 



INTRODUCTION. 

e 

Chapter I. 

Conecuh in the Earliest Times — ^Derivation of Its Name— Original 
Appearance — Abounding Game — Ferocious Beasts — Early Battle 
Scene, etc. 

Conecuh is an Indian name, to which, have been 
given a variety of meanings. But the best transla- 
tors of the Indian dialect believe its meaning to be 
"Cane Land," derived from the vast canebrakes which 
lined its numerous streams, and which covered its 
extensive tracts of lowlands. 

The original word from which the present name is 
supposed to have been corrupted was "Econneka," 
which, in the Creek tongue, means "Land of Cane." 
This is the rendering given by Col. M. H. Cruikshank, 
of Talladega, to whom the author was referred by 
Prof. W. S. Wyman, of the University of Alabama. 
After venturing several conjectures himself, as to the 
2 



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14 HISTORY OF CONEOUH. 

meaning of the word, Prof. Wyman, with genuine 
good humor, says^ *'The name Conecuh means Pole- 
cats Head; being a compound of kono^ the Creek 
word for polecat, and ekuh^ head." "Then," continues 
the Professor, " this is my best conjecture, and if it 
should turn out that I have hit the right meaning, it 
is to be hoped that the good people of Conecuh will 
not be unduly distressed at the unsavory name of 
their county. As the rose by any other name would 
smell as sweet, so it stands to good reason that the 
goodly land of Conecuh, swept, as it is, by the resinous 
airs of its own healthful pine forests, visited by th,e 
fragrant breezes of the peninsula of orange flowers, 
and wooed by a touch of the sultry breath of old 
Ocean himself, smells sweet in spite of its ugly name." 
After several conjectures, against all of which he 
raised some objection, Prof. Wyman urged that the 
whole matter be submitted to Col. Cruikshank, whose 
practical knowledge of the Indian dialect enabled him 
to give the meaning presented on the first page. The 
county took its name from the stream of the same 
name which penetrates its eastern portion. 

To each of these streams the native tribes gave a sig- 
nificant name, derived from some prevailing character- 
istic, or from some notable event connected therewith. 
The statement already made as to the meaning of 
Conecuh, is further corroborated by the glowing 
description given by the earliest settlers of the appear- 
ance of the face of the country. The virgin forests of 
Conecuh, as described by the pioneer fathers, must 



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Itisro-Rt of OOITECUH. 15 

have rivalled in appearance the fairest spots of earth. 
Before! one occupying a prominence there was spread 
oat a scene of panoramic beauty. Vast stretches of 
land, dipping into occasional basins, ranged visibly in 
all directions, unbroken by the small undergrowth of 
shrubbery, which is now a prevailing feature in our 
forests. The land was radiant with long, waving 
grass, interspersed with the wild oat and the native 
pea- vine, and relieved by the monarch pine trees, which 
stood like so many columns in the great cathedral of 
nature. Across these smiling landscapes, and through 
these verdant vales, there roved vast herds of deer 
and flocks of wild turkeys, together with other 
game — ^the evident tokens of a beneficent Providence. 
Here and there these lands of wild beauty were 
streaked with clear, flowing streams, the track of whose 
shining currents could be followed for milesjby reason 
of the native cane, which grew in rank luxuriance 
along their banks. There was not then, as now, a 
mixture of tangled shrubbery with the cane along the 
banks of these streams. The streams themselves 
abounded in the finest fish, while the lakes and ponds 
swarmed with countless flocks of wild ducks. From 
out the thicket jungles there would issue, at night, 
the hideous growls of wild beasts, the ferocious pro- 
tests of the native denizen to the encroaching civiliza- 
tion of the white man. Such is the description given 
of Conecuh when the enterprising settlers first occu- 
pied its soil. 



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16 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

BARLY SKIRMISH. 

The first item of historic interest is coDnected with 
a skirmish on Burnt Corn creek, thirteen miles south 
of Bellville, which was the commencement of the great 
Indian War. The settlers along the Tombigbee, 
having learned that Peter McQueen, with a body of 
warriors, numbering about 350, had gone to Pensa- 
cola for the purpose of obtaining supplies from the 
British, preparatory to an attack upon the whites, 
sent Col. James Caller, with a small body of cavalry, 
to intercept them. Eeturning from Pensacola, ladened 
with supplies, the Indians had stopped near the banks 
of Burnt Corn creek, to rest and cook dinner. Having 
driven their ponies across the stream to a basin of 
land, thickly overgrown with tender cane, the dusky 
warriors lay down in the shade to rest, while the 
squaws prepared dinner. Coming from the opposite 
direction the advance guards of Caller's forces found 
the Indian ponies grazing in the tall cane, and imme- 
diately reported the discovery to their commander. 
With great caution the whites advanced, crossed the 
stream in single file, and commenced to fire upon the 
reclining warriors. Snatching up their guns, the 
Indians ran down under a bluff that overhung the 
creek. Confident of easy victory. Caller and his men 
began to plunder the Indian camp and to reap the 
spoils of success. Meanwhile the brave warriors ral- 
lied and returned the fire with vigor, advancing all 
the while upon the over-confident whites. At the 
first fire from the savages, the unhitched horses of 



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HISTORY OF OONBOUH. 17 

Caller's men scampered off in all directions. In much 
confusion the whites retreated to the top of the hill, 
and the results would have been disastrous, it is said, 
had not Capt. Sam Dale covered the retreat with a 
small body of men. Filled with a new fire of revenge, 
the Indians, a month later, fell upon Fort Mimms, 
the horrors of which event were appalling beyond 
description. When the earliest inhabitants came to 
Bellville they found the spot where the tribes held 
their war dance in honor of McQueen's victory over 
Caller. Thus was spilt upon Conecuh's soil the first 
blood of that terrible series of sanguinary conflicts, 
which culminated in the removal of the native tribes to 
the far West. What a melancholy history is that of 
the Eed Man I The narrative of their unchecked 
dominion, contrasted with that of their rapid disper- 
sion, is sad beyond measure. The history of their 
undisputed sway is written upon the rills and rivers 
of our fair land to-day. As Alabama's once gifted 
poet. Judge A. B. Meek, has sung: 

"Yes ! tho' they all have passed away, — 

That noble race and brave, 
Though their light canoes have vanished 

From off the crested wave ; 
Though 'mid the forests where they roved. 

There rings no hunter's shout, — 
Yet their names are on our waters, 

And we may not wash them out I 
Their memory liveth on our hills, 

Their baptism on our shore, — 
Our everlasting rivers speak 

Their dialect of yore I 



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18 HISTOBY OF CONECUH. 

'Tis heard where Chattahoochee pours 

His yellow tide along ; 
It sounds on Tallapoosa's shores, 

And Coosa swells the song ; 
Where lordly Alabama sweeps, 

The symphony remains ; 
And young Cahawba proudly keeps 

The echo of its strains ; 
Where Tuscaloosa's waters glide, 

From stream and town 'tis heard. 
And dark Tombeckbee's winding tide 

Eepeats the olden word ; 
Afar, where nature brightly wreathed 

Fit Edens for the Free, 
Along Tuscumbia's bank 'tis breathed, 

By stately Tennessee ; 
And south, where from Conecuh's springs, 

Escambia's waters steal, 
The anoient melody still rings,— 

From Tensaw and Mobile." 



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HIBTOBY OF OONBOUH. 19 



Chapter II. 

Early Settlement of Conecuh by the Whites— Conflict at Battle 
Branch— First Settlement of Bellville — Hampden Kidge— Alex- 
ander Autrey — Other Settlers — Land Claims — Emigration. 

Subsequent to the defeat sustained by the whites 
at Burnt Corn creek, under Col. Caller, it seems that 
a small body of settlers penetrated Conecuh, under the 
leadership of Capt. Shomo — now of Monroe county — 
and chastised the Indians at Battle Branch, eight miles 
south of Bellville. The details of this second conflict 
are not given. It is said that the marks of the battle 
are to be seen to-day, in the impressions made in the 
bark by the flying bullets of the assailants. In the 
latter part of 1815, the first permanent settlement, by 
the whites, was made near Bellville. Samuel Buch- 
anan was the first to establish his home within the 
borders of the county. He located on what is now 
known as Hawthorne's Mill Creek, about one and a 
half miles west of Bellville, near the famous Indian 
trail known, then, as the Old Wolf Trail, which ran 
from the present site of Claiborne, on the Alabama 
river, via Bellville, to some point on the Chattahoo- 
chee. At this period no whites resided nearer this 
pioneer hero than at Claiborne on the west, or Burnt 
Corn on the north. But shortly after this, Alexander 
Autrey removed from the region of Claiborne, and 
settled upon a small stream west of his late residence, 



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20 mSTORY OF CONECUH. 

which he called Autrey's creek. Subsequent to this, 
he removed to the line of hills which overlook Mur- 
der creek from the west, where he established himself 
in a new home, and named it Hampden Eidge. 

Shortly after Mr. Autrey's removal to Conecuh, 
there came from North Carolina three gentlemen whose 
names were Thomas Mendenhall, Eli Mendenhall, and 
Eeuben Hart. The first of these established himself 
at the spot now known as the Old Savage Place, on 
the road running from Bellville to Evergreen. Mr. 
Hart located very near the pr.esent residence of Dr. J. 
L. Shaw. Early in 1817, the population of Bell- 
ville, which then boasted of the name of "The Ponds," 
from the lakes which existed near, was increased by 
the emigration of Joshua Hawthorne from Wilkinson 
county, Georgia, to South Alabama. He pitched his 
family tent in the virgin forests near the home of the 
late Henry Stanley, surrounded by no other elements 
of civilization than those already named. 

As each emigrant would take up his abode in this 
land of teeming beauty, he would cast about him for 
the most favorable location, and one best suited to the 
interests of his future residence. In order to fix the 
title of what was then known as the Emigrant's 
Claim, the early pioneers would select the tract or 
district best suited to their tastes, and would proceed 
to indicate their title to permanent tenure by girding 
a few trees, with impressions cut in the bark, and by 
laying somewhere upon land desired, the first four 
logs of a building. This was a monument of posses* 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 21 

sion, and was sacredly respected by the early settlers. 
The man who would dare disregard this asserted 
claim, was branded a rascal outright, and incurred the 
loss of public confidence and esteem. 

Near the period above referred to, another batch 
of emigrants came to Conecuh from Chester District, 
South Carolina. They settled near Hampden Eidge. 
These were Chesley Crosby, Robert Savage, Mabry 
Thomas, and Alexander Donald — then quite a young 
man. These were accompanied by Robert Herrin and 
Jesse T. Odum — the former of whom continued on 
to Claiborne, where he located and resided many 
years ; while the latter removed to Buena Vista, in 
Monroe county, where he lived to be quite old. All 
of these flourished conspicuously in their adopted 
counties, for many years together. 



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182 HISTOBY or CONEOtTH. 



chaptbb hi. 

Early Privations and Struggles — Unparalleled Difficulties — Scarcity 
of Tools — Undaunted Heroism — Mea^eness of Blacksmith's 
Facilities — Joshua Betts — A Barefooted Population — Paucity of 
Grist Mills — Georgia Currency, &c. 

Notwithstanding the luxuriant abundance of natural 
elements, with which the early settlers found them- 
selves surrounded, they were not exempt from the 
privations then universally incident to pioneer life. 
Vast forests had to be felled, and the fields to be cul- 
tivated, but most scanty was the supply of implements 
with which the formidable task had to be undertaken; 
and the few in hand were of the rudest character. A 
few axes and grubbing hoes, such as the daring em- 
igrants had brought with them from their distant 
homes, were the only utensils that could be brought 
into practical requisition. 

But with that heroism which had prompted them 
to penetrate these forest wilds, they energetically ad- 
dressed themselves to the stupendous task. But at 
every step, they encountered new difficulties; one 
overcome, ancTther was introduced. By dint of ardu- 
ous and tedious toil, the forests were partially cleared 
away — but where were the implements of agriculture 
with which the soil was to be tilled ? A few shovels, 
spades and grubbing hoes, of the rudest character, 
and an occasional scooter plow, were the only imple- 



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HISTOBY OF OONBCUH. 28 

inejjLts with which these primitive agriculturists were 
to raise their virgin crops. The only instrument used 
by many of the wealthiest farmers, for several years, 
was a sharply-flattened hickory pole, made somewhat 
in the shape of a crowbar, with which holes were, 
made in the soil and the seed deposited. An embar- 
rassing difficulty arose from the absence of smithy 
facilities among the early farmers, and hence many 
saw but little hope of subsequent relief from their 
perplexity. This embarrassment, however, was par- 
tially overcome in upper Conecuh by the possession 
of a few blacksmith tools by Joshua Betts. He was 
reinforced by his brother, Isaac — who had, by the aid 
of the enterprising settlers in that region, supplied 
himself with a complete outfit of blacksmith tools, for 
which he agreed to pay with work done in his shop. 
But one of the severest privations to which the 
pioneer families were subjected was a great scarcity of 
shoes. Many of the fathers and grandfathers of the 
influential families now resident in Conecuh, were, 
from necessity, barefoot laborers. The early soil was 
tilled, through heat and cold, by barefooted men. The 
game was chased over the hills by men wearing no 
shoes. Men and women taught school, and attended 
church, with feet totally unprotected. And to show 
tbat it was not incompatible with primitive dignity, 
pne of the earliest aspirants to Legislative honors — 
Captain Cumming — actively canvassed the county of 
Conecuh, on horseback, with his feet clad only in their 
©ativo nudeness. It is said to have been not an unfre- 



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24 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

quent occurrence to meet men, on horseback, with 
their naked feet armed with a pair of rude wooden 
spurs. 

The year 1816 was noted as being one of sore 
privation to the heroic families who had confronted 
the perils of these forest wilds, nerved alone by the 
hope of future reward, which itself was dependent 
upon their tedious exertion. To appreciate their 
struggles with formidable difficulties, one has only to 
be told that during the year 1816 the settlers of Con- 
ecuh had to procure their corn from Claiborne, which 
had to be transported in sacks across the country on 
horseback — and that, too, amid the constant danger of 
falling into the hands of roving bands of savages, who 
prowled like beasts of prey in all directions. This 
stupendous disadvantage was further enhanced by the 
utter absence of grist mills ; and hence' the planters 
had to have recourse to a rude contrivance of their 
own manufacture, which was called a "sweep." This 
consisted- of a pestle, fixed into a horizontal pole, which 
rested upon an upright forked beam, securely fixed 
into the ground. Beneath this was placed a mortar, 
which contained the corn. By the perpendicular op- 
eration of the pestle, the corn was gradually pounded 
into a mealy state. This inconvenient usage was at* 
length obviated by the erection, in upper Conecuh, of 
a grist mill upon the identical spot where Ellis's Mills 
now stand. This was built by Captain Cumming. 
Shortly after this, a similar enterprise sprang up on 
Mill creek, near Bellville. This was erected by Bartly 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 25 

Walker.* These were the only mills that existed 
in Conecuh for many years. And such rare enter- 
prises did not fail to become centres of influence for a 
long time. They were the points of popular resort, 
whither the fathers of yore would gather, each bring- 
ing his ponderous sack of corn on his horse or mule, 
and accompanied by his trusty rifle. ^ And as the mil- 
ler would reduce their corn to meal, many would be 
the feats described, and the adventures recounted, by 
the hardy fathers of the long ago. Among other 
hardships encountered by the early inhabitants of 
Conecuh was that of being forced oftentimes, by stress 
of necessity, to consume meal made of corn which 
had molded through age and exposure. And their 
rapid prosperity becomes to us, more a source of won- 
der, when, superadded to all these hardships, was that 
of being compelled to use Georgia currency, which 
was below par ; so that even though the injured corn 
was conveyed from such distances, it cost from four 
to seven dollars per bushel. 

But, rising above all these stupendous difficulties, 
these hardy sons of energy laid the foundations of 
-wealth, and transmitted to the succeeding generation 
not only the results of their toils, but, besides, the 
power of a physical and moral courage, whose strength 
ever rose higher than the confronting barrier, and 
enabled them to prevail against odds the most for- 
midable. Verily, more than any ever experienced by 
their offspring, "these were times that tried men's souls." 

* The miU rocks used here were dag from the earth near Joseph 
Burt's, where an abundance of similar stones may stUl be found. 



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2ff HISTORT OP OONBfOtTH. 

Chapteb IV. 

Indian Hostilities— Their Depredations — Early Forts, Ac. 

Contemporaneous with the events already recorded, 
were occasional outbreaks from the Indians. Eelics 
of the broken tribes were roving in small bands over 
the wide and wild waste of country. These were the 
remnants of the tribes defeated and dispersed by 
General Jackson in the battle of the Horse Shoe. 
Numerous were the depredations committed by these 
wild bands. Frequently the carcass of a cow would 
be found flayed of its skin and with the haunches 
removed. And woe betide the poor Indian who was 
found with traces of blood upon his person, or with 
moccasins of cowskin upon his feet. He was sure to 
become the recipient of a severe castigation at the 
hands of the outraged inhabitants. These depreda- 
tions kept alive the fire of hostility between the white 
and red races. Stung with the passion of revenge, 
these bands of hostile Indians would sometimes fall 
unawares upon an unprotected community, and after 
speedily wreaking their vengeance, in the work of 
death upon the defenceless, would again dash off, and 
stealthily conceal themselves in the jungles of the 
forest. Bloody scenes were enacted upon the Forks 
of Sepulga and upon the Conecuh river. In 1818 these 
bands, having concentrated, felt sufficiently strong to 
threaten the extermination of the pale faces. The 
white settlements having learned of their belligerent 



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flisTOBY OF comtavn. 27 

designs, considerable alarm was produced, and they 
felt impelled to take immediate steps toward protec- 
tion. By concert of action in the several settlements, 
three forts were accordingly erected — one near the 
house of Alexander Autrey, one at the fountain head of 
Bellville branch, near the present house of John H. 
Famham, and one in the neighborhood of Burnt Corn. 
The implements of war, like all other works of art, 
were necessarily scant. Whatever could deal the blow 
of death, was laid under tribute and conveyed forth- 
with to these strongholds of protection. The armory 
of defence consisted of club axes, worn blunt by long 
usage; knives, old bayonets, gathered from the Indian 
battle grounds; clubs and old guns. With these 
implements of protection, the early fathers, together 
with their families, repaired to these bulwarks of 
defence. Feeling that '^eternal vigilance is the price 
of liberty," they slept nightly upon their rude arms, 
and were ready, at the slightest alarm, to mete out 
death to their dusky assailants. As the Indians 
gradually retired, however, to the Big Warrior Nation, 
tranquility was restored, and by degrees the people of 
Conecuh resumed the work which High Destiny had 
entrusted to their hands — that of lifting the country 
from its primeval inactivity upon the plane of a pro- 
gressive prosperity. As the slumbering resources of 
nature were evoked, energy was stimulated, ingenuity 
was unfolded, diflSculties vanished, the boundless 
forests disappeared before the axe of advancement, 
and fields were everywhere abloom with natural 
increase. 



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28 HI8T0BY OF OONKOITH. 



Chaptbb V. 

Signs of Advancement — ^Industrious Signs Prevailing. 

With the restoration of tranquility there naturally 
came an influx of immigration from the States of 
South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Civilization 
now began to find expression in the establishment of 
social institutions. Commerce, though on a scale 
quite limited, assumed positive shape. Schools were 
established. Here and there a church edifice, though 
quite in keeping with the rough life of the pioneer, 
was erected, and industry was rearing embryonic 
monuments all over the face of the country. In 1818 
there came to the Bellville settlement a young man 
whose name was Robert C. Paine. He was half- 
brother to Mrs. Alexander Travis. Prompted by a spirit 
of enterprise, he erected, in the Bellville community, 
the first mercantile establishment ever built on the 
soil of Conecuh. His store-house is described as 
having been of exceedingly rude appearance — in apt 
keeping, however, with the principle of "the eternal 
fitness of things." It was built of pine poles, un- 
stripped of their bark, and had a dirt floor. The 
stock in trade of this father merchant was a little 
coarse sugar, which he sold at fifty cents per pound; 
a little coffee, at one dollar per pound; and a few dry 
goods, suited to the tastes and the necessities of the 



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HISTOKT OF QONZQVA. 29 

early families. These goods he hauled in a small 
ox-cart from Blakely. 

While Bellville was thus rapidly asserting her 
claims to a more advanced civilization, Hampden 
Kidge (the Autrey settlement) was setting up rival 
claims. Here the first temple of justice was erected by 
the aspiring fathers, in the shape of a rude court house. 
It was built of chestnut logs, was planted full upon a 
dirt floor, and in regard to furniture, boasted of a 
rough table, behind which sat the wearer of the ermine 
in all his primitive dignity. Having but one room, 
the retiring juries would have to resort for secrecy, 
and for the formation of their verdicts, under the eye 
of a vigilant bailiff, to the surrounding forest. Pris- 
oners were conveyed across the country — a distance of 
thirty-five miles from the prison in Claiborne. During 
the session of court they had to be guarded beneath 
the shades of the ancestral oaks, which crown Hamp- 
den Eidge. Favorably for the future inhabitants of 
Conecuh, her earliest settlers were, to a great extent, 
men of piety. Along with the development of the 
several bustling communities of the county, there 
grew up a desire to erect church edifices, to be conse- 
crated to the worship of " the true and living God." 
About 1817 there removed from Twiggs county, Ga., 
a Baptist minister, whose name was David Wood. 
Though blind, he was an earnest, practical, devoted 
minister of the truth. He preached the first sermon 
ever delivered in Conecuh county, in a small, rude 
cabin, which stood on the spot of ground now ocou- 
2* 



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30 HISTOBY OF CONECUH. 

pied by the graveyard, near the Bellville Baptist 
Church. A little later than this, the first school ever 
instituted in Conecuh was established by John Greene, 
Sr., near the site of his present home. Among his 
pupils were the Eev. David Lee, now of Lowndes 
county; his brother, Ithiel, deceased ; Watkins Salter, 
at one time clerk of the court of Conecuh, and after- 
ward its representative in the Legislature, and still 
later a representative from Lowndes county ; the late 
Miles Herrington, and Jacob Betts, a prominent mer- 
chant at Burnt Corn — then quite a small boy. 

CONECUH IS ORGANIZED INTO A COUNTY. 

Conecuh did not become a separately organized 
county until January, 1818. Prior to this time it was 
embraced within the limits of Monroe county, which 
then embraced an extensive tract of territory, extend- 
ing from east to west, from the Chattahoochee to the 
Alabama. But after the organization of Conecuh into 
a county, it was bounded on the north by Monroe and 
Montgomery counties, on the west by Clarke and 
Mobile, on the east by Georgia, and on the south by 
Florida — then a Spanish province. Eichard Warren 
became the first representative of the county in the 
Territorial Legislature, which met then at St. Stephens, 
in Washington county. Eansom Dean (brother-in- 
law to Col. J. E. Hawthorne), was the first sheriff, 
and by virtue of his office, was tax assessor and col- 
lector, as well. Joel Lee (the father of Eev. David 
Lee), was the first justice of the peace appointed in 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 81 

Coneculi. He was appointed by Gov. William Bibb. 

PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS. 

For a long time after the settlement of this portion 
of Alabama, the inhabitants had to adopt for their 
highways the beaten trails of the Eed Man, which 
threaded the forests in all directions, and led through 
the dense cane that skirted the streams, at the only 
points where it could be penetrated, and where the 
streams themselves could be forded. To form some 
estimate of the density of these brakes, which pre- 
vailed with uniform impenetrableness along the banks 
of all streams alike, the present inhabitant of Conecuh 
has only to be told the following anecdote: On one 
occasion a gentleman living near Burnt Corn, Captain 
Hayes, accompanied by his young friend, Jere Aus- 
tin — afterwards celebrated because of his connection 
with the famous Canoe Fight — was traveling in lower 
Conecuh, exploring the fertile lands which lie along 
Murder creek. Returning after nightfall, they at- 
tempted to cross Bellville branch, just where the road 
now crosses between the village and the house of 
James Straughn, and became entangled in the glade 
of cane. After wading through the mud for some 
time, and finding no relief, in their perplexity they 
set up a yell of distress, which was promptly answered 
by Joshua Hawthorne, who hastened to their relief, 
with several negro men, bearing lighted torches, and 
extricated them. 
In 1822 the first public road that ever penetrated 



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83 HISTOBY or COXfSOUB. 

aay portion of the county, was cut by order of the 
Legislature. It was then about the most important 
thoroughfare in the State. It ran from Cahaba, via 
Old TurnbuU and Bellville, to Pensacola, and was 
afterwards known as ** the Old Stage Eoad." 



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HISTORY OF COKBCtTBL 88 



Chapteb VI. 

A Chapter of Biography — Early Heroes and Their Struggle 
Frowning Barriers — Unequalled Energy — Moral Giants-^How 
the Basis was Laid — Apostolic Consecration, Ac, &c. 

REV. ALEXANDER TRAVIS. 

The sacred position which Mr. Travis occupied, 
together with the wholesome work accomplished by 
him in giving so much moral tone to the character of 
Conecuh county, demand that he occupy the first place 
in the biographical sketches of her useful and prom- 
inent men. Alexander Travis was born in Edgefield 
District, South Carolina, on August 23rd, 1790. He 
was the child of humble, though respectable parents. 
Having been reared on a farm, he was inured to hard 
service, and thereby the better fitted for the toilsome 
duties which awaited him in the latter half of his 
useful and eventful life. The educational advantages 
of young Travis were limited — not exceeding an 
imperfect training in the rudiments of the English. 
But possessing more than an ordinary stock of native 
intellectual power, he absorbed much information 
from divers sources, which gave him a respectable 
position in society. In appearance, Mr. Travis was 
tall and dignified, and by the gravity of his bearing 
commanded universal respect. He was converted in 
1809, and baptized into the fellowship of the Addiel 
Church, in South Carolina. One year later, he was 



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84 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

licensed to preach ; and in 1813, was ordained to the 
full work of a Baptist minister. Assuming charge of 
several churches, he retained his pastorate until his 
removal to Alabama in 1817. Upon coming to Con- 
ecuh, he located near Evergreen, where he resided till 
his death. Such was the zeal of this consecrated 
missionary, that he would gather together, as he could, 
a batch of hearers, from Sunday to Sunday, to preach 
to them the richness of grace in Christ Jesus. Nor 
were his ettbrts vain ; for soon he collected a sufficient 
number of converts together, with those who had 
previously been members of Baptist churches, to 
organize a church near his home. Hence he became 
the founder of the famous Old Beulah Church, situated 
between Sparta and Brooklyn. This he did in 1818. 
Nor were his labors restricted to this particular sec- 
tion ; for in all directions his energies were exerted 
in the organization of yet other churches. The sparse- 
ness of the population compelled him to take long and 
trying journeys from week to week. But never did 
inspired apostle address himself to his work with more 
alacrity. During the week he was an earnest, active 
student. His library was a plain English Bible ; over 
this he would assiduously pore, by the aid of blazing 
pine knots, after his labors in the field. Such was the 
devotion of this pioneer disciple, that he would leave 
his home early on Friday morning in order to walk 
to his appointments, thirty-five miles away. And 
not unfrequently, in these foot-marches, he would 
encounter swollen streams ;. but, nothing daunted, he 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 85 

would strap his saddlebags — which he always carried 
in his hands — about his neck, boldly plunge in, and 
swim to the opposite shore. Through his indefatigable 
exertions, thriving churches were established in differ- 
ent parts of the county, and some in districts quite 
remote from others. And such was his zeal, his suc- 
cess, his ability as a preacher, and his affable firmness 
as a pastor, that he remained in charge of several of 
these churches from the period of their formation to 
his death. This was true with respect to the Beulah 
and Bellville churches. Of the former he was pastor 
thirty-five years; of the latter thirty-two. A large 
and flourishing interest was established by him in the 
Higdon settlement, between Burnt Corn and Ever- 
green. Because of his peculiar parliamentary ability, 
Mr. Travis was chosen the Moderator of the Bethle- 
hem Association for more than twenty consecutive 
sessions ; and because of his earnest support of educa- 
tion, he was made the first chairman of the Board of 
Trustees of the Evergreen Academy, for many years 
together. So evenly balanced were all his powers — 
mental, physical and moral — that he was admirably 
fitted to the work Providentially assigned him in a 
rugged, pioneer region. 

Elder Travis died in 1852, at his old home, where 
he had lived full thirty-five years. His death was a 
public calamity, and was universally lamented. He 
was emphatically a good man. He was, in many re- 
spects, a man of greatness. He was unswerving in 
his principles, and had the courage of his convictions, 



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86 BISTORT OP COKIGUH. 

whicfi he boldly evinced when occasion required; and 
yet, in his general deportment, he was as meek as a 
child. At the pulpit end of Old Beulah Church may 
be seen to-day by the passer-by, a plain marble shaft, 
which marks the resting place of this sainted pioneer 
hero. 



ALEXANDER AUTRBY 

was the second white man to settle upon the soil of 
Conecuh. His biography, therefore, is inseparably 
connected with the history of the county from its 
colonial period. He was born of French and Ger- 
man ancestry, in North Carolina, on January 4th, 
1780. On March 5th, 1803, he was married to Par- 
thenia B. Irvin. In 1810 he removed to Georgia, 
whence he removed to Monroe county, Alabama, 
shortly after the establishment of peace with Great 
Britain in 1815. Here he must have remained but a 
short time, for we find him in the early part of 1816 
the founder of Hampden Ridge, on the range of hills 
west of Murder creek. In stature, Mr. Autrey was 
tall, rather disposed to stoop, and of lean physique. 
He practically illustrated in his life what could be 
achieved by genuine pluck and perseverance. The 
odds encountered, and the dangers braved by him in 
coming to Conecuh, only served to stimulate him to 
more vigorous exertions. He came up from the most 
straitened circumstances, enduring all the priva- 
tions of pioneer life, and yet when he died he was one 



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HISTORY OF OOITECtrH. 87 

of the wealthiest men in Conecuh.* The controlling 
traits of his character were an indomitable will and a 
vigorous energy. Whatever engaged his attention at 
all, fired him with an ardent enthusiasm. He reared a 
large family, both of sons and daughters, of whom 
only one remains — Mrs. 0. P. Eobinson, of Vermilion- 
ville, Louisiana. Mr. Autrey died at his residence 
on September 22nd, 1857, at the advanced age of 
seventy-seven years. 

SAMUEL WHITE OLIVER. 

This distinguished citizen was a native of Virginia, 
where he was born about 1796. The early portion 
of his life was spent in Clarke county, Georgia. His 
literary course was taken at Franklin College, and was 
fitted for the bar in Litchfield, Connecticut. In 1819 
he removed to Conecuh, and located near the new 
county site at Sparta. He soon associated with him- 
self, in the practice of law, Hon. John S. Hunter. By 
his ability, Mr. Oliver soon won the confidence of his 
fellow citizens. In 1822 he was elected first to the 
Legislature, in which position he was retained by the 
popular voice of the people for twelve years. In 1834 
he was chosen Speaker of the House. Two years 
later he was elected to the State Senate from Conecuh 
and Butler, but this position he resigned upon his re- 

* The writer has heard his mother, whose father Mr. Autrey was, 
relate what she had often heard her mother state — that she (Mrs. 
A.) would often hold a lighted torch at night for her husband to 
deposit his seed in the earth. 

s 



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88 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

moval to Dallas county, in 1837. During this year he 
was the candidate of the anti- Van Baren party for the 
office of Governor. But in the contest he was de- 
feated by a majority of 4,000 for Hon. Arthur P. 
Bagby, of Monroe county. Colonel Oliver died at his 
residence, on Pine Barren creek, in Dallas county, 
January 18th, 1838. He was a gentleman of shining 
qualities, spotless reputation and popular bearing. 
Had his life been prolonged, he would doubtless have 
attained great distinction. 

DR. JOHN WATKINS 

was a distinguished physician, who removed at quite 
an early period, to Conecuh, where he found himself 
almost alone, for some time, in his practice. Dr. 
Watkins was born within a short distance of the scene 
of General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court 
House, Virginia, in 1775. Having received a liberal 
education, he pursued his medical studies in Philadel- 
phia, whence he was graduated in 1804. He first 
located at Abbeville Court House, South Carolina, 
where he practiced in the family of Senator John C. 
Calhoun. He removed to Alabama in 1813, and 
located first on the Tombigbee river. Later we find 
him at Claiborne — the only physician between the 
Alabama and Chattahoochee rivers. Notwithstand- 
ing his decided usefulness in his chosen profession, 
he was urged to represent Monroe in the Consti- 
tutional Convention in 1819, and during the same 
year was elected to the Senate from the same county. 



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mSTORY OP OONKOUH. 89 

At quite an early period after the settlement of OoneoTih, 
he removed to that county, where his ability was 
speedily recognized as a physician. But here again 
he was destined to share in political honors, for in 
1828 he was sent to the Senate from Conecuh and 
Butler. Several years afterward he was chosen to 
represent Conecuh in the lower branch of the Legis- 
lature. In 1842 his services were again demanded in 
the realm of politics, and he was chosen Senator from 
Conecuh and Monroe counties. His devotion to his 
chosen profession, however, continued unabated, and 
he was assiduous in the accumulation of scientific 
works, that he might be the more fully prepared to 
meet the advancing demands of medicine. Dr. Wat- 
kins died at his home, near Burnt Corn, in 1854. He 
was a man of extraordinary physical powers. In 
manners he was exceedingly plain, and oftentimes very 
blunt. The following characteristic anecdote is rela- 
ted of him: He had a patient who had for a long 
time suffered from extreme nervousness. Dr. Wat- 
kins having learned that she had a peculiar fondness 
for coffee, admonished her to discontinue its use. 
Having been called to visit her again, he found her 
with her head resting upon her palms, and leaning 
over the fire-place, where he spied the coffee pot, 
poised upon a pedestal of glowing coals. Without 
ceremony, he knocked it from its position, causing the 
contents to flow out, and then proceeded to kick it 
across the room, through the door, and into the yard. 
But he was universally esteemed for his benevolence 



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40 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

and hospitality. His memory will ever be cherished 
in Conecuh, because of his superior public worth. 



CHESLEY CROSBY. 

The subject of this sketch was born is Chester Dis- 
trict, South Carolina, July 22nd, 1788. Here he grew 
to manhood, when he removed to Conecuh, which 
was in 1818. When he came fco the county he found 
a few struggling settlements, there having preceded 
him but few of the early emigrants. Like all others, 
he erected a rude house, and commenced his labors in 
the boundless forests of Conecuh. Along with the 
growth of prosperity in the county he continued to 
accumulate wealth, and by dint of energy and econo- 
my, had amassed considerable property before his 
death. Mr. Crosby was the ancestor of a large 
offspring. Many of these reside in Conecuh, some in 
adjoining counties, and others in different and distant 
States. He was a man of many sterling qualities of 
character. In him the widow and orphan ever found 
a sympathizing friend. And when convinced of the 
worth of a public enterprise, no one was more liberal 
in contributing to its success. A praiseworthy ex- 
ample of his liberality is found in the Baptist church 
at Bellville, to which he gave in a cash donation 
$500. In consideration of this marked liberality, a 
seat, stained with mahogany hue, was prepared for 
him, and which he occupied in his attendance upon 
the services of the church. After a long and useful 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 41 

life of seventy-five years, Mr. Crosby died at his home, 
between Bellville and Sparta, on May 22nd, 1864. 

FIELDING STRAUGHN. 

Among the earliest inhabitants of Conecuh was 
Fielding Straughn, who was in very many respects 
an extraordinary man. He was born in Chatham 
county, North Carolina, in 1783. In 1817 he came 
to Conecuh, in the full vigor of manhood, and settled 
his home where Thomas Bobbins at present resides. 
Such was the hardiness of his physical constitution 
that he defied all the difficulties encountered by him 
in this pioneer region. He was a modern Nimrod 
amid the abundant game that thronged the primitive 
wilds of Conecuh. It is said to have been a marvel how 
he could penetrate with bare feet and short-cut trousers, 
the dense everglades of cane and tangled thickets of 
briar, as he would chase the flying deer or the retreat- 
ing bear. Though unlettered, he is said to have been 
a speaker of marked ability in the religious assemblies, 
of which he was from time to time a member. In early 
manhood he had a passionate fondness for pancakes and 
molasses, and indicated an ambition to become suffi 
cient]y wealthy to have them every day, instead of 
only on Sunday. The object of his gastronomical 
ambition was finally attained, and finding his desires 
for other objects increasing with his acquisitions, he 
declared that every man had a pancakes and molasses 
point in life which was never reached. Mr. Straughn 
lived to be quite old, having died in 1867, after reap- 



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42 mSTORY OP CONECUH. 

ing his share of the prosperity of the county during 
"the flush times" of its early history. Because of 
his calm judgment and extensive practical knowledge, 
he served the county for a long time as one of her 
most efficient commissioners. Among other descend- 
ants he left two sons — Pinkney and James — the former 
of whom has been a prominent and useful citizen of 
Monroe for many years, and the latter of whom has 
served the county of Conecuh with efficiency, as sur- 
veyor, for several successive terms. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 43 



Chapter VII. , 

Centres of Population — Bellville Hampden Ridge Bparta — 

Brooklyn — Fort Crawford. 

Reference has already been had to the settlements 
at Bellville and Hampden Ridge. Between the years 
of 1817 and 1823 the population of both these points 
was steadily increased. Several brothers, whose name 
was Bell, came to Bellville, then called "The Ponds," 
about 1818 or 1820, and having commenced an enter- 
prising life in this region, they called the village after 
their own name — Bellville. At Hampden Ridge, the 
home of Mr. A u trey, as at every advance post in this un- 
civilized region of country, there was a nucleus formed, 
around which the elements of growth would accumu- 
late as the stream of immigration would continue to 
flow. As has already been said, by the permission 
of Mr. Autrey, and partly by his direction, the first 
court house of the county had been built on Hampden 
Ridge during the year 1817. After this there came, 
in rapid succession, and settled hereabouts, the fami- 
lies of Savage, Charlton, Thompson, John and Duncan 
Mclntyre, Dr. Houghton (who soon after died). Major 
Bowie, Stringer, Causer, Thomas Hodge and Jesse 
Baggett, the father of Richard Baggett, of Castleberry, 
who was the first white child born in the county of 
Conecuh. 

By mutual agreement between the white residents 



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44 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

on Hampden Ridge, and the Indians, whose camps and 
villages lay beyond Murder creek, this stream was 
fixed as the boundary. But regardless of the agree- 
ment, the savages would now and then cross the 
creek in predatory bands, and commit depredations 
upon the white settlers, by stealing their cattle and 
driving them beyond the stream, and to the headquar- 
ters of the tribe at Old Town. So enraged did the 
whites finally become, that they resolved upon a total 
suppression of these wrongs. Accordingly they mus- 
tered every one who was able to bear arms and moved 
in a body to Old Town. This, they attacked with 
considerable spirit, driving the native inhabitants, 
terror stricken, away. They next proceeded to set 
fire to their town of huts and wigwams and reduce it 
to ashes. Flushed with victory, the triumphant whites 
returned to their homes, no more to be molested by 
the prowling Red Man. The Indians having disap- 
peared from this region, the whites commenced to 
remove to the eastern side of Murder creek. Major 
Richard Warren was the first to venture across the 
stream and pitch his home in a region so lately filled 
with peril. He was soon after followed by his son, 
who located at the point where he died, one mile east 
of Sparta. During the same year Malachi Warren 
entered eighty acres of land and built a log cabin on 
the spot where, afterwards, stood the Rankin House. 
This cabin was the first building erected upon the 
site of old Sparta, which, at this period, had not been 
honored with its classic name. At this point Malachi 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 45 

Warren opened a place of business that might have 
been aptly described as a pop-corn grocery. Between 
the homes of Major Warren and his son, Hinchie, a 
gentleman, whose name was Spires, located. The 
place occupied by him was afterwards called the Calla- 
han Place. He was the first to begin the improve- 
ment of what has been since known as the Gary 
Plantation. In 1819, Thomas Watts (uncle to Ex- 
Governor Watts), removed from Georgia and settled 
near Malachi Warren's home. During the same year 
a man named Gauf removed from Tallahassee, Florida, 
and built below the point where afterwards stood the 
Eankin House, on the road leading from Sparta to 
Brooklyn. It was near this spot, too, where the first 
jail was erected. Mr. Gauf established here the first 
hotel built in Sparta, and in honor of himself, called 
it the Gauf House. Like most other structures of 
this period, this primitive inn was of pine poles and 
flat upon the ground, and, in the absence of lum- 
ber with which to construct shutters for the doors, 
calico curtains and counterpanes had to be suspended 
as flaps. About this time there came to this commu- 
nity a Northern physician, whose name was Jonathan 
Shaw. He engaged board in the Gauf House, and 
built an office near where the Masonic Hall after- 
wards stood. It was just subsequent to the events 
already related, that the court house agitation sprang 
up between the rival communities of Hampden Ridge 
and the settlement on the opposite side of the creek. 
A vigorous effort was being made by the Warrens, 



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46 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

Boy kins and Hunters, to transfer the site of the county 
from Hampden Eidge into their own midst. Alexan- 
der Autrey led, in a stout opposition, but the decision 
of the ballot was against him, and, much to his dis- 
satisfaction, he had to yield. Accordingly, in 1820, 
a new court house was built, and the village there- 
upon received the name of Sparta — given to it by 
Thomas Watts, an attorney, in honor of Sparta, 
Georgia, from which point he had removed. This 
second court house is said to have been a slight im- 
provement on the one originally built on Hampden 
Eidge. It was constructed of pine logs, and was, in 
size, about 20 by 30 feet, and had two doors. In 
the absence of a local church edifice, it served the 
double purpose of temple of justice and house of 
worship. Another court house — the one consumed 
by fire in 1868 — was erected three years later, by a 
man named Simmons, from Tallahassee, Florida, and 
the Masonic Fraternity gave him $500 additional to 
place the lodge room and attic above. Evidences of 
improvement began now to become manifest in all 
directions. The evidences of an ambitious civiliza- 
tion were beginning to show themselves in schools, 
^nd in more pretentious forms of business than had 
hitherto existed. The first school here was under- 
taken by John McCloud, who taught but a brief 
period, when he was succeeded by Murdock McPher- 
son. The last named gentleman is said to have been 
the first Mason buried with the honors of that Frater- 
nity upon the soil of Conecuh. To give marked 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 47 

solemnity to the occasion, a fiddle was brought into 
requisition, and its solemn tones were evoked in the 
strain of a funeral march, by a wooden-legged doctor, 
named Ogden. Anderson and Blackshear, two broth- 
ers-in-law, and John and Reuben Dean, built two places 
of business in this rapidly growing village. And after 
the removal of the court house, the bar of Conecuh 
was increased by the location of Samuel W. Oliver, 
Eldridge S. Greening and John S. Hunter, at Sparta. 

BROOKLYN. 

Prior to the settlement of Brooklyn proper, quite a 
community had been formed on Ard's and Bottle 
creeks. There were in this community, as early as 
1818, two stores, owned respectively by McOonnell 
and George Feagin. There was also a school being 
taught here by Mr. Graham, of Georgia ; and a black- 
smith shop, owned by John Brantley. No trace of 
this settlement, which was about six miles northwest 
of the present location of Brooklyn, remains. The last 
vestige has been obliterated by plantations. Among 
the earliest settlers here were Asa and Caleb John- 
ston, and Aaron Feagin — their father-in-law. They 
removed from Georgia in 1818. Eichard Curry, 
grandfather to Rev. W. G. Curry, now of Wilcox, 
was also one of the founders of this community. The 
first settler of the village of Brooklyn was a man 
whose name was Cameron. He established a ferry 
across Sepulga river. Edwin Robinson, from Brook- 
lyn, Connecticut, bought out Mr. Cameron's interest, 



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48 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

opened a store, and called the place Brooklyn, for his 
native village in New England. This occurred in 
1820. He was reinforced pretty soon by the location 
of Dr. Milton Amos, after whom Milton, Florida, was 
named. Then followed the families of George and 
Eeuben Dean and Benjamin Hart, who had first settled 
at Bellville. Improvements were rapidly made in 
the promising village, and thereabouts. A church 
was erected in 1821, the pastor of which was Elder 
Alexander Travis; a school was established under 
Mr. Scruggs; a grist mill contributed to the comfort 
and convenience of the expanding village; new places 
of business were opened, and thus Brooklyn became, 
in 1821, the emporium of trade to Conecuh, and the 
river, which runs hard by, became the commercial 
outlet of the entire region of country. 

Transportation was begun on the Conecuh and 
Sepulga rivers in 1821. It is believed that George 
Stoneham was the owner of the first boat that sailed 
upon the waters of Conecuh. The inauguration of 
this movement was but the signal for many similar 
enterprises ; for in rapid succession were boats entered 
by Messrs. Edwin Eobinson, James and John Jones, 
Starke and Harry Hunter, and Frank Boykin, so that 
within a few years the river was alive with well- 
ladened boats, plying between Brooklyn and Pensa- 
cola, and when the depth of water would justify it, 
ascending as high as Montezuma, above Brooklyn. 
These were keel- boats, and would carry from fifty to 
sixty bales of cotton. In capacity they were from sixty 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 49 

to seventy feet long, and eight to ten wide. They were 
entered in the Custom House at Pensacola, tonnage 
paid, and then license obtained for steering into port. 
But the heroic enterprise of these early inaugurators 
of navigation on the Conecuh river, deserves more 
extended mention than a bare passing notice, and 
hence a detailed account of their reverses and successes 
is reserved for a subsequent chapter. Fresh additions 
were constantly being made to the population of 
Brooklyn, and but a short time after its location, we 
find the families of Hart, Hodges, Meeks, Manning, 
Slaughter, Folks, Amos, Turk, Burson, Horton, Lee, 
Halstead, and several families of the Stoneham rela- 
tionship. These were, for the most part, men of 
enterprise, and under their direction the work of 
advancement went steadily on. Vast tracts of land 
were cleared in the direction of the river, where were 
soon some of the best improved plantations in the 
county. Eleven miles below Brooklyn there was a 
settlement founded on the river, the first inhabitant of 
which was Malachi Ethridge, who removed with his 
family from North Carolina in 1818. This well-to-do 
colony were not neglectful of the advantages which 
they had enjoyed in the older States, and hence one 
of the first considerations was the erection of houses 
of worship. The first church built in this region was 
a Methodist house of worship, which enjoyed the 
pastoral ministrations of Eev. James King — favorably 
known for many years after, as "Father King." In 
another portion of the community a Baptist church 



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50 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

was erected, under the ministerial auspices of Elders 
Travis and Ellis. 

One of the chief attractions of this thrifty com- 
munity was a manufacturing establishment, which had 
been built by Thomas Mendenhall, whose ingenuity 
at that time was proverbial in all parts of the county. 
Here he was resorted to, from all directions, as the 
only manufacturer of chisels, augers, cotton-cards, 
spinning-wheels and gins. Near the village of Brook- 
lyn is a large cave, known as Turk's Cave. A tradi- 
tion among the earliest inhabitants has it, that it was 
a place of resort to the noted highwayman, Joseph T. 
Hare, and his accomplices. It is said to have been 
the spot where they stored their treasures, and whence 
"they sallied forth to rob and murder the traders who 
plied their vocation between Pensacola and the Indian 
country."* 

FORT CRAWFORD, 

now in Escambia county, was one of the points earliest 
settled in Conecuh. It derived its name from an offi- 
cer in Jackson's command. Benjamin Jernigan seems 
to have been the first to pitch his tent in this region. 
He settled within two and a half miles of where Fort 
Crawford subsequently stood, and on the west side of 
Burnt Corn creek, within three-quarters of a mile of 
the present site of Brewton. This was in the latter 
part of 1816, or early in 1817. Not more than two or 
three settlements had been made in the county at that 

♦Brewer's History of Alabama, p. 194. 



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HISTOBY OF CONECUH. 51 

time. Soon after Mr. Jernigan came here, he was 
joined by James Thomson, Benjamin Brewton, E. J. 
Cook, Lofton and Loddy Gotten. At this time the 
fort was occupied by the Seventh Georgia Regiment. 
General Jackson was in the habit of visiting the home 
of Benjamin Jernigan — the father of the venerable 
William Jernigan, now a resident of Pollard. Mr. 
Jernigan had removed with his family from Burnt 
Corn Springs for the purpose of herding cattle for 
Jackson's army. From the direction of Pensacola, 
Jackson sent the Jernigan family supplies by the Con- 
ecuh river, and many were the annoyances to which 
the boatmen were subjected by the Indians firing 
upon them from the thickets along the banks. The 
army quartered at this point received their supplies 
from Montgomery Hill, on the Alabama river. They 
were hauled in wagons across the Bscambias to Fort 
Crawford, where for a time all the citizens of this 
section went to procure bread. The erection of the 
fort was commenced in 1817. Prior to this time only 
temporary earthworks had been thrown up. No In- 
dian settlements were then near ; but now and then 
prowling bands would pass through the country, osten- 
sibly on hunting excursions. They usually encamped 
about the heads of streams, and built temporary shel- 
ters of pine and cypress bark. Sometimes they would 
linger at such points a week together, and then pass 
onward. In the winter of 1817, tracts of swamp land 
were cleared of the trees and rank cane, which were 
burned in the following spring, and the soil planted in 



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52 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

corn. Though unprotected by fences, these cleared 
spots yielded immense crops. The following year an 
effort was made to fence with the tall cane, but failed. 

Soon after the formation of the settlement. Rev. 
Eadford Gotten, a Methodist clergyman, settled in its 
midst. He was afterwards joined by Rev. Mr. Shaw, 
also a Methodist minister. Some time prior to this, 
services had been from time to time held at the fort 
by Rev. Thomas Walls, a Baptist minister. These 
services were held at the request of the officers of the 
fort. In 1818, a church edifice was built on the west 
side of the river, about four miles above the fort, at a 
point called "The BluflF." It is thought to have been 
erected through the influence of Elder Walls. Near 
this spot a store-house was also built. 

The inhabitants living in the neighborhood of Fort 
Crawford were devoted to farming and to raising cat- 
tle and hogs. As early as 1817 they furnished to the 
markets of Pensacola vast quantities of pease and 
pumpkins, which they transported in wagons, and ex- 
changed for such delicacies as coflfee. So highly were 
these farm products valued by the Pensacolians, and 
so great was the abundance of coflfee at that period, 
that a bushel of peas was readily exchanged for a 
bushel of coflfee. The year 1818 was one of sore trial 
to this interior settlement. The soil had been most 
fruitful in its yield, but the resources of the earliest 
farmers had been subjected to great drain by reason 
of the constant influx of immigration. Such were 
the straits to which this region was . subjected, that 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 53 

corn was sold for four dollars per bushel. During 
that year the community sent Bartley CoUey to New 
Orleans to purchase supplies of corn, which were 
shipped to Pensacola. As the Indians persisted in 
their disturbance of all boats ascending or descending 
the river, wagons were employed to convey these 
necessaries across the country. A decided check was 
put upon these troubles from the Indians, in 1818, 
by the capture of four hundred warriors, by General 
Jackson, at Ferry Pass. 

In 1818, Mr. Walls, brother to the minister, erected 
a small grist mill near "The BluflY' ^^^ ^ ^^^ years 
later, Thomas Mendenhall built a saw mill above Fort 
Crawford. Very little of the lumber sawn here was 
sold to the citizens, and Mr; Mendenhall, aided by a 
man whose name was Roily Roebuck, transported his 
lumber on rafts to Pensacola. Prior to the erection 
of this mill, the " whip saw" had been used to some 
extent in the community. The lumber with which 
were built the houses of the officers of Fort Crawford, 
was sawn with the " whip saw." Other timbers were 
cut and rafted down the river to Pensacola. The read- 
iness with which man adapts himself to surrounding 
circumstances is strikingly illustrated by the unique 
plan adopted here by the residents for conveying the 
products of their diminutive farms to a favorable 
market. These fresh bottom lands were abundant in 
their yield of pumpkins. In order to ship these to 
Pensacola, a huge cypress was scooped out, somewhat 
in the shape of a mammoth" batteau, and of sufficient 



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54 HISTORY or CONECUH. 

capacity to hold three hundred pumpkins. With a 
cargo like this these heroic farmers would speed away 
down the river, and Pensacola reached, their golden 
fruit was readily sold — realizing for each pumpkin 
twenty -five or fifty cents — and rejoicing, they would 
return. 

Game abounded here, as elsewhere in Conecuh. 
But, strange enough, the community about Fort Craw- 
ford was destitute of dogs. To obviate this disad- 
vantage, the ofiicers of the for*:, having become very 
intimate with Willie Jernigan, then a boy of sixteen, 
engaged him to "play dog" for them in routing the. 
deer from their hiding places at the bushy heads of 
the streams. With many a bark and yelp, he would 
plunge into the thick coverts, and the afl:righted deer 
would scamper out in all directions, only to be greeted 
by the leaden bullets of the ofiicers from their stands. 

When, in 1819, it was determined to erect a court 
house on the east side of Murder creek, Benjamin Jer- 
nigan, E. J. Cook, Allen and Alexander McCaskill, 
Mabry Thomas, and several others, were chosen by 
this community to select a site for its erection. As 
has already been stated, the point fixed upon was 
Sparta. 



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HISTOBY OP CONECUH. 56 



Chapter VIII. 

Centres of Population (Continued) —Old Town — Fork Sepnlga — 
Burnt Corn — Evergreen. 

OLD TOWN. 

The settlement of this point by the whites was 
made about 1820 or 1822. Within this period there 
were residing here Eichard Curry, who had settled 
first near Brooklyn ; Joel Brown, Matthew Eay, Wil- 
liam Eabb, Sr., Levi T. Mobley, Capt. Wilson Ashley, 

Adam McCreary, John Scoggin, and Cravey. 

This point seems to have been a favorite one with the 
original resident tribes. It appears to have been a 
chosen halting place on the great trail that ran from 
some prominent point on the Chattahoochee to Pen- 
sacola. It is supposed, from its original size and ap- 
parent importance, to have been the headquarters of 
some of the tribes. Here was an extensive commu- 
nity, with all the evidences of having been for a long 
period occupied. The huts, the patches of ground, 
the extensive play-grounds and the order in which 
they were kept, the marks on the trees, the neighbor- 
ing streams, and the cool, perennial spring, which 
bursts from amid the hills near the old camp-ground 
— all these would indicate that it was a point of 
unusual importance with the native inhabitants. But 
the chief object of attraction, to the early white set- 



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56 HISTORY or CONECUH. 

tiers, was a memorable tree, which still stands as a 
source of wonder to the passer-by, and is known by 
the familiar name of the " Old Flag Tree." Its name is 
derived from the banner-like shape of its branches at 
the top. For six or eight feet the trunk is utterly 
bare of branches, when they assume the shape of a 
flag by growing in a single direction. There was a 
tradition among the early white settlers to the effect 
that this towering tree was a signal to the Indian 
traders passing from the Chattahoochee to Pensacola, 
as it was to all the bands prowling through the coun- 
try. The first white settlers who occupied this point 
were an enterprising colony. Improvements were 
begun at once. With characteristic energy, William 
Eabb, Sr., erected a grist and saw mill on Old Town 
creek. Joel Brown soon followed with the construc- 
tion of a water-gin, the first built in this portion of 
the county ; while Thomas Lord proceeded to open a 
small stock of goods — the chief commodity of which 
was cheap whiskey ! But four or five miles beyond 
Mr. Lord's store, William Rabb, Sr., began merchan- 
dising upon a more respectable scale, having ample 
supplies of groceries and dry goods to meet the de- 
mands of the growing community. Scoggins' Meet- 
ing House was the first place of public worship in 
this section. And the devotion of the people was 
manifested by a ready disposition to walk to church, 
on occasions of worship, the distance of seven or eight 
miles. Others, more favored,- would come on horse- 
back, or in carts and wagons. The families of William 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 57 

Eabb, Sr., and Adam McCreary were classed elite^ be- 
cause the former owned an old time gig, and the latter 
an ordinary Jersey wagon. At this period, postal 
facilities in the county were exceedingly meagre. The 
nearest post-office to this community was at Sparta — 
thirteen miles away. An occasional newspaper would 
stray into the community of Old Town, and it was 
sacredly preserved, by the fortunate possessor, until 
the first general gathering of the people, when, by 
common consent, some one was appointed to read the 
marvelous harbinger aloud — and this was done to the 
infinite delight of the eager crowd circling round. 

FORK SEPULGA. 

The stream, between which and Duck creek this 
settlement was formed, derived its name from a com- 
pound Indian term, Svicka Pulga — which means Hog's 
Creek. A tradition, derived from the Indians, is to 
the following effect :• The Indians lost a large herd of 
swine from drowning in the stream where Soweirs 
Bridge now spans the creek. The native tribes were 
accustomed to drive hogs, fattened on the luxuriant 
mast in the oak and hickory swamps of Lowndes and 
Montgomery counties, to Pensacola. A drove of these 
hogs having been drowned at the above mentioned 
point, the name Sucka (hog) and Pulga (creek) was 
given it ; and for convenience, the Anglo-Saxons have 
corrupted the name into Sepulga, 

The inhabitant who first settled in this region is 
said to have been Eichard Sermons, who came here in 



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58 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

1818. He was soon followed by Ely Stroud, Jolm 
Houston, Harrison Harris and Billy Thompson. Later 
still, we find the homes of Drury Dean, Jesse Cone, 
Thomas Pigot, Joshua Calloway (a Methodist minis- 
ter), and Jacob Page — the father of Allen Page (who 
was murdered near this region), and grandfather to 
the late P. D. Page, Esq., of Texas, and Haskew Page, 
now of Sparta. Among the earliest residents here, 
too, were Abraham Raggett, the grandfather of Rev. 
Dr. Hawthorne, and William Wetherington. As in 
all other new settlements, the first improvements here 
were those born of the absolute necessities of the in- 
habitants. And almost invariably, if not strictly so, 
a grist mill was the first public enterprise. Thomas 
Pigot was the first to meet the public demand in this 
particular. He constructed a mill upon one of the 
branches of Duck creek. He subsequently added to 
his original enterprise a cotton gin. A mercantile 
establishment had its existence under the auspices of 
Messrs. Gallagher & Farley. They commenced busi- 
ness, with a substantial stock of staple goods, about 
1823. They were succeeded by T. M. Riley, Sr., now 
of Pineville, Monroe county, who purchased their en- 
tire stock in 1826. This point of trade was the same 
as that which has been long known, by the later in- 
habitants of the county, as Jackson ^s Store — the name 
having been derived from that of two brothers, Wiley 
and Andrew Jackson, who succeeded Mr. Riley as 
merchants at this point. 

At an early day a church, each, of the Methodist 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 59 

and Baptist denominations, was built within the 
circuit of this community. The first Methodist min- 
ister who served in this region was Rev. Joshua 
Calloway; the first Baptist pastor^s name was Rev. 
Keidar Hawthorne — the father of Rev. J. Boardman 
Hawthorne, D. D. The settlers in this part of the 
county were the subjects of much annoyance from the 
Seminoles for some time after they located in this 
inviting region. These depredations were summarily 
checked, however, in 18 18, by General Pushmattahoy — 
familiarly known as "General Push" — coming to the 
relief of the settlers with a band of ninety warriors. 
General Pushmattahoy was a native Choctaw, and 
friendly to the whites. Placing himself at the head 
of his chosen warriors, and a few white men, he 
attacked the Seminoles, who retreated toward the 
Conecuh river, but were overtaken and captured 
somewhere in eastern Conecuh, and brought back, via 
Midway, to Fork Sepulga. These Seminoles were 
sent forward to the Indian Reservation, west of the 
Mississippi. 

BURNT CORN. 

At quite an early period in the history of Conecuh, 
James Grace removed from Jackson county, Georgia, 
and commenced the improvement of a home very near 
the present village of Burnt Corn. He was the first 
settler in Conecuh, upon its northern border. Two 
years later he was followed by the families of Joshua 
Betts, Thomas P. Jones, George Kyser, John Greene, 



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60 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

Sr., Samuel Salter, Eichard Warren, Joel Lee, Garrett 
Longmire and Harry Waldrom. These settled, within 
a circuit of a few miles, during the years 1816 and 
1818. There was an unsteadiness in the population 
for several years together — a constant shifting of loca- 
tion on the part of the settlers. This was due to a 
disposition to test the lands in all directions before a 
permanent settlement was made. Nor did this rest- 
less spirit cease until the lands were permanently 
bought at Cahaba, in 1819. With advancing time the 
population of Burnt Corn continued steadily to increase. 
Among the most enterprising and public spirited of 
the emigrants was Captain Hayes. He was a man of 
wealth and influence. He built the first frame house 
erected in Conecuh, which still stands, a monument 
to his taste and enterprise, and is now occupied by 
William Betts. Near the residence of Captain Hayes 
a store-house was erected by Mr. Walker in 1822. 
He is said to have had a substantial stock of dry 
goods and groceries. 

Near Burnt Corn, Captain Hayes purchased an 
extensive tract of land, of eleven hundred acres — all 
of which he enclosed in a single fence, and would 
continue to clear and improve as it was needed. In 
1822 he is said to have erected the first gin-house 
built in Conecuh. He also established a good mill 
near Burnt Corn. 

As much, perhaps, as any other this community 
was harassed by the Indians. The inhabitants shared 
in the consternation produced in all parts of the coun- 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 61 

ty; and in Monroe, in 1818. So intense did the ex- 
citement become, that some of the residents of this 
portion of the county joined others leaving Monroe, 
and fled into Clarke county, where they remained 
until the restoration of peace. In order to provide 
against the attacks of the Indians, Major Eichard 
Warren, an old chivalric South Carolinian, erected a 
rude stockade, into which he invited the terror stricken 
inhabitants to take refuge every night. This kind 
offer many accepted, and during the intervening day 
they would resume their accustomed pursuits. But 
this state of feverish excitement and alarm so para- 
lyzed the energies of the inhabitants that they were 
unable to cultivate their little fields. Every distant 
sound was construed into a danger signal, and so 
much time was thereby lost, that the result was an 
almost total failure of the crop. John Greene, Sr., 
bravely refused to enter the stockade, but remained 
at his home and continued to cultivate his crop, and 
the consequence was -he reaped a full harvest in 
autumn. With the restoration of tranquility, the 
fugitive emigrants returned from beyond the Alabama 
river, and resumed the improvement of their homes. 
There came together with them into Conecuh, many 
who had fled from other portions of the country. 
Among these I may mention David Jay, the father of 
Eev. Andrew Jay, who, sharing in the stampede, had 
gone from the region of Pine Orchard, in Monroe 
county, to Bassett's creek, in Clarke. Together with 
Nicholas Stallworth, whose overseer he subsequently 



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62 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

became, he returned from Clarke county in 1820, and 
located about four miles southeast of Evergreen, on 
what is still called the Stall worth Plantation. After 
spending about three years here, Mr. Jay removed to 
the community of Old Town. 

DERIVATION OF BURNT CORN. 

Many inquiries have been raised, and conjectures 
made, relative to the origin of the peculiar name — 
Burnt Corn, Eev. David Lee, whose father was a 
prominent citizen in this section during its earliest 
settlement, states that near the large spring, which 
bursts from beneath the hill below the village, there 
was the residence of a friendly Indian, whose name 
was Jim Ournells, and that this Indian gave the 
following as the real origin of Burnt Corn: Two 
Indians were returning from Pensacola and stopped 
at this famous spring to camp. During their stay 
here, one became sick and was unable to prosecute his 
journey. His companion grew impatient and resolved 
to leave him to his fate, not, however, without first 
having supplied him with a quantity of corn, which 
he poured in a heap on the dry leaves near the suffer- 
ing man. Eecovering from his sickness, the Indian 
found himself without a sack into which he could put 
his corn, and left it heaped upon the dry leaves, which 
caught from the camp fire, and the corn was partially 
burned. Travelers, stopping here to camp, found the 
pile of charred corn, and called the spring Burnt Corn 
Spring, As trivial as the occurrence was, the fore- 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 63 

going statement deserves great credence as coming 
from Jim Curnells. During the war of 1812, this 
friendly Indian was quite serviceable to the American 
army, and frequently served as courier, carrying im- 
portant messages from one point to another. In con- 
sideration of his invaluable services, the Federal 
Government donated him 640 acres of land, including 
Burnt Corn Spring. 

EVERGREEN, 

now the thriftiest village, perhaps, in South Alabama, 
received its first installment of emigrants in 1819 and 
1820, though the village itself did not find a name 
until years afterward. When James Cosey, George An- 
drews and the Messrs. Gluff, first reached this section, 
the present site of Evergreen was a tangled wild- wood, 
revelling in dense thickets of briar and cane, with the 
jungles infested by the native deer, wolf, bear and 
wildcat. The tiny streams, that still wind their way 
through different portions of the village, were then 
strongly barricaded on either side, with impenetrable 
brakes of cane. And such was the nature of the soil, 
which skirted the streams, that it was peril to man 
or beast to tread upon it. Upon the arrival of the 
emigrants already mentioned, Mr. Cosey and the 
Messrs. Cluff located within the limits of the present 
village, while Mr. Andrews pitched his tent upon the 
hill beyond the small branch, west of Evergreen. Mr. 
Cosey was an old Revolutionary soldier, and bore the- 
mark of a severe wound in his bosom. Additions 



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64 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

were soon made to this diminutive population, for 
during the years already named there came several other 
families, among which were those of William Jones, 
Sr., and George Foote. Of the entire population, 
Messrs. Andrews and Foote had removed from South 
Carolina, the others from Georgia. Living contiguous 
to the vast swamps which border Murder creek, this 
settlement was peculiarly exposed to the inroads of the 
bear, the wildcat, the deer, and turkey. The bear and 
wildcat preying upon the pigs, and the less offensive 
deer and turkey riotously assailing the ripening grain 
of autumn. Benjamin Hart erected, at an early day, a 
good mill, which is now known as the E. C. Smith mill. 
While subjecting the natural barriers, and wrestling 
with the grave disadvantages, whose name was legion, 
these early fathers were not forgetful of the intellectual 
improvement of their children. About 1820 or 1821, 
George Andrews opened a small school, about three- 
quarters of a mile east of the present location of the 
court house. This gentleman was the father of H. M. 
Andrews, of Bellville, James W. Andrews, of Allen- 
ton, Wilcox county, and of the late George R. An- 
drews, of Monroeville. In its early history. Evergreen 
gave but little promise of becoming the important point 
which it is to-day. Located considerably in the interior, 
it was regarded as being remote from most of the 
points first settled. For more than an entire decade it 
was the most insignificant of all the centres of popu- 
lation in the county. But the gradual settlement of 
the adjoining regions, the rapid improvement of the 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 65 

fertile lands, in the midst of which it is fortunately 
located, the early educational advantages which it 
afforded, the importance given it by the Mobile & 
Montgomery Railway, and the location of the court 
house at this point, have helped to render Evergreen 
conspicuous alike as a mart of trade, an educational 
centre, and a village unequalled in the State for the 
moral tone of its population. 



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66 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 



Chapter IX. 

An Early Home and Its Surroundings— Mode of Transportation 
Adopted by the Early Fathers. 

The marvelous changes which have been wrought 
in our habits and customs, in private and public life, 
within little more than half a century, deserve some 
notice at our hands. The prosperity which has been 
enjoyed almost uninterruptedly by the people of Con- 
ecuh is, in large measure, due to the assiduity of the 
early founders of the society of the county. The 
fatigue endured, the self-abnegation, the perils braved, 
and the obstructions overcome, deserve favorable no- 
tice in this work. Never did an ancestry deserve 
more that their heroism be sacredly enshrined in the 
memory of a posterity. The homes of comfort, nestled 
amid natural delights ; the extensive and fertile dis- 
tricts of land; the numberless facilities of an ad- 
vanced civilization ; the wealth gathered through 
years of toil — all this has been secured to the posterity 
of a heroic ancestry. Starting from their remote 
homes in the Carolinas or Georgia, and even from 
Virginia, these early heroes and heroines were aware 
of the vast distance that lay between them and their 
future places of residence in the far South. A wagon 
or two, drawn by horses, or mules, or oxen, were the 
sole means of transportation enjoyed by an early 
emigrant for the removal of his family and chattels. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 67 

Stopping at night, the family would rest beneath the 
sheltering folds of a huge tent. This served as a res- 
idence, even after the arrival of the family at their 
final abiding place, until a more substantial home 
could be established. With very many families, the 
method of transportation was inferior, even, to that 
above referred to. Some regarded themselves peculi- 
arly fortunate in being able to secure a huge water- 
proof hogshead, into which were tightly packed the 
effects of the family, after that a long rod had been 
inserted lengthwise. There was sufficient projection 
of the rod at either end to enable it to serve as a sort 
of axle. To these points was fitted a pair of rude 
shafts, to which was hitched an ox. The movement 
of the animal gave revolution to the great receptacle, 
and over long leagues, reaching across the broad areas 
of States, the faithful ox would draw the unique car, 
even to the final destination of his master. This 
reached, the first care was to clear off as large a plot 
of ground as possible, preparatory to the erection of 
a temporary dwelling. This was constructed after the 
following model : Four corner posts were fixed upright 
in the ground, near the tops of which were fastened 
two small poles, facing each other, and extending 
around the four sides of the square. Between these 
opposite pieces was left sufficient space to insert small 
saplings, which were driven securely into the ground. 
Over the top of this clumsy abode were thrown the 
curtains of the tent, which had served the family in 
its migration, besides the skins of animals. No care 



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68 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

was given, the first year, to a floor for the- temporary 
home. The heroic settler had to content himself with 
pounding into firmness the surface of the ground 
within this rude enclosure. Even the erection of such 
a rude domicile as this made a heavy draught upon 
his time. That which most concerned every one was 
the production of the first crop. But the second year 
gave the earnest settler more .leisure for the erection 
of a comfortable house. This was built of hewn logs, 
which rested upon sills, which in turn were supported 
by four corner blocks of wood. The roofing was of 
boards, or rather slabs, riven from split timber. To 
hold them in position, weight poles were used, which 
were held at equal distances apart by means of knee 
pieces. The flooring was constructed of logs cloven 
into two parts, with the flat surface turned upward. 
Within this enclosure might have been seen, at the 
end opposite the family fire-place, a rude bedstead, 
which was erected in a corner of the room. A single 
fork, driven through the flooring, served as the sup- 
port of two beams, which formed the side and foot 
pieces of this uncomely couch. Meeting in the fork, 
these pieces of timber were inserted, respectively, into 
the end and side of the dwelling, — and thus the frame 
of the bed was erected. Upon this rough contrivance 
were placed the pieces of timber having the flattest 
surface. Oftentimes another frame of similar make 
would be seen in the opposite corner. Some of the 
family would occupy these beds, while others would 
lie upon pallets spread on the hard floor. 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 69 

If emergency demanded the existence of more 
apartments than one, this was speedily effected by 
means of curtains and counterpanes, so swung in con- 
junction with the walls of the corner, as to form a 
separate room. Cooking was usually done without 
doors, over a blazing fire, unless the harshness of the 
weather forbade it. From the centre of the chimney 
within the dwelling there were suspended the antique 
"pot-hooks and hangers." One could rarely enter a 
home of the olden time without finding a huge gob- 
bler, or a leg of venison, swung on either side of the 
fire-place. During the day the father and sons would 
till the soil, while the good mother and sisters would 
serve the cooking, and wake the forest echoes with 
the live hum of the spinning-wheel, which was usually 
blended with the spirited songs of these industrious 
women. The early night was spent around the hearth, 
made bright and cheerful by blazing pine-knots ; and 
if any member of the circle could read with satisfac- 
tion, he was usually assigned this work, while the 
others joined in the customary labor of carding, spin- 
ning, or sewing. And seated thus upon their rough 
blocks of wood or rude stools, there was enjoyed much 
of that domestic happiness which has been lost to 
generations later, even amid the glitter of an advanced 
civilization. 



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70 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 



Chapter X. 

Customs and Habits of the Early Pioneer Families — Rude State of 
Society — Early Amusements. 

Much in regard to the simplicity of the manners of 
the early pioneer families will be gathered from what 
has already been said. The constraints and conven- 
tionalities which increase with a developing state of 
society, found no exception here. Society was com- 
posed of men who were bound together by strong ties. 
A feeling of mutual dependence produced a feeling of 
mutual esteem. This they sought occasion to evince 
as they would ofttimes come together in the chase, at 
the "log-rolling," or at church. Here they freely 
mingled together, and were controlled as gentlemen 
by the dictates of natural judgment and good sense. 
The wives, sisters and daughters would meet most 
frequently at quiltings, — occasions which served the 
double purpose of profit and pastime. The occasion 
of preaching was hailed with delight. Everybody 
attended, and every one joined with a genuine hearti- 
ness in the sacred worship. No laws of dame Fashion 
were then transgressed by attending church bare- 
footed, so long as this was regarded a necessity. So 
highly prized was a pair of shoes during these early 
times, that the fortunate possessor would guard against 
tramping in them the entire distance to church, by 
carefully wrapping them up, and carrying them under 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 71 

his arm until near the place of worship, when he 
would proceed to wipe the dust from his feet, insert 
them into his shoes, and stroll onward to church. Or 
else, men and women, who had each a pair of old and 
new shoes, would wear the older within a short dis- 
tance of the place of worship, and then proceed to 
displace them with the newer ones, while the others 
were concealed until their return. 

Means of conveyance were exceedingly scant. The 
father and husband would sometimes be seen ap- 
proaching, on a public occasion, with his wife behind 
him, and his children disposed upon the back of a 
faithful horse, as they could find sufficient space. No 
violence was done the rules of social etiquette when 
a gallant youth would offer a blushing damsel a seat 
behind him on his horse. Where social gatherings 
were less frequent than now, these people of artless 
customs were loth to separate. Drawn together from 
distances far apart, and meeting but seldom, they 
would quietly listen to quite a long discourse on occa- 
sions of sacred service ; and when the exercises were 
over, they would mingle informally together, and 
render the occasions doubly profitable and attractive 
to themselves by a free interchange of thought on 
spiritual experience. After an hour spent thus pleas- 
antly together, a cordial invitation was extended by 
those living nearest the place of worship, to go with 
them to their homes and dine. Here was dispensed 
the freest hospitality, and in the simplest manner, 



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72 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

mucli to the enjoyment both of the entertainer and 
the entertained. 

The favorite amusements of the least spiritual of 
the male population were shooting matches, foot races, 
and boxing and wrestling contests. The rude athletic 
sports, though always begun good-humoredly, were 
not unfrequently converted into occasions of "rough 
and tumble" fights. But the primitive '*code of honor" 
forbade the use of sticks, pistols, or knives. Every 
contestant would have to depend solely upon his nat- 
ural resources, should he so far forget himself as to 
be betrayed into a spirit of belligerency. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 73 



Chapter XI. 

Continued Development — Rnpid Advancement — Tides of Pop- 
ulation — Gathered Fruits of Toil — Improved Homes — Social 
Changes— Reverses, &c. 

Kever was any section more rapidly populated, per- 
haps, than was Alabama, during the decade following 
1819. The flood-gates of immigration seemed hoisted, 
and great swollen currents of human masses poured 
in from Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Geor- 
gia. During the most favorable seasons for journey- 
ing, the ferries along the Chattahoochee were crowded 
with immigrant trains. Not unfrequently a family 
would be checked in its progress, for several days, 
because of the jam and pressure upon the ferries. 
Their destinations reached, these heroes and heroines 
would begin at once to lay the rude basis of a house 
in the way already described. All the while, the older 
settlements were making rapid strides in advancement. 
The sound of progress was heard on every hand. 
Such was the yield of every returning harvest, that 
the zeal of the immigrant was constantly stimulated. 
For as soon as the axe levelled "the giant progeny of 
the crowded trees," and the warmth of the sun reached 
the soil, upon which had been accumulating, for ages, 
stratum on stratum of vegetable mould, the produc- 
tiveness was immense. Homes, too, were improved. 
The rude hut of the pioneer settler was displaced by 



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74 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

cozy and attractive residences. Skilled educators were 
sought, and scbools, of as high grade as possible, were 
established. The toils of the spiritual laborer were 
at length rewarded by the erection of neat houses of 
worship, filled with devout audiences. The increase of 
population, the advancement in prosperity, and the 
growing ambition everywhere evinced by the inhab- 
itants of the county to surround themselves with the 
comforts and conveniences of life, gave new spirit to 
merchants of enterprise, and hence centres of business 
were being rapidly formed. Indeed, all branches of 
industry were being constantly improved. Each re- 
volving year set the stamp of advancement upon the 
face of the country. This had the double effect of 
stimulating the energies of the inhabitants and of 
holding forth a tempting inducement to the residents 
of the older States to cast their fortunes, too, amid the 
primitive settlements of Alabama. But the luxuriant 
prosperity of Conecuh county was destined to sustain 
a severe check. Either heedless or ignorant of the 
fact, that behind the screen of the dense everglades that 
lined the streams and swamps, there lurked a poisonous 
malaria, the energetic farmer swept down all alike. 
The fearful consequence was that this invisible foe to 
health and happiness, crept forth from its impure re- 
treat, and smote with sickness all that came within 
the reach of its infectious power. Nature surrounds 
our stagnant swamps with a luxuriant growth of vines 
and hanging moss, to protect the inhabitants from the 
pestiferous exhalations ; and when this barrier is 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 75 

swept away, there comes forth disease, shaking us with 
chills and filling our bodies with the venomous seeds 
of sickness. This calamitous mistake the early inhab- 
itants of Conecuh made. Finding the lands to increase 
in fertility as they gradually approached the swamps, 
they at length invaded the marshes themselves, and 
even increased the intensity of the malarial power by 
ditching, thus exposing to the sun the unearthed 
vegetable matter. As a consequence, there was a 
wide-spread prevalence of bilious and malarial fevers, 
and many fell victims to their fatal ravages. A per- 
fect panic was produced, especially in lower Conecuh. 
Several young physicians died. And such was the 
consternation among the settlements that many left 
and returned to their homes in the older States, or 
else removed to counties more northward. The oldest 
inhabitants of the county to-day refer to 1824 as a 
year of fatal sickness. 



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76 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 



Chapter XII. 

Transportation and the Inauguration of Postal Routes— Navigation 
of the Conecuh River— Brooklyn— The First Post-Office— The 
Different Mail Lines Established. 

Products seek a market as the rivers do the sea. 
The productive yield from the virgin soil of Conecuh 
naturally sought an outlet, especially when as inviting 
a market as was Pensacola in 1821, was within such 
easy reach. As has already been intimated, the nav- 
igation of the Conecuh and Sepulga rivers was under- 
taken in 1821. Mr. George Stoneham, having inau- 
gurated the movement, was speedily followed by a 
host of others, prominent among whom were Edwin 
Robinson, James and John Jones, Starke and Harry 
Hunter, and Frank Boykin. These rude crafts were 
called keel-boats, and would carry a cargo of fifty or 
sixty bales of cotton. In capacity they were from 
sixty to seventy feet long, and from eight to ten feet 
wide. By common consent the following was fixed 
upon as a scale of prices for the transportation of 
freight : A bale of cotton weighing 300 pounds, $1.25 ; 
weighing 450 or 500 pounds, $1.50 ; corn in the shuck, 
18f cents ^er bushel ; flour, per barrel, $1.25; sugar, 
per barrel, $1.25 ; salt and coflfee, $1.25 per sack ; mo- 
lasses and whiskey, $1.50 per barrel ; iron, 50 cents 
per hundred weight. Freight generally averaged about 
87i cents per hundred weight. Farmers, furnishing 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 77 

their own blankets and provisions, were cordially in- 
vited to accompany these freight-laden crafts, so long 
as their capacity would warrant. No charges were 
made for the transportation of such self-sustaining 
passengers. These primitive boats were steered by 
means of a beam being fixed at each, the bow and 
stern, and two at either side. Ascending the stream, 
a far different method had to be adopted. An instru- 
ment, familiarly known among the early boatmen as 
the "hook and jam," was indispensable to moving 
these clumsy barges up stream. This instrument was 
a long smooth pole, of considerable strength, pointed 
with an iron spike, and with a hook curving its beak 
but a few inches from the point. The point was used 
for giving propulsion to the boat by being pressed 
against the nearest trees, or the banks of the stream. 
The hook was serviceable in being hitched in the 
overhanging boughs, which also aided in the propul- 
sion of the craft. Such was the rapid increase of pop- 
ulation, and the consequent increase of demand for 
transportation, that at one time there were seventeen 
boats, of various sizes, on the Conecuh river. These 
varied in capacity from five to two hundred bales 
of cotton. Competition has been ofttimes quoted as 
being "the life of trade;" but the rule has not bean 
without such exceptions as to prove that it may be 
the death of trade. Such was the ambition, among 
these early navigators, to control the transportation 
on the river, that freight was reduced to the minimum 
price of fifty cents per bale from Brooklyn to Pensa- 



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78 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

cola, and up freight correspondingly low. The impor- 
tance of Conecuh river as a commercial outlet may 
be estimated when the reader is told that, even as 
early as 1823, there were annually shipped from 
Brooklyn three thousand bales of cotton. The passage 
to and from Pensacola was usually made with com- 
parative ease ; and yet more or less peril was appre- 
hended when the river had been cleared, and the 
barges floated out into the open sea. GulFs Point, in 
Pensacola Bay, was an object of peculiar terror to 
these early boatmen. If this could be passed without 
encountering adverse winds, it became a subject of 
common congratulation among these primitive pro- 
pellers of the oar. 

The first mail route that penetrated any portion of 
Conecuh was along the Old Federal Road — which, for 
a considerable distance, divides the counties of Cone- 
cuh and Monroe. The first office was established at 
Burnt Corn. A branch route was subsequently es- 
tablished between this point and Sparta. This postal 
service was originally performed on horseback, and 
at a later period in stages along the principal routes. 
With the rapid growth of population, post-offices 
were eventually established at all the principal points 
in the county. 



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HISTOBY OP CONECUH. 79 



Chapter XIII. 

A Chapter of Biography — Rev. James King — ^Rev. Keidar Haw- 
thorne, and Others. 

REV. JAMES KING. 

The writer was fortunate enough to find an auto- 
biographical sketch of the life of this sainted preacher, 
in the hands of his daughter, Mrs. John Sampey. She 
very kindly surrendered it for publication, and it is 
herewith submitted : 

December 10, 1856. 

This day the Conference met at Tuskegee, being 
the day that closed my 74th year ; and being present 
with this large^Sody of ministers, numbering about 
two hundred, it caused my mind to run back over the 
past|scenes of my ministerial life, with deep and very 
solemn reflections. In contrasting the past with the 
present, I have thought proper to write down a brief 
sketch of ray ministerial life, with a few incidents 
connected with my history, which are as follows : 

In 1800, 1 attached myself to the Methodist Church. 
The society which I joined was composed of six 
women and one free black man — he being the class- 
leader. In 1802, 1 married and took upon myself the 
responsibilities of a family. In 1803, 1 was appointed 
the leader of the class which I had joined. In 1805, 
I was licensed an exhorter. In 1806, I was licensed 



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80 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

a local preacher. By this time the society had in- 
creased to the number of seventy. In 1816, I was 
ordained deacon, in Wilmington, by Bishop McKen- 
dree ; that being the first ordination ever conferred in 
that place. Up to this date my family had increased 
to nine in number, beside myself and wife. I re- 
mained in North Carolina until 1818, making twelve 
years. During this time my ministerial labors were 
confined to six counties, to wit : Bladen, Brunswick, 
Hanover, Cumberland, Eoberson, and Columbus, with 
some occasional visits to Horee District, South Caro- 
lina. In view of the charge upon my hands looking 
up to me for support, it will be easy to perceive 
that my labors were extended beyond the ordinary 
grounds of a local minister ; and for all this service 
and labor I had no claim upon the church, nor did I 
receive one cent for my labors. On the 21st of April, 
1819, I removed with my family to Alabama. I 
arrived at Alabama Town, where I met with some of 
my North Carolina friends, who prevailed upon me to 
stop there for the year. My ministerial labors during 
that year were as follows: One Sabbath at Alabama 
Town — the next at Philadelphia (now Montgomery.) 
I was the first licensed preacher that ever preached in 
that place. This was one of the years of great trial 
and privation to me, there being no regularly organ- 
ized society, and I heard but one sermon preached 
during the time. In the winter of 1819, I removed 
to Conecuh river. There being but few settlements 
at that time, my labors were somewhat curtailed ; but 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 81 

I had two appointments — one above and the other 
below the Florida line. In the winter of 1820, I 
moved higher up, into the Burnt Corn settlements, in 
the bounds of what was then called the Conecuh Cir- 
cuit, belonging to the Mississippi Conference. This 
circuit, at that time, covered nearly all that part of 
Conecuh county that was then settled, and a consid- 
erable part of Monroe county. Here, a field was 
opened wide enough for my labors. In 1822, I was 
ordained Elder, at the Bellville Church, by Bishop 
George and others. This circumstance brought upon 
me a greater amount of labor. The Mississippi Con- 
ference, being weak, could not afford an ordained 
preacher for all the circuits. For four or five years 
there was no regularly ordained preacher sent to Con- 
ecuh Circuit, and consequently it devolved upon me 
to attend all the societies around the circuit to admin- 
ister the ordinances of the church. Up to 1830, I 
continued to travel and labor in that section of the 
county. In 1830, I lost my wife, which was a severe 
trial to me. Having three daughters with me, I pro 
posed to them to make their homes with three of their 
sisters, who were then married, and that I would join 
the Itinerancy. To this proposition they were op- 
posed, preferring to remain at their own home. Con- 
sequently I consented to remain with them, and to do 
the best for them I could. In 1832, I married the 
second time. At this time one of my daughters had 
married, and the other two had gone to live with their 
sisters. 



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82 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

In the spring of 1834, myself and wife removed 
to Middle Tennessee, where we remained until the 
close of 1835. My labors during that time were con- 
fined to three counties, to wit : Weatherford, Bedford 
and Williamson, and I attended five campmeetings 
during my stay there. In the winter of 1835, I re- 
moved to Wilcox county, Alabama, and settled a short 
time afterwards. At the request of Bishop Andrew, 
I consented to confine my preaching for one year to 
the colored people, for the purpose of arranging a 
mission. For this service I received one hundred 
dollars from the Missionary Society ; all is told that I 
ever received for my ministerial labors. From that 
time up to 1850, 1 continued my labors in Wilcox and 
adjoining counties. In 1851, I lost my second wife. 
This circumstance changed my situation, and placed 
me under the necessity of breaking up for good. 
Since that time, being relieved of the cares of a fam- 
ily, I have devoted my time, as far as circumstances 
and feebleness would permit, in extending my labors 
to a wider field. 

I have been three rounds with the Presiding Elders 
down on the west coast of Florida ; one round on the 
Lowndesboro' District, and as far east in this as Dale 
and Pike counties ; from thence west across the State 
as far as Sumter, and the southern portions of Missis- 
sippi. I have visited the above named State three 
times, in its northwestern counties; and I have also 
made three visits to my native State — North Carolina. 
And in all my travels I have preached as often as 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 83 

circumstances would allow. And, in conclusion, what 
is in the future, is impossible for me to foresee ; but 
of one thing I am assured, that it is my settled pur- 
pose to devote the remainder of my life to the service 
of God and his church. W hereunto I subscribe my 
name. 

[Signed] James King. 

It will be seen from the above article that my labors 
have been scattered over seven States, to wit : North 
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, 
Mississippi and Tennessee. 

[Signed] J. King. 

Mr. King died in Wilcox county, on January 12th, 
1870, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. 

REV. KEIDAR HAWTHORNE 

was a native of North Carolina. He removed from 
Robinson county, in that State, to Conecuh county, 
Alabama, in 1817. Six months after his arrival in 
Alabama, he enlisted in the United States Army under 
General Jackson, and continued with him to the close 
of the Indian War, in Florida. After his return to 
Conecuh, he settled near Bellville, where he was mar- 
ried to Martha Baggett, in 1825. It was just subse- 
quent to this time that both Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne 
became the subjects of renewing grace, and were bap- 
tized by Elder Travis. About two years afterward, 
Mr. Hawthorne was licensed to preach the gospel, and 
after serving as a licentiate a short time, he was or- 
dained by Elders Travis and Ellis. A door of oppor- 



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84 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

tunity opened to him in the Forks Sepulga, and he 
forthwith directed his attention here as an inviting 
field for the exercise of his ministerial powers. A 
flourishing interest was established by him in this 
growing section. 

Leaving this region, he removed to Mount Moriah, 
in Wilcox county. He founded the Baptist church 
at that place, known as the Fellowship Church. . 
Living at a period when there was quite a scarcity of 
ministers, his services were broadly demanded, and 
hence he became thoroughly identified with every 
denominational interest that sprang up in the counties 
of Wilcox, Monroe and Conecuh. He aided in the 
constitution of most of the churches in these counties. 
Perhaps the most remarkable period of his career was 
the service which he rendered in Eastern and Middle 
Florida, as a missionary. His labors here were pecu- 
liarly blessed. In 1856 Mr. Hawthorne removed to 
Mobile and established a book-store, at the same time 
serving with efliciency the Stone Street African 
Church — one of the largest in the South. Mr. Haw- 
thorne reared quite a useful family, several of whom 
attained to marked distinction. One of his sons, 
Gen. Alexander Travis Hawthorne, was a chivalrous 
officer under General Price, in the Trans- Mississippi 
Department, during the late war. Another of his 
sons. Rev. Dr. J. Board man Hawthorne, has a national 
reputation as a pulpit orator. 

Like many others. Elder Hawthorne sufitered the 
total loss of his estate by the war, but he was tenderly 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 85 

cared for by his children to the close of a long and 
useful life. He died in Greenville, Alabama, in 1877. 
Some estimate of his wonderful usefulness may be 
had when the fact is related that, during the years of 
his active ministry, he baptized more than 4,500 be- 
lievers. His ministry extended over more than fifty 
years. 

JOEL LEE, ESQ. 

Among the first who set foot upon Conecuh's soil 
was the subject of this sketch. Joel Lee was born in 
Johnston county. North Carolina, January 4th, 1773. 
Forty-four years after this date he removed to Conecuh 
county, choosing for his home a spot about three miles 
from Burnt Corn. Here his usefulness was speedily 
recognized, and he became one of the most prominent 
citizens in this section. When Alabama became a 
State, and Conecuh was made a county, Mr. Lee be- 
came her first justice of the peace. He was appointed 
by Gov. William Bibb — Alabama's first Governor. 
In 1821 he became a member of the Old Bethany 
Baptist Church, and was baptized by William Jones, 
Sr. In his church relations his usefulness was as 
conspicuous as it was in the walks of public life. For 
many years he served his church efficiently as clerk 
and deacon. Under his wholesome influence there 
grew up a large and useful family. Three of his sons 
were eminent ministers of the gospel. One of them 
still remains a venerable monument of piety, and a 
sage counsellor in Israel. I refer to Eev. David Lee 
5 



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86 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

of Mount Willing, Lowndes county. Joel Lee died at 
his home, near Burnt Corn, on October 23rd, 1863. 

CAPT. WILSON ASHLEY 

was among the most useful of Conecuh's sons. He 
was a native of Barnwell District, South Carolina. 
His entrance into public life was quite early. When 
in 1814 the struggle with Great Britain was pending, 
Mr. Ashley, then a youth of eighteen, joined a volun- 
teer rifle company, of which he became the first lieu- 
tenant. He afterwards became the captain of this com- 
pany, and subsequently the captain of a cavalry com- 
pany. He removed to Alabama in 1820, and located 
within a few hundred yards of where he spent the 
remainder of his life. In his new home his attention 
was directed altogether to husbandry. The results 
of his energy and skillful management soon showed 
themselves in a growing fortune. In 1832 he was 
called from his favorite pursuit and was made the 
sheriff of Conecuh county. Three years later he was 
chosen, without opposition, to represent his county in 
the General Assembly of the State. At the expira- 
tion of his term of service he peremptorily declined 
further honors at the hands of the people of the 
county, and returned to the quietude of his rural home. 
Here he remained until 1861, when the stirring scenes 
of that period drew him again from his seclusion. In 
the election of President and Vice-President, of what 
was designed to be the permanent government of the 
Confederacy, Capt. Wilson Ashley was honored by 



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HISTORY OF CONEOUH. 87 

the people of his State with a position on the electoral 
ticket of Alabama. This closed his career with pub- 
lic life. Mr. Ashley was noted for his suavity of 
manner, his penetrating discrimination, and his clear 
judgment. Once convinced of the righteousness of 
the cause in which he was enlisted, and his zeal knew 
no bounds. He had all the elements necessary for a 
political leader of the people. In his home, he was 
proverbially hospitable. In his social relations, he 
was cheerful and generous. Full of years, well spent, 
and endeared to a host of friends and relatives, he 
closed his eyes in death in the 74th year of his age. 



was one of the original settlers of Conecuh. Born in 
Edgefield District, South Carolina, on April 25th, 
1777, he removed to Clarke county, Alabama, where 
he remained but one year. The hostilities of the 
Indians having subsided, in 1818 he, together with 
several others, removed to the east side of the Ala- 
bama river. He located his home four miles southeast 
of Evergreen, on what is now known as the Ever- 
green and Brooklyn public road, where he continued 
to reside until his death in 1836. Mr. Stallworth was 
constitutionally fitted to brave the perils of a pioneer 
country. With robust frame, determined will and 
unlimited energy, combined with business tact and 
shrewdness, he rapidly accumulated a handsome 
fortune, and became one of the wealthiest men in the 



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88 HISTORY OF OONEOUH. 

county. He was the ancestor of quite a number 
of descendants, some of whom attained marked dis- 
tinction. 

JOHN SAMPEY, SR. 

Among the best and most useful of Conecuh's 
earliest inhabitants was John Sampey, Sr. His birth- 
place was Belfast, Ireland, where he first beheld the 
light on April 20th,. 1801. In September, 1824, he 
sailed for America, and reached New York some time 
during the following month. His tastes having led 
him to the new regions of rapidly growing America, he 
came to the inviting State of Alabama, then just 
looming into prominence, and settled upon the soil of 
Conecuh. His attention was directed at oAce to stock 
raising, and he soon populated the grass grown dis- 
tricts of southern Conecuh with .herds of stock cattle. 
The energy with which he addressed himself to his 
chosen vocation soon became proverbial. The ances- 
tors of Mr. Sampey (Sampler) were French. They 
were driven by religious persecution from France 
during the 16th century, and sought refuge in Ireland. 
The subject of this sketch was originally a devout 
member of the Church of England, in which he was 
reared; but upon removing to Conecuh he became a 
member of the Methodist Church, in which he spent 
a devoted life. Mr. Sampey was remarkably quiet 
and unostentatious. His career was one of even- 
flowing uniformity. He was scrupulously exact in 
all his transactions. Was careful never to allow a 



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HISTOBY OF CONECUH. 89 

note to mature without being promptly met. His 
eyes were closed in death at his old home, near Bell- 
ville, on July 8th, 1877. 

WILLIAM RABB, SR. 

Among those who have contributed to dignify the 
early annals of Conecuh county by an unobtrusive, 
yet virtuous life, may be classed the subject of the 
present memoir. William Rabb, Sr., was born in 
Fairfield District, South Carolina, on January 10th, 
1775. His father was born in Ireland. Mr. Rabb's 
mental training was defective, because of the meagre- 
ness of educational advantages during his early life. 
During his youthful days he realized the fearful 
responsibilities of the present life, as connected with 
the life to come, and without delay gave his heart to 
God. At this time he joined a Presbyterian church, 
but in 1835 his church relations were changed by his 
union with the Old Beulah Church. In 1804 he was 
married in Edgefield District, South Carolina, to Miss 
Sarah McDonald, of Scotch parentage. With his 
family, he removed, in 1819, to Conecuh, and settled 
what was subsequently known as Rabbville, or Rabb's 
Store, five miles east of Evergreen. This was one of 
the first voting points established in the county. Here 
Mr. Rabb proceeded to merchandising and farming. 
His goods were hauled across the country, from Pen- 
sacola, by his own teams. Like most of the pioneer 
fathers, who had been attracted from their homes in 
distant States, Mr. Rabb was active and energetic, and 



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90 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

shared largely in the fruits yielded by the virgin soil 
of Conecuh. He was noted for his liberality, and gave 
largely to the relief of suffering humanity. His days 
upon earth closed on September 20th, 1859. His 
family physician remarked that it was the first natural 
death he had ever witnessed. There was no disease, 
no expression of pain, but a placid sleep, ebbing out 
in death. He sank 

** As sinks the morning star, 

Which goes not down behind the darkened west, 
Nor hides obscured amid the tempests of the sky, 
But melts away in the light of heaven." 

ADAM M'CREARY 

was the ancestor of the extensive relationship of that 
name still to be found in Conecuh and adjoining 
counties, and indeed in different States. He was 
born in Barnwell District, South Carolina, about 1772. 
He removed to Conecuh county in 1818. The strug- 
gles and perils of his youthful life thoroughly inured 
him to hardship, and fitted him for what he had to 
encounter in a wild region, such as was Conecuh when 
he removed thither. While he was quite a boy he 
endured some of the horrors of the Revolution. His 
father's home was located in that region which was so 
sorely infested by the Tories. Fearful lest her son 
might have to pay the penalty of his father's patriot- 
ism — ^for he was in the ranks of the regular army — 
the anxious mother would send her son, in company 
with a negro boy, to sleep, at night, in the woods. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 91 

Upon his removal to Conecuh Mr. McCreary selected, 
as the place of his future residence, the thrifty little 
community of Old Town. He was the first to im- 
prove the present home of Dr. Taliaferro. In dispo- 
sition, Mr. McCreary was quiet and passive. His 
Christian deportment was almost without exception. 
Such was his'veneration for the Scriptures that he 
drew therefrom the names of all his children. His 
views were exceedingly hyper- Calvinis tic, and quite 
frequently, in the midst of calamity, he would seek 
relief in the assurance "that it was foreordained, and 
therefore right." On one occasion, a negro boy, 
belonging to him, made an inroad upon the smoke 
house of his Antinomian master, and when arraigned 
for the deed, took refuge in the favorite doctrine of his 
owner, saying, "Well, Massa, you see all dis was 
'ranged fore hand. It was all fore'dained dat I should 
take dat meat I" Stung by the evident sarcasm, and 
exasperated by the complacent impudence of the thief, 
the master bound toward him and caught him in the 
collar, saying, "And it is foreordained that I give 
you a thorough thrashing, and I'll do it !" After a long 
and usefulpife, spent in Conecuh, he died at his home, 
in 1844, in the 72nd year of his age. 



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92 HISTOBY OF CONECUH. 



Chapter XIY. 

Conecuh from 1825 to 1836 — Current History Hesumed — The Lull 
of Apprehension Among the Inhabitants — The Fruits of Peace — 
Tragedy— Rude Customs Still Prevailing— The ^irth of Political 
Agitation, &c. 

The current history of Conecuh was broken at the 
point where reference was had to the wide-spread 
sickness among the inhabitants of the county in 1824. 
Sufficient attention having been bestowed upon the 
events which gathered around that period — to the 
personages, too, who flourished at that time, giving 
so much character to the dawning history of the 
county — we resume at this point the continuation of 
the current record of events. The disease of the 
previous year had spent its force, and the citizens, 
having become acclimated, or else having removed 
with their families to higher and healthier locations, 
resumed with unabated vigor the work of develop- 
ment. The period, about which I now write, was one 
of very great tranquility. The circles of population 
were being enlarged in all directions, more extensive 
tracts of land were being annually cleared, and the 
prosperity of the county was settling down upon a 
solid basis. The oldest and most improved plantations 
were now exceedingly productive, and their owners 
were growing rich. As yet no political venom, with 
its attendant demoralization, had been injected into 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 98 

the social mass. Quietly every man attended to his 
own affairs at home, or else, acting in concert with his 
neighbors, would engage in the erection of churches 
and school houses. The martial spirit imbibed from 
their contests with the Indians and British, was still 
retained by the inhabitants, and places for general 
drilling were appointed in different parts of the coun- 
ty. This gathering gave occasion for having a gala- 
day, and its recurrence was ever hailed with delight. 
To these different points the male population would 
repair, en masse^ each man carrying with him his 
fowling-piece; and after evoking all the delights that 
could be drawn from a straggling, dusty and irregular 
drill, they would gather about the place of trade, 
lounge in the shade, exchange rude jokes, recount 
perilous adventures, wrestle and box, and not unfre- 
quently become contestants in a tumbling hand-to- 
hand fray. But, however much puffed the cheek may 
have been, or however much bunged the eye, or en- 
larged the nose, every one usually repaired, at the close 
of day, to his own home bearing no malice toward his 
neighbor. These pugilistic rencounters, let it be said, 
were usually confined to the "lewd fellows of the baser 
sort," each of whom coveted the distinction of "bully." 
Eefinement by degrees predominated and these barba- 
rous practices were gradually abandoned. 

Keturning to the thought of the growth of devel- 
opment, let me say that but little attention was be- 
stowed upon any occupation except that of farming. 
Indeed, "farmer" was quite a comprehensive term. 



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94 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

Many of the farmers combined merchandising with 
agriculture. A farmer was very frequently both a 
merchant and carpenter ; for there was not sufficient 
trade to engage the entire time of one man, and hence 
the store was made secondary to the farm. And again, 
in such a rude state of society, the only architectural 
knowledge required was that which enabled one to 
erect a rude tjabin with cloven logs. Hence, farming 
was the chief vocation. For the most part, the in- 
habitants who first settled Conecuh had removed from 
wheat-producing regions; and this cereal they under- 
took to raise in Conecuh, and for the first few years, 
were remarkably successful. But, either because of 
the decline of the fertility of the soil, or because it 
was found to be so much easier and more profitable to 
produce corn and cotton, its production was gradually 
abandoned. Another consideration which led, per- 
haps, to its abandonment was that the harvesting of 
wheat conflicted sadly with the attention which was 
necessary to be given the cultivation of corn and cot- 
ton. And another consideration, still, was that the 
wheat was smitten with rust, which was discovered to 
increase with each advancing year. 

As in all new regions of country, where Nature is 
munificent in her gifts, these are sadly abused ofttimes 
by the earliest recipients, so in this favored region the 
pioneer fathers manifested, in some respects, a most 
reckless prodigality in regard to their fertile lands. 
This, however, was, in part, due to their ignorance of 
the utility to which many elements could be applied, 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 96 

and partly to a lack of sagacity. For many years after 
the production of cotton had begun, the seed were re- 
garded a nuisance after that they had been removed 
by ginning from the fabric. The idea of employing 
them as a fertilizer, to arrest the decay of lands, was 
not suggested to the thrifty fathers. Hence they were 
hauled away and thrown into abandoned heaps. 

The wisdom of arresting the washing of lands, 
seems never to have been suggested to the primitive 
farmer. Of course, the best lands were the first to be 
improved, as they were quite frequently the first to 
be abandoned as having become useless through wear. 
As a consequence, many of the lands which were orig- 
inally the best to be found in the county, were speedily 
surrendered to the sedge-grass and the needle-leaved 
pine, and are to-day regarded as barren wastes. With 
a more compact population — which our county is 
destined, at no distant day, to have — these wasted 
fields will be reclaimed from desolation, and again be 
made to "blossom as the rose." 

A few years after the first settlement of the county 
another branch of business sprang into existence — 
that of stock raising. The luxuriant pasture lands 
that composed the southern portion of the county, 
reaching even down to the coast, were covered with 
vast herds of cattle. The largest among the herds 
was that of David Tate, a half-breed, whose cattle 
swarmed over the grassy districts stretching between 
the Big and Little Escambias. Higher north, a herd 
of four thousand was owned by John Sampey. This 



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96 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

brancli of trade has ever been one of profit, and is 
destined, in the history of the county, to become one 
of the most lucrative of her industries. 

In 1825, a Land Office was established at Sparta, 
with Dr. Jonathan G. Shaw, of Massachusetts, as Re- 
ceiver. He was appointed by President John Quincy 
Adams. Considerable excitement prevailed among 
the people of the county at this period in consequence 
of the spirit of speculation that existed in certain 
quarters. Keen-eyed speculators were industrious in 
seeking out the best lands in the county, the claims of 
whose occupants were not secure, and in putting an 
enormous estimate upon their value in order to realize, 
in their sale, considerable profit. This produced wide- 
spread dissatisfaction and demoralization. To avoid 
being dislodged from the place improved by himself. 
Rev. Alexander Travis purchased his land of these 
Shylocks at the exorbitant sum of $37.50 per acre. 
But so grave an imposition upon a quiet, industrious 
community, such as Conecuh had become, could not 
go unrebuked and unchecked. The grievances of the 
indignant masses reached the ears of Congress, and 
the Relief Bill was passed, causing the late sale to be 
cancelled and the lands to be re-purchased. Mr. Travis 
now secured his land, under this bill, for $1.25 jper 
acre. And what was true of him was equally true of 
others. This brought a protracted period of tran- 
quility and prosperity to the people of Conecuh. 

The successful navigation of the Conecuh river, and 
the enormous revenue which the owners of the boats 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 97 

on that stream were realizing, led to an effort to nav- 
igate Murder creek.* Accordingly the services of 
Colonel Bowie were secured to clear the stream, and 
prepare it for the passage of boats. Several ineffectual 
efforts, however, convinced the inaugurators of the 
enterprise that it was by no means feasible, and the 
project was abandoned at once. While this attempt 
was a bootless one, it only served to show that the 
spirit of enterprise was abroad in the land. By every 
means the inhabitants sought to utilize the facilities 
with which nature had so prodigally supplied their 
adopted home. Continued advancement served to 
stimulate the energies of the thrifty population, and 
each recurring year witnessed a marked change in all 
portions of the rapidly growing county. Lands were 
being improved by a more thorough system of drain- 
age, and the rude contrivances of the early colonists 
were being eventually displaced by substantial evi- 
dences of advancement. 

In 1827, a tragedy occurred at Ellis's Mills th^t 
shocked the entire county. Captain Cumming, who 
had, for some years, been conspicuous in different 
ways in the coun':y, was killed by a man whose name 
was Fuller. Naturally impulsive, and of a domineer- 
ing disposition, Cumming attacked Fuller with a storm 
of abuse, to which no resistance was offered. Stung 
by this cool indifference, Cumming went away and 



♦This beautiful stream derived its name, according to Colonel 
Pickett, in his History of Alabama, vol. II. , page 82, from a bloody 
tragedy enacted upon its banks in 1788. 



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98 HISTORY OF OONEOUH. 

carefully loaded his gun for the express purpose of 
killing Fuller. Fired with passion still, he returned 
to the place where Fuller was quietly at work hewing 
a log, and walking within a few feet of hira, he lev- 
elled his gun at his breast, pulled trigger — and it 
missed fire. At this juncture Fuller sprang forward, 
with his broad- axe, and drove it into Cumming's skull. 
He quietly surrendered himself to the proper author- 
ities, but was duly acquitted. 

While the material interests of the county were 
being steadily advanced, regard was had to the moral 
enlightenment and spiritual improvement of the peo- 
ple. The ministry of this period were ardently de- 
voted to the promulgation of the truths of the gospel, 
and their laborious exertions bore fruit in the form of 
thriving spiritual interests, which were being planted 
within convenient reach of the growing population. 
The consecration of Eevs. Alexander Travis, Keidar 
Hawthorne, John Ellis, and William Jones, Sr., of 
the Baptist denomination; and of Eevs. James King, 
Joshua Calloway, John A. Gotten, and Lewis Pipkin, 
of the Methodist Church, is sacredly enshrined in the 
memories of the oldest residents of the county. The 
recollections of these sainted pioneer preachers will 
never be embalmed in "the flower-crowned annals of 
song," but better, they will be transmitted with pa- 
thetic interest to the future generations of the county. 

An event took place in the region of the Burnt 
Corn settlement, in 1828, that deserves special notice 
in the History of Conecuh, as indicating both the as- 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 99 

siduity of Elder Travis and the generosity of John 
Greene, Sr. Ministerial laborers being bat few in the 
county, and Mr. Travis being anxious to have the 
gospel preached to as many as possible every Sabbath, 
conceived the plan of centralizing the interests in 
diflFerent portions of the county. In upper Conecuh 
there had been established, by himself and his co- 
laborers, several points where preaching was had as 
often as a minister could, in turn, visit them. He de- 
termined upon a combination of these several interests, 
and appointed a committee to select a site for the erec- 
tion of a house of worship sufficiently commodious to 
accommodate these congregations when formed into a 
single church. Finding the committee somewhat em- 
barrassed by their inability to fix upon an eligible spol, 
Mr. Greene very generously oflFered them a tract of 
land, northwest of his dwelling, as a spot suited to the 
erection of a church edifice. The lot thus donated by 
himself was covered with a grove of beautiful oaks, 
from the midst of which flowed, perennially, the wa- 
ters of a bold spring. The terms of the donation were, 
that the tenure of possession was to be commensurate 
with the occupation of the place as a point of worship. 
The generous offer was gratefully accepted, and the 
church became famous as a place of worship in this 
portion of the county. In after years the church 
was removed to Puryearville, in Monroe county, and 
became the Old Bethany Church. 

Among the enterprises which were inaugurated in 
the county during the following year (1828) was one 



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100 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

that sprang into existence as if by magic. This was 
a point of business of unusual interest, that was estab- 
lished just below Bellville, between the Fergurson 
Place and the residence of Thomas Simpson, Sr. This 
enterprise was established under the auspices of a 
young man, from Mobile, whose name was Hosefield. 
His place of business was contiguous to an old field, 
whose broad, level acres presented an inducement to 
the county militia-men as an admirable place for 
"mustering." So important did this point become, as 
a place of thriving trade, — and so notorious was it for 
rowdyism, — that the inhabitants named it "Little New 
York." After a few years' existence, it disappeared 
with the suddenness with which it originally began. 
A* slightly cleared place is the only relic now remain- 
ing of one of the most notorious points that existed 
in the county of Conecuh. 

The political questions of the period, which had 
already commenced their turbulent sway in the older 
States, had not as yet reached Alabama. The Caro- 
linian element, which entered so largely into the early 
population of Conecuh, shared somewhat in the ex- 
citing Nullification movement, which stirred so deeply 
the public sentiment of South Carolina, in 1832. But 
it gave no shape or color to the politics of this region, 
as did no other question at this time. It was reserved 
for later years to witness all the bitterness and rancor 
that are born of heated political discussion. At this 
period of the history of the county, voters were not 
controlled in their preferences by the complexion worn 



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fflSTORY OF CONECUH. 101 

by any political organization, but altogether by the 
reputatiou of the candidate. The contests in the 
realm of politics were based upon no pronounced 
issues. Sometimes there was but one candidate before 
the people — at other times there was quite a* host. 
The most formidable opponent was he whose integrity 
was most unquestioned and unsuspicioned, and whose 
personal influence was such as to sway the masses. 
Long before this period — perhaps as early as 1820 or 
1822 — election precincts had been established at the 
homes of William Brewer, William Blackshear, and 
David Hendricks, at Cumming's Mill; also at Zuber's 
Store, George Constantine's, Brooklyn, James Cald- 
well's, RabVs Store, James Grace's, and John Bell's. 

About 1833, a startling event occurred in the region 
of Fort Crawford. A woman, whose name was Mrs. 
Nancy Taylor, had gone to the home of a neighboring 
woman and had given her a severe drubbing. The 
violent assault evoked judicial interference, and Dep- 
uty Sheriff Dollyhide was sent by Sheriff Wilson 
Ashley to arrest the turbulent woman. When Mr. 
Dollyhide reached her house, she positively told him 
that she would not be taken. Walking coolly up to 
her side, he laid his hand upon her shoulder, and 
said: "Madam, you are my prisoner!" She instantly 
snatched from her bosom a sharp dagger, and drove it 
to the hilt into the heart of Deputy Dollyhide, and he 
fell dead at her feet. Dressing herself in the costume 
of a male, and in company with a kinsman, whose 
name was Fed Walker, she fled to Texas, leaving 



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102 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

behind her husband. He remained in Conecuh for 
another year, when he, too, emigrated to Texas, and 
rejoined his fugitive wife. 

The following is a list of the members of the 
General Assembly from the county up to the period 
of 1835 : 

SENATORS. 

1819— John Herbert. 
1821— John W. Devereux. 
1825— William Jones. 
1828— John Watkins. 
1830— William Hemphill. 
1833— William Hemphill. 

REPRESENTATIVES. 

1819— William Lee, Thomas Watts. 

1820 — Samuel Cook, Thomas Armstrong. 

1821 — Eldridge S. Greening, John E. Graham. 

1822— Samuel W. Oliver, John S. Hunter, 

Taylor. 

1823 — Samuel W. Oliver, John Fields, James Salter. 

1824— Samuel W. Oliver, Nathan Cook, John 
Greene. 

1825 — Samuel W. Oliver, Eldridge S. Greening. 

1826— Samuel W. Oliver, Eldridge S. Greening. 

1827— Samuel W. Oliver, Eldridge S. Greening. 

1828 — Joseph P. Clough, James Salter. 

1829 — John Greene, Henry E. Curtis. 

1830 — Joseph P. Clough, Samuel Dubose. 

1831— Samuel W. Oliver, John Watkins. 

1832 — Samuel W. Oliver, Julian S. Devereux. 

1833— Samuel W. Oliver, Watkins Salter. 

1834— Samuel W. Oliver. 

1835— Wilson Ashley. 



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HISTOBY OF CONECUH. 103 



Chapter XV. 



Conecuh from 1835 to 1845 — Interesting Epoch — Birth of Political 
Issues — The Excitement Begins— Hot Contests — The Great Indian 
War — Democrats and Whigs — Hard and Soft Money — Educational 
Improvements, &c. 

We now enter upon the history of one of the most 
interesting decades in the annals of the county. The 
political questions which had grown out of the exist- 
ing state of the government, and which had crystallized 
into positive shape in the older States, had been trans- 
ferred to the extreme South, and gradually shaped 
themselves into principles upon which the voters of 
Conecuh were divided. Just enough interest had been 
awakened by the exciting Nullification movement in 
South Carolina, to inspire a desire to read, and hence 
the leading political papers of the country were being 
eagerly subscribed for. This spirit received encourage- 
ment, too, from a combination of favorable circum- 
stances, in which the people of the county were now 
placed at this advanced stage of their history. These 
circumstances were — the growth of population, which 
drew the masses more frequently together; the in- 
creased postal facilities of the county ; the more intelli- 
gent generation that was coming upon the stage of 
action ; and the greater leisure afforded by the advanced 
prosperity of most of the citizens of Conecuh. Not- 
withstanding the intense excitement produced by the 



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104 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

Nullification struggle, it was destined to be followed, 
within a few years, by a discussion, the excitement of 
which, if it did not equal the intensity of the former, 
it exceeded it in general interest. This was the dis- 
cussion of the great Bank question. A subject so 
important, and of such popular interest, touched all 
classes of persons alike. In the midst of the sternness 
displayed by President Jackson, which unpoised the 
financial system of the whole country, producing a 
serious crash in 1837, Thomas H. Benton, Senator 
from Missouri, urged the adoption of a gold and 
silver currency, as the true remedy for the embarrass- 
ments of the times. This financial question drew the 
line of demarcation very broadly and clearly between 
the two existing dominant parties — the Whigs and^ 
Democrats — the former of whom opposed the measure 
suggested and advocated with so much power by Mr. 
Benton, while the latter, with heartiness, adopted them. 
The two parties became very pronounced in the 
enunciation of their respective views. This period 
witnessed the first political contest, upon clearly 
defined party issues, that was ever had in the county 
of Conecuh. True, divergent views had been held 
by her people prior to this time, and minor differences 
had been expressed in a feeble way; but now excite- 
ment ran high, and the respective parties rallied and 
drilled their forces for a hot contest at the ballot-box. 
They selected their candidates for the Legislature, 
the Democratic nominee being J. Richard Hawthorne, 
and that of the Whig Party being Jephtha V, Perry- 



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HISTORY OP CONKCUH. 105 

man. Because of his enthusiastic advocacy of hard 
money principles, Mr. Hawthorne won from his oppo- 
nents the sobriquet of "The Benton Mint Drop Boy." 
After a thorough and exciting canvass of the county, 
the election resulted in the choice of Mr. Ferryman 
by just seven votes. This election, for a time, put a 
quietus upon the county, the Whigs being exhilarant 
over their victory, while the Democrats were en- 
couraged to renew the contest, by the fact that they 
came so near of success. At this period of the county's 
history, public attention was diverted to a more seri- 
ous question than that which agitated the people at 
their homes — this was the outbreak of hostilities on 
the part of the Indians. The policy of the govern- 
ment of removing them from their old abodes, which 
was instituted in 1832, had met with resistance almost 
everywhere. Both along the Chattahoochee and in 
Florida, there were hostile demonstrations. A call 
was made for troops, and in response, Captain Bell, 
of Bellville, raised a company and went to Georgia. 
Of those who were members of that company, the 
names of none can be secured, except those of Absalom 
Autrey, Pinkney Straughn, and Madison Crosby. 

Whatever of interest there was in the history of the 
county for several successive years following 1836, it 
gathers around the fierce contests which were waged 
in the political arena from year to year. For a num- 
ber of elections together, the Whigs were the success- 
ful contestants. 1839 is famous in the annals of the 
county as being a year of remarkable prosperity. The 



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106 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

oldest citizens still refer to it as an unusual year for 
the production of cotton. The following year, 1840, 
witnessed the establishment of an excellent litei*ary 
institution at Evergreen, which has ever since been 
known as the Evergreen Academy. Suitable steps 
had been taken the year previous to locate the insti- 
tution at the point where it now stands, but not until 
1840 was it formally opened for the matriculation of 
students. Prior to this time little or no business was 
conducted in the now thrifty town of Evergreen, and 
it appears that up to this period the community 
boasted of no other name than that of Corsey's Old 
Field. When, however, such men as Rev. Alexander 
Travis, J. V. Ferryman, James Tomlinson, Garland 
Goode, Nicholas Stallworth, Churchill Jones, Nathan 
Godbold, Chesley Crosby, John Crosby, Blanton P. 
Box, and others, combined their energies and wisdom 
and determined to establish a literary institution of 
high merit at this point, the unclassical name of 
Corsey's Old Field was displaced by the more elegant 
designation of Evergreen. Mr. Ferryman having 
modestly declined having the place named "Perry- 
ville," in honor of himself, as was justly suggested by 
some one, Rev. Mr. Travis thought that a name might 
be derived from the verdant foliage that abounded, 
suggested that the place was forever green — meaning to 
refer, however, only to the foliage ! The uniqueness 
of the name struck those most interested in the enter- 
prise, and hence the academy was called Evergreen. 
The resolutions originally adopted provided for the 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 107 

election of a President and Vice-President of a board 
of twelve trustees. Eev. Alexander Travis was 
chosen President, Hon. Churchill Jones, Vice-Pres- 
ident, and the following were the original Board of 
Trustees of the Academy : John D. Travis, Nicholas 
Stall worth, Littleberry Chapman, James Tomlinson, C. 
H. Stallworth, Mabry Thomas, Chesley Crosby, John 
G. Smith, Wilson Ashley, Mason L. Mosely, Garland 
Goode and Nathan Godbold. An efficient Principal 
and Assistant were immediately chosen, and the doors 
of the new institution were thrown open for the re- 
ception of pupils. Eev. Horatio Smith became the 
first Principal, with Mrs. Smith as his Assistant. The 
success of the new enterprise more than equalled the 
most sanguine expectations of its founders, and it 
was soon discovered to be necessary to increase the 
force of instruction. Accordingly Professor Stroud 
was engaged, and later the Faculty was increased by 
the addition of Mr. A. S. Flowers, and Misses Arm- 
strong and Hitchcock. The merits of the insti -iUtion 
speedily became known, and students were matricula- 
ted, not only from Conecuh, but from the counties of 
Butler, Wilcox, Monroe, and Mobile, as well. The 
school numbered as many as 155 upon its roll at 
different times. For many years it continued in a 
thriving condition, the pulpit, the bar, the halls of 
national legislation, the ranks of the army, as well as 
many a radiant home in this and surrounding coun- 
ties, having been contributed to by its classical halls. 
Eighteen hundred and forty-one is memorable 



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108 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

as having been a year of remarkable excitement 
in the county. The chief issue, still, was the 
currency. Undismayed by past reverses, the Dem- 
ocratic Party renewed its efforts to secure the 
Representative to the Legislature in the session of 
1841. Garland Goode was chosen as the advocate of 
the principles of Democracy, while Churchill Jones 
led the opposing Whigs. Public sentiment was stirred 
to its deepest depths, and the passion for success well 
nigh bordered on to frenzy. The county resounded 
from limit to limit with impassioned oratory. Every 
man was a politician, and the emphasis with which he 
announced his principles, left no doubt as to the 
political banner beneath which he served. The con- 
test was again close— just enough so, to tantalize the 
Democratic hosts and to fire them with a determina- 
tion to renew the conflict the next year. The Whigs 
bore off the palm, and Mr. Jones was sent to the Leg- 
islature. So acceptable a Representative did he prove, 
that he was returned for three successive terms. 
With unabated ardor, however, the Democrats en- 
tered the field afresh in 1844, under the leadership of 
A. W. Jones. The opposite party found a worthy 
champion in the person of Ransom L. Dean. The 
contest was again close, but this time the Democrats 
achieved a victory. This conflict between the two 
parties continued from year to year, as we shall see 
as we proceed. 

In 1841, a tragedy occurred at Bellville, which, 
because of its boldness, and premeditated concoction, 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 109 

excited the profoundest indignation in all parts of the 
county. Two negro men, belonging to Mr. Sandy 
Puryear, of Monroe, had adroitly arranged to rob and 
destroy the store of Duncan Mclntyre, who was then 
merchandising at Bellville. They succeeded in enter- 
ing the house, and after ladening themselves with 
valuables, they quietly set the house on fire within, 
coolly mounted their horses, and rode toward home. 
Investigation and vigilant search for a single trace of 
the stolen goods seemed, for a time, fruitless — and, 
perhaps, the criminals would have escaped undetected, 
had not one of the villains undertaken to barter a fine 
gold watch for a gun. This furnished a clew to the 
mystery ; the advantage was improved, and soon the 
guilt was fixed upon the scoundrels. After trial, they 
were duly executed by being hanged, at Monroeville, 
the following year. 

In January, 1844, the first tannery ever established 
in Conecuh was built near Bellville, under the auspices 
of Messrs. J. E. Hawthorne and John H. Farnham. 
For a number of years it continued in a flourishing 
condition, as it furnished leather to Conecuh and to 
citizens in counties adjoining. 

It was by no means an uncommon occurrence, at 
this period, to see slave speculators plying their trade 
as they would pass, here and there, into different parts 
of the country. The slaves were usually transported 
in wagons ; and these dealers would locate themselves, 
for several days together, at the different centres of 
population, — pitch their tents,— and exhibit their 
6 



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110 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

slaves to all desiring to purchase. It is a matter of 
public congratulation that the Slave Trade, so fraught 
with innumerable evils, belongs to the times of the 
far past. 

The following is a list of the different county 
officers of Conecuh during the period embraced in 
the foregoing chapter : 

COUNTY JUDGES.* 

1835— J. V. Ferryman, t 
1836— Henrv F. Stearns. 
1841 — Benjamin J. Goodloe. 
1845— A. W. Jones.:]: 

SHERIFFS. 

1837— William E. Ellis. . . 
1841 — David F. Henderson. 
1844— WilUam E. Ellis. 

CIRCUIT CLERKS. 
1837— Churchill Jones. § 
1841— Wilson Ashley. || 
1845— Nicholas Stallworth. Hi 

♦Until 1850, the County Judges were elected by the Legislature, 
with term of service of four years. 

t Resigned the next year. 

X Resigned before the expiration of his term. 

§ It was universally understood that this election was held in the 
interest of A. D. Cary, who, being Receiver at the Land Office, was 
legally disqualified to offer for the position, but who could do the 
work for another. 

11 For Mr. Cary. 

1111 For Mr. Cary. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. Ill 

The following is a list of the members of the Gen- 
eral Assembly: 

SENATORS. 

1836— Samuel W. Oliver. 
1837 — Herndon Lee Henderson. 
1839— Stephen S. Andrews. 
1842— John Watkins. 
1845 — John Morrisette. 

REPRESENTATIVES. 

1835— Wilson Ashley. 
1836— Jephtha V. Ferryman. 
1887— Jephtha Y. Ferryman. 
1838— James M. Boiling. 
1839— James M. Boiling. 
1840— W. A. Bell. 
1841— Churchill Jones. 
1842— Churchill Jones. 
1843 — Churchill Jones. 
1844— A. W. Jones. 



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112 HISTORY OF CONEOtJH. 

Chapter XVI. 

Chapter of Biography — Hon. J. S. Hunter — ^Richard Warren, etc. 
JOHN STARKE HUNTER 

was an attorney of some distinction, who came to 
Conecuh shortly after it became a county. He was a 
native of Camden, Kershaw District, S. C. His early 
literary training was of the first order, having gradu- 
ated from the South Carolina College. He was admit- 
ted to the bar to practice law in 1816, and two or three 
years later turned his face westward toward Alabama, 
the fame of whose inviting territory had already 
reached the older States. He first located at Clai- 
borne, in Monroe county, as the law partner of Hon. 
A. P. Bagby. Thence he removed to Sparta, and be- 
came the partner of Samuel W. Oliver. About the 
year 1829 he removed from Conecuh to Hayneville, 
Lowndes county, where he continued the practice of 
law. In 1834 he was promoted, by election, to the 
circuit judgeship to succeed Hon. John W. Paul, but 
remained upon the bench only a single year. In 1836 
he was placed upon the electoral ticket for Martin Van 
Buren. In 1840 he was sent from the county of 
Lowndes to the Legislature, and after a single year's 
service in this branch of the General Assembly, he 
was elected Senator. Eesigning his seat in the Senate 
in 1843, he removed to Dallas county. While residing 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 118 

in Cahaba, he combined planting with the practice of 
law. In 1849 he was again summoned to the arena 
of politics to join in a contest with Hon. S. W. Harris 
for Congressional honors. In this contest his oppo- 
nent was successful. He removed from Dallas county 
to Kentucky in 1857, and there engaged in raising 
stock. After an absence of eight years, he returned 
to Dallas county, Alabama ; and during the latter part 
of 1865, he was elected to the Constitutional Conven- 
tion. This closed his public career. During the year 
1866 he died at Louisville, Kentucky, having com- 
pleted "three score and ten years." Judge Hunter is 
described as having been an orator of more than 
ordinary ability. His manner was easy, his diction 
chaste, and his reasoning forceful. He was rather 
austere in his general bearing, which operated sadly 
against his popularity. In the counties of Dallas and 
Mobile many of his descendants are still residing. 

RICHARD WARREN.* 

Maj. Eichard Warren removed from Burke county, 
Georgia, to Alabama in 1817. He first improved a 
home near Burnt Corn, during the most troublous 
period of the county's history. Ever careful for the 
rights and interests of others, he, with true chivalric 
spirit, erected a fort near Burnt Corn, as a refuge 
against the depredations of the Indians. After a so- 
journ of one year here, he removed southward, and 

* The author regrets his inability to secure no fuller record of the 
Uf Q and services of • this honored and useful citizen. 



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114 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

was the first to venture across Murder creek, and to 
erect a home on the eastern side. He settled the place 
now owned by the Messrs. William and John Bur- 
gamy. Mr. Warren and his sons were the first white 
inhabitants who lived in the neighborhood of Sparta. 

JOHN GREENE, SR., 

came to Conecuh county as early as 1816. At that 
time it was embraced within the broad limits of Mon- 
roe. He was born in Abbeville District, South Caro- 
lina, on March 8th, 1790. When he had attained to 
ten years of age, his father removed with his family 
to Jackson county, Georgia, where he resided till 1816. 
Coming to Conecuh at this period, Mr. Greene found 
it without the slightest trace of civilization. But, 
thoroughly prepared to grapple with the difficulties 
here encountered, he began to establish his home in 
the midst of the wild forests. Quite fortunate for 
upper Conecuh, and for its educational interests, one 
of its first citizens was a man whose attention had 
been largely directed to literary pursuits. Of course, 
at this period of the country's history, educational fa- 
cilities were exceedingly meagre. According to Mr. 
Greene's own statement, he was indebted, for his ac- 
quirements, to a small public library in Jackson coun- 
ty, Georgia. Here, under the direction of a judicious 
friend, he was enabled to pursue a course of reading, 
and to improve his handwriting. Ambitious of future 
eminence, he prosecuted with zeal his studies to the 
utmost of his facilities, and finally decided to adopt 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 115 

the profession of teaching. He was the first to estab- 
lish a school in Conecuh, and has trained for use- 
fulness many of her best and honored citizens. . At 
different times, Mr. Greene has had accorded him, by 
his fellow -citizens, worthy honors. Twice has he 
been selected as her Eepresentative in the General As- 
sembly of the State — once in 1824 and again in 1828. 
Though a Union man, he was chosen to represent 
Conecuh in the Secession Convention in 1861 ; and in 
1875, was sent as a delegate to the Constitutional Con- 
vention. Coming to Conecuh in early manhood, with 
no other resources at command than an honest heart, 
a courageous energy, and an unbending will, he has 
accumulated a fortune, reared a useful family, and 
by his sage counsel and public-spiritedness, has aided 
largely in advancing the interests of the county from 
its organization to the present. He is one of the very 
few persons now alive who has lived under the ad- 
ministration of every President, from Washington to 
Arthur. Venerable with age, Mr. Greene still lives in 
the midst of his fellow citizens, honored and revered 
by all who know him. 

J. RICHAKD HAWTHORNE 

is a native of Eobinson county. North Carolina, where 
he was born March 8th, 1805. Five years later, his 
father removed, with his family, to Wilkinson county, 
Georgia. Here the family resided until 1817, when 
•they removed to Conecuh county. The first place of 
permanent residence was near the home of the late 



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116 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

Henry Stanley, now in the beautiful little village of 
Bellville. Here was pitche(J the family tent when 
Eichard was a bright boy of twelve summers. At 
the time of the settlement of this locality it was known 
as "The Ponds" — a name derived from the extensive 
lakes which lay to the east of the community. Highly 
gifted with native powers, mental and physical, Mr. 
Hawthorne's influence was felt as he advanced toward 
the period of manhood's perfect mould. He was equal 
to the hardships incident to a frontier section, and 
from straitened circumstances he rose to the posses- 
sion of considerable wealth. In 1837 Mr. Hawthorne 
was the nominee of his (the Democratic) party, against 
a very formidable opponent, Jephtha V. Ferryman. 
And though he belonged to the minority party of the 
county, his popularity came well nigh securing for 
him the laurels of the contest. For when the ballots 
were counted he came within seven votes of victory. 
No man who has ever lived in Conecuh exerted a 
broader or more wholesome influence, than did J. 
Eichard Hawthorne. His zeal in all matters relating 
to the public weal was proverbial. He occupied 
several positions of public trust before his removal to 
another section. In 1854 he removed to Pine Apple, 
Wilcox county. Here his influence was not inactive, 
and soon public appreciation summoned him to active 
usefulness. He was sent to represent the county in 
two terms of the Legislature, and has been frequently 
called upon to act in matters requiring calm and dis- 
passionate consideration. He has reared a large and 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 117 

respectable family, and accumulated considerable 
property. He still lives to wield a godly influence in 
the promotion of the general good. Generous, hospita- 
ble as a prince, warm-hearted and public-spirited, and 
above all, a devout Christian gentleman, his useful- 
ness is destined to be commensurate with his days. 

JEPHTHA V. FERRYMAN, 

to whom reference has been had several times in the 
progress of this history, was born in Twiggs county, 
Georgia, February 9th, 1798. Thence he removed 
to Henry county, and after his marriage to Miss Jones, 
he removed to Conecuh, and erected a home on the 
west side of Murder creek, opposite the present site of 
Evergreen. He was among the first judges of the 
county court, having occupied this position as early 
as 1835. After serving the county one year in the 
administration of justice, he resigned, and became the 
Whig candidate for the Legislature. He was the 
Eepresentative of the county for two successive terms, 
during which time he was efficient in aiding 'the State 
to pass through the financial storm that was sweeping 
the country. This ended his activity in public life 
for a number of years. In 1858 or 1859 he was made 
the supd'inj^ndent of education for the county. And 
again did he re-enlist, with all the ardor of his nature, 
in the promotion of public improvements. The pro- 
jected railroad from Montgomery to Pensacola fired 
his enthusiasm and enlisted his activity to the utmost 
tension. Not only did he liberally contribute of his 



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118 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

purse to the undertaking, but engaged as one of the 
contractors to build the roa<i, and it is thought undue 
exposure, incidental to his work, produced sickness, 
and finally death, which took place at his home, on 
March 30th, 1861 — just a few days prior to the com- 
pletion of the two ends of the road. Judge Ferryman 
was the embodiment of a positive nature. He lived 
in an atmosphere entirely above the reach of the petty 
arts with which politicians sometimes seek to woo the 
masses. If convinced of the correctness of a given 
course of conduct, the force of public opinion was as 
weak as the breath of the zephyr. He was firm, 
without being obstinate ; positive, without being stern. 
To him the town of Evergreen is largely indebted. 
His earnest spirit gave life to many of its first im- 
provements. He was notably identified with the 
establishment of the academy in the town. The same 
ardency that fired his zeal whenever he addressed his 
energy to an undertaking, gave a glow to his patriotism 
at the sound of the tocsin of war. When Lincoln was 
declared elected. Judge Ferryman tendered, by tele- 
graph, to Gov. A. B. Moore — then the Chief Execu- 
tive of the State — his two sons and five thousand dol- 
lars. The beauty that invested his useful life was, 
that whatever he undertook, he did it -without osten- 
tation. Duty was his pole-star, and not the opinions 
of his fellows. He is described as having been ex- 
ceedingly liberal and hospitable. "No petty avarice, 
no sordid ambition, characterized a single act of his 
life, and whatever fault may have been imputed to 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 119 

him, no one thought him capable of a dishonorable 
act." In the bosom of his family, and surrounded by 
his friends, he died at home, and was interred on the 
Franklin Plantation — the burial ground of his father- 
in-law, William Jones, Sr. Within a short distance 
of his first home in Conecuh, his dust is slumbering 
to-day. 

SAMUEL BURNETT 

came to Conecuh and located at Hampden Ridge as 
early as 1820. His native State was Georgia, where 
he was born in the year 1777. Mr. Burnett was the 
possessor of such elements of character as made him 
conspicuous among his fellow citizens. Quite social in 
his disposition, jocular and hospitable, and withal, the 
possessor of considerable executive ability, he was 
remarkably popular. As a result, he had been a 
resident of the county only ten years, when he was 
chosen judge of the county court. In this honored 
capacity he served Conecuh for two successive terms. 
During the terms of service as county judge, he would 
go from his home, on Hampden Ridge, to the court 
house, at Sparta, every day and return. An anecdote 
is related of him, as connected with one of his trips 
from the court house to his home, and as illustrative 
of his confidence in his favorite steed, as well as of 
the exuberance of his humor, even under trying 
circumstances. According to his daily habit, he left 
his office, at Sparta, late one afternoon, in mid-winter, 
and though he knew the swollen condition of Murder 



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120 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

creek, and that the waters had swept away the bridge, 
he resolved to cross the dangerous stream and reach 
Hampden Eidge before night. Some friends, after 
endeavoring to dissuade him from such a mad-cap 
purpose, followed closely after him as soon as his 
departure had been ascertained. To their dismay? 
they found, on reaching the deep stream, that he had 
been swept from his horse, and had succeeded in 
clutching hold of the trunk of a magnolia that 
was projecting into the waters. Astride this, with 
his body of 225 pounds, avoirdupois, going upward 
and downward, with the see-saw motion of the 
huge log, he was first beheld by the anxious eyes 
of his friends. In response to the question, " What 
are you doing up there. Judge?" he replied, "Ah, 
gentlemen, I'm navigating!" In his business relations 
Judge Burnett is said to have been scrupulously exact, 
spurning the thought of indebtedness to any one, and 
positively forbidding any one to owe him. He was 
the parent of eight children, most of whom lived in 
Conecuh, and themselves reared families of influence. 
John D. Burnett, Esq., a young attorney, of Evergreen, 
and among the most promising young men of the 
county, is a grandson of Judge Samuel Burnett. The 
subject of this sketch died at his old home, on Hamp- 
den Ridge, in 1839. 

HENRY FRANKLIN STEARNS. 

About the year 1830 there came to Conecuh a young 
Canadian, of pleasant address, and with a liberal edu- 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. ' 121 

cation. A stranger amid strangers, he is said to have 
spent a night at the home of Alexander Autrey, on 
Hampden Eidge. Mr. Autrey, having learned that 
he was a young man just beginning his rough encoun- 
ters with the world, and having been pleased with the 
unusual promise coached in the elegant gentleman, 
and more with his pronounced principles of Univer- 
salism, gave him some substantial aid, and rendered 
him valuable service in securing his introduction into 
Conecuh. This young man was the subject of this 
sketch. Henry Franklin Stearns was born in the 
county of Stanstead, Dominion of Canada, province of 
Ontario, on March 21st, 1805. He was of English 
parentage. He was graduated from a college in New 
Brunswick. In 1830 he came to Conecuh, and found 
employment in teaching a school for some time near 
Bellville. Shortly after this he addressed himself to 
the study of the law, and was admitted to practice in 
1834 or 1835. At that time ample scope was afforded 
him for the exercise of his legal powers, and he en- 
tered at once upon a successful practice. He had con- 
tinued his practice but about two years, however, when 
he was appointed judge of the county court. Judge 
Stearns was noted for his invincible zeal. In him 
every cause which he espoused found an ardent ad- 
vocate. By discreet management he accumulated a 
respectable property. The hospitable spirit, so char- 
acteristic of the well-to-do residents of Conecuh, was 
entirely congenial with Judge Stearns when he became 
a citizen of the county. At one time he was the can- 



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122 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

didate of his (the Whig) party for Eepresentative in 
the General Assembly ; and though his party was in 
the majority in the county, he sustained defeat. This 
was due. however, to the fact that he was of Northern 
birth. He was honored with being a delegate to the 
National Whig Convention which nominated Henry 
Clay for the Presidency. At the time of his death, 
Judge Stearns had in course of successful prosecution 
a plan for the establishment of a cotton factory at 
Fowler's Mills. His waning health forbade the execu- 
tion of a work, which, had it been successful, would- 
have conferred lasting benefits upon the county at 
large. In 1856 he went to Texas in the interest of a 
plantation in that State. Returning home during the 
following year, he was able to get no nearer than Clai> 
borne, Monroe ^ county, where he died, on February 
3rd, 1857. Here, too, was the resting place of his 
remains. 

JOHN BELL 

came to Conecuh about 1819. He was an emigrant 
from Ireland. At the time of his removal to this 
county, Bellville, then called " The Ponds," was one of 
the most prominent settlements in Conecuh. He is 
said to have been quiet, unobtrusive and enterprising. 
The vast ponds which bound the community on the 
east, he determined to drain — and accordingly dug a 
ditch of great length and considerable depth, which 
crosses the road just below Bellville. In honor of 
John Bell the beautiful village was finally named. 
The time of his death is not known. He sleeps 
beneath the sod, under a wide-spreading tree, near 
the home of Mrs. Stanley. 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 123 



Chapter XVII. 

Goneouh from 1845 to 1855 — Status of the County at this Period — 
Acrimonious Politics— Sad Tragedy— Steam Navigation of Con- 
ecuh— A Disaster and a Protracted Law Suit — Caterpillars- 
Mexican War — Sickness in the County, &c. 

This period introduces us into the midst of stirring 
scenes. By its increased facilities the county was now 
brought into easy communication with the world be- 
yond. A new generation of men had been reared 
upon her soil, and were corning rapidly to the front, 
to the assumption of the control of affairs, — men who 
were in sympathy with the over- reaching strides of 
advancement now being made in all departments. 

The fertile lands of Conecuh, and their prodigious 
yield, had drawn industry and capital from various 
directions, until now the population of Conecuh had 
reached almost ten thousand. Business, in all its 
branches, was thriving, — and many of the citizens of 
the county were becoming immensely wealthy. The 
indications of prosperity were evident in the elegant 
homes, the extensive plantations — tilled now by 
numerous slaves — ^the comfortable " negro quarters," 
the neatly built churches and school houses, and the 
magnificent equipages of many of the wealthiest fam- 
ilies. What a transformation had been produced in 
the county within a period of three and a half decades ! 
The hand of Industry had made the wilderness to 
blossom as the rose. 



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124 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

But that which was engrossing more and more 
public attention was, the political issues of the period. 
The alternating victories secured by both parties kept 
them constantly on the alert. The greatest care had 
to be taken to avoid the mistake of placing any other 
in the field than the most popular man. The standard 
bearer of the Democratic hosts in the county, in 1845, 
was James A. Stallworth ; that of the Whigs was 
Mortimer Boulware. Mr. Stallworth was a young 
man, who was just now catching public attention by 
the brilliancy of his oratory, and by the readiness with 
which he grappled with the issues of his opponents. 
He found in Mr. Boulware a formidable opponent. 
The county was never more thoroughly canvassed and 
aroused. Everywhere the zealous candidates were 
met by vast crowds. In the election which followed, 
both parties strained their facilities to the utmost ten- 
sion. Mr. Stallworth bore off the palm of victory, 
and thus commenced a brilliant political career, as will 
be seen in the future history of the county. 

In March of this year, a sad tragedy occurred in the 
vicinity of Bellville, which, because of its connection 
with one of the most distinguished families of Conecuh, 
cast a gloom over the whole county. A freedman, 
who was popularly known as "Free Henry," in a 
rencounter with Joshua and James Hawthorne — two 
sons of Col. J. E. Hawthorne — fatally stabbed the 
latter named young man. The freedman was arrested, 
lodged in jail, at Sparta, at the approaching term of 



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HISTORY OF COll^ECUH. 125 

court convicted of murder, and was publicly executed 
by hanging, in October of the same year. 

The success which had constantly attended the 
navigation of the Conecuh by raft boats, excited a 
desire finally to launch upon her waters a more stately 
craft, and one in more apt keeping with modern ad- 
vancement. Accordingly a meeting was called at 
Brooklyn, in August, 1845, to consider the feasibility _ 
of undertaking the navigation of the river by steam. 
It was called the Steam Navigation Meeting. It was 
the occasion of much interest, many of the wealthiest 
and most enterprising gentlemen of the county having 
responded to- the call. The advisability of such an 
enterprise was duly considered, and a stock company 
was formed. Subsequently the steamer "Shaw" was 
purchased, duly manned, and started on a trip up the 
river. Expectations became more sanguine still, when 
the steamer had reached Brooklyn landing without 
hindrance or disaster. The boat, unloaded of its 
cargo of supplies, which it had borne up the stream 
from Pensacola, was re-loaded with cotton, and, amid 
the most jubilant expectations, started southward. 
But, alas! when it had descended the stream but a 
short distance, it struck an unfriendly snag and was 
sunk, and with it sank the hopes of the ardent insti- 
gators of the enterprise. The whole cargo was lost. 
Mr. George Turk — the father of Laban Turk, of 
Monroe — was the principal loser, having on board 
most of the cotton. The result of this sad catastro- 
phe was a protracted law suit between Mr. Turk and 



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126 HISTORY ^F CONECUH. 

the stock company, which terminated in favor of the 
plaintiff. Thus ended all efforts to propel boats, by 
steam, upon the Conecuh river. This enhanced the 
value of Claiborne, Monroe county, for it was now the 
most accessible shipping and receiving point to the 
planters and merchants of Conecuh. 

A sudden check was placed upon the prosperity of 
the county in 1846, by the destruction of the cotton 
by the caterpillar. So sudden and wide-spread were 
the ravages of the cotton worm, that the crop of that 
year came- well nigh proving a failure. During this 
year, too, there was an alarming prevalence of pneu- 
monia in Conecuh. It spread with violence in all 
portions of the county, and did not cease its ravages 
for several years together. The year 1846 is memora- 
ble in the annals of the country as the beginning of 
hostilities between the United States and Mexico. 
During the latter part of this year several victories 
had been achieved by General Taylor. When the 
news of bloodshed, and his splendid successes, reached 
the States, crowds of volunteers demanded the accept- 
ance of their services. Nor did the patriotism of the 
Conecuhians lie dormant, while others, from different 
sections, were rallying beneath the American banner. 
It is to be regretted that the names of but two of the 
brave patriots of Conecuh, who enlisted in this war, 
can be secured. These are William R King and 
Mark Travis. The former of these died in service in 
Mexico, and his remains were sent home and interred 
in the graveyard at Bellville. Mr. Travis survived 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 127 

the war, and returned to his home, bearing the mark 
of a wound received in the battle of Cherubusco. 

The only interest which attaches to the history of 
the county for several years together, subsequent to 
the period already adverted to, is that which gathers 
around the political contests. The Democratic Party, 
having been led to victory in 1845, under the leader- 
ship of their young champion, James A. Stallworth, 
continued to hold the majority .of the popular vote 
until 1849. At this period the Whigs nominated 
William A. Ashley as their candidate for legislative 
honors. Through personal popularity, as an able 
advocate of the principles of the Whig Party, Mr. 
Ashley succeeded in securing triumph to his party, 
and marked distinction to himself. This was to him 
the beginning of a very long and popular career as a 
leader in Conecuh. Such was his acceptance during 
his term of service, that he was rewarded by his party 
with a second nomination and was again elected by 
the popular voice of the county. Political supremacy 
was held now by the Whigs until 1857. For after 
Mr. Ashley had been elected State Senator, Andrew 
Jay became the favored leader of the party, by which 
he was honored with two successive terms of office in 
the lower house of the General Assembly. 

With 1854 came the first railroad excitement ever 
experienced by the people of Conecuh. Prodigious 
advantages were promised the people of the county if 
they would only aid in the construction of the Mobile 
and Girard Railroad. Eloquent agents depicted in 



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128 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

glowing description, the advantages which must accrue 
to the county by the projected enterprise, and thus 
succeeded in booking handsome subscriptions from 
very many of the citizens. The total failure to reap 
any benefits from the road, bred dissatisfaction and 
gave rise to serious litigation, which resulted in the 
recovery of a portion of the funds contributed to the 
establishment of the enterprise. A comparative lull 
of several years followed this period. 

The following is a list of county officers who served 
during the decade included between 1845 and 1855 : 

COUNTY JUDGES. 

1849— p. D. Castillo.* 

PROBATE JUDGES. 

1850— A. D. Gary. 

SHERIFFS. 

1847— John D. Travis, f 
1848— William M. Stall worth.:]: 
1851 — Stephen Eichardson. 
1854 — George Christian. 

CIRCUIT CLERKS. 

1849— Mark B. Travis. 
1855— Mark B. Travis. 



♦Appointed to fill an unexpired term. The following year the 
office was abolished. 

t Resigned the following year. 
X Appointed. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 129 

COUNTY CLERKS. 

1837— 1841— Jordan B. Lewis.* 
1841— 1845-John D. Gary. 
1845— 1849— John D. Gary. 
1849— 1850— Sherman G. Forbes, f 

SENATORS. 

1847 — John Morrisett. 
1851 — William Perry Leslie. 
1853— William A. Ashley. 

REPRESENTATIVES. 

1845 — James A. Stallworth. 
1847— James A. Stallworth. 
1849— William A. Ashley. 
1851— William A. Ashley. 
1853 — Andrew Jay. 
1855 — Andrew Jay. 



* This should have been embodied in the earlier list, but was 
overlooked, 
t Office universally abolished in ISftO throughout the State. 



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130 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 



Chapter XVIII. 

A Chapter of Biography — John Crosby — James M. Boiling — 
Rev. Hanson Lee, etc. 

JOHN CROSBY. 

Among the best and noblest of the citizens of 
Conecuh, during his career, was John Crosby. He 
came to the county from Chester District, South Car- 
olina, in 1832, and settled, first, at the home owned at 
present by Dr. John D. Eeilly. In personal appear- 
ance, Mr. Crosby was rather tall, of dignified mien, 
with ruddy complexion, and hair of raven blackness. 
In character, he was exceedingly firm and positive. 
Possessed of a vigorous energy and an unconquerable 
will, he bore down before him all diflSculties, and 
rarely failed of success in any pursuit. If he was 
fond of accumulating wealth, he was equally fond of 
bestowing it upon any object that commended itself 
to his heart and judgment. While he was proverb- 
ially liberal, he grew wealthy within a few years ; 
thereby exemplifying the sacred expression, "The 
liberal soul shall be made fat." Commencing with 
resources quite meagre, he had amassed a respectable 
fortune in twenty -five years. During this period he 
had become the owner of two extensive plantations, 
well manned with negro slaves. To the comfort of 
these slaves he was devoted with a tenderness quite 
unusual. He was universally esteemed for his piety. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 131 

and manifested his devotion to the cause of Sacred 
Truth by being one of the most consistent of the mem- 
bers of the Baptist Church, at Bellville, for quite a 
number of years. A characteristic anecdote is related 
of him, as illustrative of his thorough honesty, and 
abiding conviction of right. During a given session 
of the Circuit Court, held at Sparta, Mr. Crosby was 
one of the petit jurors. In that capacity he would 
serve during the day, and after adjournment, ride to 
his home in the neighborhood of Bellville. Eising 
with the earliest tinge of dawn, he would start each 
morning toward Sparta, going via one of his planta- 
tions to give directions to his laborers for the day. 
One morning he was unduly detained at his farm, and 
did not appear at the court house until after his name 
had been called, his absence announced, and a for- 
feiture entered against him by the presiding Judge. 
Coming into the court room, he was apprised of the 
imposition of the fine. He was summoned into the 
presence of the court to give the reason of his absence. 
He replied that his absence was due to the protracted 
attention which he had to bestow that morning upon 
his affairs at his plantation. Whereupon the court 
asked him if any reason could be assigned by himself 
why the forfeiture should not be entered against him. 
He very frankly replied : *' Oh, no ! I have no excuse 
whatever. The whole matter is just as it should be. 
The fine is justly imposed." An example of his lib- 
erality is found in the fact that he donated to Howard 
College one thousand dollars, and defrayed the ex- 



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132 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

penses of a theological student throughout his entire 
course. After a useful and exemplary career, he died 
at his beautiful home near Bellville, in the early part 
of 1849. 

JAMES M. BOLLING. 

This gentleman made his debut into public life in 
1838, when he represented Conecuh in the Legislature. 
Though young, he soon became one of the most active 
members of the General Assembly. Such was the 
pleasantness of his demeanor, that he became a favor- 
ite among the members. He was returned to the 
Legislature for two successive terms. From the be- 
ginning, he gave pjomise of distinction at the bar. 
He married a daughter of the Hon. Eeuben Saflbld, 
Judge of the Supreme Court ; after which he removed 
to Hayneville, Lowndes county, where he continued 
to practice to the close of his life. 

KEV. HANSON LEE 

removed, with the remainder of his father's family, to 
Conecuh, in the earliest settlement of the county. He 
was the sixth son of Joel Lee. The subject of the 
present memoir was born in Johnston county, North 
Carolina, on December 27th, 1816. He was a young 
man of brilliant parts, and at an early age resolved to 
fit himself, through self-training, for future usefulness. 
By dint of close and laborious study, he succeeded in 
acquiring a classical education of a high order of 
merit. Recognizing his ability, the college at Marys- 
ville, Tennessee, conferred upon him the degree of A. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 133 

M. When he was a lad of sixteen he was baptized 
by Rev. Alexander Travis, and became a member of 
the famous Old Bethany Church. He was ordained 
to preach the gospel about 1844. In connection with 
preaching, he adopted the .profession of teacher. His 
services were secured at different points as teacher. 
His first school was at Brooklyn. Thence he was 
invited to take a school in Lee county, Georgia, whence 
he removed to Louisiana. Here he became the Presi- 
dent of Mounb Lebanon College. In connection with 
his duties here, as Professor, he became the editor of 
the Louisiana Baptist — the organ of the Baptist 
denomination in Louisiana for a number of years. He 
died at his home in 1862. In writing his obituary, 
Rev. William Carey Crane, D. D., LL. D., President 
of Baylor University, Texas, said : "A great man in 
Israel has fallen." 

THOMAS W. SIMPSON 

was a native of South Carolina. He was born March 
23rd, 1806. Coming to Conecuh, together with his 
father, as early as 1818, he enjoyed but few educa- 
tional advantages. He commenced life in circum- 
stances quite humble, with no other reliance than a 
strong determination and a heroic energy. With 
the growing development of the county he con- 
tinued to increase his acquisitions until he had sur- 
rounded himself with a property quite respectable. 
Mr. Simpson was one of the most useful, and yet one 
of the most modest, of Conecuh's citizens. He de- 
7 



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134 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

lighted in dispensing hospitality. His roof was the 
refuge of many a way-worn traveler. To a praise- 
worthy degree he exemplified the principles which 
he professed as Mason, Son of Temperance, and 
Christian. Among his children who survive him is 
Eansom Simpson, of Snow Hill, Wilcox county — a 
citizen whose worth is greatly prized in his adopted 
county. Mr. Simpson died at his home, near Bell- 
ville, June 1st, 1861. 

NICHOLAS STALLWORTH, JR. 

Prominent among the first generation of young 
men, reared in Conecuh, was he whose name is re- 
corded at the head of this sketch. He was born in 
Edgefield District, South Carolina, on February 21st, 
1810. When he was only eight years of age he was 
brought, with the remainder of his father's family, to 
Alabama. He was married to Miss Martha Travis — 
eldest daughter of Eev. Alexander Travis. The result 
of this union was seven children, among whom were 
Robert P. Stallworth and Frank M. Stallworth, of 
Falls county, Texas ; Major Nick Stallworth, late of 
Hilliard's Legion ; and Mrs. Barnett,* wife of Hon. 
Samuel A. Barnett, now of Mobile. Reared in the 
midst of circumstances unfavorable to his mental 
development, at a time when few or no schools existed, 
Mr. Stallworth had to depend almost altogether upon 
self-training. He was lacking in none of the virtues 
that make a sterling citizen. Hospitable, liberal and 

♦Who died several years ago. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 135 

possessed of public spiritedness, lie was quite popular 
with the masses. Without himself seeking the posi- 
tion, he was at one time made Circuit Clerk of Conecuh 
county. When, in 1850, the office of Judge of Pro- 
bate was made elective, he warmly espoused the 
candidacy of A. D. Cary. As early as 1838, Mr. Stall- 
worth foresaw the struggle which reached its bloody 
culmination in 1861. The tendency of existing politi- 
cal issues caused him to predict the dismemberment 
of the Union, and the probable abolition of American 
slavery. Mr. Stallworth died in 1853, in the prime 
of manhood. 

A. D. GARY. 

Armstead Dudley Cary was born in Gloucester 
county, Virginia, October 23rd, 1791. Eight years 
later his father removed to Clarke county, Georgia, 
and settled near the famous educational seat of Athens. 
When he had attained his eleventh year, young 
Armstead was sent from the paternal roof to receive 
his elementary training in the famous Waddell High 
School, in Abbeville District, South Carolina. Here 
he was the school-fellow of such men as James L. 
Pettigrew, of South Carolina, and of Governor Lump- 
kin and Judge A. B. Longstreet, of Georgia. Having 
been thoroughly fitted here for his future course in 
college, he returned to his home at Athens, entered 
the State University, and was graduated in 1813. He 
at once chose the profession of teacher, and became 
the principal of a school in Sumter District, South 



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136 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

Carolina. Among his pupils in this school was the 
Hon. James E. Belser, who, in after years, was a resi- 
dent of Montgomery, Alabama. Lured by the fasci- 
nating descriptions given of the lovely region of the 
Southwest, Mr. Gary, in 1820, removed to Claiborne, 
in Monroe county. Here he remained only one year. 
In 1821 he removed to Bellville, and two years later 
still, to Sparta. During this time, and for several 
years subsequent to 1823, he was engaged in teaching. 
In 1826 he was chosen Clerk of the Circuit Court for 
Conecuh, which office he held, uninterruptedly, for 
almost a quarter of a century. In 1833 President Jack- 
son appointed him Receiver of the Land Office for the 
Sparta District. From this position he was removed 
in 1850, by President Taylor, because of the fact that 
he was a Democrat. 

Such was the solidity of his character, that Mr. Cary 
passed through all these eventful scenes with unsullied 
record. He spurned with derision any proposition 
•that did not fully comport with the principles of rec- 
titude, and strove to shun even "the appearance .of 
evil." The following anecdote is related of him : 

As Receiver, he was legally required to make 
quarterly returns. At the conclusion of one quarter 
he deposited the enormous sum of $140,000. Just 
prior to rendering in his returns, he was confidentially 
advised by a prominent and professional citizen of the 
county to pay his bondsmen the full amount of the 
bond of $40,000, and to put the balance in his pocket. 
Mr. Cary very frankly said : "But that would be dis- 



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HISTORY OF CONKOUH. 137 

honest." He was assured that this was the course 
adopted by nearly all the officers of the department. 
But Mr. Gary, with characteristic gravity, said: "My 
code of ethics will not permit me to do so dishon- 
orable an act." And the amount was forthwith 
deposited. 

For many years he combined the offices of Receiver 
and Circuit Clerk. He was enabled to do this in the 
face of a prohibitory statute, by some friend securing 
the office for him, by securing his own election and 
appointing Mr. Cary as his deputy. Valuable service 
was rendered him in this way by Churchill Jones, 
Wilson Ashley, and Nicholas Stallworth, Jr. Such 
was the personal and professional popularity of Mr. 
Cary, that all efforts to defeat him before the people 
were totally unavailing. After the establishment of 
the Probate Court in the county, in 1850, Mr. Cary 
became the first Judge of Probate. In September of 
that year he became a member of the Baptist denom- 
ination, and was baptized by Elder Alexander Travis^ 

During the closing years of his life, Mr. Cary was 
tenderly cared for in the homes of his children. His 
earthly career terminated on December 7th, 1879. No 
man who has ever lived in Conecuh has left a fairer 
record than Judge Cary. He was universally recog- 
nized as a man who was swayed in life by the purest 
motives. So circumspect was his deportment in all 
relations, that no one has ever ventured to cast any 
asperities upon his fair name. 



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138 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

WILLIAM BARRETT TRAVIS, THE HERO OF THE "ALAMO." 

Near the ancient Spanish town of San Antonio, and 
on the left bank of the stream of the same name, in 
the southern border of Texas, is to be seen, to-day, a 
cluster of block-houses. This is the famous site of 
Fort Alamo, the calm bravery of whose ill-starred 
defenders entitles them to a place in the world's his- 
tory along-side that of the heroes of Marathon and 
Thermopylae. At this sacred spot, baptized in fire 
and blood, was displayed a heroism unsurpassed in 
the annals of conflict. Around this little spot centres 
the thrill of the War for Texan Independence. 

William Barrett Travis was born In Edgefield Dis- 
trict, South Carolina, (near Old Fort Ninety-Six,) on 
August 9th, 1809. He was the son of Mark Travis, 
Sr., and nephew to Elder Alexander Travis. The 
family removed to the county of Conecuh in 1818, 
and founded a home that is near the location of the 
present home of Eev. Andrew Jay. Young Travis 
was as thoroughly educated as the educational facili- 
ities of a frontier region would allow. When he 
reached maturity, he studied for the bar, at Claiborne, 
under Hon. James Dellett. Whether induced by the 
rapid developments made in the far West, to remove 
to Texas, or whether led by love of adventure, is not 
known. But, quite early in 1835, we find him bidding 
farewell to his quiet home in South Alabama and re- 
moving to Texas. When he reached the province, he 
found it in a state of seething excitement. The rapid 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 139 

strides which were being made by Santa Anna toward 
centralization met with a warm protest from the Tex- 
ans. Young, ardent and chivalrous, Mr. Travis was 
soon in profound sympathy with the Texan patriots. 
In the very beginning of hostilities, we find him con- 
spicuous as a chosen leader. When, at length, a dec- 
laration of hostilities was made by Santa Anna against 
the Anglo-American Rebels of Texas, and when, at 
the head of an army of 4,000, he marched upon San 
Antonio, near the beginning of 1836, we find Col. W. 
B. Travis in command at this point. The advance of 
Santa Anna's army reached the heights of the Alazan, 
overlooking the city of San Antonio, on the morning 
of the 22nd of February. Before so formidable a 
force as that led by the Mexican President, Colonel 
Travis retired with 144 men to the Alamo. Upon the 
occupation of the city, Santa Anna sent a summons to 
the garrison to surrender. The response of the heroic 
Travis was a cannon shot from the battery, — for he 
too well knew the treachery and blood-thirstiness of 
his foe. Travis had within the fort fourteen cannon, 
but only a limited supply of ammunition. Having 
received so defiant a reply from the American com- 
mander, Santa Anna caused to be run up above the 
church of the city a blood-red flag, proclaiming, "iV^o 
Quarter! ? 

On the 24th, Travis dispatched couriers to San 
Felipe and Goliad for assistance. Meanwhile the Mex- 
icans steadily bombarded the fort without effect. At 
quite an early hour on the morning of the 25th, the 



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140 HISTORY OF CO]SrBCUH. 

Mexicans evinced a more determined spirit than ever. 
They brought into active play all their available guns. 
Toward noon Santa Anna left his headquarters in the 
city, crossed the river, and gave his personal super- 
vision to the well directed aim of the gunners. 
Wherever he could screen himself from view, he would 
advance and plant his guns nearer the walls of the 
fort. To prevent surprise, the Texaus sallied forth on 
the night of the 25th, and burnt some houses standing 
near the fort. The following morning a brisk skir- 
mish took place, but without decisive results. The 
overwhelming numbers of the Mexicans were now 
greatly increased, and Santa Anna proceeded to draw 
the toils of his strength more closely around the walls 
of the besieged fort, in order to cut off the garrison 
from water. But in this he signally failed. When 
night had again settled upon the assailants and the 
assailed, Travis's men made another sortie, and again 
destroyed some houses, behind which the besieging 
forces might take refuge. For several days together 
the Mexicans continued the bombardment without the 
accomplishment of any serious results. 

On March 2nd, the garrison in the Alamo was 
reinforced by thirty-two citizen soldiers, who had cut 
their way through the ranks of the enemy. These 
were under the command of the gallant Capt. John 
W. Smith, of Gonzales. On the day following Colonel 
Travis sent a courier to Washington, where the State 
Convention was assembled, and with the following 
message : 



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HISTORY OP OONBOUH. 141 

"I am still here, in fine spirits, and well-to-do. With 
145 men, I have held this place ten days against a 
force variously estimated at from 1,500 to 6,000; and 
I shall continue to hold it until I get relief from my 
countrymen, or I will perish in its defence. We have 
had a shower of cannon balls condnually falling 
among us the whole time, yet none of us have fallen. 
We have been miraculously preserved." 

During the day Colonel Bonham, who had been sent 
to Goliad to secure reinforcements, returned to the 
fort and united again with his comrades in its defence. 
After nightfall, the Texans again issued forth upon a 
sally, but without the achievement of any success. 
The morning of the 4th of March dawned upon the 
besiegers and the besieged. Sharp cannonade was 
renewed by the assailants. The ammunition being 
scarce within the fort, the garrison but seldom fired. 
The day wore heavily away, and no change still was 
produced in the situation. 

At night, Santa Anna called a council of war, and 
urged upon his officers the necessity of a speedy assault 
upon the fort. Against this suggestion, however, all 
his oflScers remonstrated, and counseled tardiness until 
the siege guns should arrive. But the impetuous 
President had grown impatient of delay already. Given 
to celerity of movement, he chafed under the worrying 
delay incident to a siege. His wish finally prevailed. 
He had resolved upon storming the fort. It was to be 
attacked simultaneously from different directions by 
four columns under the leadership of his most expe- 



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142 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

rienced officjers. The orders of the comraander-in- 
chief were given with the utmost minuteness. Each 
column was to be provided with scaling ladders, pick- 
axes and crowbars. The signal of attack was to be 
given precisely at midnight. The cavalry was to be 
marshalled in the rear to prevent the desertion of the 
unwilling troops, and to intercept the escape of the 
Americans. For some reason the time of attack was 
delayed several hours. At precisely 4 o'clock on the 
morning of March 6th — the thirteenth day of the 
siege — the bugle sounded the attack along the whole 
Mexican line, and a firm, onward movement was made. 
The garrison soon became aware of the situation, and 
leaped to their guns, and poured upon their assailants 
a storm of lead and iron. Before the well directed fire 
of the Texans the three columns on the north, west 
and east staggered and swung back. Some confusion 
was produced by several columns becoming com- 
mingled ; but the solid mass rallied again under effi- 
cient officers, and renewed with vigor the assault. 
This time they succeeded in eftecting an entrance into 
the wall of the yard running around the fort. About 
the same time the column advancing from the south 
made a breach in the wall, and captured one of the 
guns. This cannon was commanded by Colonel Travis 
himself, and it is supposed that he fell early in the 
action, as he was found dead very near the gun. The 
Mexicans turned this favorite gun upon the last re- 
maining stronghold, and dislodged the Texans, who 
took refuge in the diflferent buildings of the enclosure. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 143 

The conflict now began in good earnest. Each build- 
ing was a separate battle scene. Resolved to die with 
as much profit as possible to the struggling province, 
every man fought like a bayed tiger. When the 
enemy would press so closely upon one that he could 
not load his piece, he would reverse his gun and club 
every advancing assailant until he fell pierced with a 
bullet, or driven through with a bayonet. The heroic 
Crockett, knowing that death was inevitable, struck 
down his enemies until, when his corpse was found, it 
was in the centre of a circling heap of dead Mexicans. 
Colonel Bowie was confined to his bed in the last stage 
of consumption. As the enemy rushed into his room, 
he sat upright in his bed, and killed several of the foe 
before he himself was killed. The details of the hor- 
rible massacre have oftentimes been given, and need 
not be repeated here. It may be proper to state, how- 
ever, that the bodies of the Texans were collected into 
heaps and burned. A year later. Col. John N. Seguin 
superintended the collection and proper interment of 
the bones of these heroes. 

As you enter the capitol, at Austin, you are con- 
fronted by a monument bearing this inscription: 
"Thermopylae had its messenger of defeat ; the Alamo 
had none." Thus went out into the darkness of a 
horrible death the star of the brilliant and brave Col. 
William Barrett Travis. With the change of adapi- 
tation, we adopt here the language of Albert Pike, in 
his "Grave of Washington:" 



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144 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

" Disturb not his slumber ! Let Travis here sleep, 
'Neath the boughs of the willow that over him weep ! 
His arm is unnerved, but his deeds remain bright 
As the stars in the dark- vaulted heaven at night. 

** O, wake not the hero ! His battles are o'er ! 
Let him rest, undisturbed, on Antonio's fair shore ! 
On the river's green border as flowery dressed, 
With the hearts he loved fondly, let Travis here rest." 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 145 



Chapter XIX. 

Conecuh from 1855 to 1860 — A Period of Stirring Activity — More 
Progress — Academy at Bellville— Know-No thingism in Oonecuh — 
A County Organ Established — Railroad Excitement — Telegraphic 
Line — Murder of Allen Page — Ominous Signs on the Political 
Horizon. 

The period into which we are now introduced far 
exceeded in importance and excitement any which 
had preceded it. Rapid and marked changes were 
being created in the politics of the country by the 
addition of new elements to the sectional controversies 
which were agitating the country in all directions. 
The respective parties in Conecuh, of course, echoed 
the sentiments of their leaders. It was during this 
period that the Whig Party ceased to have a national 
existence. The formation of an Anti-Foreign and 
No-Popery Party, called the "Know-Nothing Party," 
blotted from existence the party which had been con- 
trolled by the Whigs for a long time. The political 
contest was no longer between the Whigs and Demo- 
crats, as before, but it was now waged beneath the 
banners of the Democratic and Know-Nothing Parties. 
In 1855 Maj. Andrew Jay, who had been conspicuous 
for a number of years before the people of the county, 
as an ardent worker and wise counselor in political 
affairs, and who had previously been the Representa- 
tive of the Whig Party in the Legislature, was chosen 



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146 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

as the standard bearer of the new party, and sent 
again to the General Assembly. But these political 
contests, so far from retarding the intellectual or 
material development of the county, were, beyond 
question, one of the cardinal factors that contributed 
to the advancement of her people. Eagerness for 
information relative to the great questions that were 
now swaying the people of the Union, prompted the 
increase of political literature in the homes of Conecuh. 
This, acting in concert with the frequent discussion of 
these principles on the stump, in the social circle, and 
in the homes, awakened inquiry and stimulated the 
mental energy of the youth of the county. And the 
combination of these concurrent causes, too, led to 
increased facilities in the county for the transmission 
of intelligence, and finally, to the encouragement of 
the establishment of the great thoroughfare which 
now penetrates the county from north to south. 

In 1854 the citizens of Bellville, and the surround- 
ing communities, established an academy in the 
village, and the following year its doors were thrown 
open for the reception of pupils. Prof C. D. Cole 
was secured as the Principal of the institution, and 
from the beginning its career has been one of marked 
prosperity. 

The year 1856 witnessed the inauguration of a new 
enterprise at Sparta — that of the publication of a 
county organ, under the editorial management of 
Messrs. Witter and McGinnis. This year, too, gave 
birth to the agitation of the railroad question. Con- 



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HISTORY OF OONEOUH. 147 

siderable enthusiasm was awakened by the prospect 
of having the county favored with the presence of a 
railroad. Under the impulse of this excitement 
public meetings were held in different parts of the 
county. By common consent a sumptuous barbecue 
was usually had in connection with these occasions. 
Earnest advocates of the enterprise would unfold the 
incalculable advantages that would arise from such a 
thoroughfare ; roasted meats and delicate viands would 
be enjoyed, and then an opportunity would be afforded 
for subscribing to the establishment of the railroad. 
An active canvass of the question secured from the 
county the handsome subscription of $85,000. This 
liberal subscription secured the location and comple- 
tion of the road through Conecuh. It may not be 
amiss, in this connection, to mention the liberal sub- 
scribers to whom the county is chiefly indebted for 
this important line of transportation. The list was 
headed by the names of Andrew Jay and J. Y. Fer- 
ryman, each of whom subscribed $5,000. Asa John- 
son, Elijah McCreary, W. A. Ashley, James A. 
Stallworth, Caleb Johnson, Y. M. Rabb, M. L. Mosely, 
Y. S. Hirshfelder, and others, whose names could not 
be secured, followed with sums ranging from $1,500 
to $2,500. Work was commenced soon after from 
the opposite directions of Montgomery and Pensacola. 

In the political contests in the county in 1857 and 
1859, the Democrats again attained the supremacy, 
under the lead of John D. Gary. Elected in 1857 to 



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148 HISTOEY OF CONECUH. 

the General Assembly, he was re-elected to the same 
position during the following campaign. 

In 1858 a telegraphic line of communication was 
established from Greenville to Mobile. Passing 
through Conecuh, the enterprising company estab- 
lished an oflSce at Evergreen. 

During the following year a brutal tragedy was 
enacted in Fork Sepulga. Mr. Allen Page, a promi- 
nent and highly respected citizen, had started a num- 
ber of wagons, loaded with cotton, from his gin house, 
on Tuesday morning, toward Claiborne. In company 
with Mr. John Wright, Sr., he followed the wagons 
the next day, in a buggy, and reached Claiborne at 
night. Having cautiously concealed a gun beneath 
the cotton in one of the wagons, Irvin Ward accom- 
panied the party until within a short distance of 
Claiborne, when he separated himself from them, and 
turned into a road leading to a landing above Clai- 
borne, announcing his purpose to visit some relations 
living in Clarke county. Before sundering himself 
from the wagons, ho.wever, he informed himself, with 
the utmost minuteness, with respect to the intention 
of Messrs. Page and Wright to sell their cotton on 
Thursday, and to return home on Friday. Having 
passed beyond the view of the wagons. Ward retraced 
his steps, hurried back toward his home, and engaged 
with his brother, Stephen, in the formation of a plot 
to murder and rob Messrs. Page and Wright upon 
their return. Accordingly, they placed a small log 
across the road, on the east side of Little Brewer 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 149 

creek, and within six miles of the home of Mr. Page, 
in order to check them when they should reach the 
spot. One of the brothers screened himself behind a 
pine log, which ran parallel with the road, and in 
order the more effectually to conceal himself, had 
stuck here and there, about him, quite a number of 
gall bushes. The other was secreted about twenty 
yards to the rear. Both were armed with double- 
barrel guns. Ere long, the rumbling of the wheels of 
the buggy was heard, and the murderers lay silently 
awaiting the favorable moment to fire. The horse 
reached the log; a short colloquy ensued as to the 
strange appearance of the log across the road ; some 
doubt w^s expressed with regard to the inability of 
the buggy to roll over it, when Mr. Wright proposed 
to alight and remove it. Just as he had thrown it 
aside, a load of buckshot was discharged into the 
bosom of Allen Page, who was seated in the buggy. 
He instantly threw up his hands and exclaimed, " I 
am killed," and was' in the act of falling from the 
buggy, when Mr. Wright bounded forward and caught 
him. Just at this moment another barrel was dis- 
charged at Wright, the contents of which did but 
little execution, as but few shot penetrated his skin. 
His clothes, however, were sadly perforated by the 
bullets. It was afterwards ascertained that the most 
of the load of the second barrel took effect in a root 
of the log behind which Ward was concealed. Snatch- 
ing up the lifeless body of Mr. Page, Mr. Wright 
applied the whip to the excited horse, and dashed up 



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150 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

the road at full speed. He left the corpse at the home 
of Mrs. Bidgood, two miles from the scene of the 
horrible transaction. In a few hours the community 
was thoroughly aroused, and excited crowds gathered 
about the scene of the murder. A pack of negro dogs, 
belonging to Mr. Jones, was brought into requisition, 
but were unable to indicate the direction taken by 
the fugitive murderers. The most intense excitement, 
mingled with honest indignation, prevailed on all 
hands. The general reputation of Irvin Ward, coupled 
with his suspicious conduct on the day preceding the 
tragedy, led to his arrest. His younger brother, 
Stephen, was not suspected as being an accomplice, at 
the time. Irvin Ward was subjected to a rigid ex- 
amination before Justice K. R. Page. Upon his state- 
ment that he had been on a visit to relatives in Clarke 
county, a runner was sent thither, and it was ascer- 
tained that he had not at all visited Clarke. A com- 
mittee of gentlemen was formed, whose duty it was to 
ascertain the whereabouts of every man in the com- 
munity, for several days previous to the murder. The 
statements of the two brothers. Ward, were found to 
be false in many essential particulars, and they were 
seized and held in close custody, until further devel- 
opments could be made. Finally, after the accumula- 
tion of considerable circumstantial evidence against 
them, they openly confessed themselves to have been 
the perpetrators of the bloody deed. This confession 
was made at the home of the deceased, and in the 
presence of about one hundred auditors. Public notice 



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aSTORY OP OONEOTJH. 151 

was now given that they would be hanged the follow- 
ing day at 1 P. M. at the spot where the deed was per- 
petrated, and just one week subsequent to the bloody 
transaction. Messengers were dispatched in all direc- 
tions giving due notice of the proposed execution. 
Strong guards were placed around the house, and on 
every approach thereto. A brother of the murderers 
hastened to Sparta that night, and endeavored to 
secure the interposition of the sheriff on behalf of the 
murderers. But he would not interfere. An excited 
and determined populace had resolved upon the speedy 
execution of the murderers, and had determined to 
shoot down any parties who should undertake their 
rescue. A rude gallows was erected over the spot 
where the deed was perpetrated, the murderers were 
marched out in front of about forty citizens and to 
the place of execution, six miles distant. When they 
had come near the homes -of the Wards, they were 
met by their relatives — the old parents, brothers and 
sisters, and the wife of Stephen Ward, bearing in her 
arms an infant of six weeks. The place of execution 
was reached, and a statement was made by the mur- 
derers. They said that no malice had prompted the 
bloody deed, for Mr. Page was among their best 
friends. He had relieved their wants, and those of 
their families, when their father could not. They had 
murdered him for the purpose. of robbing him of the 
proceeds of the cotton. After this, the ropes were 
adjusted by P. D. Page, Esq., and William Wright, 
and they swung just at 1 o'clock, on Friday, the 18th 



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152 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

^ of November, 1859. When they had ceased to 
breathe, their bodies were taken in charge by the 
father and brothers. The sons of Mr. Page, deceased, 
sent a number of negro men to dig their graves and 
to assist in a decent interment. At the approaching 
session of the Circuit Court, bills of indictment were 
found against about forty of those who were most 
active in the prosecution and execution of the Wards, 
and bonds were fixed at $1,000. Judge J. K. Henry, 
at the next term of the Circuit Court, caused a nol. 
pros, of all the cases, and thus the public mind became 
quiet upon a subject which had engrossed it for so 
long a period. 

During the same year (1859), successful operations 
were commenced upon the Montgomery and Pensacola 
Eailroad. From both directions the work began, but 
the road was not completed until about April, 1861. 
This is, to-day, one of the most important thorough- 
fares in all the Sbuth. It now constitutes a part of 
the great line operated under the auspices of the 
Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company. Entering 
Conecuh on its northern boundary, it penetrates it 
southward twenty-four and a half miles. 

The year 1860 marks an emphatic era in the politi- 
cal history of the country. Some of the questions 
which had their birth in the political struggles of 
former periods, now assumed serious proportions. 
Grave issues were involved in the coming struggle 
between the different political organizations of the 
Union. The acrimony of feeling between the North- 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 158 

ern and Southern States, was aggravated by every 
recurring event. The long agitation had shattered in 
pieces the old political parties of the country. Split 
asunder in their Convention at Charleston, the Demo- 
crats proposed two candidates to the people — Stephen 
A. Douglas, of Illinois, and John C. Breckinridge, of 
Kentucky. Disintegration had also invaded the old 
Whig Party. The Union wing of the Whig Party 
named John Bell, of Tennessee, for President. The 
Eepublican Party was increased by accessions from 
both the Whig and Democratic Parties, and announced 
the name of Abraham Lincoln as their chosen candi- 
date. The county of Conecuh shared in the intense 
excitement that prevailed throughout the whole 
country. It was convulsed by the canvass. Little 
else was done this year, than discuss politics. Vast 
crowds would daily assemble at the places of popular 
resort, to canvass the questions at issue. Stump 
speaking was a daily occurrence. Men were swayed 
more by passion than by calm judgment. The storms 
of war were gathering thick and fast. The . period of 
conflict had been reached. 

The following is a list of county officers who served 
during the period embraced in the foregoing chapter : 

JUDGES OF PROBATE. 

1856— A. D. Cary. 

SHERIFFS. 

. 1857— A. B. Kennedy. 
I860 — Isaac D. Johnson. 



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154 HISTORY OF COlfEOUH. 

CIRCUIT CLERKS. 

1856— Mark B. Travis. 

SENATORS. 

1857— Daniel H. Horn. 

REPRESENTATIVES. 

1857— John D. Gary. 
1859— John D. Gary. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 155 



Chapter XX. 

Chapter of Biography— E. W. Martin — Rev. George Lee— Hezekiah 
Donald — Churchill Jones, etc. 

EDMUND W. MARTIN. 

This distinguished son of Conecuh was born near 
the city of Montgoniery, on December 15th, 1821. He 
received his mental training at West Point. Through 
the influence of Senator Dixon H. Lewis, an ardent 
friend and relative of Mr. Martin, a cadetship was 
secured for him at the National Military Academy. 
Returning to his home from West Point, Mr. Martin's 
gifts led him into the forum, rather than the field. 
Having taken a course in law, he was admitted to 
practice, and commenced his career, as a lawyer, at 
Hayneville, about the year 1843. When the conflict 
with Mexico began, in 1846, Mr. Martin raised a 
gallant company in the county of his adoption, known 
as the "Lowndes County Volunteers," was made their 
captain, and went immediately to Mobile to offer their 
services to the government. Here they were received 
and mustered into the service of the government, but 
lack of transportation prevented their being trans- 
ferred to the scene of action, and the war closed with- 
out their being able to participate. In 1849 Mr. 
Martin removed to Sparta, where he began a career 
which enabled him to make quite a reputation for 



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156 HISTOBY OF OONKOdH. 

himself as a practitioner of law. He was regarded by 
his brethren at the bar, as a close, calm reasoner, dig- 
nified, and keenly conscientious with regard to all 
questions of ethics. He was one of the readiest of 
speakers. A subject was quickly grasped by him, 
and even while the thought was warm, fresh from 
its new creation, he was giving it expression in 
elegant diction. During the war Mr. Martin raised a 
company of volunteers, of which he was made cap- 
tain. Subsequently he became the major of the regi- 
ment to which his company was attached. During 
the battle at Dalton, Georgia, on the 24th and 25th of 
February, 1864, Major Martin was wounded by the 
fragment of a shell. In his command he was admired 
for the wonderful combination of kindness with firm- 
ness, in the exercise of discipline. At one time one 
of the men under his command became somewhat 
refractory, and it became necessary for him to give 
him some peremptory orders, which, with relutance, 
the soldier proceeded to obey, but with a protest in a 
low, under tone of voice, but sufficiently loud for every 
one to hear him say, " Well, never mind, every dog has 
his day." To which Major Martin replied, "That may 
be, if there are not more dogs than days." In politics, 
Major Martin was a life-long Democrat. In 1872 
he was elected to the State Senate, from the district 
composed of Butler and Conecuh counties, but upon 
a contest, his opponent. Miller, was seated, not because 
he had received a majority of the popular vote, but 
because the Eepublican Party was dominant in the 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 157 

Senate. In 1874, however, when the Democrats again 
attained the ascendency. Miller was legally ejected, 
and Senator Martin re-seated. The Montgomery Ad- 
vertiser^ in referring to his restoration to his seat in 
the Senate Chamber, said of him : " He is an able and 
watchful Senator, and possesses to the fullest extent, 
the confidence and esteem of his associates." He was 
the leading candidate for Lieutenant Governor in the 
Convention of 1874, and came within a fraction of a 
two-thirds vote upon the nomination. Also, in 1878, 
he was conspicuous as a candidate for Congress, and 
came within one vote of the nomination. On the 
22nd of October, 1878, he died at his home, at Ever- 
green. 

REV. GEORGE LEE 

was a Baptist minister of some local distinction, and 
a member of one of the best families that ever resided 
in Conecuh. He was the seventh son of Justice Joel 
Lee, and brother to Kevs. Hanson Lee, whose sketch 
has already been given, and David Lee, now of Lowndes 
county. George Lassiter Lee was bom near Burnt 
Corn, on November 9th, 1819. When he was a lad of 
fifteen or sixteen, he became a Christian, and was 
baptized by Elder Alexander Travis. From the date 
of his conversion he had a disposition to attempt to 
preach, but great constitutional diffidence restrained 
him from the assumption of the sacred office for ten 
or twelve years. Yielding at length to those inward 
impressions, he became quite an eflfective minister of 
8 



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158 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

the gospel. During his early years he had received a 
thorough English training. Besides being a preacher 
of marked ability, he was a terse, vigorous writer. 
During his ministerial career, he served the Bethlehem 
Association, on different occasions, in the capacity of 
Clerk and Moderator. He was the Moderator of the 
body the year before his death. About 1871 or 1872, 
he died in the same section in which he had been 
reared. Mr. Lee was honored for his piety by all 
who knew him. 

HEZEKIAH DONALD 

was a native of Conecuh. He was a man totally 
unpretentious, and yet one of the most useful of men 
during his career. Such was his extreme modesty, 
that no emphasis was ever given by himself to the 
liberal benefactions which came from his hand. He 
found special delight in contributing to a cause, the 
object of which was the increased happiness or use- 
fulness of his fellows. Diligent in the administration 
of his private affairs, he was prosperous. During the 
last few years of his life he was prominent as a suc- 
cessful planter. Mr. Donald died at his home, near 
Bellville, in 1861, much lamented by all who knew 
him. 

CHURCHILL JONES. 

The birth-place of Mr. Jones was Virginia. But 
little is known of his early career. He emigrated to 
Conecuh when a young man, and began teaching at 
Gravella. He soon found a charm in the agitated 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 159 

politics of the county, and ardently espoused the cause 
of the Whig Party. As the standard-bearer of that 
party he was sent to the Legislature for several con- 
secutive sessions. He was regarded as possessing 
uncommon shrewdness in business, and within a few 
years after he came to the county he was the possessor 
of no mean wealth. His name is inseparable from 
the litigations which characterized the history of the 
county during his residence within it. He is remem- 
bered, to-day, as a most uncompromising litigator. 
In manners, Mr. Jones was affable and communicative. 
Several years before his death he removed to Texas. 

JOHN W. ETHRIDGE. 

The subject of this sketch came to Conecuh with 
his father's family when he was quite a small boy. 
He was born in North Carolina in 1810, and eight 
years later was residing near Brooklyn. Mr. Ethridge 
has led a quiet, unostentatious life. At different times 
he has been summoned from the solitude of home life, 
and by the popular vote elevated to positions of trust. 

In 1870, he was regarded the most available man in 
Conecuh to defeat the notorious William P. Miller for 
the Legislature. In this his supporters were not 
disappointed. His unquestioned integrity, and sober, 
conservative spirit, secured to the party of the Democ- 
racy a majority, and he became the Eepresentative of 
the county in the lower house during the sessions of 
1870 and 1872. 

Other positions have been held by him with credit 



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160 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

to himself and lionor to his county. Though the frosts 
of three-score-and-ten winters have gathered upon his 
locks, he is, to-day, as elastic in his tread as a youth. 
Of him it may be almost as truly said as of the olden 
lawgiver : "His eye is not dim, nor is his natural force 
abated." 

SHERMAN G. FORBES. 

Many years ago there came to New England from 
Scotland two brothers whose names were Abisha and 
Squire Forbes. One of these settled in Salisbury, and 
the other in Canton, Connecticut. The latter of these, 
according to the history of that section, was the first 
smelter of iron in the United States. Abisha was 
the grandfather of Sherman G. and Dr. Solomon S. 
Forbes. 

Sherman G. Forbes, familiarly known in all sections 
of the county as "Squire Forbes," was born in Canton, 
Connecticut, in the year 1818. His father was a 
native of the same section. Mr. Forbes removed to 
Alabama when he was quite a young man, and located 
at Sparta. Here he found employment as a clerk in 
the mercantile establishment of Eobinson & Cary. He 
afterwards served Mr. Cary as clerk in the Land Office. 
Subsequent to this he was postmaster at Sparta, by 
appointment ; and was also elected justice of the peace, 
which office he continued to hold for more than thirty 
years. He was, at length, elected to the position of 
tax assessor of the county, where he displayed such 
rare efficiency that he was re-elected for several suooes- 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 161 

sive terms. About the year 1845-46, he was elected 
Clerk of tlie Circuit Court. In 1849, he engaged in 
a political contest with A. D. Cary for the Probate 
Judgeship. He was defeated by only thirty votes, and 
by a man of the most decided strength in the county. 
The close approximation to success in this election 
manifested the estimate which was placed upon his 
worth by the good people of Conecuh. Upon the 
resignation of Stephen C. Eichardson as sheriff of 
Conecuh county, the office was tendered Mr. Forbes 
by the Governor of Alabama, but this offer he de- 
clined. At the close of the late war, he was appointed 
Eevenue Assessor for the United States District, and 
none could have performed the duties pertaining to 
this office with greater efficiency. Mr. Forbes was a 
gentleman of even temperament, of much native dig- 
nity, and of superior qualifications for business. His 
memory was proverbially exact. The different sta- 
tions held by himself during his life, had led him 
largely into the investigation of the legal science, and 
within a given compass of law no opinion could ex- 
ceed his in exactness. He was freely resorted to for 
legal advice, which was gratuitously given. Politi- 
cally, Mr. Forbes was a Democrat. He was emphati- 
cally a Union Democrat, both before and after the 
war. In March, 1876, he suffered from a paralytic 
stroke, from which he never recovered. After a sick- 
ness of seventeen days his spirit passed from earth 
into the boundless Beyond. The verdict of Judge 
Cary upon the reception of the news of his death, was 



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162 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

that of every one who knew him with any degree of 
intimacy: "Conecuh county has lost one of its best 
citizens. He was the most correct business man I 
ever knew 1 " 

DR. SOLOMON S. FORBES, 

brother to Sherman G. Forbes, beheld the light, first, 
in 1827, in the town of Canton, Connecticut. He 
emigrated southward and reached Sparta in 1852, 
where he engaged in teaching a school. This he dis- 
continued, however, after six months, and addressed 
himself to the study of medicine, under the tutorship 
of Dr. John Anderson. In 1854 he attended medical 
lectures in Albany, New York, at the Union Medical 
College. Here he graduated three months before the 
expiration of his term of study, received his diploma, 
and started westward. He opened an ofiice at Sauk 
Eapids, in the Minnesota Territory, eighty miles 
above St. Paul. He continued his practice in this 
region for eight months, until the arctic breath of 
winter brought with it a vivid reminder of the bland 
climate and fervid skies of the far South, and without 
delay he left the hyperborean region of Northern 
Minnesota and returned to Alabama. Coming again 
to Conecuh, he located at Bellville, in 1856, and con- 
tinued the practice of his chosen profession until 1872, 
During this interval he was President of the Board 
of Examination for the county, Vice-President of the 
County Medical Association, and 2nd Eecording Sec- 
retary of the Medical Association of Alabama. During 



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mSTORT OP CONBOUH. 168 

the year 1872 he removed to Milton, Florida, where 
he continues the practice of medicine. The citizens 
of Milton have honored him for three successive terms 
with the mayoralty, and upon his election the third 
time, it was his humorous boast that he had beaten 
General Grant for "the third term." Dr. Forbes is a 
gentleman of cultivated taste and of polished manners. 
A vein of genuine humor pervades his nature, which, 
coupled with his accomplishments, makes him quite 
companionable in the social circle. 

MARK BUTLER TRAVIS. 

Few men have left a more illustrious record to the 
future generations of Conecuh, than Mark Butler 
Travis. His life was one of chivalrous heroism and 
of devotion to his country. He was born in the 
neighborhood of Old Town,- on May 18th, 1827. At 
quite an early age he evinced remarkable aptness in 
the acquisition of knowledge, while attending the 
schools of the neighborhood. Having pursued a 
course of medical study under the supervision of Dr. 
John Watkins, he left his home, when a stripling of 
only seventeen, to attend medical lectures in a distant 
State. But Mars was a more attractive personage to 
his chivalrous mind than jEsculapius, and while 
en route to college, he met the famous Palmetto Eegi- 
ment, of South Carolina, on their way to join General 
Scott, in Mexico, and the blood of our young hero 
grew so warm within him, that he determined to enlist 
in the regiment and to go with them to Mexico. This 



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164 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

he did, and shared with them the glories of Contreras 
and Cherubusco. In the latter named battle, he re- 
ceived a wound in the head, and was thereby pre- 
vented from being with his regiment when they 
entered the Mexican Capital. Eecov.ering from his 
wound, he rejoined his comrades and served with 
patriotic efficiency throughout the remainder of the 
struggle. Returning to his home, he was honored by 
his fellow citizens with the office of Colonel of Militia, 
and was afterwards made General of Militia, over 
Col. Brock Henderson, of Butler. The people of 
Conecuh showed him deserved consideration by eleva- 
ting him to the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court, 
which he held for four consecutive terms. He was 
universally known as an ardent Democrat, and yet 
such was his personal popularity, that serious inroads 
were invariably made by him into the ranks of the 
opposite party, and hence his unbroken political suc- 
cess. When again the clash of conflict summoned 
the men of the South to arms. General Travis was 
among the first to respond. He enlisted in the 
Conecuh Guards — the first company that left the 
county. He was made the 2nd lieutenant of this 
company, and went with it to Virginia. The following 
anecdote is related of him, as connected with the battle 
of Bull Ran. At the time of the fall of the gallant 
Colonel Jpnes, the Fourth Alabama Regiment, to which 
the Conecuh Guards belonged, seemed threatened with 
utter extermination by the peculiarity of its surround- 
ings. Becoming cognizant of this fearful fact, a panic 



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HISTOBY OF CONECUH. 166 

seemed inevitable, and brave men began to turn their 
feet and faces toward the rear. Seeing the perilous 
situation, Lieutenant Travis endeavored to stay the 
flight of the regiment, and stood before the retreating 
columns with brandished sword, begging them not to 
fly. He was suddenly confronted by a burly Teuton, 
whose glaring eyes, open mouth and thin nostrils 
showed that he was the victim of a stupendous fright, 
and as he witnessed the efforts of Travis to check the 
flying columns, he blurted out: "0, mine friendt, my 
life is too schweet!" Lieutenant Travis, seeing that 
all efforts to arrest the flight were useless, himself 
joined in and sought a more secure position. He was 
sadly encumbered by a pair of heavy horse-skin 
boots, which provoked Dr. Taliaferro to say to him as 
he ran past : "Lieutenant, you had better look out, or 
Barnum will have those boots in his Museum before 
night ! " The subject of this sketch died of pneumonia, 
at his home, in 1864. There were combined in his 
character many elements of true nobility. 

JOHN DUDLEY GARY. 

Conspicuous among the worthies of Conecuh county 
is he whose name is placed at the head of this sketch. 
He was brought to Conecuh, by his parents, when 
quite an infant, having been born in Sumter District, 
South Carolina, on the 20th of January, 1820. Having 
been reared by a father whose uprightness was pro- 
verbial in the county, Mr. Cary became an elegant 
gentleman, and one eminently fitted to the positions 



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166 mSTORY OT CONEOtTH. 

which he was summoned to occupy during his life. 
His first attainment to distinction was in 1841, when 
he had barely reached maturity. During this year 
he was elected county clerk, and in 1845 was re- 
elected to the same position. But for his personal 
popularity, he would have sustained defeat in the 
second contest, as he had to encounter the serious 
difficulties of leading a party whose voting power was 
in the minority, and of confronting a candidate who 
himself enjoyed the confidence of the people — William 
M. Bradley. The second victory of Mr. Gary was 
exceedingly creditable to him, as he led his opponent, 
in the face of the barriers already alluded to, with a 
majority of sixty-eight. In 1857 he was sent by 
the popular voice of the county to the Legislature. 
Having been renominated two years later, for the 
same office, he was again elected, defeating Hon. F. 
M. Walker. Like his father, he enjoyed the confi- 
dence of the masses, which was manifest whenever he 
presented himself before them for their suffrage. He 
removed to Florida in January, 1872, and died just a 
month later, leaving a wife and five children. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 167 



Chapter XXI. 

The War Record of Conecuh — Intense Excitement — Conecuh Patri- 
otism — Conecuh Guards, &c. 

The election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency 
of the United States in 1860, was the signal for the 
clash of conflict. For successive decades the storm 
had been gathering, and the delay only rendered more 
terrific its fury when at length it did burst upon the 
country. Petty sectional issues had grown into giant 
proportions, and by their strength had drawn the 
North and South face to face, with demonstrations the 
most hostile. A review of these issues need not here 
be attempted, as they are familiar to all. We have 
only to do with the part borne in that period of car- 
nage by the brave sons of Conecuh. Her people felt 
as deeply as did any, the force of the great questions 
which were moving the masses throughout the broad 
land of States. The withdrawal of Alabama from 
the Union, sent a tremor of patriotic thrill throughout 
the hosts of her brave men, and under the impulse of 
this power, they formed themselves into military 
organizations, and repaired at once to the scene of 
conflict. 

Among the companies earliest enlisted for this ap- 
proaching struggle, was that of the Conecuh Guards. 
They were organized at Sparta, April 1st, 1861, and 
on the 24:th of the same month they left their homes 



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168 HISTOBY OF OONBCtJH. 

for the seat of war in Virginia. Through the zealous 
efforts of some noble women, among whom were the 
Misses Stearns and Mathews, Mrs. Jay and Mrs. 
Dubose, a magnificent banner had been ordered for 
the gallant company, and reached Sparta just the day 
before their departure for Virginia. A large con- 
course had gathered at the Sparta depot to witness 
the formal presentation of the flag and to take affec- 
tionate leave of friends and loved ones. Master 
Henry Stearns. held the banner during its presenta- 
tion, and on either side of him stood three young 
ladies, dressed so as to represent the States that had 
withdrawn from the Union. Miss Irene Stearns 
represented South Carolina; Miss Kate Autrey, Geor- 
gia; Miss L. Henderson, Florida; Miss Mathews, 
Alabama ; Miss 0. Gary, Mississippi ; Miss S. Crosby, 
Louisiana. This group, having been confronted by 
the company, drawn up in order, Miss Mathews pro- 
ceeded to deliver the following 

ADDRESS. 

Gentlemen of the Guards : — The clouds which have 
so long impended over us, have burst at last in the 
fury of war, the tocsin has sounded, your country has 
summoned you to arms, and nobly answering to her 
call, you have assembled here to bid adieu to old 
familiar scenes and faces, and to receive in return our 
parting words of encouragement and cheer. We 
admire your valor, we love your patriotism, we par- 
take of your enthusiasm, and as a token of these feel- 



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HISTOBY OP OONKCUH. 169 

ings we have assembled to-day, to present to you this 
banner, consecrated by a thousand loving wishes — a 
thousand earnest prayers. The light of spring is on the 
Southern hills, a thousand flowers lend fragrance to 
the breeze, a thousand birds are warbling songs of 
love — the friends of your youth, the companions of 
your boyhood, are around you — all is peace, and 
beauty, and tranquility. But the gleam of sunlight 
upon gay uniforms and flashing steel, reminds me (of 
what I would fain forget) that from all these you must 
turn away — that you must exchange the quiet of 
these green old woods, in all their spring-tide beauty, 
for the turmoil of the camp ; sweet bird songs and 
loving tones, for the musket's rattle and the cannon's 
roar; kindly smiles and familiar faces, for the whizzing 
ball and deadly bayonet. In these perils we may not 
participate — we may not share with you the battle's 
rage, nor partake of the hardships and privations of 
a military career — but we, too, have our mission. It is 
ours to give you words of sympathy and cheer, to 
animate you by our enthusiasm, to encourage you to 
deeds of noble daring. Our prayers shall attend you 
our smiles shall welcome your return, and should it 
be the fate of any here to fill a warrior's grave, his 
name shall be embalmed with our heartfelt tears and 
cherished forever in our inmost memories. As the 
Spartan women in the olden times sent forth their 
loved ones to the battle, bidding them never to return 
unless graced with the laurel wreaths of victory, so do 
we now bid you go forth, to return to us only when 



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170 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

our native land is free. I profess to be endowed with 
no gift of prophecy, but Ifeel^ I know, that the South 
will be victorious in the approaching conflict. Already 
has the telegraph brought to us " great news from the 
Carolinas," and our ears welcomed the salutes which 
ushered in the victory. Already has one important 
stronghold yielded to our arms, and the Black Repub- 
lican flag gone down dishonored, before the proud 
banner of the Confederate States. Naturally gallant 
and chivalrous, the sous of the South have plucked 
Fame's proudest laurels 

** Oa many a field of strife made red 
By bloody victory." 

In the thickest of the fight has ever rang the Southern 
war-cry ; going as gayly to the battle as to a/e^e cham- 
petre. No foe has ever yet withstood the rush of 
Southern steel, and in such a cause as we are now en- 
gaged, our armies must prove invincible. Battling 
on their own soil, in the holy cause of Freedom, in 
defence of their homes and loved ones, and in short, 
of all that is nearest and dearest to the hearts of men, 
they will know no such word as "fail," and Victory 
must be their handmaid. The war may be long, it 
may be bloody, but there can be but one result — the 
eagle of victory will finally perch upon the banner of 
our young Republic. Go, then, " where glory awaits 
you," and may this flag, which, in the name of the 
ladies of Conecuh county, I present to you to-day, 
float ever like the white plume of King Henry of 
Navarre, in the very front of battle. Then 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 171 

"Take thy banner, may it wave 
Ever o'er the free and brave ; 
Guard it 'till our homes are free, 
Guard it — God will prosper, thee." 

At the conclasion it was presented to Captain 
Bowles, and, in behalf of his company, he expressed 
his thanks for this expression of encouragement. 

The company embarked on the following morning 
for Montgomery, receiving a number of accessions to 
its ranks at Evergreen.* The organization and de- 
parture of the Conecuh Guards, were speedily followed 
by the organization of other companies in the county, 
while others joined companies from the surrounding 
counties. Quite a number of the gallant boys of 
Conecuh entered the ranks of the Monroe Guards. 
The patriotism of no county was more profoundly 
stirred than was that of Conecuh. Not only did 
brave young men leave the comforts and clustering 
associations of palatial homes, and set their faces 
toward the uninviting camp and the perilous field; 
but brave mothers, wives and sisters, sought to inspire 
them with timely words and deeds of sacrifice. And 
great was the patriotic generosity manifested by very 
many of the oldest citizens, in supplying the families 
of absent soldiers with food. Draught after draught, 
was made upon the barns and smokehouses of men 
too old for service, by the families of those upon 
whose labors they had been dependent for the neces- 

* A complete list, together with a succinct history of the company, 
will be found in the Appendix. 



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174 mSTOBY OF OONKCUH. 

purpose of reconnoitering. When they had come 
withia three or four miles of Evergreen, they sud- 
denly encountered a small squad of Spurlin's com- 
mand, that had been sent forward upon the Bellville 
road to guard against any sudden demonstration on 
the part of the citizens, while the chief command was 
moving along the dirt road toward Sparta. This squad 
had dismounted near the Bradley Plantation, in a 
sudden curve of the road, to burn a wagon, which had 
just been captured, when the Bellville deputation rode 
suddenly upon them. The surprise was equally 
shared in by both parties, but evidences of precipitate 
flight having been first given by the reconnoitering 
Bellvillians, nothing was left the invaders but a hot 
pursuit. With a clattering pell-mell, the citizen sol- 
diery, still clinging to their shot-guns, fled back 
toward home. All would have reached their homes 
in safety, but for a diseased horse, which was ridden 
by Willie McCreary. Unable to keep abreast of the 
others in the stampede, his animal continued to 
slacken in speed until he was finally overtaken at 
Hunter's creek. Here, Willie, then a lad of sixteen, 
fell into the hands of the enemy, and was sent at once 
to Ship Island, as a prisoner of war. The extreme 
northern portion of Conecuh suffered somewhat from 
the depredations of Wilson's raid during the following 
month. 

The events just recorded, were but the prelude of a 
scene of chaotic confusion throughout the county. 
Ujifortunately for its inhabitants, this disaster was 



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HISTOBT OF CONBOUH. 175 

introduced just at a season when every thing turned 
upon activity on the farm, and when entire cessation 
of^ labor would have been well nigh calamitous. 
^ Following in the wake of these local troubles, was 
the surrender of the armies of the Confederacy, and 
the sudden close of the war. With the crops just 
springing into luxuriant promise, the slaves were liber- 
ated, and in their exhilaration, they left their old homes 
in vast crowds, and thronged the Federal camps. 
Utter lawlessness everywhere prevailed. Demoraliza- 
tion was wide-spread and rampant. Gloom was depicted 
in every countenance as men gazed upon a scene of uni- 
versal disaster. The Southern soldier, returning to 
his home, after years of privation, either maimed or 
poverty-stricken, if not both, was confronted by the 
wreck and ruin of war_j But with a heroism, just as 
marked as that which they had evinced on the weary 
march, or upon the field of carnage, they addressed 
themselves to the work of repairing their shattered 
fortunes, and of providing for loved ones. Their 
heroism was not more conspicuous under the leader- 
ship of Lee, Jackson and Johnston, than it was in 
peacefully following their vocations after the tattered 
banner had been folded, and the cannon hushed in 
silence. 

The following is a list of the county officers who 
served during this period : 



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176 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

JUDGES OF PROBATE. 

1862— A. D. Gary.* 

1864 — Jolin M. Henderson, f 

SHERIFFS. 

1863— William M. Strange. 

CIRCUIT CLERKS. 

1864— William A. Duke. 

SENATORS. 

1861— D. 0. Davis. 
1865— William A. Ashley. 

REPRESENTATIVES. 

1861— William A. Ashley. 
1863— William Greene. 
1865— F. M. Walker. 



♦Disqualified by age in 1863. 

t Appointed by Governor Watts to fill the unexpired term. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 177 



Chapter XXII. 

A Chapter of Biography— James A. Stall worth — William A. Ashley — 
Bev. W. C. Morrow — J. M. Henderson, etc. 

JAMES A. STALLWORTH 

was the most distinguished of the sons of Conecuh. 
Highly gifted with brilliant parts, of pleasing address 
and commanding person, h^ combined all the elements 
requisite to success in the realm of politics. He was 
born near the village of Evergreen, on April 7th, 
1822. He became an orphan quite early, his mother 
having died when he was but three years of age. 
When he was but fourteen, he was left entirely 
parentless by the death of his father. His scholastic 
training was merely academical. His career as a 
student was spent in the academy at Evergreen. But 
such was the readiness with which he could always 
command his resources, that every one was impressed 
with the idea that his mental training was of the 
highest order. So deeply impressed was the Hon. Frank 
Beck, of Wilcox, with his social ease and graceful 
mien, and his ability as an orator, that he asked him, 
while both were representatives together in the Leg- 
islature, "Stallworth, from what college did you 
graduate ? " He expressed great surprise when he was 
told, "I never attended college." At quite an early 
age Mr. Stallworth gave promise of future ability. 



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178 HISTOBY OF OOKBOIJH. 

His powers of oratory were quite marked when he 
was but a boy. At the early age of eighteen he was 
married to Miss Harriet E. Crosby, eldest daughter 
of John Crosby. His marriage was quite fortunate 
for his future success in life. Inheriting, to a large 
degree, the energy and executive ability of her father, 
Mrs. Stallworth contributed largely to the growing 
success of her husband. Soon after his marriage he 
began planting, which he pursued for several years, 
when he was called into public life by having been 
nominated upon the Democratic ticket for Representa- 
tive to the Legislature. In Mr. Mortimer Boulware, 
young Stallworth found a strong opponent. He was 
a gentleman of great personal popularity and wealth, 
and was connected with one of the wealthiest families 
in the county. Mr. Stallworth, who had scarcely 
passed his twenty-second year, awoke a sensation 
wherever he went in the county, so brilliant was his 
oratory, and so cordial was his address. Large acces- 
sions were drawn from the ranks of the Whig Party, 
and he was elected, first, to the Legislature in 1845. 
He was renominated by the Democrats in 1847, and 
was again elected by a largely increased majority over 
his Whig competitor. Judge H. F. Stearns. During 
his last term of service in the Legislature he entered 
upon the study of law, and after adequate preparation, 
was admitted to practice. By force of talent he rose 
rapidly as a lawyer, having entered at once upon a 
most lucrative practice. So distinguished had his 
ability at the bar become, that in 1850 he was elected 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 179 

to the solicitorship of the Second Judicial Circuit. In 
this new position he had to encounter the ripe expe- 
rience of one of the ablest bars in the State; and yet 
so nobly did he acquit himself that he came to be 
recognized as one of the best prosecuting attorneys 
the State ever had. In 1855 he resigned his position 
as solicitor and accepted the nomination for Congrcvss 
of the Democratic Party, against Col. Percy Walker, 
of Mobile — the candidate of the Know-Nothing Party. 
Though defeated in this contest, Colonel Stallworth 
added new lustre to his rapidly-rising star, as an able 
debater and eloquent exponent of the political issues 
of the period. In 1857 he was again honored with 
the nomination of his party, for Congress. The result 
of this contest was the election of Colonel Stallworth, 
by quite a handsome majority, over Col. John McKas- 
kill, of Wilcox. Two years later still, he was renomi- 
nated for Congress, and this time defeated Col. Fred 
Sheppard, of Mobile. Colonel Stallworth remained 
in Congress until the passage of the ordinance of 
secession by the Alabama Convention, when he, 
together with the remainder of the Alabama delega- 
tion, withdrew. Returning to his home, he contribu- 
ted largely of his means to the cause of the young 
Confederacy. His declining health forbade his en- 
trance into the army, but his sons were among the 
first to enlist, though quite young. Colonel Stall- 
worth died at his home, in Evergreen, on the 31st 
of August, 1861. Daring the brief period of sixteen 
years, he had occupied several of the most prominent 
positions in life. 



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180 HISTORY OF CONEOUH. 

Harper's Weekly^ of February 9th, 1861, has this 
to say with regard to the subject of our sketch : " James 
A. Stallworth, who represents the First, or Mobile 
District, in the House of Representatives, was born in 
Conecuh county, Alabama, on the 7th of April, 1822. 
After having received an academical education, he 
studied law, passed a high examination, and has since 
enjoyed a lucrative practice. He was twice elected 
District Attorney for the circuit in which he practices, 
and was a member of the Legislature from 1845 to 
1848. After having been defeated by the Know- 
Nothings, he was in 1857 elected to Congress, where 
he is a universal favorite, ever ready with an anecdote 
or repartee, yet none the less determined in maintain- 
ing the rights of his native State." Colonel Stall- 
worth was a man of the noblest natural impulses. 
Most princely in hospitality, he frequently drew 
around his family board many of his truest friends. 
It is a matter of deep regret that one of such vast 
lisefulness, and possessed with so many elements of 
greatness, should have been swept into a premature 
grave. He passed away at the early age of thirty- 
nine years. 

WILLIAM A. ASHLEY. 

The reputation enjoyed by this prominent Conecuhian 
was far from being local. His sterling ability was 
recognized throughout the Commonwealth of Alabama. 
William Adam Ashley was a native of Conecuh coun- 
ty, having been born in 1822. After an academical 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 181 

training in the schools near his father's home, he 
entered the East Tennessee University, at Knoxville, 
from which institution he was graduated. After his 
return to his home he married Miss Amanda Thomas, 
a daughter of Major Thomas. His attention was first 
devoted to planting, — but one with such distinguished 
qualifications for public service could not be suffered 
to address himself solely to his private interests. He 
was summoned into public life first in 1849, when the 
Whig Party of Conecuh named him as the champion 
of its principles, and nominated him for the Legisla- 
ture. His success was easily attained. So conspic- 
uous was his usefulness in his new rofe, that he was 
returned during the following canvass in 1851. Two 
years later he was elected to the State Senate, in which 
capacity he served for four years. In 1861 he was 
again elected to the lower house from Conecuh. During 
this year, too, he was Presidential elector for Messrs. 
Davis and Stephens. In 1865 he was returned to the 
Senate for four years — which terminated his publie 
career. 

Mr. Ashley was a man of solid, rather than shining 
qualities. Cool, deliberate, of unerring judgment, and 
withal, highly scrupulous, no one was better fitted 
than himself to serve his people during the trying 
ordeals through which they were called to pass during 
much of his public career. He was emphatically a 
patriot. Although he supported the Bell and Everett 
ticket in the memorable canvass of 1860, and though 
he opposed secession in 1861, Mr. Ashley did not 
9 



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182 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

falter a moment in sustaining the cause of the South 
throughout the hard struggle. " His wealth and his 
personal services" — says Mr. Garrett, in his "Public 
Men of Alabama" — "were devoted to the public 
defence." During the war many a Confederate soldier, 
weary and footsore oftentimes, found a cordial welcome 
beneath the hospitable roof of Mr. Ashley. After the 
close of the war, and when the work of the infamous 
Eeconstruction measures was commenced in the South, 
Mr. Ashley denounced it in unmeasured terms as being 
the essence of tyranny. 

He died at his home on Hampden Eidge, February 
12th, 1870, and was buried in the Thomas burial 
ground. Thus there passed away that honored son of 
Conecuh before he had reached the meridian of life. 
Simple justice demands that appropriate reference be 
made in this connection to his most estimable wife, 
who honored her distinguished husband, and aided 
greatly in his elevation in life. The liberal and refined 
hospitality for which he was so noted, was enhanced 
by the conspicuous part borne by herself in its dis- 
pensation. 

REV. WILLIAM C. MORROW 

was a native of Pulaski county, Tennessee, where he 
was born on June 6th, 1815. At an early age he re- 
moved to Alabama, where he spent the major part of 
his life. When he was quite young, he was received 
as a member into the Presbyterian Church, and under 
its auspices fitted for the ministry. He continued his 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 183 

connection with this denomination until 1841 or 1842, 
when his views upon certain cardinal principles un- 
derwent a complete change, and he at once joined a 
Baptist church. His first charge was the Old Flat 
Creek Church, at TurnbuU, in Monroe county. Re- 
markably gifted as a speaker, and unusually skillful 
in debate, he at once took high rank in the Baptist 
ministry. On different occasions he became the cham- 
pion of his cherished principles in the field of polem- 
ics, and was justly esteemed an ardent advocate of the 
peculiar tenets held by his denomination. Such was 
the ability displayed by himself on several occasions, 
in the delivery of sermons, that their publication was 
earnestly sought, and they found enduring form in 
pamphlet shape. Mr. Morrow's secular interests, to- 
gether with his declining health in later years, with- 
drew him gradually from the pulpit ; so that, for more 
than an entire decade, toward the close of his life, he 
had no pastoral charge. He died at his home in 
Evergreen, on October 16th, 1879, in the sixty-fifth 
year of his age. 

JOHN M. HENDERSON. 

Among the men of worth produced by Conecuh is 
John M. Henderson. His place of birth was Brook- 
lyn, and the time October 14th, 1824. He was edu- 
cated in the schools of his native county, and never 
enjoyed the advantages of a course of training in col- 
lege. Notwithstanding this, his mental attainments 
were by no means of a limited character. His mind 



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184 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

was well stored with useful information gleaned from 
different fields of thought. His debut into public life 
was when his father, David F. Henderson, became 
sheriff of Conecuh. The son — then just budding into 
manhood — served the father as an efficient deputy. 
Subsequent to this he entered the mercantile business 
at Sparta, in which he remained until 1860. During 
this period he was treasurer of the county for one or 
two terms. In 1860 he removed to Pensacola, Florida, 
where, with marked success, he was engaged for some 
time as a commission merchant. Pensacola having 
become a scene of exciting hostility after the com- 
mencement of the war in 1861, Mr. Henderson re- 
turned to Conecuh and built a handsome home near 
Castleberry, and was instrumental in the establishment 
of a depot at that point. The advancing demands of 
the armies of the Confederacy for increased strength, 
made an appeal to the patriotism of Mr. Henderson, 
and such that he could not resist. Together with 
General Martin, he raised a company of volunteers, of 
which Martin became captain, and himself 1st lieu- 
tenant. The company was connected with the Thirty- 
eighth Alabama Regiment. Mr. Henderson remained 
in active service about two years, when he was ap- 
pointed by Governor Watts, Judge of Probate of 
Conecuh county, to succeed Judge Cary, who had re- 
signed because of a constitutional provision forbid- 
ding the occupancy of the office beyond a specified 
age. The ability which he brought to this new sta- 
tion enabled him to meet its demands in such way as 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 185 

to win distinction to himself and to impart unusual 
satisfaction to his constituency. This position he con- 
tinued to hold until the dawn of the Reconstruction 
period, when he was ejected against the popular vote 
of the county, and A. W. Jones was elevated to the 
office. 

Retiring to his home at Castleberry, he remained 
here but a short while, when he removed to Brewton, 
and thence to Mill View, Florida — at both of which 
places he was engaged in the milling and timber busi- 
ness, with varied success and misfortune. He died 
at Mill View, of typhoid dysentery, on September 9th, 
1872. His remains were transferred to Sparta, where 
they were interred in the old family burial ground. 

Judge Henderson was a typical Southern gentleman. 
Of commanding person and dignified mien, he excited 
the profoundest respect in every circle which he en- 
tered. His whole course of life bore the stamp of 
true manliness. He was exceedingly scrupulous with 
regard to the slightest promise. Toward the close of 
his life he evinced unusual solicitude in regard to his 
children, precipitated, as their lives had been, into the 
midst of the wide-spread demoralization which fol- 
lowed in the wake of the war. His family are still 
residents of the county. 

DR. MILTON AMOS, 

who was one of the earliest residents of the county, 
and for many years one of her most distinguished 
physicians, was born in the State of Maryland, about 



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186 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

the year 1781. At an early age he turned his thoughts 
to the study of medicine, and afterwards finished his 
course in Philadelphia. Eemoving to Jones county, 
Georgia, he was married to Miss Reese. In the year 
1818 or 1819 he came, with his young bride, to the 
wild scenes of South Alabama. His first point of 
location was at Cotten's Bluff, about twenty miles be- 
low Brooklyn. Here he resided for only a year, when 
he removed to Brooklyn, which gave early promise of 
vast importance in the future. When he came to this 
place, which afterwards became the most conspicuous 
point in the county, he found but two families residing 
here — those of Mr. Edwin Robinson, a merchant, and 
Mr. Thompson, the owner of the ferry on Conecuh 
river. During the period of his residence here, he 
had an extensive practice — reaching to all portions of 
the county, and even beyond. In 1835 he changed 
his location to Bellville. Again, he removed to Mil- 
ton, Florida, in 1850. The town of Milton derived 
its name from that of his own. Dr. Amos died in 
Escambia county, in 1875, at the advanced age of 
ninety-four years. He has left a record of honored 
usefulness. 

DR. WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM. 

This distinguished physician was born in Mecklen- 
burg county, Virginia, on April 21st, 1809. His med- 
ical training was secured in Philadelphia, where he 
was graduated when quite a young man. Returning 
to his Virginian home, he determined to seek a sphere 



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HISTORY or CONBCUH. 187 

for the exercise of his talents in the far South. Hence 
he removed to Alabama, and located first at Monte- 
vallo, in Shelby county. Thence he removed to Ar- 
kansas, and purchased lands upon Red river. A brief 
sojourn here was altogether sufficient to satisfy any 
longings which he might hav6 had for the much- 
talked-of West, and he again turned his face toward 
Alabama. Removing farther south than before, he 
founded a home in Monroe county — the one now 
occupied by Hon. W. T. Nettles, and but a short dis- 
tance from the present site of Kempville. In 1842, 
he served Monroe county in the lower branch of 
the Legislature. About this time he suffered the 
saddest of misfortunes — the loss of his wife — when he 
removed a few miles south of Burnt Corn, and built 
a handsome residence, just within the limits of Cone- 
cuh. Here he continued to reside until his death. 

With remarkable success Dr. Cunningham combined 
planting with the practice of medicine. He shared in 
the general "wreck and ruin" incident to the war. 
By thrift and skillful management he had become the 
possessor of a vast estate before the war. Dr. Cun- 
ningham was a polished gentleman of the Old Virginia 
School. He was exceedingly polite, and his urbanity 
was extended to all alike.* Highly gifted as a con- 
versationalist, and broadly informed upon all current 
topics, he was quite companionable. His scope of 
reading, however, was not restricted to the current 

* The author remembers the impression produced upon his child- 
ish mind by the gentle politeness of Dr. Gunninghan^. 



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188 HISTORY or CONECUH. 

literature of the period. His fondness for study led 
him into the investigation of all sciences, alike. He 
was one of those remarkable spirits, who was prepared 
to impart information in regard to almost every 
subject. By the sprightliness of his conversation he 
always shed a wholesome radiance into the chamber 
of sickness. To these superior qualities of personal 
character was added that of exceeding great fondness 
for the fine arts. No one had a keener appreciation 
for excellent music, or works of art, than himself. 
Naturally hospitable, his pleasant home was the fre- 
quent resort of congenial associates. He contributed 
with unstinted hand to the war waged for Southern 
Independence. Besides contributing three sons to the 
armies of the Confederacy, he sustained the families 
of other men, who were absent upon "the tented 
field." Dr. Cunningham died at his home, on August 
26th, 1867. 



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HISTOBY OF CONBCUH. 189 



Chapter XXIII. 

Dark Sway of Reconstructionism — Social Chaos — ^Demoralization — 
Local Troubles — Sovereignty of the Bayonet — The Negro as a 
Politician — How the New Order of Things Affected Southern 
Society — Heroism Displayed, &c. 

Nothing equalled the wild chaos which prevailed 
in the South, just subsequent to the close of the 
war. The disorder introduced by invading armies, 
the derangement of the system of labor by the 
sudden emancipation of the slaves, the crash ex- 
perienced by the heavy loss sustained by their former 
owners, the shock of disappointment at the failure of 
Southern arms — all these produced a universal gloom 
among the whites of the South. Exhilarated by the 
consciousness that he was no longer under the re- 
straint of a master, the negro unceremoniously threw 
aside the implements of labor, and met his fellows 
where they were wont to gather, from day to day, in 
the rural village, at the depots, in the towns and 
crowded cities. All industry was suddenly paralyzed. 
There was a painful consciousness in the minds of the 
most reflective that no shield of legal defence existed, 
and that for once, society was launched upon a wild 
and stormy sea of disorder. Prompted by the innate 
principle of self-defence, every man resolved to protect, 
as far as possible, his own interests against the inva- 
sion of lawlessness. Hence it was to be expected that 



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190 HISTORY OF CONfiCUa. 

there would be occasional outbreaks of disorder. 
Robbery was by no means a rare occurrence, and here 
and there a murder was committed, while differences 
between the two races were frequently arising. Noth- 
ing of a serious nature arose in Conecuh. After the 
establishment, by the government, of military dis- 
tricts, troops were quartered at several points in the 
county, but here, as elsewhere, they were productive 
of more disorder than quiet. Every local camp 
became a kind of confessional, to which the negro 
would, for the most part, resort, not to confess his own 
sins, but to make confession of the sins of his white 
neighbor, and perhaps former owner, especially if 
these sins had the slightest relation to himself. Hence 
squads of cavalrymen were traversing the country- 
districts, hunting up the perpetrators of reported mis- 
demeanors, and great was the annoyance to which the 
people were subjected by these petty commanders of 
local posts. The feeling of demoralization, which 
came immediately upon the heels of the war, was 
gradually displaced by that of desperation, as the peo- 
ple witnessed the removal, by military orders, of the 
entire official incumbency of the civil positions, and 
their places filled by military appointees. Legally 
enfranchised, the blacks swarmed around the ballot- 
boxes at the first opportunity, and seemed greatly to 
relish the privilege of citizenship, though they were 
totally ignorant of the consequence of voting. Con- 
flicting elements would soon have been tranquilized, 
and serene peace would again have smiled upon the 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 191 

desolate'fields of the South, and would have kindled 
new hopes in the bosoms of her impoverished people, 
had not a horde of unprincipled politicians swarmed 
into the States, and fanned into intenser heat the 
hostility between the races. These, unfortunately, 
found fellow-helpers among the whites of the South, 
who, stimulated by no higher motive than self- 
aggrandizement, sought to widen the chasm between 
the races, in order to command the negro vote, and 
secure to themselves the spoils of office. Among 
those who contributed to this race agitation in Conecuh 
were William P. Miller and Rev. A. W. Jones. 

In the midst of this wide- spread anarchy, created 
by the war and its disastrous results, it is wonder- 
ful that there was evinced such elasticity on the part 
of Southern society. A revolution could not have 
been more sudden or complete, than that into which 
the society of the South was precipitated ; and yet the 
ease with which it was speedily adjusted to the exist- 
ing order of things, was indeed marvelous. Men had 
risen from the most straitened circumstances into easy 
competency, and with a contentment at once natural 
and legitimate, were quietly resting from their early 
toils ; and yet, when the crash of disaster came, they 
had to resume the hard labor of other days, in order 
to provide the actual necessities of life. Women, 
unused to domestic drudgery, and the thousand cares 
of which they had been relieved by competent serv- 
ants, had to face the dire inevitable, and grapple with 
the duties to which a disastrous war had subjected 



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192 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

them. But with the energy and elasticity for which 
the Anglo-Saxon race is so famous, these heroic men 
and women bravely met these trying odds, and dis- 
tinguished themselves as signally as did their soldier 
boys upon the bloody field. Year by year, the South 
emerged from the wreck of the dark and bloody past, 
her people came more and more to take a calm and 
dispassionate view of "the situation," the lines of race 
prejudice were growing gradually dimmer, a spirit of 
industry began to awaken the sluggish energies of 
the people, and a wholesome change was being mani- 
festly wrought in all directions. 

The one event of marked interest in Conecuh, 
during the year 1866, was the removal of the seat of 
justice from Sparta to Evergreen. Two principal 
causes contributed to this removal. The first -was the 
total destruction of the court house at Sparta, with 
all the county records, and the second was the grow- 
ing importance of Evergreen, and its easy accessibility 
from all portions of the county. Two years later, 
Conecuh lost a portion of her southern territory by 
the formation of Escambia county. This county was 
established by an act approved December 10th, 1868. 
It was carved from Conecuh and Baldwin counties. 
It has not been allowed separate representation in the 
General Assembly, until the last few years. 

List of county officers from 1865 to 1870 : 



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HISTORY OF OONKOUH. 193 

JUDGES OF PROBATE. 

1868— John M. Henderson * 
1868— A. W. Jones. 

SHERIFFS. 

1867 — ^James Fortner. 

CIRCUIT CLERKS. 

1868 Greenslate.t 

REPRESENTATIVES. 

1868— J. Yates. 
* 1870— J. W. Ethridge. 



* Removed by military force and succeeded by A. W. Jones. 
t Of Illinois — appointed by the military authorities. 



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194 mSTOBT OF CONECUH. 



Chapter XXIY. 

** Peep o' Day " — Darkness Clearing Away — Advancement of Order — 
Returning Signs of Prosperity— The People Becoming Them- 
selves Again — A Glance at Current Events up to the Present. 

The period about which I now write, was anticipa- 
ted in the closing remarks of the last chapter. Several 
years elapsed before the people of Conecuh could 
withdraw sufficiently far from the reign of disorder 
to address themselves to the re-establishment of their 
institutions, and the resuscitation of their shattered 
fortunes. But a steady- growing resolution was pos- 
sessing the people, and gradually the signs of return- 
ing prosperity began to show themselves in every 
quarter. Of cour.^e this growing change was largely 
due to the revolution in politics. The combined 
powers of ignorance and selfishness were gradually 
giving way before the strong assertion of intelligence 
and public-spiritedness. Instead of being represented 
by men who were hostile to the public interest, the 
people were eventually able to send representatives of 
their choice. The wholesome legislation so sadly 
needed by the masses in their depressed condition, 
was eventually secured,, and impartial officers elected 
to execute it. 

The colored people, having realized the extent of the 
boon of liberation, and the relation which bound them 
to the whites, resumed, with commendable spirit, their 



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HiSTOity 01^ CONECUH. 195 

former habits of industry in the field, the shop, the 
home, and thus contributed, in no small degree, to the 
prosperity which all, in common, now enjoy. Few 
have been the events that have disturbed the increas- 
ing growth of harmony in Conecuh, within the last 
few years. 

In the summer of 1877 a painful event occurred in 
the quiet town of Evergreen, and one, the circum- 
stances of which rendered it more painful, because of 
the parties connected therewith. SheriiflF B. M. Burns, 
of Monroe county, while on official business in Conecuh, 
was engaged in a game of billiards with William 
Ashley, son of the late Senator Ashley, when a disa- 
greement arose between them, and Mr. Ashley was 
shot and killed by Sheriff Burns. Intense excitement 
was created in both counties by the sad and unex- 
pected tragedy, because of the prominence both of 
the slayer and the slain. After two years, Mr. Burns 
was tried at Evergreen and sentenced to hard labor 
for the county for a limited term of months. 

To recount the events which have transpired from 
year to year, would be to tell the deeds of a deter- 
mined people to make their section fairer, better and 
more inviting, than during any period of the past. 
Of the material elements with which they have to 
deal, I have occasion to write more at length in a 
subsequent chapter. 

The following list contains the officers of the county 
from 1870 up to the present time : 



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196 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

JUDGES OF PROBATE. 

1874— F. M. Walker. 
1880— F. M. Walker.* 
1880— Perry 0. Walker. 

SHERIFFS. 

1869— James Fortner. || 
1874— John Angle. 
1877— Robert J. McCreary. 
1880— John Angle. 

CIRCUIT CLERKS. 

1874 — George Christian. 
1880— William Beard. 

SENATORS. 

1870— William Miller, Jr. 
1874— William Miller, Jr.f 
1874— E. W. Martin,:]: 
1877— J. H. Dunklin. § 

* Resigned and was succeeded, by gubernatorial appointment, by 
his son, P. C. Walker. 

II Retained in office, under the Reconstruction Acts, until 1874. 

t Successful contestant of the seat with Gen. E. W. Martin, be- 
fore the tribunal of a Republican Legislature. 

X Seat given him upon the decision of the Democratic Legislature, 
that he was the year before fraudulently ejected. 

§ Died before the expiration of his term. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 197 

1878— David Buell. || 
1880— G. R. Parnham. 

REPRESENTATIVES. 

1872— N. StaUwortli. 
1874— N. Stallworth. 
1876— A. J. Robinson. 
1878— Eli Clarke. 
1880— A. J. Robinson. 

I Elected to fill unexpired term. 



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198 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 



Chapter XXV. 

Present Represuutative Men of Conecuk — Rev. Andrew Jay — Dr. 
J. L. Shaw, etc. 

Approaching, as we are, the conclusion of our 
county history, so thrilling in historic event, and so 
conspicuous in the biography of prominent spirits, it 
has been thought proper to devote attention to those 
who are at present recognized as the representative 
men of Conecuh. Prominent among these is 

REV. ANDREW JAY, 

who is a native of the county, and has shared largely 
in its fortunes and its reverses. He was born within 
three miles of his present home, at Jayvilla, on Feb- 
ruary 16th, 1820. His father was one of thue earliest 
emigrants to the county, and upon his removal 
hither was quite poor. But he was not lacking in 
those qualities of industry and economy, which 
invariably find expression in accumulation. His 
father surrounded himself and family with a compe- 
tency of life's necessities. His son was early taught 
the habits of industry, and has led quite an active 
life. His mental acquirements were secured within 
the narrow compass presented by the school facilities 
of his boyhood days. When he had attained man- 
hood the academy was established at Evergreen, and 
for three successive sessions, he studied there with 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 199 

vast advantage to himself. After his marriage to 
Miss Ashley — daughter of Capt. Wilson Ashley — ^he 
devoted his attention to planting. At different periods 
of his life he has been elevated to positions of trust 
and distinction. During the period when considera- 
ble attention was bestowed upon the organization of 
an efficient militia, Mr. Jay was selected as the major 
of a battalion. He was successively commissioner 
of roads and revenue, tax assessor and Representative 
to the General Assembly. For two consecutive terms 
he served Conecuh in the Legislature. Mr. Garrett, 
in his "Eeminiscences of Public Men of Alabama," pays 
him a deserved compliment when he speaks of his 
ability as a legislator, and the marked attention 
bestowed by himself upon the interests with which 
his position was invested. Up to the period of the 
formal emancipation of the slaves, Mr. Jay had 
gathered about him a respectable fortune. And during 
the period of his prosperity, his liberality was pro- 
verbial. Whatever enterprise was inaugurated for 
the public weal, found a generous response at the 
hands of Mr. Jay. No one advocated with more pro- 
found earnestness the establishment of the railroad 
through Conecuh, than did he. He was one of the 
most liberal contributors to the enterprise. He gave 
largely to the endowment of Howard College, and the 
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at Louisville, 
Kentucky. 

Aided by his noble wife, he found peculiar delight, 
during the war, in raising supplies of clothing and 



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202 HISTORY OF CONKCaH. 

of a brother. By this event the management of his 
father's estate fell completely upon himself. But 
having naturally a sprightly mind, he continued to 
address himself to literary pursuits, as he had oppor- 
tunity. In September, 1847, he connected himself 
with the Baptist Church at Evergreen, and shortly 
after became one of its deacons, which position he has 
held to the present. He was married, in 1848, to Miss 
Polly H. Stallworth, and at once turned his attention 
to planting. He was regarded a successful planter 
during the palmiest period of that pursuit in Conecuh. 
In 1856, we find him a citizen of Evergreen, whither 
he had removed for the education of his children. 
Here he formed a partnership with S. A. Barnett (now 
a citizen of Mobile), in a mercantile interest, which 
was conducted with success until the beginning of the 
late war. For many years Mr. Eabb was a member 
of the Commissioners' Court of the county, where he 
was exceedingly scrupulous in regard to the expendi- 
ture of the people's money. After the close of the 
war, he relinquished his farming interest, and em- 
barked in a timber enterprise in Escambia county, 
Florida, as the partner of W. D. Mann. Here the 
failure of the contractors, under whose auspices the 
firm operated, involved it in serious embarrassment, 
thereby rendering Mr. Eabb unable to sustain that 
spirit of hospitality and benevolence for which he 
was characteristic during more prosperous periods. 
In 1880, Mr. Rabb ofiTered himself to the people of 
Conecuh- as a candidate for the Judgeship of the 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 203 

Probate Court. He was, however, defeated by Judge 
Walker, a former incumbent of the office, and the 
regular nominee of the people. The many virtues of 
Mr. Rabb, his devotion to the public interest, and 
his intellectual qualifications, make him one of the 
representative men of Conecuh. 

DR. A. J. ROBINSON. 

This gentleman is a native Georgian. He was born 
in Fayet-te county, in that State, on January 16th, 
1833. His parents were poor — but his father, by no 
means, humble in his influence. He was repeatedly 
elected to the State Legislature. For his public ser- 
vices he realized but little remuneration, and hence 
was unable to give his children the intellectual advan- 
tages which they might have otherwise enjoyed. The 
subject of our sketch was the eldest of the family 
of children, and upon him devolved the necessity of 
laboring upon the farm for the support of the younger 
children. He was an industrious laborer upon the 
farm until he was fully nineteen years of age, enjoying 
at brief intervals the advantages of country schools. 
But with his father absent as a public servant, and 
himself the first of a family of thirteen children, these 
opportunities for scholastic training were exceeding 
scant. At the age of nineteen. Dr. Eobinson removed 
to McDonough, Georgia, where he attended a good 
school for six mouths. On the 17th of August of that 
year, he was married to Miss Josephine Moftett, 'of 



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204 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

Crawford, Georgia. She is the cousin of Col. J. S. 
Boynton, the President of the Georgia Senate.* 

During the winter following his marriage, Dr. 
Robinson removed to Stewart county, Georgia, and 
began work upon a little farm, in connection with oc- 
casional intervals of school- teaching. In 1856 he sold 
his interest in Georgia, and removed to Covington 
county, in this State, settling upon Pigeon creek. In 
the midst of his varied reading he had acquired a 
peculiar fondness for the investigation of the science 
of medicine. Resolving to adopt the practice of med- 
icine as a profession, he disposed of his place on 
Pigeon creek, and removed to Brooklyn, for the pur- 
pose of pursuing a more systematic course of study. 
Here, by stress of necessity, he was forced to divide 
his time between his studies and. labors in the wagon 
shop of D. M. Dodson — his wife, meanwhile, assisting 
as teacher in the academy at Brooklyn. In 1857 and 
1858 he attended lectures in Memphis, Tennessee. 
Here license to practice was granted him, and he re- 
turned to his home, and entered at once his chosen 
profession. In 1859 Dr. Robinson formed a partner- 
ship with Dr. John Scott ; but after a year's connec- 
tion with this gentleman, the copartnership was dis- 
solved by the withdrawal of Dr. Scott. During the 
summer of 1859 Dr. Robinson attended another course 
of lectures at Atlanta, Georgia. Returning to his 
home, he found himself rapidly introduced into an 

*In 1881. 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 206 

extensive practice. For several years his practice in 
the portion of the county in which he resided was 
simply overwhelming. Declining health forced him 
gradually to retire. Since his retirement from the 
duties of a physician, he has been honored by the 
people of Conecuh during two different sessions with 
the position of Representative to the General Assem- 
bly. In this capacity he has proved to be quite use- 
ful, and has won for himself considerable distinction 
as a legislator. He served Conecuh during the last 
session of the General Assembly. 

Dr. Robinson is a gentleman of many sterling 
qualities. His usefulness has been realized not only 
in direction of public affairs, but also in the sacred 
matters of the church. He is profoundly interested 
in the spiritual elevation of the masses. Possessing 
the highest sense of right, he is admirably fitted to 
become a prominent director in all matters relating to 
the public weal. 

NICHOLAS STALLWORTH, 

familiarly known as "Nick," is the third child of 
Hon. James A. Stallworth. He was born at Ever- 
green on the 9th of August, 1845, and hence is now 
but thirty-six years of age. He left school at the 
early age of fourteen, to accompany his father — then 
in declining health — to Washington. He spent the 
winters of 1859-'60- 61 in the National Metropolis. 
Returning with his father in 1861 to Conecuh, he at 
once joined the "Conecuh Guards," though he was a 
10 



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206 HISTORY OF CONBOUH. 

lad of only fifteen. His honored father accompanied 
him to Montgomery, and there meeting several of his 
quondam associates in the United States Congress — 
who were then members of the Confederate Congress 
— ^they proposed to secure for "Nick" the commission 
of lieutenant in the regular army. This was commu- 
nicated to him by his father and friends ; but the offer 
he politely refused, saying that he preferred a place in 
the ranks with the companions of his boyhood days. 
Upon the organization of the Fourth Alabama Eegi- 
ment, he was found to be the youngest member in the 
entire command. He went with the Fourth Alabama 
Eegiment to Virginia, and served in all the campaigns 
and battles in which it participated until the battle of 
Cold Harbor, where he was wounded and discharged. 
For some time prior to this he had been suffering 
from a bowel affection, and was in feeble health when 
he received the wound. Eeturning to his home, he 
found his mother stricken with grief by the double 
affliction of the loss of her husband and eldest son. 
The mother communicated to her son the dying re- 
quest of his father, that if he should survive the 
bloody scenes of the war, he should go at once to the 
University of Alabama and complete his education. 
Eegaining his health, "Nick" repaired to the Univer- 
sity, and entered the Junior Class, in 1863. But his 
university course was cut short by sickness, and after 
an attendance of only eight months, he returned to 
his home. After the recuperation of his health, again 
he was offered a position on the staff of Gen. Samuel 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 207 

Adams. But before the offer was responded to,-General 
Adams was killed. He was also tendered a position 
on the staff of Gen. Thomas 0. Hindman, but de- 
clined. Subsequently he accepted the Adjutancy of the 
Twenty- third Kegiment of Alabama, then under the 
command of Maj. Nick Stallworth. Leaving at once 
for Virginia, he reached Petersburg ; but the commu- 
nication being cut between that place and Eichmond, 
he was forced to turn his face homewards after several 
vain attempts to /reach his command. The death of 
his brother-in-law, Captain Broughton, left him the 
oldest male member of the family, and he was forced 
to remain at home by the sad dependency of the 
family, combined with the shattered condition of his 
health. The war closing soon after this, he found 
himself ladened with unusual responsibilities for one 
so young. With no resources at command, he ad- 
dressed himself with heroic spirit to whatever his 
hands found to do. After varied struggles with ad- 
verse circumstances, and hard labor with his own 
hands, for some time, he determined to address him- 
self to the study of law. This he did with P. D. Page, 
Esq., and was soon admitted to practice. 

In 1872, and again in 1874, he was chosen Repre- 
sentative from Conecuh to the Legislature. At the 
session of 1875-76 he was elected Solicitor of the 
Eleventh Judicial Circuit. In this circuit he had to 
cope with many of the ablest legal spirits of the. 
State, and yet his course was attended with remark- 
able success from the beginning. By the respect- 



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208 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

fulness of his deportment, and the urbanity of his 
disposition, he won the esteem of his legal brethren 
in all parts of the circuit ; and by his efficiency and 
impartiality as a judicial officer, he secured almost 
universal popular esteem. He is justly regarded one 
of the most promising young men in the State. 

COL. p. D. BOWLES. 

Pinckney Downie Bowles is a native of South 
Carolina. His place of birth was l^dgefield District. 
He received his educational training at the Citadel of 
Charleston, South Carolina, and at the University of 
Virginia. His collegiate course completed, he returned 
to his native State, and engaged in the study of law 
under Gen. Samuel McGowan.* He came to Alabama 
in April, 1859, and went into the office of Hon. James 
A. Stallworth, where he remained until the beginning 
of the war. In 1860 he was elected Colonel of the 
Twenty-eighth Eegiment of Alabama Militia; and 
also 2nd lieutenant in the "Conecuh Guards," in the 
summer of 1860. In January, 1861, he went in that 
capacity with the company to Pensacola. When the 
company returned home, and upon its reorganization, 
he was chosen captain, and went with his gallant 
company to Virginia. Henceforth the war record of 
Colonel Bowles is inseparably connected with the 
illustrious career of the Fourth Alabama Infantry — 
"of which he was the brave and faithful commander" 
almost throughout the entire war. He led his regi- 

^Now on the Supreme Bench of South Carolina. 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 209 

ment into the majority of the fiercest battles fought 
on the soil of Virginia. The regiment belonged to 
the famous brigade commanded by General Bee, who 
was so conspicuous at the first battle of Manassas. It 
was in the battle of Seven Pines, Cold Harbor, Mal- 
vern Hill, Second Manassas, Boonsboro', Sharpsburg, 
Fredericksburg,. and Suflfolk. It joined in the inva- 
sion of Pennsylvania, and was engaged- in the fierce 
conflict at Gettysburg. It went with Longstreet when 
he was sent to reinforce Bragg in North Georgia ; it 
returned with him when he marched through East 
Tennessee, via Knoxville. Eejoining the Army of 
Northern Virginia, it was engaged in the battle of 
the Wilderness, and at Spottsylvania. In the opera- 
tions of the Second Cold Harbor it was again engaged ; 
and then lay for ten months behind the defences of 
Petersburg, sharing in the various movements and 
assaults connected with that eventful period. And 
finally, with ranks depleted by death and disability, it 
surrendered with the rest of the army at Appomattox 
Court House, with two hundred and two men. 

During this long and bloody period. Colonel Bowles 
was ever found at the head of his regiment. I believe 
only one brief respite from service was given him — 
and that was on the occasion of an amorous mission 
to his adopted county in February, 1863, when he was 
married to Miss Steams, daughter of the late Judge 
Stearns. 

Though Colonel Bowles did not receive his com- 
mission as brigadier, he was placed in the command 



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210 HISTORY OP OOiraOUH. 

of five regiments, near the close of the war, and a full 
brigade staff ordered to report to him. When he 
returned to Conecuh, in 1865, he had but fifty cents in 
his pocket. Without delay, he opened an oflSce at 
Sparta, and resumed the practice of law. The follow- 
ing year he was elected county solicitor for Conecuh, 
in which position he served for a long period, with 
efficiency. 

Though having so eventful a record. Colonel Bowles 
is still comparatively a young man. He is now a 
resident of Evergreen, and is a successful practitioner 
of law. 

GEORGE ROBERT FARNHAM. 

This prominent young attorney was born near 
Bellville, on January 23rd, 1845. He was reared by 
his great-grandmother, Mrs. Nancy Savage, whose 
piety and usefulness were proverbially known for 
many years, throughout Conecuh. His course of 
instruction was cut short at the Bellville Academy, 
by enfeebled health, when he had reached the age of 
fifteen, and was recuperated by active work on the 
farm. When a youth of only sixteen, he enlisted in 
the Confederate army, having joined the "Monroe 
Guards," under Capt. Giles Goode. He went with his 
command to Pensacola, whence, after a brief service 
of three weeks, it was ordered to Virginia. Near the 
close of 1861 he was prostrated by a protracted attack 
of measles ; he was discharged and returned to his home. 
The following year he resumed his studies at the 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 211 

Bellville Academy, and in the fall of 1862 was entered 
as a cadet upon the matriculation roll of the Univer- 
sity of Alabama. In the early part of 1865 he 
graduated in the regular course of that institution, 
with the exception of mathematics, and was pursuing 
the last studies in that branch when he retired. His 
course at the University was marked with distinction. 
He was appointed first a sergeant in the corps, then 
promoted to a second lieutenancy, afterwards to the 
adjutancy, and when he left the University he was 
senior 1st lieutenant. While at the University the 
corps of cadets did service, as soldiers, for three weeks 
in Mobile, and again at Jacksonville. -In 1864, while 
going home upon a tour of vacation, about fifty or 
sixty of the cadets reached Montgomery, where they 
found the city in the midst of the most intense excite- 
ment, growing out of the threatening demonstrations 
of General Rousseau. Governor Watts ordered the 
cadets to remain in Montgomery and assist in its 
defence against Rousseau, who was then at Chehaw. 
Arms having been furnished them, a soldier of the 
regular army was appointed to the command, and 
they were permitted to elect their other officers. Mr. 
Famham was at once chosen 1st lieutenant, and 
the buoyant cadets leaped upon the train and started 
at once for Chehaw. They were accompanied by 
some regulars, who happened to have been in Mont- 
gomery at the time, and also by some raw reserves. 
But for the military training and thorough efficiency 
of the cadets, the entire command would have been 



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212 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

captured, and the city of Montgomery would have 
fallen. Subsequent to this, Mr. Farnham served as 
adjutant in the corps of cadets, near Spanish Fort. 
In the early part of 1865 he raised a cavalry company 
among the students of the University, which was 
designed to serve as the body-guard to General Buford, 
and the company left the University, to return to 
their homes to secure horses and equipments; but just 
at this juncture the State was overrun by the Federal 
troops, and before a thorough organization could be 
effected, the war closed. In 1866, Captain Farnham 
commenced the study of law in the office of General 
Martin, at Sparta, and in September, of the same 
year, was admitted to practice. The first year of his 
legal career was spent as a partner of General Martin, 
after which he practiced alone, until his late connec- 
tion with M. S. Eabb, Esq. In 1868 he was elected a 
member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic 
Party of Conecuh, and in this capacity served with- 
out intermission, for ten years — the last four of which 
he was the chairman of the committee. In 1870 he 
was unanimously nominated for the county solicitor- 
ship, by the Democratic Party, but was defeated by 
the Radicals. In August, 1876, Captain ^Farnham, 
underwent the greatest of all changes — the renovation 
of his spiritual character. He became at once an 
active member of the Baptist Church at Evergreen, and 
finds peculiar delight in the work pertaining to the 
office of Sunday School Superintendent. In 1880 he 
was elected the President of the State Sunday School 



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HISTORY OP OONEOUH. 218 

Convention. During the same year he was nominated 
for the Senatorship of his district, and was over- 
whelmingly elected — having received the largest vote 
ever cast in the district, 5,435. He was sustained by 
both the Democratic and Republican Parties. During 
the approaching session he signalized his usefulness 
as a legislator, by securing the passage of a bill pro- 
viding for the humane treatment of prisoners — the 
proper ventilation, heating of cells, and the proper 
supply of pure water for drinking purposes. He also 
secured an amendment to the section of the code re- 
lating to the regulation of the hire of convict laborers, 
so limiting the time as not to remand persons to 
slavery under the color of law. He earnestly strove 
to secure the passage of bills relative to reformation in 
the voting system of Alabama. In this he encountered 
strong opposition in the State Senate. His object 
was to secure an amendment to sections 274-276 of 
the code, relative to numbering and the size of ballots. 
By dilatory motions and parliamentary manoeuvring, 
the action upon the bills was delayed. By resolute 
effort he forced a vote upon them toward the close of 
the session, and lacked only a few votes of securing 
the passage of the bill providing for the numbering of 
ballots. His speech upon the election law was pub- 
lished in the Montgomery Advertiser^ and won alike 
the approbation of the press and the people. For one 
so gifted, so young, and energetic, and withal so vir- 
tuous in his life, there is a future of the most radiant 
promise. 



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214 HISTORY OP OONBCUH. 



Chapter XXVI. 

Population — Principal Town — Climate — Soil — Stock Raising — 
Productions — Industrial Resources — Forests — Streams — Numer- 
ous Advantages, Social, Educational, Agricultural — Colored 
Population, &c. 

According to the late census* Coneculi has a popu- 
lation of 12,606. The population would have been 
much greater had the county retained its original ter- 
ritorial limits. By the formation of Escambia county, 
in 1868, Conecuh lost much of her southern territory, 
which included several thousand of her population. 
Among her numerous villages, Evergreen, the county 
seat, is the largest. It is one of the thriftiest towns 
of Southern Alabama; is situated on the Mobile and 
Montgomery Eailway, nearly mid-way between these 
two cities, and has a population of nearly 800 inhabi- 
tants. Its location, in one of the most productive 
regions in this section of the State, the elevated tone 
of its society, its educational and religious facilities, 
and its mineral springs, make it quite a desirable 
point. 

Conecuh county lies in the southern part of Ala- 
bama, and is within the southern portion of the tem- 
perate zone. Its climate is such as to exempt it alike 
from the rigors of a Northern region, and the disease 
and debility of the tropics. The mean annual tem- 

* 1880. 



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HISTORY OP CONEOUH. 215 

perature is about 65 degrees. Within the limits of 
the county can be found every variety of soil, from 
the most productive to the most barren. From the 
centre of the county to its northern limits are to be 
found lands of great fertility, while in the southern 
portion the lands are for the most part, thin, but by 
no means valueless. In the earliest periods of the 
settlement of the county, the lands which lay along 
the streams had a deep alluvial soil, that had been 
enriched for ages by the steady influx of productive 
deposits. And when the forests were felled, and the im- 
plements of industry had begun to stir the soil, the yield 
from these lowlands was immense. The basin lands 
of Murder creek, Conecuh river, Bottle creek and the 
Sepulgas, furnished the most productive soil found in 
the county. Adjoining these regions, though elevated 
to uplands, are the red lands of the county, which are 
regarded the most unfailing and uniform in their 
yield, as well as being most resistful to the power of 
waste. In the lower portion of the county are the 
pine districts, made famous, in late years, by the vast 
quantity of timber furnished to foreign ports. Since 
the earliest settlement of the county, these regions 
have been held in high esteem as pasturage lands. 
The absence of undergrowth or shrubbery, gives un- 
bounded freedom to the luxuriant grass that flour- 
ishes throughout this entire section. Though naturally 
thin, the soil is susceptible to a high degree of artificial 
cultivation, as there is usually found in this sandy 
region, a deep sub-soil of clay. These, regions of 



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216 HISTORY OF CONECUH. 

sand and pine, though prevailing almost uninterrupt- 
edly in the lower half of Conecuh, are found in many 
portions of the county. These lands, almost without 
exception, are of level surface, thereby rendering 
quite easy the retention of fertilizers. And it is a 
subject of inquiry, if, with their subsoil of clay 
and their level surface, they are not destined to 
become the most unfailingly-productive lands in the 
county. It is a subject of regret that so many of the 
best lands of the county have been surrendered to 
the sway of **the tangled vine and riotous weed." 
Where once there waved the harvests of plenty, 
there are to be found, to-day, in many places, the 
thicket of briar and rustling sedge. Having undis- 
puted sway, the early farmers would betake them- 
selves to the invasion of uncleared forests, as soon as 
it became evident that their lands were being im- 
paired by usage, and they would thus leave behind 
them broad acres of soil that needed but little careful 
attention to preserve their wonderful productive 
powers. These lands are only awaiting the hand of 
industry to become again the most yieldable in the 
county. 

STOCK RAISING. 

Conecuh is peculiarly adapted to the raising of 
cattle, sheep, hogs and goats. Her extensive areas of 
grassy lands, which are covered with a verdant and 
luxuriant herbage, almost the year round, and well- 
watered with perpetual streams, places Conecuh in 



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HISTORY OP CONECUH. 217 

the front rank of stock- producing counties. In addi- 
tion to the growth of these tender grasses, there is 
that of the wild cane, which grows throughout aJl 
seasons along the streams, and is much relished by 
every variety of stock. Beef in considerable quanti- 
ties, and of superior quality, has for a long time been 
furnished from these, and adjoining regions, to the 
markets of Pensacola and Mobile. The production 
of wool is beginning to excite considerable attention 
in the county, and the time is not distant when it will 
become a source of vast revenue to the county. 

FORESTS. 

The prevailing growth in the forests of Conecuh is 
that of the hickory, poplar, ash, beech and pine, all the 
varieties of oak, and the queenly magnolia. The un- 
cleared districts of the county cover at least 75 per 
cent, of its surface. Along the streams, and upon the 
most fertile soil of the county, are found abounding 
the oak, the hickory, and beech — the annual yield of 
whose fruit fattens hundreds of hogs. And in the 
near future the hand of Art will be laid upon these 
useful timbers, and they will be made serviceable in 
the homes and trades of men. For many years past, 
the pine timbers of Conecuh have been a profitable 
commodity to dealers in lumber. Hewn into proper 
shapes, these timbers are floated in rafts down the 
principal streams to Pensacola, whence they are trans- 
ported to the ship-building yards of different countries. 

Through the enterprise of Messrs. BeUingrath arid 



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218 HISTORY OP CONECUH. 

Redwine, a turpentine manufactory has just been 
established at Castleberry. This article will no doubt 
become quite a commodity in the future commerce of 
the county. 

PRODUCTIONS. 

The productions of Conecuh are as varied as the 
soil upon which they are grown. The soil is pecu- 
liarly adapted to the growth of cotton, which is its 
all-prevailing staple. All the cereal crops, except 
wheat, are cultivated and yield in abundance. Im- 
proved systems are obtaining very generally through- 
out the county, and as a consequence, production is 
progressive. 

Of staple farm products, corn, oats, rye, peas, rice, 
potatoes, peanuts, millet, sugar-cane, and cotton, are 
produced quite early. 

Of fruits, the apple, pear, peach, fig, grape and 
melons, are the chief productions. Vast varieties of 
grapes are being introduced into different parts of 
Conecuh, and they never refuse to yield handsomely. 
The forests and abandoned fields abound in nuts, 
grapes, and berries, in large variety, which are fur- 
nished by Nature without cultivation. Because of 
the diversity of soil, the variety of productions, the 
favorableness of climate, and the easy accessibility to 
market, no field is more alluring to the immigrant 
than Conecuh. Vast regions of her land can be pur- 
chased at figures quite low. To the farmer, the hor- 
ticulturist, the gardener, the shepherd, and the man- 



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HISTORY OF CONECUH. 219 

ufacturer, facilities are afforded for easy settlement 
and rapid accumulation. 

GEOLOGICAL RESOURCES. 

Within the county is found a great variety of use- 
ful stone. In different sections the lime rock abounds. 
Mica has been discovered within the last year in such 
quantities as to encourage the hope of future profit. 

STREAMS. 

Conecuh is penetrated in different directions by 
some of the noblest streams of South Alabama. 

Along its eastern border runs the Conecuh river 
into which flows Sepulga and Bottle creeks, while 
farther in the interior is Murder creek — a stream of 
great width and depth — and the southern portion is 
watered by Burnt Corn creek and its numerous 
tributaries. 

SOCIAL AMD EDUCATIONAL ADVANTAGES. 

The county of Conecuh will compare favorably 
with any other in the State, with respect to the tone 
of its society and the character of its institutions. 
The society is, for the most part, moral and refined. 
Schools and churches abound. Two academies of 
high grade are to be found — one at Evergreen and 
the other at Bellville — presided over respectively by 
Professors Tate and Newton. 

THE COLORED POPULATION. 

The colored people of the county are as intelligent, 
industrious and thrifty as any in the South. Since 



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220 HISTORY OF OONBCUH. 

their emancipation many have secured comfortable 
homes by energy and frugality. There is a number 
who are well-to-do — having amassed to themselves 
respectable property. 

CLOSING REMARKS. 

Together, dear reader, we have passed over the 
scenes enacted in the county of Conecuh from the 
time that the first white man faced its perilous wilds, 
to the present time. Through all the shifting scenes 
incident to human life, we have passed, in this rapid 
review. Together have we stood with the gray- 
haired sires of the long-ago, and gazed upon the 
sunlit hills and green valleys of Conecuh, ere the 
tread of civilization broke their slumbering echoes. 
We have seen the hardy settler leave his home in 
the distant States and confront the barriers and 
hazards of a long journey, and finally pitch his home 
in a region as yet unwrenched from the grasp of the 
wild savage. We have seen the heroism with which 
he addressed himself to the colossal task of subject- 
ing the wild forces of nature to his control. We 
have watched the growth of civilization along succes- 
sive decades, and have seen its struggles with frown- 
ing disadvantages. Through poverty and pinching 
distress, through smoke of battle and radiant pros- 
perity, we have come up to the Present. And look- 
ing back from our present eminence-height, along the 
stretch of past years, we see the monuments of worth 
erected along the track of six and a half decades — 



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HISTORY OF OONBOUH. 221 

monuments reared by the energy and pluck of our 
fathers and grandfathers, — yea, we see a county 
reclaimed from its wilderness wilds and made to 
"rejoice, and blossom as the rose." The determina- 
tion to snatch from oblivion the records of their 
heroism and success, and embody it in perpetual form, 
was alike honorable to sire and son. These brave 
men and women of the past, many of whom slumber 
beneath the sods of Conecuh, have bequeathed to the 
present and succeeding generations a rich legacy — a 
priceless bequest — in their deeds of nobleness ; they 
"being dead, yet speaketh." Upon the generation of 
the present — the sons and grandsons of a noble 
ancestry — rests the duty of continuing the work of 
advancement commenced sixty- six years ago, when 
Conecuh was enfolded within her own virgin forests. 
Let them seek to preserve intact the institutions 
designed to ennoble the masses, and let them be as 
diligent in service to the generations to follow as 
were their ancestors to the generation of the present. 
So shall Conecuh continue her onward progress, and 
her people shall continue to be elevated in the scale 
of intellectual and moral excellence, "to the last 
recorded syllable of time." 



THE END. 



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APPENDIX. 

I. 

CONSTITUTION OF THE CONECUH 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

PREAMBLE : 

Whereas, the citizens of Conecuh county being desirous of re- 
claiming from the obscurity of the past, all the elements which will 
serve to make a correct history of the county, have agreed to con- 
stitute a Society for that purpose, to be governed by the following 
Constitution : 

Abticle I. 

Section 1. The name of this Society shall be "The Conecuh 
County Historical Society. " 

Sec. 2. The object of this Society shall be the accumulation and 
compilation, in enduring form, of the events which have marked 
the history of the county in the past, reaching back to its earliest 
period, and also of the men who have flourished in its annals, and 
indeed of every object and item which would serve to contribute, 
in anywise, to the interest of the history of a people. 

Sec. 3. The officers of this Society shall be a President, two 
Vice-Presidents, a Recording Secretary and a Treasurer, who shall 
perform the duties usually connected with such offices. 

Sec. 4. In addition to the above officers there shall be an Execu- 
tive Committee of five, composed of four members to be chosen 
from different parts of the county, and the President of the Society, 
who shall be ex officio Chairman of the Committee. The duty of 
this committee shall be to appoint time and place of meetings, 
arrange programme of exercises, and do whatever else will be de- 
manded for the success of each occasion. 



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224 APPENDIX. 



Abtiole II. 



Section 1. This Society shall be composed of all who are or 
have been citizens of this county, who may desire to unite there- 
with. A list for the enrollment of names shall be kept in the office 
of the Judge of Probate, and a Recorder shall be appointed in each 
Beat, whose duty it shall be to secure the names of citizens, and 
forward weekly to the Judge of Probate at Evergreen. 

Sec. 2. The members of this Society shall secure material from 
every possible source that would in anywise contribute to the his- 
tory of the county, whether traditional, biographical, martial, 
agricultural, or otherwise. 

Sec. 3. Material thus secured must be forwarded to the address 
of the Chairman of the Statistical Committee, at Evergreen. 

Sec. 4. This Constitution may be amended by a majority vote at 
any regular meeting of the Society ; provided, that notice of such 
proposed amendment be given at a previous meeting. 



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Appendix II. 

CONECUH GUARDS. 

Company E, Fourth Alabama Regiment. 



Below is given a complete roll of this company, which was the 
first organized for the war in Conecuh. 

It was permanently organized at Sparta, Alabama, on the 1st day 
of April, 1861 ; mustered at Sparta Depot, April 24th, 1861 ; re- 
ceived flag from the Ladies of the county ; embarked on train with 
the following named commissioned, non-commissioned officers and 
privates ; mustered into the Confederate States Army at Lynchburg, 
Virginia, May 7th, 1861 ; surrendered at Appomattox Court House, 
Virginia, April 9th, 1865 : 

Bowles, P. D., captain; promoted major, August 22, 1862 ; lieu- 
tenant colonel, September 30, 1862; colonel, October 3, 1862; 
brigadier commander C. S. A., April 3, 1865. 

Lee, William, promoted captain from 1st lieutenant, August 22, 
1862 ; wounded at Gaines' Farm, Virginia, 1862 ; killed at Gettys- 
burg, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1863. 

Mclnnis, Archibald D., promoted captain, from 1st lieutenant, 
July 3, 1863 ; retired from wounds received at first Manassas, July 
1861, and at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1863, and at Cold 
Harbor, Virginia, 1864 ; died in Mobile, Alabama, since the war. 

Darby, James W., promoted captain, from 1st lieutenant, J 864; 
wounded at Gaines' Farm, 1862 ; resides in Butler county, Alabama. 

Guice, John G., promoted Ist lieutenant, from 2nd lieutenant, 
August 22, 1862 ; wounded first battle Manassas, Virginia, July 21, 
1861 ; wounded at Gaines' Farm, Virginia, July, 1862 ; wounded in 
two places sacond battle Manassas, August, 1862, lost leg; honorably 
discharged ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 



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226 APPENDIX. 

Christian, Alfred, Ist lieutenant ; wounded second battle Ma- 
nassas, Virginia, August, 1862 ; died in Conecuh county, Alabama, 
since the war. 

Travis, Mark B., 2nd lieutenant; honorably discharged, April 1, 
1861 ; died at Sparta, Alabama, during the war. 

Taliaferro, Charles T., 2ad lieutenant; resigned 1862 ; promoted 
to assistant surgeon 1862 ; promoted full surgeon Fourth Ala- 
bama Regiment, 1864 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Stearns, John S., 2nd lieutenant; wounded at Knoxville, Tennes- 
see, November, 1863; wounded at Wilderness, Virginia, May 6, 
1864 ; died at his home in 1880. 

Gatch, Louis, Ist sergeant ; killed first battle Manassas, Virginia, 
July 21, 1861. 

Green, William, 1st sergeant; honorably discharged 1863, on 
election to Alabama Legislature ; resides in Washington county, 
Alabama. 

Mosley, Andrew J. , 1st sergeant ; wounded first battle Manassas 
in head and arm ; wounded at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July, 1803 ; 
wounded at Chickamauga, Georgia, September, 18(53 ; wounded at 
Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 9, 1864; resides in Falls 
county, Texas. 

Downs, George, 2nd sergeant ; killed at Chickamauga, Georgia, 
September, 1863. 

Cotton, James, 4th sergeant; taken prisoner at Gettysburg, 
Pennsylvania ; remained in prison to the end of the war ; died in 
the State of Texas since the war. 

Richey, Robert, 3rd sergeant ; killed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 
July, 1863. 

Stinson, Jasper Newton, promoted to color sergeant Fourth Ala- 
bama Regiment, July, 1862 ; killed at the second battle Manassas, 
August, 1862. 

Boulware, Gil R. , promoted to color sergeant Fourth Alabama 
Regiment ; wounded at Fredericksburg. Virginia, September, 1862 ; 
wounded in side and arm, and right arm amputated, at Chicka- 
mauga, Georgia, September, 1863; resides in Conecuh county, Ala- 
bama. 



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APPENDIX. 227 

Spence, Ingram, sergeant ; recruited November, 1861 ; wounded 
at Knoxville, Tennessee, September, 1863 ; resides in Conecuh 
county, Alabama. 

Clark, William D., sergeant ; recruited November, 1861 ; wounded 
at Gaines' Farm, July, 1862 ; wounded at Spotsylvania Court House, 
Virginia, May 10, 18G4; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Dunham, John Q. , sergeant ; wounded at Chickamauga, Georgia, 
September, 1863 ; died in Madison county, Florida, 1878. 

Andrews, James M., sergeant; wounded first battle Manassas, 
Virginia ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Floyd, Alfred H. , 2nd sergeant ; recruited November, 1861 ; 
wounded at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July, 1863 ; wounded (lost 
leg) at Wilderness, Virginia, May 6, 1864 ; honorably discharged ; 
resides in Texas. 

Stahl, Louis, 3rd sergeant ; wounded and arm resected at Peters- 
burg, Virginia, October, 186-4 ; resides in Marlin, Texas. 

Thomas, William, 1st corporal; killed first battle Manassas, Vir- 
ginia, July 21, 1861. 

Briley, Thomas, 1st corporal; killed at Chickamauga, Georgia, 
September, 18()3 

Richey, James, Ist corporal; killed at Knoxville, Tennessee, 
October, 1863. 

Boach, Fred. G., 2nd corporal; killed at Petersburg, Virginia, 
April 1, 1865 ; last man ever killed in company E. 

Crosby, William S., Ist corporal; resides in Conecuh county, 
Alabama. 

Thomas, Joseph A. , 4th corporal ; wounded first battle Manassas, 
Virginia, July 21, 1861 ; wounded at Eltham's Landing, Virginia, 
April, 1862 ; wounded at Gaines' Farm, Virginia, 18()2 ; wounded at 
Fredericksburg, Virginia, 1863 ; wounded at Gettysburg, Pennsyl- 
vania, 1863 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Anderson, W. F., 2nd corporal; wounded at Fredericksburg, 
Virginia ; died at Sparta, Alabama, since the war. 

Bobertson, James, 3rd corporal; wounded in three places at 
Sharpsburg, Maryland, September, 1862 ; wounded at Wilderness, 
Virginia, May 6, 1864 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 



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228 APPENDIX. 

Anderson, George, recruited in fall 18G1 ; killed battle Lookout 
Mountain, October, 1868. 

Akerman, John, recruited January, 1865 ; wounded at FarmTille, 
Virginia, on retreat from Petersburg ; whereabouts unknown. 

Alford, Artemus S., recruited January, 1865; resides in Texas. 

Beard, Blake, wounded first battle Manassas, and discharged 
(honorably) ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Bonnett, J. B., wounded first battle Manassas; discharged, 1862, 
(honorably) ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Betts, Frank, returned home on sick furlough, and died in fall 
1861. 

Betts, Ed., discharged in summer 1861 ; rejoined some other 
command and was killed in East Tennessee. 

Blakely, G. W., discharged in fall 1861 ; run over and killed by 
cars since the war. 

Booker, W. B., wounded at Chickamauga and disabled for life; 
resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Baggett, Bichard, recruited in fall 1861, and died from sickness, 
in hospital, in the winter of same year. 

Brown, Julius, recruited in April, 1862 ; died from sickness, in 
the hospital at Charlottesville, Virginia, in the spring of 1862. 

Brown, Robert, recruited in April, 1862; died in hospital at 
Bichmond, Virginia, from sickness. 

Brown, "William, recruited November 1861 ; deserted May 1, 1863. 

Burk, William, recruited November, 1861 ; died in Montgomery 
county, Alabama, since the war. 

Carter, D. L., recruited November, 1861; wounded at Suffolk, 
Virginia ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Cooper, M. A. , wounded at battle Wilderness, May 6, 1 864 ; re- 
sides in the State of Texas. 

Chapman, Henry C, recruited March, 1864 ; wounded at battle 
Wilderness, May 6, 186-t ; placed on retired list ; resides in Texas. 

Curlee, F. M., recruited November, 1861; wounded at Gettys- 
burg ; whereabouts unkuown. 

Coleman, Henry C, died at Bichmond, June, 1862. 

Coleman, William, recruited November, 1861 ; killed at battle 
Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 



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APPENDIX. 229 

Oato, A. J., recruited November, 1861 ; discharged for disability ; 
resides in Texas. 

Downs, Jerre, killed at battle Gaines* Farm, July, 1862. 

Daniels, J. W., recruited 1862 ; wounded at Fort Harrison, 1864 ; 
resides in Conecuh county. 

Dyas, Thomas, taken prisoner at Enozville, 1864 ; died in prison. 

DuBose, James, killed at Chickamauga, September, 1863. 

Dean, Thomas, recruited November, 1861 ; deserted to the enemy 
at Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, 1863. 

Douglas, William, honorably discharged, July, 1862 ; residence 
unknown. 

Foss, Roderick, recruited March, 1864 ; wounded second battle 
Cold Harbor ; resides In Alabama. 

Fortner, Bichard, killed in skirmish below Richmond, January, 
1865. 

Floyd, Charles, wounded at Gaines' Farm, 1862 ; resides in Texas. 

Gamer, Caleb, recruited April, 1862 ; wounded at Gettysburg, 
1863, and died from wounds. 

Gamer, John, recruited April, 1862; killed at Gaines* Farm, 
July, 1862. 

Goldstein, Isadore, taken prisoner at Chickamauga ; remained in 
prison until after the war ; resides in Pennsylvania. 

Gandy, Oxford, recruited November, 1861 ; honorably discharged 
July, 1862 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Grice, Francis M., recruited November, 1861; lost left arm at 
Gaines* Farm ; afterwards sutler Fourth Alabama Infantry ; resides 
in Escambia county, Alabama. 

Gaflf, John, recniited November, 186J ; killed at Gaines* Farm, 
July, 1862. 

Hodo, John, recruited April, 1862 ; killed at Malvem Hill, 1862. 

Hughes, Daniel, honorably discharged August, 1861 ; died during 
the war. 

Hodges, Dr. Elias O. , promoted to assistant surgeon of a Virginia 
regiment, 1863 ; died in Texas since the war. 

Hodges, William, wounded at Gaines* Farm, July, 1862 ; taken 
prisoner at Lookout Mountain, 1863 ; died near Washington, Geor- 
gia, 1865. 
11 



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230 APPKKDIX. 

Hudson, Walker A., recruited April, 1862; taken prlBoner at 
Hagerstown, Maryland, 1863 ; remained in prison during the war. 

Hirschfelder, Jacob, killed at Sharpsburg, Maryland, 1862. 

Hyde, John D., recruited November, 1861 ; wounded at Ghdnes* 
Farm, 1862, and at Ghickamauga, September, 1863, and in skirmish 
below Bichmond, 1864 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Hyde, Joseph, recruited November, 1861 ; resides in Oonecah 
county, Alabama. 

Henderson, William, resides in Georgia. 

Haskins, William, recruited April, 1862; killed at Petersbnzigy 
Virginia, 1864. 

Haskins, Isaac, recruited April, 1862 ; resides in Texas. 

Horton, William, wounded in shoulder and leg at Gaines* Farm, 
July, 1862 ; resides in Butler county, Alabama. 

Johnson, William W., wounded and disabled at Gaines' Farm, 
1862, and honorably discharged ; resides in Conecuh county, Ala- 
bama. 

Johnston, Augustus, recruited March, 1864 ; killed at Wilderness, 
May 6, 1864. 

Jones, E., recruited April, 1862; honorably discharged for sick- 
ness in 1862. 

Johnston, Emanuel, recruited November, 1861 ; killed at Malyem 
Hill, July, 1862. 

King, J. O., recruited November, 1861 ; discharged in the winter 
of 18G1 ; resides in Butler county, Alabama. 

Kirk, Frank, recruited November, 1861 ; honorably discharged; 
joined the Thirty-eighth Alabama Begiment; killed at Chicka- 
mauga, September, 1863. 

Little, J. H., resides in Texas. 

Long, William B., killed at Gettysburg, July, 1863. 

Lampkins, Lindsey, died at Staunton, Virginia, July, 1868. 

Lynch, Fielding, recruited April, 1862 ; killed at Gaines' Farm, 
July, 1862. 

Mathews, William M., died in Conecuh county, Alabama, since 
the war. 

Mertins, Julius A., recruited April, 1862 ; killed at Gaines' Farm. 

Mosley, Mason L., resides in Erath comity, Texas. 

Morris, Wiley, recruited in 1864 ; died in Conecuh since the war. 



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APPENDIX. 231 

MoiTOW, William, wounded at the second battle Manassas, and 
wounded at Spottsylvania Court House, May, 1864 ; resides in Mo- 
bile county. 

Myers, John, recruited November, 1861 ; wounded at Gaines' 
Farm, July, 1862 ; dropped from the roll in 1863 ; killed in Butler 
county, Alabama, since the .war. 

Mason, John, wounded in first battle Manassas ; dropped from 
the roll 1862 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

McMillan, C. C, furloughed in 1862, and transferred to another 
command ; resides in Butler county, Alabama. 

Mclver, Evander, wounded in two places first battle Manassas, 
and honorably discharged September, 1861 ; resides in Texas. 

Nichols, W. H. H., deserted to enemy in front of Richmond, 
March, 1865. 

Nichols, John, transferred from Finnegan's Florida Begiment in 
the fall of 1864, and deserted to enemy before Bichmond, March, 
1866. 

Nash, Samael D., honorably discharged August, 1861 ; resides in 
Monroe county, Alabama. 

Olivia, George, recruited November, 1861 ; honorably discharged 
August, 1862 ; died since the war. 

Peacock, Jesse, killed in first battle Manassas, July 21, 1861. 

Perry, Frank, deserted November, 1863. 

Perry, Owen, wounded first battle Manassas, July 21, 1861, and 
honorably discharged ; rejoined the army, was captured, and died 
in prison. 

Perry, Thomas, recruited May, 1864 ; wounded at Spotsylvania 
Court House, May, 1864 ; resides in Monroe county, Alabama. 

Perry, Theophilns, recruited May, 1864 ; residence unknown. 

Powell, Ephraim, killed second battle Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864. 

Ferryman, James, honorably discharged January, 1862, and died 
in Conecuh county, Alabama, during the war. 

Quinley, William, recruited April, 1862; woimded at Gaines* 
Farm, July, 1862, and at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863 ; deserted to the 
enemy in 1865. 

Qoinley, Stephen, recruited March, 1863 ; wounded at Wilder- 
ness, May 6, 1864 ; resides in Texas. 



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232 APPENDIX. 

Bay, Thomas E., recruited April, 1862 ; wounded at Sharpsburg, 
September, 1862 ; deserted to enemy 1864. 

Bussel, David, honorably discharged December, 1861, for disa- 
bility ; resides in Louisiana. 

Bose, Bobert, killed at Seven Pines, Virginia, May 31, 1862. 

Bobbins, John, killed first battle Manassas, July 21, 1861. 

Bobbins, Thomas, died from wounds received at Gaines' Farm, 
July, 1862. 

Bobertson, Thomas, killed second battle Manassas, August, 1862. 

Bitchey, Thomas, recruited April, 1862 ; died in the hospital at 
Bichmond, August, 1862. 

Bobinson, J. Mat, honorably discharged for sickness, 1862 ; re- 
sides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Stearns, Henry C. , wounded at Gaines' Farm, July, 1862 ; resides 
in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Stallworth, Nick, wounded at Gaines' Farm, July, 1862 ; honor- 
ably discharged 1862 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Stallworth, W. L., honorably discharged June, 1861, for disabil- 
ity ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Snowden, Newton, killed at Wilderness, May 6, 1862. 

Snowden, William H., wounded in skirmish at Lenoir Station, 
Tennessee, December, 1863 ; honorably discharged for wounds 
received in 1863 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Salter, Mich B., wounded at Gaines' Farm, July, 1862,- wounded 
at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, and right arm amputated ; honorably 
discharged ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Stallworth, Jos,, killed second battle Manassas, August, 1862. 

Stuckey, Buck, wpunded second battle Manassas, August, 1862 ; 
killed at battle Darby town Boad, September, 1864. 

Stuckey, John, wounded at ; resides in Conecuh county, 

Alabama. 

Stuckey, James, recruited November, 1861 ; resides in Monroe 
county, Alabama. 

Strickland, James, killed first Manassas, July 21, 1861. 

Smith, Jack, recruited November, 1861; honorably discharged 
for disability ; resides in the State of Georgia. 

Shaver, John D., recruited April, 1862; killed at Chickamauga, 
September, 1863. 



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APPENDIX. 233 

Shaver, Phil. C, recruited April, 1862 ; resides in Conecuh 
county, Alabama. 

Sheffield, Evans, wounded at Gaines* Farm, July, 1862, and at 
Gettysburg, July, 1873 ; killed by a falling tree in Conecuh county, 
Alabama, since the war. 

Sampey , Francis M. , wounded at second Manassas, August, 1862, 
and near Farmville, Virginia, April, 1865 ; died in Selma, Alabama, 
1874. 

Sampey, Greenberry G., recruited May 7, 1864; resides in 
Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Thomas, James H., wounded at Seven Pines, May 31, 1862; 
killed second battle Manassas, August, 1862. 

Thomas, James C, recruited November, 1861 ; killed at Sharps- 
burg, Maryland, September, 1862. 

Thomas, Henry C, recruited September, 1862; resides in Texas. 

Turk, Theodosius, wounded at first Manassas ; honorably dis- 
charged under act of Congress, 1862. 

Whelan, Pat S. , commissary sergeant Fourth Alabama ; died at 
Sparta since the war. 

Wilson, John W. , recruited November, 1861 ; wounded at Cold 
Harbor, Virginia, June 3, 1864; resides in Conecuh county, Ala- 
bama. 

Wilson, George, wounded at Spotsylvania Court House, May 8, 
1864 ; residence unknown. 

Wilkinson, Thomas, deserted March, 1862. 

Wimberly, Dr. Samuel H., killed at first Manassas, July 21, 1861. 

Williamson, John, recruited November, 1861 ; honorably dis- 
charged 1862 ; resides in Conecuh county, Alabama. 

Williamson, James, recruited November, 1861; honorably dis- 
charged 1862 for disability ; resides near Brooklyn, Alabama. 

Watson, Bailey, recruited November, 1861 ; taken prisoner 1864, 
and remained in prison until the end of the war ; resides in Texas. 

Wood, Rev. George A., recruited November, 1861; wounded at 
Gettysburg, July 3, 1863 ; resides in Georgia. 



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