G. Sidney Waits Local History Page


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BEFORE THE COUNTRY CLUB -

In the early days of the local Country Club we all knew it as the "Golf Links". It was nothing to compare with what is there today. The fairways were pretty rough and the rough was just that. All the greens were sand greens and would track very easily when they were used. At every hole there was a "drag". It consist of a board about two or three feet long with a piece of burlap sack attached to it. There was a small rope enabling a player to start at the cup and drag the surface n circles until the sand green was free of tracks made by the ball and players.

There was no club house during the early years of the club. There was a Caddy House which was a small structure about 15 feet square. It had shutters on three sides that could be propped up with sticks when it was open. Boots Young, a local black was in charge of the Caddy House. Boots had lots of friends among the golfers and did a good job with his responsibilities at the Caddy House. He sold cold (soft) drinks and ice cream for the golf links club.

We all had a quarter or maybe a little more. We would ride our bikes out to the links where we would play a few holes. It was hot and it did not take us very long to spend our money. Out of money we would ask Boots to give us an ice cream cone. Of course, Boots would reply that he was checked out with the number of cones and he had to account for each one. He could not give us an ice cream cone. We came up with the idea that he could just give us a scoop of ice cream without a cone. Boots finally agreed to do just that to get us out of his "hair". He gave us a scoop on the back of a First National Bank counter check! We were happy boys and that helped us to cool off a bit. Boots did look after us!

The ravine hole was the really tough one for all of us. At that time No. six hole led from the present club house area around the curve to the green. No. 7 teed off in front of the Barnes home. No. 8 was the short hole back toward town and No. 9 was the very difficult "ravine" hole. The green for it was all the way across the ravine and the woodlands close to the pool area. Because it was so difficult it was finally discontinued. There was a man's tee on the south side of the ravine and a Lady's tee about half way down the ravine. It was a job to hit any ball from either tee across the Pond at the bottom to the other side of the ravine. If you were fortunate enough to make it across the pond, you had a long steep uphill pull to the green. I think many of the golfers referred to it as "cardiac hill".

One time we had planned to camp out at the armory and be close to the golf links. About good dark we proceeded to make camp. Why we climbed over the fence, I do not know. We pitched our tents and started our camp fire when we heard horses hoofs coming in our direction. Little did we know they were coming up from the lower part of the pasture. We worked fast and climbed back over the fence. We did get up nerve enough to go back and retrieve our tents and camping items. For the rest of the night we camped outside the fence.

When the pool was first built it was tournament time in May and all the boys and girls were there dangling their feet in the pool awaiting the call to enter the pool. I was among those boys present. Polly was also there but I did not know her then. I guess the most interesting thing about the new pool was the underwater lights that illuminated the water for swimming at night.

The Club property was purchased from Uncle "Aus" Prestwood and the links got its start right at the beginning of the great depression. My father George S. Waits, Sr., was elected first President of the Club. He had been instrumental in getting the property purchased and helping with the organizing of the Club.




SALTER'S POOL

Salter's Pool - Admission 10 cents ------ What pleasant memories many of us have about fun at Salter's Pool in the 1930's. It was a great place to visit and many people enjoyed its fresh cold water. We would ride our bikes to the end of Church street. Church Street ended as it ran into Salter Road that we now call Snowden Drive. There was a gate and a steep hill down to the pool. They built the pool to take advantage of the large spring that was coming out of the ground in great force and quantity. As I remember, it was so cold it would almost frost a glass. Flossie Salter and her sister Mrs. Gussie Cooper were usually sitting on a wooden bench near the pool and they would take up the admission price of a dime.

There was a dressing room for the men and another for the ladies. We would quickly put on our bathing suits and try to ease into the water. Some were brave enough to just dive or jump in but not me. I always took it slow and easy. The pool was not as large as today's Country Club or the City pool at the top of the hill on Snowden Drive. It is fitting that this new City Pool is named the "Cooper Pool". To us back in those days it was really a BIG one and there were not many pools around.

I recall the Tiptons had a pool up near Antioch and the Scherf family had an above ground pool when they lived on South Three Notch. Pools were not as common as today and Salter's pool was the attraction for most of us who lived in Andalusia.

The spring that fed the pool with an abundant supply of water was probably 30 or 40 yards east of the pool itself. A wooden trough in the shape of a "V" carried the water from the spring to the pool. The trough was built in sections and by lifting a trough away from the main flow, the water could be easily diverted. The Salter sisters had long hair and I can recall they would often divert the water and stick their head under the diverted water and wash their hair thoroughly.

Too, the pool would close on Monday for cleaning and refilling. A great amount of water flowed in and through the pool but cleaning was necessary as they knew nothing about chlorine or other modern day pool ingredients.

Morris Cooper was Mrs. Gussie Cooper's son and he was quite a swimmer and splendid diver. Often he would be at the pool and would inspire all of us with his talents in diving and swimming. I do not remember the pool ever being over crowded.

I don't recall just when the pool was discontinued but with the advent of more pools and the Salter family getting older, I am sure it was closed for these reasons. Too the pool was getting rather old and needed lots of maintainence.

When the by-pass was constructed they had to go to extra expense to preserve and handle the water from the spring. It was either under the main road or close to it within the right of way. The pool gradually fell to decay and mosquitoes were raising in the pool.. The lower side of the pool was dynamited to keep the water from standing. Until a few years back one could see remnants of the pool but today it is overgrown with brush. Remnants for the old pool are almost directly behind the present Pharmacare building.

Most of us that could save up a dime would find our way to Salter's Pool. The fresh cold water was refreshing and it was a leading recreational spot during the summer months. When I go down to the West Gate shopping area I always drive behind the Pharmacare building in hopes I can see some remnant of the old pool. It is covered with lots of hedge and other foliage but the memories are still there. Brother do you have a dime?




WHY DO THEY CALL IT "POINT A"?

Very few people had the vision and foresight that was exemplified by Mr. E. L. More and his efforts with his Horse Shoe Lumber Company and the River Falls Power Company. The joint efforts of Mr. More and his partner Mr. Cyrus Alfred O'Neal brought the first commercial quantity of electric power to this area. It provided the medium that would attract industry to a primarily agricultural area and insure industrial development of a rural area. The impact of the arrival of electricity over an eight County area rivaled that of the arrival of the railroads.

The original plans of the River Falls Power Company provided for the erection of a dam at Gantt, another at River Falls that we call "Point A". There was a third dam in the plans that was never built. At the very beginning River Falls Power acquired land holdings up the Patsaligi River and plans were to erect a rather large facility on that River course. It would double the production of "Point A".

If you can visualize the location of the three dams, you can see that the dam at River Falls is at the apex of the triangle. It was considered "Point A" on the drawing board and has been known as "Point A" since those early days.

The planned arrangement of the three dams provided efficient use of the water. The same water passing through the dam at "Point A" would have already produced electricity at the Gantt facility and the Patsaligi dam.

The first steam plant in the area was located at River Falls, another was in Andalusia and a third plant in Elba.

Why the Patsaligi dam was never built is un-known. I have suggested that the 1929 flood may have blocked those plans. The Gantt and "Point A" dams were heavily damaged by the floodwaters and required a sizeable re-investment. Mr. More was not in the best of health at the time of the flood. Ultimately, the power facilities were sold to Alabama Water Service and in 1941 Alabama Electric Cooperative purchased the plants from Alabama Water Service.




THE HISTORIC OLD DEVEREUX HILL

Many of you have seen the signs marking "Historic Devereux or Debro Hill" on US Highway 84 west in Andalusia. Several people have asked me about this historic site and in particular the name Devereux or "Debro" as we all know it. I received at least one long distance phone call and several letters of inquiry. I have been surprised that the significance of the name "Devereux" is not better known by many local citizens. A couple of years ago I pub¬lished an article in the now defunct COVINGTON TIMES COURIER telling of its background and significance to our local history. I thought I would publish a modified version of that previously published column to further explain the hill's historical significance.

Three important things can be associated with our very earliest growth and development all before "Andalusia" came into existence. They were: 1. the village of Montezuma on the banks of the Conecuh where our first County Site was established. 2. The Three Notch Trail which had been used by the Indians before the white man came to this area. In 1824 The Three Notch Road was constructed over much of the original trail route. 3. The last large outcropping of the natural high ridge extending from the Troy area into this area and known from earliest times as the Devereux Hill or Debro as we have come to know it. These three sites should be exploited to the fullest with stories and signs if we want to develop their historic benefits. Each one has a great story to tell and would command the interest of any tourist that might come our way. It would be great if our Alabama History teachers in the local schools in the County would mention these in the course of their student's studies.

While the little village of Montezuma was not really much of a village and its life was rather shortlived, it was indeed significant to our early history. Established originally by the State Assembly as "Covington Courthouse" where the first postoffice was established on January 6, 1826. The name was changed to Montezuma officially June 9, 1829. One John Devereux was named as the first Postmaster and remained in office until early 1835. Devereux, for whom the Devereux Hill is named, was a native of Virginia having moved to Putnam County Georgia in 1785. Devereux lost two wives in childbirth but raised two sons Albert and Julien Sidney. There was also a daughter named Louisiana. In 1817 Devereux moved to Alabama with his two sons leaving his daughter in school and in care of her Uncle Sam Devereux. Devereux must have traveled the old Federal Road through the Creek Nation from the Columbus, GA area to Conecuh County where he settled near McGowin's Bridge. His son Albert was studying law and was very capable but was never actually admitted to the bar. Albert died of yellow fever on September 5, 1822. They thought he caught the fever on a visit to Pensacola. His father never got over the death of this son. He mourned his loss until the day he died many years later. Devereux was elected to the Alabama General Assembly as Senator on June 4, 1821. He wrote the enabling acts that created the County of Covington on December 7, 1821. Not only was this man our first postmaster and Senator, he was our first County Judge and he played an important role in our early growth and development. John W. Devereux's other son Julien Sidney followed his father's footsteps in many ways. He met and married Adaline Bradley a member of perhaps the County's most wealthy and prominent family. This marriage brought a great deal of prestige to the Devereux name. Julien Sidney was elected to the House of Representatives on November 19, 1832. On December 18, 1833 the state legislature named Julien Sidney a Trustee of the University of Alabama. He also served as Clerk of the County Court (You'll remember his father was the County Judge).

The Indian lands were becoming available in east central Alabama. Good land was available cheap and money could be made helping the Indians transfer their lands. Things were becoming more difficult for the Devereux family locally because of the political picture. Early in 1834 Julien Sidney bought land in Macon County which now is part of Bullock. He moved his family to the new land during 1834. He and his wife agreed to separate and she moved back to Covington County where she died and is buried in a neglected woodland covered cemetery off a logging road near the community of Loango. His father moved to Macon County in the fall of 1834 and opened a postoffice in his home and named it "Valverdi". Julien Devereux developed a large farming operation and borrowed a sizable amount of money to make his crop. A de¬pression in the year 1837 left him owing a large amount of money and his creditors were pressing for payment. He sold his land, took his wife's slaves and household goods to Texas where he resided first in Montgomery County. In 1845 he moved to Rusk County. John W. followed his son and was getting on in age. He died June 22, 1847.

Julien Sidney amassed a large plantation of more than 4000 acres. He was a successful planter with more than 50 slaves in 1850. He built a two story home that was considered a mansion in those days. There were three rooms downstairs and two large rooms upstairs with a large hall. The home still stands about 15 miles south of Henderson, Texas alongside US 84. It has been fully restored to its original state and is a place of beauty. It is located on the highest point in Rusk County.

Julien Sidney was very popular and successful and this led to his election to the Texas Legislature. Julien Sidney was not well and while in Austin at the meeting of the Legislature, he became so sick he returned to his home that he had named "Monteverdi" -a combination of the names "Montezuma and his Macon County home named "Valverdi". He died on May 1, 1856 at the age of 50. He was buried by his father in Glenfawn Cemetery at the foot of the hill in front of his beloved Monteverdi home.

Since the beginning the large hill on the west side of Andalusia has been named to commemorate the Devereux name and the part the family played in our early history. We know it as "Debro" today. The hill is majestic and overlooks the vast Conecuh River Valley. It points toward old Montezuma and the birth¬place of much of our early history. It is truly one of our significant historical points of interest.




REMEMBER THE ICE WAGONS ?

On a visit with the late Ashford Broughton, we recalled the days when the ice wagons made regular and frequent trips all over town delivering ice to households and businesses. It was a simple procedure and yet a significant service in those days. Ice boxes were in most houses and the horse drawn ice wagon would drive along the street, stopping long enough for the driver or "ice man" to cut a block of ice and take it to the rear of the house. He would place it in the ice box and take a coupon representing the amount of the purchase from a book hanging nearby. Returning to the ice wagon he would signal the horses and they would move to the next location. The horses were very smart and they had made the trip so many times, they knew where to stop and where to go. Even a substitute iceman had little difficulty in making the route.

Often, we would catch the wagon and ride along with it. When the iceman would have to cut the large blocks of ice, he would do so with a saw. The resulting flakes were almost like snow and he would give us this "snow" to eat. It was like a snow cone without flavoring but very good to us on hot days. There was a small platform on the rear of the wagon on which we could stand and ride. It was great fun! The horses made a symphonic sound as their hooves plodded along the paved streets. You could hear them coming from quite a distance.

I recall several of the ice men that worked at the local Consumers Ice and Cold Storage Company on Troy Street. Now it is but a blacktopped parking lot. In those days it was a busy part of town housing not only the ice plant but the Coca Cola Bottling plant as well. Some of those that made the routes about town were: Rainer Baxter, his brother Geech, Isom McDade, Joe Thagard and Gene Bivens and Dottie Bivens. Isom McDade had a stiff neck and was called "Mike". There were others probably that I do not recall. It seems that Mike wanted to get off one Saturday after¬noon and he told Mr. Ashford Broughton, then General Manager, that he "had some business to tend to". Ashford, of course, let him off but old "Geech" had overheard the conversation. Geech was later heard to remark "shucks, Mike don't have no business, he just got some arrangements to make". There were several other employees at the ice plant. They were Earl Burnette, M. B. Grider who was in charge of the mechanical aspects of the operation, Henry O'Neal and Dad Fryer was the night operator.

The entire block of property on Troy Street that housed the ice house and Coca Cola plant was purchased from Mr. George Dunson of Dunson Street fame. The ice plant had an original daily capacity of 15 tons of ice per day. In the years following the tonnage capacity was increased to 30 tons then to 40 tons.It began operations about 1924 when Mr. Will Bellingrath in partner¬ship with his brother in law, John Burnette purchased the inter¬est of the old Andalusia Ice & Bottling Company. The Andalusia Ice and Bottling Company was a corporation and F. K. Feagin, D. F. Murphree, J. S. Murphree, W. F. Simmons and C. A. O'Neal were the original incorporators and owners. F. K. Feagin was the President. They operated out of the building behind the old Andalusia Grocery Company occupied by Waller Construction Company in later years. I believe they were the bottlers of one of our early cola drinks. It was called the "It Cola". Several people about town have one of the old It Cola bottles. We have one at the Museum. The saying about town in those days when referring to a person of questionable character was "He is as sorry as an 'It Cola'"! Actually from what the old timers have told me, it was a rather refreshing, good and very tasty cola.

Following Mr. Burnett's death in 1928, his son in law, George Etheridge took over management. He was followed by Ashford Broughton as general manager in 1938. The plant in its later years was leased to Red Turner. Ultimately it was liquidated by the stockholders and the property was sold to the City of Andalu¬sia to provide the present parking space.

Ice was made in large 500 pound blocks and it usually took about 24 hours to make a run of ice. The large blocks of ice were put through a scoring machine that marked the block with guide cuts so the ice man would know where to cut to obtain smaller blocks. As time progressed, ice was sold after being crushed. This proved popular with the advent of portable picnic coolers.

The ice wagons were blue in color and had sides about three feet high. Heavy pieces of canvas covered the ice to prevent melting. The horses were harnessed in brass studded leather and the hames had large brass balls on their tips. Blinders were a part of the harness and the reins were made of leather. There was a spring loaded seat on the wagon but the drivers did a lot of walking rather than climb up to the seat between short stops. The ice plant also sold coal and during the winter months several of the ice wagons were used to deliver lump coal to homes and busi¬nesses about town. With the advent of trucks, they replaced the old wagons and the horses were sold T. C. Smith.

Iced tea or water made with ice man's ice is much colder and better than tea or water cooled with refrigerator ice. Ice man's ice is frozen at about zero degrees whereas refrigerator ice is frozen at about 32 degrees. They call it "progress" but for a real "cold" drink go back to the ice man's ice.......its the best!

NOTE: Ashford Broughton passed away Wednesday evening Feb. 23rd, 2005. He will be greatly missed. Ashford was a perfect gentleman, and good husband and family man, and one with an impeccable character. He was a Rotarian and served his community in many capacities as Chairman or as a member of various other community committees.

THE JULY 2003 NEWSLETTER

ALONG THE THREE NOTCH

Sketches of Covington County and Andalusia, Alabama History Copyright by the publishers 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

by G. Sidney & Polly Waits

-Mail Version to friends and family

Vol. 1 No. 2 July 1, 2003

GATES VS MCDANIEL & SPURLIN - This was a suit in equity, tried on bill and answer in the Circuit Court of Covington County, at the October term, 1827.

Samuel Gates had filed his bill in March 1827, charging, that before the sale of the public lands at that place by the United States, Thomas McDaniel had established a ferry on the Conecuh River, below the falls, in Covington County. When the land was sold by the Government, it was purchased by several persons jointly, among whom are the complainant and defendants. That after the purchase, the owners applied to the County Court of Covington County, and obtained an order for a public ferry, at the same place at which the defendant had before kept his ferry. That a part of the land purchased was laid off into lots, for the purpose of making a town; that in the division, the complainant drew the lots attached to the ferry; that before the drawing, it had been agreed, that no ferry should be kept on any other part of the land. He alleged, that after the division, he had obtained from the County Court and order for the public ferry at the same place in his own name. He further charged, that notwithstanding this agreement, the defendants had erected a bridge across the river on a part of the lands drawn by them, very near the ferry, on which all persons were permitted to cross, on foot, on horseback, and in carriages, free of charge, but which the profits of the ferry were entirely destroyed; although he , the complainant had complied with the law in keeping a good boat and ferryman, and kept the banks in good order, etc.

I don’t know the final outcome of this suit but it is considered the first lawsuit in the County. There is a second record of this case that I may print later. William Spurlin appeared on the Conecuh County census of 1820, and he purchased land at the Sparta Land Office the W1/2 of the NW1/4 Section 14, T4N, Range 15E, and the W1/2 of the NE1/4 Section 14, T$N, Range 15E. Spurlin, McDaniel and Gates were among those early citizens who helped found the town.




John W. Devereux>MONOLOGUE ABOUT JOHN W. DEVEREUX

I gave this as one of the programs at the Historical Society meeting. I was dressed in overalls and a wig, along with my walking stick. I thought it was a good program but it never made the local paper.

Good Evening friends, my name is John William Devereux. As most of you may know, I lived much of the early history centered around your first County Site at old Montezuma on the banks of the Conecuh. My family resided near the village for about ten years and those were great times in my life.

I was born March 15, 1769. My parents were Charles and Nancy Woods Devereux. We lived in the Colony of Virginia where my father worked in the lead mines as a smelter and mineralogist. There were eight children in our family. In 1785 my family migrated to the State of Georgia where my father had purchased a plantation. I was the oldest son and my father named me overseer of the plantation. I had no experience in farming and no turn for driving slaves. I simply did not like the work so when I became 16 years of age, I left home and went to work for a Mr. Rhesa Howard who operated a general store in Wrightsboro.

I worked for Mr. Howard about three years and he loaned me some money so I could go into business for myself. I did just that and stayed in Hancock County a couple of years until 1789 or 1790 after which I moved to Greensborough in Green County. I managed to pay back the money Mr. Howard had loaned to me. On April 19, 1795 and at the age of 25 I married sixteen year old Elizabeth Few. Her family was prominent in Georgia and America. While I was on a trip to New York my wife at the age of twenty died while giving birth to a son. I gave back to my father-in-law The wedding gift of a plantation and slaves.

After the loss of my first wife I returned to merchandising and settled in Sparta, Hancock County. Not only did I run the store but also I served as Justice of the Peace from 1799 to 1801. I also held positions in Hancock County of Justice of the Inferior Court for five years. On January 15, 1801 I married Sally Grigg, daughter of Jesse Grigg. A son Albert was born on December 6th. We moved to Montpelier and a daughter Louisiana was born there on September 16, 1803. At the same place on July 23, 1805, son Julien Sidney was born. Then we moved down to Milledgeville in Baldwin County where a second daughter Antoinette was born. Both my wife and Antoinette were in bad health and on November 1, 1809 Antoinette died, then my wife died the following January 28th

Following the death of both my wives and their infants I made plans to move westward. I was at the advanced age of 48 in 1817 when we made the move. This was before Alabama had become a State. I did leave daughter Louisiana at age 14 with her Uncle Samuel so she could continue in school. So I took my two sons with me to Alabama - 16 year old Albert and 12 year old Julien Sidney.

We came down the Federal Road and settled near what you call today the McGowan’s Bridge area. We were just north of the bridge and a little to the right on the west bank of the Conecuh River. I was appointed Justice of the County Court of Conecuh on December 18, 1820. I thought my son Albert would make a fine doctor and I wanted him to study medicine. I gave him great encouragement. However, he opted to study Law and he read law under Arthur Pendleton Bagley who had married a neice of mine. Bagley as you will recall later became Governor of Alabama.

I served eleven sessions as state senator in the Alabama Legislature. I traveled to Huntsville for the early session and then to Cahaba for the other sessions. I wrote most of the enabling acts that created your County of Covington. On August 5, 1822 I was again elected Senator to represent Conecuh, and the new created County of Covington, Henry and Dale. Before the end of August tragedy struck my family. Son Albert had been on a business trip to Pensacola and while there became ill with Yellow Fever. He was just twenty years old and lived only ten days dying on September 6th. I have never gotten over the loss of my son Albert. He was very dear to me and I shall remember him forever. I buried him at our residence on the bank of the Conecuh at Hobson’s choice under a small stooping white oak tree in a little Plumb Orchard.

It was in 1823 and we moved to Covington County. I recorded in my diary that we purchased land very near the little community of Montezuma. That phrase “near the little community of Montezuma” and the map should prove to all the location of old Montezuma - about a mile below the bridge at River Falls. I had written the enabling acts that Created Covington County and I had heard about the little community developing along the east bank of the Conecuh that we called Montezuma. While in Montezuma and during the 4th , 5th, and 6th, sessions of the legislature I represented Conecuh, Covington, Pike and Henry Counties as Senator. I also served as Judge of the County Court of Covington for about ten years. During my stay at Montezuma, I served as its first Postmaster having established the post office in 1826..

We lived a short distance east of the River at the foot of a big hill. People started calling it Devereux Hill back when we lived there and today I note you have recognized it as “Historic Devereux” Hill. Most people have always shortened the name and just call it the “Debro”. Anyway, our modest little home was a log cabin and we called it “The Hermitage”. We were very proud of this humble abode.

We had great plans for Montezuma. We drew a map and divided the land into lots to start a real town. I understand you have a copy of this map in your local museum but it was missing from the display when I was in your Museum recently. The ferry crossing was active and many travelers crossed the river at the falls of the river near the little community. Roads came from Daleville, and Buttsville which you call Greenville today. There was a road that led south toward Brooklyn and the wolf trail into Pensacola and the Bay region of the Tensas.

I remember the problem between Tom McDaniel, the ferry operator and Samuel Gates. Mr. Gates built a bridge across the Conecuh and Mr. McDaniel was afraid it would put him out of the ferry business. A lawsuit was filed and extensive court proceedings followed. This was the first lawsuit in Covington County and is recorded in Stuart's Alabama. Some of the early settlers at Montezuma were Elias Spencer, William Duncan, William Spurlin, Henry Jones, Seaborn Jones, Michael Carter and Julian and myself. Our land was adjacent to the acres containing the Courthouse and the ferry.

The old trail used by the Indians and early settlers extended northeast to Pike County and ultimately to Ft. Mitchell in the Indian Territory. Another road would take a traveler to Claiborne. Claiborne and Pensacola were our two main resources for staple goods and a great deal of travel between those points and Montezuma occurred.

When I first came to Montezuma I think most of the people respected me and that is evident through the many times I was elected to serve in the legislature. As judge I probably made some people disagree with my decisions and some did not approve my actions in the legislature. I got in a heated political battle with the Sheriff Vining Howard and that caused much discontent. Many of my friends sided with Howard. Howard had failed to post bond in accordance with the law and was so charged. The Indian Territory to the north was coming open and tremendous opportunity existed there. We thought about moving there.

While at Montezuma my son Julien Sidney had become well respected and he had made tremendous strides and was very popular among the people. In 1826 at the age of 21 he was appointed Clerk in the Circuit Court. Before the end of the year on December 28, 1826 he married Adaline Rebecca Bradley. She was from a very prominent and wealthy family at that time. They had one child, a daughter named Mary Emily December 16, 1830 but she lived only until January 28, 1831. The marriage ended in separation and finally a divorce. Julien had served in the Alabama legislature from 1833 to 1836 and was also on the Board of Trustees at the University of Alabama.

We did move to Montgomery County which later became Bullock County but we stayed only a few years there. One of our trips to our new place in Montgomery County took the greater part of six days. We called the place Val-Verde and the countryside was beautiful. A couple of bad crop years and the depression of 1837- 1843 painted a bad picture for us. I was getting on up in age but Julien took his slaves and possessions and moved to Texas in an area that is now Montgomery County and the town of Conroe, near Houston. Some months later after Julien had moved, I too made the move. I scratched the letters “GTT” over the door of my humble cabin and made the long journey to Texas. We ultimately settled in Rusk County near the little community of Glenn Fawn. Julien operated quite a successful and large plantation, made many friends and was elected to the State Assembly. He built a large two story home on the place and called it “Monte Verde” or green mountain. It was actually named after Montezuma and Val Verde the place in Montgomery County, Alabama.

Dr. Dorman H. Winfrey wrote a book entitled “Julien Sidney Devereux and His MonteVerdi Plantation”. He told the story of our lives and our plantations. Today the old homeplace still stands, fully restored and is a lovely place. The area around the home is much smaller today but they still plant peaches, cotton and the things we planted back in the early days. Dr. Winfrey mentions the graveyard near the home where many of the Devereux’s are buried. John W. Devereux born March 15,1769 and died June 22, 1847. Julien Sidney Devereux born July 23, 1805 and died May 1, 1856 at the age of only 50.

Julien’s and my personal papers, books and records of the plantations eventually wound up as the Devereux Collection in the Barker Library at the University of Texas in Austin. The papers and diaries date back to our stay in old Montezuma. Some man and his wife from Alabama came and examined many of the records. They located the Map I drew of early Montezuma and brought the copy back to your Museum.

Well, it has been nice visiting with you folk tonight. Its always good to go back home. I have enjoyed telling you a little about my family and its experiences in early Alabama and in particular at old Montezuma. On my way back, I thought I would go down the Historic Devereux, look about the Devils Den and see if I could see any remnant of “The Hermitage” my old cabin. And I will probably see if I can catch the ferry across the river at old Montezuma. It will be good just to stand on the banks of the river and recall all the happy days and fine people I knew there. Well, I must be on my way now --- Thank you and good night!




UNCLE GUS OUT WEST

This News Item that appeared in the September 5, 1940 edition of the Andalusia Star was transcribed by G. Sidney Waits, December 9, 2000.

There have been many ficticious symposiums of the old West written, when he-men toting six-shooters fanned the hammers to settle difficulties and it was a case of survival of the fittest, when cattle rustlers became a menace to the ranchers.

Mr. C. Gus Waits, and uncle to G. S. Waits, Sr., and a recent visitor in Andalusia knows all the answers to the West during those days. At the age of 17, or in 1871, a husky and ambitious kid seeking excitement, he left his Georgia home and went to Texas.

With only a small amount of money in his pocket this youngster stopped at Waco, in middle Texas, where he joined a ranch outfit as a cowhand. After two years there, he moved to Darby County where he joined another cow outfit. He was located 300 miles from the nearest railroad. The T.P. Railroad was built through Weatherford, 300 miles away. This was also the nearest post office and mail came by ox teams twice a year.

These teams usually operated in units of five and were drawn by six yokes of oxen. Each team would pull as much as 16,000 pounds of freight and averaged from ten to twelve miles a day over plains and through sand dunes. There were no roads.

In those days, Mr. Waits said, there were many buffalo hunters. These hunters would organize into outfits of as many as 250 men. The gun squad had rifles which were loaded with 120 grams of powder. You could shoot them only five times and let them cool.

This gun squad would kill approximately 200 buffalo a day, all that 150 men could skin in a day. Only the hides were saved. Scavengers consumed the meat with the exception of what the outfit ate.

These hides were hauled 350 miles to Dodge City, Kansas on the Arkansas River where they were sold.

The method of trappers in those days was to poison prey, and whenever a fur-bearing animal was found dead, he was skinned and his fur sold.

Many men in those days made a living walking down mustangs. These ponies upon winding (smelling) a man, would break and run. The walker would follow at an average pace until the mustangs became so stiff and sore that they were unable to resist capture.

The cattle men lived in dugouts in those days. These dugouts were daubed with dirt to keep out the wind and were regarded as comfortable in those days.

In the spring said Mr. Waits, the cattle were rounded up. Sometimes there were as many as 4,000 to the herd. They were driven to Omaha, Nebraska on the Missouri River. Sometimes these cattle would stampede on the way and it would take three or four days to handle them again. We had to take time out along for them to graze and water. The cussed Indians were so bad about stealing our cattle along the route. They could jump in and get eight or ten fat steers right before our eyes and get away. There were several government posts along the route, but seldom did the Indians get caught with the evidence.

Mr. Waits said, “there was not so much cattle rustling in those days. You see, he said, Cattle drift as far as 200 miles and when they do, the get mighty poor. Probably some of them were stolen before the brand was applied, but it was a pretty serious offense for a man to steal cattle, if he got caught. Most of ‘em were not caught - just killed.

“In those days a fellow could ride his horse five hundred miles without it costing him a cent. He usually left with a pack consisting of a little meal and salt. He could get game along the route or whenever he came to a ranch house at night or at meal time, he usually just made himself at home. Son, you won’t find that kind of hospitality anywhere else in the world.

I will never forget, it was back in 1879. I was working with the J. Buckle Ranch, owned by Don W. Powers. We were caring for about 25,000 head of cattle when the frontier Indians raided our camp and stole 200 saddle horses. This happened along the headwater of the Colorado River. One of our men was seriously wounded with a tomahawk. One of his eyes was knocked out and his jaw fractured. We made a makeshift cart and hauled him to Fort Griffin where his injuries were treated. Our guns rattled like peas on a cowhide but those Indians certainly got our horses.

“Oh yes” said Mr. Waits, “gun battles occurred occasionally. Usually everybody took a hand on such occasion. Bullies didn’t last long out there, I tell you, son”, he said. “when you put a forty-five under the nose of a bully, he calms down. And we had a sheriff, but what could a sheriff do with an outfit like ours? The only thing for him to do, and he usually did, was just to join in with us. We always paid for our damage suffered to property when we went to town about once a year. We usually went to Dodge City about a hundred miles away.

Mr. Waits was born in Rockmart, Ga., fifty miles from Atlanta. He is now living at Albany where he has resided for the past fifteen years. He has four children, oldest son at Washington, D.C.. His youngest son is at Georgetown, S.C., and his baby daughter lives at Shreveport, La. He has an older daughter living in Albany.

Uncle Gus was born on Dec 20th 1853 and he died August 13, 1942 (the year I finished high school) He was too young for the War Between the States and after the War there was not much opportunity for a young man in Georgia. So as the article says he left for Texas at 17 where he had relatives. He married out there and many of his relatives live around Waco Texas today. His wife died and he came back to Georgia where he married again and had a second family. One member of that family lives is Louisiana today. She is his daughter Ruth. I stay in touch with her and the Waco family. Uncle Gus lived in Albany Georgia in later life. He is buried near there.

Uncle Gus was by far the family’s most colorful character with a super personality. He visited in our home often in his later years. He was the best story teller and all the kids in the neighborhood would come and listen to his stories. He was a very strong man and his hands were very large. He was an impressive person in many ways. Uncle Gus was certainly one of my favorites.




UPSTAIRS ANDALUSIA

The tall bank building on Court Square that is now known as the First National Apartments not only has multiple stories, it also has a sizable basement. The basement area is largely unfin­ished and with some brick floors. I have always thought it would make an ideal Italian Restaurant. Many other downtown buildings have more than one story and several have basement areas too.

I think it is interesting to recall some of the people who maintained offices on those upper floors of various buildings, in years gone by. I certainly cannot remember all of those people because many were before my time. Perhaps you can help me with some of the residents of these offices.

The two story Murphy Building that was known as the Milligan Building housed the offices of Attorney Jim L. Murphy. Mr. Murphy was a respected land title lawyer and his son Ray Walker Murphy, joined the firm following completion of law school and service in World War II. His grandson, Mark Murphy, now heads this respect­able firm that has existed over three generations and many years. No longer on the upper floors, the firm is now at ground level in the building. The old firm occupied the offices along the south part of the building upstairs. Partitions in the offices were of wood and frosted glass. Mark's father and grandfather would be very proud of his restoration of the old historic building. All Andalusia considers it a significant contribution to the beauty of our downtown area. Although known as the Murphy Building, many of us recall it as the Milligan Building. Actually, it was constructed by the Shreve Brothers about the turn of the Century. Originally a one story building the second story was added several years after the original structure was built.

The Andalusia Public Library during its early years, maintained their collection in rooms east of the stairwell leading to the upstairs. Ruth Keefe, a seamstress kept a shop upstairs.

Another distinguished land title attorney, Hiram Brogden, Jr., maintained his offices to the left of the stairs. Hiram also specialized in land title work and did an enviable job of it. He was the son of Judge Hiram Brogden who served several terms as Probate Judge. Hiram's wife assisted in his office and before his death he constructed the building where James and James Attorneys are located today.

On the corner just north and adjacent to the Milligan or Murphy Building is the Masonic Building. This building was built following the destruction by fire of the original Masonic Build­ing. This original building was located on the east lawn of the Courthouse adjacent to North Cotton. The building faced the square. At one time about 1905 A. C. Wilder and Mr. Head operated a mercantile establishment in the ground floor of this building. It was known as “Wilder and Head”. While the old Baptist Church building was under construction the church held serv­ices in the ground floor of the Masonic building awaiting completion of their new facility.

On the ground floor of the present Masonic Building, my father in partnership with Mr. C. B. Mathews operated the "Waits and Mathews 5 and 10 Cent Store". I remember he purchased a big wooden barrel full of glassware and dishes for my mother. We had a great time un-packing it at home. In the early 1920's he sold this store to Judge R. H. Jones and son Henry Edward. Prior to my father's venture in the store business in the Masonic Building the Bank of Andalusia operated here. In the rear of the store, the little weekly paper set up shop. When they ran the press to print the paper, vibrations were of such magnitude, the tellers working in the bank could not keep their silver dollars in neat stacks at their teller windows.

Across the street and west of the Courthouse was the old First National Bank Building where the theater is now located. Many shade trees were around this building. One large tree stood between present Theater and the Walker Business Machines Build­ing. This old bank building featured beautifully designed brick archways over the corner entrance to the bank. After the bank moved to new quarters in the seven story skyscraper, the old Andalusia Dry Goods Company sold wholesale dry goods out of the building. Mr. Will Folsom was the general manager of this enter­prise. I can remember going there with my father, who was one of the stockholders. I recall many stacks of overalls and work pants up on the second floor of the building.

The O'Neal Building was adjacent to the present theater building on the north side. There is a second story to this building. The ground floor was occupied by the O'Neal Mule Barn. I remember dances were held upstairs for several years. It was a great gathering place for the young set but I was too young to dance then.

On Church Street the Evers Furniture Building built in 1938/39 featured a second story furniture display area. This is one of the few second story buildings in Andalusia that has an elevator to the top floor. L. H. Evers was a pioneer furniture dealer and built his widespread business on the idea of selling furniture from route trucks carrying the showroom to the family homes.

P>The Prestwood Building built just after the turn of the century is a landmark in the downtown section of town. My wife's grandfather, Dr. Thomas Quincy Ray, kept his offices in the corner rooms above the A. M. Riley Drug Store. In 1935 Dr. Ray's daughter Evelyn Ray Lowman and her two sons were flying to Anda­lusia from Miami in their private plane. Dr. Ray watched out his window for the plane that was scheduled to land on the golf course west of town. A phone call informed him of the plane's crash near Monticello, Florida and the death of all occupants. Bad weather across the panhandle had taken its toll. The Lowmans are buried in the large granite Mausoleum in Magnolia Cemetery alongside Opp Avenue.

Mr. C. C. Moon had his photo studio upstairs with windows overlooking Church Street. I took many rolls of Kodak film to Mr. Moon for processing. Back then it took several days to get a roll developed and printed. Moon was an excellent photographer and made most of the high school annual pictures. He and Mrs. Moon operated the studio. When I got interested in photography, Mr. Moon taught me a lot about it. I remember he used to make proofs by holding his print frame out the window in the sunlight. His fingernails were stained brown from the developing solutions he used. I can see him now with his camera on a tripod, crouched under his black hood as he focused to take a picture.

At one time in the early thirties, the City Hall offices were located upstairs in the Prestwood building. A photo of the Mayor and Council at the time (1932) was taken.

Left to right in the photo on the front row was W. N. Rushton, Mayor John F. Carson, and Mr. Walter C. Merrill. Standing from left to right - Colonel Guy B. Wilder, Sr., Mr. W. H. Turner, Mr. E. D. Lorraine and Mr. J. C. Hudson, City Clerk.

Attorney Ralph Clark kept his offices upstairs. Dr. W. R. Middleton had dental offices in the building, next to him Justice of the Peace Jim Straughn had an office. Mr. B. L. Timmerman kept his insurance office in the Prestwood Building. There was an early chiropractor upstairs also. I can remember the stairwell very well. Mr. Moon had glass cases at the foot of the stairs along the walls. He would display copies of snapshots his custom­ers had made.

The Sentell Building where Wayne Bush has his office today is considered by most people to be the oldest brick structure in the downtown area. Ed Reid, who was a cured cancer patient and an attorney had offices upstairs. Ed was largely responsible for a neon sign placed in the transom over the front door to the court­house. The sign in red and blue neon read "Cancer can be cured". It hung there for many years. Perhaps it is still around the Courthouse somewhere.

Our only skyscraper building housed many varied offices. Dr. J. C. Hill was an early respected dentist who maintained a suite of offices in the bank building. His son, Dr. Riley Hill was also a dentist and had offices with his father. Dr. Riley Hill was killed in a tragic hunting accident. Dr. James Hugh Kyzar, Sr. stayed in the building with his offices until the building was closed. He then moved to the Columbia General Hospital where he practiced until he died. Dr. Kyzar finally did go up on his office visit charges a dollar or so but reluctantly and his charges were modest by today's standards. The Albritton Law Firm had offices on the 3rd Floor. Another law firm composed of Griffin Sikes and Murland Smith also maintained offices in the building. Mr. George Adams occu­pied the top floor offices and conducted his lumber brokerage business there. Lib's Beauty Shop was a tenant in the building for many years. Hettie Rawls owned the shop at one time and ultimately it was sold to Lib. Prior to Hettie Rawls' proprietor­ship, Margaret Everage owned the shop. The Library used the mezzanine floor at one time and in later years Timmerman Insur­ance Company kept their offices on that floor. Dr. C. H. Chapman moved his office from the Henderson Building to the Bank Building shortly after he came to Andalusia. His offices were over Bill Greenwald’s office at first. I remember very well that Dr. Chapman removed my tonsils in that suite of offices. Dr. E. L. Gatlin, a local dentist, had offices in the bank building in the early years. Dr. Nodine was an early ENT doctor in the building.

Dr. L. E. Broughton had a suite of offices down the north side of the Henderson Building. This is the area that was later occupied by Dr. Chapman. A. H. "Bertie" Robinson had an office upstairs in the Henderson building. Our first telephone exchange facility was located upstairs in the southeast corner of the building. A tragic fire took the lives of two operators in the thirties. Another photographer by the name of Boutwell had his shop upstairs also. He was another rather early photographer in our town. Allen Cook, Sr., maintained an office in the Henderson building and I believe Mr. C. B. Fuller, a local attorney, also kept an office here.

I am sure there were others but I cannot recall them at this moment. Perhaps you can give me more information on this subject.




E L MORE MEMORIAL BRIDGE OVER THE CONECUH RIVER

New signs have been placed on either end of the Bridge over the Conecuh River in River Falls. These signs recognize one of the areas early significant citizens. E. L. More came to this area of Alabama prior to the arrival of the railroads. He was actually in charge of the construction of the rails from Georgiana to Graceville, Florida. While here he purchased a small sawmill in the River Falls area and ultimately operated a very large sawmill. Rail lines extended from the mill site on the banks of the Conecuh in River Falls to an area near the Florida line named "Headquarters Camp". The mill cut most of the timber along the lower part of our County and the area in later years became a part of the National Forest. Mr. More owned extensive land and timber rights in our county with some rails leading to an area near the Dozier area. Mr.More built a large two story home near the mill site. He enjoyed horses and sought to improve their breed. Often he would ride horses with his wife and of course he would use a horse to check his timberlands.

In addition More and his business associate Cyrus A. O'Neal, organized the River Falls Power Company. In addition to considering it a profitable venture, he thought it would open the County and South Alabama to more industry. He felt industry would come because of low cost hydro power and he was right. They built the Gantt Dam in 1921 and the Point A Dam in 1925. A third dam up the Patsalagi River was never built because of the 1929 flood and Mr.More's health was not good. More's River Falls Power Company brought the first commercial quantity of electricty to nine counties in South Alabama. Ultimately, the Alabama Electric Cooperative purchased the dams and are still using those facilities today.




ICE WAGONS IN ANDALUSIA

On a visit a few years or more ago with the late Ashford Broughton, we recalled the days when the ice wagons made regular and frequent trips all over town delivering ice to households and businesses. It was a simple procedure and yet a significant service in those days. Ice boxes were in most houses and the horse drawn ice wagon would drive along the street, stopping long enough for the driver or "ice man" to cut a block of ice and take it to the rear of the house. He would place it in the ice box and take a coupon representing the amount of the purchase from a book hanging nearby. Returning to the ice wagon he would signal the horses and they would move to the next location. The horses were very smart and they had made the trip so many times, they knew where to stop and where to go. Even a substitute iceman had little difficulty in making the route.

Often, we would catch the wagon and ride along with it. When the iceman would have to cut the large blocks of ice, he would do so with a saw. The resulting flakes were almost like snow and he would give us this "snow" to eat. It was like a snow cone without flavoring but very good to us on hot days. There was a small platform on the rear of the wagon on which we could stand and ride. It was great fun! The horses made a symphonic sound as their hooves plodded along the paved streets. You could hear them coming from quite a distance.

I recall several of the ice men that worked at the local Consumers Ice and Cold Storage Company on Troy Street. Now it is but a blacktopped parking lot. In those days it was a busy part of town housing not only the ice plant but the Coca Cola Bottling plant as well. Some of those that made the routes about town were: Rainer Baxter, his brother Geech, Isom McDade, Joe Thagard and Gene Bivens and Dottie Bivens. Isom McDade had a stiff neck and was called "Mike". There were others probably that I do not recall. It seems that Mike wanted to get off one Saturday after­noon and he told Mr. Ashford Broughton, then General Manager, that he "had some business to tend to". Ashford, of course, let him off but old "Geech" had overheard the conversation. Geech was later heard to remark "shucks, Mike don't have no business, he just got some arrangements to make". There were several other employees at the ice plant. They were Earl Burnette, M. B. Grider who was in charge of the mechanical aspects of the operation, Henry O'Neal and Dad Fryer was the night operator.

The entire block of property on Troy Street that housed the ice house and Coca Cola plant was purchased from Mr. George Dunson of Dunson Street fame. The ice plant had an original daily capacity of 15 tons of ice per day. In the years following the tonnage capacity was increased to 30 tons then to 40 tons.It began operations about 1924 when Mr. Will Bellingrath in partner­ship with his brother in law, John Burnette purchased the inter­est of the old Andalusia Ice & Bottling Company. The Andalusia Ice and Bottling Company was a corporation and F. K. Feagin, D. F. Murphree, J. S. Murphree, W. F. Simmons and C. A. O'Neal were the original incorporators and owners. F. K. Feagin was the President. They operated out of the building behind the old Andalusia Grocery Company occupied by Waller Construction Company in later years. I believe they were the bottlers of one of our early cola drinks. It was called the "It Cola". Several people about town have one of the old It Cola bottles. We have one at the Museum. The saying about town in those days when referring to a person of questionable character was "He is as sorry as an 'It Cola'"! Actually from what the old timers have told me, it was a rather refreshing, good and very tasty cola. Following Mr. Burnett's death in 1928, his son in law, George Etheridge took over management. He was followed by Ashford Broughton as general manager in 1938. The plant in its later years was leased to Red Turner. Ultimately it was liquidated by the stockholders and the property was sold to the City of Andalu­sia to provide the present parking space.

Ice was made in large 500 pound blocks and it usually took about 24 hours to make a run of ice. The large blocks of ice were put through a scoring machine that marked the block with guide cuts so the ice man would know where to cut to obtain smaller blocks. As time progressed, ice was sold after being crushed. This proved popular with the advent of portable picnic coolers.

The ice wagons were blue in color and had sides about three feet high. Heavy pieces of canvas covered the ice to prevent melting. The horses were harnessed in brass studded leather and the hames had large brass balls on their tips. Blinders were a part of the harness and the reins were made of leather. There was a spring loaded seat on the wagon but the drivers did a lot of walking rather than climb up to the seat between short stops. The ice plant also sold coal and during the winter months several of the ice wagons were used to deliver lump coal to homes and busi­nesses about town. With the advent of trucks, they replaced the old wagons and the horses were sold T. C. Smith.

Iced tea or water made with ice man's ice is much colder and better than tea or water cooled with refrigerator ice. Ice man's ice is frozen at about zero degrees whereas refrigerator ice is frozen at about 32 degrees. They call it "progress" but for a real "cold" drink go back to the ice man's ice.......its the best!




A CRUISE DOWN THE CONECUH RIVER

Indians used the Conecuh River to make their way to Pensa­cola to trade with the Spanish. Early white settlers also used the river as a mode of transportation. Rafting of timber down the Conecuh remained big business into the early 1900's. Steamboats came up the Conecuh to the falls of the river at Montezuma. One steamboat was built on the banks of the river at Montezuma and it was called the Mary Alice. Low water and snags were a great problem for these early flat bottom boats and most of them came no further up river than Brooklyn. The Conecuh River was an at­traction to early settlers because of its value as a means of transportation.

A group of later pioneers made a trip down the Conecuh on February 14, 1960. The late Dr. Davis Gantt assisted by his father Worth Gantt, also deceased, planned the trip. Nine boats left the River Falls Bridge at 7:30 a.m. that morning. Some of those that made the trip were: John Hill who took photographs, Ottis Reynolds, James Henderson, Lynn Brooks, Tom Kelly , Martin Fuller, Lige Palmer, Jerry Palmer, Mike Kinard, Worth and Davis Gantt, Lewis Wilson, Billy Wilson, Robert Waller, James Caton, Doyle Lowry, Johnnie Crenshaw, "Bo" Kinard, Dr. Christakos, and Gene Evans. Ye columnist was among the group along with son George and Davis's son William. There were several others but I cannot recall those at the moment.

Spotty clouds and some fog was still in the early morning mist. Rain over several days had the river to "rafting stage". It was almost full but was still well within its banks. It was a good time for timber rafting or this trip down the river by outboard motorboats. We passed the old Gantt Shack at about 20 minutes until eight. The water in the river was smooth and we did notice two fishermen at the mouth of a little creek just below old Montezuma. A couple of ducks flew away from the oncoming boats, then four more ducks flew as we approached. We went under Prestwood Bridge at about 7:45 and several people were on the bridge watching us as we made our way down the Conecuh. <\p>

Four wild turkeys were sighted at almost 8 o'clock. A small turtle slid off his log to our left and we could see the new Simmons Bridge shortly after 8. There must have been at least 15 people on the bridge. I recognized Eric Russell, now deceased, even if he didn't have his pipe at the time. We were cruising at an estimated 20 miles per hour and the nine boats were proceeding without difficulty. From time to time Dr. Gantt would slow his lead boat to let the others catch up and of course, to keep check on the other eight.

We came up on an old Railroad crossing. We could see the concrete abutments. This crossing was between the new Simmons Bridge and the old Simmons Bridge. I will guess that this was a crossing built by the old Horse Shoe Lumber Company for its log trains to cross the river.

We noticed a lot of leaves floating on top of the water and in places there was a lot of dirty mud like foam collected on the water. This debris was often confusing to the driver because it was difficult to watch for snags or submerged logs. We saw beau­tiful rippled sandbars. We passed several small creeks and streams that emptied into the main river.

We arrived at old Simmons bridge about 8:10 and a man and his wife were the only spectators except for a boy on a motor scooter.

The weather seemed to be improving. Much of the fog had gone and the sun was shining through the rain clouds. The wind was beginning to burn my sensitive skin so I applied some "White Wonder" I had brought along for that purpose. I was raised on that stuff and they don't make it anymore. I will guard this last jar with my life.

Red Bud trees along each bank were beautiful. Spruce pines formed a dark background along the banks. The white "Slo Trees" are pretty too! The woodland colors are beautiful this time of the year. We could see brown, red, yellow and white against the southern Magnolia and Pines.

Just below old Simmons about 8:30 we crossed under the Alabama Power Company's transmission line that crosses the river at that point. We continued to see wild ducks and a turkey here and there along the way. There were no billboards to mar the beautiful scenery of the river woodlands. We saw more than a dozen big Kingfisher birds. Their plumage shown brilliantly in the bright sun. We noticed several caves in the banks of the river as we rounded a bend in the river. From time to time we would pass a nearly sunken boat washed downstream because of the recent rains.

About 8:35 we arrived at Harts Bridge and who should be standing on the bridge checking the boats as they passed? None other than the Game Warden, the late Donnel Thomas. He was doing his job and checking the boats for turkeys (wild ones).

Our first gator sighting came shortly below Harts Bridge. He swished his tail and went to deep water as we passed his resting spot.

We began to notice the Spanish Moss in the trees was much heavier now than further up stream. We were near the mouth of the Sepulga River about 9 that morning. The river seemed to be wider and the stretches of the river seemed straighter.

More than once we had to stop because trash would collect on our propeller. I think most of the boats experienced this from time to time during the trip.

We reached McGowin's Bridge at 9:10 am and there was a strong headwind coming up the river. The chop in the water was rough.

Below McGowin's we noticed a picnic area with a large table and flowing well. Two cows were grazing in this area. The banks of the river were lower - more willow trees and the river was 75 yards wide or more. There were two large vault like tanks in a pine grove, also a nice boat landing. There was a long stretch on to Parker's Bridge and it was almost 10 oclock when we got to Parkers. We saw a couple of cars and the people stopped to watch all the boats pass. The banks were getting higher and were of red clay which meant we were nearing Brewton. Pine trees were heavy along the banks. Otis Reynolds had a problem with his motor and was forced to take his boat out at Brewton. We arrived at the Brewton bridge shortly before ll am and a large delegation met us. The police car and about 15 people from the Chamber of Com­merce and businesses met us. We all refueled our tanks at a nearby service station and proceeded down river at twenty til twelve. About 15 minutes down river we came to Container Corpora­tion's pump in the river. We passed a nice camp cabin on the bank and saw posted signs indicating Container Corporation property.

We passed the mouth of Murder Creek about 12 noon and an old bridge shortly after 12. About 10 after 12, we saw a high pres­sure natural gas line that spanned the river. We passed several gravel pits and arrived at the Century, Florida bridge. Polly and Jackie with the other children waved to us from the bridge. Palmettos were heavy in this area. We even met a boat going up river just before we came to an old draw bridge over the river. It was no longer in use. We reached a log jam about 1:20 pm. We had to get out of the boat and pull the boat across the logs to get across the log jam. We saw several gators in this area. They were from three to five feet in length. We crossed a second log jam but it was not as bad as the first. We arrived at the Pace bridge about 2:22 PM. It was almost three o’clock when we pulled into the landing on the Pensacola side of the bay. We had passed the large chemical and transmission lines up the river.

We were all tired out but it was a nice trip down the river over a route our ancestors had also traveled many times. A countless number of timber rafters had made this same journey in times past. They would camp overnight several times along the banks of the river or sand bars. I imagine most of the early settlers of old Montezuma made their way down this river to trade in Pensacola. Even before the establishment of the little town of Montezuma, the Indians had used this same route to trade in Pensacola. It was a great experience and I think everyone enjoyed the trip. Our families were waiting at the landing to help us load the boat on the trailer for the return trip home over land. I would like to make the trip again - Would you?




THE VERY FIRST COUNTY FAIR

(From the Andalusia star 1920) The Covington County Fair is now a matter of history. After a week of ideal weather which enabled thirty thousand visitors to enter the gates and view the splendid exhibits, witness the attractions and mix and mingle with friends, the curtain was rung down at an early hour Saturday night on one of the best county fairs ever pulled off in a southern state. ' Much credit is due Mr. 0. L. Benson who had charge of the construction work, for the splendid arrangement of the exhibition buildings and for the superb race track. Col. G.O. Waits and Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce Scherf are each entitled to a real measure of praise for the splendid attractions which were secured for the big event. Mayor Trammel Henderson and the city council deserve a word of commendation for the manner in which order was observed in the handling of the vast throngs and in keeping the streets and sidewalks open for traffic. In fact every one connected with the fair and every citizen of Andalusia so far as we observed made it a point during the week to see to it that the visitors carried away with them a good impression of Andalusia. The races were an excellent feature of the Fair. Perhaps they were the strongest drawing card, as most everyone had a little sporting blood in his or her veins and it is an exception when you find a man or woman who does not like to see a real horse race. The community exhibits were another feature of the fair, which evoked much favorable comment. Many were the expressions of praise we hear of the splendid community exhibits. This department was under the supervision Miss Jackson, our county home demonstration agent. The livestock was a delight to every member of the association as well as to all visitors. Tne poultry exhibits were also up to standard and Mr. Brown gave the promise of even greater strides in his department for another year. The woman’s building was under the supervision of Mrs. Oscar Dugger and was a veritable mecca for all visitors. Not only did this building contain the community exhibits and the Red Cross booth but it also contained the needlework, fancy work and curios. In each of these departments were exhibits that were the marvel of all who saw them The Midway was another attraction which claimed the attention of everyone particularly in the evenings. The free acts including the aeroplane flights, the musical numbers and the acrobatic stunts and the intermission fireworks were features that would have done credit to the state fair. The Star is highly pleased with the Big Fair and we congratulate the management on the splendid success achieved the first year. We shall look forward to the 1921 fair with assurance that even greater things are in store for the people of Covington County both in the way of agricultural and household exhibits as well as future attractions.




FORD TRI-MOTOR AIRPLANE VISITS ANDALUSIA

Andalusia will have an interesting and unique visitor Friday, Saturday and Sunday when a Ford Tri-motor plane and a stunt exhibition plane will land at the Andalusia Airport (Old Dixon Airport on the Florala Road).

The visit of these planes is being made possible through the Andalusia Motor Company. The plane will carry passengers wishing to ride on the twelve mile air tour at a nominal cost made possible by the Andalusia Motor Company.

This is the first time that a Ford Tri-motor has made a visit to Andalusia and its reception in an airminded town will be a good one.

The ship is a sister to that flown by Commander Richard E. Byrd on his flight over the South Pole and also on his flight across the Atlantic Ocean. This type of plane is flown on transcontinental airways from coast to coast including the flight across the Rocky Mountains.

Safety of the passengers riding in the plane is assured by use of three independent motor plants, all metal construction throughout and the ships being manned by a pilot and co-pilot at all times. The big plane cost $56,000.00 and is capable of carrying 14 passengers. It is equipped with three Wright whirlwind motors of over 300 horsepower each. Some of its modern conveniences include lavatory, electric lights, dressing room, running water and heat. It has a wing spread of 76 feet and weights 10,000 pounds when loaded. It is capable of a top speed of 150 miles an hour and has a cruising speed of 125 miles an hour.

The visit of these planes is offering the people of Covington County an opportunity to ride in safety and luxury. There will be a program of aerial stunts Sunday afternoon free of charge to the spectators.

The plane's crew is composed of transport pilots, Captain W. M. Cary, Sergeant F. Hartman and Lieutenant Mathews who have been engaged in transport flying for several years.

(From the Covington News of January 25, 1931) Your editor recalls this plane with a vivid memory. My mother took me for a ride on the Tri-motor over Andalusia - On takeoff, one of the motors quit and the takeoff was aborted. We returned to the hanger where the engine was started again then we made the successful trip. Today I would have simply gotten off with the first failure to take-off.




THE THREE NOTCH MUSEUM

Opened to the public in 1987, the Museum continues to make progress. We have a wonderful collection of articles that relate to Covington County and Andalusia history. An extensive collection of early photographs is one of our featured items. The Mark Gibson miniature Railroad is the place all the children like to visit. We have recently added a display for small children. Thanks to Mrs. Linda Castleberry has provided an extensive Tomas the Tank Train items. The small children love it and even have birthday parties with Thomas the Tank train layout. We are so proud of the River Falls Post Office and the Clark Family Log Cabin. Our Country Store takes one back to the days when lots of mom and pop type stores dotted our rural countryside.

The Museum has several needs at this time, but the primary one is community support. We hope you will find a time to visit the Museum and see for yourself what is in and around the old Central of Georgia Depot building. Take a walk back in time and visit early Andalusia. Our hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays 9 AM til 12 Noon, and Sundays from 2 PM til 4 PM. Our Museum is free to all visitors and should you want to make a voluntary contribution, there is a contribution jar for your use if desired.

On behalf of the Museum, we would like to invite you to become a member of the Covington Historical Society, the sponsor of the Museum. Annual membership is only $25.00 per person or $40.00 for you and your wife. We are now accepting membership dues for the year 2012. Your membership would be a great support for all the various volunteers who provide the Museum. With your membership you can be as active or inactive as you desire. We would love to have you join - think about it and write your check payable to the "Covington Historical Society" Mark it for 2012 Dues and mail to P. O. Box 1582, Andalusia, Alabama 36420. Do it today - it goes for a good cause and come see us at the Museum soon!




DO YOU REMEMBER THE OLD FOX THEATER ?

We called it the Picture Show and the Fox was a great place for youths of all ages. Most of the time it was open only on Friday and Saturday and it featured cowboy pictures. Tom Mix, Buck Jones, Johnny Mac Brown and other stars of the times were the feature length stars. In addition to the full length movies they always had a serial that would run for about 15 weeks. Each week the serial would end at a dramatic point and you just had to be around the next week to see the outcome. It was difficult to leave town and perhaps go to the beach with the serial in process at the Fox. They ran previews of upcoming movies and maintained order in the theater with an attendant walking down one isle and back up the other. They sold popcorn and a few candy bars but did not sell soft drinks as many movie theaters do today. The building was built by the late Mrs. James Morgan Prestwood, Sr., the mother of James M. Prestwood, also deceased. It was designed for a theater and featured a small stage in front of the screen. I recall several events were staged there and at one time a magician performed the audience. There was a piano down front to provide music for the silent pictures that played until sound movies came along. Julian Studstill a nephew of Z. D. Studstill the owner of the theater operation was the projector operator. At least one fire occurred in the projection booth and he narrowly escaped the flames. Films were highly flammable in those days. Admission price ranged from 10 cents to 15 cents and you could stay in all afternoon if you so desired.

Other theaters were located in the Prestwood building, the building now occupied by Wayne Bush, and on South Cotton on the north side of Alan Cotton’s Flower Shop. Many of us remember the Fendley Drive-In below Cotton Tractor on the Florala Road. Of course, the current theater is located in the old First National Bank building next to the O’Neal Agency.

Entrance to the Fox theater could be gained by going to the right or left of the ticket booth that was in the front center of the building. It was necessary to go up a short flight of steps to gain entry. The floor in the theater sloped toward the screen.

At the front entrance of the Fox Theater advertisements of the current and future movies were posted in wooden frames. We always joked about the Fox Theater – we said they gave you two sticks when you paid your admission fee – one to prop the seat up and the other to beat off the rats. Today the building is no longer there. It is a parking lot between the vacant Studstill Mathews Buick building on the north side of East Three Notch and the old Pizza place adjacent to Powell Furniture.

My father had a good friend in Mr. George Black. Mr. Black was an industrious farmer who was quite successful. Mr. Black would never come to town without eggs, a water melon or some produce to sell. He was a good customer at my dad’s Woco Pep filling station. My father encouraged Mr. Black to go to a movie because he thought he would enjoy it. Finally Mr. Black consented and he and my father enjoyed it very much. From that day forward Mr. Black was a frequent customer at the old Fox Theater. Frequently he would take one or more of his children with him to the movie.





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