Days Gone By - stories from the past

Rosa Parks lived in Abbeville, the oldest colonial settlement – her childhood home is still there


On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old African American woman who worked as a seamstress, boarded a Montgomery City bus to go home from work. On this bus on that day, Rosa Parks initiated a new era in the American quest for freedom and equality. For a time, Rosa Parks family lived in Abbeville, Alabama and her childhood home is still there.

Henry County, Abbeville map

Oldest Settlement

Abbeville is the oldest remaining colonial settlement in East Alabama from Florida to the Tennessee line, older than the county of Henry and the State of Alabama. In early 1819, an active trading post in the Alabama Territory was located on the The Hill.


Located near the Chattahoochee

Abbeville is located in the central part of the Henry county, 28 miles south of Eufaula, 14 miles west of the Chattahoochee River, on the high red hills of the pine region of the county at the junction of two historic stagecoach roads. the Eufaula and Columbia road and the road to Ft. Gaines, Georgia.

 Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, AL

(Historic American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934 FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, S.W)
Historic American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934 FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, S.W. - Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, AL
Historic American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934 FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, S.W. – Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, AL

Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, ALThe name of the town is taken from Abbey Creek (Indian name, Yatta Abba), which is not far distant which was named for a local Muscogee Indian man at the time of the town’s settlement.

(Historic American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934 REAR AND SIDE VIEW, N.E.)

Historic American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934 REAR AND SIDE VIEW, N.E. - Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, AL

Name taken from Abbey Creek

The name of the town is taken from Abbey Creek (Indian name, Yatta Abba), which is not far distant which was named for a local Muscogee Indian man at the time of the town’s settlement.

S. M. Dunwoody House, Abbeville Highway, Columbia, Houston County, AL

(W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 13, 1934 FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, N.E).

W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 13, 1934 FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, N.E. - S. M. Dunwoody House, Abbeville Highway, Columbia, Houston County, AL

S. M. Dunwoody House, Abbeville Highway, Columbia, Houston County, AL

(W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 13, 1934 REAR AND SIDE VIEW, S.W.)

W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 13, 1934 REAR AND SIDE VIEW, S.W. - S. M. Dunwoody House, Abbeville Highway, Columbia, Houston County, AL

Became County Seat

The town of Abbeville became the county seat in 1833, but was a fairly populous community long before that date.

Part of the town is located on land formerly belonging to Henry A. Young, who donated several streets through his property on the north side of the public square.

Among the early settlers or residents were Alexander C. Gordon, merchant and planter, who served his State and county in the militia, in the Creek Indian disturbances of 1836, and as a captain in the Sixth Alabama Infantry Regiment; James Ward, State senator and representative; George W. Williams, lawyer and legislator; James N. Lightfoot; and Governor William C. Oates.

Governor William C. Oates was born to a “poor family on a hardscrabble farm in southeastern Alabama, he received scant education and fled the state at age sixteen following a brush with the law.

After stints as a deckhand, house-painter, and gambler, he earned enough money to attend school, became a teacher and, eventually, a lawyer in Abbeville. When the Civil war began, he raised an infantry company, served under “Stonewall” Jackson in his 1862 Valley Campaign, and was colonel and commander of the 15the Alabama by age twenty-seven.”1

For a short time, Rosa Parks family lived Abbeville.

Childhood home of Rosa Parks

rosa-home-2

The oldest remaining structure in Abbeville is the Bethune-Kennedy House constructed in 1840. Confederated Colonel William Calvin Bethune, M. D. was the earliest known owner. Mollie Kennedy was the last owner who lived there.

The home was purchased in 1976, placed on the National Register in 1978 and then restored by the Henry County Historical Society. Now it is owned by the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce.  Today, Abbeville is a thriving town of a little over 2500 people.

Some historically significant sites in Abbeville include:

Check out all Alabama Pioneers books

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1The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader: An Eyewitness History of the Civil War’s Greatest Battle By Rod GraggRegnery Publishing, Jun 10, 2013

 

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1)

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1)


By (author): Donna R Causey
List Price: $11.77 USD
New From: $10.95 USD In Stock

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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33 comments

  1. […] Franklin as the first white settlement in the Creek territory. The former river port served Abbeville on the Chattahoochee River. Much of the original Henry County was part of the original Alabama […]

  2. Lynn Hon

    Jarrett Robinson

  3. William Windy Wingard

    The blacks are waiting for the whites to do it so they can complain about

  4. So amazing of the racism that still carries out In this day and time. It’s history to blacks and we care. I can say so much but won’t but I will say this we are all created from the same creator God. Just different skin color, and in the end we will all see the same when we leave this world. That is when Jesus comes back every eye shall see and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. There is only two places that awaits for every man soul and that’s heaven or hell. Hatred for a person skin color will surely take you to one of these places. If you don’t believe just wait a little whIle longer. Oh be careful little mouths of what you say!

  5. The Rosa Parks house may be too far gone to restore, but someone involved with historic preservation needs to hurry and try to save this great old place.

  6. This was a good read about Abbeville Al. Henry Co.. I was born there but my parents move away while I was a baby. Thank goodness I see from reading the comments and based on what I always heard… racism and bigotry still runs deep.

  7. 26 miles from my hometown

  8. WHAT FACTUAL INFORMATION DO HAVE THAT DOCUMENTS THAT ROSIA PARKS LIVED IN THIS HOUSE??WHERE IS YOUR PROOF.?PLEASE SHARE IT WITH ME.I AM AN AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE TRAIL BLAZER FOR HER LEGACY.

  9. Carl Smith

    This house should be preserved.

    1. Cathy Key Cleiland

      No it wasn’t. It was moved.

  10. Ron Griffin

    Rosa Parks was trained at the counist school on Monteagle Moutain to do what she did. I a sick of seeing her depicted as an innocent poor working Black woman. She was trained by the counists to disrupt and that is wha she did. Read a damn book or two and tell the truth.

    1. Harriet Swift

      And what books have you read, Mr. Illiterate? “The Bigot’s Guide to History”? “Gone With White Privilege”? It is the great shame of Alabama that there was a legalized system of discrimination that had to be disrupted.

    2. Brian David Johnson

      Sometimes it takes disruption to make things right. She was absolutely right in what she did. Get over it.

  11. B Monique Jeter

    Rosa Parks was a great American hero.

    1. La Donna Cauley

      Claudette Colvin should be the one honored.

    2. B Monique Jeter

      Yes, she should most definitely

    1. B Monique Jeter

      You cared enough to comment.

    2. Marlon Long

      B Monique Jeter SaY WaT???

    3. Marlon Long

      Yes Martha it’s very disrespectful to me, but most don’t see their own guilty behavior. The whole point is that it only means something to the people who cares? You may not care that i like the Rebel Flag as being a history buff, just as i don’t care about rosa parks sitting her butt on the back of a bus and shut up? But if that means something to you then i’m all for your personal rights on that said subject matter. So don’t condemn me to what matters to me as I won’t the same to what matters to you. Whats personal to one is not to another, and should not be tried to be erased or removed from reality. With that being said rosa was no hero but a trouble maker to many people. The Rebel Flag & Civil War Monuments may not be the flag that many people respect, but it should no more be repressed than repressing Rosa Parks or MLK monuments. Therefore it’s DISCRIMINATION to try erase and get rid of my personal views on subjects that i care about, and you get to keep your personal views on your such said cares that mean something to you. The only thing(s) that should ever be removed if it goes against the Biblical teachings of God Almighty.
      Andy said it best, Andrew Young the former Black christian Mayor of Atlanta who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. “people need to leave the Rebel Flag alone because it means different things to different people.” Andrew one of the few black people who understands personal rights, and who has been there and done that many times not just for blacks but for all color??? H.K. Egerton former Black NAACP President of North Carolina promotes the Rebel Flag and Civil War Monuments all across the South. H.K. will tell you in a moment that slavery was wrong, but don’t fool with his Civil War Heritage. Yes there were many black Confederate soldiers and yes slavery was only one issue. The War was fought over Secession of Rights. No white soldier ever went to war to lay his life down for a mere slave but for Southern rights.
      Rosa stood not for black rights but for her personal rights as an individual, which later people used for all black rights on a bus. So, who cares? I care for you when you care for me. My care / our care MATTERS…

  12. Patricia Ryals Cowart

    I always liked the explanation of Rosa Parks in the movie “Barbershop”.

  13. Kathy McClelland

    I have sat on that bus where Rosa sat, and what a privilege it was. greatt ladyGr

  14. This is an awsome read! I live just down the road from Abbeville But some of these comments!! It makes me sick to see all the crooked politics and clear racism that people seem to think should be ignored.

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