News - from the past & the present

TBT: Throwback Thursday – Two murders and colleges were in the news on July 28, 1887

TBT: Weekly Iron Age July 28th 1887 News – The news of the day included the following transcribed stories.


J. M. Garrison Arrested for a Murder Committed in 1870

Huntsville, July 26—Special Deputy Porter, of Morgan county, arrived in the city yesterday morning, bringing an indictment found by the Grand Jury of Morgan county in the fall of 1870, charging J. M. Garrison with the murder of Miles Johnson and Deputy Sheriff Fulgham.

Porter found Garrison in the postoffice and executed the paper. Garrison was placed in jail here to await the action of the Morgan county authorities.

Since the murder was committed Garrison has lived a roving life in different Southern States. After a number of years he returned to Somerville, Ala., where the indictment was on file. Here he followed his vocation of sewing machine and clock repairer for some time. Finally he went to Decatur and from there he came to Huntsville; where he was apprehended and arrested. Garrison’s family, consisting of a wife and eight children, are living near Orlando postoffice, Marshall county, Ala.


Montgomery, July 26—The last general assembly established a State University for the colored people, to be located at the town offering the largest inducements. The board of trustees met today at the capitol and unanimously voted to locate it in Montgomery.

The contest was close between Montgomery and Birmingham, the former offering five thousand dollars in money and three acres of land, the latter offering three thousand and six acres of land. A petition numerlously signed byt the white people of Birmingham, was presented opposing the location of the University at that city. The great bulk of donations offered by both cities was voluntary subscriptions by the colored people. The University will be opened for students on October 1st next.1

Toots, B.B., Boots, and Ribbon in front of Alabama State ca. 1920(Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Toots, B.B., Boots, and Ribbon in front of Alabama State ca. 1920  – Four young women in front of Tullibody Hall on the campus of what would later become Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. At the time of the photograph, the school was probably called either State Normal School or State Teachers College. See more in footnote at the bottom. The girls are labeled on the back of the photograph as follows: 1. Brains 2. Beauty E. Bananas 4. Beautiful Q2825 (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Howard-College-Old perry county

Howard College in Marion, Perry County, Alabama prior to the proposed move (Alabama Department of Archives and History)


“Subscriptions are coming in rapidly and I think there is no doubt of raising enough money,” said Hon. R. H. Sterritt yesterday, speaking of the Howard College endowment. The Baptist of the city are working nobly to secure enough money to bring the college here no matter what Anniston may offer, and there is little doubt of their success. Those who subscribed some time ago have doubled or largely increased their subscription and almost every business man called on has responded liberally.The money can be raised, and it will be done, there is no doubt of that.

A Minister Talks

Rev. Dr. Henderson, pastor of the Baptist church of Northport, was here yesterday, on his return from the Baptist convention at Union Springs. The doctor has been preaching forty-seven years and ……good many years more. He says the recent convention was the largest and most interesting ever held in the State; that while the debate on the removal of Howard college was warm and spirited, there was not the slightest acrimony evinced, all the members seeming finally to be fixed in a harmonious conclusion. He said he thought the college would be brought to Birmingham, and that it ought to come here, for the best interests of the church and the education of its young men.

Howard College - cadets-1896

Cadets in front of Howard College in 1896 after it was moved to Birmingham – Howard moved again and has been renamed Samford University  (Alabama Department of Archives and History)


Sam Turner Meets Death at the Hands of James Williams

Remlap, Ala. July 21—{Special} Our usually quiet community is shocked by a sanguinary affair on the premises of Mr. Green Posey. Sam Turner late yesterday evening on returning from his work went by where James Williams and Green Posey were talking, near the border of a sugar corn patch. Williams and Turner soon engagd in a quarrel concering some reports which Williams accused Turner of telling, and before Posey apprehended any danger, Williams had discharged his double barrel shot gun at Turner, striking him in the right side. The load passed through his body and out the other side. Williams, so soon as he had perpetrated the deed, threw away his gun and fled rapidly. Vigilant efforts are being made to capture him.

Williams is between thirty-five an forty years old, about five feet seven inches in height, hump shouldered, has a very low forehead.

Springville, July 21—{Special} Mr. David C. Turner of Merphree’s Valley, Blount county, twelve miles from this place was shot and killed yesterday by one Williams. It seems that Turner had been making some unbecoming remarks about Williams, upon learning which, Williams shouldered his gun, went into the field where Turner was at work and after exchanging a few words with him, shot him down. Mr. Turner is said to have been a very quiet and peaceable man. At last report Williams had not been captured.

1Alabama State University founded in 1867 as the Lincoln Normal School of Marion in Marion. In December 1873, the State Board accepted the transfer of title to the school after a legislative act was passed authorizing the state to fund a Normal School, and George N. Card was named President. Thus, in 1874, this predecessor of Alabama State University became America’s first state-supported educational institution for blacks. This began ASU’s history as a “Teacher’s College.” In 1878, the second president, William Paterson, was appointed. He is honored as a founder of Alabama State University and was the president for 37 of the first 48 years of its existence. Paterson was instrumental in the move from Marion to Montgomery in 1887. In 1887, the university opened in its new location in Montgomery, but an Alabama State Supreme Court ruling forced the school to change its name; thus, the school was renamed the Normal School for Colored Students. (Wikipedia)

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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 All her books can be purchased at 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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