Days Gone By - stories from the pastGenealogy Information

Interesting photographs from Clayton, Alabama ca. 1915

While browsing the Alabama State Archives, I frequently run across some really interesting old photographs of Alabamians with absolutely no information about them. I always thought it was a shame that some family tried to save the photo for posterity by giving it to the Archives, but it is sad that we do not know the names.

Since we have so many readers around the world, I decided to publish a few of the really old ones on the website from time to time and perhaps someone will be able to identify the people in them or at least we can all enjoy looking at them. They provide an interesting glimpse of Alabama’s past.

If you have information, please share it in the Reply section below and be sure to identify the photograph (i.e. File #, File #) in your response. You can also click on the link at the top to reach the actual Archives photograph and provide any information you have directly to them.

Two photographs of Caleb Stevens and family on the Williams plantation in Clayton, Alabama Q1754 ca 1940 – Caleb’s father was a slave of the Honorable John N. Williams of Clayton.

Alabama Writers Project at Alabama State Archives



Caleb_Stevens_and_family_on_the_Williams_plantation_in_Clayton_Alabama (1)

The three interesting photographs from Clayton, Alabama below are from Anna T Jeanes Foundation – Negro Rural School Fund, Inc. at Alabama State Archives taken around 1915 in Clayton, Alabama

UPDATE –  THE THREE PICTURES BELOW HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED BY JAMES MORGAN III – as pictures from the  Jones Chapel A.M.E. Church in Clayton – James Morgan III ancestor pasted there in 1930-32.

African American teachers standing on the steps of a wooden church building in Clayton, Alabama File Q42751


Elderly African American man giving lessons in a church in Clayton, Alabama. File Q42753Elderly_African_American_man_showing_teachers_how_to_cane_a_chair_in_a_wooden_church_building_in_Clayton_Alabama

Elderly African American man weaving a basket outside a church building in Clayton, Alabama in 1915. He had learned his trade in slavery days and was employed to give the teachers  lessons in basket making, bottoming chairs and such work File Q42752


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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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  1. Wonderful pictures!!!

  2. I recall large baskets similar to the one that gentleman is weaving on my grandparents’ farm in Barbour County. They were still in use in the 1950s for gathering and transporting feed corn, as I recall. Great post!

  3. Thanks for posting these great photos! An entire side of my family comes from Clayton in Barbour County, the Smiths, the Thomas’, the Camerons and the Bushs’. Sadly, I only have a family history of the Bushs’. Keep these coming!

  4. Looks like he is making a nice large basket.

  5. Caleb’s father and Caleb Stevens were the ONLY Honorable men! There is and was NOTHING “honorable” about John N Williams of Clayton and man who owned other MEN!! Absolutely nothing honorable about that!! Y’all got it twisted! Unbelievable!!

  6. Making a cotton basket. My papa made these.

  7. At the Decatur library they have an alabama room I’ve spent hours in there

  8. The Alabama Archives is ALWAYS glad to get info about photos!

  9. My family is from Clayton, still have some there…miss y’all…

  10. I used to help my grandfather make these!!!

  11. I was raised in Clayton. I used to live on Indian lake road. I was wondering if anyone could help me find out history about the place. I’ve heard there was a plantation on the property. Where I lived at my daddy put a trail or where the master house sat. But when looking up about it,I find nothing on it

  12. Lots of people made their own baskets. My Uncle & aunt made chairs & reed oak baskets in 1945.

  13. He’s making a cotton basket.

  14. Amazing the lost info in families. I find in my family search it is due to lack of labeling the photos. They are past down and younger generations loose knowledge of the past and just give or toss old photos as they don’t know who they are.

  15. The name of the church in that picture is Jones Chapel A.M.E. Church in Clayton. My ancestor Rev. W.J. Hightower was Pastor there from 1930-1932.

  16. Oak baskets were made for gathering cotton or to hold vegatables in root cellar. My Uncle in Chandler Springs made baskets & chairs to sell also.

  17. I am very excited to see a picture of a man weaving a basket. My great grandfather weaved baskets. This was passed down to my grandfather. I suspect that my great grandfather learned it from his mother or father. I don’t know their names though. All I know is that the family believes that the Pruitts came from Alabama. I would love to know if the basket weaving were specific to a certain area in Alabama.

  18. I believe two of the people in the photo of teachers are my grandmother and grandfather. Both were teachers in this area of Alabama during the early part of 1900s. The picture is not clear but two people look like early pictures we have of them.

  19. i loved my prince ella bedell .i saw no color

  20. I wish there was more information on how slaves lived in the 1800’s.. I think the movie roots gives people a bad idea of how they lived and where treated.. If people understood that most slaves where treated very well even better than poor whites. Then less liberals would try and us slavery as a tool against uneducated blacks and white guilt trippers now to vote with racism in their eyes instead of knowledge.

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