Early Days of West Greensboro, Alabama
(Written in 1908)
In 1835, the road from Erie, the then county seat of Greene, made no turn at the N. B. Jones’ front gate as now, but continued at an angle in the rear of the Benners’ house near the present location of the Pasteur home, went across the Boardman front yard, and then entered Main street.
Greene County, Alabama
Beyond the Boardman residence was the home of Mrs. Ashe, and further on, as far as Dr. Wm. Jones’ plantation, which was located in the rear of the present Hobson homestead, all was a dense forest covered with thick undergrowth. The hollow just east of where W. B. Inge resides, was a very dense thicket, with a rippling stream flowing through it.
Ginning and Marketing Cotton
On the lot in the rear of Geo. Findlay’s store stood, in 1830, a gin house and screw. The merchants bought cotton in the seed and had it ginned, and the small planters brought in their cotton to have it ginned for toll. The merchants also bought much cotton in bales. Mobile was the market to which it was shipped, and the shipping point was what is now known as old Erie—not a house being left to mark the site of the once flourishing town. The hauling to Erie gave employment to a number of professional white teamsters. The mule teams of these wagoners, as well as the teams of the neighboring planters, were decorated with bells, high up over the hames, bright and glistening, which, besides setting off the beauty of the animals, made the streets musical and lively by their merry jingle.
Sport in the Old Days
In 1830, on the lot where now stands the handsome three-story Opera House, there was located a wall-like erection of plank supported by braces behind (say 30 feet long by 25 feet high) like one side of a building, for the purpose of ball-play. The name of the game played by the men of that distant period was “Fives,” and during the dull summer season, it was a very popular amusement. Baseball was one of the joys which the citizenship of the long ago never knew, and therefore never missed, just as the game of “Fives” is to the present generation.
Main street of Greensboro, Alabama May 1941 by Jack Delano (Library of Congress)
Up to 1832, the public school lands (the 16th section) were rented out, and the proceeds applied to the schools. On January 13th, 1832, they were sold at auction—John M. Bates, Patrick May and Hugh McCann being the commissioners. The plat (which shows the location of the roads at that time) with the names of the purchasers, is recorded in Book E, page 511 Greene county deed records. After the sale, the lands were cultivated by the owners or rented out. Some of the lots—that for instance on which stands the D. F. McCrary home, and others in close proximity, rented for $12 per acre per year for growing cotton. The land was rich and produced very fine crops.
When independence from Britain was won in 1776, a great westward movement of Americans began. Historians refer to this movement west as the Great Migration. Though it was only a territory, Alabama’s population grew faster than any other state in the United States during the time.
ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Immigrants includes some lost & forgotten stories of their experiences such as:
- The Birth of Twickenham
- Captain Slick – Fact or Fiction
- Vine & Olive Company
- The Death of Stooka
- President Monroe’s Surprise Visit To Huntsville
See larger image