AUTHOR SUNDAY – Growing up in Munford, Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s

When we were kids growing up in Munford, AL, there was a group of us neighborhood boys that rode bikes everywhere. Mine had a 26” wheel on the front and a 24” on the back and only 1 pedal and a big freezer basket wired to the handlebars.

Munford, Talladega County, Alabama

munford talladega map

One boy rode a big ole mule

All of us had bikes except one boy and he rode this big ole mule. This ole mule had a softball size growth on his side that looked like a huge wart. I remember that boy riding that mule with his foot resting on that growth.

We built a mega tree house in Alan Conerly’s backyard

We were either fishing in the local creeks, exploring caves in local hill sides, hunting arrowheads in the fields, hunting with our BB guns, building bows and arrows or making something to play with. We built a mega tree house in Alan Conerly’s backyard that had about 6 levels. It was where Dabbs Auto Service is now located. It had about 20 rooms and little decks here and there. It’s a wonder we didn’t get killed working on that thing.

Fred Layton told us all about the Indians of this area

We would go over to Fred Layton’s house and he would tell us all about the Indians of this area. He was such a great local historian. Ole “Walking Kelly” was also a source of our entertainment and he could really tell some good ones. Blake Harris’s Mother had a big minor bird that the old man Harris had taught it how to cuss and we would go over there and provoke the bird into saying his 4 letter words. Mrs. Harris would get so mad at us. They lived where Lewis White lives now. We thought that was so funny.

The old foundry was closed and we explored all the old buildings

The old foundry was closed and we had great times over there exploring all the old buildings, there was a security guard there but he never caught us. There was a building there that had old lead headed nails all over the floor and in old wooded barrels and we would get the lead off the nails and make fishing weights out of them. We would dig worms, cut weed worms, hunt jim-stretchers, sain minnows and hellgrammites and sell them for fish bait. We walked around picking up coke bottles and selling them a Haynes store. It was just a great time growing up here and I wouldn’t take anything for it.

1991 Honda Civic Electrical Troubleshooting Manual (ETM) Paperback – 1991





  1. My father and his parents and seven siblings lived in the Bethlehem Methodist church area in the 1920’s and after.

    1. I was at Bethlehem 2 weeks ago doing research

      1. Hi Novella…I believe I am a relative of yours. I want to do some research into our family tree and when I start: I would start in Munford as my father and mother were born and raised in that area, married and had four of their ten children in a four room house in Munford. I am the fourth child born in this house. Wardell Parnell and Novella Smith Parnell Robinson. If your parents are Johnnie and Bobby Robinson; then, we are related. My mother, Bobby’s half sister is Ruby Van Alvin Parnell Adams and we are connected. I am a short story writer and want to find out things such as how they made their living, their hobbies, their personalities, and things such as this. I would love to share and maybe help with the research into our family tree. You can contact me at [email protected]. Thanks and hope I hear from you soon. I currently live in Santa Monica, California.

  2. My whole family is from munford. Most are buried at Bethlehem. Stephens and Robinson’s

  3. Thanks Johnny for your short story.. I can relate to lots of things you talk about, because I grew up in and around Munford during the 40’s, and 50’s. During the forties, there was a theater, two restaurants, a trailways bus station next to my Grandma Lackey’s home, Haynes grocery, Costner grocery, Harris drug store , Roland Camp’s service station, and grocery, L&N railroad station, the foundry was still in operation, and many other things that have gone by the wayside..

    1. hey do you have any info on the café that was in Munford back in the 50’s …I’m guessing 56

  4. I have some of Fred Layton’s old maps that he used in his quest to find old Indian artifacts, camp sites, etc. I got them from his Granddaughter many years ago.

    1. I grew up in South Alabama and can relate to the story, especially about playing outside and making things to play with. But I have trouble with the bicycle with different size tires and with one pedal. I suppose that was a local fashion?

  5. Interesting. I lived in Sylacauga, Talladega, and Lineville, then Sylacauga again. My five siblings and I did so many of the things that you enjoyed also in the 50s and early 60s. Remember Camp Mac? Did you go there? In Talladega, we lived next door to the McBrides. Do you know Tommy or Billy Tate? My brother, Billy has many, many Indian relics found near Childersburg. Son, Bill Jackson still collects great points in/by Cypress Creek. I live in Tomball, TX.

  6. Hi, Has anyone in your area ever heard of a Joe Cooley in Talladega?

    1. Joe Charles was my cousin I was young but still remember him well he was a wildcard

    2. I knew Johnny McKenzie, Mayor of Talladega, his sisters–Mary Jo and Nancy. Are you related?

  7. Greetings, Has anyone in Mumford ever heard of Joe Cooley in Talladega? I attended Auburn University in 1955, ’56, ’57, and part of ’58 and he was an acquaintance during ’55 and ’56. Joe Cooley and I shared a mutual interest in automobiles. I believe his father owned an Oldsmobile dealership in Talladega at that time. I’ve not heard from or about him since March of ’56. Incidentally, I retired from Ford Motor Company, Car Division after a 39 year, 8 month career in June, 2005.

    Dave McKenzie, (Elmo), Howell, Michigan

    1. Uncle George owned Cooley auto service in bemiston that’s where Joe grew up.He had some fast cars.Police didn’t even chase him just write ticket and take it to George house

    2. I were raised in Eastaboga, but I remember going to Talladega as a little girl and seeing Cooley motors . I don’t live in Alabama now, but I went back there last year in 2016 I seen the old rusty sign you can barely see “Cooley Oldsmobile ” where I live now in TX. There were was a new dealership called Clay Cooley right away I were thinking I remember a Cooley motors in Talladega I wonder could they be related some how.

  8. Enjoyed the article very much…brings back memories!

  9. I grew up in granttown we were all over Munford I remember me and my cuzzins going fishing in matt Cole pond and walking to runt Kemp store and my aunt Essie may Boyd had the neighborhood candy store

  10. Enjoyed this article. I am researching a 3rd great grandfather, James William Coburn, and with few clues, I am jumping all over the state…I enjoy reading the history, from all around the state….I like this page very much. Lisa

  11. Lived in Munford in the early 50s. My dad was the preacher at the Baptist church. Remember Tick Haynes and his store located down next to the place where cotton pickers would gather and then on highway 21. I do recall a sweet lady named Lucy. At that time ‘I love Lucy’ was a big TV show and I thought she was the queen of the world, Lucy of Munford that is. Our home was just down the hill from the highway. We had a small house in the back and some old gentleman lived there. I also recall two houses down there was a young girl about my age, we played together until one day I left teeth marks on her arm. I had to go see her and ask her to do the same to me. That was my punishment by my parents. Never again did I do such a thing to anyone.

    Many moons ago.

    1. do you remember the café back then searching for my moma

  12. I was born in 1950 in munford. As children me and my sisters would walk to Runt Camps store down the road from our house and buy candy and Nehi soft drinks.Once a month daddy(David Lucius Mckinney) would send us to Hayne’s grocery store to get some needed supplies. We always took the railroad tracks back home because mama and daddy thought it was safer than the highway.Mr. Clarence Hobbs would pick up a small group of us on Saturday down at Shady Grove Baptist Church or some other place that was convenient to go and work on his small farm.We didn’t do much work or make much money but we sure had fun with our freinds in those feilds. When i come to visit my family in munford it brings back such memories.


  13. I was born and raised in Munford in 1949,i have Lots of memories from there.i remember we Lived about a block up Jenifer Rd.from Runt Camps store,we could walk to his store in about 5 minutes.he had the bes moon cookies &sugar daddies,banana kisses which I guess now are called now or Laters,often his wife or his son Cecil Camp Jr would keep the store and if the cookies were broken up they would sell you a Little brown bag full for a nickel.my father was well known by all the people there,he worked for mr.& mrs.Bell.he had a grocery bill where he could buy groceries on credit at Lawson Haynes store.i remember we would walk the L&N railroad track to go to his store,it would bring you right into the store yard with an old croker sack to bring the food back in.”my daddy,s name was D.L.Mckinney,some of you might know him as Regler as which he was called.one of the oldest men that Lived there born in 1889.we got old toys at Christmas time,a shoebox with an orange,an apple,several pecans,3 or 4 brazil nuts & a couple of peppermint sticks which was part of our gifts maybe a tangerine,so one year Dad & Mom must have got a Little money because my two sisters & I got a Cinderella bike,big whitewall tires,(very nice) we had to take terms riding it because it was all three of ours together.we finally somehow got an old mule & wagon,we would put straw in the wagon and ride places then.this was really some fun which I almost forgot Dad made us a swing in a big old oak tree with a car tire hooked onto some cables or maybe a stout rope but that thing could swing you far out,but you had to be careful not to fall out.we washed clothes on a rub board in a # 3 tub, Dad killed hogs with Mr.Thurman Jemison and built a smokehouse in the yard and smoked his hams he bought chickens and raised them,and I would see him go get a chicken and ring it,s neck off,that disturbed us as being young children to see it flipping on the ground until it died.and I could go on and on but I will stop at this point.and this is some history from the 60s.(please post this for our family & freinds–Thank you & God bless!!!

  14. How happy I was to get this from a friend in Arkansas, Mike Burson. My father’s ancestors settled in the area around Horsecreek in the 1800’s. We love to go up there and try to find old cemeteries where our ancestors are buried. We have been to Horsecreek only once. Our great, great, great grandfather is buried there. We also have ancestors buried at Seays Chapel which we have been unable to find. When my father was alive we loved to take him up there and after much looking and riding around we were able to find Stephen Clark Atkisson and Steven Rals Atkisson. We were in that area last Fall and wanted so much to find graves of our ancestors but we didn’t have any luck. We ran into a family member while we were riding around named William Marler who lives on Cedar Road in Munford. He told us he had a grandmother who was buried at Horsecreek and that he would be glad to take us there when we could get up there again. We are planning a trip in the Spring. We live in Elmore county, about 60 miles from Munford. I have seen your name on many genealogical searches. It would be a pleasure to meet you. Mary Ann Atkisson Lee

  15. I am surprised that none of the Munford residents spoke of Camp Mac.

  16. I remember Camp Mac, before they built the causeway and two lakes.. We had to drive thru Tater Creek, to get to Cheaha Park, or to my dads property which was up in the mountains, just west of Cheaha lake.. We lived over Cemetery mountain, and then over Dye mountain, which is now Lake Robin Circle. We lived up the hill from the confluence of East Creek and Horse creek on Al Lackey’s property. All of this was in the mid and late 40’s.

  17. Yes, growing up in the 50’s was a special time for those of us who had the privilege of doing so. My twin brother and I along with three friends got up one hot and steamy summer morning in 1957, ate our breakfast, packed us a lunch to put in the wire basket on the handlebar of our fat tire bicycles and left Leeds and rode up highway 411 to highway 231 turned left and stopped under some trees close to where Asheville schools are located now and ate our lunches. Then we rode back to our homes in Leeds. No problems, had a great time and were back in seven hours.

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