EUFAULA, ALABAMA – YEAR 1875
(Transcribed from History of Eufaula, Alabama: the bluff city of the Chattahoochee
By J. A. B. Besson – 1875)
We have on the swift wings of memory taken a retrospective flight over old Irwinton, and noted many of the varied events that swept her on, and away, and merged her into the Eufaula of 1842, and the continually advancing tide of progress has brought us to the Eufaula of to-day: may we not, with some degree of certainty, predict the future of Eufaula on the same basis of progression. To-day we mark the evidences of industry, and see the accumulating evidences of patient; toil. The old generation is fast passing away and a new one has control, and adding knowledge to the experiences of the past, new and grander aims are filling the minds of those who occupy the places of trust and profit; and in financial and commercial circles, the men of to-day are wiser than those of the past.
The Effects of the Late War Fading Out.
The dire effects of the late civil war is fast fading away; public confidence is now rapidly being restored; better laws are being enacted; the laboring classes have gone to work with an energy and good will never before witnessed since the war, and a general good feeling exists between labor and capital, and we may safely predict that it will not be long before this whole Southern land shall again “blossom as the rose.”
The Political Sky Clearing.
The curse of political corruption, that hung like a millstone around the neck of the people, fastened upon them by a set of unscrupulous and contemptible scalawags and carpet-baggers, has now been removed and hope, encouragingly beckons onward. And, now, Eufaula presents advantages of illimitable extent, both in a commercial and financial point of view, and we may again justly add, also, as a manufacturing centre. Here is presented a field for the profitable use of at least one million of dollars.
The Business of the City.
The amount of groceries sold annually in Eufaula is simply immense, and then add to the heavy goods—the fancy groceries and general merchandise—in all, amounting to not less than four millions of dollars. Before the war Eufaula was one of the best business places in the whole South, and she is destined at no distant day to be so again.
“Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Breast.”
At no period since the war have her people been more hopeful than now; the shackles with which she has so long been bound are broken, and to-day she is rising from the dust of her humiliation, and soon prosperity shall again dwell among her people as peace now reigns within her borders.
No Manufactories, but Strong Inducements.
No manufactories (except one) have been erected, and yet facilities of unusual advantages are within easy reach; healthful climate, pure water in abundance, raw material at the very doors — cotton, wool, coal, iron and wood; nothing wanting but capital. Let such who are seeking investments come and see for themselves. A city that can, by a few thousands of dollars properly invested, become one of- the wealthiest (as it now is the loveliest) in all the Sunny South, and where one may live the year around, happily, healthfully and contentedly, having good society, and all the advantages of a large city, without many of their evils.
Rich Farming Lands and their Products.
The country around Eufaula is rich in farming lands, which are easily cultivated and can be bought for from five to ten dollars per acre, and are in the great cotton belt of the country, producing a half bale to the acre, and, by the right kind of cultivation, can be made to yield much more. Corn grows luxuriantly, as also does all the small grain, and peas and potatoes; sugar cane thrives well, and every farmer can make his own sugar and molasses. Also, all kinds of fruit can be grown to perfection — peaches, apples, quince, pears and all kinds of grapes and berries.
Population and Resources of Country Around.
The country around Eufaula has a large population, and already over 75,000 people draw their supplies directly and indirectly from this city. The negro population is large, and had it not been for the advice of bad men and their interference for the last few years, their industry, with proper direction, would have long ago made itself manifest in the rapid recuperation of the county from the dire effects of the late war. Now, as we have before stated, affairs are changing and a new order of things is fully inaugurated, and it will be but a short time when there shall be presented to the world a land, as it were, “flowing with milk and honey” — a land of wealth and liberty, “The land of the free and the home of the brave.”
The Municipal Government of Eufaula.
The municipal affairs of the city are controlled and managed by a Mayor and a Board of eight Aldermen, who are elected once a year; two Aldermen from each of the four Wards of the city; also, a Clerk and Treasurer. The police are under a Marshal, who has such force at his disposal as the necessities of the hour may require, but ordinarily only some three or four policemen are on duty. The City Council can increase the force or decrease it as they see proper.
The Water Supply.
Eufaula possesses the most natural advantages for waterworks, both in the ease for obtaining the necessary supply and for location of reservoirs. Some of the elevations on which works could be constructed are at least seventy-five feet above the business portion of the city, and also, of the majority of private residences. For ordinary purposes water is plentiful, soft, cool and delightful, drawn from the deep wells on every premise in the city. There is scarcely a family but has its well of cool and sparkling water. The water supply for the engines, in case of fire, is drawn from immense cisterns, located at the intersections of the business streets, and convenient; the quantity of water is fully adequate to meet any demand that could be made. Thus is the city well protected from the fire fiend, so far as human agency is concerned, and also for the ordinary purposes of life.
Her Fire Department is composed of two hand engines and one hook and ladder company. The companies are made up of the best men of the city; they each have their respective halls, handsomely furnished and evidencing the taste of cultivated gentlemen. Her Department is under a Chief and other officers usual on such staff. Eufaula feels proud of her citizen firemen, and challenges any of her sister cities to produce a more gallant and finer-looking set of men, from the Chief down to the tiny color-bearers, who ride in triumph on the carriages.
Her Hotels, ” Commercial” and ” Central.”
The hotels of the city, although they can lay no claims to splendid exteriors, yet are within comfortable and pleasant. The Commercial, with that genial, clever and sociable landlord, Mr. A. J. Riddle as its host, is a popular house, and everybody who visits him are delighted, and are loth to part from him.
The Central is kept by Mr. John D. Billings and his most estimable wife, who know how to keep a hotel. The rooms are neat and all as “cozy as a bug in a rug.” What was at one time a hindrance to travelers remaining any length of time in Eufaula has now fairly been overcome, and we can now invite all to tarry, and, as they pass along, enjoy for a while the comforts of a home, and be delighted with the pleasant and varied associations of this beautiful little city.
Her Temples of Worship and Ministry.
Already allusion has been made to her costly houses of worship. Her temples are indeed beautiful and ample for her necessities, and all have officiating ministers who for piety and self-consecration have no superiors. Eufaula is highly favored in having the best of men to teach her people the way of life, and no stranger can come to this city and not find the church of his choice, and listening to the faithful herald, but go away a better man.
Benevolent Societies and Organizations.
The Masonic fraternity have flourishing lodges and large membership, also the Odd Fellows have here one of the best lodges in the State. The Jews have the benevolent society of Bnai Brith—and all of them weilding an influence for good. There is also a lodge of Sons of Temperance, and recently there has been established the “Young Men’s Christian Association,” who are growing in power and blessing the world.
In educational advantages Eufaula has schools which will compare favorably with those of other places. The Union Female College, Mr. Wm. H. Patterson, A. M., President, with a full corps of able professors, where a young lady can be thoroughly educated and prepared for the great and responsible duties of life. The male schools are all excellent, and in charge of able and experienced masters, and a young man may be well fitted to enter college or learn all that is absolutely needed for the ordinary practical duties of every day life. The Public School system is being introduced, and it will not be long before they shall be fully sustained and made ample for the necessities of the city.
The Beautiful Situation of Eufaula.
The situation of Eufaula is one of the most beautiful imaginable, and has most appropriately been called “The Bluff City,” as it is on one of the highest bluffs on the river, and on a plain running west about half a mile, and thence gradually ascending a hill some seventy-five feet, and then again another plateau of about a quarter of a mile and again another hill. On the north the plain extends about half a mile to the Chewalla creek; and on the south it extends nearly a mile, gradually descending until it reaches the Barbour creek: thus do we find the location of this charming city.
The Streets and Embellishments.
The streets, taking the proportions of avenues, run north and south, east and west, presenting the utmost regularity. Broad street, which is the principal street, is 165 feet wide, all other parallel and intersecting streets are from 132 feet to 150 feet wide; the intersecting streets are bordered on either side with China trees, (or as they are sometimes called, “the Pride of the South,”) and, also, the water oak. In the early spring the China trees are in bloom and have the appearance of immense boquets, and their lilac colored blossoms fill the air with their sweet perfume. The beautiful avenues afford the most delightful drives and are so used by the citizens, many of whom own handsome turnouts. When the trees are in full foliage (which is about three-fourths of the year) the scene, on some pleasant evening, is almost like fairy land. Every house you pass has its flower garden in front, and the grounds around many residences are handsomely laid out, and contain the most exquisite flowers, beautiful ornaments and ornamental tree, the arbre vitae, the crepe myrtle, the drooping willow, the cedar tree, the mock orange, the holly and the magnolia, and sometimes some of the statelier trees of the forest—altogether, presenting a most beautiful scene.
The Women of Eufaula.
“The world was sad!
the garden was a wild!
And man, the hermit, sighed—till woman smiled!”
So would a melancholy gloom and sadness rest upon this beautiful city were it not for her lovely women. No where upon this green earth will you find purer, better or lovelier women than in “The Bluff City.” It is no fulsome praise or flattery to say that, in morals and religious character, the women of this city are unexceptionably faultless; there is no work of charity and love that does not at once enlist their sympathies and hearty co-operation. Suffering humanity always find in them a warm, generous and self-sacrificing friend. Are the poor to be clothed and fed, their busy hands keep pace with their loving and tender hearts and soon the distressed are relieved. Is some tribute of grateful love due to those who have sacrificed their fortunes and their lives for their country, they are the first to engage in the work of affection and patriotism. Has some erring son of Adam strayed from the paths of rectitude, they are the first to give a helping hand to reclaim him to virtue and society. In religion their zeal knows no flagging, and “their lives give lucid proof their hearts are sincere.” When the silent sentinels of night are keeping watch over a slumbering world, they are found watching beside the couch of suffering humanity, pouring consolation into the wounded heart, and, like ministering angels, pointing the dying to a better and a happier world. Such are the women of Eufaula,—and, also, to these beauties of the mind and soul we may add that of personal charms. There are but few places where there are such truly handsome women: beautiful in character; beautiful in mind and cultivation; beautiful in grace and elegance of taste and dress, and lovely in person. Many of the married ladies of Eufaula are among the “fairest of the fair;” and to the stranger, ‘twould be difficult in many instances to distinguish the matron from the maid, so fresh and lovely do they appear. There is one in every community who, to somebody, is the very ideal of perfection, and of whom it may be said—
form was fresher than the morning rose,
When the dew wet its leaves; unstained and pure,
As is the lily, or the mountain snow.”
but who that one is in this city we leave those who see them to judge for themselves; and, where there are so many sparkling eyes, and beautiful forms and fair faces, we have no doubt that more than one will be chosen as the beau ideal of love and beauty.
What More Can Be Said? Is it a wonder that any one should feel proud of being a citizen of such a charming place; surrounded by so much to admire and love, making life so pleasant; with skies above them as fair as Italia’s clime; the green earth beneath carpeted with verdure, and an atmosphere as pure as mountain air, and with companions and friends, of such beautiful and lovely beings who, themselves, are God’s best gift to man.
“Come With Us and We will Do Thee Good.In conclusion, we would add the invitation to come and see the beautiful “Bluff City of the Chattahoochee,” and you will find that not one half has been told of its attractions and real advantages.
Biographies of the following men are included listed in order of their service: THOMAS WADSWORTH FARRAR, WILLIAM B. PATTON, NIMROD EARLE BENSON, THOMAS BIVIN CREAGH, WILLIAM JORDAN MASON, WILLIAM LEIGH, JOHN C. HICKS, EDWARD HERNDON, NATHANIEL WYCHE FLETCHER, JAMES PENN, FELIX GRUNDY NORMAN, RUFUS GREENE, WILLIAM HENDRIX, DAVID CLOPTON, STERLING ALEXANDER MARTIN WOOD, JAMES MCCALEB WILEY, ROBERT HUGH ERVIN, STEPHEN FOWLER HALE, WILLIAM HUTCHINSON NORRIS, JOHN ADAMS LODER, WILLIAM C. PENICK, WILSON WILLIAMS, GEORGE DASHELL NORRIS, WILLIAM PARISH CHILTON, JOSEPH HENRY JOHNSON, ISAIAH ATWATER WILSON, JOB PALMER PILLANS, HENRY CLAY ARMSTRONG, HENRY CLAY TOMPKINS, RUFUS WILLIS COBB, JOHN HOLLIS BANKHEAD, JOHN GIDEON HARRIS, MYLES JEFFERSON GREENE, HENRY HART BROWN, GEORGE MILBURN MORROW, FRANCES LEIGH PETTUS, GEORGE PAUL HARRISON, JAMES ANDREW BILBRO, BENJAMIN DUDLEY WILLIAMS, RUSSELL McWHORTER CUNNINGHAM, ROBERT JAMES REDDEN, HENRY HUDSON MATTHEWS, BENJAMIN MOSES JACOBS, HUGH SHEPPERD DARBY MALLORY, LAWRENCE HAYWOOD LEE, DANIEL ARTHUR GREENE, HENRY CLANTON MILLER, WALTER SMITH, ROBERT STERLING TEAGUE, PERCY BLACKETT DIXON, JULIAN FLETCHER SPEARMAN, DUNCAN CHALMERS CARMICHAEL, OLIVER DAY STREET, JAMES MADISON PEARSON, ROBERT FRANKLIN LOVELADY, WILLIAM LOVARD LEE, SAMUEL A. MOORE, COKE SMITH WRIGHT, SAMUEL BOYD ADAMS, ENCY FENDLEY YEILDING, GEORGE UNDERWOOD POTTER, WILLIAM EARL JAMES, JAMES MATHEW JONES, CLARENCE EDWARD MICHAELS, JOSEPH CLIFTON ROE, WILLIAM JOSEPH NASH, FRANKLIN WARREN PARKS, WILLIAM LIPSEY LEGG, JOSEPH SPANGLER SOUTHALL, LEONARD STACY TERRY, JOHN W. PREDDY, TROY LEANDER NUNN, CARL CHARLES COOPER, EELY ELBERT JACKSON, ROBERT RUFUS BERRYMAN, JAMES LEW LAWSON, GORDON LEE EVATT, ARLIS RICHARD FANT, PENSON RABON GRAHAM, WILLIAM WALLACE, JR, TOLBERT DAVID SHARP, FRED W. VAUGHAN, JAMES W. COOPER, WILBUR HALE ARMISTEAD, HOWARD E. BLACKWELL, WILLIAM JOHN BRANNON, MARVIN P. LYNN, PAUL E. BRADFORD, CHARLES CECIL ROBINSON, JOSEPH DANIEL BRACKIN, JAMES M. EIDSON, SR., THOMAS B. WHALEY, WILBUR O. HARDEN, ROBERT CHARLES COLEY, GERALD S. BORDEN, JAMES G. MACON, JAMES FRANKLIN GLASGOW, HERMON WEBB TAYLOR, CHARTER LEE NICHOLSON, JACK SMITH, J. B. ROBINSON, JR, RALPH HARRIS HENDERSON, SR., MARVIN EUGENE LEACHMAN, FLOYD HAMBRICK, JR., DAVID L. SHIREY, J. C. BRADY, E. WAYNE LUCAS, WARREN MALCOLM KILLINGSWORTH, ROBERT L. JONES, WILLARD RAY FULLER, LUTHER EUGENE GROOMS, LARRY W. WORTHAM, DELTON EARL HAVARD, STEVE BROWNFIELD, JERRY UNDERWOOD, ROBERT THOMAS CRAWFORD, V. WAYNE CAUSEY, RODGER SIMMONS, BILLY C. FORD, DARRELL NEILL, GENE ANDERTON, FRANK W. LITTLE, JAMIE A. SMITH, LARRY W. STINSON, TEDDY R. GROGAN, LARRY A. HANCOCK, RONALD ANDRESS, C. STERLING HUGHES