Pioneer Talladega, Its Minutes and Memories Chapter 14 – 15 Descriptions of early Pioneers


By Jehu Wellington Vandiver


The Circuit Courts, in the beginning of the Judicial history of the County, were eight in number composed of not less than three nor more than six counties. Talladega was the third Circuit, and Greene, Tuscaloosa, Shelby, Randolph and Benton were the other counties completing the number. Judge Horatio Perry held the first Circuit Court for this “Ground” on the Third Monday after the third Sunday in March 1833. Judge Henry W. Collier presided at the Fall term of the Court, and among the cases he decided was a suit filed by Fanny Chinnobee, the wife of General Chinnobee, both of them being Indians, asking the Court to allow her dower in her husband’s lands. Alvis Q. Nicks, David Conner and James Hall, contested her petition, claiming the lands for themselves.

Judge Collier investigated the petition, and ruled that “General” Chinnobee never had any title to the lands that Fanny Chinnobee claimed and therefore dower could not be assigned Fanny. Judge J. S. Hunter held the Spring term of 1834, Circuit Court Judge P. T. Harris presided at the following term. Hon. Eli Shortridge Judge of the ninth Circuit held the April term, 1836, of the Circuit Court. Hon. William D. Pickett, who had been Solicitor qf the 8th Circuit was the presiding Judge at the October 1836 term of the Talladega Circuit Court. Hon. Ezekiel Pickens held the Spring term 1837, and Eli Shortridge the Fall term. There was an interchange of ridings on the part of the Judges in those days, and it was required by law that no judge should hold the Courts of the same Circuit for two courts in succession. The salary of the Circuit Judge was Fifteen Hundred Dollars per year. The Solicitors received two hundred and fifty dollars with such fees as were allowed by law.

This is probably the first recorded speech of Hon. Alexander White, in Talladega County, although his subsequent utterances in Congress, and on the hustings made him a national reputation.

On Wednesday, July 19th, 1845, Mr. A. White, afterwards the author of the “Bonnie Blue Flag,” speech, arose in the County Court of Talladega, and addressing Judge McAfee, the presiding Judge, said “May it please the Court, in the midst of our professional labors we have been called upon to witness one other sad evidence of the uncertanity of life, and the sure fulfilment of the declaration of Holy Writ, ‘Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return.’ Our worthy and distinguished fellow citizen, and the Judge of our Circuit Court, who has often occupied the seat now occupied by you with dignity and ability, by the unrelenting hand of death has been swept from among us. Having been long acquaint with our deceased friend and brother, you will pardon me for saying that his urbanity of manner, and generosity, and liberality of disposition, coupled with his legal attainments, and sterling integrity, has attained for him a strong hold upon the affections of the members of the legal profession, and the country, generally. Upon the mournful intelligence of his (Hon. Eli D. Shortridge) death, the members of the bar assembled, and passed resolutions by, and of which the Court will know. I have been selected to move the Court that they be entered upon the minutes of your proceedings. In complying with this request, permit me to add my individual testimony of the sorrow and heartfelt regret for the loss of one, whom for several years I have lived, as a neighbor on terms of unbroken friendship, and whose generous character I shall never forget.”

This is probably the first recorded speech of Hon. Alexander White, in Talladega County, although his subsequent utterances in Congress, and on the hustings made him a national reputation.

The little group of lawyers assembled in this bar meeting afterwards loomed prominently in the foreground of the State’s history

The subsequent proceedings on the death of Judge Shortrdige were in brief, that on the following day there was a formal bar meeting, in which Judge Green T. McAfee was called to the chair and on motion of Lewis Parsons, Daniel Sayre was appointed Secretary. William P, Chilton was selected to “Move the Circuit and Chancery Courts to enter the resolutions on their minutes, and Messrs. Geo, W. Stone, Watson and Parsons were appointed to notify the family of these resolutions and have them published in the “Democratic Watchowner.” The little group of lawyers assembled in this bar meeting afterwards loomed prominently in the foreground of the State’s history, Chilton, Stone and Rice mounting the Supreme Bench, Parsons, filling the Gubernatorial Chair, and Daniel Sayre becoming one of the foremost lawyers of Alabama, while Mr. White made a brilliant record in the halls of Congress.

In Deed Book “H,” page 61, there is a fragment of personal history of Mr. White, which throws a light upon the candor and simplicity of the times. On November 27th, 1852, Mr. Alexander White by a written power of Attorney recites that he expects to leave home in a short time for the City of Washington, where I expect to remain for some time, and whereas I am, at times, in the habit of indulging to excess in drinking liquors, and life is uncertain, and whereas I have certain debts I wish provided for, and am the father of three little dependent children, I therefore constitute M. H. Cruikshank, Esq. my attorney in fact, with power to sell all my property, both real and personal in the event that during my absence I again indulge to excess in drinking spirituous liquors; but the sale shall not be made except with the written consent of my trusty friend, Lewis E. Parsons, Esq.

On page 74, of the same volume, and under the date of February 9th, 1833, Mr. H. H. Cruikshank executes a deed to L. E. Parsons, of all the property, real and personal of Alexander White, reciting that “Whereas a deed was to be made by Cruikshank of all White’s property upon the happening of certain events, therein stated, and whereas there is no room left for doubt that the first event therein named has happened, and still continues to exist,” therefore Cruikshank as authorized by the Power of Attorney sets out a list of the creditors of White, with the amounts owing each, as well as a list of all White’s property consisting of city lots, farm lands, and 29 negro slaves, and deeds the entire property to Lewis E. Parsons, Esq. as Trustee.

Women in this new land were scarce and much appreciated

The County officials of the first decade of its history consisted of Coroners, John Box, William McLane; Treasurers, William W. Morriss, James H. Beavers, William Y. Lundie, Mordecai Chandler, Joseph N. Savery. Surveyors, Bennett Ware, Nicholas H. Long, James Lawson. Clerk Circuit Court, Jacob D. Shelley, Clerks County Court, H. G. Barclay, Felix G. McConnell, Alex J. Cotton. Tax Collectors, Samuel Wallace, R. W, East, Daniel Wallis, Alex Watson. Sheriffs, James H, Beavers, William Blythe, David A, Griffin. Solomon Spence, Andrew Lawson, Jailors, Benjamin Harrison, Woodson Seay. County Judges G. T. McAfee, H. W. Rice. Probate Judge Alex J. Cotton.

Women in this new land were scarce and much appreciated, and for this reason when a man was lucky enough to get a wife, he was not in much of a hurry to put her away, therefore for nine years after Law came to the Wilderness there was no suit for divorce. But in August 1839, Edmund Read files the first divorce suit ever put upon the records of Talladega County. Edmund recites that he married Edney Harney Read in 1812, and lived with her for twenty years in peace and comfort, but as Edmund grew older he ceased to be handsome, and Edna became tired of having his face opposite her at the table. In his wail Edmund complains that ”She became disobedient, and harrassed me to leave her, and never to return. She raised a host of persons to “Slick” your petitioner, who was compelled to leave her for the security of his life.” (Chancery Records Vol. 1. p, 754.)

Alvis Q. Nicks was the lawyer who wrote the petition, which he addressed to Hon. Eli Shortridge, Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit. A few days after filing this pusillanimous complaint, Edmund, after thinking the matter over, comes into Court and dismisses his suit, having probably received the “Slicking” which he evidently needed, and so far as the record discloses, he, and the disobedient Edna, “lived happily ever afterwards.”

March 16th, 1833, was the date of the issuance of the first marriage license by virtrue of which John French, and Caroline Tarrant became man and wife. For some reason the nuptials were delayed until three years later when Phillip Archer returned the license “Executed by me, March 20th, 1836.” No doubt John employed these three years in courting.

Their religion was of the simple, unaffected, everyday kind that would stand in business and under temptation.

The Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian churches at a very early date occupied the new land, and the Cumberland Presbyterian also had a strong hold in this section. The Presbyterian church was the first one regularly organized in the City of Talladega, which event took place November 20th, 1834, in a log house near the Big Spring, The Methodists had a “Camp Ground” at the creek, not far from the present L. & N. Railroad bridge, in 1833, but their meeting house was at “Bethel” four miles north of the City, and no house of worship was built by them in Talladega until 1836, when they bought and built a small wooden church on Lot. No. 113. The Baptists organized in the present City of Talladega on May 31st, 1835, in a log school house, on the lot on the north side of South street, opposite the present First Methodist Church. Fourteen members organized the First Presbyterian Church of Talladega: Charles Miller and wife, George Miller and wife, Patrick Johnson and wife, Williams Caruthers and wife, Harper Johnson and wife, Robert Hett Chapman, Dr. Henry McKenzie, Miss Amanda Talmadge and George Watkins .

The Baptists started in with ten members, three of that number being negroes. Rev. Robert Holman was the first preacher for the Presbyterians, followed in the order named by Rev. Richard Cater, Rev. Robert Hett Chapman, a lawyer, who reformed and joined the ministry, Rev. A. B. McCorkle (March 1854), Rev. F. L. Ewing (1871), Rev. J. M. Potts (1884), Rev. Wm. W. Houston, Rev. Jos. H. Skinner (1892). The Baptist church of Talladega has had for its ministers: Revs. Joab Lawler, Thomas W. Cox, Thos. Chilton, H. E. Taliaferro, Samuel Henderson, P. E. Collins, Richard Pace, J. F. B. Mayes, J. J. D. Renfroe, George A. Lofton, Marshal D. Early, Thomas Henderson, J. A. French, T. M. Galloway, J. D. Gwaltney. The deacons in the Baptist church have been: J. G. Eaves, William Schaffer, A. E. Fant, J. F. Henderson, James Headen, G, E. McAfee, Turner Ogletree, D. B. Elliott, S. T. J. Whatley, S. D. Kyser, H. H. Burt, L. M. Johnson, Dr. J. S. McCants, A. J. Nunnelly, G. A. Joiner, J. B. Graham, P. S. Williams, J. A. Powe, D. S. Lightcap, E. H. Dryer, J. A. Woodward, L B. Merriam, E. J. Dean, S. J. Loyd, J. K. Elliott, J. M. Solley, J. B. Piquet, Sr., W. R. Stone, Jno, Hendricks, John W. Bishop, R. R. Asbury.

The Methodist preachers between 1845 and 1865 who served Talladega were: Revs. O. R. Blue, T. H. P. Scales, E. J. Hammill, Joseph Phelan, J. W. Starr, D. Carmichael, J. C. McDaniel, J. S. Moore, B. B. Ross, T. P. Crymes, James S. Lane, T. F. Mangum, C. W. Miller, T. J. Couch, R. B. Crawford. From 1842 to 1845 the towns of Mardisville and Talladega were combined under one pastoral charge, the Methodists of that day being few in number.

The first church built by the Baptists was situated on the north west corner of Spring and North Streets, on property now owned by the Savery estate. The present First Baptist Church on East Street was completed in 1873. The First Presbyterian Church was begun in 1861, and completed in time for the synod of Alabama to meet in it in 1868.

The Methodist Church lot was bargained for by James G. L. Huey, and Hon. John T. Morgan, the deed being made to them, as trustees. The Church was erected in 1857. The corpse of Leroy Huey was the first one ever carried from the altar of the present Methodist church The Baptist Church of Talladega, in 1851, subscribed three thousand dollars to the Baptist High School which was erected in the western portion or the city by the Coosa River Baptist Association.

The prominent Methodists in the beginning of the history of the Church in this county were: John T. Morgan, James G. L. Huey, A T Cotton, George Miller, James S. Chambers, H. H. Hammill, John L. Harass, Thomas J. Cross, John Winbourn, Charles Carter, Dr. Joseph H. Johnson C. M. Shelley, W. J. Rhoades, J. B. M Landers, Abner Jones, Dr. J. H. Vandiver, Judge William T. Thornton, Jno T. Adams Alexander Douglass, James B. Watson, Leonard Tarrant, Jared E. Groce, Joseph Camp, and Nicholas P. Scales.

The large majority of these men have long since laid down the cross and gone to wear the crown. Their religion was of the simple, unaffected, everyday kind that would stand in business and under temptation. It was a fight to be religious in those days, much easier than now where religion is often used as a cloak for political ambition or social .aspirations.

“Not all of them prevailed unto the end, but let him that thinketh he stand, take heed lest he fall.”

From 1840 to 1860 there is but little in Alabama History except dry details of State legislation and fierce party spirit

The Historian, Pickett, closes the early history of Alabama with a sketch of Gov. Bibb, and then lays down his pen with the remark: “To some other person, fonder than we are of the dry details of State Legislation and fierce party-spirit, we leave the task of bringing the history down to a later period.” From 1840 to 1860 there is but little in Alabama History except dry details of State legislation and fierce party spirit, so much is this the case, that the present generation in reading these dusty annals of defunct Politics, wonders what these choleric Statesmen of departed yesterdays found to excite them in these worm-eaten platitudes.

The times of quiet and unbroken peace though are times of blessedness for the people of a County, yet they give back but faint echoes from the historian’s page. A crime, or battle will occupy more space in the newspapers than a whole lifetime of peaceful living, and these twenty years were occupied by the people of Talladega County in building roads, churches and school houses, in clearing the forests, driving out wild beasts, raising negroes, horses and cotton, in talking politics, disputing on Church Doctrine, especially about Immersion, and in accumulating wealth.

The Big House of the plantation, with its Corinthian pillars and the white pigeons fluttering down through the sunshine, stood in the midst of a flower yard, back of this were the negro cabins filled with fat, well-fed darkeys, while fields of cotton and corn stretched away to the green hills. The old homes were filled with happy guests, who danced and made merry from house to house each week end. It was a land of mint juleps, pretty women and fast horses, picnics and barbecues, camp meetings and turkey-suppers. Hospitality was free and abundant, the servants took pride in the courtesies and standing of families, and entertained a mighty contempt for “Poor White-Trash” who did not own slaves. This fine social spirit yet lingers with the old families of Talladega County, and sons and daughters retaining the fine flavor of a world famous hospitality, and the exquisite fragrance of the courtesies of the “Golden Age” of this section.

From the very beginning a dense negro population lived in Talladega and furnished the labor to cultivate the soil. Cotton is yet the main crop of the county, the yield being not far from One Million Dollars in Value annually.

Judge McAfee married the second time, nine years after the death of his first wife

As St. Clair County is the “Mother” of Talladega, it will be proper to sketch the members of the Legislature who were serving when the latter County was christened. David Conner sat at the State Senate, and Green T. McAfee and C. C. P. Farrar represented the “Lower House” in 1831-1832, as the delegation from St. Clair County. Conner was of Irish Descent, and was elected Senator from St. Clair nine times. He was above medium height, fair complexion, and was full of Hibernian humor. A keen trader, he was a good judge of men, in every way suited to gain the affections of the rough mountaineer voters of St. Clair. After the County of Talladega was formed Conner removed to this county, as did McAfee, and Conner lived for a long time just north of Choccolocco Creek, near the Ragland place, and conducted a store there, remaining to the last one of the leading citiens (sic) of his time.

Green Taliaferro McAfee came to Alabama from North Carolina when he was 21 years of age, and married Charlsie Ann Hall, who was

a ward of Gen. Garrett of Cherokee, over the objection of Gen. Garrett, and after a serious difference with that aristocratic personage on this subject, on March 13, 1828, in St. Clair County, eloping with his chosen bride. Of this marriage only one child survived years of maturity, Mary Eliza Emma, who became the wife of Dr. J. H. Vandiver, of Talladega, the other child, Augustus Wellington dying during the Mexican War, while a volunteer, at Matamoras. McAfee removed to Talladega and was the first County Judge, which office he filled for ten years. He was tall, with Roman nose and bore a striking resemblance to George Washington. His manners were those of Chesterfield, and he never laid aside his austere and dignified manner. He was sensative as to the size of his large nose, and any reference to that organ was likely to breed a fight.

Judge McAfee married the second time, nine years after the death of his first wife, leading to the altar Miss Elizabeth L. Scales. Capt. N. S. McAfee, a leading lawyer of the Talladega bar, was one of the children by this marriage. In his later years Judge McAfee represented the County in the State Senate in 1868-1870. He was a lawyer, and successful merchant, an ardent member of the Baptist Church, and a man of large affairs. His death occurred in Talladega, July 4th, 1884, in his eightieth year. In politics he was conservative, aligning himself with the Whigs, opposing Secession until the State went out of the Union, and from that time on doing everything in his power for the success of the South. He was a courtly gentleman of the Old School who was a blessing as well as an inspiration to the people of his time. Judge McAfee introduced and passed a bill creating Talladega County.

The matter over which our ruffle-shirted forefathers mounted the heavens, fought duels, and spouted from the stump in State Politics was the Banks of the State.

The politics of that time is but little understood at this day. Whig and Democrat were the names bestowed upon each other by the contending factions, each adherent hating, or pretending to hate, the other emphatically. These two great parties divided then, as now, more on the question of. spoils, and the division thereof, than on any real difference. After all, the real issue in the politics of all nations is a fight on the part of the outs to get in, and a struggle on the part of the ins to stay there. The matter over which our ruffle-shirted forefathers mounted the heavens, fought duels, and spouted from the stump in State Politics was the Banks of the State. All purchases for land originally had to be paid for in gold or silver, which was heavy and inconvenient, therefore a bank was located first at Cahaba, and afterwards removed to Tuscaloosa, branch banks being established later in Montgomery, Mobile, Decatur and Huntsville, The Legislature, each year, elected a President and twelve directors for each of these banks. The Politician soon found out that it was an easy snap for a Director in one of these Banks to get all the money he needed, therefore there was a mad rush to be elected a “Director” Any jovial mixer who could jolly a Legislature had a chance, so that in 1823 half the hotel-keepers in Tuscaloosa were Bank Directors.

When a Politician was denied a loan at one Bank he straightway went to another. A member from Montgomery borrowed Twenty-Four Thousand Dollars on his note endorsed by John Moonshine, and Adam Sunshine, and when the note fell due the Bank found that the endorsement was all moonshine. The result of this was that the Banks were soon drained by the Boss Politicians of both parties, so that Bank reform became an issue. In 1840 it was developed that the Banks had loaned more money to the members of the Legislature than to all the rest of the people of the State. Joshua L. Martin, in 1845 was elected Governor on a platform of State Bank reform, and after six years of effort the Banks were closed, the affairs of each of them wound up, and this avenue of graft forever closed to our pious fore-fathers.

Lewis C. Sims, in 1834 and 1835 represented Talladega County in the Legislature, being the first member to sit as a legislator. Francis Mitchell and Gen. W. B. McClellan were the Representatives during the next two years.

General McClellan moved from Morgan County to Talladega. He was for ten years Engrossing Clerk of the House of Representatives, and in 1838 was State Senator from this District, then composed of Talladega, Calhoun and Randolph. He was elected Brigadier Genl. of Militia. He dispensed a large hospitality in his beautiful home four miles north of Talladega, and died full of honors.

The year 1839 was long remembered as the drought. No rain fell from the 1st of August until the latter part of the following January. Steamboats ceased running on the Alabama River. Mobile was visited with yellow fever and incendiary fires during this year, and so appalling was the condition of Mobile that the Governor in his annual message brought the subject to the attention of the legislature.

Felix G. McConnell was the State Senator this year. Born in Tennessee, McConnell came to Talladega, as a lawyer in 1834 and was clerk of County Court for a number of years. In 1838 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress from this District, and defeated his Whig competitor, William P. Chilton, Esq. In 1845 he was reelected as an Independent candidate over Samuel F. Rice, Esq. the Democratic nominee. While in Congress McConnell offered a resolution to annex Ireland to the United States, which, the Speaker of the House declared out of order, evidently looking on it as a joke, but it seems to us that McConnell’s proposition was no more of a joke than Seward’s diplomacy in acquiring Alaska from the Russian government. McConnell died in Washington in 1846.

William P. Chilton and William McPherson were the Representatives in the Legislature in 1839 while McConnell was a member of the State Senate.

Kentucky produced Chilton, his brother Thomas Chilton representing a Kentucky District in Congress in 1827. William P. Chilton was a member of the Talladega Bar in 1834. He married Miss Mary Morgan of Athens, Tenn., a sister of Gen. John T. Morgan. In 1840 he actively supported Harrison for President, arid as a Whig speaker he was eloquent, logical and abounding in humor. In 1848 Mr. Chilton was elected Judge of the Supreme Court of Alabama, and, on the resignation of Judge Collier he succeeded to the rank of Chief Justice. He removed from Talladega to Macon County, and in 1859 represented Macon County in the Legislature. He served as a member of the Confederate Congress, and was Grand Master and High Priest of the Masons. He died in Montgomery in 1871. He was distinguished for honor and kindness, and as the friend of the young man. Unusual honors were paid him at his death by the Legislature, the Bar and the Masons.

William McPherson was one of the pioneer settlers of the County, locating at Fayetteville, where he spent an unusually long life of usefulness as a merchant and planter. He reared a large family of descendents who have reflected honor on his name. Kind hearted and affable, honest and religious, it was a pleasure to know him, and to listen to his recollections of the early days in this new land. He died full of years and respected by all at his home in Fayetteville, this County.

William McPherson was a clerk in a store in New York City, the State of his birth, until 1819. He saved $600.00 which he invested in goods, shipped them to Mobile, rented a store, and the next evening after his arrival the goods and store were burned. Mr. Levins, of Mobile, loaned him some money and he began business at Vernon, Ala., where he accumulated a large property. He moved to Fayetteville in 1835, where at one time he owned ten thousand acres of land. In 1831 he married Miss Martha Mimms of Georgia, and on her death he married Miss Susan Speak of Tennessee, who taught the first Methodist Sunday School in the Southern end of the County, McPherson saw Fulton’s steamboat, the Clermont, ascend the Hudson River and was present at the funeral of Alexander Hamilton. He was born in 1785, and died June 24th, 1891, at the remarkable age of 106.

Lewis C. Sims was a farmer who lived on the road leading from Wilson’s Ferry, via Sulphur Springs to Mardisville, and was overseer for that portion of the road between George Hill’s and the Mountain. His name appears on the early Mortgage and Deed records as security for the debts of several voters, from which circumstances it will be discovered that the Pioneer Talladega voters knew how to bleed a candidate equally as well as those who are now here.

Francis Mitchell was a member of the Commissioners Court of this County for seven or eight years, from 1835 to 1842, his name being signed to the minutes in regular session. His votes on the various matters before him show that he had a well balanced conservative mind. It is not known whether all of his children remain citizens of the County.

The County Treasurer carried the Treasurers office under their hats, along with the County’s funds in their trousers pockets.

The County Treasury of Talladega was not very full during this time, as for two years there was no State tax to be collected, owing to the fact that the State Banks were getting on so swimmingly that the Banks paid the State’s expenses. Micajah B. Casey was tax collector in 1836, but he failed to pay over the money in his possession after being notified so to do, so the Commissioners Court renders a judgement against him and his securities, who were David Griffin and Daniel C. Conner -Afterward the County Judge notes on the docket: “Said Casey paid off the Judgement except the cost.” The County Treasurer carried the Treasurers office under their hats, along with the County’s funds in their trousers pockets, so that when it was necessary to pay a claim the Treasurer ran his hand into his pocket, and produced the cash, if he had it. The remoteness of vaults and Banks was the cause of this State of affairs.

The Legislature for the year 1839 attended to much important business. Chancery Courts were established, a penitentiary system was adopted, and Wetumpka selected as the site for the prison. The long dispute between Alabama and Georgia about the boundary line was settled by a joint commission of the two states, the Alabama members being William B. Martin, of Benton, (Calhoun County), Alexander Bowie, of Talladega, and John M. Moore, of Barbour,

Chancellor Alexander Bowie came to Talladega in 1835 from Abbeville, S. C., where he occupied a distinguished position as member of the Legislature, and a leading lawyer. In 1839 he was elected over E. W. Peck as Chancellor of this Division, a place he filled for six years with uncommon ability. Mr. Bowie married Miss Susan Barnett. He was a trustee of the State University. Rather small in stature, smooth shaven and pleasant-mannered he readily made friends. His home was at the east end of North Street in the City of Talladega. He died in 1865. Capt. A. W. Bowie was his son. Few excelled Chancellor Bowie in conversational powers and legal ability, and none in integrity of character.

The University of Alabama, for some unknown reason, was not well patronized by the people of Talladega County. No Talladega boy was a student of that Institution until nineteen years after it was founded, and from 1844 to 1860 only seven youths of the County were graduated from the State University. William C. Hill graduated in 1844, with the degree of L. L. B. Richard W. Rawdon graduated in the same year as did James Welch. In 1847 Rev. P. E. Collins graduated there. John W. Bishop, Taul Bradford and William S. Jeffries graduated in 1854. During some portion of this time Talladega enjoyed most excellent educational advantages in the Masonic Institute, Baptist College, Presbyterian Institute, Prof. Samuels Forrest Hill Academy, Prof. Thos. A. Cook’s Episcopal School, and a number of high grade private schools, and it may be for this reason her boys did not attend the University. The Forrest Hill Institution and the Presbyterian School educated females only, a Northern man, named Hoyt conducting the latter for a long time. William F. Perry, the first State Superintendent of Education, taught a boy’s school here for years. Perry married a daughter of George P. Brown, Esq, one of the talented members of the Talladega Bar. The mother of Miss Brown was a daughter of Thos. Chilton, a lawyer, a member of Congress and a minister of the Gospel, a combination hard to beat.

The citizens of Talladega County who have been Trustees of the State University up to the close of the Civil War are as follows: 1829, Saml. W. Mardis; 1832, Jeab (Joab?) Lawler; 1836, George Hill; 1848, William P. Chilton; 1848, Alexander Bowie; 1855, Saml. F. Rice; 1856, George W, Stone; 1866, George S. Walden arid Lewis E. Parsons, who was the President of the Board of Trustees, by virtue of being Governor of the State in 1865, During the administration of the first President of the State University, The Rev. Alva Woods, D, D, the students of the Institution kept up such a “Rough House” that in 1837 the entire Senior class, and half the students, were suspended or dismissed, and every member of the faculty except Prof. Brumby resigned, and in December of that year Dr. Alva Woods delivered his valedictory, and emigrated to Rhode Island. The next year Dr. Basil Manly took charge of the Institution, with only 38 pupils on the rolls. For many years our citizens considered that it was necessary to select a Minister to conduct a school, ignoring the fact that it is a proverb that preachers sons are not models of propriety.


Transcribed from – The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 01, Spring Issue 1954

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Statehood: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 6)

presents the times and conditions they faced in lost & forgotten stories which include:

  • Who Controlled And Organized The New State of Alabama?
  • Tuscaloosa Had Three Other Names
  • Chandelier Falls & Capitol Burns
  • Alabama Throws Parties For General LaFayette
  • Francis Scott Key Was Sent to Alabama To Solve Problems

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