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PATRON + Tuscumbia, Alabama – More Prominent Businessmen in 1890 – PART V

PATRON + Tuscumbia, Alabama – History of the Town – Part V

(Transcribed from Sheffield Daily Enterprise, Sheffield, Alabama November 23, 1890



And by Interviewing and Investigating, Is Enabled to Record the History of a Town


Jackson & Sawtelle

To many people now living in and around Tuscumbia, the legal firm of Jackson and Sawtelle needs no introduction, but since this history will travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles beyond the boundaries of Tuscumbia, a fee words relative to such prominent men, will add to the interest of this sketch.

Judge James Jackson, was born July 20th, 1848, and has been engaged in the practice of law for about sixteen years. His partner, Mr. W. A. Sawtelle, is a younger man, but one who by study and application, has built up for himself a reputation, as one of the rising young lawyers of the day. He was born in Tuscumbia in 1866. He is president of the local Democrat club, and in many ways a public spirited young man.

The firm do a general law business. Their office is located on Main street. They expect soon to establish a branch office at Sheffield.

Parshall House

A good hotel is of all things next to the churches and schools of a community one of the essentials that go far in making a good name for the town. Under the present management of this long establishment house, the traveling public can find a nice place at which to stop. Mr. W. A. Lucas, of the famous European Hotel, of Memphis, has recently took charge of the house, and by his efficient management, his experience, and desire to cater to public taste, he is gradually establishing a reputation for his town, his hotel and himself.

The building is a large, massive looking structure, conviently (sic) situated for all trains, the postoffice, and in fact for all business purposes in general. The tables are clean, and well supplied, and the waiters polite and attentive.

Kirk & Almon

James T. Kirk and Edward B. Almon are both young men but they constitute a strong legal team, and for promptness, efficiency, and ability in the dispatch of business, they have already made a reputation, that would do credit to many an older firm.

These young men do a general law business. They are both men of ability and stand high in the social circles of Tuscumbia’s best society.

Their office is located on Main street.

J. E. Havis

Years ago the shoe trade was a part of the dry goods and clothing business, but in later years the demands of the age have caused this business to become a separate branch, and one that it takes the best of men to conduct with profit.

Mr. John E. Havis, whose name heads this sketch, is a man, who from long years of experience in the shoe business, has become an expert in the name. He removed from West Point, Georgia, to Tuscumbia not long since, and tough a comparatively new comer in the city, yet by keeping for the benefit of the public, a well selected stock of goods, and offering them at reasonable figures, he is gradually building up for himself a lucrative business, his customers numbering some of the best people of the county in which he does business.

Mr. Havis is a straightforward , business- gentleman, and one who stands morally high among those who know him best.

He makes a specialty of ladies and gentlemens’ fine shoes; nor has he any reputation as a vendor of shoddy, cheap footwear. His business house is on Main street, eastside.

Hindman Bros.

There are two men residing and doing business in Colbert county that Tuscumbia may, with a feeling of just pride, claim amongst the number of her citizens. They are Joe and James Hindman, two brothers engaged in the milling business. They are dealers in flour, meal, corn and wheat bran. Their specialty is the manufacture of horse and cow feed, of which they do an extensive shipping business.

They are sons of Mr. Samuel Hindman, who came to Tuscumbia from Virginia, and who conducted the business prior to handing it over to his enterprising sons.

They are both so popular and such clever, straightforward business men, that it would be hard to decide which one has the most friends.

They have built up a large and paying business, some of their customers being Sheffield’s leading citizens. The capacity of their mill is sixty barrels per day.

In addition to the above business, they are dealers in lime, and are lumber agents.

R. L. Ross

The gentleman whose name heads this sketch, is one of the long and favorably known citizens, not only of Tuscumbia, but of Colbert county. As a businessman, he is unquestionably a success. As a useful citizen, and a man who stands high among his fellow men, hundreds of living witnesses can testify.

His business is the drug trade; a business that he has followed for many years, having first entered it in November, 1846.

He was born in Madison county, Alabama, October 26, 1825. During the late war he was a clerk in the medical department, under the chief surgeon of Gen. Roddy’s command.

Since the war, he served for a long time as the county treasurer.

He is a son-in-law of the Hon. L. B. Cooper.

Mr. Ross is a prominent secret society man. He is a courteous gentleman, and has always a pleasant word to say to all. He is one of those men who speak with the same degree of politeness to the poor man, as he does to the rich. He is a man whom it is a pleasure to know; and one who is admired most by those who know him best. Socially, he ranks among the best citizens of his city.

John W. Davis

If enterprise, application to business and square dealing are the secrets of success, then the subject of this sketch bids fair to become one of the wealthiest merchants of Tuscumbia.

Mr. Davis was born in North Carolina, but was reared in South Carolina, from which state he came to Tuscumbia about four years ago, and engaged in the jewelry business, which business he still follows. He is a practical jeweler himself ; in fact, he was born in a family of jewelers, and learned the trade with his father.

Although his establishment is the finest of the kind in the city, yet he is now having prepared an elegant and costly set of jewelers’ furniture, etc., which when completed and arranged, will constitute one of the handsomest establishments of the kind in North Alabama.

He carries an elegant line of fine jewelry, and his customers evidently have confidence in his goods being as represented, as his business is steadily on the increase. Mr. Davis is an enterprising and progressive young man, and is an addition of importance to the city in which he dwells. Morally, he stands among the leading members of the Methodist Church, of which he is an active member.

He has won a good name for himself, built us a profitable business, and the life he has led, since a resident of Tuscumbia, entitle him to both.

His house of business is situated on the northwest corner of Fifth and Main streets.

W. A. Johnson

There are many men well known in Colbert county, but possibly, none more so than Col. W. A. Johnson. He is a man, whose name long years ago, was well and favorable known among river men. He is one of that class that fortune follows, and no matter what they do, crown it with success. Mr. Johnson has long since ceased to be a steamboat captain, but he has not ceased to lead an active life. He is today, and has for many years, been one of the largest and most successful merchants of Colbert county. He has made money, and to use a business parlance, “big money” at that: and is perhaps the wealthiest merchant in the county. He has a large and handsome storehouse, well stocked with a fine assortment of dry goods, clothing, etc. He carries about $20,000.

While Mr. Johnson is doing well, still owing to poor health, he has signified his intention of retiring from business in January next, and proposes to sell his large stock at a discount. Here is an opportunity for some wideawake business man, to step into one of the best established business in the city.

Luddemann & Co.

For long years the dry goods and notions firm of Lueddeman & Co. has been one of the leading institutions of Tuscumbia. And as the place continued to grow, so did the enterprising gentlemen who constitute this firm, continue to improve, until today their handsome establishment on the corner of Main and Fifth streets, presents a fine appearance to the passer-by.

G. Lueddemann, the senior partner of this firm, was born in Erbut, Germany, his father being an officer in the Prussian army.

In 1864, Mr. Lueddeman was a merchant in Nashville, Tennessee. He moved to Tuscumbia the following year and again engaged in the mercantile business,

In 1868, Mr. J. N. Sampson, a northern gentleman, was taken into the firm as a partner, and is at, this writing still connected therewith.

Mr. Sampson was born in Palmyra, N. Y. in 1843. During the late war he served in company A., 111th New York, from July to the end of the conflict.

In 1869, he came to Tuscumbia, where he engaged in business.

Messrs. Lueddemann and Sampson are also engaged in other lines of business, and both are among the leading public spirited men, not only of Tuscumbia, but of Sheffield.

By square dealing, and courteous attent on shown their customers, they have built up a large and profitable business.

Tuscumbia Contracting Company

In 1887 a much needed business was established in Tuscumbia – it was a manufacturing and contracting establishment of such proportions as to meet the demands of a fast growing city.

Mr. W. H. Gilliam and Mr. Jas. M. Keller undertook to fill this demand and the success that has attended their effort, clearly proves that Tuscumbia is a place for the locating and erection of industrial enterprise.

This firm is now amongst the largest engaged in the building of the Memphis & Charleston shops at Sheffield.

Mr. W. A. Gilliam, the senior partner was born in Williamson county, Tennessee, in 1847, and removed to Tuscumbia in 1884. He has conducted himself in such a manner to win the respect of the citizens of his community.

Mr. Jas. M. Keller, the junior member, is a son of the old Democratic war horse, Capt. A. H. Keller, who is one of the best known men in this section of the country. He is a young man, who, by attention to business, and the steady, manly life he pursues, is winning a name for himself, that he will find as he grows older, will add to his utility as a citizen and to his income as a successful business man.

The office of the firm is located on Fifth street, near the M & C. depot.

Abernathy & Curry

Nearly every town of any importance has its popular young men, who seem to have been so born, and as the years roll by, their popularity only increases.

Just such young men constitute the drug firm of Abernathy & Curry. Notwithstanding they have not been long established in business as a firm, until their popularity, straightforward manner of conducting business, together with the elegant line of goods they carry, has done for them, what years of experience is some times required to do, and that is, it has built up for them a paying business. They have won the respect and confidence of a business community; and in after years should their history again be written, it would doubtless record them with the number of wealthy and useful citizens of their day.

Mr. Tracy Abernathy the senior member of the firm is a son of Dr. J. T. Abernathy, and Mr. J. E. Curry is a son of Mr. John Curry. Both are amongst the best families; and both are a credit to their ancestors. Their business firm is situated on Main street.

J. E. Kernan

The subject of this sketch was born in Centre county, Pa., in 1841, and is of Irish descent.

In 1859 he came to the South. During the late war he was a member of Baskerville’s battalion; and was engaged in several battles. In 1863 he was made second lieutenant.

When the war was over Mr. Keenan removed to Tuscumbia, where he went into the mercantile business. By close attention to business, by a superior linen of goods handled, and a giving of general satisfaction, he has built up a well paying dry goods business.

Mr. Keenan is a public spirited man and a strong believer in well appointed public school.

He has a warm feeling for the South and the ties that bind him to the South are very strong. In 1868 he married Miss Lettie Warren, a lady of Tuscumbia.

Mr. Keenan’s business house is located on the N. E. corner of Main and Fifth streets.

Biographies of Notable and Not-So-Notable: Alabama Pioneers (Volume 1) 1st edition

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