RANDOLPH COUNTY, ALABAMA, SIXTY-TWO YEARS AGO
THE RED MAN’S HOME, THE WHITE MAN’S EDEN
Birmingham Public Library
Library Project 3529
Works Progress Administration
Under Sponsorship of the Birmingham Library Board
This history of Randolph County, Alabama ran serially in the Wedowee "Randolph Toiler" from December 6, 1894 to March 13, 1896. The author, J.M.K. Guinn and his brother were editors of the Toiler. This is a transcript of a copy lent the Birmingham Public Library by the State Department of Archives and History, Mont- gomery. The work was done by Library Project 3529, Works Progress Administra- tion under the sponsorship of the Birming- ham Library Board.
SIXTY-TWO YEARS AGO
THE RED MAN’S HOME
THE WHITE MAN’S EDEN
Written for the Toiler
Alabama was admitted to the Union, December 14, 1819, and South western, West, North and North eastern sectional territory, where accessible to navigable water courses, was rapidly settled. Thirteen years afterwards (March 2, 1832), A treaty was formulated with the Creek Indians through Chief McIntosh, which shortly after cost his life. On December 18, 1832, all this territory was organized into new counties, Randolph being one of them; and almost the entire eastern part of Alabama was the home of the Red Man-a perfect Eden-in length North and South more than 200 miles, width averaged 75 miles. North rugged and mountainous gradually descends toward the South into rolling formation of valleys and flat, low stretches to the Chattahoochee river. Northeast rich deposits of gold, copper, iron and mica; clear bold springs, branches, creeks and rivers; fine timbers, fertile soil, mild climate, pure air and good health.
In Randolph county sixty-two years ago the river, creek and branch bottoms and their hillsides were covered with reed, cane and cane-brakes, in valleys and hills with grass and vegetation two and three feet high, the high flat ridges and hills with pine, oak, hickory, chestnut and chinquapin promiscuously; hickorynuts scorns, chestnuts and chinquapins could be found plentiful after the woods were burned in March and April. We have raked up a hat full within yard’s space.
The chinquapin grew in forests sometimes for miles in length and thick as a plum orchard, but not so high with limbs, bent into umbrella shape loaded down with fruit, and when ripened, the grandest and most interesting sight the eye ever beheld.
Grapes (summer) grew sun rich hollows and on hillsides, and baskets full have been gathered in December and January.
Walnuts, hazelnuts, red and black haw were plentiful.
Whortle and gooseberries, when not burned over in the fall and winter, were never failing crops, on which men, beast and bird lived luxuriously.
New ground (land cultivated the first year) made fine corn, wheat, oats, potatoes, pumpkins, and watermelons grew to perfection, cotton but little planted.
Horses needed no feed unless worked. Cattle wintered well, their owners drove great herds to market and kept the people supplied with money. Hogs kept fat in the woods and the supply of meat was bountiful.
Game was plentiful; sometimes as many as 15 or 20 deer could be seen herded together; a large drove of wild turkeys was a common thing; squirrels (gray and fox), opossums and rabbits were numerous; wild ducks, pigeons and black birds came in flocks and wintered here.
Fish of all kinds, sizes and qualities filled the creeks and rivers, and could be seen 8 and 10 feet deep swimming and darting about; and last, the little bee, with its rich deposits stored away in mountain oak and pine, though plentiful, hard to find.
With all these good things to eat and enjoy, the pioneers had the wolf, cat, fox, opossum, mink, owl, hawk, as well as the cruel revengeful Indians and dishonest treacherous white men to watch.
What thought can interest you more than that to read about the Red man’s home and the White man’s Eden, and as it comes from the hand of God?
Written for the Toiler
The General Assembly, in 1832 passed an act establishing Randolph County, as follows, to wit: That all that tract of county bound as follows, to wit: Beginning at a point where the line dividing Townships 16 and 17 crosses the line dividing Ranges 8 and 9 East of the Meridian of Huntsville; thence along said boundary down to the line dividing Coffee’s and Freeman’s Survey; thence due West along said line to the aforesaid line dividing Ranges 8 and 9; thence along said line due North to the beginning; shall constitute one separate and distinct county to be called and known by the name of Randolph. Approved December 18, 1932.
Randolph County at that time embraced Townships 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and North fractional part of 22, and Ranges 9, 10, 11,12, 13 and 14. The latter two being fractional on account of the Georgia State line of the East. This made the county about 31½ miles North and South, 24¼ on North end and 30 1/3 on the South end; an average of 27 3/8 miles wide, with an area of 862 5/16 square miles or 551,880 square acres.
Randolph County is situated on the Coosa Land District, which is all that tract of country east of the Meridian of Huntsville, with township line running East and West and numbered from North to South from 1 to 22; and range lines running North and South and numbered from West to East, from 1 to 14.
The line dividing Randolph and Chambers counties is the line dividing Coffee's and Freeman's Survey and makes Township 22 fractional.
A township is six miles square, bound on North and South by township lines and on the East and West by range lines, and with 36 sections each one mile square; containing 640 acres divided into 16 quarter sections or 80 acre lots.
Sections in a township are designated by numbers commencing at the northeast corner and run from 1 to 36 consecutively; sections are divided into quarter sections, thus NE¼ NW¼ SW¼ and SE¼ .
Range one is a true meridian line east from Huntsville and runs north and south; all range lines or sub-division lines running north and south are parallel, and with the same variations. Surveyors generally corner at Section 36 and run north: this was supposed to give them the correct variations of that section and range line. It is said, by old surveyors, the variations change every fifty years from east to west and vice versa.
The Coffee and Freeman line dividing Randolph and Chambers counties is neither township nor a sectional but a made line, and that gives fractional townships, fractional quarter sections which are designated by letters A, B. C, etc. The line dividing Alabama and Georgia is another made line with a variation of about 1/5 of a mile to the section west of north running north, this also gives fractional townships, sections and quarter sections. Little and big Tallapoosa rivers gives fractional quarter sections; so it happens these fractions are some times larger than quarter sections, but generally smaller. T. 21,. 13, Sec 1, contains only 0.17 of an acre; T,. 21, R. 14, Sec. 3, contains only 2.97 acres. Robert W . Higgins entered Sec. 1, T. 21, R. 13, and Benjamin Zachary entered S. 3, T. 21, R. 14.
In 1868 the General Assembly in establishing new counties cut of Township 17 on the north to Cleburne and Range 9 on the west to Clay. Now the county from north to south is 25½ miles in length and an average of 21 3/8 miles wide with an acre of 545 1/16 square miles or 348,,840 acres.
There was a treaty made March 2, 1832, with the Creek Indians which gave to each Indian a half Section 320 acres to be selected and located by him; with this the United States reserved the 16th sections for school purposes and the rest was subject to entry.
Written for the Toiler.
The time of the County's advent into existence and organic sisterhood, is one of the most important historical characteristics of her future.
It is conceded where there is an existence there was a beginning. Therefore, in order to be as accurate as the facts will justify, in the absence of recorded evidence, it will be necessary to use circumstantial evidence when it will throw light on the point desired to be established, especially as to time of organization.
The first official and authentic evidence we find is the act of the legislature establishing the County's boundary, and approved December 18, 1832.
The second is a power of attorney given by John Camp, of Randolph County, Alabama to Neil Furgerson of Carroll County, Georgia and dated January 9th, 1833. Attested: Archibald Sawyer, J.C.C.
These two recorded official acts we think, will establish the time of the county's organization, and her legal and official executive control and jurisdiction. The law provided that the legislature should elect these judges, but in case of vacancy the governor appointed them. Just when Judge Sawyer was sworn into office is mere matter of conjecture; however it must have been between December 18, 1832, and January 9, 1833, an interval of 22 days. The legislature having the power to elect these judges, being then in session, and having passed an act designating; the boundary, and names given to Benton, Talladega, Randolph, Chambers, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Russell, Macon, Barbour and Sumpter counties, it suggests itself as reasonable to suppose the candidates for County Court Judges were present then, or had on file an application asking the election and were notified and went immediately to Tuscaloosa, the State Capital, and were sworn in.
There was no railroad in Alabama then, nor is it reasonable to suppose any post office in this wild unsettled territory; besides it would take a person by private conveyance (horseback) three to four days, and perhaps longer, as there was only one wagon or any other kind of road, and that was the McIntosh Trail, in this section of country. To go from Tuscaloosa at that time would have been on an Indian or cow trail route.
There was no member from any one of these counties in the legislature, for they were not organized then; but there may have been, and no doubt were representative petitioners sent from each and Judge Sawyer may have been, and more than likely was one of them. Otherwise, these representative commissioners may have returned bringing the Judge's commission or notified him and he went immediately to Tuscaloosa and was sworn in. But, still, we are not justified in saying whether Judge Sawyer was sworn in, in December, 1832, or January, 1833. There was, so far as we know, no one authorized by law officially, to administer an oath of qualify Judge Sawyer here at that time and the Judge had to go somewhere else to be qualified. We suppose December, 1832, and at Tuscaloosa.
THE COUNTY SEAT
Written for the Toiler.
This subject was elicited no little discussion as to the identical place where the first court was held, and it had been questioned as to who was wrong.
It takes facts to make history-traditions and suppositions are not always facts; but our readers must indulge us if we should have to use some traditions as facts, to get a seat for the county, or else leave her standing first on one foot and then on the other until 1835. It is not reasonable to suppose though, young, active and frolicsome she did not sit down somewhere, whether under a tree, on the grass or a rock; for either would have been commodious, while her other and special wards domiciled in hollow trees and under wagon beds for safe keeping and quick delivery.
The first County Seat was at or near Hedgeman Triplett's ferry on the Big Tallapoosa river, the present Blake's ferry ten miles west of Wedowee.
Commissioners Court, April Term,, 1834 : "It is ordered (by the court) the Hedgeman Triplett gets the establishment of a ferry boat on the Tallapoosa river at or near the County seat in Randolph County." Attested: George McKaskle, Willis Wood, Archibald Sawyer, J.C.C, William Vardeman, Clerk.
While the above is official evidence of a County seat somewhere "at or near" , it does not locate definitely and we introduce tradition, which says, "The first court was held on the bank of the river at Triplett's ferry under a large oak tree; that Judge Sawyer set on a log and leaned against the tree while presiding, and that tree is of course the first county seat."
Another tradition is handed down to us and says: "The first court was held under a large mulberry tree near Triplett's house, which was more than one hundred yards southwest of the ferry; that Triplett furnished the court with seats and grub, and that was the county seat."
A third tradition says: "The first court was held on the flat rock a mile west of Triplett's ferry and this was the county seat."
Now, let us see if the minutes of the April term of the Commissioner's court, 1834, when carefully read in connection with the traditions won't reconcile as to time and place and establish the first court and county seat. There were three courts, viz. County, Commissioner's and Circuit; the first County Court was held February, 1834, and the first Circuit Court was held April 15, 1834. An act of the legislature, 1832-3 says: "The County Courts shall be on the 3rd Mondays in June and November each and every year; courts of roads and revenue February, May and September and
December; Circuit Court shall commence on the fourth Mondays after third Mondays in March and
September." Now, if there was a Circuit Court held in 1833, it would have been held on the 14th day of October, only four days after the first Circuit Clerk and Sheriff had entered on duty, and no jury drawn nor papers served, and it is not reasonable to suppose a Circuit Court was held under these circumstances in 1833. There had been no County nor Commissioners Court held prior to that time, no Jurors drawn nor no one to do so until October 190th four days prior to the time designated by law to hold a Circuit Court. These facts justify us in saying there was no Circuit Court held in 1833.
THE COUNTY SEAT
Written for the Toiler.
The law made provision for two commissioners to locate the County Seat; in the absence of any act of theirs we take the minutes of the Commissioners Court. There was no point designated in these minutes other than indefinitely "at or near" Triplett's ferry.
The County Court was the first court held, and that was November, 1833, and under the oak tree that stood on the west bank of Big Tallapoose river at Triplett's ferry; and why? The character and habits of the Judge and Sheriff of that court could not have desired or needed more or better accommodations that the shade and shelter of a large tree, for whatever held, it was in the open air and outside of any building. Under all circumstances, it is reasonable to believe Hedgeman Triplett, the County Surveyor and owner of the ferry, had the only house in miles of there, and furnished the Court with what accommodations he had.
There were only two cases docketed for trial at this court: Ibba Taylor vs James B. Jones, and Ibba Taylor vs Silas Taylor; both suits were dismissed at defendant's cost. John W Rutton was security for cost; with Archibald Sawyer, an old bachelor as Judge, William Hightower, Sheriff, A.O. Nix and ___Freeman, Attorney. A Philadelphia lawyer couldn't make believe that court went a mile to set on a rock instead of the grass at the ferry. No, not ten steps further than the fulfillment of the requirements of the law did that honorable court go. The law said "at or near", and here sit and sat the first court of Randolph County.
The tradition that claimed the first court held under the mulberry tree was doubtless the first Commissioners Court held, and that was February 1834. But it would be very plausible and reasonable to believe the first Circuit Court Judge would select the flat rock as a more suitable place to hold his court, and we are persuaded to believe that this was done, and that court was held April 15, 1834. The minutes of the Commissioners Court says, "at or near", This left it discretionary with the court which designated no one certain place anywhere near the ferry. With these facts, the supposition corroborates the tradition, viz. The first court was County Court, and was held November 1833, under a large oak on the west bank of Big Tallapoosa river at Hedgeman Triplett's ferry. The first Commissioners, but second court, was held February, 1834 under a large mulberry tree at or near Hedgeman Triplett's dwelling house, south about 100 yards from the ferry. The first Circuit, but third court, was held on the flat rock one mile west of the ferry in April 1834. The character of the courts, the probable attendance, the time of year held and the conditions of the weather had much to do with the place located. The records show as facts one, if not two, terms of the County Court, November 1833 and June 1834, and one term of the Circuit Court, April, 1834, at or near Triplett's ferry; but does that fact ;within itself establish a county Court or oak tree county seat, a Commissioners Court or Mulberry tree County District, a Circuit Court of Flat Rock County Seat. We have failed up to the present to find any name for the county seat; it is rather suggested, however, to call it "Tripplett's". We find there was an act for the organization of certain counties, approved January 12th, 1833, which made it the duty of the citizens of such counties as shall not have had commissioners appointed by the legislature, to locate the seat of justice in their respective counties, to elect said commissioners. Section 8 of said act is as follows: "And be if further enacted, that the Commissioners for the counties aforesaid, shall locate the county center of said counties, if practicable, if not., at the most eligible point, not exceeding six mile from the center of said counties". Triplett's ferry was more than six miles from the center. There were no Commissioners appointed by the legislature for Randolph County, neither was there an election held as provided, on the first Monday of March, 1833. There may have been an election for these Commissioners in August, at the time the first County officers were elected in 1833, as we find the Clerk of County and Circuit Courts and Sheriff were elected then.
We are inclined to think there was only one Circuit Court held at the flat rocks, and the county seat was moved to Wedowee some time during the summer of 1834. Our reasons for believing so are these: The law required the county seat within 6 miles of the center. Tripplett's ferry was more than that, while Wedowee was within one and a half miles of the center. No one had the right to locate or remove it but the Commissioners. There was but one house at or near the ferry while there was an Indian town and several white: Joseph Benton, Asa Hern and others at Wedowee.
EARLY DAYS ---COUNTY SEAT MOVED TO WEDOWEE
First Court at Wedowee Held in an Indian Chief's Wigwam
Written for the Toiler.
Some time in the fall of 1834 or spring of 1835 the county seat of Randolph County was moved to Wedowee.
Tradition says: The first court held at Wedowee was held in Wedowee's wigwam; a chief at the time, lived in the Indian village half mile northeast of the present town of Wedowee. We suppose from what tradition says, his name originally was Wah-wah-nee or swift runner, Wah-hah-tah-nee or the fast runner, Wah-key-bah-nah or the hard runner and Wah-wah-shee or the quick runner. Tradition, however, gives the following interpretations to the name Wedowee: First, rain or falling water, second; rolling or swift water; third, swift running water. We find it was written by some Wa-daw-wee; others Wid-o-wee. Wah-wah-nee, swift runner, a chief from which the creek took its name, and the towns from the creek, it seems to be conceded. Wah-wah-nee, swift runner, a chief from which the creek took its name, and the town from the creek, it seems to be conceded Wah-wah-nee, or swift runner, would, in our opinion, characterize the name of a chief Indian, and at the same time describe the creek clearly and exactly, for it is a swift runner. Rain or falling water does not describe the character of the creek, other than clear and pure. Rolling or swift water would do very well as a description of the creek but not so well for the name of man.
We found, seven years after Wedowee had been located and named, race tracks near the town said to have been used by the Indians. These race tracks were on the lower bottom field of Mr. William Traylor's, the east and lower end of these race tracks were not far from the spring and ran within a few paces of the present cotton house on the creek, and the ;west or upper end stopped near where a walnut tree now stands. These race tracks suggest another good reason for the name "swift runners." To the South of these race tracks on a ridge, and opposite and north of the 'ten foot hole," there was about 100 feet square, smooth and hard as a floor apparently, where it is said, the Indians had their brand dance.
At the time tradition says the first court was held, the Indians were friendly with the whites. As you know there had been a treaty made with the Creeks on January 24, 1826, and a part of them had gone west. On March 2, 1832, the other Creeks in Alabama and the Muskogees of Georgia made their last treaty with the United States Rolly and Chilly McIntosh signed this last treaty. In the treaty of March 24, 1832, it was provided the creeks should be paid for their lands, except half sections which were set apart for each head of family, to be selected by themselves on which they were to reside until their final departure west, the reserve then to be subject to sale by the United States and the proceeds to be paid to them the same as the other lands. The treaty provided protection in person and property. Under these considerations it would be very reasonable to suppose a court was held in Wah-wah-nee's wigwam. J.W. Bradshaw, who lives near Wedowee said to us a few days since: "I was at the first and last Circuit Court ever held in the Courthouse at Wedowee." Knowing he came to Wedowee in 1836, and there had been Circuit Courts held at Triplett and Wedowee, as the records show, we were about to question his recollection, for his word is unimpeachable, when we happened to think it was a sell, of which he delights in, and sure enough it was, for he qualified the "first" and "last" court with the phrase "in the Courthouses." There was no Courthouse in Wedowee until after March 14, 1836. The town was surveyed and plotted by Hedgeman Triplett, December 1st 1835 and the first sale of town lots was March 14, 1836. The first lot sold was 13, on which Dr. J. Hood's dwelling now stands. It was bid off by W.H. Cunningham, Circuit Court Clerk, William Hightower, then Sheriff, bid off at the same sale lot 108 and during 1836 a log Courthouse was built on this lot, near where R.T. West's store stands at present. So, J.W. Bradshaw was no doubt correct when he said: "I was at the first Circuit Courts ever held in the courthouse at Wedowee. We quote J.W. Bradshaw again; he says: "The minutes of the court were kept on bark," At first , we thought he was talking through his hat, but when we began to think about how few white families there were here, no post office in the county and the nearest trading point perhaps, at Wetumpka, then in Montgomery County, how strict the United States laws were over trade agents who were under $5,000 bonds and the little use they had for writing papers, we decided to believe him. Imagine, if you please, how far from anywhere but home these people were and how many other things more needful than paper and you will believe him too. This accounts for the missing official records in the Clerk's office.
Written for the Toiler.
Under the treaty of March 24, 1832, Che-wasti-hadjo held the north half section 3, township 20, range 11, on which the Indian village was situated. Judge Archibald Sawyer entered the east ½ Southwest, and west ½ southwest ¼ southeast ¼ section 3, township 20, range 11, October 5, 1836, on which the town of Wedowee was then located. The legislature in December, 1832, in the act establishing the boundaries of the new counties, you should remember, made provision for two commissioners to locate the county seats. We have no official information as to whom or when these commissioners were elected yet it is reasonable to suppose such were elected at the August election in 1833; and temporarily located Triplett's ferry as the county seat, afterwards finding it was not near enough (within six miles)s to the center of the county, and after the April term of the Circuit Court held near Triplett on the Flat rock, selected Wedowee. The supposition is that the court held in Wah-wah-nee's wigwam-not only with the red man but white pioneers. It was an honor, no doubt, Chief Wah-wah-nee and his people appreciated and certainly an act of kindness and liberality to the honorable court. We can't tell where the courts were held in 1835; if not held in Wah-wah-nee's wigwam or some other wigwam or white man's house, most likely out under a tree in the open air. For while the commissioners had selected the present location, the town was not plotted until December 1, 1835, nor lots sold until March 16, 1836. The spring term of the Circuit Court held afterwards was in April, and no doubt in the new court house. Sheriff Hightower's duty was to secure a place for the court and as he owned the lot on which the house was built, and in the absence of any record or other evidence or information, the county paid for it. It must have been a private investment without dimensions or accommodations specified more fully than, "it was for the use of the court." With dirt floor, three holes cut for windows and one for a door, without a shutter to either, no seat for the clerk or seats for the jury. Another and higher step or object lesson of civilization from an Indian wigwam to a pioneer's cabins. What need for door shutters, seat for jurors or table for clerk with a bachelor judge, clerk and Sheriff and the proceedings of the court kept on hickory and poplar bark with lead pencils and the prisoners jailed in a hollow tree or wagon bed turned bottom up--Sheriff Hightower bossing the job? We find the following order of the Commissioners Court:
February Term, 1837
It is ordered by the court that the Sheriff (Willis Wood) be instructed and required to have such repairs made to the court house as seems most necessary, viz; A Judge's seat, clerk's table and seats for the accommodation of the jury and with good and substantial door shutter, and that said work be completed by the Circuit Court next ensuing and that he present his account to the next term of this court for allowance.
William McKnight ]
William Mullaley ] Comm,
Thomas Blake ]
Hundreds of the Toiler's readers may imagine the pioneer fathers were old fogies when they read about a dirt floor, court house without shutters to door or seats to sit on. We don't think anything strange if they do, for there are but few of them who know anything about pioneer life and inconveniences. "Maybe so" when we tell you, you'd think so." There was no saw nor grist mill nearer than Dickson's, the old Jacob Eichelberger, and now James McCosh mill in the extreme south east corner of the county. We don't know whether Dickson sawed lumber then or not. The business and dwelling houses were built out of logs or slate 6 or 8 feet long, split timber fashion and wattle in. Whip saws that two good hands would cut 300 feet of plank per day, with broad axes in the hands of skilled laborers were a great help toward building until saw mills run by water were introduced. Jacob Peeler put in a mill one mile east and at the present W.W. Dodson mill place, and sawed lumber and ground corn and wheat and new farm houses went up all about.
Congress passed an act, approved July 2nd, 1836, locating and establishing the following mail routes: From Franklin, Heard county, Georgia to Wedowee, to Talladega; from Jacksonville via White Plains and Boiling Sprints, to Wedowee, from LaFayette, via White Plains, to Jacksonville.
An act approved July 7, 1838s, the following route were established: From Montreal, via Wedowee, to Carrollton, Georgia: from Hickory Level, via Adrian's ferry to Arbacooche Gold Mines, and
Canal Gold Mines, to Franklin, Ga.
At the September term, 1837, of the Commissioners Court an order was passed to advertise town lots for sale on October 30th. This notice was ordered published in "The Southern Register," at the same term a contract was let to build a new jail. (Hightower's hollow poplar tree jail was too small to facilitate the dispatch of business and comfort of its inmates we suppose). Leonard W
Young bid off the contract at $1,000. Jeff Faulkner and Jeptha V. Smith, County Building Commissioners, reported the completion and acceptance of the jail December 14, 1839. At the August term 1839, a contract for building a court house let. Hightower's court house, like his jail, couldn't accommodate the court and facilitate business. Isaac Baker bid it off at $2,000, to be completed by August, 1840. It was received September 5th, 1840. At the May term, 1839, there was an order to advertise another sale of town lots in the Jacksonville Republican; that grand and true patriot, James F Gran, was it's editor.
On January 1st, 1840, that true and tried, first and most faithful of all county judges, Archibald Sawyer, retired to private life after serving from January 1st, 1833 to January 1st, 1840 seven long, honest, faithful years, and so far as we know or the official records show, honored, loved and respected in public and private life. With his retirement, a name associated with him from the first to the last official act ceased to be officially recognized as the county seat--it was Wedowee.
Andy Burnham, county judge and McDonald, county seat January 1st, 1840.
RANDOLPH'S COUNTY SEAT
NAME CHANGED FROM WEDOWEE TO MCDONALD
FIRST COUNTY OFFICIALS
And some leading citizens receive our attention in this issue.
Written for the Toiler.
We told you in number seven series that Wedowee had been changed to McDonald on January 1st, 1840. Now we tell you by whom and why it was done.
There was a keen, shrewd, well-educated young man who had a great deal of curiosity, ambition and adventure in his make-up with plenty of energy and sport which he never allowed to like dormant. This young man's name was Francis M. Perryman. He held a position which brought him in contact with all classes, and of course his inventive genius led him to play on the credulity of the curious. His first step was to change High Pine to then Chulafinne, and being successful, he petitioned the Post Master General to change Wedowee to McDonald. Of course the citizens were wrathy, but ignorant of the course of relief. They were not up to the ways of petitioning, nor did they know why the names of these post offices had been changed. The joke is too good to keep. Finally letters to their congressman began to visit Washington and in one was a request to have McDonald changed back to Wedowee. This of course lead to the exposure which brought before the people a petition with a large number of names asking and praying for the change. Every man, woman, boy and Negro that was known to young Frank was on that petition. He had every post office in the county named to suit his own fancy. His first petition was an experiment more through curiosity than anything else. Finding a key to unlock Uncle Sam's post office officials he utilized it; so you now know why the change in the name of your county seat was made.
We find when Jeff Faulkner entered the office of Judge of County Court, his first official act recognized Wedowee as the name of the county seat, and from that time since it still goes as Wedowee. It was just fours years, and during Judge Andrew Burnham and John D. Bowen's judgeship McDonald was the name. We drop Wedowee and her courts for a few weeks in order to introduce to you the men who filled the various county officers from her earliest days down to the present.
Judge of the County or Orphan's Court, Archibald Sawyer, an old bachelor who lived at Sawyer's ferry, Oakfuskee, was elected Judge by the General Assembly December 18th, 1832, qualified and entered on duty about January 1st, 1833. He was a man of rough frontier or pioneer habits, had a good common business education, honest and upright in his dealings and stood favorable with his people. He was one of the first settlers and had been a soldier in the Indian wars. He was afterwards a Colonel in the State Militia and took pride in battalion muster. He was generous to a fault, and made donations to the Masonic Lodge which bears his name today. His grave can be seen at the Masonic cemetery and was the first interred in honor of its donator. His brother, Joe, a bachelor also, lived several years afterwards and to his death with J. W.. Guinn, and died at Homer, Angelina county, Texas. Being only a boy when the judge died we know but little of his many good deeds and traits of character and will try to get some one more and better acquainted and qualified to furnish us with a fuller publication.
His last official connection with the county judgeship ended December 31st, 1839.
RANDOLPH'S COUNTY OFFICER
From 1833 to 1892
Written for the Toiler.
Judge of County or Orphans Court:
Archibald Sawyer, January 1st, 1833, Andrew Burnhan succeeded him January 1, 1840.
John D Bowen, January 1st, 1843.
Jefferson Falkner, January 17, 1844.
John Reaves, August 18, 1845.
James W. Guinn, January 1, 1846; and held until May 23, 1850.
By an act of the legislature this court was abolished and Courts of Probate were substituted.
Judges of Probate Court
Joseph Benton, elected May 23, 1850.
Joseph Curry, May 20, 1856.
T.L. Pittman, May 13, 1862.
R. W. Heflin, August 5, 1862.
W. W. Dodson, February 20, 1868.
D. L. Davis, November 7, 1874.
S. E. A. Reaves, August 20, 1880.
T. J. Thomason, August 26, 1886.
A. J. Weathers, November 4, 1892.
County Court Clerks
William Vardeman, January 1st, 1833. (He was removed by the County Court April 14, 1834).
W. H. Cunningham, April 14, 1834
Jefferson Falkner, October 26, 1835.
W. H. Cunningham, deputy, January 20, 1839.
W. M. Buchanan, January 14, 1839.
C. W. Slatham, October 2, 1843; he held unti May 23,
1850, when the office was abolished.
CIRCUIT COURT CLERKS
Johnathan Camp, elected August and qualified October
8, 1833, to succeed himself.
W. H. Cunningham, October 31, 1834.
John L. C. Donner, January 23, 1849
R. T. Smith, February 22, 1852.
John Reaves, September 6, 1853.
H. H. Wise, August 12, 1864.
W. E. Connelly, August 27, 1865.
H. H. Wise, November 13, 1865.
J. H. Davis, Jr., March 14, 1867,
R. H. Bolt, February 12, 1868.
Johyn T. Owens, December 11, 1876.
O. H. Perryman, August 13, 1880.
J. W. Stewart, August 20, 1886.
B. J. Ford, August 12, 1892.
Wm. Hightower, October 8, 1853.
Willis Wood, October 11, 1836.
Sylvanus Walker, October 26, 1839.
Robert Caskey, was elected on 1st Monday in August,
1842, but by some hokus-pokus he did not qualify until
Samuel Carpenter, October, 1842.
R. Coskey, March 18, 1844. He was allowed ex-officio
From October, 1842, for his full term.
W. F. Mewell, September 14, 1845.
Almond P. Hunter, September 7, 1848.
Joel T. Morrison, February 22, 1850.
Wilson Falkner, April 28, 1853.
J. M. Hearn, September 23, 1853.
Wilson Falkner, August 10, 1856.
John V. McKee, August 14, 1860.
Larkin Breed, August 11, 1863.
Linsey McKee, August 3, 1865.
S. E. Jordan, June 22, 1867.
Jenkens Bennett, November 15, 1871.
Robert Merrill, November 7, 1874.
W. C. S. Robertson, August 15, 1877.
M. V. Mullins, August 14, 1880.
Wilson L. Ayers, August 25, 1884.
R. H. Ford, August 16, 1888.
Robert Willoughby, August 9, 1892.
The taxes were assessed and collected by the same person who were appointed by the commissioner’s court until 1841.
Richard Jones, May, 1834.
Wm Hightower, Sheriff, Jmune, 1835
Willis Wood, Sheriff, May, 1837.
Sylvanus Walker, Sheriff, May, 1838
P. Hunter, 1839.
Hugh Harris, elected, August, 1841.
George C. Powell, assistant, 1842.
The law was changed and assessor appointed in battalion districts in 843:
John Hanna, district 1; Hugh Montgomery, 2; Thos. Gilland, 3; r. W. Caskey, 5; James F. White, 6; Samuel Carpenter, 7: James M. Pittman, 8: Samuel T. Owens, 9: James M. Hornsby, 10; James Duke, 11:
Micajah Goodwin, W. G. Falkner, J. H. Allen, Andrew Burnham. The law was changed and office made elective in 1845.
Elijah Humphries elected April. 1845. The law was changed in 1848 and district assesor appointed.
W. F. Caldwell, July 1848.
Harrison Crow, January, 1848.
W. A. Striplin, July, 1848.
Harrison Crow, January, 1849.
R. L. Robertson, January, 1849.
Joseph Savage, January, 1849.
W. F. Caldwell, February, 1849.
Law changed again.
W. H. Spruce, April 1850.
E. M Burgess, February, 1851.
D. A. Perryman, August, 1853.
W. T. Wood, August 1854.
J. C. Burson, August, 1855.
Wm. Ingram, Agust, 1857.
W. A. C. Busbee, August, 1863.
R. L. Robertson, November, 1865.
W. H. Cofield, November
C.W. Eichelberger, November, 1874.
John Y. Irvin, Aaugust, 1877.
Rufus Forester, August, 1884.
J. H. Radney, assistant Commissioner of taxes, 1884.
M. P. Pittman, elected August, 1888.
M. P. Stewart, elected Augst, 1892.
Richard Jones, May, 1834.
Wm Hightower, sheriff, June, 1835.
Willis Wood, sheriff, My, 1837.
Sylvanus Walker, sheriffr, May, 1838.
Hugh Harris, elected 1841.
George C. Powell, vice, Hugh Harris resigned in 1842.
W. B campbell, 1843
Elijah Humphries, March, 1844
William Johns, March, 1852
Peter Powsell, August, 1855
W. W. Weathers, August, 1857
W. A. J. Swann, August, 1863
Warren Armstrong, March, 1865
John Coston, January, 1867.
W. Wood, August, 1868.
C. B. Nichols, November, 1871.
J. H. Davis, February, 1873
T. J. East, November, 1874.
J. H. Radney, August, 1877.
A. J. Cheeves, March, 1891.
W. A. Radney, August, 1891.
J. M. Kitchens, August, 1892.
Written for the Toiler.
W. H. Cunningham, appointed, 1834
W. G. Faulkner, December, 1835.
J. W. Stallings, August, 1838
Joseph Benton, August, 1841.
Isaac Baker, May, 1850.
C. W. Statbane, February, 1853.
W. J. Taylor, August, 1854.
B. J. Hand, August, 1857.
Henry Walls, August, 1863.
B. J. Hand, appointed, November, 1863.
H. H. Huckeba, August, 1865.
F. F. Adrian, November, 1865.
William Colwell, February, 1868.
F. Ricke, November, 1874.
S. E. A. Reaves, August, 1877.
John T. Owens, August, 1880.
M. V. Mullins, August, 1884.
J. M. Bell, August, 1888.
J. H. Barsh, August, 1892.
Hedgeman Triplett, 1834-8.
Martin H. Wordsworth, 1839-45.
John McPherson, 1840-48.
James McPherson, 1844,
Joseph Curry, January, 1849-54.
F. M. McMurray, December, 1849-57.
R. D. Kennedy, January, 1852-54.
N. N. Ligon, August, 1856.
C. M. Amos, August, 1857-69.
John D Barron, August, 1858.
John M Hendricks, August, 1859-60.
W. H. Cofield, August, 1862.
W. M. Perryman, August, 1863.
W. W. Wilson, February, 1868.
Joseph Swint, November, 1874-89-92.
G. H. Perryman, February, 1878.
W. W. Kidd, February, 1881.
W. H. Cofield, December, 1883.
James Walker, August, 1892.
W. H. Spruce, June, 1856.
W. E. Connelly, May, 1860.
W. H. Spruce, May 1862.
W. A. Striplin, November, 1856.
J. W. Addington, November, 1867.
C. C. Enloe, November, 1868
J. M. K. Guinn, March, 1871.
C. C. Pittman, October, 1879.
W. D. Lovvorn, Aaugust, 1888.
G. O. Hill, August, 1892.
REGISTERS IN CHANCERY
Bryon L. Nicks, May, 1844.
W. H. Cunningham, February, 1845.
John Reaves, January, 1849.
W. H. Smith, August, 1851.
R. L. McGonigal, September, 1855.
F. M. Perryman, December, 1858.
Joe Day Barron, August, 1859.
A. S. Reaves, February, 1861.
John Reaves, April, 1866.
J. W. Oliver, October, 1887.
R. A. Parker, January, 1892
J. W. Stewart, 1893.
1834--George McKaskle, Willis Wood and James Hanson
1835--William Clemens, James Prothro, James Hathorn and Thomas Blake.
1836--Thomas Blake, William McKnight, Hugh W Harris and William Mullaly.
1837--Thomas Blake, James Hathorn, William Clemens and James Prothro.
James Hathorn and Thomas Blake resigned. Isaac Baker and Hugh Montgomery appointed.
1838--Richard Young, Andrew T. Ray, B. H. Bazemore and J. T. Wafer, W. G. Falkner,
1840--Richard Young, , W. G. Falkner and B. H. Bazemore.
1842--B. A. Flinn, W. F. Pritchett, David E. Grisham, Sysgmore Moore and John Murphy; vice W. J. Pritchett, Resigned.
1844--John Murphy, E. Ingram, Thomas F Lundie, and D. E. Grisham.
1846--John Murphy, E. Ingram, T. F. Lundie and James W. Clemmens; vice D. E. Grisham, Resigned.
1847--John Murphy, William Owens, J. M. Clemmens, Gideon Riddle and Samuel Carpenter; vice John Murphy, Died.
1848--James M. Clemens, Gideon Riddle, William Owens and Freeman Taylor.
1850--W.S. Barber, T. L. Thomason, T.L. Lundie and David V Crider.
1853--John M Hendricks, B. J. Hand, W. H. Miller and Harris Stephens.
1854--W. H. Miller, B. J. Hand, William Camp and William Ingram.
1855--Hiram Barron, Charles Foster, Wilson Falkner, and J. F. White.
1857—Hiram Barron, J. F. White, Jerimiah Stephens, and P. G. Trent.
1858—J. F. white, P. G. Trent, J. Stephens and Joh F. McKey.
1862—J. F. White, W. H. Grogan, Samuel Y. Carlie and J. Day Barron.
1864—D. D. Mitchell, Z. M. Hutchens, J. H. Bell and R. S. M Hunter.
1866—J. H. Bell, W. C. Robertson, John W. Noles and John D. Windsor.
1868—J. M. Kitchens, J. B. Cooly, A. Bowen and Samuel McDonald.
1872—W. H. Culpepper, W. H. Osborne, W. D. Lovvorn, T. N. Brown, D. A. Perryman
vice W. D. Lovvorn resigned, C. A. Prescott appointed; vice T. N. Brown resigned.
1875—W. P. Jackson, W. S. Mayfield, J. N. Lovvorn, and Enoch Carter.
1877—J. C. Wright, I. T. Weathers, R. A. Arnett, and Charles Davis.
1880—T. T. Hollyt, J. N. Lipham, W. W. Stitt and J. M. Gay.
1884—J. M. Gay, A. J. Green, W. D. Taylor and H. D. Landers.
1888—H. M. Mickle, J. H. Leftwich, W. G. Preston, and W. M. Moon.
1892—W. J. Barrett, G. W. French, W. J. Cofield and W. R. Sherman.
STATE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES
From, 1837 to 1894
Chambers and Randolph
George Reese, 1840-4.
Jefferson Falkner, 1845-6.
Tallapoosa and Randolph
Henry M. Gay, 1853 to 1856.
R. S. Heflin, 1857 to 1862.
W. T. Wood, 1863-4.
Middleton R. Bell, 1865-6.
Cleburne and Randolph
H. H. Wise, 1867 to 1871.
Chambers and Randolph
J. J. Robinson, 1872 to 1879.
R. S. Pate, 1880-3.
N. D. Denson, 18884-7.
W. A. Handley, 1888 to 1891.
Chambers and Randolph
H. M. Williamson, 1892-5.
Thomas Blake, 1837.
Wm. McKnight, 1838
F. F. Adrian, 1839.
Wyatt Heflin, 1840-1
Jerry Murphy, 1842
Wyatt Heflin, 1843.
James Allen, 1844.
Wyatt Heflin and Samuel T. Owens, 1845-6.
Wm. Wood and C. J. Ussery, 1847-8.
C.D. Hudson, and R. S. Heflin, 1849-50
John Reaves and R. C. Pool, 1861-2.
John Goodwin and w. P. Newell, 1853-4
W. H. Smith and R. J. Wood 1855-6
W. H. Smith and A. w. Denman and Isaac Weaver, 1857-8
F. M. Ferrell, F. a. McMurray and Joshua Hightower, 1859-60.
C. J. Ussery, A. W. Denman and James Aiken, 1861-2.
Henry W. Armstrong, M. D. Barron andWest, 1866. Capt. West did not take his seat. Milton D. Barron died during this term and D. A. Perryman was elected to fill the vacancy; he too refused to take his seat.
J. L. Williams, W. W. Dodson and W. E. Connelly, 1865-6.
W. E. Connelly and J. L. Williams, 1867-8.
Written for the Toiler.
In a former letter you were given a short sketch of Judge Archibald Sawyer's characteristics. And now it will be in order to tell you about the others.
JUDGE ANDREW BURNHAM
Being a very small boy I remember but little about his political or official acts. I remember him as small in statue, crippled in one leg and a practicing physician. He lived on Bear creek, having moved there shortly after his retirement from office. He was very pronounced in his opinions and stood with the people. I remember he once visited my father's to examine what was thought to be poison found in the horse trough mixed with parched meal, and which Dr. Burnham after analyzing pronounced poison. That was about May, 1845, and the second day after James Peeler's dwelling was burned. Father had been employed as counsel for Peeler and had won the suit, and was the only motive that suggested a cause for the burning and poisoning. I recollect Dr. B., was pronounced in that opinion. Sometime after this he was sent for but on account of his leg he was unable to make the trip, and grew worse. Finally it was thought advisable to amputate the leg, and mother assisted in the operation and did the stitching. He never recovered the operation, but gradually lingered until death. J.W. Bradshaw made his coffin; and his remains were tenderly laid in the present City cemetery; and in sleep, awaits the resurrection morning.
JUDGE JOHN D. BOWEN
Judge Bowen was examined and licensed to practice law by Circuit Judges Shorter and Martin in 1842. He was medium in height, spare made and had a red face. He was father-in-law to A.J. Hamilton, commonly called Jack Hamilton, who after moving to Texas attained the reputation of being one of the finest legal lights in that State, and was appointed provisional Governor during the reconstruction days.
JUDGE JEFFERSON FALKNER
Judge Falkner was a lawyer by profession, a Baptist preacher by practice and office-holder by occupation. He represented Randolph and Chambers; in the State Senate, was clerk of the County Court for years; and if I remember correctly, represented Elmore in the Constitutional Convention in 1875. Notwithstanding his limited education he made rapid strides to efficiency at the bar and in the pulpit, and stood in the front ranks with his competitors. He was Captain of a cavalry company in the Confederate army, and finding his health failing rapidly he resigned, and on his return home organized a company of Home Guards, and them a battalion, to which he was elected Captain and Colonel. He moved to LaFayette and thence to Montgomery, Elmore and now lives in Montgomery.
There used to be a good joke told on the Judge. It went about this way: There had been a disputed question raised by the summer waggery as to which was the laziest, Jefferson Falkner, Steve Reaves or Hugh Montgomery. They were all legal legs of law. Although the question had been debated and points scored for and against each the question had not been fully determined. One evening in July there sat 8 or 10 summer loafers in the shade of the mulberry trees in front of Walker's Hotel on the northeast corner of the square, and one of the party noticed a dark cloud gathering over the courthouse when he remarked: "Boys do you see that cloud overhead?" "Well, that cloud will, if I am not disappointed, decide the dispute as to who is the laziest of that trio asleep on the bench". The three were laying on a work bench in the evening's shade of the court-house flat on their backs fast asleep. They all gave heed and consented to the test. In a few minutes big drops of rain began to fall, where upon Judge Falkner got up and went in the courthouse, Steve Reaves turned over on his stomach, but Hugh Montgomery lay and took it all, and was given the verdict.
HER COUNTY OFFICIALS
Written for the Toiler.
Judge John Reaves
Judge Reaves was a lawyer by profession. He was elected a Democrat to represent Randolph County in the General Assembly 1851-2; was Clerk of the Circuit Court or Master in Chancery almost continuously from 1847 to his death. He as a member of Wedowee Baptist Church and Clerk of the same from 1847 to his death in 1887. He was one of those Christians who never seemed to doubt the word of God, nor forgot in his public and private acts and dealings with men to be a gentleman and Christian. He was faithful, just and liberal, conservative and reliable; while he was slow to anger, he was quick to resent a wrong, and when a principle was involved he was immovable. Having been raised in a new county, like Nimrod of old, he "was a mighty hunter" . Many a day has the writer spent with him in the sport of hunting and fishing. He moved from Chambers county to Randolph some time about 1843-4, if we remember correctly; and no man ever lived in the county who held and maintained a public trust with more fidelity or integrity than Judge John Reaves.
Judge James W. Guinn
Judge Guinn was born June 11, 1804 in Green County, Tenn. He was the son of
John and Rachel Guinn. He studied law and was admitted to practice at the bar in
1828 at Franklin, Macon county, N.C. He married Miss Catharine A Dobson
in 1829. He was elected Solicitor in 1832. He moved to Fish Head Valley, near
Chulafinnee, in Randolph County , Alabama, November 19, 1841, and to Wedowee in
the fall of 1843. Elected Judge, January 1st, 1846 then moved to Cherokee
County, Texas, December 11th 1858 and to Angelina County, January 29th, 1859. He
was elected State Senator from Angelina and Nachodochees Counties in 1866. He
was a member of the; M.E. Church, loved an respected by all. He was a Douglas
Democrat, and opposed secession; had five sons in the Confederate army, all
lived to return, but one lost an arm, another captured twice and
imprisoned once; the eldest two of whom have since died. While in the Senate at
Austin, the State capital of Texas, he was taken sick and died in a few days
thereafter, on the 27th day of August 1866.
Judge Joseph Benton
Judge Benton was a lawyer, moral and conventionally temperate, honest, upright and fair in his dealings, and for many years before his demise a true, faithful and consistent Christian and member of Wedowee Baptist Church. He was one of the oldest or first pioneers in the county and to settle in Wedowee -- a bachelor; he hunted and traded with the Indians. He was County Treasurer for many years, and was elected in 1874 County Solicitor. He was a Whig, and was elected the first Probate Judge in May, 1850. The official records during his official term are, perhaps, the neatest fullest and most reliable of any to be found on file in that office. He was a Bell man and voted against secession. He built the dwelling the writer now lives in on log 75 when the town was first settled and lived there until his death in August, 1876. The Circuit Court, being in session at the time, was adjourned in honor of his memory.
Judge Joseph Curry
Judge Curry was a farmer, County Surveyor and a bachelor. He was temperate and moral, but did not belong to any Christian denomination. He was a Democrat, stood well and made a good official. He married shortly after his term expired and lived near the northern boundary county line for or five miles southeast from Oakfuskee, where he died.
Judge T. L. Pittman
Judge Pittman was a politician and had served as Clerk in the Probate office with Judge Curry. He was a Democrat and secessionist, extreme and partisan, although capable, prompt, neat and efficient in the discharge of business. It was during war times, and he had many trying difficulties to meet, and necessarily made many enemies personal and political, and the strife engendered during the war forced him to vacate his office and seek a place elsewhere for protection. He moved to Cedartown, Ga. Where he lived until a few years since., He joined the Baptist Church, and it is said lived a Christian life for many years before his death.
Judge R. S. Heflin
Judge Heflin, an Indian soldier, lawyer, politician, Representative, State Senator and ex-congressman, the most noted and popular man, at one time, the county has ever had. A Douglas Democrat, opposed to secession, and later on a Republican in the strictest sense. He was wild and rattling in his younger days, but like Judge Benton and Pittman, reformed and joined the Baptist Church and is now living near Louina in dotage and retirement, where we trust, he will find peace, comforts and companionships to make his latter days his happiest on earth.
Judge W. W. Dodson
Judge Dodson was a farmer; represented this county in the Lower House of the General Assembly in 1865-6 and was Justice of the Peace in Wedowee Beat for many years. He was a Douglas Democrat, opposed to secession and after the war a Republican. He was a pious, orderly and a devoted Christian and belonged to the M.E. Church. He moved from Macon County, N.C. in 1842; to the place where he has since lived 3 1/2 miles South of Wedowee until his death in 1894.
Judge D. L. Davis
Judge Davis was known and called "Lem" Davis, and was a young man when elected in 1874, full of life, energy, acumen, and a Democrat. He was a man of fine sense and good business qualifications such as are necessary in the make up of a good official, except intemperance and immoral habits. He was kind, sympathetic and generous. Though like most men he had faults; yet you could not help but like Lem. Peace to his many noble deeds, to his big hearted and kind acts. Although his body is dead and his remains lie in another State, Lem still lives in the memory of this people.
Judge S. E. A. Reaves
Judge Reaves, known and called in boyhood days "Gus" Reaves, is a farmer and mechanic. He was elected County Treasurer in 1877 by the largest majority ever given in the county. He is our present representative. Honest, frank, open and manly in private or public life and dealings, an ex-Confederate Captain, a good and brave soldier, honored and loved by his men. He is a member of the M.E. Church, South and is known and loved for his many Christian virtues and charitable deeds. He was elected Representative in 1894 by the Populist, and is eligible for future honors.
Judge T. J. Thomason
Judge Thomason was a merchant, a member of the rock Mills Baptist Church, temperate and moral. He was a Democrat, but not a bitter partisan. We know but little of his official capabilities. He owns and runs a good farm in northeast corner of the county and has recently moved his family to Auburn, Ala. He is young and may live to fill some other official position. He is a good, clever man and neighbor and we believe stands very well with his party.
Judge A. J. Weathers
Judge Weathers is a farmer and has made it a success. Moral and temperate, honest, reliable, and everybody likes "Jack." He is a man of good horse sense and fine judgment, but doesn’t seem to have any taste for official life and business. He is a Populist and Allianceman, and of course honorable, honest and clever.
Written for the Toiler
Sheriff Hightower, tradition says, was a bachelor when he came to the county. He was here when the county was first organized and had been for some time previously. He was elected in August, 1833, to the Sheriff’s office. He was rough, wild and mischievous, playing tricks on the credulous. Uncle Bill was perhaps as good material as the county had at that time for Sheriff. Tradition further said, he was the original owner of the present site of Wedowee. When we first got acquainted with him he was married and lived on the old McIntosh road about two miles west of Gold Ridge, and with the exception of two or three he lived in Wedowee in 1857-8, his home was at the old home place until his death in 1889 or about that time. He was forty three or four years of age when he came to the county, and in 1880 he was 92; this made him near 100 when he died. When he lived here in Wedowee in 1857, and kept a hotel, we got well acquainted with Aunt Liza, his wife. They had no children. They lived where Sheriff Willoughby now lives. Ira Culbreath had the house built and Uncle John Spence hewed the sills and logs.
Uncle Bill was a terror to evil doers. He had the first Court House built. It was a log cabin, on log 108 near R. T. West’s present store house. He had a jail too, but the hand of man did not fashion it, except the door. This jail may have been as long in construction as Noah’s Ark, being an old and very hollow poplar tree, and from the best information known by the writer was on lot number 116, near the foot of the hill east of the present jail and on the bank of Frog Level branch.
While sheriff, Uncle Bill had to carry a prisoner to another county. He had one guard in a two horse wagon, went into camp on their grip and after supper, the guard wanted to know which one would guard the prisoner in the forepart of the night. Uncle Bill said I’ll fix that when bed time comes. The time came after a while and Uncle Bill took the wagon bed off, turned it bottom side up, put the prisoner under it, his and the guard’s beds on top -- the prisoner was on hand next morning.
Uncle Bill was a good yarn teller. "One time." He said, "I was going to Wetumpka, and as I passed along there was a man clearing up a new ground. It was a pine orchard and the newly made log heaps were general. I said to the man: ‘Hello there, what are you going to do with these pine logs?’ "Well, stranger," said the man, "I thought I’d have to burn them to get ‘em out of the way." "Well", said Uncle Bill, "what are you going to do with the ashes?" "Nothing," replied the man, "Tut, tut", said Uncle Bill, "pine ashes up in my county are worth a dollar per bushel, and if you will save them, I’ll give you 50 cents per bushel and take all you have. I’ll be back in a few days and will pay you for them. What do you say?" "Well, I guess" said the man, "I’ll have you 500 bushels ready at that price." "All right," said Uncle Bill and drove on. The ash burner soon had one hundred logheaps fired, but not all burned when Uncle Bill got back. "I reckon," said Uncle Bill, "a cyclone had passed through the log heaps, for not a handful of pine ashes were to be seen." The wind, of course, blew them away as fast as burned and Uncle Bill knew it would.
We have told you this, Uncle Bill Hightower yarn, in order for you to get the manner of the man.
Sheriff Wood was one of the first county Commissioners, elected August, 1833. His family was, probably one of the first to settle in the county. Daniel Phillips entered 80 acres near the old Broughton Church and homesteaded in 1831, but we don’t know when he moved his family there. Willis Wood’s family was the first we have any information of that settled in South Randolph. It is said, and we are inclined to believe it, Mrs. Fletcher Haynes nee Wood, was the first native born whit child in the county. She is 63 ears of age. She was the daughter of Willis and Elizabeth Wood. She is not only the first native white, but the oldest citizen inhabitant living in the county. Sheriff Wood lived near the Pate old place when he died. W. R. McGill had a pair of hand cuffs sold at the administrator’s dale; we suppose they were bought while Mr. Wood was Sheriff. Sheriff Wood raised a large and respectable family.
Sylvanus Walker was elected Sheriff in 1839, and was one of the first settlers. We know but little about him personally..
Robert Caskey was elected sheriff in 1842, but by some means, probably a contest, he did not act until March 1844. Big Sam Carpenter, sometimes called "Pointer" Sam was appointed previously as coroner and acted as Sheriff until Sheriff-elect Caskey qualified. Sheriff Caskey was an early settler and built several houses. The dwelling now occupied by Judge Weathers is his old homestead and he was living there when sheriff. He seems to have had opposition but from what cause it does not appear. He went West about the time Joe Henry, A.Q. Nix, Jack Hamilton, Walker, Judge Bowen, J. H. Allen and others did.
W. P. Newell
W.P. Newell was elected Sheriff in 1845. He was a farmer and a nice, clever, sober and honorable man and made an excellent and efficient sheriff. He lived 9 or 10 miles north of Wedowee and there is a post office named Newell near his old settlement. He died many years ago, and one of his daughters married ex-sheriff, John V. McKee, and her daughter and his grand-daughter married our present sheriff, Robert Willoughby.
Alman P. Hunter
Alman P; Hunter, was elected sheriff in 1848. He made a good and efficient officer; he was Tax Assessor previously and deputy sheriff subsequently. He was one of those men that made opportunities and obstacles get out of his way if moveable when a friend was involved. He was the father of Bob, Virgil and Bill Hunter. He moved to Beat 8 and died there, after the war, was prudent, cautions, kind and fearless and retained the confidence, love and respect of his friends until his demise.
Joel T. Morrison
Joel T. Morrison was the second son of Rev. William Morrison, a Primitive Baptist preacher and one among the first white families to settle in the northern portion of this county. Joel was a Whig, we believe, and was a deputy sheriff and coroner before elected sheriff in 1850. Joel was a live big hearted, open handed and all-round good fellow. He had but one fault, that is he was very fond of "tea" and sometimes it got the better of him. He was removed in April, 1852. Wilson Falkkner, coroner, acted a short time, when he was restored. Joel was very popular with the masses and his home people stuck closer than a brother by him. He was subsequently Justice of the Peace and township trustee until his physical powers gave way. He died in July, 1884, being in his 74th year.
J. M. Hearn
J. M. Hearn, called "Mouse" Hearn, was elected in August 1853. He had been coroner and deputy sheriff previously. His father, Asa Hern, was doubtless the first white man, and family to settle in Wedowee. "Mouse" went to Texas, and died in the war.
A. W. Denham
A. W. Denham was elected sheriff in 1854, as a Democrat. He was a farmer and lived near Arbacoochee. Made an excellent sheriff. He made up a company and was elected its captain and went into the Confederate Army, Tennessee division. Is now a citizen of Claiborne county, honored, loved and respected for his many Christian acts and charitable deeds. Is a Baptist and his light shines brightly. As an officer, soldier, neighbor and Christian, he stands well.
John V McKee
John V. McKee was elected in 1860 as a Democrat. Was raised as a farmer. He built the present business house on north east corner public square now occupied by Guinn Bros., publishers of The Toiler. Was active, energetic and aggressive, honest, honorable and capable, and made a most excellent sheriff. Married ex-sheriff W. P. Newell’s daughter. Organized a company and went out as it head as captain. Died during the war.
Larkin Breed was elected in 1863 as an anti-war or Union man. Was a farmer, good, easy, clever kind of a man, who was highly respected by his neighbors, but didn’t have backbone, manhood and self-reliance and confidence like his predecessor McKee. This weakness got him mixed up badly and generally, and the poor fellow was in the middle of a bad fix. His former friends became his bitterest enemies and his enemies his friends. The fact is, he wanted to stay at home and keep out of war, and with all the political power and machinery in the hands of the war party, he had to cater to that power or go instantly. Party, honor, and profits were not the consideration nor the inducements to hold office--it was to keep out of the army and out of the range of Yankee lead. A man had to have an office and hurrah for Jeff Davis or dig a hole or cross the dead line. Sheriff Breed preferred the former and wisely too.
Lindsay McKee was elected in 1865, as a Union-man. A brother of John V. McKee and lived in Beat 4. He was clever, liberal and a better neighbor did not live in that section of country. Everybody liked Lindsey personally, but being oppressed, stigmatized and persecuted for his political opinions, he became rather partisan and when the surrender came, the other fellows who had had a Divers time woke up in trouble. They didn’t ask for mercy, but sought other climes with peaceful surroundings, and got Lindsey decided to do so too, and shortly after the war moved to Minnesota where he still lives.
S. E. Jordan
S. E. Jordan, a Georgian who had been here a few years, was elected sheriff as a Republican. He meant well, but lacked the most essential prerequisite necessary in man to make a successful sheriff. He would have made a better commissioner of tax collector. A successful farmer with taste and judgment and the best of neighbors. He died, sometime in 187-, near his home 12 miles north of Wedowee.
Jenkins Bennett was elected in 1871 as a Republican; J. B. Amos contested his election, but the contest was not tried during his term. He was a citizen of Wedowee and a good workman. He now lives within a mile or two of Wedowee and is in his 65th year; he has the promise, from appearance, of a long lease on life. Made a good and efficient officer. Takes no interest in politics now.
Robert Merrill was elected sheriff as a Democrat in 1874. But after qualifying held office only about a month and a half. Bob had every prerequisite nature could give to make an efficient officer, but it did not suit a miller; grinding corn for toll was more congenial to him than serving papers and arresting persons. He lives in Carroll County, Ga. Having lived to see a large family grown, married and settled to themselves.
J. B. Amos
J. B. Amos, vice Robert Merrill, resigned, filled the unexpired term. Amos was appointed because it was claimed he was elected in 1871, and that he contested for the office and kept out by a partisan judge. He made a very good officer at first. By the latter part of the term, he got mixed and went off on the "Polly Ann" administration and was badly beaten in 1877. Jim was a big hearted fellow and as clever as he could be. He moved to Claiborne county about 1878. And was accidentally killed while hauling logs to a saw mill.
W. C. S. Robertson
W. C. S. Robertson was elected sheriff in 1877 on an independent peoples ticket, anti "Polly Ann." He was a Union man and served in the U. S. Army; voted the Democratic ticket for Seymour for president. Is 49 years of age, lives in one mile of Wedowee, appointed and held the post office under Harrison’s administration, made a good and efficient officer. Now a miller, and is eligible to the Populist promotion, in 1896. A member of the Alliance and M. E. Church, South.
M. V. Mullins
M.V. Mullins was elected sheriff in 1880 as a Democrat. Was a Confederate soldier, 57 years of age, Baptist, open, frank and approachable. Made a good and efficient officer. Honest and clever, said to be a partisan in politics. He was also County Treasurer and is now Best Register of voters. Stands well in his church and party, with his people and neighbors, and is a citizen of Wedowee.
Wilson Ayers was elected in 1884, sheriff as a Democrat, and in 1890 elected Representative as an Allianceman. Has also been elected Justice of the Peace. Wilson is clever, fair and open, a Baptist and a good farmer, 62 years of age and stands well with his neighbors. He made a good, safe and credible sheriff. He lived in Beat 2.
R. H. Ford
R. H. Ford was elected sheriff in 1888 as a Democrat. A member of the Alliance and the M. E. Church, South. He is 39 years of age, active, progressive and aggressive, made an excellent officer, is a Pop and eligible for future political honors. Lives in Wedowee and has a farm.
Robert Willougby was elected sheriff in 1892 as a Pop, was a Confederate soldier, a good farmer and makes a splendid sheriff. He married ex-sheriff John V. McKee’s daughter, is a Baptist, 50 years of age and lives in Wedowee.
Written for the Toiler.
CLERKS OF COUNTY COURTS
William Vaardeman was the first County Clerk. He was appointed about January 1st, 1833 and removed April, 1834. He may have been a very clever man, but the records are not very creditable as to his efficiency as an officer. Was succeeded by W. H. Cunningham in 1834, and Cunningham by Jefferson Falkner in 1835.
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W. M. Buchanan succeeded Falkner in 1839. The records during his term are creditable and legible.
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Charles W. Statham was elected in 1843. Was a Democrat and a bachelor. Married a Miss Martha Keller, of Calhoun County, in 1844-5. He and his wife, J. W. Guinn and the writer spent the spring and summer at Chamber’s Springs in Talladega county. He held the Clerk’s office until May 1850. The legislature abolished the county clerk and the court of Orphanage by substituting Probate Judge. He ran as an independent, as a Democrat by J. W. Guinn, and Joseph Benton as a Whig. He came down on the day of the election in favor of Benton which elected, and of course was Benton’s clerk during his six years. Was appointed County Treasurer by the Commissioners Court in 1853, and held about one year. Made a good officer. He was honest and sober. His wife was the Rev. Christer Kelley’s daughter: everybody knew father Kelley. Statham and family moved to Angelina County, Texas near Homer, the county seat in 1859, and was elected County Clerk of Angelina County a few years afterwards. He must be in his eightieth year. Mr. And Mrs. Statham live in Lufkin, Texas, feeble and infirm; cared and provided for by their children.
Jonathan Camp was elected August, 1833, as the first Circuit Clerk. He was an early settler, and lived west of the Big Tallapoosa river, in Fishhead Valley. There are no records in the office to show any of his official acts. He held only about one year.
W. H. Cunningham succeeded Camp in 1834, and held the position until 1848. The records during his occupancy have been mostly destroyed. He bid off the first ten lot sold in Wedowee - lot number 120- and built a double log dwelling on it. He afterwards built a hotel on lot 133, subsequently rebuilt by William Owens, and now occupied by L. C. Huckeba. Was a small man and very sensitive. Moved away in 1849. He was a deputy county Clerk of Jefferson Falkner, also County Treasurer a short while. Had a wife when we knew him; stood very well generally, but judging from the records was only ordinarily efficient.
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W. H. Wood, or "Brister" Wood, as he was generally called was Clerk from December 6th, 1949 to January 23rd, 1849. He was the son of William Wood, and a brother to Dick, Alfred, Jack and Winston. Mrs. Martha Smith, Mrs. Sarah Knight and Mrs. Mary Pate. "Brister" was a fine man and merchandised for years before the war. He married Miss Josephine L. P. Guinn May 4th 1851. Moved to Angelina county, Texas, in January, 1860. Mrs. Wood died May 15th 1863, and was buried at Home cemetery. After the war "Brister" came back and remained until death in 1879 or 1880.
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John L. C. Danner was appointed and held until 1852. He was a lawyer, well educated, had a firm mind and a business tact. He was of Dutch descent and married Miss Mary Ann Kitchens, sister of our present Tax Collector, J. M. Kitchens. He was a Democrat and through Congressman Dowdle got an appointment in the U. S. Treasury Department at Washington, and when the Jeff Davis government was set up at Montgomery, he resigned and took a position in it, and went with it to Richmond. Some time during the latter part of the war, if we remember correctly, he went North and afterwards returned to Montgomery, and was State Senator, and Supreme Court reporter. He died in 1872.
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Robert T. Smith was elected in 1852 and held until 1853. He was a man of fine business quality and a Democrat, with a Douglas prefix. He named his eldest son Stephen A. Douglas. A Union man during the war and after was a Republican. Bob was in politics like every other thing he undertook--at head or in front. He was called a partisan, but not a tyrant. While he was quick to resent a wrong, he was easily approached and prompt to forgive. Bob never wrongfully oppressed an enemy, nor would he let others do so if he could prevent it. We have known him to rescue an enemy from his friends and protect him from harm. Was wild and rattling when a boy and full of sport. Married Miss Martha Wood and after the war was elected State Auditor, He was appointed U. S. Custom House officer at the port of Mobile, moved to Texas and lived for several years. Sometime in ‘80 he moved back to districts. John Hannah I -- Everybody knew Hannah, and tradition says: Hannah was so elated over the honors conferred he filled up on corn juice and went home to celebrate. A big dinner was prepared and his neighbors invited, but Hannah was too sick to eat, and when he failed to appear the question was asked, "What ails Hannah?"
Hugh Montgomery, I, -- Hugh was a lawyer and it was said "He was the best common law lawyer practicing at Wedowee’s bar." He was a good easy kind of fellow, had no ambition nor pride and was too indolent to succeed in anything, through a man of fine mind and good opportunities.
Thomas Gilland, 3. -- He was a good and safe man - a farmer.
R. W. Caskey, 5. -- We remember but little about him.
James F. White, 5. -- Was a Democrat, a farmer and afterwards county commissioner. He lived in the northeast corner of the county.
Samuel Carpenter, 7. -- We don’t know which one of the Sams we had big or painted Sam and little or tanner Sam. But we are inclined to believe it was big Sam as he was handy and ready for anything in that line.
James M. Pittman, 8. -- He was a Democrat and farmer; he lived and died in High shoals Beat; was one of our best citizens and raised a large and interesting family. He was the father of C. C. Pittman, County Superintendent of Education. His brother, Alfonso is still living. I. L. Probate Judge and brother is dead. He was 31 years of age when appointed tax assessor. He was a partisan politically, but a cleverer man could scarcely be found.
Samuel T. Owens, 9; -- Was a Democrat; was elected in 1845, with Wyatt Heflin to the Legislature.
J. M. Hornsby, 10.
James Duke, 11.
In 1844 Macajah Goodwins, W. G. Falkner, J. H. Allen and Dr. Andrew Burnham were appointed.
Elijah Humphries was elected April, 1895, was 39 years of age, farmer, Democrat, and lived near Newell post office. He stood well and was popular with the people.
In 1847 the law was changed, and Harrison Crow, nicknamed "Jude" was elected. He was about 43, full of life, energy and sport, generous, free and open, intemperate, vulgar and profane, dealer in liquors, an incessant smoker and occasionally shuffled cards, ring leader in sham fights and catamounts’ devastation of Todd’s negroes and calves, which we will tell our readers about in the future
Written for the Toiler.
W.F. Caldwell, a resident of Fish Head Valley, was about 25 years of age then and had the confidence and endorsement of his people. He was the father of John R. Caldwell, Deputy U.S. Collector, who now resides at Anniston.
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W.A. Striplin lived in Fish Head Valley when appointed, and was the son of Rev. Ben Striplin, Uncle Ben, as he was usually called, was an indispensable necessity at camp meetings. Father lived at Chulafinnee in 1842, and I remember as if it were yesterday, mother took me with her to camp meetings the stand had been burned down and a new one raised on the same spot, but by some oversight the charcoal and ashes had not been properly cleaned off before services began. It was on Friday when mother and I got there. We took dinner at Dr. John Wesley Hudson's tent, and at the afternoon services we were in attendance. Services had, however, been going on for a day or two previously and were seemingly cold and discouraging; notwithstanding the warm zeal and earnest pleas of the preacher it would have passed for a Quaker meeting. The ministers and tenters could be seen gathered in groups earnestly engaged in conversation. There were all kings of surmising as to the cause and as many theories for resuscitating Methodist zeal and activity. Mother was one of those persons who believed that "where there is a will there is generally a way," and as she used to say: :"I never cross a bridge until I get too it"> I heard her laughingly say to Dr. Hudson: "Just put Uncle Ben Stripling up this evening, and you will see your trouble removed and Methodists go to work" Uncle Ben was put up, took his text and in a few minutes warmed up, and with a voice that echoed from hill to hill, said: "What, a thousand souls going to hell for the want of a little straw, brethren"? Suffice it to say,, that evening before sun-down, which was Friday, wagons with great loads of straw rolled in, and that night the altar was filled with shouting Methodists and converts, and such clapping of hands, shouting, singing, praying hallelujah, with tears trickling down the cheeks of Uncle Ben as he stood in the pulpit looking down in the altar, the writer hopes never to forget.
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Randolph. L. Robertson was a mechanic and physician when we first knew him; he was afterwards an M. E. Minister of the gospel. He was then in his 45th year, heavily built, square shouldered, active as a cat and fearless as a lion. He married Miss Susan A Dodson in 1844, and had born to them Harriet, Mr. Dr. E. Camp, who died a few years since at Gadsden; John D. Who lives not at the homestead one and a half miles of Wedowee; Alice, the wife of Joe Cooper, both of whom are dear; and James F. who lives in Nebraska. Dr. Robertson was a man of fine mind and a successful physician. He made a capable and efficient officer. He was a "Know-nothing" in 1855-6, s strong Union man during the war, and a Republican in 1868, when he was again elected Tax assessor and held for two or three terms. He was in his 75th year when he died October 1880, and was buried in the Masonic cemetery.
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Joseph Savage, of Beat 3, Rockdale, was appointed in 1848-9. He was a school teacher, 44 years of age, was honest, sober and moral and well qualified for his duties. He had three sons, Jeff, Shelt and Jesse in Co. K 13th Alabama Regiment. Jesse was undoubtedly the best drilled soldier in Gen. Colquitt's brigade. General Colquitt, when he took command of his brigade at Yorktown Va., sent an order to the Captains in each regiment in his brigade to send him the best drilled soldier in their companies. The writer was in command of Co. K., 13th Alabama Regiment and sent Jesse Savage. Those sent were placed in line and a trial inspection made. On the first all but four were dismissed; on the second two more, on the third trial Jesse stood alone, and received the honor of being the best drilled soldier in the brigade. General Colquitt had him detailed as a sentinel in front of his headquarters. Jesse did not like the idea of being away from his two brothers and neighbor boys, and asked the General to let him go back to his company, which was granted. This characteristic of Jesse was strongly developed in his brothers, which was inherited from their father.
Written for the Toiler.
Elias M. Burgess was elected in 1851. He was 39 years of age then, a Democrat, school teacher, farmer and Justice of the Peace., living near Lamar when war was declared. He made up a company of about forth (the writer being one of the number) on July 4th 1861, at Lamar. There was a big dinner given that day and Miss Cynthia Tomlinson made a nice little speech. E. B. Smith of Brockville, was present with about forty volunteers on his list; and the two, Burgess and Smith, agreed to unite into one company., They agreed to elect the officers alternately by ballot. Smith was elected Captain, E.M. Burgess 2nd Junior Lieutenant, and on July 12th. 1861, this company left Brockville for Montgomery, where it was mustered into service July 28. Lieutenant Burgess took a great deal of pride in drill and other duties, and at the Seven Pines battle distinguished himself for bravery, courage and leadership. While the regiment was supporting those engaged, Lieutenant Colonel H. R.. Dawson ordered a retreat and was leading the way. Lt. Burgess saw Col. Dawson's blunder and snatched the regiment colors and rallied all but Dawson back on the breast works. Col. Dawson resigned in short order and nothing but a Junior rank of a second Lieutenancy kept Lieut. Burgess from regimental promotion. On the morning of June 27, 1862, and the second day of the Seven Days fight just as the dawn of twilight cast off the shades of darkness, a brisk breeze kissed the silken folds of the 13th Alabama Regimental colors and she spread her wings in majesty and grandeur in recognition of the will and wishes of the strong arm and brave heart of Co. Sergeant J. W. Stallings, who held her aloft, which chanced to challenge the eye of the Federal sentinel, who in turn sent greeting and salutations on the wings of canister and grape with malice and intent of forethought of her destruction and capture. But there stood four breastworks made of flesh and blood to keep her afloat and defend her liberty; they were the bravest of the brave, Capt. John T. Smith; Lieut. E. M Burgess; Sergeant J.L. Savage, Co. "K", and Private J. W. Brown, Co. "D". There Capt. Clark, Co. "A", Lieut. Burgess, Co."K" and Private Thad Pool, Co. "I" crossed the Jordan of life. The writer heard Lieut. Burgess's last farewell to man, saw the spirit of life leaving him before returning to the God who gave it; and as have had promised, saw his body laid to rest within a few feet of where its spirit had left it. He was killed in the road and buried just out and opposite on the bank. God took him as he had expressed a desire to the writer and others he wanted him to do. One Sunday morning in Capt. E. B. Smith's log tent--it was in April, 1862, just before the siege at Yorktown, where we were then in camp--thirteen in number besides Mrs. Lieut. Guinn, the following named persons we remember as a part of those present, Capt. E. B. Smith, Lieut. J.M.K. Guinn , Lieut. A. T. Reaves, Lieut. E. M Burgess, Corporal Shelt Savage, Rev. Lewis J.. Black, Private J.. Meachum and Thompson Reaves--in number, the other five we have forgotten--were passing the time talking about our chances in getting home alive, when the subject came up as to where we had rather be wounded. Thompson Reaves, as well as we remember, started the subject by saying, "I had rather be wounded by having my index finger on my right shot off," Then said he, "I would get a discharge and stay at home." John J.. Meachum said, "Thomps, I'll take my big toe and that would give me a furlough, and I'll stay if I once get there." (Meaning home). Shelt Savage said, "I believe I'd take my left side." Capt. Smith said, "Shelt, I am like you. I want; both hands and feet and I'd take my right side." Lieut. Reaves said: "Boys, I'll take my foot. Polly is good company and I had rather be with her than anywhere else." Lieut. Guinn said, "I'll take my left arm between the wrist and elbow; I could come and go when I pleased." Lieut. Burgess said, (suiting the occasion by placing his finger in the center of his forehead). I want to be hit right here and where killed be buried." Rev. Lewis J.. Black said, "I don't care where I am hit, I only pray God, if I am to be wounded seriously to cause my death, I may be killed so dead that not a muscle of my face, arm, leg or body will move. I pray to God that this may be made so as a token and evidence; that you all, my wife, father, mother, brother, the members of my church and everybody else, may know that I am a Christian and that I will meet them in heaven." The scriptures say: "The last shall be first." Lewis Black was the first; while laying behind the breastworks, at the battle of Seven Pines, he was struck by a ball sin the head. Old soldiers know when a ball hits them, it sounds like a marble hitting a board, this was the case with the one hitting Lewis. Every eye near him was instantly turned toward him/ for they all knew and most of them had heard him pray to God that it might be thus--we inquired diligently and critically for we had promised him too, to see if his prayer was answered, and they all testified that not a feature of his person moved that they saw. Lieut. Burgess being next to last selecting, was the next to first killed. On the morning of June 27th, near a cowtrail coming obliquely into the road cutting the space of three or more feet wide through the bank three or four feet high to the level of the road bed, while standing cautioning the boys of the danger in passing it, as the Yankees had one or two pieces of artillery planted to cover it, which had killed Captain Clark and Thad Pool, he was struck with a minnie ball in the forehead just where he had selected and was buried as near the spot as was thought prudent. The last but two and the first but two, Lieut. J.M.K. Guinn was the next. A piece of shell struck his left arm between the wrist and elbow just where he too had selected that fatal Sunday morning. The next was Lieut. A. T. Reaves, shot through the foot as he had selected. Lieuts. Burgess, Guinn and Reaves were shot on the same day--June 27th-- the second day of the Seven Day's battle. The next two were Thompson Reaves and John J. Meachum. Reaves had his finger shot off and Meachum his big toe--just as they had selected. The writer was at home on furlough when they came home, when Mrs. Guinn related the circumstances, calling the names of the entire thirteen and with special attention to the six at that time, wounded as desired and selected. In the spring following Capt. Smith and Sergeant Shelt Savage were wounded each in the side, as they had selected. The other five we have forgotten their names. If we knew where Thompson Reaves and Shelt Savage were, for they were alive when last heard from, we would write them; perhaps they would remember the others.
Number Twenty Three
Written for the Toiler.
August 1853, David A. Perryman, then 27 years of age, and a mail contractor, was elected Tax Assessor. In politics he was ever loyal, open and pronounced in his fidelity to the national nominee; but local and state elections he usually voted for the lesser of two evils. He opposed secession, had no ambition or disposition to shoot or be shot at by the "Yanks" and out-general Hero in keeping out of the war and staying at home, which he certainly did. He voted the Cooperation ticket in 1866, and for Horatio Seymore in 1868; was a Grant man in 1872, and since that time voted the Republican ticket. In state, county and local elections he voted for the man generally. He is one of the most active, industrious, persevering and energetic men in the country; but the same time, he has never been rightly or justly accused so far as we have heard, of manual hard labor. In fact, he said; "When a boy, I was not able to labor until I was twenty-five; since then I have managed so as not to have to do it." In other words when a boy he was physically incapacitated to labor, and since a man morally indisposed to do so. He has managed to inform himself with the practical workings and requirements of the postal and pension laws and rulings and forms of these department, from which he had made a good living and educated his children. "All I lack of being a wise man. said he, "is learning it. For I never forget anything I ever learned." This is no doubt theoretically true, for he has a remarkable memory and a never-failing fountain of wit, humor and tenor of sarcasm. He is the encyclopedia of Randolph County and her public men. Judge John T. Heflin who bore the sobriquet "law-library", was another as equally as remarkable for memory. Esq. Perryman came to this county in 1843. He carried the mail for years, and was associated as principal or deputy census taker in 1860, '70, '80, and '90.
He has been Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, County Commissioner of Roads and Revenue, and was elected to the Legislature--vice Milton D. Barron, deceased--in 1863, but refused to take his seat because he feared to trust 200 pounds of Union loyalty to fill a Confederate loyalty seat. He used to be an active Mason. He is now a member of the Primitive (Hardshell) Baptist, and quotes scripture like a theologian student. On one occasion he met Rev. Moses Park, a Christian divine, whose daily theme was the revelation of God's word. And as the reverend and learned divine began to reveal the mysteries and wonders of the treasures of the goodness, mercy and love of God, by quoting text after text to support his church creed, Esq. Perryman as the opportunity and occasion demanded, dropped in a Primitive text. This at first stimulated Rev. Mose, and he became enthused over the love and mercies of God. Esq. P. Quickly quoted one of his Primitive predestination's from before ;the foundation text. Rev. P. Raised his head and looked him in the eye and asked: "Are you a preacher?" "No," answered Esq. P. "Are you not a member of a church?" "Yes," replied Esq. P., "but I am like the Negro that had the small pox. It has never marked me."
Esq., Perryman in one of Randolph 's best citizens; he is liberal, charitable and neighborly. He is now in his 60th year and is remarkable active and stout for a man of his age. He lives in Rockdale Beat No. 3, where he had made his home for many years.
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W. T. Wood was elected in 1854, and was at the time 24 years of age. He lived near Chulafinnee, was a Democrat, and made a creditable record. He raised a company, was elected Captain, and left for the war March 19, 1862. He was elected to the State Senate in 1863 by the Union or anti-war contingent.
J. C. Burson, of Burson's beat, formerly Cherokee, but now High Shoals, was elected in 1865. He was one of the leading men in his beat and took a great deal of pride in the discharge of his official duties. He was Justice of the Peace for several years, and stood well with his party and people.
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William Ingrham of Delta beat, was elected in 1857. He was a bachelor, 34 years of age and is now 72 and living in the same community, which is a portion of Clay County. He made a most excellent official, and the Democrat Party, to which he belonged, re-elected him until his political opponents became hysterical and chronic in the extreme. In 1863 when the hardships of the was and men being conscripted and forced out, the sentiments of voters were indifferent as to officers, and turned to partisan and political aspirations and promotions. Mr. Ingram being a secessionist and a war man and that element having been in power and control, was charged with all the cruelties and hardships of the war and the sufferings of poor widows and orphan children. He was defeated by a good majority contrary to his or his opponents expectations. He represented Clay County in the legislature a few years since as an Organize Democrat. He taught school in Wedowee in 1852 or s'53. The writer remembers when his father came home one night and said; "Boys, school will open Monday week. We have employed Mr. William Ingram; he is a good teacher, comes well recommended and can teach English grammar to the tenth rule until the winter session of 1836-7 did the subject come properly before; the Legislature, when it was referred to a select committee to investigate and report on the constitutionally of county representation. From some cause, the committee failed to report and the Legislature adjourned without action. However, Governor Clay called a special session in June 1837, in order to make provision for State troops, which had been called on to protect the settlers from the Indians, who were hostile and making preparations for war at this special session, this committee reported each county entitled to one representative, etc.
Having no mail facilities, the people depended largely on "grape-vine" dispatches, which often traveled at the rate of 50 to 75 miles a day, but were not always credited by the people. So you see the people had heard the news, and in order to be in shape to receive its benefits, elected Thomas Blake, their first representative. And, like our Old Side Baptists usually put it "In case of failure," a Commissioner. Uncle Tom was, I believe, one of that faith and practice; and, you know they are the best people in the world, relying entirely on God's love and mercy, and not on educated tongues, pride, riches and vain ejaculations.
Blake and Hawthorn resigned. Isaac Baker and Hugh Montgomery were appointed. (See serials on County Treasurer and Tax Assessor)
1838--Richard Young, Andrew T. Ray, Blount H. Bazemore and J.T. Wafer were elected.
Richard Young owned and lived at that time at Tripplett's (Blake's) Ferry. Tripplett sold out after the county seat was moved to Wedowee. Richard Young was a good clever man and citizen, and was a brother of Ike Young. The legislature changed the term of office from an annual to a bi-annual. He was re-elected in 1840 and died in the latter part in 1844. Thomas Blake was appointed administrator and at the sale bought the homestead and ferry. His son, John Blake, owned it until his death.
Andrew T. Ray was an early settler and entered land on Section 36, Township 17, Range 10 in 1835s. It was in Blake's beat, afterwards Dunston's No. 3. Mr, John Randolph. Ray of Oxford, Alabama is his son. I don't remember to have seen him, unless he was the Ray who visited my father's in Chulfinne in 1842.
` Blount H. Bazemore was about 33 years of age. He lived in Wehadkee, beat , now High Shoals. He was re-elected in 1840. His name gave him a noted personality, and he was known all over the county for levity, sport and liberality.
J. T. Wafer was a son-in-law of William Clemens, and established Wafer's now Malone's ferry. He resigned and afterwards moved west. W. Georgia. Falkner was appointed to fill the vacancy. (For Falkner see serial on County Treasury.)
B. H. Bazemore, W.G. Falkner and Ephriam Carpenter.
Ephriam Carpenter was Dutch and came from Germany when a boy. He was a brother of Samuel Carpenter whose family of children still live here -- Bud, Sarah, Frank, Mally, Mary, Ida, Sug and Berta. Eph Carpenter married a Clemens, was a tanner by trade and lived in the house now occupied by Mr. John T. Owen. He moved to Louisiana thence to Texas. It is said, he is now living in Sherman, Texas, in feeble health. He had a beautiful little girl, with black curly hair, named Mattie. She claimed the writer as her sweetheart, and would sing:
"Old Dan Tucker he got drunk,
and fell in the fire and kicked up a chunk;
A red hot coal got in his shoe,
Lord a massa how the ashes flew.
Clear the track for Old Dan Tucker,
You come to late to get your supper."
Number Twenty Eight
Written for the Toiler. by J.M.K. Guinn
A little explanation just here becomes necessary to a better understanding of the divisions of the county at this time:
In 1842 Randolph County was divided into two militia regiments, and those into beats, as follows: Seventy first Regiment; Beats -- Able's, 1: Blake's 2; Arbacoochee, 3; Casper's, 4; Lovvorn, 5; Duke's, 6; Owen's, 7; Fish-head, 8; Ninety-first Regiment: Beats - Wesabulga, 1: Roanoke, 2: Bacon Level, 3: Wehadkee, 4; Big River, 5; Wedowee, 6; Flat Rock 7; Rock Mills, 8.
1842-- Benjamin A. Flinn, Wiley J. Pritchett, Davis E. Grisham and Sygmore Moore.
B. A. Flinn lived in Able's beat. He was a Whig and made a dutiful, efficient officer, prompt in attendance, reasonable and just in his opinion and acts. He was a personal friend of father's and shared his confidence. I don't remember having seen him after his term of office expired.
Wiley J. Pritchett was 30 years of age, was a Democrat. He lived in Wehadkee beat, and probably afterwards in Roanoke. He was tax assessor and Justice of the Peace. He moved to what is snow known as Clay County and was living when last hear from.
Davis E. Grisham was 38 years of age, and a "Coon" Whig. He lived on the hill north of Wedowee and owned the Che-wasti-haadgo N 1-2, S 3, 20, Randolph 11 reserved under Creek Treaty of 1832. He sold out to J. W. Guinn in 1843 and moved to Roanoke beat near his old home, located in 1835 on Grave's creek, probably the Bob Birdsong place. He was elected in 1844. He made a good Commissioner and was highly respected. Eventually, he went west. Sygmon Moore was 48 years of age and lived in Lovvorn's beat. When I first got acquainted with him I thought he and Seymore, Bazemore, Latimore, McLemore, Elmore, Fillmore, Gilmore, and Guy Moore, Israel Moore and Lypson Moore were all brothers. It happened however, that Guy Moore got in court about a wild hog, and during the trial, I leaned which was which.
Sygmore Moore, if I remember correctly, was a Charles W. Statham man in the election for Probate Judge in May 1840. Since then I have lost sight of him.
1844-Davis E. Grisham and Wiley J. Pritchett, were elected. Thomas F. Lundie and Edmond Ingram, John Murphy appointed vice W. J. Pritchett resigned.
J. H. Leftwich hailed from Fox Creek, an imported school teacher, said to be very well informed, good moral character and well thought of by his neighbors.
W. Georgia. Preston of Halpin's beat, an aged and highly respected farmer, an old citizen and Democrat, honored and loved, sociable and neighborly, conservative and liberal.
W. H. Moon, of Lamar beat, school teacher, well informed, moral and temperate habits. Crippled and uses crutches and stick. Still living and well respected.
1892--W. J. Barrett, George French, W. J. Cofield and W. Randolph. Sharman.
William J. Barrett, of Rock Mills beat, a farmer and Populist; a good and clever man, makes a good and efficient Commissioner; liberal and conservative, manifests zeal and earnestness in the county's welfare, generally acts wisely and judicially. Under special act of the legislature, first term expired in August 1894 and he was re-elected and now serving his second term of two years
W. J. Cofield, of Halpins beat, is a merchant, farmer and Populist, a man of good appearance, good morals, good financier, and stands well at home; liberal conservative, reserved and pleasant. His present term as Commissioner expires in August 1896.
William R. Sharman of Bacon Level beat, is a Baptist, Populist and farmer; a good clever, upright man, with good judgment, pleasant unassuming manners, liberal, free and neighbor; hones, industrious and economical and acts from judgment rather then impulse. He is not, and has been during the greater portion of 1895 in
This creates a vacancy and can only be filled by appointment of the Governor.
RANDOLPH'S STATE SENATORS
Number Thirty Five
Written for the Toiler., by Capt. J.M.K. Guinn
1840--Up to this time, Randolph County had no representative in the State Senate, but in 1839, the General Assembly made a reapportionment of Senators and Representatives, and Chambers and Randolph counties were mad e Senatorial District.
George Reese, of Chambers county was elected. It is not remembered now whether he was a Whig or Democrat. His acts, as a member, seems to indicate he was an honest fearless Independent. He voted to allow the Whigs to illuminate the Capitol in honor of William Henry Harrison's election to the Presidency of the United States, but it was laid on the table, the Democrats having the majority voted with the Whigs to take from the table but it was defeated. He offered a resolution proposing the Whig party of the Senate have the use of the Senate Chamber. Voted for W. R. King a Democrat for U.S. Senator. Voted against Peyton King's preamble and resolution to unpurge any member who voted other than for his part. In other words, no Representative or Senator is authorized to exercise discretionary power, but is bound to vote for that individual whose political opinion may accord with those of a majority of his constituents. He seems to have stood alone and independently of party when the public good demanded it. His people, at home, endorsed and re-elected him as his own successor. Alabama's Populist U.S., Senator must be a chip from the same stump.
1845-6. Jefferson Falkner, of Wedowee, Randolph County, was elected. He died in July, 1895, at the home of his youngest son, Hon. Jeff Falkner, Jr. In the city of Montgomery. (See serials on County Judge and Clerk).
1847-50 Seaborn Gray, of Tallapoosa county was elected Senator from Tallapoosa and Randolph Counties as a Democrat. The re-apportionment in 1845 gave Chambers county, which had rapidly grown to be the largest county in population in the State, one Senator and four Representatives. This accounts for Randolph and Tallapoosa being a Senatorial district. In 1850, Randolph had grown in population and became a senatorial district and with two Representatives in the House.
1851-2 John T. Heflin, of Wedowee, was elected. He was a son of Wyatt Heflin, brother of Hon. S. And Dr. W. L. Heflin, Mrs. W.P. Poole, Mrs. John Blake and Mrs. H.R. Gay. His father moved from Georgia to Randolph County in 1834 or 1835 and settled on High Pine creek near the present Concord church and cemetery and in Louina beat. Judge Heflin was a boy of fourteen, well advanced in his studies at school when his father moved in the midst of the Indians, and his acute and incentive nature to learn was greatly assisted; for here was a race with life, habits and language that was new and interesting, and his active energetic and inquiring mind feasted on Indian dialect. Judge Heflin was 31 years of age; a bright and promising young lawyer and a zealous Democrat when elected, who never voted other than for the nominee of his party. This he would do though he refused to speak to him. Was a rabid secessionist and a minute war man. But he, like many others of that sort, some how or other did not go, and those that did, got out some how or other. When they could, they substituted office for war, and served their country like patriots. Grover Cleveland like. In 1836 Judge Heflin, Judge Bob Doughtery and Judge Jefferson Falkner were candidates for Circuit Judge, and again in 1863 , Judge Heflin was a candidate for Circuit Judge in 1875 was in the State Constitutional Convention from Talladega County; in 1878, I believe it was, his name was placed before the Democratic State Convention for Supreme Court Judge, but he refused to allow it pressed and it was withdrawn. In 1885 his name was highly commended for United States Supreme Court Judge. No man, not even his political and personal enemies, challenged his ability, but unlike him they refused to rise above personality. Judge Heflin was a strict disciplinarian and dispatched business rapidly when on the bench.
Judge Heflin had an extraordinary memory. Often quoting book, page, chapter, section and word for word of Supreme Court decision. He was called in Talladega, "The Walking Library." Lawyers, rather than trouble themselves with hunting up decisions and rulings on cases, when in his presence, invariably referred to him. He knew what the initials stood for in nearly every name of any notoriety in the county. He as a linguist of Indian names, folklore and tradition. As a general thing, men don't realize the value and usefulness of noble men and women in their associations while living, but when they move away or die, and no one to supply their place, they realize and regret their indifference, though lessens and loss. Judge Heflin's attainments as a lawyer, scholar, historian and biographer with him many traits of honesty, fidelity, integrity and liberality, were perhaps , not equaled by any other man in the State. He was irritable, quick to resent an insult or insinuation, so much so, he made enemies unnecessarily and unintentionally. So far as the writer knows, he never sought or made any pretensions to Christianity though he believed and accepted the Bible as the Word of God given by inspiration. He often read it and quoted from it precepts of love, mercy, truth and wisdom. He honored the Christian church, its members and ministers. Believed Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God; Savior of souls; and when approached by a person living a consistent Christian life on the subject of religion, he reasoned wisely from a wordy standpoint. The writer remembers hearing him say, "I am a Hard-shell Baptist in belief." His mother did, and I believe, his father, too held to the teachings and doctrines of the Primitive faith. In manners he was austere, haughty, arrogant and petulant, in conversation jovial, loquacious and entertaining; in passion aggressive, merciless, profane, tyrannical and vindictive, as a friend to the manor born; egotistical in ridicule and criticism characterizing everybody by occupation, habits from, accident or incident just like the Indian did. He had a redundant command and flow of language, but his delivery was obtuse without effulgency, magnetism or animation. His voice was husky, harsh and acrid. Like Moses, poor in speech, but learned and wise in law and equity; a close tireless student; prodigious thinker; wise counselor and righteous judge; an invective opponent and invariable democrat; no deception, hypocrisy nor servility about him. His whole life seems to have been wrapped up in his profession. An exile to society and sociability. Moved from Wedowee to Jacksonville about 1857 and from there to Talladega in 1878-9. There he met, wood won and married Mrs. Frank Bowden, one of the most amiable and esteemed ladies in the State. They had no children, but he educated and associated his step-son, Frank Bowden, Jr., in the practice of law. After Mrs. Heflin's death, he located at Birmingham. In December 1888 his voice was stilled in death--life's work ended; faults forgiven, virtues treasured and now his body lies solomnly beneath a beautiful monument in old Concord's cemetery, where nearby lies father and mother in sleep until the resurrection of the dead, "Jure divino".
Number Thirty Six
Written for the Toiler., by Capt. J.M.K. Guinn
1853-4-- Henry M. Gay, of Louina beat, was 41 hears of age, a farmer and a stock raiser. When a young man in his twenty-first year, he and Isham T. (Uncle Tom) Weathers, migrated from Fayette county, Georgia to Randolph; kept bachelor's hall, ran a black-smithing business, sold good and traded with the settlers and Indians. A few years after they both married, and Gay settled what is now known as the "Old Gay Homestead" on the Wedowee and Malone (Wafer) ferry-road.
When the County Democratic Convention met there were several candidates before it for Senator, and after several ballots and withdrawals had been made, a two-thirds vote being necessary to a choice, there was but little hopes and no indications of a break so long as the present candidates were in the race. The convention adjourned for dinner, and Mrs. Elijah Humphries' friends made a proposition to Mrs. Gay's friends. That they would support Mr. Gay for Senator, if they, Gay's friends, would support Humphries for Representative. The proposition was accepted and Gay nominated. Mrs. Gay when charged afterwards with the trade, denied all knowledge of it on his part. But it evidently handicapped him and came very near defeating his election; and did defeat Humphries. The writer, a boy of 17, took in the canvass, and remembers the State and County tickets:
John A. Winston, D
A. Q. Nicks, W
James F Dowdle, D
Thomas F Garrett, W
For State Senator
Henry M. Gay, D
W. P. Newell, D
Elijah Humphries, D
John Goodwin, W
R. R. Roberts, W
Wilson Falkner, D
J. M. Hearn
The canvass was hotly contested and the result in doubt until the last vote was counted and returns all in, and, then, neither party would concede the election nor his defeat. Charges and counter charges were made, and a general fight came very near being precipitated. The law required the coroner to recount the votes within ten days after the election. M. J. Hearn, candidate for sheriff, was coroner, and the Democrats were in a straight. They wanted Goodwin defeated, and it was believed in Hearn counted the vote it would be impossible. They kicked, snorted, cowed and cajoled, but all to no purpose, while the Whigs crackled, teased and ridiculed them. Coroner Hearn relieved their fears by allowing each party to have a representative present. When the ballots were counted. Gay's majority 34 and Goodwins's 11. The Democrats elected the rest of their ticket. Gay succeeded himself in 1855. In 1861, he was elected on Co-operation ticket to ordinance Secession convention.
1857-8--R.R. Heflen, an ex-soldier of the Indian wars of 1836, and a promising practicing lawyer, 42 years of age and a citizen of Wedowee, was nominated and elected by the Democrats. Bob previously represented the county in the lower House of the General Assembly in 1849 and 50. He as a fine speaker, and perhaps, the most popular man Randolph County ever had before or since. In 1859-60, 61 and 62, he was his own successor. Was a Stephen A. Douglas Democrat and opposed the war and secession. Gay, the Smiths and Woods, all went with him, but Judge John T. Heflin and other prominent Democrats supported John C. Breckinridge and secession. In 1864 he was arrested for treason to the Confederate States., he and ex-Gov. W.H. Smith having made an alleged treason speech at a public meeting in the Court House a few days previously. He took advantage of a parole and went across the line to the enemy where he remained until Lee's surrender. In August, 1865, he was appointed Probate Judge and held until Judge W. W. Dobson's election in 1868, and in 1869 was elected to Congress as a Republican. He was defeated in 1880 for Probate Judge by T. J. Thomason. Was a candidate in 1884, for representative but defeated by Dr. W. B Taylor. In 1886 he was nominated by the Republican State Convention for Attorney General although defeated, ran ahead of the ticket. Now, in his 81st year, with mental force abated and eyes dim, providence hath provided him a pension as an Indian soldier of 1836. Twenty two years ago, his wife died leaving a house full of little children, and he married Miss Mentoria Reaves, daughter of Judge John Reaves, of Wedowee. Mentoria, though a little girl when her mother died, was the stay and dependence of the family; and in the place of a mother, helped to raise and provide for three sets of children of her father, and two sets for Bob, her husband. A woman among women; gentle and kind; motherly and affectionate; domestic and provident; thoughtful and careful; modes and pleasant; hopeful and dutiful and by her humble patient Christian walk and conversation, a few years ago, had the sweet consolation to see her husband, a profane and ungodly man, Baptized into the fellowship of Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, the "called and Elect" of God. And now, in his old age and declining days, after a long, honored and eventful life, in the plenitude of love, mercy and goodness of God, in giving him a benevolent Christian companion to cherish and nurture him in peace and love, awaits the summons ere the silver cord be loosed or the golden bowl be broken or the pitcher or the wheel at the cistern to bid her who has been getting to point out the way of righteousness, peace on earth, and life eternal, in the world to come. He who ere long will be the course of nature have this earthly tabernacle dissolved and fall asleep in Jesus, to await the sound of Gabriel's trumped in the morning of the resurrection. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know we shall be like him ("The Sons of Man") in the resurrection of the dead."
Number Thirty Seven
Written for the Toiler, by Capt. J.M.K. Guinn
1863--- Capt. W. T. Wood, of Chulafinee beat, was elected.
See serial on Tax Assessor.
1865---Middleton R. Bell, of Chulatinne beat, was elected.
He was a brother of County Commissioner J. H. Bell, 40 years of age and well-to-do farmer; an active, energetic and leading citizen; with union sentiments predominating during the war; since a Republican. He is now living at or near Bell’s mills, in Cleburne County.
1867---Hicks H. Wise, of Cleburne County, was elected. See serial on Circuit Clerks.
1872---James J. Robinson, of Chambers County, was elected and was the first Democrat to represent Randolph County in the senate since ante-bellum days. He had a hard struggle in getting the nomination, but finally pulled through. In 1876, the Democrats were in full possession of the State and every other man wanted office. It was indirectly conceded at the last Senatorial Convention that Randolph should have the nomination. The bosses and place hunters began to form in clicks and rings and sparring began in earnest as to who should be who. Senator Robinson was a putative candidate, so, also, Col. J.J. Denson of Lafayette. Randolph had hers, too. When the Convention met at Roanoke, Randolph’s delegates would not, or at least did not harmonize on any one man. Chambers county had the majority of the delegation, but they too refused to harmonize. There were 38 delegates; 26 were necessary to make the nomination. Chambers had 25, Randolph 13. On the first ballot Robinson 19, Denson 9, Heflin 10. After seven ballots, Heflin’s name was withdrawn and Ricke, Ussery and others substituted with a slight variation of the vote. The convention adjourned for dinner and several of the delegates from Chambers expressed themselves perfectly willing to take a good man from Randolph if her delegates would unite. So an agreement was made to vote for all the men whose names had been before the convention seriatim, the man receiving the highest vote should be the candidate and was to be supported without variation-uno animon until next election. One delegation to the fact that there were only 13 votes from Randolph county. A new ballot showed Dr. W. L. Heflin to be the strongest man from Randolph, but when placed before the Senatorial Convention as Randolph’s choice, two of her delegates voted for Denson. After a few ballots without change, Randolph’s delegation withdrew to consult. It was agreed to cast one more vote for Heflin, and if no change to withdraw his name and vote for whom they pleased. The vote stood: Robinson 19, Heflin 11, and Denson 8; Heflin’s name withdrawn, Robin 26 and Denson 12. The writer and six others from Randolph voted for Robinson, Judge Davis and five others voted for Denson. Robinson was nominated and re-elected. In 1886 he was a candidate for Probate Judge of Chambers county, but was defeated by Rev. W. D. Bledsoe in the County Convention for the nomination. "Barkis" like, being willing, he became an independent candidate and his solidarity assumed a dark companionship by the change of venue; however, he defeated the Democratic nomination at the election. In 1894 he was nominated by the "Tom Jones Organized" for the legislature and badly beaten by C. H. Cole and J. H. Harris Populists. He is now living and practicing law at Lafayette.
1880---Robert S. Pate, of Randolph, was nominated at Milltown by the Democratic Convention and elected. He was a bright and promising young lawyer in his 38th year and a native born Randolphian. His father, James Pate, moved to the county in the fall of 1834, or spring of 1835, and settled near where Dick Green now lives, south of old High Pine Baptist Church. Bob is a brother of G. G. (Bird) and Thomas F Pate and Mrs. Dick Green, who are all well-known and highly respected. He married Miss Sue Scales, sister to Mr. Mollie Burton and daughter of James Scales. Mrs. Pate is sociable , pleasant and amiable; and, of course, has associated with her a whole-soul big hearted clever husband, ever standing with open arms and friendly greeting his host of friends. Bob is as honest as the days are long, as free as the water that runs. He is not one of the covetous kind, doesn’t want nor wouldn’t have more than a living. He is said to be "The best criminal lawyer at Wedowee’s bar." Being born, bred and rocked in the cradle of Jeffersonian Democracy, he stands with the honest laboring yeomanry of his country; ready at any and all times to battle for their rights, interest and wants. He, like hundreds and thousands of other true and tried men, was forced to break ranks and leave the Tom Cleveland and Grover Jones Democracy. Self respect, consistency, decency, honesty and respectability; ought, certainly, to justify his course with the people. He stands, today, in the front ranks of Populist simplicity and consistency; and, will, if the vox populi have the good will to say, head and lead them to victory in 1896. Bob was a brave and gallant Confederate soldier; standing at the head of his company led his men and drove back the invading enemy. Bob works well in the lead. Try him.
1884---N. D. Denson, of Lafayette, a very prominent young lawyer and a true and faithful member of Lafayette Baptist Church, succeeded Pate. His moral and temperate habits; Christian character and deportment; acts and walk, won the confidence and secured of the Fifth Judicial Circuit. He will however have a hard road to travel should he again offer in 1896. It is said "He is building his fences for another term, using Populist timbers." On the other hand his friends say: "He will not offer, owing to his delicate health, but retire and recruit up." Whether this be true or not, it is evidently the only prudent and conversative course for his future; for no man can command the support of confidence of intelligent voters, whose political escutcheon trails in the associations and councils of deception, treachery, extravagance and debauchery at the expense of the dependent poor, suffering and famishing humanity that Clevelandism has seasoned with gall.
1888. - Hon. William A. Handley, of Roanoke, was nominated by the Democratic Senatorial convention. He was 53 years of age and a retired merchant. Captain Handley was the son of Mr. John R. Handley and brother of Captain, Frank M.; Major James M.; Dr. John R.; Bowden A. Handley and two unmarried sisters. His father was an early settler of the county. The writer remembers seeing him when a small boy. Uncle Jack as he was sometimes called, invariably attended Circuit Court, County Conventions, Public speaking and other public occasions at Wedowee, and was an enthusiastic democrat; always on hand as a delegate from Esobulga beat. Whether or no he got his choice at the convention he endorsed the nominee; and, as for that, everything else said or done by the convention and his party. It is not remembered now whether Uncle Jack ever ran for any office or not. Yet there is an indistinct impression on my mind that he was once nominated or before the convention as a candidate for the legislature; however, if so there was no incident connecting it of notoriety, or the writer would have doubtless remembered it. Mrs. John R. Handley, captain’s mother, the writer never saw to know, but from her general character she was modest, pleasant, charitable, motherly, domestic, amiable and lovely. There is one incident associated with her name I’ll relate which is like a diamond in the sky ever so high shines and portrays a noble Christian spirit of humanity living in her heart. It is this: A few years ago, there was a Negro boy and white man sentenced and started on the way to the chain gang under the care and control of a callous hearted and cruel wretch who stopped over night at Uncle Jack’s on his way with his prisoners. The night was dark and cold, and wind strong and biting: ground frozen hard and next morning covered with snow. On one side of the house there was a verandah and shed at the end in which the guard slept, the other part of the verandah was open and to one of its posts the two prisoners were chained and there to remain until morning, tired, wet with sweat’s (for they had been forced to travel at the rate of six miles an hour chained to the axle-tree of the guard’s buggy) and hungry without anything to eat or sleep upon except the cold hard floor. Mrs. Handley protested and importuned the wretch until he shirked for his own safety and comfort. She gave the prisoners a good and warm supper and some quilts to keep them from suffering and freezing. At 1 o’clock A. M. An Angel touched them and said: "Arise, make haste, get thee up northward; thou are free." They arose, the chain parted in the middle and they were not, as though they had wings and flown away. My readers have doubtless heard Capt. Handley tell about his serrated trials in boyhood days which would be redundancy to relate them here. There is, however, a very remarkable character of versatility vested in his life from juvenility to senility. It has followed him like a manes in every pursuit and occupation of life. His sinuated disposition seems to have aided him in his political and financial advancement, upon which, he has established a reputation for popularity and liberality; for no one can truthfully say he is parsimonious, ‘though his whole life and aim have been to accumulate money and his success redundantly ambidextrous. His enthusiasm and zeal, if anything, exceeded his father’s He headed his beat delegation and took an active part in the Democratic County Convention before his majority. He would estuate, cogitate, then collate and wheedle with the delegates to carry his point; if he failed, like Josh Billings, when the cow kicked over the bucket and spilled the milk, he grabbed the bucket and went for another cow. In 1872, the old war horses were all disfranchised; that is, those who had took up arms or sympathized with the Confederacy. This eliminated all the office seeking element in the Democratic party. Only here and there, could a man be found eligible. Dr. W. L. Heflin, of Louina, now Roanoke was tendered the nomination of Congressman from this the third district, but as his brother, Hon. R. S. Heflin was then serving his first term as a Republican and a punitive candidate for reelection, Dr. Heflin declined. And without explanation or solicitation the Democratic convention nominated Captain Bill Handley for Congress, and unexpectedly, elected him by a good majority. By hard work and while smirking he succeeded in getting some good legislation passed which was credited to his energy and tact. In 1874m the Democratic congressional Convention met at Opelika where there were several aspirants for the nomination, among them Capt. Handley. The writer was a delegate and scotched on taut pulls. Being editor of "The Randolph Enterprise" published at Wedowee, he published the acts passed and work done in Congress by Captain Handley and distributed it at the Convention. This aided materially in securing his nomination. But unfortunately a disappointed and defeated aspirant through malign treachery and manipulation of ballots in Russell county, defeated Captain Handley at the election, Charles A Pelham, a Republican, securing the certificate of election. In 1888 he was elected Senator from Randolph and Chambers counties. In 1894, Dr. Jameson like, he failed to see the Amajuba Hill or pass Laing’s Neck, for Judge S. E. As. Reaves, Populist, captured his pickets and spiked his artillery earl in the fight. September 8, 1861, he made up a Company, elected captain and went to Mobile where his command stayed until July 1862. While at Mobile his health became delicate and he came home on furlough unable to do service. When his command was ordered to Tennessee, he went with it, but did not remain longer than the last day of July or first of August before he got a certificate of "heart affection." And a discharge from service. The writer got home from Virginia with an empty sleeve, July 29th 1862. And a few days after Captain Handley was reported at home. Captain Handley, like other poor boys, had but few advantages educationally. Poor boys had only two or three months to go to school. Spelling, reading, writing and ciphering was all that most school teachers could or professed to teach. "Webster’s blue book" was used for spelling and reading. Smiley’s arithmetic, goose quills, and red oak ball ink completed his panoply as an advance student. I could read and spell "by heart" hair that was in those old blue backs before allowed to see inside of any other book. None but young men and ladies were allowed to "cipher." A teacher that could make a goose Quill pen, rule paper with his finger nails, repeat the multiplication table and teach Smith’s Grammar to the ten rule-- "Prepositions govern the objective case"--was a prodigy. A boy’s highest aspirations in those days was to be a clerk in a store or grocery. This, Bill coveted and secured, and, from that time since, has been more or less in the mercantile business, while his versatile turn and tact shows he had hit his talent. He has had many promising outlooks which his adventurous speculation have caused to be downfalls. Perhaps his past experiences will sustain him in his present prosperity; at least it is to be hoped so.
Captain Handley has many good, genial and neighborly traits of hospitality, liberality, sociability, chivalry and companionship. He has a kind, tender, affectionate and penitent heart, but like the rich young ruler, he loves money.
1892-- H. M. Williams, of Chambers county, was elected to represent Chambers and Randolph. He is a farmer and Populist and a good and true man. So far as the writer knows, he has given general satisfaction and showed up on the fight side, salt or no salt. His present term as Senator ends in 1896s, and his successor is to be elected in August next.
1837 -- Thomas Blake was the first elected representative Randolph ever had in the State legislature. (See serial nos. 26 and 27 on county commissioners.) But as a matter of information, gathered from a recent publication I learn the acts of the general assembly of 1837, which had been thought lost or destroyed during the war, have been found and recovered to the archives of the State secretary’s office. These acts with other important and valuable papers were found and filed away in a Masonic lodge, where it is supposed they were carried during the war, for protection and preservation, and since forgotten. (In these serials the writer has had to rely to a great extent on tradition from 1832 to 1838 and for the want of official records and acts passed much valuable and interesting facts in the early days of Randolph county and her officials have escaped notice doubtless.) Uncle Tom died in 1880 in his eightieth year, and Aunt Delilah in 1895 in her eighty first year.
1838. -- William McKnight (see serial no 27, county commissioners.)
1839. -- F. F. Adrine (see serial on county treasurers.)
1840. -- Wyatt Heflin of Big River, now Louina beat, was a farmer, 51 years of age and a Democrat. He moved to Randolph county from Fayette county, Georgia, about 1835 or ‘36. He was well to-do financially and said to be the largest and best farmer on High Pine creek. He had a fair English education, fine intellectuality and good judgment. He succeeded himself in 1841, but in 1842 Jerry Murphy, Whig, succeeded him in the legislature, and in 1843 he succeeded Jerry Murphy. In 1844 James H Allen, Whig succeeded him. In 1845-6 he and Samuel T. Owens were elected. This was his last term in the legislature. During his latter days he moved to Louina, near his son, Dr. W. L. Heflin and there he died. The writer knew but little about his private personality. His general character was good and he and wife were said to be Primitive (Hardshell) Baptist. Was the father of Hon. Robert S., Judge John T. And Dr. W. L. Heflin; Mrs. William P. Pool, Mrs. John Blake and Mrs. H. R. Gay who lived in this county and State. James Heflin lived in the State of Georgia until 1856, and the moved to Texas. The writer visited his grave at Concord cemetery in 1894. So far as the writer knows and remembers no other father and sons have been honored by the voters of Randolph County as has this one.
1842. -- Jerry Murphy, a Whig and farmer 26 years of age, was elected and succeeded Wyatt Heflin, Democrat. Jerry was a hustler, active and energetic, genial and wily. The first time the writer remembers seeing Jerry was during the Polk and Clay campaign in 1844. His defeat in 1843 by Wyatt Heflin and the selection of James H. Allen as the Whig candidate, didn’t set well on Jerry’s ambitions aspirations to make laws. He was on a "tar" and had a big crowd around to help him drink Murphy tips, with Clay mint and Allen sugar, at Jude Crow’s fountain of pure homespun corn liquors. It was a public day, an election year and big crown in town. In those days, men from all over the county came to town. The Democrats had Tom Pollard, a little boy, patting and singing:
"Sheep shell corn
By the rattle of the horn,
We’ll shear old Clay
When the weather gets warm."
If the writer remembers correctly Jerry and Allen were defeated in 1845, by Wyatt Heflin and Samuel T. Owens. It is not remembered what became of Jerry Murphy.
1843. -- Wyatt Heflin turned the tables on Jerry and went back to the legislature.
1844. -- James H. Allen, a Whig and school teacher, defeated Wyatt Heflin, Democrat. Allen, when the writer knew him, lived in Wedowee on lot No. 52, east of Mrs. Martha Smith’s present home. He taught a ten months school afterwards in the old academy, where Prof. Richey is now teaching. The writer was a pupil and remembers the boys repaired the stick and clay chimney. The boys and girls "ciphering" were allowed to take their chairs and sit outside. While at dinner, some one put a coat of mud on one of the seats, and in retaliation, he put it on the others, and before Prof. Allen got back from dinner the ciphering contingent had daubed one another. Three or four boys holding and the girls painted. Finally a fight ensued and nineteen young men and ladies were arraigned before the teacher, with the only alternative said the rules, "take a whipping or be expelled from school." They all nno animo plead guilty and agreed to abide by the rules. The boys sawed wood and waited their time. It was a custom for the pupils to ask a holiday and the teacher had to give it, treat, or be ducked in a mud hole. This, the teachers would not do if there was any way to evade it. Ducking was the last act of his life; however, occasionally it had to be done to dignify the profession, for when once baptized in a mudhole, he invariably perseveres in gifts and holidays. The time grew on apace nigh and the plan and specifications were made ready and the little boys posted. On Tuesday, by chance one of the little boys learned the school would be out on Thursday instead of Friday. This information was communicated and Wednesday morning bright and early every little boy and a few large ones were at the school room and barricaded the door and stood inside to keep Prof. Allen out. He wasn’t expecting it until Thursday or Friday. He went and unlocked the door, but couldn’t open it. The boys had left open a window on purpose and through it got in and barricaded the door with benches. Prof. Allen tried for some time to get the boys to open the door, but they knew their rights and kept him out until "after books" the time to take in, then the door was opened and the professor and the boys had a race; and now had come the opportunity for which the young men had waited since the alternative "take a whipping or be expelled." Whether law or custom, a teacher had to teach his full time to get his pay, and when he was in the school room we dared not to molest him, but if we could barricade the door and keep him out without injury or personal harm, we had a perfect right too so to get a holiday, make him tread or duck. Charlie Gibbs and one or two others were pert on foot and the professor didn’t get far before he was in the arms of as many boys as could get to him and on the broad road that leads the unrepenting and rebellious teacher to the confines of hogdom. He threatened, kicked and pleaded, but it was no use, and he went with the sweet, consoling and inspiring words -- "From God all Blessings flow" -- choristers, "the daub maids." He was prepared for the ordinance one holding his head, two held each hand, and foot and one standing on top to prevent him from floating. Then the ceremony commenced -- "We duck you thou favored child of misfortune, on the confession of thy confutation in a dishonorable and ill assumed liberality as a tutor in the name of custom, tradition and practice as--Before the __ was finished, "I’ll treat, I’ll treat let me up." And he was as good as his work. We had as much candy, raisins, apples and nuts as we could all eat, and that day was given us as a holiday. That was a big and happy time as a boy has ever had. I wish I could be a boy again and live the day over. In 1859, I met Prof. Allen in Homer, Texas for the last time.
1844. -- Was a presidential election year. Father lived on the hill north of town in the Davis E. Grisham house. Pa was a Polk man and brother Lee and I were Polk boys and on the day before the speaking and raising of the Polk flag, and liberty pole, we dyed us a dozen or more flags with poke berries and painted the flagstaff with them too, and had the front yard fence decorated. Whenever a Polk man came along and saw our flags he would raise a yell, wave his hat and hollow "hurrah for Polk and Dallas." The Polk men had their horses decked with poke berries while the Clay men wore coon skin caps with coon tails hanging down their backs. Whichever party raised a flag first the other side would raise one higher, mattered not the cost. The Whigs put up a flag pole near the present Southwest corner of the courthouse, and these Democrats caught a coon, killed and buried it under their pole. They had a big time burying that coon. The Whigs then buried an opossum and a poke stalk at the foot of their pole. By 1 or 2 o’clock everybody got hilarious and began gathering in great crowds and ere long you might begin to look for fun, for it was certainly to come. A few of us boys used to watch and wait for the fighting to open and when we saw it was propitious, we’d climb up into some old china tree that stood in front of DR Gibbs and Colwell’s drugstore and grocery. Men didn’t use pistols, knives nor rocks in those days, and we felt perfectly safe with five or six fights going on and two or three hundred men gathered around. If there was a Morrow, Henson or Higginbotham present, and they generally were, you might safely bet your last dollar one or all of them would be in that fight.
1845. -- Randolph had two members in the House and one in the Senate. Wyatt Heflin and Samuel T. Owens, Democrats were elected, Samuel T. Owens in serial on Tax Assessors.
Written for the Toiler, by Capt. J. M. K. Guinn
1847 - 8--- William Wood and Calvin J. Ussery
William Wood was an early settler coming to the county probably in 1833-4, and settled on Corn House creek near its mouth. He owned and settled the place where Mr. James A. Knight now lives on the old Wafer ferry road. He was a farmer and stock raiser, a plain old fashioned homespun round about jeans coat, wool hat Democrat; with temperate habits, an honest and upright life; unimpeachable veracity; good sense and sound judgment. It was said; He wore a round home made coat, jeans or homespun pants, wool hat, home tanned and made shoes to the Legislature. He owned and cultivated a large farm and had good property both real and personal besides a large herd stock of cattle. If he was a member of any church I never heard of it. He was the father of R. J., W.H., A.C., Jack and Winston Wood; Mrs. Mary, wife of C. G. Pate; Mrs. Sarah, wife of J. A Knight; and Mrs. Martha, wife of R. T. Smith. His daughters are all living, but his sons are all dead. Taking the family as a whole just as they each arrived to manhood and womanhood, perhaps not another could be found with more or brighter promise for their future. Their paternal tutelage was faultless, with perhaps, one exception. Christianity.
Calvin J. Ussery, of Bacon Level, a potter, 32 years of age, Baptist and Whig was elected. He was said to be the best still hunting campaigner in the country. His education was very poor and limited although he was extraordinarily successful in his business and creditable as an energetic hard worker and a successful legislator. He had plenty of nature’s wit and mother’s will. He could not make a stump speech but was a good reasoner, good talker and a good judge of human nature, which made him a successful "campaign logger."
A log campaign meant to visit every house and see every voter in the county. This Calvin J. Ussery did and assured his success. Was sociable, clever, honest and fearless; extreme, fanatical and incorrigible. He was, however, defeated in 1855 for County Commissioner. The Democrats ran J. F. White. Hiram Barron, Wilson Falkner and Charles Foster, the Whigs ran C. J. Ussery, D. V. Crider and John McCollough, the Know Nothings ran Dr. R. Robertson, E. B. Smith and James Cole, and Independent Z. Darden. Ussery’s defeat was about one hundred majority. He was a strong secessionist in 1861, and was elected to the Legislature with Col. James Aiken and ex-sheriff A. W. Denman. After the war he voted with the Democrats, and in 1876, was again elected to the Legislature. He had indomitable energy and self-reliance and carried on a good mercantile, grist and saw mill and wool carding at High Shoals which accumulated to him a good property. He was a zealous Missionary Baptist and his official acts were pure, clean and untarnished. He died leaving an honorable and cherished character, good works and noble deeds to live after him.
1849-50 - - - C. D. Hudson and R. S. Heflins.
Cicero D. Hudson lived in Bacon Level beat. A potter and afterwards studied and practiced laws, a Democrat and Deacon in a Baptist church. During the latter part of the war, he openly avowed his sympathies with the Union cause and aligned himself with the Republicans. When Col. Hudson first began the practice of law he was the butt of the Bar, but that only stimulated him to more efficiency, for he soon stood head and shoulders above some of his critics. He was a close student, hard worker and faithful and wise counselor. He was full of tricks and you had to watch and be careful or he would catch you napping, especially if he had a bad cause to defend. For all that, he was reasonable and liberal and easily approached. If he professed friendship you could depend on him, for he would not go back on you. He was noble, generous, tactable and when you once sounded him, you could but love and admire his fidelity and fealty. Unfortunately, with a heart full of Christian charity, mercy and liberality, his intemperate habits gathered in clouds of dissipation and hid his good qualities from those that need light and cheer. "If out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," certainly out of a Christian heart noble, generous and charitable deeds abound. I am persuaded these many Christian traits - with a confession of faith and burial in Baptism were none other than a foundation no other man can lay that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Though it may not seem to have been gold, silver or precious stones, it may have been wood, hay or stubble and burn up and his works suffered loss, but he himself shall be saved; yet as by fire." "By grace through faith you are saved, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." God is able to save. It is through his goodness, mercy and love we are saved. Who knoweth the will and depth of God’s love, mercy and power? If man can forgive wrongs, and who is it that doesn’t, why not a loving, merciful God? His transgressions were moral disobedience. Christ had redeemed him from a spiritual death.
R. S. Heflin, see serial No. 36.
Number Forty One
Written for the Toiler, by Capt. J. M. K. Guinn
1851-2 --- John Reaves and R. C. Pool.
Judge John Reaves. (See serials on Clerk and County Judge.)
Robert C. Pool lived on High Pine Creek, south of Concord Church, in Roanoke beat, or near the line. He came to Randolph County when there were only a few families anywhere near. It must have been in 1831 or 32, from the best information gathered. He was 53 years of age when elected, a farmer, a stock raiser and a Democrat. He was a brother of the late William P. Pool, who lived on the Roanoke and Louina public road. Pole, Thad and Polk were three of his sons. Napoleon and Polk are living in Texas. Thasseus was a member of Capt. John F. Smith’s company "I" 14th Alabama Volunteers and was killed June 27th, 1862 at Mechanicsville, Va. Just about good daylight. The writer saw him sitting, leaning his back against the bank of the road. It was said: "He was shot through the thigh and bled to death." Uncle Bob was one of the Trustees of Roanoke Academy incorporated by the Legislature in 1844. He made plenty of everything and lived well; was a plain old-time farmer, full of life and activity. He died many years ago.
1853-4 --- William P. Newell and John Goodin
William P Newell. (See serial on Sheriff.)
John Goodin was a Whig, farmer, land speculator and Negro trader. He was 47 years of age when elected. He had no education; could neither read nor write, except his name, yet his callidity (?) seemed boundless. With ready wit, tireless tongue and an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes, which he told in a fluent flexible and humorous style, without any rapidness; he haggled them out by the wholesale on all public occasions.
1849 --- The Democrats defeated him for the legislature, and again in 1851, but the last time by a small majority vote. When the full returns were in and the result known, on the night following the election, I heard Goodin tell father he was a "Standing candidate," and would run again in 1853. "And" said he, "in every election thereafter until I am elected." In 1852, the Whigs ran Thomas F. Lundie, for the State Senate, John Goodin and R. R. Roberts for the Legislature. Neither Lundie nor Goodin could make a stump speech, bur Uncle Roberts, the bell maker and Methodist class leader, could talk and reason very well. Neither could Gay, Democratic candidate for Senator, nor Newell nor Humphries, candidates for the Legislature, make a speech; but the Democrats had Bob Heflin, whose voice was fluent, flexible and stentorious, with fascinating spontaneity; Ex-Governor W. H. Smith and Judge John T. Heflin, who were all in the vigor of manhood. John Goodin dreaded Bob Heflin, for he was a fanatic on smutty yarns and anecdotes. S He told one on Goodin in the campaign of 1851 that Goodin, with all his ready wit and chicanery, couldn’t appease. It was like Banquo’s ghost--it wouldn’t go down.
Goodin had dark skin, black hair and eyes, and was one of the first pioneers
of the county, being here before and at the time of the Creek treaty in March,
1832. Land speculators, stock owners and herders, old bachelors and young
sports, many absconding criminals and horse thieves, were the advance guard.
Pony Clubs were organized, justifying their acts under the claim of protecting
property owners; but, like all outlaw organizations which are ruled by
self-interest, self-will and conquest, many wrongs were chargeable to its door,
and it became so tyrannical, aggressive and unbearable, another organization was
formed and Christened into existence, styling themselves "regulators." It, too,
was a hotch potch of cow-thieves and land grabbers, whose main object and
purpose was to keep honest bona fide settlers from coming in and taking up the
choice reservation and other tracts of land. The above explanation will enable
my readers to understand why Bob’s anecdote trenched and touched so closely on
Goodin’s past life and at the same time, made it impossible to be treated with
silence or rebutted by answering. (It is not wished to convey the idea that
Goodin was a bad man, or worse than others.) Bob Heflin said: "One day as Goodin
was riding along two Indians met him in the road, and one of them recognized him
as one of the Pony Club, who had recently shipped one of their clan, and they
said to him, "Light, you are one of the Pony Club that whipped one of our clan,
and we are a-going to whip you." Goodin protested his innocence and denied being
in any way connected or sympathizing with the Club." "But", said the Indian,
"A-itsee -hatkee," (all white men whip Indians.) Goodin realizing that a charge
so broad as to embrace "all white men", left him only one plea that could touch
the sympathy of an Indian’s heart. He thought quick and fast. It was his only
alternative. It seemed feasible and he took courage and said; "K’ ok shi (good)
dakoe (friends or comrades) ma (why) luk I a (this) te-k win-te (is unexpected)
hom (to me) yat-ton-ne (today) Hom (my) tsita (mother) ton (is thy) an (own)
shi-i-nan (flesh) kiah-kwin (and blood). Ha (I) tanka (am) hatkee tsau na (the
little man or son of) seme-hechee (hide it away) waukau t sauna (little woman or
daughter of) tuston nogee (brave warrior) harno-o-na-wi-la-po-na (holder of the
paths) ton (of thy) na dowe si (enemy) wompi (white) hatkee (man)". "U-u-g-h",
said the Indians, and at the same time ran his hand down Goodin’s back and,
pulling it out said "No Indian here -- Negro, by
This was a stunner and Goodin felt it keenly, but he was the last man to
succumb or be driven from his ambitious desire to go to the Legislature. His
acute cunning and ready wit soon decided him that strategy was the better part
of valor, and he made his preparations for the campaign of 1853. The campaign
opened at Chulafinne; the writer was present. The Democrats had build a brush
arbor in the grove west from the town, and preparations were made for a big
crowd. Goodin had a big crown around listening to his anecdotes an hour before
speaking was to commence. When the time came the announcement was made as Judge
John T. Heflin took the stand to speak, Goodin called on in a loud voice. "All
who want Goodin whiskey follow me." And about nine-tenths of the crowd followed
Goodin more than a hundred yards away to a wagon with a keg of good corn
whiskey. They were all placed in line and the whiskey dealt out in a small tin
cup. He managed to keep them, too. I don’t think more than thirty or forty heard
the speaking. He had arrangements made for each beat.
Sometimes it would be a barrel of cider or a wagon load of ginger cakes. He played his hand well and spiked the enemy’s big guns. He was elected, defeating Elijah Humphries eleven votes. I heard T. L. Pittman saying: "We were confident of Humphries’ election on Saturday before. That six votes by the Stephens at Delta, who were Goodin men, had been as they (Democrats) though, assured for Humphries. "But" said he, "John Goodin had heard or suspicions we had been working on them, and I have learned, went Sunday night to see them and secured their support; for he knew as well as we did if he lost those six votes he was defeated."
Goodin was happy and so also his friends on learning he was elected. He was a red-hot secessionist during the war. After Bell’s defeat for President the Whig party died.
He went to Texas after the war and bought him a home and while moving his family he took sick and died on the road.
Number Forty Two
Written for the Toiler, by Capt. J. M. K. Guinn
1855 -- W. H. Smith and R. J. Wood
Ex-Gov. William H. Smith was a lawyer, about 30 years of age; a Democrat, and lived at Wedowee. He was re-elected in 1857. In 1856 he was Judge of the Circuit Court. In 1868 he was elected Governor of Alabama. In 1870 he was a candidate for re-election as Governor and was defeated by Robert Lindsay, Democrat. Before the war, he was a Douglas Democrat, and I believe, an elector on the Douglas ticket for President. When the election was held for secession or co-operation, he voted for the latter. In the winter of 1862 he and Hon. R. S. Heflin made speeches in the court house at Wedowee criticizing the Confederate States administration at Richmond, Va., which were said to be treasonable by Judge T. L. Pittman and others, who, it is supposed, so notified the authorities at Montgomery; for in a few days thereafter, Major Vandiver, of Montgomery, with a company of cavalry, came to Wedowee, and learned his arrest had been ordered and a company of soldiers were at Wedowee. Fortunately for him he was not at Wedowee when Major Vandiver arrived. When the State and Confederate Governments ordered free speech suppressed at the insistence of a cowardly political partisan, the cause for which brave men had taken up arms to protect and defend, was lost; and from that day hence, officers resigned and privates deserted the flat. This was the beginning of the end of liberty, and free speech in Alabama, and from that day on justice was outraged, liberty strangled and no mercy shown, and the Confederacy’s cause of repelling subjugation and defense of person and property was doomed.
He, of course, without any ceremony or delay, made haste to cross the "dead line." He remained there during the war as a private citizen, though his elder brother, David, was a Captain, and his younger brother, Dallas, a Lieutenant in the First Alabama regiment U.S. Army which was composed almost entirely of his own neighbors, friends and county men. Since that time, he has affiliated with the Republican party.
Gov. Smith, was a son of Jeptha V. Smith, and brother of David D., Robert T.,
A., John O.D., James M., Andrew J., and Dallas Smith. Mrs. Dr. Daniel C. Harris, and Mrs. Ayers. His father moved to the Talbert May Mills, afterwards owned by Green Harper, Brown and McPherson, and now known as the Rock Mills. He stayed there a year and then moved to Wedowee in 1836 or ‘37 and lived in a house not far from w. N. Clifton’s present home place, west. He was appointed in 1837 or ‘38, as well as I now remember, one of the county "Building Commission" to locate and direct the public buildings. About 1844 or ‘45 he moved to Rockdale and built a mill on Finey Woods creek, near Jeptha Post Office, which takes his name. His father was so pronounced a "Unionist" he had to leave home during the war to save his life and died during his exile in Mississippi.
The Smiths like the Heflins and Woods, have been prominently connected with the political and public administration of Randolph County almost since its organization to within a few years back. These three families usually directed and dictated the policy and conventions of the Democratic party, to which they all belonged up to 1860. They have been divided, somewhat, ever since until now there are but two of their leading men living, and in their senility their "shibboleth" hath departed. Ex-Gov. Smith was in his ninth or tenth year when his father moved there. Like other boys in his day and surroundings, who were in a new and wild county, did not have the advantage of a collegiate education. He is self made, and stands today as one of the safest barristers and most forcible and magnetic pleaders at the bar and before the jury in the State of Alabama. He has had three sons. All lawyers. His eldest, David D., who, in life, stood on the highest and last round of the ladder of professional fame, was stricken down in death; and perhaps, the most promising young lawyer the State of Alabama has ever had the honor to claim. The writer knew him from infancy to manhood and though unlike any other boy, did not recognize the hidden jewel of professional fame until its bright and effulgent rays were treasured in the vault of endless time. His father knowing by experience the value of good practical education took care to see his son had the advantages of an English education. He sent him to Chattanooga, Tenn. One or two years and then secured him a position in the Supreme Court contingent at Montgomery, where he remained, perhaps, for two years and in the meantime, had him under his own tutelage. From boyhood to manhood, the write can’t now call to mind or locate one instance in which David ever engaged in a game of marbles or ball, or took part in a dance or social. I don’t say he did not, but if he did, I can’t call it to memory. Yet he was pleasant, jovial and hilarious at all times. This may seem incredible, nevertheless, it is true. Sit tibi terra levis. John Anthony Winston is the second son of Governor Smith. He did not get the advantages nor preparation of a first-class school tutelage his brother David did, nor the benefit of the Supreme Court hearings sin-qua-non-an indispensable addition to a professional young man. However, he had the best a country teacher could give and he has forged to the front until he has few superiors in formulating and preparation which secures almost invariable success in complicated suits. He is associated with his father at Birmingham. William H., Jr., is destined to make his mark of a high calling. He has every indication associated which mature years will develop into ripeness and perfection.
Governor Smith is now about 70 years old, with mental and physical force still active. Neither he, nor any of his father’s family, so far as I know, have ever made any pretension religiously. His habits and morals have always been temperate and conservative. He is sociable and pleasant in companionship; upright and honorable in dealings; egotistical and self-reliant in opinions; faithful and true in friendship; aggressive and forcible in argument; inflexible, magnetic, magnificent and versatile in debate. There is no vanity or aristocratic show about him. He is plain, pleasant and easily approached by common country folk, of whom he has always shared their confidence and support and defended their rights. Mrs. Smith was of poor, but honest and virtuous parentage. She was a Wortham, and a native born citizen of Randolph. She is one of the most pleasant, and amiable lady neighbors I have ever lived by, and a true and devoted Christian. They moved to Birmingham 12 or 15 years ago.
Richard J. Wood was a farmer, in his 31st year of age, a Democrat and lived in Louina Beat. He was one of those plain honest temperate, country raised, country educated and country trained boys, raised in old farmer style of economy, who were usually bountifully fed and worked hard. Nature endowed him with several of her most rare and choice gifts and he husbanded them carefully all through life. Had fine thought, business tact, equanimity, energy, acumen and avidity. Perhaps, there never has been a man living in the county that had his peculiarities. His mind, thought, foresight, judgment, reason, comparison, designation, discernment and perception, with force, effort, energy efficiency, and tenacity were associated in all his undertakings, which made success phenomena. He established a tannery one mile north of Wedowee and ran on a process by which leather could be tanned in 30 days. He made shoes and mail bags for the Confederate Government, and bought during the time near one hundred bales of cotton and stored it in different localities. For the want of protection, a large part of this cotton was burned by robbers and cut-throats, but he sold what was left at 40 or 50 cents per pound at the close of the war. He then located and opened the wood Copper Mines., for which, it was said, he was offered fifty thousand dollars. For the want of means to develop it, he sold four out of ten shares at $5,000 each and invested in machinery, after which he was forced into litigation and lost all.
Being brought up and taught to believe all men claiming respectability were honorable, honest and truthful and should be treated as such, in dealings, politics and other associations, he entered public life with a conscience innocent and void of offense, integrity as pure as rectified gold and honor as spotless as snow. Deception had never entered his heart, wrong had never disturbed his sweet repose in sleep, believing, confiding and trusting implicitly in the integrity of man as the noblest handiwork of an all-wise God. Although thrice seduced by subtlety as were Adam and Eve, his faith was predicated and rooted in paternal tutelage, that only through honesty and industry could success in life be attained. It is the innocent that is wronged, the honest that is swindled, the believer that is deceived. With these characteristics, I have traced Dick Wood (for that is what everybody called him) from youth to manhood, senility and death. Bearing these in mind, it can easily be seen why his success in business was like the incoming and outgoing tide. He believed honesty, honor, integrity, fidelity, liberality, industry and peace were the beneficiaries of perfection and a reward of righteousness in death. Whatever his sacrifice, trials, troubles and suffering cost him to maintain them, no one can know. What reward God shall grant him, none can know now for the Word sayeth: What lacketh I yet?" By this question it seems he recognized something else was needed. While the writer has known of Dick Wood for fifty years, the last fifteen or twenty years he was not intimately associated with him and I don’t know whether he ever made any profession, religiously, or not, but he does know and can testify that Dick had every attribute of a child of God in his life’s walk and dealings with men.
In 1861, he was one of the delegates elected to the convention that passed the ordinance of secession. Henry M. Gay, Richard J. Wood and George Forester were elected on the co-operation ticket. They stood almost alone in the convention and were finally prevailed on to vote for the ordinance. This, though he had voted for Douglass and opposed secession, destroyed his political promotion ever afterwards. After the war, he affiliated with the Republican party. He was appointed post-master at Heflin during Harrison’s administration. He married a lady near Franklin, Ga., and during her lifetime he lived happy, content and prosperous life. But after his second marriage, peace contentment and prosperity took wings and soared on the chilly winds of adversity, hardship and discontent. His last days spent on earth were with his first wife’s relatives and friends, where his happiest hours were once enjoyed. And let us home these latter days were happy and pleasant in simplicity, loneliness of thought and remembrances of a dutiful, affectionate and lovely companion, who then, solemnly awaited his coming. His noble, generous, manly personality so pleasantly associated with us in earthly ties of humanity, bade adieu, fare thee well, fare the well forever., July 25th, 1895, and now rest by the side of one he loved and cherished in life, mourned in absence and sleeps by in death.
Number Forty Three
Written for the Toiler, by Capt. J. M. K. Guinn
1857 -- 8 W, H., Smith, A. W. Denman and Isaac Weaver
Hon. Abner W. Denman (See serial on Sheriff.)
Rev. Isaac Weaver was a Missionary Baptist Minister of the Gospel, aged 26, and lived in Louina beat. He was a zealous Democrat and highly respected by his neighbors and loved by his church. His private and public life was spotless so far as the writer knew. He had three sons, Rev. G. F., O.B., and Henry Weaver, all of whom were good citizens and clever men. Rev. Isaac Weaver died during the war.
1859 -60-- F. M. Ferrell, F. A. McMurray and Joshua Hightower.
Hon. F. M. Ferrell lived near Lineville now Clay county. He was a very prominent man and highly respected by his community. After the election of John Goodin (Whig), the Democrats locally selected their candidates in order to strengthen their ranks, and as a matter of course nominated and elected some men they were ashamed of afterwards, but it had become traditional with the party and its success, and every beat had a good man it wanted honored. It was stimulating and exhilarating to the cross-road ambitions Statesman. The writer was living in Texas at this time and knows nothing derogatory to the official acts of the three representatives; he remembers no criticism.
Hon. Franklin A. McMurray lived near Louina, was a farmer 50 years of age, and a Democrat. He came to Randolph county just before or after the Indian war in 1836, in which he served as a soldier, and now draws a pension from the United States. He is a brother of F. M. McMurray, County Surveyor from 1849 to 1857. Uncle Frank is the father of F. M. McMurray, who married a Gay and grandfather of W. H. McMurray, merchant at Wedowee. He has always been an active, energetic farmer and had accumulated a good property. He was appointed by the Confederate Government as war Tax Assessor. He is a man of good sense, sound judgment and well informed; kind, generous and charitable; pleasant sociable and entertaining. He is still living at the old homestead, and is now in his 87th year, with remarkable tenacity, energy and agility, honored and respected by all, and votes the Populist ticket.
Joshua Hightower was a farmer, an extreme Democrat, an old settler, 45 years of age, and lived in Jenkins beat. He was a brother of William Hightower, Randolph’s first Sheriff. Mrs. Hightower was said to be an exceptionally good lady, and their son, William M., was a good, clever boy and a member of Co. K. 13th Alabama regiment, and still living. Hon. Joshua Hightower was a Breckenridge Democrat and voted for secession., He made up a company of Home Guards and was its Captain. He was arrogant, selfish and egotistical, and said to be tyrannical and oppressive during the latter part of the war, persecuting men and women who differed with him politically, or n anyway showed or expressed their sympathy for the Union cause. It was said, and from personal knowledge, it is believed that Captain Hightower was in command of the squad of men who were detailed by Captain Robinson, commander of the post at Wedowee, to carry Bone Trent and Dock King to Talladega conscript camps, which they never reached nor were seen alive afterwards, but were said to have been found by Capt. E. B. Smith sometime afterwards in a pit several feet deep, partially filled with water; at Gold Ridge gold mines., The next day following Captain Smith’s find, the whole community turned out to recover their bodies; but on reaching the pit, they found it had been filled during the previous night with logs and brush, which had evidently been done by the parties committing the crime. This, with other circumstances connected, intimidated those who were gathered there and they went home without any further effort, believing their own lives would be in jeopardy. It has been said also that he was one of the men who shot and killed Capt. E. B. Smith at his home in 1865. The writer was in Texas at the time, but was told this by a man unimpeachable, though dead now. It was also told the writer, but by whom it is not now remembered, that three of these men went to the Indian Territory, and the Indian’s split ";s tongue, cut off L’s ears and jobbed out His eyes. Whether guilty or not as charged the writer does not know personally, but the circumstances point very strongly against him. In the first place, he left Wedowee with Trent and King as prisoners. Secondly, the pit was accessible for him to reach that night. Thirdly, Captain Smith’s testimony would have been very strong against him. Fourthly, he left the county as soon as there appeared to be a probability of investigation. Fifthly, if guilty, he would naturally do something justifying the punishment said to have been inflicted by the Indians.
This was the last Democratic member elected to the Legislature from Randolph county until 1874.
1861 -2 -- Alabama had passed the ordinance of secession and seceded from the Union. C.J. Ussery, Q. W. Denman and Capt. James Aiken were elected. All secessionists.
Captain Aiken was a lawyer, 31 years of age, but previously a pedagogue. He
was associated with ex-Gov. W. H. Smith at Wedowee, in the practice of law, and
when the war broke out he raised a company and was elected Captain. Dr. H. W.
Ghent, Dr. Wiley M. Kemp, and Algernon Sidney Reaves were respectively elected
lieutenants. (They are all living today.) Captains Aiken, E. B. Smith and M. D.
Robinson and companies left on July 12, 1861. Capt. John T. Smith left July 4th,
and all belonged to the 13th Alabama regiment. Captain Aiken was promoted
Colonel in the Spring of 1863, and went through the war, surrendering as
commander of his regiment with Gen. R. E. Lee, April 9th 1865. He was a brave
and faithful soldier; an upright and honorable man; an humble, faithful and
trusting Christian whose integrity, character and virtue were unimpeachable;
modest, plain and every day the same pleasant, kind and courteous commander,
without vanity, pride or self-conceit. And, although he votes the "organized"
ticket, those who know him have a higher estimate placed on his past life than
to believe he would sacrifice it to accept an election by the Tom Jones
process-- the orthodox of "organized Democracy. Colonel Aiken is in no sense an
office-seeker or hunter, although one of the brightest legal lights at the
Alabama Bar. He has held but one official position since the war -- that of
Circuit Judge of his district. Why it is that men of his known legal, mental and moral qualities are relegated to private life, and less meritorious one promoted, can only be reconciled by the emergencies and necessities for party proscription, venality and corruption. Since the war, he married a most amiable and charming domestic lady who lived at Lineville. They have an interesting and promising family of children and live at Gadsden.
Number Forty Four
Written for the Toiler, by Capt. J. M. K. Guinn
1863 00 Henry W. Armstrong, Milton D. Barron, Augustus A. West and David A. Perryman.
Henry w. Armstrong lived at Chuilafinne beat. He was a farmer 44 years of age, anti-war Democrat but after the war a Republican. He was a good, substantial, well-to-do farmer, with fine mental and moral attributes; an active, energetic, progressive and aggressive politician. He was largely and well-connected by men with influence and means. He is still living and resides in Clay county, not far from Delta, honored and loved and respected by his neighbors.
M. D. Barron lived below Louina, on Big Tallapoosa river. He was a farmer, 45 years of age, anti-war Democrat and a son of Rev. Hiram Barron. The writer had only a slight acquaintance with him. He died during his term as a member of the Legislature.
Capt. A. A. West was at the time of his election a Captain in the 31st regiment; 27 years of age and a farmer. He made up a company and went out March 41, 1862. He had been a Douglass Democrat and opposed secession. After the conscription act and the political persecution began, his sympathies grew stronger for the Union, and after his election to the Legislature he resigned and came home, but from some cause failed to take his seat as a member. His brother, Eph, was a Captain in the United States army and his entire family sympathized with the Union cause. He was a plain, honest and hard-working farmer before the war; had no ambition or aspiration to seek or hold office. He moved to Kansas probably in 1871, where he has since lived, with the exception of five or six months spent at Wedowee with his son, R. T. West, during the spring of 1895. He married a Miss Bornby, daughter of Mrs. Isaac Baker. Now Mrs. Griffin, who still is living and went west with her son-in-law.
Gus was a neighbor boy, and had pride and ambition enough to let no one do more or better work at log-rolling, house raising and corn-shucking. Everybody liked him for his many noble qualities and when he visited his old home and old friends last year, it was one of the most pleasant greetings common to men of mature age. That happy boyhood friendship, confidence and attachment that grows stronger and closer, as has manhood grown older and wiser, took new life, new energy and full possession of its once undisputed territory, and the memory of blissful boyish congenial love permeated the sympathy and cemented the ties that had lain solemnly, through not dead, set aside though not discarded, supplanted though not disinherited, separated through not divorced for twenty-odd years. While we cannot be boys and playmates again, thank god we can enjoy in meditation ant thoughts of remembrance those once happy and pleasant days over again. How good and pleasant it is to be permitted to banish trouble, trials and affliction with an hour of sweet meditation of those past happy moments. Oh, God, how merciful, kind and thoughtful Tho hast been to allow a day, a year or a life-time to be lived in one short hour time of meditation, that we might forget sorrow and sadness. Is not this a taste of heavenly life? Is it not a reward of Christian charity and hope promised in the suffering, crucified, and resurrection Savior? "God is love" and those attachments associated in childhood and boyhood are attributes of God. Separation, old age, poverty, affliction, persecution, trials, troubles, height nor depth can separate, annul, set aside, overcome nor supplant these sweet remembrances of the past. O were it possible that we could live as in childhood our latter days. For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven and redemption of the lost.
David A. Perryman was elected to fill the vacancy of West or Baron, I don’t remember which, but he too refused to qualify or take his seat. (See serial on Tax Assessor.)
1865 - 6 -- W. W. Dodson, J. OL. Williams and W. E. Connelly.
Judge Wallace Washington Dodson. (See serial on Probate Judge.)
Judge James. L. Williams formerly lived at Louina but when elected lived at Lineville. He was a Douglas Democrat and anti-war Union man. He merchandised at Lineville for several years subsequently and was elected Probate Judge of Clay county. He was of fine appearance and had the reputation of being very popular with the masses. His official acts were said to be highly creditable. He died several years ago.
W. E. Connelly. (See serial on Circuit Court Clerk.)
The Legislature reduced Randolph’s representation from three to two, and called a Constitutional Convention for 1867.
1867 -- W. E. Connelly and JH. L. Williams were elected.
1869-70 -- The Legislature in 1`867-8, cut off township 17 to Claiborne county, and range 9 to Clay., This reduced Randolph’s members from 2 to 1, under the new Constitution.
Jack Wood was a farmer, in his 39th year, and lived in Louina beat. He was a Douglass Democrat and opposed secession and the war. He was the son of William Wood and married Miss Ann Anderson, daughter of Lewis Anderson. Ann’s mother was a Glover, and sister to Mrs. Emily Hunter. I used to think, when we went to school together, Ann was the prettiest girl I ever saw. There were others who thought so, too, if one is to judge by the beaux she had. Bob Smith, Jack Wood and others were smitten and besieged her hand and heart, but Jack proved to be the winner. He moved to Kansas about 1871 and is said to have died there several years since.
1871 -- Dr. Joseph H. Davis, of Roanoke, was elected as a Democrat. George Forester, of Louina beat, a Republican was his opponent and given the certificate of election. Davis contested and was seated. Forrester held the certificate on a technicality and only took his seat at the urgent, solicitation of his party. He, however, like an honorable man, such as he is and always was, made no fight and the contest on his part went by default.
Dr. Davis was elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1867, as a Republican. He was exempted during the war, as a practicing physician, but was so pronounced a Unionist he had to leave "the home of the brave and the land of the free" of Dixie in 1864. In 1868 he was a Seymore Democrat. He was a skillful physician, well informed, keen, shrewd and a cunning politician. He was high tempered, self-willed and egotistical, yet at the same time, kind, liberal and true to his friends. He was a close and warm friend; a biter and aggressive enemy., He was a member of the M. E. Church, South. He was superstitious and would not go close by a graveyard after night. He had a heart disease, and told the writer he expected to drop off suddenly which he did, August 25, 1878. While he differed with many of his neighbors politically and some times personally, yet they all honored and respected him and turned out en masse to pay their last earthly respects to his remains. His second wife was a Miss Mary Gillespie, a modest, pleasant and refined lady; a dutiful wife and affectionate mother. Mrs. Davis now lives a LaFayette, Ala., where the writer recently visited her at home and was delighted to find she retained a remarkable degree of he many former charms of beauty and vivacity. She showed the writer a life-size picture of Dr. J. H. Davis. It is a perfect life likeness, so much so you are almost constrained to greet it as if living.
Number Forty Five
Written for the Toiler, by Capt. J. M. K. Guinn
1872 - 3 Hon. W. H. Lovvorn. (See serial No. 31)
1874-5 -- Hon. William D. Heaton lived in Saxon’s beat. He was a farmer, Democrat, Mason and Baptist. Several years previous he and brother merchandised at gold Ridge. He was a very clever man and stood well in Shiloh Baptist Church, of which he was a member. His education was limited, but his energy, good judgment and business tact secured to him a good property. He was passionate, excitable and easily deceived and led astray, but when cool and deliberate would correct mistakes and right wrongs. His selection as a candidate was on account of locality, the writer making the suggestion. He married a daughter of S. W. Hearn, known as Whit Hearn, who was at that time, said to be the wealthiest man in Randolph county. He visited Texas several years afterwards and on his return home was taken sick and died shortly after. Mrs. Heaton still lives on the old homestead.
1876-7 -- Hon. C. J. Ussery., (See serial No. 40)
1878-9 -- Hon. Jason J. Hearn lived at Rock Mills beat, a farmer, Polly Ann Democrat and a member of the Primitive Baptist Church. He was said to be a very clever neighbor, a good citizen and a worthy member of his church. He was scarcely know outside of his beat until defeated in the Polly Ann convention by A. C. Saxon, in 1877 for Tax Assessor. He is still living.
1880-1 -- Hon. Thomas E Head lived in High Shoals beat. Was a farmer, Democrat and about 50 years of age. Tom was a first rate, good and clever citizen and neighbor. His death was very sudden and thought to have even voluntarily and of his own free will. Was an old citizen and universally loved and respected for his quiet, peaceable and neighborly traits. It is one of those unaccountable mysteries which probably will never be know by the public.
1882-3 -- Hon. F. P. Randall, a citizen of Rock Mills, and at the time superintendent of the Wehadkee Mfg. Company, was elected. Capt. Randall’s business qualities, keen perception, fine intelligence, Christian character, temperate habits and good morals demanded his selection and election as a necessity for relief from railroad bond indebtedness. Many of his personal and political opponents voted for him on account of his availability and confidence in his integrity and interest in the public good. He was know to be a conservative, energetic and zealous in his private business, and though he had time and again refused to accept a nomination, backed by strong solicitation, he was prevailed on to run and was elected, but he failed to appreciate the confidence universally bestowed and reposed and left his post and official duties to attend his private matters at home. This showed, on his part, he had no aspirations or ambition for office or official duties, while on the part of the people was disappointment and loss of confidence. While Captain Randall is a zealous partisan politically, office is repugnant to his sensibilities and he seems to loathe the thought of its charm and honors. Shy I don’t know, for he is public spirited and strong advocate for good government and wholesome laws. He came from Kentucky to this county since the war and for many years has been the Superintendent or President of the Wehadkee Cotton Mills at rock Mills. He has been recognized as the most zealous and active leading democrat in Rock Mills beat for years; and, today, is the most prominent Administration Democrat in the county. I have been told that he is a Clark man. If there is in existence today such a thing as an organized democratic party, to be consistent, it must be that part which recognized the present State and National
Administration. The Johnson man may hold to the traditional Democratic principles of free coinage of gold and sliver, but they are not in the true sense of party parlance Democrats, but secedes. And like the Jeffersonians and Populists will patch up a compromise and vote once more together and then organize a new party. They have two precedents. (And a Democrat will see his soul for precedent) the Douglas and Breckenridge, Kolb and Jones. The writer is not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but mark his prediction -- If Johnson is nominated, A. T. Goodwyn will be the next governor of Alabama, if Clark is nominated, whether elected or not, he will be the governor of Alabama, for he will certainly get the certificate and there is no law by which his seat can be contested. A wayfaring man though a fool need not err therein. It is as plain as open and shut that 90 percent of the administration Democrats will never vote for a free silverite. Turn you eye to the National Administration at Washington and then the administration Democrats in the Kentucky General Assembly. That ought to convince any sane mind the silverites are looked upon as Populists; the only difference is as to whether the vote shall be first class or counted.
1884 -5 -- Hon. C. B. Taylor, of rock Mills, was a Democrat, Primitive Baptist minister and a practicing physician. He was egotistical, or self-willed and pharisaic. Was said to be neighborly, friendly and sociable. A prominent minister and a fluent speaker, but being a Mason his usefulness in the pastorate was not extensively sought or desired by the brotherhood. He died years ago.
1886-7 Hon Enoch Carter (See serial on County Commissioners)
1888-9 -- Hon. Samuel Henderson of Roanoke, was a young lawyer, member of Roanoke Baptist Church and a Democrat. He came from Talladega several years ago, and was the son of Rev. Samuel Henderson, who was known and prominently associated with the leading Baptist ministers throughout the South. Judge John Henderson honored by Randolphans as Circuit Judge, was his uncle. Sam is a fine lawyer and a fluent speaker. Unfortunately for Sam, whose physical, mental and Christian sensibilities are fully developed, there is a serious and questionable characteristic connected with his daily life that degrades and demoralizes his would-be championship; i.e., he is an old "bach." The fact is he is an arrant coward through fear and intimidation of a broomstick in the hands of laughing, sparkling eyes, chubby cherry cheeks, coquettish smiling face, birnanous caressing arms of maiden, mine or portly buxom widowhood. Let me implore you, Sammy, ere 1896 shall chronicle the golden moments and fleeting days of leap year and pass into endless time, to shave off that buttermilk strainer, iron out those crab apple wrinkle, rope that state breath and imprison your bachelor timidity in the heart affectionate of wifedom.
1890-1 -- hon. Wilson L. Ayers. (See serial on Sheriffs)
1892-3 -- Hon. H. H. Whitten, lived in Roanoke beat, is a farmer, Populist and allianceman, good morals and temperate habits, and active, energetic worker and a successful farmer. He came the county then or fifteen yeas ago and the writer only knows of him since the election. He supported and maintained the principals of the Populist party which was in the minority and unable to pass any acts of reform or repeal class or unjust laws, as were desired by the masses of the people.
1894-5 -- Hon. S. E. A. Reaves. (See serial on Probate Judges)
Number Forty Six
Written for the Toiler, by Capt. J. J. K. Guinn
STATE SECESSION CONVENTION
1861 -- H. M. Gay, r. J. Wood and G. Forester
Hon. Henry M. Gay. (See serial No. 36)
Hon Richard J. Wood (See serial No. 42)
Hon George Forester lived north of Louina on Big Tallapoose river. He was a farmer, 41 years of age, and a Co-operationist, previously a Douglass Democrat. Rev. Charles P. Cission, of Jenkin’s beat, and Dr. W. E. White, of Roanoke, were Forester’s and Wood’s competitors. Gay’s opponent has slipped me. However a young lawyer, of Wedowee, by the name of J. J. Hill, canvassed the county for secession, and John O.D. Smith, now of Opelika, but then a tender bud of law at Wedowee, canvassed for co-operation. The campaign was opened by Hill at Dunston’s court ground. John Goodin, Dunston and some others swore Smith should not speak, but when assured fee speech would be had if it took a secession vote to get it, they changed their tactics. The crown seemed to be almost unanimously with them up to this time, but Smith, which his comrade by his side, soon won the friendship of two-thirds of the crown. Hill and Goodin looked disappointed and mortified, and, no doubt, felt it. They tried to play the intimidating act at Chulafinne, but it was no go. Smith told them if they did not want to cooperate the next best thing they could do was to practice what they preached, and "secede." They boys caught on and gave Smith a rousing boost, but Hill and company cold comfort. George Forester was then and is now one of Randolph’s best and purest men. He loved his State and people and for them he was willing to sacrifice personal and private opinions for their public good. When he, Wood and Gay took their seats in the Convention at Montgomery, they were greeted as brothers not only by former Democratic comrades but by Whigs also. Party lines were obliterated; State rights, Southern valor and self-government called on their patriotism and for unity. Division In vote would be like cowardice of soldiers in front of the enemy. It would be like cowardice of soldiers in front of the enemy. It would be treason to desert the State and give support and encouragement to the enemy. Cooperation must come through State sisterhood and unity of interest. This was impossible of probable with out unity, power and respectability. Both Whigs and Democrats had united their strength at the ballot box and sent almost a solid delegation in favor of seceding. A few cooperationists could accomplish nothing good for their cause, but bring division and ridicule on themselves, and destroy the confidence and unity of the Body. These and many other stronger and pointed reasons were brought to bear on them to vote for the ordinance of secession which they finally did. He was the Republican candidate for the Legislature in 1871, and was given the certificate of election, but believing Dr. J. H. Davis, had been fairly elected and the certificate given him through a technicality caused by throwing out Burson’s beat, the returns not being properly certified too, he refused to take his certificate or seat until persuaded to do so by his personal friends, when Davis contested, he did not defend it, but let it go by default. He has always stood well with the people and but few public men have had a stronger hold on the confidence of their neighbors than he. He is not in his 76th year of age enjoying life, quiet and happiness surrounded by relatives and friends.
1865 -- R. T. Smith, see serial on Circuit Court Clerk
1867 -- Dr.. J. H. Davis, See serial No 45
1875 -- Capt. Benjamin F. Weathers, Roanoke was nominated May 28, 1875 by the Democrats of Randolph and elected in August following. He was 37 years of age and had been raised on a farm though at the time engaged in merchandising. He was the oldest son of I. T. And Sarah Weathers and brother of our present Probate Judge, A. J. Weathers. He was a candidate for Probate Judge in 1877, and defeated in the convention by James C. Sherman, he bolted and announced himself an independent candidate, but before the election withdrew and supported Judge s. E. A. Reaves and accepted a clerkship. In 1894 he took sides with the wet ticket in Roanoke’s city election which it is claimed, makes his promotion questionable and improbably in the near future. Captain Weathers volunteered in Capt. Boss White’s company and was promoted from Lieutenant to a Captain and was a brave and gallant soldier in the field. He is one of that class of men known by their open-handed liberality who makes his visitors pleasant while showing his hospitality and companionship. He is now cashier of Roanoke Bank and holds the confidence of those with whom he is associated. He married a Miss Jennie Mickle, daughter of William and Mary Mickle, among the first and best people of the county. Jennie was one of the most bewitching, fascinating and charming young ladies in all lower Randolph and is a munificent and charitable as the Captain, full of life, energy and vivacity, a zealous member of the M.E. Church, South, a pleasant and sociable companion and a most excellent and kind neighbor.
This closes the historical sketches of the county officers of Randolph County from January 1, 1833 to January 1, 1896. There are some typographical and other corrections which I wish to make, but can’t do so until I have the opportunity to visit Wedowee.
It is more than probable someone in person or through a friend feels an unjust or an unjust construction has been placed upon them would, if afforded an opportunity, furnish the proper correction. The writer would take as a favor, as he intends sometime in the future to publish it in book form.
It is the purpose of the writer to resume these serials in August or September, the subject of which will be the Captains and other Confederate Soldiers; Editors and Publishers of Randolph’s Newspapers; the most noted characters of the County before the war: J.W. Bradshaw, Benjamin Bolt, Eph. Higginbotham, the Hensons, Marrows, Aggie Rose, Merchants and Lawyers; Cattamounts and Todd’s negroes; the Talladega mad boy and his conviction; Jim Snively shoal diving; a sack of salt; A.B.C. Guason, the Toiler; Domino (Jesse Haywood) and negro dogs; Tom Hearn and old Nipper; the Hotel keep and wild hog, etc. Etc. It might be possible you know, that my host of friends might take up the idea to run and elect me to some office, and in order to remove all encumbrances and have an open way before me to accept. I have canceled all contracts until after the election and am now engaged in fishing for luck.