Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Where History Books come to Life...

From Civil War to Civil Rights, Calhoun County is rich with history and historical markers.

Freedom Riders
On May 14, 1961, a Greyhound bus left Atlanta, GA carrying among its passengers seven members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a.k.a. the "Freedom Riders," on a journey to test interstate bus segregation. The bus was met by an angry mob at the bus station in Anniston where tires were slashed and windows broken. Upon leaving Anniston, the bus was followed by the mob along Hwy 202, where the driver stopped to change the tire. The crowd set the bus on fire and attacked passengers as they departed. The incident served to strengthen the resolve for the civil rights movement. Now, in downtown Anniston, there are two murals with panels recapping the events as they unfolded in pictures. 
Governor Thomas E. Kilby 
His administration as Governor of Alabama notable for sound business principles, for prison reform, for advancement and expansion of charitable institutions, and for constitutional amendments which provided state bond issues for highway and bridge development and for building the State Docks in Mobile. His interment is on the hill, near fence, at Highland Cemetery. 
Grace Episcopal Church
Called "A poem of cedar and stone," its history is intimately related to that of Anniston. Town Founders, Daniel Tyler and Samuel Noble, inspired its conception, funded its construction and caused the Woodstock Iron Company to donate the land on which it was built. George Upjohn, Architect, and Master Stonemason, William Jewell, used native pink sandstone and Tennessee knotty cedar to emulate Solomon's Temple. The Gothic Revival edifice, the oldest church in town, was organized on April 8, 1881, built in 1882-5, and consecrated by Bishop Richard H. Wilmer on May 19, 1886. Its first service was conducted on Christmas Eve, 1885.
Parker Memorial Baptist Church
On July 3, 1887, a congregation of 45 people met at the Opera House on Noble Street to organize a new church. Originally called Second Baptist Church, the name soon was changed to Twelfth Street Baptist Church. In 1889, it became Parker Memorial Baptist Church in memory of Mrs. Cornelia A. Parker, whose husband gave the money for a new building that was dedicated in March of 1891. 

Jacksonville-First County Seat
On Jacksonville's Square, you'll see a sign with the town's original name, Drayton. Renamed in 1834 to honor President Andrew Jackson, the county seat moved to Anniston in 1899. Calhoun County originally was Benton County, named for Colonel T. H. Benton, Creek War officer, later U.S. Senator from Missouri and renamed in 1858 for John C. Calhoun. 10th Alabama Volunteers-Army of Northern Virginia, C.S.A.
On Jacksonville's Public Square, you'll see a marker to this regiment, who took part for four years in major battles of the Virginia theater. Officers organized the regiment on June 4, 1861, in Montgomery, Alabama. Disbanded at Appomattox, Va., April, 1865, by order of General Robert E. Lee. 
John Horace Forney
1829-1902. Forney was a Major General, C.S.A., a graduate of West Point, who lead Confederate forces at Manassas, Pensacola, Vicksburg, Mobile, and Texas.
John Tyler Morgan
1824-1907. This Lawyer, Soldier, Senator lived in Jacksonville in 1838. From 1862-65, he was a Colonel of 51st Alabama Cavalry, and 1863-65, Morgan served as Brigadier General C.S.A. with Wheeler's Cavalry. Then, 1876-1907, he served as a United States Senator. 
Major John Pelham
1838-1863. "The Gallant Pelham" as called by Robert E. Lee commanded Artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia and was killed in action in Virginia. 
Joseph William Burke
1835-1900. This Lawyer, Industrialist, Patriot. Brigadier General, U.S.A., General Burke helped rebuild Alabama's mining and manufacturing interests after the Civil War. He helped establish the Catholic Church at Jacksonville, and his home, "Bellevue," occupied the present site of Jacksonville State University.

Ladiga Cavalry Skirmish
On October 28, 1864, during the last fighting between the armies of Hood and Sherman, Ferguson turned back Kilpatrick's larger force. These two armies fought all summer from Chattanooga to Atlanta, west to here. To split the South, Sherman turned and led Union forces in March to Sea. Hood withdrew to reoccupy Tennessee, fighting the battles of Franklin and Nashville.

During the Creek Indian War on November 3, 1813, General John Coffee, commanding 900 Tennessee Volunteers, surrounded the Indians nearby and killed some 200 warriors. This was the first American victory of the war, avenging the earlier massacre of 517 at Ft. Mims by Indians.

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