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Alabama Historical Association


Join us for the Fall Pilgrimage to Old Cahawba, October 10, 2015.

TABLE OF CONTENTS AHA Executive Committee


President’s Message

4-8 Old Cahawba: Authentic History Cloaked in Mystery 9

Saturday Tours

10 Pre-Meeting Opportunity: Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Home Tour 11

Saturday Schedule

12-13 Accommodations and Maps 14

2016 Meeting Call for Papers


Sulzby Book Award Winner


Coley Research Grant Winners


Hamilton Award Winner


Nominations Sought for 2016 Awards


2016 Annual Meeting Announcement

20-21 Photos from the 2015 Annual Meeting 22-23 Special Thanks

Cover image: Map of the town of Cahawba, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama; enhanced and colorized by Guy Arello.


PRESIDENT Debbie Pendleton, Alabama Department of Archives and History VICE PRESIDENT Jeff Jakeman, Auburn SECRETARY Mark Wilson, Auburn University MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY Maiben Beard, Auburn University TREASURER Valerie Burnes, University of West Alabama IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Lonnie Burnett, University of Mobile AT-LARGE MEMBERS Dan Puckett Gayle Thomas

AHA Editors The Alabama Review R. Volney Riser, University of West Alabama AHA Newsletter Mark Wilson, Auburn University

AHA Board of Directors 2015-2016

David Alsobrook, Mobile Jim Baggett, Birmingham Public Library Donna Cox Baker, Alabama Heritage Ann Chambless, Jackson County Heritage Association James Cox, Grove Hill Jim Day, University of Montevallo Ralph Draughon, Jr., Alabama Historical Commission James E. Foshee, Huntsville Staci Glover, Gardendale John C. Hall, Tuscaloosa Guy Hubbs, Birmingham Southern College John Kvach, University of Alabama in Huntsville Jay Lamar, Alabama Bicentennial Commission Susanna Leberman, Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Herbert J. Lewis, Birmingham Debra Love, Fairfield William Melton, Evergreen Rebecca Minder, Alabama Heritage Dan Puckett, Troy University Montgomery Doug Purcell, Eufaula Marlene Rikard, Hoover David Robb, Huntsville Jean Till Styles, Minter Gayle Thomas, Abbeville Parliamentarian/Counsel Chriss Doss, Birmingham The AHA Newsletter is designed and printed by Davis Direct, Montgomery, Alabama. Founded in 1947, the Alabama Historical Association is the oldest statewide historical society in Alabama. The AHA provides opportunities for meaningful engagement with the past through publications, meetings, historical markers, and other programs. The AHA is a volunteer-led and membership-supported organization. Our members are from every walk of life but share a common interest in Alabama history and a belief in its value for society today. Visit for more information.



ne of my favorite things about the Alabama Historical Association is the opportunity to learn about and visit fascinating places where history was made in our state and to share those experiences with friends, old and new. This year I am Debbie Pendleton looking forward to visiting with you at Old Cahawba, the site of Alabama’s first state capital. I have always considered Cahawba to be one of Alabama’s treasures – a place of extreme natural beauty, with a hint of mystery and sadness. The AHA first visited Cahawba on April 8, 1950, at the conclusion of its third annual meeting in Selma. After Saturday morning sessions in Selma, attendees enjoyed a “1:00 barbeque luncheon on the old road to Cahawba.” Upon arriving in Cahawba, Peter Brannon appropriately delivered his presidential address about Castle Morgan and afterwards attendees participated in the dedication of a historical marker. This trip was eight years before the association’s first official pilgrimage in 1958 to Claiborne. The only previous fall pilgrimage to Cahawba was on October 25, 1969, when 500 people gathered first at the National Guard Armory in Selma and then traveled on to Cahawba in the afternoon. With President T. B. Pearson of Leroy presiding, the pilgrimage to Cahawba was a fitting location for the AHA to visit as part of the state’s sesquicentennial celebrations. Unfortunately, even as the state was celebrating its past, its heritage was at risk. Local organizer Jack Nelms wrote to AHA secretary Jim Sulzby on July 14, 1969, “Perhaps the visit will generate pressure on the proper people to really restore Cahaba.” Sound familiar? Now, forty-six years later as we approach the state’s bicentennial, we are still concerned about convincing the “proper people” that our treasured historic places and sites are worthy of restoration and preservation. Many of you responded to the call from AHA, the Alabama Trust, the Alabama Archaeological Society, and others to contact your legislators to oppose thenpending legislation to abolish the Alabama Historical

Commission. It appears that many in the Legislature heard our voices and the proposed bill died this legislative session. My hope is that we don’t lose the momentum gained during this period of crisis and instead build the alliances made this year to become a strong, unified voice on behalf of our shared heritage and Alabama’s wonderful historic places. Years ago the AHA had a very successful AdoptA-Library program which encouraged members to purchase subscriptions to The Alabama Review for local libraries. This year I’d like to propose an Adopt-ALegislator program. I encourage you to give an AHA gift membership to your local legislator. Perhaps this will let them know how much Alabama history means to you and, hopefully, will help them better understand and appreciate our state’s history. Perhaps you can even invite them to accompany you to Cahawba to see this valuable state resource! Despite the threat to their future, the folks at Old Cahawba are rolling out the welcome mat for the Alabama Historical Association. Site Director Linda Derry has planned a marvelous day of activities in Cahawba on Saturday and arranged a bonus treat for those who plan to arrive on Friday and stay the night in Selma. I first heard about Jean Jackson and her amazing home from former Archives director Ed Bridges, and have wanted to visit ever since. We are extremely grateful to Mrs. Jackson’s daughter for opening the house to AHA members. This is a rare opportunity to peek into a home which is not open to the general public, but which holds great significance in civil rights history. I plan to be the first in line to visit! Alabama has an amazing and diverse history and membership in the AHA gives us unique opportunities to learn about and explore our state. Please bring a friend with you to Cahawba so we can help spread the word about this amazing historic treasure that must be protected and preserved. Together we can become strong advocates to appreciate and preserve our history. I hope you will all come along and explore with me in Selma and Cahawba in October and in Montgomery in 2016. I look forward to seeing old friends and making new friends. Let us make history together.



OLD CAHAWBA: Authentic History Cloaked in Mystery By Linda Derry


ld Cahawba, Alabama’s first state capital and most famous ghost town, is located in Dallas County, in the heart of the Black Belt region. Thirteen miles southwest of Selma, it is a property of the Alabama Historical Commission. Now a vast and important archaeological site with picturesque above-ground ruins, Cahawba is also a gateway to natural wonders. This mysterious and deserted town overlooks the nation’s most biologically diverse river, the Cahaba, where it joins the Alabama. In fact, because the Cahaba River forms a large horseshoe bend before entering the larger river, the town site is surrounded by water on three sides. On the fourth side is a large remnant of Alabama’s native tall grass prairie. A 3,000-acre tract called the Old Cahawba Prairie is now a Forever Wild preserve managed by the Department of Conservation. So, as you travel down the entrance road into the historical park, you wind your way through cedars, swaying grasses and fallblooming prairie wild flowers like the rare and beautiful Old Cahawba rosinweed (Silphium perplexum). Then, as the road descends to lower elevations, the prairie is transformed into live oaks dripping in Spanish moss. This subtle change foreshadows the mysterious atmosphere ahead in the long dead town MAP OF TOWN OF CAHABA – of Old Cahawba. Photo courtesy of Old Cahawba, Cahawba has Alabama Historical Commission been a ghost town since shortly after the Civil War when many of its homes were dismantled and the parts reused in nearby Selma, but today’s observant explorer can still easily discover many


clues to Cahawba’s mysterious past in the relic landscape. For example, chimneys and columns mark old house sites; gravestones tell the stories of forgotten people; and oldRosinsweed, Photo courtesy of fashioned roses and Linda Derry. bulbs, first planted by Cahawba’s earliest settlers, bloom again and again each spring. Explorer guides and guided tours available at the visitor center illustrate that not all history is found in the archives. In fact, some very revealing stories are embedded in the southern landscape. Located just inside the park boundary, along the entrance road, the remains of an old cemetery date back to the days when Cahawba was Alabama’s state capital. The inscriptions on the few remaining gravestones harken back to the time when Cahawba was carved out of the wilderness. Until the Treaty of Ft. Jackson in 1814, this land was controlled by the Creek Indians. That treaty converted this place, as part of a 23-million-acre tract, into U.S. Government land. Anxious to accommodate westward moving setters wanting to purchase rich Alabama land suitable for cotton plantations, the federal government sent surveyors into this wilderness to produce maps, stake out township and range lines, and

Cahawba in the Fall. Courtesy of Old Cahawba, Alabama Historical Comission

Capital Cemetery. Courtesy Old Cahawba, Alabama Historical Commission create sections and quarter sections of land. As an experiment, the surveyors were also, for the first time, asked to identify and create town sites. The hope was that the sale of smaller town lots in the best locations would generate inflated profits for the federal treasury. A map of the mouth of the Cahawba River was completed in 1817, and this place was soon identified as one of the first potential town sites. On May 15 of 1818, the Secretary of the Treasury instructed a surveyor to lay out a town at that location so President Monroe could reserve it as a federal town site. Then on May 23rd, 1818, President James Monroe issued a proclamation that announced that lots in the town of Cahaba would be sold at the federal land office in Milledgeville, Georgia on the first Monday in October. So it was President Monroe that named this town after the river on whose shores it would be built. Interestingly, he used the shorter spelling C-a-h-a-b-a in the proclamation. A month later, the president announced that after the lot sale, the land office in Milledgeville would move to this newly created town. This would bring the point of land sales closer to the unsold quarter sections of rich agricultural land that incoming settlers desired. The federal government was not the only entity to recognize the natural advantages of this location. As early as the summer of 1817, one large family of whites and some blacks were illegally squatting at the mouth of the Cahawba River. On Jan. 9, 1819, when Alabama’s Territorial Assembly created Dallas County, this same place was selected as its seat of justice, despite the recognition William Wyatt Bibb, that there was a want of Courtesy of Alabama necessary buildings. More Department of Archives importantly, the advantages of and History, Montgomery, this popular town site were not Alabama

overlooked by Governor William Wyatt Bibb. When a Congressional Act granted one entire section of land to be located by the Governor of Alabama for a seat of government, Bibb seized the opportunity to select this site at the confluence of the Cahawba and Alabama Rivers. The federal government enlarged the site to 1620 acres as requested by Bibb but refused to cancel the alreadyannounced Milledgeville sale. However, in the end, no Cahawba lots were sold in the much advertised and very well attended October 1818 lot sale in Milledgeville. By law, the sale could not take place without the Register of the Land Office, and he had reportedly fallen ill while traveling in the Alabama Territory. This no-show Register was Alexander Pope, William Wyatt Bibb’s brother-in-law! Consequently, when the Second Session of the General Assembly of the Alabama Territory convened in St. Stephens in November, none of the site had been sold, and an Act was passed that authorized Gov. Bibb to conclude his arrangements with the president and to accept Cahawba as Alabama’s seat of government. Then on March 2, 1819 when a Congressional Act was passed to enable Alabama to take steps to form a Constitution and a state government, the act also granted to said state, for the seat of government thereof, a tract of land containing sixteen hundred and twenty acres. In other words, President Monroe’s federal town site had now officially been converted into Alabama’s first state capital. However, Alabama did not adopt President Monroe’s spelling for the name of its town. According to the territorial act that established Cahawba as permanent capital and the soon-to-be-written state constitution, as well as to all the early newspapers printed in the state capital, the name of this town was C-a-h-a-w-b-a. Since the designated state capital was an undeveloped site, the November General Assembly decided it should meet temporarily in Huntsville until suitable buildings and accommodations could be provided at Cahawba. But Governor Bibb did not waste any time. By the end of May, 1819, even before the Constitutional Convention convened in Huntsville, he had already received bids from contractors for Cahawba’s statehouse and was holding the first auction of town lots. The greatly inflated profits from the sale of town lots at this prime location created a sizeable treasury for the new state of Alabama. Clearly, this was the advantage of carving a capital out of the wilderness on land gifted to the new state from the federal government, rather than merely placing a statehouse in an established town like Huntsville. The Cahawba statehouse is no longer standing,



Rendering of Cahawba’s Statehouse. Courtesy of Robert Mellown but visible clues to the town plan designed by Bibb still exist and reveal a fascinating story. Amazingly, Alabama’s first capital, which was destined to become a ghost town well before the close of the 19th century, was built upon the remains of an earlier ghost town, a Mississippian Indian village that was abandoned in the mid-16th century. Governor Bibb incorporated ancient earthworks into the centerpiece of his town. He planned to give Alabama’s first statehouse pre-eminence in the landscape by placing it atop a ceremonial Indian mound and to re-use a semi-circular moat dug 300 years earlier to define the statehouse grounds. However, the General Assembly only allowed him to erect a building suitable for the temporary accommodation of the General Assembly until permanent buildings might be thereafter provided. Despite the fact that the Cahawba lot sales filled the state treasury, the legislature, in return, only allowed Bibb to spend $10,000 on Alabama’s first statehouse. That was less money that the state was willing to spend on entertaining Lafayette when he visited the state


in 1825! So Bibb put his grand plan on hold and built Alabama’s first statehouse on an adjoining lot, but he reserved the semi-circular centerpiece from sale, thinking that a vote scheduled for 1825 would set things straight. In fact, even today, the legal description of lots inside that semi-circle are identified as being part of the Capitol Reserve. People flocked to the town, eager to invest in the new capital city with the unique town plan. Even before any of the lots were sold, hundreds of cabins had popped up like mushrooms, popped up. Alabama became a state on December 14, 1819, and so the first legislative session to convene after statehood was in the new two-story brick statehouse in Cahawba (although the session in Huntsville that began on October 25th while Alabama was still a territory claimed the title of first session of Alabama’s General Assembly.) Cahawba was certainly Alabama’s frontier capital. Most of its residents lived in one- or two-room log cabins. One occupant of the new town noted in 1823 that the style of these small, neat dwelling-houses reflected the section

Courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama. of the country from whence the owner emigrated: The Virginian has his chimnies projecting from either end – the Georgian will have neither cellar nor oven; even his kitchen is detached from his dwelling – while the Yankee has all three under one roof. In addition to the brick statehouse, which was described as “commodious,” there were two blocks of brick stores that gave the town a bit of a commercial feel. But it takes time to build a city in the wilderness, and the legislature was not willing to wait. So in January of 1826, by legislative act, the seat of government was moved to Tuscaloosa. The long-held story of a tremendous flood in 1825 that caused the capital to be moved is falling away in the face of evidence. Crucial to the evaluation of this myth has been an understanding of the lay of the land at Cahawba. Contrary to popular belief, Cahawba did not wither away and die after the seat of state government was removed. In fact, it thrived. Located in rich cotton country, Cahawba in 1860 was the county seat of the 4th wealthiest county in the whole United States (based on per capital wealth). Cotton warehouses were built in Governor Bibb’s capitol reserve, and most of the Indian mound was graded away to build a railroad embankment, but the observant visitor of today can still find traces of both. No one lived in log cabins anymore. Fine brick mansions, like the Crocheron, Barker, and Perine homes graced Cahawba’s landscape. In fact, Castle Perine was the largest mansion in the state and was heated and cooled with water piped into its walls from an artesian well that was considered to be the largest in the world when it was drilled. Even today, a visit to Cahawba is not complete until you dip your toes in the Perine well. Of course, Cahawba also had Greek Revival cottages, like the Kelly House which now serves as Cahawba’s visitor center, but even these had architectural details worth noticing. Cahawba’s extreme wealth was sometimes even applied to urban slave housing. Case in point: modern visitors frequently mis-identify

Perine Well, Courtesy of Old Cahawba, Alabama Historical Commission

Crocheron Mansion Courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama

Kelly House, Courtesy of Old Cahawba, Alabama Historical Commission



Barker’s two story slave quarters as a mansion. Cahawba in the 1850s had one of the finest hotels in the state, and many fine commercial establishments, schools, and churches. The ruins of the Methodist church are still visible, and recently, the Episcopal Church, which was moved away when the town died, has been returned to Cahawba. Then during the war, the Confederate government seized Cahawba’s railroad and gave the locomotive and even the tracks to Cahawba’s rival, Selma. The warehouse associated with Cahawba’s railroad was converted into a prison for thousands of captured Federal soldiers. Near the end of the Civil War, after the Battle of Selma, Generals Forrest and Wilson met in a Cahawba mansion, shared a meal and then parted ways to continue the war. The columns of this old Crocheren Columns, Courtesy mansion still stand, and the of Old Cahawba, Alabama outline of the old prison can Historical Commission still be seen. The first flood to completely inundate the town occurred in the spring of 1865. As soon as practical after the Civil War, the county seat was moved to Selma, and most of Cahawba’s residents followed - or, at least the white residents followed. At the same time, many newly emancipated African-Americans flooded into the town to occupy the abandoned structures, attend school, and start their own churches. Interested in exercising their newly acquired civil rights, they rallied around the abandoned courthouse. Onlookers in Selma called Cahawba the Mecca of the Radical Republican Party. When Reconstruction ended, this village faded away, leaving only the Kirkpatrick farm and a few tenant farmers living amid the ruins of a ghost town. ________ Linda Derry is Site Director for Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, a property of the Alabama Historical Commission.


St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Courtesy of Old Cahawba, Alabama Historical Commission

Courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama

Methodist Church, Courtesy of the Library of Congress


SATURDAY AFTERNOON TOURS AT OLD CAHAWBA Cahawba’s “Negro Burial Ground” – A Guided Walking Tour The Black Belt African American Historical and Genealogical Society will host a tour of a place identified on historic maps of Cahawba as the “Negro Burial Ground.”  This cemetery was probably created in 1819 to be a slave cemetery, but African-Americans continued to use this graveyard after emancipation.  Most of the gravestones mark the graves of people who were born into slavery, including members of Jordan Hatcher’s family. Hatcher was a member of Alabama’s 1868 Constitutional Convention.  Although the cemetery only contains a few headstones, the many sunken graves indicate that hundreds of people are buried here. This is not surprising since the population of antebellum Cahawba was at least 60% African-American. Cahawba’s “New” Cemetery –   A Guided Walking Tour    Dr. Valerie Burnes, University of West Alabama, will introduce you to the diverse residents that once called Cahawba home on this walking tour of Cahawba’s “New” Cemetery, created in 1851.  Each grave marker tells a story. And although this cemetery was badly vandalized in the 1960s, the artistry of two talented Cahawba stone carvers can still be admired.  If you ask her, Dr. Burnes may even tell you a few ghost stories associated with this mysterious place. 

“Hear the Dead Speak” – A Guided Walking Tour Linda Derry, the director of the Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, invites you to become an “aboveground archaeologist” on this tour. She will help you discover messages in Cahawba’s relic landscape that were left behind by the town’s long dead residents.  You will find messages that were intentionally left for us to read, and some that were unintentional, and even some that require a translator.  The walk will reveal clues about a 19th-century poet, antebellum gardens, a railroad, Alabama’s first statehouse, an Indian village, a Civil War prison, and much more. Old Cahawba Wagon Tour Jonathan Matthews, the assistant site director at Old Cahawba, will be your guide on this wagon tour of the town site.  This is the best way to appreciate Governor Bibb’s town plan as you travel from one end of this ghost town to the other. Along the way, you will be shown pictures of missing structures and see some of Cahawba’s main attractions, like the Crocheron columns, the confluence of the Cahaba and Alabama Rivers, the Fambro House, the Methodist Church ruins, and the famous Perine Well. 


The Jackson Historic Home Welcomes Alabama Historical Association


he Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Home located in Selma, Alabama is pleased to open its doors to members of The Alabama Historical Association on Friday, October 9, 2015 from 4:006:00 pm. This historic home was the private residence of the late Dr. Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson and housed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other world leaders in the planning of the Selma to Montgomery March. In 2014 the home became a private museum under The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Foundation and Museum, Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the rich history found within its walls. The Jackson home contains original artifacts relating to the American voting rights campaign and the contributions


of this family to Alabama dating back to the mid 1800’s. Also included in the museum is The Juanita Richardson Sherrod Solitude Art Collection, a series of original oil paintings by Selma artist Juanita Richardson Sherrod, the mother of Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson. The Jackson home is listed on the National Historical Register, the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage, and the National Park Service Selma to Montgomery Trail. Copies of the book The House by the Side of the Road: The Selma Civil Rights Movement by Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson will be available for purchase.

he 37th Annual Tale-Tellin’ Festival will be held in the evenings at the Wallace Community College Selma Theater on Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10. Continuing the storytelling traditions begun by founder Kathryn Tucker Windham, the festival will feature Bill Lepp and Wanda Johnson, along with Reggie and Kim Harris. The Swappin’ Ground begins at 6 p.m. and the main event at 7 p.m. For ticket prices and more information, visit



SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10 Old Cahawba Archaeological Park 9518 Cahaba Road, Orrville, Alabama 36767 334-872-8058 9:00 a.m. Coffee, Book Sales, and Desoto’s Journey Display In recent years, Alabama archaeologists have re-intensified their efforts to explore the area around Cahawba to seek a connection to early European exploration. Archaeologists Craig Sheldon, Jim Knight, Jim Parker, and Teresa Paglione will be on hand in Cahawba to share their research findings in a small display and poster session before and after the morning session in the church. 10:00 a.m. Program in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church/Azion Baptist Church • “Cahawba’s Black Belt Landscape,” Bill Finch • “The Rise, Decline, and Renewal of Old Cahawba,” Linda Derry

Linda Derry is the site director of the Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, a historic site of the Alabama Historical Commission. She currently serves on the Selma Historic Commission, the Black Belt Heritage Area Task Force, the Cahaba Foundation, and the editorial board of the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage. She enjoys creating new and engaging ways to share Alabama’s history such as Cahawba’s annual Haunted History tour, and loves working with Cahawba descendants to document and share family histories. Writer and naturalist Bill Finch, through his weekly newspaper column and radio and TV shows, has long been a voice for Alabama’s natural riches. His news and environmental reporting for newspapers in Selma, Anniston, and Mobile has won numerous regional and national awards. He has been state director of conservation for the Nature Conservancy and executive director of Mobile Botanical Gardens. Finch is the co-author of Longleaf: Far as the Eye Can See, published by the University of North Carolina Press. Photo courtesy of Beth Maynor Young

11:45 a.m. Lunch 1:00 p.m. Guided Tours Begin 5:00 p.m. Guided Tours End



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Call for Papers 69th Annual Meeting Montgomery, Alabama April 14-16, 2016 The Alabama Historical Association invites paper proposals to be given at its 69th annual meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 14-16, 2016. This meeting is open to scholars, educators, public historians, students, local historians, and members of the general public who share an interest in the history of Alabama from its founding through modern times. Proposals must include a one-page abstract of a 20-minute presentation on an Alabama history topic and a curriculum vitae or résumé that includes the author’s email address, postal address, telephone number, and academic or organizational affiliation (if any). Proposals should also indicate if the presenter will require any technical equipment (projectors, sound equipment, etc.) Proposals must be submitted by October 1, 2015. Electronic submissions are preferred. All presenters are required to register for the conference and be members in good standing of the Alabama Historical Association by the time of the annual meeting. The committee gives preference to presenters who have not given papers at an annual meeting within the past three years. Please submit your proposal to the program chair: Dr. Dan Puckett Troy University 136 Catoma Street, Room 107 Montgomery, AL 36093 334-241-5478

For more information on the Alabama Historical Association, visit or scan this QR code with your smart phone.



2015 James F. Sulzby Book Award Winner


Photo of Downs courtesy of University of Mobile.

he James F. Sulzby Book Award is given every other year to honor the founding president and longtime secretary of the Association. The prize recognizes excellence in a book published in the previous two years that has made the most significant contribution to greater knowledge and appreciation of Alabama history. The Sulzby Award Committee consisted of Brad Creed, Christine Sears, and Ron Thomas. The AHA presented the 2015 award to Dr. Matthew L. Downs, author of Transforming the South: Federal Development in the Tennessee Valley, 1915-1960, published by the Louisiana State University Press. In the book, Downs focuses on three developments in the Tennessee Valley: The World War I-era government nitrate plants and hydroelectric dams at Muscle Shoals; the extensive work completed by the Tennessee Valley Authority; and Cold War/Space Age defense investment in Huntsville. Downs is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Mobile.



Two Students Honored with Coley Research Awards


Emilie Connoly

Hayden McDaniel


o honor the memory of Judge Clinton Jackson Coley and his wife Evelyn Coley, the AHA awarded research grants to Emilie Connoly and Hayden McDaniel at the 2015 annual meeting in Mobile. Emilie Connoly is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at New York University. Emilie’s research approaches the transition to capitalism in the United States as a process of indigenous dispossession. She is currently at work on her dissertation, “Indian Trust Funds and the Routes of American Capitalism, 1795-1865,” which examines the practice of conferring trust funds to Natives as compensation for ceded land. Hayden McDaniel is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Mississippi. She will be researching the development of the southern peanut industry during the twentieth century, tracing its growth from a minor, local subsistence commodity to an agribusiness contributing to mass consumption. The title of her dissertation is “From Carver to Carter: The Political Economy of Peanut Cultivation in the South, 1920-1976.” The Coley Research Award Committee consisted of Staci Glover, Mark Palmer, and Paul Pruitt.


Elizabeth Wells Honored with Hamilton Award


he AHA honored Elizabeth Crabtree Wells with the Virginia Hamilton Award for 2015 at the annual meeting in Mobile in April. The award committee, composed of Donna Cox Baker, T. R. Henderson, and Jay Lamar, made the choice from a stellar pool of nominees. In presenting the award, Baker said that Liz Wells exhibits the characteristics of Dr. Virginia Van der Veer Hamilton, after whom the award is named, both being “plucky, courageous, intelligent, and tireless” in their careers. The Hamilton Award “honors contributions to Alabama history that promote an appreciation of and better understanding of Alabama history among the general public.” The committee received numerous letters from those who have observed and benefited from Liz’s four decades of service as the director of the Samford University Archives and her leadership in numerous organizations dedicated to history, the archival profession, and genealogy. One letter writer in particular captured the essence of Liz’s contribution: “She has offered encouragement and advice to countless researchers, archivists, and students. . . . She helped shape the sensibilities of generations of history practitioners, making us more sensitive to the perspectives of nonprofessional historians, more responsive to the needs of our patrons, and better attuned to the high calling of a life dedicated to preserving and sharing the past.”



Nominations Sought for 2016 Awards The following awards will be presented at the annual meeting on April 15, 2016. n The Clinton Jackson Coley Book Award goes to the best book or pamphlet focusing on local historical concerns, including but not limited to the history of an Alabama community, town, county, or any institution therein. Works published since January 2014 are eligible, and those written by non-professional historians are welcome. Nominations must be postmarked by December 31, 2015. For submission information, contact Dr. Donna Manson at n The James Ray Kuykendall Award honors a local historical society in Alabama for outstanding achievements and for significant contributions to a greater appreciation of community and state history. Any historical society is eligible to apply, provided it has not received the award in the last fifteen years. For a copy of the application/nomination form, visit or contact Bobby Joe Seales, n The Digital History Award recognizes projects that deliver information on Alabama’s past using the Internet and social media tools. Awards will be given to both large and small projects. A full description of the award can be found at For more information, contact Dr. Marty Olliff at,


thANNUAL MEETING Make Plans Now for the



t’s been ten years since the AHA last met in Montgomery and much has changed since then. Join us April 14 -16, 2016 to explore historic downtown Montgomery and experience the recent transformation and revitalization of the Capital City. Reserve your hotel room by calling Embassy Suites Hotel at 800-EMBASSY or online at Use the code AHA for the group rate.

Photo: Court Square Fountain, Montgomery. Courtesy of Mark Dauber.



Special thanks to Laura Hill, Jacqlyn Kirkland, Rebecca Minder, and Bobby Joe Seales. 20



The AHA would like to thank the following individuals for their generous support! Patrons ($500 level)

Sustainers ($100 level)

Jacob Lowrey, Greenville, SC

Paul J. Anderson, Enterprise

David and Frances Robb, Huntsville

J. Harold Banks, Dadeville

Sponsors ($250 level)

Senator Billy M. Beasley, Clayton

Dr. Leah Rawls Atkins, Birmingham

Raymond L. Beck and Deborah Hatton, Franklin, TN

Wallace Buchanan, Selma

Dr. Kathryn H. Braund, Dadeville

Joe Dennis, Bessemer

Governor Albert P. Brewer, Birmingham

Dr. Ralph Draughon, Jr., Auburn

Dr. Edwin C. Bridges, Montgomery

John and Anne Feathers, Greenville

William L. and Suzanne C. Brown, Stapleton

Sally A. Finlay, Brewton

Julia B. Brown, Fort Payne

Elizabeth T. Heflin, Tuscumbia

Dr. Valerie Pope Burnes, Livingston

Most Rev. Oscar H. Lipscomb, Mobile

Dr. and Mrs. J. Donald Carmichael, Birmingham

Bibb Graves Mims, Uriah

Wynne and Dianne Coleman, Greensboro

Dr. Gary Mullen, Auburn

Thomas F. and Annelle Craig, Huntsville

Steve and Laura Murray, Auburn

Yvonne Crumpler, Birmingham

Glenn and Mary Peddy, Prattville

Sara McCall Curry, Auburn

George H. Smith, Birmingham

Dr. A. Wayne Deloach, Marbury

Carroll C. Strickland, Huntsville

Dr. Bertis D. English, Montgomery

Dr. J. Mills Thornton, Montgomery

Martin and Helon Everse, Vestavia

Scott and Cameron Vowell, Birmingham

Alston Fitts, Selma

Larry Ward, Birmingham

W. Wavner Floyd, Montgomery

A.S. Williams, III, Birmingham

Norman W. Gayle, South Amboy, NJ

Alan K. Zeigler, Birmingham

Connie Grund, Birmingham P. Richard Hartley, Greenville B. Bart Henson, Huntsville, David Herring, Birmingham


Dr. Bert Hitchcock, Auburn

Dr. James P. Pate, Tupelo, MS

Dr. Richard D. Holland, Livingston

Dr. Ann B. Pearson, Auburn

Ted Hooks, Anniston

Emily Pendleton, Montevallo

Tammy LeClare Hope, Bessemer

Mrs. William A. Powell, Birmingham

Dr. Arthur F. Howington, Tuscaloosa

Dr. Dan J. Puckett, Wetumpka

Robert L. Hunt, Birmingham

Dr. George C. and Kay Rable, Tuscaloosa

Glenn Ireland, Mountain Brook

Dr. Rebecca Reeves, Hanceville

Dr. Harvey H. Jackson, Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Dr. Thomas E. Reidy, Huntsville

Dr. John F. Kvach, Brownsboro

Margaret E. Rhoads, Vestavia Hills

Ethelwyn Haley Dobbs Langston, Winfield

John Saad, Homewood

Jim and Ola Ann Lee, Huntsville

Barrett and Tolly G. Shelton, Decatur

Will and Ruth H. Liddell, Camden

B. Hanson Slaughter, Birmingham

Elizabeth D. Lipscomb, Auburn

Murray W. and Nancy Smith, Birmingham

Frank Alex Luttrell, Madison

Drs. Ted C. and Shirley K. Spears, Sylacauga

Christopher Maloney, Auburn

William P. Stallworth, Knoxville, TN

Frank C. and Jean Marshall, Birmingham

Jean T. Styles, Minter

Joseph W. Mathews, Birmingham

Gayle G. Thomas, Abbeville

Marvin E. and Lenda McCain, Lynn Haven, FL

Joseph C. P. Turner, Demopolis

Charles and Elaine McDonald, Montgomery

Joseph D. Weatherford, Montgomery

Val L. and Katie B. McGee, Ozark

A. Len Worlund, Huntsville

Milton M. McPherson, Monroevile William D. Melton, Evergreen Guy Milford and Sandra Braman, Greendale, WI James Stanley Moss, Pinson Hugh and Ann Neighbors, Alexander City Bob and Alice Owens, Gulf Shores

Thank you 23


Presorted Std. U.S. Postage PAID Montgomery, AL Permit No. 456

Historical Association Pebble Hill c/o Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities Auburn, AL 36849





April 14-16, 2016 Montgomery, Alabama

Reserve your hotel room now at the Embassy Suites by calling 334-269-5055.

Image courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

Profile for Mark  Wilson

73310 alhist fall  

73310 alhist fall