On November 14th the Museum was the setting for a Pickens County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution event honoring all U.S. Veterans for their service to our country. The guest speaker was Captain Kevin McMahon, Operations Officer for the 14th Security Forces Squadron at the Columbus Air Force Base. Captain McMahon who had recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq presented a slide show and answered questions from the audience.
Preceding Captain McMahon’s presentation, Elizabeth Rice announced the winners of the High School Veteran’s Day Essay Contest which was open to all 9th-12th grade students in Pickens County. The essay theme “The Price of Peace” was required to be not less than 400 words in length. Schools with more than 20 entries would receive $50 and Gordo High School was announced as the winner.
Museum Executive Director Ann Kirksey and Board of Directors members Carl Brooks and Elizabeth Rice will present checks to the winners after Thanksgiving. Congratulations to the following students:
- County Winner: Logan McCool, Gordo High School
- Gordo High School: (1st Place) Elliot McDaniel (2nd Place) Stacy Reece (3rd Place) Kristyn Irvin
- Aliceville High School: (1st Place) Shaniqua Spruill
- Pickens Academy: (1st Place) Laci Kyles (2nd Place) Shane Nance (3rd Place) Judson Smith
This linked article is by Dr. Jimmy Gentry’s first cousin, David Griffin who was a history professor at the University of West Georgia. This is the first of three articles he is submitting to The Patrick Henry ORATOR, a quarterly publication of the Henry County Historical Group.
I was reared in Indiana, served five years in the Army Air force in WW2, earned the Doctor of Philosophy Degree at Purdue University, worked ten years for Libby McNeill and Libby as Director of Quality Control and later as Associate Director of Research in Chicago and Puerto Rico. I then took a position as Professor and later on as Head of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Mississippi State University, where I served for over twenty years. Both of these positions required quite a lot of travel which I was thoroughly tired of at retirement time. I was ready for some peace and quiet by then.
In the meanwhile the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway had been completed, connecting the Tennessee River with the Gulf of Mexico. Fishing, boating and hunting had long since been my favorite way to unwind and relax. My wife Jane and I purchased a couple of lots on the Tenn-Tom Waterway just south of Aliceville, Alabama and built our dream home on one of the lots.
The Waterway was all I expected and much more. One can put a boat in the water at Aliceville and go upriver via the rivers to the Great Lakes or down river to the Gulf of Mexico and from there to any place in the world where ships can go. But all that potential travel was not what lured Jane and me to the Pickens County area.
The Aliceville lake which is a part of the Waterway contains 5000 acres of water teeming with bass, crappie, bream, channel catfish and many other species of fish which are great fun to catch and a delight to feast on. But if you are not a fisherman the fun of just boating on this fine lake and the river channel is nearly beyond description. For hunters there are wood ducks, mallards and other species on the river, plus quail doves and other upland game in the surrounding fields.
After having lived in Chicago and San Juan, Puerto Rico, we have found the cost of land, building costs and real estate taxes almost unbelievably low. It is said that the Alabama real estate taxes could be doubled and would still be the lowest in the whole country.
After twenty years here away from the snow and ice Jane and I are still very glad we chose Pickens County, Alabama for our place to spend our retirement years. If you are looking for a nice quiet rural area to relax and enjoy yourself, come and take a look at Pickens County! We will be most happy to show you around.
The Pickens County Medical Center LOLLAPALOOZA – BBQ, Boogie & BLUES, an event helping to provide the best available emergency medicine for Pickens County, is celebrating its second year.
It is to be held on October 27th, from 7:00pm till midnight on the hospital campus and will feature mouthwatering barbecue, entertainment by SLO-GIN and Wille King and the Liberators, as well as a silent auction with something for everyone. The proceeds will continue to benefit the expansion of the Emergency Department. Tickets and t-shirts are available at Pickens County Medical Center. For more information please call: 205-367-8111 EXT 100.
The Alabama Blues Project (ABP) is partnering with internationally renowned bluesman Willie King to present a six-week long Blues in the Schools Artist Residency at Aliceville Middle School in Pickens County, Alabama. The teaching team is completed by blues singer/guitarist, Debbie Bond, and keyboardist and harmonica player, Rick Asherson, both members of Willie King’s band, “The Liberators.”
Bond says, ”It is so wonderful that these children from Pickens County can learn first hand from an outstanding blues artist, from their own back yard, like Willie King. He is someone who has truly lived the history we are teaching, starting with his early experiences of sharecropping and a homemade, one-string guitar. He is an inspiration…”
For more information see here.
(…and Why You Should Consider It a GOOD Place to Live)
There are a number of reasons why I returned. The one that means the most to me and the first that comes to mind is: this is my home–and I simply love it there! After living away for the entire adult years of my life, and after all the travel to other places, I was convinced that there is no place like “My Home Town”, Pickensville (in Pickens County). The people are friendly; the hospitality of business owners and their employees is something you will not find in any Big City. The warm smile on faces of those you meet on the streets and the soft cheerful hellos are unexpected by those whose experience in larger cities has been just the opposite. When there is “bad weather brewing” the neighbors are concerned and don’t hesitate to check to see how you’re doing. This kind of concern puts one at ease.
After retirement and relocating here in July 1997, I quickly realized that one does not have to be bored here. I also discovered a place where I could use my life experience and learned skills, and that is in public service. What better way to give back to one’s home and community than to be a volunteer or a public servant? Incidentally, I was elected Mayor of my home town in the year 2004 where I still proudly serve. Come on down!
Mary L. Fuseyamore, Mayor of the town of Pickensville, Alabama
Recently, seven or eight of us got together and made music for a couple of hours.We had a great time playing hymns and bluegrass music. We have set a date for a second pickin’ on the Pickens Courthouse Square in Carrollton at 7pm. It will be Saturday, September 22nd. For all locals: bring your instrument; bring a lawn chair. If more than 15 or 20 show up, we will form a second group. Several of the pickers had enjoyed similar events in places like Mountainview, Arkansas. It just seems appropriate for us to do something like this in Pickens. Should the weather not be good, we can move the music back into the Baptist Association building. So, if you like to pick, blow a harp, or sing along, plan to participate.
Ed grew up in Chicago. He still lives there. But he has fallen in love with Pickens County. He comes to fish in the rivers and the lakes as often as he can. He has caught several bass that exceed 8 pounds. He dreams of catching one that surpasses 10 pounds. He knows that they are here. His time will come.His goal is to grow his business over the next five years, find a buyer, and move to Pickens County. He has not yet decided whether or not to seek to buy a place on the river, or one with a bass lake. The concept of being able to fish daily and catching great fighting fish provides motivation for him.
While Ed does not eat the fish he catches, he turns them back, he tours the “eating places” of the county each time he comes and orders fried catfish. He loves the taste of those which were grown on aquaculture farms in this county and nearby.
Laverne Bryant grew up near Aliceville. He married and worked in the county. But jobs grew scare here. He and his family moved to Mississippi, and he worked there for 30 years. After retiring in 2000 he found a place in Carrollton. He and Charlotte, his wife, came back. They made arrangements to build the house of their dreams.
He is active with the masons and with their church. Two grand-children live in Northport and visit the Bryants often. They are glad to be back. He commented recently that “social class” is not visible in Pickens County. People are friendly and accepting of one another. The Byrants feel blessed. They believe that, Thomas Wolfe not withstanding, some folk “can come home again.”
The fine art of quiltmaking is alive and well in Pickens County. In many locations friends and neighbors gather regularly to assemble and stitch together quilts as community projects. Recently some women in the Bethlehem community welcomed a visitor from Cracow, Poland–a novice to quilting–and instructed her in the quilting process. She was excited about learning and the ladies were thrilled, being able to pass along their knowledge and skills to the next generation.