For about three decades in the late 19th century, Pickett Springs was the place people in Montgomery went to "get away". The Western Railroad of Alabama bought the plantation formerly owned by Albert Pickett's father-in-law and turned it into a park and resort that would tempt people to ride their rails. Automobiles and movie theaters led to the decline of places like Pickett Springs, and about a decade into the 20th century the Salvation Army began using the site as a camp for the homeless. The outbreak of World War I led to the site's transformation into Camp Sheridan, which we'll look at in a later post.
The Antioch Baptist Church was founded in 1818, and is the second oldest church in Montgomery County. James McLemore and his brothers moved to the Mount Meigs area from Jones County, Georgia, and he immediately started the new congregation at Antioch. The original location is just north of Interstate 85, but today only the old cemetery remains on that site. The congregation moved to a new site adjacent to the Peoples Village School in 1919. That building has been expanded and renovated numerous times over the years, and is still the congregation's home today. The next set of photos show the church building and its historical marker, as well a map showing the church's location.
The next two photos show the Old Antioch Cemetery, and the final map show its location.
Today we're going to look at another old church here in Montgomery County. The most interesting thing about Grace Episcopal Church is that it was designed in 1861 according to the popular architectural style of the time, Carpenter Gothic. Sadly the outbreak of the Civil War and its aftermath delayed the actual construction until 1893. Rather than soliciting a new, more contemporary design, the congregation used Joseph Pierson's original plans.
We've got another quick post today. Ray Cemetery dates back to 1849 and is hidden just south of Vaughn Road and west of Ryan Road out in the Mt. Meigs area. A little research shows that it was still being actively used as recently as 2012. If you're doing research into the early history of the Montgomery area, Ray Cemetery might prove to be a useful source.
Julius Rosenwald was born in Springfield, Illinois in 1862 to German Jewish immigrants. When he was 16 he moved to New York City to apprentice under his uncles in their clothing business. He eventually started a clothing manufacturing company with his brother, but it went bankrupt in 1885 and the Rosenwald brothers decided to start over closer to home in Chicago. They started their new company, Rosenwald & Weil Clothiers, with their cousin. In 1893 Rosenwald & Weil became the chief clothing supplier for Sears, Roebuck & Company, and by 1903 Julius Rosenwald owned half of Sears. In 1908 Rosenwald became president of the company, and during several corporate re-organizations Rosenwald became acquainted with the banker Paul J. Sachs. Sachs in turn introduced Rosenwald to Booker T. Washington.
Washington is one of the greatest Alabamians in history, and we'll cover him in finer detail in many future posts, but for now we'll look at the basics. Washington was born a slave in Virginia in 1856. As a young adult he worked in the salt furnaces and coal mines of West Virginia to save money to attend Hampton Institute back in Virginia. After graduating and working at Hampton as a teacher, Washington was chosen to be the founding principal of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Tuskegee opened in 1881, and Washington started his career as one of the preeminent African-American educators in the nation. Washington quickly realized that there were wealthy industrialists from outside of the South who might be inclined to offer financial support to the cause of African-American education.
Soon after Rosenwald and Washington's first meeting, they partnered to build six small schools in rural Alabama to be operated by graduates of Tuskegee. In 1917 the Rosenwald Fund was established by the family to further "the well-being of all mankind", and the so-called "Rosenwald Schools" soon became one of the funds crowning achievements. The Rosenwald School program provided funding to build new schools to educate rural African-American children throughout the South, but it centered on matching funding from the local community and a pledge from the local school board to administer the school once construction was complete. Students and scholars at Tuskegee developed architectural plans that were optimized for conditions in the rural South (such as weather and the lack of electricity), and in thirty years over 5,000 schools were built in fifteen states.
This is going to be another quick post. We've previously discussed the Lucas Tavern on the Old Federal Road in Pike Road, Alabama. Years after the tavern itself was moved to Old Alabama Town, a nearby cemetery from the same time period when the tavern was operating had fallen into complete disarray. In 2005 the founders of a new Pike Road community, The Waters, arranged to move the cemetery a few miles south and take over its care.
You can see the historical marker, it's transcription, and a couple of photos of the cemetery itself below.
Today we're going to look at one of the early settlements in Montgomery County. Augusta, Alabama was founded in 1816 by a group from Georgia. They settled at what would later be known as Ware's Ferry, and for about a decade it looked like Augusta could become the capital of civilization in central Alabama. Unfortunately, flooding and disease killed the town, and Montgomery rose to prominence.
The first quote comes from a book published by The Society of Pioneers of Montgomery in 1961. Then there are photos of the Old Augusta Cemetery, followed by photos of the historical marker and a transcription of said marker.
This is going to be one of those posts where I basically sit back and let the words I've found get the story across. The Jonesville Community historical marker was placed in Mathews, Alabama to commemorate the life of Prince Albert Jones, Sr. The first photo is Albert and his wife Essie. It is followed by a transcription of the obituary for Albert that ran in the Montgomery Advertiser. After that you'll find photos of the two sides of the the Jonesville Community historical marker, as well as a transcription of that text. Hope you enjoy this story of an ordinary man who led an extraordinary life.
The Figh-Pickett House was built in 1837 by John P. Figh, Sr. Figh was a brickwork contractor, and his portfolio included the original campus of the University of Alabama and the first state capitol building in Montgomery. Sadly, both were destroyed by fire, but Figh recovered some of stone flooring from the capitol and incorporated them into his home. His services were retained for the building of the current capitol building in 1850.
In 1858 Figh sold the house to Albert James Pickett. Though trained as a lawyer, Pickett made his name as Alabama's first published historian. His two volume History of Alabama was published in 1851, and he was working on a comprehensive Southern history when he bought his new home. Unfortunately he died before his family was able to move in, but they lived their after his death for nearly half a century.
Following the end of the Civil War, the Union Army forces sent to Montgomery requisitioned the Pickett home for use as their headquarters. Following their departure, Pickett's widow, Mrs. Sarah Pickett, was forced to operate her home as a bed & breakfast. Mrs. Pickett died in 1894, and in 1906 the Pickett family sold the home to Elly Barnes.
In 1898, Justus McDuffie "Mack" Barnes and his son Elkanah Ruff "Elly" Barnes resigned their teaching positions at Highland Home College to open a new school in Montgomery. The Barnes School opened in the same year, but Mack only stayed on as a teacher until 1904. In 1906 Elly bought the Pickett home and renovated it to serve as the new campus for his nearly one hundred students. The Barnes School operated as the premier private school for boys in Montgomery with Elly Barnes as headmaster until 1942, when the loss of faculty members to serve in World War II forced its closure. Starting with the one room Strata Academy on a farm in 1856 and ending in 1942 in downtown Montgomery, the Barnes family provided nearly a century of education to central Alabama. It's only a rumor that I haven't been able to verify yet, but I've even been told that Elly Barnes sold the majority of the school's supplies and materials to another institution that started up later in 1942, Montgomery Bible School. MBS became Alabama Christian College in 1953, and in 1985 it split into Faulkner University, Alabama Christian Academy and Amridge University, so it's possible the Barnes legacy is still technically alive today.
Following the closing of the Barnes School, the building served as a car dealership, a church, a paint store, and a convenience store. In 1996 it was slated for demolition to make room for the expansion of the federal courthouse. The Alabama Historical Commission stepped in and partnered with the Montgomery County Historical Society to save the building and have it moved to its current location. The Society immediately set about restoring it to a more historical appearance, and the building currently serves as their headquarters. It is the oldest surviving brick home in Montgomery County. The photos below show the two sides of the Figh-Pickett House historical marker, as well as a current look at the front of the building.
In our last post we learned about the Barnes family and the establishment of a new community around their plantation and their school Strata Academy. We're going to pick back up today and focus on the school.
In 1856 Strata Academy was founded in southwestern Montgomery County by Justus McDuffie "Mack" Barnes. Mack had just returned home with a new degree from Bethany College, and his father decided to help him set up a school. The first year Mack had thirteen students and classes met on his father's farm, but Strata Academy thrived. Within a few years they built a new building to the east of the family home, and in 1872 that site became a campus when Mack hired his first partner. Samuel Jordan also became Mack's brother-in-law, and in 1879 they Colonel M.L. Kirkpatrick married the other Barnes daughter and became the third brother-in-law and third teacher and partner at Strata Academy. The next three years saw serious sickness, including the deaths of three students, which prompted the trio to look for a new site for the school. In the end they bought 500 acres on a ridge about six miles to the south, just across the border into Crenshaw County. The move provided an opportunity to rebrand, and so in 1881 Strata Academy became Highland Home Institute. In 1889 the name was changed again, to Highland Home College.
The new building was the largest structure in the county, and contemporary reports indicate it may have been the nicest educational building in the entire region. Here is a photo of the building, followed by a description from Mack's son, Elly Barnes.
Kirkpatrick taught at the college until his death in 1892. In 1898 Mack Barnes and his son Elly decided to start a new venture in Montgomery, the Barnes School. That institution will be the focus of our next post. The two Barnes men continued their relationship with HHC as board members. While the school had seen a high enrollment of nearly 500 students, the onset of World War I, along with the establishment of colleges run by the state, caused declining enrollment. Mack Barnes died in an automobile accident in Montgomery in 1913, and in 1915 Highland Home College closed its doors with Samuel Jordan still serving as President. The campus was sold to the state of Alabama for educational use, and Highland Home High School sits on the grounds today.
The next two photos show the Highland Home College historical marker and the location of the marker in front of Highland Home High School.
First, let me apologize for the unscheduled two week break. My computer was acting up, and in the end I got a new PC and I'm running Windows 10, and everything seems to be going smoothly now. Second, we're going to do a bit of a series with the two posts this week and the first post next week. Today we're going to start with a hidden cemetery on a little bluff above US-331, but it's going to eventually lead to the birth of organized education in central Alabama.
In 1828 a twenty-three-year-old preacher from Georgia named William McGauhy came through central Alabama. His evangelistic efforts ended with the establishment of the Fair Prospect Church, the oldest Restoration Movement church in the state, and one of the twelve original members was seventeen-year-old Mary Lumpkin. Two years later Mary married Elkanah Barnes, and six years after that they had their first child, Justus McDuffie Barnes, better known as Mack. By the time Mack was 11, he had two little sisters, and the Barnes family moved from their one room log cabin into a new plantation house. Mary intended to name the home, and the community around it, after the Greek geographer Strabo. Unfortunately, the postal service misread her letter, and so the new post office was named Strata. In 1854, the Barnes family sent Mack to study at Bethany College, a liberal arts school in West Virginia founded by Alexander Campbell in 1840. Mack finished his degree in only two years, and returned to his father's farm unsure of what to do next. His father encouraged him to teach, and so in September 1856 Strata Academy was founded with thirteen students on the Barnes plantation. We'll return to Strata Academy in our next post.
The Fair Prospect Church was thriving in the 1850s, and they had established a cemetery adjacent to the building. The oldest extant graves date back to 1851. In 1870, the church building was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The congregation left the cemetery in place but started meeting in one of the new Strata Academy buildings a little less than two miles north on present-day US-331. The Academy left the property in 1881 (we'll cover the reasons in our next post), and the old Fair Prospect congregation still meets to this day on that site as the Strata Church of Christ.
The Fair Prospect Cemetery is still in use as well, even if it is a little hard to get to. Elkanah and Mary Barnes are both buried there, and there is a memorial for Mack, but he is actually buried in Montgomery. Below you'll find photos of the cemetery's historical marker, the memorial for Mack Barnes, the entrance to the cemetery along US-331, and the current Strata Church of Christ building. The map shows the cemetery historical marker, but if you follow US-331 about 1.7 miles north you'll find the current church building on the right side of the road at Hickory Grove Road.
I don't have a ton of information to add to the text of the historical markers in today's post, but I think it's a pretty interesting look into the founding of Montgomery nonetheless. Following the end of the Creek War and the ceding of Creek lands to the U.S. government, General John Scott led the first group of settlers to buy land in Montgomery County. They established Alabama Town about two miles down the Alabama River from present-day downtown Montgomery in 1817. A few months later, a second group led by Andrew Dexter, Jr. bought another parcel of land to the east of Alabama Town. The Dexter group named their town New Philadelphia, and it immediately began outpacing Alabama Town. This prompted the Scott group to relocate closer to New Philadelphia, and start over with East Alabama Town.
Though the two towns initially saw themselves as rivals, on December 13, 1819 they merged to become Montgomery. The only lasting evidence of Montgomery's split origin is the orientation of the streets on either side of Court Square, with the New Philadelphia streets running north-south and east-west while the East Alabama Town streets run parallel or perpendicular to the Alabama River.
The first two photographs show Court Square looking north towards the former site of East Alabama Town, both in 1867 and today. After that you'll see the two sides of the City of Montgomery/Court Square historical marker, along with transcriptions of both sides. The final photos show a plaque on the ironwork of the fountain, along with a closeup of the fountain itself.
For about five years around 1930, the small town of Monroeville, Alabama was home to two children who would go on to literary fame. Harper Lee was born and died in Monroeville, and we'll discuss her in depth in later posts, but Truman Capote was only passing through. He had been born in New Orleans, and before he was 10 he had moved to New York City, but for five years he lived in rural Alabama, and those years were recounted in several of his works.
Two years after the release of his masterpiece, In Cold Blood, Capote's short story "The Thanksgiving Visitor" was published in the November 1967 issue of McCall's. The story is, at least in part, autobiographical, and deals with a young boy and his struggles with the local bully. The same year the story was published, a TV movie version aired. The Thanksgiving Visitor starred Geraldine Page, and she earned her second Emmy for the role. It was also filmed right here in Montgomery County, at the Marks House.
The Marks House was originally built in 1825 by William Mathews Marks. Additions were made by members of the Churchill Marks family in the 1920s, and in 1957 the home was sold to Dr. Woody Bartlett. The house was the set of the film a decade later, and a year after that began its stint as the Pike Road Community Club Center, a role it still fills today.
The Alabama Baptist Association was formed on December 13, 1819 by four congregations from the area surround Montgomery: Antioch, Elim, Rehobeth, and Bethel. The Bethel congregation was just north of the Old Federal Road in Pintlala. The building is gone, but their cemetery is still standing and being maintained by the Pintlala Baptist Church just south on the Mobile Highway.
The Bethel Cemetery was opened in 1819, so it is old, but that alone might not have been enough to warrant a historical marker. This cemetery's claim to fame is an odd marker placed in 1923 commemorating an event that took place in 1837. A missionary movement was sweeping through the Baptist faith in the 1800s, and eventually made its way to the Bethel congregation. Just like in many other congregations both before and after, the Bethel congregation developed a division over the missionary concept. One group was in favor of this missionary movement, and wanted to make an active effort to go out and recruit new followers, both at home and abroad. This group became known as Missionary Baptists. The other group held tightly to the Calvinist idea of "the perseverance of the saints", which essentially means that God chose all of the people who would follow him before the world was created. If all of the believers had already been chosen by God, there was no need to go "recruiting". This group was known as Primitive Baptists.
In 1837, this disagreement came to a head at the Bethel Baptist Church, and the Primitive members voted to exclude their Missionary members from the congregation. The Missionary Baptists formed the original Pintlala Baptist Church, which only lasted five years but was revived several decades later. The Primitive Baptists continued to meet as the Bethel Baptist Church, but their membership declined and the congregation disbanded in the early 1900s. The Women's Missionary Union placed the original stone marker at the Bethel Cemetery commemorating the split of the Bethel Baptist Church in 1923, and in 1998 the Pintlala Baptist Church was able to acquire the cemetery property and begin a much needed restoration project. The following year the cemetery was placed on the Alabama Registry of Landmarks & Heritage, and the year after that the Alabama Historical Association placed the new historical marker.
The next few photos show the cemetery gates, the stone marker commemorating the split, and the modern marker. Transcriptions of both markers are also included.
Well, I missed my first post date last Thursday, but we're going to get back on track today. Starting in the early days of the Civil War, the United States Army decided to start providing horses and mules for all cavalry and artillery units with funding from the federal government. In previous wars, work animals were often provided by the officers of individual units. Procurement and training of horses and mules was provided by the Quartermaster Corps, and in 1908 the Remount Service was set up as a division of that Corps. Purchasing centers were established in Idaho, Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado and California, while Fort Reno in Oklahoma was established as processing and distribution center for the new military animals. In 1918, the Remount Service even ventured into breeding its own new horses and mules.
The U.S. Army established Camp Sheridan on the north side of Montgomery in July 1917, and we'll cover the camp in more detail in a future post. That same summer a remount depot was established on a 160-acre plot closer to downtown. The depot was built near the Keyton Station train stop, while Camp Sheridan was established near the Vandiver Park stop. The new depot had room for 5,000 animals, and including a blacksmithing school to train new farriers.
The next two pictures show the two sides of the historical marker, and as always I've included the transcriptions. The third photo shows the marker's current setting.
Rufus Payne was born in Lowndes County, Alabama in 1884. By 1890 his father, a mule-driver, had moved the family to New Orleans. Rufus was drawn to music, and eventually learned to play jazz and the blues. He also learned to drink, and was given his nickname "Tee-Tot" as a sarcastic shortening of the term "teetotaler". By 1915 he was back home in Alabama, and Tee-Tot was developing a musical following. He would play wherever he could find a job, from Montgomery down to Greenville, and sometimes even further south. In 1932 Tee-Tot was playing down in Georgiana when he met a 9-year-old boy named Hiram. Hiram would sell peanuts and shine shoes for all of the workers as they passed through the railroad station. He already had a guitar, but he couldn't play like Tee-Tot, so he convinced Tee-Tot to teach him.
Like many Americans during the middle of the Great Depression, Hiram and his mom were always moving, but they stayed in the region so Hiram could play with Tee-Tot. They left Georgiana for Greenville, then spent a year in Garland before moving back to Georgiana. In 1937 Hiram and his mom moved to Montgomery, and he started singing in front of the WSFA studios downtown. That fall he won a talent show at the Empire Theater, and a producer at WSFA invited Hiram to starting singing on the radio. Hiram decided that Hank was a better name for a country music singer, so Hank Williams was born. Tee-Tot moved to Montgomery and continued to play with his pupil. Hank started a backup band, the Drifting Cowboys, and dropped out of school in 1938 to start touring full time. Tee-Tot died the next year and was buried in an unmarked grave in Lincoln Cemetery. There are no surviving photographs of Tee-Tot Payne, and he was never recorded playing music, but he left a lasting mark on county music through his star pupil, Hank Williams.
The next few photos show the Rufus "Tee-Tot" Payne historical marker, the reverse side with general information on Lincoln Cemetery, the large stone memorial to Tee-Tot erected by Hank Williams Jr., and the front gate of the cemetery.
We're back to downtown Montgomery for this post. John Gindrat wasn't one of the original inhabitants of the city of Montgomery, but he was one of the early power players. He built the first brick house in the city, and served as mayor on two separate occasions. He also donated part of the land for the original First Baptist Church. In 1841 he built what would become the Winter Building on Court Square to serve as the Montgomery branch of the Bank of St. Mary's. John Gano Winter operated the Bank out of Columbus, Georgia, and soon John Gano Winter's son Joseph married John Gindrat's daughter Mary Elizabeth. In 1848, Joseph Winter and his father-in-law opened a new bank, J.S. Winter & Co., in the Winter Building. John Gindrat died in 1854, and the building passed to his daughter Mary Elizabeth.
On February 4, 1861, the Montgomery Convention convened at the Alabama State Capitol. The purpose of the Convention was to organize the preliminary government of the Confederate States of America. The Convention's most famous attendee was former President John Tyler, who served as one of the delegates for Virginia until his death less than a year later. The Confederate States Army was established in March, and P.G.T. Beauregard was commissioned as the first Confederate general officer. He was immediately sent to Charleston, South Carolina to take control of the siege of Fort Sumter. That same week, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated, and was immediately saddled with the Fort Sumter crisis.
On April 6th, Lincoln notified the government of South Carolina that the U.S. was sending supplies to their troops at Fort Sumter, but he did not communicate to the C.S.A. government in Montgomery. South Carolina governor Francis W. Pickens notified General Beauregard of the pending re-supply mission, and Beauregard sent word back to Montgomery. C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis met with his cabinet on April 9th, and the decision was made to have Beauregard make one final demand to surrender the fort. If the U.S. forces refused, Beauregard was ordered to destroy the fort before the supplies could arrive. The Montgomery office of the Southern Telegraph Company was on the second floor of the Winter Building, and on April 11th the final pre-war communication from President Davis to General Beauregard was sent by C.S.A Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker. In local lore, this has gone down as the Telegram Which Began The War Between The States. This telegram is the Winter Building's biggest claim to fame.
The next three photos show the Winter Building from Court Square in 1890, 1938, and today.
Our next photo shows the front of the Winter Building, followed by the Winter Building historical marker and its text, the reverse side showing the Telegram Which Began The War Between The States and its text, and finally we have a map showing the location of the marker and the building.
The Winter Building has been empty for several years now, but it is currently planned as one of the centerpieces of the new Montgomery Market District.
In 1997, Pike Road became the first incorporated town in Montgomery County other than the city of Montgomery. However, the community of Pike Road is much older. In fact, Pike Road was home to the very first consolidated school in Montgomery County all the way back in 1918.
In the fall of 1918, the Montgomery County Board of Education opened the Pike Road School. It originally sat on thirty acres and cost $40,000. The school's concept was novel enough to have it included as part of Alabama's exhibit eight years later at the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition, a 1926 world's fair in Philadelphia. The school had 27 graduating classes, and from 1945 to 1970 it continued to operate as a junior high school.
In 2010, the town of Pike Road created the Pike Road Schools system, and on August 13, 2015 the new Pike Road School opened off Marler Road. The first campus is currently housing kindergarten through eighth graders, and the first school year will conclude in a little over a month. In October 2015, Pike Road announced they had purchased the old Pike Road School building, as well as the surrounding 26 acres. Current plans have the building being renovated and re-opened in January 2017. I've included an artist's rendering of the old Pike Road School property, followed by a rendering of the new school building.
The next two photos show the historical marker and a recent shot of the old school building, pre-renovation. The text of the marker is in the middle.
I definitely plan on revisiting this topic when the building re-opens. The town of Pike Road encompasses several fascinating old historical communities, and I'll be watching with great interest as they strive to be a fully functioning 21st century town.
This is going to be another post that is largely about the photos, as most of the information I have is recounted in the three different historical markers dedicated to this site. That being said, let's get into the story.
Lucas Tavern was another waypoint for people travelling through Montgomery County in the early days of the Federal Road. Travelers were expected to make about 15 miles each day, so if you were heading to New Orleans in 1819 you would almost certainly sleep at Lucas Tavern one night and at Manac's Tavern the following night. Lucas Tavern was located in present-day Waugh, Alabama, a few hundred yards east of Exit 16 on Interstate 85. There's a plaque there to mark the original location of the Tavern, but that plaque was placed in 2002. Another plaque was placed on the same spot by the D.A.R. in 1932, but it was moved to downtown Montgomery in 1980 (along with the building itself). Today, Lucas Tavern is still standing as the starting point of tours in Old Alabama Town. The third plaque is in front of the Tavern, and matches all of the other information plaques in front of each of the buildings that make up Old Alabama Town.
The Tavern has two big claims to fame. It's the oldest remaining building in Montgomery County, and it paid host to a visit from the Marquis de Lafayette in 1825. Lucas Tavern can be seen from the street, but if you want to go inside you'll have to pay the Old Alabama Town admission fee. I highly recommend it if you're never taken the tour, and we'll be covering the other buildings in future posts.
These first couple of photos show the marker at the original site of the Tavern, along with the transcription and a shot of its surroundings. Then you'll see a map showing the location of this first marker.
Next, we have the nearly century-old marker and its transcription, followed by the Old Alabama Town plaque and its transcription, both near the Tavern's current setting.
Finally, we have two exterior shots of the Tavern and three photos of the interior, followed by a second map showing the Tavern's current location.
We'll come back to early Alabama history in the future, but our next post is going to move closer to the present. Thursday we'll look at one of the many historical markers dedicated to an individual who is more synonymous with Montgomery than anyone else, Rosa Parks.
As the 1700s drew to a close, there was no real land route connecting "Washington City" and the rest of the east coast with New Orleans. Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road could get you to Nashville, but that was the end of the line. In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson sent units of the U.S. Army to develop the Natchez Trace into a road he wanted to call the "Columbian Highway". The Trace allowed mail delivery and an established route for extremely adventurous souls, but it was long and treacherous. Jefferson obtained permission from the Creek Nation to build a "horse path" through their territory in 1805, and he saw that as an opportunity to build another road.
Several attempts were made to blaze and survey the horse path, and on November 30, 1811 two groups from the U.S. 3rd Infantry Regiment met in what is now southern Montgomery County, completing the Old Federal Road. The next six months saw nearly 4,000 "immigrants" travel the Road looking for new land and opportunities. The Red Stick religious movement was already underway in the Creek Nation, and when that movement turned to violence the Road became a war path. General Andrew Jackson ended the Creek War at the Battle of Horsheshoe Bend, and the subsequent Treaty of Fort Jackson on August 9, 1814 restarted the big land rush. The next five years of rapid influx and population rise would come to be known as "Alabama Fever".
The next photo shows the marker that was placed near the location of the spot where the trailblazers met and the Road was completed in 1811. The reverse side is dedicated to nearby Manac's Tavern, but that will be the subject of our next post. You can read the text of the marker below in the photo or in the subsequent quote.
There's a much older marker about two miles west, placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1932. I've included photos of that marker and its surroundings next.
My goal in this post was to cover the basic concept of the Old Federal Road. If you're interested in further reading, there's some great stuff at this website maintained by Auburn University-Montgomery, or if you're really adventurous you can dig into the original report that led to creation of that website. My next post (or two) will focus on some of the specific locations in the Montgomery area that played a big part in the existence of the Road.