The Old Homeplace
Today I am going to visit the old home place where my
grandfather (John H.Palmer) was born and raised,I will drive about three miles
west of Hamilton,Al. near the Palmer grave yard we will come to a stop.Looking
around we see nothing but trees on each side of the road,I will walk across the
road jump a ditch and go up a three foot bank,carefully looking for snakes as we
walk though grass,passing a large tree that has seen many storms by the looks of
it,to a pile of stones,not just the run of the mill stones,but stones that my
great grandfather Russell Palmer and wife Morning D.(Mansell) Palmer gathered
from the fields and built a fireplace for their new home.It may not have been a
highly impressive home even then but the old place holds memories for many
Palmers, Yes the old house is gone now and nature has taken control again,trees
are growing where the old house once was. Black berries are growing in the yard
where my grandfather once played,
I pick one put it in my mouth,the taste is first sweet and then sour,good my
great grandfather's berry,There was once a well here, once a score of buckets of
water was to be drown and carry to the kitchen or to the watering trough for the
livestock.There was once a time you could trudge down the lane in the late
afternoon toward the barn.There were cows to milk ,chickens to feed,eggs to
gather and corn to shuck for the mules.
But the growing magnetism if urban life or the pressures of the economy have
made the old home place turn silent.
The bucket and rope and the well are gone.Weeds and sage grass are where the
barn once was.There are no roosters crowing from the fence post,no mooing sounds
and no dogs barking.
A stroll down the old lane still has the power to bring memories and for many
the heart remains in these old fields that once was,the old home place that
lives on in me for I am part of it.
Top of Page
It was in the year of 1979 and I was standing waist deep in
weeds with the birds, flowers and butterflies all around.My 2th.trip to
Union County S.C. hoping to find the grave of my 3g grandfather John
Palmer and grandmother Martha Williams Palmer,,My heart was beating fast
for I was about to part back the weeds and check the names and dates on
two tombstones that I had spent hours looking for.Rubbing away the moss
there it was."pvt.John Palmer vet.of the rev.war,Born Sept.6,1753 died
August 19,1828 ,Time for a warhoop or two and don't care who hears me.
Checking next stone."Martha Williams Palmer wife of John Palmer born
April 18,1754 died August 19,1813"Now I am feeling waves and more waves
of joy,so glad I didn't go to the beach on my vacation.I know I appear
to be alone,but I know I am surrounded by the presence of these who were
laid to rest in this nearly forgotten ground.I said Grandpa and Grandma
Palmer you died over a hundred years before I was born,yet we(your
children) are your flesh and your bone,
and we have spread out over this great land of ours that you did fight
for us once. We have so much to think you for.I wonder what your life
was like and I wonder if you knew that someday I would find this spot
and come to visit you.Hope to go back some time.
Top of Page
(2 Stories by Joel Palmer)
Old Love Joy
She sits there among the weeds and grass with all her history, watching
people rushing by, ignored by about all, not needed anymore, with most
of her history buried in the cemetery near by.
Once there was much action at the church. My father, James Howard
Palmer, talked about his school days there as a boy. It was at this church
he saw his first flying machine,(airplane) all the people around there
were so excited they talked about it for days.
His first ride in an automobile was to that school when his uncle
(W.W.Ozbirn) picked him up in his new Ford. He was so very proud for the
other school children to see him riding in style.
About the month of August in the 1800s camp meetings were held there in
and around the church. It was more than a religious gathering, it was
a social event for which folks traveled great distances. There people
traded horses and got acquainted with their neighbors, Young folks got
to meet and many marriages began at the camp meetings.
Sarah Ann Purcer,about 16 years of age and a daughter of David Cullin
Purser, lived about mile north east of the church. It was at one of
these she got acquainted with and married John Benton Sullins, from the
Pearceâ€™s Mill country. She later became my great grandmother.
The old church stands there today on Love Joy Road just off HWY
43n in Hamilton, AL. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and listen.
You might just hear those voices from long ago.
Top of Page
(This was an answer from Joel to a
question from email@example.com about an old "Hardshell" Church near
Hackleburg, AL. I thought it would be appropriate for this site.
firstname.lastname@example.org) Donna,If that is the old Union Hill church you are
talking about.Near Hackleburg, My Grandfather and Grand Mother, James Joseph
(Mann) Lolley and Mary C(Molly) Sullins Lolley went to church there many years
ago.Joel Palmer P.S.I will give you a little story my grandpa Lolley, told me
about a sermon the preacher put on them there one Sunday. The radio had just
been invented and that was the talk around the church that Sunday,So the
preacher set the congregation straight on how the thing worked.He said" it is a
little box that can pick up people preaching,singing,music,too, hundreds of
miles away and send it through the air to people that have the little
boxes(radios) they can hear ever word.,So to you people out there that have your
radios on and tuned in to my message here today I have the word of God for you
so stay tuned."Grand po said I know he aint going out on the air like he thinks,
there's got to be more to it than that,like a tellephone you got to talk into
something. Good day Donna.
Top of Page
voices from long ago.
Have you ever walked through a cemetery and thought about there is a
story under each grave marker that ought to be told, And the person down
there would love for us of this generation to know what their life was
like back then? One is Margaret Mitchell, 2nd wife of John Mitchell,
She was born Margaret Brown, 1839 in Tennessee some where near
Columbia, she said I first married Columbus Cooper. In or about the year of
1860 and we had our first son James, 1862.War clouds were very black
and heavy in our area. Columbus was starting a chare crop hoping to get
it made before he had to go to war but that was not to be for while
plowing his mule the trace chain came loose while turning at the end of the
roe. so stooping down to hook it back the mule kicked him in the head
killing him dead.
With the help of the neighbors they put Columbus away. Now with all her
people the Browns living in Marion County Alabama, and with no means of
support for her and her one year old baby boy she had a problem.
My father Jim Palmer, had a saying that went something like this.”
God looks after Fools and Widow women” and I am a believer.
Margaret,reggs a cotton picking sack and loads it with her best cloths,
several pones of corn bread picks up baby boy, (James Cooper), and
starts her walk from Tennessee to Marion County Alabama.
First day made about 10 miles. stopped at several branches to wash out
dirty diaper and feed baby Jim. Night comes and she sleeps at the root
of a big tree holding Baby Jim in arms. Daylight day #2 eats corn bread
breast feeds baby Jim and on the road again. Makes about 10 more miles
and baby is getting sick tempter high. day #3 on the road.showers of
rain. bag gets wet and heavy. stops at a house and ask if she could come
in and rest. was told No! so she thanks them and moves on in the rain.
More days pass, bread has molded but eats it any way,
Near Florence Alabama, she was caught in a cross fire between the Yanks
and the rebels so she puts the baby in a ditch and gets on top of him
untill the shooting is over.Findly reaching the Tenneessee river there
is a feary boat carrying people across that had money,With no money
Margaret begs the boat operator to let her cross on his boat.his answer is
No. "so you have no money but what do you have in the sack"?he checks
it out and says I will take this dress (her best dress)get on. So now
she was on her way again.Some days later she makes it to her Brown
family. She was near dead,feet bleeding,Baby Jim alive but still sick.
After a some time John Mitchell, A neighbor to the Brown's comes home from
the yankeey army finds he needs Margaret and they get married.For
John's first wife had died and left seveal children.Margaret helped John
with the children and her baby (James Cooper), A few years later,James
(Jim) growed into a fine Man and married Elez.D.Palmer,She was a sister to
my grandfather,My Dad always called him Uncle Jim Cooper and added a
good man. Like Dad always said, God looks out for fools and widow
women.Thank you God for that.Its clear now how I have made it.Joel
This is a story a true story, told to me by one of Margaret's grand
daughter,s (Elez.Rye). Margaret lived with her son James Cooper, the last
seven years of her life.after John died in 1913, She now rests in the
Pleasent Ridge Cemetery two miles north of Hamilton ,Alabama.and I hope
I got it (the story)the way Margaret would have me tell it.
Top of Page
Going to the cotton gin.
Going to the cotton gin was a great experience for a 10 year old farm boy, and
getting a break from the chore of picking cotton that is beyond any doubt, the
most inhumane labor a person can perform. and it was music to the ear when Dad
said To me "no picking cotton for you today, for I am taking a bale of cotton to
the gin and I will need you to help me:.
Our two little mules were hitched to the wagon, ole red and blue were the mules
names. with the wagon loaded with about 14 hundred pounds of cotton the mules
was going to have some hard pulling to do on the hills.
Just before getting under way dad (Jim Palmer)pointed at a block of wood on a
board on the side of the wagon and said “when I tell you to I want you to take
that block and scotch the back wheel going up Williams creek hill, you will have
to run along side the wagon when we get there and watch the wheel and don’t get
Now we are under way, I am on the cotton and the wagon rides so good like a
boat, Looking down on the mules pulling was fun too until we got to the steep
part part of the hill Dad says climb down the back and scotch the wheel so the
mules can rest a little while and don’t get your hand caught between the scotch
and the wheels”.
Dad says Woo to the mules and they stop, I put the block in back of the wheel
and all comes to a stop. A short time goes by and dad climbs down off the wagon
holding the lines and says we will go a little father and rest again, “get up
mules”! The mules set their back feet and give a lunge at the same time and the
wagon starts moving again. Good little mules they know how to pull a heavy load
they have done it before.
We go about a hundred yards stop,and do it again over and over until we reach
the top and smooth sailing now.
We pass Pleasant Ridge cemetery the mules are breathing hard so we stop for a
On again passing the Elijah Belk place dad says “when we get to the Feddlying
Frederick place you get the brake pole for the mules will need help holding back
the wagon down that hill and its steeper at Huston Crows, so you may need to
ride down hard there. Now I feel great knowing I am part of this operation.
(continued below the picture)
Three gins in Hamilton, Rollins’s ,Holways,And Fords, Today Dad chose Will Fords
gin, there are several wagons ahead so dad goes in the office to get a number
while I am given the job of holding the lines to the mules, important job? you
bet. Maybe some of the boys from school will see me and think I have been
driving the wagon loaded with cotton, but no such luck. Dad comes back and takes
over and I am free to look around.
First check inside the buzzing gin there are several gin heads with cotton
trickling down with saws tarring at the cotton. very interesting machine. Next
building is the water powered mill that grinds corn into corn mill, the big
wheel is turning slow but the mill is grinding.
I run back to the wagon, dad is there waiting his turn he says it will be awhile
yet so I run a little ways to the blacksmith shop behind the Methodist church
checking it out lots of smoke the smell of coal, somebody putting shoes on a
mule, A mr. Pope, I think his name was. Now hotfooting it up behind the Marion
County Bank is another Mill grinding corn pulled by a big electric motor, a mr.
William Sullins,white with corn dust.
Now skipping along the side of the bank and looking across the street is the
lion gas station, with several men standing around talking, and holding cotton
samples, one eating a moon pie and drinking a rc cola.
Turning the comer and heading west in front of the bank is the post office, next
is Prices drug ,looking inside I see several men in a huddle around a very
little man (Huston Real)that is very ill about something shacking his fist and
talking loud, while some are eating ice cream.
Next place a café with town people eating something that did smell good. Next
the Yellow Front, grocery store, lots of good looking food, dont know what most
of it is.
Crossing the street on the west side of the court house is Shotts, and Sanford’s
five and ten cent store. Now there is a place to check out. Prettiest knives,
red wagons, ever thing a boy dreams of is there, and when I get some money (if
ever) I will be back.
Better get back to the wagon dad may be ready to go.
He is pulling on the scales. just made it, how amazing it is to see that big
pipe suck that cotton up. almost no time and the wagon is empty and we are on
our way home. what a day for a country boy to remember. joel
Top of Page
As I remember the 4th
of July in Hamilton Alabama in the 1930s.
In our neck of the
woods around the (Williams’s creek) area about all conversations in the month of
June led to "what are you planning to do on the 4th".
Most farm crops were laid by for the year, and time for a break from plowing
For the people in Hamilton, it was a happy time.
Just north of the old Albert Hamilton house is Mr. A. Harbor’s mule barn, with
men like Mr. Ballard and Little George Palmer, putting their sales pitch on
whoever may look like he would want to buy a mule.
In town and around the courthouse is where the action is, games of pitching
horseshoes, marble games, several men setting on the cement fence talking about
the weather and chewing tobacco.
William Green, has his wagon parked there under the big oak tree loaded with
watermelons for sale, several people standing around thumping and some buying.
Mr. Green knows his watermelons and he is about always first to have ripe melons
by the 4th.
Mr.Dovie Glenn makes it to town wearing a world war one over coat, with the
temp. about 90. Mr.Berryhill, the sheriff says “Dovie, what are hiding under
that coat ”? “Notten a tall mr.Angers”well take it off”! and he did,The sheriff
checks him out and finds nothing on him that is breaking the law, Tell me please
says the sheriff,”Why are you wearing that coat with the weather hot is it is”?
Well says ole Dovie, “if it will keep the cold out it ought to keep the heat
Up in the court room there is wall to wall people singing fa sol la songs by the
notes,(no music)and from the look on their faces they are enjoying their vocal
freedom. easy to recognize them as a vital part of American culture.Not a new
way of life for these people for it having been utilizad in england before the
Pilgrims arrived in America.
In front of the high school,under the big trees is the dog show,and here is
where the croud is,Fox hunters like Stone Crain,Marvin Williams,and many more
showing off their dogs.Coon hunters too.
the ladys are setting out dinner on a long table that was built just for the
day.Hand cranked ice cream,watermelon,too many good things to name.Those were
the days.Good old days.I could use a few like that now.How about you?Joel
A STORY TOLD BY RUSSELL PORTER PALMER
This story was passed down from Russell
Palmer born 1818 to his son John (Dock) Palmer 1858 to my father James (Jim )
Palmer born 1906 and on to me, They said "Russell" my great grandfather always
laughed when he told this story, Russell, spent his young boy years living on
the east bank of the Oconee river in the state of Ga. Hancock Co. and
Sholderbone creek joined their farm with his Father Hezekiah and mother
Elizabeth (Roberts) Palmer, several more brothers and sisters.
Their neighbor's were Indians, (a village of them), lived on the west bank of
the river (The river was the land line between the whites and the Indians at
that time) and from the palmers window they could watch the everday life of
their neighbors, and could see what went on from day to day in their life. And
they the Indians had children too. Russell enjoyed fishing, swimming and all the
things boys do and so did the boys that lived across the river, They had some
good years together as friends. Some language problem at first but as time went
by they began to understand each other. It was time for the green corn dance and
(Lazydog) the neighbor across the river was excited, (so much fun to be had),
ball games and prizes to be give away was a grand prize (A young girl they
called Pretty Kitten) to the best player. So off went ole lazydog for he loved
Indian ball games and about all other Indian sports., it was going to be good to
get away from the wife (Strong-arm) for a day as she had been cranky lately.
days end at the big ball game the Judges made their decision and ole Lazydog was
officially declared the winner of the new wife (pretty Kitten) It was a man's
right have all the wifes he could put up with in those days.
The next thing that happened was all the fault of the white people (the Palmers)
for strong-arm had been keeping an eye on how the palmers lived and seen who was
boss. She said it is about time to change the Indian custom.
Lazy dog arrives home with his prize. she is wearing her topless outfit made of
one mole skin. Lazydog was about to present his prize to strong-arm but
strong-arm went on the warpath and like a windmill in a windstorm she started
doing all kinds of body harm to poor lazydog. All Indians and white know it is
not fair to bite hit or kick below the belt. But Strong-arm said to hell with
the rules. In lazydogs, hast to get more distance between him and Strong-arm
poor Lazydog jumped in the river. Under he went, bubbles came up, more bubbles,
Strong arm standing on the bank, pretty kitten is making her getaway (for it
seemed she was not welcome). Ole Lazydog finally comes up for air and goes back
under, comes up again as he drifts down stream to some brush in a drift and
hangs up. Strong-arm goes back looking for pretty kitten but she is no where to
be found. Night comes on and our hero is still in the drink.
The palmers rise early the next day and at Early morning light finds ole lazydog
at the same place (in the drift). From the Palmer window strong-arm is seen
coming down to the river, she eases slowly into the water and makes her way to
poor lazydog, she pulls him to the shoal. she holds his head in her lap for some
time. It seems the right words were chosen for they rubbed noses and made their
way back up the river bank arm in arm. And lived happy ever after. (I hope)
could this be the beginning of the woman's lib?
Some one asked what became of poor Pretty Kitten? I don't know for sure but
could she have made her way to Marion County Alabama and changed her name to
just a thought.
In the year of 1979 I made a visit to Sholderbone creek where it runs into the
Oconee river, in my mind I could see where the Indian Village was once, and so I
tried to paint what I thought it looked like on a good day so many years ago, in
their ever day life. and the action that went on. To see the painting you can
check 49 news.
RootsWeb: PALMER-L [PALMER-L] Palmers
and Indian story.
The Elusive Black Dutch of the South
By Jimmy H. Crane
Joel Palmer recently sent me this
article which was also reprinted on an email I received from
AL-Marion, a Marion County, AL genealogy mailing list to which we both
subscribe. It is reprinted just as I received it and credit is given to
the writer and publication. This is just for information and cannot be
Many people who now live and have
roots in northeast Mississippi, north Alabama, south Tennessee and other parts
of the South are descendants of the “Black Dutch.” Who were and are the Black
The Elusive Black Dutch of the South
By Jimmy H. Crane
Many people who now live and have roots in northeast Mississippi, north Alabama,
south Tennessee and other parts of the South are descendants of the “Black
Dutch.” Who were and are the Black Dutch? The term in some areas has become so
antiquated that only a few of the elderly even remember the use of the term. I
first heard the term from my Grandmother Crane, who had the surname of Page. Her
grandparents were Butlers and Mayhalls. She would often refer to their lineage
as Black Dutch. One of my aunts on my maternal side described her grandmother as
Black Dutch. She said, “Poppy said we were Black Dutch and Indian.” Sometimes my
mother would say, “I think we are kin to the Indians….Grandma so and so looked
like an Indian.”
As a very curious youngster I was always asking myself, who are the Black Dutch?
Where did they come from? As time went by, the term lay dormant except when both
sides of the family were together for a reunion or funeral, and conversation
would arise as to who we were and where did we come from. Both sides of my
family’s characteristics range from dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin, to red
hair, blue eyes and fair skin. This is somewhat typical in some families of the
area. With such blending over the past 150 years, it was interesting to try to
determine who was what and what was who.
My cousin from Georgia came up to me one day and in a low voice seriously asked,
“Who is this Black Dutch in our family?” Although I had corresponded in the
early 1990’s with relatives concerning genealogy and would sometimes mention the
Black Dutch, it was not until June 1995 at the Iuka Mississippi Heritage Day
Festival that I really went into high gear and got into a serious search for the
Black Dutch. (The term “Black Irish” is sometimes used, but not as much as Black
Dutch.) When the term Black Dutch was mentioned, many of the people held up
their hand and looked at one another. I knew then I was not alone in wondering
about the Black Dutch.
Surnames with Black Dutch heritage that have been collected to date are all
English names. How interesting! What was recognized was that true Dutch names
would be similar to German spellings and pronunciations. Names like Brown,
Butler, Mayhall, Johnson, Tiffin and Massey for example somehow did not sound
like Dutch or German. But these were names with Black Dutch lineage.
Here’s another notch to the handle: almost every time that Black Dutch was
found, Indian lineage was found, and to date, a high percentage of association
in the Iuka, Tishomingo, Itawamba areas has been established with the Cherokee.
A representative of the Eagle Bear Clan of the Free Cherokees said that her
grandmother told her that her family escaped the Trail of Tears. They were
forced to hide in caves and become known as Black Dutch to hide their identity.
In a telephone conversation, I was told that other tribes besides the Cherokee
also used the Black Dutch term, including the Chickasaws and the Choctaw. I
believe the Creek descendants could have also used the term.
One of my own grandmothers, whom my great aunt told me about, was referred to as
Black Dutch and was often ironical “mistaken” for an Indian when they migrated
to Oklahoma in the late 1800’s.
During the 1996 Burnsville Mississippi Inter-tribal Gathering on the banks of
the Tenn-Tom Waterway, I talked with members of the Four Fires Dance group from
the Florence, Alabama area. One member of the drum group said his people, the
Cherokee, were also known as Black Dutch; that this was just another name used
to cover up the Indian identity. Remember, from the 1830’s on, it was perilous
times for those who braved Andrew Jackson’s greed and political reign of terror
on the Southeastern Indian people. Also, this gentleman mentioned that he had
heard of two types of Dutch, the Highland Dutch and the Black Dutch. He said the
Black Dutch were the Cherokee. Two members of the Four Fires Dance Group, and
who are notably Cherokee, said their people were Black Dutch. I was told that
Black Dutch was simply another name for Cherokee. Census rolls in the Moulton,
Alabama area in the late 1800’s show a family name listed as white; then ten
years latter as Black Dutch; and then ten years latter as Cherokee.
The elusive question is, when did the term Black Dutch arise? A strong
probability is after 1830, when the forced removal of the Cherokees from their
homeland began. Were there, in fact, a Dutch people with similar physical
characteristics, or was the term coined or manufactured to match the occasion?
The fact is it worked very well. It is understandable that the Cherokee,
Chickasaw and others who remained behind had to come up with a cover-up in order
to survive. No choice but to go underground, to become “white” in order to own
land, keep their homes and survive, denying their Indian identity simply because
it was the safest thing to do at the time. This may have led them (especially
the women) to take on the term “Black Dutch” or “Black Irish.” Children, when
they became of age to marry, may have been encouraged to seek out mates who were
white or had more white or European heritage. The first generation of blending
and re-blending may have occurred after the 1840’s and 1850’s.
The northeast Mississippi hills (where I was raised near Alabama) were
considered fairly isolated until well into the 20th century. A few miles away in
north Alabama are the Freedom Hills, which were even more isolated. I believe
that many Chickasaw, Cherokee, as well as Creek descendants took refuge in these
hills. We are known as the Hill People in this area. There is little doubt in my
mind that many of the Hill People who claim the Black Dutch or Black Irish
descent are actually more of Native American descent that they really know. It
always has been most interesting to me to travel the back roads of my home
county (Itawamba) that borders Alabama and notice the people. What is sad to me
is that many of the people don’t know their heritage.
I have heard associations of the term “Black Dutch” with the Black Forest in
Germany. During the summer of 1996, I traveled to Germany on an education trip
and I asked many people about the term but none had ever heard of it.
On May 17, 1997, I visited the Oakville Indian Mounds Park and Museum located on
County Road 187, just off highway 157, eight miles southeast of Moulton,
Alabama. I copied the following quote that was displayed on the museum wall in
Before the Indian Removal Act in 1830, many of Lawrence County’s Cherokee people
were already mixed with white settlers and stayed in the hill country of the
Warrior Mountains. They denied their ancestry and basically lived much of their
lives in fear of being sent West.
Full bloods claimed to be Black Irish or Black Dutch, thus denying their
rightful Indian blood. After being fully assimilated into the general population
years later, these Irish Cherokee mixed blood descendants began reclaiming their
Indian heritage in the land of the “Warrior Mountains,” Lawrence County,
During the 1880 U.S. Census only 78 people claimed their Indian heritage. In
1990, over 2000 individuals claimed Indian descent. Today over 4000 citizens are
proud to claim their Indian heritage and are members of the Echota Cherokee
In all the many hundred years in which the Indian community has interacted with
the European communities who came to this new and wonderful country, through
intermarriage many of our people are not likely to “look” Indian. But just
because their “blood quantum” has diminished, it does not diminish their ethnic
pride or rights.
The Black Dutch survive today in the hearts of many of the Southern Appalachian
hill people--a proud people with an elusive sprit who had to hide out, go
under-ground and conceal their identity to live another day. They never gave up.
They never surrendered. The drum beats for the elusive “Black Dutch.” My search
Native Peoples Magazine -
The Elusive Black Dutch of the South
The Freedom Hills of Franklin
The freedom hills of
Franklin County, Alabama, was once a dangerous place for officers of the law. My
great grandmother (America Cole) who was the wife of William James Cole, And
daughter of Rebecca and Drew Wade, The were the third generation that once lived
there. I have been asked to pass this family history on. so here it goes the way
I understand it.
In or about the year of 1833 soldiers ordered by president Andrew Jackson to
round up all native Americans at gun point in the state of Tennesse, and force
them to be removed by barges and boats down the Tennesse river to Oklahoma,
(Later called the trail of tears.) One such barge run aground at the muscle
shoals, for the Tennessee river was very low at that time, while waiting for the
river to rise the natives run low on food and some of them ran away into the
freedom hills of Franklin county. (I found this information in a history book at
the library in Hamilton, Alabama several years ago I don't remember which book
but there are several books written about the "Freedom Hills".
The living was very hard in the cliffs and caves but there was lots of good
hiding places and they were tough people, I have been told that they got corn
some way, Cooked it by holding it on the cob over an open flame until it turned
brown, then shelled it and beat it between two rocks until it became a powder
then boiled it in a pot. Eating and drinking the soup. One of my aunts said she
remembered her mother (my grandmother) doing that.) They also cracked hickory
nuts boiled them in a pot and using the oil that came to the top for cooking
food etc. There was wild animals to hunt and fish in the big bear creek so they
made it .
Some years later they made contact with people that would buy wild cat whiskey
and ship it north so most everone went into business. They were already wanted
by the law at that time for just being born who they were so they had nothing of
lose now for the first time they had money and their life style began to change
for the better.
Some times strangers, (lite skined men) began to come around asking questions
about the whiskey making operation going on in the area. The natives began to
feel their freedom and life style was in danger from these fancy talkers, so to
solve this problem would be to shoot them from ambush and that was what they did
from time to time. For several years
(and could be now) it was very dangerous for nosey strangers to come into the
Freedom Hills. I understand the natives were like a band of brothers they worked
together for their common cause "FREEDOM". And would help others that was having
trouble with the law. It was said that my g.g.g.great grand father (Harbard
Cole) was very active helping to hide deserters in the caves when the civil war
was going on. I don't know for sure that the Coles or the Wades (my mothers
ancestors) were part of the native Americans that lived in the hills. But they
did live there in Franklin County from about 1833 until after the civil war. My
grandfather( J.J. Lolley son of America Cole and Henry Lolley) did say his
mother was of the Dutch Race of people. I ask him once if he was part Indian?
His answer." why do you ask me that"? I said you are darker than other men
around here. He said "I am as much a man as the other men". And a Man he was.
"From "The Marion County Herald" published at Hamilton, Alabama, in the year of
News Item dated Dec.15,1887.
Our town was startled on last Saturday night, by the news being brought in that
Mr. Robert Terrell and Mr. Tom Bannister, two Marion County Men, had been
waylaid and shot just over in Franklin County. It appears that Terrell and
Bannister were on hunt of the man-------,for whom a reward is offered and who
was thought to be hiding in the neighborhood. The two men had completed their
search and were on their way back to this country. When night came on, they
halted at the house of one Mr. Johnson, living between little and big bear
creeks in Franklin County, and secured lodging for this night. In a short time,
it was discovered that the bridles of their horses had been cut and the animals
gone. Dark over took their search for the horses ,so they set out early the next
morning to renew their search. They had gone only about one-half mile from the
house when they were fired on by parties concealed in the thick woods near the
road. Bannister was shot in the head and Terrell in in the left side just above
the hip joint. Banister lived only a few minutes. Johnson and neighbors carried
both men to Johnsons house and sent for a doctor.
Both men were well known in county and respected as clever law abiding citizens.
It is thought that they were shot by Franklin county "Moonshiners" who mistook
them for men trying to locate stills.
Do you see what I mean? Joel Palmer
The Lolley Reunion
July 20, 1940
Judy, this is a picture made July 27,1940 of the James Joseph Lolley reunion.
The two ladies setting down are my great grandmothers. The one on the left is
America (Cole) Lolley, born 1859 in Franklin County Alabama, she married Henry
Lolley, family tradition has it that she is of the black Dutch race of people,
Her people (the Coles) escaped the Indian removal in the 1830s and lived in the
freedom hills of Franklin county Alabama for several years. She is the mother of
9 children one of her sons is James Joseph Lolley (my grandfather the big man
standing behind the little girl looking up.) And my grandmother Mary C. Sullins
Lolley, she is the is the little lady holding the bible and she is the daughter
of the other lady on the right, setting down. Her name is (Sarah Ann (Purser)
Sullins, Born 1857 in Marion County Alabama, She is the mother of 3 children and
wife of John Benton Sullins). These people in the picture are just part of their
children, grandchildren, and in-laws. I wonder how many people over this world
can trace their genealogy back to these people. Hundreds I would think. Yes, I
am on the picture, the mean boy with his fist aganced the head of a cousin in
front of him. Joel Palmer
RootsWeb: PALMER-L [PALMER-L] Palmers and Indian story.
Click the link below to see Joel's Paintings!
By Site Editor
Published on 01/10/2006