People and Things From The Blount County News and Dispatch 1898 - 1903

170 pages; 8.5 x 11, softcover hard spine, full name index. For pricing, write

This book is shorter than the previous two, and completes the survey of all microfilmed issues of The Blount County News-Dispatch. In its heyday and under the expert leadership of Editor L.H. Mathews, the Blount County paper was read and respected throughout the state. The informed, wry, and fearless commentary penned by Mathews made the News-Dispatch a mainstay of many early Blount County households for most of 25 years. However, with his death in 1896, the paper seemed to lose its spark. It was soon eclipsed by the young upstart, The Southern Democrat, under the editorship of F.G. Stephens. The last issues of record of the News-Dispatch were in January of 1904. For the years both newspapers existed concurrently, much of the news covered was similar, if not identical. However, some exceptions were noted when the News-Dispatch carried a more lengthy obituary of certain citizens, such as DeForest Allgood, for example. Sadly, many issues were skipped in later years. They were either missed by the microfilm personnel, or more likely they were never published. Brief hints in available issues' editorial section and mentions in the contemporary issues of The Southern Democrat hinted at the editor's illness and perhaps some financial difficulty.

As a bonus, this book includes George Powell's complete "A Description and History of Blount County." One can see where Mary Gordon Duffee drew upon Powell's work for some of her "Sketches of Blount County, Alabama" in the previous (1890 - 1897) volume.

Part of my on going research on Blount County Confederates has been to review early Blount County newspapers for articles involving the old soldiers. The earliest newspaper available was The Blount County News. It later merged with The Blount County Dispatch and renamed the News-Dispatch. The Southern Democrat began publishing about 1894. An obituary index of some of the earlier issues of the papers is located on this site; however, it was has been found to be incomplete and sometimes unreliable. The index starts with 1894, but available issues of the News begins in 1879.

Microfilm of the Blount County News-Dispatch were acquired from the Alabama State Archives and examined page by page and column by column. All mentions of births, marriages, and deaths were completely transcribed. Additionally, news items, Grand and Petit Jury lists, and articles of historical interest were completely transcribed. The result is the very first comprehensive review and abstract of the early history of Blount County from the available issues of The Blount County News and Dispatch. Much of this material has been available only to hard core researchers who spent hours in front of a microfilm reader.

Every mention of a birth, death, or a marriage was completely transcribed. In addition, news articles were selected based on their relevance to the history of the early development of Blount County: exploitation of her natural resources, political struggles over the location and reconstruction of the Blountsville Court House, the coming of the railroad which would soon prove to be the most significant event of the era, and moving the County seat to the new town of Oneonta.

These transcriptions capture some of the essence of our ancestors who were then alive and going about their daily business. This is what makes genealogy more than just collecting dusty dry dates and assigning them to lists of ancestor names.

The Blount County News and Dispatch contains genealogical nuggets of pure gold. While most marriages mentioned can be verified with Blount County Marriage License volumes found in the County court house, many births and deaths recorded in The Blount County News and Dispatch were seldom recorded in any other place. The paper also records marriages, births, and deaths which took place in Cullman and Jefferson County. It also keeps up with those former families of Blount who moved out West.

Many of the deaths described were for people who never had a tombstone, or if they had one, it has been lost to time. The transcriptions recorded here not only describe such vitals and births, marriages, and deaths, but also capture the humanity of the moment by including everyday Blount County activities which are sometimes tragic and sometimes humorous. This book will generate a real feeling of place and time as you read about your ancestors in so-called "real" time.

Here is a complete Table of Contents with page numbers. Keep in mind this is only a brief Subject List and does not include all the births, marriages, and deaths to be found in the book. It also does not cover the scores of smaller news items which were only a paragraph or two long.

Blount Springs Area Farmers 3
Bible Belonging to J.D. Brown, Company K, 19th Alabama Infantry 4
Blount Countians Who Moved to Oak, Texas 5
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term 1898, Eastern Division 7
Shelton-Pettit Murder Case 10
Letter from A.B. Endsley, Soldier in the Spanish American War 10
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term 1898, Western Division 11
Obit of Prof. W.M. Owens 12
Death of Ed. Burgess 13
Beat Registrars, 1898 14
Obit of Rev. George L. Hewitt 15
Obit of Prof. Howell E. Moss 16
Grand and Petit Jurors for Fall Term 1898, Eastern Division 18
Tribute of Respect to William M. McPherson 19
Grand and Petit Jurors for Fall Term 1898, Western Division 22
Obit of Col. Brett Randolph 24
Confederate Relief Bill 25
Fire at Blount Springs 27
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term 1899, Eastern Division 28
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term 1899, Western Division 30
Obit of Caimie Hallman 36
McNeal Family Reunion 36
Letter from Sheriff Sanders from Hot Springs, Arkansas 37
Grand and Petit Jurors for Fall Term 1899, Eastern Division 39
Letter from Sheriff Sanders from Hot Springs, Arkansas 41
In Memoriam for Delia Westen 44
Grand Jury Report 45
Grand and Petit Jurors for Fall Term 1899, Western Division 46
Death of DeForest Allgood 51
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term 1900, Eastern Division 52
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term 1900, Western Division 55
Death of Hiram Dickerson 57
Birthday Celebration for J.J. Donegan of Garden City 59
Grand and Petit Jurors for Fall Term 1900, Eastern Division 62
Grand and Petit Jurors for Fall Term 1900, Western Division 66
Self-Vann Marriage 69
Obit of Mrs. T.B. Russell 70
Death of A.J. Ingram, Founder of Oneonta 71
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term, Eastern Division 71
Blount County Boundary Change 72
Biggest Mortgage 77
Voting on the Court House at Bangor 79
Death of Ada Arnold 81
Plowden-Daughdrill Marriage 84
Hathorn-Morschheimer Marriage 86
Death of Ola Beal 88
Death of Henry Barclift 88
Death of Polly Dempsey 92
Jenkins-Lowry Marriage 93
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term 1902 93
Organization of the Joe Wheeler Camp of Confederate Veterans 94
Malone-Stephens Marriage 95
Mayor Ward’s Report 95
Building of Confederate Veteran’s Home 96
Death of Rev. G.S. Sloan 98
Murder of Nancy J. Vaughn 98
Death of Eliza Waid 100
Rains-Maxwell Marriage 100
The Picnic at Altoona 103
Obit of Solomon Crawford 105
Grand and Petit Jurors for Fall Term 1902 108
Sheriff’s Daughter Liberates Two Prisoners 112
Description of the Escapees 114
Death of A.C. Donehoo 115
Death of William Hullett 116
Deadly Tornado at Hanceville 118
Grand and Petit Jurors for Spring Term 1903 119
Death of Dr. U.M. Gibbs 120
Death of Byron Leroy Williams 123
Resolution of Respect for D.P. Rice 124
Huffstutler-Reid Marriage 126
Resolution of Respect for Michael McNeal 127
Grand and Petit Jurors for Fall Term 1903 127
Death of Dr. G.W. McPherson 130
George Powell’s A Description and History of Blount County 132
Index 158