Editorial

Inside the Statehouse: Richard Shelby coming home

Our iconic Senior United States Senator, Richard Shelby, will walk out of the Senate chambers in Washington, D.C. this week and come home to retirement in Tuscaloosa. History will reveal Shelby as Alabama’s greatest U.S. Senator, especially when it comes to bringing home the bacon to the Heart of Dixie. To say Shelby is the greatest is saying a mouthful, because we have had some great ones. Shelby will rest along with the likes of John Bankhead, John Sparkman, Lister Hill and Howell Heflin. He has served longer in the Senate than any Alabamian in state history – 36 years.

Back through the years in Marion County...

This photo was purchased from eBay and is a mailed postcard. The front shows Winfield High School. The back has a message written from Demerica Kuykendall in Winfield addressed to Emma Henzie of Philadelphia. It was postmarked on May 27, 1942.
Winfield High School opened its doors on July 1, 1889. The first principal was C.D. Garrett, an 1889 graduate of the Florence Normal College. He became a notary public and justice of the peace in Winfield in 1890. Garrett was there for one year before moving to Moulton for one year, then to Alexander City and was there in 1893.

Louis Mellini: I’ve seen the G.O.A.T.

The Greatest of All Time. The GOAT. These words and titles are thrown around pretty flippantly now and typically used in sports arguments.
You have your favorite player, you call them the GOAT, then the arguments start.
But, how often do you actually label someone the greatest of all time and actually mean it?
There aren’t many athletes in my lifetime that I have seen who I’d be able to label as the greatest in their sport.
There are two sports where the argument has ever made sense to me: basketball and soccer (football if you are inclined to call it that).

Back through the years in Marion County...

Courtesy of Bill Weaver, this photo shows workers during the construction of Lion Service Station in Hamilton. Left to right are Hubert Ballard, Clint Hardin, Marvin Ballard, Sanders Williams, Henry Bobo, Earl Martin and Elton Sudduth.
This building was located on the corner where the Hamilton United Methodist Church parking lot is presently located. It consisted of a barber shop, cafe and the Lion Service Station itself.
Weaver stated the store most likely opened in the early 1920s. Sandy Sandlin mentioned the store most likely closed in the early 1970s.

Inside the Statehouse: Two Jefferson County legends retire

As we begin to celebrate the Christmas season and close out 2022, allow me to share the story of two great Jefferson County/Alabama political legends.
Alabama Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin is retiring at the end of the year from the state’s highest judicial tribunal. Bolin is a young 72 and would not have retired and would have sought and been elected to another six-year term if it were not for an antiquated state law that disallows someone running for a judgeship in the state after age 70. Bolin is one of the most popular and well respected judges in Alabama.

Back through the years in Marion County...

The youngest daughter of William David Mitchell and Zilla (Frederick) Mitchell, shown to the right, kept this portrait hanging on the wall in her home. The portrait is now in the possession of her great-grandson, general manager of the Journal Record.
Dave and Zill, as they were known, lived most of their life in the Chalk Bluff area of Marion County, a few miles south of Hackleburg. Zill moved in with a relative in Hamilton after Dave died. They are both buried at Union Hill Cemetery near Hackleburg.

Inside the Statehouse: Some legislative leaders retire and pass away

Allow me to share the stories of three of my favorite legislative colleagues. Two of these gentlemen are retiring from the Alabama House of Representatives this year, and one passed away in April.
Representative Victor Gaston of Mobile and Representative Howard Sanderford of Huntsville are going home. A third legend and true gentleman, Steve McMillan of Baldwin County, passed away during the last session in April.

Senator Tuberville: Celebrating Alabama’s 203rd birthday

In 1902, an Alabama woman’s experience on a snowy day produced one of the most commonly used inventions of the modern era. While riding a streetcar in New York City, Mary Anderson noticed that her driver had to frequently get out of the vehicle and wipe snow off the windshield. This sparked an idea that led her to design the first operational windshield wipers, improving driving conditions for all drivers who would come after her.

Inside the Statehouse: Alabama’s Big 10 Mayors

Students of Alabama political history will rightly remember the 2022 midterm election. This election saw the majority of Alabama voters cast their ballots for Katie Britt, who will be the first woman elected to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate. Governor Kay Ivey easily coasted to victory to gain her second full term in office, continuing her reign as the first Republican woman to serve as governor. Republicans from the top of the ballot on down cemented their control of the state government by huge margins.

A little more about Ernest Ray Riley

Editor’s note: This letter is in reference to the Ernest Riley story the Journal Record featured in the Nov. 9, edition.
In the summer of 1941, our family sharecropped on Papa Burleson’s farm in Marion County, AL, about halfway between Guin and Winfield. Wymon Burleson, my father, had a younger brother, James Dalton, living and working in Winfield.

Back through the years in Marion County...

This photo was made in Brilliant in April 1944. The brick building is a general merchandise store and was constructed about 1918 by D.T. Cochran. Behind the horse is the west side of the Dickinson General Store. The horse and buggy, owned by John Leonard, delivered the Birmingham Post newspaper to town residents in the late afternoons. Guest riders this afternoon were Clair Hipp and Doris Dickinson. Photo submitted by Jim Dickinson.

Why does Marion County not have a leash law?

I was severely bitten by a dog in September and had to go to the hospital twice. The people who own this dog have it both on a leash and enclosed in a fence at this time.
However, I am now being chased on my daily walk by two more dogs. I have emptied two canisters of spray and have gotten no response from the owner of the worst of these.
Why isn’t there a leash law in Marion County? I called the sheriff’s department and was informed there is none.

Inside the Statehouse: Jo Bonner inaugurated as president of USA

Jo Bonner was officially sworn in as the fourth president of the University of South Alabama on Sept. 23, 2022.
The University of South Alabama is the crown jewel and flagship of the Alabama Gulf Coast. It is a sprawling, manicured, beautiful and functional modern campus. It is currently the third largest university in the state. Under the leadership of Bonner, it will grow and prosper to where within the next decade it will be thought of as one of our premier “Big Three” major flagship universities along with the University of Alabama and Auburn University.

‘Thanks at Thanksgiving’ told by Winfield fifth grader in 1962

Mrs. Bythel Earnest, who has be substituting for Mr. Grady Dillard, who has been ill for six weeks, asked the fifth graders of Winfield City Schools to write what they are thankful for. She was so impressed by the paper turned in by Janie Lindsey that she brought, as it is written, to the Daily Northwest Alabamian for publication.

By Janie Ellen
Lindsey

Marion County foster families needed

Dear Editor:
It is time to come together on behalf of over 400,000 American children and youth who are in foster care because their families are in crisis, and they cannot currently provide safe, nurturing home environments. Approximately 5,700 of these children are in Alabama’s foster care system, and 34 of them are right here in Marion County. These children need safe, stable and loving homes where they can stay until they can safely reunite with their biological parents or establish other lifelong family relationships.

Back through the years in Marion County...

Submitted by Dan Wiginton, this photo shows the Wiginton School in 1914. Shown, front row from left, are Almon Miller, Ernest Evans, Ray Cantrell, Elman Miller, Elvis Barnwell and Marvin Cantrell. Second row, Ethel (Pig) Cantrell, Mona Belle Cantrell, Maggie Frederick, Ethel Miller, Theola Scott, Myrtle Bottoms, Iva Lee Scott, Orela Scott, Lou Bertha, Geneva Fleming, Fannie Barnwell, Victoria Fleming and Verdell Partain.

Inside the Statehouse: Election year observations

This 2022 Election Year in Alabama has been monumental and memorable. Any gubernatorial year is big in the state. It is the brass ring of Alabama politics to be governor. However, the race to succeed our Senior Senator Richard Shelby has been the marquee contest. This year will be the last hurrah for our two leading political figures in the state.
Senator Richard Shelby is retiring after 36 years in the U.S. Senate at age 88. Governor Kay Ivey will be elected to her final term as governor at 78.

Senator Tuberville: The importance of career and technical education

For high school students, choosing a career path can be a difficult decision. They weigh many factors, such as personal interests, the rising cost of higher education, earning potential and accessibility of job opportunities. And in recent years, the challenging economy and job market has left many students uncertain about taking their next steps. A 2019 survey found that only about half of our high school students feel prepared for the workforce.

Back through the years in Marion County...

The teacher in this photo of Buttahatchee School students in 1944 is Pearl Holcombe. The school was located at the intersection of what is now Chalk Mine Road and State Highway 253, on the south side of the highway from the Buttahatchee Cemetery, which is all that is left of this long ago thriving place.
It was more than just a school. Vaccinations, adult education classes and Extension classes, among other events were held here.

Inside the Statehouse: The General Election is upon us

Believe it or not, our 2022 General Election is upon us, Nov. 8 to be exact. It seems to be going under the radar screen of most Alabama voters. There will be a record breaking low voter turnout because there are really no contested statewide races. Why? Because we are a one party state when it comes to state offices. All 21 of our state elective offices are held by Republicans. The Democratic party does not field serious candidates because it is a foregone conclusion that a Democrat cannot win elective statewide races in the Heart of Dixie. The best they can hope for is 40 percent.

Michael Brooks’ Reflections: Facing a firing squad

He was a young pastor neither immoral nor heretical, but simply naïve and unskilled in human relations. He could conjugate Greek verbs but didn’t know how to take time to earn the trust of the congregation before he could lead them. Additionally, he listened to some famous pulpiteers who taught pastors are vice-regents under God and “overseers” in a very real sense. One of these pastors called himself a “benevolent dictator.”
An older minister, sensing a collision about to happen, counseled humility.

Congressional delegation to be elected in November

Our Alabama Congressional delegation will all be reelected next month, as usual. We are no different than any other state when it comes to the incumbency advantage of being a congressperson. When someone is elected to the U.S. Congress, they are usually there for life unless they run for higher office. They probably would not be defeated unless they killed someone and that probably would not be enough. It would probably depend on who they killed.

Back through the years in Marion County...

In the early days, mail was delivered by any means possible, including horses, dog sleds, steamboats, trains and automobiles. This photo shows a rural mail carrier in Guin using a horse as locomotion.
The Guin Post Office was originally established as Caudle on April 24, 1883. It was changed to Guin on March 31, 1888.
The nearest post office when the name changed in 1888, was Pikeville, the oldest post office within Marion County.

Back through the years in Marion County...

Made and contributed by Bill Weaver, this shot of downtown Hamilton at night was taken about 1968 on Military Street North at the main intersection.
The courthouse is on the left, and the Marion County Bank Company building is in the center. This is now Wells Fargo. The Lion’s service station (a 24 hour service store according to the sign out front) across U.S. Highway 278 can be seen. A telephone booth is on the corner on the south side of 278.

Inside the Statehouse: National trends do not affect Alabama

As mentioned last week, all polling points to a significant Republican pickup of congressional seats in the upcoming November General Election. It is a historical fact that the party that loses the White House in a presidential year, picks up congressional seats in the following midterm elections. Furthermore, Democrats are in disfavor because of runaway inflation. Voters blame Biden and the Democratic Congress for the inflated price of gas, groceries and everything else. Americans vote their pocketbook. It’s the economy that counts, is what they say.

Do you remember playing washers?

By P.J. Gossett
General Manager
HAMILTON — “When I was in school, we played washers.” This statement I overheard in Hamilton a couple of weeks ago brought back my own childhood memories of playing the game in our front yard. It made me think about the history of the game, if it is still played today and if the younger generation knew what it was.
A quick search revealed not only is it known today, but there are actually “official” boards one can buy to play the game. There are official rules, though they are nothing like what I played in the mid-1980s.

Inside the Statehouse: GOP poised for Congressional gains

For over 100 years, political history has revealed without deviation that when a Democrat wins the presidency in a presidential year, that in the following mid-term congressional elections two years later that Republicans make gains in the U.S. House of Representatives. That truism has become more pronounced in the last few decades.
This history will be repeated in the upcoming Nov. 8, general election. Every indication and polling suggest that the GOP gains in this year’s general election will be significant.

Many still miss John Denver after 25 years

It was 25 years ago today when the world was shocked by the plane crash and death of 1970s star John Denver. On Oct. 12, 1997, his experimental plane crashed into Monterey Bay in California.
The most people usually hear on the radio these days are just three of his songs: “Annie’s Song,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Rocky Mountain High.” There was much more to the man, and he was on many committees such as conservation and hunger. He was a pilot, father, son, actor and his songs still stand up in today’s time as much as they did when he wrote them.

Kirkpatrick responds to letter from Hamm

The Journal Record published an article that was submitted to them by Joe Hamm from Hamilton. However, his name was not on the article as required by the JR. I am told that it was an oversight, and I have no reason to believe otherwise. Mr Hamm’s opinion of me and his interpretation of my article is totally false. He is certainly entitled to his opinion, but that is what it is: his opinion. Nothing he said was based on facts.  

Back through the years in Marion County...

Pictured in 1915 is the Wright Motor Company, a Ford dealer, in Guin. It was opened in 1913, and closed in 1933. President of the company was Robert Raymond Wright Sr., a native of Calhoun County, Ala., who also remembered selling his Model T in 1913 to Ivy Thompson, mail carrier of the Star Route from Guin to Hamilton. According to Wright, the title of the owner of the first car in Guin was Gus Hallmark, who purchased one in Birmingham one month before Wright opened his business.

Senator Tuberville: Foreign investors own millions of U.S. acres

Harvest season
is here, and farmers across the state are looking forward to reaping the rewards of their labor. They will spend many early mornings and late nights in the fields harvesting crops to be enjoyed across the country and the world. We could not survive without their work. That’s why protecting their ability to produce is one of my top priorities in the U.S. Senate.

Back through the years in Marion County...

This row of buildings today in Hamilton are on First Avenue Southwest on courthouse square. Today, they are the Town Square Jewelers, office buildings and also the House of Plenty.
In the late 1940s when this photo was taken, the buildings included City Market, Fred King’s store (displaying a Peters Shoes sign over the main entrance) and the farm bureau (displaying a Wayne Feeds sign over their entrance).

Inside the Statehouse: Alabama school board members

School board members are some of the most selfless public servants in Alabama. This accolade goes to the Alabama State Board of Education, and more specifically, local school board members. These members are tasked with a very important mission but receive very little compensation for their time and efforts. They are indeed public servants.

Back through the years in Marion County...

Currently, this is known as the Blue Moon Drive-In Theater located in Gu-Win between Winfield and Guin. This picture was snapped in 1980, and filed with the Library of Congress in the John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive (1972 - 2008).
The original name of the business at the time this photo was taken was Gu-Win Drive-In Theater. It was opened in the 1950s by George G. Thornton, who passed away on June 5, 1963. It was shut down in the mid-1980s, reopening later as Blue Moon.
Thornton was the first mayor of Gu-Win, when it was incorporated in 1958.

Inside the Statehouse: The decibel level story

Those of us who served a long time in the legislature have a lot of stories. I served 16 years from 1982 to 1998 from my home county of Pike. I chose not to run again in 1998. However, I missed the camaraderie and friendships of other legislators who became lifelong friends.
It was apparent that those of us who hailed from smaller towns and rural counties knew our constituents better and were better known by our constituents than those from urban areas.

Who is opressing Alabama women?

It appears to me that Lynda Kirkpatrick is using her leadership positions within the Democratic party as a platform to promote feminism. In her recent editorial entitled “It doesn’t matter which political party women belong to in Alabama,” Kirkpatrick, the chair of the Marion County Democratic Party, accused both Alabama Democrats and Republicans of oppressing women. In her letter, she claimed that all women “are being discriminated against, regardless of political party. All you have to be is a woman.