LAUDERDALE COUNTY OBITUARIES
"D - K"
MISS THELMA DANLEY SUCCUMBS ON THURSDAY (Contributed by Grace Carver)
Miss Thelma Danley, aged 20, the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O. A. Danley, Florence route three, passed away Thursday evening at 10 o'clock at the home of her grandmother, Mrs. H. M. Danley 620 East Tuscaloosa street, after an illness of two months. Funeral services will be held on Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the home of the deceased's parents, with a minister of the Church of Christ conducting final rites. Interment will be in the Stony Point Cemetery, with Fielder's directing. Miss Danley, who was a student at the Central High school, was one of the most loved young people in that section of the county, and was a pupil in the eleventh grade at the school. She was a life-long and devoted member of the Church of Christ at Stony Point. Surviving in addition to her parents are two sisters, Miss Etoyle Danley and Miss Stella Ruth Danley, five brothers, Emmett Danley, O. A. Danley, Jr., Ray Danley, Earl Danley, Claude Danley all of Florence, route three; and her grandmothers, Mrs. Danley and Mrs. Ola Garrett of Cloverdale. Active pallbearers will be: Glenn Davis, Laverne Abston, Melvin McClure, Dale Townsley, Clinton Davis, Orland Townsley, Loyd Townsley, Earlie Marks. Honorary pallbearers will be: Dr. H. M. Simpson, Dr. L. T. Young, Dr. F. B. Reeder, the members of the eleventh grade at Central High school, and the faculty of the school. [This obituary was among the collection of Grace Carver's mother. Nov 3 1932 is written on the top of the column. There is no mention of which paper this appeared in. She is listed in the Stony Pont Cemetery.]
BLOODY FIGHT. Between North Lauderdale Citizens. William Darby Killed by William Knard (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, Dec. 28 1900, page 1)
On Christmas day a bloody fight took place near Cypress Inn, just over the county line, in Tennessee, between two Lauderdale citizens, William Knard and William Darby during which the latter was seriously wounded, having had his jaw and tongue shot away with a double=barrel shot gun in the hands of Knard. At this writing we have been unable to learn the particulars that led up to the affair. The principals to the fight live a few miles beyond Cloverdale, Mr. Darby is a son of Mr. Jack Darby, and is about 25 years old. Knard is about 32 years old. They are all well known citizens in that neighborhood. On Wednesday morning Dr. Kernachan was called to see the wounded man, who, it is thought, can hardly recover. It appears that there had been a fight between the two men, in which Darby came out the victor. Later on Knard returned with his gun, and putting it close to Darby’s face, shot off the lower portion of his face, including his tongue. Knard was not arrested at the time, and his wereabouts are now unknown. Later.-Further particulars of this desperate encounter was received yesterday from Dr. Kernachan, who had been called to attend the wounded man.
Darby died Wednesday night at about 10 O’clock. When the doctor arrived he was beyond the aid of medicine or surgery. His face presented a horrible appearance. He was entirely conscious, but altogether incapable of speech. The shooting had its origin in a drinking and gambling row. Whiskey, in other words, has won another victim - sent one man to an untimely grave, made another a fugitive and left three small children orphans, the mother having preceded the father to the grave.
NORTH LAUDERDALE. Threet and Coverdale News (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, Dec. 28 1900, page 5)
…A fatal shooting scrape occurred near the Tennessee line at Hyde’s store Christmas day, in which Will Knard and Will Darby were the participants. I have been unable to learn of the details, but it seems that the men were engaged in a fight when Knard grabbed his gun and shot Darby, tearing away his entire chin, teeth, etc., and breaking both under jaw bones. The affair is certain to be regretted….
$100 REWARD. For the Arrest of William Nard (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, Jan. 4, 1901, p. 1)
The brothers of the late William Darby (David, Ben and John) offer a reward of $100 for the arrest of William Nard (or Will Norred) who on Christmas day killed William H. Darby. This money has been placed in the hand of Sheriff O. B. Hill.
Nard is described as follows:-- “age about 28; dark skin, black hair and mustache, small, keen black eyes, thick lips, thin face, high cheek bones, sharp chin; weight about 160 or 165 pounds, height about 5 feet 7 inches; rather stoop, and walks with long strides. He probably has a sore thumb.” [NOTE: Copies of a postcard and the actual wanted poster can be seen on the Wayne County Rootsweb site]
Shot Away the Lower Jaw. (Source: The Florence Herald, Thursday, Dec. 27, 1900, p. 5)
John Darby and Jim Knard became engaged in a fist and skull fight on Tuesday, just over the line in Tennessee, near cypress Inn. Knard was worsted in the bout and grabbed up a double barreled shot gun and fired at Darby at short range, tearing away the lower half of his jaw. Darby’s brother came to town for medical assistance on Wednesday, Knard escaped. [NOTE: The Florence Herald is in error. It was William H. Darby that was killed, not John]
DEATH. (Source: Florence Times, Friday, Oct. 19, 1900, p. 1)
Mrs. Mary Davenport, wife of Mr. Ira H. Davenport, died at the home of her husband in this city on the evening of the 10th instant, and on the succeeding day the remains were carried to Hurricane Springs for interment. Mrs. Davenport has been in delicate health for some time past. She was a daughter of Mr. Andy Romine, and was a good woman, whose death will be sincerely lamented by a large circle of kinsmen and friends.
JANE PORTER DAVIS (Contributed by Pat McDonald, 28 Apr 1999; Source: Florence Times, 20 Jul 1906, p. 7)
Lexington --The Death Angel visited in our midst on the 2d day of this month and claimed for its victim Aunt Jane Davis after a lingering illness of six weeks, at the advanced age of 81 years. She joined the Methodist Episcopal Church at about 12 years of age, and since that time she has lived a consistant member of that church. She leaves seven children, four sons and three daughters. Mr. T. C. DAVIS of this community, Mr. John DAVIS of Tennessee, Mr. J. H. DAVIS of Loretta, Tenn., Mr. Wesley DAVIS of Center Star, Ala., Mrs. Fannie ALLEN of Arkdell, Ala., Misses Mary and Sallie DAVIS of this place.
She also leaves one brother and three sisters. Mrs. Rebecca DAVIS, Mrs. Katherine BELEW, Mrs. Cyntha McGUIRE, and Mr. John PORTER, all of whom are living near Lexington except Mrs. Rebecca DAVIS of Florence. Aunt Jane was a quiet follower of the Lord. Her mind was centered on things heavenly and divine. It was sweet to converse with her. It would attract any one's mind heavenward and make them think of how they should live to reach that home of rest. To the bereaved we extend our heartfelt sympathy...
Marie P. Delano (Contributed by Sandra Tidwell, 2007; Source: Times Daily July 13, 2005)
Mrs. Marie Palmer Delano, age 86, passed away Sunday, July 10, 2005, in Rockledge, Fla. Marie was a native of Lauderdale County, Ala. She was a loving wife, mother, aunt and compassionate friend. She was a member of Broadway Baptist Church. Marie was preceded in death by her husband, Buster Delano; daughter, Frances Delano; brothers, Claude Palmer and Floyd Palmer; sisters, Mary Joiner, Bella Lindsey and Pearl Haddock. She is survived by a son, Charles Delano and wife, Frances; daughter, Gail Fischer and husband, Otto; grandson, Chris Delano and wife, Sandy; granddaughters, Anita Holcombe and husband, Tim, Joy Smith and husband, Dexter, and Zabrina Fischer; great-grandchildren, Lindsey Smith, Tyler Delano and Macy Delano. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday, July 15, 2005, at Elkins Funeral Home chapel, Florence, Ala., with Brother William Brewer officiating. Burial will follow in Wesley Chapel Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 14. Expressions of sympathy may be made in the form of donations to the charity of your choice.
MRS. NANCY EAKINS DIES AT THE HOME OF MRS. BROWN. (Source: The Florence Times, Tuesday Afternoon, 20 Mar 1934).
Mrs. Nancy Eakins, aged 89, died at 4:30 o’clock this morning at the home of her grand daughter, Mrs. Walker Brown, 318 Spur street, Florence, after a brief illness. Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock from the home of Mrs. Brown with elder Henry Stanfield of the Church of Christ, and Rev. L. M. Blackburn, of the Nazarene church, officiating. Interment will follow in Florence cemetery with Fields directing. Surviving are four grand daughters and four grand sons, and seven great-grandchildren. Nephews will be active pallbearers: J. C., J. D., J. T., S. _., and N. S. Stevenson, and J. A. Statom. Honorary pallbearers will be: W. C. Hardeman, J. W. Grigsby, Homer Rickard, Porter Goodman, Bob Smith, Smith Milford, Dud Gamble, A. C. Muse, and Lowell Gamble.
MRS. EZELL 64, IS TAKEN BY DEATH. Funeral Services Are Held This Afternoon at 2 (Contributed by Regina Kaye Grisham Sass; Source: The Florence Times, March 15, 1941)
Mrs. Jennie Ezell aged 64, well known Rogersville native, passed away on Friday afternoon at 5:45 o’clock at home of a son, George Ezell, 209 North Walnut Street after a long illness. Deceased was born at Rogersville April 27, 1877 and made her home there all her life, where she was a devoted member of the Church of Christ, and had many friends. She had been at home of her son for the past 10 weeks. Surviving in addition are a son, Charles Ezell, Rogersville, a daughter, Mrs. Malcolm Grisham, Rogersville; three step-sons, B.C. Ezell, Decatur,; L. M. Ezell, Rogersville and Dr. H. G. Ezell, Birmingham; three step-daughters, Mrs. J. W> Howard and Mrs. M. V. Whitehead, Rogersville: Mrs. L. L. Weathers, Nashville, five sisters, Mrs. J. H. Hudsion and Mrs. Mollie Howard, Rogersville; Mrs. Dora Owens, Bogalusa, Miss; Misses Edna and Willie Foster, Tuscumbia; brother, L. M. Foster, Lexington. Funeral services were held this afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Church of Christ, Rogersville, conducted by Lindsey Allen, minister of the Church of Christ, Decatur. Burial was in Liberty Cemetery, Spry’s directing. Active pallbearers were W. A. Frye, Thomas Daugherty, Weaver Fuqua, Talbert Grisham, Malcolm Fuqua, James J. Rose. Honorary pallbearers were E. E. Downing, J. J. McMeans, H. C. Warren, P. O. Rose, O. O. Goode, Reynolds Thornton, W. D. McMeans, J. D. Longshore, Grady R. Williams, Herman Longshore, J. H. Vickers, Dr. W. W. Alexander, Dr. W. R. Rousseau, B. R. Warmack, R. D. McLemore, W. C. Page, W. E. Ross, S W Manning, Auvin McGuire.
Death of a Good Woman (Source: The Florence Times, Saturday, 18 Jun 1892, p. 3)
Mrs. Mary A. Faires, widow of the late Andrew Faires, died at her home near Cloverdale last Monday night, aged 78 years. On Tuesday the internment took place at Wesley Chapel, at 3 o'clock p.m. Mrs. Faires was born in South Carolina Dec. 27th 1814, and moved to Lauderdale in early life, where Oct. 5th, 1837, she married Rev. Andrew Faires who has preceded her to the grave. She spent the whole of her married life on the farm where she died, excepting one year. She professed faith in the Christian religion when but a girl and through a long life exemplified its tenets, having been an active member of the Methodist Church. She lived the Christian's life and died in the full hope of the Christian's rest in the "mansions of the blest."
MRS. MARY U. [H?] FREEMAN (Contributed by Lee Freeman, Sep 2005; Source: Bethel Berry Church Register Original, 1868-copy)
pp. 3-4: W. H. Wharton. Mrs. Mary U. [H?] Freeman, formerly Mary U. [H?] Jones Born March 14, 1805, Married Freeman March 29th, 1824 Baptized Jan. 21st 1838 Departed this life June 24th, 1874
p. 21. W. H. Wharton. Mrs. Mary M. [sic] Freeman Deceased June 24th 1874.
Note: W. H. Wharton is an early Christian Church/Church of Christ minister in NW Alabama. His name is recorded under the column entitled "By whom baptized." Her husband's name, if it was ever recorded, is not legibile.
[As is common in old records, Mary Freeman's middle initial is recorded differently in different records. I'm not sure what it should be.]
MRS. SARAH F. FREEMAN (Contributed by Lee Freeman, Sep 2005; Source: Florence Times, Saturday, May 26, 1894, p. 3.)
Death. Mrs. S. F. Freeman, of East Florence, died at the home of her husband on Friday morning last of consumption, aged 45 years. OBITUARY: ied in East Florence, May 18, 1894, of consumption, after an illness of eight months duration, Sarah Freeman, wife of Willie [should be Wiley] Freeman, in the 46th year of her age [sic]. This good sister was born and raised in Lauderdale County, Alabama, being the eldest daughter of Col. Wesson [William W. Wesson], one of the pioneer settlers of Lauderdale. Mrs. Freeman was married in 1866 and was the mother of four sons and five daughters, all of whom survive her. During 17 years of her useful life she lived a consistent member of the Christian Church and died as she had lived, in the full faith and hope of the happiness awaiting her in the world of spirits. As a faithful wife, an affectionate mother, a good neighbor, a helping friend to the sick and needy, her death is severely felt in the community. In her desolate home,-made desolate by the absence of wife and mother-the widowed husband and motherless children feel that the loss of their beloved one is irreparable. To say that "our loss is her gain" is uttering a platitude, yet is none the less true for being trite, and looking at her death in that light, may her sorrowing relatives find comfort in the thought.
To the bereaved husband and children, her many friends extend their heartfelt condoloence and earnest sympathy. Mrs. M. Hill.
Mrs. S. F. Freeman (Contributed by Lee Freeman; Source: Florence Gazette, Thursday, May 31, 1894, p. 3.)
Mrs. S. F. Freeman, wife of Mr. Wm. [Wiley] Freeman, died at her home in East Florence, May 18, aged 46 years.
Mrs. Freeman (Contributed by Lee Freeman; Source: From Morrison and Son Undertakers Funeral Home Ledger, no. 1, p. 251.)
May 18. Paid 5/18/94. D . C. [Daniel Coger] Wesson "For Mrs. Freeman"
To 1 # 0 Coffin 14.00
" 6 " " Handles 3.00 17.00
Cash disc. 2.00 15.00
WILL J. FREEMAN (Contributed by Lee Freeman, Sep. 2005; Source: Florence Herald, Thursday, October 6, 1910, p. 5)
"LOCAL NOTES," Will Freeman died at his home near Burcham's mill Tuesday. He was raised in Florence and his father lives here. He was one of the best citizens of Lauderdale County and will be greatly missed by all. He was public spirited and took great interest in schools and everything for the good of the people. A noble son has fallen in the very prime of life, when his services were so much needed. His place will be hard to fill. The Herald extends sympathy to all who mourn his death.
Death of Wm. J. Freeman (Contributed by Lee Freeman; Source: Florence Times, Friday, October 7, 1910, p. 1.)
Mr. W. J. Freeman, a well known and popular young citizen living near Sharp's Mills, died on Tuesday afternoon last, after an illness of eight or ten days, from an attack of erysipelas which later developed into meningitis. But few people knew of his illness and the announcement was a shock to his friends. His body was interred at Wesley's Chapel [sic] Wednesday. Mr. Freeman leaves his wife and three sons, and is also survived by his father, Mr. Wiley Freeman of this city, and two sisters and three brothers. He was a good man, widely popular, and his many friends have been pained to hear of his premature passing away.
Wm. Freeman (Contributed by Lee Freeman; Source: orrison and Son Undertakers Funeral Home Ledger, no. 3, p. 343.)
Freeman Wm. Est. RFD 3 - Box 40*
1910 Oct. 5
To 1 5/9 Casket 50.00
Delivery of Box to Stony Point 2.50
Oct. 5 cr. by cash 47.00
Burial Robe 6.50
Nov. " " " " 59.00
Miss Foster Dies Sunday. (Contributed by Regina Kaye Grisham Sass; Source: The Florence Times, Monday afternoon, January 25, 1960)
Miss Edna Earl Foster, age 72, a resident of Tuscumbia, died at Kelly’s Nursing Home in Haleyville, Sunday at 6;45 a.m. after a lengthy illness. She was a member of the Baptist Church and a former school teacher. Funeral Services were held today at 1 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, Tuscumbia, with J. Ralph Bone officiating Burial followed in Ray’s Cemetery at Rogersville. Brown Service of Tuscumbia is charge. Surviving are one sister, Willie Dee Foster of Tuscumbia, and a number of nieces and nephews. Active bearers were N. B. Hudson, Charles Ezell, Harris Lentz, Shannon Lentz, Sam Hudson, Henry Hudson, and Robert Hudson. Honorary bearers were Dr. W. R. Trapp, J. D. Mitchell, George Davi, J. H. Kelly, Robert Hyde, John B. Sockwell, E. J. Henninger, and Deacons of the Calvary Baptist Church.
WILLIAM BENJAMIN NUGENT and GEORGE FOSTER (Contributed by Regina Kaye Grisham Sass; Source: The Florence Times
26 Jun 1914, page 3)
Two deaths near Rogersville. Mr. William Benjamin Nugent, an aged citizen well known in East Lauderdale, died near Rogersville on the 16th instant, in the 78th year of his age. He is survived by his wife and six children, all who are grown to maturity. He was a brother of J. W. Nugent. The deceased was a veteran of the Confederacy, having enlisted at its beginning and mustered out of service at Appomattox.
Mr. George Foster. Mr. George Foster, aged about 75 years, died at his home near Rogersville on the 15th. His wife had preceded him to the grave but he is survived by a large family of children.
TELA (KILLEN) GRAY (Contributed by Elizabeth Claire Moore, Jan. 2005; Source: Times Daily October 3, 1989)
Area's oldest resident dead at age 108. Killen, The funeral for Tela Gray 108, the oldest known resident of the Shoals and the oldest Alabamians, will be at 1:30 p.m. today at Loretto Memorial Chapel, Loretto, Tenn, with Jerry Taylor , Jerry Herston and James E. Smith officating. Burial will be in Richardson's Chapel Cemetery. She died Sunday Oct. 1, 1989 at Lauderdale Christan Nursing Home after an extended illness. A native of Lauderdale County, Tela Gray was born Nov. 30 1880 and spent her life as a homemaker and farm wife. In recent years, her birthday was always a big occasion, and in 1987 she was congratulated by Gov. Guy Hunt as an Alabama Centenarian. She wore glasses and a hearing aid, and used to sew cushions for friends until her vision prevented her from continuing her hobby. Although her health had taken a downward turn in recent months, her youngest child, Minton Gray, said she was alert through her final days. "The last time I saw her on Friday, she knew who I was, " He said Monday. "It's just remarkable she kept her mind that long."
In her lifetime, Gray saw the advent of the automobile, electric power, telephones, radio, television and airplanes. She survived six generations of her family, and gave credit to the Lord for allowing her to live so long. "I've worked hard all my life, " Gray told the TimesDaily in a 1986 interview, on her 106th birthday. "I used to have to go to the creek and wash. I've helped my husband saw logs and chop wood. "People have it so much better now, without working so hard" she said. " But folks were happier back then." Gray, the daughter of [a] Civil War veteran, grew up in a house at Richardson's Chapel and recalled getting water from a well outside. Her parents were Daniel and Hannah Springer. [ NOTE Daniel KILLEN and Hannah Springer, but the article is typed as written.] At age 16, she married Mint Gray and had 10 children, six of whom are still living and range in age from 63 to 87. Her husband died in 1958. "I never lost a little one," she said during the interview three years ago. " I always asked the Lord to let me keep my little fellows." She was a member of Green's Chapel United Methodist Church. Survivors include her sons, Pat Gray of St. Joseph, Tenn, Macon Gray of Lexington, Hollis Gray of Russville and Minton Gray of Greenhill; daughters, Frankie McLaughlin of Greenhill, and mamie Lee Glover of Lexington; 34 grand-children; 57 great-grandchildren; 32 great-great-grandchildren; six great-great-great-grandchildren, and one foster grandchild. Bearers will be Charles Gray, Gilbert Gray, Billy Gray, Rex Gray, Darrell Glover, Randy Gruber.
Mr. Jesse N. Grisham Drops Dead Near Rogersville (Source: The Florence Times, 9 September 1910)In another column of the Time to-day we record the unusual occurrence of three sudden deaths within three days in the eastern section of Lauderdale; and this week we have to chronicle another similar death in the same section. Mr. Jesse N. Grisham, one of the prominent citizens of the Rogersville beat, suddenly and without warning expired on Wednesday morning last. Mr. Grisham about 60 years of age and was widely and favorably known throughout that part of the country. The Late Jesse Grisham: “In this life there are many farewells.” On Thursday, Sept. the 8th 1910, Mr. Jesse Grisham, Sr., died suddenly at his home near Rogersville, Ala. He was about 63 years old. At twelve o’clock a.m. he was carried home a corpse from the field, where he was superintending some hands. He leaves a wife, seven children, and grandchildren and many friends to mourn his loss. As an industrious and substantial citizen he had made enough of this world’s goods to keep himself and his good wife in comfortable circumstances. As a neighbor and friend, he was kind and obliging. He was a member of the M. E. church. We extend our sincere sympathy to his bereaved wife as she wanders alone by Mara’s bitter waters. May she find a balm in Gilead. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. By God’s grace may she be able to exclaim, “Blessed be the name of the Lord, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” In the midst of death and this should remind us as frail mortals, we too, ere long will cross the mystic river. A Friend, Rogersville, Sept. 12.
MRS. MARY A. GRISHAM (Contributed by Regina Kaye Grisham Sass; Source: The Florence Times, Thursday Afternoon, February 12, 1953, pg 3)
Rites Conducted for Mrs. Mary A. Grisham. Funeral services were held this afternoon at 2 o’clock for Mrs. Mary A. Grisham, 93, who died Wednesday at her home in Weeden Heights after a lingering illness. Services were held at the Weeden Heights Church of Christ of which she was a member, with Lester Frawley officiating, assisted by Claude Lewis. Burial followed at the Harvey Cemetery near Rogersville. Surviving are three sons, S. W. Grisham, Athens, N. L. Grisham, Five Points, Tenn.; and O. O. Grisham, Wichita, Kans; four daughters, Mrs. Carl Wright, Mrs. George Lee, Mrs. Jane Crouch all of Florence, and Mrs. M. H. Weathers, Loretto, Tenn. There are also a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was the wife of the late M. H. Grisham and the daughter of Mariah Carmichael and Andy Landman of Huntsville. Active bearers were Walter Pardue, John Graham, Villard King, James Fenn, Ray Hunt, Herschel Sims. Funeral arrangements were by Chisholm.
MAC. H. GRISSOM DROPS DEAD NEAR FAMILY HOME. Lifelong Resident of County To Be Buried Friday. (Contributed by Regina Kaye Grisham Sass; Source: The Florence Times, 13 Dec 1928, pg 1)
Mac H. Grissom aged about 70, of Weeden Heights, dropped dead this morning at about 10 o’clock while going after the morning mail only a short distance from the family residence. Mr. Grissom spent his entire life in Lauderdale County and for the past five years resided at Weeden Heights. He had been in failing health for some time. Surviving are his wife; four daughters, Mrs. George Lee of Florence, Mrs. L. D. Bell of Weeden Heights, Miss Otie Grissom, of Cedartown Ga., and Mrs. Mac Weathers, of Loretto, Tenn., and by three sons, Solon, T. G. and O. O. Grissom all of Rogersville. Funeral arrangements have not been completed but services will be held tomorrow afternoon at the family residence in the family burying ground at Rogersville.
MRS. HADDOCK IS TAKEN BY DEATH. Funeral Services Will Be Conducted Wednesday (Contributed by G. Kelley; Source: The Florence Times, 12 Jun 1945)
Mrs. Lennie Lindsey Haddock, aged 82, widow of the late J. M. Haddock, died at her home, 218 West Tombigbee street, Florence, at 10 o’clock Monday night following an illness of three months. Born in Lauderdale county on Sept. 20, 1862, Mrs. Haddock was a life long resident of this district. A member of the Methodist church since girlhood, her membership had been placed with the First Methodist church in Florence for more than 40 years. She was active in the work of the church as long as her health permitted. Surviving are one son, H. O. Anderson, of Cloverdale, 12 grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews. The body will remain at Brown Service funeral home until time for the funeral services Wednesday. Funeral rites will be conducted from the First Methodist church at 4 o’clock Wednesday afternoon with Dr. R. L. Archibald, district superintendent of the Methodist church in charge. Rev. J. A. Gann, of Huntsville, and Rev. Robert Sanderson of Cloverdale, will assist in conducting the services. all bearers will be Donald White, Eugene Duncan, Oscar Kennedy, Albert Darby, A. M. Brown and J. L. Goyer. Interment will be in Florence cemetery with Brown Service in charge of arrangements. [NOTE: Mrs. Lennie Haddock was the 1st wife of Samuel P. Anderson. After their divorce, she married Jonathan Mark Haddock.]
OBITUARY OF JOHN W. HALL (Contributed by Barbara Osborne, 18 Jan 2000)
He is the grandson of Mrs Anna Bares, sister of John W. Hall. John W Hall age 56 died at home on Wood Ave Saturday night 10:30 o'clock. Funeral service will be held at the Coffee High School Auditorum tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock, conducted by Dr. J. F. Sturdivant. Mr Hall was a steward of the First Methodist Church and a member of the choir for more that thirty years. He is survived by his wife and three children, Mrs Jeff Smith of Florence, Mr Waverly B Hall of Opelika Al, Mrs Harold C Turner of Chicago. Theree sisters also survive him --Mrs. Anna Bares, Mrs Ella May and Mrs Arthur Brittain. Mr Hall had a host of friends and will be sadly missed in church circle, his home and elsewhere. The stewards of the church will act as pallbearers and the Knights of Pythias will take charge of the service at the cemetery. The bereaved family has the sympathy of the entire community (hand written notes say passed away Jan 31,1920 and Buried Feb 3, 1920 in Florence cemetery) . [Clipping found in a Bible at the home of Bates King, Leighton, AL.] [NOTE by Pat M. Mahan: According to Williford's Index of Obituaries in the Florence Times, notice of John W. Hall's death appeared in the 6th and the 20th Feb 1920 issues of the paper.]
THE DEATH OF WILLIAM A. HAMMONDS (Contributed by Peggy Bostick, 12 Sep 2000)
[The following newspaper articles were taken from various issues of the Florence Times and the Florence Herald. I have rewritten them verbatim as the copy print is very small making it difficult to read. Peggy Bostick, June 2000]
W. A. HAMMONDS IS MURDERED. Found lying in Pool of Blood on Floor back of head was beaten to a pulp
Family was Away at Church and Make Ghastly Find on Return Home. (Source: THE FLORENCE HERALD, Florence, Alabama, Thursday, May 12, 1904)
Lexington, a small town 28 miles east of here, and the country many miles around was stirred Sunday as never before over the shocking death of W. A. Hammonds, a prominent farmer of that section. The wife and son of the murdered man started at 9 o’clock and drove several miles to the Baptist church, leaving him alone on the place. When they returned at 3 in the afternoon they found him lying, half in the hall and half on the porch, on his face where his murderers had left him. He had been shot from behind, the ball entering at the base of his skull and his head beaten out of all shape - evidently after he had fallen. The hammer used for the bloody work was found near the body. The house had been ransacked and a pocket book taken from a truck, containing $100, and $7 from the dead man’s pockets. Sheriff Hill, who went to Lexington Monday morning to investigate the case, believes that more than one was implicated in the dastardly deed. From the position in which the body was lying, face down, with the head out, he thinks Hammonds was talking to some one outside the house when his assassin slipped up inside the house from the back entrance and shot him. One bullet missed its aim and struck in the door frame on a level with the man’s head. Bloodhounds were brought from Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Sunday night, but by Monday morning, when they were put on the trail, it was cold and so many people had visited the spot that they could do nothing. They went to the house and to the room of a young man who lives in the neighborhood who had sat up with the corpse all night. The hammer with which the murder was committed, the one clue which might have fastened the crime on the guilty party, was left lying around and between midnight and morning Sunday night it disappeared. An inquest was held Monday morning by Esquire V. A. S. Green and a number of witnesses examined, but nothing of any importance developed. The verdict of the jury was that W. A. Hammonds came to his death from a pistol wound and from wounds inflicted with a hammer in the hands of parties unknown. Sheriff Hill returned to Florence Monday evening without having made any arrests. Mr. Hammonds has been involved in a lawsuit for several years with his brother over the division of their father’s estate, and they have been on very bad terms. Of late matters had reached an acute state and an attempt had been made to have the murdered man removed as administrator of the estate.
BRUTAL MURDER. William A. Hammonds Meets a Violent Death. A Sunday tragedy in northeast Lauderdale (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, May 13, 1904)
On Sunday last between the hours of 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, Mr. William A. Hammonds was brutally murdered at his home in Northeast Lauderdale, within a mile and a half of Arthur post office. On Sunday morning at 9 o’clock the other members of Mr. Hammonds’ family left the home to attend church. They returned at 3 o’clock, when a bloody and horrible spectacle met their sight. Lying on his face, with his feet inside the house and his head on the front porch lay the husband and father still in death, a bullet hole through his head and the back portion of the head beaten into a jelly. A pistol and a hammer had been used by the murderers in their horrible deed. The ball had entered the base of the brain at the back portion of the head and ranged upward, but did not pass entirely through. The news of the murder spread rapidly to the neighbors and during Sunday afternoon and Monday a large number of people were drawn to the scene. Sheriff Hill was telephoned for, and arrived there Monday morning. Bloodhounds were brought from Lawrenceburg, and were put on the trail, but owing to the large number of people moving about could not perform the service positively. Esq. Virgil A. S. Green summoned a coroner’s jury, which upon an examination, rendered a verdict in accordance with the above statements, and with the further opinion that the murderers were unknown. The interment took place late Monday afternoon, when a large congregation of people attended the services. Mr. Hammonds was well known in Florence, and his horrible murder created a sensation here. He was prominent in his section of the county. He was about 70 years of age, and leaves a wife and several grown children. When the family of Mr. Hammonds returned home, they not only found the husband and father dead, but also that the place had been raided and about a hundred dollars in money taken. A trunk had been broken open and its contents shaken up and thrown around. It is not believed by the best informed people of the neighborhood, however, that robbery was the main purpose of the murderers. The supposition is that that was a blind. This is one of the foulest murders ever committed in Lauderdale, and we have much, unfortunately, to account for in this direction. The guilty parties should be captured by all means if within the range of possibility. Such affairs cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Every interest of the people demands that the guilty should be caught and made to answer for their crime.
SHELTON IS IN JAIL HERE. Alleged Murderer of William A. Hammonds awaits trial in prison cell. Pistol Said to Have Been Property of Dead Man. Lost by Shelton in Crap Game. (Source: The Florence Herald. Florence, Alabama, Thursday, May 19, 1904)
After a trial lasting two days which was attended by hundreds of people, John D. Shelton was brought to Florence from Lexington Tuesday evening by Sheriff Hill, and placed in jail to await trial at the September term of court, on the charge of murdering his uncle, W. A. Hammonds. Suspicion was first thrown on Shelton when the blood hounds brought from Lawrenceburg Tennessee the morning after the murder followed the trail to his room where he was found sleeping. This was accounted for by the fact that he had sat up with the dead man Sunday night and he was not arrested until the following Saturday night when evidence was offered to show that he had been in possession of a pistol which had belonged to Hammonds. Shelton lost the pistol to a companion the evening of the killing in a game of craps. When the weapon was produced at the trial it was identified positively by Hammonds daughter. One witness swore to seeing Shelton entering the woods in the direction of the Hammonds place and another saw him leaving. There had been trouble between Hammonds and his brother and brother-in-law over the division of some property and a good deal of hard feeling existed. Young Shelton remarked to a companion that if old "Monk" Hammonds had treated you all like he treated us all you would have killed him too." Despite this admission he denies his guilt and has maintained the greatest composure, except then Sheriff Hill started to jail with him, when he broke down and cried. Several witnesses were introduced by Shelton to prove an alibi, but his sister who was most anxious to clear him, failed to account for his whereabouts for two or three hours during the morning of the murder. Much excitement prevailed in the little town of Lexington before and during the trial and the guards who had Shelton in charge hid out in the woods with him two nights to prevent a lynching. The charge on which Shelton is held, that of murder in the first degree is not bailable and no attempt has been made to have the prisoner released.
HAMMONDS TRAGEDY. John D. Shelton Charged with the Murder. He is Tried Before Magistrates and Now Lies in Jail
Awaiting Final Trial. (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, May 20, 1904)
Jno D. Shelton, son of Mr. S. L. Shelton, is now confined in the county jail at Florence, charged with the brutal murder of his uncle, W. A. Hammonds, in Northeast Lauderdale, on Sunday the 8th instant, and account of which was given in the times last week. He was arrested on Saturday morning last by deputy constable G. W. Morrison, who held him until Monday, when the preliminary trial commenced at Lexington and continued until late Tuesday afternoon. The facts appeared to point very strongly to young Shelton as the guilty man, and the brutal character of the murder aroused a great deal of feeling in the community; so much, in fact, that those in charge of him kept him hid out in the woods Saturday night and all day Sunday, through fear of violence at the hands of the people. On Monday the trial commenced at Lexington before four Justices of the Peace, Messrs. J. A. Gower, James Whitehead, G. M. Harraway and G. F. Thigpen, with Messrs. J. T. Ashcraft and Paul Hodges representing the kinsmen of the dead man. A large number of witnesses were examined, and the evidence was such the magistrates were unanimous in their decision to send the accused on for trial, without bail. On Tuesday night Sheriff Hill arrived and placed him in jail. The feeling in the locality of the murder is very strong, and the law-abiding people are intensely interested in the work of unraveling the mystery. The evidence before the Justices did not implicate any one besides Shelton, though some people believe that others are involved. Shelton, the prisoner, will be 20 years of age on the 1st of September. An interview with him at the jail Wednesday morning showed that he did not fully comprehend the gravity of his situation. He denied his guilt an several times indulged in strong language not taught in the Sunday School books. Some of the stronger points of testimony against Shelton is the fact that he had in his possession, and lost in a game of craps in the afternoon of the murder, the dead man's pistol; and that the blood-hounds tracked him to his home; that he could not prove his whereabouts at the time of the murder; and that there was enmity on his part against his uncle. At the trial on Monday and Tuesday an immense crowd of people were present; on the first day probably 500; and on Tuesday between 200 and 300. Shelton's trial will come on at the September term of the circuit court.
(Source: The Florence Times, Friday, May 20, 1904)
Hons. John T. Ashcraft and Paul Hodges were called to Lexington Monday by the citizens of Lexington beat to represent the people in the preliminary trial of James Shelton, who was charged with the murder of W. A. Hammonds.
HAD OUTLIVED HIS FRIENDS. Successful Attempt on His Life Made by S. L. Shelton, at Lexington Despondency Over Sons Arrest and Other Troubles the Cause. Note Given Reasons. (Source: The Florence Herald, Florence, Alabama, Thursday, June 23, 1904)
Another act in the horrible tragedy which is being enacted in Lexington, was added Sunday morning, when S. L. Shelton, father of the boy who is in the Florence jail for the alleged murder of his uncle, W. H. Hammonds, attempted his own life by shooting himself through the body. He was in Florence Friday and talked with a number of friends in regard to the murder. He seemed very despondent over his sons chances of clearing himself and remarked more than once that he would rather be dead than alive. Sunday morning Shelton asked his daughter Ollie to shave him and when she had finished he walked to the bureau drawer and pulled out his 38 caliber revolver. In reply to his daughters question as to what he meant to do, he placed the muzzle against his left side just below the heart, and before she could interfere, pulled the trigger, the ball passing through his left lung and coming out behind. He left a note saying that he had outlived his friends and had decided to put an end to it all. Shelton had a talk with his son in his cell Friday, but it is not known what passed between them. The boy, when informed of his fathers condition, showed considerable emotion, alternately crying and swearing, but he refused to talk.
SELF-MURDER SEQUEL TO HAMMONDS KILLING. Samuel Leet Shelton, an Old Citizen Shoots Himself to Death. Father of the Young Man Accused of Murder Grows Despondent After a Visit to Florence. SECOND CHAPTER IN FAMOUS HAMMONDS MURDER CASE. (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, June 24, 1904)
On Sunday morning last Samuel Leet Shelton shot and fatally wounded himself at his home near Arthur, in Northeast Lauderdale. This is the second chapter in the story of the murder of W. A. Hammonds in that neighborhood on the 8th day of May, last, Hammonds, one of the best known citizens of that county, was found mutilated and dead at his home, and a few days later D. Shelton, son of the S.L. Shelton, was charged with the murder and confined in the jail at Florence, where he now lies awaiting the action of the court. Since the arrest of his son Leet Shelton had been noticeably affected, and his self-murder, while shocking to the community, was what might not have been unreasonable expected. On Sunday morning Mr. Shelton had his daughter to shave him, and this unusual act aroused some suspicion in the minds of the family that the father was not in a normal condition. A little later, while the family were around as usual, he shot himself, the ball passing entirely through his body and out the front door, over the heads of the daughter and a young man named Will Wright, who were sitting in the door. The pistol used was a 38 Harrington & Richardson revolver, and the ball entered the left breast and inch and a half below the nipple. Shelton fell to the floor, exclaiming "good bye." Dr. Smith of Lexington was hastily summoned, and expressed the opinion that the wound was a fatal one. The lung was penetrated, but the heart, at which the poor man doubtless directed the shot, was missed. At this writing he is still living, but with little or no hope of recovery. Shelton had written a note on the morning of the tragedy, which disclosed the fact that the act was premeditated a deliberate intention to kill himself. The note, written in a nervous hand and barely decipherable, read as follows: "This is Sunday morning, and I have out-lived all my friends, and I have decided to end it. It is death anyway. I believe God is with me." Shelton had led a dissipated life, through when not drinking was a quite and orderly citizen. His wife has been afflicted mentally for many years, and this deplorable fact added to the trouble of his son, in jail for murder, was to great a burden to be longer borne. The commencement of the troubles in this unfortunate family arose from the division of the property of the late John C. Hammonds and the litigation following. W. C. Hammonds, the man murdered on the 8th of May, and Mrs. Leet Shelton, were son and daughter of John C. Hammonds, and in settling the estate bitter disputes arose, and several personal encounters took place between some of the parties interested. The case lingered in the courts a long time, and the sequel has been the brutal murder of one man, the imprisonment of another and the attempted suicide of the third member of the connection. Mr. Shelton was a well-to-do farmer and stood well until drink affected him. Mr. Shelton died at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon. When this sad news was communicated to his son in jail he was greatly affected and wept bitterly. He afterwards ate the heads of nine matches with suicidal intent, when Drs. Lindsey and Boyd were called in and applied a stomach pump. In his cell was found a letter to his family stating that he intended to kill himself.
THE SHELTON MURDER TRIAL. Will Begin Next Thursday in Circuit Court special venire of fifty summoned Criminal Docket Will be Taken Up Monday, September 19th. Other Court News. (Source: The Florence Herald, Florence, Alabama, Thursday, September 15, 1904)
In the case against Dee Shelton for the murder of Wm. Hammonds, the defendant was arraigned and the case set for trial for Thursday morning, Sept. 22, and a special venire of fifty jurors was drawn by the court and ordered to be summoned to be present in court on the morning of the above date. On Monday morning next the circuit court will take up the criminal docket and proceed to try all the criminal cases on the docket. Defendants and witnesses are notified to be present on that day. Louis Schmidelkoffer, charged with the offense of forgery, plead guilty to the charge in court yesterday. Lawson Reeder, a negro man, plead guilty to the charge of grand larceny, in court Wednesday. The grand jury will finish its duties Friday or Saturday. Up to Thursday morning fifteen true bills had been returned.
Front Page: The Shelton Trial (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, 16 September 16, 1904)
The trial of John D. Shelton for the alleged murder of his uncle, W. A. Hammonds, near Arthur, has been set for next Thursday, the 22nd instant. The murder of Mr. Hammonds, it will be remembered, was a particularly atrocious one, he having been shot and mutilated about the head on Sunday while his family were away at church. Great interest is being taken in the approaching trial, especially in the neighborhood in which the bloody deed was committed.
PENITENTIARY FOR LIFE. Verdict Returned in Shelton Murder Case. Jury unanimous on first ballot. Prisoner Jokes at Sentence and is Most Indifferent Man in Court Room. (Source: The Florence Herald, Florence, Alabama, Thursday, September 29, 1904)
The trial of Dee Shelton in the circuit court for the murder of his uncle, W. H. Hammonds, at Lexington, May 8, which commenced Thursday morning of last week, came to an end Tuesday morning when the jury returned a verdict of guilty and assessed the punishment at imprisonment in the penitentiary for life. The best legal talent in the city was engaged in the case and the fight on both sides was a stubbornly contested one. The defendant was represented by Simpson & Jones and Solicitor Sawtelle was assisted in the prosecution by Hon. Paul Hodges and John T. Ashcraft. The widow of the murdered man was prevented by feeble health from attending the trail but the son and daughter were present and testified for the state. The prisoner took the stand in his own behalf and made a decidedly bad impression. When asked why he wanted another dollars worth of "liquor" on the day of the murder, when he already had a pint, he said he wanted enough to last him through the day. The evidence though circumstantial, was strong against the prisoner, his own remarks between the time the crime was committed and his arrest, going farther, probably than anything else to convince the jury of his guilt. The evidence was concluded Saturday evening and the entire day Monday was devoted to the arguments of counsel and Judge Almon's charge to the jury. As they filed into the court room Shelton was apparently the most unconcerned one present. After his verdict had been read condemning him to the penitentiary for the balance of his life he exhibited the most absolute indifference and remarked laughingly to Sheriff Hill that he was much obliged to the jury for not making the sentence longer. The lawyers for the defense have given notice of an appeal.
SHELTON GUILTY. According to the Finding of the Jury. A Lifetime in the Penitentiary. The Verdict in the Famous Hammonds Murder Case. (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, September 30, 1904)
"We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree and fix his punishment at imprisonment in the penitentiary for life." These were the words that Dee Shelton heard fall from the lips of the Clerk George W. Porter Tuesday morning, as the verdict of the jury, which since last Friday morning sat on his trial and heard in detail the story of the murder of his uncle, William A. Hammonds, on Sunday the 8th day of May, last. The prisoner heard the judgment of the jury with no apparent demonstration of feeling. He listened with deep interest at the dreadful judgment, but if his feelings were deeply stirred the fact was hidden from the court and spectators. The details of the murder of William A. Hammonds on the 8th of May last, were published in the Times at the time of the brutal crime. Hammonds, who had remained at his home near Arthur, while his family had all gone to church, was later in the day found dead, the back of his head battered and broken with some blunt instrument and a pistol wound running from the back of his head, ranging upward and through to his forehead. Suspicion almost immediately fell on Shelton, who was known to have a pronounced feeling against his uncle; and later in the week he was arrested, examined by magistrates and sent on to the grand jury. On Friday morning the case came up for trial with the following jury: C. C. Wesson, foreman, W. O. Parker, Frank Wilkes, Jr., A. J. McMeans, P. H. Olive, L. W. Northcut, S. W. Morris, W. A. Riley, J. H. Hamilton, T. L. Hipp, W. A. Broadfoot and S. L. Sherrod. Messrs. Simpson & Jones appeared for the prisoner and Solicitor Sawtelle was assisted by Messrs. John T. Ashcraft and Paul Hodges. Over twenty witnesses were examined about seven for the defendant and seventeen for the state. The lawyers on both sides fought the the case with rare ability and the speeches before the jury were able and forcible. The case was given to the jury late Monday afternoon and at 9:30 Tuesday morning they were ready with their verdict. It was said that none of the jury were for acquittal and that none favored hanging. The decision has been well received by the public. On Tuesday afternoon the attorneys for the prisoner asked a suspension of sentence in order to allow them to appeal; and, so it now appears, the case will go to the supreme court.
WILLIAM ROBERT HENDRIX (Source: Holston [Methodist Conference] Journal - 1942? - pages 173-176)
When one attempts to assess the life work of Dr. W. R. Hendrix, he is impressed by his contribution to the cause of the Christian religion and the Christian Church in the South. Dr. Hendrix was born near Florence, Alabama, August 26, 1869. The South was then emerging from the devastation of the Civil War. His parents were Dermis C. and Mrs. Jamie Oakley Hendrix. He was reared on the farm and disciplined by farm labor. In early life he became interested in the work of
educating the youth of his native state. He received his training for the teaching profession at the State Teachers College in Florence, Alabama. After a brief experience as a teacher he felt the call to the ministry and was admitted on trial into the North Alabama Conference of the former Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1895. He served rural churches and small stations in that conference until 1907 when he was appointed pastor of the Methodist Temple in Louisville, Kentucky, which he served for four years. From 1911 till his death, Dr. Hendrix was recognized as one of the eminent pastors of his church. His services were in demand by the larger and more influential congregations. His pastoral record after leaving the Methodist Temple is as follows: Wesley Memorial, Atlanta, Ga., 1911-14; St. Marks, Atlanta, 1914-18; St. Pauls, Houston, Texas, 1918-20; Highlands, Birmingham, 1920-31; Church Street, Knoxville, 1931-37; Munsey Memorial, Johnson City, 1937-41.
It is no exaggeration to say that Dr. Hendrix was an exceptional man. His brilliant record in the pastorate is ample testimony in support of his extraordinary capability. He was first of all a Christian gentleman. John Galsworth has defined the essential characteristics of a gentleman as "The will to put himself in the place of others; the horror of forcing others into positions from which he would himself recoil; the power to do what seems to him to be right, without considering what others may say or think." This definition of a gentleman is basically Christian in its content. It harmonizes with
the principle of the Golden Rule, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them." Courtesy and social graces, which are among the vital qualities of the character of a gentleman, are developed by the practice of the Golden Rule. Dr. Hendrix never forgot to be polite and courteous. The tempo of our modern life has been greatly accelerated by scientific discoveries, and in our rapidity of movement it is more difficult to remember to be courteous. Though Dr. Hendrix had to assume heavy responsibilities in the large churches which he served, and though he suffered physical pain during the last twenty years of his life, he never let go the culture and the refinement, and those acts of courtesy that are the marks of a true gentleman. Another quality expressed in Galsworth's definition of a gentleman is courage. No man will ever achieve anything of moment without courage. It was Carlyle who said "The courage we desire and prize is not the courage to die decently, but to live manfully." Dr. Hendrix had the courage to live
by his convictions, and to express them on all subjects of Christian faith and conduct.
Dr. Hendrix had been a thorough student from the beginning of his ministry. He continued to study until he preached his last sermon. His years of study had ripened into scholarship during later life. Through constant study he acquainted himself with a vast store of facts in such fields as Biblical literature, Christian doctrine, homiletics, psychology, and English and American literature. In his late years, he attained the intellectual capacity to judge soundly and to deal broadly with facts. Mental insight and ripeness of experience are the marks of the true scholar. Dr. Hendrix possessed these to a rare degree. He did not have the opportunity to pursue his theological studies in a seminary, but soon after he entered the ministry he became dissatisfied with the plenary and verbal theories of Biblical inspiration. By the study of books on the subject of the interpretation of the Bible, and by contact with scholars in that feld, he arrived at the conclusion that the Bible is a divine human book; that it was not written to teach history and science, but
religion and morals; and therefore its inspiration is confined to the distinctly moral and religious themes. He held this view of the Bible until the close of his life. Dr. Hendrix worked through Horace Bushnell's writings on Christian Nurture, and came to share with him the view that the child may grow up a Christian and never know himself otherwise. This was regarded as a radical doctrine for a minister in the Southern Methodist Church to hold at the time when Dr. Hendrix accepted it. Dr. Hendrix was liberal in his theological thinking, but he was never radical. He accepted what he believed to
be the truth from both the old and the new trends of thought. He possessed an open mind towards the conclusions of modern scholarship in so far as these bore the marks of an honest and sincere search for truth. This is the spirit of the true liberal. Dr. Hendrix read extensively in the field of current events, and was able to discuss contemporary national and world happenings intelligently and interestingly. At the time of his death it was estimated that he had more than a thousand volumes in his library. During the years of his ministry he had given valuable books to young ministers who were in great need of books, but lacked the necessary funds to purchase them.
Dr. Hendrix was a preacher of genius and power. He had the gifts of presence, voice and style, that immediately helped him to win and interest an audience. He knew that preaching "is a message plus a personality," and he was determined that his personality should have its full share. He chose common subjects, gave them personal points of view, personal treatment, and personal impact. Dr. Hendrix was true to his own genius and cultivated it in its strong, natural lines. He never imitated; he was always himself. The prophetic note was manifest in his sermons. He was bold with the courage of conviction. His authority did not come from his ministerial office, or his standing in the community. It came from the consciousness that he had a message of truth for the needs of mankind, a message that was laid on him as a divide charge. If men do not accept this message of redemptive love as manifested in the person of Jesus Christ, they are as wandering sheep. It was the burden of God on his heart that gave him his boldness, enabled him to have fear of no man, and dispelled self-distrust. He was always humble. He was bold, but not too bold. Those who had the opportunity to hear Dr. Hendrix from Sunday to Sunday marvelled at his resourcefulness. He always had something new in his sermons. The Christian message was presented from a background of wide reading, a rich experience, and a life of consecration and loyalty to Christ and His Church. His sermons were scholarly, but never bookish. He avoided the use of technical terms. He constantly drew from his boyhood experiences on the farm and from his varied experience in the pastorate. He was unusually skilled in the use of illustrations. Dr. Hendrix was a man of strong faith in God and man. His faith remained anchored in God despite personal sorrow and the uncertainties of our national and international life. He believed in the possibilities of man for spiritual growth and development. God has not deserted man, his highest creation. He still works in the hearts of men, and though evil may seem to be the ruling force in the world, it is only temporary, and will ultimately be supplanted by the principles of righteousness. Such a faith as this furnished the foundation for the sermons that Dr. Hendrix preached.
Dr. Hendrix was an administrator of discernment and foresight. His work as a pastor was outstanding. He had a deep insight into human nature. He had devoted much time to the study of psychology, and had developed to a high degree the skill of pastoral counselling. It would be difficult to pass judgment as to whether he was more effective as a pulpiteer or a pastor. Many of his sermons grew out of his pastoral experiences. Even during the closing years of his
ministry when his health was failing, he did a surprising amount of pastoral calling. His people knew that he had a sympathetic attitude toward them, and that he was always ready to counsel with them, and to help them solve their problems whether they be religious or of a different nature. One might wonder why Dr. Hendrix did not publish some of his sermons in volume form. This question can be answered by those who knew him intimately. In the early years of his ministry he resolved to put himself into people, knowing that they would touch other people; those, still, others; and so he would go on living and working forever.
The services of Dr. Hendrix were not confined to the duties of the pastorate. He assumed the responsibilities involved in good citizenship and was active in the affairs of his community. He held membership in one of the leading civic clubs of Johnson City. He served for several months as a member of Washington County Draft Board No. 1, but resigned because of failing health and the heavy demands his church made on his time. During the first World War he was active in the work of the American Red Cross. While a pastor in Birmingham, Alabama, he devoted much of his time to the provement
of negro education. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on Dr. Hendrix by Birmingham-Southern College in 1925 in recognition of his noteworthy service as a pastor and citizen.
Dr. Hendrix died on May 19, 1941. He had been ill of double-pneumonia for six days. The funeral services were held in the Munsey Memorial Church on the morning of May 21st. The Rev. Lester H. Colloms was in charge of the service, assisted by Dr. J. Stewart French, an intimate friend of the deceased, Dr. D. B. Cooper, and the Rev. M. L. Gamble. The body was taken to Birmingham for burial. A brief service was conducted in the Highlands Church where Dr. Hendrix had been pastor
for eleven years, by the present pastor, Dr. M. A. Franklin. A memorial service was held in the Munsey Memorial Church on Sunday afternoon, June 8. Bishop Paul B. Kern, and Dr. C. C. Sherrod, a member of the Official Board of Munsey Memorial Church, gave a review and an analysis of the life and work of Dr. Hendrix. Survivors include his wife, the former Miss Amanda Coeburn, a native of Alabama; a daughter, Mrs. R. H. Scrivner of Birmingham; three sons,
N. B. Hendrix and James R. Hendrix of Birmingham, and H. C. Hendrix of Clearwater, Florida. Written by Lester H. Colloms.
ALFRED G. HILL (Contributed by Jerry D. Webb on 8 July 2000; Source: The Florence Times, 30 September 1898)
DEAD: Mr. Alfred G. Hill, one of the best known citizens in East Lauderdale, died at his home, near Atlas, last Tuesday, the 27th, aged 74 years. His remains were interred Wednesday in the old family cemetery near his home. In Mr. Hill's death one of the most worthy citizens of Lauderdale has passed on to his reward. He served his generation well and leaves to his family and friends the heritage of an honest, upright record.
IN MEMORY OF MISS VIRGIE INGRAM (Contributed by Grace Wright Carver of Wayne Co TN)
[The following obituary was among the collection of Grace Carver's mother. There is no date or clue as to which paper this may have appear in.]
The death of Miss Virgie Ingram occured Nov. 5, 1925, her death was said to have been caused by pneumonia. Virgie was a sweet and loving girl and every one seemed to love her. She leaves a father, one sister and two brothers to mourn her death. Weep not dear ones, Virgie is not dead but only sleeping in the arms of our dear Saviour. She will be greatly missed. Oh, how sad and lonesome it is to give up such a sweet and loving girl just in the bloom of life.
Virgie hadn't been in good health for two years before her death. Written by one that loved her.
MRS. DAVID JONES DEAD [Mary Betty Freeman] (Contributed by Lee Freeman, Sep 2005; Source: Florence Times, Friday, April 23, 1909, p. 1.)
Mrs. David Jones, whose home was six miles west of this city, died at the home of her kinsman, Mr. Coger Wesson, in this city, last Wednesday morning, of dropsy. Mrs. Jones was a daughter of Mr. Wiley Freeman, of this city. The interment took place in the city cemetery yesterday morning after services in the Christian Church, conducted by Rev. Dr. Tunnell.
MRS. DAVID JONES DEAD (Contributed by Lee Freeman; Source: Florence Herald, Thursday, April 29, 1909, p. 7.)
Mrs. David Jones, aged thirty-eight years, died Thursday, April 22, at the home of her uncle, D. C. Wesson, after an illness of six months. Her husband and seven small children survive her, the eldest twelve years and the youngest six months old. Mrs. Jones was a daughter of Wiley Freeman of this city. She was a devoted member of the Christian church and the funeral took place Friday morning at 10 o'clock from that church, Rev. John R. Turner officiating [sic]. NOTE: Mrs. David Jones was Mary Betty Freeman, daughter of Wiley Freeman.
DEATH OF WILLIAM H. KEY (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, 14 Dec 1895)
On last Saturday evening, Mr. William H. Key, one of the oldest citizens of our county, died, at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. James Murdock, of South Florence. Mr. Key was born in Sussex county, Virginia, in December, 1819, but removed when a very young, perhaps 70 years ago, with his parents to Alabama. For many years before the war he was one of our largest and most successful planters. Since the close of the struggle between the States, which brought to him, in common with all our people, terrible financial loss, he has worked manfully, diversifying his crops and using improved implements, and leaves a place in capital condition. Though always taking an active interest in politics an public affairs, he never sought nor accepted any public position. Mr. Key was a man of fine mind, excellent business qualifications, great energy and force of character, warm hearted, generous and social in disposition, courtly in manners, a typical gentleman of the old Southern school. At a comparatively young age, he married Miss Susan Boddie, one of Lauderdale’s noblest daughters, who was, until her lamented death a few years ago, to him indeed a helpmeet and counselor. He leaves four daughters, Mrs. Dr. Conner, Mrs. Dr. Watson and Mrs. Bettie Stewart, of this city, and Mrs. Murdock of Colbert; and one son, Mr. W. H. Key, Jr., of St. Louis. Several winters ago he had a severe attack of la gripe, from which he never fully rallied, and lately has sunk rapidly. On Sunday evening his remains were interred in our cemetery, after appropriate services at the Presbyterian church, by Rev. J. H Lacy. One by one, our old landmarks are passing away.
DEATH OF MR. COLUMBUS KOONCE (Contributed by G. Kelley; Source: Florence Times, Friday, 21 May 1920, p. 6)
Mr. Columbus Franklin Koonce, one of the prominent elders of North Lauderdale, died at his home at Salem church, near Cloverdale, on Saturday night last after an illness of several weeks, resulting from a stroke of paralysis. The second stroke sustained within a few weeks. The interment was made at Wesley Chapel, the funeral service being conducted by Revs. J. S. Martin and W. S. Brooks, the pastors of the Cloverdale and Oakland charges. Mr. Koonce was about 70 years of age and is survived by his wife and two sons and four daughters, all of whom are grown to maturity and married, and all residing in the community I which they were born and reared. The deceased was one of the most worthy citizens of our county. For many years he had been an official and loyal member of the Methodist church, and a consistent advocate of all enterprises of the community in which he lived, for the upbuilding of the people and the advancement of their interests. A good man after years of usefulness, has gone to his eternal reward.
MRS. KOONCE IS TAKEN BY DEATH. Cloverdale Resident Will Be Buried on Sunday (Contributed by G. Kelley; Source: The Florence Times, Saturday, 10 Sep 1938, p. 5)
Mrs. Mary E. Koonce, aged 81, widow of the late C. F. Koonce, who died 18 years ago, passed away last night at 11:53 o’clock at her home in the Cloverdale community, Lauderdale county, after an illness of 16 months. A native and lifelong resident of the Cloverdale community, Mrs. Koonce spent the last 46 years of her life in the same house. She was a devoted member of the Wesleys Chapel Methodist church. Surviving are four daughters, Mrs. J. E. Lovelace, Mrs. R. J. Austin, Mrs. Henry Marks and Mrs. Madge Harbin, all of Cloverdale; two sons, W. C. Koonce, of Florence, and J. P. Koonce, of Cloverdale, and 26 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be conducted Sunday afternoon at Wesleys [sic] Chapel at 2:30 o’clock by Rev. Grady Allridge, a Methodist minister. Burial will follow there, Brown-Service, Florence, directing. The following grandchildren will be active pallbearers, E. K. Lovelace, James Lovelace, Lloyd Austin, John Austin, Glenn Marks and Cecil Harbin. Those who will serve as honorary pallbearers are J. D. McCorkle, R. J. Austin, Dave McCorkle, J. M. Lewis, G. J. Paulk, Everett Fowler, Allen Hendrix, Grover Hendrix, Judge J. F. Koonce, S. P. Smith, R. W. Hendrix, John W. Haddock, Jim Haddock, Willie Haddock, Dave Haddock, Marvin Haddock, Elbert Haddock, Denver Haddock, W. C. Darby, Harold Koonce and Edgar Koonce.
Former Probate Judge of Lauderdale County Dies at Home Today (Contributed by G. Kelley; Source: The Florence Times, Thursday, 2 Aug 1951, p. 1)
James Franklin Koonce, aged 81, former probate judge of Lauderdale county, died at 2 a. m. this morning at his home, 401 North Walnut street Florence, following an extended illness. Judge Koonce was born in Lauderdale county, and was prominent here during his active life. He served 12 years as probate judge of Lauderdale county, eight years as county superintendent of education, was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1915, was the first state president of Civitan International club as well as a president of the Florence club. He also served as grand commander of the United Order of the Golden Cross of Alabama, and was twice elected worshipful master of the Florence Masonic Lodge of which he was a member at the time of his death, and a member of the Knights of Pythias. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mollie Anderson Koonce of the home; two sons, Merwin and James A., both of Florence; and five daughters Miss Nola E. Koonce, Florence Mrs. R. B. Dowdy, Montgomery, Mrs. C. C. Crossman, Nashville, Tenn., Mrs. B. F. Riley, III, Florence, and Mrs. G. M. Hamby, Florence. Funeral services will be Friday at 2 p. m. at the First Methodist church. Revs. O. K. Lamb, pastor and S. W. Brooks will officiate. Burial will follow in the Florence cemetery. The body will remain at the Brown Service funeral home until the time of the service. Active bearers will be Judge Herman K. Longshore, Turner Shelby, Mayor E. F. Yeilding, W. A. Graham, Ben Fuqua, and Earl Anderson. Honorary bearers will be members of the board of stewards of the First Methodist church, the Men’s Bible class and the Florence Masonic Lodge. Arrangements are by Brown Service, Florence.
MRS. KOONCE, 92. (Contributed by G. Kelley; Source: The Florence Times, Sunday, 22 Sep 1963, p. 2)
Mrs. Mollie J. Koonce, 92, widow of the late Judge James F. Koonce, died Saturday at 9 a.m. at the family residence, 402 N. Walnut, Florence. A lifelong resident of Lauderdale county she was the daughter of T. Hinkle and Martha Anderson Hinkle. Her father was a Cloverdale merchant. Mrs. Koonce attended the old Synodical College and was married to Judge Koonce at Cloverdale in 1892. They moved to Florence in the early 1900’s. She was a former member of the Eastern Star, was a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and Woman’s Society of Christian Service and was a member of First Methodist Church. Funeral services will be today at 3 p.m. at First Methodist Church with Dr. A. Tillman Sprouse officiating. Burial will be in Florence Cemetery with Morrison-Elkins Funeral Home directing. The body will be at the funeral home until time for services. Survivors are two sons, Merwin T. Koonce and James A. Koonce, both of Florence; five daughters, Miss Nola Koonce Mrs. Ben F. Riley, III, Mrs. G. M. Hamby, all of Florence, Mrs. Rufus B. Dowdy Sr., of Montgomery, Mrs. C. C. Crossman of Nashville; a brother, James D. Anderson Sr., of Florence; two sisters, Mrs. J. W. Paulk, Miss Pearl Anderson, both of Florence; eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Pallbearers will be Earle Dearman, Wendell Edwards W. A. Graham, Ben Fuqua, James R. Lehr, Jack Scarbrough, Nicholas Winn, Turner Shelby. Honorary bearers will be members of the Men’s Bible Class of First Methodist Church. Memorials to the WCTU were requested in lieu of flowers.
WILLIAM R. KOONCE: IN MEMORIAM. Biography of an Aged Citizen. (Source: The Florence Times, Friday, 29 Jun 1899, p. 4)
Editor Times:‑‑‑‑ It is with sadness that we enter the duty of announcing though the columns of The Times the death of one of our oldest and best citizens, William R. Koonce, who departed this life on April 28th at the home of his son in-law, Mr. F. P. Fowler. Mr. Koonce was born in Maury county, Tenn., on October 30th of the memorable year 1812. In young manhood he came to Lauderdale and in due time was happily married to Miss Salena Roach and settled on Big Cypress, near the present site of Threet, where they lived a peaceful and prosperous long life, Mrs. Koonce having preceded her husband to the grave by about ten years. His life was as quiet as the morning sun. While he was always jovial and cheerful, he was very quiet and calm. I have known him ever since I can remember, and in childhood was a regular visitor at his hospitable home, as his son, Mrs. James M Koonce, of Savannah, Tenn., was my favorite schoolmate and playmate, and even today can recall with pleasure the good, sound, practical council he used to give us and the funny things he would tell us of his youthful days. Before the war he owned twenty or more slaves, and I distinctly remember how kind he was to them and how they used to make the Cypress bottoms ring with their peculiar songs of contentment and happiness. He raised a family of children that was as much satisfaction to him and his wife as ever did any man. He never lost control of his children even after there were great-grandchildren in his family. It seemed that it was always their greatest pleasure to do as he thought best. About fifteen years ago he professed religion, but never joined the church, though in his last sickness he said he was ready to go at any time, he felt no fear, that all was well. Many people will miss him, for it can truly be said that he did more to keep down disturbances among his neighbors and was oftener called on to arbitrate differences between neighbors than any man in the vicinity. As Brother Rice aptly said in the funeral sermon, he was a model of morality even before his conversion. His death resulted from kidney and bladder trouble. He leaves four sons, all of whom live in the neighborhood, except J. M. Koonce, who lives in Savannah, Tenn.; also three daughters, Mrs. C. S. W. Paulk, Mr. F. Fowler, and Mrs. Riley Littleton, the latter living in west Tennessee and the other two at Cloverdale. The remains were carried to Wesley’s Chapel and after the funeral sermon by the Rev. Mr. Rice were laid to rest in the presence of a large congregation. The whole community offers its sympathy and condolence to the bereaved children. In the morning of the resurrection may they all be united to part no more. John L. Austin. Threet, Ala., May 29, ‘99