Monday, June 18, 2018

Hey, it's no accident that Key Street (named for Francis Scott Key) is only one block east of LEMOYNE, Dauphin Island's main road. That proximity gives you an idea of
how important the author of the STAR SPANGLED BANNER is to D.I. history. Not only did Francis Scott Key sail into Mobile Bay in 1833 on a mission from President Andrew Jackson to diffuse the Indian controversy the State of Alabama had with the Federal government, but Key was also the legal representative of the contractors of the fortification on Dauphin Island who had lost money when Congress  cancelled construction in 1821. (from the January 2, 1834 BOSTON POST)
December 10, 1817: Congress finalized the creation of ALABAMA TERRITORY.

December 23, 1817: General Bernard at New Orleans submitted a plan for a fortification on Dauphin Island to the government and it was approved.

August 14, 1818: Harris entered into bond in the penalty of $100,000, with Nimrod Farrow as security, for fulfillment of the agreement to construct a fortification on Dauphin Island.

October 23, 1818: Nimrod Farrow executed a deed of trust with Joseph G. Swift as agent of the U.S., for "several tracts of land in Fauquier County, Virginia. This included 2,200 acres, two merchant mills, mill seats and other improvements". This property also included 130 slaves. All this property was endemnified to the U.S.  for money advanced for the Dauphin Island fortification construction project.

November 4, 1818: Farrow and Harris entered into partnership. Harris would serve as site manager and Farrow would serve as purchasing agent with all profits divided equally.

August 2, 1819: W.K. Armistead, agent for the U.S., advanced Nimrod Farrow $50,000. Farrow had to put up an additional bond with a $111,951 penalty. N. Grigsby, J. Titball and J. Ashby signed for security and this and all other advances were to be considered part payment for the Dauphin Island fortification construction project.

1820: A large stone mansion, later named Wolf's Crag, is constructed on a hill overlooking Markham, Virginia on an estate owned by Nimrod Farrow.

1820: from Theodore Dwight Weld's book , AMERICAN SLAVERY AS IT IS   ,  page 85 EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM STEPHEN SEWALL, Esq., Winthrop, Maine, dated Jan. 12th, 1839. Mr. S. is a member of the Congregational church in Winthrop, and late agent of the Winthrop Manufacturing company....
"       "I will now mention the case of cruelty before referred to. In 1820 or 21, while the public works were going forward on Dauphin Island, Mobile Bay, a contractor, engaged on the works, beat one of his slaves so severely that the poor creature had no longer power to writhe under his suffering: he then took out his knife, and began to cut his flesh in strips, from his hips down. At this moment, the gentleman referred to, who was also a contractor, shocked at such inhumanity, stepped forward, between the wretch and his victim, and exclaimed, 'If you touch that slave again you do it at the peril of your life." The slaveholder raved at him for interfering between him and his slave; but he was obliged to drop his victim, fearing the arm of my friend--whose stature and physical powers were extraordinary."

April 10, 1820: Farrow and Harris contract with Turner Starke of Clarke County for partnership in the Dauphin Island fortification construction project and the Red Bluff brick kiln. This gave the project the use of Turner Starke's slaves.

April 10, 1820: Turner Starke, superintendent for the Dauphin Island fortification construction and the Red Bluffs brick kiln, deeded all property, including slaves, connected to both projects to Captain James Gadsden, U.S. Army engineer in charge of the project. This was done to prevent foreclosure by the subcontractors and other creditors.

December 27, 1820: The sloop GENERAL JACKSON sank in Mobile Bay with 12,000 bricks bound for Dauphin Island.

1821: During its 2nd Session, the 17th Congress did not make an appropriation for the continuing of the construction of the Dauphin Island fortification.

February 10, 1821: The schooner UNION and sloop Brilliant sank in Mobile Bay with 16,000 bricks bound for Dauphin Island.

December 1, 1821: The date stipulated by the contract between the Congress and Farrow & Harris for the completion of construction of the Dauphin Island fortification.

April (August) 1, 1822: Farrow and Harris sold all their assets to Turner Starke for $40,000. This gave Starke title to all the 88 slaves working on Dauphin Island.

January 13, 1823: Nimrod Farrow of Markham, Virginia, for himself and Richard Harris of Richmond, Virginia, presented a petition to Congress for an allowance equal to the potential profit they would have made if the United States had not broken the contract for the Dauphin Island fortification construction.

March 3, 1823: An act passed Congress which authorized the Secretary of War to appoint someone to determine the extent of the failure of the U.S. to uphold its end of the Dauphin Island fortification construction contract. Thomas Swan of Alexandria was appointed commissioner. He determined that the U.S. broke the contract and recommending awarding $73,747.78 and dropping all the suits against Farrow and Harris.

March 3, 1825: An act passed Congress appropriating relief for Farrow and Harris. The act includes a provision for paying subcontractors but, according to Gilbert Russell (ed. note: namesake of Russell County), the Secretary of War, Barbour (ed. note: namesake of Barbour County), refused to pay the subs.

February 24, 1827: Committee of Claims Document #21 is printed by 2nd Session of the 20th Congress.

July 14, 1832: An act for the relief of the legal representatives of Nimrod Farrow and of Richard Harris passed the Congress.

December 18, 1832: Russell County (namesake of Gilbert Russell) was established from lands ceded by the State of Alabama from the Creek Indians.

July 31, 1833: Jeremiah Austill, U.S. marshall for the southern district of Alabama, reported the killing of Hardeman Owens, commission of roads and revenue for Russell County, by a U.S. soldier attempting to evict him from Indian land.

September 24, 1833: Colonel Gadsden was deposed on the matter of Farrow and Harris.

December 16, 1833: Francis Scott Key sent his first formal communication to Governor Gayle in Tuscaloosa. Francis Scott Key, District Attorney of D.C., had come to Alabama to mediate the dispute between the State of Alabama and the Federal troops protecting the Creek Indians.

from the January 2, 1834 BOSTON POST

March 12, 1834: Governor Gayle wrote President Jackson that the extra Federal troops had left Alabama.

November 18, 1834: Francis Scott Key wrote Hagner, Thornton and Gratiot concerning the claims of Farrow and Harris.

December 8, 1834: Francis Scott Key wrote Hagner, Thornton and Gratiot to arrange a meeting relative to the claims of Farrow and Harris.

January 12, 1835: Report on the Dauphin Island fortification construction project printed for 23rd Congress, 2nd Session, Document No. 78 by Peter Hagner (3rd Auditor) , J.B. Thornton (2nd Comptroller) and General Gratiot (Chief Engineer).

1836 Francis Scott Key publishes his report on the Dauphin Island fortification

Monday, June 11, 2018

This August 17, 1767 clipping from the CALEDONIAN MERCURY (Edinburgh, Scotland) describes West Florida Lieutenant-Governor Montfort Browne's plans to start a town on D.I. named Hillsborough. I'm sure that was news to MAJOR ROBERT FARMAR(namesake of Farmar Street) who claimed to have a clear title to all the property on Dauphin Island. Less than two years later Major Farmar evicted four of Montfort Browne's employees from the island in what would become DAUPHIN ISLAND'S NINTH ARMED AMPHIBIOUS INVASION
I want you to share
My sweet island life
Where the sea meets the sky

You were my first love
My one and only
and I want you to be my last
Love of my life
I want you to share
My sweet island life
My gorgeous Broadway Diva
My Bikini-Beach Babe
My Sweet Potato Pie
I want you to share
My sweet island life
Where the water kisses the sky.

You are my Sugar-Wooger
And my heart's desire
I want you to share
My sweet island life
Follow me to where the sun
Meets the sea
Share the sweet island life
With me.

(Now you're) my SUGAR WOOGER(&) my heart's desire
(& you're the only) one

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

When I turned on my computer this morning, I had this beautiful picture of a mountain lake come up with the caption, "Where can you swim from one state to another?" Well, in Houston County, we have a place on the west bank of the Chattahoochee where you can put your foot on three states but nobody knows where that is and nobody wants to pay to find out. Back in the year 2000, a marker was placed on the river bank to show where the three states come together but the placement of the sign was arbitrary. Nobody in the world knows where the Alabama-Florida line lays on the ground and none of the three states is interested in tackling a retracement survey.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

For everybody out there WAITING ON THE TUSCALOOSA BICENTENNIAL, the wait is over: IT HAPPENED TWO YEARS AGO! In 1916 they recognized the fact that the first white folks showed up in May of 1816 and had their TUSCALOOSA CENTENNIAL celebration in May, 1916. Another important date is March 3, 1817 because that was the day the enabling legislation that created ALABAMA TERRITORY also reserved from public sale the south fraction of Section 22, Township 21, Range 10, West.(that's the land between the River and 15th Street where the original city was laid out in 1821. THE TUSCALOOSA BICENTENNIAL will occur next year, probably in December because the town was incorporated in Cahaba on December 13, 1819) Reposting my map of OLD TUSCALOOSA for any of y'all who wanna get into that "BICENTENNIAL STATE OF MIND." The best use of this map is to put it up as your screen saver. That way, every time you turn on your computer, you're looking @ SPRING, PINE, BROAD, COTTON, UNION, PIKE or maybe EAST MARGIN, BEAR, YORK, COLLEGE, MADISON, MONROE, MARKET, WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON, FRANKLIN, JACKSON, BROWN, DEER. Without this map, pre-1902 issues of Tuscaloosa newspapers are unintelligible.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Buck Bannon was a POST-CIVIL WAR BABY BOOMER. Buck's "baby boom" bunch [born 1866-1884] was called "THE GAS LIGHT GENERATION" because many of them were born into a world lit by tallow candles, only to pass away in THE AGE OF NEON. Buck's story is retold in EVERY CITY IN ALABAMA in the lives of the men and women who gave us traditions such as THE CRIMSON TIDE, WAR EAGLE along with suburbs such as MOUNTAIN BROOK. Since Dougie Bailey chose to take the title of his novel DEVIL MAKE A THIRD from Shakespeare, it is entirely appropriate that the ALABAMA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL should organize a traveling troupe to introduce our region to THE STORY OF AVEN.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

200 years ago TODAY, on Sunday, May 24, 1818,  Andrew Jackson took Pensacola (don't waste your time trying to find ANYONE interested in discussing or EVEN ACKNOWLEDGING that fact). This set the stage for one of the most critical events in all American history: The Capture of the Three Slave Ships, MERINO, CONSTITUTION & LOUISA. This case where slaves from Africa were captured by the American military while being illegally imported into Spanish Pensacola ( then under U.S. military rule) , established a test for how STRINGENTLY the United States would enforce its laws which FORBID THE IMPORTATION OF NEW SLAVES INTO THE COUNTRY.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018