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Mary and Clement Callaway Family

     Mary and Clement Callaway were married on August 7, 1873, in the Wallace family home, on the Lagoon. It was a double wedding. Mary's brother, William Wallace, married Clement's sister, Alice Callaway at the same time. Friends came from far and near to celebrate the event and wish the couples happiness.

(1920) Clement and Mary Wallace Callaway.

     Mary and Clem's first home was in the Lagoon area, but he soon found work at a sawmill in Millview, Florida, so they moved to Orange Beach. They lived there until all their children were born. Their first born were twins, James Washington (Wash) and William Spruel, born May 21, 1875, second was Elisha Monroe born on June 7, 1877, and died October 3, 1880, Calvin Clarence was next, born on March 26, 1879, then Thomas Arthur, born July 7, 1881, and their last was Joseph Clement (Joe), born February 27, 1890.

     Joe was around two years old when his parents moved back to the property. Mary inherited from her parents, Alien and Ann Wallace, in the Lagoon Community. They first lived in a small log house, built where the Lagoon Baptist stands now. Later they built a large home on the Lagoon next to where Wallace Landing is today.

     Clem and the older sons, made their living from fishing the Lagoon and farming their land. They had cows for milk and butter, chickens and turkeys for eggs, and hogs to butcher for meat. They planted fruit trees for fresh fruit in summer and to preserve for winter. They also owned a piece of oyster ground in Oyster Bay, where they planted seed oysters and harvested them for food and market.

     As the older sons grew up, they married, and moved from their home on the Lagoon. Wash was the first to go. He married Wilhelmina (Willie) Plash in 1898, and they lived for several years, near her parents in Bon Secour. They later moved to Mobile, and lived there the rest of his life.

     Spruel was next to leave when he married Rosena Mund, in 1901. She was also from Bon Secour. Rosena's father was in the oyster business, and one of his shops was on Dauphin Island, so he asked Spruel to move over there and run it for him. They moved to Dauphin Island and lived there until 1913, and then the family came back to live on the Ridge.

     Tom married Rosena's sister, Louisa (Lou) Mund in 1904, and they also moved to Dauphin Island to live. When they came back, he built their home halfway between Bon Secour and the Lagoon. They lived there for many years.

     Joe married Mabel Steiner, who was also from Bon Secour, in 1908, and he built their home on the Ridge, near his parents, where it still stands today.

     Calvin was the last to marry. He married Serena Shelby in 1920, and they lived with his parents for a while, when Serena's mother became ill, so they moved to her parents home, in what is today the City of Gulf Shores.

     Clem and Mary lived on the Lagoon, until the hurricane of 1906, washed their home away. They built their last home on the Ridge. Clem died from cancer on May 19, 1922. Mary, although hard of hearing, lived alone until her death, July 30, 1937.

     Written 2001 for The Baldwin County Heritage Book.
Submitted by: Mary Callaway Dukes, 2289 E. Ridge Road, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Joe Callaway

     Life was good for Joe Callaway (born February 27, 1890), growing up in the peaceful Lagoon Community. He had good parents (Mary and Clement Callaway were married on August 7, 1873), and four brothers, who were older than him. His brother Tom, next to him, was 9 years his senior, but he had plenty of cousins to play with, and help him build toy boats to sail on the water. As he grew older, being the youngest, meant he also had to help his Mother with the chores around the house. He had to bring water from the well, chop the wood, and carry it in each day, set the table and wash the dishes. The job he hated the most was to look for his mother's turkeys each evening. He said turkeys are the most stupid animals alive. Joe said, if a turkey came to an three pickets on it, the turkey would start at the first picket, walk down to the third one, turn around, and continue doing this for hours.

     Another story about his mother's turkeys, happened when he was around eleven years old. On that day, the turkeys were in the barnyard, and Joe was outside playing. He heard a noise, and looked up just in time to see a wild turkey land in the barnyard next to his mother's gobbler. He ran into the house, to the closet where his father kept his guns, his mother saw him grab the gun and she yelled at him to put it back. As he ran out the door, he was trying to explain about the wild turkey that was fighting with her gobbler. She ran behind him yelling, "don't shoot my turkey". By that time, the wild turkey heard the commotion, took to his wings to fly away, but Joe aimed the gun and pulled the trigger, the wild turkey fell to the ground. That was a happy day for a small boy.

     On another day, Joe who was very skilled at building toy boats, was busy working on a sailboat. He wanted to have it just right to race against one of his cousin's boats the next day. When he was busy rigging the sail, his Mother called to him to get her a bucket of water. Joe, thinking he was alone, said to himself (aloud) "Damn if I do". His father had just walked up behind him and heard what he said. He took off his belt and said, "Young man, damn if you don't". Joe never made that mistake again.

     By the time Joe was 13 years old, some of his older brothers were married, had homes and families of their own, and it was his time to go with his father, to become a fisherman. This was to be the occupation he enjoyed most, the rest of his life. He also became a carpenter, and could build a house or boat, and he mastered many other kinds of work, but he always came back to fishing.

     One September morning in 1906, the water in the Lagoon was very high and rough. The sky was dark with rain clouds. In those days there was not a permanent pass between the Lagoon and Gulf of Mexico. When the water got too high in the Lagoon, the fishermen took their shovels, got into their boats, and rowed across the Lagoon to a place that was narrow enough to dig a pass and let the water out. On that day, as they headed across the Lagoon, the rain began to pour, and the winds blew hard. They shoveled sand all day, before they got the pass opened. By the time, they finished and returned to their boats, they were wet and tired. The rain and wind were much harder and the waves in the Lagoon were very rough, so it took a long time to row back home. Joe's mother had supper ready when they got home, so they ate and went to bed.

Joe and Mabel Callaway on their 60th Wedding Anniversary, February 15, 1968.

     Mary was worried over the weather. Even though the men had opened the pass, the water kept getting higher. She sat in her rocking chair and read her Bible by lamp light, and from time to time, she walked the floor, and watched the water rise. Around 2:00 A.M., she heard a loud crash against the side of the house, and she knew their boat had broken loose, and was in their yard. As she ran to wake the men, she heard their dog yelp as a wave crashed on the porch and washed him into the Lagoon. As quick as possible, they left their home, with only the clothing they had on. As they went down the steps, the water was almost up to Joe's shoulders. They fought their way through fallen trees and debris, until they reached higher ground. They finally reached the home of Mary's brother, Bill Wallace, and shelter for the rest of the night. In the morning, the storm had passed, so they made their way back to where their home had been. All was gone. The lumber from their house and all their belongings, were strewed for a mile down the beach. Some clothing and bed linens, were as high as twelve feet up in the trees. Joe said it was an awful sight.

     With the help of family and neighbors, they recovered what they could find of value, and they started a new house, but this time, they built on the "Ridge". This is where Joe's parents lived the rest of their lives.

     Written 2001 for The Baldwin County Heritage Book.
Submitted by: Sibyl Callaway Ryan, 2289 East Ridge Road, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Sources: These stories as told by my father, Joseph C. Callaway.