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Fayette County, Alabama

~ History of Bluff ~

Bluff Community Was Early Settlement - 1854
by Mavous Dubose Barnes

Some of the early settlers of the Bluff Community around 1854-1860 were Tilliman SOUTH, Lewis Edward CORBETT, Ruben POWELL, George THOMAS, Robert McCARVER, John M. THOMPSON, Thomas M. MONTGOMERY, N.J. DYER, J.M. CAMPBELL, John BARNES, and Bill TURNER.  [In] 1898-1908; Some families living in Bluff Community [were Jimmy MOBLEY, William J. DUBOSE, Nero HOCUTT, B.D. KIRKLAND, John SIMS, Marcellis SOUTH, William (Bill) ROBERTS, O.A. WHITE, John P. CORBETT, Jim MOSLEY, Joe CUNNINGHAM, Taylor FOWLER, Jim BENTON, George THOMAS, Jackson KIRKLEY, and Arthur VERNON.

Descendants of some of these families are living at this time in the Community.

Most of the early settlers owned land joining each other.  The land had virgin timber on it and had to be cleared out in order to build houses.  Some were log houses.  They split rails for fences, rived boards to cover buildings and spun thread from cotton and wool, wove the thread on looms to make cloth for clothing.  They raised sheep for wool, and ducks and geese for feathers for beds and pillows.  They used home raised gourds to drink water from and buckets made from cedar to hold water.  Cooking was done on the open fire place and after stoves became available the Dutch oven was still used to cook on the fire.

In those early days and for several years to come they had open stock law; each person who owned cattle and hogs had a certain brand so as to be able to identify their own stock.

At first oxen were used for work animals.  Later on horses and mules were in use.  Wagons and buggies were used for transportation.

In about 1902 a post office was built  near the head of Hell's Creek about 12 miles North west of Fayette.  Mrs. Molly HOLLIMAN named it Bluff from the large rocks on what is now called Bluff Mountain.  [See map of area here.] 

In 1904 the post office was moved about one half mile from where it was originally built.

Mrs. Fannie MOSLEY was the keeper of the first post office.  The first gin in this community was owned and operated by John BARNES.  The Cotton Press was pulled by mules.  He also had a saw mill and a Mill pond where corn was ground into meal.

In 1904 a grist mill and a cotton gin were erected at Bluff.  About a year later two more stores were built.  After a few years two of the stores went out of business and were torn down.  The other store remained in business for about 20 years.

In 1931 another store was built but [is] not in operation at present.  A few years after this store was built several warehouses were built by two JONES brothers.  T.J. JONES became owner of the gin about this time, installing all new modern equipment.  But in 1968 the gin burned and has not been rebuilt.

In this community has lived the county doctors Dr. MADDOX, Dr. MILLER, and Dr. John ROBERTS who had his first office at Bluff about 1908-10.  He moved to Vernon Ala. in 1919 and still resides there.

In the early days entertainment was a kind of working – The quilting Bee's for the ladies and log rollings or house raisings for the men.  The women would cook up food and get everything in order while the men carried the logs to be placed in huge piles for burning later.  The square dance was popular as entertainment for the young folks as well as old.  The beds were taken down in one room and carried out so there would be room to square dance.

They also had corn huskings and preaching at different homes in the community as opportunity afforded.

The first school to be built in this community was about one mile north of Bethel Church.  It was in the latter half of the nineteenth century and was known as the Old South School.  Around 1900 school was taught in Bethel Church house.

Some of the teachers were Willis TAYLOR, Pervie LUCAS, Lee MOSLEY, Willard DYER, Hester OTTS, Alexander SMITH, Gurley BENTON, and Charles WHITEHEAD.  School was in session 3½ months in winter and 1½ months in summer.

About 1912 a two room school was built a little way north of the church.  It was called Bethel also.  Some of the teachers were Lamply NORTHAM, Wilma KIRKLAND, Bess ANTHONY, Ora REESE, Thomas LOLLAR, Docia HAWKINS, Florence MUSGROVE, Newburn PATTERSON, Connie BALLENGER, Lewis ACKERMAN, Juliett GREEN, and Charles WEEKS. 

In 1927 Bluff, Shady Grove, Bethabra, Center, and Bethel consolidated and built a larger school called Kirkland Jr. High.  It was named for B.D. KIRKLAND.

Our community has been outstanding in schools.  Kirkland School furnished many outstanding ball players to the Fayette High School each year while school was taught there.  Valedictorians and Salutatorians, and outstanding 4-H-ers.

Kirkland had a large enrollment at first, about 300 pupils with 7 teachers.  But as people moved away from the community, enrollment decreased over the years.  In 1967 the school was closed and the students now go to Fayette.  The community has no school now.

The teachers and parents had much pride in Kirkland School and took much interest in the school.  It was the main center of interest for the community.

We regret the loss of the school in our community.  The building is now being used for a community center.

There have been a number of churches in Bluff Community.  Trinity Methodist, Shady Grove Nazarine, Bethel Missionary Baptist, Mt. Olive Church of Christ, and Spring Hill Baptist.

Some of the charter members of Mt. Olive Church are Mr. and Mrs. Burt BARNES, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor FOWLER, Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy MOBLEY, Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy COLLINS, Mr. and Mrs. Doc HYDER, Mr. and Mrs. Hardy HOUSH, and Mr. and Mrs. Murray V. STEWART.

Bethel Church charter members were Mr. and Mrs. _______, and Mr. and Mrs. Dan HAWKINS.

Some pastors who have served Bethel Church since 1891 are J.P. DICKINSON, 1891; J.F. WILLIS, 1903-1905; W.K. PENNINGTON, 1905-1906; C.D. STEWART, 1906-1912; W.F. GILPIN, 1925-1926; W.H. HAMILTON, 1926-1927; and A.M. NIX, 1927-1959.

We have plenty of water in the community fish ponds.  Turkey Creek heads south east of Bluff and keeps flowing on toward Luxapallia.  Hell's Creek also heads near Bluff.  The soil is very fertile in the lowland near the creeks.

A sentimentalist once said something about God piercing the blue canopy of heaven to make peep holes through which to look upon his children; that the holes we see at night are the stars; that the fragments [p]ierced by Him fell to the earth in a heap and made Alabama, a little "heap" fell around Bluff, Alabama and there's no other place on earth so grand!

In conclusion:
"Those who forget their past have no future." 

Source: Clipping from unknown Fayette County newspaper (probably circa 1970).

Generously submitted by
Art Hudson

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19 Nov 2006  |  19 Nov 2006