Fayette County Alabama
~ The McCollum Heritage
family was one of Fayette County’s earliest. Newman and his merry
band arrived in 1824. About the same time, John HOLLINGSWORTH
moved into the area, as did Daniel FORD
and Thomas GALLOWAY. The
McCALEBs came sometime later.
[Newman] McCOLLUM acquired
considerable land and built a grist mill and later a sawmill at
present-day Hubbertville. In fact, the community that grew around
the mill was known as McCollum Mill. It remained the name until
members of the HUBBERT family bought the mill and renamed the community
Hubbertville. The McCollum Family
Cemetery is located on the small rise at the rear of present day
Hubbertville Cemetery. Most of the names on the markers have long
ago succumbed to the elements and one can only guess who the plots
belong to today, but more than likely Newman and his mother “Beloved
Ann” are buried there along with Sarah and James K. [McCOLLUM].
Newman was evidently a very
benevolent man as his will shows many outstanding loans that he had
made to many in the area, much of it uncollected. In any event,
he was well respected and loved by his family as the many descendants
named after him will attest.
James K. was the most colorful of
the McCOLLUM clan. He was considered a “well to do” planter and
land speculator of his time. He ran for the state legislature and
was elected to that office. Fred McCALEB has researched the
legislative records for the period and found that James K. was an
aggressive voice for Fayette County. He was a visionary for his
time. He proposed as early as the mid 1800’s a flood-control
project for the Sipsey River with the view towards dredging the river
and eventually using it to ship goods downriver. The dredging
issue has surfaced in recent years and remains unresolved to this day,
150 years later.
There are many stories about James
K. Some are only speculation. Sie McCOLLUM [James K.'s
former slave] told the story of James K. and Sie burning the Fayette
County Courthouse [in 1866], obviously to delay the trial over his debt
situation involving his father’s will. Another story tells of his
returning from a visit to Mississippi and finding the river flooded and
all of his crops ruined. The story goes that he walked down to
the riverbank and flung his new hat into the raging water and looked up
into the heavens and said, “You’ve taken every thing else, you might as
well have this too.” These legends lead one to believe that James
K. was somewhat of a rogue. However, he was well thought of in
the community as is evidenced by the elections he won. (He may
not have been the only politician in the family. I believe that
former Congressman Bill McCOLLUM of Florida is a descendant of Newman.)
Joseph [McCOLLUM] was the youngest
child of Newman and Elizabeth. Indications are that he was more
conservative in his business dealings than James K. Newman
appointed him Executor of his estate. Because of several
problems, some caused by James K., the estate was not settled for 30
years. This put a strain on Joseph’s relationship with
James K., as James K. was forced to sell most of his assets to settle
his part of the estate.
The McCOLLUMs were a restless
lot. By 1900 many if not most of the family had moved west to
Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Elizabeth, Newman’s oldest
daughter, and her husband George W. PATTERSON had moved to Uvalde Co.,
Texas, in 1847 and many of her kin followed them. Most of them
settled in Uvalde County, near San Antonio, and Cooke & Grayson
counties, Texas. Today many of his descendants can be found
further west in New Mexico, Arizona and California, as well as
Texas. It has been this writer’s pleasure to meet some of these
descendants, both personally and by phone and the internet. Among
them are Paula McCOLLUM of California, descended from James K., and
Rolland McCOLLUM of Oklahoma, descended from Newman’s oldest son,
Henry. Henry died an untimely death while on a visit to Fayette
County in 1826. His descendants mostly stayed in South Carolina
until the later years. Many of James K.’s and Joseph’s
descendants stayed in Alabama. They married into the McCALEB,
HOLLINGSWORTH, FORD, FOWLER, BOX, WHITEHEAD and other local
families. Most of us are descended from these two brothers.
Newman McCOLLUM’s legacy lives
on. We should all take pride in our McCOLLUM heritage. It
is a noble one indeed.
This article originally
appeared in The
Hollingsworth-McCaleb Quarterly, 1:3 (1 Aug 2002), p. 2.
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Used by permission of the author & editor, Larry E. Whitehead.
Mr. Whitehead produces both The
Hollingsworth-McCaleb Quarterly and The Whitehead Quarterly.
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This page last updated 01 Jan