Music

Blue Spring Farm

~ Better known as The Thompson Place ~

By Bobby Joe Seales


The Thompson Place


Blue Spring Farm, better known as The Thompson Place, was originally owned by Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Carlyle Thompson, proprietors of the Siluria Cotton Mills.

The Thompson house, which resembled a small mansion, consisted of a downstairs and an upstairs, had a large library with plenty of books, a well-furnished living room, a dining room with a crystal chandelier, a huge kitchen and breakfast nook, five bedrooms with each containing closets and bathrooms, a laundry room, storage rooms, and a large front porch that was enclosed and furnished with wicker furniture. Marble floors were on the front porch and in each bathroom as well as in the kitchen and breakfast nook.

The house was heated by steam, and it also had fireplaces. In the cellar of the house was a steam furnace, which burned coal. A truck would arrive regularly to bring a load of coal and drop it down the coal chute into a coal room, where it was conveyed into the furnace.

Behind the house was a swimming pool that was built about 1926, which has been said to be one of the first in the southeast. The tile, which was around the edge of the pool was some of the same tile that was used in the Morris Hotel, constructed by Mr. T.C. Thompson in Birmingham, Alabama. There was also a small wading pool at one end of the large pool.

There were other buildings located on the property. A log cabin was located at the side of the house and was used as a private retreat for family members. A cottage and garage were located at the front driveway. A greenhouse, outside laundry, servant houses and farm buildings were located at the rear of the house.

A cemetery was located on the property with graves that dated back to their birth of 1787 and death before the Civil War era. Some of the very early employees of Siluria Cotton Mill Company were buried in this cemetery. However, many of those grave markers have been destroyed.

In 1925 a Grade "A" Dairy was installed. In 1926 Adam Olin Riser, Jr., 1898-1992, son of Adam Olin Riser, Sr. and Eula Seaman, and a nephew to Mrs. Julia N. Thompson, planted a thirty acre peach orchard. The peaches soon became famous and were being shipped to many places. Literature about the peaches, where they were grown and packed, was placed in each basket. There were many pecan trees on the farm too. The Shelby County Reporter, dated June 17, 1926, "Interesting Developments On Blue Spring Farm, County Agent Lauderdale tells of interesting developments on Blue Spring Farm owned by Mrs. T.C. Thompson of Siluria, president of Buck Creek Mills. Five high grade Southdown ewes were bought at the sheep sale in Montgomery as the beginning of a flock of sheep to be developed later. A pure bred ram will be bought soon to head the flock. Blue Spring Farm already has a fine herd of dairy cows and some fine hogs. The development of sheep raising will make it one of the leading livestock farms in Shelby County. Mrs. Thompson is also greatly interested in trying out her section of the county in fruit growing and with that object in view recently had planted out 3,000 peach trees and about 200 apple trees. These trees were bought carefully from good stock, planted in ground that was well prepared and they are being properly cultivated. One hundred pecan trees have been planted this spring also. Mr. Olin Riser who owns large farming interests in Talladega county and who is an Auburn graduate in agriculture is superintendent of Blue Spring Farm and in charge of its operations. Mr. W.F. Stroud, vice president and manager of Buck Creek Mills is greatly interested in poultry and is developing a modern poultry plant on his farm near Siluria. The poultry houses have been built and incubators and brooders provided. The flock consists now of 150 white Leghorn hens and several hundred baby chicks were bought this spring. It is the plan to increase the flock to 1000 hens."

In December 1946, Clyde (Bridges) Walton purchased this farm consisting of 678 acres from Benjamin Louis Hinkle, 1881-1971, and his wife, Lucy (Jones) Lowery Hinkle, 1894-1990. Clyde (Bridges) Walton, 1898-1991, was the daughter of Lucine Marceline Bridges and Amanda Louisa Eudy. Her husband, John Anderson Walton, Jr., 1895-1968, was the son of John Anderson Walton, Sr. and Lula Bankston, and he was a "first cousin, four times removed" to George Walton, 1740-1804, one of America's Founding Fathers who signed The Declaration of Independence. John A. and Clyde Walton were my wife's grandparents. My wife, Diane (Brandenberg) Seales, lived in the Thompson house and grew-up on this farm. Today, the houses are all torn down and the peach orchard has been destroyed. However, we still live on a portion of the farm, in one of the several residential subdivisions that were built. Charlotte, my wife's sister, now has hanging in her dining room the crystal chandelier that was once in the dining room of the Thompson house. Also, the tile that was once around the edge of the swimming pool is now on the face of the fireplace in her parent's house.

In Memory
Bessie Marie Walton Brandenberg
January 14, 1925 ~ June 14, 2000