Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Miller were walking toward the end of Washington Street, now known as Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard North in downtown Tuscaloosa. It was Friday evening, September 21, 1900. In the darkness, the 68-year-old Mrs. Miller did not see the edge of a gully that had eaten into the street, and she fell to her death. Later, her husband received a settlement from the City of $2500—equal to about $65,000 over a century later.
It was Tuesday evening, and the Tuscaloosa Citizens Cornet Band was playing, when suddenly their practice room filled with fluttering birds. The “affrighted” creatures had been shaken from their roosts in trees outside an open window. All over town people fled outside, fearing their houses would fall.
A sharp succession of shots rang out, and a gray clad figure fell. It was February of 1883, and two cadets were fighting a pistol duel on the porch of Woods Hall on the University of Alabama campus. The integrity of a young woman had been questioned, and a challenge was issued in defense of her honor. Cadet William Alston of Selma succumbed to wounds inflicted by Cadet H. K. Harrison. Over a year later, Harrison was found not guilty of murder.
A new day began; it was about 1:00 a.m., Friday morning, Sept. 2, 1859. The city lacked streetlights and the crescent moon had set, but Editor W. H. Fowler of Tuscaloosa’s Independent Monitor noted that people could “read distinctly” in the soft light emanating from the sky. The northern lights, or aurora borealis, was making its “most brilliant appearance in many years.”
A large group gathered around a freshly dug grave in a small cemetery in eastern Fayette County, about 50 miles from Tuscaloosa. Reuben E. Powell, a native Virginian and early Alabama settler, was being laid to rest. The circumstances of his life that ended on July 23, 1836, were not unusual for the times. He was a 51-year-old planter/farmer whose marriage to his cousin, Sarah Powell Powell, had produced 12 children.
Congratulations to Jim Ezell, Druid City Living’s incredibly talented “Tales of Tuscaloosa” columnist. Ezell was recently named Writer of the Year for 2015 by the Tuscaloosa Writers and Illustrators Guild (TWIG).
Mr. Ezell, as many of our readers already know, is busily writing a collection of historical stories about the Druid City and surrounding areas, in hopes of publishing a book ahead of Tuscaloosa’s bicentennial celebration in 2019. Here are a few things you might NOT know about Jim Ezell and his wonderful family: