Transcribed from: The Tuskegee News, Tuskegee, Alabama, 11 Sep 1952; vol. 88, no. 23, p.1, col 3.  Transcribed  by Glenn Drummond. 

Used with permission of The Tuskegee News.



 BACKTRAILS THROUGH HISTORY - Old Cotton Valley Historic Site – Dr. J.M. Glenn


Today Cotton Valley is largely a memory and a cemetery, with a sign about the latter on the nearby paved Union Springs-Tuskegee Highway.  Each month in 1839 I used to visit a Methodist Church there by the cemetery.  The rear of the church was on high brick pillars, and the church bell was ensconced in a large oak tree in front of it – an unusual expedient.  High up, at the back near the leaves on the south side, and hence inaccessible, there was a self-chose hive of bees.  In hot weather honey could be seen running down the outer wall.

 The old church is gone, but the material was utilized in the parsonage of the church at Fort Davis, half a dozen miles southward.  In 1893, almost 60 years ago, there were about 45 members of the Cotton Valley church, and by actual count 22 of them bore the name of Fort.  Whenever I would call the roll, to verify the membership, all of us would be smiling.  Much of the “antebellum glory” of the community was then gone, and now there is neither store, mill, nor gin on the road.  Incidentally, a good many present passers-by think there was once a fort at Fort Davis, but that community is named for a man I knew well – Mr. Fort Davis, whose mother was a Miss Fort and his father a Davis.

In going northward, just beyond the old cemetery marker on the paved highway, on the left is still visible a dim dirt road, also leading to Tuskegee.  Not long since, in company with Professors Riley and Wadsworth, of Tuskegee, we followed that old road from Tuskegee to Cotton Valley.  Going northward from the latter place, that dir-road leads by the site of the once fine old Ellington home, the right, just before reaching Persimmon Creek.  The church there burned years ago. 

By its site once stood Fort Hull, on the old “Federal Road,” leading from Fort Mitchell in Russell County and Creek Stand and Warrior Stand in Macon County, then on below Montgomery, toward Mobile.  That is a truly historic road, an Indian trail from immemorial days and especially historic since 1805.  Also, the site of the old fort is just west of the colored Davisville church on the paved highway, and just beyond that church the paved highway crosses the famous old “Federal Road,” along which went a vast number of persons, including former Vice-President Aaron Burr, as a military prisoner being carried to Richmond, VA., in 1807, and in 1825 along came General LaFayette, of Revolutionary fame.

 The recently organized Macon County Historical Association at Tuskegee is indeed a worthy enterprise, and should have the active support of all the people of the county to prevent valuable material from being lost.  Most gladly, though in all modesty, I am willing to aid in any way possible as I attended school in Tuskegee in 1885-86 and lived there again in 1893.  In the Montgomery Advertiser, not long since, I told of the time in February, 1886, that the Tuskegee ponds were so thickly frozen over that hundreds of persons walked all over those ponds, and ice skates were used, and the night of August 31 of the same year an earthquake not only shook up all the Tuskegee houses, but even the large brick Methodist Church was swaying to and fro, as almost unbelievable as that might sound today.  I do not wish to experience any more earthquakes, as I did that one.  One was more than enough. 

A marker is very much needed at the site of old Fort Hull, which played a part in the troublous days around 1813-1836, and it is to be hoped that soon one will be placed there.


Date of Publication                                  Title

November 20, 1952                                      Our Yesterdays – County Has Historic Past

November 27, 1952                                      Our Yesterdays – Origin of Alabama Told

September 17, 1953                                     Glimpses of Yesterday – Tales of Old Creek Stand

October 22, 1953                                           Views and Interviews 

November 19, 1953                                      Glimpses of Yesterday - Warrior Stand Anecdotes