JCHA NEWSLETTER –JANUARY 2012

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NEXT MEETING: January 12, Mt. Brook Library

Reception at 6:30 p.m.; Meeting at 7:00 p.m.


 

Former Gov. Albert Brewer will speak on the 1962 Jefferson County "Chop Up" Bill

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n 1962 the Alabama Legislature made a serious attempt to diminish the political influence of Alabama’s largest county by dividing it into four separate congressional districts.

Former Gov. Albert Brewer

Former
Gov. Albert Brewer

Gov. John Patterson vetoed the bill giving rise to the "9-8 Plan". It required Alabama’s nine congressman to run statewide for eight seats mandated by a loss of one seat after the 1960 federal census. It would be low man out. As speaker of the House, Albert Brewer was a guiding hand in passing the plan and preserving Jefferson County’s political base.

 

Newsletter has a New Name and New Look for the New Year

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he new year has brought a major make-over of the JCHA newsletter and meeting notice.

Renamed The Jefferson Journal, the expanded newsletter will feature timely articles and historical perspectives of interest to members.

Jim Bennett succeeds Bob Kracke as editor. Bennett, a former reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald, is author of several local histories on the iron industry and JCHA’s most recent book, Historic Birmingham & Jefferson County.

Jim Bennett succeeds Bob Kracke as editor. Bennett, a former reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald, is author of several local histories on the iron industry and JCHA’s most recent book, Historic Birmingham & Jefferson County.

 

2012 DUES ARE NOW DUE CLICK TO OPEN RENEWAL FORM

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President’s Message


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very Happy New Year to one and all. I hope all of you had a lovely holiday season and are now looking forward to a new year of enlightening Historical Association programs, most of which have already been lined up by Vice President/Program Chairman Tom Carruthers.

On a board note, in September your board decided that since we had several important projects underway, we would all stay in our current jobs for one more year in order to bring them to successful conclusions. The one exception is that Bob Kracke has decided to step down as editor of the Newsletter. Bob has done a wonderful job, having taken it on at its reincarnation in 2007 and we all owe him a huge vote of thanks. The Newsletter has provided us with many excellent articles on local history as well as serving as the Association’s message center and meeting reminder. We will be in excellent hands going forward as Past President Jim Bennett has agreed to take on the job beginning with this issue. We are planning for a new look as well as an early delivery. Please personally thank both Bob and Jim for their fine work.

ALICE WILLIAMS

By now you have also noticed a dues notice in this newsletter. When we discovered that we were planning to drop both the newsletter and the dues notice at the same time, combination of the two made more sense. The board deeply appreciates your dues support as they enable us to carry on our many historical projects as well as bring you outstanding programs each quarter. If dues come in relatively quickly, it helps the board to better plan and could possibly offer the opportunity for an extra event. If you have joined or rejoined within the past three months, those dues have been credited to the 2012 year.

Again, many thanks for your support. Hope to see you January 12, 2012.

— ALICE WILLIAMS
JCHA PRESIDENT

 
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Of Tuxedo Junction Fame

What was Erskine Hawkins’ Real Name?

—by: Thomas M. West, Jr.


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ou all know that one of the most famous songs that ever came out of Birmingham was "Tuxedo Junction". This song, with lyrics by Buddy Feyne, was released by the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra (formerly known as the Bama State Collegians). It rose to the number seven spot on the National Hit Parade.

Glenn Miller had the most successful recording of the song which he produced on the RCA Bluebird label in 1939. It became the Billboard number one song that year and sold 115,000 copies in the first week alone.

"Tuxedo Junction" was featured in the 1953 biopic, "The Glenn Miller Story" starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson which can still be seen on television.

Glenn Miller died mysteriously over the English Channel in World War II but his "Tuxedo Junction" recording continued over the years and the Erskine

Tuxedo Juction record label

Hawkins masterpiece lives on. It has also been recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Manhattan Transfer and even Frankie Avalon.

The song Hawkins wrote is about a jazz and blues club in the Birmingham suburb of Ensley. The area referred to a street car crossing at Tuxedo Park, hence Tuxedo Junction.

So, what was Erskine Hawkins’ full name and why? He was named for famed Birmingham industrialist, inventor and philanthropist Erskine Ramsay, as in Ramsay High School. Mr. Ramsay, who had no children and never married, would give a crisp $100 bill to any mother who agreed to name her child "Erskine Ramsay." This has been confirmed by the Ramsay family.


 

The Jefferson County Historical Association

THE JEFFERSON JOURNAL

This newsletter is published quarterly by and for the benefit of the membership of the Jefferson County Historical Association.

Copyright © 2012 by JCHA. All rights reserved.

Visit us on line and view back issues at

www.jeffcohistory.com

Jim Bennett, Editor

Editorial Board

Thomas M. West, jr.
Tom Badham
Judy Haise
Dr. Ed Stevenson

Please send letters and notices to the editor via Email:

or mail to:
112 Meadow Croft Circle, Birmingham, AL 35242

 
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Ole Davy was Almost One of Us

—by: Jim Bennett


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ut for a quirk of fate, Davy Crockett would have been a Blount County citizen. Instead he was killed at the Alamo in 1836.

Here’s how things developed. At the conclusion of the Creek Indian War settlers, many of them 1812 veterans, began flooding into the state. Davy Crockett decided to see the area for himself and in the company of three friends headed for Jonesborough, which is now Bessemer. Old Jonesboro became the county’s first important settlement.

Crockett arrived here in the fall of 1816 passing through Murphrees and Jones Valleys near present day Birmingham.

Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett said this portrait looked more like him than any other.

While exploring, he found a farm site near Oneonta which he said was "the one spot in the world" where he would like to make his home. But the party headed on toward Tuscaloosa down the old Huntsville Road just to check things out.

While here he is thought to have also visited a cousin, Williamson Hawkins, one of Jefferson County’s original pioneers who in the early years lived near Jonesborough.

Traveling through western Jefferson County the Crockett party passed through Jonesborough and then Bucksville before making camp near the Warrior River. During the night their horses broke loose and Davy, being of an adventurous nature, pursued them on foot back toward Jonesborough. Finally, exhausted and in the deep woods, he fell sick and became disoriented. Found by Indians, he was taken to the farm of Jesse Jones near the latter day location of the Woodward Iron Company.

"I was kindly received and put to bed," he recalled. "I knew little about what was going on for about two weeks when I began to mend from the treatment (of Mrs. Jones)."

Crockett said the woman thought he was going to die of malaria and gave him "a whole bottle of Bateman’s Drops", a mixture of 46% alcohol and two grams of opium per fluid ounce.

After his recovery, the Crockett party traveled back up the Huntsville Road along a stretch through Midfield then called “the Stony Lonesome” because of all the limestone outcroppings. He returned to Tennessee and settled in Lawrence County in 1817 where he became engaged in the politics of that state. After two terms in Congress, he winds up at the Alamo and died fighting Santa Anna. Maybe he should have stayed in Jefferson County. (Read more about the king of the wild frontier in Jim Bennett’s book, Historic Birmingham & Jefferson County.)

 
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