Hello: Don't know if this will be a help but thought I would pass it long.
SOME OLD HISTORY Recently I walked out along the new public highway west across Claybank creek to look round a little.It always does me good to go over the foot prints of day agone, and this trip was no exception to the rule.My father built his home a little beyond CHARLEY BYRD's and on north side of the road in what is now a field, in 1849.In 1850 he brought the place where I was reared and moved to it. CHARLEY BYRD is a chip off the old block and despite the discouragements of serious affliction in his family, is doing well.He has plenty of everything about him and to spare.This year's crop is quite promising and he will have bread for the next twelve months.And let me say, he has one of the smartest little girls in Dale County.She is only thirteen now, and for several years has done most of the cooking for the family.When I was out there the other morning she was preparing to get dinner, and so far as I could see, was doing so with as much good judgment and alacrity as a well matured woman.By the way Charley is one of the cleverest as well as one of the most successful citizens. We walked out to an old fashioned horse power gin house which was carried to a point near where the roads fork east of the house a little ways by JOE PARKER some thirty years ago.About 1838 PHIL RENFRO built a gin house on the identical spot now occupied by the residence of M.M. HOLMAN on Daleville street in Ozark.Some time afterwards he sold the gin to MOSES MATTHEWS and he ran it up to about the time of the civil war.THOMAS G. BLACKMAN come to Dale from Russell county about 1854, and soon after built a gin about where H.A.W. MARTIN's residence stands at the head of North Union Avenue.This gin was sold to JOE PARKER and he first moved it on the west side of North Merrick Avenue beyond the present residence of R.Y. DOWLING.When he moved it across the creek to the point above described.I have had some curiosity to ascertain whether, or not his is the same old gin house built by RENFRO, and on the occasion of my visit I closely scanned the inside walls and girders throughout to see if I could find some mark to indicate its builder, or owner in former days.But I failed to find it. Inquiry reveals some facts of interest in this connection.JOHN N. SANSBURY bought the running gear, the gin heads, scales and other parts of the old Renfroe gin and put them into his gin after the war where WINSTON BYRD now lives.But he did not buy the logs that composed its walls because he let the rafters come down to plates just above the floor in his gin.It is of some interest to note that GEORGE C. SANSBURY of Daleville had the old cotton scales used by MOSES MATTHEWS and probably by RENFRO while he owned the gin. But going a little further into the history of the old gin house across the creek we find it connected with one of the bitterest tragedies enacted in the closing scenes of the war.The failing fortunes of the South had encouraged those who had failed to come to her rescue in the time of her rescue in the time of her need, and they became quite bold.LENT SPEARS had been assassinated and ALEX SPELLER shot near NOEL DOWLING's in October, 1864.DOC PRIM had been captured a little later in what we know as the Baptist bottom in Ozark.About the same time, AUS BLACKMAN, belonging to T. G. BLACKMAN and another colored man who yet lives in Ozark, were holding counsel with the Yankees and their allies and had planned to leave the country with them.When PRIM was brought to THOMAS G. BLACKMAN's on one Monday morning in November and was hung on Tuesday morning following by Brear's Home Guards, attention was turned to AUS and the other man.AUS was taken under this same old gin house when it stood near BLACKMAN's residence and there stripped and buckled across one of the levers of the King post and given a severe flogging in an effort to get out of him what he know about the plans of the Yankees.He told them all he knew and probably a little more to save his back of the promised stripes in case he should fail.