Early Settlers of Alabama
Early Settlers of Alabama by Col. James Edmonds Saunders (with notes and genealogies by his granddaughter Elizabeth Saunders Blair Stubbs) was originally published in 1899 and is chock full of interesting tidbits and history of Alabama.
If you are from Alabama, or have relatives or ancestors from the great state of Alabama, this book will likely be of interest to you!
A small taste from the PREFACE:
“Colonel Saunders began in the April numbers of the “Moulton Advertiser,” 1880 (his
county paper), a series of “letters” relating to the “Early Settlers of Lawrence County” (Ala.) and the Tennessee Valley.
These articles, increasing, year after year, in scope and valuable material, soon
overran their limit, exacting tributary data from neighboring counties, the State, ad-
joining States, and only to pause in that dear “Mother of States” (which was his own)
to note where the restless wave had tossed some immigrant ancestor of the sturdy lines of which he wrote.
The stirring recital evokes, across the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, to Tennessee ,
Alabama, and Mississippi, the warrior-emigrant. His wandering line of white wagon-tops
gleams in the sunrise of the Nineteenth Century. Old Virginia lies behind him. The Indian
vanishes with the smoke-wreath of his rifle’s breath. He builds his wilderness-castle, a log cabin,
and so the life of a great State begins, and Alabama looms out of territorial chaos.
Most lovingly does Colonel Saunders relate the story of her people, from the humblest mechanic
at his forge, to the noble Governor in his chair of State. Her ministers, merchants, lawyers, planters,
statesmen, come, at his gentle summons near, and take on the semblance of the vivid life they lived.
Youth and lovers, the jest, the chase — threads of gold in the noble tapestry — each play their part.
Next falls the shadow of the Texas war across the pages. And again, all too soon
alas, bursts the tempest of the civil war upon the fair young manhood of our State !
Himself a veteran of veterans, he follows them all through the sad struggle to
the heart-breaking surrender at Appomattox, and buries many of his young heroes
— with the past — asleep in their glory ! As told by him, the career of the Alabama
regiments is an epitome of the war.
And so, the letters, like old familiar folk-song, flowed on ; while two old people lived
over their lives in their pages. And, while the public clamored for publication in book form,
containing, as they did, such valuable historic and genealogical matter, even then, suddenly
they were ended, not finished. He wrote no more.
The “Letters,” begun in 1880, ceased in 1889. Much valuable data yet remained
unwritten, lying neglected, where it had been so carefully collected. He was now
eighty-four years of age, and the romantic early inspiration of his life — she who had
been his child-wife at the age of fifteen — passed, chanting, into realms of Bliss ; while
he, benumbed with the vision of the radiance of the door through which she had passed,
dreamed henceforth only of joining her who, for sixty-five years, had held the chrism
of love at his family altar. His Mary was ” in Heaven.”