Alford Receives Service Above Self Award
by Bob Augustin Jr.
The Rotarian Randy Brewer presented the Rotary Club's Service Above Self Award to local historian & Author Bobby Alford at the club's June 8 meeting. Alford received the award for his many years of service as the President of the Lawrence County Historical Society, for his work in the Babe Ruth Baseball League, and for his work as historian of Lawrence County.
Alford regaled the club with stories of Lawrence County. He told the story of Lawrence Countian David Atkinson who fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. At New Orleans, the soldier to Atkinson's right and the soldier to his left were wounded in the battle and couldn't fire their muskets, so they loaded the muskets and Atkinson fired all three of them, sort of like a human machine gun.
Alford's next topic was the immigration to Lawrence County. The first wave of immigrants were Revolutionary War veterans who were awarded land grants for their service to the country during the war. The next wave of immigration came in the early 1870's when the German Catholic Homestead Association bought 25,000 acres in Lawrence County. Over the next several years, the German Catholics from Cincinatti Ohio settled in the county.
Around the turn of the century, 20th Century, that is, the next wave of immigrants came from east Tennessee. Then in 1909, Allen Bonner settled in southern Lawrence County along the Rabbit Trail Road. He then recruited many of his fellow citizens from Winston County Alabama to settle here. There was now virgin cotton farming land available in Lawrence County, due to the completion of the railroad north to south through the county. The railroad opened up the logging and lumber business which allowed the German settlers, who had been in the business in Germany, to prosper in the southern end of the county. As the lumber trade flourished, the harvesting of the forests opened up great tracts of virgin land for cotton farming.