Monday, April 13, 2015

CVHS Program for Sunday, April 19, 2015, at 3 p.m.

The LaFayette Ceremonial Stone Complex: 
An Unexpected Discovery of A  Prehistoric Stone Row and Stones Piles in Chambers County

Presenter: Teresa Paglione, Cultural Resources Specialist, National Resources Conservation Services, US Department of Agriculture

About a decade ago a member of The Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society Board of Directors followed a clue found in printed material in the Cobb Memorial Archives to rediscover a mysterious site of stones long ignored and almost forgotten by the inhabitants of Chambers County.  The Board member with family made lengthy treks through cottonmouth infested swamps to reach and walk over the undisturbed site.  In the nineteenth century this odd array of stones covering acres of land next to a creek was approachable by field roads and was visited by picnic parties of school children and families.
 Since the rediscovery of the site, the CVHS Board has identified the landowner and secured permission for access to the sight for purposes of study and documentation.   Teresa Paglione, as a professional archeologist, was asked by the Board to provide leadership in documentation of the site. The landowner is committed to protecting the site because of its unique value in understanding the history of Chambers County and this region.  The location of the site and name of the owner will not be publicized and access to the site is made by permission of owner through CVHS officers. A rattlesnake has been observed in the stones.
 The LaFayette Ceremonial Stone Complex consists of a single massive linear stone row in somewhat of a crescent shape-with both ends leading downhill to a creek.  Across from this linear stone work and the creek are at least 49 stone piles.  Archaeologists are certain that Native Americans erected these stone works but when they were constructed is not easily documented.  Dozens of these works have been identified in North Alabama. The LaFayette Ceremonial Complex is the largest known work of this type so far south in the topography of our state.  This stone work and site date from perhaps a thousand or more years ago. The historic Native Americans would have recognized these ancient sacred sites, given them names and may have contributed to the works.  Teresa will describe the LaFayette Ceremonial Site and the work to date in the effort to document the large site and its stone works.
Teresa was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, lived in Orlando, Florida (pre-Disney) and grew up in Montgomery, Alabama.  Graduating with a degree in Art and a double-minor in Sociology-Anthropology from Auburn University Montgomery, she started working with a local archeologist, Dave Chase, in her junior year at AUM.  After working for a year in archaeology in Alabama, she attended graduate school at Florida State University.  She has worked as an archeologist for private contractors, the State of Florida, Georgia Dept. of Transportation, the National Park Service (Florida), the US Forest Service (Chattahoochee National Forest, GA), and for the past eighteen years , the Natural Resources Conservation Service here in Alabama. She is former Vice President and President of the Alabama Archaeological Society, President of the local East Alabama Chapter of the Alabama Archaeological Society, and a Board Member of the Lee County Historical Society.

Monday, October 13, 2014

CVHS Program for Sunday, October 19, 2014, at 3 p.m.

Fiddlers, Banjo Players and Strawbeaters: Alabama's First Pop Musicians

Joyce Cauthen is the executive director of the Alabama Folklife Association, a statewide organization that sponsors research, promotion and preservation of Alabama’s folk culture. She is the author of With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow: Old-Time Fiddling in Alabama, published in 1989 by the University of Alabama Press, and has served as the producer of numerous recordings of traditional music of Alabama, including “Possum Up a Gum Stump: Home, Commercial and Field Recordings of Alabama Fiddlers.” She served as editor of Benjamin Lloyd’s Hymnbook: A Primitive Baptist Song Tradition and produced the accompanying CD. Her last project was a CD and booklet entitled Bullfrog Jumped, which features recordings made across Alabama of children’s folksongs and games in 1947. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has a master’s degree in English from Purdue University.

In her presentation, Cauthen will discuss the early fiddles of Alabama, the musicians who played them and the popularity of this music in their communities. Discussions will also surround the pivotal role played by African Americans in developing the music at the roots of today’s bluegrass and country music. Cauthen will demonstrate use of the banjo, “straws” (a technique in which broom straws or knitting needles were beat on the strings as the fiddler played) and guitar in backing up the fiddle. Her talk will be made especially interesting by the presence of fiddler Jim Cauthen, who will demonstrate fiddle tunes that have been specifically mentioned in historical writings, slave narratives and early newspapers of Alabama. The audience will hear musical styles and tunes that are seldom heard today—and will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their perceptions of the differences in this music and the modern country music that are based upon it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

CVHS Program for Sunday, July 20, 2014, at 3 p.m.

CVHS Program to Examine Slavery

          Civil War historian Murphy Wood will present the third part of his series, Slavery in North America:  Origin, Practice, and Production of Cash Crops at the next meeting of the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society on July 20, 2014. The quarterly meeting will be held at 3:00 pm ET at the Bradshaw Library in Valley, AL.
            The production of cotton in Alabama and Mississippi fed the insatiable demand of a burgeoning international textile industry that forever linked the old South to cotton and slavery. The early social and economic history of Alabama and Mississippi were defined by cotton production and it is important to understand this time period and the global economic forces that swept it forward.  Having traced the origin of slavery and sugar and rice production in earlier lectures, it is hoped participants will have gained a greater understanding of slavery in its many forms and will not want to miss this last installment that focuses on how slavery practiced here in the Chattahoochee Valley.
            A native of northern Chambers County, Wood teaches AP History at his alma mater, Springwood School in Lanett.  Last summer and again this summer he has been chosen to be part of a select review committee, made up of high school history teachers and university professors from across America, to grade the essay portion of the AP History Exam. Before returning to his roots, he lived and worked in Virginia, where he received a Master’s Degree in Early American History from James Madison University.  He has appeared as guest speaker and has presented research papers at numerous Civil War conferences and lecture series in Virginia and Kentucky.  In addition, he has served as tour guide for several Civil War motor coach tours of the Shenandoah Valley and as a private guide for a variety of tour groups.
              The Bradshaw Library is located on Highway 29 in Valley, Alabama, approximately one mile south of I-85 Exit 79.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.