Get it before it gets too late

Published 2:03 pm Thursday, April 29, 2004

By Staff
Ann Biggs-Williams, who once was the head librarian at Jefferson Davis Community College, has said that there is a saying in the library field that "every time an old person dies, it's like a whole library burned down." When you think about it, the saying is so true. There are so many old people who are just waiting to be asked about the years gone by. The problem is that now-a-days it seems that no one is interested anymore.
Think about your grandmother, grandfather, or even (if you are lucky and they are still living) your parents who have lived through some changing times. They very well may have lived through the depression or one of the World Wars. Maybe they remember some of the very things that we have only heard or read about. My own mother said she could remember hearing about the sinking of the Titanic. She and my father used to tell stories about the depression and how hard you had to work to earn fifty cents a day. Those were the days when people actually talked to each other instead of planting themselves in front of a television set. We spent meal times together instead of passing like ships in the night. Family was important, in fact it was one of the most important things in life.
Don't wait until it is too late to take the time to talk with your grandparents, parents and any other older people in your life and find out how much it means to them to wander down those old pathways and remember what everyone else has forgotten.
I know that some of you say "well I am just not interested in finding out anything about history or my family." Maybe you aren't now, but someday you might and it may be too late to go to that old aunt and ask her about the family. There is a saying in genealogy…that you get interested in looking into your family history about three months after the last person that could have told you anything has died. Don't let this happen to you. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW!!!
On another note, I guess many of you have seen in the news that the "Hunley" has been opened up and painstakingly cleaned out.
If you don't remember, I wrote about the Confederate submarine "Hunley" some time ago. I found it most interesting that the sub had so many ties with Mobile. One of the people on it was George Dixon and I thought at one time that he might be a part of the local Dixon family. He wasn't, but the story is still interesting.
The sub sank a ship using a crude explosive devise on the end of a long pole. They got close enough to the ship to plunge it into the side of the ship and then they literally back away before the explosion. Something went wrong and the sub sank after the explosion.
The sub was found a few years ago and now has finally been opened. Several things have been revealed. I watched a special documentary on MSNBC about the discoveries. For one thing, every man was found to have died at his post. Whatever happened on that final day, they did not try to get out of the sub. Another interesting fact is that forensics show that the picture that has been widely circulated to have been Dixon is, in fact, not him. The skulls of all eight men have been reconstructed and the bone structure proves that Dixon was not the man portrayed in the photograph. There are some other interesting things that have been found. For instance, several have been found to be European born. (Don't ask me how they know this, but they do.) I guess the most interesting to me was the finding of the gold coin. If you remember the story, Dixon is said to have been given a gold coin that he had on him when he was in the Battle of Shiloh. The coin is said to have been given to him by a young lady in Mobile. The coin saved his life at Shiloh when a mini-ball deflected off it. I watched on television as the shiny bent coin was found buried in the silt left in the sub. Another story tells that the girl who gave him the coin had her initials carved on it, but the only thing found was the word Shiloh. I think it's amazing that the coin not only survived but it was still as shiny as if it had been brand new. The bones of the men were all given a decent burial in Charleston a week or so ago. It took a long time, but they finally have been brought out of their murky grave.
One other note that I wanted to add this week was to ask if you have or know of old photos of Brewton and East Brewton, I would love to borrow them long enough to scan them to a CD. No harm will come to the photos and they will be returned as soon as scanned. I am trying to assemble as many old photos as I can. There are many photos out there and it would be a shame not to share them with the public.
Lydia Grimes may be reached
at The Brewton Standard
or emailed at lydia.grimes@

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