Forgotten Trails: Term paper holds historic view of area

Published 1:58 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

By Staff
The following is part of some material written by Ethel Hoomes in 1934 and used in a term paper while she was attending Alabama College at Montevallo.
The first section is about a prison farm. I am wondering if this prison farm was located in the same place as Atmore Prison or Fountain Corrections. If anyone does know the answer, please let me know.
The Moffet Prison Farm is situated 22 miles west of Brewton on a 3,640 acre tract of land. Before clearings were made this part of the county was full of ponds and low places. Now on the whole tract of land there is not a pond to be seen for they have spent prisoners' time in the value of $17,000 ditching these ponds. The cypress trees that grew in these ponds were all cut by the farm sawmill and the lumber used in the buildings that the institution needed. They have about 220 acres of strawberries. At the height of the shipping season seven or eight cars per day were shipped to the northern markets if the prices justified. If the price is very poor they are canned by the new modern canning plants in operation there.
They have about 38 acres of okra, 60 acres of potatoes, and 35 acres of sugar cane from which they make syrup for the convicts. The guards are furnished with 16 fine saddle horses and they have a good supply of bloodhounds. They have a 50,000-gallon water tank and electric lights. All wires for electric lights and telephones are run in pipes under ground and under cement paving. This is done so if a prisoner tries to escape it will be impossible for him to put out the lights or cut the telephone wires. The prisoners sleep in one room, each person has a bed to himself.”
This next section is also from Miss Hoomes' material. I thought about it this week as I was talking to Ann Biggs-Williams about how certain streets got their names.
In Boston he studied and worked hard. He later moved to New York where he opened a studio in Carnegie Hall. Soon his classes grew so large that he opened another studio in Brooklyn. Later he opened the Granberry Piano School for Teachers, giving lectures himself. In 1916 he was honored by a musical organization in Brewton, which took his name as title of the new body. He has shown a vital interest in the club and has donated valuable musical books for research work.”
Mr. Brooks later wrote this about the Granberry family.
Mr. Granberry was, at one time, the town marshal and during his tenure of office he set out many of the large and beautiful oak trees that are seen along our streets. I have been told (that was before my day) that the oaks were so unattractive that after he had planted them, some of the citizenry demanded that the city fathers discharge him.
Fortunately, many of his critics lived to appreciate the contribution that he made to his hometown by adding beauty and providing shade to otherwise barren streets.”

Email newsletter signup