Remembering Fort Crawford

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, July 16, 2008

By Staff
The following account appeared in the Aug. 8, 1907 Pinebelt News as an editorial written by W.D. Sowell. It was later re-run in The Brewton Standard and submitted by Annie Waters.
I include it this week because of recent interest in the old Fort Crawford Park and the clean-up efforts.
At the time I write of, the country was very thinly populated. The widow Brewton (formerly of Georgia) and family lived at the east end of the plateau, Judge Sowell at the west end and near the cemetery, who for many years was postmaster at Fort Crawford. The mail route went from Milton, Fla., to Sparta, one round trip on horseback being made each week. Another office was established across the river, known as Nathanville and Mr. N.S. Travis was postmaster. A German colony located about one mile south of the fort and their descendants are still living in that vicinity,
The old fort was the voting place for the precinct and was also the place for holding magistrate's court, seats having been arranged for that purpose under the large spreading oak trees. I heard my first political speech at that place. Then it was Wigs and Democrats and the latter had a poor showing at Fort Crawford as it was overwhelmingly Whig. Usually about 60 votes were polled and in these good old honest days there was no registration, no instruction to voters, no printed tickets and no watchers at the polls. There were no charges of election frauds and no contests.
There was also a race course along the level stretch of road and I have seen many a pony race there. The country was full of game and it was as easy then to kill a deer or turkey as is in now to kill a jaybird. The streams were full of many were the fine strings of bream that I caught in Murder Creek and the river.
Milton and Pensacola were the markets for this section of country, but the people had but little to sell, except sweet potatoes, chickens, eggs and gophers. The people raised corn and potatoes mostly, and a family was considered well-to-do if enough corn for a year's supply was grown, Cattle raising and hunting were the chief occupations of the men; the women looked after the spinning wheels and looms. It was surely a happy country and a happy people.”
I thought you would enjoy reading what he had to say. Remember this was written in 1907 by the editor for the Pine Belt News. Mr. Sowell had first-hand knowledge about life in Brewton's early life.
The Pine Belt News began operations in 1892 with William Daniel Sowell as its editor. It was in operation until January of 1918 when it was consolidated with the Standard Gauge which would become The Brewton Standard in 1906.
Until next week, happy hunting!