News

4/16/2015
The Tennessee Valley Historical Society will hold its Spring Quarterly Meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 26th at the Helen Keller Library Conference Room located at 511 North Main Street, Tuscumbia, AL.
Dr. David Gregg will deliver a power-point presentation entitled:
“From the Plantation to the Halls of Education: A pre and post-Civil War Saga of the African American Education Experience in the Shoals.”
Dr. Gregg’s subject is a timeline snapshot of historic events exploring the contrasts of two cultures – plantation owners and slaves. The talk examines the prevailing social attitudes and the dilemma faced by both as emancipation approached, leading to the formation of two cross river institutions: Burrell Slater School (Florence) and the “Colored School of Tuscumbia” – subsequently renamed in honor of Dr. George Washington Trenholm.
Dr. Gregg covers the struggles of local communities, the perseverance of individuals as they were tasked with launching the African American education system, and the involvement of black churches after the war.
Dr. Gregg is Pastor of the Florence Boulevard Baptist Church and has research Civil War history for more than 35 years. He has serves as the Vice President of TVHS and has held numerous positions in several Baptist history and archive committees.
The meeting is free to the public. Refreshments will be served at the meeting’s conclusion.

3/13/2015
TVHS and UNA are pleased to announce this year’s scholarship winners!
Cameron Ridgeway- $750
Chance Gray- $500
Tom Allen-$250
159 students from local schools attended the competition.
2/4/2015
PRESS RELEASE:
TVHS / UNA HISTORY SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITON REGISTRATION NOW OPEN.
 The University of North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley Historical Society are very pleased to announce an exceptional opportunity to win scholarship money. Three scholarships worth $750, $500, and $250 will be awarded at the twenty-sixth annual Tennessee Valley Historical Society’s History Scholarship Competition.
 This competition is scheduled for Friday, 6 March 2015, from 9:00 a.m. until approximately 1:00 p.m. in the Guillot University Center on UNA’s campus in Florence, Alabama.
This year’s scholarship competition is limited to high school seniors and juniors. Participants complete a written test on U.S. and World history. Seniors with the top two scores on the exam will receive a one-time scholarship of $750 and $500 and the top junior will receive a $250 scholarship to attend UNA.
 In addition to the scholarship exam, students will have an opportunity to participate in a public history enrichment activity. This will give students an opportunity to explore the campus and the community and see that history can be a vital part of our every-day lives.
 Along with the scholarship competition, students will be provided with a campus tour and lunch.
 Please confirm your attendance via email at mgraham2@una.edu
 Include your name, contact information (including email), the number of students attending and their classification. More information will follow regarding registration.
 For more information contact Dr. Carolyn Barske at cbarske@una.edu or 256-765-4529.
 TVHS and UNA look forward to seeing teachers and their students at this year’s competition.
2/2/2015
Dr. Gregg Rescheduled Talk on Black Schools in the Shoals at CCHLF
The Colbert County Historical Landmarks Foundation (CCHLF) will hold its Winter Quarterly Meeting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at the Helen Keller Library Conference Room located at 511 North Main Street, Tuscumbia, AL.
In recognition of Black History Month, Rev. Dr. David E. Gregg will deliver a power-point presentation on “The Genesis of Black Schools and Education in the Shoals Area (Circa 1866).”
This was a topic that was supposed to have been delivered at another historical society venue but was rescheduled due to unexpected family circumstances.
Dr. Gregg’s subject, (representing an aspect of local history that has been relatively obscure for more than a century) comprises a time-line snapshot of history and events covering a couple of cross river institutions: the Burrell Slater School (Florence) and the “Colored School of Tuscumbia” (as it was commonly referred to during the early 1900’s) and subsequently renamed in honor of Professor Dr. George Washington Trenholm.
The Principals of these schools, and others, tasked with launching the African American education experience shortly after the Civil War represent part of a greater story to be further researched and told as source documents both local and out of state surface over time; thus, adding diversity value to the telling of history as collective contributions.  
Dr. Gregg is Pastor of the Florence Blvd. Baptist Church in Florence and has researched Civil War history for more than 35 years.
The meeting is free to the public. Refreshments will be served at the meeting’s conclusion.
1/16/2015
PRESS RELEASE
The Tennessee Valley Historical Society (TVHS) will hold its Winter Quarterly Meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at the Helen Keller Library Conference Room located at 511 North Main Street, Tuscumbia, AL.
This meeting will be unique as there will be two complementary presentations.
The first, in recognition of Black History Month will feature TVHS Vice President, Rev. Dr. David E. Gregg’s power-point presentation: “The Genesis of Black Schools and Education in the Shoals Area (Circa 1866).”
This subject, (representing an aspect of local history that has been relatively obscure for more than a century) comprises a time-line snapshot of history and events covering a couple of cross river institutions: Burrell Slater School (Florence) and the “Colored School of Tuscumbia” (as it was commonly referred to during the early 1900’s).
The Principals of these schools, and others, tasked with launching the African American education experience shortly after the Civil War represent part of a greater story to be further researched and told as source documents both local and out of state surface over time; thus, adding diversity value to the history presentation equation.
The second presentation by President Tom McKnight “The Great Medicine Wheel of Life” is a talk based on an American Indian conceptual, ideological and philosophical framework that generated personal insights and impact.
Dr. Gregg is Pastor of the Florence Blvd. Baptist Church in Florence and has researched Civil War history for more than 35 years.
Tom McKnight’s service with the United Nations in 19 countries and member of Tuscumbia American Legion Post 31 Color Guard, involvement with a number of other community oriented organizations highlight his profile.
The meeting is free to the public. Refreshments will be served at the meeting’s conclusion. 
10/23/2014
Dr. Gregg to Speak on “Hood’s Muscle Shoals Encampment of 1864.”
The Tennessee Valley Historical Society will hold its Fall Quarterly Meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, 26 October 2014 at the Helen Keller Library Conference Room located at 511 North Main Street, Tuscumbia, AL.
greggGuest speaker Rev. Dr. David E. Gregg will discuss “Hood’s Muscle Shoals Encampment of 1864.”
His combined use of Power-point and original source materials will provide first person experiences of various individuals who were there. Various engagements will be discussed that occurred along the river as well as the roads leading out of Florence. The lecture will also include Hood’s retreat back through the Shoals.
Dr. Gregg has researched local Civil War history for over 35 years and has presented many lectures on the subject.
He is currently Vice President of the Tennessee Valley Historical Society and is the Pastor of the Florence Blvd. Baptist Church in Florence.
The meeting is free to the public. Refreshments will be served at the meeting’s conclusion. Visit the Society on internet. http://buildingthepride.com/tvhs/

 


7/22/2014
The Tennessee Valley Historical Society will holds its Summer Quarterly Meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday July 27, 2014 at the Helen Keller Library Conference Room, located at 511 North Main Street, Tuscumbia, AL.
Walker
Guest speaker Rickey “Butch” Walker, Cherokee Indian, author, researcher, and historian will deliver a Power-point presentation titled, “Indian Trails of North Alabama.” Mr. Walker argues that while descendants of Alabama’s first settlers often lay claim that their ancestors, with the aid of their black slaves, were the folks who built all the roads and cleared all the land in North Alabama, the guest speaker challenges and clarifies this historical perception – defending the position that “Indian people utilized our areas thousands of years before the first white Europeans and African slaves ever set foot in Alabama.”
Referencing that American Indian people have occupied North Alabama area for some 14,000 years and maintained routes connecting farms, villages, and towns he further contends that the aboriginal landscape of northwest Alabama comprised numerous Indian trails and roads that interconnected Native people throughout the Tennessee Valley and surrounding areas. He’ll discuss major river crossings and the crisscrossing of these trails that include: Black Warrior’s Path; Black Warrior Road; Browns Ferry Road; Byler’s Old Turnpike (Cherokee Trail); Chickasaw Path; Chisholm Road; Coosa Path or Muscle Shoals Path; Creek Path ; Doublehead’s Trace or Old Buffalo Trail; Gaines Trace; High Town Path, Old Huntsville Road, Tennessee Trail, or Great South Train; Jackson’s Old Military Road; Jasper Road, McIntosh Road, Georgia Road, or Federal Road; Natchez Trace; North River Road; Sipsie Trail (Cheatham’s Turnpike and Lamb’s Ferry Road and South River Bend.
The meeting is free to the public. Refreshments will be served at the meeting’s conclusion

 

6/10/2014
The Tennessee Valley Historical Society will sponsor three guest speaker talks beginning Thursday, June 26 and ending Friday, June 27 at the Cold Water Bookstore located at 101 West 6th Street in Tuscumbia.
This year’s Helen Keller Festival Week celebration discussion topics and powerpoint presentations line up by Dr. David Gregg, Tom McKnight and Robert Perry supporting this year’s theme: “Heritage and History Diversity,” will provide new research and insights of European American, African American and American history diversity both locally and beyond.
greggThursday , June 26th – 11:00 am
Dr. David Gregg, “Life Along the Muscle Shoals: The Early Years
Much of the history that occurred along the Muscle Shoals prior to the 1830s has been lost due to fires, death, or decay. Fortunately, papers all over thecountry shared news articles with other papers, and therefore we have some additional preserved history to pass along. This PowerPoint presentation will look back into those early years through these stories.
mcknightFriday, June 27th – 11:00 am
Tom McKnight, “The Hunt for Grandmaster Powell”
Little is known of Northwest Alabama’s Mosaic Templars of America (MTA), an African American fraternal organization of great significance to the community. Though headstones marking members’ existence can be found scattered throughout city, church, private cemeteries and farm land, knowledge of the organization’s existence, purpose, and some of the members was forgotten history until research shed light on the organization’s existence. Less however is known of Alabama’s first Grandmaster, Lawrence Louis Powell. The historical hunt for this elusive officer tracks his steps from Sheffield to Montgomery. The “hunt” continues…
perryFriday June 27 – 12:00 pm
Robert Perry, “Geronimo, Alabama Indian”
Robert Perry, an Elder of the Chickasaw Nation, will share a story told to him by an Apache descendent in Muscle Shoals, who, against the wishes of his family, reveals a little known part of Alabama history. It is the story of his ancestors who live in Alabama and protected a Mescalero Apache. Though the Poarche Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama, Robert’s discussion will shed new light on the Chiricahua Apache being an Alabama tribe, which included the famous Geronimo. A time-line of events encompassing the Red River War in the Texas Panhandle that crushed the Plains Tribes and their treatment and designation as POW’s is a compelling story that is rarely known, told and shared.
4/30
There will be a Civil War re-enactment program sponsored by the LaGrange Living Historical Association commemorating the burning of LaGrange College in 1863 on Friday, May 2, Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4 . Re-enactors will be doing five or six scenes for the public to walk through depicting Civil War and Reconstruction events.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: Recall LaGrange
WHEN: Friday: 7 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: LaGrange College Site Park
1491 LaGrange College Road, Leighton
COST: INDIVIDUAL – $2
FAMILIES – $5
DETAILS: Call 256 383 0783
4/14/2014
Lee Freeman Slide1The Tennessee Valley Historical Society’s Spring Quarterly Meeting will be held on Sunday, 27 April 2014 at 2:30 p.m. in the Helen Keller Public Library Conference Room located at 511 N. Main Street in Tuscumbia.
Lee Freeman, Florence-Lauderdale Public Library’s Local History/Genealogy Dept. Head will deliver a power-point presentation: Servants of the Gray: Pro-Southern Blacks from Lauderdale County.
Most people are aware of black service via United States Colored Troop Regiments (USCT) during the American Civil War however most are unaware that an estimated 60,000 or more blacks served, often willingly, in various capacities (musicians, cooks, hospital orderlies, sharp-shooters, body servants and in labor battalions) in Confederate States armies. And in mid-1865 the Confederate States of America created several all-black combat regiments. Other blacks, slave and free, voluntarily supported the Confederate War effort via contributions of money and supplies. This 45 minute Power-Point presentation will briefly examine pro-Southern black allegiance across the South before turning to a specific examination of the nine or so pro-Southern blacks from Lauderdale County (and a couple from Franklin/Colbert). The program will examine the Civil War experiences of these men as researched from local historical records, and will examine the question of why these black men and thousands more like them across the South voluntarily chose to ally themselves with the Confederate States of America, otherwise their oppressors via slavery and restrictive legislation.
The meeting is free to the public. Refreshments will be served following the meeting.
4/14/2015
Check out the new History Corner article by Robin Campbell and Michael Bray on the Kennedy Gun Factory.
1/30/2014
New Book on “Life in the Muscle Shoals” Launched
Dr. Kenneth Johnson, Professor Emeritus of the University of North Alabama, in collaboration with Bluewater Publications and the Tennessee Valley Historical Society (TVHS) will launch and autograph his new book Life in the Muscle Shoals on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Coldwater Bookstore’s annually sponsored Loving Locals event for authors located 101 W 6th St, Tuscumbia, AL. The event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dr. Johnson is not only a historian and scholar, but a captivating storyteller; thus Life in the Muscle Shoals is a combination of textbook accuracy and campfire romance. It will not only appeal to local citizens, but to history lovers everywhere.
Dr. Johnson tells his story chronologically, beginning with the first occupants of Northwest Alabama – Native Americans and early white settlers – and the inevitable clashes between them. After laying this historical foundation, Dr. Johnson describes the establishment of major landmarks and cities in the area during the antebellum period.  National issues, such as slavery, religion, and education, are explored. Along with most of the South, the Muscle Shoals area was directly affected by the Civil War and Dr. Johnson vividly portrays how the war influenced and altered conventional life temporarily as well as permanently in the Tennessee Valley. He wraps up his historical narrative with the changes in growth during the post-Civil War years and how the Muscle Shoals area transformed economically, socially, and culturally.
 1/15/2014
“Capture of John Murrell, Natchez Trace Outlaw”
New article in the History Corner by UNA Public History Students Jesse Brock and Casey Mills
1/15/2014
Winter Quarterly Meeting
From One Room School to University Campus and Beyond
The Tennessee Valley Historical Society will hold its Winter Quarterly Meeting on Sunday, 26 January 2014 at 2:30 p.m. in the Burrell Museum conference room located at 610 West College St., Florence, Alabama. Visitors may use South Cherokee Street for parking. The entrance to Burrell Museum is directly opposite St. Paul AME Church on South Cherokee St. in Florence.
This year’s Black History Month presentation guest speaker is Mrs. Anita Smith Cobb.  Her presentation will take the audience on a journey of education institutions in northwest Alabama when opportunities and resources were limited for African Americans. Her initial education which began in The New Rock Church of God in Christ “As a one room make shift school,” evolved further after her great grandfather John Turnley provided land, built Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and with assistance from the Rosenwald Initiative oversaw construction of a school on the same property. This started a love of learning and going to college tradition. After completing Burrell School, and Talladega College she attended the University of Michigan where she obtained a double Master’ Degree in History and Education. Her interest in history and genealogy led her to search for buried Parker and Pride family members who were once part of the Thompson Plantation in Oakland, Alabama. With assistance from Mr. Robert (Bob) Torbert,  (Lauderdale County Representative for the Alabama Historical Commission Cemetery Preservation Alliance), and Mr. Huston Cobb, family headstones, some whom were members of the Mosaic Templars of America (MTA), an African American fraternal organization were recovered from rural farmland cemetery properties and relocated at Mt. Zion AME Church’s cemetery in Rhodesville, Alabama.
Partner with TVHS and UNA in building the pride:
  http://buildingthepride.com/tvhs/
   The meeting is free to the public.