BY MOLLIE S. WATERS
The Greenville Standard
According to John Jackson, the director of Foley’s public library, Alabama has a rich and varied history.
Jackson was the guest speaker for the first quarterly meeting of the Butler County Historical & Genealogical Society (BCHGS) on Sunday.
Jackson’s topic was “Becoming Alabama,” a program which originated as a continuing education offering in Baldwin County.
Jackson began his program by talking about Alabama’s environment and its early Native American inhabitants, the largest group of which was the Creek Indians.
Next, Jackson told the large audience about the arrival of Europeans in the area.
“The first Spaniards entered Mobile in 1519,” said Jackson, who went on to talk about explorers such as Pineda, Narvaez, and DeSoto.
“Relationships between the Spanish and Natives were never good,” said Jackson, who went on to tell a story about how Natives who encountered DeSoto would often tell him that he could find riches to the north of them just to get him out of their territory.
Jackson also told how the British and French came into the area and what influences they had on the region.
Along the way, Jackson shared some stories about the Moundville Indians, but he also informed the audience about a lesser known group of mounds in the Baldwin County area: the Bottle Creek Mounds, which are only accessible by boat and can only be seen in October when the swamp does not cover the area.
Jackson also told how Florida was once divided into British East and West Florida, with West Florida extending as far as the 32nd parallel, which put it as far north as Selma and Montgomery. However, Jackson pointed out that the 32nd parallel was arguable because some data only extends the area as far as the 31st parallel, which would be in the Stockton area.
Jackson finished his program by taking questions from the audience, which included some questions that did not have definitive answers.
“For every legend, there’s enough of the truth to create that myth or legend,” said Jackson. “That’s the thing about human memory, it’s faulty, but there’s usually some truth in these stories.”
The next society meeting program will be in late April and will meet at the Shiloh Baptist Church. The meeting will conclude with the installation of a new historical marker for the Ogly-Stroud Massacre as well as the Thomas Gary Stockade.