Coffee - Barlar - Austin - Thurman family reunion of 1953
This is a graphic rendition of the old antebellum home as I remember it though the portico might not have been as wide. It was located south of (little) Hatton.
School in East Colbert County Alabama. At Hatton School travel one mile south and on the right about 100 yards off the road you will see the remaining Pecan grove. The house was a stately old mansion of about 5,000 square feet with 20 foot ceilings. They always said it was built in the 1840s. The cemetery on the backside of the is called the Stanley Cemetery. I do not recall the surnames on the stones today in the family graveyard back on a hill 500 yards to the south west, but no doubt they had connections to this home. The home had a large star high up on the Gable as pictured above. The story was that during the Civil War the Union soldiers came thru looking for homes to burn. They spared this one because of the large star being on the upper front gable of the house. The soldiers converted it into a Civil War hospital instead.
The old house was sparsely occupied in the 1950s and it was deathly quiet around it. We passed by the place on the way to school or to the Streit's Store at Hatton. Some great old ghost tales came out of that old home for the six children of Paul & Ruby Lee Austin. The older ones often teased the younger ones with often mentioned tall tales. One such tale was that if one were to climb up the creaky stairwell, at the top in one of the upper rooms would be found a bloody hand lying around. It was said to be from an amputation done during the Civil War. At night there were no street lights, no sound of cars running up and down the road, just the eerie & lonely sounds of the night punctuated with the call of the whippoorwill, Screech Owl and maybe the yapping sound of a distant fox. Adding to this was the children's imaginations, especially if the old place was approached at night.
At one point in its history the old home was converted into a large dairy operation and was affiliated with the Streit Milk Company of Sheffield Alabama. I believe some of the old barns are still standing today. The old house eventually suffered at the hands of neglect & time. What remains today 2007 is a flattened pile of decaying timbers lying on the ground. I visited the old graveyard several years ago known as the Stanley Cemetery. To my dismay I found no gravestones, but recently figured out I had perhaps visited the wrong grove of trees. I think I went to what is believed to be a Slave Graveyard which has no marked graves today. Either they all fell and sunk below the ground or they were destroyed. That Slave Graveyard is about a 100 yards southeast of the Stanley Cemetery.
A recent conversation with Albert Streit reveals these letters of 1950s & earlier history of the Mt Pleasant, Hatton School & Old Brick Communities of east Colbert County Al.
The fishermen and Bud Willie Streit., Short entertaining accounts in the lives of the Austin/Medley & Streit families
To my recollection there was at one time a written history of this home and its old cemetery in the Tuscumbia Public Library. It is an of loose pages assembled in scrap book fashion. That makes it very fragile and also subject to pilferage since the genealogy room there was open to the public just as the other parts of the library are. Would enjoy getting my hands on that book to formally publish it under the original compiler's name. I would know more about this except when I am over in the Shoals it is usually Saturday and the Library is closed. Wayne Austin 19 Jun 2007. I visited the Tuscumbia Library and they no longer have the history book in the genealogy room. It was probably destroyed or pilfered 19 Oct 2009.