Preserving the history of St. Clair County, Alabama
Preserving the history of St. Clair County, Alabama
The St. Clair Historical Society seeks to protect and preserve the county, community and family history of St. Clair County. In addition to managing the Looney House Museum, the Society sponsors the 4th Grade History Fair each year and presents various other programs pertaining to St. Clair County history.
The John Looney House Museum is a very significant historic site in St. Clair County, Alabama. It turns 200 this year. The log house is rare in that it is one of a very few that has a double dog trot. It has visitors from all over the United States and even some from other countries.
Squirrels chewed on the wood between windowpanes causing panes to fall out. Weather takes a toll on buildings, and they need upkeep. There are board and railings that need to be replaced. There is even a door needing some work. Those windowpanes need replaced after the windows are repaired to hold the windowpanes. The chinking needs to be replaced to keep rainwater from rotting the 200-year old logs. This is an expensive undertaking.
Please help us defray the expenses by buying a T-shirt. They are a very nice, soft charcoal gray with white lettering and Looney House outline on the back. All proceeds will go toward the restoration of the Looney House. Buy one and wear it to let people know that we need their help. They are only $15 and make great Christmas gifts. It is not too early to be thinking about that. The URL to order your shirts:
LOONEY HOUSE T SHIRTS NOW ON SALE!
Order yours today for only $15.00
All proceeds go to help restore the 200 year old John Looney House.
Click on the link below to purchase
The 1908 picture is of a school in the Odenville area. A chart with all the names was found with the picture. It is attached also.
The 1905 picture is of a one room school we believe in the Ashville area. In the picture are John Yarbrough (born 1897), Fitz Yarbrough, Thurman Cox and Gussie Cox. If anyone can identify any of the other students, please send the names to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the attached list
The Historical Society owns and maintains the Looney House, a 200 year old, two-story dogtrot home in Ashville that is loaded with history. Various events are held during the year and tours are given by appointment. For more information call Frank Waid 205-837-7790 or Liz Sorrell 205-884-9213.
The Evening Star Shines Brightly—Evening Star Baptist Church First published in The St. Clair Times, Pell City, Alabama, February 27, 2018
By Joe Whitten
Evening Star Baptist Church has an interesting beginning, an interruption, and a new beginning, all of which evidences God’s providence in one of His church. I find it a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness in restoration.
Daniel S. Varderman is credited with the 1914 beginning of this church, for in the spring of that year he brought Rev. E. H. Grizzell to preach a revival in a brush arbor erected on Willis Merrill’s property. After the revival ended, Willis and wife Rebecca donated 2 ¼ acres on which to erect a church house.
They had the building completed and in use by Summer 1914, but in the winter of the same year, a storm destroyed it. Determined to have a church, they rebuilt in the spring of 1915.
The 1915 building was 60x40 feet in dimensions, with 12 inch wide boards for flooring and 14 foot ceiling. The windows had shutters only, no glass, and seats were constructed of planks nailed to wooden blocks. Lighting came from kerosene oil lanterns and lamps.
Family names making up the first members include, Mathis, Varderman, Perry, Macon, and Merrill.
Daniel Varderman named the church Evening Star. No reason is recorded for why he named it that, but perhaps he thought of the brightness of Venus lighting the darkening sky as evening draws down to night, and he saw a comparison of the church as a light in a dark world needing the light of the Gospel
A major interruption came in 1917 when, in the late summer of that year, the church had a “foot washing” ceremony—a ceremony many rural churches observed in those days. Something occurred which some members didn’t like. Whatever this was, major or minor, it caused the church to break up, and members started attending other churches.
The building remained vacant until 1920 when the community cleaned it up and used it as a school. The school continued until 1928.
Again, the building stood stark and empty, though sometimes over the years it became a hay barn. Vines crept the landscape which flourished with weeds and briars. Even the well water at one point was contaminated.
One would think it impossible for a church ever to rise from such as this, or that the Water of God’s Word would flow again from its pulpit.
But in God’s time, it did!
In 1938, Rev. W. J. Bryan saw the need for a church to flourish again in that building, and he began to encourage the people to organize. The community responded by clearing the grounds around the church, restoring the lights and shutters, and cleaning the inside of the old church until it gleamed with welcome for worship services to begin.
Rev. Bryan preached one Sunday each month that summer, and one can imagine the old church building itself rejoicing in that it was a place of singing and worship once more.
In late summer 1938, Rev. John Goodman came and preached a revival that resulted the reorganizing of Evening Star Baptist Church. During this revival, twenty-two responded for baptism, two came on statement of faith and previous baptism, and two transferred membership from another church.
Records state that on August 7, 1938, the “…presbytery this day met duly and truly and scripturally reorganized Evening Star Church.”
The reorganization was successful, and the church has thrived for eighty years now. The present pastor is Shon Phillips and in 2017 the church reported a membership of 128.
The light of Evening Star Baptist Church did not go out, and it still casts a light of hope into a world that often seems to grow darker by the year. Light, however, shines most brilliantly in darkness. May Evening Star continue to glow.
[The information for this article came primarily from Pauline Macon who collected and wrote the history of Evening Star in 1982. This history is on file at the St. Clair Baptist Association office in Ashville. This fine little history of the church lists pastors, along with their accomplishments and photographs, from 1938 to 1982. Thank you, Pauline Mason, for researching and writing this history.]
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The current officers of the St. Clair Historical Society are:
President - Sandi Maroney
Vice President – Sharon Ingle
Secretary – Elizabeth Sorrell
Treasurer – Carol Waid
Board Members: Brenda Riddle, Rosemary Hyatt
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