History of Girard, Alabama – people remember part 3

history of girard alabama



by  Page, read her CGO column Glory Days

GIRARD, ALABAMA — Girard, Alabama was a city in the far north-east corner of Russell County, Alabama across the Chattahoochee River from Columbus, Georgia. From 1832–1839 Girard was the first county seat of Russell County. It was incorporated around 1833. In 1923  merged with Phenix City, Alabama. Thus the history of Girard Alabama became almost forgotten. Sandra takes much of Girard’s forgotten history and puts in on the table for all to see and enjoy.

Our Girard and Phenix City, Alabama emails started out with an email from Ed Meadows of Phenix City. Ed wrote just one email asking a question and from there the Alabama and Georgia lists were flooded with emails asking questions and sharing memories. I am grateful to the List Managers…who allowed the emails to flood the Lists. In a way, the emails were about genealogy and in some ways, they weren’t. However, the Georgia, Alabama, Russell, Lee, and Muscogee List Mangers didn’t one time ask us to keep to the subject of genealogy. Thanks, List Managers and to our own Kemmis.

As for the History of Girard Alabama —  I talked with former Mayor Sammy Howard, of Phenix City, Alabama, about being one of my guest writers and sharing his memories , the early years of his life and what went on in Girard. I am looking forward to hearing from the former Mayor Howard. My grandmother (born 1874) and mother born 1906) were born in Girard and I am looking forward to reading his memories of a small almost forgotten  (in the words of my daughter Jan Doolittle Page) , but not quite gone.

I was surprised, to find out Girard not only had a school it also had a College. I am going to hold off sharing any more about Girard, I am sure Sammy is going to tell you much more than I can .

1966 Centraal Higs School Reunion "2006"
1966 Central High School Reunion “2006”

The first thing a person who works in genealogy does when they meet someone new and more so if their ancestors are from the same area (the way I checked out Sammy Howard’s ancestor, and I did find a Howard from Phenix City, Alabama area in my line, tracing it back will tell if we are related or not..which I haven’t done yet.) is to check out their ancestors to see if they are related. I went to my Family Tree Maker and sure enough, there was a Howard married to my McBride , Lynn, and McKenzie Family. You would think everyone who is named Smith and Jones is related, but oddly they aren’t. In genealogy you can’t put a square peg in a round hole, it just won’t work. There is no second guessing and no assuming, the bloodline doesn’t skip around and DNA can peg you. Family stories are great that has been told through the years, but true genealogy has to be documented from one line to another before you can move on.

Speaking of Genealogy, a friend of mine , Beth Callaway, called me one night excited about what she had found on Ancestry.com When I heard her voice on my answering machine I though she was crying she was so excited, I though she had called to tell me something had happened to Ron, but the more I listened I could tell she was excited about what she had found on Ancestry.com One line had linked with another and she was as far back to the 400 AD in England.. I told her when she passed Jesus she might want to stop. Beth was one happy lady what she had was a generation to generation blood line documented. I, my ancestors goes back eleven and twelve generation and I can’t get them out of Alabama on my maternal side. I know my paternal Waldrops stepped off the boat in South Carolina but I can’t find who or when or where in South Carolina. Back to Beth, I am very happy for Beth, the feeling she has is joy from years of hard work. Beth’s maiden name was Smith …. her ancestors didn’t make it easy for her. But she has had great success in spite of the name Smith. Beth has had the success in Genealogy we have all longed for.

Now here are the emails about Girard and Phenix City, Alabama I promised everyone. I left the date and email addresses in case anyone wants to contact someone and want to ask them questions. Everyone can THANK Ed Meadows from Phenix City for these emails and much more by asking one question this is how the following email conversations were started. (Ed’s dad Dr. Meadowns was a Vet. in Phenix City.)

From Betty J Rackley:

I remember the day John Patterson was shot and killed, {I guess most of us do} Well I got married Oct 1950, My daughter Hazel Elizabeth Taylor was born Jan 18, 1953, and we lived in Wilson Apts., Columbus, Ga. Someone knocked on my back door, it was the milkman who delivered for one of the dairies {memory doesn’t recall which one} Well he was scouting for new customers and my daughter had been so sick and the DR had changed her milk and poor baby couldn’t keep it down. I told the milkman to leave me 2 quarts to  I tried it, and low and behold the milk stayed down and my Baby stopped crying. Thanks to Mr. Patterson who was John Patterson’s brother.{ he told me that morning about the murder of his brother}

Betty J Rackley Taylor and Arthur Thomas Taylor

Anyone researching James, Harris, Dunsford, Tanton, Arthur P James and Dorna Harris James John W Harris Camelia Merle James Tanton Uhrek Selettia James Garrison James

Betty Rackley Taylor

Ann Brown

Ann Brown — second from left, part of four generations. Ann’s ancestors in Columbus and Muscogee County are the Jefferies They were also in business in Phenix City, Alabama at Idle Hour Park. Ann Delilah mentioned Idle hour Park. At one time, my Jeffries grandparents operated the restaurant there. I couldn’t tell you the years, but it was on the water and had a deck upstairs, that I seem to remember hung out over the water. I would guess sometime in the early 1950’s. Also, my dad, Jerry Coots, owned a couple of places in Columbus. First, he had a place called “Jumbo’s”. It was a small cafe type place. Again, I was small, so it must have been around 1949 or 50. I’m sure there is no one on this list old enough to remember. Seems like it was somewhere near the railroad overpass, but I’m not sure.

Ann Brown

Hi I’m Melanie,

I have enjoyed reading all the stories of Phenix City and some of Columbus. I haven’t read all the emails but I don’t remember anyone writing about Chicken Comer Bar B Que in Phenix City. I’m in my late 50’s and I remember my father telling my brother and me to get dressed up, it was Saturday night, as we were going out to eat. I am guessing I was 6 or 7 years old. We all got in the car, he had a 53 Chevrolet up to 58 when he was sent to Germany. He had it shipped to Germany and we used it all 3 years there. Yep, I’m an Army Brat!! When we arrived at the place my father said we were going to eat at I was so angry at him making us get dressed up to eat Bar B Que! I believe then it still was divided for the Whites and Blacks. Good food there!! Also, my late Uncle Sammy Oates owned the diner on Victory Drive for many years, think it was called the Victory Streamliner Diner. Anyone remember it? I was raised in Columbus, Ga but was born in PC AL. Was always embarrassed by that because of the bad name PC had. My mother told me that Dr. Bush had a quarrel with the Doctor’s at the Medical Center in Columbus, GA so that is why I was born there. I also remember watching them film The Phenix City Story.

Hi, Melanie

I just wanted to comment about being embarrassed about being born in Phenix City….a couple of years ago I was at a seminar, and the speaker had everyone say their names, and where they were from. I kind of sheepishly said “Phenix City, Alabama”, and he sorta paused and grinned, and said, “Oooh, Sin City”. I just sort of replied “Yep”. But, having said that, Ed is right, it has changed considerably. In fact, no offense to anyone, but I think Phenix City has improved, but Columbus isn’t as nice as it once was. When I was a child, it was a big deal to dress up and go to town in Columbus, when the streets were bustling with shoppers. The biggest difference that I miss, is back then EVERYONE had a southern accent. It is disappointing to go into everything, and everyone has a northern accent! Sad…like a lost era!

I have some Crowders in Rutherford County, NC. Who were Robert A Crowder’s parents if known? And where in NC was Robert A Crowder? I saw he was from NC so I thought I would give it a shot. Maybe I can help if he is related to any of my Crowder’s. 3xgreatgrandparents>>>Frederick Grigg b 1768 Va. d1860 Cleveland County, NC, married to Sallie Crowder b Dec 18, 1800 in Rutherford County NC, d 1855 in Cleveland Cty, NC daughter of Wm Crowder and Phoebe Elder Also 2xgreatgrandparents: Thomas Goode Grigg b Dec 7, 1822, d 05-01-1900 married to Sarah Jane Crowder b 3-14-1830 d 9-27-1883 in Cleveland County, NC, daughter of Bartlett Crowder and Polly Broom Melanie I was born in 1935 in Phenix City as was my father. Went to Central High School and graduated in 1953. Keep in touch with my classmates by emails now as we live in a small town in Kentucky. Have many memories of the town and I was never ashamed of being from there.


We arrived at the place my father said we were going to eat at I was so angry at him making us get dressed up to eat Bar B Que! I believe then it still was divided for the Whites and Blacks. Good food there!! Also, my late Uncle Sammy Oates owned the diner on Victory Drive for many years, think it was called the Victory Streamliner Diner. Anyone remember it? I was raised in Columbus, Ga but was born in PC AL. Was always embarrassed by that because of the bad name PC had. My mother told me that Dr. Bush had a quarrel with the Doctor’s at the Medical Center in Columbus, GA so that is why I was born there. I also remember watching them film The Phenix City Story. That’s all for now,

Melanie Oates Malone

I believe that the Dr. Floyd ran his own “so-called hospital” where he delivered babies and then sold or gave them away, the only hospital in PC was the one up on the hill coming into PC How interesting about Dr. Floyd. I didn’t know about this, but it isn’t so surprising to find this probably happened. Did anyone else ever hear about this? Phenix City closed the old hospital up on the hill several years ago and a new one just opened up on Hwy 280 going towards Opelika, Al. It is called Summit Hospital.

You know back then, you could just leave your door unlocked and the milkman would put our milk in the “ice box” – Speaking of the milk man. When my father got out of the service from WWII, he went to work for one of the dairy’s, I think it was Kinnett so on my Birth Certificate he IS the Milk Man!!! Hubby has Birth Certificate locked up so I can’t look at it right now. How funny is that? I remember milk being delivered way back then, it tasted so good before they took all the fat out of it as it is now.

I am a little bit confused. Someone wrote that Girard became Phenix City. I still find Girard listed on my new Rand/McNally map. My Daddy (Charlie Kilgore) was born in Girard in 1907. Is there anything left in Girard? Any libraries?

Thanks, Joyce

From: J Stimson

I am a little bit confused. Someone wrote that Girard became Phenix City. I still find Girard listed on my new Rand/McNally map.

A Rail-Road sign on Brick Yard Road is about all that is left of Girard.


Hi, The Phoenix City thread is interesting to read. Living a long way from there I have especially enjoyed reading the part about the textile workers and living styles. If the directory books you mentioned are easy and at hand, would you consider doing a look up for two names? They are Guy Vann and Maggie or Margaret Vann-Cobb. Edward, Maggie and Guy Vann are my mysteries of the era 1890 to 1920. Again, thank you for the postings on the area and lifestyles. Do you have anything on the worker’s revolts in Nov 1919 when they revolted for better living conditions against the mills?


Hi Delilah and All,

I know the name of the people who owned my grandparent’s house at 428 Broad in Columbus before they did. It was Benjamin F. Marcrum. I found him in the city directory living there in 1886. I also found him listed in one of the older directories. He was in Phenix City then. I am trying to figure out who built the house and when. I am not sure if Marcrum built it or if it was already built when he and his family moved in. When I have a chance to get to Columbus, (Who knows when that will be!) I plan to see if I can find more. I know people who worked in Columbus and lived in Phenix City were listed in the Columbus City Directories. I was wondering if Phenix City had their own directories? This Marcrum family might also have a connection to my Jeffries line. Lizzie Marcrum, daughter of Ben married W. J Monte. Buried in Girard Cemetery is J. G. Monte (1848-1917) father of W. J. Monte. Also buried there, in his lot, is Mary Monte, (1887-1920) daughter of Mrs. Jane Jeffries. This Mary is the daughter of Henry and Mary Jane Jeffries, brother of my ancestor, Bolin S. Jeffries. I am trying to not only research the house but to also sort out the tangled lines of my Jeffries family. If anyone has an answer about the City Directories, I would appreciate whatever you know. I know there are older ones and some are not allowed to be copied. Just wondering how far back they go and as stated above, did Phenix City have its own directories? I am leaving in a while to go to a DAR convention in Orlando, so will be offline for a couple of days. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Big grin!

Thank you,

Anne Brown, on the history of Girard Alabama

Here I was talking to Ed. Meadows

Not to be blunt, but Ma Beechie’s , so called night Club was a whore house for the boys who were station at Fort Benning and others (Well, that’s what my parents told me.) I also remember a nightclub, I only went there one time with a bunch of friends, it was called Chad’s Rose Room and Chad was just a little too friendly for us teenagers.(Mama didn’t know about that night.) I remember the Hitching Post where we would pick up something to eat on the way to the Phenix City Drive Inn. My husband would never eat hot dogs anywhere but the 14th Street Grill.( As for me you can only eat a good Hot Dot at Terry Hurley’s Dingle Wood The Heavenly Father must have sent Lt. to this earth to make everyone so happy with his scramble dogs also at Dinglewood Pharmacy.)

I can remember being sick traveling from Columbus, across the River through Phenix City just to see Dr. David T. W. Chi. Dr. Chi treated my Carlton as a child and as a teenager when I was between Drs. Mercer Blanchard Sr. and Jr. and Dr. Harold Jarrell and Dr. Bob Carpenter I visited with Dr. Chi.

I can remember my husband talking about his back yard backed up to Hoyt Sheppard’s back yard. Hoyt went out of town and the person who was supposed to feed his two large dogs didn’t. My Carlton climbed the fence and fed these huge dogs. When Hoyt came home he was so touched that my Carlton fed his dogs, taking a chance they might bite him he bought my Carlton a brand new bicycle. Cloyd Tillery who owned the Phenix City Foundry was my Carlton’s uncle the brother of Bernice Tillery Doolittle. Carlton talked often how good his Uncle Cloyd was to the mother who raised him and his twin sister Carolyn as a single parent. Chester Howard Doolittle died when Carlton and Carolyn were about eight years old. I remember when uncle Cloyd Tillery, help my Carlton build a race car for the Soap Box Derby and he would have won if it had not been for the boy next to him, ran into him and Carlton hit the curb and if I remember correctly the boy won.

1966 Central High 40th Class reunion met in 2006. left to right Ron Rollins, Larry Hallmark, and Victor Web. If Ron is 6’1″ (he’s shrunk an inch), I wonder how tall Victor is. My great grand papa was 6’6″ and I am always asking everyone over 6′ how tall they are. I have two pictures of my gr grandpapa and I’m always trying to put his face, shoulders, and chest on a man over 6′.

I wonder if anyone remembers when Kirvens used to open the doors early in the morning some times of the year and the customers used to run through the door and buy items on sale. One night my Carlton, when a teenager, sat all night on the top step at the door of Kirvens, stayed up all night to be the first one in to buy his mama a washing machine and after staying awake and holding on to the door all night, he was ready to go in and take home a washing machine for his mama. When the time came, his door didn’t open and all the other doors did. Need I say more??? I get depress just writing about that night. If my Carlton was still alive, I would have to tell the Kriven’s family they owed my Carlton one washing machine. Knowing the Kirven family through their reputations in Columbus, they probably would give him

I remember as a teenager going across river and over the bridge on hay rides and the M. P. stopping us.(aww-man, can you believe we teenage girls flirted with the MP’s? It’s okay, we were with about thirty youths from Central Christian Church and being watched over by Rev. John Park Winkler.)

I remember visiting West Side Baptist Church , with Rev. Don Maverity Ministering. My Carlton was a member of West Side Baptist Church and attended and grew up there with his twin sister Carolyn Doolittle. I remember pushing a 1940 Hornet to get where we wanted to go, the Hornet belonged to Mickey Waldrop. I can remember a lot of us teenage girls were out looking for boys to flirt with in Phenix City, while driving around in my dad’s 1959 Ford, (brand new) and we stop to buy some cold drinks and I forgot to pull the brake up and it rolled away from the curb and was rolling down Summerville Road with us chasing it. Janice Wiggins Wyrosdick and I chasing the car down the hill , while the others stood there laughing. All I could think of while we were running was the car could roll faster downhill than we could run in high heels. I was thinking …. aww man, daddy is going to kill us. A couple of blocks later a curb on a curve had stopped the car. Saved by the Bell, no damage…to the car, and Jan and I didn’t have to receive damage from my Dad.

I am a writer for www.ColumbusGeorgiaOnline.com “Glory Days” on the community page. I write about the late 1950s. If anyone has any stories about their ancestors and Phenix City or stories about your school days and what you remember of your Glory Days, Church, school, Phenix City and the surroundings. Anything of interest , I will print it, with your permission. Pictures would be great. Contact me through CGO’s contact page.

If you remember the Phenix City old days, let me know or just your memories. I share my ancestors on my “Glory Days”, I would love to share anyone who has ancestors to write about or stories that are cute, funny , even sad ones that should be remembered. I would love to do a story on the Phenix City Story and where you were and what you were doing and also love to know about your ancestors and what part they played in Phenix City, good or bad.

Oh yes, at the 1966 Class reunion I attended with Ron Rollins, I found out that Sammy Howard, former Mayor of Phenix City ,was born and raised in Girard, Alabama. I bet Sammy has great memories to share with us. I heard Sammy speak at Ron Rollins’ 40th graduation Class ( Central High School in Phenix City, Alabama1966). Margaret Hare Miller did a wonderful job with Breakfast and the Dinner that Saturday night. Months before the reunion Margaret and Ron stayed , as the others, in touch by email with pictures and stories going back and forth. Even though the reunion was held every ten years the class was kept up during the missing years. You couldn’t have found another worker that could have done a better job. Not only did Margaret pull the reunion together but she was a perfect host.

We received a wonderful book Patrica Leatherwood Taylor had written about her life and Faith in the Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, they attended to her ,watched over her and allowed her to live in spite of death trying to claim her earthy body. The Holy Spirit was with her to comfort her in hard times and let her know the Holy Three was with her she wasn’t alone. The book was a must, she had to write it to give the Glory for her life to the Holy Three. Larry Taylor, Patrica’s husband, gave me the book during the Class reunion, Ron took it away from me and read it in a couple of days. Now I have it hidden under my computer , so I can read it. It is a wonderful book to read and pass on.

I would love to do a story on the Phenix City Story and where you were and what you were doing at that time and also love for you share your ancestors and whatever part they play in Phenix City, good or bad. This includes the Columbus, Georgia areas along with Harris , Troup, Meriwether, Taylor and Talbot Counties. Also along with Russell County , I invite Lee and Chambers Counties also. Plus anyone that has lived in this area. Please contact me at scalawag1826@cs.com

One day when I have received enough emails I would like to have a genealogy swap and exchange ancestors. Oddly enough Anne Brown and I linked back to the late 1700 and early 1800s with my Madrid and I believe her Crowders. Even Ron Rollins and I link up in the 1800s with my Lynns and his Jackson. My best friend Janice Wiggins Wyrosdick link up thru her husband Ralph Wyrosdick and my grandchildren Delaney Ann and Cody Weaver Doolittle thru their great grandmother’s Wyrosdick line.

Emails from friends and neighbors of Girard and Phenix City, Alabama.

Thanks for letting me share my memories with you all.

“History of Girard Alabama, P-3”,  by , read her CGO column Glory Days

About Sandra W. Doolittle 14 Articles
Sandra shares her Glory Days. Her early years are a look into the history of our part of the world. Her High school days, the sock hops, the soda fountains, her friends and love of family. Join Sandra for an interesting read.

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