Selma is one of the oldest surviving cities in Alabama [photographs]

Visit the 42nd Historic Selma Pilgrimage on March 17th -18th, 2017 which will showcase exquisite home and building architecture, fabulous art, an in-depth investigation of Selma’s pivotal role in the American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement combined with Southern hospitality beyond compare. Pilgrimage patrons will delight in the magnificent visuals during the weekend events. Click here for more details.


Selma is known world-wide

The city of Selma in Dallas County, Alabama is known world-wide due to its prominence in the Civil Rights struggles and march from the Edmund Pettus bridge to Montgomery, Alabama, but there is much more to learn about Selma.

Edmund Pettus Bridge

pettus, edmund bridge

Home of 13th Vice President

Located on a high bluff of the north bank of the Alabama River in Dallas County, Selma is near the geographical center of the State. It was the home of the 13th Vice President of the United States William Rufus Devane King. From one or two log cabins in the wilderness of Alabama in 1815, Selma became a populous and wealthy city in only fifty years. Today, Selma is one of the oldest surviving city in Alabama and has the largest historic district with over 1250 historic structures.

Thomas Moore was the first white settler in the vicinity of what would later become Selma. In 1816, Thomas Moore settled in what was originally known as High Soap Stone Bluff. After Thomas Moore built his log cabin, the area was renamed Moore’s Bluff. Moore’s log cabin was approximately located where Water and Green streets meet. He supported himself and family by fishing and hunting and remained the only inhabitant for about a year. Several families from Tennessee joined him in the small community by 1817. However, Thomas’ family and the new settlers were plagued with fevers from malaria and other diseases so they left the location.

In 1817, John Simpson built a log house where James J. Bryan’s store later located followed by a log house built by Elias Parkman. A large log house was built at the corner of where Greene and Water street by Mike Woodall for an eating house, or hotel. It was in this house that General LaFayette was entertained in 1825.

Vice-President William Rufus King. King was the only Vice President from the State of Alabama and held the highest political office of any Alabamian in American history. He was the third vice-president to die in office.

william rufus king

King’s home was built on the Alabama River

Colonel William Rufus King, having located three miles south of Selma around 1818, took an active part in establishing the town of Selma. Colonel King was a young diplomat, first in Naples and later to St. Petersburg, Russia, prior to his move to Alabama. After completing his Russian tenure, he followed his older brother, Thomas DeVane King to Alabama. His brother settled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, while Colonel W. R. King settled on a large bend of the Alabama River in Dallas County. There he built his home, Chestnut Hill.

On the 16th and 18th of March, 1819, before Alabama was admitted as a State into the Union, William Rufus King and George Phillips bought from the United States all of section 36, township 17, range 10, and section 31, township 17, range 11, lying north of the river, which equalled about 1,101 acres.

A company was organized for the purpose of laying these lands off into a town.

Origination of Selma’s name

Colonel W. R. King, upon perfecting the organization of the company, was given the privilege of naming the town. Being of a literary turn of mind, and fond of the writings of ancient poets, he named the new town Selma. The name comes from Ossian’s epic poems Songs of Selma. Ossian, a blind poet, was the narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson around 1760. Macpherson claimed to have collected word-of-mouth material in Scots Gaelic which was said to be from ancient sources. “Ossian’s poems caused a sensation when they were published on the cusp of the era of revolutions, and they had a massive cultural impact during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is said that Napoleon even carried a copy into battle.”

The Songs of Selma are the most famous poems of Ossian. Selma is the fictional royal castle of King Fingal, an invention of Macpherson, however, it is not mentioned in the Celtic tradition. In Greek, the word Selma means a seat, a throne or a row of seats.

The Dawson-Vaughan House in Selma, Dallas County, Alabama was the home of Elodie (Todd) Dawson, Abraham Lincoln’s half sister-in-law, Elodie Breck Todd was the daughter of Robert Smith Todd and Elizabeth L. Humphreys and the wife of Nathaniel Henry Rhodes Dawson (1829-1895).

Elodie (Todd) Dawson

Elodie dawson, selma

Dawson-Vaughan House in Selma, Dallas County, Alabama

Film of Selma, Alabama in the 1930s.

Have you heard excessive brain labor causes baldness or the cure for wrinkles is a tepid bath in bran? Do you want to know Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for Vinegar of the Four Thieves or how to make Ox Tail Soup? Have you ever had ‘blueberry pickles’, ‘batallia pie’ or ‘snow birds’? You will learn all this and more in “Vinegar of the Four Thieves.”

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past is a collection of household tips, medical cures, clothing care and old recipes from the 1800’s and 1900’s. Many of the tips, such as the household cleaners, cooking tips and ways to control pests, still work and are helpful in today’s ‘green’ environment while others such as ‘how to cure a dog of eating eggs’ will make you laugh. Either way, this book will help you appreciate the difficult life your grandparents endured.With Bonus: First two chapters of novel Ribbon of Love

Check out all books and novels by Donna R. Causey

 

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past


By (author): Donna R Causey
List Price: Price Not Listed
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

18 Responses to Selma is one of the oldest surviving cities in Alabama [photographs]

  1. Rode my bike across that bridge many times.

    • I rode my bike over the bridge in late 1939 when wooden planks covered bridge structure and pedaled on out to Craig Field which was under construction at the time.
      Joe [email protected]

  2. Pingback: Alabama threw parties for Lafayette [photographs] and Selma played a prank on the citizens of their town - Alabama Pioneers

  3. Believe I flew under this bridge in the 1960s

    • ken williamson says:

      I worked at Tillman drug store ln the 1960 and avery body talking about a plane flying under the bridge that came from craig.

    • Aviation cadets at Craig Field who thought they were hot stuff in early 1940s gotr washed out of pilot training for pulling that trick.

  4. there is an amazing account of the fall of selma during the civil war in Ethel Armes book, The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama.

    • Hi Mike — Is this the Mike Holmes of AP fame? I’d love to know where to get the book you referred to. I grew up in Selma and have been slaving several years over a personal history of the city.
      Joe [email protected]

  5. Selma today is like looking at a log after termites had their way with it.

    • An apt description Blake. I grew up there in 20s-40s and cry every time I go back.
      Joe [email protected]

  6. Peggy NashPeggy Nash says:

    Selma is my hometown and i love it

  7. Kay HansenKay Hansen says:

    Karen, thank you for posting this picture. I lived there for 3 years and the people, no matter what color were the nicest and sweetest people I have met. Old southern traditions, were very important to them…no true southern woman would go out without her hair done, makup on and gloves. It was awesome and the history is amazing. Did you know that there was a ship building business there during the civil war? or that Jesse and Frank James used to hide in Selma on Waters Ave. Wonderful place to live

  8. Kay HansenKay Hansen says:

    Karen, thank you for posting this picture. I lived there for 3 years and the people, no matter what color were the nicest and sweetest people I have met. Old southern traditions, were very important to them…no true southern woman would go out without her hair done, makup on and gloves. It was awesome and the history is amazing. Did you know that there was a ship building business there during the civil war? or that Jesse and Frank James used to hide in Selma on Waters Ave. Wonderful place to live

  9. Way to go Kevin Henderson. Great video.

  10. Pingback: Throwback Thursday - Alabama news from 1874 - Alabama Pioneers

  11. Lived on Craig AFB for a couple years in the 50s.

  12. Too bad the democrates ran the re enactment out of town

  13. Selma has really gone downhill over the last 20 years.

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