Carpenters have been important to city

Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2015

There is nothing wrong with being a carpenter. After all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ engaged in this profession for almost 33 years when he was on this earth. And, according to the Bible, he was regarded as a very dedicated carpenter.

Atmore has had some dedicated carpenters over the years. I can remember, dating back to the 1940s, men who were regarded as highly talented craftsmen.

There were men who owned and operated their own construction companies. Men like James Digman, Elam Fayard, Jimmy Dukes, Maxwell Construction, Frye and Sons Construction, Young Construction, Snider and Smith Construction, Benny Floyd Barbarow and Johnny Taylor. There are others I am sure, but these come to mind right now.

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Then there were men who were pure carpenters at heart. Included are Willard Hicks, Wiley Ramer Red Powell and Mr. Amos, Anne Bell’s father.

Men like Willard Hicks, Mr. Eddie Staff Sr., James Norris, Bishop Lyons and former Perdido Jr. High Principal Steve Moseley had their own workshops where they spent uncountable hours in their workshops wrapped in their crafty offerings.

I think there is nothing more rewarding than turning out finished products made from wood. Led by their sheer imagination, some of these craftsmen left their creations for all of us to admire and appreciate now that they are no longer with us. Even on my front porch is a beautiful sturdy set of benches crafted by Mr. Staff from a repertoire of assorted wood he once had stored in his workshop. Just about every day, I see the wooden and colorful Santa Claus and reindeer sleighs that James Norris made for several local residents. By the way, he invites you over to his backyard workshop to view these Christmas souvenirs.

Cecil Daniels and Jimmy Biggs are now right in the middle of their vegetable production. Not only do these two men have “green thumbs,” but they have a knack for making their products taste “out of this world.”

Jimmy is known for that famous route, taking vegetables to his many friends in the area. I am so glad that I am on his “friends list,” because Ouida and I enjoy to the fullest those great tasting vegetables from his thriving garden.

Cecil’s offerings are on a commercial basis. Right now he proudly offers huge watermelons. Would you believe I won one of his watermelons last week at our Brooks Memorial Church “old folks” monthly luncheons. We have a door prize and I was the lucky winner. That melon weighed 40 pounds and was filled with one of the sweetest red hearts I have ever tasted.

While having lunch a few days ago at one of the restaurants near the interstate, I overheard a conversation between two couples that were also eating and were seated in the booth next to us. One of the ladies said, “In all our traveling down the interstate, I have never seen such an appealing location.” She went on to say that this is one of the most charming locations they had stopped at.

I leaned over and politely told her, “Pardon my overhearing your comments, but I do thank you for kind remarks about the Atmore area.” She told me they were from Minnesota and were thinking about settling down on the Gulf Coast. I told her we would be honored if they made Atmore their new home. She said, “We may just do that. We will explore this area some more. Already we like what we see.” Who knows, maybe that luncheon conversation may have generated us four more permanent residents.

Recognize the names of any of these 1940’s former ECHS students? Perhaps they were your parents or grandparents.
I ran across this from a handout by Jimmy Beck, which was given him by Byard Swift. Popular students back then were Mildred and Betty Walker, Robert Maxwell, Jeanie and Bo Keller, Dickie Dickinson, Ben Maxwell, Margaret Rodgers, Mary Lou Bennett, Billy Watson, Catherine Goldsmith, Betty Beasley, Herbert Holmes, Cora Bullock, Margaret O’Gwynn and Arthur Bethea.

That story I wrote three years ago about the haunted house in Uriah was picked up by a visiting journalist a couple of weeks ago when he was visiting Monroeville during the Harper Lee new book celebration. I received a call from this man and he wanted additional information on the scary activities in this huge structure. I explained to him that my story was only a rehash of a TV show, which depicted in detail how Gene Garrett moved the house from two counties away to its present location. He told me he was now writing an article about this intriguing home. From the manner that he is tracking down information, I get the impression he wants to make it into a book and then perhaps a movie. It would be nice to have the Atmore area featured in such a manner.

More next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at