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This is a picture of a commode in an outhouse on Stevens Avenue in Dallas Village. One like it was on my grandmother's back porch (she had sort of indoor plumbing - HA). What makes this an important picture and one worthy of my mentioning in a long poem I wrote about my childhood and my memories of the mills.
First - my Great Grandparents John Simeon Rousseau and his wife Lucy Ann Elizabeth Bates Rousseau lived on Stevens Avenue and worked in Dallas Mills.
Second - My grandmother, mentioned in this page went to work in Dallas Mills when she was very young. It was said she had to stand on a box to operate the machine she worked on in the mill.
Third - My mother Bonnie Bell Gaines McCown was born on Stevens Avenue in the home of her grandparents John Simeon Rousseau and his wife Lucy Ann Elizabeth Bates Rousseau.
Forth - This commode was behind the house my parents bought on Stevens Avenue (after my Dad, Walter Wade McCown, Sr. retired from Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Gadsden, Alabama) right across from the house where my mother's grandparents John Simeon Rousseau and his wife Lucy Ann Elizabeth Bates Rousseau lived and my mother was born. Mama loved the village enough to want to move BACK!!!
Fifth - My Dad's people worked in Dallas Mills - my grandmother Mary Eliza "Miss Mollie" Webster McCown and others.
God Bless you for the website; it does more than the city of Huntsville has ever done to preserve "OUR" mill history.
A photo of a commode in an outhouse on Stevens Avenue in Dallas Village Circa 1930
I just found a census showing my husband's family was at Dallas Village in 1920. His occupation was listed as a Sawyer in the cotton mill. I'm wondering if there is a book about the history of the Dallas Mill & Village around 1920. I just finished reading some of the Rison-Dallas Community website. Very interesting - learning a lot of history from that area.
(Editor's note: I told Darla that I'm not aware of a book in question but that she may wish to check with the Heritage Room of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library at 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville AL 35801, (256) 532-5969, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The family was Robert Gulley (Robb), his wife Iva and children. The 1920 census lists Dallas Village, Dallas Madison Alabama. It states Robert Gulley worked in a cotton mill, which could possibly be the Dallas Cotton Mill. Not sure when he lived there.
I am trying to put together a family history book for my granddaughter. All of the older generation is gone. There is no one to ask questions about the family. My husband's family left Alabama in 1951 and he hasn't been back.
Really glad that I saw your site; love all the pictures.
I just became aware of your web site by someone doing some genealogy research, as I have not lived in Huntsville since the 1970s. I attended Rison School for seven years, from 1956-1962 and again from around 1964-65. I have thoroughly enjoyed the articles; brings back lots of memories.
First, I want to thank you for the work you've done in keeping the memory of Rison and the other Huntsville mill schools alive. I just happened upon your website and suddenly many, many memories came flooding back of my life in the Madison County school system from 1951-1963. My father attended Joe Bradley high school and I and my brother James and sister Jill attended Rison, Lee, Butler, and Huntsville High. We never moved from 701 Stevens Avenue, but the school districts kept changing! I was in the first class of students to attend the new Lee Junior High, as it was then.
Most of my memories are of Rison school, however. Rison was the center of village activity, even in the 1950s. We had permanent barbeque pits on the (I believe) north side of the school where routinely whole hogs would be roasted all evening for the next day's feast for whatever occasion needed a celebration. My dad would be one of the cooks and he smelled so good when he came home! Every summer a veterinarian would donate his time to vaccinate dogs on the school grounds for $3 to control dreaded seasonal rabies. All the children who had dogs would form a virtual parade up Oakwood to the school with their pets; ours included. My brother James was a member of Mr. Fain's safety crossing guards and my father a member of the Epworth Methodist Bible study class directed by Professor Fain. My studies were directed by Mr. and Mrs. Kennamer, Mrs. Ward, Mr. Myhand, Mr. Blackburn, Mrs. Hanvey, Mrs. Pullen, Ms. Womack, and Mrs. Pearson. They all were strict and competent teachers and I learned that order and discipline foster the learning process. I, too, became an educator, graduating with a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University in 1973. Although I have made my living in the aerospace engineering field for most of my career, I do credit my predilection for learning to my first teachers at Rison school.
Forgive the rambling; I'm just so excited about having found the site!
Thank you all again,
(Editor's note: In response to my queries, Jan also said the following.)
Thank you so much for responding! What fun it is to reminisce!
My maiden name was Holt (Jan Madeline Holt) and I was married at Epworth Methodist on August 29, 1966. Mr. Fain was my dad's (James Erle Holt) Sunday school teacher and good friend, since they had been at Joe Bradley school since Mr.. Fain's first year as principal (I believe he was only about 19!). They played sports together until Dad left Alabama for Indiana to take a US Government job during WWII. He came back to Huntsville in 1951 and worked with Dr. Von Braun on the Redstone Missile. My father's life story is quite interesting and it is in search of his history that I came across the link to Rison school. Both he and his father were "bobbin setters" in the old Dallas Mill. Dad retired in 1976 as Quality Control Director at Redstone Arsenal - and that's quite a success story.
I am currently an editor/technical writer for an "internationally recognized aerospace corporation" and founder of Write Now Editing, Inc., my freelance company (my evening and weekend job).
Mrs. Hazel Ward was my fourth-grade teacher and is pictured on your site in the 1953 yearbook. That was 59 years ago! If you mention selling Dr. Pepper sodas out of her "cloakroom" and she laughs, she's my teacher!
Feel free to use my message and email address, email@example.com. I would love to hear from other "students" from Rison school.
Thank you (this is so much fun!),
(Editor's note: This reader has given us some missing information that will be added to the School Principals page.)
In looking over the Lee High School e-newsletter, I noticed the information about the Rison-Dallas museum and thought perhaps I could be of assistance. My father was Alva Strang Simms.
Daddy was principal at Rison from 1957 or 1958 to about 1962 or 63, if I remember correctly . . . then he went to Chapman Elementary until his retirement in about 1967 or so.
Before going to Rison he was briefly at the old Lincoln Mills Schools – before that he was at New Market, Riverton, and Hazel Green.
It’s interesting that I was looking at a poem today that was written for Daddy when the school did a take-off of “This is Your Life” for him. I do remember going to the event . . . I was in the 5th or 6th grade if I remember correctly.
If I can help with your project in any way, will be happy to do so.
I’m also in hopes someone might be able to help me out with something. I’m looking for anyone who might have any old 8 or 16mm footage of Daddy that they would be willing to share with me.
My father was 52 when I was born and I literally grew up with “grandparents” as it were. A simple Brownie Kodak was about as “high tech” as our household ever got! So I do not have a voice recording of my dad; nor any video. Having this would be a great thing for him two boys and my only grandson.
At any rate, I’m glad to see the effort at preserving the history of the area. I’m big into genealogy and can trace the Simms line back to William the Conqueror (with a couple of royals thrown in the mix as well)!
Again, I’m ready to help in any way I can!!
Merideth Susan Simms (Meri Susan)
There is very little I remember about Huntsville, I couldn't even tell you any memories of Rison School except I believe it to have been made of bricks.
I remember leaving Huntsville and making the trip to Nashville on a rainy day, in an old car owned by my mother's brother Marvin. There were five children, mother and Marvin. Dad was not with us. I do not recall ever hearing why he was not with us. I was told this was in 1935.
Both Dad and mother at times worked at the mills there. He was James Henry Buckner, Jr., and she was Annie Mae (McCullough) Buckner. He, like myself, was the middle child among five; mother was the oldest of thirteen.
His father, James Henry Buckner, Sr., worked for years as an overseer in one of the mills.
The oldest son of JHB, Sr., was George A Buckner who later became a JP in Huntsville.
The second son was Walter Preston B, who went to Texas and we have never found info about him.
Dad was the third son, followed by sister, Nannie who married Forrest Suns.
The last child was Andrew Thorne Buckner who married Clara Schrimsher in Huntsville. Clara had a sister named Dora. I spent the better part of 1950 with Andrew & Clara in Gonzales, Texas, which by the way, was my birthplace in 1929.
Now back to the main subject of my mail: as I was exploring the Internet for info about the mills, somewhere I read about the strikes there in 1934 and someone had written that one of the mills wanted to have a workers union and the owner said that if they were unionized, he would close the mill (this is the same thing that Dad had told us). I think the letter stated that negotiations took place in September 1934 and the mill was shut down in November, the same year. I have forgotten where I found my info and have not been able to locate it. Our youngest son, Brian, has our genealogy and would cherish every bit of info about us.
I regret to say that because of bad health, I am not able to attend your reunions. I am of victim of COPD, asthma, and post-cancer, as well as old age. My wife, Geraldine, is crippled from her childhood bout with polio and her activities are also limited. Only two days separate our birthdays.
April 26th began our 60th year of marriage.
Monroe Buckner, MMB1929@aol.com"
How many of us old folks remember Mr Tippet?
Since I lived at 301 Halsey next to the YMCA I would watch Mr. Tippet set up his popcorn machine.
After I grew up I had a friend who lived in Boogertown (Ed. in West Huntsville) who knew him and told me the following story:
Mr. Tippet lived across the street from him and he watched him each week as he prepared his popcorn wagon for its journey across town to our YMCA. What I learned was astounding: it seems that Mr. Tippet physically pulled that wagon or popcorn machine across town and served us popcorn and peanuts on Friday and Saturday nights for movies. As a youngster I would watch him set up and could not wait until movie time. As I look back on that time it is absolutely astonishing that he had the strength to pull that wagon across town; that took a lot of strength and energy. My friend told me that was Mr. Tippet's only means of making a living for his family.
Good memories of those wonderful days.
Rudolph V Strickland"
My mother said that when Mr. Tippet was pulling his popcorn wagon through the village, my brother, Ron, would run behind him. At one of those times, mother was sweeping off the sidewalk in front of our house and said to Mr. Tippet: "I'll bet he (Ron) worries you to death." To which he replied, "Yes'm; I believe that he's the worrisomist kid I know." To which she did not reply - 'said that she just turned and went inside the house!
My father was Theron Fisher; Lana and Connie Fisher are cousins; Belle Fisher Bowers and Mildred Fisher Pinion were my father's sisters.
I always enjoy turning back the pages of time to see my family when they lived in the Village and had so many close friends, good times, and a community. Today we would all love to have the closeness and the community that these wonderful people enjoyed.
Oh, I forgot Beauton Fisher and his wife Jessie, they were Lana and Connie's parents.
I've heard stories and I remember many of these people because I was lucky enough to come to Huntsville from 1941 until recently. I always go over where the mill once stood and go by the house on McKinley where my grandparents lived from 1910 until their death in the late 50's. It was a very special place with even more special people.
Thanks for having the website and all those pictures for our generation to see and enjoy.
Barclay C. Fisher
This brought back many memories of playing ball for both Rison and Lee. I had lost track of my classmates, and this website brought back those memories. I graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics and I spent the last several years working for the Veteran's Administration. I have been married for 45 years, have three grown daughters and seven grandchildren.
I'll continue to check on the website from time to time so keep up the good work.
Thanks for the memories,
I thought you'd be interested in something I found today. You know that store on 5th Street (aka Andrew Jackson Way) that sells outdoor furniture (between O'Shaughnessy and Humes)? It's actually 2 stores, New Leash on Life And Cunningham's. Well, my wife and I went by there today just to browse and they had an old school desk for sale. I didn't ask where it came from, but I've got to think it might be from Rison or Lincoln School. I've attached a picture.
Glen Beatty (Editor's note: I don't remember Rison desks looking like this - did they?)
I was interested in checking the registry of workers for my grandparents name(s). Is this online for viewing?
Balyn Parker, firstname.lastname@example.org"
Editor's note: When I told Balyn that we don't have a registry, I suggested that he give us his grandparents' names. The names he provided are: Clarence West, Hattie Lorell West, and Elmer Ray Trapp.
Please let Balyn know if you remember these people.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I'm writing a book on North Alabama History and I came across your website. It is wonderful and the history of the mill and mill village is fascinating. I would very much like to learn more about it. Would you or anyone you work with be available for an interview at some time?
Jessica Penot, MS
Editor's note: Upon receipt of the above note, I suggested that Jessica give us a list of questions for your consideration. Here are her comments and questions:
"I find the mill's history very interesting and have several question that anyone could answer.
1. The mill closed in 1949 and the village was incorporated into Huntsville in 1955. What was that transition like? In the period leading up to this were there signs that this was going to happen within the community? What were they?
2. After the mill closed did the community remain strong? Did the community members stay together and, if so, what led to their eventually breaking apart and how long was it before the village community finally gave up and went their separate ways?
3. Are there any interesting urban legends, ghost stories, or stories that come from the village community that are unique to it?"
If you would be willing to respond to Jessica, please email her at email@example.com.
I enjoyed so much seeing this site. It has brought back many memories. My thoughts have been overwhelmed today with so many of the memories I had forgotten from this time of my life. Although I never attended Rison my brother did, and I remember going to Easter egg hunts, programs, and other events that he attended. I remember the old oak floors and how easy it was to slide down them.
Seeing the photos was like a trip back in time! I attended Chapman School and remember great teachers like Ruth Esslinger, Edith Womack, and Hazel Ward. Ms. Womack had taught many of the parents of students in my class. Ms. Esslinger had bingo on Fridays with the winner getting a candy bar. I also remember her "Jay Bird Table" for those who misbehaved. I was there a lot!
I have seen Mrs. Ward several times since (as recent as 2 years ago). She is still so kind and caring, always asking for an update on how you have been.
Thanks for all your efforts in saving a piece of history.
As it aged, Rison was deemed both uninhabitable and too costly to renovate. The arts were on the move again; TAC had relocated to a suite of offices in the new Von Braun Civic Center (where it remains to this day) around 1975, while four member organizations, the Huntsville Art League and Museum Association (HALMA, now known as HAL), the Community Ballet Association, the Alabama Film Makers Co-op, and Fantasy Playhouse Childrens’ Theatre, later took up short-term residence at the Annie C. Merts Center on Randolph Avenue. Records indicate this was in November 1979, though the dedication of the latest “Civic Arts Center” was not held until September 1981. The seeming delay may have been occasioned by refurbishment activities.
We are currently trying to organize a project of Oral Histories from the residents and workers of the mill villages. We are also looking at trying to set up some kind of museum of the mills and villages. We are getting started slowly and I wanted to contact you to see if there is any interest in these projects. These projects could incorporate all the mills and villages in Huntsville and be a wonderful preservation of a vital part of the history of Huntsville.
If anyone is interested, my cell # is 520-5225 and my personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don't know who is responsible for adding my Mother's name to the past year of deceased friends, but I cannot tell you how much it means to me. My Mother was loved by everyone that knew her and I miss her so much. Someone once told me that you never get over losing your Mom, and now I understand what they meant.
Harvel and I married there and lived there the first years of our married life. He was always proud of his heritage, and no matter where we lived he always called Dallas and Huntsville his home. He is in his heavenly home now. Our children know that their roots are in Alabama.
I hope I can be there this year for the reunion, but if not my thoughts and prayers will be with you.
Very recently I was at Vanderbuilt University Hospital where my military grandson is being treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. While we were waiting for him to have a bone marrow test I struck up a conversation with a very handsome gentleman named Mr. Don Morton who was waiting for his wife to finish her examination. When I found out Mr. Morton was from Huntsville I couldn't shut up. I asked if Steadman's BBQ was still there and Mullins hamburgers. He told me about how much Huntsville has changed but if you were a Dallas or Lincoln family those memories are treasures. Some of my people who worked at the mill were my mama Bonnie Owens, my aunt Irene Ramsey, my uncle Charley Headrick and your old sheriff of Madison County David Headrick was my cousin.
Later Granny moved out to Pulaski Pike where there was a beautiful country club across the street. On my Daddy's side of the family my grandfather was W.H. Payne and he ran a candy route.
One boy I thought was so cute was Sonny Boy Sharp and I think his mother was friend of my mother. I thought he was going be my boyfriend for sure.
Oh, those were sweet wonderful memories and if there are any pictures I'm sending my e-mail address for I would love to look for my people. My mother, Louise Payne, is still living age 88. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class at Rison High School in 1940. I still have a few relatives in Huntsville like John and Norma Herndon and Edith Hillis. Those were some of the very best years of my life and I was just a little girl. Thank you for creating this site for we need to remember where we came from.
Lynda Gayle Payne Tisch
The Wards came to Huntsville in the late 20's early 30's as Charles Ward had acquired employment with the mill; they came from Tennessee after the death of their Mom and 2 sisters - maybe T/B? Charles' father, Ed Edward Ward, was blind and he had 2 younger brothers, Clifford, Fred, as well as my Dad to care for until he married and then my Dad and uncle cared for him and his home until his death. Clifford married, had several children and just disappeared from Huntsville - I'm not sure when. In the 40's and 50's he and my Dad where roofers by trade; together they put the roof on the Russell Erskine Hotel, the high rise of the day. Together they traveled and worked in up-state cities doing really high rise work in New York, Pennsylvania, and D.C., to mention a few.
I've been able to verify some of these facts but am stumped here in Huntsville. I remember attending Christmas parties and huge egg hunts at the mill as a child and I am 100% sure of the employment of the family - just no proof; any suggestions?
Anita Bradford, email@example.com"
One was Towry(?) Grocery on the north side of McKinley Avenue about 3 blocks east of Andrew Jackson Way. I think the store was added on to a residence there and projected out from the front of the house toward the street. I don’t remember much except the entrance was on the east side near the front of the house and up some steps.
Another was Princes’ Grocery on the west side of Maysville Road in the curve near the Big Ditch. This store may not actually qualify as a Dallas Village store because it was almost outside the village on the east side. I recall it being there in 1958 when my family moved from Lee High Drive (old North Dallas Avenue) to Oakwood Avenue east of the intersection of Oakwood Avenue and Maysville Road. I am not sure if it is still there or not.
There was also a little store actually on the east side of 5th Street about a half block south of Oakwood Avenue. Because I don’t remember the name, this store may have been previously listed. My friend Walt Thomas once set his red car coat on fire while standing on the sidewalk outside the store one night; he stuffed a lighted cigarette in his pocket to keep his approaching Mother from seeing it. Since then we have both had the good sense to give up tobacco.
I’m searching the back recesses of my brain on this one, but I think Loftin’s store was on the southwest corner of 5th Street and Humes Avenue near Mike Smith’s house. I believe the father was Gordon Loftin and the son was Bart Loftin.
Collins (CE) Wynn"
Editor's Note: Names of some of the grocery stores in and around Dallas Village are listed in several places on this website. CLICK HERE to view a compiled list of those known stores. If you either know of others or know the missing location or names, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll update the list.
J.J. Kettle Store - Circa 1900
(click on the picture for a full-size version)
Do any of you remember that there was once a little store in Dallas Village called, J.J. Kettle? Our friend, Joy Daniel, who was born in 1917, doesn't remember the store but guessed that it could have been someplace on south Dallas Avenue near the mill. If you enlarge the picture, you'll see a sign to the left of the building that states, Gay-Ol. When I googled the name, the definition given was "insult." I can't imagine that was the original meaning - 'could've meant coal oil (kerosene); what do you think? Also shown in the picture, beside the post next to the lady, is a box that appears to contain wrist watches and knives. Hanging in right front is a stalk of bananas behind which is a sign that says, "J.J. Kettle, Groceries, Cold Drinks, Milk; on the last post on the right is a sign that says, "Ice Cream Today."
Jan Tash ( Janice Marie Salters)
I lived in Chapman Heights so I did not attend Rison, but I was sad to learn that the school had been demolished and replaced with a fire station. My grandmother's sister (Annie) lived in a mill village house on the other side of the RR tracks (on Davidson in Lincoln, I think) and many people on my father's side of the family worked in the mills. I do remember when Boeing converted some of the Mill buildings into offices for Boeing back in the 1960s. My father and I went to the barber shop at the corner of Andrew Jackson Way and Oakwood, which I believe may still be in business.
My grandfather Walter was the head mechanic at the old Huntsville bus company (the old Southern bus company.. the company was also in Birmingham).
I remember as a child seeing an old Victorian house at the corner of Lee High Dr and Withers. There were other large Victorians that belonged to the mill management in the vicinity. I remember one had been turned into a Boys Club (used to go there) during the 1960s. My mother's family is from Scottsboro/Jackson County, her family settled in the area during the early 1800s. My father graduated from Huntsville high in 1953, my mother in 1954. Their names are Glen and Jackie.
I was born in the old Huntsville hospital in 1960, a sixth generation North Alabamian. I am happy to say that I'll be moving back to Huntsville at the end of October. The summers are long, hot and muggy, but it's still home!
Also, I noticed that one of the 2005 Cookbook Committee Members, Ms. Helen Acuff, was also a great part of my childhood. Her mother, Ms. Emma Sanders, was my most-loved babysitter as a child. My “Sanders” and Helen were so wonderful and took such wonderful care of me. I always cherish them in my heart. It has been many years since I have had the much loved opportunity of hugging my Helen. My Sanders has passed from this life and I know she is with my Meamaw and they are drinking coffee on a front porch and just laughing the day away.
If you happen upon my Helen could you please pass on that little Wendy Roland, Brenda’s daughter, still loves her and would greatly love some news!
Bless the reader of this email and may you have a glorious day.
Wendy Roland McGuffie"
(Editor's note: Wendy lives in Nashville, TN, and plans to bring her husband and three children to this year's reunion.)
My eBay user's name is: lmk3491.
Does anyone from our area remember any more?
Rudolph V. Strickland"
I found your site because I am searching for Patricia Stephens whose picture is shown below and who graduated from Bangor High School in Bangor, Maine, in 1962.
A picture of a blond girl named Patricia Stephens appears on your great website in her 1957 9th grade graduating class.
Her father was in the Air Force stationed at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor.
Linda Steputis Beutel is the classmate who knew Patricia best.
Ellen Segal Russell (married to Whit Russell), ESR4513@aol.com""
In those days, I was known as CLINTON ANDERSON. I would really like to hear from anyone who might wish to respond.
Over the past 6 years I have reconnected with a great number of friends from Lincoln and would now like to reconnect with any old Rison friends and acquaintances.
Please contact me at: email@example.com.
I have the names of the people who went to Lincoln as most of them went to Butler and I have done the last 5 class reunions for the BHS 62. So those people are pretty much accounted for. I am attaching a list of people who mainly went to Rison to see if you have any addresses for them. Also, if you know of any of them who are deceased.
I was going to attend the reunion you had in August, but was out of town.
I am truly looking forward to hearing from you in the future.
Suzette Yost von Kamp
I was linked while trying to find out information on my husband's great-grandparents, who through deaths, and family re-distribution, had been lost somehow along the way.
I found that his great-grandmother Annie Barton was working with her family there, and most likely met, and married his great-grandfather William A. Fears there in 1907, according to records.
Annie's parents, Wilburn and Ellie Barton, came from the Coffee/Bedford county area of TN. From what I found on William A. Fears, his parents were from Bedford county TN as well. So,..I'm figuring the work drew them there, as I'm sure it did many others.
If anyone has any other information that they could share, it would be most appreciated. We still have no idea what happened to them, or where they might be buried.
My husband's grandmother (Edna Lorene Fears) and a sister were left to be raised by relatives at a fairly young age. Annie later re-married a "Harris", and started a new family near Chattanooga, the way the story was told.
Two of Annie's younger siblings (Florence, and Harlie Barton) were also listed on the mill registry. Perhaps their families might have some information?
In any case, thanks again for keeping this history alive!!
(Editor's note: If you can help Linda McC, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. We referred her to the cemetery information on our History page as well as to the City of Huntsville's website.)"
I received the generous gift from the Rison-Dallas Association today and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate it. Rest assured, the entire Clontz family will enjoy this gift! I thank you also for your donation to the Trinity United Methodist in my honor.
As always, it is my honor and pleasure to help maintain the Rison-Dallas.com website. I am very gratified to see what we have accomplished together, as evidenced by doing any kind of search on Google associated with Dallas Mill or Rison School in Huntsville, we consistently come out on top of the search results! I think it has become a valuable resource not only for members of the Rison and Dallas families, but also anyone interested in the history of Huntsville and of the cotton mill era in the United States. And my work on the website has not only helped me learn about a wonderful neighborhood and people that shaped Huntsville's past and future, but it has also helped me expand my skills in maintaining and developing websites!
So please don't hesitate to send further information my way to include on the website!
I want to express my regrets that Donna and I could not be here Saturday. The weekend you have your reunion is our anniversary weekend and the past few years Donna and I have had special plans together and cannot make your gathering. Please communicate this to your association for me as you have opportunity. I see this reunion as a very important part of our community of faith and would not want anyone to view my absence as uncaring. I understand you had a wonderful time again this year for which I am grateful.
We will mark the calendar for your time here next year.
Thanks again for the generous gift from your association.
While I grew up primarily in Lincoln Village, I did attend Rison for one year - the year I lived on O'Shaughnessy. I do remember Mr. Fain; however, my old alzheimered brain had identified the school as "Andrew Jackson" for years.
I fondly remember throwing a million rocks from the railroad bed into the Dallas Millpond. We spent many hours there throwing bottles into the pond and then throwing at them to break and sink them.
I also remember many summer days and evenings at Optimist Park. I think my first introduction to the Birmingham Black Barons was there. I have many fond memories of boxing and wrestling matches in addition to ballgames at Lincoln Park.
Keep up the great work. I hope to attend the 2007 reunion.
There is a mistake on the Dallas Mill Baseball Team - late 20s early 30s. I have three granduncles and two 1st cousins (twice removed) on that team. The person identified as Commodore Pinion (4th from left standing) is actually Commodore's older brother, Clarence Pinion, who married Frances Wallace. Commodore and Clarence are my granduncles and I knew them well. Both of them were excellent athletes. (Ed: Name change has been made.)
Commodore was the "Punt" Pinion who got the "unusual switching" Mr. Fain describes in the video clip. My family has shared a million laughs over the years on that one! Mr. Fain errs slightly concerning the nickname. Curiously, all four of the Pinion brothers, and even their father, went by the nickname of "Pont" - with an O.
Thanks again for a wonderful site.
Ralph Cantrell Jr."
I have looked everywhere for a picture of me to send. I have loads of Howell and Tom but I was always the photographer. 'Decided to write on this card so you could at least see how I look now 55 years after I was in Huntsville.
I hope the reunion is fun.
My best to you and all those who remember me.
Elizabeth Ann Heflin"
I believe that was the "most" food that we had ever had to enjoy.
Lorinne and I have enjoyed the cookbook, especially the pictures and the memories. Joy also bought one for Marguerite and will give it to her when she comes up for a visit when the weather gets a little cooler.
I thank you all for all the work you did; I just finished reading the "Memories" in the cookbook! I think the cookbook is great and I am sending one to Bill and his family.
We did have a special place to live and grow up - the school, "Y," and churches!
I thank the cookbook committee again for all your hard work. Juliana will enjoy cooking from the recipes for years to come.
'You brought a tear to my eye and jimmied loose sleeping brain cells unused for 60 odd years with your precisely picked words minus unnecessary hot air in between, sort of a cross between the late Jim Murray of the L.A. Times and Mark Twain...
Since 1940 I feel like I've been everywhere and done everything...twice. Now I have been yanked back to truly the best years of my life...There is something valuable about not having THINGS and STUFF come too easy...The reunion and your perfect article makes me think good thoughts about the past...Big is not better....EVER..
I'm leery of where our now parents and government are taking our youth... Did my parents say the same thing in their generation? I don't think so... Some say yes...
Thanks again for your valuable contribution to the Dallas-Rison reunion........and ME.'
"08/12/06: (Editor's note: After presenting a copy of our cookbook, "Cooking with the Village People," to our webmaster, Craig Clontz, we received the note below.)
Thank you so much for the copy of the cookbook you gave me. It is simply wonderful!
This document is so much more than a mere cookbook: it is a mini history of Rison and the Dallas Mill Village. I didn't realize you were going to incorporate so much of the information we have gathered on the website into the cookbook. It really feels different reading it on the printed page, I can almost hear the voices speaking their memories of the village.
I'm also very impressed with the job the folks at ColorXPress did in putting the book together. It's a top-notch job, I can't imagine it could have been done better by anyone, anywhere else. It's really not even comparable to other "local" cookbooks that I've seen before. I can tell they spent of lot of time getting the pictures composed and formatted properly for the pages and all the text, quotes, and recipes are perfectly arranged.
Please send my compliments and regards to everyone who put this wonderful book together. It's really amazing!
I went to Rison from the 1st grade (Miss Esslinger of course) to 5th and then had to go to Lincoln for one year. I went back to Rison (remember Mr. Jones?) for the 7th and 8th grades all the time waiting til I could go to Lee (all of us were) ... foiled again .. they built Chapman - so we went there for one year and finally to Lee. I graduated in 1968.
My son who is 31 stumbled across the Rison-Dallas Association website this past year and gave the link to me ... it is fascinating; it is wonderful. Thank you all so much! We live on Lee High Drive ... almost every day as I turn that corner, I am aware of the very special building that used to stand there.
See you tomorrow.
I remember the Labor Day cook-outs at the school the weekend before school started.
I saw John Earl Branum's name and it reminded me of the time I accidentally shot him in the leg with a b.b. gun. Because his father was a policeman, I hid under the house, scared that I might have to go to jail.
I also saw a note from Harvel Carroll who is my dad's first cousin; he married Tammy and me over 36 years ago.
There are not many people who can say that they had the same teacher who taught their father, but I can because Miss Esslinger taught both of us. We were told that if we told her how pretty she looked, she would give us a gold star for the day; I used that trick quite often!
Again I want to thank the people who put the reunion and the website together. There were so many memories stirred up as I read thru the website. Keep up the good work!
Robert J. Citrano"
I went from first grade with Miss Esslinger at the two-story house across Oakwood Avenue till the 9th grade and then to Butler. I lived on Rison Avenue.
Thanks for the websight; keep up the good work.
Joan Carroll Johnson (I went to Kindergarten and first grade--Rison)
Thanks again for all your hard work
Glenn and I moved to Birmingham because our sons settled here. We wanted to be near them and our grandchildren. We are happy here but still consider Huntsville our home. Keep up the good work on the website.
Thanks for your efforts,
Opal & Ben Parker"
I attended Rison 1st through 9th grade and have a lot of great memories. I worked in the office with Mr. Fain when I was in junior high. Every morning we got to go with Mr. Fain downtown to Monroe Business Equipment to buy supplies for the office. I can still smell his cigar in the car. Also was impressed, at that age, watching him type on the little typewriter in the office (the hunt and peck system). I can still remember all of my grade school teachers and a lot of my junior high teachers. My sister, Grace Ann Branum Butler, and brother, John Earl Branum, also went 1st-9th grade. We are all still living here in Huntsville as well as our Mother, Helen Branum, who was very active in the PTA at Rison for many years.
Mona Gay Branum Keith"
I would enjoy so much attending both events this year, but am not able to do so. I would like to see everyone. I still have several relatives in Huntsville, but I am the last sibling of eight.
My husband, O.E. Richardson, my sister, Alma Englebert Goodson, her husband, Houston Goodson, and I, Ruth Englebert Richardson, all taught at Rison at one time. Rich taught there 15 years, Alma, several years, Houston one or two, and I only substituted there. I even substituted for Mr. Fain as the Principal one day. My brother, Robert, received an MA from the University of Alabama, and taught elsewhere for many years. My oldest brother, Hiram (later named Ben), graduated at Birmingham Southern, and was a Professor there for 40 years. He also coached there. Theron Fisher was one Rison player that he brought there, and Theron graduated and later taught.
I hope that the reunion will be a happy, successful one, and thanks again for inviting me.
My regards to all,
Annie Finley Crowl"
R V Strickland"
I believe for a time Rison was used as a HALMA [Huntsville Art League] facility - that may be part of its missing history.
What I remember most is the seemingly innocent life back then; cake walks a "big deal", trying to find the extra quarter to bid on the one you really wanted a challenge. Walking to school, or riding a single speed bike with a big headlight than never worked. Huge windows open as it turned to summer - I actually got a window weight from there when they were tearing it down, and it must have weighed 40 pounds. The sound of the principal's bell ringing the end of recess, the sound of someone late for class running down the hall [don't let Mrs. Taylor catch you doing that!] on those broad boards that were the floor.
And I remember, too, the sinking feeling I had when, as a seven year old 2nd grader newly arrived from Pennsylvania and in my 1st class here, I realized that I had not understood one single word spoken by my teacher and most surely never would!
Take me back there. Let me do it again.
Again, GOOD WORK
Cecilia (LeVan) Watson"
I'll be happy to link to your site from our's. I can happily call myself an alumni of Rison (if only for part of the 1st Grade). If you find any Rison stories on our site and need to contact the author, please e-mail me and I will forward it to them. We don't post all the e-mail address of our Lee alumni for several reasons, but I work as a postmaster to forward received messages to them. Your site shows a lot of work and is very impressive as well. Our's is more of an online "weekly high school newspaper" but we do archive our articles although they might not be as easy to find as some others.
I think my classmates will find your site very interesting. Thanks for contacting us.
Pamela B. Scott"
"July 24, 2003
Thank you so much for your invitation to attend the Rison-Dallas Reunion. It is with much regret that I will be unable to attend. I'm 90 years old now, and no longer drive out-of-town.
My wish is for all of you to have a wonderful reunion.
Ruth Englebert Richardson"