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Native’s Rutledge roots run deep

With 2010 being honored as the “Year of the Small Town”, Rutledge got an early jump on things as the community came together last April for an entire Homecoming weekend filled with different activities centering around its town hall and Rutledge Primitive Baptist Church. And residents are looking to an even bigger Homecoming event during the weekend of April 24-25.

One of those residents is Clara Campbell Turner, an avid genealogist and lover of history–especially Rutledge’s history and its people.

Turner has published a compiled history of the people who were born before 1900 and who are buried in the Rutledge Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery. She will be selling these books throughout the Rutledge Homecoming weekend.

“A lot of people are interested in doing their own ancestry line, but I’m more interested in people’s actual contributions to the growth and development of the town of Rutledge from its beginnings,” she said. “I believe that we should honor and remember those people who built Crenshaw County; after all, Rutledge was the first county seat.”

“I included not only biographical sketches of those who are buried at the church, but I also went forward and added information about their children, some of whom are still living,” she explained. “I gathered information from marriage records, census records, obits, former newspapers such as “The Rutledge Wave” and “The Crenshaw County News”, as well as “The Luverne Journal”–and by studying the grave sites themselves.”

Turner, who has been working on the book for the past year, also spent a vast amount of time searching the Internet, conducting interviews with family members, and making lots of phone calls.

Needless to say, the book has been a labor of love for her.

“I remember as a child, sitting on a nail keg for hours down in Rutledge on Saturday nights, listening to folks talk,” she said. “I loved to hear their stories, and I loved and respected those salt-of-the-earth folks who walked and talked in the Rutledge I knew. And through this research, I have learned to love and respect those ‘before my time’–those in the Rutledge community from its beginning, whose efforts made Rutledge a home worth remembering.”

The booklets will be on sale throughout the April 24-25 weekend for $25 each, and Turner will also be on hand to sign copies.