Historical Society receives grant to replace marker honoring Native Americans

Published 8:19 pm Thursday, August 17, 2023

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The Butler County Historical & Genealogical Society (BCHGS) is pleased to announce it has received a matching funds grant to replace a historical marker honoring Butler County’s Native American history. Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of the Fort Dale Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).

Chapter spokesperson, Pamala Nolan, said, “We are thrilled to sponsor the Native American historical marker. We especially appreciate the backstory of BCHGS’s replacement marker program and the opportunity to partner with the Historical Society once again. We are so proud that NSDAR’s Historic Preservation Committee recognized it as a significant project.”

The marker will be located on Highway 31 in Chapman between Greenville and Georgiana near the site where the original marker was placed in January 1953. Six historical markers were placed at that time across Butler County documenting its early history with dignitaries from across the state and hundreds of locals attending the impressive dedication ceremonies. Over time, the markers deteriorated, were destroyed by traffic, or were stolen.

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In recent years, BCHGS has succeeded in replacing five of the original six markers through grants and fundraisers including the markers preserving history the Butler Massacre, Fort Bibb, Fort Dale, Gary’s Stockade, and the Ogly-Stroud Massacre. 

Barbara Middleton, President of the Historical Society, described the society’s progress in restoring the markers.

“We lack only replacing the original Creek Confederacy marker to complete the circle begun in 1953 by our community leaders,” Middleton said. “We are very honored to receive this grant.”

The six original markers from 1953 were purchased by the W. T. Smith Lumber Company and dedicated by the Alabama Historical Association (AHA). Local dignitaries participating in the ceremonies included James T. Beeland, Mrs. Frances Gates, Howard Haygood, Earl M. McGowin, Julian McGowin, N. Floyd McGowin, Calvin Poole, Joe N. Poole, and T. Worth Thagard. Then Senator Arthur E. Gamble, Jr. attended as did Rucker Agee, William H. Brantley, Jr., Dr. Ralph B. Draughon, and Dr. John M. Gallalee. Everyone’s favorite archivist, Dr. Peter A. Brannon, of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, was a speaker.

Middleton said, “Installing this historical marker to honor our county’s Native American history is the culmination of years of dedicated service by Historical Society volunteers. It is so important to BCHGS’s mission of preserving the history of Butler County.” A fall dedication ceremony is planned.