February 12, 2009

History Stuff

As an update to last month's family history roundup, my kinfolk encouraged me to submit an article to a couple of the smaller papers in the area to see if they might be interested in the family name story.

Nicely enough, both the Centreville Press and the Tannehill Trader decided to run the piece--the former running it yesterday, and the latter to run it next month. I haven't seen the actual print version yet, so just in case there is any editorial editing that got done between submittal and printing, following is the article as it was written. ALSO--an extra great big thanks to my editor, Dr. James Smith, noted professor of management at East Carolina University and a former denizen of Bessemer. Jim looked over the article and made some much-appreciated comments, so he gets full blame if anything goes horribly wrong.

Oglesby Family Members Seek to Correct Error in Cemetery Name at Tannehill

By Terry Oglesby

February 9, 2009—BIBB CO., AL—For many years, history publications have stated that Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park is the site of the Oglesby Plantation Cemetery, a supposed resting place of 400 slaves owned by one of Bibb County’s early settlers. Family members familiar with their history disputed that idea, and set about to conduct their own research to determine what the real story is.

The Hickman Cemetery between Green Pond and Tannehill is the burial site of an early Bibb County settler, Sabert Oglesby. He had arrived in the New World from his native Scotland and originally settled in South Carolina. He was a veteran of the American Revolution, having served in the 4th South Carolina Artillery Regiment, and later still fought in the War of 1812. Sometime around 1820, he and his wife brought their large family of nine children to northern Bibb County, settling in the Green Pond area.

A host of Oglesby’s descendents now live across the United States, including many in Alabama who remain in Bibb, Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties–and an important part of the story of their history has now been corrected.

For some time, Sabert’s name has been erroneously associated with a cemetery of unmarked graves on property now belonging to Tannehill State Park. The misnamed “Oglesby Plantation Cemetery” is referenced in several publications as containing 400 unmarked graves of slaves who were workers at the Tannehill ironworks, and who were purported to have belonged to Sabert Oglesby, or to his Presbyterian minister son (also named Sabert, born in 1809).

However, recent research conducted by several Oglesby family members casts doubt on the identification of the cemetery.

They found that the actual number of graves is unknown, and could be as few as twenty-five. While there could have been 400 workers at the Tannehill Ironworks during the height of the Civil War, and slaves were part of that workforce, it is implausible to think such a large number died and were buried nearby.

Research of records from the time period up to the Civil War has not documented that Sabert (or his namesake son) owned any slaves, nor that they ever owned the land. Although the land was owned by another family member (probably Sabert I’s son, George), no information has yet been found that ties him to the gravesites, either.

How this mistaken identity came about is still unclear. It appears Sabert Oglesby II’s name and the incorrect number of gravesites was first used in a story published in 1991 when the park was being developed. The error was then picked up by other published accounts of the park’s history in the years afterward.

Three cousins, Kenneth Oglesby, Charles Adams, and the author, each descendents of the pioneering Sabert Oglesby, recently were able to gain a much-welcomed opportunity to present their research to Deb Vieau Haines, the Bibb County coordinator of the ALGenWeb Project (http://www.algenweb.us). Bibb County’s website (http://bibbcountyal.org) is a much-used genealogical tool that had originally carried the incorrect information in its listing of county cemeteries.

Ms. Haines reviewed the research information and created a new, corrected biographical entry for the cemetery. It is a hopeful first step in what promises to be a long task of undoing the error in other places and publications, but a step worth taking to ensure that the historical record is as accurate as possible.

(Additional information can be viewed online at

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:02 PM | Comments (8)

February 09, 2009

The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Or the egg from the hen. Or something.

Anyway, Reba made us all a nice omelet breakfast this weekend, and Rebecca piped up and said she'd made us Momelets.

That's pretty doggone funny, unless, you're like, y'know, an egg or sumthin.

Now, get back to what you were doing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:24 PM | Comments (6)

February 03, 2009


Yes, I know two posts in two days is pushing it as far as non-blogging goes, but sometimes I just crack me up. (And yes, that is an homage to Alf.)

ANYway, Reba just called a few minutes ago.

She had gone with her dad to take her mom to the doctor's office this morning for some non-jokey invasive testing and prior to leaving their house, Mominlaw got all doped up with Darvocet and Valium. Being that she doesn't usually start the morning with a narcotic toddy, she pretty much had to be scooped out of the car with a spatula when they got to the parking deck at the hospital.

They wheeled her upstairs, waited to be called back, and then wheeled her into the procedure room. Now, since she was looser than a handful of BBs, she wasn't going to be much help when it came time to get her prepared, so Reba went back to help the technician get her up on the table and disrobed.

Did I mention it's cold today?

It is.

Oh, it's not Yukon cold, or lake-effects Chitown cold, or even Kentucky ice-storm cold, but your normal 30 degree Fahrenheit Alabama February day. But Grandmom, being of always-prepared, better-safe-than-sorry, strong-minded country stock, was apparently set to accompany Admiral Byrd to the South Pole.

Reba recounted (with some mild irritation) about struggling to help the tech ladle Mom up onto the table, then the arduous task of skinning her of layers of clothing, all the while said mama was swaying to and fro in the warm embrace of Lethe.

"...so we had to hoist her on the table and then I started helping her off with her clothes and do you know she had on FIVE! layers of stuff--she had her BIG COAT, and a SWEATER!, and then her BLOUSE!, and then a CAMISOLE!! under that, and THEN her bra! And it got to where the technician had to take off her lab coat because she was getting hot and we didn't think we were EVER going to get her all unwrapped from all those layers and layers of stuff and..."

"Reba--REBA!" I simply had to interrupt.


"It's okay, Reba--I mean, after all, she IS your mummy."


I'm here all week--be sure to tip your server and have a safe drive home!

Anyway, Reba thought it was funny, too.

[And for those who are concerned (as I should be, if I could stop my non-stop comic brain from working for just two seconds) about Reba's mom's condition--right now we don't really know a lot. Today's test was a biopsy, and hopefully what they were sampling will turn out to be benign. Keep her in your prayers, please. UPDATE 2-6-09 All clear!]

NOW THEN--not content to allow your funny bone to rest, ANOTHER story, this time from the wonderful world of construction!

Was at a meeting this morning and before we got started the superintendent got to talking about other jobs he'd done close by, and mentioned that he'd been the superintendent on the construction of a new columbarium for a nearby church.

The construction part apparently wasn't too difficult, but the reason it was being built in the first place was to have a place to put people whose remains had been interred in scattered places all around the church, and so part of his job was to disinter various urns and other ash repositories so they could be properly reinterred in the new place.

He was carefully watched over in his task by the architect, and he recounted that one day near lunchtime he was hand-excavating around the site of an urn, and had encountered a piece of a small concrete vault that held the earthly remains of one of the venerable ladies of the church. As usual, the architect was right at his shoulder as he got down and began delicately chipped away at the concrete to get to the contents.

As he worked, a small piece of concrete broke off and laying there inside was, of all things, a cigarette butt!

He looked over his shoulder at the architect and quietly asked her--with a certain amount of black humor--"I wonder if she smoked?"

Without missing a beat, she solemnly whispered back, "She probably did when they cremated her."

I am a bad person for laughing so hard at that one.

But still, I hope you have enjoyed SUPER FUN HAPPY JOKEY TUESDAY!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:16 PM | Comments (4)

February 02, 2009

I did not...

...see my shadow, which means six more weeks of something, but I'm not sure what.

And by the way, how did it get to be February so quickly!?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:14 AM | Comments (5)