humble past

“You may delay, but time will not.”
Benjamin Franklin


(a bible sits open on an old pulpit in the Shoal Primative Baptist Church /
Talladega National Forest / Julie Cook / 2017)

A long time ago, before cotton was ever king…


(a rural cotton field, Rabbit Town, Alabama / Julie Cook / 2017)

Or 13 colonies fought to form a new and perfect union…
the Nation of the Creek Indians called the lands of what is now Georgia and
Alabama home.

It is estimated that these native Americans had lived and thrived in this region
before the year 800 AD, as they were descendants of an even earlier people, from
what is known as of the Mississippian period.

In 1733 Captain James Oglethorpe landed in the what is known today as
Savannah, Georgia.
He claimed the land south of the Carolinas and north of Spanish Florida,
in the name of King George…as the New Georgia.

In 1752 Georgia became officially the 13th colony.
However despite the British crown’s claim to this new land,
the Creek indians continued to be the majority inhabitants and land owners
of this young colony.


(James Ogelthorpe /Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2016

However that all began to change in 1760 with the continued exploration
and expansion westward by the British, Spanish and French.
Native Americans were quickly being squeezed from their ancestral lands
by a deluge of European exploration and subsequent settlers.

By 1800 the Creek Nation ceded all of their lands to the state of Georgia
and were forced to move westward…

This time they moved deep into the lands of what is known today as
the state of Alabama.
But in 1819, with Alabama being recognized as the 22nd state
in the Union, once again the Creeks were forced to relocate.

In 1830, following the orders by President Andrew Jackson,
the once proud Nations of the Cherokee, Creek and Choctaw
tribes were forced from their traditional lands,
and were relocated to reservations west of the Mississippi,
as Scotch/ Irish settlers made their way
south and west, down from the Carolinas, claiming these once tribal lands as
their new homesteads.

Around 1835 to 1840, deep in the back woods of the Alabama foothills of the
Appalachian Mountains, a small community of European settlers found a home
in a rugged area of Alabama.

These settlers were farmers, hunters, loggers and even moonshiners.

At the heart of their community these hardy settlers erected a log hewn church
to serve as an anchor for their community.
It was a building that would serve their community needs, their spiritual needs
as well as the educational needs of their children.


(Shoal Primitive Baptist Church, originally built in 1845 / Julie Cook / 2017)

Today both time and Mother Nature have each reclaimed this once small community.
Long forgotten are the voices of those first Native American inhabitants…
as well as the voices of those early European settlers.

Yet hidden deep within a mix of virgin forest and replanted pines,
resting at the end of a long forgotten rutted, single dirt lane road,
a lone wooden church remains ever vigilant…
standing the test of time.

She is a far cry from the great Cathedrals and Churches of big cities or
of far away lands.
She possess neither stained glass, gleaming silver or brass nor
ornately carved wooden fixtures.

For hers is a humble yet strong and determined example of faith.

Her small cemetery of unmarked graves whispers tales of those hardy souls
who once called these lands home…those individuals who worked the land
living and dying in the shadow of this church.


(the unmarked graves of Shoal Creek / Julie Cook / 2017)

The Shoal Primitive Baptist Church originally erected in 1845,
with the building we see today being rebuilt in 1895, is listed and recognized
as an important historic building on the National Registry.

It remains a lone sentinel of the early American pioneering spirit in an area
that is now known as the Talladega National Forrest.
This area was bought by the Federal Government and made a national park
by President Franklin Roosevelt in the early 1930’s.

The church is one of 6 remaining log hewn churches scattered throughout the state
of Alabama and still hosts special events such as Sacred Harp singings.

Inside this lovely and lonely darkened church, resting atop the single black pulpit,
sits a worn and tattered bible.

It is open to the book of Psalms….

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121

35 comments on “humble past

  1. Lynda says:

    Interesting history lesson! Then Psalm 121 has always brought me great consolation. I expect the same is true for you. Blessings.

    • It is– one of my favorite memories is when I was in college and spent my summers as a camp counselor up in North Carolina– that particular psalm was the camp psalm– also, I love finding these hidden nuggets of our past — as they speak so much from which we’ve come!

  2. Wally Fry says:

    Fascinating, Julie!

  3. Salvageable says:

    Great history lesson! By the way, that nation has always called itself Muscogee–Creek is an outsider’s name for them. J.

    • Oh I know– the “Creek” term being more generic as the Muskogee (Muskogee) being the largest tribe under the Creek umbrella– they are more commonly referred to as the Muscogee in more modern times — Creek however is the name that adorns every historical marker throughout this west Georgia realm of mine as well as into eastern Alabama …

  4. atimetoshare.me says:

    Another great lesson from you. You amaze me with your knowledge on so many things. I love history and what we can carry into the future with what we’ve learned from it. I fear that is no longer relevent.

  5. Thank you for sharing your discovery. When I was growing up, my immediate family and my grandparents routinely went on such adventures. Thankfully my parents shared a great love of history and the outdoors with us. Fascinating, interesting and beautiful!

    • thank you for your kind words—I think so many kids today lack both an appreciation for the world beyond their home, school, neighborhood as well as an appreciation for history—understanding our history is essential in our progress forward—something else so many seem to have forgotten 🙂

  6. I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. I am enjoying your blogs!

  7. oneta hayes says:

    Interesting roots for our country with its changing times. May our changing times keep the roots that were bound up in this Word and these people.It is touching that the Bible still rests there.

    • it was most refreshing Oneta—it is obviously an isolated building that has seen its fair share of vandals. The replaced metal roof has a myriad of bullet holes. There are names carved inside and out on the very old logs…and yet a very brittle, worn bible remains open on a pulpit. The bible has been victim to the nibbling of both bugs and mice—-yet it remains and it remains reverently open—I felt very special being able to actually see it…
      and on another note, how was the family reunion??

      • oneta hayes says:

        Thanks for the extended comment. The reunion was good – probably about 85 there. It was good for me and others that I went. Humble, aren’t I? 😀 I believe in generations being together. I made it a point to help others remember me. You know me well enough to guess that, huh? They won’t remember Old Aunt Neta if she is not a bit crazy! I passed that with flying colors. 😀 I’ve been reading some but I’ve been a slacker at the writing. I’ll get back with it. I had my three g-grands this week so they got most of my time. Then I was worn out. I spent today studying the book of Hosea and preparing for class next Sunday. And I was also “Table Topics Master” at Toastmaster’s this evening so the day has been busy. I have a blog mostly ready for tomorrow. Called “Not My Will..” I think I’ll post tomorrow. Good night.

      • no rest for the weary Oneta!!! can’t wait to read the new post!

  8. Citizen Tom says:

    Interesting. Always enjoy learning a bit more history. Lovely pictures. Thank you.

  9. You are just a veritable fount of knowledge and wisdom my friend. 🙂 ❤

  10. Tricia says:

    Very cool post Julie! It’s humbling to think of that little church and how while it’s members may have long departed this earth, the hard foundation of faith still endures. No stain glass or opulent entry ways needed.

  11. Tricia says:

    I’ve been meaning to tell you that I love your new profile pic!

  12. SLIMJIM says:

    What a fascinating testament to the faith of these saints from days of long ago!

  13. SarahC says:

    greetings from eastern Alabama, recently transplanted, enjoy history of areas, have lived around in Georgia as well, love the pix, thanks for sharing

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