In just a few days, Mobile County turns 200 years old. Over the past year, the county’s hosted several events leading up to December 18th. They included outdoor music concerts and even a “Tribute to Elvis Gala,” celebrating the King of Rock and Roll who performed in Mobile in the 1950’s. The year-long celebration will wrap up Saturday with a birthday bash complete with two-thousand and twelve cupcakes. As part of the celebration, the Mobile County Bicentennial Commission set up a small recording studio, and asked residents to sit down and share their memories of the area. Libb Dodd of Semmes, Gordon Vernon of Citronelle, and Mary Atchison of Satsuma were among those who took part...
Dodd: “The first schoolmaster was in the late 1800’s in Semmes. And it was Mr. McCrary. And we have Mr. McCrary’s chair in our little one-room school, which we have places coming to from all the other schools in Mobile County. And they have a day in school as it was in 1902. They have a pump that children can pump water with. We have restored everything as nearly perfectly as we could. And we have an outhouse and they always have to see the outhouse. The backboards even have some writing on them that a teacher wrote when she was in…I believe it was many years later then when the school was first there. But I have a picture of Tom’s brother when he was in school there and you would be surprised how nearly like it was in 1902.”
Vernon: “Years before the Europeans discovered Citronelle, there were Native Americans in Citronelle already, obviously. There were documentations of that in 1702 and in 1777 when William Bartram, an American naturalist came to Citronelle. There was an Indian village there and the village was called Citronella, according to legend, which means “I heal.” And William Bartram found a plant there, the heal-all…and it does have medicinal purposes. Citronelle has been called the Land of Healing Waters. And one of the reasons for that is our altitude. We are 366 ft above sea level and that’s the highest point from Maine to Texas at the same distance from water…or the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. The other reason is the pine trees. The pollen of pine trees has many medicinal purposes. And probably the most important reason is the Citronelle Formation, which is made up of clay and sand that serves as a natural aquifer. And that filters the water that comes to Citronelle. And the Citronelle Formation is named for the town of Citronelle because it’s most evident on our service even though it runs from Texas to Florida, it’s most evident in Citronelle, Alabama."
Atchison: “In Satsuma, we sometimes not only double our pleasure, but we also triple it. Such was the case in 1933 when the little town was all astir with the multiple births that occurred at the Bertram home. After triplets were delivered by midwife Rebecca Beck, the entire village turned out to meet the babies. And there they found Earline at nine pounds, Barbara Jean and Geraldine at eight and a half pounds each, bringing the total weight to 26 pounds. And the mother survived. However, probably neither Mrs. Bertram nor the girls would have lived had it not been for the expertise of the midwife, who was affectionately called Auntie Beck. And this same woman was the daughter of a physician as well as the mother-in-law of a well-known Mobilian, John LaFleur.”