Category: Gorgas

The Inspiration Behind the Samantha Living Cookbook

Samantha Living First Edition Cookbook

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My life’s journey has taken many detours but it brought me home and I have the honor and privilege of living in the home where I grew up. A few years ago, I would have never entertained the thought of living in Samantha again. But it’s strange how you can develop a longing to reach back and pick up those lessons learned from your growing years and you realize how rich your heritage really is. Not monetary wealth, but the love of family, friends, neighbors and community. That is getting more rare with each passing day. I was inspired to create a community cookbook primarily for four reasons.

  1.  To preserve our rich heritage and create a connection between past generations and future generations. It is my hope that someday our grandchildren will pick up this book and not only read and use these tried and true recipes, but it will prompt conversations about the names attributed to them. While I do believe we must live in the present and embrace our future, knowing our past gives us a sense of well-being and ownership. This project has given me opportunities to have precious conversations with some “senior” members of our community. Their laughter when remembering nuggets from the past is priceless to me and it encourages me to deepen my roots and strive to be able to offer the same one day when I receive such a call. Knowing stories about what others have faced, what they have drawn upon and risked. Great wisdom comes from their experiences. I believe knowing where we came from helps us understand the purpose of where we are going. Our heritage and legacy is a critical part of who we are as individuals. Embracing the heritage we were given enables us to leave a strong legacy. One worthy to be passed on.
  2. To preserve family meals together. Ronald Reagan said, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” When I was growing up we always had supper every evening at the kitchen table. TV off and enjoying a home cooked meal and having conversation. When I visited with my friends, it was the same. Families, friends and neighbors sat around the kitchen table and told stories. It was a time to learn about each other’s lives. Having a meal at the kitchen table is not just a time to eat, but a time to tell stories. I loved to hear Momma and Daddy, my grandparents and aunts and uncles tell stories of the past. Families are so busy now that having supper together at the kitchen table is a lost art. I believe breaking bread together is important and I hope this cookbook will encourage us to cook more and eat more together. When I read stories in the Bible where Jesus sat and broke bread with others, it makes me know that is important.
  3. To promote community. When folks come together to work toward a common goal, it serves to buildup and strengthen relationships. I believe communities grow stronger when folks regularly do a variety of simple things together. It gives us a chance to connect with others.
  4. To raise funds for ministries and projects within our community.

Thank you for submitting recipes to make this cookbook possible and thank you for purchasing a copy. I appreciate you all more than you know.

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.
Becky Williamson-Martin
Editor

For more information, send an email to editor@samanthaliving.com Or call (205) 233-3794

old recipes found at an estate sale in Samantha to be included in Samantha Living Cookbook

Riggs Farm, Samantha, Alabama

Southern cooks don’t measure, we just sprinkle and shake til the spirits of our ancestors say, “stop my child.”


Samantha Living Cookbook




 by Delbert Reed.  (Originally published in The Northport Gazette, March 24, 2004).

I could tell the man was on a serious mission by the way he marched directly into my office and looked me in the eye.

“Are you Delbert Reed?” he asked in a tone that made me stammer a bit before confessing that I was. “I’ve been looking for you for over 35 years,” he said, finally offering a smile that told me that he probably wasn’t heavily armed.

He told me his name was J. T. Taylor and that he had been reading stories I’ve written since the sixties and wanted to meet me face to face. Then his story and our friendship began.

“I grew up at the foot of Reed Mountain and knew a lot of your family,” he said before quickly naming several of the 11 children of my great grandfather Wes and Leona Davis Reed who grew up on Reed Mountain just north of Haygood Methodist Church in northern Tuscaloosa County.

“I knew Etta, Elliott, Ed, Evaline, Ester and your grandfather Ellis,” Taylor continued. It would have been a real trick if he had been able to continue with the names of Ethel, Elbert, Elmer, Effie, Essie and Ella. “I knew Wes Reed, too; I knew all the Reeds,” he said.

I proudly told Taylor that I actually have Wes Reed’s dinner bell and that it was given to me by the late Carl Harris nearly 30 years ago. “I remember that bell,” Taylor said. “It was on a pole in their yard and I remember hearing it ring many times.”

Taylor quickly called off dozens of other names I’d heard all my life, and mentioned places I’d known about but had all but forgotten through the years. Before our first visit ended, Taylor promised to show me the site of the old Reed home place on Reed Mountain one day, and he did so last weekend as we talked about our roots and our lives.

The Taylor family grew up about a mile and a half down the “mountain” from the Reeds, and there were ten Taylor children who helped Jim and Stella Gilliam Taylor work their 120-acre farm. Six of the ten survive today, including Wiley, nearing 94; J. T., 79; Martha Donour; Brazzie Rogers; Maxie Bryant and Gladys Franks. Martha has even returned to the old Taylor farm where she lives today in the same house in which she was born and raised.

“I joined the Navy in 1943 and got out in 1946,” Taylor said, proudly noting that he even returned to Gorgas High School after his Navy tour and earned his diploma.

Taylor was in Japan from November 1945 until March 1946 and visited Hiroshima (the site of the world’s first wartime atomic bomb blast on August 6, 1945) “eight or ten times” and Nagasaki (the site of the second atomic bomb blast on August 9, 1945) once.

“I still think they (the military) used us as guinea pigs,” Taylor said of his visits to the cities devastated by the bombs. “My feet and hands broke out in blisters—bad blisters—for years afterward. It started in the spring of 1946 and finally cleared up in the mid-seventies. My feet were sore for 30 years and I had nightmares that my feet were rotting off.”

Taylor, though only a youngster at the time, recalled the difficult years of the Great Depression, especially 1930-31. “I guess we were well off,” he said. “We had plenty of peas, cornbread and sweet milk. And we played baseball in John Tierce‘s pasture down by the creek.”

Taylor spent several years working at Gulf States Paper Corporation in Tuscaloosa before landing a job with the Postal Service in 1955. He stuck with the job for more than 30 years before retiring in 1985.

“What have you been doing since then,” I asked. “Oh, I’ve been busy,” he laughed.

Taylor did admit to having run into a few bumps in the road of life, including having trouble with alcohol for many years and having his first wife leave him after more than 30 years of marriage.

“I used to drink regular,” he said with a serious look in his eye. “I drank every day; I was an alcoholic and I still am, but I’ve been sober 26 years. But for 20 or 25 years before that I drank every day. Alcohol was the best medicine I could find for my arthritis,” Taylor added. “It was hard, but I quit. It took me three or four years to get back to a normal life, but the last 16 years have been wonderful,” Taylor added.

(Originally published in The Northport Gazette, March 24, 2004)

James (JT) Taylor 8/28/1938-3/4/2015

James (JT) Taylor died March 4, 2015 at the age of 76, at home in Bonnie’s arms. Click here to read obituary.

Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story. We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community. We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to editor@samanthaliving.

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Samantha’s Boone Brothers Once Made Baseball History

By Delbert Reed

I stumbled across a couple of names a year or so ago that brought back old and pleasant memories.  The names were “Ike” and “Dan” Boone, former University of Alabama athletes who went on to make a little professional baseball history.

I immediately recalled that my dad mentioned the baseball exploits Ike and “Dan” from time to time when I was a youngster.  Having grown up in the same community of Samantha in northern Tuscaloosa County as the Boone boys, Dad had idolized the brothers during the 1920s and 1930s just as I idolized Northport’s Frank Lary of the Detroit Tigers during the 1950s.

Formally, the “Boone boys” were James Albert and Issac Morgan Boone, Jr., the youngest of four sons of Mr. and Mrs. Issac Morgan Boone Sr.  James Albert actually had the family nickname of Jim Bert but picked up the nickname of Daniel, or Dan, as a student at the University of Alabama and it followed him into his professional career.  Issac Jr. was always known as Ike.

James Albert, born in 1895, entered the University of Alabama in 1915 and played football and baseball for the Crimson Tide, earning All-Southern honors as end in football in 1917 and serving as captain of the 1918 baseball team.  He was described in the University student yearbook Corolla as “a quiet, lanky Ichabod full of grit and fight.”  Another comment said James Albert was once injured in a football game against Vanderbilt and had to be physically restrained by doctors and teammates to keep him from returning to the game.

Alabama baseball teams of 1917-18-19 won SIAA championships with the Boone brothers, Joe and Luke

James Albert Boone in Cleveland

Sewell and Riggs Stephenson – all future major league players – among the team stars and and Lonnie Noojin as head coach.  James Albert was a pitcher and outfielder while Ike was an outfielder.

As outstanding right-handed pitcher, James Albert signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Crackers in 1919 and posted a 16-7 record with Atlanta before joining the Philadelphia Athletics at the end of the season.  In six seasons as a minor league pitcher, Albert was 72-64 with a 2.81 earned run average in 168 games.  He spent four stints in major leagues, playing with the Detroit Tigers in 1921 and the Cleveland Indians 1922-23 before spending another decade as an outstanding minor player and manager.  He had an 8-13 record in the major leagues with 25 strikeouts and two shutouts in 162 innings pitched.  As a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1922, he again played with former Crimson Tide teammates Joe and Luke Sewell and Riggs Stephenson.

Boston Red Sox Photo

James Albert gave up pitching to play first base and outfield when he joined High Point, North Carolina, in the Piedmont League in 1926 and soon became the greatest hitter in league history by winning four batting titles in five and a half seasons in the league.  He also served as player/manager of the team 1927-1931.

James Albert and Ike teamed up to make baseball history in 1929 by hitting a combined 101 home runs.  Ike hit 55 in a record shattering season with the San Francisco Missions of the Pacific Coast League while James Alert hit 46 with High Point.

James Albert became player/manager of the Charleston, West Virginia, Senators of the Middle Atlantic League in 1932 and led the team to the league championship with 17 home runs, 92 runs batted in and a .349 batting average.  He hit three home runs in the first game of the league championship series to help his team to a 6-2 victory on the way to a four-game series sweep.  He ended his professional baseball career after the 1933 season.  In 14 seasons (1919-1933)  James Albert played with nine minor league teams, compiling a .356 batting average in 1,336 games with 214 home runs and 851 runs batted in.

Ike, two years younger, joined his brother at Alabama in 1917 and also played football and baseball.  He was elected captain of the 1918 football team but the season was canceled due to World War I.  He also served as president of the A-Club and Pan-Hellenic Council.  Ike played end on the 1919 football team that posted a 9-1 record while scoring 280 points and allowing only 22.  James Albert, after playing his first season of professional baseball in the summer of 1919, served as an assistant coach on the 1919 football team.

Ike began what some have called minor league baseball’s most outstanding career ever in 1920 when he signed with Cedartown, Georgia, after graduating from the University in the spring of that year.  He hit .403 in 72 games with Cedartown in 1920 before moving to New Orleans of the Southern Association in 1921, where he won his first minor league batting title with a .389 average.

After appearing in only two games with the New York Giants in 1922, Ike played for San Antonio of the Texas League in 1923 and claimed another batting title with a .402 average while also leading the league in hits (241), doubles (53) and runs batted in (135).  He is the last player in Texas League history to bat over .400.

Ike was called to Boston at the end of the 1923 season and had four hits in 15 at-bats.  He returned to the Red Sox in 1924 and 1925.  He hit .337 with 13 home runs and 97 runs batted in in 1924 and hit .330 with nine home runs and 68 runs batted in in 1925 before being shipped back to the minor leagues due to what one story described as “a lack of speed and below average fielding.”

After hitting .380 in 172 games with the San Francisco Missions in 192, Boone spent 1927 as a utility player with the Chicago White Sox.  He returned to San  Francisco in 1928 and in 1929 won the Pacific Coast League Triple Crown with a .407 batting average, 218 runs batted in and 55 home runs.  The record-shattering season included 323 hits and a professional baseball record 553 total bases, with 49 doubles and eight triples added to his 55 home runs, in 198 games.

Ike Boone at UA, circa 1919

Ike was on his way to a similar season in 1930, hitting .448 and 98 runs batted in in only 83 games, before being called back to major leagues with the Brooklyn Robins for two seasons.  All told, Ike spent all or part of eight seasons in the major leagues, compiling a .321 batting average with 371 hits, 26 home runs, 177 runs scored and 194 runs batted in.

Boone played with Toronto of the International League 1933-36, and was player/manager of the team 1934-36.  He won the league batting title with a .372 average in 1934 and was voted the league’s most valuable player as he led his team to the lague title.  He managed the Jackson, Mississippi, Senators in 1937 in his last season in professional baseball.

Overall, Ike won five batting titles in four different minor leagues.  His .370 lifetime minor league average was a record.  He was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame in 1957 and in 2003 was elected to the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame.  He lived in Northport after retirement from baseball and died at age 61 in 1958.  James Albert Boone died in Tuscaloosa on June 11, 1968, at age 73.  A surviving daughter of James Albert Boone, Betty Jane Jackson, lives in Steele, Missouri.

James Albert and Ike were among 11 children of Issac Morgan Boone Sr. and Norma Lee Boone.  The boys were George, Will, James Albert, and Issac Morgan.  The girls were Ethel, Leona, Norma, Adalee, Micah, Margaret and Virginia.  George, Wiley and Issac all served in the Navy during World War I.  James Albert also attempted to join the Navy, but failed the physical.

According to George Boone’s son, B.E. Boone, who lives in the Samantha Community today, the elder Boones recognized the value of education early on and donated ten acres of land to Tuscaloosa County as the site for the old Gorgas School in about 1914.  They also saw that all their children graduated from high school and had the opportunity for a college education,  B.E. Boone said.

Baseball talent has continued to run in the Boone family through the years.  Joe Parsons, a son of Adalee Boone, played baseball at Gorgas High School and at Livingston University while Gary and Larry Mims, grandsons of Ethel Boone, played baseball at Northside High School and at the University of Alabama.

This article appeared in May 3rd, 2017 Edition of The Northport Gazette.  Reprinted with Permission

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