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From: "Joel Palmer" <>
Subject: [ALMARION] Fw: Freedom hills Franklin county Alabama
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 10:47:46 -0500


The freedom hills of Franklin, County Alabama, was once a dangerous place for officers of the law. My great grandmother (America Cole) who was the wife of William James Cole,And daughter of Rebecca and Drew Wade,The were the third generation that once lived there.I have been asked to pass this family history on.
so here it goes the way I understand it.


In or about the year of 1833 soldiers ordered by president Andrew Jackson to round up all native americans at gun point in the state of Tennesse, and force them to be removed by barges and boats down the Tennesse river to Oklahoma,(Later called the trail of tears.)One such barge run aground at the muscle shoals,for the Tennessee river was very low at that time,while waiting for the river to rise the natives run low on food and some of them ran away into the freedom hills of Franklin county.(I found this information in a history book at the library in Hamilton, Alabama several years ago I don't remember which book but there are several books written about the "Freedom Hills".

The living was very hard in the cliffs and caves but there was lots of good hiding places and they were tough people,I have been told that they got corn some way, Cooked it by holding it on the cob over an open flame until it turned brown,then shelled it and beat it between two rocks until it became a powder then boiled it in a pot. Eating and drinking the soup.(one of my aunts said she remembered her mother(my grandmother) doing that.)
They also cracked hickory nuts boiled them in a pot and using the oil that came to the top for cooking food inc.There was wild animals to hunt and fish in the big bear creek so they made it .

Some years later they made contact with people that would buy wild cat whiskey and ship it north so most everone went into buisness. They were already wanted by the law at that time for just being born who they were so they had nothing of lose now for the first time they had money and their life style began to change for the better.

Some times strangers,(lite skined men) begain to come around asking quistions about the whiskey making operation going on in the area.The natives begain to feel their freedom and life style was in danger from these fancy talkers, so to solve this problem would be to shoot them from ambush and that was what they did from time yo time.For several years (and could be now)it was very dangerous for nosey strangers to come into the Freedom Hills. I understand the natives were like a band of brothers they worked togather for their common cause "FREEDOM". And would help others that was having trouble with the law.It was said that my g.g.g.great grand father (Harbard Cole) was very active helping to hide deserters in the caves when the civil war was going on. I don't know for sure that the Coles or the Wades (my mothers ancestors)were part of the native Amaricans that lived in the hills.But they did live there in Franklin County from about 1833 until after the civil war.My grandfather( J.J.Lolley son of America Cole and Henry Lolley)did say his mother was of the Dutch Race of people.I ask him once if he was part Indian?His answer." why do you ask me that"? I said you are darker than other men around here.He said "I am as much a man as the other men".And a Man he was.J.P.

>From "The Marion County Herald"published at Hamilton, Alabama,in the year of 1887.

News Item dated Dec.15,1887.

Our town was startled on last Saturday night,by the news being brought in that Mr.Robert Terrell and Mr.Tom Bannister,two Marion County Men,had been waylaid and shot just over in Franklin County. It appears that Terrell and Bannister were on hunt of the man-------,for whom a reward is offered and who was tought to be hideing in the neighborhood.
The two men had completed their search and were on their way back to this country.When night came on,they halted at the house of one Mr.Johnson, living between little and big bear creeks in Franklin County,and secured lodging for ths night.In a short time, it was discovered that the bridles of their horses had been cut and the animals gone.Dark over took their search for the horses ,so they set out early the next morning to renew their search.They had gone only about one-half mile from the house when they were fired on by parties concealed in the thick woods near the road. Bannister was shot in the head and terrell in in the left side just above the hip joint. Bannester lived only a few minutes.Johnson and neighbors carried both men to Johnsons house and sent for a doctor.

Both men were well known in county and respected as clever law abiding citizens.It is thought that they were shot by Franklin county "Moonshiners"who mistook them for men trying to locate stills.

Do you see what I mean?Joel Palmer










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