A Well of Historical and Genealogical Information: The Underground Water Resources of Alabama

July 20, 2017 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Underground Water Resources of Alabama Issue 6” by By Eugene Allen Smith and Frank P. Chaffee (January 1, 1907. Brown Printing Company, State Printers and Binders) offers a well of valuable historical and genealogical information!

The book can be downloaded for free on Google Play at: The Underground Water Resources of Alabama: Issue 6

Underground Water Resources of Alabama“offers detailed information on water resources and wells in Alabama located on various farms and privately held land. The book includes a name of the landowner and offers coordinates on where the land is located.

I was able to search “Underground Water Resources” in google and used the town of Marion Junction as a query, as that is where my kin once lived.

The Fort family prospered in Alabama, settling in an area that became known as Bridges or Forts. The name of the town was changed to Marion Junction in 1857 with the creation of a railroad. Marion Junction has also been associated with Harrell’s and Harell’s Cross Roads. 

The searched revealed the following information on page 202 (precise information about the wells is also included for each listing, and its coordinates, this is just an excerpt):

Wells on Udhall Place, owned by Mudhall Smith: No. 1, 4 1-2 miles southwest of Marion Junction

Will Moore’s old wells: No. 1, 4 miles west of south of Marion Junction

Dave Taylor’s well: 5 1-2 miles south of Marion Junction

Henry Stubb’s well: 5 miles southeast of Marion Junction

Well on Crenshaw Place: 5 miles south of Marion Junction, owned by Dr. Jones of Selma

Eulow Well, 4 miles southwest of Marion Junction, owned by J.W. Wallace of Birmingham

Well on Woodruff Place: 3 miles southwest of Marion Junction, owned by Mrs. S.E. Woodruff of Selma

Well on Bean Place: 2 miles west of south of Marion Junction, owned by Dr. A.W. Jones of Selma

Well of Tom Harrell (colored): 2 miles southwest of Marion Junction in the N.E. quarter section 27, Township 17, range 8…

Mrs. L.G. Fort’s well at station Marion Junction; bored about 1890, depth 250 feet, diameter 3 inches – water stands at 40 feet: pump used.

The other wells at Marion Junction having the same record as Mrs. Fort’s are those of H.P. Randall, M.F. Smith, S.A. Brice, Dr. J.M. MacDonald, C.E. Fort, J.B. Moore, Mrs. M.F. Fort, P.B. Harrell and Pat Gilmore. 

Using the index, you can search localities and family names across Alabama with ease; which can greatly assist in your genealogical or other research project.

I then found another listing that includes the following about the Fort, Harrell and Rascoe families (p. 201):

Mrs. E.W. Fort’s well, 1 mile north of Marion Junction, in the N.E. quarter section 14, Township 17, Range 8… E.W. is Elias William Fort

Well on Harrell Place, 2 1-2 mile southwest from Marion Junction, in the Northwest quarter section 27, Township 17, Range 8. Owned by Kendrick Brothers of Massilon.

Rascoe Well, 3 1-2 miles southwest of Marion Junction in Section 28 (?), Township 17, Range 8. Owned by M.P. Smith of Marion Junction. 

Capt. E.W. Fort – Marion Junction Community Cemetery. Source Find A Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=150230161

I was able to type the coordinates of Mrs. E.W. Fort’s well into the search engine at U.S. Department of Interior – Bureau of Land Management (General Land Records)

From there I discovered the land the well of Mrs. E.W. Fort sits on was originally purchased by Burwell J. Fort on April 24, 1820 and included 79.31 acres. A copy of the land patent can also be downloaded or printed from the Land Management site.

Burwell Jackson “BJ” Fort and his wife, Nancy Northington, made the migration from Robertson County, TN to Alabama in 1818. Tragedy struck, in 1822 Nancy Fort died, and was buried on the plantation. Two small children, William E Fort, and Eliza Ann Fort, were now motherless. In 1824, Burwell Jackson Fort remarried Charlotte Elizabeth Harrell, together they had 5 sons and 1 daughter.

Among his sons, Elias William “EW” and Gabriel Holmes “GH” Fort became prominent farmers, the bulk of their wealth was invested in land and slaves. The Bureau of Land Management lists multiple holdings by Burwell Jackson Fort, the one below matches coordinates listed in the “Underground Water Resources”.

 

Combining this information, with what I have learned about my own family line,through Julia Fort,  I am now able to locate the plantation that my ancestors were held on as slaves with precise geographical, and historical, coordinates.

Notice the placement of Julia’s name under that of Elias Fort, with her house number following next in order, suggests she was employed as a house keeper for his family. Charlotte Elizabeth Harell Fort is the widow of Burwell Jackson Fort Sr. and the mother of E.W. and G.H. Fort. Charlotte Fort – Find A Grave – Marion Junction Cemetery

Sintha Fort, cook, is believed to be Julia’s sister. Her sister Sintha married Thomas “Tom” Harrell in December 1872, the ceremony was conducted on the E.W. (Elias William) Fort plantation. Which would match what the “Underground Water Resources” has revealed: Well of Tom Harrell (colored): 2 miles southwest of Marion Junction. Again by tracing land records through the Bureau of Land Management traces the plot owned by Tom Harell (colored) to Josiah Harrell, the brother of Charlotte Harell Fort.

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