Local residents share history of Seminole


SEMINOLE, Alabama -- The community of Seminole could have been named Three Rivers due to the fact that it is located on the shores of Perdido, Styx and Blackwater River. How the community received its name is somewhat of a mystery to most people because records are scant.

We know that in 1924 a community news correspondent for the Onlooker Newspaper by the name of Frank Gebheart wrote that Seminole received its name from Seminole Indians who made camp on Blackwater River.

Gebheart gave no information as to how he came to that conclusion but most local residents accept this history that has been passed down for generations as fact. However, if you scan the internet you may find that records from 1892, about the time the community was settled, states that Seminole was named by a logging superintendent who had connections with the lucrative Southern States Lumber Company who set up a large lumber camp there. Men lived in the camp year round and worked laboriously under trying conditions when jobs were scarce.

Angie Speakman of Seminole has acquired pictures dated 1902 that show Southern States Lumber Company in the process of harvesting timber at their logging camp in Seminole.

These pictures show men cutting logs with a large cross-cut saw, oxen pulling a tumbril that is a type of wagon or cart, a man-made ditch referred to as Shelby Ditch with logs floating to the river and the Mooney Train bringing logs from other parts of Baldwin County.

The train delivered the logs to Southern States Lumber Company’s Camp when homesteaders in Baldwin County cleared their land for farming until 1907. At that time the trains were abandoned and the rails were taken up. Seminole residents speak of an abandoned boxcar lying in the woods today not far from the shores of Blackwater River. Others tell of finding sections of railroad along the train’s route.

In the long run, we should not be concerned as to how Seminole received its name because it has always been Seminole to its residents and that is what it will probably always be.