BOBBY'S BAMA: Morgan Co. archives hold special historic artifact - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bobby's Bama

BOBBY'S BAMA: Morgan Co. archives hold special historic artifacts

Morgan Co. archives (Source: WAFF file) Morgan Co. archives (Source: WAFF file)

Most communities have a local archives, a place where history explodes with old newspaper articles, legal papers and even photographs relevant to that particular community and it's residents. 

Our tour guide is Morgan County Archivist John Allison. 

"We preserve all the records and artifacts," Allison said. "A lot of this comes from the county government, but we also accept items from the public and if it has something to do with Morgan County history, it's our job to preserve it, organize it and make it available for the public to view."

He finds treasures for us to explore everywhere.  

"This is a register of births and deaths," he showed us. "The earliest we have for Morgan County are 1892."

I loved hearing stories about people from this area. Like the one landowner who died owing a lot of money, and the county had to pay the debt. Allison tells the story, saying,"The sheriff of Morgan County hired out the man's slaves all during the course of the war." Allison says Confederate money was no good and the authorities were frustrated.

But the best story we heard this day involved scandal with a local "madame."

Allison showed us some very old, hand copied, official paperwork.   

"This is the infamous Ms. Kate Lackner was a lady who ran the local house of ill repute, down by the river for quite a long time, from about 1887 until her death in the 1940s. And this is her divorce from her husband."

He reads from the decree: "She's abandoned the bed and bored of the complainant and took up her abode in a home in said town of Decatur, Alabama where she continuously remained and it talks about where she ends up with Captain Simp McGee." 

In this tale of love lost is also adultery. "He was a steamboat captain, very colorful character. He also had a lot of businesses on the side and eventually when his pilot's license is revoked, Simp McGee is relegated to finding other ways to make money. And he goes into a business venture with Miss Kate.  He actually builds the house and buys this house where this brothel is going to be set up. Whether it's your own genealogy, family history, church history and more can be found here, even high school yearbooks going way back," said Allison.

That house still stands today, just across the railroad tracks.

 It's a good day trip in Bobby's Bama.

Find out more about the history of the house right here.

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