As a kid growing up in Tarrant and Inglenook during the 60’s and 70’s, I had, of course, heard about Pinson and the surrounding area. In the summer, we would drive the 11 or so miles up old Highway 79 so that we could go swimming at Tapawingo. When I was in the Boy Scouts, we spent days and weeks camping at Indian Valley. Most of us had heard about the old Green cemetery next to Kent Corporation, even if we didn’t necessarily know about who was buried there or what their significance was. In the winter, Pinson always seemed to be about 5 degrees colder than Inglenook. We would go to Camp Cosby out on Old Springville Road, or we would sometimes make our way to Turkey Creek to swim in the Blue Hole or body-surf down the falls. In other words, we were living out our daily lives; thinking about all of the things that kids normally think about, but sure didn’t usually include thinking a lot about Pinson’s history.
And, unfortunately, it is often the same today…In our busy world of smart phones, Facebook, and the 24-hour news cycle, it’s all we can do to deal with our normal daily responsibilities with its litany of IM’s, soccer practices, and dentist appointments. With all of the demands on our time and energy, it’s easy to take Pinson’s history for granted.
In an attempt to raise awareness of a history that we should both know and protect, I will be writing a series of articles exploring some common questions about the rich and varied history of Pinson and the surrounding area.
For example, you may ask “was Pinson always Pinson?” If so, then you will want to be on the lookout for future articles in this series, when we talk about the area’s past, including some of its earliest pioneers and what names the settlement came to be known by. You may not know that the town of Pinson is almost 200 years old and is one of the oldest settled areas in Alabama (in fact, the settlement was here before Alabama became a state); that the Pinson area was once home to ancient Native-Americans, including one of the oldest- known (ca. 900 CE) Native American cave dwellings and burial sites in the United States or that Pinson was the home of a former slave that became an important African-American inventor. You may be surprised that there is an assassinated United States Congressman buried in Green Cemetery. There are also at least two Revolutionary War soldiers buried in the area. You may not realize that Pinson has important connections to the War of 1812 and the Civil War. In addition, Pinson’s roots link us to our neighbors in surrounding cities and counties and read like a who’s who of early pioneers and well-known families, including Davy Crockett, no less.
Since these articles are about our history as a community, suggestions on particular questions or historical areas that you would want to know more about are encouraged…
–E. E. (Skip) Campbell, Ph.D.
Skip Campbell retired from UPS in early 2012 after 38 years as a senior manager, working in numerous locations in the United States and abroad, with primary responsibilities in operations and industrial engineering. He received his BS degree in Applied Science and Operations Analysis from the University of Alabama and holds Master’s degrees in Engineering Management, Quality and Management,. Skip holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Development, with concentrations in Organizational Theory and Macroergonomics. Skip is a Senior Member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and sits on the Board of Visitors for the College of Continuing Studies at the University of Alabama. Since retiring, Skip serves as an Adjunct Professor with the College of Continuing Studies (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at the University of Alabama and focuses his academic research efforts on the area of pre-20th century Alabama history. Skip belongs to a number of historical and cemetery preservation associations. He and his wife Denise have 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren.