According to Jacqueline Matte’s The History of Washington County, “St. Stephens has a history unparalleled in Alabama.” On Saturday, Oct. 6, the old town of St. Stephens was filled with individuals who gathered to celebrate its incredible history. Lynn Titus of Grand Prairie, Texas was present, along with other family members, to see the town that his third great-grandfather, James Titus, called home. James Titus became known as “the one-man Senate.” He would serve as the president and perform all the duties of the Senate, with the aid of a secretary and a doorkeeper. Originally, two other men were to serve with Titus, but Robert Beatty resigned his office and Joseph Carson died before the Senate could convene. Nevertheless, Titus carried the business forward, electing himself as President of the Council and appointing Curtis Hooks as secretary and John Pearson as doorkeeper.
Lynn Titus, dressed in period appropriate clothing, told the story of his ancestor with pride. Old St. Stephens Day marked the 70-year-old Titus’ first trip to Alabama’s territorial capital. Titus referred to the occasion as an “honor.”
“The Dolls of Old St. Stephens” were on display in the courthouse museum during Old St. Stephens Day.
In addition to having members of the Titus family present for the festivities, park director Jennifer Faith pointed out that members of seventh and eighth generation of her family, who originally settled in St. Stephens, were also present.
Attendees listened to historical vignettes of Old St. Stephens delivered by members of the St. Stephens community. They also had the opportunity to tour the sites of the Globe and Douglas Hotels with archaeologist George Shorter. The Rev. Tommie Moore presented information related to African- American genealogical research and Micki Savage gave a presentation based on her research of Mahala Martin, a free woman of color who owned property in Old St. Stephens. Laura and Jerrold Syphrit displayed campfire cooking as they made chicken and dumplings and homemade pies and cooked them in cast iron pots and pans over a fire. The courthouse museum was also open with a new exhibit, “The Dolls of Old St. Stephens.”
Laura Syphrit demonstrates how cooking was done in days gone by. She made chicken and dumplings and even baked pies and cooked them in cast iron pots over a campfire.
Although it may be difficult to picture St. Stephens as a city with a bigger population than Mobile, 200 years ago, when the Alabama Legislature met for the first time, this was the case.
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.