Robert Marion Dean, my grandfather, was born 1885 in the Blackrock Community in Western Crenshaw County, Alabama, next to the Butler County line. The exact year that he moved to Dozier, Alabama is unknown. He may have moved with his parents, Samuel MacDonald and Anna Barington Dean in the early 1900s. Samuel's Farm was located off Highway 29 East of Dozier about three miles, on the property owned by the Clark Family. A store was once operated on this land known as "Clark's Grocery." The old building, as of 2002, was still standing.
Robert married Amanda Lavada Harville, daughter of Hillary and Savannah Hicks Harville in 1905 near the Dozier area. Amanda was born in Pike County May 1887. She, along with her parents, moved to Dozier when she was still a child.
I never had the pleasure of knowing Grandpa Dean. He died eight years before my birth. From all the photos that I have seen of him, he was a tall, dark hair, and quite handsome in his younger years. However, he must have suffered bad health later on in life. Older pictures of him show a balding, aging man much beyond his years.
During his adult life he worked as a farmer and mill worker. As a mill worker, he, along with several of his son's and my Father, Iry Zeddie Shackleford, worked at a Logging Camp known as Bradley's Mill.
Bradley's Mill was a self sufficient camp located on the Old Central of Georgia Rail Road that ran from Troy in Pike County to Andalusia in Covington County. Being between Brantley and Dozier, Bradley's Mill provided jobs for many in the area during the first half of the 20th Century. It provided housing and even had a Commissary where employees and their families could do their shopping. Today, it remains only as old ruins and memories for a select few.
Robert, however, did not live on the location of Bradley's Mill. He lived about two miles away on land located behind the Enon Primative Baptist Church. I recently visited the area with my Mother, Eva Naomi Dean-Shackleford. Her memories of the old home place are still vivid. She is 85.
On the route to her old home is a very old graveyard where many original settlers of Crenshaw County are buried. Her Mother, Amanda, had told her that at nighttime you could hear the screams of someone buried there. Although I doubt there were any screams I would imagine the story made a very big impression on Robert's and Amanda's children.
On Robert's property were several "Pickle Vats." These vats were used by the locale farmers for storage of cucumbers. The cucumbers were stored in salt water and shipped by rail to plants that would pickle them and distribute them for sale.
This chore, along with the farm and the job at Bradley's Mill, took its toll on Robert. He died in 1944 of a heart attack while on the job at the mill. He was 59.
Amanda, "Mama Dean," carried on her life for a short while at their last place of residence. In the late 1940's she moved to Dozier, Alabama, where she lived behind her daughter Ruby.
I remember her very well. When I was very young she still lived in a home with no running water or facilities. She always warned me of the snakes in the outhouse. That was a place I feared. Later her sons would build her a new house, complete with all the necessary equipment. Relief was much more pleasant.
After a prolonged illness, Amanda died in 1972 at the Andalusia Memorial Hospital from Arteriolosclerosis. She was laid to rest beside Robert at the Dozier Cemetery in Dozier, Alabama. They were members of the Church of Christ.
© "Tracking Your Roots"
All material contained on these pages is furnished for the free use of those researching
their family origins. Any commercial use, without the consent of the host/author of
these pages is prohibited--Copyright is retained by the author/contributor of the material and publication to any medium, electronic or non-electronic, without consent
is in violation of the law. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages do so
in recognition of its free, non-commercial distribution, and is responsible
for assuring that no copyright is violated by submission.