Covington County, Alabama Genealogy Trails


William T. Acree was the first probate judge of Covington County. One of the earliest and most active leaders of Andalusia and Covington County was William Thomas Acree, b. 1815, d. 1895. His parents were Nathaniel and Elizabeth Ann O'Neal Acree, both natives of Georgia.  William and his brother, Wooten O'Neal, moved into Covington County about 1850, where he first purchased 42 acres located in the Conecuh River near Montzema. He later bought an additional 412 acres in that area.

In 1850, William was elected the first probate judge of Covington County, and was appointed 3 different terms as Postmaster of Andalusia Post Office. He served in 1855 as Representative in Alabama General Assembly, and in 1860, he was census enumerator, and he owned one slave. During this period, he served as a 1st. Sgt. in Co. I, 40th. Ala. Inf. Reg't, C.S.A. His group was called the "Covington County Farmers." In 1864, William was appointed tax collector and also named superintendent of education for the county.  Near the end of the War Between the States, William was among the public officials who were surrounded by Yankee raiders and taken away as prisoners. In 1867, he was listed as a registered voter in Beat One, but he was "disenfranchised," prohibited from voting because of his having actively supported the Confederate States of America.

William Thomas Acree's second wife was Mary Amanda Adams, daughter of Benjamin and Caroline Adams. They had 2 children: Theodocia, b. 1871, d. 1931, m. John Thomas Franklin. The Franklin's had 4 children: Jessie Ray Franklin, b. 1893, d. 1966, and Robert "Bob" Franklin. Jessie Ray married Ples Wesley Sowell, b. 1887, d. 1962, and they had 9 children. One of their daughters was Grace Evelyn Sowell, b. 1919, d. 1990. Grace married Elijah Orester Ballard, b. 1918, d. 1986. Grace and Elijah had 5 children: M. Virginia Ballard, b. 1938, Donald Edward Ballard, b. 1939, Marcus Ronald Ballard, b. 1943, Mary Evelyn Ballard, b. 1945, and Patricia Ann Ballard, b. 1954. Their daughter, M. Virginia Ballard married Walter Ernest Boyd, Jr., b. 1935 of Houston, Texas and they had 2 sons: Walter E. Boyd, III., b. 1964, and Wesley E. Boyd, b. 1966.  Source: The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, Covington County Heritage Book Committee, Published by Heritage Pub. Consultants, 2003.  Originally Submitted by Virginia Ballard Boyd.  Transcribed by Heather Holley.

The Alex Stanton Fred Adams Family
Margaret Ann Adams (1843) was the daughter of David F. Adams, Jr., (1808) and Margaret Ann Satcher (abt.1817). Her first son was born Junior Ray Adams (1875 –1945). He married Alabama Victoria Russell (1880 –1968). Junior Ray and Bama had six children: Abigail (1900-1995), Alex Stanton Fred (1903-1975), Hannah Victoria (1906 –1981), Aaron Joseph (1910 –1988), Julian Ray (1912), and Kermit Russell (1914).

Granddaddy Fred married Carrie Lucille Snowden (1906 –1949), the daughter of Preston J. Snowden (1876 –1955), and Nellie Bell Sykes (1878-1955), a full-blooded Indian maiden whose father is said to have been an Indian chief named Red Feather. Fred and Carrie had four children:  Fred, Charles, my mother, Peggy Joe (1927), and Douglas. Uncle Fred, Jr., married Billie Jean, and they had two children, Susan, and Larry. Uncle Charles married a British girl, Betty, during the war. He made a career of the Air Force, and flew on Air Force One with Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. He always had a suitcase packed ready to leave at a minute's notice when called to duty. They didn't have any children, but Charles was crazy about kids. When Betty died, Charles married another girl from England named Betty.

Peggy Jo Adams (1927) married James Victor May (1919 –1988). They had nine children, seven girls and two sons, eight of which was born in Alabama, and the youngest, a son, born in Panama City, Florida. The first six were born one year apart. Actually the first two, Melody Ann and Marion Lucille, were just 11 months apart. The next two, James Victor, Jr., and Mary Lynn, were 11 months apart, and the next two, Martha Jacqueline and Marsha Gwen, were 11 months apart, so before any were old enough to attend school, Peggy had six little ones at home. A few years separated Vivian Rebecca from the first six. Then came Amy Loretta and John Douglas.

My grandfather, Fred, bought mother the first washing machine we ever had. I used to help mother run the sheets through the wringer before she would hang them on the line to dry; she always cautioned me not to let my fingers get caught in the old wringer. Until that time, mother had washed all our clothes, diapers, and sheets in a #3 washtub. I remember we had a cast iron tub in the bathroom. It had high sides and legs of a birds claw clutching balls. My mother, Peggy Jo, would put us all in the tub at the same time. We would sit facing the side of the tub, one at a time she would have us stand up so she could soap us up and clean us, we would sit down while she finished bathing the rest of us. The water would then be drained, and she would use a cooking pot to rinse us off with fresh water, one at a time we would get out of the tub and dry off and get dressed. 
Source: The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, Covington County Heritage Book Committee, Published by Heritage Pub. Consultants, 2003.  Originally Submitted by James Victor May.  Transcribed by Heather Holley.

Berry Lee Adams, born in Kinston, Coffee County, Alabama, May 1894. Youngest son of Hulin Adams, Sr., and Margaret Fleming Adams. Margaret died just days after the birth of Berry Lee. Hulin Adams Sr., married Irene Brewer, not long after Margaret's death. Berry Lee was raised in Kinston, Alabama, and around the Paxton, Florida area. After reaching the age when he was big enough to work, Berry Lee worked on the family farm and in the logging industry, and sawmills. He lost one of his fingers while working at a shingle mill.

Berry Lee married Gussie E. Dowling, daughter of Stephen C. Dowling and Lavonia Forehand-Dowling. They were married in Coffee County, Alabama about 1913–14. The exact date is unknown; their marriage record was destroyed by the flood of 1929. Berry Lee and his wife Gussie had three children, according to my mother, Mary Lee Adams. All three were born in Coffee County. But this does not sound right because after their marriage they lived and farmed in Covington, County near Horn Hill just south of Babbie, Alabama. They lived on a farm owned by Hulin Adams, Jr., Berry's oldest brother.

Berry and Gussie's children were: Mary Lee b. Nov. 1915, d. May 4, 1998, Sollie Mansfield b. – d. Jan. 1st, 1966, Versa Laverne b. – d. 1958. While living on Hulin's farm, Sept. 1924, Gussie died at the young age of 25 from a heart attack. Because of her age, an inquest was held. It determined that she died from natural causes. It is believed that Berry Lee never got over Gussie's death. Gussie is buried at Bethel Cemetery, Babbie, Alabama.

Berry married a lady named Annie Bell Bragg. She and Berry had two sons to live, and one daughter that died. Their children were: John Edward Adams – Eligia Lee Adams – Josie Adams. Berry Lee worked at sawmills in Paxton, Fl., Lockhart and Sanford, Ala., and with Dixon Lumber Mill in Andalusia.

My earliest memories of Berry Lee starts about 1936–37, my mother and father, Mary Lee Adams –Grantham and Harvey J. Grantham, lived in the Jerri Woodall old home located near Hulin Adams Jr.  Berry Lee or "GABE" as he was called, would come visit us on Saturday evenings, and as usual he would be slightly "intoxicated," but would always give me a quarter, placing it in my hand.  I remember two long trips my family made to visit grandpa Berry Lee. Once when he had moved to Slocum, Ala., and once when we lived in Goshen, AL. The one to Goshen was during Christmas time and it was really cold, we arrived about 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night and I had to sleep in two straight chairs and like to have froze.

Berry Lee and Annie Bell spent the latter part of their lives, from about 1942 until their deaths, living in Andalusia, Covington County, AL.
Source: The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, Covington County Heritage Book Committee, Published by Heritage Pub. Consultants, 2003.  Originally Submitted by Joel Lee Grantham.  Transcribed by Heather Holley.

I was the 12th child born to Henry and Ozie Turbeville Peters on September 3, 1926 at Route 1, Hacoda, Alabama, in Covington County. We lived in the house my father and mother built in 1917 in the Smyrna Community. I was four years old when Martha married Tolbert Hughes. It was not long until Thelma married James Hughes. Sister was married and had a baby boy in 1928. His name was J. K. Price. Mary was married and her children are Wynelle, Merle, Dorothy and Henry Grady Early. Chick, Clayton, Quitman, Willie, James, Inez and myself were still at home and we had to work in the fields. I remember washing clothes in a washtub and boiling them in a cast-iron wash pot. We stacked peanuts. Clayton and Quitman would do the plowing. All of us hoed cotton, peanuts, and sugarcane, picked worms off tobacco leaves, and picked cotton when the seasons were right. We all worked hard. J.K and Wynelle lived with us most of the time. When we got our work finished, we would work for Mr. Sam Tedder for one dollar a day. Inez passed away when she was 14 years old in 1942. As we all got older, we worked and when the rolling store came by, mama would give us an egg for candy. They taught us how to work and do unto to others, as we would want them to do to unto us.

I had never moved until I married John Adams. We married on June 12, 1945 at Chick and Joe Hutchinson's home in Florala, AL. John was the son of Fletcher Charles and Lettie Bell Morris Adams. John was the only son, he had three sisters – Margarette, Faye, and Josephine. He was born at Hacoda, AL, but later in life they moved to Portland, Florida. His family fished for a living. He joined the Army in 1942. After basic training, he fought in the World War II and Korean Wars, and served during the Vietnam conflict. We lived in Virginia, Arkansas, France, and Alabama. We spent three years in France. We had a son, Bobby (John Jr.), born May 28, 1946; and a daughter, Debbie Jane, born March 19, 1953. Bobby went to school in Verdun, France. The Army bus took all the older children on Sunday afternoon to Verdun, then on Friday afternoon, he would come home. Debbie went to a school in France while she was five years old. We stayed in France until my father got sick, then the children and I came back to Alabama. Mama got sick one week after we came home, and she died on January 13, 1961. John had four months left on his tour in France before he could come home. He was sent to Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he was stationed and we lived on post until we build our home 150 yards from papa and mama's home. Michelle was born on December 28, 1962. After we moved into our new home, papa would sleep in his home and eat with us. He died on January 24, 1964. John retired from the Army in May 1966. He was on disability until he passed away October 3, 1990. We currently have eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Source: The Heritage
 of Covington County, Alabama, Covington County Heritage Book Committee, Published by Heritage Pub. Consultants, 2003.  Originally Submitted by Birdie Adams.  Transcribed by Heather Holley.

DeWitt C. Davis, member consitutional convention, 1861, from Covington County. Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, Published by The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921; Transcribed by C. Anthony.

Joel Thomas Hardage, teacher, was born Novemher 4, 1863, at Carrolton, Ga.; son of James McKenny and Sarah (Jackson) Hardage, the former a native of Georgia, who served in Co. I, Second Georgia regiment, C. S. Army, until he was fatally wounded; grandson of Adam and Marian (Woodall) Hardage, of Wilkinson County, Ga., and of Jesse and Mary (Brady) Jackson who moved from that county to Alabama, the former a veteran of the Indian War. Mr. Hardage was educated in the common schools, and in the high school of Rutledge, Crenshaw County. He is a farmer and teacher, and has been for five terms superintendent of education of Covington County, entering office in 1892. He represented Covington County in the State legislature in 1915. He is a Democrat. Married: February 10, 1887, near Rose Hill, to Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Wendell W. and Matilda (Jones) Taylor, of that place, the former who served In Co. B, Eighteenth Alabama Infantry regiment, C. S. Army, and as commissioner of Covington County for several terms. Residence: Opp. Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, Published by The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921; Transcribed by C. Anthony.

There is more than one Hart family lineage associated with Covington County. The one to be featured in today’s column is that of Moses Hart, Sr., a native of North Carolina. Moses was born circa 1760 and died before 1840 since he was not listed in the 1840 census. He left North Carolina circa 1793 and made his way eventually to Covington County during the mid-1820s. He settled first in the center of the county and near the Montezuma Village. He also resided in the vicinity of what would become the new Town of Andalusia when it was established in 1844. During the 1830s, Moses moved his family to a site east of Andalusia that fell along the Pea River in the southwestern part of Dale County. His place later became a part of Coffee County when it was created. His older sons Fred Robert and Josiah also made their homes in that area.

This move to Dale County proved to be a terribly fateful one for Moses’s two sons, Josiah and Fred Robert “Bob”, and their families. It is also significant that this tragedy is credited with helping launch the last major Indian war in North Florida—the Indian War of 1837. These Hart families were residing in the lower section of Coffee County in the Fairview and Leverett communities. At the same time there were members of the Creek Indian Nation living along the Pea River during the war and even before it occurred.

The Indians made sneak attacks and studied the regular habits of the two Hart families such as when they would go out to milk their cows. Josiah and members of his family would milk their cows at night. Leaning this, the Indians lay in wait and attacked them during one of these occasions. The Harts were surprised and somewhat defenseless, so the Indians murdered all seven members of the family and left an eighth, a two-year old girl, supposedly dead as well. This little girl, Melinda or Mary Melissa, was found lying in a bloody heap in the cow pen, but still breathing. Her aunt was able to nurse her back to good health. Neighbors and relatives gathered and buried the seven bodies in a large common grave in the Weeks Assembly of God Church Cemetery in lower Coffee County.  A short time afterwards, the Indians attempted to do the same to the Robert “Bob” Hart family. They knew this family milked their cows in the early morning. Fortunately, as the Harts were going out to the barn, the dogs began barking enough that sent them back into the house just in time. Sadly, the youngest girl, Chancey, fell behind and was shut out of the house. As she ran around the house and neared the front door, her father held the door open enough for her to escape inside. One of the Indians was so close to scalping her that she was left with an injury to her head.

The surviving Robert Hart and his two sons, Moses and Josiah L., helped seek revenge for his brother and family’s deaths by joining Wellborn’s Alabama Mounted Volunteers, Pouncey’s Company, during the Indian War of 1837. Robert served as a sergeant, and his sons were privates.
An appropriate and much needed action was taken by the Pea River Historical Society in 1983 when it placed a marker at the graves of the Josiah Hart family. The monument, which was placed on a pedestal above the communal grave of the seven family members, was dedicated to memorialize this courageous family.  The surviving families remained in the Pea River area of Dale and Coffee Counties, which was a site that fell within the new Geneva County when it was formed. In January 1838, Moses applied for patents on two tracts of land with each containing 40 acres. He was able to purchase these for $1.25 per acre. One lay on along Pea River, and the other joined it at a corner.
In 1850, Susannah Hart, second wife and widow of Moses Hart, Sr., was residing in the household of Emanuel and Jane Johnson. Living next door to them was Henry Hart who had a son named Moses. Henry’s brother, Carr Hart, was located only two households away. Three Hart brothers, Henry, Carr and Jordan, all married sisters, daughters of John Maxey.

The John Maxey and Carr Hart families had settled in the Loango area in 1820, which was quite early for this area. Carr’s brothers, Henry and Jordan, settled just north of the others during the 1830s. Sometime later, Robert’s son, Josiah Hart, located just one mile west of Henry Hart on Pigeon Creek in the corner of Conecuh County on land for which he paid $1.25 per acres. In 1850, Robert was living in Josiah’s household.
The earliest ancestor, Moses Hart, Sr., born circa 1760, was first married to Chasey with whom he had at least two sons: Fred Robert “Bob,” b. ca 1787, d. 1866; and Josiah. Moses and his second wife, Susannah, had at least three sons: Carr, m. ? Maxey; Henry, m. ? Maxey; and Jordan, m. ? Maxey.  The oldest son, Fred Robert “Bob” Hart, was probably born in Pitt County, North Carolina, and he died in 1866 in Walton County, Florida. He was first named head of a household in the 1820 census when he was residing next door to his younger brother, Josiah Hart. This was in the Prince William’s Parish, Beaufort County, South Carolina. At that date, he had two sons and two daughters, all under the age of 10 years.
Robert and his wife had at least four children: Harriet, b. 1813, m. Daniel Powell; Josiah L., b. ca 1815, d. after 1889, m. ca 1838 Mary Ann Barlow; Moses, b. ca 1815, d. before 1900, m. Martha ?; and Chasey Caroline, b. ca 1816, m. Elisha Wilkerson (1815-1863). All of the children were born in South Carolina with the exception of the youngest, Chasey Caroline.

It appears that Robert’s wife may have died during the 1820s since she is not listed on future census records. Also, from 1840 forward, Robert was listed as living with his oldest son, Josiah L. until he later moved to live with his youngest daughter, Chasey, and her family.
By 1855, Robert had settled on and purchased a tract of land near Chapel Hill in the southeast corner of Covington County. This was located about 10 miles west of his father’s property in the Pea River area. Two of his children, Moses and Chasey, and later his grandson, Robert Jr., settled near him on their own properties.  By 1860, Robert was living with his daughter, Chasey, and her husband, Elisha Wilkerson, and their seven children. He was listed as a laborer. He died in 1866 and was buried in the Wilkerson Old Field Cemetery near Caney Creek in Walton County. This was just inside the Florida state line and near Chapel Hill and Natural Bridge communities.
(Excerpt from a longer article - Andalusia, The Andalusia Star News, 10 Oct 2009, Transcribed by Heather Holley)

William Holley, born in 1771, married Charlotte (don't have a last name). They had 6 children: Hosea 1799, Calvin 1803, Eli 1805, Alfred 1811, John S. 1813, William Jr., 1817. These names have been handed down through seven generations of Holleys.

John S. Holley married Mattie Danley; they had 8 children: William, Calvin, Caroline, Alfred, Hosea, (twins) Harriet Manda, Perry and Ella (Sis).

Alfred Holley ,born 1855, married Nancy Ellen Adams, (my grandparents). They had 14 children: Dellie Virginia 1888, Hosea 1889, Virgie 1890, T. B. Holley 1892, Nora 1893, Essie 1894, James 1896, John 1898, Joel 1899, Bessie 1902, Iva Lee 1903, Pearlie Mae 1908, Alfred Perry 1911, (his twin died at birth). These 14 children had a total of 66 children.

John S. Holley's brother, Alfred, owned land and a home in Covington County near Andalusia, AL. He was in the legislature but when the Civil War broke out, he did not believe in succession and spoke against it, adamantly. He was dismissed from his seat as a legislator. He returned to his home and began helping union soldiers get back to safety in Pensacola, FL. He was almost caught once but his wife Tempy's intuition kicked in and she sent her husband out the back door as the Confederate soldiers came in the front dressed as Union soldiers. He stayed hidden for several weeks until he could get to Pensacola. He sent for his family; they remained in Pensacola until the war ended. He returned to Covington County, rode in with the Union soldiers through Andalusia, shook his fist at Judge Jones saying, I told you my day would come.

My grandfather, Alfred Holley and Nancy Ellen reared their family on a farm about 10 miles out of Florala, AL. One of their granddaughters owns the farmland. 
Source: The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, Covington County Heritage Book Committee, Published by Heritage Pub. Consultants, 2003.  Originally Submitted by Alene H. Miller.  Transcribed by Heather Holley.

George Washington Lee, Baptist minister, was born October 30, 1842, in Covington County, and died at McKenzie, Butler County; son of Greenbery and Martha Jane (Taylor) Lee, the former a native of Putnam County, Ga., who went to Alabama and resided at West- over, Covington County; grandson of Richard and Martha Taylor, of Putnam County, Ga. Mr. Lee received a limited education in the country schools; was ordained a Primitive Baptist minister, November 15, 1871; was in the ministry for forty years, serving churches in Butler, Covington, Crenshaw and Conecuh Counties, and other places; was clerk of the Antioch Primitive Association for thirty years; and was pastor for thirty years of Elizabeth church. For ten years he taught school, and for two terms was tax collector of Butler County. He represented Butler County in the State legislature in 1903. During the War of Secession, he was a member of Co. B, and Co. C, Seventeenth Alabama infantry regiment, C. S. Army, and lost his arm at Vicksburg. He was a Democrat. Married: (1) February 17, 1864, to Rhoda A. E. Mitchell, daughter of R. M. J. Mitchell; (2) to Rebecca L., daughter of Joseph Howell, of Butler County. Last residence: McKenzie.  Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, Published by The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921; Submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer.

William Ithamer Lee, teacher, was born August 13, 1876, in Covington County; son of Samuel Asberry and Hulda (Deal) Lee of McKenzie, the former a Confederate soldier; grandson of Eli and Sarah (Piles) Lee, of Covington County, and of George W. and Tabitha Deal, of Butler County. The Lees came from England and settled inSouth Carolina, later moving to Georgia and from there to Alabama. Mr. Lee received his education in the public schools of Butler County; in Georgiana high school; and the State normal school, Troy. He began teaching in 1898; taught eleven years in the public schools of Butler, Covington and Geneva Counties, and for nine years as principal of the McKenzie public school; was mayor of McKenzie, 1912; and was elected to legislature from Butler County, 1918. He is a Democrat; a Methodist; and a Woodman of the World. Married: October 21, 1903, at McKenzie, to Ethel Estelle, daughter of James R. and Mit- tie Harper of McKenzie; granddaughter of Robert Alexander and Susie (Purnell) Harper, and of John and Sarah (Sellers) McPherson. Children: 1. Mary Evelyn; 2. Hulda Madia. Residence: McKenzie.  Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, Published by The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921; Submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer.

John Coleman McLeod, physician, was born April 2, 1878, at Clayton, Barbour County; son of John C. and Alice (Baker) McLeod, of White Oak Springs and Eufaula; grandson of Daniel and P. R. McLeod, and of James and Nancy Baker, all of Barbour County. Dr. McLeod was educated in the common schools of Barbour and Henry Counties; the Southeast Alabama agricultural school, Abbeville, and the medical department of the University of Alabama, Mobile, from which he graduated, 1904, with the degree of M. D. He began the practice of his profession in May, 1904, at Bakerhill, where he remained for one year; lived at Elba, Coffee County, two years; and at Opp, where he has practiced for the last ten years. He was a member of the city council at Opp for six years; and was elected to the legislature from Covington County, 1918. He is a Democrat; a Presbyterian; a Mason; a Shriner; a Knight of Pythias; and a Woodman of the World. Married: February 22, 1906, at Elba, to Myrtle L., daughter of William J. and Rebecca Hutchison. Residence: Opp. [History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 4 by Thomas McAdory Owen and Marie Bankead Owen, 1921 - Transcribed by AFOFG]

James Morgan Prestwood was born April 24, 1881, at Andalusia, Covington County; son of James Austin and Mary Elizabeth (Fletcher) Prestwood, both of Covington County; grandson of Thomas Francis and Margurite Prestwood, of Coffee County, the former who fought in the War of Secession, falling mortally wounded at Resaca, and of Andrew Jackson and Martha Fletcher, of Covington County; and great-grandson of John McIntosh, a native of Scotland. The Fletchers were originally from Virginia. Mr. Prestwood received his early education in the public and private schools of Andalusia; in 1901 was graduated from Howard college, A. B.; and received the degree of LL. B. at the University of Alabama in 1903. He has been practicing law in Andalusia since 1903; and served as senator from the seventeenth senatorial district in the 1919 session of the State legislature. He is a Democrat; a Baptist; a Mason; and a Woodman of the World. Married: October 19, 1904, at Andalusia, to Ellie Jane Snead, of Scotch ancestry, the daughter of John Morgan and Sibbie Annie (Kennedy) Snead, of that place, the former who was a soldier in the C. S. Army, a member of Co. H, Fifty-seventh Alabama, Scott's Brigade, Loring's Division, Johnson's Corps. Children: 1. Sibbie Louise; 2. Mary Rosalind; 3. Roger Austin; 4. James Morgan; 5. Hugh Loring; 6. Ara Jean. Residence: Andalusia.  [History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 4 by Thomas McAdory Owen and Marie Bankead Owen, 1921 - Transcribed by AFOFG]






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