Walker County, Alabama Genealogy Trails
JASPER
3rd Avenue, Jasper - Around 1907

Northern Alabama: Historical and Biological by Henry McCalley Birmingham, Ala.   Smith & De Land, 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Jasper, county seat of Walker, is located at the junction of the Kansas City, Memphis, & Birmingham, and Sheffield & Birmingham Railroads, forty-four miles west of Birmingham, 210 miles east from Sheffield, and fifty-six miles northeast of Tuscaloosa.  The country around Jasper is like most of Walker County, broken and mountainous.  The growth and prosperity of the town depends on coal, timber, and agriculture in the valley

Jasper is centrally located in the county, coal-fields extending in every direction for about fifty miles. It promises to be an important railroad center in the future: that is to say in addition to the two roads now here, there will be a connection with the Georgia Pacific, and Tuscaloosa Northern, and the Sheffield & Birmingham Coal. Iron & Railway Company. There are now going on negotiations for a furniture factory, as well as a large lumbering outfit; also for a rolling mill, and a plant for pit cars, wheel-barrows, etc. Also, a coke plant, at a cost of $500,000, is now breaking ground. This company owns, in Walker County, 70,000 acres of mineral lands, and has a capital of $800,000. In addition to the above named industries, there are twenty other companies owning valuable coal mines in Walker County.

Jasper has two churches - Methodist and Baptist - a Masonic Lodge, twenty-five business houses, including a bank with a paid up capital of $200,000 and two hotels.  Its population is now about 1,500, and is daily increasing.  It is an active and bustling place, full of hope and enterprise.  The value of town property has advanced ten-fold in the last eighteen months.

The city of Jasper was incorporated Dec. 22, 1887; and GEORGE H. GUTTERY was its first mayor; W. F. FOSTER its first secretary and tax assessor; B. M. BRADFORD, marshal and  collector; and J. B. SHIELDS, W. C. ROSAMOND, D. L. STOVALL, and W. G. GRAVLEE its first Board of Councilmen.

The streets are all laid off, and some grading done, a corporation building, including a court room and council chamber and prison, has been erected, and the entire town has been platted, extending over one mile square.  The Sheffield & Birmingham Coal, Iron and Railway Company are now building at this place 250 coke ovens and the largest coal bins in the state.  The trestle over which the railroad track runs will be about fifty feet high, and the coal will be placed in the bins, taken thence and placed in the ovens without being handled from the time it leaves the mine. The intention of the company is to increase the number of ovens to 1,000 and when completed will have a capacity of 1,000 tons of coke per diem.

The city of Jasper is not yet old enough to have made much history. .........Among the prominent members of the legal profession of Jasper may be named:  W. B. APPLING, E. W. COLEMAN, C. J. L. CUNNINGHAM, S. M. GUNTER, S. LACY, and JOHN MCQUEEN, while the other professions are well represented.

Among the oldest families in Jasper is the MUSGROVE family, in fact they were the first settlers of the town.  Dr. E. G. MUSGROVE moved to that section of Alabama before the state was admitted into the Union, and immediately after the formation of the county of Meeker, he laid out the town of Jasper and gave the entire town to the county, conditioned upon locating the county seat there, which was accepted, and a court house and jail was immediately built.  This family has been continuous residents of Jasper.  First after the death of Dr. MUSGROVE came his oldest son, Capt. F. A. MUSGROVE, who was born and reared in the place and was among the first citizens of the town and county, having filled various positions of trust and honor in the county and served one term in the State Legislature.  At the beginning of the war he went into service as Captain of Company L, Twenty-Eighth Alabama Regiment. He was wounded at the Battle of Murphreesboro, and after his recovery went into service as major of a Calvary company which he raised at home during his illness.  Following in his direct line of the descendants comes L. B. and J. C. MUSGROVE, his only sons, who are still living at the old homestead, and are both closely identified with the building of the city, and also in the development of the coal and iron interest of the county.

The Jasper Land Company was organized on December 19, 1887, by the election of the following Board of Directors:  GEORGE H. NETTLELER, President of the Kansas City, Memphis, & Birmingham Railroad; JAMES F. JOHNSTON, President of the Alabama National Bank; J. G. CHAMBERLAIN, General Manager of the Sheffield & Birmingham Coal, Iron and Railway Company; A. G. FRANCIS of the Corona Coal & Coke Company; J. C. MUSGROVE, W. L. WALLIS, R. H. ELLIOT, Chief Engineer of the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad; F. A. GAMBLE and S. B. MUSGROVE.

The following were elected the active officials of the Company; JOSEPH F. JOHNSTON, President; L. B. MUSGROVE, Vice-President and General Manager; J. M. BURRELL, secretary; and WILLIAM S. FOSTER, Treasurer.

This company owns about 4,000 acres of land in and around the city of Jasper, and is closely identified with both the citizens and railroads running into that place. It is quite liberal in its efforts to build up a flourishing city in shape of donations, and also in loaning money to institutions to locate here. The greater portions of the most valuable property of the city is in the possession of the Land Company, and it is sparing neither means nor money to develop this fast-growing city. The Company has succeeded in locating several of the largest and best industries in the State at Jasper, and with their efforts bent on this line, as it is at the present time, will in a very few years, put Jasper among the flourishing cities in North Alabama.

 


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