CHEAHA: Page Ten

People often use the expression “last but not least,” but in the case of Sycamore, our last stop of the day, I would change that to “last and certainly the least” of our experiences. This old town, about halfway between Winterboro and Sylacauga, was the location of a marble quarry Alphabet Nix began to work about 1850. Today, what is labeled “downtown” on Internet photos is a boarded up row of three buildings next to a rusty railroad track.

Mr. Nix’s full given name was Joseph Madison Napoleon Bonaparte Nix, so people found it easier to call him Alphabet.. I wonder what prompted Nix’s mother (or father) to choose those four particular names. Madison makes sense because that’s who was President when Alphabet entered the world. However, President Madison’s first name was James, not Joseph. Then there’s the Napoleon part. Alphabet was born in 1814, not exactly a stellar year in the career of Napoleon Bonaparte. He’d botched an invasion of Russia in 1812., and about the time Alphabet was born, Napoleon abdicated his position as Emperor of France and went into exile on the island of Elba. A year later, he returned to power only to botch things even worse at the Battle of Waterloo, so he abdicated again and died in exile on the remote island of Saint Helena in 1821 at the age of 51. Certainly seems like an odd choice for a namesake.

A day well spent.

NOTE: Come back soon to follow our visit to Buck’s Pocket.

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