Rodney Holman, a Civil War historian, recently took members of the Boaz Cultural Society back to the mid-1800s.
It was to a time when Confederate troops in Gadsden were trying to make their way through Sand Mountain, across the Tennessee River and into Nashville for battle. And rather than a GPS or Google Maps, all troops had were a few “circuit riding preachers” to show them the way.
Until a group of “circuit riding preachers” helped the troops make one, there were no maps of Sand Mountain, Holman said. “Circuit riding preachers” were ministers that visited different families around the area, so they knew all the trails of Sand Mountain. After the troops explained why they needed a map with three different trails leading to what is now know as Guntersville, Holman said the preachers were able to make the map and send the troops on their way in about three days.
Once on the trails, Holman said the thousands of soldiers all began to see how beautiful the area was with its vast woodlands. That’s when they thought Sand Mountain might make a nice place to settle.
“Why do you think there wasn’t any maps of Sand Mountain at that time?” Holman said. “Because the people already there probably didn’t want anyone else to come around.”
Holman, who regularly participates in Civil War reenactments, went on to share other tales of wartime and depicted what trials soldiers went through. Interesting facts told about the area similar to Holman’s are a small example of what could be learned while attending a Boaz Cultural Society meeting. The society meets the last Thursday of every month inside the Boaz Public Library at 6 p.m. The society’s goal is to move the community forward by honoring the area’s art, history and heritage by sponsoring an annual calendar of varied artistic and historical temporary exhibits and programs such as art fairs, classes, workshops and special events. It also strives to preserve historic landmarks within Boaz and enhance the city’s tourism potential.
Follow the society on Facebook and contact the Boaz Area Chamber of Commerce at 256-593-8154 for more information.