The Free State of Winston-Forgotten Alabama History

Some time back I met the descendant of “Ole Bill”, the owner of Looney’s Tavern in North Alabama. The tavern was the location of the meeting where 6 riders were sent in 6 directions to ride for 6 days to notify the people of a town meeting to secede from Alabama and form The Free State of Winston.

Thousands of people showed up and voted to remain neutral during the Civil War. They couldn’t. Dr. Keiser owned the plantation down in Jasper and sent bands of marauders into Winston to conscript young boys into the Confederacy. They captured several one night and “Ole Bill” took out for Sherman’s Army to run down Troop L, U.S. 1st Cav. of Alabama to help free the boys in the Jasper Jail.

Sherman said no, but Col. Thomas “The Rock” allowed 11 soldiers to go on furlough. They met with 11 Civilians at Rocky Flats and they had a line in the sand for everyone to cross to show a willingness to fight. Two were left with the horses and the remainder proceeded to Jasper where they freed the boys.
On the return trip one of the boys was told of his fathers hanging and was asked to join the Union Troops. He said he would if they stopped by Dr. Keiser’s Plantation on the way back. They were waiting for him in the corn-crib when he went to feed his racehorses. They told his wife that if she didn’t want to follow her husband into posterity that she better tell them who hung the boy’s daddy and she told them of the six men. The story has it that he found the last man in his field in Oklahoma.

It is really a small world and the stars are moving very strangely. My Great -Great Grandfathers (2 of them) were with the U.S.1stCav.Ala. and one was the leader of the group that captured Jasper, burned down the Jail House and Court House and several other buildings, shot the sheriff and destroyed a cache of arms just allotted to the Home Guard.

I am sorry that it was this late in life that I discovered my roots. This knowledge has given me great strength and drive to honor what my family has long stood for.

After the Federal Troops were removed in the 1870’s the Klan helped a Tennessee Land and Lumber Company run all of the “UNION LOYALISTS” off their property.

They say the term “Red Neck” came from them being so mean they could care less who knew who they were and they wore Red Bandannas just to keep from shooting each other.

Several families moved together to get away form them and never mentioned the facts above to their descendants.

This isn’t the first or last time a group of heathens ganged up on valiant and honorable men and women while the Government looked the other way.
Back during the 1870’s they burned down the Courthouses to cover up their illegal CONversion of Real and Personal Property.

Later they hired insider attorney, that knew the people, as agents to flim-flam property owners with $1.00 “LEASES” that destroyed their property. They clear-cut everything and strip mined to no end.

The fact of the matter is the ones that ripped them off then and destroyed them and their families heritage were people they knew and maybe even trusted.

Now, it seems, they have attorneys and lobbyists do their number on you and when you stand up and try to do ANYTHING about it, they send they gangster the WORD on you to people you know and maybe even trust.

The Legislators, Executives, Law Enforcement Officers and Judiciary seem to be bought and sold on a daily basis for cheap.

I think we are, day-by-day, losing more value, control, oversight and hope.





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