Rison-Dallas Community

Rison-Dallas - Notes from Friends

Dallas Mills

This page is established so that you too can enjoy reading incoming mail. If you'd like to respond to any of the mail, please feel free to email us at risondallas@comcast.net and we'll be happy to pass on your comments.



This is a picture of a commode in an outhouse on Stevens Avenue in Dallas Village. One like it was on my grandmother's back porch (she had sort of indoor plumbing - HA). What makes this an important picture and one worthy of my mentioning in a long poem I wrote about my childhood and my memories of the mills.

First - my Great Grandparents John Simeon Rousseau and his wife Lucy Ann Elizabeth Bates Rousseau lived on Stevens Avenue and worked in Dallas Mills.

Second - My grandmother, mentioned in this page went to work in Dallas Mills when she was very young. It was said she had to stand on a box to operate the machine she worked on in the mill.

Third - My mother Bonnie Bell Gaines McCown was born on Stevens Avenue in the home of her grandparents John Simeon Rousseau and his wife Lucy Ann Elizabeth Bates Rousseau.

Forth - This commode was behind the house my parents bought on Stevens Avenue (after my Dad, Walter Wade McCown, Sr. retired from Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Gadsden, Alabama) right across from the house where my mother's grandparents John Simeon Rousseau and his wife Lucy Ann Elizabeth Bates Rousseau lived and my mother was born. Mama loved the village enough to want to move BACK!!!

Fifth - My Dad's people worked in Dallas Mills - my grandmother Mary Eliza "Miss Mollie" Webster McCown and others.

God Bless you for the website; it does more than the city of Huntsville has ever done to preserve "OUR" mill history.

Pat Throneberry"

A photo of a commode in an outhouse on Stevens Avenue in Dallas Village Circa 1930


I just found a census showing my husband's family was at Dallas Village in 1920. His occupation was listed as a Sawyer in the cotton mill. I'm wondering if there is a book about the history of the Dallas Mill & Village around 1920. I just finished reading some of the Rison-Dallas Community website. Very interesting - learning a lot of history from that area.

(Editor's note: I told Darla that I'm not aware of a book in question but that she may wish to check with the Heritage Room of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library at 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville AL 35801, (256) 532-5969, hhrdept@hmcpl.org.)

The family was Robert Gulley (Robb), his wife Iva and children. The 1920 census lists Dallas Village, Dallas Madison Alabama. It states Robert Gulley worked in a cotton mill, which could possibly be the Dallas Cotton Mill. Not sure when he lived there.

I am trying to put together a family history book for my granddaughter. All of the older generation is gone. There is no one to ask questions about the family. My husband's family left Alabama in 1951 and he hasn't been back.

Really glad that I saw your site; love all the pictures.

Darla Moore,


I just became aware of your web site by someone doing some genealogy research, as I have not lived in Huntsville since the 1970s. I attended Rison School for seven years, from 1956-1962 and again from around 1964-65. I have thoroughly enjoyed the articles; brings back lots of memories.

Gary Landers
Lebanon, Tennessee


First, I want to thank you for the work you've done in keeping the memory of Rison and the other Huntsville mill schools alive. I just happened upon your website and suddenly many, many memories came flooding back of my life in the Madison County school system from 1951-1963. My father attended Joe Bradley high school and I and my brother James and sister Jill attended Rison, Lee, Butler, and Huntsville High. We never moved from 701 Stevens Avenue, but the school districts kept changing! I was in the first class of students to attend the new Lee Junior High, as it was then.

Most of my memories are of Rison school, however. Rison was the center of village activity, even in the 1950s. We had permanent barbeque pits on the (I believe) north side of the school where routinely whole hogs would be roasted all evening for the next day's feast for whatever occasion needed a celebration. My dad would be one of the cooks and he smelled so good when he came home! Every summer a veterinarian would donate his time to vaccinate dogs on the school grounds for $3 to control dreaded seasonal rabies. All the children who had dogs would form a virtual parade up Oakwood to the school with their pets; ours included. My brother James was a member of Mr. Fain's safety crossing guards and my father a member of the Epworth Methodist Bible study class directed by Professor Fain. My studies were directed by Mr. and Mrs. Kennamer, Mrs. Ward, Mr. Myhand, Mr. Blackburn, Mrs. Hanvey, Mrs. Pullen, Ms. Womack, and Mrs. Pearson. They all were strict and competent teachers and I learned that order and discipline foster the learning process. I, too, became an educator, graduating with a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University in 1973. Although I have made my living in the aerospace engineering field for most of my career, I do credit my predilection for learning to my first teachers at Rison school.

Forgive the rambling; I'm just so excited about having found the site!

Thank you all again,

Jan Herndon

(Editor's note: In response to my queries, Jan also said the following.)

Thank you so much for responding! What fun it is to reminisce!

My maiden name was Holt (Jan Madeline Holt) and I was married at Epworth Methodist on August 29, 1966. Mr. Fain was my dad's (James Erle Holt) Sunday school teacher and good friend, since they had been at Joe Bradley school since Mr.. Fain's first year as principal (I believe he was only about 19!). They played sports together until Dad left Alabama for Indiana to take a US Government job during WWII. He came back to Huntsville in 1951 and worked with Dr. Von Braun on the Redstone Missile. My father's life story is quite interesting and it is in search of his history that I came across the link to Rison school. Both he and his father were "bobbin setters" in the old Dallas Mill. Dad retired in 1976 as Quality Control Director at Redstone Arsenal - and that's quite a success story.

I am currently an editor/technical writer for an "internationally recognized aerospace corporation" and founder of Write Now Editing, Inc., my freelance company (my evening and weekend job).

Mrs. Hazel Ward was my fourth-grade teacher and is pictured on your site in the 1953 yearbook. That was 59 years ago! If you mention selling Dr. Pepper sodas out of her "cloakroom" and she laughs, she's my teacher!

Feel free to use my message and email address, jherndon9@cfl.rr.com. I would love to hear from other "students" from Rison school.

Thank you (this is so much fun!),



(Editor's note: This reader has given us some missing information that will be added to the School Principals page.)

In looking over the Lee High School e-newsletter, I noticed the information about the Rison-Dallas museum and thought perhaps I could be of assistance. My father was Alva Strang Simms.

Daddy was principal at Rison from 1957 or 1958 to about 1962 or 63, if I remember correctly . . . then he went to Chapman Elementary until his retirement in about 1967 or so.

Before going to Rison he was briefly at the old Lincoln Mills Schools – before that he was at New Market, Riverton, and Hazel Green.

It’s interesting that I was looking at a poem today that was written for Daddy when the school did a take-off of “This is Your Life” for him. I do remember going to the event . . . I was in the 5th or 6th grade if I remember correctly.

If I can help with your project in any way, will be happy to do so.

I’m also in hopes someone might be able to help me out with something. I’m looking for anyone who might have any old 8 or 16mm footage of Daddy that they would be willing to share with me.

My father was 52 when I was born and I literally grew up with “grandparents” as it were. A simple Brownie Kodak was about as “high tech” as our household ever got! So I do not have a voice recording of my dad; nor any video. Having this would be a great thing for him two boys and my only grandson.

At any rate, I’m glad to see the effort at preserving the history of the area. I’m big into genealogy and can trace the Simms line back to William the Conqueror (with a couple of royals thrown in the mix as well)!

Again, I’m ready to help in any way I can!!

Merideth Susan Simms (Meri Susan)
8840 Surveyors Place
Springfield, VA 22152



There is very little I remember about Huntsville, I couldn't even tell you any memories of Rison School except I believe it to have been made of bricks.

I remember leaving Huntsville and making the trip to Nashville on a rainy day, in an old car owned by my mother's brother Marvin. There were five children, mother and Marvin. Dad was not with us. I do not recall ever hearing why he was not with us. I was told this was in 1935.

Both Dad and mother at times worked at the mills there. He was James Henry Buckner, Jr., and she was Annie Mae (McCullough) Buckner. He, like myself, was the middle child among five; mother was the oldest of thirteen.

His father, James Henry Buckner, Sr., worked for years as an overseer in one of the mills.

The oldest son of JHB, Sr., was George A Buckner who later became a JP in Huntsville.

The second son was Walter Preston B, who went to Texas and we have never found info about him.

Dad was the third son, followed by sister, Nannie who married Forrest Suns.

The last child was Andrew Thorne Buckner who married Clara Schrimsher in Huntsville. Clara had a sister named Dora. I spent the better part of 1950 with Andrew & Clara in Gonzales, Texas, which by the way, was my birthplace in 1929.

Now back to the main subject of my mail: as I was exploring the Internet for info about the mills, somewhere I read about the strikes there in 1934 and someone had written that one of the mills wanted to have a workers union and the owner said that if they were unionized, he would close the mill (this is the same thing that Dad had told us). I think the letter stated that negotiations took place in September 1934 and the mill was shut down in November, the same year. I have forgotten where I found my info and have not been able to locate it. Our youngest son, Brian, has our genealogy and would cherish every bit of info about us.

I regret to say that because of bad health, I am not able to attend your reunions. I am of victim of COPD, asthma, and post-cancer, as well as old age. My wife, Geraldine, is crippled from her childhood bout with polio and her activities are also limited. Only two days separate our birthdays.

April 26th began our 60th year of marriage.


Monroe Buckner, MMB1929@aol.com"

Editor's Note:
Please contact Monroe if you remember his family.

I'm sitting around the house thinking about life in Dallas Village and Mr. Tippet came to mind.

How many of us old folks remember Mr Tippet?

Since I lived at 301 Halsey next to the YMCA I would watch Mr. Tippet set up his popcorn machine.

After I grew up I had a friend who lived in Boogertown (Ed. in West Huntsville) who knew him and told me the following story:

Mr. Tippet lived across the street from him and he watched him each week as he prepared his popcorn wagon for its journey across town to our YMCA. What I learned was astounding: it seems that Mr. Tippet physically pulled that wagon or popcorn machine across town and served us popcorn and peanuts on Friday and Saturday nights for movies. As a youngster I would watch him set up and could not wait until movie time. As I look back on that time it is absolutely astonishing that he had the strength to pull that wagon across town; that took a lot of strength and energy. My friend told me that was Mr. Tippet's only means of making a living for his family.

Good memories of those wonderful days.

Rudolph V Strickland"

Editor's note:
I have a Mr. Tippet story:

My mother said that when Mr. Tippet was pulling his popcorn wagon through the village, my brother, Ron, would run behind him. At one of those times, mother was sweeping off the sidewalk in front of our house and said to Mr. Tippet: "I'll bet he (Ron) worries you to death." To which he replied, "Yes'm; I believe that he's the worrisomist kid I know." To which she did not reply - 'said that she just turned and went inside the house!

Good afternoon,

My father was Theron Fisher; Lana and Connie Fisher are cousins; Belle Fisher Bowers and Mildred Fisher Pinion were my father's sisters.

I always enjoy turning back the pages of time to see my family when they lived in the Village and had so many close friends, good times, and a community. Today we would all love to have the closeness and the community that these wonderful people enjoyed.

Oh, I forgot Beauton Fisher and his wife Jessie, they were Lana and Connie's parents.

I've heard stories and I remember many of these people because I was lucky enough to come to Huntsville from 1941 until recently. I always go over where the mill once stood and go by the house on McKinley where my grandparents lived from 1910 until their death in the late 50's. It was a very special place with even more special people.

Thanks for having the website and all those pictures for our generation to see and enjoy.

Barclay C. Fisher
Theron C. Fisher's son"

One of our readers, Claudia Johnson, wants to find information about the families from the Dallas Village area to whom she is related. These were the William Edward and Leoma Johnson family and extended families with these names: Ramey, Griffith, Booker. She said that she has many old photos of people who cannot be identified. If you can help, please contact Claudia at: sypfdirector@gmail.com."

I just viewed your website and found it to very interesting indeed. I grew up in Huntsville on Stevens Ave. and later moved to Lee High Drive. I attended Rison, Lee Jr High and Lee High School before my parents transferred to Martin, Tennessee. I entered the Army after graduating from Martin High School and retired from the Army in 1990.

This brought back many memories of playing ball for both Rison and Lee. I had lost track of my classmates, and this website brought back those memories. I graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics and I spent the last several years working for the Veteran's Administration. I have been married for 45 years, have three grown daughters and seven grandchildren.

I'll continue to check on the website from time to time so keep up the good work.

Thanks for the memories,

Gary Broadway
Rolla, Missouri"


I thought you'd be interested in something I found today. You know that store on 5th Street (aka Andrew Jackson Way) that sells outdoor furniture (between O'Shaughnessy and Humes)? It's actually 2 stores, New Leash on Life And Cunningham's. Well, my wife and I went by there today just to browse and they had an old school desk for sale. I didn't ask where it came from, but I've got to think it might be from Rison or Lincoln School. I've attached a picture.

An old school desk

Best Regards,

Glen Beatty (Editor's note: I don't remember Rison desks looking like this - did they?)


I was interested in checking the registry of workers for my grandparents name(s). Is this online for viewing?


Balyn Parker, blynparker2@gmail.com"

Editor's note: When I told Balyn that we don't have a registry, I suggested that he give us his grandparents' names. The names he provided are: Clarence West, Hattie Lorell West, and Elmer Ray Trapp.

Please let Balyn know if you remember these people.


Dear Sir or Madam,

I'm writing a book on North Alabama History and I came across your website. It is wonderful and the history of the mill and mill village is fascinating. I would very much like to learn more about it. Would you or anyone you work with be available for an interview at some time?

Jessica Penot, MS

Editor's note: Upon receipt of the above note, I suggested that Jessica give us a list of questions for your consideration. Here are her comments and questions:

"I find the mill's history very interesting and have several question that anyone could answer.

1. The mill closed in 1949 and the village was incorporated into Huntsville in 1955. What was that transition like? In the period leading up to this were there signs that this was going to happen within the community? What were they?

2. After the mill closed did the community remain strong? Did the community members stay together and, if so, what led to their eventually breaking apart and how long was it before the village community finally gave up and went their separate ways?

3. Are there any interesting urban legends, ghost stories, or stories that come from the village community that are unique to it?"

If you would be willing to respond to Jessica, please email her at jessica.penot@gmail.com.



I enjoyed so much seeing this site. It has brought back many memories. My thoughts have been overwhelmed today with so many of the memories I had forgotten from this time of my life. Although I never attended Rison my brother did, and I remember going to Easter egg hunts, programs, and other events that he attended. I remember the old oak floors and how easy it was to slide down them.

Seeing the photos was like a trip back in time! I attended Chapman School and remember great teachers like Ruth Esslinger, Edith Womack, and Hazel Ward. Ms. Womack had taught many of the parents of students in my class. Ms. Esslinger had bingo on Fridays with the winner getting a candy bar. I also remember her "Jay Bird Table" for those who misbehaved. I was there a lot!

I have seen Mrs. Ward several times since (as recent as 2 years ago). She is still so kind and caring, always asking for an update on how you have been.

Thanks for all your efforts in saving a piece of history.

Rick Eichelberger

On March 23rd, Herman Schrimsher passed away at the age of 80. Herman and Leron (his wife who died March 29, 2009) were my Aunt and Uncle. Leron was sister to my Mother Zettie. I have numerous fond memories of them both when I was growing up. We spent weeks and weekends together on Guntersville Lake at Ossa-Win-Tha. I can honestly say I never heard a bad word come from Herman's mouth or hear a single bad comment about another person. Herman was one of the good guys.

Glenn Swaim"

I am searching for anyone with ancestery to the name of Falkenberry. Please contact me at amyfalkenberry@yahoo.com. Thanks,

When the old West Clinton School was slated for demolition, The Arts Council, Inc. (TAC) and a number of its member organizations were compelled to look for a new—albeit temporary—home. They found it at the old Rison School near Oakwood Avenue and Andrew Jackson Way, moving in during August 1973. During this period, performances for the groups were typically held at Lee High School, Huntsville High School, the Russell Erskine Hotel, and various churches.

As it aged, Rison was deemed both uninhabitable and too costly to renovate. The arts were on the move again; TAC had relocated to a suite of offices in the new Von Braun Civic Center (where it remains to this day) around 1975, while four member organizations, the Huntsville Art League and Museum Association (HALMA, now known as HAL), the Community Ballet Association, the Alabama Film Makers Co-op, and Fantasy Playhouse Childrens’ Theatre, later took up short-term residence at the Annie C. Merts Center on Randolph Avenue. Records indicate this was in November 1979, though the dedication of the latest “Civic Arts Center” was not held until September 1981. The seeming delay may have been occasioned by refurbishment activities.

Jim Zielinski"

Hi, my name is Lisa Day and I am with the Merrimack Mill Village Homeowners Group. I stumbled across your site and think it is wonderful.

We are currently trying to organize a project of Oral Histories from the residents and workers of the mill villages. We are also looking at trying to set up some kind of museum of the mills and villages. We are getting started slowly and I wanted to contact you to see if there is any interest in these projects. These projects could incorporate all the mills and villages in Huntsville and be a wonderful preservation of a vital part of the history of Huntsville.

If anyone is interested, my cell # is 520-5225 and my personal email address is granliday@bellsouth.net.

Thank you,

Lisa Day"

What a great web site. I have been going back in times for several years, through the help of this site and I appreciate it so much. There are so many good memories and I also appreciate all the hard work that goes into this site.

I don't know who is responsible for adding my Mother's name to the past year of deceased friends, but I cannot tell you how much it means to me. My Mother was loved by everyone that knew her and I miss her so much. Someone once told me that you never get over losing your Mom, and now I understand what they meant.

Thanks Again,
Billy Berry

I have spent the last hour looking at the website. It brings back so many memories of happy times spent in Dallas Village.

Harvel and I married there and lived there the first years of our married life. He was always proud of his heritage, and no matter where we lived he always called Dallas and Huntsville his home. He is in his heavenly home now. Our children know that their roots are in Alabama.

I hope I can be there this year for the reunion, but if not my thoughts and prayers will be with you.

Eunice Carroll
Wife of Harvel Carroll"

My name is Lynda Payne Tisch and I was born in Huntsville to Lester and Louise Payne. My grandmother was Bonnie Owens who worked at Dallas Mills for many a year. I grew up part of my life in Dallas Village. My great grandmother was Maude Dunham and we lived across the street from her. Some of the fondest memories of my life are of Huntsville and Miss Esslinger and Big Spring Park.

Very recently I was at Vanderbuilt University Hospital where my military grandson is being treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. While we were waiting for him to have a bone marrow test I struck up a conversation with a very handsome gentleman named Mr. Don Morton who was waiting for his wife to finish her examination. When I found out Mr. Morton was from Huntsville I couldn't shut up. I asked if Steadman's BBQ was still there and Mullins hamburgers. He told me about how much Huntsville has changed but if you were a Dallas or Lincoln family those memories are treasures. Some of my people who worked at the mill were my mama Bonnie Owens, my aunt Irene Ramsey, my uncle Charley Headrick and your old sheriff of Madison County David Headrick was my cousin.

Later Granny moved out to Pulaski Pike where there was a beautiful country club across the street. On my Daddy's side of the family my grandfather was W.H. Payne and he ran a candy route.

One boy I thought was so cute was Sonny Boy Sharp and I think his mother was friend of my mother. I thought he was going be my boyfriend for sure.

Oh, those were sweet wonderful memories and if there are any pictures I'm sending my e-mail address for I would love to look for my people. My mother, Louise Payne, is still living age 88. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class at Rison High School in 1940. I still have a few relatives in Huntsville like John and Norma Herndon and Edith Hillis. Those were some of the very best years of my life and I was just a little girl. Thank you for creating this site for we need to remember where we came from.

Lynda Gayle Payne Tisch
2551 4th St.
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221

My name is Anita Bradford and I am searching for information on the Ward family. Charles Ward worked for the mill all his life; he was a supervisor of sorts so I am told. His brother, Fred Louis Ward, played baseball for the mill team and later worked there as well; Fred is my Dad. Several aunts, Trudie Nicks Copeland, Frances Nix Thompson and Climie Nix, worked for the mill and, in later years, even my brother, Marion Devaughn Compton, was employed there. I also am looking for Doshie Nicks Ward who worked at both the mill and at Redstone Arsenal in the 40's.

The Wards came to Huntsville in the late 20's early 30's as Charles Ward had acquired employment with the mill; they came from Tennessee after the death of their Mom and 2 sisters - maybe T/B? Charles' father, Ed Edward Ward, was blind and he had 2 younger brothers, Clifford, Fred, as well as my Dad to care for until he married and then my Dad and uncle cared for him and his home until his death. Clifford married, had several children and just disappeared from Huntsville - I'm not sure when. In the 40's and 50's he and my Dad where roofers by trade; together they put the roof on the Russell Erskine Hotel, the high rise of the day. Together they traveled and worked in up-state cities doing really high rise work in New York, Pennsylvania, and D.C., to mention a few.

I've been able to verify some of these facts but am stumped here in Huntsville. I remember attending Christmas parties and huge egg hunts at the mill as a child and I am 100% sure of the employment of the family - just no proof; any suggestions? Anita Bradford, mebradford@charter.net"
Editor's note: If any of you remember Anita's family members, please email the information to her.

I'm Drew Schrimsher, Earl and Rosa Schrimsher's great-grandson. I was doing some work in my computer class, and we had to look up pay stubs. So I did, and when I did, I saw the pay stubs on your website. Then, I clicked on it and saw my great-grand parent's names. I was very shocked to see their pay stubs. I couldn't believe it for the longest, but I printed a copy for my grandmother, Joyce Renfroe Schrimsher, my great-uncle, Herman Schrimsher, and myself. I learned about how much they got paid. Thank you for this site. I am only in the eighth grade at Monrovia Middle School, so I did not attend Rison, but I thought I should thank you for this site. I am also related to Ann Schrimsher Franklin - she is my great-aunt!"

I few days ago I read the recent article about Kettle’s Store and then one a little earlier discussing our neighborhood stores as well. Several other stores come to mind that I don’t think have yet been mentioned.

One was Towry(?) Grocery on the north side of McKinley Avenue about 3 blocks east of Andrew Jackson Way. I think the store was added on to a residence there and projected out from the front of the house toward the street. I don’t remember much except the entrance was on the east side near the front of the house and up some steps.

Another was Princes’ Grocery on the west side of Maysville Road in the curve near the Big Ditch. This store may not actually qualify as a Dallas Village store because it was almost outside the village on the east side. I recall it being there in 1958 when my family moved from Lee High Drive (old North Dallas Avenue) to Oakwood Avenue east of the intersection of Oakwood Avenue and Maysville Road. I am not sure if it is still there or not.

There was also a little store actually on the east side of 5th Street about a half block south of Oakwood Avenue. Because I don’t remember the name, this store may have been previously listed. My friend Walt Thomas once set his red car coat on fire while standing on the sidewalk outside the store one night; he stuffed a lighted cigarette in his pocket to keep his approaching Mother from seeing it. Since then we have both had the good sense to give up tobacco.

I’m searching the back recesses of my brain on this one, but I think Loftin’s store was on the southwest corner of 5th Street and Humes Avenue near Mike Smith’s house. I believe the father was Gordon Loftin and the son was Bart Loftin.

Collins (CE) Wynn"

Editor's Note: Names of some of the grocery stores in and around Dallas Village are listed in several places on this website. CLICK HERE to view a compiled list of those known stores. If you either know of others or know the missing location or names, please email us at risondallas@comcast.net and we'll update the list.

I went to Lincoln School 1956-1962 and Rison School 1962-1964. I had hoped to come to a reunion but am always working when you have one as will be this year. I was wondering if you could see if anyone might know anything about this picture. All I know is it is of Perry Adkins and his father James Longstreet Adkins at Kettles Store. Not sure who the other people are or if this in fact my grandfather. We found this picture in family albums after some of the family passed away. Thanks for any help you might be able to give me.

Kettle's Store
J.J. Kettle Store - Circa 1900
(click on the picture for a full-size version)
Editor's notes:
Do any of you remember that there was once a little store in Dallas Village called, J.J. Kettle? Our friend, Joy Daniel, who was born in 1917, doesn't remember the store but guessed that it could have been someplace on south Dallas Avenue near the mill. If you enlarge the picture, you'll see a sign to the left of the building that states, Gay-Ol. When I googled the name, the definition given was "insult." I can't imagine that was the original meaning - 'could've meant coal oil (kerosene); what do you think? Also shown in the picture, beside the post next to the lady, is a box that appears to contain wrist watches and knives. Hanging in right front is a stalk of bananas behind which is a sign that says, "J.J. Kettle, Groceries, Cold Drinks, Milk; on the last post on the right is a sign that says, "Ice Cream Today."

Jan Tash ( Janice Marie Salters)

My grandparents, Walter and Mary White Wade Lee, owned two houses right next door to Rison Elementary (2020 Lee High Dr) and as a child I used to play in the playground when school wasn't in session.

I lived in Chapman Heights so I did not attend Rison, but I was sad to learn that the school had been demolished and replaced with a fire station. My grandmother's sister (Annie) lived in a mill village house on the other side of the RR tracks (on Davidson in Lincoln, I think) and many people on my father's side of the family worked in the mills. I do remember when Boeing converted some of the Mill buildings into offices for Boeing back in the 1960s. My father and I went to the barber shop at the corner of Andrew Jackson Way and Oakwood, which I believe may still be in business.

My grandfather Walter was the head mechanic at the old Huntsville bus company (the old Southern bus company.. the company was also in Birmingham).

I remember as a child seeing an old Victorian house at the corner of Lee High Dr and Withers. There were other large Victorians that belonged to the mill management in the vicinity. I remember one had been turned into a Boys Club (used to go there) during the 1960s. My mother's family is from Scottsboro/Jackson County, her family settled in the area during the early 1800s. My father graduated from Huntsville high in 1953, my mother in 1954. Their names are Glen and Jackie.

I was born in the old Huntsville hospital in 1960, a sixth generation North Alabamian. I am happy to say that I'll be moving back to Huntsville at the end of October. The summers are long, hot and muggy, but it's still home!

Greg Lee"

I am writing to you because I found your web page by accident. My beloved grandmother was Ruby Lee Isabelle Crabbe, one of your featured columnists in the Old Huntsville Times Magazine. She so loved writing those articles and would send me copies of every one. My grandmother passed away a few years ago and is buried in Hurricane Valley. I miss her greatly and have so many wonderful memories of my childhood because of her. There never was nor ever will be such a person to match my Meamaw! I would just like to thank all of you who had the glory of knowing her for making her so happy.

Also, I noticed that one of the 2005 Cookbook Committee Members, Ms. Helen Acuff, was also a great part of my childhood. Her mother, Ms. Emma Sanders, was my most-loved babysitter as a child. My “Sanders” and Helen were so wonderful and took such wonderful care of me. I always cherish them in my heart. It has been many years since I have had the much loved opportunity of hugging my Helen. My Sanders has passed from this life and I know she is with my Meamaw and they are drinking coffee on a front porch and just laughing the day away.

If you happen upon my Helen could you please pass on that little Wendy Roland, Brenda’s daughter, still loves her and would greatly love some news!

Bless the reader of this email and may you have a glorious day.

Wendy Roland McGuffie"

(Editor's note: Wendy lives in Nashville, TN, and plans to bring her husband and three children to this year's reunion.)

I have a 1932 yearbook of the Pilot at Rison High school. I'm going to put it on EBay on 3-10-08. I'm grateful to your website for help in research of the high school. I'm trying to sell it for The Friends of Florence Library.

My eBay user's name is: lmk3491.

Lynda Milligan"

I’m just sitting here wondering how many people remember grocery stores in Dallas Village other than the Union Store. The ones that I remember are Mr. Cowley's Store located between the Union Store and the R.C. Cola plant. Mr. Cowley had a penny slot machine behind the front door, and the kids would all head that way when they had a penny. Then there was Leffle Green's Store on 5th Street close to Mr. Carroll's barber shop, Gordon Loftin's and Little Hick Goodson's.

Does anyone from our area remember any more?

Rudolph V. Strickland"


I found your site because I am searching for Patricia Stephens whose picture is shown below and who graduated from Bangor High School in Bangor, Maine, in 1962.

Patricia Stephens

A picture of a blond girl named Patricia Stephens appears on your great website in her 1957 9th grade graduating class.

Her father was in the Air Force stationed at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor.

Linda Steputis Beutel is the classmate who knew Patricia best.


Ellen Segal Russell (married to Whit Russell), ESR4513@aol.com""

My name is Arni Anderson. I went to Lee the first year Lincoln and Rison joined to make the school. I was only there the first two semesters after it opened. I moved to the Chicago area in January 1959. I did make several friends who were from Rison and I would love to hear from anyone in that class, or was there at Lee the first two years.

In those days, I was known as CLINTON ANDERSON. I would really like to hear from anyone who might wish to respond.

Over the past 6 years I have reconnected with a great number of friends from Lincoln and would now like to reconnect with any old Rison friends and acquaintances.

Please contact me at: arnic1@yahoo.com.


I am Suzette Yost von Kamp and one of the people who started at Lee Jr Hi in Jan 1958. There are several of us who would like to have a class reunion before the current Lee HS is closed and we need your help in finding some of the people (especially the Rison folks) and would like to know who to contact.

I have the names of the people who went to Lincoln as most of them went to Butler and I have done the last 5 class reunions for the BHS 62. So those people are pretty much accounted for. I am attaching a list of people who mainly went to Rison to see if you have any addresses for them. Also, if you know of any of them who are deceased.

I was going to attend the reunion you had in August, but was out of town.

I am truly looking forward to hearing from you in the future.

Suzette Yost von Kamp

I found your website quite by accident, but enjoyed the trip just the same!!!

I was linked while trying to find out information on my husband's great-grandparents, who through deaths, and family re-distribution, had been lost somehow along the way.

I found that his great-grandmother Annie Barton was working with her family there, and most likely met, and married his great-grandfather William A. Fears there in 1907, according to records.

Annie's parents, Wilburn and Ellie Barton, came from the Coffee/Bedford county area of TN. From what I found on William A. Fears, his parents were from Bedford county TN as well. So,..I'm figuring the work drew them there, as I'm sure it did many others.

If anyone has any other information that they could share, it would be most appreciated. We still have no idea what happened to them, or where they might be buried.

My husband's grandmother (Edna Lorene Fears) and a sister were left to be raised by relatives at a fairly young age. Annie later re-married a "Harris", and started a new family near Chattanooga, the way the story was told.

Two of Annie's younger siblings (Florence, and Harlie Barton) were also listed on the mill registry. Perhaps their families might have some information?

In any case, thanks again for keeping this history alive!!

(Editor's note: If you can help Linda McC, please contact her at miss_linda_mcc@yahoo.com. We referred her to the cemetery information on our History page as well as to the City of Huntsville's website.)"

(Editor's note: In appreciation of the voluntary efforts of our webmaster, Craig Clontz, the Association presented him a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant as well as made a donation to Trinity United Methodist Church in his honor. Upon receipt of this gift and donation, Craig sent this message.)

I received the generous gift from the Rison-Dallas Association today and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate it. Rest assured, the entire Clontz family will enjoy this gift! I thank you also for your donation to the Trinity United Methodist in my honor.

As always, it is my honor and pleasure to help maintain the Rison-Dallas.com website. I am very gratified to see what we have accomplished together, as evidenced by doing any kind of search on Google associated with Dallas Mill or Rison School in Huntsville, we consistently come out on top of the search results! I think it has become a valuable resource not only for members of the Rison and Dallas families, but also anyone interested in the history of Huntsville and of the cotton mill era in the United States. And my work on the website has not only helped me learn about a wonderful neighborhood and people that shaped Huntsville's past and future, but it has also helped me expand my skills in maintaining and developing websites!

So please don't hesitate to send further information my way to include on the website!

Thanks Again,
Craig Clontz"

(Editor's note: upon receipt of the Association's donation to the Jackson Way Baptist Church, the minister wrote the following message in a letter.)

I want to express my regrets that Donna and I could not be here Saturday. The weekend you have your reunion is our anniversary weekend and the past few years Donna and I have had special plans together and cannot make your gathering. Please communicate this to your association for me as you have opportunity. I see this reunion as a very important part of our community of faith and would not want anyone to view my absence as uncaring. I understand you had a wonderful time again this year for which I am grateful.

We will mark the calendar for your time here next year.

Thanks again for the generous gift from your association.

Bless you!
Pastor Garry Jordan"

I enjoyed looking at the pictures of school teachers and officials on your website, some of whom I recognized (my grandfather, the janitor), but many I didn't! It's a wonderful site for former students like me.

Bill King"

I just visited the Rison-Dallas site for the first time. Most enjoyable and lots of good memories. The site is great and the photos are exceptional.

While I grew up primarily in Lincoln Village, I did attend Rison for one year - the year I lived on O'Shaughnessy. I do remember Mr. Fain; however, my old alzheimered brain had identified the school as "Andrew Jackson" for years.

I fondly remember throwing a million rocks from the railroad bed into the Dallas Millpond. We spent many hours there throwing bottles into the pond and then throwing at them to break and sink them.

I also remember many summer days and evenings at Optimist Park. I think my first introduction to the Birmingham Black Barons was there. I have many fond memories of boxing and wrestling matches in addition to ballgames at Lincoln Park.

Keep up the great work. I hope to attend the 2007 reunion.

Larry Wilburn"

I really hate that I missed the reunion this year; my wife was having back problems on that weekend. I don't go many places without her any more, besides it would not have been fun without her anyway. I saw many names of people who attended this year that I have not seen in over 50 years. It would have been a delight to see and talk with them again. I will make very effort to attend next year, God willing. It is such a fine bunch of people to be with.

Tommy Rutledge"

I enjoy visiting your site (and I enjoyed the reunion this summer). My ancestors back to great grandparents on all sides and even a few 2nd great grandparents were Dallas Mill villagers! They were Cantrells, Paynes, Fitches, Bowers, Pinions, Wheelers, Hietts, Buchanans, and Sharps. Thanks for keeping history alive.

There is a mistake on the Dallas Mill Baseball Team - late 20s early 30s. I have three granduncles and two 1st cousins (twice removed) on that team. The person identified as Commodore Pinion (4th from left standing) is actually Commodore's older brother, Clarence Pinion, who married Frances Wallace. Commodore and Clarence are my granduncles and I knew them well. Both of them were excellent athletes. (Ed: Name change has been made.)

Commodore was the "Punt" Pinion who got the "unusual switching" Mr. Fain describes in the video clip. My family has shared a million laughs over the years on that one! Mr. Fain errs slightly concerning the nickname. Curiously, all four of the Pinion brothers, and even their father, went by the nickname of "Pont" - with an O.

Thanks again for a wonderful site.

Ralph Cantrell Jr."

Elizabeth and Senator Howell HeflinI had hoped to come to the Rison reunion this year. My son, Tom, decided I should not drive out of town alone anymore. I tried to convince him that was silly but I couldn't win.

I have looked everywhere for a picture of me to send. I have loads of Howell and Tom but I was always the photographer. 'Decided to write on this card so you could at least see how I look now 55 years after I was in Huntsville.

I hope the reunion is fun.

My best to you and all those who remember me.

Elizabeth Ann Heflin"

It was a great reunion! I really enjoyed it. Please tell all the members who worked on the different committees how much I appreciated all their time and effort to make it a success.

I believe that was the "most" food that we had ever had to enjoy.

Lorinne and I have enjoyed the cookbook, especially the pictures and the memories. Joy also bought one for Marguerite and will give it to her when she comes up for a visit when the weather gets a little cooler.
Corinne Fanning"

I thought that this year's reunion was very special, so good to be with my classmates and friends.

I thank you all for all the work you did; I just finished reading the "Memories" in the cookbook! I think the cookbook is great and I am sending one to Bill and his family.

We did have a special place to live and grow up - the school, "Y," and churches!

I thank the cookbook committee again for all your hard work. Juliana will enjoy cooking from the recipes for years to come.

Marjorie Ruth (Cullom Snell) (Class of 1946)"

The message below is my thanks to John Pruitt of The Huntsville Times for a brilliant job...I also thank the Rison-Dallas committee for my best reunion ever...Please show it as my thanks also on your unbelievably well done (Page) Thanks.....some effort, believe me.

'You brought a tear to my eye and jimmied loose sleeping brain cells unused for 60 odd years with your precisely picked words minus unnecessary hot air in between, sort of a cross between the late Jim Murray of the L.A. Times and Mark Twain...

Since 1940 I feel like I've been everywhere and done everything...twice. Now I have been yanked back to truly the best years of my life...There is something valuable about not having THINGS and STUFF come too easy...The reunion and your perfect article makes me think good thoughts about the past...Big is not better....EVER..

I'm leery of where our now parents and government are taking our youth... Did my parents say the same thing in their generation? I don't think so... Some say yes...

Thanks again for your valuable contribution to the Dallas-Rison reunion........and ME.'
Milton L. Gentry"
(Editor's note: On page 1 of the Sports Programs page, please see a photo of the surviving members of the 1940 Rison Pilots football team that was made at the August 5th Rison-Dallas Association annual reunion.)

(Editor's note: After presenting a copy of our cookbook, "Cooking with the Village People," to our webmaster, Craig Clontz, we received the note below.)

Thank you so much for the copy of the cookbook you gave me. It is simply wonderful!

This document is so much more than a mere cookbook: it is a mini history of Rison and the Dallas Mill Village. I didn't realize you were going to incorporate so much of the information we have gathered on the website into the cookbook. It really feels different reading it on the printed page, I can almost hear the voices speaking their memories of the village.

I'm also very impressed with the job the folks at ColorXPress did in putting the book together. It's a top-notch job, I can't imagine it could have been done better by anyone, anywhere else. It's really not even comparable to other "local" cookbooks that I've seen before. I can tell they spent of lot of time getting the pictures composed and formatted properly for the pages and all the text, quotes, and recipes are perfectly arranged.

Please send my compliments and regards to everyone who put this wonderful book together. It's really amazing!

I have never been to the reunion but I'm looking so forward to attending this year.

I went to Rison from the 1st grade (Miss Esslinger of course) to 5th and then had to go to Lincoln for one year. I went back to Rison (remember Mr. Jones?) for the 7th and 8th grades all the time waiting til I could go to Lee (all of us were) ... foiled again .. they built Chapman - so we went there for one year and finally to Lee. I graduated in 1968.

My son who is 31 stumbled across the Rison-Dallas Association website this past year and gave the link to me ... it is fascinating; it is wonderful. Thank you all so much! We live on Lee High Drive ... almost every day as I turn that corner, I am aware of the very special building that used to stand there.

See you tomorrow.
Peggy Towery Pierce

The website is awesome; it surely brings back some good memories. There are pictures of four of my father's sisters plus one of his first cousin, Bessie Hunt. I wish I were going to be in Huntsville or Tennessee so that I could attend the reunion. As you know Jackson Way Baptist used to be called Fifth Street Baptist; I grew up attending that church. One of my grandmother's brothers, Clarence Carroll, was a deacon there for most of my life. I was baptized there when I was 14 years old.

I remember the Labor Day cook-outs at the school the weekend before school started.

I saw John Earl Branum's name and it reminded me of the time I accidentally shot him in the leg with a b.b. gun. Because his father was a policeman, I hid under the house, scared that I might have to go to jail.

I also saw a note from Harvel Carroll who is my dad's first cousin; he married Tammy and me over 36 years ago.

There are not many people who can say that they had the same teacher who taught their father, but I can because Miss Esslinger taught both of us. We were told that if we told her how pretty she looked, she would give us a gold star for the day; I used that trick quite often!

Again I want to thank the people who put the reunion and the website together. There were so many memories stirred up as I read thru the website. Keep up the good work!
Robert Staggs"

I have just looked at your website and compliment you on such a great site for those of us stuck in nostalgic stage of our lives ( always looking back here, because it's been a long strange trip, to quote the Grateful Dead). ‘Really great and well organized.

Warm regards,
David Sims”

I have spent the last couple of hours going through your website. How wonderful! I can't express the extent of my shock at such a complete and newsy piece of communications. I have taken the liberty of copying many of my Butler and Lincoln friends with this information so that they also can be brought up to date on your Rison reunion. I have included this years meeting on my schedule so that I can work on being there.
Thank you again.

Johnny Johnston"

Hi, my name is Thomas Jan Hunt. I attended Rison School until Lee High School. I have two brothers and a sister that also went to Rison: Gaylord Curtis Hunt, Lowell Lee Hunt, and Patricia Suzanne Hunt Pendergraft. Its amazing that we all four had the same first grade teacher, Miss Esslinger. Thank you for your site. My brother Gaylord and my sister Suzanne have passed away and I was so pleasantly surprised to see their pictures in photos I never knew existed. Suzanne's husband (Billy Wayne Pendergraft) will also be so pleased to see them.

Jan Hunt"

You all should be commended in the effort put forth with your webpage. It does a great job in preserving one of the precious villages that made Huntsville what it is today. I am of a younger generation and can only appreciate how times must have been during the operating days of the mill.

Robert J. Citrano"

I just got back from looking at your website and what a treat!!! I was happy to see a picture of my friend, C. O. Jones, on the School Principals page, who was a fellow member of mine at First Christian Church. I also learned that several of your teachers on the Faculty and Staff page later migrated to my school, Huntsville High School, where I also played against Hub Myhand's teams. It is amazing how all the Huntsville communities intertwined and made us the wonderful city we are today.

Topper Birney
HHS Class of 1953"

I just went through the comments of the people of the village and it was heart warming to see the comments of the people I went to school with and the teachers who had the patience to put up with me .

I went from first grade with Miss Esslinger at the two-story house across Oakwood Avenue till the 9th grade and then to Butler. I lived on Rison Avenue.

Thanks for the websight; keep up the good work.

Bobby Potts"

I enjoy this website so much. I have good memories of living in the Dallas Mill Village, and all the great friends I met there and even though I only attended Rison Jr. High for one year in the 9th grade (1952-1953), it was the highlight of my school years.

Tommy Rutledge

The web site is great!!! Would like to join the association for the preservation of this interesting time frame(Rison-Dallas Mill Village). My mother and father graduated from Rison school (1936 and 1937) and my grandmother worked in Dallas mills 1924-1938. We have class pictures and school letters. Do you need graduating class pictures for 1936 and 1937? Mother started to kindergarten there and completed her schooling at Rison. She is still living and a very sharp mind. She loved this site and added so much to my knowledge as she commented on the pictures, etc. I thought I would interview her on tape for you to have verbal input from someone who spent many years there until my father joined the military as a career.(1941). If there are any questions that you would like her to answer please advise. She lived at 903 O'shaughnessy (sp). She is working on recipes now and we do want to purchase books.
Thank you again for the work you are doing.

Joan Carroll Johnson (I went to Kindergarten and first grade--Rison)
Mullins, SC"
Editor's note: Joan was advised that she is an association member and was assured that we'd be delighted to receive the graduation pictures and any others that she'd like to send. We told her that we would welcome an interview tape of her mother to add to our Memories page. Her father's name will be added to list of veterans on the Veterans page.

Thank you for your hard work in preparing a very memorable and informative website! Because of the website, I am able to see pictures of some of the people I've heard my mother (Wilbia Lee Starr Howard) speak of over the years. I enjoy hearing her tell me of her younger years and now I can put a face with some of the names of which she has spoken. Please keep up the good work! It's a wonderful way to stay informed and connected to our "Hometown" once we have moved away. No matter where I am physically, Huntsville will always be my "Home"!

Thanks again for all your hard work
Judee Howard Houston"

Greetings from Florida! I am a Dallas Rison transplant here. We have lived here for the last 33 years. I was born and raised in Dallas village. The son of Jack and Edna Carroll was grown before I knew my name wasn't Jackson, because everyone said this is Jack's son. I lived on every street in the village at one time or another. And went to Rison school until the ninth grade and then went to Riverton; there I met my wife of sixty years. I have very fond memories growing up there and it still seems like home. Eunice and I will be there for the reunion this year, to renew old friendships.
Harvel Carroll"

I really like this website. I have so many happy memories of growing up in Dallas Village and going to Rison School. I think all of us Dallas kids were part of a large, close family with ties that have not been broken over the years. We may have moved away but we will always be Dallas kids.

Glenn and I moved to Birmingham because our sons settled here. We wanted to be near them and our grandchildren. We are happy here but still consider Huntsville our home. Keep up the good work on the website.
Sara Ann Certain Hymer”

Really enjoy the website, lots of good memories, and good times in Dallas-Rison; love to see everyone.
Best wishes to all,
Butch Fitch"

You have a wonderful website and I enjoyed my visit.
J.R. Hoff"

A lot of good memories in this website..... thanks.
Crawford W. Howard"

The web site is terrific.
Douglas C. Martinson"

I think this is a great website and I enjoyed looking at how Dallas and Rison used to be. I'm sure that most of my relatives attended Rison. Take care.
Ken Ward"

Thanks for the great website. I attended Rison School grades 1 thru 6. Many of the teachers on your website taught me and most of my family. I have read every page and have thoroughly enjoyed the articles and pictures. They brought back many memories of people I haven't seen or thought about in many years. These are pictures of not only some of my family, but people I grew up with at Epworth. All of whom had a great influence on my growing up years. Thanks again for the memories.
Brenda Cagle Bell"

Hey, I am very proud of website. I attended Rison in the 50"s. My name is Jimmy Durham and we lived at 1308 McKinley Avenue. I have lots of memories there. I had Lizzie Monroe for a teacher. She always called me “little bugga.” She had an old 49 Chevy and would bring chickens to school in that old car. Keep up the good work. I will be there at the next reunion. ‘CAN’T WAIT TO SEE ALL!

It is now 4AM, Nov. 7, 2004, and I have spent this night reading all the information you have on the Web sight. What a lovely time it has been, and I can't believe time has passed so rapidly. Somewhere in the hidden spaces of my home I may have a picture of the 1936 football team that I would give you if you would send me an address to mail it to. (Editor's note: An address was sent to Bill.) You are doing a beautiful job of bringing the past to all of the "old folks" of Rison School, and I, for one, salute you.

Love you,
Bill Edgemon"

Love the site! Enjoy seeing pictures of buildings and people from my early years, born 1953. The World was alot slower place back then.....

Thanks for your efforts,
Kevin Rice
(son of Lorene and Bill Rice)"

Thanks to the Rison-Dallas Association for selecting Mom (Liz Payne Ricketts) as the honored guest at this year's annual reunion. It was truly an honor. Also, many thanks for the beautiful corsage and lovely bonnet. Mom has always loved bonnets. Especially thank you for your time and work in helping to present her to the people. It was a wonderful day, one that will be well remembered. And thank you for inviting my cousin, Howard Martin. His dad was mom's brother. He really enjoyed it.

Opal & Ben Parker"

Have been looking at the web site on Rison. Have enjoyed seeing the pictures and so forth.

I attended Rison 1st through 9th grade and have a lot of great memories. I worked in the office with Mr. Fain when I was in junior high. Every morning we got to go with Mr. Fain downtown to Monroe Business Equipment to buy supplies for the office. I can still smell his cigar in the car. Also was impressed, at that age, watching him type on the little typewriter in the office (the hunt and peck system). I can still remember all of my grade school teachers and a lot of my junior high teachers. My sister, Grace Ann Branum Butler, and brother, John Earl Branum, also went 1st-9th grade. We are all still living here in Huntsville as well as our Mother, Helen Branum, who was very active in the PTA at Rison for many years.

Mona Gay Branum Keith"

Thank you for your message of August 13, 03, and the recent invitation. I will attempt to write something about Rison and Dallas, but if it turns out to be too long and probably not what you had in mind, don't feel that you have to read it to the group. (Editor's note: Please also see Mrs. Richardson's story on the Memories page.)

I would enjoy so much attending both events this year, but am not able to do so. I would like to see everyone. I still have several relatives in Huntsville, but I am the last sibling of eight.

My husband, O.E. Richardson, my sister, Alma Englebert Goodson, her husband, Houston Goodson, and I, Ruth Englebert Richardson, all taught at Rison at one time. Rich taught there 15 years, Alma, several years, Houston one or two, and I only substituted there. I even substituted for Mr. Fain as the Principal one day. My brother, Robert, received an MA from the University of Alabama, and taught elsewhere for many years. My oldest brother, Hiram (later named Ben), graduated at Birmingham Southern, and was a Professor there for 40 years. He also coached there. Theron Fisher was one Rison player that he brought there, and Theron graduated and later taught.

I hope that the reunion will be a happy, successful one, and thanks again for inviting me.

My regards to all,

Hi: I enjoy your site as Bill and I both graduated from Rison, 1943 and 1949. Both our children, Trena and Kevin, attended Rison until it was abandoned. Thanks,
Lorene Bishop Rice, Class of '49."

Thanks for the memories. This site is well done and was a joy to look at.
Faye Reese"

Hello Everyone! My daughter is writing this for me as today is my first introduction to a computer.My name is Annie Finley Crowl, Rison graduation Class of 1947. I enjoyed seeing all the memories at the Rison site, but I am sorry to say I will not be able to attend the reunion this year. I have hearing and balance problems so I do not go many places, even to church, though I am in good enough health to live alone and even cut my own lawn!I hope you all have a wonderful time!

Annie Finley Crowl"

I love the website. Keep up the good work.

Take care,
Jim (McBride)"

Wish I could be with you all for the Rison-Dallas Reunion. Unfortunately, we have plans for that weekend. I would love to see all of you. Probably would not recognize many. I loved being remembered. I still have happy memories of my two years in Huntsville.

Elizabeth Ann Heflin"

I like the opening photo on the web-site. That is Halsey Ave and the very first house is where I lived 301 Halsey Ave. The next house was Abe Thomas- Ms Barlow and Bud Barlow. The next was where the Burkets lived. The photo brought back memories. The house at 301 Halsey is gone now, I am sure you know. My grandparents Homer and Vera Heard raised me there.

R V Strickland"

It's a first class website with wonderful opportunities to relive memories and cherish old friends. Congratulations!!

Judy Castrichini"

I attended Rison beginning with the 1958/59 school year, and suppose I was part of its last class when Chapman was completed.

I believe for a time Rison was used as a HALMA [Huntsville Art League] facility - that may be part of its missing history.

What I remember most is the seemingly innocent life back then; cake walks a "big deal", trying to find the extra quarter to bid on the one you really wanted a challenge. Walking to school, or riding a single speed bike with a big headlight than never worked. Huge windows open as it turned to summer - I actually got a window weight from there when they were tearing it down, and it must have weighed 40 pounds. The sound of the principal's bell ringing the end of recess, the sound of someone late for class running down the hall [don't let Mrs. Taylor catch you doing that!] on those broad boards that were the floor.

And I remember, too, the sinking feeling I had when, as a seven year old 2nd grader newly arrived from Pennsylvania and in my 1st class here, I realized that I had not understood one single word spoken by my teacher and most surely never would!

Take me back there. Let me do it again.

Jon Edmonds"

Great start, looking forward to more items and comments being added. Here's a picture (see the Sports Programs page) of Coach Myhand and Robert Crowell at Optimist Park in the spring of 1953 after Rison had become a junior high school. I have other pictures of that time period if you think they would be of interest to anyone.

Bill Starr... Rison 1944-1953"

Awesome site. I attended Rison from 1-5 grade and then went back to Rison for 7th and 8th grade. They were just completing Chapman so I went there in 6th grade and 9th grade. The pictures of Rison bring back so many memories. I lived right around the corner on McKinley. I can remember all the carnivals, Halloween parties, cake walks and just the fun of the school. I loved the playground and chased many a boy to the big tree. Thank you for bringing back to memories.

Cecilia (LeVan) Watson"

Note: After having been notified that their Lee's Traveler website address had been added to our Links page, we received the following note from the editor:

I'll be happy to link to your site from our's. I can happily call myself an alumni of Rison (if only for part of the 1st Grade). If you find any Rison stories on our site and need to contact the author, please e-mail me and I will forward it to them. We don't post all the e-mail address of our Lee alumni for several reasons, but I work as a postmaster to forward received messages to them. Your site shows a lot of work and is very impressive as well. Our's is more of an online "weekly high school newspaper" but we do archive our articles although they might not be as easy to find as some others.

I think my classmates will find your site very interesting. Thanks for contacting us.

Tommy Towery
Rison School 1st Grade 1952"

It was a joy to view the great heritage of this school. Much effort, time and patience was given and this should make you proud. I am very happy for you and your committee. These great pages on your web allows you to cherish the memories for a lifetime.

Pamela B. Scott"

Thanks for sending this (an invitation to the 2004 reunion) to me. I took a look at the website and enjoyed learning the history. I especially liked the picture of the football team and girl's basketball team. I plan to attend the reunion.

Best regards,

Mark Russell"

"July 24, 2003
A Special Note -----

Thank you so much for your invitation to attend the Rison-Dallas Reunion. It is with much regret that I will be unable to attend. I'm 90 years old now, and no longer drive out-of-town.

My wish is for all of you to have a wonderful reunion.

Have fun!


Ruth Englebert Richardson"

Thank you so much for your kind note concerning my aunt, Louise Fain. She was a special lady, very dear to our hearts. Your description of her as an elegant, sophisticated, kind lady is how we thought of her and will always remember her. She was truly a dedicated teacher who not only blessed her family, but also the lives of the many students she taught through the years. If you have any memories or stories of Aunt Louise I would really enjoy hearing them. Once again, thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts.


Laura Zeek
Mrs. Fain's great niece"

Rison-Dallas Community