Graves of the Famous in Alabama (Part Two)

April Killian

This is part 2 of a 3 part series (see part 1 here). All entries found on Credit given to bio authors and photographers under their screen names as found on

Marvin Franklin Hubbard
Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, Shady Grove
"Criminal. A native of Alabama, Hubbard was sent to Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in 1942 after escaping from prison, kidnapping a Chattanooga, Tennessee police officer, and traveling across state lines with his victim. In 1944, he was transferred to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco, California after being involved in a prison riot. With his assignment on the kitchen clean-up crew placing him in an excellent position, Hubbard became involved in planning an escape attempt with fellow inmates Bernard Coy, Joseph Cretzer, Miran Thompson, Sam Shockley, and Clarence Carnes. On May 2, 1946, the inmates set their plans in motion and quickly took over the main cellblock and locked up most of the prison's guards before any alarm was sounded. In what became known as the "Battle for Alcatraz," the two-day fight finally came to an end after Thompson, Carnes, and Shockley retreated back to their cells to be captured while Coy, Cretzer, and Hubbard were shot and killed in a utility corridor. In addition to the three inmates, prison guards Harold Stites and William Miller were also killed." Written by G. Photographer.
For full entry click here.

Wendy Lou Holcombe
Cedar Grove Cemetery, Alabaster
"Musician, Singer, Songwriter. Wendy learned to play her father’s banjo at an early age. Her father took her to Nashville, Tennessee, for her 12th birthday. While window shopping, Wendy picked up a banjo and started playing “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” Roni Stoneman’s bass player heard her. The next night Wendy played on the Ernest Tubb’s Midnight Jamboree. A month later in December 1975, Wendy played on the Grand Ole Opry. By the time she was 13, Wendy was playing in “Nashville on the Road” with Jim Ed Brown and Jerry Clower." Bio written by contributor "Imagine." Full entry can be found here. Note: sadly this wonderfully talented young woman that many of us remember fondly, died at the young age of 23 due to a congenital heart defect.

Howard Hill
Ashville Cemetery, Ashville
"ProfessionaArcher. Born in Wilsonville, Alabama, he was known as the greatest longbow sport artist and archery hunter of all time. Using a 90-lb bamboo longbow, he performed trick shots, shoot skeets in exhibitions at three World Fairs, appeared in five Wild West Shows and fourteen major Sportsman's Shows. He won 196 Field Archery tournaments in a row, seven National Archery Golf Tournaments and was awarded a plaque by Archery Council of California for his outstanding achievements in archery in 1959. As a hunter, he hunted in twelve countries of the world and his RKO Studios film, "Tempo in Africa" was shown in 57 countries and in seven different languages. For feature films, he shot for many Warner Bros. westerns and did all of the stunt shots for the classic "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) starring Errol Flynn. In 1962, he was elected an Honorary Life Member of the Professional Archery Association, inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1971 and the A.B.C. Bow Hunter's Hall of Fame in 1975. He died at age 74 in Birmingham, Alabama." Written by John "J-Cat" Griffith
Full entry with photos here.
Howard Hill (left) with Errol FlynnQuebecois (Findagrave)

Charlie Franklin Hodge
New Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery, Somerville
"Musician, Elvis Presley's close friend and confidant. Charlie first met Elvis on the transport ship from the New York to Germany, September 1958, although they appeared together on a Red Foley show in 1956. They stayed friends until Elvis' death in August 1977. Charlie was the guy who sang back up, played guitar, handed Elvis water and gave him scarves on stage during the shows in the 1970s. Also, Charlie had a big influence on the song lists of the seventies shows. He used to suggest song titles to Elvis. Charlie also played himself in several of Elvis's movies." Written by Dustin Raymond
Full entry with photos here.
Elvis with Charlie Hodge (right)Dustin Raymond (Findagrave)

Charles "Rusty" Goodman
Brasfield Cemetery, Burnwell
"Gospel Musician. Member of the 'Happy Goodman Family' gospel group and performer with the Plainsmen Quartet. Prolific gospel songwriter writing gospel standards such as “Standing in the Need of Prayer”, “Standing in the Presence of the King”, “Leavin' On My Mind”, “John the Revelator”, “Look for Me” and “Who Am I?” and many more. Rusty wrote many of the songs recorded by the Happy Goodman Family and performed with the group until his death from cancer in 1990. The Happy Goodman Family recorded 15 number-one singles and released 23 original albums while Rusty was a member of the group. He also released several solo albums in the late 1970's through the 1980's. He was a frequent contributor to the popular Southern Gospel television series "Sing Out America." He is a member of the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame and the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame." Written by L'eau Noire.
Full entry with photos here.
Rusty Goodman graveBarry Hood (Findagrave)

Calvin Robert "Cal" Ellison
Mobile Memorial Gardens, Tillmans Corner
"Child Actor. Calvin played a recurring role in the Our Gang films as Nutsy, a member of Butch's gang at the Belasco Theater. He played in Glove Taps (1937), Little Ranger (1938), and Joy Scouts (1939). He also played in several East Side Kids Films; Make a Wish, a Bobby Breen movie; Mr.Smith Goes to Washington, starring Jimmy Stewart; Boys Town, with Mickey Rooney and also a western that starred Gabby Hayes. His last audition was for a James Cagney movie in which he was one of 10 finalists. His mother, Clara Ellison, owned a talent agency and that's partly how he and his two siblings got into acting. The other break came when he and his brother built a derby racing car and a producer of the Our Gang series was passing by their house, saw it and wanted to buy it and use it in the show. They said 'Sure, on one condition...we can be in the show.' They were hired." Written by Gen2003.
Full entry can be found here.
Cal Ellison child actor "Our Gang"Gen2003 (Findagrave)
Cal Ellison graveCarolyn (Findagrave)

Chief John "Young Tassell" Watts
Beeson Cemetery, DeKalb County
"Chief of the Lower Cherokee from 1792 until his death. He was hand picked by Chief Dragging Canoe, his predecessor. Before becoming chief, he was on the war council and a leader of the Chickamauga Cherokee during the Cherokee/American Wars in the later part of the 1700s. His war party was based at Willstown, sometimes called Wattstown, in Wills Valley just north of Fort Payne, Alabama, at the base of Lookout Mountain. Their goal was to stop white aggression and the taking of land that was rightfully theirs. He was of mixed blood, the son of a British trader and Cherokee interpreter, John Watts, and a Cherokee woman, Oousta White Owl Carpenter, sister of several Cherokee Chiefs including Old Tassel, for whom he was named. The murder of his uncle initiated his involvement in Cherokee affairs with him leading numerous attacks on American forces and white settlements. After several years of war and losing many warriors, he realized their efforts were futile and signed the Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse November 7, 1794 resulting in a short-lived peace. He should not be confused with Red Head Will. That name has been wrongly added to the gravestone by the creator. He was Will Webber, the Chief of Willstown, who left for Arkansas in 1796, dying there." Bio written by Bobby and Judy Laney Liles.
See full entry here.

Timpoochee Barbard
Fort Mitchell National Cemetary, Russell County
"Yuchi Leader. Born one of eight children of a Scots trader, Timothy Barnard, and a Yuchi woman. He was taught the Yuchi dialect of his mother, the English of his father, and the Muscogee dialect of the Creek people since the Yuchi people had been largely exterminated or absorbed by the Creek and Cherokee by the 18th century. Barnard served as the agent of the Lower Creeks in 1793 and 1794 and was one of the interpreters at the Treaty of Coleraine in 1796. In January 1814 Barnard was commissioned major and placed in command of one hundred Yuchi warriors. Barnard fought with the Americans at the Battle of Callabee Creek. He was one of the signatories to the treaty of Fort Jackson in August 1814 which ended the Creek War. In 1818 under General Andrew Jackson he fought in the Seminole War and distinguishing himself in the Battle at Natural Bridge, where was rescued the only survivor of a massacre on the Apalachicola River. He took a Creek wife and settled near the Creek Agency on the Flint River in present day Georgia where he fathered six children. In 1825 Chief McIntosh of the Creek nation, signed the Treaty of Indian Springs which agreed to cede all Lower Creek land to Georgia. Barnard opposed the treaty, and was one of the delegation that went to Washington to protest against its validity. Barnard then retired to his home near Fort Mitchell in present day Alabama. He was believed to have been about 60 at the time of his death. Andrew Jackson would later eulogize Barnard to his son, William: "A braver man than your father never lived." Bio written by lola.
Full entry can be found here.
Timpoochi BarnardBob Edwards (Findagrave)

Lil Greenwood
Catholic Cemetery, Mobile
"Jazz and Blues Vocalist. She was born November 18, 1923 in Prichard, Alabama, one of six children to Sylvester and Maggie Love George. Maggie was a life member of Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Prichard, Alabama where Sylvester was a pastor. It was there where Lil began singing at an early age learning to sing gospel music and where she frequently performed her rendition of the "Precious Lord" hymn. By all accounts, she later went on to perform locally at the two existing nightclubs in Prichard, Alabama.Lillie married Elmer Greenwood (#156399689) on 6 Jan 1943 in Mobile, Alabama; but they divorced in 1981according to divorce court records published in the Mobile Register on 7 Feb 1981. Elmer served in the Army from 1945 through 1948 and died 5 Dec. 2001 with burial taking place at Lawn Haven Cemetery, Mobile County, Alabama. It was reported as well that she was separated from Elmer following his release from the Army in 1948, with Lillie remaining in California and pursuing her career. Lillie attended Alabama State College (now known as Alabama State University) in Montgomery, Alabama and upon graduating became an elementary school teacher at the Josephine Allen Institute in Mobile. In 1947, Greenwood entered and won the Amateur Night competition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York with her rendition of "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter." Encouraged by the Mobile County School's music supervisor, she quit her teaching job and boarded a bus to California in 1949 to fully pursue a singing career. Her first job is reported to have been with the Slim Jenkins' Club in San Francisco and later finding her break with bandleader Roy Milton & His Solid Senders. During the three years that shewas a part of his ensemble, she recorded the blues tune "No More Heart Full of Pain", "Boogie All Night Long", "Ain't Gonna Cry", "Come Back Baby" and her duet with Little Willie Littlefield titled "Monday Morning Blues." The scores became her most prolific recorded body of work. In 1956 while performing at San Francisco's Purple Onion, Greenwood was hired by an impressed Duke Ellington to be a soloist for his orchestra. After Mercer Ellington took over as bandleader following his father's death in 1974, Greenwood remained a member until the late-1970s, when she retired from the music industry and returned to Mobile to care for her ailing mother who passed in 1981. Her singing career led to an acting role in the TV-movie "My Father's House" (1975) and an episode in the series "Good Times."According to a news account in 2002 "she would continue to perform locally, her past fame largely lost on hometown audiences. And the songs recorded during her time in California would be lost so thoroughly that it would be almost as if they were never recorded". However in 2002 Ace Records of England released the 21 track "Lil Greenwood: Walking and Singing the Blues" album which was said to be a "tour de force, a tutorial in the kind of blues singing one might have heard at an upscale West Coast club in the 1950s". She returned to public view in 2003, when then Alabama governor Bob Riley honored her for her lifetime achievements by declaring July 28, 2003, as Lil Greenwood Day in Alabama. She was honored as well by the City of Prichard (Outstanding Citizen Award), City of Mobile and Mobile County with Lil Greenwood Day proclamations. A tribute to Lil Greenwood based on these proclamations was also read into the US Congressional Record by then Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama. At that time she was also inducted into Mobile's Gulf Coast Ethnic and Heritage Jazz Festival Hall of Fame. In 2007, Greenwood spent two days recording the album "Back to My Roots" with composer David Amram. It received wide critical acclaim but would ultimately be her last. In 2010, Greenwood suffered a stroke and was thereafter unable to perform or make public appearances. On July 17, 2011, a tribute concert to Lil Greenwood's career was held at the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science in Mobile. According to accounts of the time she was unable to attend owing to health issues and passed away just two days later, on July 19, 2011." Written by Jim Ellis
Full entry can be found here.

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April Killian is a native of Florence, Alabama and writes about her home state of Alabama and the Shoals area. She is the mom of many pets and 3 adult children. Along with writing, she sells vintage items online and conducts estate sales in her area. She is a lifelong supporter of charity work, loves life, and tries to be a positive force in this world in everything she does! Her writing passions include: family and social issues, nature, humor, the paranormal and anything interesting or weird! Click on "follow" to see more of her articles in the future!

Florence, AL

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