Asa Riggs Brindley

By Mabel Brindley


The Brindley story cannot be complete without mentioning Mace's brother, the eldest child of Phoebe Riggs and Frazier. Asa Riggs Brindley lived in Cullman County, though the time short--almost as though he leaped from Tennessee back to Cherokee County, where he and his wife, Mary "Polly" Bowen built a home in 1832 called "Always a Breeze", just off the Old Stage Coach Road, and raised 10 of 11 children on the bounty lands he was granted after service in the War of 1812. He was Postmaster of Sand Rock, Alabama, and Cherokee County State Legislature Representative 1861-1862 Term.

When the War Between the States came to their homeland, one by one, each of Asa's sons left their families, education, ministry, and life as they knew it, to defend that which to them was priceless. It is known that Asa owned not one slave, neither did his children, or anyone on that mountain. Feeling as though it was their solemn duty to God and that which they held sacred, they joined the Confederate Army.

At home, Asa and Polly, both nearing their seventies, opened their home to two daughters-in-law and 14 grandchildren. The years of the war brought hard times, almost beyond comprehension. They labored long days to just feed and care for their loved ones. Keenan returned home one day, sick and lame from the skirmishes and battles. Slowly, he recovered, and stayed home to relieve some the pressure on the women. And one, by one, Asa and Polly received the tragic news of the loss of their sons. A total of five sons had given their lives for what they believed in. These heart-wrenching words are best left to you, the reader, by the letters which they left behind of the death, sadness, sorrow, love of God, family and country, agony, and loss of life they eventually endured.

In the last years of the war, a rider brought news that the "Home Army" was stealing and pillaging the countryside. Asa started to take his gun and sleep in the barn loft to protect his family from raiders, but daughters-in-law, Olivia and Hetty, slept there instead after Ma Brindley (Polly) politely told the aging Asa he would only snore through "Anything", once asleep.

At last, the dreaded word came, again by an exhausted horse and rider, that the Union Army was headed their way from Guntersville, on their way to Rome, and would arrive by sun-up.

Asa and Keenan took Pompey, Asa's prided stallion, along with an old mare, and all the livestock they had, hitched them to the two wagons they owned, with the help of young Porter, and headed for a safe place deep in the woods along the creek bluffs, where they stayed hidden for 24 hours. Keenan wanted to stay with the women and children, but Ollie insisted that he leave with his father, for the Yankee's would take him prisoner for sure. The two women worked feverishly during the night to hide every possible thing that the Union Troops might steal during their passage. Provisions that meant the difference between life and death to Asa's large family.

"As pale daylight came in the windows, Ollie raised her head to the sound of marching feet. She joined Hetty at the front door to watch. *Blue uniforms marching four abreast, coming along the road towards the east. Sunlight glittered from the brass buttons on the uniforms and from the metal on the guns, and there was an unbroken line of blue as far as they could see in both directions." (From The Old Stage Coach Road by Miss Mabel Brindley). *General Blair's troops.

Breaking rank, one soldier after another jumped the garden fence yanking a turnip and onions, then another a head of cabbage, and another, meal from the kitchen house, another side of meat, till little was left at all. An entire day and night without food to feed the hungry, crying babies, 14 children in all, and 3 women, alone till the men returned the next day.

By War's end, only 3 of the 11 children remained alive. They never gave up, nor did they give in. Somehow, they continued on. . .all who remained. Read the letters enclosed, lest we forget those who gave their all for the South. . .

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