Brindley Mountain Legacy
By: Beau Hayes


In 1818, prospecting was the order of the day, and people from the Carolinas kept coming through Franklin County, Georgia, on their way to the new lands of the west. Land, it was said, that would grow giant trees. White oaks with broad limbs like hammocks. Tree trunks two men could not reach around. Grasses as high as a man's head' beech nuts and acorns all around to fatten livestock. Wherever people gathered to raise a house, a barn, or bury the dead, people talked. They looked at their washed-out hill land that grew only nubbins, and neighbors sold out and moved west.

Earlier in 1812, brothers, Frazier and George Brindley left their home and families by wagon train, bound for Texas and the promise it held, never to be heard from again.

Seven years later, Frazier's widow, Phoebe Riggs Brindley, outfitted herself for the journey. She and her children, their families, neighbors--a goodly company in all, with drovers for geese, cattle and hogs, headed out toward the sunset. In 1819, they settled in Murphree's Valley (just north of Oneonta) in Blount County, Alabama. During these early days, almost all of north Alabama was considered Blount. Phoebe, the mother of nine, was a strong a courageous woman who became well known for her weaving abilities, and for being a good midwife, which meant the difference between life and death to many when doctors were so few. She sold her woven cloth to buy a cow for her growing children. When called upon as a midwife, she mounted her horse and went, even without provisions, for she was respected and welcomed at every cabin in the territory.

Mace Thomas Payne Brindley, 4th child of Phoebe and Frazier, was born 02-10-1801. He led the way for the ox-drawn covered wagon that his mother and siblings traveled in to Blount County.

At age 18, Mace became the Chief Clerk in the Blount County Probate Judge's Office, later to become Probate Judge. He married Nancy Stewart Habby on 01-07-1830 in Blount County. Nancy was daughter of Gabriel Hanby and Nancy Horne. Gabriel was the first State Senator from Blount County, and one of the original framers of the Constitution of the State of Alabama when she achieved statehood as the 22nd addition to the United States in 1819.

In 1832, Mace, accompanied by an Indian guide and one servant forged their way by hand sixteen miles north to a 160 acre plot of land that Mace homesteaded on the Old Section Line Road, 1 1/2 miles north of present day Simcoe on State Highway 69. He came from a distinguished historic family. He was elected to a prominent place in the Legislature, and later, a State Senator, serving three terms of three years each. He earned a reputation for being a philosopher and good business man. He was director of the State National Bank of Decatur, also serving the state as Tax Collector.

For several years Mace's family and only a handful of settlers lived in the entire area. As his family grew to 11 children (Gabriel, Phoebe, Asa Benton, John Hanby, Van Buren, Nancy Manila, M.T.P., Jr., George Goldwaithe, Rebecca Virginia, Portis Bethea, and Winston Yancey), so did his estate, totaling over 1,800 acres, before it's almost complete loss in 1837. Mace being the man he was, set his head and heart to restoring his children's inheritance, repurchasing his own land and acquiring more till his holdings were well over 2,000 acres.

While in office, Mace was a favorite of some of Alabama's prominent figures. On several occasions Gov. Collier came to visit with a group of other notable men to enjoy hunting in the wilds of eastern Cullman County still Blount) as guests of the Brindleys. At the time of one of Gov. Collier's visits, he was on a special diet and could eat very little. He brought with him a special diet food from Montgomery. He shared this special food with the children, giving each one half of a soda cracker--a delicacy, as 18 year old Gabriel remembered it!

Four of Mace's sons served the CSA during the War Between the States. His 5th son, Van Buren, was seriously wounded, but survived to carry on the proud Brindley tradition in his own way.

It is not known the exact time that Brindley Mountain was officially named for this outstanding man, Mace Thomas Payne Brindley. It is known that he was here some 54 years before Col. Cullman. Mace died on 08-30-1871, the year before Col. Cullman's arrival. He is buried with his family across the road from where his home stood.

Thus began the legacy of BRINDLEY MOUNTAIN. . .

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