The Brindley International Historical Foundation is conducting a genealogy project in celebration of Mace Thomas Payne Brindley's bicentennial birthday. Mace Thomas Payne Brindley, the man for whom Brindley Mountain in North Alabama is named, was born on February 10, 1801 and was the son of Phoebe and Frazier Brindley. The goal of the genealogy project is to find and document all the descendants and related families of Phoebe and Frazier Brindley, on the organization's Web site at www.BrindleyMtn.org. Currently, there are more than 3,000 names in the database, with 986 direct descendants. To date, only a few family lines have been completely documented.
The first Brindley to come to Alabama was Asa Riggs, the oldest son of Phoebe and Frazier. As a Private in Co. F of the 4th Regiment of the Georgia Militia, he traveled, with Andrew Jackson, through what would become North Alabama. Asa returned to Georgia with stories of the beauty of the land and the abundant wildlife.
Phoebe was the first Brindley to call Alabama home. In 1819, as a widow with nine children, she headed from Georgia to Alabama. Her husband had disappeared seven years earlier on his way to Texas. She settled in Murphree's Valley, just north of Oneonta, in Blount County, Alabama. During these early days, almost all of northern Alabama was considered Blount County. Phoebe was a strong and courageous woman, who supported her family through her weaving abilities. She sold her woven cloth to buy a cow and, thereby, support her growing children. She was also a good midwife, which meant the difference between life and death to many early settlers. Phoebe had learned the art of medicine from her father, Dr. Asa Riggs. When called upon as a midwife, she mounted her horse, often without provisions, and went to the aid of her neighbors. Even with all her efforts, life in the wilderness was rough. Mace would be 18 before he got his first pair of shoes. Phoebe placed importance on religion and education in her home, and her efforts were reflected in the successes of her family.
After leaving the military, Asa Riggs Brindley was granted bounty lands in Alabama, where he and his wife, Mary "Polly" Bowen, raised 10 of their children. Asa would later become Postmaster of Sand Rock, Alabama, and serve as the Cherokee County State Legislative Representative during the historic 1861-1862 term.
One by one, Phoebe's daughters married and started families of their own. Eudicia married Mr. WOODS, Eudoxy married Daniel EASLEY, Euterpsey married Solomon MURPHREE, Evaline married James MURPHREE, Lodica married Thomas C. MAYES, Lucinda married James MAYES and Manila married Gray B. POWELL.
Mace Thomas Payne Brindley, the younger son and fourth child of Phoebe and Frazier, was born on February 10, 1801. Mace took advantage of the limited educational opportunities available and, as a result, at age 18, Mace became the Chief Clerk in the Blount County Probate Judge's Office and subsequently became Probate Judge. He earned a reputation for being a philosopher and a good businessman. Later, he served for two years as Alabama State Representative, for nine years as Alabama State Senator, and he served as Director of the State National Bank of Decatur at a time when there were only five banks in Alabama.
Mace married Nancy S. Hanby on January 7, 1830, in Blount County. Nancy was the daughter of Gabriel Hanby and Nancy Horne. Gabriel Hanby was the first State Senator from Blount County, and one of the original framers of the Constitution of the State of Alabama at the 1819 constitutional convention in Huntsville, Alabama. Before moving to Alabama, he had represented Surry County, North Carolina, in the House of Commons.
In 1832, Mace forged his way by hand 16 miles north to a 160-acre plot of land that he homesteaded on the Old Section Line Road, about a mile north of present-day Simcoe on State Highway 69. For several years, only Mace's family and a handful of settlers lived in the entire area. His family grew to 11 children: Gabriel, Phoebe, Asa Benton, John Hanby, Van Buren, Nancy Manila, Mace T.P. Jr., George Goldthwaite, Rebecca Virginia, Portis Bethea and Winston Yancey.
On January 11, 1834, Mace T. P. Brindley and his associates were given the right to turnpike two roads which ran into Blount County from the southern settlements in Morgan County. For their efforts, the group was to receive the following toll: 75¢ for each four-wheeled carriage, 25¢ for each two-wheeled carriage, 12 1/2¢ for a horse and rider, 6 1/4¢ for each loose horse or mule, and 3¢ per head for each swine, cattle or sheep.
The 1856 La Tourrette Map of Alabama shows the Brindley Turnpike. It started at Blount Springs, continuing northward to present-day Hanceville, and onward to Brindley's home at present-day Simcoe. At Brindley's, the road split, one branch continued north to Morgan County while the other branch turned due west to the western border of Blount, at which point the road turned northeast and ran into Morgan County.
When the War Between the States came to their homeland, the price paid by the Brindley families was high. All of Asa's sons left their families, education, ministry, and life as they knew it, to defend their beloved State. One by one, Asa and Polly received the tragic news of the losses of their sons. A total of five sons gave their lives for what they believed in. By war's end, only three of their 11 children remained alive.
Four of Mace's sons served the CSA during the War Between the States. His eldest son, Gabriel Lafayette Brindley, was captured and held prisoner at Lake Eyrie. Later, he would become Cullman County's second Superintendent of Education. Asa Benton Brindley was captured at Buffington Island and was imprisoned at Camp Douglas, near Chicago, Illinois. Van Buren Brindley was seriously wounded at the siege of Jackson, Mississippi. He spent a year in a military hospital near Mobile, before being able to return home. In 1874, when former Confederates were allowed to run for political office, he was elected Constable of Precinct No. 7 of Morgan County. Mace Thomas Payne, Jr. was only 17 when he went to fight. He returned from the war to become a farmer.
The exact time at which Brindley Mountain was officially named for Mace Thomas Payne Brindley is not known. It is known that he was here some 54 years before Col. Cullman. Mace died on August 30, 1871, the year before Col. Cullman's arrival. He is buried with his family across the road from where his home stood, just off State Highway 69 near Simcoe, in Cullman County.
If you have information about descendants of Phoebe and Frazier Brindley, you can contact the Brindley International Historical Foundation at BrindleyMTN@gmail.com. The Brindley International Historical Foundation was founded in Decatur, Alabama, in 1992. The organization's primary interests are preserving historical documents and artifacts, placing markers at grave-sites and conducting genealogical research.
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