News and notes of the JCHA

July JCHA Meeting

This quarter’s JCHA meeting will feature a WW1 presentation and the chance to visit the state traveling exhibit and local Jackson County Exhibit.

Our speaker will be Auburn University professor Dr. Bert Hitchcock who will talk about William March and Company K on Sunday, July 30, 2:00 p.m. at the Scottsboro Depot. His talk is titled “Hearing a Different Drummer: William March’s Novel Company K.” Dr. Hitchcock describes his talk thus: “Alabamian William Edward Campbell (1893-1954), who wrote under the pen name William March and who was a decorated Marine combat veteran, produced America’s most powerful World War I novel. Courageously different in his outlook and conclusions and strikingly innovative in technique, March has never received the full recognition he deserves. In revelation of the horrors and atrocities of war and its dire consequences on individuals, Company K is in the company of the best war fiction in world literature.”

The depot will be open extra hours, thanks to our volunteers, from 10:00 to 4:00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday the weeks of July 24 and July 31 and by appointment to enable everyone to see these special exhibits.

Members We Will Miss

Early 2017 included the loss of two precious members of long standing, one to death and one to South Korea.

Ann Chambless

Ann Chambless, of course, is not really gone. She sold the contents of her home in a living estate sale last November, sold her home and family land, replaced a cranky hip, and left Jackson County for a new life in South Korea that affords her closer access to her son Heath, daughter-in-law Yeongha, and adorable grandson Joe. Since she did not sell her encyclopedic knowledge of the county, however, she can still be called upon to settle a Facebook dispute and answer email questions. Her email address is rabc123@scottsboro.org . She promises to write us an article from time to time. She left her 40+ years of books and records with Northeast Alabama Community College, the Heritage Center, and the Bradfords. We all plod onward bravely without the woman whose willpower created the Jackson County Historical Association, whose passion saved the depot, whose leadership produced so many wonderful quarterly programs, and whose skills gave up 40 years of the Chronicles. A good bye party was held at the depot on February 12. Good luck, Ann, in your new life. Don’t be a stranger.

Judge John David Snodgrass

John David Snodgrass, prominent judge and friend of the Jackson County Historical Association died on his family farm in Scottsboro in early February.

John David was a charter life member of the JCHA and donated thousands of dollars to support JCHA projects, including a single donation of $3,000 to the JCHA-sponsored Bellefonte Cemetery Fund.  He contributed heavily to the landmark Alabama Historical Association Conference hosted by JCHA in the Spring of 2014. He instilled his abiding love of history and historical preservation in his friends, colleagues and children.

Judge Snodgrass received a BS from the University of Alabama and subsequently graduated from the University of Alabama Law School in 1962.

He began his career as an attorney for Ford, Caldwell, Ford and Payne in Huntsville, Alabama in 1963. He was elected to the Alabama State Legislature in 1966 then appointed to Circuit Judgeship in the Place One of the Twenty-third Judicial Circuit in 1968 and was re-elected in 1970, 1976 and 1982. He was appointed as Presiding Judge of the Twenty-third Judicial Circuit by the Chief Justice in 1973 and then elected Presiding Judge 1977-1989. John David was President of the Alabama Association of Circuit Judges in 1980-1981. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada 1983-1988, where he also served as Chairman of the Board from 1987-1988.

Throughout his career he had several Supreme Court of Alabama Appointments, including the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee and Delegate to the National Conference of State Trial Judges. In 1989, he joined the law firm of Balch Bingham until 1995 and then became an arbitration mediator until he retired.

Judge Snodgrass was an avid gardener and relished the time he spent planting flowers and vegetables and sharing them with family and friends. He was an avid reader of biography and history. He was always surrounded by family, friends, dogs, horses, and cattle.

In his eulogy for Judge Snodgrass, his colleague and long-time friend, Bob Hodges, said:

Some who don a black robe find that they are not suited to it, whether by inability to grasp the law or lack of temperament which is necessary for day after day presiding over contentious cases with emotionally charged parties, or other factors which may not be known until then, since the judiciary is a profession which brings most to it as newcomers.

John David Snodgrass was born to it. He was raised by a father who was a circuit judge, and a well-respected one, and a father whom he revered and tried to emulate. And that reverence led him to sit on the bench for decades, unopposed, with a grasp of the law, a thirst for the reading of it, and the temperament for resolving conflict that afforded him the skills to be a mediator after he left the bench.

He never pretended to speak for all over the world, but he raised his voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice in this corner of Alabama his forebears left him, and we who today celebrate the voice he raised – his family and those of us so privileged to have been called his friends – we are all the better for it.

Notes: Sources for the above material include Judge Snodgrass’s obituary, Bob Hodges Eulogy, and remembrances from Judge John Graham and JCHA co-founder Ann Chambless.