Friday, September 10, 2010

Leighton Memories & Walnut Street Images

Leighton Councilwoman and Police Commissioner Teresa Lannaman is set to go to trial on harassment charges October 13th. A Federal investigation into the mayor's office is said to be ongoing. Is this really what the small Colbert County town is like? According to our friend Lecia Ford, there once was more to her hometown. Here's a beautiful take on the glory that was once Leighton.

Leighton Memories

As a former resident of the great town of Leighton, place of my childhood, teenage years and young adult romping grounds, I must defend it, to a point. As the result of a divorce, I moved, I moved from a place I called home. It never really seemed the same after my daddy died anyway.

I recall hearing my aunt talk of Leighton, the boom town, the cotton king, so many people on the streets, you couldn’t stir ‘em with a stick. A tale of her and my grandmother, on the streets one Saturday night, had to lay down in the floorboard of the car in order to keep from being hit by stray bullets.

Not a drive-by, mind you, but a gun fight, a real gun fight…between a crook and the Chief of Police, Mr. Henry J. Searcy, I think his name was. My aunt tells that there were bullets ricocheting off the bumper. The crowd dispersed at the sound of death, the Chief has been shot! The crook/murderer surrendered to townsfolk.

Later on, another crook, was being closed in on by Adrian Lowry (my aunt’s husband), Leighton Police Officer, on the infamous Sixth Street when they both wrecked. The wreck confined Adrian to a hospital bed with numerous broken bones. The crook surrendered. And my uncle earned the nickname Deputy Dog, although he didn’t like it one bit, but then he didn’t like the name Deacon either.

My daddy owned Leighton Cleaners for nearly 49 years. He was an honest man, who taught me integrity, to never lie, cheat or steal to get through life. He taught me in order to make in this ‘ol world you got have morals, character, or you have nothing...

I would like to add also that my daddy never carried the deposits home with him, he never kept guns around. The money from an honest day’s work, was walked across the street to Bank Independent and deposited. A bank owned and run by Ed Mauldin at that time, who offered my daddy a loan with a handshake, when the boiler needed to be replaced. And oh yes, he did own a gun, a Pearl handle 38, that he used to kill snakes…It was always hidden, out of reach of the kids, and never, never was there any cash just ‘laying’ around, especially $350,000 in cash.

And I guess I said all that to say this about Robert Ricks, Robert was an honest man, a good decent man and to be accused of getting kickbacks for automobile repairs? You have got to be kidding…It all came out though, through the system, the judicial system. Who do you believe? A fly by night repairman, or a citizen? A citizen that would have given his shirt off his back to anyone.

"I have given consideration and weight to Mr. Ricks history and characteristics. He has no prior criminal record," she said. "His conviction is certainly not consistent with his prior life of 60 years."

NOW that is what I am talking about…reputation, character…

Second chances? Sure everyone deserves a second chance, but it’s what you do with that second chance that makes the difference. And the third, fourth and so on and so on.

A second chance is about making a change from one behavior to another. A chance to have a better outcome of a situation. A chance to move forward and not go back, to old habits, old ways, old behaviors…

It makes me ashamed to say I am from Leighton. It makes it hard to go back there, and try to salvage anything desirable from the corruption that takes place in a town that is run by crooks…on every corner.

And how do the citizens of Leighton feel about this? Proud?

Apologies to Lecia for not getting this published earlier. We hope she will continue to contribute her vivid memories to both us and the new Shoals magazine The Connection.


While everything changes, some things at least appear to be both unscathed and undiminished by the the hands of time. Here's a wonderful link to the homes located in the Walnut Street Historic District.

Walnut Historic District

Of course, even these houses do occasionally change...take a good look at 502 Walnut Street, labeled as a cottage. If you like it, be sure to save the photograph. Current owner, developer Jimmy Neese, has added a sizable addition to the original structure.


Was Tuscumbia really America's first frontier railroad town? You can purchase this book on eBay and find out: Link


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