Monday, November 10, 2008
Isham Loyd was a character. I never met him, of course, but that is the picture I have of the man. He and Rachel had a farm near Bull Mountain Creek in northwest Marion County, Alabama. In addition to a community store, they had a cotton mill, grist mill, flour mill, blacksmith shop, a pottery kiln, and carding factory. Isham was instrumental in obtaining a post office for Bull Mountain and served as its postmaster. He helped build a combination church and school and served as a teacher for the school and secretary for the church board.
He was active politically and a regular contributor of many long articles to the county newspaper, The Marion Herald. His articles were very often quite lengthy and never shy of an opinion. Several articles exist in old bound newspaper records found at the courthouse in Marion County. Two articles from newspaper issues on August 25, 1887 and November 10, 1887 have been found and copied. These articles are primarily diatribes against Wheelers.
Wheelers were supporters of the Agricultural Wheel, a farmer’s organization that believed agriculture represented the wheel that moved the economy. Wheelerism began in the late 1870s and early 1880s in Texas and Arkansas and quickly spread across the rural south. Its roots can be seen in the Grange society movement and its demise in the merger of the Wheel into the Farmers’ Alliance and ultimately the Populist party.
Isham wrote and spoke out against the Wheelers because of perceived failings on several points. First, Isham believed that the Wheelers weren’t being truthful in their claim that they were not a political organization. As he pointed out, had the Wheel been a pure farmer’s organization he would have approved of their efforts. Isham was particularly peeved that Wheel supporters formed alliances with the Republican party, the post-war party responsible, in his view, for high tariffs and oppressive laws. These alliances led to the defeat of many leaders of the Democratic party, a party which Isham felt better represented the poor white farmer of the south. Isham also was suspicious of the farmers’ cooperatives pushed by the Wheelers. These cooperatives purchased goods in bulk and supposedly sold them to its members at discounted prices.
The published articles reflect a well-read man who quotes from different newspapers and articles from across the nation. They indicate he was a student of history and opposed big government. He was a proponent of states’ rights and opposed Federalism, railing against former President John Adams and his alien and sedition laws. The articles also indicate Isham was a man of strong opinion and beliefs and was unafraid to give voice to them. This is a trait found in many of Isham's descendants today.
Isham and Rachel are buried at Newburg Cemetery near their former farm along County Road 19 near Bull Mountain Creek. Rachel died at the age of 74 on December 12, 1912 while Isham was 84 years old when he died November 7, 1915.
Posted by Mona Robinson Mills at 12:25 AM