Oral History Project

Archives Oral History Project

One of the primary goals of the Baldwin County Archives Oral History Project is to record the history of local communities as it has been witnessed by residents. This ongoing project will target numerous areas of interest within all communities. Interviews are currently being conducted with residents of Bay Minette as we begin our survey of life in this northern Baldwin community. In addition, interviews are to be held with members of Baldwin's African American community to begin a series exploring the ethnic diversity of the county. Furthermore, an extensive series highlighting Baldwin County Educators is scheduled to compliment the ongoing Educational Documentary currently in production.

Clarence H. Bishop –  Clarence H. Bishop is a fourth-generation resident of the Eastern Shore whose family moved here in the late 1800s to farm—and farming is still in Bishop’s family. He and his wife, Sandra, own B&B Pecans, an operation that grew from its original five acres in 1956 to one hundred acres and more than 2,000 pecan trees today.

In early 1953, a few years after he graduated from Fairhope High School, Bishop was drafted into the Army; after Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, he found himself on a troop ship heading to Korea with 5,000 other men. In Korea, he was assigned as part of SCARWAF (Special Category Army Reassigned with Air Force) and served with the 366th Engineers Aviation Battalion.

In Korea, Bishop oversaw obtaining parts for the battalion. “Anything they needed, I could get. I met a lot of interesting people, but I didn’t like being that far away from home. They wanted to send me to Officers Candidate School, but I wasn’t interested.”

            After thirteen months in Korea, Bishop returned to the U.S. and was stationed at Camp Chafee near Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was discharged in March 1955, and remained in the Army Reserve until 1961. He is a lifetime member of the VFW and American Legion.

            Among Bishop’s most proud possessions is a medal awarded to veterans on the 50th anniversary of the Korean War. “It has the American and Korean flags on it. It was nice recognition for all the veterans.”

            One month after his discharge in 1955, Bishop married his high school sweetheart, Sandra Brown, and opened B&B Pecans. “All the time I was in Korea, I had my paychecks sent to my mother. She saved the money and bought five acres of land for me—paid $325 per acre for it, if you can believe that.” Bishop started B&B Pecans in partnership with his wife’s father, Calvin Brown.

Besides running a successful business, Bishop served as a Baldwin County Commissioner for twelve years is a Paul Harris Fellow with the Rotary Club of Fairhope and a past president and charter member of the Alabama Pecan Grower’s Association, where he was the initial inductee into the Hall of Fame. Currently, he is president of South Eastern Pecan Grower’s Association.

            Bishop also played a role in bringing Thomas Hospital to Fairhope. “They asked me to be part of the board when they started, and except for the years I was on the County Commission, I’ve been on the board ever since. It was difficult to get the certificate of need, to get doctors to commit, and to get funding, but eventually it all came together. We never dreamed it would grow as it has over the years.” The push to build the hospital began in 1958. It opened as a 36-bed facility in 1960.

            Bishop was nominated for Veteran of the Year by the Executive Committee of the American Legion Eastern Shore Post 199. “Mr. Bishop served his country honorably, is a tireless advocate of American Legion programs and has made many civic contributions,”

Clarence and Sandra Bishop are the parents of three children: Mona, a retired teacher; Doug, retired from Scott Paper Company; and Ross, a family physician in Daphne. They have twelve grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren, most of whom live in Baldwin County.

  • Clifton Byrd Interview  -The Clifton Byrd interview presents a sample of the type video that will be available for public viewing in the Reference Room at the Baldwin County Archives Facility.  The brief sample provided here is only a small portion of the 15 minute interview available for patron viewing at our archives facility in Bay Minette.  Mr. Byrd has been a resident of Perdido, and Phillipsville.  He has owned businesses and worked in Bay Minette and has been an active member of the community for his entire life.  This is his story in his words.

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Baldwin County  Families
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T. Frank Burt, Jr. –  Commissioner Frank Burt, Jr. was born on July 24, 1932, in Evergreen, Alabama (Conecuh County). He is a graduate of Baldwin County High School (Class of 1950) and Auburn University where he received a B.S. Degree in Pharmacy in 1961. Commissioner Burt served in the United States Navy, attaining the rank of 3rd Class Petty Officer, from 1950-1954, serving on the West Coast and in the Pacific.

After graduating from Auburn University in 1961, Commissioner Burt began his career as a Pharmacist when he joined Stacey's Pharmacy in Bay Minette, Alabama, until he retired in January, 1998. Since his retirement from Stacey's Pharmacy, Commissioner Burt has devoted all his time to his public duties.

A stalwart advocate for Baldwin County, Commissioner Burt has served, on many occasions prior, as Chairman of the Baldwin County Commission, Vice Chairman of the Baldwin County Commission, is a member of the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, Board member of First Gulf Bank, member of the United States Selective Service Board, member of the Baldwin County Pharmaceutical Association,  Shriner, Mason, member of Rho Chi Honor Fraternity (Pharmacy), former member and President of a rural water system, former member of the North Baldwin Hospital Board, member of the Environment, Energy & Land Use Steering Committee for the National Association of Counties and member of the Watershed Management Advisory Committee for the National Association of Counties.

A member of First Baptist Church of Bay Minette since 1955, serving as a teacher, Sunday School Director, member and Chairman of the Board of Deacons, Commissioner Burt has three children with his late wife Joyce (formerly Ms. Joyce Davis): Lee Ann Raley, Tommy and Tony, two grandchildren: Jared and Kameron, and one great grandchild: Hannah Grace.

A Republican, Commissioner Burt is currently serving his eighth term on the Baldwin County Commission (Terms are as follows: 1989-1992; 1992-1996; 1996-2000; 2000-2004; 2004-2006; 2006-2010; 2010-2014; 2014-2018).

Tim Russell – is a probate judge of Baldwin County in Alabama.  Russell was appointed by Governor Bob Riley to fill the seat of the retiring Adrian Johns.  Tim Russell, served as mayor of Foley from 1996 to 2006.  Tim previously served as the state revenue commissioner as well as state land commission.  Gov. Robert Bentley appointed him to lead the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission, which works to address the state’s troubled insurance market.

Tim Russell served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and attained the rank of captain.  He received the U.S. Army commendation Medal.

He graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.  He also earned a master’s in business administration from the University of South Alabama.

Tim Russell and his wife, Sandy Schultz Russell, have three children and three grandchildren.

 
Samuel N. Crosby - This documentary includes the honorable Samuel N. Crosby attorney at law.  Mr. Crosby practices in the firm’s Daphne, Foley and Bay Minette offices. His practice emphasizes the areas of civil litigation, probate practice, trusts, wills, business law, guardianships, estates, real property, estate planning, mediation and death and accident cases. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants.

In 1973, Mr. Crosby graduated with academic distinction from the University of Virginia where he was an All Atlantic Coast Conference soccer player. He received his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law where he was a member of the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society and Moot Court

Board. He currently serves as a trustee of the University of Alabama Law School Foundation and serves on the Law School Executive Committee.

Mr. Crosby served as president of the Alabama State Bar from 2007-2008. In 2008, he became the first Alabama lawyer to receive the Chief Justice’s Outstanding Leadership Award for his service to the public. Since 2009, Mr. Crosby has been included each year in the Alabama Super Lawyers magazine in the practice area of Estate Planning and Probate.

In 2012, Mr. Crosby received the Albritton Pro Bono Leadership Award from the Alabama State Bar. The award recognizes an individual for leadership in making free legal services available to the low-income citizens. In 2013, he received the Howell T. Heflin award given by the Mobile and Baldwin County Bar Associations to recognize an Alabama judge or attorney who has brought honor and integrity to the legal profession during his or her years of service to the citizens. In 2016, Mr. Crosby received the Sam W. Pipes Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Alabama School of Law. The award is given to an outstanding alumnus who has distinguished himself or herself through service to the Bar, the University of Alabama, and the School of Law. Mr. Crosby received the J. Anthony “Tony” McLain Award from the Alabama State Bar in 2017. The award recognizes outstanding, long-term and distinguished service in the advancement of professionalism by a living member of the Alabama State Bar.

Mr. Crosby has served as president of the Baldwin County Bar Association and is a Life Fellow of the Alabama Law Foundation. This fellowship is based upon dedication to the legal profession and community and is limited to 1% of the state bar association. He is also recognized as a premier mediator, well known for his legal, analytical and conciliation skills. He is one of twenty Alabama mediators selected as a charter member of the Alabama chapter of the National Association of Distinguished Neutrals.

Mr. Crosby has authored two books and numerous professional articles and columns. His book of humorous court stories, The Sleeping Juror (www.sleepingjuror.com), was published in 2002 by the Alabama Law Foundation and has raised over $60,000.00 for Kids’ Chance Scholarships and indigent legal services. He has also served on the editorial boards of the Alabama Lawyer and Addendum magazines.

Mr. Crosby served as a local municipal judge and is retired from the JAG Corps of the United States Naval Reserve. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of South Alabama. He is a past director of Ecumenical Ministries, Inc., an organization which aids low income families in Baldwin County, and he has been active in numerous charitable and civic organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, the American Red Cross and the Waterfront Rescue Mission. He co-leads Crown/Compass Financial Ministries small group Bible studies each year and plays music at Spanish Fort United Methodist Church and Church of the Apostles, an Anglican church in Fairhope, where he is a member.




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**Interviews will be stored in video and audio mediums and be completed with a type written transcript. To participate in the Oral History Project as a subject or to recommend interviewees, please contact the Baldwin County Archives through the contact information provided on our homepage at the right.**