Location: Lawrence County, Alabama; historic Pond Spring
Date Constructed/ Founded: 1818
Associated Surnames: Jones, Hickman, Sherrod, Wheeler
Historical Notes: The first land-seizing colonizers moved into this area of Northern Alabama in 1818. Previous to this time, the land was home to Native Americans. Here, John Hickman and Benjamin Sherrod founded Pond Spring and the General Joe Wheeler Home. The three houses on the property include a “dogtrot” or double log cabin possibly built before 1818, a two-story Federal-style house (1830’s), and the main wing built around 1872. Oral tradition credits the Hickman family with building the oldest of the three houses, the log dogtrot. Around 1820, the Hickman family included 11 members and 56 enslaved persons. The Hickmans sold their interest in the Pond Spring plantation to Colonel Benjamin Sherrod, partner in the initial purchase of the property.
Colonel B. Sherrod was born in Halifax County, NC, migrated first to Georgia, then ca. 1818 settled in Alabama where he established several cotton plantations throughout the Tennessee River Valley. Sherrod’s own home, “Cotton Garden,” was located north of the nearby town of Courtland, and his eldest son, Felix, and his family lived at the Pond Spring place. The owner of more than 300 slaves, Benjamin Sherrod was an early Alabama “tycoon,” with extensive and varied business interests.
The Pond Spring plantation passed from Sherrod’s son, Felix, to a grandson, also named Benjamin Sherrod. In 1859, Benjamin married Daniella Jones of nearby Caledonia Plantation, and at the time of his premature death in 1861, the plantation became Daniella’s. After Benjamin Sherrod’s death, Daniella returned to her parents’ home, where in the fall of 1863, she met General Wheeler while he and his troops camped near the Jones home. They were married following the War in 1866. Following their marriage, Joseph and Daniella lived in New Orleans for four years. They then returned to Alabama and the Pond Spring farm to raise their family.
Property of Alabama Historical Commission, the site includes 50 acres and 13 historic buildings. The main museum houses the Wheeler family’s original furnishings.
Associated Pages: Caledonia Plantation (Lawrence Co., AL)
ASSOCIATED ENSLAVED PERSONS
1860: 2 men age 60 (b.1800), 5 men age 50 (b.1810), Female age 50 (b.1810), 4 women age 45 (b.1815), 2 men age 40 (b.1820), 2 women age 40 (b.1820), Female (mulatto) age 38 (b.1822), Female age 38 (b.1822), 2 men age 35 (b.1825), 3 women age 35 (b.1825), 2 men age 30 (b.1830), Male age 28 (b.1832), Female age 28 (b.1832), Male age 24 (b.1836), Male age 23 (b.1837), Female (mulatto) age 22 (b.1838), Female (mulatto) age 21 (b.1839), 3 women age 20 (b.1840), Male age 20 (b.1840), Male age 18 (b.1842), 3 women age 18 (b.1842), Female (mulatto) age 17 (b.1843), 3 girls age 14 (b.1846), 2 boys age 14 (b.1846), Male (mulatto) age 14 (b.1846), Male (mulatto) age 13 (b.1847), Male (mulatto) age 12 (b.1848), 3 boys age 12 (b.1848), Female age 11 (b.1849), Male age 10 (b.1850), 2 girls age 10 (b.1850), Male age 9 (b.1851), 3 boys age 8 (b.1852), Female age 7 (b.1853), Female age 6 (b.1854), Male age 5 (b.1855), 2 girls age 5 (b.1855), Male age 4 (b.1856), Female age 4 (b.1856), 2 boys age 3 (b.1857), Female age 3 (b.1857), Male age 2 (b.1858), Female age 2 (b.1858), 2 boys age 1 (b.1859), Female age 1 (b.1859), 2 girls age 43689 (b.1860), Male age 43689 (b.1860), Male age 43628 (b.1860), 2 girls age 43567 (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), age (b.1860), [80 total, 30 slave houses; 1860 US Federal Census (Slave Schedule), Lawrence Co., AL, Ben Sherrod]
ASSOCIATED FREE PERSONS
Hickman family: John P. Hickman (b.?-d.?) – owner (founder)
Sherrod family: Colonel Benjamin Sherrod (b.1777-d.1847) – partner in initial purchase of the property, bought interest in the property from Hickman; Eliza H. Watkins Sherrod (b.1789-d.1818) – wife (m.1808); George Sherrod (b.?-d.?) – son; Eliza Sherrod (b.?-d.?) – dau.; Frederick O.A. Sherrod (b.1812-d.?) – son; Mariah Antonette Sherrod (b.1813-d.?) – dau.; Samuel Watkins Sherrod (b.1814-d.?)
Sherrod family: Felix Alonso McKinzie Sherrod (b.1809-d.1845) – owner, son of B. and E.H.W. Sherrod; Sarah Ann Parrish Sherrod (b.1817-d.?) – wife
Sherrod family: Benjamin Sherrod (b.1836-d.1861) – owner, son of F.A.M. and S.A.P. Sherrod; Daniella Jones Sherrod (b.1841-d.1896) – wife (m.?), dau. of R. and L.W.E. Jones (Caledonia Plantation), inherited Pond Spring upon Benjamin Sherrod’s death, later married Joseph M. Wheeler
RESEARCH LEADS AND RECORDS
- Back of the Big House: The Cultural Landscape of the Plantation, by John Michael Vlach (online exhibition) http://www.gwu.edu/~folklife/bighouse/
- Rootsweb World Connect Project: Tyer, Rhodes, Wright and Other (Benjamin Sherrod, ID: I08892), http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=tuffytyernew2005