By a series of good trades, they come out the winner

Posted by | August 30, 2011

It has been a custom for more than twenty years to have trade days in Scottsboro on every first Monday in the month; this is also when Probate Court meets. This custom was started by the business men of the town to stimulate and encourage business and it really has had the desired effect as it is almost impossible to get along the streets, and during noon hour it is extremely hard to enter a restaurant or cafe as they are so crowded.

The crowd starts assembling early in the morning, coming in wagons, cars, riding horses, mules and in most every conceivable manner. People coming from all parts of Jackson County, the adjoining counties and adjoining states, bringing with them anything they wish to exchange. You would find almost anything here on these days that is grown in the country.

On one side of the courthouse square you would find the horses and mules and cattle, along with these you would find hay and straw in large quantities. There is some real horse trading and trafficking going on here. Some men make their living in this manner sometimes starting out with a worthless animal of some kind and by a series of good trades, they come out the winner; on the contrary if you are not a good judge of stock you are likely to get gyped.

Main Street Scottsboro ALMain Street, Scottsboro, AL. The postmark date on the back of this postcard is November 20, 1917.

On another side of the square you find the pigs and hogs and it is not an uncommon sight to see a man meandering across the courtyard with a squealing pig in his arms, or you may see them leading dogs around trying to exchange them, and then you see men carrying old guns of various makes and calibers, hunting a trade of some kind.

There are vendors of all kinds such as fruit, vegetables and home made chairs. In one corner of the court yard you find a crowd gathered to hear a preacher (probably Holiness) preach from a truck bed and again you will find the same preacher in a different part of the yard preaching.

In one corner you find a black faced comedian attracting a crowd for a medicine show. More than likely you would find a few darkies scattered around the town well, which is located on the square, strumming on their banjoes and guitars. You would be sure to find string music and singing of some kind on the street.

If during some political campaign you will be certain to hear some speeches, as all the candidates make it a point to be in Scottsboro on first Monday. The crowd starts breaking and going home about three or four o’clock in the afternoon, as some of them have a long distance to travel and some of them may have a difficult time in getting home some of their newly acquired possessions.

After seeing and hearing the squealing pigs, bawling calves and cows, the preaching, string music, black faced comedians, political speeches, humorous conversations and crying babies, you could not come away without a lasting impression of the first Mondays.

Sue Williams, WPA Project
Bridgeport, AL
Jackson County
Oct 5, 1938
WPA Alabama Writer’s Project Collection/Alabama Department of Archives and History

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