Dead Towns

Written by: Sue Spearman Abernathy

From the March 2000 "Trail Tracker"

We have a list of towns in Winston County which have passed on. As found on headstones, "Gone but not forgotten," let's try to remember our towns of the past. Here are some of those towns: Falls City, Gumpond, Houston, New London, and Thornhill.

Gumpond, Winston County, Alabama, was in existence but we know little of this forgotten village. A post office was established there on Monday, June 18, 1877, and remained in existence until Wednesday, September 30, 1914. I know that in many places around Alabama and Tennessee, during this time an epidemic of Yellow Fever came through wiping out towns. My great great grandfather fell victim to it in Morning Start, TN. I had a hard time finding the town and county where he died because it had been wiped out by the fever. It was gone by 1900. I hope to bring to attention the existence of these "dead towns" in order to help anyone seeking information of the towns and their ancestors. Gumpond was located north of the Grayson Community and was located either on or near the Lawrence County/Winston County line.

Thornhill, Winston County, Alabama, could be found about 21 miles north of Eldridge, near Natural Bridge. It was a small town and it's first post office opened in 1836/1837 and was located on the state map in 1842 at the junction of a road from Moulton to Pikeville and another from Thornhill to Jasper. The last listing on the state map was in 1878. What could have caused the collapse of this town? New London, Winston County, Alabama, was only about six miles north of the dead town of Thornhill, and around 22 miles southwest of Moulton. Little is known about New London and Tuscaloosa. It was last listed on the state map in 1856. It appears to have been established soon after the Thornhill post office opened but died before Thornhill. Being located so near one another, could the same thing have brought people to the two towns? What took them away?