Etowah Historical Society

since 1954

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Jerry B. Jones

Historical Research Library

The late Jerry B. Jones in front of Elliott Community Center


About Jerry B. Jones Historical Research Library

The library contains documentary collections of Etowah County, the surrounding area and Northeast Alabama . It is preserving all types of historical research materials relating to this area, and includes all historical files donated by Jerry B. Jones, manuscript collections, books, periodicals, maps, newspapers, audio and video materials, and photographs. There are also computers, many rare maps, rare books, files, and various materials for serious historical research.

The public is encouraged to donate old records, old photos, etc. for the library. It is one of the largest of its kind in Northeast Alabama. 


Location and Hours

The Jerry B. Jones Historical Research Library is located at the Elliott Community Center at the corner of 29th Street and West Meighan Blvd. (U.S. 431) and is open to the public.


Generally the library is open Monday - Friday; 10 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. except for holidays.

The Jerry B. Jones Historical Research Library collection has evolved through gifts and purchases until it has become a distinguished collection. Containing numerous formats of materials it interacts and overlaps with other collecting interests of Special Collection.

It is a historical collection with an emphasis on resources, documenting social and cultural history. The intent is to acquire and preserve materials that will be used by historians. To meet the needs of the discipline of history as it shifts and changes in its continuous evolution, the collection should be sensitive to county state historical resources of both the traditional and vanguard type.

Mission of Special Collection

The mission of the Jerry B. Jones Historical Research Library is to document The History of Etowah County, The State of Alabama and the acquisition of historically significant, rare and/or unique materials for this area.

Collections Overview

This is a brief overview of the materials within the Jerry B. Jones Historical Research Library. It is not an exhaustive description but rather a brief outline of the collection housed. The library is an archive and depository of  Alabama collections of published materials which includes:

-         Historical files and papers of Jerry B. Jones

-         The Etowah Historical Society (scrapbooks, minutes, etc.)

-         Etowah County area collections

-         Historical and genealogical periodicals, papers and newspapers

-         Books  published in Alabama

-         Alabama genealogical source materials

-         Biographies of Alabamians

-         State, county, town, community, and area histories

-         Histories of institutions, groups, and movements

-         Histories of Alabama churches (various denominations)

-         Census Records

-         Map collection of over 3000 maps.

-         Manuscript collections including family files, diaries, and biographical information

-         Photographic & prints collection – 10,000 digital & paper



·  I am not a member of the Etowah Historical Society, can I still use your collection?
Yes. The library is open to the public. Guests are welcome to use the facility at any time during its operating hours. Generally the library is open Monday - Friday; 10 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. except for holidays.

·  Can materials be checked out of the library?
No. Use of the materials in the collection is restricted to in house use only.

·  Can I make photocopies of library materials?
Yes. However, materials considered fragile may not be copied. Please ask a staff member before making your photocopies.

·  How much do photocopies cost?
Photocopies are $.25 a page, $.15 for Etowah Historical Society members.

·  How much do historical photos cost?

Digitalized historical photos are $6.00/page, $5.00 for Etowah Historical Society members. These are printed on 8-1/2” X 11” photographic paper

·  Can I use my own camera to make a picture?
Yes. However, please check with a staff member first.

·  Can I search your collection online?
No. At this time we have not set up a web site but plan to in the future.

·  Will you look up information for me if I don't live in the area?
Yes. As time permits, we will be happy to perform basic searches through our records. However, since we are not adequately staffed to fill in-depth research requests, we recommend that you visit to see materials available.









"The King of Etowah County Histories is Gone"


 Video of Jerry B. Jones


Jerry Jones, historian and former Etowah County Tax Accessor passed away Sunday, March 22nd around 3:15 P.M.

Jerry will be missed by many. He was the last of those historians who had contact with some of the early settlers or their children. Much that he knew will die with him. Fortunately, he has donated his history collections to the Etowah Historical Society for the Jerry B. Jones Historical Research Library.

 A little information about Jerry Jones:

Born, September 12th, 1927, near Attalla, Etowah County, Alabama.  Jerry was 81 years old. He attended Etowah County Schools, graduated Etowah High School and went on to the University of Alabama  Jacksonville State University; and Howard College (now Samford University )

Served in United States Navy during WWII and was later hired as Assistant Chief Clerk for Etowah County Tax Assessor. After that he became Chief Clerk and was elected Tax Assessor for 4-6 years, for a total of 24 years terms. He was also the organizing President of Alabama Association of Assessing Official.

Jerry is an Ordained Baptist Minister and was Pastor of a number of churches in Etowah County.

He was an early founder and member of the Etowah County Historical Society for many years, having held several offices including President. Jerry was the organizing President of the Northeast Alabama Genealogical Society and taught Genealogy at Snead State College as well as Gadsden State for over 20 years. He has also been member of the Etowah Chapter Sons of the American Revolution, and served five years as the Registrar for the Alabama chapter.

Jerry Jones is author of several church histories, and wrote many articles on history and genealogy. Some of these are: “First Families of St. Clair County, and Northeast Alabama, “Where the Saints Have Trod” Bethany Baptist Church , and “ Old Harmony Baptist Church , A History”. He also wrote a weekly column The Gadsden Times called “Lore From The Hills of Home”. His most recent book will soon be published, to be called the “History of Old Harmony Cemetery, 1784-2008”.

Jerry has led many efforts and succeeded in placing many markers throughout Etowah County . He also helped in the establishment of the Patriots Day Banquet and a Hall of Hero’s. 1975-2005. In 2008 he was intercepted into the Patriots Hall of Honor. He has four children, 9 Grandchildren, and 13 Great grandchildren.


Some of his preservation efforts include:

Old Harmony Cemetery Rainbow City

This was the site of the first church organized in what became Etowah County , in 1831.  It is also the site of an Indians massacre, which took place there in the summer of 1784, where William Jones and others were murdered. The only survivor was Williams’s five year old son, Jerry’s great-great grandfather.  Included buried at the site were Indians that were killed. There is a Historical Highway marker regarding the Church and foundation of the Wills Creek Baptist Association formed there in 1835 and the association is still active. There is also a marker placed by The Colonial Dames regarding the massacre. This cemetery is on the list of Historic Cemeteries in Alabama .

The Mark Phillips Family Cemetery , Southside, Alabama

He was one of the first settlers in Etowah County , Alabama and came here from Georgia by 1816. Mark was a large land owner and his plantation was one of the best, and had many slaves.  There are more slaves buried in the cemetery than there are of his family.  This cemetery is also listed on the Alabama Registry of Historic Cemeteries in Alabama .

Howard Gardner Nichols Memorial Library, Alabama City

This building was the first free public library in Alabama to loan books.  It was built in the late 1890’s as a memorial to Howard Gardner Nichols, a son of the founder of a cotton mill and village.  He died from wounds received when placing equipment in the new mill.  Jerry Jones purchased the building in 1972 and immediately transferred it to the Northeast Alabama Genealogical, Inc. a non profit group which he was co founder of in 1962.  It is on the State and National Register of Historic Places.  It is one of the best collections of genealogical books and material in Alabama .

Co-Chairman of the Civil War Centennial Committee, 1861-1961

Jerry led in erection of a Memorial Stone to Civil War’s Commodere Ebenzeer Farrand, and also Farrand’s re-interment from an old abandoned cemetery in Attalla, to the Oak Hill Cemetery , Attalla , Alabama . Jerry also erected a marker to Emma Sansom at the Sansom burial site in Gadsden , Al. and relocated the Civil War soldier, Robert Turner, marker. This was moved from a site on the bank of Black Creek to the site of his burial in the Sansom burial plot. (Turner was killed in the battle with the Union Army at Black Creek.) Jerry also led in the establishment of The Civil War Centennial Memory Garden at the intersections of North 3rd and North 4th Streets, Attalla, Al.

Co Chairman of the Etowah County Centennial Committee, 1868

Led in the erection of a historical marker and placing a time capsule buried with both on the lawn of the Etowah County Court House.  Selecting the first Etowah County Flag from a contest of designs submitted. He helped published the first History of Etowah County, Alabama.

County Chairman of the Alabama Sesqui-centennial 1819-1969

Co-writing and co-directing “Lore of Noccalula”, a drama of the Legend of Noccalula and working with the Gadsden Woman’s Club in the erection of the Statute of Noccalula next to the falls.

American Revolution Bicentennial Committee 1775-1975

Served as Chairman for Etowah County .





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ducational Programs- Presentations of historical interest. Current programs of history in the making.

istorical Markers - Markings of historical homes, cemeteries, schools, rivers, trails, public buildings

ignificant Preservations - Preservation of historical buildings, homes & landmarks

The Etowah

Historical Society

 P.O. Box 8131

Gadsden, AL 35902

(Physical address at

2829 W. Meighan Blvd.)







The Society meets every 2nd Friday night each month at Elliott Community Center, corner of 29th Street & Meighan Blvd. at 6:00pm.

Each month we have an enjoyable presentation and refreshments.

Come and enjoy!!!