HALEYVILLE - Walk in the saloon, hear the piano player, miss the spittoon, jingle your spurs and drink some whiskey. No, this was not a saloon somewhere in the Old West but a saloon right here in Haleyville.
Very little is known about the early saloons in Winston County in the days before Prohibition, but make no mistake: they were here. There were several in the Lynn area, one with the name of Cash’s Saloon, and one in Natural Bridge. One of those in Haleyville was known as the Buckhorn Saloon.
Curtis and Drake were proprietors of the saloon, which was in operation from 1902 or before until at least 1904. One advertisement in The New Era, dated Jan. 31, 1902, is typed below, with no grammatical changes, lists what the saloon carried.
Carries in stock all kinds of Fine Whiskies, such as: “Green River” “Planters’ Rye,” “Jack Pot,” Cascade “Old” Edgemont, Nelson county, Ky. Rye,” Lincoln county Sobel, Log Cabin and Corn Whiskey of every description. Beers, Tobacco, and Cigars. Jug orders receive prompt attention.
Research points to John S. Curtis as one of those proprietors. Curtis had a new store in Haleyville in 1900, selling dry goods, hats, boots, feedstuff and other similar items. This Curtis was elected probate judge in 1904, which coincidentally is the year the Buckhorn Saloon was sold to a new proprietor: George W. Crosswhite.
Curtis would serve as probate judge until 1922 when he retired. He was born in 1862 and served from 1886 to 1898 as circuit clerk of Winston County. He passed away in 1944.
Crosswhite moved to Haleyville in 1903, and operated several businesses in the area. He died in 1938. His plans were to build a large building, which his wife dedicated to him when it was complete in 1947, and was known as the Dobb’s Lumber Company. Crosswhite operated a hide and fur store in Haleyville in 1918.
Additional research shows the Drake of Curtis and Drake was Burris Hartwell Drake (1867 - 1924), who was listed in the 1900 census with a bartender occupation. Curtis also lived nearby.
Curtis sold property to Drake in Haleyville dated Sept. 27, 1900, and filed in the probate office April 29, 1901. This property is located where Piggly Wiggly is currently situated. Could this have been the Buckhorn Saloon location?
Clarence Helton found a Curtis & Drake Liquors stoneware jug in the woods many years ago near Delmar. The Haleyville Historical Society was able to purchase the jug on Sept. 11, from Clarence’s son, Tommy Helton, with the agreement it would remain in Haleyville.
“The HHS is appreciative of this opportunity to preserve this unique part of our local history,” President Kenneth Ward said.
The whiskey jug resides at Haleyville City Hall in the HHS display case. With the newspaper research, the jug was made in 1904 or before.
Stoneware pottery was made from clay and fired in a kiln, similar to the way it is made in today’s time.
Please contact the Alabamian at 205-486-9461 if you have more information on the old Buckhorn Saloon.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.