CONECUH Co., Ala. (WBRC) - Just off a rural road in Conecuh County there’s a small cemetery but it’s part of a much bigger story. It’s the story of The Stallworth Family.
Jeremiah Stallworth has done a lot of traveling in his life; travels which have taken him from his native Conecuh County to Huntsville, Viet Nam, Detroit, Texas and finally back to his ancestral home in the Nichburg community near Evergreen. That’s a lot of traveling in one lifetime, but he says it’s good to be back home again.
“When I was born, my cousins left to go to school on the bus. My mother was still carrying me, they say. She had me in a Number Three Tub out there in the cotton field. So, I literally was born in the cotton field.”
The field, the farm and surrounding area are part of the Stallworth Family Legacy.
“When they were released from slavery after the Emancipation Proclamation, this is where they settled. They had the blacksmith shop down the hill there because back in those days you didn’t have these good old cars we’re driving now. The white families would come and rather than go way back to where they lived, they would settle here under the oak tree. One of their family members passed away. They asked the Stallworth family if it was OK to bury one here.”
The oak tree and cemetery are still here although the blacksmith shop is long gone but those good old cars, as Mr. Stallworth calls them, would take him a long way from Conecuh County. First came a fateful bus ride and a scholarship at Alabama A&M.
“My coach, James Buddy Stallworth put me on the Greyhound Bus and when I got to Huntsville the coach picked me up at the bus station. I played for him for two years. The Pittsburgh Steelers came down looking for me and picked up John Stallworth.”
His cousin went to the Super Bowl. Mr. Stallworth was drafted; stationed in Viet Nam and San Antonio, returned to graduate from A&M and then back to Texas where he got a job selling cars. Turns out he was pretty good at it.
“It took me six months and I was salesman of the month for six months. I used some of General Motors money that I had made selling General Motors cars to get the Toyota franchise.”
There was also Stallworth Pontiac-Buick which he owned for 25 years but Texas wasn’t home, so he sold the dealerships and returned here to the Nichbirg Community. Trading horsepower for horsepower with an eye to giving back to young people.
“I use the horses as a carrot to get the kids’ attention. I’m back to where I started from. No place like home.”