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Tumbleton, Alabama

Source: Graciously Contributed by T Larry Smith, the Official Historian of Henry County

The settlement called Tumbleton began in the 1890's when Reuben Shelley and family settled on lands he purchased six miles northeast of Headland where the old Franklin-Newton and Echo-Columbia roads crossed. In 1905, the settlement began replacing Balkum, Alabama as the hub of the surrounding area as Balkum began to fade away. Mr. John Sanders first claimed lands in 1856 where Tumbleton stands. The village had several names: Shelley's Sluice, Shelley's Crossroads, Shelley Town, Tumble Town, and lastly Tumbleton. Mr. W. L. Shelley, son of Mark Shelley and Mary Jane Ronie and grandson of Malachi Shelley and nephew of Reuben, was instrumental in locating the Zion School at the crossroads. The school later became Shelley School after W. L. Shelley. Then came the first merchant in 1911, Will Taylor, son-in-law of Reuben; Wyatt Spann and Molton White with a cotton gin, grist mill, and saw mill. In 1912, Wheat Hartly, Mary Messer, Paul Shelley built storehouses. In 1920, Joel and Adie Shelley built an auto repair shop. Wess Floyd, W. J. Smith, Jr., Clarence Spann, Floyd Whitehead and others built stores.

The name Tumbleton resulted from a lot of tumbling, like activities in the deep sandbed located in the center of the crossroads. Will Taylor coined the name circa 1911. Shelley's Garage still remains today after 80 years. Tumbleton Jr. High School became Henry County's third largest school circa 1930. The depression and agricultural migration caused Tumbleton to decline. Tumbleton never had a post office, bank, or brick storehouse. Many Shelley descendants remain today.

This Page was Created November 2007 | Last Modified Saturday, 29-Nov-2014 02:32:50 EST