December 1, 2023


Moving Forward

Black family helps lay the foundation of Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – Two Huntsville historians are working to spotlight the achievements of Black citizens in Huntsville, including Henderson Brandon and his son Daniel.

Artists renderings of Brandons. Daniel Brandon (left) Henderson Brandon (right).
Artists renderings of Brandons. Daniel Brandon (remaining) Henderson Brandon (suitable).(Janhi Moore)

Ollye Conley will turn 85 on March 3. Conley was a principal at the Academy for Science and Overseas Language in Huntsville just before she retired. Conley has a enthusiasm for training and that is easy to see when she tells the tale of Henderson Brandon and his son, Daniel.

Ollye Conley
Ollye Conley(WAFF)

Donna Castellano of the Huntsville Historic Foundation also is aware about the Brandons. Henderson Brandon was a former slave who paid out $550 for his flexibility after his proprietor, William Brandon, died.

$550 is listed next to Henderson's name in the final estate documents of William Brandon
$550 is detailed following to Henderson’s title in the closing estate paperwork of William Brandon(Brandon Loved ones)

Henderson Brandon was a brick mason who turned a brick manufacturer in downtown Huntsville. Inevitably, Henderson Brandon introduced his son into the family members organization.

“Henderson Brandon and his son performed a vital purpose in building the infrastructure of Huntsville,” Castellano reported. “Taking Huntsville from the late 19th-century city to a 20th-century ‌town.”

In a way, Henderson Brandon and his son “laid the foundation” for a developing article-Civil War Huntsville.

According to Conley and Castellano, research content on nearby Black history is scarce, but documents display that Henderson Brandon was a slave and a brick mason that began his personal brick production organization alongside Pulaski Street in close proximity to Holmes Avenue.

“He had a skill, a trade he could sell and most likely a way to accumulate money,” Castellano mentioned. “The to start with thing we see of him just after 1867, is wherever he is registering to vote. He is starting up mills and placing a brick kiln together, so he’s concerned with white businessmen. He is an entrepreneur and frankly, hustling”.

Clipping of the obit of Henderson Brandon
Clipping of the obit of Henderson Brandon(WAFF)

Henderson Brandon’s 1901 newspaper obituary reads, “[Henderson] was a person of the most effective-recognized coloured males of North Alabama and probably the wealthiest. Held in warm esteem by all the white people today who realized him.”

When the Harrison Brothers Hardware retail outlet burned in 1901, Daniel Henderson rebuilt it.

Daniel Brandon.
Daniel Brandon.(WAFF)

The far more details and documentation these two historians dug up on the Brandons, the further they acquired into Huntsville’s historical past. So deep, they learned that Brandon Brick wasn’t just made use of to construct structures over ground, but effectively beneath

The Brandons built the pumping station and smokestack at Huge Spring in 1891 so water could be pumped into downtown households and organizations. The Brandons also received the city contract to make the very first sewer system.

Pumping system in Huntsville
Pumping program in Huntsville(WAFF)

“These aren’t necessarily captivating tasks, but they were being kinds that laid the foundation for a prosperous Huntsville,” Castellano said. “They ended up crucial.”

Daniel Brandon also ran for Huntsville City Council two times and received.

The Historic Huntsville Foundation will have an exhibit on Feb. 24 that includes the Brandons at Harrison Brothers Hardware. at?v=KrQ7zWCHnK0

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