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last updated 3/15/2002

A reunion of the descendants of Lewis Willcutt and Rachel Amoson/Amerson was held Saturday, 27 October 2001 at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, beginning at 10:30 a.m. If you are a Wilcut, Willcut, Willcutt, or Wilcutt with Alabama roots, you are part of this family. Pictures of the reunion are online.

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Directions: Tannehill is located off Interstate 59 less than 30 minutes from downtown Birmingham. Take I-59/20 to Exit 100 and follow the signs (appoximately 2 miles to the park) or you can take I-459 to Exit 1 and follow signs (approximately 7 miles to the park). Once inside the park gate, turn left. Travel past the railroad station following the road to Farley Field (trade day area.) Just across the iron bridge, look for the shed to the right where the Willcutts will meet.

Entrance to Tannehill is $2 for adults, $1 for senior citizens and children 6 -11, and free for children 5 or younger.

Near the site of the reunion is a gristmill and pioneer farm. The park also includes the Alabama Iron and Steel Museum as well as many buildings constructed in the 1800’s. On the day of the reunion, the annual Tannehill Woodcarver’s Show will be held, as well as the Halloween celebration.

History: The restored Tannehill Furnaces are among the park’s most impressive features. Daniel Hillman built a forge near Roupe’s Creek in 1830. Sometime after Hillman’s death, Ninian Tannehill took on operation of the forge.

Operations at Tannehill increased with the onset of the Civil War. By 1863, three furnaces were in operation. Tannehill Furnace No. 1 was built by Moses Stroup, who would later build the first furnace in Jefferson County, Oxmoor Furnace. In 1862, William Sanders took over operation of the Tannehill furnaces. During the height of production, the furnaces produced over two tons of iron a day for the Confederate forces.

This site was not ignored by Union troops. On March 20 and 22, 1865, General Grant ordered about 14,000 cavalry troops under the leadership of Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson to travel south from Lauderdale County, Alabama. At Elyton (now Birmingham), Brig. Gen. John T. Croxton and about 1,500 men headed west. On March 31, members of the Eight Iowa Cavalry set fire to the furnaces, ending Tannehill’s production of Confederate iron.

Croxton’s troops continued to Tuscaloosa, arriving late in the day on April 3. Before leaving Tuscaloosa two days later, the Union troops burned many of the town’s buildings, much of the University of Alabama, as well as the bridge across the Black Warrior River. The Union troops then traveled west into Pickens County but later backtracked toward Northport. From Northport they traveled on April 8 to Prewitt’s Plantation, fifteen miles north on the Byler Road. On April 11, the troops passed through Windham Springs. They continued north, crossing Wolf Creek on April 13. Eventually they turned east and rejoined other Union troops near Macon, Georgia.

Civil War Heritage of Willcutts

Several members of the Alabama Willcutt family are known to have served during the Civil War.
A son of Lewis and Rachel Willcutt, Robert Willcut enlisted as a private in Company I, 32nd Alabama Infantry, Confederate States Army (CSA) on 21 April 1862 in Fayette, Alabama for the period of three years or the duration of the war. Robert Willcutt died in Mobile just over two months after enlisting. He was buried in the Confederate Rest section of Mobile’s Magnolia Cemetery.

Also serving in Co. I, 32nd Alabama Infantry was Abraham Kilgore. Some 25 years after the close of the Civil War, he married Mary Susan Willcutt Patton, a widowed daughter of James Willcutt.

Another son of Lewis and Rachel Willcutt, James Willcutt served in the Civil War in Co. K, 43rd Regiment Alabama Infantry, CSA. He enlisted as a private in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on 14 May 1862 for a period of three years or the war. A muster roll taken in December 1862 said James had been "sick at Atlanta, Ga. since Aug. 28, 1862." A muster roll for the Post Hospital at Dalton, Georgia recorded James as a nurse at the hospital. On 1 November 1862, he was admitted to the hospital for febris remittens (recurrent fever.) He returned to duty early in December 1862.

Elijah Willcutt, also a son of Lewis and Rachel Willcutt, served in the Civil War. According to his pension application, he joined Company C, First Missouri Infantry, CSA, in April 1864 as the group passed through Windham Springs, Alabama.

Andrew John Willcutt, son of William and Nancy Hisaw Willcutt and grandson of Lewis and Rachel Willcutt, served with Union troops. He joined Company B, 1st Mississippi Mounted Rifles, United States Army on 27 February 1864 as a private. His description was "age 18; born in Fayette County, Ala.; a farmer; eyes blue; hair auburn; complexion fair; height 5 ft. 6 in." According to his pension file, his chest was crushed when he ran against a tree while charging Confederates near Memphis, Tennessee. He mustered out 26 June 1865 as John Willcut.

For further information about Tannehill State Park, visit http://www.tannehill.org.