Ebenezer’s Swamp

Ebenezer Swamp
Ebenezer Swamp


My fourth generational great grandfather was named Henry Harless Jr. He was born in 1777 in Virginia and moved to Madison County Alabama in the early 1800. He later moved to Shelby County and purchased land around Montevallo where he died in 1859. He and his family are buried in the Harless Cemetery which is located on property that had once belonged to him.




So why am I sharing my family history with you. It’s because Ebenezer’s Swamp borders the property of this old family cemetery. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least part of the swamp wasn’t on his property back then. However, its current owner is the University of Montevallo.


New Life
New Life


Ebenezer’s Swamp is located on Spring Creek, approximately 6 miles northeast of Montevallo in central Alabama. The University owns approximately sixty acres which is about one third of the swamp. Ebenezer’s Swamp is a quintessential upland hardwood swamp. It is dominated for the most part by Tupelo Gum trees.




The Ebenezer Swamp Wetlands Interpretive and Research Center (ESWIRC) developed a boardwalk through part of the swamp. Their goal in preserving the swamp is to focus greater research on wetland ecology and to increase educational opportunities for high school and middle school students from across the state of Alabama.


The Swamp's Spotlight
The Swamp’s Spotlight


As I walked through swamp, I couldn’t help but think of Jim Stafford’s story of the old Swamp Witch, Black Water Hattie who lived in the Black Bayou.


Black Water Hattie lived back in the swamp where the strange green reptiles crawl. Snakes hang thick from the cypress trees like sausage on a smokehouse wall, where the swamp is alive with a thousand eyes and all of them watching you. Stay off the track to Hattie’s Shack in the back of the Black Bayou.


22 thoughts on “Ebenezer’s Swamp

  1. Great post and series of images, Phillip. Nice to have a little family history, makes thing special. I really like that “spotlight” shot. 🙂 The plant looks like a Caladium of some type.

  2. Terrific write up Phillip and great series of pictures. When looking at the first one I keep thinking of the saying “can’t see the forest for the trees.”

    1. Thank you Edith. I know what you mean about the first one. I started to do a more unrealistic rendering along the lines of what I have been doing the past few weeks. However, something came up and I never finished.

  3. A bit of history puts things into perspective. So much to see and capture in a swamp, excellent pics.

    1. I used to do a lot of genealogy research before I took up photography. In fact I still keep my old web site available for those who might be able to use the information. So it had a deeper meaning for me to be able to actually walk out on this property and enjoy it.

  4. What a cool spot. I love how you captured the details of it, too! I especially like the last one, with the spotlight. Just so peaceful and beautiful.

  5. I’m doing a story at UM (Montevallo) about Ebenezer Swamp, and I’m trying to find the origin of its name (Ebenezer).. Who or what was it named after? I can’t find anything at all online.. please reply

    Zach Ivey

    1. Zach, I believe the swamp is named after the tiny Ebenezer Church on the west side of the swamp. The church began in 1818. I am a member of that church. The USGS topo map is named the Ebenezer quadrangle. – Mike

  6. Phillip, I recently met Kate Lee Morris who lives on Smokey Rd. She said she was a descendant of the original Harless family, and she even speaks some German! Perhaps you know her?

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