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.
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.
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.