Sunday, June 27, 2010

History of Brindley family in Cullman

Long before Col. Johann G. Cullmann brought German immigrants to what is now known as Cullman County, Mace Thomas Payne Brindley had settled in the community. Brindley Mountain now takes up parts of Cullman, Morgan, Marshall, Winston and Lawrence counties in Alabama.

Brindley’s great-great grandson, Joe Brindley, told the June 2010 meeting of the Cullman County Historical Society about his family’s history from its origins in Ireland to running grocery stores in Cullman and other places in North Alabama.

Mace Brindley owned an 1,800-acre farm and became active in politics becoming probate judge of Blount County and later a state representative and senator. As a state tax collector, he would cut the bills sent to the state capital in Montgomery in two and send half by horseman then half later to assure the tax money wouldn’t be stolen. The bills would be put back together in Montgomery.

Joe’s brother Hugh was known as grocer in Cullman, operating Brindley’s Market after a stint managing A&P stores. In the early 1960s, Joe and Hugh Brindley traveled to Birmingham to meet with Joe Bruno, who was experimenting with a new type of store called a “supermarket.” Hugh decided family-named stores were going to pass from the scene and obtained the local Piggly Wiggly franchise. Joe disagreed, and moved on to a career at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, first with NASA, then with the U.S. Army.

Asked about the spelling “Brindlee Mountain” in Marshall County, Brindley explained that a misspelling had occurred at some point and was never corrected. Despite attempts to fix the spelling of Brindlee Mountain Parkway and Brindlee Mountain Middle School, a powerful politician, and then-owner of Brindlee Mountain Telephone Co., Sid McDonald, was successful in quashing them.

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