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Selma in Dallas County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

St. James Hotel

Headquarters of General James H. Wilson

 

—Battle of Selma —

 
St. James Hotel Marker (Front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 12, 2015
1. St. James Hotel Marker (Front)
Inscription. following the Battle of Selma, April 2, 1865. This occupation protected the hotel from the arson and looting in the first 24 hours that destroyed much of downtown. In the next week Wilson methodically burned the huge military/industrial complex that had sustained the Confederate War effort. By April 10th he had built his pontoon bridge and he was off to capture Montgomery.

The Gee House Hotel, as the St. James was then known, was owned by Major W. H. Gee. However, the hotel and adjoining livery stable were actually managed by his slave Ben. Born in Weldon, North Carolina in 1825, Ben was brought to Selma by his former Mistress Elizabeth Turner in 1830. Ben, an industrious businessman, by the time of the Civil War had saved money and bought property. He became more prosperous in Selma's booming war time economy. Ben even bought Confederate Bonds. While Ben was freed after the Battle of Selma, he along with his white neighbors suffered great financial loss. After the War he continued his successful business practices and became involved in the Republican Party. In 1867 he was appointed Tax Collector and in 1869 he was elected to the Selma City Council.

In 1872 Benjamin Sterling Turner former slave and self-made businessman was elected the first African-American U.S. Representative from Alabama. Benjamin S. Turner died
Marker (Rear) - Map of Battle of Selma image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 12, 2015
2. Marker (Rear) - Map of Battle of Selma
Map of the City of Selma and its Defenses.
Captured by assault by the Cavalry Corps., M.D.M., April 2d, 1865. Bvt Maj. Gen. J.H. Wilson, Com'd'g.
Surveyed and drawn by Capt. H.E. Noyes, 2d U.S. Cavalry, A.D.C.
in 1894 and is buried in Old Live Oak Cemetery.
 
Erected 2014 by the April 1865 Society.
 
Location. 32° 24.419′ N, 87° 1.079′ W. Marker is in Selma, Alabama, in Dallas County. Marker is at the intersection of Water Avenue and Washington Street, on the right when traveling east on Water Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1200 Water Avenue, Selma AL 36701, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water Avenue (within shouting distance of this marker); This Tablet Commemorates the Visit of Lafayette (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Selma-Dallas County’s 1st Bridge 1884-1940 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Selma Movement (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line but has been reported missing); 'Bloody Sunday' Attack at Edmund Pettus Bridge / U.S. Congress Approves Voting Rights Act of 1965 (about 400 feet away); Sgt Robert Weakley Patton (about 500 feet away); Edmund Pettus Bridge (about 500 feet away); The Sleeping Prophet (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Selma.
 
More about this marker. One of a newer interactive marker that includes QR codes that allow you to use your smartphone
St. James Hotel image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 12, 2015
3. St. James Hotel
to see additional photos and stories.
 
Also see . . .
1. Marker Press Release. (Submitted on February 12, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. History of the St. James Hotel. (Submitted on February 12, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
3. Biography of Benjamin Turner. (Submitted on February 12, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
4. Battle of Selma. (Submitted on February 12, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
5. Video about St. James Hotel. (Submitted on March 25, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansIndustry & CommerceWar, US Civil
 
St. James Hotel looking southwest. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 12, 2015
4. St. James Hotel looking southwest.
St. James Hotel designated a Historic Hotel of America. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 12, 2015
5. St. James Hotel designated a Historic Hotel of America.
Looking northerly from the hotel. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, February 12, 2015
6. Looking northerly from the hotel.
Benjamin S. Turner image. Click for full size.
By Mathew Brady
7. Benjamin S. Turner
"Benjamin S. Turner - Brady-Handy" by Mathew Brady - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 12, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 363 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on February 12, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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