Historical Marker Program
First Presbyterian Church of Camden
Organized April 3, 1845 by a Commission of Southern Alabama Presbytery to serve the community of Camden in Wilcox County. Originally known as the Old School Presbyterian Church, its first congregation numbered twenty-three. First Ruling Elders were Alexander McLeod and W. B. Patton. Original church building, erected in 1856, burned on September 17, 1869. Present building constructed in the mid-1880s.
[1995: Broad St.]
Lieutenant Joseph Morgan Wilcox
Joseph Morgan Wilcox was born on March 15, 1790 in Killingsworth, Middlesex County, Connecticut. He was the son of Revolutionary War officer, Joseph Wilcox and Phoebe Morgan.
On June 15, 1808, Cadet Wilcox entered the U.S. Military Academy where he graduated and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the 3rd Infantry. Lt. Wilcox fought against the Creeks in the War of 1812. On January 15, 1814, Wilcox engaged in a heroic fight with a Creek war party and was tomahawked and scalped on the banks of the Alabama River where it flows between Canton and Prairie Bluff. Two days later he was buried with military honors at Fort Claiborne.
Wilcox County was named in his memory by an Act of the General Assembly of Alabama on December 13, 1819.
Bessie W. Munden Recreational Park
This 22-acre park is named for its founder, Bessie W. Munden, a noted African American educator and civic leader in Wilcox County. Dedicated on October 25, 1959, Bessie W. Munden Recreational Park is significant as one of Alabama’s oldest historically black parks.
Ms. Munden, born in Marion, Perry County in 1905, graduated from Tuskegee Institute and received her Masters of Arts degree from Alabama State College. She also studied at New York University. She began teaching in Wilcox County at Millers Ferry in 1928 and eventually became Supervisor of Wilcox County Public Schools. She retired from her last position as a teacher/counselor at Camden Academy in 1976, and died in 1989.
During her tenure as Supervisor, she worked with other local African American educators to establish a recreational park for African Americans during the era of segregation. The park, an important community asset, operated continuously for thirty years before closing in 1989. Restoration of the historic park began in 2004.
Sponsored by Bessie W. Munden Recreational Park, Inc.
[2011: Bessie Munden Road, Camden]
Wilcox Female Institute
Incorporated 1850 by James A. Tait, L. W. Mason, Joseph George and Associates. Original Trustees: Col. J. C. Jones, Joseph George, Maj. M .M Banham, D. W. Sterrett, Col. C. C. Sellers, Dr. M. Reid, J. W. Bridges, Dr. Robert Irvin, and Maj. F. K. Beck. First principal: L. B. Johnson. Deeded to State of Alabama 1908.
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