Silver Billy

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In Roebuck neighborhood of B'ham there is a house that's been around since 1818. It's been added to and modernized so you'd probably never realize:

...but when you look at it here, you can see the original log house section.

It was built by William Reed, who was also known as "Silver Billy". My WPA book reads:

Silver Billy, an early land speculator, once owned several thousand acres in this vicinity and refused to transact business with anything but silver coin. The story goes that he frequented public land sales, driving a one-horse wagon loaded with small kegs filled with silver dollars - or at least partly filled, for he was suspected of putting sand in the bottom of the kegs. However, he always seemed to have an abundance of cash, and bidders against him were discouraged by the apparently full kegs of silver.
Silver Billy, and his wife Ruth, became parents on October 28, 1817 to the first baby born in B'ham.

He and his family are buried in the Reed Family Cemetery on Springville Road, just past the Springville Road Library (on the same side of the street).

The monument reads:
In Memory Of
The Pioneer Settlers
Wm. Reed and Family
A Native of Guilford
County N.C.
He Settled in Ala. in 1816
A Large Land Owner
And a Good Citizen.

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