Clifton's Civil War History

Category: Clifton History

A native of Clifton, Thomas Sigismund Stribling made his presence known for the first time on March 4, 1881, but he really drew from his summers he spent with his maternal grandparents on their farm in Gravelly Springs, Alabama, to create the future characters of his novels about the political issues of his time.  And his home was donated to the City for a museum in 1946.  You may read of Mr. Stribling's literary accomplishments and his connection to Clifton by visiting the website for the University of North Alabama.

Thomas Sigismund Stribling was born March 4, 1881, in Clifton, Tennessee. His parents were Christopher Columbus Stribling and Amelia Waits Stribling. While Stribling was raised in Clifton, many of the summers of his youth were spent with his maternal grandparents on their farm in Gravelly Springs, Alabama. From these visits with the Waits, Stribling would later draw to create some of the settings and characters for his future novels.

He wrote and sold his first writing at the age of 12, and by the time he was 20, he was the editor of the local newspaper, The Clifton News, in 1900.  He struggled with his parents over his choice of careers, much like young people are still doing today, so his career in the newspaper business was short lived, as he went back to school to pursue a law career.  And indeed he was able to fulfill his father's request and graduate from the Univeresity of Alabama School of Law.  However, his law career didn't last very long and he moved to Nashville in 1907, writing for the Taylor-Trotwood magazine.  He contributed stories and sold magazine subscriptions.  A year later saw him writing short stories for Sunday School magazines and even American Boy.

As Stribling continued his writing and world travels, he bagan a novel called Birthright, which started off as a serial, but later was published as a novel.  The issue was the survival of a mulatto man who tried to survive in a Southern town filled all the typical prejudice of the times.  The setting was a town based on Clifton itself.  Stribling himself called his work, "the first realistic novel of Negroes written in this country since Opie Read produced My Young Master."

Doubleday Publishing Company published his novels Bright Metal (1928), Strange Moon (1929), Clues of the Caribees (1929), and Backwater (1930), all of which dealt with a myriad of political and social issues.  

There is so much more to T.S. Stribling's life in Clifton, and his home is now the town museum dedicated to his history and historical writings.  Be sure to go by ... and visit with the director of the museum, .x.xx.x.  

stribling inside house 1920x655