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The Stinson House is our Family Legacy

Elba Chamber of Commerce Fire (The Stinson House)The Stinson House destroyed by fire. 
The Stinson House, a property once owned by Pauline Stinson before 1900, was recently designated as an Historic Landmark in Elba, Alabama. Currently it houses The Elba Chamber of Commerce. According to the Elba Fire Department, The Stinson House recently caught fire just before midnight on July 13, 2021. Part of our family legacy was destroyed. Important historical records dating back to the 1800's were housed here.
Pauline Stinson was our great-grandmother, and from the stories about her, she was a Black woman of wit, resilience, and incredible foresight. She overcame tremendous odds, having been enslaved to becoming a significant land owner in Elba, and a pivotal leader in building Elba's Black community.

In 1910, our Grandmother, Emmaline married Pauline's son, Wil Rushing Stinson, and moved into The Stinson House. Emmaline began working at her mother-in-law's restaurant on Claxton Street.

Our mom Gwendolyn told us stories about how her father, Wil Rushing Stinson, and his brothers had built The Stinson House on grandma Pauline's land. How he and his brothers helped build most of Elba. Our grandfather and his brothers were phenomenal builders. Their quality workmanship is evidenced by The Stinson House being so structurally sound that it survived the 1929 and 1990 floods and was relocated to where it now sits on Putnam Street. The Stinson House had been in our family for over 130 years before being relocated to Putnam Street.

By 1900, Pauline Stinson owned several properties in Elba, Alabama. Besides her restaurant on Claxton Street, she owned a barbershop where her husband Martin worked. In addition, Grandma Pauline had deeded each of her children land to build houses as they established their families. Pauline and her husband Martin were instrumental in providing land for the first school for colored children in Elba, a church, and other civic organizations. 

By 1910, our Grandmother, Emmaline Humphries, began cooking in her mother-in-law's restaurant. She attended county cooking demonstrations, and she learned to make foods from all over the world. The restaurant served the Elba County jail, jurors, visitors to Courthouse Square, and Elba's "Colored" residents at the Emancipation Day Celebration on May 28, 1923. When the Pea River flooded and engulfed Elba, Ms. Emma cooked food to help flood victims. Her husband Wil swam throughout town, rescuing residents.
Every bottle of hot sauce that you purchase helps us to make a contribution to the Black Family Land Trust, Inc. We are more determined than ever to keep our family legacy alive. We support the Black Family Land Trust, Inc. because we believe in helping Black families like our own hold onto land and preserve their rich family legacies.