St. James Hotel

St. James Hotel (HM1J55)

Location: Selma, AL 36703 Dallas County
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Country: United States of America
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N 32° 24.419', W 87° 1.079'

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Headquarters of General James H. Wilson

— Battle of Selma —

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 in 1894 and is buried in Old Live Oak Cemetery.
HM NumberHM1J55
Year Placed2014
Placed ByThe April 1865 Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, February 12th, 2015 at 5:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 498308 N 3585548
Decimal Degrees32.40698333, -87.01798333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 32° 24.419', W 87° 1.079'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds32° 24' 25.14" N, 87° 1' 4.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)334
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1201-1225 Water Ave, Selma AL 36703, US
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