Skip to Main Content

Columbus State University Print Logo

CSU Archives

CSU Archives

Richard H. Bickerstaff Papers (MC 339)


Biographical/Historical Notes

Richard H. Bickerstaff was born on February 14, 1918 to Frank Jeter Bickerstaff and Bessie Bradford Bickerstaff.   He was born in the family home at Brickyard, Alabama, the second of three sons, including his brothers Frank J. Bickerstaff Jr. and Robert Bradford Bickerstaff.   He married Margaret Matheson Flournoy in June 1941.   She died in 1998.   They had three children; Mary Flournoy Bickerstaff Bradley, Richard Howard Bickerstaff, Jr. and Walker Reynolds Bickerstaff.  Richard attended Brickyard School in Brickyard, Alabama and Columbus area schools.   He graduated from Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia and attended Auburn University.   Richard died February 20, 2014 at the age of 96 and is buried at the Bickerstaff family cemetery at Broken Arrow in Russell County, Alabama.

Richard H. Bickerstaff was descended from the pioneer Bickerstaff and Bradford families, which had deep roots in east Alabama and north Florida.   Richard Bickerstaff led his family owned brick manufacturing business until its sale to an Australian firm Boral Ltd. in 1995.   Bickerstaff Clay Products was founded in Russell County, Alabama in 1885 and was reportedly the fifth-largest clay brick maker when it was sold.   A history of the company on the Boral website says that Bickerstaff Clay products came about when brothers William and James Bickerstaff purchased property on what is now Brickyard Road in Phenix City from the Abercrombie family.   The land had been obtained by the U.S. government in 1832 through a treaty with the Creek Indians, with the tribe being moved westward and the Abercrombie family starting a cotton plantation on the site, which included a small brickworks.   The Bickerstaffs turned their focus to brick manufacturing, with their families being born and raised on the land for decades. Improvements through the years led the company to start a subsidiary that made fork lift attachments to move bricks without pallets.  This equipment was sold to other brick companies globally.

During his long career, he served as chairman of the Brick Institute of America and continued to be consulted by people in the industry on best practices.   He served for many years on the Board of Directors of Synovus Financial Corporation and Total Systems Services, on the board of Columbus Bank and Trust, Columbus Mills and Tom’s Foods.   He also operated Broken Arrow Land Company with his son Richard H. Bickerstaff Jr .  In 2009 he led an eight person oversight committee on the $ 14.3 million renovation of First Presbyterian Church in Columbus.  Throughout his long life he was active in many charities and civic activities.

Scope and Content

This collection of materials from the family of Richard H. Bickerstaff relates to the family history and genealogy, the history of Russell County, AL, Brickyard, Broken Arrow and the brickmaking industry, of which Bickerstaff Clay Products played a major role.   Although very few of the materials are original documents, the information within is extremely valuable.  The collection is contained within 6 boxes and divided into 3 series.  Within each box, the folders are in alphabetical order by subject.

1860s-2013                                       6 boxes (6 l.f.)

Permission to Publish

Permission to publish material from the Richard H. Bickerstaff Collection must be obtained from the Columbus State University Archives at Columbus State University.   Use of the following credit line for publication or exhibit is required:

Richard H. Bickerstaff Collection (MC 339)
Columbus State University Archives
Columbus, Georgia


This collection was donated to the CSU Archives by the family of Richard H. Bickerstaff, via his daughter Mary Bickerstaff Bradley.

Note to Researchers

See also: other collections and books

Bickerstaff, Lindsay, Neill and related Families   CS71. B6213 1979 (book)

L. Neill Bickerstaff, Sr. Collection (SMC 1)

Muscogiana-article by Sarah Bussey Bickerstaff

Pound and Flowers Architectural Drawings (MC 80)

Vertical File-Biographical

Series 1: Family history

Box 1

Folder 1 – Bickerstaff family members

Folder 2 – Bradford Family genealogy

Folder 3 – Bradfordville, Leon County, Florida

Folder 4 – Broken Arrow plantation

Folder 5 – Burnside Family

Folder 6 – Cantey Family

Folder 7 – Cantey, Winter

Folder 8 – Caroline Mitchell Howard

Folder 9 – Colonial Dames application for Mary F. Bickerstaff (Mrs. Richard Y. Bradley)

Folder 10 – Contents of notebook entitled “The Bradford Family”

Folder 11 – Correspondence between Robert Fort Bradford and Martha Elizabeth Whitaker, 1865-1881

Folder 12 – Crews Cemetery, Rutland Place, Mitchell, AL

Folder 13 – Crowell-Bradford-Whitaker family genealogy

Folder 14 – Crowell Burying ground, Fort Mitchell, AL

Folder 15 – Crowell home in Ft. Mitchell, AL

Folder 16 – Colonel John Crowell, Ft. Mitchell mementoes and some Indians of Broken Arrow”

Folder 17: – Colonel John Crowell, his horses, Fort Mitchell, Broken Arrow (bound)

Folder 18 – Colonel John Crowell portrait

Folder 19 – Descendants of Henry Bradford Crowell

Folder 20 – Direct Descendants of John Crowe 1588-1673

Folder 21 – Estate of Thomas Moffett Flournoy and Minnie L. Flournoy

Folder 22: – Helen Augusta Howard 1865-1934

Folder 23 – Howard family genealogy

Folder 24 – Interview with Richard H. Bickerstaff by Vaughan Fitzpatrick, 2008

Folder 25 – Jim Henry

Folder 26 – Little Prince, Creek Indian Chief; lived at Broken Arrow

Folder 27 – Oswichee Cemetery

Folder 28 – “Oswichee Reminisces” (bound)

Folder 29 – Pedigree chart for Richard Howard Bickerstaff

Folder 30 – Photographs–family

Folder 31 – Photographs-family II ( copies)

Folder 32 – Postmaster F. J. Bickerstaff, Brickyard, AL

Folder 33 – Register Report for Henry Bradford

Folder 34 – Robert E. Lee memo about Robert F. Bradford

Folder 35 – Robert F. Bradford Civil War prisoner of war record

Folder 36 – St. Theresa area and homes

Folder 37 – Treaty with Creek Indians 1828; Colonel John Crowell, Ft. Mitchell, Broken Arrow

Folder 38 – Whitaker family

Folder 39 – Woodruff/Lindsay family

Series 2: Bickerstaff Connections

Box 2

Folder 1 – Abstract of title of lands of F. J. Bickerstaff, Russell County, AL

Folder 2 – “Adventures of Little Prince”, 1995 (2 copies)

Folder 3 – Alabama Indian tribes

Folder 4: – Bradford House, Halifax County, North Carolina

Folder 5 – Camp Gordon Johnston, Florida

Folder 6 – Correspondence between Becky Mosely and Richard H. Bickerstaff

Folder 7 – Correspondence with Mary Alma and Dave Lang

Folder 8 – Correspondence with Suzanne Mahaffey concerning Bradford-Whitaker Ancestry, 2009-2014

Folder 9 – D’Angelo/Bickerstaff correspondence, 2004-2013

Folder 10 – D’Angelo emails about GAR (Gwinnett Archeological Research)

Folder 11 – D’Angelo: Haigh Kiln

Folder 12 – D’Angelo: Historical and archeological research for the Constitution Lakes Project, DeKalb County, Georgia

Folder13: – D’Angelo: International Brick Collectors Association

Folder 14 – D’Angelo: Oconee River Greenway Authority

Folder 15 – Dawson-Howard- Bickerstaff murder

Folder 16 – Historic American Buildings survey- Fort Mitchell

Folder 17 – Julian Robertson and Bradford family connection

Folder 18 – Land deals in Muscogee and Harris Counties

Folder 19 – Lucius F. Humber and Leila Humber (murder trial)

Folder 20 – Maps of Tallahassee and Bradfordville, Florida

Folder 21 – Pine Hill Plantation Cemetery, Bradfordville, Florida

Folder 22 – Pisgah United Methodist Church, Tallahassee, Florida

Folder 23 – Property in Russell County, maps and deeds; “Little Prince” land, sold 1986

Folder 24 – Race Horses- John Bascombe and others of Colonel John Crowell

Folder 25 – “The Rise and Fall of William McIntosh” by Andrew Frank

Folder 26 – Silver thief

Folder 27 – University of Georgia: donations and documents of Southeastern Native Americans

Folder 28 – Westville

Series 2: Bickerstaff Connections

Box 3

Folder 1 – Abercrombie Brickyard and family

Folder 2 – Abercrombie plaque/historic marker commemorating Brickyards

Folder 3 – Book orders /invoices

Folder 4 – Brickyard Project- 2012 Phenix City, AL –hotel, casino, zip line

Folder 5 – “The Cemeteries of Leon County, Florida”, 1978

Folder 6 – Chattahoochee Trace and Creek Trail of Tears

Folder 7 – Collinsworth Institute, Talbotton, Georgia (Nathan and Isador Strauss educated there)

Folder 8 – Creek Indian Treaties 1773, 1739, 1828 and 1832 (bound)

Folder 9 – Fall Line Trace Trail and Rails to Trails

Folder 10 – Fort Mitchell Park

Folder 11 – George Sallas

Folder 12 – Great Hog Chase

Folder 13 – Henri Jova, Atlanta architect of Midtown renewal

Folder 14 – Heritage Park: Historic Columbus Foundation

Folder 15 – “The Millionaires’ Colony; a somewhat intimate study of the Rich Wynntonites”

Folder 16 – Miscellaneous articles collected by RHB

Folder 17 – Mobile and Girard Railroad

Folder 18 – Phenix City Story and politics

Folder 19 – Pigeon shoot

Folder 20 – Plaque to Richard H. Bickerstaff from Bessemer Brick & Clay Workers

Folder 21 – Progressive Columbus Souvenir Edition 1902 (copy)

Folder 22 – Richard H. Bickerstaff’s personal correspondence-non-business and notes

Folder 23 – Russell County, AL ancestral homesteads

Folder 24 – Schoolhouse photographs

Folder 25 – Seale, Alabama

Folder 26 – Superior Court Case 1959: U.S.A. vs .Carrolton Sewer Pipe company, Sparta Ceramic Company

Folder 27 –:”Talking to the Man”, May 1965

Folder 28 – “There was a Land”, a story of Talbot County, Georgia  (selected pages)

Folder 29 – Thronateska Fishing Club, 1913

Folder 30 – Whitewater in Columbus

Series 3: Brickmaking

Box 4

Folder 1 – BIA Award Nomination- John S. Steele

Folder 2 – Bickerstaff Clay Products balance sheet 1966

Folder 3 – Brick Forks

Folder 4 – Brick Industry-other companies and history

Folder 5 – Brickmaking – History I

Folder 6: – Brickmaking – History II

Folder 7 – Brickmaking publications

Folder 8 – Crary, J.W. – Brick maker

     This folder includes a copy of Sixty Years a Brickmaker

Folder 9 – Dickey lawsuit-Plant site 6, part 1, 1987

     This folder contains pre-closure data on W. S. Dickey.

Folder 10 – Dickey lawsuit-Plant site 6. Part 2, 1987

     This contains the asset purchase agreement, W. S. Dickey pre-closure document, closing documents except original deeds and leases.

Folder 11 – Dickey lawsuit- Plant site 6, Part 3

      This contains the Dickey property deeds, title policy and exceptions

Folder 12 – Dickey lawsuit –Plant site 6, Part 4

     This contains Law Engineering and Superfund data.

Folder 13 – Employees of Bickerstaff Company

Folder 14 – “The English Pharaoh”; an Analytical History of Chattahoochee Brick Company, 1878-1978

Folder 15 – George C. Sells II, 1919-2005

Folder 16 – Homer L. Bryce

Folder 17 – Kilns and brickmaking

Folder 18: – Merry Brick Company, Augusta, Georgia

Folder 19 – “Pelfreyisms by Paul Pelfry, former Exhaulted  Ruler of the United Brick and Clay Workers of America”

Folder 20 – Pensacola brickyards

Folder 21 – Photographs- brick plant

Box 5   Legal size documents

Folder 1 – Articles of Copartnership, 1920

Folder 2 – Bickerstaff Brick Company By-laws 1909

Folder 3: – Bickerstaff deeds of sale, 1911-1914

Folder 4 – Deeds- Abercrombie, Bickerstaff, Brinson 1839-1912

Folder 5: – Dissolution of Bickerstaff Brick Company, 1919

Folder 6 – Land grants/land patents

Folder 7 – Lindsay family

Box 6  Books

Among the collection of books donated by the Bickerstaffs, the following 5 were separated, cataloged, and shelved in the Archives Reading Room.  They are:


The Millionaires’ Colony: A Somewhat Intimate Study of the Rich Wynntonites (F294.C7 M455 1929)

A Little History of the Magnolia Greene, Silver Run and Vilula Area, by Peter A. Brannon, 1966 (F332.R87 L58 1998)

A Concise History of Pittsview, Russell County, Alabama from 1891 to 1983, by Ellen Martin, 1983 (F332.R87 C66 1983)

Reminiscences in the Old South from 1834 to 1866; Things not to be Found in History, by John Williamson, Sr. (F209.C73 R46 1969)

Russell County Then … and Now; A collection of Articles, by John T. Smith (F332 .R87 S6 2002)

The remaining books listed below were kept with the collection.

Architectural Terra–Cotta, Superior Clay Corporation

Bricks and Brick Making: A Handbook for Historical Archeology, by Karl Gurcke, 1987

Bricks and Mortar, A Celebration of the First 50 Years of Midland Brick , by Mardi May, 1996 (autographed)

Brick and Tile Engineering, Handbook of Design, by Harry C. Plummer, 1950

Brick and Tile Engineering, by Harry C. Plummer, 1962

1996, Autographed by George Cugley (Managing Director of Midland Brick.Cie)

"The Brick House", Builder’s Magazine, 2007

Brick Laying Vocational Training Student’s Textbook, by William F. Roark and Harry C. Plummer, 1965

Brick Making – Mud Cakes to Skyscrapers – From Then until Now, By Reid Wrenn 2008

Brick Making in Nebraska, by William F. Rapp, 1993

Brick Making in Sussex, A History and Gazetteer, by M. Beswick, 1993

Brick, Tile and Fireclay Industries in Scotland, by Graham Douglas and Miles Oglethorpe, 1993

The Building Brick Industry of the United States of America, 1961

Ceramics and Civilization: The Prehistory and History of Ceramic Kilns,Vol. VII , 1997 – Rice Kingery(ed)

Clay Pipe Engineering Manual, 1968

Clay that Burns, A History of the Fletton Brick Industry, by Richard Hillier, 1981

Colossus in Clay: Acme Brick Company, the Story of the Largest American-Owned Brick Maker, by Edwin E. Lehr, Ph. D., 1998 (Autographed)

Dig it, Burn it, Sell it! The Inside Story of IB Stock, Britain’s Largest Independent Brick Maker, by Michael Cassell, 1990

Directory Brick & Tiles Plants in the Southeast United States

Drummond, 10 Years of Good Energy in Columbia Social Balance, 2004

Evolution of a Potter, Conversation with Bill Gordy, by Lindsey King Laub, 1992

Gas Lines Magazine, July 1985

The Great Hudson River Brick Industry Commemorating Three and a Half Centuries of Brick Making, by George V. Hutton, 2003

A Handbook to the Pension Building, Home of the National Building Museum, by Linda Lyons, 1989

A History of J.C. Steele & Sons Incorporated Manufacturers of Clay Working Machinery, Statesville, NC, 1889, 1989

The History of Old Virginia Brick, 2008

In Commemoration of 100th Anniversary 1872-1972 of Victor Cushwa & Sons Inc., Williamsport, Maryland, Compiled and Edited by David K. Cushwa, 3rd

In Search of the Bricks of History, by Basil Saffer, 1994 (autographed)

The Isenhour Brick Company, A History

Lest We Forget, Nashville’s Lost Business and Their Stories (Autographed) by Ridley Wills II

November 1968 – The American Brick Industry, by H.W.H. West, the British Ceramic Society, 1967

Our Ancestors Were Engineers, by Arthur Weiz Crouch and Harry Dixon Clay Book, 1976

Pocket Guide to Brick Construction, 1990

The Refractories People, A History of the A.P. Green Refractories Co., by Orville H. Read, 1978

Structural Clay Tile, Principle of Design and Construction by Lawrence Dantzler, 1941

Reinforced, Brick, Masonry, Lateral Force Design, by Harry C. Plummer and John A. Blu me, 1953

A Tradition of Excellence (Chelwood Brick), 1997

200 Years of Building America, 1975

Within These Gates (Autographed), by Daniel de Noyelles, 1982