April 9, 2017|
2:00 pm, Sunday
Senior Connections, Clanton
Glenn Wills and Forgotten Alabama
The first public recognition of the advent of Benjamin Crichton Apperson into the activities of this world [are found] in the Banner [in] 1901, written by Frank Crichton, editor of the Banner, and for whom the subject of this sketch was named:
"I have just learned that a good lady on the western side of the county has honored me by naming her little boy after me. It has not been my good fortune to meet the lady, although I have the pleasure of knowing her husband whom I highly esteem. I am told by him that my namesake is a bright and intelligent little fellow now about eighteen months old, and I feel proud of him. I hope he will grow up to be a better man than I have ever known how to be. Here's hoping for a long, happy, and prosperous life to Crichton Apperson."
Following the time when the above was written, many years elapsed before we hear anything more of Crichton Apperson. He was just one of the many little boys of Chilton County who was growing up under the tender care of a good father and mother who were striving to prepare him for the battles of life and who were hoping with Frank Crichton and many other friends that his little life might extend through many future years to bless his fellow man with happiness and usefulness.
When Crichton Apperson's life did break into usefulness it was with a great force, and since that day his name has been written on the pages of Birmingham's history in flaming letters. His rise to prominence has been phenomenal. His zeal for doing things has been without limit. He is a whirl wind when it comes to doing things. We know of no son of the soil of Chilton County who has gone forth and fared more successfully than this little boy of our western hills, who a quarter of a century ago was represented to be a bright and intelligent little fellow.
As Secretary and Treasurer of the Alabama Retail Food Dealers Association and the Birmingham Retail Grocers And Butchers Association, he is one of the leading factors in the promulgation of the work of protecting the health and welfare of the people of Birmingham and Alabama, by the inauguration and support of those policies which are suggested by a sanitary viewpoint with reference to preparation, handling and sale of all foodstuffs. His organization is a powerful force maintained for the betterment of the food business.
Born in the western part of Chilton County April 1, 1900, Benjamin Crichton Apperson is now in the very prime of useful young manhood. He brings to this work the enthusiasm of youth, combined with the expert experience of practical work and study.
He is the son of D.M. and Viola (Lenoir) Apperson, the former of whom is a native of Autauga County; the latter of Chilton. D.M. Apperson is a prominent farmer. During the whole of his mature life he has been recognized as one of Chilton County's most substantial citizens. There are three other children of the Apperson family: Charles L., William F., [and] David C.
The paternal grandfather, Samuel Labon Apperson, served as a soldier in the Indian wars of Alabama. The maternal grandfather, Thomas Lenoir, was an officer of the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
Benjamin Crichton Apperson attended the rural schools of his home community and the county high school of Dallas County. He took special courses in business training through correspondence schools.
He has had government service with the United States Shipping Board, Baltimore, Maryland, where he remained until October 1918. Volunteering for active service in the World War, he was released from the Shipping Board and ordered to California. An attack of the flu kept him confined until after the armistice.
In connection with his work with the Food dealers of Birmingham he organized The Gro[c]er's Journal, a bright and snappy monthly magazine, of which he is the editor. His work has been productive of great good in improving the pure food laws of Alabama.
In the matter of his editorial work, Mr. Apperson is following worthy [sic] in the footsteps of the man for whom he was named. Frank Crichton was the founder of The Banner in 1892 and was editor of that paper until his death in 1913.
Among other activities, Mr. Apperson was responsible for getting the closing law for Birmingham; for the pure food law of Birmingham, which is the finest in the state. This law has been adopted by many other large cities in the country.
During the entire period of his connection with the Retail Food Dealers Association, which began after the World War, he has been its active head, and has attended every like association in the cities of the United States and in some foreign
countries. The largest delegation sent to a national grocers convention [was] that which Mr. Apperson carried to California from Birmingham in 1924.
Mr. Apperson devotes his whole time to the Grocers Association and The Grocer’s Journal.
His success has been remarkable, and his wide experience in traveling has made him a broad and useful man. He keeps fully abreast of the advances that are being made in the crusade against unsanitary conditions and methods in the retail food business all over the United States.
His work is a very valuable public asset. It directly concerns the health of the public, and is a tremendous safeguard.
True to the family tradition, Crichton Apperson is a member of the Baptist Church and a Mason. He is one of the most outstanding young men Chilton County has produced and he is yet only fairly well started on his life career.
This article first appeared in the Union-Banner, January 19th, 1928 in "Who's Who In Clanton" and was reprinted in The Chiltonian, the newsletter of the Chilton County Historical Society and Archives, Inc. in Volume 29, Number 3 July 2009.