As you search for historical materials to use in your homeschooling curriculum, please consider the works of Sarah Huff Fisk.
Mrs. Fisk was born in Meridianville and lived in the Madison County/Huntsville area her entire life. She was a renowned historian who contributed immeasurably to community activities involving the history of this area. For example, she was Chairman of the committee that established Alabama Constitution Hall Village in Huntsville—now known as Alabama Constitution Park.
As an accomplished author and artist, Mrs. Fisk produced several books dealing with the history of this area. Based on ten years of archival research, she drew her perception of the Huntsville square and the Big Spring as it existed in 1823. The drawing was done at the request of Huntsville Utilities to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Huntsville water system. Prints of the original drawing are now available along with a list of 50 activities that can be found by looking closely at the drawing. Children and adults alike will be fascinated by what they find in this depiction of daily life around Huntsville’s square.
Mrs. Fisk later published an illustrated book based on her drawing and research. Civilization Comes to the Big Spring: Huntsville, Alabama 1823 describes the downtown buildings and businesses surrounding the Madison County courthouse and the Big Spring. This is not a boring narrative. It brings to life Huntsville during the 1820's.
With a view toward educating children, Mrs. Fisk and Mrs. Allie Norris Kenney, who taught school in Hazel Green, collaborated on Long Ago in Madison County, a reader which was originally used as a social studies textbook for primary grades in our local school system. This book tells the story of one of Madison County’s first pioneer families as they moved into the new county and created their home. The third printing of this book is now available. It will be a wonderful resource for history, social studies, and reading classes.
Mrs. Fisk also authored two historical novels: Found Among the Fragments, A Story of Love and Courage and Built Upon the Fragments, In 1880’s Huntsville, Alabama. Both of these books, while extremely well told and entertaining, focus with historical accuracy on the events of the 1860’s and 1880’s, respectively. The stories feature actual residents of Huntsville during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Much can be learned about the daily lives and challenges of the area’s inhabitants prior to modern times.
In 2005, Mrs. Fisk co-authored with Linda Wright Riley, Lost Writings of Howard Weeden as “Flake White," a collection of writings by Huntsville’s 19th century artist, Miss Howard Weeden. Using the pen name “Flake White,” Miss Weeden published articles and stories in the Presbyterian Christian Observer (a nationwide newspaper) and other newspapers from 1866 to 1896. These writings reveal Miss Weeden’s fine education and deeply religious convictions as well as provide a unique insight into Huntsville’s past.
All of Mrs. Fisk’s works are appropriate for homeschooling and are currently being sold in many bookstores and shops in Huntsville. I am confident that students would enjoy learning from the creative pen of Sarah Huff Fisk.