Tour of historic Byler Gap happening Sunday

Local historian Joel Mize will lead a guided walk along the rut-way of Byler Gap near Mt. Hope this weekend. Mize is pictured standing beside the grave of Capt. John Byler, who commissioned Alabama’s first authorized roadway in 1819.

 

Local historian Joel Mize is hosting a guided walk along the historic rut-way of Byler Gap, southwest of Mount Hope, on Sunday.

The tour is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., and participants are asked to meet at Bulah Church, located on Forest Road 13, atop Warrior Mountains.

“If inclement weather occurs, we may reschedule to Feb. 1,” Mize said. 

The historic Byler Road became Alabama’s first legislature authorized road on Dec. 16, 1819, just two days after Alabama achieved statehood, according to Mize’s research. 

“At the time, the lands south of the Tennessee River were wilderness and Alabama was opening 20 million acres of virgin territory for new settlers,” he said. “This was the Wild-Wild-West, and later, western settlement of the United States along the Sante Fe trails and Oregon trails were echoes of the early Byler Road.”

Mize, who recently completed his book The Byler Road and Its People, said Byler is aptly referred to as Northwest Alabama’s Pioneer and Patriot Road. He said many Revolutionary War soldiers traveled its length to find new lands for settlement, which brought early traffic into Alabama from Tennessee. 

The original Byler path went up the Byler Gap, and later variations used other gap-ways, including Steele Gap, Martin Gap, Stephenson Gap and Sutton’s Gap, to ascend the mountain.  

“Come out and see (bring your camera or phone to document) this dramatic pioneer landscape now hidden beneath the forest canopy,” Mize said.

His book is available for purchase at Warrior Mountain Trading Post in Wren. 

For more information about the guided tour or his research, Mize can be reached by emailing joel.mize@comcast.net.

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