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James Pickering Dovel Historians have called Sloss Furnace a perfect example of the New South The Civil War awakened southern men to the industrial potential of Alabama It became an arsenal of the Deep South with a significant number of foundries and rolling mills During Reconstruction and the early Modern Era a number of prominent southern men wanted to build an Alabama based on industry and commerce Sloss Furnace represents an embodiment of the spirit and will of the New South The men who dominated American industry from the 1880s to the 1920s were men that were larger-than-life and James Pickering Dovel was one of these men He is a perfect example of northern expertise brought to Birmingham to build southern industry He was a self-made self-educated genius and a quintessential capitalist that applied genius to making money but has also become an inspiration to people concerned with environmental issues Dovels contribution to Birmingham elevated Sloss Furnace to a world prototype in the iron industry and provided a forerunner to waste management and recycling James Pickering Dovel was born on December 26 1868 in Pickering Ohio to Virginia native Alexander Hamilton Dovel and Elizabeth Pickering Dovel He was raised on a family farm and was educated in grammar schools near his farm He aspired to become a lawyer but his fathers disabilities at home prompted James to take responsibility of the family at a young age keeping him from attending secondary school The only additional education he received was a fundamental law course read under the direction of Thomas H Dolson of Lancaster Ohio Dovel married Irea Ora Ricketts at Pickering Ohio on September 8 1891 Six children resulted in their marriage Joy Ricketts 1894 Glen P 1897 Drusilla May 1899 James St Real 1908 and Jack 1912 A business transfer prompted Dovel to move his family to Birmingham Alabama where his last two boys were born In 1922 after being
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