In 1834, James Mallory moved his family from Virginia to Alpine, Alabama. For over forty years, the family used the land for farming, adopting innovative techniques to see stronger crops. A man of detail and discipline, Mallory kept a daily journal of his experience on the land for 35 years. The journal, entitled “Fear God and Walk Humbly”, was later published for purchase and is now available for readers across the globe to get an insight into the agricultural reality of the 19th century. James was highly involved in the community, considered a leader by many, and was recognized as a great father and husband upon his death in 1877.

(Selwood Farm/Facebook)

Following James’s death, the property remained in the Mallory family until the year 1948 when an interested buyer made an offer. The property found new ownership under O.V. Hill. Hill found work in Talladega County as a County Agent. Hill is cited as a businessman who purchased many properties and was partially responsible for bringing important businesses, including Talladega Speedway, to the area. A graduate of Auburn University, he also played a part in bringing the first eagle to the school.

During his life on the land, he tried his hand at a range of agricultural crops before deciding on cattle and turkeys as his main farm commodities. The property went on to become a turkey farm through which he pioneered a mail-order turkey business. The entire process took place on the farm from shipping in the birds to smoking them. Known primarily as a holiday bird, the business thrived during the holiday season.

Dell Hill (Selwood Farm/Facebook)

During this time, O.V.’s son Dell was attending Auburn University. During his time pursuing a degree in chemical engineering, Dell met his future wife Carolyn. Once the couple was married, they moved to Maryland to put down roots. Not long after, they received the news of O.V.’s passing. It was this event that brought them back to Talladega to continue the family cattle operation and smoked turkey mail-order business.

After 35 years of operating and expanding the business, the Hill family fell on difficult times. This prompted a shift for the farm from agricultural operations to recreational use. Looking to reinvent the property, Dell set down with a good group of friends to start mapping out the farm’s future. They considered many options from pine trees to property sale, but eventually, a concept came: a hunting preserve.

The property would serve as the first hunting preserve in the state of Alabama. The novelty of the concept would require hard work, but the vision was clear. The farm was to retain its original name given over 100 years prior by James Mallory: Selwood. Of English descent and meaning “the king’s hunting forest,” it was perfectly suited to the property’s new use.

Alan Hill (Selwood Farm/Facebook)

After a decade in the hunting business, Dell decided to sell the mail-order turkey business and focus entirely on the upkeep and expansion of Selwood Farm. The farm continued to see an increase in visitors and interested parties and in the late 1980s, Dell’s interest was caught by another concept: sporting clays. Prior to 1988, there were no sporting clays courses in the U.S. and Dell saw his opportunity to provide a unique experience to the state. By 1990, Selwood established the first sporting clays course in the state of Alabama.

The success and growth brought by the experience led to the opening of the Selwood Country House and Lodge, offering overnight accommodations to guests, in 1999. Over time, the industry of clay target sports and hunting became more of a lifestyle for many and over the last 20 years or so has seen incredible growth.

(Selwood Farm/Facebook)

Falling in line with the industry movement toward shooting and hunting as a lifestyle, Selwood Farm has now become a brand. Offering guns, ammunition, overnight accommodation, and incredible food among other amenities, Selwood has established itself as a sanctuary for the South’s outdoorsmen. One of twenty Krieghoff International Dealers and a retail partner of the popular men’s clothing brand Tom Beckbe, Selwood’s offerings are carefully curated for their members.

With a number of dedicated members and visitors from all over the country, Selwood has its sights set on the expansion and elevation of the brand. The coming years will see a focus on hospitality and impeccable attention to detail to ensure every member walks away with an amazing story to tell.