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Newville, Alabama

Source: Source: "History of Henry County" by Mrs. Marvin Scott (1954)
We are indebted to Mrs. Henry C. Price (Miss Nancy) for the brief history of Newville. To the teachers and citizens of Newville our thanks, for allowing us to get the school history (1864-1945) from their brochure written in 1946.

Old Newville City Hall (ca. ?)
Photo by Linda Harrison

Old Newville City Jail (ca. ?)
Photo by Linda Harrison

Newville: Formerly Wells Station, Post Office was Established in 1894, Incorporated 1903 (Foscue)

The first house in the community was a log house owned by a Mr. Grace, who had cleared 20 acres of land. This 20 acres open land with 60 acres of heavily timbered land was sold by Mr. Grace to James Madison Wells in 1882 for four hundred dollars and two bales of cotton. Six hundred and ninety acres of land was bought by Mr. Wells, giving him a total of seven hundred fifty acres.

In 1889, when the Alabama Midland Railroad was setting up plans for building a road from Grimes through Headland and the present area of Newville to Abbeville, they were obliged to negotiate with James Madison Wells, the owner of the property in this area. After a survey was made through the town, it was learned that sixteen acres of Mr. Wells land was needed for the road. An agreement was reached whereby Mr. Wells gave the land, and the railroad officials, signed an agreement to keep a railroad depot at “Wells Station” for fifty years. This contract was kept for fifty-five years by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (Successor in 1905 to the Alabama Midland Railroad). The freight trains continue to pass on the tracks daily. Passengers may ride also - their tickets are bought to “Wells Station”.

The Post Office was changed from “Wells” to Newville owing to the fact that there was a Wills Post Office in Dale County. Early settlers were the Wells, Roney, Kirkland, Whiddon and Griffin.

Postmasters: Robert T. Fields 13 March 1894; James C. Sparks 15 May 1895; William G. Robertson 29 August 1896; Michel Harris 6 December 1897; Henry C. Price 31 August 1904; Roberta Harrison 3 January 1910; William J. Welch 2 February 1912; Edna E. Harrison 20 May 1914; Edna E. Kirkland 11 August 1915; Lillie J. Brannon 20 September 1919.

The first place of worship was under a bush arbor, near the present site of the two school buildings, this was in or before 1880. Mr. Wells gave the first land, one acre, for the use of a Baptist Church, and one acre for a burial ground, adjacent to the church. There are two churches here a brick Baptist Church and a Methodist Church.

Newville Schools - “Newville schools have grown from a one teacher school and from a log hut with no windows, to a fourteen teacher school to four brick well equipped buildings.” (1950's)

“About 1864, there was a one-room school house located two miles southwest of what is now known as Newville, on the Newville-Headland Highway. The land upon which this building was located is now owned by L. L. Griffin. This school received none of its financial support from the county, nor state, but was wholly supported by this community.”

“A one-room log hut was constructed in 1889 in Newville, near where the Baptist Church now stands. It was given the name of Center, because of its location. Also used as a house of worship. Mr. Fellows and Miss Rosa Harper were teachers.”

“The patrons of this school, always progressive in education, found the log building would no longer house the increasing student body.

Still without the aid of outside funds built a modern structure. It was a two-story building located on the site of the Baptist Church. The upper story was used as a “Grange Hall”, a secret farm society, and this organization was due credit toward the erection of the building. They later converted this floor to a Lodge Hall and the Woodmen of the World made their appearance in Newville here. The first floor was used both for worship and class work.”

“Often times we find disputes arising among the people of a community when the selection of teachers are being made. This happened in 1898 in Newville. It seems that a part of the settle­ment preferred Mrs. Wiggins to teach their children and the others preferred Mrs. Molly Spivey Hudspeth. Because of this difference, one teacher taught in the two-story building and the other in a storehouse which was located between the present residence of Mr. Dayton Brannon and Mr. Oren Kirkland. The community supported both schools.

Mr. Guy Searcy of Skipperville was the first to teach in the new two-story building where the present elementary school stands. Other teachers were: Mrs. W. B. Jeffries, Mr. Sam Davis, Mr. Ress Fuller, Mr. Henry Stringfellow, Mr. L. L. Griffin, Mr. John Parish, Mr. E. E. Kirkland, Mr. Frank Murphy, Mr. Bill Holley, Mr. Gus Hawley, Miss Ozie Howell and Miss Mary Belle Lindsay.

How could one forget to mention Miss Camilla Rogers? She caused a disturbance. It seems the fair young lady had red hair, and Mr. Sparks, one of the trustees, was highly opposed to having a redheaded teacher in such a respectable community. She was accepted as a teacher, and believe it or not, only six weeks later, Mr. James Sparks, the highly opposed trustee, married Miss Camilla Rogers, the redheaded teacher.

Other teachers were: Mr. Enfinger, Mr. Barnes, Mr. Lucious Campbell and Mr. Jonah Barnes.

In 1909, the Newville Community saw the need of a building for educational purposes only. At once, the citizens began to raise money for the construction. Mrs. Latimer, who now resides in Geneva, Alabama took the greatest obligation to this task. Through the careful guidance of this reliable leader and others they were able to buy one acre of land costing four hundred dollars. Through the continued effort of Mrs. Latimer and other leaders the building was constructed the same year. In 1942, Mrs. Lati­mer’s son, Jack, was a teacher in that building in 1942. Mr. Yancey Fleming, Mr. M. C. Brooks, Mr. Joseph Paulin Wilson, later head of the Agricultural Station at Headland, were teachers.

All school land was deeded to the state, to qualify with the state for a High School. “Mr. James Price, Mr. C. V. Capps and Mrs. E. E. Kirkland should be given credit as the leaders of this movement.”

Newville has two brick school buildings. Elementary and High School. They also have a vocational agriculture and home economics building, which are accredited by the state and meet all standard requirements.

“Even as the high school began in 1928, sports made their debut, the first football team organized in 1928 opened the way for teams with good records. Some teams have been scrapping teams and commanded the respect of their opponents by exhibiting the principles of sportsmanship on the playing field. Some have gone to the major leagues, some have participated in college athletics.”

Principals of Newville High School: Mr. Teal 1928 -29-30; Mr. Lusk 1931 - 1932; Rev. Martin 1936 - 1937; Mr. Roberts 1938 - 1941; Mr. Hovater 1942 - 1943; Mr. Howell 1944 - 1945; Mr. Cutchens 1945.

Newville School in Memoriam - “Newville schools are proud of its sons and daughters that have fought the bloody pathways of two world wars and victories. Some of our former students paid the supreme sacrifice on the fields of battle, so let us who yet remain, strive even harder to do the things that are right, things that will make our children and grandchildren proud that we have lived before them.”

Charles Barnes, graduate of the Class of 1940•, was a three letterman, and stood out in football. He was killed in the Pacific, a navy man, when his ship went down.

Alfred Faulk, graduate of the Class of ‘30 was a tail gunner on an army B-29. He was killed in action in the European Theater of Operation (ETO)

Cleo Brannon completed the ninth grade here. He was killed in the infantry E T O

M. D. Anderson, football, 2 yr. letterman, left in 1941 for the army - killed in maneuvers.

Newville has a mayor, Carroll Price and councilmen. For thirty years Will Roney was policeman; Al Roney also served in that capacity.

Since the beginning of the town, they have had city government - a mayor and councilmen. Names not available. Both churches, Methodist and Baptist are active.

People differ at times in politics, but when it is for the good of Newville - they are one.

Men who promoted the growth and best interest of Newville. James M. Wells, John W. Whiddon, Forrest Wright, Ed Kirkland, Bob and Cleveland Kirkland, Henry Brackin, Dr. A. L. Whigham, Dr. Lyttleton T. Hutto and Dr. C. T. Jones.

This Page was Created November 2007 | Last Modified Saturday, 29-Nov-2014 02:32:47 EST