Early History of Ozark (Centennial Section Southern Star 1970)
(Excerpt from William D. Parker's "History of Ozark and Dale County"):
CHAPTER X-EARLY OZARK
The first mark of civilization made on the site now Ozark was a trail blazed out by George COOLEY and. his father's Negro man about the year 1819. (W. F. Cox, in The Southern Star, August 5, 1903). Alien Cooley settled what is now known as Ketchum's place, as he came through Indian country, his son traded for an Indian pony, one day it disappeared. Mr. Cooley traced her, along where Dr. Holman now lives, by Valentine's
shop, up what is now Merrick Avenue, blazing a trail as he went. She was found at a Mr BLOCKER's house near the present town of Louisville, Alabama (W. F. Cox, in The Southern Star, August 5, 1903). Then this got up social relations between the two families, and a little later others took up the trail to this section. When the courthouse was established at Daleville, county ccmmissioners had a road built, following the Cooley trail as nearly as possible, from Daleville to Louisville, Alabama. (W. F. Cox, in The Southern Star, Aug. 5, 1903).
A short time after this, in 1922, John Merrick, Sr., an old hero of the revolution, moved from Louisville and built a cabin on east side of Cooley trail, now the Protestant Methodist Church. (W. F. Cox in The Southern Star, August 5, 1903). West of this house and across the trail and in front of E. M.C. Dowling residence, Merrick put up the first business house ever erected in this part of the country, a grocery store, which meant in those days, a shop where whiskey was sold, principally. This was "Merrick's voting place" for this beat, and rallying grounds for militia after it was organized. The level track east and north, was used for muster grounds. Here the bullies of the fistic arena often held their Contests. ("Ozark As Is," written by "W. L. Andrews and published in The Southern Star, Oct. 28, 1903):
In 1838, John Merrick, Jr., built a log house for business purposes where Henry Martin lives. About the same time Major James Carroll built a gin and store in this vicinity. (W. L. Andrews' "Ozark As It Is"),
About 1838. Phil Renfro built a gin house, which was an old fashioned horse power gin, on the identical spot now occupied by M. M. Holman on Daleville Street. (W. L. Andrews' "Ozark As It Is"). In 1840 he sold this
gin to Moses Matthews who ran it up until about the time of the Civil War.
In 1848, John D. Morrell came from Barbour County and opened a store on west side of Daleville road in front of the late Dr. J. C. Holman's residence.
In 1849 Tom Bullard built a small frame store house west of Merrick's on Louisville road. In 1851 Elijah T. Matthews bought an interest with Bullard and the post office was moved, from John Andrews at old Woodshop and rechristened Ozark. (W. L. Andrews' "Ozark As It Is").
In the early 50's F. M. MARTIN built a house where the present residence of W.P. WINDHAM stands. Rev. William CUMBIS, about the time war broke out, lived in a log house near where the present fertilizer works stands. In 1865 found the residences of John W. DoWLING and James CARROLL still incomplete. CARROLL had died during the war and Dr. J.C. HOLMAN was living in the kitchen part of his house. John W. Dowling sold his incompleted house and moved to the round log house built by John MERRICK, Jr. In 1866 W.M. BARROW and brother-in-law John HUFF, came from Henry County and furnished the store begun by J.W. DOWLING This store stood about 100 feet south of Billie FAUST's store and between the two stores and in front stood a large hickory tree and on the west side of the tree was a horse block for the benefit of ladies who came to town on horseback. (Southern Star Sept. 3, 1903)
HUFF sold out to his partner and he and Dr. J.C. HOLMAN started a new firm which occupied the south half of the new Masonic building. When New Ozark sprang up this building was moved to the corner of the square, now Angin & Bryans, ( Southern Star, Sept. 3, 1903).
CHAPTER XIâ€”NEW 0zARK
In the 50's most of the emigrants coming into this section came by Eufaula and Louisville. Naturally these emigrants settled in the northern part of the county and soon outnumbered the population south of the Choc-
tawhatchee. (J. M. Carmichael's History of Dale County). In 1869, when the court house at Newton burned, Ozark being located in Range 24, township 6 section 16, was about six miles closer to the geographical center of Dale County. (This information given me by Mr. Peter Brannon). The people of Ozark and vicinity started agitation that resulted ____
being moved from Newton to Ozark. (W.L. Andrews' Ledger).
The new town, in 1870, was laid out on the old site of John Merrick's as the county seat of Dale County. John Merrick and Dan Munn laid out the new site, the site being about a mile south of old Ozark, the town carefully laid out, the Court House was centrally located with the business houses forming a "square" around it. (W. L. Andrews' "Ozark As It Is").
Wood and Carmichael, lawyers, moved their offices from Newton to Ozark. W. D. Martin put a small stock of confectionary in the lower room, which was the first business house in the new town,Jake Egell was next,putting up a store house on the north side of the square. John W. Jones was the first to build a residence in New Ozark. It stood on Newton Street.
(W.L. Andrews' "Ozark As It Is").
The first school house that I have any record of was built about 1841, on the hill at the head of a spring which until recently furnished Ozark's water supply. The house was made of logs. Naaman Weathersby was one of the teachers.
The academy was built where the new residence of Dr. Cullens now stands, about 1859. Professor Peter Wilds Atkinson was probably the first to teach there. Professor Joshua Hood taught at Union log school house prior to this time, but after the new school was erected, this 1og
house was not used. (W. L. Andrews' Ledger).
The first school building that the city owned was completed in the fall of 1894. It was named Ozark City School. This building burned in 1917, and the present high school was erected in 1922.The cost of this building was $90,00. In 1923, it was deeded to the state in order to receive state aid, and is now the High School of Dale County.
Miss Mary Kolb, who is attending College at Brisol, Tennessee, and Leonidas Kolb, who is attending Emory College, at Oxford, Ga., are at home with their parents for the holidays.(Wednesday, Dec, 23, 1908).
Abbie Dowling and Dan McNair, who are attending the Bowen School will arrive home tonight to spend the holidays with their parents. (Wednesday
December 23, 1908).
From The Newspaper files of H.S. (Centennial section 1970)
Scan & Typed by CGT.
Permission to post any Southern Star article or pictures given by Mr Joseph Adams, Owner, April.23, 2004.