|Repton, Ala's present-day Masonic Lodge.|
(In February and March 1982, The Evergreen Courant newspaper in Evergreen, Ala. published a three-part article called “The History of the Town of Repton” by Mrs. Marjorie M. Dees. What follows is the second installment in that series, which was published in the Feb. 25, 1982 edition of The Courant. No changes or corrections have been made to the original version.)
History of the Town of Repton (Part II) by Mrs. Marjorie M. Dees
(Editor’s Note: The Courant continues publication of this history of Repton with installment No. 2 this week. The final installment will be published next week.)
In 1912, Lee Gaston, cashier of the Farmers & Merchants Bank, built the original Billy Mims house which has recently been remodeled into a Colonial type house which stands at the West end of McMillan Street.
F.C. Barlow and Willie Pittman established the largest hardware store between Selma and Mobile in the early 1900s at the site of the present Blanton & Kelly Furniture Store.
The land was donated by Salt Morris, the railroad superintendent, in 1907 for the first Union Church and Cemetery, located today between Jackson and Church Streets and bordered on the North by Highway 84.
The first school in Repton was taught in the original Union Church building. Miss Maggie McMillan, Mr. T.F. Royster and Dr. E.L. Kelly were among the first teachers. Today, the town has one of the best modern accredited high schools in the county with approximately 500 students, located the East side of town, South of Highway 84.
The Union Church was dissolved, and the Baptists built their first building on the present site in 1886. The old building was demolished and the new brick sanctuary was built in 1951.
The Methodists moved to the present site just west of the old building. Their first building was later torn down and the present picturesque building was constructed.
Dr. E.L. Kelly was an influential citizen as a teacher, doctor, businessman and held a license to preach in the Methodist Church. He organized the first Conecuh County Health Department and was appointed the first County Health Doctor in 1928. His son, the late Guy Kelly, served as Conecuh County Superintendent of Education for eight years and moved to Camden where he served as Superintendent of Education of Wilcox County for some years prior to his retirement.
Elijah Beasley was the first postmaster in 1881. Its rating has risen and fallen with the tide of time. Today it is Third Class with C.O. Brown as postmaster, and Frances O. Lowery as clerk. H.H. Herbert and A.B. Okley were the first rural carriers in the early 1900s.
The railroad, which runs down the middle of town, formerly ended at Foshee, Ala. In 1899, it was extended to Repton where a turntable was installed. The railroad was extended to Selma in later years. The name Repton was the surname of a railroad official. Mr. Kervin was the first depot agent and was succeeded by Aidson Peterman for whom the town of Peterman was named later. Since the discontinuation of the depot operation by the last agent, T.D. Smith, about 14 years ago, Joe Kelly operated a fertilizer distribution center for Agrico Chemical Co. in the depot building until it was sold and the building torn down in 1981.
Mr. and Mrs. John Hicks moved to Repton in 1932 and opened one of the first gas stations in the area and operate the same business today, located West of the High School.
Mr. Peterman (previously mentioned) donated the land located at the intersection of Martin and Jones Street for the construction of the first Masonic Lodge building in 1907. The Masonic Lodge is today located in the original town hall building on Main Street.
The doctors who served the community during its early years were Dr. Will Bradley, Dr. Will Watson, Dr. Wilbur Salter, Dr. E.L. Kelly, Dr. W.B. Moorer and Dr. Vorees.
Dr. W.R. Carter began his practice of medicine and surgery in 1924. In 1935 he opened his private hospital which was the only one at the time between Selma and Century, Fla. It remained open until 1951. Dr. Carter was one of the most widely known and successful physicians of this century. He served as president of the Alabama Medical Association in 1959-60. He was a member of the American College of Surgeons and the International College of Surgeons.
The community is rightfully proud of its seven native doctors sons, one of whom, Dr. Marcus Straughn, who practiced in Marion, Ala., is deceased. The six presently practicing are located as follows: Dr. M.C. Dunn, Florence, Ala.; Dr. Ray Evers Jr., John C. Carter, Birmingham; Dr. Douglas Roberson, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Anaheim, Calif.; Dr. Michael Straughn, Birmingham; and Dr. Michael Bell, Deland, Fla. Dr. William Otis Littles was not a native of Repton, but graduated from Repton High School and practiced in Chicago. Today he is retired and lives in Red Level.
Through the years the town was served by three dentists: Dr. Will Holt, Dr. Gunter and Mr. Edwin Cater.
To be concluded next week.
(If you’d like to read the first installment, which I posted last Sunday, visit http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2015/03/lorena-royster-born-in-1885-was-first.html.)