Sunday, April 5, 2015

Early Repton laws prohibited women of 'loose or lewd habits' on streets after 9 p.m.

Historical marker in downtown Repton, Ala.
(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 third installment in that series, which was published in the March 4, 1982 edition of The Courant. No changes or corrections have been made to the original version. If you’d like to read the first installment, visit The second installment can be read at

History of the Town of Repton (Part III) by Mrs. Marjorie M. Dees

(Editor’s Note: This is the third and final installment of the History of Repton. The Courant wishes to thank Mrs. Marjorie Dees for letting us publish this. A history of Brooklyn will begin in next week’s issue. The Courant will be glad to publish histories of other towns or communities.)

Our town can also boast of having two state representatives. Mr. Earl Kelly Sr., who served during the Miller administration and began his second term shortly before his death. James E. Nettles Sr. was a member of the Alabama legislature from 1943-1950.

We are honored to have had the only woman judge to serve Conecuh County, Mrs. M.C. Dunn Sr. Her husband was elected to the post, but died before taking office. She was appointed to serve in his place.

Repton had grown in size by 1907 to enable it to support two banks, the Repton State Bank and Farmers Merchant Bank. The two merged in 1922 to form the present Union Bank. Today, its resources are about 22 million dollars. Some influential men who have been connected with the Repton Banking Systems include W.M. Newton, Letcher Melton, Riley Kelly, A.D. Kelly, C.S. Kelly, H.L. Dees Sr., N. Allen, J.E. Nettles Sr. and A.E. Kelly.

The town of Repton began its booming days with the establishing of Algers Sullivan Logging Camp south of town. J.C. Long and Will McGowin contracted the logging for the company. Later, Mr. Long established his own mill at Repton and Mrs. McGowin went to Chapman, Ala.

Mr. Gus Hancock was the first blacksmith and gunsmith in the settlement.

The town of Repton was incorporated in 1899. Mr. A.F. Peterman was the first mayor. The councilmen were Dr. William Watson, C.S. Kelly, C.H. Stallworth, E.L. Martin and W.S. Wiggins. Today George W. Armstrong is mayor. Councilmen are J.W. Harrel, William Lowery, Robert Hancock, Guy Minuard and Ronnie Williams. Mrs. Margaret Mims is town clerk and George W. Armstrong is water superintendent. The population today is between 250 and 300.

Of interest to “Women’s Lib” I quote one of the first town laws: “It is unlawful for any female of loose or lewd habits to be found on the streets of Repton after nine o’clock at night, unless returning from church. Any person guilty of violating this action shall be fined not more than $5 or sentenced to hard labor not exceeding 10 days.”

Among the native sons of the Repton community was Charles McInnis, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. McInnis. He practiced law in Washington, D.C. and New York City. He excelled in many other business adventures also. Mr. McInnis was a member of the First Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., for 50 years. Too numerous to mention are other native sons and daughters who have settled throughout the nation and some in foreign countries and excelled in many important positions.

In recent months, several major oil companies have been very active in the territory surrounding Repton, exploring and testing for oil and natural gas. The prospects of finding such is reported to be good.

Many citizens left town in the 1960s. However, gradually young couples are settling in town and contributing to the present welfare of the community. The bulging payrolls of Vanity Fair Mills in Monroeville coupled with other industries in the surrounding areas indicates a return to better days in this quiet town.

Repton, like all other communities, both large and small, has its share of juicy gossip and notorious skeletons locked in the town closets, which I see no reason to disturb at this time.

If anyone wished to question the authenticity of this article, may I use a quotation from the poem “The Duel,” which says “Don’t fancy I exaggerate, I got my news from the Chinese Plate; I’m only telling you, What the Old Dutch Clock declares is true.”

- The End - 

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