Contributed by: Sherry Johnston, AUG 2002.
Authentic facts gathered from the old citizens of Sparta and the Conecuh Record
of 1899. The historical sketch in the Conecuh Record was signed "Spartan".
The correspondents name was not given. Most of the facts here given were taken
from his record.
"Sparta was the capital city of the once grand old Conecuh, whose territory extended north to Wilcox county and south to the Florida line.
It embraced hundreds of acres of the finest pinelands of South Alabama. It was dotted with some of the most magnificant farms in the State, and was the pride of all Conecuhians, save Evergreen, which was always her rival."
BLACKSMITH SHOPS (2)
DRY GOODS STORES (3)
GROCERY STORES (2)
LAW OFFICES (3)
TEN PIN ALLEY
She also held a charter of incorporation with a Mayor and five Aldermen. There was never any election for such solons as these Spartans that has ever been recorded. Those holding office from the first, annually voted themselves a salary of $25.00, or a sum sufficient to pay their tax.
With this grand array of holding, nothing gave an Idle Spartan more consolation
than to see an Evergreenite hauled up before His Honor, The Mayor, for "sassing
him" which was a custom some of them had when they came to town."
Says the correspondent of the 1860's. "Well do I remember my first visit to this ancient place. In the center of a quadrange called THE SQUARE was the COURT HOUSE. ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE JAIL, with aged china berry trees growing on the outer edge of The Square. Near the Court House stood a post oak and a Horse Rack, which served for ample hitching space.
TO THE EAST SIDE OF THE SQUARE WERE THE FOLLOWING:
RESIDENCE OF J.M. RANKIN
OFFICE OF D.R. SMITH AND WM. LEE
TO THE WEST SIDE OF THE SQUARE WERE THE FOLLOWING:
GROCERY STORE---W.R. CROSBY'S (OLD TROUT)
TEN PIN ALLEY
OFFICE OF DRS. TALIAFERRO & MCCREARY
GROCERY STORE OF FRANK ROBBINS
TO THE NORTH SIDE WERE :
TO THE SOUTH SIDE WERE:
LAW OFC OF COL. JAMES A. STALLWORTH
DRUG STORE OF JAMES RANKIN
DRY GOODS STORE OF HENDERSON & POWELL
DRY GOODS STORE OF PAT WHELAN
DRY GOODS STORE OF ROBERT HOWARD
Public Roads led out of the square to Belleville, Evergreen, Old Town, and Brooklyn.
On or near the intersection of the roads to the square were the business places
THOMAS BROTHERS AND TRAVIS
JAMES M. STUCK & OTHERS
On the Brooklyn Road were the residences of Hon. John D. CARY, Judge A.D. CARY, P.P. POWELL, Mrs. Ab. AUTREY, Mrs. HENDERSON, Mrs. Dr. HENDERSON, Judge J.M HENDERSON, Dr. John ANDERSON, R.C. HOWARD, Dan & Harris DODSON, and S.C. HANCOCK.
These and a few others comprised practically the entire population of those within the corporate limits of Sparta, save "Old Champ" and fifty or more other Negroes.
The Correspondent says, " This old town was noted for its hospitality
and good cheer. The people used to meet in common in the Mason Hall and dance
the hours away. All parties present taking part. There was no want of good music.
Every man that lived in Sparta, save two, played the fiddle.
(And now in the year 1937, descendants of these Old Spartans are delving into the dim and distant past searching for the two moral lights, who were evidently not of the Nero Type and could not fiddle while Sparta Fell). "Alas! The cruel hand of War has laid heavily upon the town, and today," says the Correspondent", There only remains a pile of lime rock in the center of the once Public Square to ell where the proud Temple of Justice once stood.
"Yes, there is not left one rose upon the stork to tell where the garden has been"
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