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Covington County Heritage Book is a reality

As of last weekend, Covington County has another publication documenting major segments of its history for future generations. While the basic purpose of the book, The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, is to record "grassroots" family histories, there is a general treatment of local history and heritage of the area.

The Covington County book became a part of the special heritage series, which includes all counties in the state. To date, most of the books have been published by Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., and the others will be in print in the near future. This volume will be shelved along with the other 66 in a prominent library within each county. The series will be available to individuals desiring to learn more about a specific county and to explore many of the pioneer and other families who have inhabited it.

A unique feature of the book is that the various stories were written by many different individuals. Anyone wishing to was able to compose appropriate articles for the various sections of the book. While there was a limit to the number of family stories a person could submit, one could offer different topical articles. This arrangement allowed families to get their brief family history recorded in a manner that would preserve it to some degree. Most of the writers would never have compiled a comprehensive history and been able to publish it in a separate publication.

The contents of the book include the following topics: Officers and participants, introduction, Covington County history, communities and towns, spiritual heritage, education and schools, business and industry, military services, clubs and organizations, lifestyles and memories, recreation and leisure sites, heritage homes and historic buildings, families, tributes, memorials and business histories, and index.

The book includes a very comprehensive coverage of the spiritual heritage of the county. While all from the past and present religious bodies were not included, a listing of the current churches by denomination or doctrine is provided for reference. A great number of pictures of past and current church facilities and cemeteries are presented as well.

There are photographs with related stories for some schools, which have not been in print before. The coverage of the schools for blacks before the time of integration is a special contribution. Many of the small, one-room schools, which operated during the late 1800s and early 1900s are presented, some with pictures. One surprise was the existence of Antioch College, a finishing-type school for young ladies. Records indicate he county has always maintained a strong interest in educational opportunities for its youth and citizens.

In the section related to military services, there are special articles on the five Veterans of the American Revolutionary War who are known to be buried in the county. There are stories on veterans of all the wars our country has experienced. It is well documented that Covington County has always provided its share and even more personnel to serve in defending the country. Obviously, there are so many of these individuals who could have been included in this section.

One section unique to the Covington County book is the one featuring the many beautiful recreation and leisure sites in the area. The benefits of the Conecuh National Forest, the natural lakes, and special sites created by citizens make possible a wide range of entertainment activities. The county's sizable land space and supply of waterways make for a naturally flourishing environment.

A section that is truly reminiscent is called lifestyles and memories. One should easily be able to enjoy the descriptions of life as it was in the early or pioneer days. Some that are particularly descriptive include the following: learning to milk a cow, before the washing machine, cotton picking time, dipping snuff, fodder pulling time, grinding cane and making syrup, hog killing day, deer and squirrel hunting, and making hominy. Particularly informative is the story about professional baseball in Andalusia, which was brought here in 1936. The record of a star player for the Andalusia Arrows, Virgil Trucks of Birmingham, is featured.

The greater portion of the book is devoted to the families of this county. There are about 450 stories, many with photographs, included in the section. A unique feature is that these were written as the individual members related their own family history. There may be some data and memories that are not factually documented, but the articles represent the feelings and impressions of those describing them. Those writing and submitting their family story are to be commended for preserving such in a county heritage publication.

The Covington County Heritage Book Committee, consisting of Eloise King, Doris Johns, Flora Craig, and Curtis Thomasson, has completed its responsibility at this point. Future promotions and sales of the book will be handled by the Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Andalusia. Curtis Thomasson, commander of this camp, may be contacted at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email: chthom@alaweb.com.

Books are available locally for $64.80 at Christian Book and Gift, 405 West Bypass, Andalusia, and Vaughn Bowers Photography, 209 East Covington Avenue, Opp.

HISTORICAL MEETING:

The Covington Historical Society will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 30, in the Dixon Room of the

Andalusia Public Library. Guests are welcome.