Sport family historic marker placed 3 miles north of Dozier

Published 11:59 pm Friday, October 2, 2009

Sat., Sept. 26, marked a special event with the erection of an historical marker in the Southern edge of Crenshaw County. The location is near Mile Marker 67 along the east side of U.S. Highway 29 about three miles north of the Town of Dozier. Many Sport family descendants and relatives, neighbors and friends were present at 11 a.m. to see the regulation marker unveiled.

The sign is entitled Sports with the following inscription: “The area known as Sports was settled by Jonathan and his son, William, who migrated from South Carolina in 1842. Jonathan and William owned 600 acres of land in the area at one time, farming and operating a grist mill. William’s sons John Solomon, William Garmon, Thomas Benjamin, Malachai, Daniel Webster, and Joseph Nathaniel have descendants living in the area in 2009. Originally called “Piney Woods,” Sports first appeared on an official railroad map in 2009. Alabama Historical Association 2009”

For years, members of the Sport family have worked to place this historical marker at an appropriate site to commemorate the Sport heritage and the small community of Sports. The location of the marker was selected because of its nearness to the former Sports site and on property inherited for several generations by Sports descendants. At present, the surrounding property is owned by Steven Sport Spooner, son of Clifford and Jean (Sport) Spooner.

The old U.S. Highway 29 ran about a mile east of the present one, and the small Sports community lay along this route. It was named for William Sport, a leading citizen of the county. The businesses comprising Sports were the Sport’s General Store, Sports Post Office and a small railroad depot, which was given the name of Sports’ Crossing. Some time earlier a bar was operated on the site of the general store, but it was removed for construction of the general store in the early 1920s. Also, on the east side of the railroad is the historic Sports Cemetery where a number of the relatives are buried. It is fenced and maintained reasonably well.

Lemuel Green Sport built and operated the general store until the new highway was completed in 1939. At that time, he moved one half of the building to a site on the west side of the new highway, which is about 100 yards from the new historic marker. He and his wife operated the store for many years, but it was later closed. The small frame store building still stands as a symbol of historic Sports. The Sport family home sits across the highway from the store, and it has been renovated by their daughter, Joyce (Sport) Faison. She and her daughter, Brenda, reside there at the present.

The marker recognizes Sport Ancestor Jonathan Sport and his son, William Sport, who came to the area as settlers in 1842. Such early settlers were known as “Pioneers of the Piney Woods.” At that time, the area was a part of Covington County and remained so until Crenshaw County was created in 1866. The new county was created through an act of the Alabama General Assembly by using portions of Butler, Coffee, Covington, Lowndes and Pike Counties.

Jonathan Sport was born circa 1775 in North Carolina and was married in Marion County, South Carolina, to Margaret Bailey. He was a farmer and lived until 1856, and Margaret died two years later in 1858. They were most likely buried in the Sports Cemetery. Jonathan and Margaret reared the following children: William, b. 1822, m. Sarah Jane (Singleton) Oglesby; Mary Amanda; Sarah Ann, m. Joseph Boykin; and Thaney, m. Abel Boykin.

William Sport became a well-known and respected citizen of his community and Crenshaw County. He and his wife, Sarah Jane (Singleton) Sport, reared a large family of children and reared several orphans. At one time, they had 22 children under their care. Their children were John Solomon, b. 1847, d. 1928, m. Mary Nancy Frost; William Garmon, b. 1851, d. 1933, m. Martha Stripling; Thomas Benjamin, b. 1853, d. 1907, m. Adaline Augusta Weatherford; Joseph Nathaniel, m. Minnie Viola Davis; Sarah Anne, b. ca 1857, m. Andrew Hardidge; Amanda E., b. ca 1859, m. Gabriel Wallace; Martha, b. ca 1860, m. William E. Strippling; Daniel W., b. ca 1863, m. Mollie A. Kimbro; Malachi, b. ca 1867; Eliza, d. as young child; and two others died in infancy.

Shirley Jean (Sport) Brooner is the descendant who lead the family in acquiring and erecting the historic marker. Her son Steven Sport Brooner now owns the portion of land that she inherited, and he was happy to have the marker placed on his property along U.S. Highway 29. Appreciation is expressed to them and the following Sports descendants who contributed toward purchasing the marker: Joyce (Sport) Faison, Brenda Faison, James B. and Laurie Faison, Jeannie Gibson, Betty and David Sport, and Mattie Pearl Sport.

The Sport family is to be commended for preserving the history and heritage of their community with an official Alabama Historical Marker. It is now one of a very few in the area. There are so many other historic sites that need marking, but the process requires considerable work and money to accomplish what the Sports have. This area of Crenshaw County was once a part of Covington County, and the current Covington only has three such historic markers.

Anyone who might have additional information is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or E-mail: