Douglas slated for Opp Hall of Fame

Published 12:01 am Friday, April 19, 2013

The Opp and Covington County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame will induct the man who saved the city and put it back on the right path financially in the early 1900s – Angus Smith (A.S.) Douglas.

Douglas came to Opp from North Carolina and purchased property near the present-day Opp High School location, and built a home on Barnes Street.

Douglas was a major broker of naval stores in North Carolina and brought two colleagues – J.S. Rozier and J. Frank Williams – to join in Opp’s first industry, a turpentine still, around 1900.

“Mr. Douglas had the unique ability to know where to get the help needed for projects,” a press release stated. “This trait will served Douglas and Opp very well in the future.”

Douglas founded The First National Bank in 1905, providing a major part of the financial backing and involved many of Opp’s leading residents.

W.H. Holloway became the first president and F.J. Mizell managed it.

“It did seem to be a personality trait of Mr. Douglas to work quietly but effectively in the background,” Chamber officials said in the release.

Douglas stepped in as the president of the FNB in 1908. During this time, two other banks failed and FNB assumed the deposits to see that all depositors were paid in full.

In 1909, after the city’s books, money and clerk disappeared and the mayor resigned, Douglas was drafted to assume the mayor’s position.

Records show Douglas used his own money to keep the city going and put the city back on a sound financial base.

During his tenure, the council passed its first ordinance that forbade wooden business buildings in the downtown area.

Douglas was elected for a two-year term and helped pave the way for electric power and underground water and sewage in Opp.

Douglas was famous for a plethora of other important milestones in the city’s history, including:

• Donating land on Main Street to build the Church of Christ;

• Helped bring the Opp Mill to the city, despite his failing health. He served as the first president of the Mill. The mill brought many families to Opp.

• Douglas had plans to begin a Chamber of Commerce. He called together Opp’s merchants and business men, in which they formed a list of 22 committees to serve and promote a growing Opp. When Douglas died on Aug. 15, 1922, so did the Chamber of that time.

• Despite his death, Douglas money, helped build Opp’s second Mill. C.H. Cole and C.W. Mizell offered to name the mill for Douglas, but Mrs. Douglas refused. Instead, she offered a suggestion, Micolas, for Mizell, Cole and Douglas.

“A more self-dominating personality might have proposed DoMiCo,” Chamber officials said in the press release. “But Micolas does fit our town very well, and the Opp and Micolas Mills were the lifeblood of this community for 75 years.”

In 1987, employment was more than 1,200 in the city limits.

The Douglases were faithful members of the First Methodist Church. They had no children.

Douglas will be honored May 9 at the Chamber Banquet.

Tickets are on sale for the banquet, which will begin at 7 p.m., at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Cost is $15 and can be purchased at the Opp Chamber of Commerce.