The History of Double Springs, Alabama
Double Springs was incorporated on May 17, 1943
THE CHEATHAM ROAD
Wyatt Cheatham recognized the need for a central road from Moulton to Tuscaloosa. By an act of the Alabama Legislature in 1824, Cheatham was authorized to build the road. The road was to begin 7 miles south of Moulton running thence in a direction of Tuscaloosa, the nearest and best way for a good road. The road was to be 18 feet wide and 12 feet cleared of stumps and grubs.
Where you stand now looking south along Main Street (in Double Springs) is the route of the old road. Wyatt Cheatham and Mathew Payne, a Revolutionary War Soldier, while surveying the old road discovered two springs and named them Double Springs.
The following is excerpted from The Heritage of Winston County, Alabama.
Double Springs, Alabama
In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains where they taper down to hills and hollows, in Northwest Alabama, there is a place where two clear clean springs are side by side; a rare occurrence in nature. It was known among the Indians and early white travelers as the place of the two springs or double springs. The Indians would often rendezvous there when they made hunting excursions into the area. The Cheatham Road passed nearby and travelers would often stop to rest and water their stock. It was the ideal place for people to settle and make their homes. (The place has now been bull-dozed off.)
Andrew Jackson Ingle came to Double Springs from Larissa where he was postmaster. That is near where Lynn is now. He arrived sometime about 1880. In 1882 he ran for the state legislature against P.H. Newman. The issue was about moving the county seat to the center of the county. Andy won the race and after he took office, he sponsored House Bill No. 264 which called for a county wide election on the issue. The bill became law on Tuesday, December 12, 1882. The election was held in 1883 and the people voted by a large majority to move the county seat to the center of the county. The following commissioners selected Double Springs as the site for the new county seat; John M. Wilson, Thomas Wadsworth, William Penn, Francis Revis, William R. Cole, Riley Bonds, John C. Long, Felix McLain, Anderson Ward, Isiah Hopson, Henry Weaver, and Thomas Patrage.
There were already approximately a hundred people living in the vicinity. The founding fathers selected the site and began by laying out the town square. The town square or public square as it was often called; with well and hitching post, was a necessity in the horse and buggy days; every town had one. The rest of the town was laid out in lots around the town square and sold to the highest bidder. The commissioners held the auction on Monday, July 23, 1883. Andy Ingle bought 31 of the lots for $340. William R. Adkins bought one lot in the northwest quarter of town and moved his newspaper from Houston to Double Springs. He turned his newspaper, The Winston Herald, over to his son George and served as Probate Judge. The paper was published there until it was told to the Haleyville Advertiser in September 1945.
A rash of building began in 1883 after the lots were sold. This was the beginning of the town of Double Springs. A 40 x 60 foot wooden building was completed for the courthouse and the county seat was moved into the new building. In the meantime many other buildings were being completed for business and homes. Among the first to locate their general merchandise stores there were J.F. Pirkle, B.J. Cowart, and Stanley Phillips. Mr. And Mrs. Battles ran a hotel. Henry Hilton had a cotton gin. A Howell merchandise burned when the whole block burned in 1909. The county Commission provided funds to send William R. Bonds to Mobile to take a nine month course in medicine so he could practice medicine in Double Springs.
Perhaps nothing was more important to a growing town in the early days as the blacksmith. By 1908 two blacksmith shops were located in town. John W. Godsey and C.L. Howell both had shops. They specialized in horse shoeing but they did all manner of repair work also. By 1909 Dr. Tom Blake, a graduate of Nashville Medical School, was practicing medicine in Double Springs. Thus: the town had two fine doctors. In 1909 the Tennessee Valley Bank opened a branch bank in town.
A plentiful supply of native sandstone played an important role in the early development of Double Springs. On Wednesday, August 5, 1891, the wooden courthouse burned. The new one, built in 1893, was built of native sandstone. This sandstone structure is a part of the present courthouse. The first two high school buildings and the vocational buildings and the bank building were made of sandstone.
Wash and Pearlie Bonds came to town in 1907 and set up a mercantile business. The post office was located in his store. W.Z. Howell was the postmaster. Wash Bonds bought several buildings in town. He later owned the cotton gin. Henry Hilton and Sherman Walker both had previously owned the cotton gin. Wash Bonds kept his store and cotton gin until he died of a heart attack, in the street, in front of his store. Another early business in town was the Avery General Merchandise. An old cemetery has the family name. It is located on forest land, on the old road that went from Fairview to old Pintucky Church. More recent businesses were owned by S. Crittenden, Travis Crittenden, Dallas Overton, and J.J. Bartlett. Today; the businesses are too numerous to name. The earliest school nearby was Godfrey at Motes. In 1888 it was divided in half and was moved to Double Springs. Allen M. Weiler was principal of the Double Springs division. The Winston County High School was organized in September 1908 at Double Springs. There were three teachers that year; C.O. Wade was principal, Miss Martha DuBose and Mr. W.C. Shotts. The school house was built on the hill where the National Guard Armory was later built. The American Legion home was built on the same hill. The first year only two classes were taught; Freshman and Sophomore. The first student to graduate was James M. Curtis in 1911. Then in 1912 Miss Annie Wilson graduated as the second student.
Between Wednesday, April 11, 1928 and Friday, November 28, 1930, a new school building was built of native sandstone just north of town. The Board of Education recommended the discontinuance of the old high school and relocate the high school at the new site just north of town and the old building be used as a grammar school.
After much effort and time spent they finally secured funds from the Federal Government to do some much needed building and repair work. They opened the bids for this work on Friday, February 1, 1935, and awarded the contracts. One was to add eight sandstone rooms to the present high school building for a grammar school. This school building was used until it burned on Saturday, January 30, 1971. In a special session of the Board of Education a resolution was passed to request the County Commission to levy a one cent tax on property to be used exclusively for school purposes. The tax proposal was put on the ballot and passed by the voters.
On Sunday, January 2, 1972, the board of education awarded the contract to build the new school-house on a ninety acre tract of land about one mile north of town just off and east of highway 33 for the amount of $632,000.00. The school is still located at that site. The Double Springs school system has had five football fields. One was built when Mr. A.G. Weaver was superintendent of education and the local newspaper referred to it as the Weaver Bowl.
On Tuesday, December 8, 1959, the board of education started the preliminary work to start a massive building program that lasted through 1985. On Friday, December 30, 1960, the board passed a resolution to pay Mr. S. Crittenden for the land to build a grammar school across the street from the high school. Then additions were added from time to time until today there is quite a grammar school complex on the spot. Perhaps the most intensive building took place when Letha Weaver was superintendent of education.
The Tennessee Valley Bank continued to serve the people of the area until it closed in 1935. The next nearest bank was in Haleyville. Double Springs was without a bank until Thursday, May 10, 1951, when the president of Trader's and Farmers Bank of Haleyville; Mr. Earl Frank Walker on his birthday, opened a branch bank in Double Springs in one of the early sandstone buildings. The bank has expanded several times since. Now they occupy the whole block with two drive-by branches in town.
On Monday, April 15, 1996, the Community Bank opened a temporary bank in a mobile home in town to serve the area until they completed a new building for the bank on a lot on highway 278 across from Jack's Fast Food. The new bank has several drive by windows in the back.
The Double Springs Baptist Church was organized in 1888 under the leadership of Brother William R. Cole who was active in organizing several churches in the area. It joined the Clear Creek Baptist Association on Tuesday, December 18, 1888. They met in the court room until they could build a house of their own. G.W. Adkins deeded land to the church in August 1891. They built a one room structure which served as a church and community gathering place until 1923 when they built a new building of masonry which served them well until it became overcrowded with increasing membership. They constructed a massive new structure upon a hill overlooking the town. They held their first service in the new church on Sunday, April 27, 1986. The church has had many pastors over the years. William R. Cole was the first and John Frank Wilson was pastor when the new structure was built.
The Church of Christ first met in the courtroom in 1922. The organization was completed in 1923. In the beginning they had several itinerant ministers. The first full time minister was Woodrow Tyler who served in 1946 and 1947. In 1924 they purchased a building which later became the parsonage. This building was used until Wednesday, October 31, 1956 when they held their last service there. They held their first service in a new building just in front of the old one on Sunday, November 4, 1956. This building served until Sunday, February 23, 1986 when they held their last meeting service there. They held their first service in a large new building on Saturday, March 1, 1986. This building is a littler farther south on highway 195.
The present United Methodist Church resulted from the merger of the Southern Methodist Church with the Methodist Episcopal Church. This was about 1920. They met in the local court room, among other places, until 1927 when they built and moved into the present sanctuary. The church has remained relatively small, but they have remodeled and enlarged the building several times. Some of the original family members were, Corbin, Wilson, Howell, Hilton, Speer, Aaron, Burdick, Hampton, Rice, and Tidwell..
On Sunday, September 28, 1986, several people, desiring to establish a Freewill Baptist Church in Double Springs, met at the home of Mrs. Dorothy Patterson for a Sunday morning church service. A member of the group invited a young preacher that he worked with to come and preach the sermon. They asked the preacher, Brother Billy Laney, to help organize the church and be the first pastor. They met two times at the home of Mrs. Patterson before they rented the back part of the Travis Crittenden building. They did some remodeling and that became the first church house. There the Freewill Baptist Church had its humble beginning. The original founding members were, Billy Laney, the pastor, Renee Laney, James E., Martha Faye, Johnny D., Debrah, Toney and Dorothy, all Pattersons, Tommy Parker, Shelley Parker, Pamela Airs Adair, Mike Adair, Bobby Gene Ayers, Lynn Ayers, Wayne Cornelious, Gwen Cornelious, Kenny Dill, and Sharon Dill. In December 1990, they purchased the old Church of Christ building in Double Springs. In January 1991 their first service was held in that building.
The New Beginning In Christ Church held its first service in the old house immediately behind the Travis Crittenden building on Sunday, April 17, 1994. On Monday, August 25, 1997 they purchased land on Scenic Drive to be the site of their first church house. Edward Jordan is the founding pastor.
A large crowed gathered in town. There was much fanfare as Judge Weaver formerly opened the new courthouse to the public. This was Thursday, June 5, 1930. By Tuesday, August 26, 1930, crews were working in shifts around the clock, drilling the courthouse well deeper. As Judge Weaver said (so there will be plenty of water for the new courthouse to flush the toilets and run the sewer lines).
On Friday, August 8, 1930, a storm went through town doing much damage. It destroyed the Winston Herald office and smashed the printing press. The Winston Herald was published in Haleyville until they could get going again in Double Springs.
On Friday, June 14, 1929, three representatives from Alabama Power came to Double Springs and met with the citizens to discuss the possibility of bringing electricity to town from the Haleyville station. Everyone was in favor. Later on Friday, August 30, 1929, the power company began construction on the power line between Haleyville and Double Springs. The completion was set for Tuesday, December 31, 1929, if not before.
A tragic event happened on Friday, March 4, 1932. Judge Weaver's four year old son, George, and an older brother were playing with a 22 rifle when it accidentally fired. The bullet struck little George in the chest. X-rays were made but no bullet was found. It appeared that the bullet struck a rib and bounced back out. Could this have been the work of Providence? Little George is now Dr. George Weaver of Cordova, Alabama in Walker County.
With electricity to power the pumps, the next order of business was to install the new water system for the courthouse. Soon, the water system was expanded to businesses and homes. With the increase of the population and expanding water system, the demand soon became greater than the supply so more wells were drilled and added to the system. This didn't end all the water problems.
In order to have a plentiful water supply, they built a small dam on Cane Creek, sometimes called the Newman Mill Creek. They built a sand filter system and pumped water from there several years, but the filter kept giving trouble. In 1981 they made a contract with the city of Haleyville to buy four million gallons of water per month from the Bear Creek Water Supply. On Tuesday, June 7, 1994, they made a contract with the Arley Water Authority to buy seven million gallons of water per month. The Double Springs water system is now using eleven million gallons of water per month.
The Double Springs Water Authority was incorporated on Friday, February 12, 1965 with Jimmy Chilcoat as superintendent. James Cagle is now superintendent.
The water lines extend out to most rural areas around town with more expansions planned in the not too distant future.
On Saturday, May 31, 1947, the Winston County Public Library was officially organized. The board members were Mrs. Charley Gipson, Chairperson, Mrs. Jimmie Wood, Haleyville, Mrs. Eva Daves, Addison, Mrs. G.R. Dollar, Double Springs, and Mrs. J.H. Ingle, Lynn. Mrs. Clara McCullar became the librarian. With $2,250.00 and approximately three thousand books they rented the old sandstone office of the former Doctor Bonds and began operations. Teachers would come to the library and check out books then check them out to their students. In the early days, separate records were kept for blacks and whites. Later on one record was kept for both black and white.
In 1953 the Winston County Library joined the Cullman County Library and then was called the Cullman-Winston Regional Library. Mrs. Mabeth McVay was appointed assistant librarian to serve the Double Springs branch and Mrs. McCullar became the Bookmobile Librarian. The bookmobile served the rural areas for both counties. In 1959 the Double Springs Library became a branch of the Carl Elliot Regional Library System of Jasper in Walker County.
In 1959 Mrs. Emerald Kemp was appointed assistant librarian and worked in the Double Springs library until her death in 1965. After that several people worked in the library for a number of years. The library was open only twenty-five hours a week many years and then only nine hours until Monday, November 4, 1974, when it went on a full time basis of forty hours a week.
The Community Center was built in 1973 and in 1984 an addition was built on it to house the library. On Sunday, October 14, 1984, the new library was formally opened. They now have between eight and nine thousand books. Mrs. Jean Overton is librarian with Doris June Williams as assistant. The library offers books by mail service being part of the Carl Elliot library system. They have access to any book in the system. In addition to the library, there is a community center building with a swimming pool. Behind the building, there is a play area and small park with a hiking trail.
There is a state of the art medical building in town. There are two drug stores, Bill Coons Pharmacy and Harrison Drug, and a shopping mall in town. There are two banks with drive by windows. Another medical building was just finished. There is a home health care facility. There is an up to date child care center with another park nearby.
A sewer system was started in 1994, and in 1995 some of the manufacturing plants were added to it. The nursing home was added, although grants were slow coming in, and the treatment plant was built close to Clear Creek.
Double Springs was incorporated in 1943. A.B. Curtis served as first mayor. The first aldermen were Lee F. Dodd, Henry Hilton, A. McDonald, and S.V. Phillips. Lee F. Dodd served as clerk. S. Crittenden served as mayor from 1943 to 1973. Larry Brewer served as mayor from 1973 to 1977. Corbin Seymour was elected mayor in 1977 but resigned in 1979 and Jerry Lester became mayor and finished out the term. In 1981 Jerry Lester was elected in his own right as mayor. Jerry Lester served for two elective terms. Corbin Seymour was elected in 1989 and served as mayor until late 1999 when he died. Elmo Robinson, Jr. has taken over his term. Corbin has been very active in getting industry to this area. The following people has served as councilmen since the town was incorporated: Lee F. Dodd, Henry Hilton, A. McDonald, S.V. Phillips, S. Crittenden, W.S. Coats, L.H. McDonald, Rufus Gilbreath, Dr. T.M. Blake, Fred Burdick, Eber Mann, J.L. Posey, Lee Moody, J.J. Bartlett, Jr., Tom Stockton, Paul Dodd, John West, Dr. J.M. Snoddy, J.H. Posey, Frank Horsley, Grady Batchelor, Bobby J. Martin, Samuel Taylor, Albert Stockton, Walter Crane Jr., David Harris, Jerry Lester, Ellis Cagle, Ray Stockton, Eddie Densmore, Ken Pruitt, W.C. Hyche, Tommy Bartlett, J.L. Martin, C.P. White, John Berry, Debra Bonds, the first woman to serve on the city council, Elmo Robinson Jr., J.D. Snoddy, James Pruitt, Pat West, Steve Cagle, Ronald Webb, Greg Farris, Mike Gilbreath, James Allen Pruitt, Carl Stockton, and Allen Bailey.
In the late 1950s and 1960s the town was in an economic slump. King cotton was on its way out. No industry was coming in. The town's future looked bad. James Hadder, Garnet Adkins, Corbin Seymour, Bobby Jack Martin, and Aucie Overton met in James Hadder's television shop and organized an Industrial Development Board. James Hadder was selected as chairman. The group worked hard and made many contracts and finally landed a small sewing plant. They moved to Double Springs from Florida and set up shop in some empty store buildings.
To finance construction of the new building, it was decided to sell shares at ten dollars each. It was mostly an investment in the community. The county helped us by pouring the cement for the foundation. The local building supply company donated five hundred concrete blocks.
Times were hard and the money didn't come as readily as anticipated. The city held an election and the people voted a tax on themselves so the bonds would sell to construct the building. The nearest estimate was ninety thousand dollars.
Soon after moving into the new building, the plant was in financial trouble. Finally, the people gave up and left it with us. It was operated about six months until Mr. Ely from Detroit, Michigan bought the plant other plants came to town. There were two mobile home plants and one modular home plant. They operated for a few years, but later closed.
When Corbin Seymour was elected mayor in 1989, he made an all out effort to bring the industry to Double Springs. There are 15 plants directly involved in manufacturing, and they indirectly bring about other businesses.
There is no comparison between the Double Springs of today and the Double Springs of the late 1950s and 1960s when the first Industrial Development Board was organized. The first board created interest in growth and got the ball rolling toward progress. Corbin Seymour helped Double Springs do this.
This was submitted to the book, The Heritage of Winston County, by James W. Hadder.
Source: Sam Weaver as consultant
DOCTOR THOMAS MALCOLM BLAKE
Thomas Malcolm Blake was born on Wednesday, July 18, 1917 in the old Blake house in Double Springs, the son of Thomas Morgan Blake MD of Cleburne County and Docia Hill of Winston County. He attended Winston County Elementary and Winston County High School, where he was an outstanding End and Right Halfback for the Yellow Jacket Football Team. Upon graduation in 1935 from WCHS, Dr. Blake attended Jacksonville State Teachers College in Jacksonville, Alabama and then attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now known as Auburn University) in Auburn, Alabama.
In 1939, he taught health, science, and history at Lynn High School, Lynn, Alabama, in Winston County. He was also an assistant coach for several sports.
He graduated from the University of Tennessee Medical School, served his internship at Norwood Hospital now known as Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Blake started his medical practice in Double Springs on Thursday, July 1, 1943 in the medical office building that had been used by his father.
Dr. Blake married Sarah Jayne Weldon of West Point, Georgia on Saturday, May 1, 1943. They had one daughter, Frances Ann Blake Murphy and three granddaughters, Brandy Jayne, Clancey Rae, and Linsey Blake Murphy. Jayne Blake, a Registered Nurse in Double Springs practice for many years, died on Saturday, August 2, 1969. After the death of Jayne, Dr. Blake married Iveen Berry Callahan of Haleyville, Alabama on Saturday, June 1, 1974.
Dr. Blake was honored by the town of Double Springs as "Man of the Year for 1952". The Winston County Alumni Association honored him as Outstanding Alumnus of 1962. The Winston County High School yearbook, the Winsaga, was dedicated to him. In 1981, the WCHS Football Stadium was officially named Malcolm Blake Stadium in honor of him. Dr. Blake also served the town of Double Springs as a councilman. In July 1997, Dr. Blake was inducted into the Winston County Sports Hall of Fame.
Dr. Blake was an old fashioned "country doctor". He traveled all over Winston County making house calls. During his medical career, Dr. Blake had patients from all over Winston, Cullman, Walker, and Marion Counties. In an article written about him in the Northwest Alabamian in 1981, he was reported at that time to have helped deliver more than 7,000 babies. Dr. Blake also served as the team doctor for the WCHS Yellow Jacket football team for 44 years.
Doctor Blake served the people of Double Springs and surrounding counties until he died of cancer on Saturday, August 26, 1989.
In 1994, a permanent black granite monument honoring him was erected and dedicated in front of his birthplace in Double Springs, part of the inscription on the monument reads, "Dr. Malcolm Blake was the perfect model for the legendary country doctor. Day or night, in fair or foul weather, he spent his entire adult life providing medical care for the citizens of this area. This memorial is dedicated to Dr. Blake's life and work."