contentsOzark AL Chamberads


Confederate monument

Ozark is considered part of the “Wiregrass Region”—along with southeast Alabama, western Florida and southwest Georgia—which is so named for the wiry-stem grass found there.

It is fabled that Ozark received its name from a traveler who saw a resemblance to the hilly area of the Foothill Mountains of Arkansas.

In 1820, Allen Cooley and his son William came to settle in Ozark from South Carolina. The community’s first courthouse was built in Daleville in 1830 and, as the area grew, a road was built linking Daleville and Louisville via the Cooley trail.

In 1822, John Merrick Sr., a Revolutionary War veteran for whom the town of Merrick is named, built a cabin where the present First United Methodist Church is located. In 1826, Rev. Dempsey Dowling came to the area south of Ozark and began the construction of the first Claybank Church.


The name of the town changed over the years, originally from Merricks to Woodshop. The Woodshop post office opened in 1843. The community slowly grew, adding a municipal water plant in 1840 and a school in 1841. After a petition for change, the name was officially changed to Ozark in 1855.

After the county courthouse in Newton burned in 1869, Ozark was voted the new seat and the town was incorporated in 1870.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ozark was mainly an agricultural trading center. However, in 1941, with the building of Camp Rucker, an influx of industry and workers arrived.

Today, Ozark’s boundaries and economy have expanded, increasing the population and encouraging new technology and agricultural businesses, as well as small businesses and industries that promote the growth of the Ozark area.

Many southern towns have a Confederate monument honoring the soldiers of that town and county who served in the Confederate army. A monument dedicated “In memory of the Dale County soldiers who fought in the War Between the States of 1861-1865” stands on the southeast corner of the Dale County courthouse in Ozark. Dedicated in memory of the Confederate dead, it was erected by the Stonewall Jackson chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy No. 667 A.D. 1910.

On one side of the shaft supporting the column with the statue of a Confederate soldier on top, gazing north, the following inscription reads:

“These were men who by their
Single manhood in their lives,
By their strict adherence
To the principles of right,
By their sublime courage
And unspeakable sacrifices,
Even to the heroism of death;
Have preserved for us
Through the gloom of defeat,
A priceless heritage of honor.”

The Southern Star, now in its 145th year of publication, is the oldest family owned newspaper in Alabama, the oldest business in Dale County and one of the oldest in southeast Alabama. Joe H. Adams, now in his 55th year as editor, is Alabama’s longest-serving editor with the same newspaper.

The Southern Star is an award-winning newspaper that goes to subscribers in Ozark and Dale County in addition to surrounding counties, over 90 cities and towns in Alabama and subscribers in over 35 different states.

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