The Newville area was first settled in 1882. By 1889, a one-room schoolhouse had been constructed in the community. When word came that the Alabama Midland Railroad was building a line through the area, two local entrepreneurs, James Wells and T. J. Bond, bought 80 acres in the railroad's proposed path; Wells donated part of his land for the railroad's right-of-way with the proviso that the train depot remain named Wells Station for 50 years. After the line was finished in 1890, Wells offered free lots of land to encourage settlement. The town at that time also was called Wells Station. Wells also built the first store in town, and several others followed as people took advantage of his offer of free land.
After mail and freight intended for Well's Station began ending up in the town of Wills in Dale County instead, the citizens of Wells Station saw that a name change was needed. They renamed the town Newville and incorporated in that name in 1906. In 1909, the town built a two-story school to replace the one-room structure.
The town had grown enough in the 1920s to support three cotton gins, and a telephone system and electricity were available by the middle of that decade. The town also was the location of a Rosenwald school, built in 1922 and closed in 1968. The Great Depression hit the town hard, but its streets were paved in 1934-1935 with the help of several New Deal programs. In the early 1970s, Newville built several industrial buildings to lure new businesses to the area.
Newville's population according to the 2010 Census was 539. Of that number, 53.4 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 40.1 percent as African American, 8.3 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.0 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $34,750, and the per capita income was $12,557.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Newville was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Manufacturing (35.9 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (19.9 percent)
· Retail trade (14.8 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (7.8 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (5.9 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (5.9 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (4.3 percent)
· Construction (2.7 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (2.0 percent)
· Public administration (0.8 percent)
Students in Newville attend schools in the Henry County school system; no public schools lie within the town limits.
State Highway 173 bisects Newville running roughly northeast-southwest, and County Road 12 runs southeast from the center of town. U.S. Highway 431 passes just east of town, running northeast-southwest. Headland Municipal Airport is located approximately six miles to the southeast.
Events and Pl aces of Interest
The city of Dothan, Houston County, is located about 10 miles south of Newville, the Walter F. George Reservoir is about 15 miles northeast of town, and the
Chattahoochee River is due west about 12 miles.
Scott, Eva Clyde. History of Henry County, Alabama. Pensacola, Fla.: Frank R. Pankhurst & Son Printing, 1961.
Warren, M. Hoyt, Ed. Henry's Heritage: A History of Henry County, Alabama. Abbeville, Ala.: Henry County Historical Society, 1978.
James P. Kaetz
Published March 11, 2013
Last updated March 29, 2013