Henry County Siftings - Articles

By: T. Larry Smith
Henry County's Official Historian
Vol. 18, No. 05
H.C. Powell Purchased Headland in 1879

Headland,Alabama established in 1871 By J.J. Head, who Sold in 1879 to Hosey C. Powell, who sold again in 1880 to Dr. Wyatt S. Oates, who incorporated the City of Headland In 1884

The rest of the story has been found after a long search regarding Hosey C. Powell who bought the village of Headland, Alabama in 1879. Hosea "Hosey" C. Powell was born in Georgia on December 26, 1851. His parents were William H. Powell and Francis Hodges Powell, both were born in Georgia. Hosey C. Powell came into the Headland, Alabama area in Henry County sometime prior to 1879. Hosey C. Powell bought the village of Headland from J.J. Head in 1879 after J.J. Head had founded the town in 1871. Hosey C. Powell sold his village of Headland in 1880 to Dr. Wyatt S. Oates after failing to have the village incorporated due to not having enough citizens living within the proposed town limits. Dr. Oates had established his first medical office at Headland in 1875.

Hosey was listed as H. Powell and still living at Headland as a single 28 year old farmer who owned his farm in 1880. Hosey C. Powell later left Headland and settled in Jackson County, Florida. He lived in the Ephesus Church community near Campbellton, Florida. Hosey was married three times to (l) Ida G. Powell 1864-1894; (2) Mary J. Powell 1865-1913; and (3) Nettie Powell. Hosey was father to five known children. By 1909, Hosey was living in Florida when he typed a letter to be used in the hotly contested 1908 Henry County court battles and in the 1909 Alabama Supreme Court case titled "The Town of Headland, Alabama vs. Dr. Wyatt S. Oates" in determining who owned the Headland Public Square, Dr. Oates or the Town of Headland? All of the court fights ended with Headland winning all of the cases, but Dr. Oates would still not agree with the outcome. The dispute was settled in 1909 with Dr. Oates relinquishing his title to the public square while getting title to several town streets and various lots in the Supreme Court settlement agreement worked out by the lawyers. Hosey C. Powell died on May 28, 1922 at age 71 and was buried next his first two wives in the Ephesus Church Cemetery.

Headland was officially established on October 10, 1871, when the U. S. Post Office was opened at “Headland, Alabama”.  However, Headland was settled before this time.  A settlement was already at the location where the Eufaula-Marianna mail route crossed the Columbia-Newton Road just after the Civil War.  The “Church of Christ at Bethlehem” was formed here circa July 1, 1868. This church was the start of the First Baptist Church of Headland.  This church was located about where the Quince Hollon house later stood on Cleveland Street.  Also, another settlement had been started about a mile east of present Headland by a Johnson family and was called “Johnsontown”.  The family of Mr. Thomas F. Espy later lived on this property.  He was the grandfather of Major W. Espy.  Also, the Piney Grove Primitive Baptist Church had been organized in 1849 northwest of present Headland.

The very first transportation routes in the Alabama Territory and the newly formed Henry County, mainly followed old Indian paths. Early settlers entering the new lands, now Henry County, stayed close to Ft. Gaines, Georgia for protection from the Indians.  There were no roads on which to venture into the unsettled wilderness.  Among the early settlers that were settling just across the river in the first town in Henry County, Franklin, were Daniel Jackson and Matthew Jackson, brothers seeking a new life in a new land circa 1820. They had a third brother whose name is not known.  It is said that brother lived to be 114 years old.  Daniel and Matthew Jackson cut the very first road in Henry County and Southeast Alabama in 1820.