LOUINA: LOST AND FOUND

 

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LOCAL HISTORY

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LOUINA: LOST AND FOUND Photo courtesy of the Randolph County Historical Museum

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Epilogue Special Thanks page 3 page 4 page 7 page 10 page 21 page 34 page 35 page 36

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CHAPTER 1: Introduction Once upon time, there was a town called Louina. The town of Louina was on the east bank of the Tallapoosa River. It was across the river from where Wadley is now. It was once the biggest town in Randolph County. Today, Louina no longer exists...at least, not at first glance. www.outdooralabama.com

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CHAPTER 2: First Inhabitants The Native Americans lived in Randolph County long before other settlers. The earlier Indians moved frequently with the seasons. The earliest Native Americans liked to live near the river, at least during part of the year. They survived by fishing, hunting, and gathering. They made fish traps in the river so that it would be easier to catch fish.

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Prehistoric fish traps in Alabama Phtos from http://www.lutins.org/thesis/

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Many years later, but still before the whiteskinned people moved in, the Creek Indians also lived in this area. Their real name was the Muscogee Indians. People called them “Creeks” because they lived on the creek banks. The Creeks were supposed to have a secret silver mine near Louina. A typical Creek Indian village. http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timucua

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Chapter 3: Louina, Businesswoman Louina was a Native American woman who belonged to the Muscogee tribe. Some say she was very beautiful. She was so smart that she owned a twoNo pictures of Louina story trading post and became exist. This is a woman a very wealthy taking part in a Creek Indian Village Rebusinesswoman. She owned enactment. two slaves, twenty-five horses, and one hundred cows. http://home.rose.net/~mvr/VonnieS.M1.jpg

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Louina would trade with pioneers and Indians for items that she did not have in her trading post. Many people walked to her store to trade for items. Others came by way of the nearby river. One of the most popular items for early trade would have been deer hide. The trading post could have looked something like this. http://www.google.com/search? hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1517&bih=710&q=creek+trading+post&oq=creek+trading+post&gs_l=img.3... 819.3703.0.3850.18.10.0.8.8.0.95.721.10.10.0....0...1ac.1.27.img..8.10.720.6

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After Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, Native Americans in the southeast were forced to leave their homes and move to Indian reservations in Oklahoma. Since Louina was Native American, she too was forced to sell her trading post and leave the town. When she left for the “Trail of Tears,” Louina had so much gold and silver that she could not carry it with her. Some say she buried her treasure in Louina.

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CHAPTER 4: A Town is Born Isham Weathers bought the business from Louina for $20.00, a large sum of money in those days. He continued to operate the trading post and added a blacksmith’s shop. (left) Typical blacksmith’s shop in the 1800s. (right) Remains of a blacksmith’s shop in Louina.

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More settlers began moving into Randolph County. There was plenty of land now that the Indians were gone. People moved to Randolph County so they could own land and grow cotton and other crops. New settlers moved into this now vacant land along the Tallapoosa River. They named their new town Louina, for the Native American woman who used to own the trading post there.

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Photo courtesy of the Randolph County Historical Museum. Wealthy landowners in Louina owned AfricanAmerican slaves. Here, two slave women are pictured in Louina. They are making soap.

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Many people began to settle in Louina. It was in a good location. People travelling from Wedowee to Dadeville came through Louina. John R. Handley, a resident of Louina in the 1800s, said the first stagecoach that came through Louina caused a bigger “stir” than when the first automobile was seen there! (Photograph not from Louina ) A typical stagecoach in the 1800s.

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To get across the river, people, wagons, and livestock sometimes used the ferry built across an old Indian ford in the river. The ferry in Louina was called Walker’s Ferry. (left) Photo of nearby Bibby’s Ferry courtesy of Calvin Milford. (right) Walker’s Ferry, west bank of the Tallapoosa River. Photo courtesy of Merredith Sears.

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More businesses opened in Louina because of all the traffic. There were general merchandise stores, blacksmith shops, a tavern, some saloons, a ten pin (bowling) alley, and a hotel. The last store in Louina closed in 1902. Photo courtesy of Merredith Sears This is all that remains of one of Louina’s old stores.

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