Did Curse Make Louina A Ghost Town?
By Virginia Smith Ledger Enquirer, 3/26/1987, East Al. Today
A Historic Marker tells the story of Louina, Alabama
Surnames: Heflin, Weathers, Barron, Cardwell, Gilbert, Carson, Maj. Harris
The Randolph County Historical Society has placed a marker at the entrance to the town telling the history of the ghost town.
"One mile North, on the East bank of Tallapoosa River, was located Louina, named for an indian woman who operated a trading post. Settled 1834. It became chief business center in Randolph County with county's first newspaper, schools for boys and girls, Baptist and Methodist Churches, Masonic Lodge, grist mill, wool factory, and cotton gin. Company of Confederate soldiers organized here August 1, 1861. Last store closed 1902 and post office moved eastward to Concord and named Viola. Among outstanding descendants from Louina's settlers was U.S. Senator J. Tom Heflin."
The little town of Louina, on the banks of the Tallapoosa River came into being in 1834 when Isham Weathers opened a store and trading post.
Louina was named for a wealthy Indian Woman. When she was forced to leave, it was said she put her silver in sacks but they were so heavy, the ponies could not carry the load. Legend said Louina buried some silver but, despite years of digging, none has been found.
Louina was an important town in Randolph Co. Before the Civil War, the town paid more than one third of all the taxes in the County, paid mostly by slave owners. What is today a ghost town once 30 homes, eight stores, two schools (one for boys and one for girls), hotels, taverns, saloons, a Masonic Lodge and a Methodist and Baptist Church.
The Concord Baptists church was organized in 1850 by J. Day Barron, editor of the Louina Eagle, the towns newspaper. Louina was on the stage coach line from Wedowee to Dadeville and had it's own post office.
In 1870, W. E. Gilbert, co-publisher of the newspaper, planned to build a cotton mill and began a dam on the Tallapoosa River. But a blasting accident killed one man and another man lost an arm and the project was abandoned. In 1902, the last store closed closed and the post office was moved to J. F. Cardwell's store at Concord and renamed Viola.
In 1856 the newspaper was moved to Wedowee and the name was changed to the Southern Mercury, later the Randolph County Democrat. The paper closed just before the Civil War. All the stores and other buildings are long gone, perhaps bearing truth to the legend that Louina was so angry she she was forced to leave she put a curse on the town and said it would vanish from sight.
Curse or no Curse, this is what happened. Where Liberty Church once stood near Highway 22 is the old cemetery, grown up with weeds and scrub oak. Some small headstones still stand.
Ray Carson whose great-grandfather lived in Louina from 1833 to 1836 warned of old wells now covered with grass and weeds. Carson said that the town that once had 2,500 residents and was the largest town in Randolph County has only 17 wells filled, which means many old wells may still be open, he said.
Major Harris states that the old Louina Cemetery is now Concord Church Cemetery, Referenced TAP ROOTS, Vol. 20, No.2 Page 59.
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