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Historical marker details Newburg's past

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
A crowd of local leaders and community residents gathered in the cold February rain last week to see the unveiling of the county's newest historical marker.
The historical marker was placed near the intersection of Alabama 24 and Franklin 87.
"Newburg is one of the oldest towns in the county," said Chris Ozbirn, director of the Franklin County Archives and Research Center.
The town was known as Old Boston when it was established in 1832. A year later it was named Newburg.
"There are a lot of things that went on in Newburg," said Johnny Davis, who grew up in the community and has been a member of the Newburg Masonic Lodge #388 for 50 years.
Davis worked for several years to secure the monument for Newburg.
"I just want people to know how much history there is out here at Newburg," Davis said. "This historical marker will help us do that and maybe it will draw more people out here."
Mount Pleasant Methodist Church was established in 1824 by Rev. James Smith and has been an integral part of that community since.
"Years ago, when they were ready to have a funeral here, they would ring the church bell and people would come in from the fields to help," Davis said.
A group of Confederate soldiers used the church grounds as a campsite during the Civil War, Davis said.
Newburg Masonic Lodge #388, which was established in 1872, is still standing on its original site.
The building was constructed by using wide boards and hand-planed lumber.
The downstairs of the building has been used as a school, voting place and community center through the years, while the upstairs has attracted Masons from all over the country.
The monument through the Alabama Historical Society gives a brief description of the community, which included a pencil factory and the burial site of Major William Russell, who the city of Russellville is named after.
Davis thanked the following people for their work on the monument project: Sen. Roger Bedford, Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, late Probate Judge Mike Green, Probate Judge Barry Moore, Franklin County Archives director Chris Ozbirn, county engineer David Palmer, Steve Pounders, Stanley Champion, Charles Smith, Mason Smith, Cecil Batchelor, Cheryl Bradford, Jackie Bradford, Sandra Hollaway and Martha Mashburn.