TOWN OF WIGINTON WAS ONCE KNOWN AS THE SMALLEST “BEAT” IN THE STATE
The town of Wiginton, a small 14 square mile beat located between Hackleburg and Hodges, was at one time a booming town. Beat 19, as it is shown on maps, is the smallest beat in Alabama.
Wiginton used to be a resting place for weary travelers who were headed West as it was located on the Moulton to Iuka road.
In early days, Mr. and Mrs. J. B. FORD built a log cabin on the road, the last residence for ten miles. Travelers soon heard of this tiresome ten mile stretch, as it is still known today, and began stopping over at the FORD cabin if it was near nightfall, and continuing on the next day. Gradually travelers began to settle near the FORD cabin, thus the community of Wiginton was born.
Sometime during the 1880’s the first industry was started, this being a sawmill. Later gins for ginning cotton were started. The first steam gin was put in by Wash ALDEN. Prior to this gin, the gins were water powered, by flowing water. Since schooling was needed in the fast growing little community, the people decided to put out an effort to establish a school. Their efforts paid off when a school was set up in a little one room cabin near Arland WIGINTON’s home. The first teacher, Elijah FORD, was paid an enormous salary of about $15 per month.
Later on, the school was moved to the New Prospect Church, and then in 1904 moved to Mars Hill. After the later move, Miss Mattie FITE and Miss Ida FITE held the teaching positions.
Other small towns in the area, Goddard, Lumbull and Hackleburg also had students in the Mars Hill School.
In 1921 the school became a vocational school. This change came about when Joel FORD, a college-educated teacher, decided to teach and farm at the same time. At that time Wiginton and Hamilton were the only towns in the entire county to have such schools. The school at Wiginton went only to the 11th grade. Students could then travel to Hamilton and attend school there for one more year to complete their high school education. After this was completed, they could attend two more years and get a college degree.
Mr. Ned WIGINTON, a store owner in the community, helped to set up a post office, which was governmentally named Wiginton. After the post office was established, Wiginton was incorporated, thus a mayor and alderman were chosen.
Wiginton, in the beginning, had no trained medical doctors. A few of the local people used home remedies to aid sick resident. A Dr. GOGGANS was the first man in the little town to have any medical training Now, the town of Wiginton has one store in operation. It is located beside an old store building that is said to probably have been that of Ned WIGINTON. The school that once was a lively building, how is gone, after its last occupants have left. An old well, still covered with a wooden canopy, stands out a short distance from the early store building. It was once a bustling spot in the community where friends met and fellowshipped, but now it too stands silently. Now, Wiginton is just Beat 19, the smallest beat in Alabama.
Taken from The Journal-Record Bicentennial Edition Hamilton, Alabama Thursday, July 1, 1976.