Stevenson unveils a new historical marker for Averyville

STEVENSON, Ala. - It's a community with a history that was almost looked over.

"It needed to be permanently remembered," says Jen Stewart, secretary of the Jackson County Historical Association.

The history of Averyville was unknown to the Jackson County Historical Association, until they were approached by Eddie Davis, a professor at Alabama A&M.

"He was writing a book on Dr. Councill and wanted to know what we knew about Averyville and we said nothing," says Stewart.

From there the discussion opened. Davis shared his research and the council did some on their own. They found money was set aside for a place to stay for former slaves after the Civil War.

"We're not sure how. We think from the estate of Reverend Avery who left money for the education of freed men."

The small community even set up a school. A Quaker from the North was brought down to teach. The school's most notable student was William Hooper Councill.

"He became pretty much her assistant teacher," says Stewart.

He became a teacher himself before graduation. He later moved to Huntsville to open his own school. "And founded what ultimately became Alabama A&M."

Averyville along with Dr. Councill left an incredible and unforgettable mark on North Alabama, so the association wanted to commemorate that impact.

"We have several markers around town but none of them focus on what was early history of the black community."

Unfortunately the original Averyville School was closed shortly after its opening.

"It's a shame that there are always groups that try to prohibit progress by other groups," says Stewart. "We just wish it could have, the school could have continued a lot longer than it did."

But the history and the heart of the community will remain forever.