Newton, Alabama

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Newton is a town in Dale County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census its population was 1,708. Once the county seat of Dale County, Newton lost this distinction to nearby Ozark in 1870, and is now a small farming community. The city currently forms a part of the Enterprise-Ozark micropolitan statistical area.



Newton is located at 31°20′40″N 85°35′34″W / 31.344452°N 85.592702°W / 31.344452; -85.592702.[1]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.3 square miles (37.1 km²), of which, 14.3 square miles (37.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.21%) is water.

The Choctawhatchee River flows just to the north and west of Newton. At one time this waterway was navigable by steamboat from its mouth in Choctawhatchee Bay, Florida all the way to Newton.[2]

Alabama State Route 123 and Alabama State Route 134 both pass through Newton.


Newton was founded in 1843 after the formation of Coffee County from Dale County's western half, which rendered the original county seat of Daleville off-center. The town became a scene for local Confederate recruiting during the Civil War, and was the site of a battle in March 1865 between local Home Guard units and pro-Union irregulars operating out of Florida. The guerrillas, who sought to burn the county courthouse, were repulsed. This event is commemorated by a monument located in downtown Newton, and by periodic re-enactments.[3]

On December 3, 1864, a local Methodist minister named Bill Sketoe was lynched just north of Newton by local Home Guard elements led by Captain Joseph Brear. Since Sketoe was tall, a hole had to be dug beneath his feet to accommodate his large frame. Local legend insists that "the hole that won't stay filled" never vanished—even after being filled in numerous times during the decades that followed. Though covered in 1979 by a new bridge and tons of rip-rap, "Sketoe's hole" remains a local attraction,[4] and was immortalized by Alabama writer Kathryn Tucker Windham in her 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.[5] A monument to Sketoe was dedicated near the hanging site in 2006,[6] and the local museum displays items of Sketoe memoribilia.[7]

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