A history of Dora

Little is know about East Walker County before 1800. According the Dora Depot Dora Centennial Book, the area was difficult to reach because it was covered with dense forests.

Wild horses roamed the banks of the Warrior River and Horse Creek, which runs through what is now called Dora. Native Americans, such as the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and the Creek claimed the area as their territory.

The troops under Col. John Coffee burned the last remaining indigenous village in the area during the Creek Indian War, which, along with the War of 1812, opened the territory east of the Mississippi River to white settlers. Men who served in the aforementioned wars were given land grants to settle in the newly opened area.

According to the Dora Centennial book, the earliest known settlers of the site currently known as Dora, were James M. Davis and Ezekiel Morgan.

Dora’s First Mayor Sam Sellers

Sometime after the War of 1812, the families of Davis and Morgan, along with several other families, left Raleigh, North Carolina and traveled by covered wagon and horseback to Alabama, settling for a time around Blount Springs before moving again.

In the late 1820s or early 1830s they found a valley with a creek running through it that they named Horse Creek, the name coming from all the wild horses they found there.

James M. Davis filed claim to government land in Section 18, Township 15, Range 5, on February 13, 1830.

Ezekiel Morgan filed claim to his land on November 26, 1831. This land was in the eastern section of the valley along Horse Creek and to the road now know as Old Highway 78. This included the areas now know as Sloss Hollow, and West Pratt.

Not long after the homesteaders moved in, coal was discovered on the land. With growth spurred on by the newly discovered coal business, the area’s business and residential growth boomed. However, there was no real town or community, however until the Kansas City, Memphis, and Birmingham Railroad came through the area in 1886.

The railroad built a depot along the rail line and the men working for the company called the stop “Sharon,” probably after one of their wives or girlfriends.

Within the next few years the town of Sharon was incorporated around the growth brought on by the coal industry and railroad company, and a business district began to develop around the train depot.

The railroad was atop an embankment with Main Street and most of the stores built much lower than the railroad. This left little room for expansion of the town, with stores only possible on one side of Main Street, but with the growth of mining operations, camps sprang up all around the town of Sharon.

The town continued to grow, and on February 18, 1897, the town incorporated with the new name of Horse Creek. The first elected mayor was Sam Sellers, and the aldermen were R. H. Palmer, Bill Mitcher, F.M. Thompson, J.W. Gravlee, Titus Davis, and T.L. Waldrop.

A post office was established in the early years of the 1900’s and, in 1906, the town of Sharon officially changed its name to what it is called today, Dora.