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Standing Rock Alabama

There is a legend that is well known locally as to how Standing Rock got its name. Before being forced to leave Alabama on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma and other western lands, the Indians placed rock pillars along the way. At Standing Rock they erected a large sandstone boulder . The boulder has been standing since 1836 when the Indians warned that if it were moved bad luck would come to the village. When the old dirt road between Roanoke and LaGrange was being readied for paving, the rock was under a large oak tree. In order to pave the road it was necessary to cut down the tree and relocate the rock across the road on a new base. This time it was set in concrete so it would stand firm. In 1833 the Methodist Church was organized in Standing Rock and land was cleared for cotton, houses and stores. In the horse and buggy days each family had its own hitching post at the church. Before many years there was a long block of stores, cotton warehouses, more churches, bank, school and post office. In 1895-1896, a cheese factory was built in the town. Most of the farmers in the area agreed to sell milk to the factory before it was built and a skilled cheese maker was brought in to run the operation. The hoop cheese made in Standing Rock was said to be of fine quality and met the requirements of the northern market. The cheese operation went out of business due, most likely, to not having sufficient size to be competitive with much larger firms.

History of Standing Rock Church

We do not know the exact date when the Standing Rock Church was organized, but Dr. West, in his History of Methodism, gives the date as some time in the year 1833. In the early part of the 19th century, Mr. William Bonner, my great-grandfather, moved from Monroe County, GA, into the Standing Rock community, settling about two miles south of Standing Rock. He called his neighbors together for services and they met in a small log schoolhouse with a dirt floor. They continued to hold services then, and later a society was formed. The name of the society was "Conway Mill Society ," getting its name from a grist mill located on a small stream or branch called "Lee's Creek." Later this society was placed in the hands of the Chattahoochee Mission and was served by the missionaries Sidney Squires and Hughy M. Finley. This was Standing Rock Methodist Church in 1835.

Among the early members of this early church were listed the following families: the Bonners, the Lancasters, the Nunns, the Terrys, and the Rutlands. In 1836 the Conway's Mill Church was moved to about one mile south of Standing Rock on what is known as the Dewberry Place. Here a house of worship was built and named "Bonner Church." It was at that time in the hands of the LaFayette Circuit with the Rev. George F. Cotton and John W. Broxson as preachers. In the latter part of the 19th century the Bonner Church was moved to Standing Rock and named "Standing Rock Church." Three buildings have been erected on the present site. One was destroyed by fire catching from a stove flue one Sunday during Sunday School. The present church was built by Mr. Jim Durham. We have a list of thirty-one pastors who have served this church from 1878 to the present date. Some of these are still preaching and the following names are among those who served so nobly in the years gone by: Rev. Morris, Rev. M.L. Whitten, Rev. J.B. Stevenson, Rev. L.D. Parrish, Rev. J.W. Spencer, Rev. W.J. Tucker, Rev. T.G. Slaughter, Rev. M.P. Rippey, and Rev. J.C. Francis. Standing Rock Circuit was formed in 1910, and Rev. G.M. Bynum was the first preacher to occupy the Standing Rock parsonage.

Note: Miss Nellie Bonner (1894-1974) was born in Hickory Flat and grew up in the Standing Rock Methodist Church. She taught in several Alabama public schools and retired from Benjamin Russell High in Alexander City, Alabama. She maintained her support of Standing Rock Methodist Church her entire life, and she is buried in the cemetery there. Miss Bonner delivered her History of Standing Rock Church at their annual homecoming celebration in 1937. Source: Nellie Bonner, of Auburn and Standing Rock, AL, 1937.

The Bonners of Standing Rock and Hickory Flat

William Bonner (ca. 1781-1852) and Nancy Chappell Bonner (ca. 1791-1852) moved their family and slaves to Troup County, Georgia in 1831 a year before Chambers County was established. They settled on 292 acres on the Wehadkee Creek just across the Alabama line. This property is now covered by West Point Lake. Although this farm was in Georgia, the family was part of the Standing Rock, Alabama community. William was the founder of what is now the Standing Rock United Methodist Church. Nancy Bonner died May 26, 1852, and William died two days later on May 28. Oral history relates they died of food poisoning. They, along with one of their children, and at least two grandchildren are buried at the site of Bonner's Church approximately one mile south of the current Standing Rock United Methodist Church. William and Nancy Bonner had 13 children who survived to adulthood. Several of them settled in Chambers County.

The eighth child of William and Nancy, John William Fletcher Emmett de LaFayette Bonner (John William 1823-1896) married Margie Ann Stewart (1837-1912) on December 22, 1857. They settled in the Standing Rock area. In 1864, John William was listed with the Wilcox Regiment, Troup County, GA C.S.A. After the war, John William purchased the Ward farm on the Standing Rock/Fredonia Road in the Hickory Flat community. For many years, arrowheads were found each time the fields were plowed. This property is still owned by Bonner descendants. Seven of Margie's and John William's children survived to adulthood. All of them married and settled in the Standing Rock/Hickory Flat area.

Thomas Hamilton Bonner (1861-1903) married Cora Ellen Blount.

John William (1863-1924) married Dovie Stewart.

Mary Leila (1865-1905) married William Hamer.

Robert Lee (1867-1956) married Minnie Sloan.

Fletcher Emmett (1870- 1948) married Corrie Ethel Terry.

Catherine (Katie) Stewart (1874-1963) married John Cornelius (Coon) Omalie.

Annie Ray (1877-1956) married Thomas F. Hudson.

John William, Margie and six of their children are buried at the Standing Rock United Methodist Church. Katie Bonner O'Malie is buried at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Stroud, Alabama.

Thomas Hamilton (T.H.) Bonner graduated from Southern Medical School (now Emory University Medical School) February 25, 1884. He interned with his uncle Dr. Willis Thomas Hamilton Bonner in Daleville, Alabama before practicing medicine in Dadeville, Alabama. The residents of Hickory Flat, Alabama petitioned Dr . Bonner to return to the area. T .H. purchased a house near the five road intersection at Hickory Flat, and built his office on the same property. He practiced medicine there until his death in 1903. T.H. married Cora Ellen Blount of Greenville, Georgia on December 20, 1887. Cora was the granddaughter of Silas and Polly Baker who were early settlers of Standing Rock. T. H. and Cora had five children.

Earl Stevenson (1892-1978) married Peggy Louise Terry. Nellie (1894-1974). Lillie Kathleen (1896-1973) married Albert McGill. Thomas Eliot (1898-1979) married 1st. Nannie Duke. 2nd. Nell Craft Tillman. Hoyt Trammel (1900-1975) married Mabel Eubanks.

T .H. and Cora Bonner died within three months in 1903. Both are buried in the Standing Rock Methodist Cemetery. Following their deaths, the five children lived with their grandmother, Margie Ann Stewart Bonner. Also living with Margie Ann were her son John, her daughter Annie, her son Fletcher, his wife Corrie and their children. Annie delayed her marriage to Tom Hudson for seven years in order to help care for her brother's children. Following Margie Ann's death in 1912, the children continued living with Fletcher and Corrie and their children. Nellie and Lillie Bonner attended Livingston State Teacher's College in 1914-15 which was the year the first male student was enrolled. Both taught in Alabama schools until retirement, and kept close ties with Standing Rock. Both are buried in the Standing Rock Methodist Cemetery. Tom and Hoyt Bonner moved to Birmingham, Alabama where they lived until their deaths. Tom and Nannie Bonner had two daughters, Margie Christine Bonner McIntosh and Martha Ann Bonner Eskew. T .H. and Cora's eldest child, Earl Stevenson, lived in Standing Rock except for several years in Langdale, Alabama where he worked in the mill. He could not adjust to "town life," and returned to his farm located between Post Oak Forks and Hickory Flat. He was a farmer and a sawmiller working with Tom Hudson, husband of Annie Bonner. Earl married Peggy Louise Terry Bonner (1897- 1961) on December 24, 1914. The Terry family was also among the first to settle in the Standing Rock area. Earl lived the last years of his life in nearby Roanoke in Randolph County.

Earl and Louise had eleven children: Earl Darrell, Lawrence Ulmont, Helen NeIl (Haralson), Hazel Dell, Miriam Louise (Arnold), John Thomas, Ann Bunch (Avery), Blount Stevenson, Lee Terry, Robert Louis, and Kaye Ellen (Brown). Earl, Louise, Hazel and Helen are buried in the Standing Rock Methodist cemetery. Three of Earl's and Louise's children remained in Chambers County. John Thomas Bonner lives in Valley, Alabama. Lawrence Ulmont Bonner and Helen NeIl Bonner Haralson also lived in Valley until their deaths. Ann Bunch Bonner Avery and her family returned to the Five Points area following her husband's retirement, and remained there until her death. Lawrence Ulmont served with the Army and John Thomas served with the Navy in World War II. Ten of Earl's and Louise's twenty-two grandchildren grew up in Valley, Alabama. Several of their grandchildren and great-grand- children currently reside there. Louellen Brown Gurley, daughter of Kaye Bonner Brown, and the twenty-first grandchild of Earl and Louise Bonner became the first descendant of Dr. T .H. Bonner to become a physician. She practices medicine in LaGrange, Georgia which is a short distance from Standing Rock, Alabama. Sources: Family Records, Journals, letters, etc., Civil War List, cemetery Monuments.