Florala History

Stories and Information of Florala, Alabama

William C. McLauchlin – First Mayor of Florala

WC McLauchlin (1842-1920)

William Christopher McLauchlin (sometimes spelled with a “g”) was born in North Carolina in 1842 in Cumberland County near Fayetteville. He was of Scottish ancestry. His ancestors came from Scotland and settled in and around Cumberland County as farmers. He and many others from that area came to Alabama and north Florida after the Civil War to make a living from the abundant land and timber. He was married to Margaret “Mag” Jane Ray (1845 NC – 1919 AL), sister of Martin Luther Ray who also lived with his family in Florala beginning in 1907. He was uncle to Margaret Ray Baker by marriage. She always called him “Uncle Christopher” and his wife “Aunt Mag”. WC McLauchlin was very active in the community, as a public servant and businessman. He first lived in AL in Geneva (from about 1882) where he was in the sawmill business (Hurricane Sawmill), and where he was involved in the founding of the Geneva Presbyterian Church. He later came to Florala.

He died in Florala in 1920, only a year after his wife Mag died and only a year after his sister-in-law Martha Ray died. This was the same year his brother-in-law Martin Luther Ray died. He as well as his wife and others in the Ray family were buried in unmarked graves in Greenwood Cemetery. In the early 70s pillowstone markers were put on their graves by Margaret Baker. He and Mag had no children. His brother, John McLauchlin, stayed in North Carolina after the Civil War and became a prominent landowner and businessman. John McLauchlin and his wife also had no children. John McLauchlin’s home is now the Raeford-Hoke Museum in Raeford,NC (111 S. Highland St, see below). He had two other siblings who are unaccounted for at this time.

WC McLauchlin was a founding father of Florala and the first mayor. Below are his accomplishments and activities:


  • Soldier, Civil War, Co K, 38th NC infantry (mustered May 6, 1862 in Raleigh – under Col Hoke, Gen A.P. Hill corps (discharged in 3 mon due to ill health)

  • in Alabama – member of volunteer corps for home protection (served until May 1865, discharged at Clayton, AL)

  • Naval stores business in Geneva, AL until 1886.

  • Secretary and treasurer, Watts Coal and Iron Co (Warrior Station, Jefferson County, AL)

  • 1892, Opened the books and was a cashier for Johnson’s Bank, Geneva, AL

  • Member, Galatia Lodge, No. 169, A.F. & A.M.

  • First Mayor of Florala and served as councilman at times

  • Co-Founder and First Vice President of the Bank of Florala, 1904

  • Owner and publisher of The Florala News, 1906-1913

  • President and manager, the Flor-Ala Land company

  • Member of the County Board of Revenue

  • President of the Florala Mercantile Co

  • President of Scotch Manufacturing Co (Milligan, FL)

  • Member School Board

  • Surveyor. He did preliminary surveys for A&F railroad from Georgiana, AL to Graceville, FL (“A&F” was the Alabama and Florida division of the L&N Railroad)

  • Co-owner, Florala Naval Stores Company

  • Founding member and Elder, First Presbyterian Church of Florala (He also founded the Geneva Presbyterian Church, and was in the sawmill business in Geneva (Hurricane Sawmill).

  • Covington County Commissioner (Instrumental in getting the Covington county high school located in Florala)

  • Member, Florala Farmer’s Club, 1911

The McLauchlins lived in a house across from the Florala Baptist Church manse with the rear of their house facing Lake Jackson.

William C. McLauchlin house on 5 th Ave

WC McLauchlin lived in this house until his death. The house was next door to the current “Lake House” on its west side.  A Hardee’s restaurant is now on the property. If one were to place a drive-in order, they would have the same view of Lake Jackson as WCM did from his backyard (This picture offers proof that it does sometimes snow in Florala – an occasion to get out the camera). After the deaths of WC McLauchlin (1920) and his wife (1919), his nieces Annie Meacham Ray and Jessie Cornelia Ray (daughters of Martin Luther Ray and Martha Ray) lived in the house until their deaths in 1973 and 1972, respectively. The house passed to the Luther Ray heirs and was eventually razed due to its poor condition.

An article on Wm C McLauchlin is on the page below

Florala Land Company ad in the July 21, 1910 edition of the Florala News

Read a 1908 article by WC McLauchlin on Florala Real Estate: McLauchlin article-17






TheBelow – News items including those about the Rays and McLauchlins.

Florala News


Thursday, December 14, 1905 (compilers Note: Several pages were torn in half on this weeks paper.)

Land Office at Gainesville, Fla., Dec. 11, 1905. Notice is hereby given that the following named settler has filed notice of his intention to make final proof in support of his claim, and that said proof will be made before the clerk of the court at DeFuniak Springs, Fla., January 27, 1906; viz: Nelson H Gibson of Florala., Hd. 30556, for the se of nw and ne of sw Sec. 33, T6N, R21W. He names the following witness to prove his continuous residence upon and cultivation of said land, viz: WC McLauchlinand WR McDuffie of Florala, Ala, WB Miller and AH Hilson of Paxton, Fla.

21 JUL 1910

Of Interest-Miss Jessie Ray suffering from typhoid fever.

18 MAY 1911

d. The little six year old daughter of R. L. Gregory and wife, of Lakewood, died last Monday and was buried in Florala Cemetery on Tuesday.

Of interest:
Advertised Letters remaining fro the week ending May 15, 1911
Mrs. Ashley Heron Aboit, Mrs. S.D. Abbott, Lushel Adams, Mrs. Julia Brown, Tom Brown, Liga Bar, Will Beal, Miss Gracy Caylor, Jimmie Clayton, M.D. Colley, Joe Garrett, Miss Hannah James, Neadom Johnson, Mrs. Tom Lee, Mrs. Mamie Long, Kaul Lumber Co., Miss Ider Mason, Mrs. Sarah McRay, Mrs. Isoline McMillion, Mrs. Rosie Morris, M.C. Kenny,
Mrs. Neil W. Ray, Anna Smith, Carrie Lee Scott, Mrs. Alice Tord, Amos Water, Mrs. Ashie Wadkins & John Wesley.

15 June 1911-

d. C.C. Beasley was called to Ozark Monday last on account of the death of his mother, Mrs. Eliza Beasley, She was visiting her daughter, Mrs. C.C. Stokes and taken ill. She was above 70 years of age. Her remains were laid to rest in Ozark Cemetery.

Of Interest-
Jno. T. Echols, Henry Hughes, Henry Davis, W.H. Arnold, Allen Davis and Albert Searcy went to Zone
mill fishing last week.
Mrs. L.G. Ray and Miss nona Bailey left last Monday for Gainesville, Ga. to enter college.

24 August 1911-
Of Interest-
J.R. Shepard will open up a furniture store at Defuniak.
J.J. Doster of Troy spent several days at Florala recently.
Mrs. Henry Matthews visited relatives at Coffee Springs last week.
Mrs. Luther G. Ray has been visiting her sister, Mrs. Davis at Hartford this week.
Wiley Adams was struck by a baseball at Hacoda a few days ago.
J.E. Hughes and wife have returned from an extended visit to several points in Florida.
Mr. and Mrs. William McLauchlin have returned from a visit to relatives in North Carolina.

Wm. Ray and family of Pensacola, also Harold Ray of Stephenson, Al., have been visiting at the home of Mr. Ray in Florala this week.

7 September 1911-

The Florala Farmer Club Members:
(Meeting held on Sept. 2, 1911)
D. Mcleod, W.D. Caton, W.C. Beckham, M.A. George, Sr. W.H. Castleberry, J.M. Williams, B.H. Farmer, S.E. Whigham, M.J. Caylor, J.H. Matthews, W.C. McLauchlin, Dr. A.L. Wynn, T.J. Beard, J.W. Smith, Alex McRae, Dr. E.L. Adams, W.J. White, A.O. Wolley, R.H. Stallings, J.A. McNeil, D.A. Killingsworth T.J. Williams, J.W. Thames, Walter Geohagan, Lee Adams, J.W. Bracewell, J.W. Savage, I.S. Boles, D.R. Savage, L.R. Turner, Griffin Miller, Bragg Miller, W.F. McSwain, P.S. McClung, J.M. Dauphin, J.M. McQueen, G.W. McLeod, J.W. Miller, A.J. Sellers, J.M. Kimball, J.A. Davis, H.J. Holloway, E.M. Cannon, W.J. Holder, Lee Wiliams, Clopton Williams, J.T. Williams, Bud Paul, Philip Bryant. They will meet again in October.

30 December 1911

Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Raywent to Pensacola this week

Mrs. H.C. Ray and Miss Janie Foster of Stephenson, Ala,., are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. C.C. McRae.

23 November 1911-

W.C. McLauchlinhas returned from a several daysbusiness trip to North Carolina.

7 December 1911-

A vine growing up the chimney of W.C. McLauchlin resident caught on fire last Tuesday night.

Dec. 2, in Florala, Al., The officers of the company were organized for the purpose of planting one of the largest pecan orchards in the Country. The Dr. Arthur E. Gringle, Evansville, Ind., president; W.R. McDuffie, Sr., vice president; Theodore S. Lang, Florala, AL., secretary and treasurer; W.C. McLauchlin, R.S. Williams and Alex McRae, Florala, AL., as directors. -Montgomery Advertiser.

25 January 1912-

Mr. W.C. McLauchlin of Florala was here this week surveying some land for Dr. Galloway.

16 May 1912-

m. Mr. James B. Cravey and Miss Allene Davis were married Thursday evening at 7 oclock at the home of the Bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Davis. Mr. Robert McGehee was best man and Miss Katherine Davis as Bridesmaid. Little Miss Leonra Davis, Cousin of the bride, was ring bearer. Mrs. Payton S. Mathis was Matron Of Honor. Rev. W. Demery, Mrs. Marshal Davis sang h Promise Me accompied by Mr. A.W. Muk on the piano. Punch and wine were served by Miss Katherine Lane, Agnes Bailey and Rosa Warner. They will make their home in Troy, Ala.

Tuesday evening a party took a stroll through Lockhart mill: Misses Ray, Faucett and Mckown chaperones; Marguritte McRae, Emma Clements, Blanche Clements, Susue Clements, Jessie Ray, Estelle Stokes, Juanita Strickland, Ethel McLeod and Miss Crawford. Messrs Tom Fancher, Marvin Wardsworth, Leo Davis, Ned Lee, Walter Warren, P.M. Faucett and R.K. Council.

Miss Maud Faucett of Efland, N.C., Mr. Pelham Faucettsister, is the quest of Mrs. W.C. McLauchlin.

06 June 1912-

The old Board of Directors of the Bank of Florala were re-elected and vacancies filled by D.E. Adams, Theo. S. Lanz, and Griffin Miller. The following officers were elected for next year; Thos. F. West- President, W.C. McLauchlin- Vice Pres., A.E. Mann- Secretary and Cashier, A.N. Wilson- Assistant cashier.

4 July 1912-

Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Rayare visiting their children, Mr. and Mrs. Hal C. Ray at Stephenson, Ala; where they have a pair of twin babies to recently arrive.

The home of John McLauchlin (above), brother of WC McLauchlin of Florala, is a museum and contains many artifacts of this area of North Carolina.

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