The story of Troy’s Ann Dowdle ‘Granny’ Love

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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Miss Catherine Gardner became a third-grade teacher of a training school operated by the State Normal School, now Troy University.  In 1910, she read a sketch of the life of Mrs. Ann Love at the celebration of Centennial of Methodism in Alabama.  Here are a few excerpts from her sketch printed in the Troy Messenger on December 21, 1910.

“For the information contained in this paper, we are indebted to Mr. T. M. Murphree, that sweet spirited man of Troy, in whose mind is stored so much of her history, and who delights in the reminiscences of his boyhood days when “Granny Love” was the priestess of the little village.

To think of our classic little city in its beginning requires a stretch of the imagination; when our Court Square, known as Deer Stand Hill, was studded with stumps from primeval oaks and hickories, and when North and South Three Notch, our busy thoroughfares, were zig zag trails, College Street a dismal swamp, Montgomery and Brundidge Street lonely, sandy roads, and Elm a precipitous, pine covered hill side.

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A woman must have a stout heart and mind to face physical difficulties of such nature, but such a one was Ann Love.

Ann Dowdell was her maiden name and South Carolina her native state.  Soon after her marriage to Robert Love, they left South Carolina and followed in the track of the other home seekers to the new state of Alabama, and settled in Wetumpka.

Mr. Love brought his family, now much increased, to Monticello, the county seat of Pike County, and at present a nameless spot on the outskirts of Banks.  Mr. Love was by trade a tanner, but in a short while he went back to Wetumpka, where he died.  The hardships of life sternly stared the widow in the face, as her family of seven children, four boys and three girls, were looking to her, so she moved back to Monticello and kept a tavern, as a boarding house for transients was the called.

     In 1840 or 41, the county site was moved to Troy and the court house at Monticello was offered for sale at auction by the public crier.  Some of her distinguished friends gave her financial aid in making the difficult move, she bought the building, had the timber carried to Troy and in a few months had erected a tavern on the spot where the First National Bank now stands.

     The population was composed of reckless desperadoes, outlaws fleeing from justice, huntsmen, adventurers and some who believed in the home growth of a new country.  Ann Love was a moral force which dominated each soul.

     She was reared a Presbyterian, but at that time the nearest church organization to Troy was the Methodist in Georgia.  She wrote to the Georgia Conference for a preacher.  In a short time a circuit rider came, a Methodist Church was organized and Ann Love was its charter member.  She was the embodiment of the Methodist idea; she stood for service for others, not honor for self.

     Ann Love died on  Oct. 4, 1858.  She lived on earth more than three score years and ten.”  She is buried in Beulah Cemetery.”

     All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.