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James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Onycha is located in east-central Covington County in the in the extreme south-central part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
The origin of the town's name is unknown, but onycha (pronounced AH-neekah) is an ingredient in incense mentioned in the Bible and likely made from the shells of sea snails. Gus M. Terrell, a prominent citizen in the area, circulated a petition that convinced the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to turn the Onycha community into a flag stop, meaning the train would stop by request. The town's location along a major railroad between Opp to the north and Florala to the south made it a major transportation and shipping crossroads for farmers in the surrounding areas. But as automobile transportation surpassed rail transportation, travelers increasingly stopped using the train and the population of Onycha steadily declined. The town was officially incorporated in August 1971.
Onycha's population according to the 2010 Census was 184. Of that number, 95.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white and 4.3 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $22,500, and the per capita income was $15,412.
According to the 2010 Census, the workforce in Onycha was divided among the following occupational categories:
· Retail trade (46.8 percent)
· Manufacturing (17.1 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (16.1 percent)
· Construction (6.5 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (6.5 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.2 percent)
· Information (3.2 percent)
Students in Onycha attend Covington County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
U.S. Highway 331/State Highway 9 bisects Onycha running roughly northeast-southwest.
Events and Places of Interest
The Conecuh National Forest is located about six miles southwest of Onycha and Frank Jackson State Park lies just to the north in Opp.
Additional Resources
Covington County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2003.
Bryan, Gus J., and Ruby R. Bryan. Covington County History: 1821-1976. Opp, Ala.: Opp Historical Society, 1985.
Published:  November 29, 2016   |   Last updated:  November 29, 2016