Oak Hill is located in east-central Wilcox County in the southwest part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government. It is one of the smallest incorporated towns in the state and is the birthplace of Alabama governor Benjamin Meek Miller.
Ramsey-Jones-Bonner House The area where modern-day Oak Hill is located was settled in the early 1820s by South Carolinians and Virginians. The first family to settle the region, the Joneses, established a large plantation, erecting a cedar log house, a barn, a kitchen, a smoke house, and slave quarters. The community was then located in low-lying areas, which left many settlers vulnerable to malaria. The townspeople soon moved their households to higher ground to the Ridge, as it was called. It soon was renamed Oak Hill. Hamburg Cemetery still occupies the lowlands adjacent to the ridge, a testament to the disease that plagued early settlers.
Enough people had settled in the area by the 1840s to warrant the building of a school, Oak Hill Academy, which opened in 1849. The school operated for 20 years, and possibly longer; the school building was razed in the 1940s. In 1864, future governor Benjamin Meek Miller was born in Oak Hill; he served from 1931 to 1935.
The town’s economy briefly expanded after an oil well was drilled nearby in 1907, but it soon ran dry, losing money for those who bought stock in the company. The town began to prosper again in the early twentieth century when a lumber mill opened in the area. During this period, the town had several general stores, a cotton gin, a blacksmith shop, and a Masonic Lodge. That prosperity ended with the Great Depression. Oak Hill incorporated in October 1940.
According to 2016 Census estimates, Oak Hill recorded a population of 10. Of that number, 90.0 percent of respondents identified themselves as African American and 10.0 percent as white. The town’s median household income was $9,286, and the per capita income was $17,510.
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Oak Hill was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (100.0 percent)
Students in Oak Hill attend Wilcox County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
State Highway 10 bisects Oak Hill running southeast-northwest, and State Highway 21 bisects the town running southwest-northeast.
Events and Places of Interest
Cedarcrest, a private residence in Oak Hill, is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. The entire Oak Hill Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Heritage of Wilcox County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.