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 & 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 officially incorporated in August 1971.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Onycha recorded a population of 115. Of that number, 95.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white and 4.3 percent as African American. The town’s median household income was $33,594, and the per capita income was $13,796.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Onycha was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (51.1 percent)
- Manufacturing (17.8 percent)
- Construction (13.3 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (8.9 percent)
- Retail trade (6.7 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (2.2 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
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.