Presley Boswell was sworn in as the new District 4 member of the Andalusia City Council Tuesday.
The Andalusia City Council appointed Boswell to complete the term of former Councilman Ralph Wells, who announced his retirement resignation in February.
Mayor Earl Johnson said Boswell is a natural choice for the seat, as he has rarely missed a Council meeting since retiring in 2006.
“Presley has kept up with city business as well as anyone I know,” Johnson said. “He won’t have a learning curve, because he has witnessed most of the decisions the council has made in the past 17 years.
“And he’s not just supportive at the city government level,” the mayor said. “You will see him at the ballet, the Chamber banquet, Candyland, and JulyJamz. He supports local businesses, and generally wants what is good for Andalusia and her residents.”
In discussions about the appointment, Wells approved of Boswell’s selection, and the two subsequently spent several hours discussing city projects.
Boswell is a native of Weogufka, Alabama, in Coosa County. As a young man, he moved to Pell City and went to work in the steel mills in Birmingham. During that time, he also published “Hills and Hollers,” an outdoors publication which he distributed free in outdoors shops and venues. He also started the Alabama Federation of Bass Fisherman, which was a bass tourney trail.
He first came to Andalusia in 1978, after he met the woman who would become his second wife, Hilda Parrish Boswell, who lived here. Boswell lost his first wife in an automobile accident.
“I just fell in love with the place,” he recalled “It was the right size city, and of course, Hilda was here.”
When the steel mills closed, he went to work for Santa Fe Drilling, which at the time employed about 200 people from the Covington County area.
“I got to know a lot of people from here,” he recalled. “And most of them didn’t know I wasn’t originally from Andalusia.”
In 1980, in a break from the oil fields, he purchased a small radio station in Andalusia, WCTG. Boswell said he ran the radio station for nine months and only lost $20,000. That was when he decided to go back to the oil fields.
It turned out to be a good career decision. He lived in 16 countries, worked in 27, and was able to schedule his work in ways that allowed him to visit international points of interest. He retired in 2004, but continued in a consulting role until 2006.
After dating Hilda for 14 years, the two married at First Presbyterian Church of Andalusia in 1992. Hilda died in 2019.
“I’ve loved the town ever since I first saw it,” Boswell said. “And I’m humbled and honored to receive this appointment.”
Boswell also had high praise for Wells, and said he's done a great job as a councilman.Boswell's daughter, Mimi Boswell Matthews, and stepdaughter, Belinda Parker McAda, both traveled to Andalusia to be with Boswell when he was sworn in.