Text Size
Saturday, July 04, 2020


Alabama History 1519 - 1965 Summary

Alabama StateHistory

Alabama shares the rich cultural history of the Southeastern region. From 1519, when the first Spanish explorer, Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, navigated Mobile Bay, the state was claimed explored, and settled by the Spanish, French, and British.

The first permanent European settlers in Alabama were French. The LeMoyne brothers, Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d'Iberville, and Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, sailed into Mobile Bay in 1699. By 1711, Fort Louis (on the present site of Mobile) had been settled as the capital of the French colony known as Louisiana.

With the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the French ceded most of Louisiana to Great Britain. When Spain declared war on Great Britain in 1779, the American Revolution came to Alabama. In 1780, Bernardo Galvez captured Mobile from the British. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 ceded to Spain the British holdings in the Mobile region.

In 1795, the Treaty of San Lorenzo more specifically stated that all Alabama lands below the 31st parallel belonged to Spain, and lands above the 31st parallel belonged to the United States and in turn to the Native Americans living there. At the same time the Ellicott Line was being surveyed, "squatters" (those having no legal claim to the lands they settled) began to move into Alabama forcing the various tribes off their lands. Washington, the first Alabama county, was created in 1800 from Mississippi Territory. The area below the 31st parallel was added to Mississippi Territory in 1812. Later counties were created as more white settlers moved into ceded native lands until Alabama Territory was created on 3 March 1817. Alabama became a state 14 December 1819 and, in 1835, the last native lands were ceded.

During the early years of statehood the most significant genealogical event was the opening of lands formerly held by Native Americans to white settlers between 1802 and 1835. Mary Elizabeth Young, Redskins, Ruffleshirts and Rednecks: Indian Allotments in Alabama and Mississippi, 1830-1860 (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), details these developments. By 1840 all but a few scattered tribes had been moved west beyond the Mississippi River.

Alabama suffered economic and agricultural problems in the 1840s and 1850s. The financial panic and depression which swept across the United States in 1837 resulted in banking problems that caused many Alabamians to lose their savings. Crops were ruined by drought, and several epidemics of yellow fever brought added suffering.

Economic rivalry between the industrial North and the agricultural South raised conflicts concerning states' rights and slavery. The unresolved conflict deepened until, on 11 January 1861, Alabama seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America.

When compared with other Confederate states, Alabama, with the exception of the Mobile area, experienced relatively little military action. However, the conflict devastated the economic, political, and social life of the state. Though the state was readmitted to the Union on 25 June 1868, the devastation continued through the Reconstruction period. The deepening poverty experienced resulted in mass migration. In the 1860s and 1870s, 10 to 15 percent of the entire white population of Alabama migrated, with a third of these migrants going to Texas.

Railroads were completed across the state in the 1870s, leading to the industry of mining of Alabama's rich mineral deposits of coal, iron ore, and limestone. By 1880, steel, iron, lumber, and textile industries were rapidly expanding.

Alabama 's industry and commerce grew with the United States' entry into World War I. Agricultural production increased, and a significant growth in Mobile's shipbuilding industry led to increased foreign trade. During the Great Depression, Alabamians suffered new financial hardships. The Tennessee Valley Authority, established in 1933 by the federal government, developed dams and power plants on the Tennessee River for inexpensive electricity, boosting Alabama's industrial growth.

World War II led to expansion of the state's agricultural and industrial production, and installation of several military training sites, including Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville-which launched the United States into the space age. During the 1950s and 1960s, agriculture and industry became more diversified, requiring fewer agricultural workers who were forced to seek employment in urban areas outside the state. Alabama faced serious racial questions during the time period. The Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-56, the Birmingham demonstrations in 1963, and the Selma March in 1965 attracted much media attention. With the passage of the U.S. Voting Rights Act in August 1965, blacks played an increasing role in local and state politics and commerce.


Louina, Randolph County, Alabama - Ghost Town

Randolph County, Alabama Ghost Towns
Part of the American History and Genealogy Project
"Ghost Towns" Project


Louina, Alabama

Did Curse Make Louina A Ghost Town?

By Virginia Smith  Ledger Enquirer, 3/26/1987, East Al. Today

A Historic Marker tells the story of Louina, Alabama

Surnames: Heflin, Weathers, Barron, Cardwell, Gilbert, Carson, Maj. Harris

     The Randolph County Historical Society has placed a marker at the entrance to the town telling the history of the ghost town.

"One mile North, on the East bank of  Tallapoosa River, was located Louina, named for an indian woman who operated a trading post. Settled 1834. It became chief business center in Randolph County with county's first newspaper, schools for boys and girls, Baptist and Methodist Churches, Masonic Lodge, grist mill, wool factory, and cotton gin. Company of Confederate soldiers organized here August 1, 1861. Last store closed 1902 and post office moved eastward to Concord and named Viola.  Among outstanding descendants from Louina's settlers was U.S. Senator J. Tom Heflin."

  The little town of Louina, on the banks of the Tallapoosa River came into being in 1834 when Isham Weathers opened a store and trading post.

Louina was named for a wealthy Indian Woman. When she was forced to leave, it was said she put her silver in sacks but they were so heavy, the ponies could not carry the load. Legend said Louina buried some silver but, despite years of digging, none has been found.

Louina was an important town in Randolph Co. Before the Civil War, the town paid more than one third of all the taxes in the County, paid mostly by slave owners.  What is today a ghost town once 30 homes, eight stores, two schools (one for boys and one for girls), hotels, taverns, saloons, a Masonic Lodge and a Methodist and Baptist Church.

The Concord Baptists church was organized in 1850 by J. Day Barron, editor of the Louina Eagle, the towns newspaper. Louina was on the stage coach line from Wedowee to Dadeville and had it's own post office.

In 1870, W. E. Gilbert, co-publisher of the newspaper, planned to build a cotton mill and began a dam on the Tallapoosa River. But a blasting accident killed one man and another man lost an arm and the project was abandoned.  In 1902, the last store closed closed and the post office was moved to J. F. Cardwell's store at Concord and renamed Viola.

In 1856 the newspaper was moved to Wedowee and the name was changed to the Southern Mercury, later the Randolph County Democrat. The paper closed just before the Civil War. All the stores and other buildings are long gone, perhaps bearing truth to the legend that Louina was so angry she she was forced to leave she put a curse on the town and said it would vanish from sight.

  Curse or no Curse, this is what happened. Where Liberty Church once stood near Highway 22 is the old cemetery, grown up with weeds and scrub oak.  Some small headstones still stand.

Ray Carson whose great-grandfather lived in Louina from 1833 to 1836 warned of old wells now covered with grass and weeds. Carson said that the town that once had 2,500 residents and was the largest town in Randolph County has only 17 wells filled, which means many old wells may still be open, he said.

Major Harris states that the old Louina Cemetery is now Concord Church Cemetery, Referenced TAP ROOTS, Vol. 20, No.2 Page 59.

Randolph County History




Here is an excerpt of a history of Randolph Co that I found in the Awbry Library in Roanoke, Randolph Co., AL.

Submitted by Beverly Giles Loffler

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty In Candidacy For The Degree of Masters of Science

By Eugenie Elizabeth Smith

Auburn, Alabama

August 1938

This area has been, and still was, occupied by the Creek Indians who lives(sic) mostly along the creeks and rivers. These Indians had not been inclined tp live in peace with the whites and only a few white settlers, or white Indian countrymen, were living among the Indians before the land was formally opened to settlement(18 Dec. 1832). A Mr. Brock was living on the old McIntosh Trail where Graham is now located.

Archibald Sawyer lived at Sawyer's Ferry, Oakfuskoe. He was elected Judge of the County Court by the General Assembly. Hodgeman riplett had located on the Tallapoosa River about ten miles west of what is now Wedowee. He ran a ferry and had built a house about one-hundred yards from the ferry.

As stated above Archibald Sawyer was elected Judge of the Court, or Orphant's(sic) Court as it was then called, by the General Assembly of Alabama. John Camp was Clerk of the Court and William Hightower, Sheriff.

The first County Seat was at Trylett's Ferry, or Triplett's Ferry, (the present Blake's Ferry)on the west bank of the Big Tallapoosa River about ten miles west of Wedowee.

In November, 1832 Judge Archibald Sawyer held court under an oak tree. This was the first county court. In this court only two cases were docketed for trial; Ibba Taylor vs. James B. Jones and Ibba Taylor vs. Silas Taylor: both dismissed at the defendant's cost. Archibald Sawyer, Judge. A. C. Nix, Attorney.

There was an Indian town at Wedowee and some white settlers. Joseph Benton, Asa Hearn, J. W. Bradshaw, Wm. McKnight, Wm. Mullaley, James B. Jones, Benjamin Zachary, John Rutton were among the first. The town was surveyed and plotted by Hodgeman Triplett in Dec 1835, W. H. Cunningham bought the first lot.

William Hightower bought two lots, on one of which, a log court house was built in 1836. 

In September, 1839, a contract let to Isaac Baker for the building of a new court house, to cost $2,000. A new jail costing $1,000 was built in 1839 and the County Building Commissioners Jeff Faulkner and Jeptha V. Smith reported its completion and acceptance, December 14, 1839.

Little is known of the exact locations of the homes of the first settlers. In 1834, Isham T. Weathers conducted a store and traded with the Indians at Louina…

Wyatt Heflin moved to Concord Community in Louina Beat in 1836.

He was a planter by occupation and owned many slaves, as did others who lived in that section. Some of the other planters of Louina were Peter Mitchell, Harrington Phillips, Franklin A. McMurray, Peter Green, and John J. Chewning.

Wallis Wood located in the Roanoke vicinity in 1834, James and W. D. Mickle in 1836 and James Scales, Wiley McClendon, Joseph Baker and others before the Indians were removed. Trustees of Roanoke school, charted in 1840, were Hawthron, Perryman, Lamb, Chiles, and Pool.

John and Stephen Reaves settled at Bacon Level in 1828. They both took up the study of law with C. D. Hudson of Hickory Flats. Later Stephen moved to Texas and John to Wedowee. He was appointed Probate Judge in 1848.

Jephta V. Smith settled at Rockdale in 1839. James Lovvorn, S. E. Herringm a family named Breed and one named Traylor came to Lamax in 1837. In southwestern Randolph, across the river from Louina the McGills, Smiths, Harrines, Hardys and others organized a Methodist Church in the summer of 1837.

(Concerns Louina)

John T. Heflin settled about seven miles west of Louina in 1836. 

Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Barber and others had stores before the war.

Concord Baptist Church near Louina was built in the fifties by J. Day

Barron, editor of the Louina Eagle.

Dr. W. L. Heflin, son of Wyatt Heflin owned a wheat and a corn mill, a wool factory, and a cotton gin on the river just west of Louina.

The first printing press in the county was used by the publishers of Louina Eagle, a Democratic paper. This paper was established in 1853 by W. E. Gilbert and M. M. Barron. J. Day Barron became the editor in 1856.

In 1868 J. T. Cardwell rode horseback and carried mail…

Merchants after the war were J. M. Towles, who was a minister of the M. E. Church, South, and a dentist, T. J. East, Tyler Phillips, W. A. J. Swann, F. M. Handley and W. E. Gilbert.

About 1870 W. E. Gilbert, who planned a cotton mill, began a dam on the river just above where the new bridge has just been completed(1938). There was an accident in blasting. One man was killed and Mr. Bill Welch lost an arm.

In 1902 the last store closed its doors, the post office was moved to Mr. J. F. Cardwell's store at Concord, and named Viola.

(Concerns Roanoke)

The town was settled in the early thirties by emigrants from Georgia….The village was called High Pine. In 1840 the name was changed to Chalafinee. J. M. K. Guinn gives Frances M. Perryman, a lawyer residing in Rockdale credit for having the name of this and several other post offices changed. He is supposed to have accomplished this by sending fake petitions to the Post Office Department ar Washington. The name was changed to Roanoke soon after 1840. John Randolph, for whom the county was named, made a practice of signing the name of his home, Roanoke, when he signed his name.

(Concerns Roanoke)

Possibly, the first white man to live where Roanoke is was James Furlong, who built a store, in 1835, on land belonging to James and Hugh Hawthorne…..After Hugh Hawthorne's death, James sold out and moved to Mississippi. Wallis Wood located in the vicinity in 1834 and James and W. D. Mickle in 1835. James Scales, Wiley McClendon, and Joseph Baker were others who came into the vicinity before the Indians left….Miss Lisa Wood was the first white child born in Randolph County. She married Fletcher Haynes and lived in Roanoke about 1860.

There was no saw or grist mill near. One was built about this time at Dickson's, the Old Joacob Eichelberger, and now(1938) James McCosh mill in the extreme southeast corner of the county.

Pollard Modes had a tan yard….Mr. John A. Moore was a lawyer and teacher…..A Roanoke Academy was chartered by a special act of legislature in 1840. Trustees of it were James Hawthorne, Francis Perryman, John Lamb, Francis Chiles, Robert Pool. A Mr. Commelley was the teacher.

The Dowdell Rangers, organized at Roanoke in August 1861, was company E of the Seventeenth Infantry. It was commanded by Captain Wiley E. White.

The Randolph County News, established in 1875 carried advertisements of various kinds……Drs. White and Davis, Physicians and Surgeons, Roanoke, Alabama…B. J. Foster, Physician and Surgeon…William A. White, Dentist. 

(Concerns Wedowee)

Among the first settlers were J. W. Bradshaw, William McKnight, William Mulldley, James B. Jones, Benjamin Zachery, Ibba Taylor, Joseph Benton, Asa Hearn, and a Mr. Freeman.

It is customary to think of the good old times as times when everyone was good but such was not always the case. Robert Casky, sheriff in 1842-1843, by some means came into possession to a large sum of money and defaulted leaving his bondsmen to pay the bill.

Jeramish Stallings left 3 or 4 negroes valued at $1,000 each, John Y. Kerr, a $3,000 farm, and James Saxon paid $2,500 and employed Judge John T. Heflin to beat the rest at law…. In 1844 Judge Jefferson Falkner's first act as Probate Judge was to declare the name of the town, Wedowee.

When Mrs. Murphy moved to Wedowee in 1861 she was 10 years old. At that time there were only a few houses. The Guinn, Pittman, Stalling, Reaves, Saxon, and Kerr families were residents.

In the fifties, Mr. John Reaves built the Reaves home, which is in the eastern part of Wedowee, and was, at that time, the finest house in the county.

Times were hard in Wedowee. The situation was aggravated by the fact that many on its most prominent and influential citizens were staunch Unionists. William H. Smith, Robert S. Heflin and others sought safety behind the Union lines….

In 1895, Bob Black's old store, one of the first to be built in Wedowee…was torn down on August 25, by Billy Dobson to make room for a larger one….The brick court house, built in 1857, by McCord of Talladega, was destroyed by fire in 1896.

(Concerns Wadley)

This region was settled in the thirties by the Harris, Hardy, Smith McGill, Roberts, Danniley, and Noel families…

In 1907, Mr. Bob Harris and Mr. Radney built brick stores.

(Concerns Graham)

Graham was first known as Brookville, as a family by the name of Brook first settled there, on the Old McIntosh Trail, while Alabama was yet a territory.

(Concerns Lamar)

S. W. Herring and James Lovvorn entered land in 1837. About this time the Daniels, Taylors and Breeds moved into the community.

(Concerns Rockstand)

Among the first settlers were Jasper Clark, Captain Ford and Alf Owen.

(Concerns Rock Mills)

Some of the early settlers were the Bradshaw, Foster, Hearn McClendon, Thomason, Sharman, Striplin, Hendricks, and Taylor families…

Fountain P. Randle, for many years superintendent of the mill(Rock Dale Manufacturing and Lumber Company), was a distinguished Confederate soldier, being made adjustant(sic) of his regiment for gallant conduct in the Battle of Chicamanga(sic).

Rockdale Academy was incorportated March 1, 1848 and located in Ranolph County. The trustees of this school were George W. White, George Quadlebum, Jeptha V. Smith,.. Archibald Sawyer and Francis Perryman.

Chulafinaee Academy was incorporated February 8, 1861 and located in Randolph County, with the following persons as trustees: Wm. H. McReynolds, C. P. Pittman, J. H. McClintook, A. W. Denman, I. H. Hall, W. T. Wood, J. J. Loagon, Henry Blake and C. W. Gay.

Randolph selected(for the first county school commissioners) W. H. Spruce, Joseph Benton and Wm. E. White. (Students at the Katewood Seminary at Louina, taught by Miss C. W. Barber. circa 1856) Missouri P. Barron, Fredonia A. Barber, Mary C. Barber, E. A. Barber, M. W. Barber, Mattie Caruthers, Amanda E. Corley, Mary C. Carpenter, Laura E. Carpenter, C. Carpenter, L. Carpenter, Sara Clarady, Marietta Clarady, Mary Crane, D. Crane, M. Crane, Rhoda Dannielly, Penelope Dannielly, Martha Forester, Emily Forester, Georgiana Forester, Julia Gay,… Sophia Gay, Alice Gilbert, Ladora Gilbert, Emma Gilbert, Artemicca Gilbert, Narcissa Gilbert, Abbie Hardanet, Mary L. Hooper, Mary Kelly, Martha Kelly, Sara H. Mitchell, Martha Melton, Samantha Melton, Mary Melton, Edna Pinkard, Sarah Pool, Martha Pool, Mary Stephens, Rebecca Thrift, Elizabeth Taylor, Mary Taylor, Susan Tomlinson, Winnie Wood, Elizabeth Young.

In 1875, Joseph Swint, J. I. Murray, J. L. Swann, J. F. Morgan, W. J. Jeter, G. V. Avery, white men and Henry Cantrel, colored, were paid some from the inexpended fund of the scholastic year, 1872.

White teachers paid partly with state funds(1876) were G. W. Hurst, K. S. Landers, Joseph Swint, J. Whitaker, T. C. Halpin, J. L. Murray, J. W. Swann, M. W. Smith, W. N. Connelly, J. J. Caston. G. B. Avery, W. J. P. Coter, W. L. Massey, C. F. Henderson, J. F. Morgan, W. V. Thomaspn, W. H. Durton. Colored teachers were J. W. Brown, H. Cantroll, and J. W. Brown.

In 1895 Professor J. L. Gregg was principal of the Farmers Academy, at Napoleon.

In 1840 the Rev. James P. McGehee was sent to Randolph Mission. He was followed by Rev. Abel Pearce, 1841, Rev. John Hunter, 1842, Rev. J. Kuykendall, 1843, Rev. James M. Welles, 1844, Rev. Wiley White, 1845. "According to data in hand McGill's Church, located in Randolph County, near and on the west side of the Tallapoosa River, a little north of Hutton's Ford, now Louina, was organized by the Rev. John Hunter on a week day in the summer of 1837. The principal members who constituted that Society were the Hardys, Harrises, McGills, and Smith. Spencer Smith, who had just settled where Daviston has recently sprung up was appointed class leader at McGill's Society upon its organization….Spencer Smith became a local preacher and died in 1883 at Rockford, Coosa County, at the age of 100 years….His son George R. W. Smith was received into the conference in 1840 and died while serving the Apalachoola, Florida church, in 1843." Anson West, "A History of Methodism in Alabama" page 369.

In the counties of Chambers and Randolph in 1836, desperate and unlawful measures were sometimes adopted to eject the missionary elements from the churches. In Randolph the chief leaders were James Boquomore and John Blackmon.

The Louina Eagle was started in 1855 by W. E. Gilbert and H. H. Barron with the later was editor. He retired in 1856 and J. Day Barron succeeded him.

The Randolph County News ..was published in Roanoke by Gibson and Burson, Publishers and Robert R. Burton, Editor. (1875)

The Roanoke Hearld was established in 1875 by Captain B. H. Kloser.

The Randolph Reformer was purchased by Mr. O. H. Stevenson in 1893….

Randolph was represented in the Senate(Alabama) from 1840 to 1845 by George Resce, an Independent from Chambers County.

Wyatt Heflin was a member of the House(Alabama)….In 1846, Jefferson Falkner of Randolph was elected Senator. (1850) John T. Heflin went to the Senate(Alabama) and his brother Robert Still Heflin to the House(Alabama). Both were Democratic, John T. a rabid secessionist and Robert S. a strong Union man.

In the State Convention of 1861 Randolph was represented by H. H. Gay, R. J. Wood, and George Forester.

The First Alabama Regiment of volunteers fro the Mexican War, was organized at Mobile, June, 1846 for twelve months.

William Reaves, son of Judge John Reaves, died of fever soon after reaching Texas. Travis Stalling died on the boat on route to Texas.

© "Tracking Your Roots"
All material contained on these pages is furnished for the free use of those researching
their family origins. Any commercial use, without the consent of the host/author of
these pages is prohibited--Copyright is retained by the author/contributor of the material and publication to any medium, electronic or non-electronic, without consent
is in violation of the law.  All persons contributing material for posting on
these pages do so in recognition of its free, non-commercial distribution, and are responsible for assuring that no copyright is violated by submission.

Login/Logout Form