First highways in Alabama were only beaten trails and sometimes travelers became entangled in vegetation as the two men did.
Conecuh County was initially part of Monroe County
Conecuh did not become a separately organized county until January 1818. Prior to this time, it was embraced within the limits of Monroe county, which then embraced an extensive tract of territory, extending from east to west, from the Chattahoochee to the Alabama. But after the organization of Conecuh into a county, it was bounded on the north by Monroe and Montgomery counties, on the west by Clarke and Mobile, on the east by Georgia, and on the south by Florida—-then a Spanish province.
Richard Warren became the first representative of the county In the Territorial Legislature, which met then at St. Stephens, in Washington county. Ransom Dean (brother-in-law to Col. J. R. Hawthorne), was the first sheriff, and by virtue of his office, was tax assessor and collector, as well. Joel Lee (the father of Rev. David Lee), was the first justice of the peace appointed in Conecuh. He was appointed by Gov. William Bibb.
Highways were beaten trails
For a long time after the settlement of this portion of Alabama, inhabitants had to adopt for their highways the beaten trails of the Red Man, which threaded the forests in all directions, and led through the dense cane that skirted the streams, at the only points where it could be penetrated, and where the streams themselves could be forded.
They were entangled in a glade of cane
To form some estimate of the density of these brakes, which prevailed with uniform impenetrableness along the banks of all streams alike, the present inhabitant of Conecuh has only to be told the following anecdote:
On one occasion a gentleman living near Burnt Corn, Captain Hayes, accompanied by his young friend, Jere Austill—afterwards celebrated because of his connection with the famous Canoe Fight—was traveling in lower Conecuh, exploring the fertile lands which lie along Murder Creek.
Returning after nightfall, they attempted to cross Bellville branch, just where the road now crosses between the village and the house of James Straughn, and became entangled in the glade of cane. After wading through the mud for some time, and finding no relief, in their perplexity they set up a yell of distress, which was promptly answered by Joshua Hawthorne, who hastened to their relief, with several negro men, bearing lighted torches, and extricated them.
First public road ran from Cahaba to Pensacola
In 1822 the first public road that ever penetrated any portion of the county, was cut by order of the Legislature. It was then about the most important thoroughfare in the State. It ran from Cahaba, via Old Turnbull and Bellville, to Pensacola, and was afterward known as “the Old Stage Road.”
Note by AP:” The “Old Stage Road” was once an Indian horse path which the Creek Indian Nation gave the United States Government permission to use to allow passage through for settlers on their way westward. The path later used for wagon trains and stagecoaches. Burnt Corn was a stop over for Stage Coaches. The Isaac Betts house located on the Old Federal Road was one of the Stage’s stopping point.
(Transcription from History of Conecuh County, Alabama: Embracing a detailed record of events…pub. 1881 By Benjamin Franklin Riley)
Some stories include:
- The true story of the first Mardi Gras in America and where it took place
- The Mississippi Bubble Burst – how it affected the settlers
- Did you know that many people devoted to the Crown settled in Alabama –
- Sophia McGillivray- what she did when she was nine months pregnant
- Alabama had its first Interstate in the early days of settlement