Henry County was first proposed to be named Choctawhatchee for the river in that section of the State, but the name finally given on the passage of the act was Henry, in honor of Patrick Henry, the noble Virginia patriot.
Henry County was created by the legislature December 13, 1819. Its territory was nominally taken from Conecuh, established in 1818, but it was a part of the Creek cession of August 9, 1814.
Originally, it was of vast extent, including what is now Covington, Dale, Coffee, Geneva, Henry, and parts of Pike, Crenshaw and Barbour Counties. It was reduced by the establishment of Covington and Pike, both on December 7, 1821, Dale, December 22, 1824, Barbour, December 18, 1832, and Houston, February 9, 1903.
Eastern boundary is the Chattahoochee River
Situated in the southeast corner of the State. Barbour lies to the north, Houston to the south, and Barbour and Dale Counties on the west. Its eastern boundary is the Chattahoochee River, which is also the State boundary.
The northern two-thirds is a hilly region, and includes rough and broken country, with occasional gently rolling areas. Numerous small streams have eroded this section, and given it a choppy contour. The southern third of the county is level to gently rolling, its features in some places resembling a dessicated plain.
Chunnennuggee Ridge entered the county at County Line Church, and continues south through Lawrenceville and Abbeville, practically terminating below the latter. This ridge forms the drainage, divide of the waters of the Chattahoochee River on the east, and the Choctawhatchee on the west.
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad followed the dividing ridge to the south from Abbeville, crossing no streams during its entire length of about 25 miles.
Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, ALm Historic American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934 FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, S.W. – Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, AL
Franklin first white settlement
After 1814, the colonial settlers’ developed Franklin as the first white settlement in the Creek territory. The former river port served Abbeville on the Chattahoochee River. Much of the original Henry County was part of the original Alabama wiregrass region.
The act of Creation named William C. Watson, John Fannin, Joel T. McClendon, Johnson Wright, Captain S. Smith as commissioners for the location of the seat of justice and establishment of the boundaries of Henry County.
The first commissioners were directed to superintend the erection of a courthouse and jail, and to levy taxes not exceeding one-half the amount of state taxes to defray all expenses incident to put into effect the act to set up the machinery of government for the county. On December 18, 1821, the Legislature named William Beauchamp, Robert Irvin, William Irvin, Stephen Matthews and James Rabb to be county commissioners and fix a county site.
They named the county site, Richmond remembering Patrick Henry’s speech there. “Give me Liberty or give me death”
At Richmond, they immediately elected a representative to State Legislature, Benjamin Harvey. Precincts were located at homes of William C. Watson, John Fannin, and Captain S. Smith.
The first court was held in the home of John G. Morgan, the sheriff, by Judge Reuben Saffold, a judge of the second district Circuit Court in 1820.
Irwin-McAllister House, Fort Gaines Highway, Shorterville, Henry County, AL
Chitley House on River Road County Road 97 Shorterville, Henry County, Alabama December 12, 1934, W. N. Manning, Photographer FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, S.E. + S.
Many tributaries to the Choctawhatchee River
The elevation at Abbeville is 499 feet, and at Headland 409 feet. The county is well watered and drained. Through the western section flows the Choctawhatchee River. Its principal tributaries are Cowpens, Piney Woods, Indian, Panther, Poor, and Blackwood Cheeks. Into the Chattahoochee on the east flow Abbie and Omussee Creeks.
The county lies wholly within the coastal plain, and its soil materials were deposited either beneath the water or along the margins of an ancient sea which at one time covered this general region.
The climate is generally mild. Snow rarely falls, and the soil is seldom frozen more than one or two inches in depth.
Lower Creek towns were in Henry County
Along the Chattahoochee River are found numerous evidence of primitive settlement. The Lower Creek towns extended into the territory now occupied by the county, and it is also possible that the Seminole villages did as well. Wi-Kai Lako was one of these towns. Domicilliary mounds are found near Purcell’s Landing. In sec. 4, T. 6, R. 28, on property that Will Culpepper, owned was a mound four feet high. On the Elbert Mooring place was an Indian cemetery. Pattayabba Creek may take its name from Ataphalgi (meaning Dogwood), a Seminole town of southwest Georgia. The latter no doubt had settlements on the Alabama side of Chattahoochee River.
Abbeville was designated as the county seat in 1833. Part of Dothan is in the Henry County, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Bethune -Kennedy House in Abbeville, Henry County, Alabama –This rare, dual front door, double pen Creole cottage was constructed circa 1840 on the military three-notch road, now Kirkland Street. It is the oldest remaining structure in Abbeville. Earliest known owner was Confederate Colonel William Calvin Bethune, M.D. Last owner-dweller was Mollie Kennedy. To avoid immediate demolition, it was purchased in 1976, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and initially restored by the Henry County Historical Society. It is presently owned by the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce.
Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, ALHistoric American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934, HALL AND REAR DOOR, N. END OF HOUSE
General Bartlett Smith (January 23, 1792 — December 16, 1843) was among the earliest settlers of Henry County settling in the area around Ezekiel M. Attaway’s Store near the Emmassee Indian Village on the Emmasse Creek where it enters the Chattahoochee River. He was a native of Tennessee.
Col. Bartlett Smith was an officer in the 25th Regimental Division, 11th Brigade of the Alabama Militia beginning July 27, 1829. Alabama Governor John Gayle raised Smith to Brigadier General of the Militia during the last Creek Indian Wars in 1836.
George Jones and Peter Simmons filled vacancies in the court caused by the death of Benjamin Harvey and the resignation of Bartlett Smith on June 27, 1827.
Around 1828 – The next legislature appointed commissioners: Moses Kirkland, Joel T. McClendon, Sion Smith, Moses Weems and Andrew Gamble.
Post Offices and Towns.—Revised to July 1, 1919, from U. S. Official Postal Guide.Numbers indicate the number of rural routes from that office.
- Abbeville (ch)—6
Delegates to Constitutional Conventions
- 1861—H. E. Owens, T. T. Smith.
- 1865—William H. Wood.
- 1867—Richard M. Johnson.
- 1875—William C. Oates, Alexander C. Gordon.
- 1901—George H. Malone, T. M. Espy, R. J. Reynolds.
- 1822-3— J. W. Devereux.
- 1825-6— William Irwin.
- 1828-9—William Irwin.
- 1831-2—William Irwin.
- 1834-5—William Irwin.
- 1837-8—Richard C. Spann.
- 1838-9—James Ward.
- 1840-1Angus McAllister
- 1843-4—James Ward.
- 1847-8—Angus McAllister.
- 1849-50—Elisha Mathews.
- 1853-4—James Searcy.
- 1857-8—James H. McKinne.
- 1859-60—William Wood.
- 1863-4—Reddick P. P’eacock.
- 1865-6—William H. Wood.
- 1868—Philip King. 1871-2—
- Philip King.
- 1872-3—J. M. Carmichael.
- 1873—J. M. Carmichael.
- 1874-5—J. M. Carmichael.
- 1875-6—J. M. Carmichael.
- 1876-7—A. C. Gordon.
- 1878-9—A. C. Gordon.
- 1880-1—F. M. Rushing.
- 1882-3—F. M. Rushing.
- 1884-5—C. H. Laney.
- 1886-7—C. H. Laney.
- 1888-9—W. C. Steagall.
- 1890-1—W. C. Steagall.
- 1892-3—R. H. Walker.
- 1894-5—R. H. Walker.
- 1896-7—Geo. W. Brooks.
- 1898-9—George W. Brooks.
- 1899 (Spec.)—George W. Brooks.
- 1900-01—Walter Acree.
- 1903—William Oates Long.
- 1907—B. A. Forrester.
- 1907 (Spec.)—B. A. Forrester.
- 1909 (Spec.)—B. A. Forrester.
- 1911—J. J. Espy. 1915—W.T. Hall.
- 1919—J. B. Espy.
- 1822-3—Benjamin Harvey.
- 1823-4—Benjamin Harvey.
- 1824-5—William C. Watson.
- 1825-6—William C. Watson.
- 1826-7—Bartlett Smith; Charles A. Dennis.
- 1827-8—James Ward; Charles A. Dennis.
- 1828-9—Josiah D. Cawthorn.
- 1829-30—James Ward.
- 1830-31—James Ward.
- 1831-2—James Ward.
- 1832 (called)—James Ward.
- 1832-3—James Ward.
- 1833-4—Abner Hill.
- 1834-5—Abner Hill; James Ward.
- 1835-6—George W. Williams; James Ward; Alexander C. Gordon.
- 1836-7—James Ward; Alexander C. Gordon.
- 1837 (called)—James Ward; Alexander C. Gordon.
- 1837-8—George W. Williams; Alexander C. Gordon.
- 1838-9—James Murphy; A. J. McAllister.
- 1839-40—James Murphy; A. J. McAllister.
- 1840-1—Alexander Blackshear; James Pynes.
- 1841 (called)—Alexander Blackshear; James Pynes.
- 1841-2—Bartlett Smith; A. J. McAllister.
- 1842-3—William Gamble; James Pynes.
- 1843-4—George W. Williams; Richard McGriff.
- 1844-5—William Gamble; Moses K. Speight.
- 1845-6—George W. Williams; Richard McGriff.
- 1847-8—George W. Williams; James Pynes.
- 1849-50—Mathew Ferryman; J. J. Sowell.
- 1851-2—G. W. Williams, A. J. McAllister.
- 1853-4—Aaron Odom; J. F. Hays.
- 1855-6—Aaron Odom; James Pynes.
- 1857-8—James Murphy; James Pynes.
- 1859-60—P. M. Thomas; B. C. Flake.
- 1861 (1st called)—P. M. Thomas; B. C. Flake.
- 1861 (2d called)—Levi Parish; C. J. Reynolds.
- 1861-2—Levi Parish; C. J. Reynolds.
- 1862 (called)—Levi Parish; C. J. Reynolds.
- 1862-3—Levi Parish; C. J. Reynolds.
- 1863 (called)—Levi Parish; G. W. Williams.
- 1863-4—Levi Parish; G. W. Williams.
- 1864 (called)—Levi Parish; G. W. Williams.
- 1864-5—Levi Parish; G. W. Williams.
- 1865-6—G. W. Culver; Aaron Odom.
- 1866-7—G. W. Culver; Aaron Odom.
- 1868—E. E. Tiller.
- 1869-70—E. E. Tiller.
- 1870-1—William C. Oates.
- 1871-2—W. C. Oates.
- 1872-3—H. Purcell.
- 1873—H. Purcell.
- 1874-5—H. Purcell.
- 1875-6—H. Purcell.
- 1876-7—Thos. F. Espy.
- 1878-9—R. J. Reynolds.
- 1880-1—S. E, Bowden.
- 1882-3—R. J. Reynolds.
- 1884-5—J. W. Foster.
- 1886-7—J. W. Foster.
- 1888-9—J. B. Ward.
- 1890-1—George Leslie.
- 1892-3—John B. Ward; John F. Dorsey.
- 1894-5—J. B. Ward; T. E. Williams.
- 1896-7—T. M. Espy; S. B. Wood.
- 1898-9—B. A. Forrester; M. V. Capps.
- 1899 (Spec.)—B. A. Forrester; M. V. Capps.
- 1900-01—W. O. Long; John B. Ward.
- 1903—Thomas Marion Espy; Charles Barkley Searcy.
- 1907—J. W. Malone; J. R. Vann.
- 1907 (Spec.)—J. W. Malone; J. R. Vann.
- 1909 (Spec.)—J. W. Malone; J. R. Vann.
- 1911—W. J. Capps; I. M. Doswell.
- 1915—J. B. Ward; J. J. Espy.
- 1919—J. T. Griffin; R. F. Hall
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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Removal: Lost & Forgotten Stories
includes the following stories
- Plan for Indian Removal Started With President Thomas Jefferson
- Intrigue and Murder After Treaty At Indian Springs
- President Adams And Governor In A Stand-off
- Gold Causes Expulsion Of The Cherokees
- Cherokee Chief Ross Became Homeless