Days Gone By - stories from the past

TOWNS IN THE ALABAMA TERRITORY – the ghost town of Blakeley was destined to become a great city!

(Continued TOWNS IN THE ALABAMA TERRITORY)


(The following story is the second section of a news article written in 1817 which is descriptive of early towns in the Alabama Territory. It was published in 1817 when Alabama was still a Territory and first printed in the New York Herald, then copied in the Alabama Republican, and finally published in the Huntsville newspaper. St. Stephens, located on the Tombigbee River, about 100 miles above Mobile, was “a town of considerable importance” with a population of several thousand people. Today, the only thing that remains at St. Stephens is a marble shaft marking the spot as the Capital of Alabama Territory, 1817-1819. The article has been transcribed from The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol 03, No. 01, Spring Issue 1941 – See all parts of the article at: Towns in the Alabama Territory)

Town of Blakeley

The town of Blakeley is regularly laid out, with streets 99 feet wide running at right angles, east and west, north and south. It is situated upon two general branches of land; the one in front on the river (3000 feet from the margin is 25 feet in height above tide water; then about one quarter of a mile back the ground rises gradually for half a mile, till it gains an elevation above the level of the sea of one hundred feet— a beautiful plane into a ridge of two hundred and fifty feet above high water marks.

blakeley-state-park-2010-highsmithBlakeley State Park located on the Tensa River by Carol Highsmith 2010 (Library of Congress)

Fort_Blakely_map2

Plentiful fresh water

No town in the United States is better supplied with fresh water, than Blakely. A great multitude of never failing copious springs of the purest water issue from the high table of land within the plat of the town, as well as from the high ridge in its rear. So that however extensive the town may, by means of aqueducts, be accommodated with a plenty of the best of water. Such a privilege is rarely to be realized in seaports, especially in so warm a climate as that on the coast of Florida. The numerous groves of majectice (sic) live oaks, interspersed over the cite (sic) of Blakely, will, with judicious reservations of such as fall within the streets, not only become a great ornament to the town, but be a source of much comfort to the inhabitants during the influence of an almost vertical sun.

Just hours after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee miles away in Virginia, the Battle of Blakeley was fought at Fort Blakeley on April 9, 1865 at 5:30 p.m. It was a major news event in the ongoing coverage of the Civil War as depicted in the scene above from "Harper's Weekly" of May 17, 1865. "Probably the last charge of this war, it was as gallant as any on record," Harper's reported. Historic Blakeley State Park was created in 1981 to preserve the National Register Site and its 5 1/2 miles of pristine breastworks
Just hours after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee miles away in Virginia, the Battle of Blakeley was fought at Fort Blakeley on April 9, 1865 at 5:30 p.m. It was a major news event in the ongoing coverage of the Civil War as depicted in the scene above from “Harper’s Weekly” of May 17, 1865. “Probably the last charge of this war, it was as gallant as any on record,” Harper’s reported. Historic Blakeley State Park was created in 1981 to preserve the National Register Site and its 5 1/2 miles of pristine breastworks. Historic Blakeley State Park, scene of the last major battle of the Civil War, Spanish Fort, Alabama Carol Highsmith 2010 (Library of Congress)

This promising town is rapidly improving—Some of the principle (sic) merchants at Mobile, and also several mercantile gentlemen from New York, Boston, New Orleans, and elsewhere, have recently purchased lots of original proprietors, and are now erecting suitable warehouses, stores & dwelling houses in Blakely preparatory to extensive business there in the fall.

Blakeley - Carol M. Highsmith photographer 1946Blakeley is an Alabama State Park today Carol Highsmith 2010 (Library of Congress)

There is at present a great competition between the proprietors of Blakely and Mobile. Which town is to take the lead in trade is at present unknown. It will depend much upon the force of capital, and the description of people, who are not yet settled in either town. For the capital there now is very inconsiderable, and the population small.

RELATED STORIES

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS – Settlement: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 2) is a collection of lost and forgotten stories of the first surveyors, traders, and early settlements of what would become the future state of Alabama.

Read about:

  • A Russian princess settling in early Alabama
  • How the early settlers traveled to Alabama and the risks they took
  • A ruse that saved immigrants lives while traveling through Native American Territory
  • Alliances formed with the Native Americans
  • How an independent republic, separate from the United States was almost formed in Alabama

See All Alabama Footprints Series by Donna R. Causey

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS – Settlement: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 2) (Paperback)


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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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9 comments

  1. Janey Whitten Sabel

    TY for your interesting work. It’s refreshing to read substantive works.

    1. Alabama Pioneers

      Thank you Janey. We enjoy sharing these treasured tidbits from Alabama’s past. It is like a treasure hunt for me.

    2. Martha Morgan

      Alabama Pioneers I really enjoy your site and have recommended it to others.

  2. Marion Smith

    Love reading about Alabama. I am from a little town in Alabama. Always enjoy what ever people might say..Thank you for posting this news.

  3. Hal Smith

    Very interesting thanks for sharing

  4. James Henley Smith

    I have several of Ms. Causey’s books. Great read for Alabama history buffs, I love to get lost in them…

  5. […] to church, I was disappointed to find no Protestant place of worship. I had travelled hard to reach Blakeley or Mobile on Saturday night; and could I have supposed that I should find no Protestant church in […]

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