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[vintage pics] This Alabama county was established, abolished and went through three name transitions

This Alabama county, the home of a prominent Alabamian was established, abolished and went through three name transitions.


First known as Jones County

Known as Jones County, being named in honor of E. P. Jones, of Fayette County, Alabama. Its territory was taken from Marion and Fayette Counties.

By an act of November 13, 1867, the county was abolished and its territory returned to the counties from which it was taken.

Next it was known as Sanford County

On October 8, 1868, an act was approved again creating a new county. However, Covington County had been renamed ‘Jones County’ the same year ( a change that lasted only a few months) so the new county was known as Sanford County and was out of the same territory as that which Jones had previously occupied. The name Sanford was in honor of H. C. Sanford of Cherokee County.Lamar County, Alabama

 

Had to deal with the aftermath of the Civil War

Its boundaries were as follows: “Starting at the Mississippi line and following township line between eleven and twelve, to where said township line crosses the range line between the thirteenth and fourteenth range; and following said range line southward to the Marion and Fayette line, and thence along the same line southward to its crossing the Pickens County line, and thence along the Pickens County line westward to the Mississippi line, State line, and northward along said line to township line, between township eleven and twelve.”

Since the county was created during the Reconstruction Era, it had to deal with the aftermath of the Civil War.

Finally named Lamar County

By act of February 8, 1877, Sanford County became Lamar County, and “all public property, rights and credits pertaining to said county of Sanford.” were transferred to Lamar. The new county was named in honor of Hon. Lucius Quinton Cincinnatus Lamar of Mississippi. The county comprised an area of 391,232 acres, or about 611 square miles. The county seat is Vernon.

James Greer Bankhead house built in 1840, Lamar County, Alabama

Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 EAST WALL OF LIVING ROOM

Bankhead, James Greer house

It is situated in the northwestern part of the State, and is bounded on the west by Lowndes and Monroe Counties, Mississippi, the north and northeast by Marion County, on the east by Fayette and on the south by Pickens County. The topography of the county varies from rolling to almost mountainous. Its level areas are limited.

James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 EAST WALL OF LIVING ROOM

Bankhead, James Greer house Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 EAST WALL OF LIVING ROOM - James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, Alabama

Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936

Bankhead, James Greer house, Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 SOUTH ELEVATION (SIDE) - James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 SOUTH ELEVATION (SIDE)

Bankhead, James Greer house Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 SOUTH ELEVATION (SIDE) - James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

Eastern half is rough and hilly

The eastern half of the county is rough and hilly, and the ridges marking the boundary between the major streams are from 250 to 300 feet above the water courses. In many cases the slopes are so precipitous as to give the valleys of Beaver, Yellow and Hell Creeks a gorge-like appearance. In the central and western parts of the county, with the exception of the area between Luxapallili and Mud Creeks, and between Mud and Yellow Creeks, the hills are broader and more rounded.

The drainage of the county is into the Tombigbee River. The streams are the Luxapallili and Buttahatchee Rivers, and Mud, Yellow, Hell, Wilson, Watson and Cut Bank Creeks. One writer says: “Lamar County lies in the southwestern border of the Cumberland plateau. The old shore line is approximately parallel to the east county line and about 15 miles to the east of it.”

Line between Lamar and Pickens once separated Choctaws and Chickasaws

Lamar County was embraced in the domain claimed by the Chickasaws. It is an interesting fact that the line separating Lamar and Pickens Counties was the ancient line separating the Choctaw and Chickasaw claims.

The Chickasaw claim to the country in which Lamar County is embraced was extinguished by the treaty of the Chickasaw Council House, September 20, 1816. There were no Chickasaw settlements in the county, and in ancient times prior to the expansion of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, after the American Revolution it was a part of that vast neutral hunting ground, used by them, and occasionally by the Creeks. Careful investigations have been made to locate if possible evidences of prehistoric relics or remains, but so far nothing has been found, although they have been found in contiguous parts of Mississippi.

Descendants of settlers from Georgia, South Carolina & Tennessee

Many residents of Lamar were descendants of the early settlers from Georgia and South Carolina. Few of the early emigrants were slave holders. Most of the settlers traveled to Lamar via General Andrew Jackson’s Military Road. Settlement was slow, due to the roughness of the country, and the distance of the markets. The early towns were small with only a small population. Some of the earliest towns included Vernon, the county seat which was originally named Swayne, Sulligent and Beaverton.

The town of Swayne was named for Wager Swayne, who served as Alabama’s governmental leader during Military Reconstruction. The name was changed to Vernon in 1868 when Lamar County was recreated after Edmund Vernon, an immigrant from Vernon, England.

Lamar County, Alabama courthouse ca. 1975

(Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Lamar_County_courthouse_in_Vernon_Alabama

The courthouse today is on the site of the original two-story frame building of brick courthouse that was replaced around 1909. The courthouse was again remodeled in 1950.

Bankheads were a prominent family of Lamar County

One of the early pioneer families of Lamar County was the Bankheads, who probably came down the Jackson Military Road. George Bankhead established a stage coach stop on the road and acquired land. James Greer Bankhead, the son of George Bankhead and his wife Jane (Greer) Bankhead, built the house included on this page in 1840 as part of a large plantation. James Greer Bankhead married Susan Fleming Hollis, daughter of John Hollis and Letitia Holliday, who was born January 25, 1822 in Moscow, Lamar County, Alabama.

James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 well on the side of the Bankhead house

Bankhead, James Greer house Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 WELL ON WEST SIDE OF HOME - James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

Confederate troops gathered in the front yard

Their son, Hon. John Hollis Bankhead, “gathered Confederate troops in the House’s front yard. John Hollis survived the war and was nominated to congress at the Fayette County Courthouse in 1886.

Bankhead was elected and served continuously from 1887 to 1907. He also served as a Senator until his death in 1920.”

James Bankhead’s two  grandsons, William Brockman and John Hollis, Jr. were born in the house. They later became distinguished public servants as did his son John Hollis, Sr.

William Brockman Bankhead served as Speaker of the House from 1936 until his death in 1940. He played on the University of Alabama’s first football team while he studied law there.

James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 door in living room of the Bankhead house

Bankhead, James Greer house Alex Bush, Photographer, March 4, 1936 - James Greer Bankhead House, U.S. Route 278, Sulligent, Lamar County, AL

President attended his funeral in Walker county, Alabama

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attended William Brockman Bankhead’s funeral in Jasper, Walker County, Alabama. William was the father of the famous actress Tallulah Bankhead.

John Hollis Bankhead, Jr. was a U. S. senator from the state of Alabama and like his father, he died in office in 1946 after being elected three times to the Senate. He suffered a stroke while attending an evening Senate committee meeting.

The Bankhead’s influence can be seen across the United States. The family names graces such historic places as Bankhead Lock and Dam in north Tuscaloosa County, Alabama; Bankhead National Forest in northwest Alabama; The Bankhead Highway that stretches from Washington, D. C. to San Diego, California.

First newspapers

The first newspaper published in Lamar county was The Vernon Pioneer. The Editors and Proprietors included William R. Smith, William R. Smith Jr., Smith, McCullough & Co, Sid B. Smith, and Don R. Aldridge.

In 1879, the Vernon Clipper was published by Alexander Cobb as Editor and Proprietor and later Alex A. Wall as Proprietor, followed by the Lamar News in 1886 by E. J. McNatt as Editor and Proprietor’ The Sulligent Lightning and The Vernon Courier in 1886 by Alex A. Wall as Editor and Publisher. Other newspapers were in1894 The Eagle-Eye; 1901 The Lamar Democrat: 1908 The Rural Educator: 1942 The Sulligent News.

Post office at Sulligent, Lamar County, Alabama ca. 1900 Greer Bankhead, postmaster and brother of John H. Bankhead, Sr., stands in the doorway. To the left of the door is Clyde Oldshue, assistant postmaster

(Alabama Department of Archives and History)Post office in Sulligent ca. 1900 Alabama st. archives

Greer Bankhead and his second wife, Emma, stand at the left. Bankhead was the postmaster of Sulligent and the brother of John H. Bankhead, Sr.Interior_of_the_post_office_in_Sulligent_Alabama

 

As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,564

Delegates to Constitutional Conventions

1875- M. L. Davis

1901 – C. C. NeSmith

Senators

1876-7- John Hollis Bankhead, Sr.

1878-9 – W. A. Musgrove

1880-1- W. A. Musgrove

1882-3 – A. L. Moorman

1884-5 – A. C. Moorman

1886-7 – Geo. C. Almon

1888-9 – Geo. C. Almon

1890-1 – R. L. Bradley

1892-3 – R. L. Bradley

1894-5- J. L. Hollis

1896-7- J. S. Hollis

1898-9 – T. L. Sowell

1899 (spec) – T. L. Sowell

1900-1 – J. J. Ray

1903 – Christopher Columbus NeSmith

1907 – M. L. Leith

1907 (spec) M. L. Leith

1909 (spec) – M. L. Leith

1911 – C. A. Beasley

1915 – J. C. Milner

1919 – M. L. Leith

Representatives

1876-7 D. W. Hollis

1878-9 J. H. Sanders

1880-1 John Hollis Bankhead

1882-3 T. B. NeSmith

1884-5 T. B. NeSmith

1886-7 R. L. Bradley

1888-9 R. L. Bradley

1890-1 M. L. Davis

1892-3 D. G. W. Hollis

1894-5 John D. McCluskey

1896-7 Walter NeSmith

1898-9 A. B. Seay

1899 (spec) – A. B. Seay

1900-01 – J. I Guyton

1903 – John Daniel McCluskey

1907 – C. W. White

1907 (spec) C. W. White

1909 (spec) C. W. White

1911 J. C. Milner

1915 L. D. Byrd

1919 A. W. Hollis

SOURCES

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Encyclopedia of Alabama
  3. Tuscaloosa News

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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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3 comments

  1. Lee Philen

    Thank you for info. I’m 56 years old and been in Alabama all my life and have never heard this. Very interesting

  2. Jeff Pollard

    I was asked by a linguist professor at Auburn University, where I was from, western Fayette County or Lamar County. I replied how can you tell? He said it was the was I pronounced “white”. We are connected by common dialect.

  3. […] There were a few plantations concentrated along the Buttahatchee River in the southern part of the Marion county that became Lamar County in 1867 (first formed as Sanford and Jones County). […]

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