Days Gone By - stories from the past

Alabama legislature passed a lottery to improve Buttahatchee River

The Buttahatchee River is a tributary to the Tombigbee River having its source in Winston and flowing to Marion County, then flowing southwestwardly, through Marion and the northern extremity of Lamar County, to its junction with the Tombigbee, about 20 miles above Columbus, Mississippi.

Flows through Marion and Lamar Counties

The Buttahatchee River rises in northwestern Winston County, Alabama, near the town of Delmar, and flows generally westwardly through Marion County, where it collects a short tributary, the West Branch Buttahatchee River. At Hamilton, Alabama, the river turns to the southwest and flows through Lamar County, Alabama and Monroe County, Mississippi; its lower reach is used to define part of the boundary between Monroe and Lowndes Counties. The Buttahatchee joins the Tombigbee near Columbus Air Force Base, 12 mi north-northwest of Columbus.


Lottery was used to improve the river

In December, 1820, the Alabama Legislature passed an act authorizing Anthony Winston, William Wilson, Jesse VanHoose, James Davis, Robert Gillespie, Isaac Anderson, James Moore, William Metcalf, Jabez Fitzgerald, Lemuel Bean, J. S. Fulton, Richard Ellis and John D. Terrell, to raise by lottery a sum not exceeding $30,000, to be appropriated exclusively to the improvement of the navigation of the Buttahatchee River. The act provided that “within a convenient and reasonable time after the lottery shall have been drawn,” the work of improving the river should be let by contract to the lowest bidder. What work was done if anything, under this authority is not known. (Acts, 1820, pp. 34-35).What work was done if anything, under this authority is not known.

Choctaw Name

The name “Buttahatchee” is Choctaw for “sumac river”, from bati, “sumac”, and hahcha, “river. A key Indian location is marked by three large mounds on the Buttahatchee River just south of Hamilton, Alabama, at the so-called “Military Ford”, where Andrew Jackson’s Military Road crossed that river.

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).

More historic Alabama stories can be found in ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS: Settlement: Lost & Forgotten Stories


  • A Russian princess settling in early Alabama
  • How the early setters 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

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

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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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 All her books can be purchased at 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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  1. First thing I would do would be change the name of the river! lol

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