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The short life of Baker County, Alabama, a county without a history – was created on December 30th

On this day, December 30th, in 1868, the county of Baker was created from portions of Autauga, Shelby, Bibb, and Perry, by a legislative act.


There were no towns in the county of Baker in 1872 and it had no history, so in 1872 it was not entitled to representation in Alabama.

The county was named for Mr. Alfred Baker (1828-1896) a resident of the portion taken from Autauga. He was credited with founding the town of Clanton, in Chilton County, Alabama. He donated as much as half of the original building lots. Baker was the first mayor and built a storehouse east of the railroad. He later built a more modern depot west of the railroad along with a two-story hotel.

John Baker,  brother of Alfred Baker (1825-1915)

John Baker 1825-1915 - Autauga county and chilton,

Make Your House Do the Housework

Served in the Confederacy

Mr. Baker was a 2nd Lieutenant and member of the Autauga Rangers Home Guard. He enlisted at the age of 34 in Autauga County, Alabama. He served as the Justice of Peace of Autauga County, Alabama and served as on the Governor’s Correspondence from 1863-64. After the war, he was a member of the State Legislature and Post Master at Grantville, the county seat of Baker.

Alfred Baker tombstone

Alfred A. Baker tombstone

Baker County was in the center of the State

He was married to Rebecca Ann Mims (1830-1912) Baker County was in the center of the State, west of Coosa, north of Autauga, south of Shelby, and east of Bibb and Perry. It had an area of about 700 square miles. There were forty-four and a half miles of railroad in the county; thirty-two miles of the road from Montgomery to Decatur, and twelve and a half miles of the Selma to Rome Railroad. The Coosa river was the eastern boundary line, but was not made navigable.

Baker county seat at Grantville

The original county seat was at Grantville but when the courthouse burned in 1870, It was moved to Goosepond, a stop on the Louisville and Nashville railroad. Goosepond was renamed Clanton in honor of James Holt Clanton, an American soldier, lawyer, and legislator. Clanton enlisted in the United States Army for service during the Mexican–American War, and later was a Confederate Army general during the American Civil War. Following the war he returned to practicing law and later was murdered in a private feud in Tennessee.

Goosepond Park, Clanton, Alabama

Goose Pond Park, Clanton, Alabama

 

James Holt Clanton

James Holt Clanton

Viewed him as a Carpet Bagger

As Baker’s political and business affiliations grew, the people of Clanton began to view him as too cooperative with the Northern Carpet Baggers and led a successful campaign to rename the county, changing it to Chilton County in honor of William Parrish Chilton, the Alabama Delegate to the Confederate Congress. The town had about 200 inhabitants around 1872.

The only town in Baker County in 1872 was Baker, which later became Chilton County, Alabama and Baker had no history, and was not entitled to separate representation in the general assembly.

SOURCES:

  1. Alabama, her history, resources, war record, and public men By Willis Brewer
  2. findagrave.com 6673735 & 95770859
  3. Clanton history
  4. Chilton County Historical Society
  5. Check out all the books on Alabama Pioneers…

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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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30 comments

  1. Very informative article on the history of Baker County. My ancestors – Jones, Woolley, Attaway, Smitherman, and Williams. When I first started my family history research, Bakery County had me totally confused. It only showed up once in the Census (1870) and then disappeared. It was one of my first experiences when I found out that genealogy research was all not easy and straight forward. I love your website. I have found much information about my Alabama families from the site and ebooks.

    1. James Jones, do you have an A.T. Woolley that married an Elizabeth Jordan in 1866? I do not know what A.T.s actual name was. Elizabeth was the first child born to Samuel and Sarah Jordan in Virginia.

  2. Although there may have been no incorporated towns in Baker County in 1872, there were some goodly sized active communities well before this time.One of them, Old Maplesville came into being in the 1820’s as a stage stop at the crossroads of the Ft. Jackson Road and the Selma Road when that area was in Bibb Co. A number of businesses existed before the town moved to Maplesville Depot at the town of Cuba in 1853 were it remains to this day. The cemetery at Old Maplesville has the county’s oldest marked gave, Elizabeth Rucker who died in 1834.

  3. That should read “Baker County and Its People”.

    1. You are right. Thanks

  4. Winifred Allen Akridge

    I understand that Baker County became Chilton County.

  5. Betty Jean Sheffield

    Alfred was my step great great grandfather.

  6. John Baker was the oldest of four brothers that came to Alabama from Darlington District, South Carolina in 1825. They settled around the Walnut Creek area. He was my great great granddaddy.

  7. The article here about John Baker says he was a 2nd
    Lt. In the Autauga Ranger a Home Guard. According to information found in the booke Chilton County Heritage John Baker refused to enlist. He may have objectived to “fighting a rich man’s war”. He was also a very religious man and may have objected on religious grounds.

    1. His service record reads Corp, Com D, 4th Ala. Vol Militia, enlisted 3-18-1862 for 90 days service, he was discharged 6-16-1862, he was paid $39 and signed with an X. He was 36 yrs. old, a farmer from Prattsville, Autauga, Ala, born in Darlington Dist., SC. He was 5’11”, hazel eyes, dark hair, red complexion.

  8. Alfred Baker was my ggg uncle. His brother, Anderson Baker was my ggg grandfather. Anderson was married to Elizabeth Mims. Their daughter was Martha Baker, my gg grandmother, who married Sylvester “Buddie” Headley, who was my gg grandfather. They had a daughter, Dora Jane Headley, my great grandmother, who married my great grandfather Joe Duncan. They had a daughter Katie Duncan, my grandmother. Katie married my grandfather J.C. Jones, who had a son, my dad, Carl Jones.
    Goosepond was the first railroad stop in Baker County and the beginning of Clanton, named by my ggg uncle Alfred Baker. He had the first general store in Clanton. Alfred was born in Darlington District, South Carolina . His brothers were
    John, Stephen, and Anderson. Anderson was in the Confederate Cavalry.

    1. Goosepond may have been the first stop on the L & N but the Goodwin’s donated the land for a depot at “New” Maplesville in 1853 when the Alabama and Tennessee Rivers Railroad was laid through from Selma when west Chilton was part of Bibb County.

  9. My Grandmother is from Clanton…….Irene Willis Wiggins……she is buried there…..

  10. Where do I find Baker county and its people?

    1. It is part of Chilton and Autauga County now.

  11. Alfred was married to the daughter of James G. Mims, a prominent landowner. Her name was Rebecca Ann Mims. Her Mother was Feraba Winniford Reynolds. Mr. Mims donated the land for Walnut Methodist Church .

  12. Good article, Donna. I’m sure it tore down a few brick walls.

    1. Thanks Peggy, I hope it did.

  13. I’m eager to learn more about the Jones families from the area.

  14. My great grandpa, Luke Washington Jones

  15. This story creates a mystery for me. I have information that shows that this Alfred Baker married one of my Great Grand Aunts on 12 April 1877. Her name was Mary Ann Johnson from Shelby County. She seems to have been born 4 Sep 1834 in Shelby County and died on 14 March 1925 in Tarrant City, Jefferson County. My records show that she developed mental problems and spent some time in and out of the state mental institution at Tuscaloosa. I show sons Cary and Amos B. Can anyone provide additional information?

  16. Alfred was also later married Mary Ann Johnson (1830- 1925) on April 12 1877 in Chilton County, Alabama. She was the daughter of Jacob and Saritha Johnson of the Cahaba Valley area of Shelby County. She apparently developed mental problems in her later years and spent some time in the Alabama Mental Hospital.

    1. Hello, Ron! Alfred Baker was my great-great grandfather. I have tried to find the parents of Mary Ann Johnson Moatts Baker for many years. Are you sure that it was Jacob and Saritha? I have the medical records from Mary Ann (aka Polly) time in Bryces.

  17. Very interesting history on Baker/Chilton County. I have a map published in 1868 with Baker as name of the Chilton County area.
    I grew up in Clanton and remember visiting with a very old lady in the early fifties, who lived in a very old house located one block north of the FBC, on the same side of the street. She remembered the day that Yankee soldiers marched in front of the house into the little town to take control of the area….a story I often repeated to my history students.

  18. Randy Rooks

    Alfred Baker is my 6th great grandfather.

  19. Anne Jester Turner

    Some facts about towns in Baker County before Chilton was formed are questionable. A 1868 Johnson map shows Clanton, in bold letters, sitting on the t N, S railroad. Also Jemison, Lomax, and Verbena are shown on this map.

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