Days Gone By - stories from the past

Clay County – where the highest point and the Alabama Gold Camp is located

(Clay County, Alabama is a beautiful place to take a vacation. With Cheaha State Park, Lake Wedowee and the Alabama Gold Camp all in the county, there is plenty to do. Check out upcoming events including the fair Oct. 19, 20, 21)

Clay County is home to parts of Cheaha State Park in the Talladega National Forest and Lake Wedowee on the eastern boundary. Outdoor adventures abound in Clay County and the surrounding area.

Lake Wedowee

lake Wedowee

The Pinhoti Trail system weaves its way through the Talladega National Forest to Mt. Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama. Hikers along the trail may spy some of the local wildlife, including whitetail deer, wild turkey, and the rare bald eagle.

Pinhoti Trail

pinhoti Trail system

Cheaha State Park

Cheaha State Park

Clay County was created by the legislature December 7, 1866, from Randolph and Talladega counties. It bears the name of Henry Clay, the distinguished Kentucky statesman, and Whig leader.

View from Cheaha State Park


The county is located in the east-central part of the state, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It encompasses 605 square miles. The Talladega National Forest is located in the western part of the county. The county seat is located in Ashland. Other communities include Lineville and Mellow Valley.Clay county map

The act of establishment named James L. Barnhill, A. A. West, H. A. Manning and W. J. Pearce as commissioners to hold an election on March 4, 1867, to elect the authorized county officers, and also to hold an election for county site.

The town of Lineville was named as the place of holding the courts until a suitable court house could be ejected. As a result of the contest, a small place was selected, to which the name of Ashland was given, so called for the home of Mr. Clay, for whom the county had been named.

Gold has been found in Lineville, Alabama where Alabama gold camp is locatedLineville, Alabama gold camp

Paving at Courthouse in Ashland, Clay County, Alabama 1934


The officers elected were James L. Williams, probate judge; Wm. D. Haynes, clerk of the circuit court and W. L. Dick, sheriff.

Clay County was formed as the citizens had a difficult time reaching the county seats of Wedowee in Randolph County because of the river to the east and Talladega was difficult to reach because of the intervening mountains. Even today, Clay County is the only county in Alabama to have no US Highways in its boundaries.

Last Creek lands to be ceded

The territory is included in the Creek lands last to be ceded, March 24, 1832 and the Upper Creek towns of Anati tchapko, a Hillabl village on a northern tributary of Hillabi Creek; Hillabi on Koufadi Creek; ‘Laundshi Apala, 15 miles above Hillabi; and Uktaha-Sa’ai a branch of Hillabi town, were all in its boundaries. Some of the former town sites can be identified . A stone mound is recorded in sec. 28 T. 19. S., R. 7 E., as well as ancient mica quarries. Stone pipes found throughout the locality show large admixtures of mica, and many objects of granite are noted.

Post Offices and Towns.—Revised to July 1, 1917, from U. S. Official Postal Guide. (Numbers indicate the number of rural routes from that office.)

  • Ashland (ch)-5
  • Crawford—2
  • Clairmont Springs
  • Delta—3
  • Hollins—1
  • Lineville—4
  • Millerville—3
  • Pyriton—2
  • Quenelda

Delegates to Constitutional Conventions.

  • 1867—Thomas Adams.
  • 1875—J. H. White.
  • 190l—E. A. Phillips


  • 1868—Green T. McAfee.
  • 1871-2—G. T. McAfee.
  • l1872-3—A. Cunningham.
  • 1873—A. Cunningham.
  • 1874.5—A. Cunningham.
  • 1875-6—A. Cunningham.
  • 1876-7—M. G. Slaughter.
  • 1878-9—P. N. Duncan.
  • 1880-1—P. N. Duncan,
  • 1882-3—Merritt Street.
  • 1884-5—Merritt Street.
  • 1886-7—Cecil Browne.
  • 1888-9—Cecil Browne.
  • 1890-1—W. M. Lackey.
  • 1892-3—W. M. Lackey.
  • 1894-5—H. L. McElderry.
  • 1896-7—Hugh L. McElderry.
  • 1898-9—John “R. McCain.
  • 1899 (Spec.)—John R. McCain.
  • 1900-01—J. R. McCain.
  • 1903—Walter Scott Smith.
  • 1907—IV M. White.
  • 1907 (Spec.)—D. M. White.
  • 1909—D. M. White.
  • 1911—W. B. Merrill.
  • 1915—J. R. McCain.
  • 1919—O. T. Smith.



  • 1870-1—J. H. White.
  • 1868—T. W. Newsom.
  • 1869-70—T. W. Newsom.
  • 1871-2—J. H. White.
  • 1872-3—J. H. White.
  • 1873—J. H. White.
  • 1874-5—James D. Barren.
  • 1875-6—James D. Barron.
  • 1876-7—L. A. Gibson.
  • 1878-9—J. M. Kennedy.
  • 1880-1—T. W. Newsom.
  • 1882-3—J. D. Carmichael.
  • 1884-5—Wm. Ingram.
  • 1886-7—W. C. Simmons.
  • 1888-9—J. A. J. Nelson.
  • 1890-1—T. H. Howie.
  • 1892-3—Robert D. Evans.
  • 1894-5—J. C. Manning.
  • 1896-7—D. M. Carmichael.
  • 1899 (Spec.)—H. Clay Knight.
  • 1899 (Spec.)—H. Clay Knight.
  • 1900-01—J. D. Carmichael.
  • 1903—William H. Preston.
  • 1907—J. D. Carmichael.
  • 1907 (Spec.)—J. D. Carmichael.
  • 1909 (Spec.)—J. D. Carmichael.
  • 1911—W. H. Preston.
  • 1915—W. R. Pruett.
  • 1919—F. J. Ingram.



  1. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography,Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen S. J. Clarke publishing Company, 192, Vol. I
  2. Alabama Gold camp

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  2. been there it is beautiful

  3. Formerly Talladega County until 1866…

  4. Home sweet home! And the Gold Camp is actually in Cragford.

  5. Who knew it was so special whe we were kids. We pushed our bikes up the mountain for the thrill of riding down.

  6. Never new of a gold camp

  7. Connie Vinson Mackin you might want to read this.

  8. I live is Awesome… Unless you like city life..not for you ..LOL

  9. Its pretty and interesting. You and me should go there when it gets Spring. I wish we would start doing something together like that. There will come a day that we won’t be able to and I would like to have the time with you and the memories to have

  10. Chelle Carp our relatives are from that area. And no city life isn’t really our thing lol

    1. Where are you located ?

  11. Corinth Mississippi. My sister, Freeda Vinson McDowell , sent this link to me, lives in Huntsville.

  12. Born and raised in Clay County.Spent lots of time at Cheaha.

  13. As a member of the Clay County Harris’, thanks for posting this article. The Gold Camp is a great place to pan and enjoy a wonderful escape in nature. #Alabama200

  14. Thanks for spotlighting the interesting areas of Talladega, Sylacauga, and there about. I was born and raised in the area and it is beautiful and wonderful, even with the backing up of the Coosa River. When you hear the names of all these places, it is obvious the Native American influence and you know they occupied these areas, at one time. Keep up your good work at unearthing the history of Alabama.

  15. I have sat on the edge of that cliff many times in the past, the hike to get to it is beautiful.

  16. Grew up in Corinth/Cragford and never heard of a Gold Camp. Goldville yes, but did not know we had a gold camp just down the road. Love this county, no matter where I live Clay county will always be a place I call home.

  17. The highest point that includes Bunker Tower at Mt. Cheaha is actually in Cleburne County.

  18. Home of my father’s kin since the late 1700s. Watts, Shirey, Sides, and offshoots of those.

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