CLAYTON, BARBOUR COUNTY, ALABAMA
(from History of Barbour County, Alabama.
Eufaula, Alabama, 1939 by Mattie Thomas Thompson)
Clayton became the county seat of Barbour County, Alabama in 1838 after the commissioners decided to relocate there because of the central location. It is claimed that there were settlers on the ridge between Louisville and Clayton as early as 1818.
The first setters on this ridge were Luke Bennett and James Arthur. Immigrants passed through the area as early as 1818, but it was not settled until around 1827 because of the nearness of the Indian population.
Old records records and diaries from Elliott, Johnathon and Jno D. Thomas show there was practically no settlement until 1823. Captain S. Porter was an Indian trader and when his daughter married Chilli McIntosh, son of the famous Indian Chief, settlement started to take place in Clayton.
Clayton is in the central part of the county on the historic road from Hobdy’s Bridge over the Pea River to Eufaula on the Chattahooche river. It was named for Judge Augustine Clayton of Georgia. Since it was the county seat, the town “has been the high point of the many happenings that made the County’s history both sensational and great.”
Clayton Courthouse Square
Below – Old Clayton town bell in the gardens of Mrs. J. S. Williams in Clayton, Alabama ca. 1930 Alabama State Archives
Century-old town bell of Clayton. Once it rang to notify the townsfolk of important happenings. Moved from the townsquare, it now [circa1930s] hangs from a rustic arch among the wisteria vines in Judge J.S. Williams’s garden.”
Judge Sion L. Perry ordered that the Court session of March 1834 be held in Clayton and Judge Anderson Crenshaw presided over this term in a square log structure. Since Clayton is the County seat, the County jail is also located there.
The land on which the city of Clayton was laid out reveals that John DeLochiou and Elliott Thomas deeded the land to five Commissioners. Among the first settlers were: William Beasley, John Beasley, Henry Black, Wilson Collins, William Cox, Jacinth Jackson, Daniel Lewis, Britt Atkinson, and Randall Jackson. Most of these families crossed the Chattahooche at Eufaula on a ferry operated by the Indians.
It is said that Atkinson became provoked at the ferry charges and quarreled with the Indians, striking a chief on the head with an iron stirrup, which ended the dispute. That night the women of the party were anxious, fearing the Indians might attempt to harm them, but no trouble resulted.
Daniel Lewis settled a mile west of Clayton and later donated the land upon which the first courthouse was built. The Beasleys settled a mile east of what was later known as Pratt station while Jacinth Jackson settled west of what was later known as the Wash McRae place. Wilson Collins settled on the old Franklin road four miles east of Louisville.
The road from Clayton to Louisville was laid out by Jim Beasley, the grandfather of Hart Collins and Montfred Collins. Tradition states that Jacinth Jackson built his house on a hill that at one time was considered as the location for the County seat.
Matthew Fenn, a descendant of Mark Williams, built his home on the highway between Eufaula and Clayton. He owned a large tract of land near Hobdy’s Bridge as well.
Early settlers in the Pea River community were: Jessie Burch, Blake Jerngan, Alexander McCall, John McDaniel, John McInnis, Miles McInnis, Gilbert McEachern, John McNeill, and Joel Willis. They worshipped under bush arbors before they built the Pea River Presbyterian Church in 1823. It is said that this Church was the mother Presbyterian Church in Barbour County.
The towns of Clio, Elamville, Blue Springs and Texasville were not developed until the railroad, Eufaula to Ozark, was completed. Texasville was named in honor of Judge A. H. Alston. Clio was first named Atkinson’s head. In the early 1870’s the cotton business reigned in the area.
ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Immigrants: Lost & Forgotten Stories includes some lost & forgotten stories of their experiences such as:
- The Birth of Twickenham
- Captain Slick – Fact or Fiction
- Vine & Olive Company
- The Death of Stooka
- President Monroe’s Surprise Visit To Huntsville