Days Gone By - stories from the past

Dale County, Alabama – the county seat traveled between several cities before settling in Ozark

Dale County, Alabama was originally inhabited by members of the Creek Indian nation, who occupied all of southeastern Alabama during this period. Between the years of 1764 and 1783, this region fell under the jurisdiction of the colony of British West Florida.


Created in 1824

Dale County, Alabama was created by the Legislature, December 22, 1824. Its territory was taken from Barbour, Covington, Henry and Pike Counties. On December 29, 1841, its western section was set off to form Coffee County; and its southern portion to Geneva County, December 26, 1868. The formation of Houston County, February 9, 1903, still has an area of 563 square miles, or 360,320 acres.

Named in honor of Sam Dale

It was named in honor of Gen. Sam Dale, the pioneer and Indian fighter, with whose achievements are associated much of the romance of the early history of the State.

gen. samuel daleGen. Sam Dale (Alabama Department of Archives and history)

Election of officers

The act of establishment appointed Samuel W. Pearman, Duncan Douglass, Isaac Ledbetter and John D. Cruse as “commissioners of roads and revenue” for the county to serve until the general election in 1826. Under this direction, an election was ordered held in October 1825 for the election of a sheriff, clerks of courts, justices of the peace and constables. On January 10, 1826, the legislature named John Turner as commissioner in place of Duncan Douglass removed.

Location of county seat was not fixed

The organization of the county appears to have proceeded slowly. The settlements were widely scattered, the distances great and communication difficult. The original act required the commissioners to select a quarter section of land for the use of the county, pursuant to an act of Congress of May 26, 1824, granting to counties “pre-emption rights to a quarter section of land in trust for the said counties and parishes respectively, for the establishment of seats of justice therein.” The specific location of a county seat was not fixed, the choice evidently depending on the selection of the government quarter section.

The first officials were as follows: Lewis Hutchinson, judge county court, commissioned September 24, 1825; Isaac Ledbetter, judge county court, November 21, 1826; James Boles, sheriff, September 6, 1827; Asa Alexander, clerk county court, September 6, 1827, William Loftin, judge county court, January 12, 1828; Jeremiah Gilley, clerk county court, June 6, 1828; and John M. Kimmey, sheriff, September 15, 1828.

First met in Old Richmond

The formation of Dale County had thrown Richmond, the county seat of Henry, in the limits of the former, and an act of December 20, 1827, provided that the circuit court should be held in the old court house until a new location should be made and suitable buildings erected. Old Richmond, also known as Wiggins Springs, was located about 10 miles east of Newton, and here was transacted the first official business of the county, and here the first courts were held. However, the legislature, January 26, 1829, repealed this provision, and required the circuit courts to be held “at the house of Creede Collins.” The legislature, December 8, 1830, required the judge and the commissioners of roads and revenue of Dale County to sell “the old court house and jail, formerly the court house and jail of Henry County, now in the limits of said Dale County.”

Daleville was centrally located

The same act of December 20, 1827, appointed Isaac Ledbetter, Obediah Dick, Lewis Hutchinson, Samuel W. Pearman, together with the judge of the county court, as commissioners “to fix and designate a suitable place for a seat of justice and to contract for and superintend the erection” of necessary public buildings. The commissioners selected a point centrally located, and which was known on old maps as Dale Court House, but which in 1848 became known as Daleville. Through it passed the main lines of travel from Columbia on the Chattahoochee across the southern part of the state, and from Choctawhatchee Bay north through Pike to Montgomery.

Richmond, dale county sign

Newton was selected as the next county seat

The formation of Coffee County, December 29, 1841, took a large section of the county on the west. The act establishing Coffee named, James Arthur, Thomas Andrews, James C. Ward, and Captain Hendrix “to locate a new county site for the County of Dale,” at a near, or not exceeding six miles from the center of the county. The village of Newton, located on the Choctawhatchee River, was selected.

Bitter contest between Newton and Ozark

The growth of Ozark, first known as Woodshop, had brought about discussion, running through several years, looking to the removal of the county seat. The Legislature responded to the agitation, and an act was passed, January 13, 1870, authorizing a popular vote.


Dale County, Alabama – Ozark highlighted (Wikipedia)

A courthouse fire in 1869 and the formation of Geneva County (which took the southern third of Dale County), added to the contention and a bitter contest arose between Newton and Ozark, in which the latter won. The legislature, January 30, 1871, legalized the election which appears to have been held January 7, 1870. In 1903 a small portion of the southeast part of Dale county was joined to the newly formed Houston County.

Limited Native American evidence is to be found on Choctawhatchee River and on some of the larger creeks. A burial mound, 10 feet high and 40 feet in diameter, on the Choctawhatchee River, 15 miles from Enterprise, was opened in 1900, and skulls and prehistoric relics were secured. A town site was located on the farm of S. C. D. Brown one mile west of Daleville; and two mounds, near Sylvan Grove, above Newton. Two mounds, which have been explored, but without results, are to be found two miles east of Skipperville.

Today, Ozark is the largest city in Dale County, Alabama.

Confederate Commands from County.—The commands listed below were made up in whole or in part from this county.


  • Co. E, “Dale County Beauregards,” 15th Regt.
  • Co. B, 33d. Regt.
  • Co. G. 33d. Regt.
  • Co. D, 57th. Regt.
  • Co. I, 57th. Regt.
  • Co. K, 57th. Regt.
  • Co. E, 59th. Regt.
  • Co. K, 65th. Regt. (or 4th. Reserves).
  • Cavalry.
  • Co. D, 53d. Regt. (Mounted Infantry).

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.

  • Ariton—3
  • Midland City—3
  • Clopton—1
  • Newton—2
  • Daleville—2
  • Ozark (ch)—7
  • Douglas
  • Pinckard
  • Grimes
  • Skipperville—2

Delegates to Constitutional Conventions

  • 1861—D. B. Creech, James McKinney.
  • 1865—J. C. Mathews, Ransom Deal.
  • 1867—Henry R. Deal.
  • 1875—Pitt M. Callaway.
  • 1901—M. Sollie, William W. Kirkland.


  • 1828-9—William Irwin.
  • 1831-2—William Irwin.
  • 1834-5—William Irwin.
  • 1837-8—Richard C. Spann.
  • 1838-9—James Ward.
  • 1840-1—Angus McAllister.
  • 1843-4—James Ward.
  • 1847-8—Angus McAllister.
  • 1849-50—Elisha Mathews.
  • 1853-4—James Searcy.
  • 1857-8—James McKinney.
  • 1859-60—William Wood.
  • 1863-4—Reddick P. Peacock.
  • 1865-6—William H. Wood.
  • 1868—Philip King.
  • 1871-2—Philip King.
  • 1872-3—J. M. Carmichael.
  • 1873—J. M. Carmichael.
  • 1874-5—J. M. Carmichael.
  • 1875-6—J. M. Carmichael.
  • 1876-7—A. C. Gordon.
  • 1878-9—A. C. Gordon.
  • 1880-1—F. M. Rushing.
  • 1882-3—P. M. Rushing.
  • 1884-5—C. H. Laney.
  • 1886-7—C. H. Laney.
  • 1888-9—W. C. Steagall.
  • 1890-1—W. C. Steagall.
  • 1892-3—R. H. Walker.
  • 1894-5—R. H. Walker.
  • 1896-7—Geo. W. Brooks.
  • 1898-9—George W. Brooks.
  • 1899 (Spec.)—George W. Brooks.
  • 1900-01—Walter Acree.
  • 1903—Walter Upson Acree.
  • 1907—P. B. Davis.
  • 1907 (Spec.)—P. B. Davis.
  • 1909 (Spec.)—P. B. Davis.
  • 1911—C. A. Stokes.
  • 1915—T. S. Faulk.
  • 1919—W. W. Morris.


  • 1837-8—Abraham Warren.
  • 1838-9—Abraham Warren.
  • 1839-40—Abraham Warren.
  • 1840-1—James J. Blair.
  • 1841 (called)—James J. Blair.
  • 1841-2—A. H. Justice.
  • 1842-3—A. H. Justice.
  • 1843-4—J. H. Galloway.
  • 1844-5—John Merrick.
  • 1845-6—John Merrick.
  • 1847-8—James Ward.
  • 1849-50—E. R. Boon.
  • 1851-2—E. R. Boon.
  • 1853-4—James Ward.
  • 1855-6—James Ward.
  • 1857-8—Elias Register; Hay wood Martin.
  • 1859-60—Noah Fountain; W. Griffin.
  • 1861 (1st called)—Noah Fountain; W. Griffin.
  • 1861 (2d called)—D. B. Creech; John T. Lee.
  • 1861-2—D. B. Creech; John T. Lee.
  • 1862 (called)—D. B. Creech; John T. Lee.
  • 1862-3—D. B. Creech; John T. Lee.
  • 1863 (called)—Q. L. C. Franklin; H. I. M. Kennon.
  • 1863-4—Q. L. C. Franklin; H. I. M. Kennon.
  • 1864 (called)—Q. L. C. Franklin; H. I. M. Kennon.
  • 1864-5—Q. L. C. Franklin; H. I. M. Kennon.
  • 1865-6—P. M. Galloway; Charles T. Cotton.
  • 1866-7—P. M. Calloway; Charles T. Cotton.
  • 1868—John R. Ard.
  • 1869-70—John R. Ard.
  • 1870-1—J. M. Carmichael.
  • 1871-2—J. M. Carmichael.
  • 1872-3—Levi Wilkinson.
  • 1873—Levi Wilkinson.
  • 1874-5—L. M. Edwards.
  • 1875-6—L. M. Edwards.
  • 1876-7—S. J. Doster.
  • 1878-9—P. W. Bailey.
  • 1880-1—P. M. Calloway.
  • 1882-3—J. W. Dowling.
  • 1884-5—J. W. Dowling.
  • 1886-7—C. A. B. Edwards.
  • 1888-9—H. J. Smisson.
  • 1890-1—C. A. B. Edwards.
  • 1892-3 — John C. Killebrew.
  • 1894-5 — John C. Killebrew.
  • 1896-7— W. B. Killebrew.
  • 1898-9— William Garner.
  • 1899 (Spec.) William Garner.
  • 1900-01— William Garner.
  • 1903 — James Coleman Barnes.
  • 1907 — Henry B. Steagall.
  • 1907 (Spec.) — Henry B. Steagall.
  • 1909 (Spec.) — Henry B. Steagall.
  • 1911 — Major Carroll.
  • 1915 — W. W. Morris.
  • 1919 — Frank O. Deese


  1. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography  Thomas McAdory Owen (Author), 1921


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  1. Thanks for the information. My Clarke and Jordan ancestors were from this area.

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