Days Gone By - stories from the past

[film – photos] Did you know that men from the city of Bay Minette, Alabama stole the courthouse records from Daphne, Alabama

The city of Bay Minette is in Baldwin County, Alabama and it is the County seat. Located in the central part of the county, it is situated at the headwaters of Bay Minette and White House Creeks, 31 miles northeast of Mobile, 50 miles northwest of Pensacola and 35 miles north of Foley.

Bay minette, map

There is an intriguing story that the town leaders of Bay Minette devised a scheme to lure the sheriff and deputy out of Daphne with a false story of a murder while a group of men from Bay Minette stole the Baldwin County Courthouse records in the middle of the night on October 11-12, 1901 and took them to Bay Minette to establish the county seat there.

First settled by the French

Bay Minette was first settled by the French. There are two traditions as to how it was named, the 1st is that it took its name from a French woman, who lived on a bayou at the mouth of Bay Minette Creek and the 2nd is that the town was named after a French Surveyor named Minet. The town was established in its present location in 1861 when the railroad was constructed.

Bay Minette marker

The first settler of Bay Minette was William Wright; the first physician, Dr. J. D. Trammell; first preacher. Rev. Mitchell, Baptist; the first school teacher and postmaster, Miss Annie Byrne. Among the early settlers were the Stanmeyer, Thompson, Hastie, Silva, Byrne, Dollve and Carney families.

Incorporated in 1901

Bay Minette was incorporated under the municipal code of 1901 and is the third county seat the county has had since 1809. Blakely was the first, and Daphne the second. Bay Minette was chosen by the legislature, February 5, 1901.

In 2001, the Baldwin County courthouse cornerstone laid by the Masons of Alabama was opened and the day’s events was recorded on film.

By act approved March 4, 1903, the proceedings in the erection of public buildings and in removing the records of the county from Daphne were legalized and approved.

Turpentine Industry

The harvesting of turpentine was one of the forest industries that predominated the area in the late nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries.

Collecting turpentine in the south (Library of Congress)

1903 In the great pine forests of the South - gathering crude turpentine - North Carolina

Youtube film by The County Express

Location of several Civil War and other historic sites

Bay Minette is also the location of several Civil War and other American historic sites

In the 2000 census, the city of Bay Minette had a population of 7820.

“In September 2011, the town attempted to enact a program called “Operation Restore Our Community” that would have allowed those convicted of a misdeamnor to substitute imprisonment with mandatory church attendance for one year. However, this program was challenged due to violating separation of church and state, and the program’s start was delayed for judicial review.”


  1. Acts. 1900-01, p. 754; Local Acts, 1903, p. 168;
  2. Brewer, Alabama (1872), p. 114;
  3. Berney,Handbook (1892), p. 268;
  4. Riley, Conecuh County (1881), pp. 184, 205;
  5. Northern Alabama (1888), p. 230;
  6. Polk’sAlabama gazetteer, 1888-9, p. 107.
  7. Encyclopedia of Alabama
  8. Wikipedia

Learn about the early Grand Masters of Masons of Alabama, who were often state leaders, in this historic book of  The Grand Masters of Free & Accepted Masons of the State of Alabama 1811-2011 – Includes early photographs  from the Grand Lodge of Alabama. Makes a great gift!

Buy Now
See larger image

Additional Images:Img - 0983899835

The Grand Masters of Free & Accepted Masons of the State of Alabama 1811-2011 (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

List Price: $41.77
New From: $41.77 In Stock
buy now

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

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!


  1. Had a small chemical plant down there. Love the place.

  2. Very inconvenient when you need to go to the courthouse!

  3. Love Bay Minette, Alabama

  4. a beautiful town now ,,

  5. I am also told that men from Brewton did the same thing, stealing the county records from Pollard, thus making Brewton the new county seat of Escambia County.

  6. This is certainly a new information to me . Greatly impressed by your post . I am a regular reader of your blogs and I say your blogs are very informative !

  7. Making turpentine?

    1. Never mind. I saw the article.

  8. Hope the link tells the whole story – that the court had ordered the records be moved to Bay Minette.

    1. Yes, it does.

  9. Everyone forgets that in 1901 the Alabama Legislature wasn’t sure whether Mobile or the Eastern Shore would become part of the State.

    Baldwin County was formerly just above Mobile and just below Washington County.

    Who remembers the Town of Helena between Mount Vernon and Citronelle (Illinois Central).

  10. In 1896 the Mobile County land plats reflect that most of the County was not surveyed in contradiction to the Bureau of Land Management

    However, most people seem unaware that the when Congress made null and void all Choctaw Land Patents stating in the year 1835 by reason of fraud…

    American State Papers, Public Lands Volume 4 as I recall.

    In any event Congress solved the fraud problem in 1835 according to the Statutes at Large.

    They were published in 1860 which was before the war of the states over State’s Rights.

    If a State had no Right to take the Indian’s Land then how could a State exist at all…

    Kinda what the Act of 1832 by the Legislature of Alabama tried to solve.

    Which was ruled Repugnant to the Constitution in Georgia’s case and it should stand for each and every other State which stands on equal footing with every other State.

    It’s a vicious circle of fraud and explains why Alabama has been moving around counties, Towns, and everything else ever since.

    The Secret of Alabama.

  11. I was raised in Stapleton, and graduated from Baldwin County High in Bay Minette in 1948. I also like the picture – I dipped turpentine near Telco one summer. Much water under the bridge since then.

  12. some of my folks grew up there…

  13. Barking the trees will kill them. I did not realize you had to do that to collect turpentine. I guess I thought it was like tapping maple trees for syrup.

    1. Hannah Harman Brown it dic not kill the trees. Only small areas were barked and cups were placed to collect the sap. Many trees are still there and have the scars. I grew up in Covington County which was a bid turpentine area.

    2. I should say when done correctly. I remember when it was done.

    3. Bill Hansford Well that is what I always thought, but those trees have large areas of bark removed and it looks as if it goes right round which will definitely kill the tree

    4. Hannah Harman Brown i think these trees were ruined and probably died. I never saw this done to trees.

    5. My Dad “chipped” the trees when “turpentining”. I’ve never seen anything like what’s depicted in these pictures.

    6. Maybe they wanted the trees to go for some reason. It is certainly an easy way to kill a tree.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.