Days Gone By - stories from the pastGenealogy Information

Great photographs of some beautiful old houses in Henry County, Alabama!

Henry County was first proposed to be named Choctawhatchee for the river in that section of the State, but the name finally given on the passage of the act was Henry, in honor of Patrick Henry, the noble Virginia patriot.

Henry County was created by the legislature December 13, 1819. Its territory was nominally taken from Conecuh, established in 1818, but it was a part of the Creek cession of August 9, 1814.

Originally, it was of vast extent, including what is now Covington, Dale, Coffee, Geneva, Henry, and parts of Pike, Crenshaw and Barbour Counties. It was reduced by the establishment of Covington and Pike, both on December 7, 1821, Dale, December 22, 1824, Barbour, December 18, 1832, and Houston, February 9, 1903.

Henry county marker

Eastern boundary is the Chattahoochee River

Situated in the southeast corner of the State. Barbour lies to the north, Houston to the south, and Barbour and Dale Counties on the west. Its eastern boundary is the Chattahoochee River, which is also the State boundary.

The northern two-thirds is a hilly region, and includes rough and broken country, with occasional gently rolling areas. Numerous small streams have eroded this section, and given it a choppy contour. The southern third of the county is level to gently rolling, its features in some places resembling a dessicated plain.

Chunnennuggee Ridge entered the county at County Line Church, and continues south through Lawrenceville and Abbeville, practically terminating below the latter. This ridge forms the drainage, divide of the waters of the Chattahoochee River on the east, and the Choctawhatchee on the west.

The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad followed the dividing ridge to the south from Abbeville, crossing no streams during its entire length of about 25 miles.

Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, ALm Historic American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934 FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, S.W. – Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, AL

Franklin first white settlement

After 1814, the colonial settlers’ developed Franklin as the first white settlement in the Creek territory. The former river port served Abbeville on the Chattahoochee River. Much of the original Henry County was part of the original Alabama wiregrass region.

The act of Creation named William C. Watson, John Fannin, Joel T. McClendon, Johnson Wright, Captain S. Smith as commissioners for the location of the seat of justice and establishment of the boundaries of Henry County.

The first commissioners were directed to superintend the erection of a courthouse and jail, and to levy taxes not exceeding one-half the amount of state taxes to defray all expenses incident to put into effect the act to set up the machinery of government for the county. On December 18, 1821, the Legislature named William Beauchamp, Robert Irvin, William Irvin, Stephen Matthews and James Rabb to be county commissioners and fix a county site.

They named the county site, Richmond remembering Patrick Henry’s speech there. “Give me Liberty or give me death”

At Richmond, they immediately elected a representative to State Legislature, Benjamin Harvey. Precincts were located at homes of William C. Watson, John Fannin, and Captain S. Smith.

The first court was held in the home of John G. Morgan, the sheriff, by Judge Reuben Saffold, a judge of the second district Circuit Court in 1820.

Irwin-McAllister House, Fort Gaines Highway, Shorterville, Henry County, AL

Irwin-McAllister House, Fort Gaines Highway, Shorterville, Henry County, AL

Chitley House on River Road County Road 97 Shorterville, Henry County, Alabama December 12, 1934, W. N. Manning, Photographer FRONT AND SIDE VIEW, S.E. + S.

Chitley House - loc Henry county

Many tributaries to the Choctawhatchee River

The elevation at Abbeville is 499 feet, and at Headland 409 feet. The county is well watered and drained. Through the western section flows the Choctawhatchee River. Its principal tributaries are Cowpens, Piney Woods, Indian, Panther, Poor, and Blackwood Cheeks. Into the Chattahoochee on the east flow Abbie and Omussee Creeks.

The county lies wholly within the coastal plain, and its soil materials were deposited either beneath the water or along the margins of an ancient sea which at one time covered this general region.

The climate is generally mild. Snow rarely falls, and the soil is seldom frozen more than one or two inches in depth.

Chitley House on River Road County Road 97 Shorterville, Henry County, Alabama – December 12, 1934, W. N. Manning, Photographer REAR AND SIDE VIEW, WEST AND NORTHChitley house rear view


Chitley House on River Road County Road 97 Shorterville, Henry County, Alabama – December 12, 1934, W. N. Manning, Photographer HALL AND STAIRWAY, TOWARD WEST FROM FRONT DOOR  Chitley house - HALL AND STAIRWAY, TOWARD WEST FROM FRONT DOOR

Chitley House on River Road County Road 97 Shorterville, Henry County, Alabama – December 12, 1934, W. N. Manning, Photographer FIREPLACE IN S.E. BED ROOMchitley house bedroom fireplace

Lower Creek towns were in Henry County

Along the Chattahoochee River are found numerous evidence of primitive settlement. The Lower Creek towns extended into the territory now occupied by the county, and it is also possible that the Seminole villages did as well. Wi-Kai Lako was one of these towns. Domicilliary mounds are found near Purcell’s Landing. In sec. 4, T. 6, R. 28, on property that Will Culpepper, owned was a mound four feet high. On the Elbert Mooring place was an Indian cemetery. Pattayabba Creek may take its name from Ataphalgi (meaning Dogwood), a Seminole town of southwest Georgia. The latter no doubt had settlements on the Alabama side of Chattahoochee River.

Colonel Baldwin M. Fluker House, Abbie Ridge Road, Shorterville, Henry County, ALColonel Baldwin M. Fluker House, Abbie Ridge Road, Shorterville, Henry County, AL

Abbeville was designated as the county seat in 1833. Part of Dothan is in the Henry County, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Bethune -Kennedy House in Abbeville, Henry County, Alabama –This rare, dual front door, double pen Creole cottage was constructed circa 1840 on the military three-notch road, now Kirkland Street. It is the oldest remaining structure in Abbeville. Earliest known owner was Confederate Colonel William Calvin Bethune, M.D. Last owner-dweller was Mollie Kennedy. To avoid immediate demolition, it was purchased in 1976, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and initially restored by the Henry County Historical Society. It is presently owned by the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce.


Oates-Danzey House, West Washington & Trawick Streets, Abbeville, Henry County, ALHistoric American Buildings Survey W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 11, 1934, HALL AND REAR DOOR, N. END OF HOUSE oates-danzey house hall and rear door abbeville


General Bartlett Smith (January 23, 1792 — December 16, 1843) was among the earliest settlers of Henry County settling in the area around Ezekiel M. Attaway’s Store near the Emmassee Indian Village on the Emmasse Creek where it enters the Chattahoochee River. He was a native of Tennessee.

Bartlett Smith House, River Road (County Road 97), Shorterville, Henry County, AL -W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 12, 1934, MANTEL IN S. FRONT ROOM Bartlett smith house fireplace

Bartlett Smith House, River Road (County Road 97), Shorterville, Henry County, AL –W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 12, 1934, MANTEL IN N.E. BED ROOM W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 12, 1934 MANTEL IN N.E. BED ROOM - Bartlett Smith House, River Road

Bartlett Smith House, River Road (County Road 97), Shorterville, Henry County, AL- W. N. Manning, Photographer, December 12, 1934 SMOKE HOUSE 


Col. Bartlett Smith was an officer in the 25th Regimental Division, 11th Brigade of the Alabama Militia beginning July 27, 1829.  Alabama Governor John Gayle raised Smith to Brigadier General of the Militia during the last Creek Indian Wars in 1836.

George Jones and Peter Simmons filled vacancies in the court caused by the death of Benjamin Harvey and the resignation of Bartlett Smith on June 27, 1827.

Around 1828 – The next legislature appointed commissioners: Moses Kirkland, Joel T. McClendon, Sion Smith, Moses Weems and Andrew Gamble.

Post Offices and Towns.—Revised to July 1, 1919, from U. S. Official Postal Guide.Numbers indicate the number of rural routes from that office.

  • Abbeville (ch)—6
  • Headland—6
  • Capps—1
  • Newville—2
  • Haleburg—1
  • Shorterville—2

Delegates to Constitutional Conventions

  • 1861—H. E. Owens, T. T. Smith.
  • 1865—William H. Wood.
  • 1867—Richard M. Johnson.
  • 1875—William C. Oates, Alexander C. Gordon.
  • 1901—George H. Malone, T. M. Espy, R. J. Reynolds.


  • 1822-3— J. W. Devereux.
  • 1825-6— William Irwin.
  • 1828-9—William Irwin.
  • 1831-2—William Irwin.
  • 1834-5—William Irwin.
  • 1837-8—Richard C. Spann.
  • 1838-9—James Ward.
  • 1840-1Angus McAllister
  • 1843-4—James Ward.
  • 1847-8—Angus McAllister.
  • 1849-50—Elisha Mathews.
  • 1853-4—James Searcy.
  • 1857-8—James H. McKinne.
  • 1859-60—William Wood.
  • 1863-4—Reddick P. P’eacock.
  • 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—F. 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—William Oates Long.
  • 1907—B. A. Forrester.
  • 1907 (Spec.)—B. A. Forrester.
  • 1909 (Spec.)—B. A. Forrester.
  • 1911—J. J. Espy. 1915—W.T. Hall.
  • 1919—J. B. Espy.


  • 1822-3—Benjamin Harvey.
  • 1823-4—Benjamin Harvey.
  • 1824-5—William C. Watson.
  • 1825-6—William C. Watson.
  • 1826-7—Bartlett Smith; Charles A. Dennis.
  • 1827-8—James Ward; Charles A. Dennis.
  • 1828-9—Josiah D. Cawthorn.
  • 1829-30—James Ward.
  • 1830-31—James Ward.
  • 1831-2—James Ward.
  • 1832 (called)—James Ward.
  • 1832-3—James Ward.
  • 1833-4—Abner Hill.
  • 1834-5—Abner Hill; James Ward.
  • 1835-6—George W. Williams; James Ward; Alexander C. Gordon.
  • 1836-7—James Ward; Alexander C. Gordon.
  • 1837 (called)—James Ward; Alexander C. Gordon.
  • 1837-8—George W. Williams; Alexander C. Gordon.
  • 1838-9—James Murphy; A. J. McAllister.
  • 1839-40—James Murphy; A. J. McAllister.
  • 1840-1—Alexander Blackshear; James Pynes.
  • 1841 (called)—Alexander Blackshear; James Pynes.
  • 1841-2—Bartlett Smith; A. J. McAllister.
  • 1842-3—William Gamble; James Pynes.
  • 1843-4—George W. Williams; Richard McGriff.
  • 1844-5—William Gamble; Moses K. Speight.
  • 1845-6—George W. Williams; Richard McGriff.
  • 1847-8—George W. Williams; James Pynes.
  • 1849-50—Mathew Ferryman; J. J. Sowell.
  • 1851-2—G. W. Williams, A. J. McAllister.
  • 1853-4—Aaron Odom; J. F. Hays.
  • 1855-6—Aaron Odom; James Pynes.
  • 1857-8—James Murphy; James Pynes.
  • 1859-60—P. M. Thomas; B. C. Flake.
  • 1861 (1st called)—P. M. Thomas; B. C. Flake.
  • 1861 (2d called)—Levi Parish; C. J. Reynolds.
  • 1861-2—Levi Parish; C. J. Reynolds.
  • 1862 (called)—Levi Parish; C. J. Reynolds.
  • 1862-3—Levi Parish; C. J. Reynolds.
  • 1863 (called)—Levi Parish; G. W. Williams.
  • 1863-4—Levi Parish; G. W. Williams.
  • 1864 (called)—Levi Parish; G. W. Williams.
  • 1864-5—Levi Parish; G. W. Williams.
  • 1865-6—G. W. Culver; Aaron Odom.
  • 1866-7—G. W. Culver; Aaron Odom.
  • 1868—E. E. Tiller.
  • 1869-70—E. E. Tiller.
  • 1870-1—William C. Oates.
  • 1871-2—W. C. Oates.
  • 1872-3—H. Purcell.
  • 1873—H. Purcell.
  • 1874-5—H. Purcell.
  • 1875-6—H. Purcell.
  • 1876-7—Thos. F. Espy.
  • 1878-9—R. J. Reynolds.
  • 1880-1—S. E, Bowden.
  • 1882-3—R. J. Reynolds.
  • 1884-5—J. W. Foster.
  • 1886-7—J. W. Foster.
  • 1888-9—J. B. Ward.
  • 1890-1—George Leslie.
  • 1892-3—John B. Ward; John F. Dorsey.
  • 1894-5—J. B. Ward; T. E. Williams.
  • 1896-7—T. M. Espy; S. B. Wood.
  • 1898-9—B. A. Forrester; M. V. Capps.
  • 1899 (Spec.)—B. A. Forrester; M. V. Capps.
  • 1900-01—W. O. Long; John B. Ward.
  • 1903—Thomas Marion Espy; Charles Barkley Searcy.
  • 1907—J. W. Malone; J. R. Vann.
  • 1907 (Spec.)—J. W. Malone; J. R. Vann.
  • 1909 (Spec.)—J. W. Malone; J. R. Vann.
  • 1911—W. J. Capps; I. M. Doswell.
  • 1915—J. B. Ward; J. J. Espy.
  • 1919—J. T. Griffin; R. F. Hall

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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Removal: Lost & Forgotten Stories 

includes the following stories

  • Plan for Indian Removal Started With President Thomas Jefferson
  • Intrigue and Murder After Treaty At Indian Springs
  • President Adams And Governor In A Stand-off
  • Gold Causes Expulsion Of The Cherokees
  • Cherokee Chief Ross Became Homeless

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

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  1. I really enjoy reading all about the history of Alabama as I am from Opelika,Al. and I look forward to the history of Lee County.My cousin in La Grange,Ga. turned me on to this Alabama Pioneers and I am sure glad she did. Thank You so much and keep up the great work. Leman H.Wilson Feb.21 2015

  2. Shorterville is just a few miles East of Franklin.

  3. Love seeing Old Pictures & visiting Old Towns Adventures!!!!??

    1. I might have to go check that out!

  4. I’m painting interior of a house, it’s in Henry co., my church is in Henry co., as well

  5. […] Springs – eleven miles east of Newton on the Columbia road, and at one time the county sit of Henry county, was one of the earliest settlements within the territory now embraced in this county. John […]

  6. My 5th great grandfather Bartlett Peaden was one of the first settlers of Henry County, AL.

  7. My Grandfather was William Young Carr of Abbeville. He served in the Civil War, was town treasurer and lived in Trawick St.

  8. Is this your Dad’s family history Betsey Kennedy Nail ? Love seeing the old houses

    1. Not to my knowledge. I do know though that some of my family on my grandmothers side came from Alabama. I love reading these stories and seeing all the old house etc. Thanks

  9. Love the pix! Thanks for posting them.

  10. Beth Tate I bet you would like this

  11. I have photos of Fuller and McClenney families of Henry and Houston Co area. c.1900

  12. Interesting read. Thanks.

  13. Can sure tell it was indain country. Arrowheads in every field

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