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Jefferson County and Blount County in Alabama were once the same

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(The following has been transcribed from Chapter Two of  Jefferson County and Birmingham History 1887 by Teeple & Smith Publishers)

JEFFERSON COUNTY AS IT WAS IN BY-GONE DAYS.

B. E. GRACE

The territory which constitutes the county of Jefferson is a part of what was formerly known as the county of Blount. Under the territorial government known as the Mississippi Territory, the counties were large and but sparsely populated.jefferson county map

After the admission of Alabama as a State into the Union, and the adoption of the constitution, at the first session of the legislature, in 1820, great changes were made in the county boundaries, and many new counties established, among which was the present county of Jefferson, which embraces the territory commencing at Village Springs, in the north-eastern portion, and extends down in a south-western direction to Roupe Valley, which has long been famous for its immense deposits of iron ore, and where the first iron was made in the State of Alabama.

1865  Map Showing Roupe Valley

1865_map_loc

Locations in Blount County, Alabama in 1887

The county is about forty-five miles long, from north-east to south-west, and about thirty miles across the other way from a point between the Mulberry and Locust forks of the Warrior River to the Shades Mountain, and at the south-east extremity to Cahaba Valley.

Jones Valley extends pretty near through the whole length of the county, being divided by a low ridge for two-thirds the distance, the most valuable portion running parallel and by the side of the great deposit of red hematite ore and known as Red Mountain.

Red Mountain location

The city of Birmingham is situated in that part of the valley about midway between the north-east and south-west extremities. and within about eight miles of the southern boundary and three miles from Red Mountain. The great Warrior Coal Basin extends for about twenty miles at the widest part, from south-east to north-west, and the whole length of the county the other way.Red mountain park trail

Area was a hunting ground for Native Americans

The early settlers say that the Indians did not occupy this portion of their territory as their homes, but seem to have set it apart as a hunting ground, and as a great, magnificent park, in which they, the Creeks and neighboring nations, the Cherokees and Choctaws, held their annual meetings to celebrate notable events in their history, and to perform their national games, like the ancient Greeks.

They had a town on the Warrior River, known as Old Town, at which, according to Miss Duffie, a detachment from General Jackson’s army had a battle with them and captured one of their principal chiefs.

Long after the settlement of Jones Valley a trace leading from Old Town to Mudd Town, on the Cahaba River, now owned by Rev. John Caldwell, (ca. 1887) and crossing the Shades Mountain, about a mile east of Oxmoor, was plainly visible.

Rude fort was erected in 1815

After the year 1815, which was about the time of the first settlement of white persons in Jones Valley, there were very few Indians seen here, and no hostile demonstrations; nevertheless, through abundant. caution, the first settlers erected a rude fort near the present site of Old Jonesboro, but it was seldom occupied.

1888 Map Showing Old Jonesboro

1888 Showing Old Jonesboro

Names of some of the first settlers

The first settlers, John Jones, Andrew McLaughlin, Samuel and Isaac Fields, and a few others, made the first settlement at the point above named, and the valley took its name from one of them, who, it seems, was a reckless, daring man, but who has left nothing but his name to throw any light upon his previous history. The others have left numerous descendants, who are among the noted families of our old citizens.

At that settlement, Moses Fields, lately deceased, was born, being the first white child born in the county. The first merchants there at that time were Ben. McWhorter, Mark M. Harris, Edward Sims, John B. Ayers, and John W. Bramlett.

Near the same time a colony from Rutherford County, Tenn., settled at the place now known as Woodlawn, a suburb of the new city. This party was composed of Williamson Hawkins, Thonlas Barton, William Cowden, James Cunningham, probably Jonathan York and others, and soon afterward a large party from South Carolina, consisting of John Brown, Isaac Brown, John Brown (red), John Brown (black), John Wood, James H. Wood, William Culbertson, William C. Tarrant, Henry Tarrant, James Tarrant, William Reid, and several of the Montgomerys, and others not now recollected. The persons above mentioned, and their descendants, constituted a large part of our population, and have filled important offices in our county and State.

Check out genealogy and novels by Donna R. Causey

 

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS: Settlement: Lost & Forgotten Stories is a collection of lost and forgotten stories of the first surveyors, traders, and early settlements of what would become the future state of Alabama.

Read about:

  • A Russian princess settling in early Alabama
  • How the early setters traveled to Alabama and the risks they took
  • A ruse that saved immigrants lives while traveling through Native American Territory
  • Alliances formed with the Native Americans
  • How an independent republic, separate from the United States was almost formed in Alabama

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 www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com 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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7 comments

  1. Dana Whitner

    Rene Robinson and Kelsi Alyssa Robinson a little history about your county

  2. William J. Reed “Silver Billy” was born 13 Apr 1770 in Guilford Co, NC and he died 22 Apr 1856 in Huffman, Jefferson Co, AL. He is buried in Reed Cemetery located on the Old Springville Road adjacent to Spring Lake Farms.
    William Reed is my ancestor who settled the land currently located between Huffman and Chalkville. He and his descendants were active in the development of Birmingham. Your article reports a William REID. Is this a possible spelling error?

  3. Love this site. I have many old pictures of my family from Birmingham, AL. Would you like to see them?

    1. Sure, you can send them as individual attachments to [email protected]. Include any stories you may have with them and they might be posted on the website. More guidelines for submission can be found here. http://alabamapioneers.com/contributing-writer-guidelines/#sthash.smqma9Rb.dpbs

  4. Charlie Mcannally

    My great grandmother was a McLaughlin and my grandfather was a wood

  5. A small area of what became Marshall County in 1836 was first a part of Blount County! I like to have never located some of the Gunter Family records!

  6. Gemira Hayes.My grandmother is a Reid and I’m so excited to find out if William is somewhat my kin to me my grandmom name was Ella Reid

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