Days Gone By - stories from the pastGenealogy Information

Lawrence County, Alabama was named for the Captain who said, “Never give up the ship”

Early Lawrence County, Alabama

Lawrence County, Alabama was established at a very early day in Alabama. Formed from territory acquired by the Cherokee and Chicasa cession of 1816, its original dimensions have not changed.

It was laid off as early as February 4, 1818.

Oakville Mounds, Lawrence County, Alabama

The county was named after a brave Naval Captain James Lawrence, born Oct 1, 1781, and died June 1, 1813, in a sea battle with the British off the coast of Boston, Mass. during the War of 1812. Captain Lawrence, of New Jersey was in command of the “Hornet” 1n 1813, when he fought and captured the “Peacock,” British man-o’war, and who fought the “Chesapeake” in a disastrous battle with the British frigate “Shannon,” off Boston June 1, 1813.

As he fell to the deck of the ship, he shouted “Boys!, Never give up the ship!”[i] This phrase has become one of the Navy’s most cherished traditions.

Captain James Lawrence

Location of Lawrence County

Located in the northwestern part of the state, Lawrence County is bounded on the north by the Tennessee River, which separates it from Lauderdale and Limestone Counties, on the east by Morgan County, on the south by Winston County, and on the west by Franklin and Colbert Counties. From north to south its greatest length is 34 miles, and its greatest width from east to west is twenty-four miles. Numerous mineral springs are found in the county.

The streams of the county flowing into the Tennessee River are Town, Big Nance. Mallets’, Fox, and the West Fork of Flint Creek, with its tributaries. The streams of the southern part of the county are the headwaters of the East and West forks of the Sipsey Fork of the Warrior River.

Lawrence County is situated within the domain claimed both by the Cherokees and Chlckasaws. It became an American possession, by two treaties, first the treaty negotiated with the Cherokees at the Chickasaw Council House, and Turkey Creek, September 14, 1816; second, the treaty negotiated with the Chickasaws at their Council House, September 20, 1816.

Native American Remains

At a few points in the county along Tennessee River Native American remains have been found and on the islands in the river opposite to and which are in the county boundary, some evidence could formerly be seen. These lands have so often been under water that little remains. Tick Island, owned by R. N. Harris of Florence, however, is an exception in that in a large sand mound one mile from the upper end of the island, numbers of burials have been encountered and

Tick Island, owned by R. N. Harris of Florence, (in 1921) however, is an exception in that in a large sand mound one mile from the upper end of the island, numbers of burials have been encountered and evidence in considerable numbers are yet to be seen in the village site in proximity thereto. A large domiciliary mound showing a few superficial burials is half a mile above Sycamore Landing on the property of J. H. Gilchrist of Courtland.

Large shell mounds and village sites are located on Gilchrist Island and one mile above Milton’s Bluff respectively. On Brown’s island, which is sometimes called Knight’s Glan, owned by John W. Knight of Decatur, (in 1921) is a large flat top domiciliary mound. In the central and southern sections of the county are seen scattering remains which are probably evidence of outlying villages.

Indications though do not suggest that the county was extensively peopled except in the northern section. Numerous Cherokee and mixed-race European-Cherokee descendants, sometimes called “Black Dutch”, stayed in the Lawrence County area. The county had the highest number of Native Americans in the state. (in 1921)

The early settlers of the county came from Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. A settlement was first made at Marathon (Melton’s Bluff) on the Tennessee River, about two miles above the present Lock A. Court was first held at that place but in 1820 the seat of government of the county was moved to Moulton.

Fight for courthouse

The fight for the seat of Justice was between Courtland and Moulton, two growing towns in Lawrence County.  A law for establishing a permanent seat of Justice was passed Dec. 4, 1819.  Moulton was incorporated the same day and Courtland was incorporated fifteen days later.  An election was held Feb. 1820 to establish the county seat and Moulton won out over Courtland. Major John Gaugett was appointed to erect public buildings.[ii]

Map of location of Moulton in Lawrence Co., Alabama

Lawrence County was the home of General Phillip Rhoddy, Confederate Cavalry commander General Joseph Wheeler, Governor David P. Lewis and J. M. Peters, State Supreme Court Judge.


In 1819, a Committee was authorized to form a State Constitution.  Arthur F. Hopkins and Daniel Wright represented Lawrence County at the Constitutional Convention.[iii]

Delegates to Constitutional Conventions.—

  • 1819—Arthur Francis Hopkins, Daniel Wright.
  • 1861—David P. Lewis, James S. Clark.
  • 1865—James B. Speake, James S. Clark.
  • 1867—Thomas M. Peters, Benjamin O. Masterson.
  • 1875—Francis W. Sykes, Charles Gibson.
  • 1901—D. C. Almon, W. T. Lowe.


  • 1819-20—Fleming Hodges.
  • 1822-3—Arthur F. Hopkins.
  • 1825-6—Mathew Clay.
  • 1827- 8—David Hubbard.
  • 1828- 9—David Hubbard.
  • 1831-2—Thomas Coopwood.
  • 1834-5—James B. Wallace.
  • 1837- 8—James B. Wallace.
  • 1838- 9—Hugh M. Rogers.
  • 1840-1—Hugh M. Rogers.
  • 1843-4—Tandy W. Walker.
  • 1847-8—Thomas M. Peters.
  • 1849-50—H. L. Stevenson.
  • 1853-4—William A. Hewlett
  • 1857-8 – O. H. Bynum
  • 1861-2 – J. Albert Hill
  • 1865-6 – Francis W. Sykes
  • 1868- D. V. Sevier
  • 1871-2 – D. V. Sevier
  • 1872-3- J. C. Goodloe
  • 1873- J. C.Goodloe
  • 1874-5 – J. B. Moore
  • 1875-6- J. B. Moore
  • 1876-7- W. C. Sherrod
  • 1878-9- John D. Rather
  • 1880-1- John D. Rather
  • 1882-3-James Jackson
  • 1884-5- James Jackson
  • 1886-7-James H. Branch
  • 1888-9- James H. Branch
  • 1890-1- W. W. NeSmith
  • 1892-3 – W. S. NeSmith
  • 1894-5- David W. Day
  • 1896-7- David W. Day
  • 1898-9- S. P. Rather
  • 1899- (spec) – S. P. Rather
  • 1900-01- S. P. Rather
  • 1903- Seybourne Arthur Lynne
  • 1907- W. T. Lowe
  • 1907 (spec) – W. T. Lowe
  • 1909 (spec) – W. T. Lowe
  • 1911- C. M. Sherrod
  • 1915- D. F. Green
  • 1919- W. H. Smith


  • 1810-20 Lewis Dillahunty; Samuel Bingham
  • 1820-1-Mathew Clay; Samuel Bingham
  • 1821-2- Mathew Clay; Hugh A. Anderson
  • 1822-3- Mathew Clay; Green K. Hubbard; Joseph Young
  • 1823-4 Zadoc McVay; Benjamin B. Jones; Joseph Young
  • 1824-5 Zadoc McVay; James McCord; John White
  • 1825-6- John P. Hickman; Joseph Coe; Thomas Coopwood
  • 1826-7- Zadoc McVay; Joseph Coe; Thomas Coopwood
  • 1827-8 Zadoc McVay; Ellison A. Daniel; Thomas Coopwood
  • 1828-9- David Wallace; W. Hodges; Thomas Coopwood
  • 1829-30 David G. Ligon; W. Hodges; Thomas Coopwood
  • 1830-1- Harvey Dillahunty; W. Hodges; Thomas Coopwood
  • 1831-2 – D. Hubbard; J. T. Abernathy
  • 1832 (called) – David Hubbard; John J. Ormond; John Stewart
  • 1832-3 -David Hubbard; John J. Ormond; John Stewart
  • 1833-4- John H. Lawson; John J. Ormond; John Stewart
  • 1834-5- James McCord; James Wallis; Hugh M. Rogers; Isaac N. Owen
  • 1835-6- John H. Lawson; William Reneau; H. M. Rogers; H. L. Stevenson
  • 1836-7- Richard Puckett; William Reneau; J. T. Abernethy; Micajah Priest
  • 1837 (called) – Richard Puckett; William Reneau; J. T. Abernathy; Micajah Priest
  • 1837-8-Richard Puckett; H. M. Rogers; H. L. Stevenson; Micajah Priest
  • 1838-9-Tandy W. Walker; Samuel Henderson; Manoah B. Hampton; Micajah Priest
  • 1839-40-=Tandy W. Walker; H. L. Stevenson; O. H. Bynum
  • 1840-41-Tandy W. Walker; James E. Sanders; Hartwell King
  • 1841 (called) – Tandy W. Walker; James E. Sanders; Hartwell King
  • 1841-2- Tandy W. Walker; Denton H. Valiant; Charles Baker
  • 1842-3-Tandy W. Walker; Denton H. Valiant; David Hubbard
  • 1843-4- Leroy Pope Walker; Archibald Campbell; David Hubbard
  • 1844-5-Leroy Pope Walker; F. H. Jones; C. C. Gewin
  • 1845-6- Thomas M. Peters; David Hubbard
  • 1847-8-H. L. Stevenson; Joseph G. Evetts
  • 1849-50-Richard O. Pickett; O. H. Bynum
  • 1851-2- J. Armstrong; W. C. Graham
  • 1853-4- Richard O. Pickett; David Hubbard
  • 1855-6- F. W. Sykes; W. M. Galloway
  • 1857-8-James S. Clarke; Henry A. McGhee
  • 1859-60-William C. Sherrod; D. Hubbard
  • 1861 (1st called) – William C. Sherrod; D. Hubbard
  • 1861 (2nd called) – F. W Sykes; R. O. Pickett
  • 1861-2- F.W. Sykes; R. O. Pickett
  • 1862 (called)- F. W. Sykes; R. O. Pickett
  • 1862-3- F. W. Sykes; R. O. Pickett
  • 1863 (called) – F. W. Sykes; James S. Clarke
  • 1863-4- F. W. Sykes; James S. Clarke
  • 1864-(called) – F. W. Sykes; James S. Clarke
  • 1864-5- F. W. Sykes; James S. Clarke
  • 1865-6- A. E. Ashford; John M. Clarke
  • 1866-7- J. M. Warren, vice A. E. Ashford
  • 1868-Thomas Masterson; E. F. Jennings
  • 1869-70-Thomas Masterson; E. F. Jennings
  • 1870-1- James B. Speake; Phillip F. Gilchrist
  • 1871-2- P. P. Gilchrist; J. B. Speake
  • 1872-3 – Thomas Masterson; John S. Simpson
  • 1873-Thomas Masterson; John S. Simpson
  • 1874-5- O. D. Gibson; W. Gilmer
  • 1875-6-O. D. Gibson; W. Gilmer
  • 1876-7- W. B. McDonald; J. B. Speake
  • 1878-9- D. W. Boger; J. B. Clark
  • 1880-1- E. P. Martin; A. O. Pickett
  • 1882-3- J. H. Branch; J. M. Clark
  • 1884-5- J. H. Branch; J. S. Gibson
  • 1886-7- J. R. NeSmith; I. S. Simpson
  • 1888-9- W. W. NeSmith; W. V. Curtis
  • 1890-1—G. W. Thrasher; John Leigh.
  • 1892-3—James E. NeSmith.
  • 1894-5—M. M. Summers.
  • 1896-7—J. J. Abercrombie.
  • 1898-9—Luther W. White.
  • 1899 (Spec.)—Luther W. White.
  • 1900-01—D. C. Almon.
  • 1903—William Thomas Lowe.
  • 1907—C. M. Sherrod.
  • 1907 (Spec.)—C. M. Sherrod.
  • 1909 (Spec.)—C. M. Sherrod.
  • 1911—H. U. Lane.
  • 1915—F. T. Neely.
  • 1919—D. H. Bracken.
Faith and Courage: 2nd edition -A Novel of Colonial America Inspired by real people and actual events, the family saga of colonial America continues with Ambrose Dixon’s family and their life during Pre-Revolutionary War days of America, intertwined with a love story.


An early settlement in Lawrence County was near the Chalybeate Springs, six or seven miles northeast of Moulton. It later became a summer resort. Six to eight families resided there and David Hubbard, Esq. was one of the early settlers.[iv] Most people came to Lawrence County from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. [v]

Map of location of Courtland, Alabama

A deadly sickness occurred in 1830 in Courtland that took many valuable citizens such as “Col. Ben Jones, Dr. Nimmo Morris, Mr. R. M. Shegog, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Carlton, and others ; whilst many of our most esteemed young men were dangerously ill, amongst them John H. Harris, and his brother Richard N., who made their wills, and expected to die.”[vi]

[i]Saunders,  p.38

[ii]Saunders. p. 38


[iv]Saunders p. 42

[v]Saunders P. 43

[vi]Saunders. p. 43



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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. “Formed from territory acquired by the Cherokee and Chicasa cession of 1816″…pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

  2. Which would be all Woodland Indian tribes

  3. Then you learn the Chickasaw were in Mobile County Alabama because that’s where they told the United States Government they were always located.

    Chief Darby Weaver
    The Tribal Leader

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