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.
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.
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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]
[ii]Saunders. p. 38
[iii]Pickett, p. 635 HISTORY OF ALABAMA AND INCIDENTALLY GEORGIA AND MISSISSIPPI
[iv]Saunders p. 42
[v]Saunders P. 43
[vi]Saunders. p. 43
Pickett, p. 635, HISTORY OF ALABAMA AND INCIDENTALLY GEORGIA AND MISSISSIPPIHISTORY OF ALABAMA AND INCIDENTALLY GEORGIA AND MISSISSIPPI
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