The area which makes up Bullock County, Alabama belonged to the Creek Indians until the treaty of Fort Jackson ceded the western half of it to the Federal government. Around twenty years later, the Cusseta treaty gave the eastern half of the future county. “It was in this section that an Indian village, Tchona nagi existed which later became the important Native American village of Chunnennuggee.
Chunnennuggee Ridge divides the county into two parts, and separates the prairie region from the sandy land region. North of the ridge is a belt of low hills and irregular ridges in a network of V-shaped valleys and wet weather streams. The locality is known as the ‘hill prairie country’. High Ridge, in the south west section is apparently the highest point and the place where Line Creek leaves the county is the lowest.1
The Union Springs Herald of May 8, 1930 provided the historical of the county which stated that the first white settler was B. F. Baldwin, ancestor of Mrs. W. W. Rainer of Union Springs who came quite early and lived peaceably among the Indians. He adopted many of their customs and lived in a tent pitched near the springs under the bluff opposite the head of Chunnennuggee Street in Union Springs.
Midway, located in eastern section of present day Bullock County, was originally located in Barbour County, and was likely first settled by Samuel Feagin who became a land broker and the first postmaster. He also built a small inn, ran a store, and operated a stage coach stop. Feagin’s son, James Madison Feagin organized the Midway Guards during the Second Creek War (1836-37).
Midway, Bullock County, Alabama (Landsofamerica.com)
After the Cusseta treaty, the Native Americans were forced to the West or to Florida and there were hostilities around the area of Midway at ‘Feagin’s Store’, which resulted from a mob of drunk Indians and the stabbing of a white man.
A military company was organized and Major James Madison Feagin served as sergeant for two years. He took part in the fight at ‘Three Notch’ in 1837, where several whites were killed. “The title Major was conferred on him by his election to command the Second Battalion of 47 Regiment of Alabama Militia. He commanded sixty-five mounted volunteers at Camp Watson, on the ‘Three Notch’ Road, belonging to Cowikee Spies commanded by Captain L. Q. Keener to protect citizens from Indians on their way to Florida.”2
Last major battle with Native Americans in Alabama
A major battle was fought with the Native Americans near Midway on the Pea River with General William Welborn leading the settlers. The battle of Hobdy’s Bridge was the last battle fought with Native Americans on Alabama soil, and the fiercest of the conflict.4
Among the first people to homestead in the area of present day Bullock County were several Scotch families who settled at Bethel, which was at the time a part of present day Pike County. They spread to Inverness and Aberfoil. It is said that they built their church before they built their homes. Most of the early settlers came from the Carolinas and Georgia.
Wealthy people settled on the Ridge because of the fertile soil and water supply. From these settlements grew a society unsurpassed with a culture and prosperity typical of the “Old South”. The first church, “Old Ebenezer” was built on Bullock soil was for these people.5
Other settlements were made at Midway, Enon, Guerryton, Suspension, Chunnennuggee, and Union Springs.
Bullock County established in 1866
On December 5, 1866, the Alabama Legislature approved an act to create the county of Bullock. The area for the new county included the southern part of Macon County, the eastern part of Montgomry County, the western part of Barbour County, and the northern part of Pike County. The county was called Bullock County after an officer by that name who had “a war record satisfactory with the men who followed the standards of the Alabama Rifles and Perote Guards.”3
Freemasons had settled in the area prior to 1866 as the Charter for the old Masonic Lodge at Mt. Hilliard was granted in 1853, when the area was in Pike County. Charter members of the Mt. Hilliard Masonic Lodge included J. L. Brown, Gen. McCreless, J. D. Moore, C. C. Shell, and Joiel Riley. They represented “sturdy pioneers that made a contribution to the formation of a county as well as to a Masonic Lodge.”6
The act establishing the county named James T. Norman, Joel T. Crawford and Malichi Ivey as commissioners to hold an election for county officers and for the selection of the county seat. Daniel McCall, Republican, was elected Probate Judge, and Union Springs was made the county seat. The Baptist Church in Union Springs served as the courthouse.
1Owen, Our State-Alabama, p. 625
2Memorial Record of Alabama, p. 526
3McNair, Cecil E., Reconstruction in Bullock County, p. 1. (from Acts of Alabama, 1866-67, pp. 65-68)
4Union Springs Herald, May 8, 1930
5Union Springs Herald, May 8, 1930
6Griswold, Elizabeth Black, History of Bullock County, (term paper written in 1937 for a class in Southern History at Alabama College, Montevallo, Alabama)
Revised with direct links to many sources and burial sites! This book includes the genealogy of and biography of William Barrett Travis of Alamo fame and Elisha Cottingham, the Alabama descendants from the Tapestry of Love, Historical Fiction Series by Donna R. Causey. Check out all Alabama Pioneers Biography books.