REMINISCENSES OF THE EARLY DAYS IN CHAMBERS COUNTY
By E. G. Richards1
That portion of East Alabama formerly occupied by the Creek tribe of Indians was ceded by them to the United States by treaty in the Spring of the year 1832. The government proceeded without delay, after making said treaty, to have the territory surveyed into sections preparatory to sale and settlement. By the terms of the treaty, the head of each Indian family was entitled to a reservation of 320 acres of land and the chiefs of tribes to 640 acres.
A large portion of the best lands was taken by the Indian reservations, as they were generally living on the water courses and entitled to be located on the lands they were then occupying. Most of these reservations were sold by the Indians to land speculators before the unlocated lands were offered for sale or made subject to entry.
Chambers County named in honor of Dr. Henry Chambers
At the session of the Legislature of the State of Alabama in 1832-3, said territory was divided into counties and that portion known as Chambers county was so named in honor of Dr. Henry Chambers, a distinguished citizen of North Alabama, who was one of the first Senators elected to the United States Senate from the State of Alabama after the admission of this State into the Union, but who died before or very soon after taking his seat.
Dr. Henry H. Chambers (bioguide.congress.gov)
At the session of the Legislature which divided said territory into counties, the Hon. James Thompson, of Jefferson County, Ala., was elected Judge of the county court for Chambers County. Shortly after the adjournment of that session of the Legislature, Judge Thompson came to Chambers County for the purpose of organizing the county by the election of county officers.
After reaching the county and informing himself of the location of the few white people then living in the county, he advertised and held an election for county officers. That election was held at the house of James Taylor, on the 4th day of March 1833. That election was held on lands owned by Hon. M. V. Maley, about seven miles north-east of where LaFayette has since then been built. That place was several miles from the center of the county, but at that time it was near the center of population.
Settlers located where there were few Native-Americans
The white settlers in the county at that time were located mostly in the northern and eastern portions of the county, in such neighborhoods as where there were but few Indians. The white inhabitants were mostly from the State of Georgia and were intruders on Indian territory.
At the election mentioned Nathaniel H. Greer was elected Sheriff; William H. House, Clerk of the Circuit Court; Joseph J. Williams, Clerk of the County Court; Booker Lawson, John Wood, William Fannin and John A. Hurst were elected Commissioners of Revenue and Roads, as our Commissioners were then called. These officers were well chosen for the respective offices for which each was elected. Nathaniel Greer served as Sheriff only about one year when he resigned and was elected to the Legislature and had the honor of being the first Sheriff and also the first representative in the Legislature that Chambers County ever had.
Mr. Greer was a farmer of fair ability, and after serving one term in the Legislature he removed to the State of Texas. W. H. House and J. W. Williams each served out their full terms of office, and Williams was re-elected to a second term but House was defeated by John C. Towles, who after serving one term, was defeated in his candidacy for reelection by Thomas J. Harrell. These gentlemen all made good officers and the changes were not always caused by a want of competency in the defeated candidate but was caused by strife for party ascendency. The most of the first officers elected in Chambers County discharged their duties fully as well as those that have been elected in later years.
1HON. EVAN GOODWIN RICHARDS, the author of a series of articles on Chambers County, published in the LaFayette Sun, during the year 1890, was a minister and lawyer. He was born August 26, 1807, at Northampton County, N. C., and died December 31, 1893, his last residence being LaFayette, Alabama. His father was a native of Wales, who settled in North Carolina in 1815 and removed to Madison County, Alabama. He went to the country schools of that County in 1830 and was licensed by the Methodist Church to preach. He located at LaFayette, that same year and was one of the chief promoters of the Opelika, Oxford and Guntersville Railroad, being its first President. He was also among the first to advocate the building of cotton factories in the South after the War Between the States. He was a Democrat and supported Stephen A. Douglas for the United States Presidency in 1860. Mr. Richards married Sarah Dickens Clark Webb, of Perry County, in 1835, and they were the parents of a large family of children.
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