Barbour County, Alabama

County History

Source: Alabama As It Is by Benjamin Franklin Riley, D. D., 1887 , Transcribed by C. Anthony

BARBOUR COUNTY

The county of Barbour was formed in 1832 and named for Governor James Barbour, of Virginia. It has long been one of the leading counties of the State. It has been noted, not only for the thrift and prosperity of its citizens, but for their refinement aud intelligence, as well. The county has furnished a number of the most distinguished men of the State. No other county leads Barbour in its progress in agriculture and the manufactures. It has an area of 860 square miles.

Population in 1870, 29,309; population in 1880,33,979. White, 13,091 ; colored, 20,888.

Tilled Land: 197,455 acres.—Area planted in cotton, 100,442 acres; in corn, 61,822 acres; in oats, 10,264 acres; in wheat, 131 acres; in rye, 112 acres; in rice, 35 acres; in tobacco, 22 acres; in sugar-cane, 647 acres ; in sweet potatoes, 1,274 acres.

Cotton Production : 26,063 bales.

It will be seen by these figures that Barbour is emphatically an agricultural county. For the pursuit of agriculture, it is most admirably fitted by Nature. It has generally a slightly undulating surface, with hills along the northern end. The lower portions of the county are generally level. Barbour creek, a large stream which flows nearly through the heart of the county, in a southeasterly direction, divides it into two sections. North of this stream are the most fertile lands. Amid the Cowikces (a name given a group of streams in that section) we find a portion of the famous Black Belt. Here have been for many years, and still are, the extensive plantations which have given Barbour such a reputation abroad as a superb farming section. Almost without exception, the lands in this region possess superior fertility. A large proportion of the colored population is found in this region, whither they have located as the tillers of the soil. They live directly upon these productive lands, while the white settlements are upon the knolls and more elevated portions. For social refinement and elevation, this part of the county can not be surpassed. The prolific lands of this region have an admixture of lime, and away from the streams are reddish or light colored. Those bordering the several forks or creeks which water this section are much more sandy, but highly productive.

Looking southward from Barbour creek, the lands are freer from hills and much more sandy than those lying beyond the stream and in the north. In this part of the county (the southern) the surface sand has a deep clay subsoil, and is susceptible of a high degree of fertilization. It is described as being highly favorable to small model farms, as different crops can be rapidly planted and gathered in rotation.

A high ridge follows the windings of Pea river, which is not so fertile as the neighboring regions, but which is thickly timbered with valuable oak, hickory, and walnut. The productions of Barbour county are cotton, corn, oats, peas, millet, sorghum, potatoes (sweet and Irish), and sugar-cane. The last-named product is so easy of cultivation, and under favorable circumstances is so productive, that it is annually assuming greater importance.

All the vegetables grown in the Temperate Zone flourish here without limit.

Fruits are easily raised and are winning more attention year by year. Pears, peaches, plums, grapes, figs, and melons of every variety are the fruits which are generally grown. Captain R. F. Kolb, who resides near the city of Hufaula, derives immense profit from his watermelon farm. During the past year he planted 200 acres in watermelons alone. He has an immense nursery of fruit trees, and has an orchard with 2,500 LeConte pear trees. He also produces large quantities of seeds for Northern dealers.  Grasses and clovers grow beautifully in the county, both in their native wildness and when cultivated. These, together with the wild cane, which grows along the streams, keep the stock roaming at large, in excellent condition almost throughout the year.

The woods of the county are mainly stocked with such timbers as oak, hickory, poplar, long-leaf pine, walnut, and persimmon.

The county is drained in the north by the several forks of Cowikee creek, along the eastern slopes by the Chattahoochee, the central and southern parts by the headwaters of the Choctawhatchee river, and the western part by Pea river. This affords an idea of the superior watering facilities of the county.

From the hills in the southwest have been gathered specimens of iron ore. Lime rocks prevail in abundance in different portions of Barbour, while specimens of kaolin have been secured. In the town of Louisville is a bed of green marl about twelve or eighteen feet below the surface and in vast quantities. Repeated experiments by gardeners prove its value.

In the southern portion of the county four miles above the line of Dale, is a great natural curiosity in the form of a magnificent spring, the dimensions of which are 40x80 feet. Its waters are of a bluish cast and so transparent that the light glows through them. The eye of a fish is distinctly seen in their shining depths. This was once a point of popular resort, but since the destruction of the spacious hotel it has been abandoned as such. The waters of this wonderful spring are supposed to possess wonderful curative powers. There issues directly from it a large, bold stream.

Eufaula, a city of 6,000 inhabitants, Clayton, the county-seat, and a point of interest having quite an educational spirit, and Louisville, with a population of several hundred, and Batesville are the important centers of the county. Among these Louisville may be mentioned as one of the oldest towns in this section of Alabama, and has long been noted as possessing a thrifty and intelligent population. Eufaula is one of the principal cities of the State. By reason of its location as a commercial center, it has long been regarded a point of great importance. This estimate of the city is further enhanced by the projected railway from this point to Florida. It crowns a lofty bluff on the western bank of the Chattahoochee river, 180 feet high, overlooking that stream for many miles, in both directions, and commanding a view of beautiful landscapes for a great distance beyond. It is noted for its health, superior society, enterprising business men, schools, and churches. Its compresses, machine shops, factories, foundries, flouring and corn mills, weaving mill, and presses attest its importance as an enterprising center. It has good hotels and many handsome private residences. Its church architecture will compare favorably with that of any city in the South. It has a female college and superior male schools.

Clayton, with a population of 600, has a female college and first-class male institutions. Educational advantages are found in every portion of the county. Churches exist also in every section.

Transportation is secured through the Montgomery and Eufaula railroad, the Eufaula and Clayton railroad, and the Chattahoochee river.

Lands may be had, by those wishing to settle in Barbour, at prices ranging from $2.50 to $20 per acre. No people would hail more readily the influx of a thrifty, industrious population than those of Barbour county.

There are 5,520 acres of government land still untaken in the county.

 

 Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

BARBOUR COUNTY.

Population: White, 13,091; colored, 20,888. Area, 860 square miles. Woodland, all. Oak, hickory and long-leaf pine, 610 square miles; Blue marsh land, 250 square miles.

Acres - In cotton (approximately), 100,000; in corn, 61,800; in oats, 10,300; in wheat, 150; in rye, 100; in rice, 50; in tobacco, 25; in sugar-cane, 650; in sweet potatoes, 1,300. Approximate number of bales of cotton, in round numbers, 26, 100.

County Seat - Clayton; population, 1,200; located seventy-five miles southeast of Montgomery, and at the terminus of the Eufaula & Clayton Railroad.

Newspapers published at County Seat - Courier, Democrat; at Eufaula, Mail, Times, News - all Democratic.

Post offices in the County - Batesville. Belcher, Bush, Clayton, Clio, Coleridge, Cotton Hill, Cowikee. Cox's Mill, Elamville, Eufaula, Harris, Hawkinsville, Howe, Lodi, Louisville, McInness, Mount Andrew, New Topia, Oateston, Pea River, Reeder's Mill. Star Hill. Tub, White Oak Springs, White Pond.

The county was organized in 1832, and named in honor of Gov. James Barbour, of Virginia. It lies in the eastern portion of the State, and is separated from Georgia by the Chattahoochee River, which forms its entire eastern boundary. Barbour ranks as one of the leading counties in the State.

A line drawn east and west through Barbour County, near the center, will divide it into two parts which are quite dissimilar. The soils on the north of this line are more or less calcareous, those on the south, sandy. The northern half has a substratum of marl and limestone of the upper cretaceous formation, which, acting upon the soil, gives rise to some of the best and safest cotton lauds in the State. This portion of the county is drained by the three forks of Cowikee Creek, and is known throughout the county as the Cowikee lands.

The soil is moderately stiff, calcareous clay, with patches of what is known as hog-wallow, which are seldom more than an acre or two in extent. In the immediate vicinity of the streams the soil is much more sandy, but highly productive. The general appearance of these lands is that of a gently undulating, occasionally hilly region, somewhat resembling the prairies of the Rotten Limestone country, hut with reddish or light-colored soils. This region, though fertile, is malarious, and is inhabited by comparatively few white families. The negroes, however, appear to endure it very well. There is a peculiar mixture of trees characterizing these lands, viz. : hickory, white and Spanish oaks, sweet and sour gums, and long-leaf pine. The latter appears to be out of place with such surroundings.

The Chattahoochee River forms the eastern boundary of the county, and the bottom lands of this stream are from one to three miles wide, and very productive, Next to these are the second bottoms or hummocks, or pine Hats, always safe and easy to cultivate. Bordering upon these are the foot-hills of the pine uplands.

Although the larger part of the surface of this county is occupied by brown loams, with a growth of oak, hickory, and pine, yet the characteristic agricultural features of Barbour depend upon the blue marls of the Cowikee and other drainage areas of the northern half of the county. A large proportion (more than half) of the cotton crop is produced in the northeastern part of the county, where these marls give character to the soils. There is, perhaps, no part of the State which ranks higher in the production of cotton than the blue marl lands of adjacent parts of Russell, Barbour and Bullock Counties, whose prevailing soils are light, sandy loams, easily worked, possessing a comparatively high percent- age of lime, by which they are rendered extraordinarily thrifty.

From the hills in the southwest have been gathered specimens of iron ore. Lime rock prevails in abundance in different portions of Barbour, while specimens of kaolin have been secured. In the town of Louisville is a bed of green marl about twelve or eighteen feet below the surface, and in vast quantities. Repeated experiments by gardeners prove its value.

In the southern portion of the county, four miles above the line of Dale, is a great natural curiosity in the form of a magnificent spring, the dimensions of which are 40x80 feet. Its waters are of a bluish cast and so transparent that the light glows through them. The eye of a fish is distinctly seen in their shining depths. This was once a point of popular resort, but since the destruction of the spacious hotel it has been abandoned as such. The waters of this spring are supposed to possess wonderful curative powers. There issues directly from it a large, bold stream.

Clayton is the county seat, and is a pleasant little village. It is the seat of several excellent institutions of learning.

Eufaula, on the Chattahoochee is the most important place in Eastern Alabama. It is a city of between six and seven thousand people, and has a promise of an extensive growth in the near future. Eufaula's commercial importance will be greatly increased by the completion of several railroads which are projected. Batesville and Louisville are the other towns of the county.


 
WATER MILLS OF BARBOUR COUNTY IN 1886

Source: Bulletin, Geological Survey of Alabama, by Truman H. Aldrich, 1886 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

 The following is a list of the water powers that are utilized.  The most of these powers are small, but they make a large aggregate, and they represent only an insignificant part of the power that is capable of development.
 

BARBOUR COUNTY. H.P.
Hagler's Mill, Louisville, flour and grist mill 17
Carpenter's Mill. Louisville, flour and grist mill 15
Huffman's Mill. Clayton, flour and grist mill 50
Hartman's Mill, Clayton, flour and grist mill 10
Zorn Mills, Lodi, flour and grist mill 8
William M. Wood. Bush, flour and grist mill 12
Will Stewart, White Oak Springs, flour and grist mill 12
Winn's Mill, Clayton, flour and grist mill 12
John White. Spivey, flour and grist mill 10
Weston's Mill. Louisville, flour and grist mill 8
H. J. Turner, White Oak Springs, flour and grist mill 10
Spencer's Mill, Clayton, flour and grist mill 10
Perkin's Mill, Elamville. flour and grist mill 12
Angus McSwain. White Oak Springs, flour and grist mill 12
William Johnson, Clayton, flour and grist mill 10
John M. Jenkins, Starhill, flour and grist mill 10
Solomon's Mills. Solomon's Mills, flour and grist mill 25
Danner Mill. Elamville. flour and grist mill 12
William H. Chambers, Gateston. flour and grist mill 12
Wilson Deshazo, Cottonhill, flour and grist mill 16

 


 

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