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Butler County
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1887 - Alabama As It Is - by Ben Riley
 
1887 - Northern Alabama - by Smith and Deland
 
 
Source: Alabama As It Is by Benjamin Franklin Riley, D. D., 1887 , Transcribed by C. Anthony  

The county of Butler was established in 1819. It derived its name from one of the earliest settlers—Captain William Butler. There is a great diversity of soil and a corresponding variety of productions in the county. Its climate, health, location, and resources give promise that it will become one of the leading counties of this great timber section. Its area embraces 800 square miles.

Population in 1870, 14,981 ; population in 1880, 19,649. White, 10,684 ; colored, 8,965. 

Tilled Land: 87,010 acres.—Area planted in cotton. 35,851 acres; in corn, 24,648 acres; in oats, 7,494 acres ; in sugar-cane, 338 acres; in rice, 17 acres; in sweet potatoes, 679 acres.

Cotton Production : 11,895 bales.

The general surface of Butler county is rolling with some hills in the west. The lands are beautifully adapted to diversified husbandry. In the northwestern portion the soil is prairie and prolific. Through the middle portions there are red lands whose value is highly prized by the planters of the county. In the southern portion the soil is both red and gray. Along the higher table-lands of Butler are found the sandy soils which belong to all high pine regions; but like the lands of this class throughout the Timber Belt, there is a clay subsoil of considerable depth, which gives to the deep-rooted crops immense advantage. In the hilly portion of Butler, where the highest points are of thin soil, the slopes and valleys are quite productive. There is a considerable mixture of lime with the soil in the creek bottoms. This is due to the washings from the neighboring lime hills.

The soils of the county produce cotton, corn, oats, sugar-cane, rice, barley, rye, peas, peanuts, sweet and Irish potatoes.

No crop raised upon Southern soil can be planted in Butler without receiving an adequate return, provided the seasons are  favorable. Many of the lands are fertile, and when they are comparatively thin they are easily fertilized, and where they need such aid, are well calculated to retain the manures. A fact of great practical value maybe mentioned here as admitting of equal application to every county in the great Timber Belt, viz: In the sections which need the application of fertilizers there are wonderful quantities of pine straw and leaves, which, when thrown into stables and pens, serve to make the best domestic fertilizers. For more than a half century this course has been adopted by planters, and their lands have been kept enriched from year to year. Through a long period of years cotton and corn were almost the exclusive crops; but a marvelous change is now being wrought in the practical industries of the county. The production of oats is engrossing more attention than formerly. The same is true of rice. Sugar-cane is so easily grown and its yield is so abundant that it is fast becoming one of the staple productions of the county.

Perhaps in no county in the Timber Belt is more attention bestowed upon the orchard than in Butler. Superior apples, peaches, pears, and watermelons are produced. Figs thrive in the fence corners and out-of-the-way places, and with no attention the yield is very great. With slight attention, the fig would thrive quite as well here as in any part of the world. The grape has received considerable attention, and the returns from the culture of the vine are excellent. In the town of Greenville, Honorable J. C. Richardson has given considerable attention to the production of fruits, and especially of the different varieties of grapes and pears. The yield is quite large every year and the fruits grow to perfection. Major D. G. Dunklin, of the same place, raises grapes for shipment, from which he derives considerable revenue.

The fields and forests of Butler are overspread with native clovers and grasses, which are encouraging stock-raising. About the centers of population great quantities of milk and butter are produced for home consumption and the local markets. Raising beef for distant markets, and wool-growing, are now receiving some attention.

Vegetables grow to perfection, and truck farming and market gardening are somewhat engaged in, especially in the neighborhood of Greenville.

In different sections of Butler county there are splendid forests of timber comprising the several varieties of oak, pine, ash, gum, cedar, poplar, hickory, dogwood, maple, beech, and magnolia. Of the yellow, or long-leaf pine, there are vast districts, and the timber is equal to that of any other section of this Belt. In the northern or prairie region of Butler there are belts of  cedar growth as fine as can be obtained in the Union.

The county abounds in excellent water supplies. Springs, wells, and creeks abound in freestone and lime water. The county is somewhat noted for its mineral springs. Butler Springs have long been noted for their medicinal waters, and when easier accessibility is had, the springs will come into note. But one of the mast remarkable mineral wells is found within three miles of Greenville—McCall's Mineral Well. Its waters are pronounced the "strongest" of the various mineral waters known in America. For dyspepsia and chronic derangement of the urinary organs, and all phases of eruptions, the waters are excellent. Large quantities of this water are shipped to all parts of the country every year. When properly advertised and better known, these waters will be mast earnestly sought by sufferers.

Of the chief streams of the county it may be said that Pine, Barren, and Cedar creeks head in the northwest, while the tributaries of the Sepulga river run through other portions. Pigeon and Panther creeks are excellent streams of water.

Greenville, the county-seat, with a population of 3,500, Georgiana, Garland, Monterey, and Forest Home are the centers of interest. All have remarkably fine educational advantages.

At Greenville there are three institutions of repute, viz: The Greenville Collegiate Institute, the South Alabama Female Institute, and the Greenville High School. Public schools are located in every township in the county.

In the northern portion of Butler have been found some superior specimens of iron ore scattered over the surface. Whether these are indications of deposits of neighboring hills, is not known.

Some of the leading lumber interests of South Alabama are found in Butler along the line of the Louisville and Nashville railroad. They are devoted exclusively to the manufacture of pine lumber, which is shipped to the most distant parts of the country. Many other industries, such as gins and water mills abound.

Those desiring land may secure them in many localities at nominal figures. The present market price extends from $1.50 to $10 per acre. There are in the county 13,160 acres of public lands subject to homestead entry. In addition to this there are 7,000 acres of railroad land which can be purchased at $1.25 per acre.

Pleasant and cheap homes are here afforded those desiring to settle. The people are industrious, thrifty, and quiet, and immigrants will be well received.  

 
Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
BUTLER COUNTY.
 
Population: White: 10,920 Colored; 8,000  Area: 800 square miles Woodland - all. Oak and hickory uplands. 330 square miles. Pine uplands, 400 square miles. Hill-prairie and lime-hills, 50 square miles.
 
Acres - In cotton (approximately), 35,900; in corn, 24, 648; in oats, 7,494; in sugar-cane, 338; in rice, 17; in sweet potatoes, 679.
 
Approximate numberof bales of cotton, 12,000.
 
County Seat - Greenville: population, 3,000; on Mobile & Montgomery Railroad.
 
Newspapers published at County Seat - Advocate (Democratic).
 
Postoffices in the County - Bolling, Butler Springs. Dunham. Forest Home, Garland, Georgiana, Glasgow, Greenville, Lamont, Manningham, Monterey, Oaky Streak, Pigeon Creek, Pontus, Runville, Searcy, Shell, Sim's Mill, Starlington, Toluca, Urbanity.
 
The county of Butler was established in 1819. It derived its name from one of the earliest settlers, Captain William Butler.
 
There is a great diversity of soil and a corresponding variety of productions in the county. Its climate, health, location and resources give jiiomise that it will become one of the leading counties of this great timber section.
In different sections of Butler County there are splendid forests of timber, comprising the several varieties of oak, pine, ash, gum, cedar, poplar, hickory, dogwood, maple, beech, and magnolia. Of the yellow, or long-leaf, pine there are vast districts, and the timber is equal to that of any other section or this belt.
 
In the northern or prairie region of Butler there are belts of cedar growth as fine as can be obtained in the Union.
Those desiring lands may secure them in many localities at nominil figures. The present market price extends from $1.50 to $10 per acre. There are in the county 13,100 acres of public land subject to homestead entry. In addition to this there are 7,000 acres of railroad land, which can be purchased at $1.25 per acre.
 
Pleasant and cheap homes are here afforded those desiring to settle. The people are industrious, thrifty and quiet, and immigrants will be well received.
 
 
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