Water Mills of Butler County in
1887 - Alabama As It Is - by Ben
1887 - Northern Alabama - by Smith
Source: Alabama As It Is by Benjamin Franklin Riley,
D. D., 1887 , Transcribed by C.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land,
Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta
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
Approximate numberof bales of cotton, 12,000.
County Seat - Greenville: population, 3,000; on
Mobile & Montgomery Railroad.
Newspapers published at County Seat - Advocate
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
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
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
Pleasant and cheap homes are here afforded those
desiring to settle. The people are industrious, thrifty and quiet,
and immigrants will be well received.
WATER MILLS OF BUTLER COUNTY IN
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
John W. Halso, Pigeon Creek,
flour and grist mill....................................................
Glen Graham, Pontus, flour and
The Four Mile Mill, Greenville,
flour and grist mill ....................................................
The N. M. Rhodes Mill &
Mercantile Co., Shell, flour, grist and lumber mill .............
Mrs. M. E. Crane. Monterey,
flour and grist mill......................................................
Rouse & Whiddon. Greenville,
flour and grist mill....................................................
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