Water Mills of Choctaw County in 1886
Choctaw County History in Alabama As It Is by B F Riley - 1887
Choctaw County History in Northern Alabama - by Smith and DeLand - 1888
Source: Alabama As It Is by Benjamin Franklin Riley, D. D., 1887 , Transcribed by C. Anthony
Choctaw county was established in 1847. It has been usually classed among the timber counties of the State, but its fertile lands, which are so largely productive of cotton, and its location, give it a place in the rank of cotton counties. It is highly favored, both with respect to its magnificent forests of timber and its domains of fertile soil. Some of the most splendid cotton plantations of the South are found in Choctaw county. Its area is 930 square miles.
Population in 1870. 12,676; population in 1880, 15,731. White, 7,390; colored, 8,341.
Tilled Land: 77,182 acres.—Area planted in cotton, 31,086 acres; in corn, 25,613 acres; in oats, 3,338 acres; in rice, 38 acres; in sugar-cane, 101 acres; in tobacco, 23 acres; in sweet potatoes, 748 acres.
Cotton Production: 9,054 bales.
Both the topography and the soils of Choctaw county are greatly varied. The county throughout is diversified with hills, valleys, and extensive table-lands. These table-lands throughout Choctaw are overlaid with both brown loam and sandy soils, which give them great variety.
Near the center of the county there passes, in a southwesterly direction, a sandy ridge which divides the waters of the two principal streams which flow through it. Both north and south of this ridge are found many valuable farming lands. The soils found in the broad creek bottoms, and those known as "shell prairie," are the lands most eagerly sought. The high uplands, which are overspread with a magnificent growth of yellow pine, oak, and hickory, are also valuable and easilly tilled. In some portions of Choctaw are found regions of land which have a stiff, limy, red loam, while others again are black prairie.
In the neighborhood of the sandy ridge, already alluded to, there is a region of high and steep hills, with deep, narrow ravines. But, where the valleys are broad, they are generally fertile, as the soils which compose them have a considerable proportion of lime.
Altogether, the county is a desirable location for residence, as it is healthy and affords soils of every shade and variety. Along the shell prairies and the expansive valleys are found charming farms. Owing to the diversity of lands there is a diversity of crops. Of these, com, cotton, peas, and oats are the leading. Both domestic and wild grasses flourish, affording luxuriant herbage to stock. Like the counties of this section of the State, Choctaw is much devoted to stock-raising. Cattle, sheep, horses, and mules are raised with gratifying results. Vast numbers of hogs are fattened and slaughtered by the citizens every year for home consumption.
Fruits peculiar to the Southern climate are grown with satisfaction and profit. Excellent peaches and pears are grown in the orchards of Choctaw. The forests abound in wild fruits, such as hickory-nuts, plums, persimmons, and the various Southern berries. In some portions of the county there is considerable wild game.
The value of the lands of Choctaw is enhanced in a number of places by reason of the existence of marl beds. Green sand is found at several points along the Tombigbee river. Traces of petroleum have been discovered. Near Bladon Springs there is dug from the earth a soil, the curative properties of which have been pronounced marvelous. Large quantities of this medicine are manufactured in Mobile under the name of Acid Iron Earth.
The pine forests of the county are extensive. The other varieties of timber are magnolia, chestnut, poplar, gum, cypress, hickory, ash, beech, willow, cedar, and bay. Along the streams and in the swampy forests, in the central and southern portions of Choctaw, the trees are draped in long, swaying moss.
The county is as highly favored in its water supplies as any other in the great Cotton Belt. Its water is both excellent and abundant. The chief streams are the Tombigbee river, and Okatuppah, Clear, Yantley, Kinterbish, Tickabum, Bogue Chitta, Wahalak, Bogue Loosa, Surveyor's, Pascus, and Turkey creeks. The county abounds in many superior springs, both of freestone and mineral waters. One of these mineral springs, Bladon, has attained considerable note as a watering-place. These famous springs are located just three miles from the Tombigbee river, and are regarded as having superior curative waters. This is especially true concerning diseases of the stomach and liver. The surroundings of these springs are healthy.
The chief towns and villages are Butler, the county-seat, with a population of about 300, Mt. Sterling, and Pushmatuha. The survey of the projected route of the Pensacola and Memphis railroad passes directly through Butler and Pushmatuha. This new line, when completed, will impart fresh life to the county and develop its agricultural and timber resources. At present, there is no railroad that touches the county. For transportation, the people of the county rely largely upon the Tombigbee river, which flows along its eastern border. The Mobile and Ohio railroad, which runs not a great distance from the western boundary, through the State of Mississippi, affords transportation for the inhabitants of that section.
Schools in nearly every part of the county are good. Butler, Mt. Sterling, Pushmatuha, and Bladon Springs have first-class schools and churches. Educational facilities are within easy reach of every populated section of Choctaw.
Lands may be purchased in many sections of the county at one dollar per acre. They extend in value up to six dollars. Public lands, which are always subject to entry, are found. The people are friendly to immigration. There are 109,640 acres of government land in the county.
Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
Population: White 7,390; colored 8,341. Area, 930 square miles; oak and hickory and long leaf pine uplands, 830 square miles; pine hills, 100 square miles.
Acres - In cotton 31,086; in corn 25,613; in oats 3,338; in rice 38: in sugar-cane 101; in tobacco 23; in sweet potatoes 748.
Approximate number of bales of cotton 10,000.
County Seat - Butler: population, 300; forty miles east of Meridian, Miss., near the Tombigbee River.
Newspaper published at County Seat - The Choctaw Herald (Democratic).
Post offices in the County - Aquilla, Ararat, Bergamot, Bevill's Store, Bladen Springs, Butler, De Sotoville, Fail, Isney, Lenora, Lusk, Melvin, Mount Sterling, Naheola. Pushmataha, Rescueville, Silas, Souwilpa. Tompkinsville, Tuscahoma, Womack Hill, Yantley Creek.
The county was organized December 29, 1847, from territory originally belonging to Washington and Sumter Counties. It is in the western portion of the State, and bounded, north by Sumter, south by Washington, east by Marengo and Clarke, and west by Mississippi.
The lands are rolling and flat. The ridges and pine lands are sandy, but the river and creek "bottoms" are all alluvial. The pine forests are extensive, and can be and are being made a source of great wealth. Grazing for cattle is in great abundance and first-class in the outlying lands.
The inhabitants are honest, industrious, brave and patriotic, and gladly welcome all good people who may come to make their home with them. There are numerous churches and school-houses scattered throughout the county easy of access.
WATER MILLS OF CHOCTAW 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.
CHOCTAW COUNTY................................................................................................. H.P.
Pink Blackwell, Hinton. flour and grist mill ............................................................... 12
Aquilla Mills, Aquilla, lumber and timber mill ............................................................ 16
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