Cleburne County, Alabama Genealogy Trails

History of Cleburne County

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History

  - Created by an act of Alabama Legislature on December 6, 1866
  - Formerly located in Calhoun, Randolph & Talladega
  - 561 square miles
  - Named after Confederate Army Major General Patrick Ranoyne Cleburne
  - Prior to Indian Removal Act of 1830 area was Creek and Cherokee hunting territory
  - Early settlers migrated by McIntosh Trail around 1825 establishing present day Ranburne

Civil War

  - Division between northern and southern parts of the county
  - Historians estimated less than 100 slaves in county, few slave owners
  - Hardly any conflict in majority of county
  - Stone Hill community saw Union raids
  - Area favored secession

Reconstruction

  - Election ordered for July 1867 to locating county seat and electing county officers
  - Initial county seat was Edwardsville(named after the Edwards family from North Carolina)
  - Courthouse built in 1887 on land given by Williams Edwards
  - First officers as follows:
        o Probate Judge – A.D. Chandler
        o Sheriff – Joseph Hooper
        o County Treasurer – W.R. Hunnicutt
        o County Surveyor – William Bell
        o County Commissioners – John Brock, Merrill Collier, W.H. Brown & Allen Jenkins
  - Heflin nominated to become new county seat
  - Legal battle ensued with Alabama Supreme Court awarding Heflin with county seat in 1906
  - Courthouse built in 1907 – named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976

Notable Events for Cleburne County

    Gold

  - Discovered in the vicinity of Arbacoochee and Chulafinnee around 1830
  - Main gold rush was from 1835 through 1836
  - 500 miners came into the area with only a few achieving wealth
  - Creeks and mines provide enough gold for others to make a living

    Rail

  - Georgia-Pacific Railroad completed through Heflin and Cleburne County in 1883
  - Rail bed built by picks, shovels, a wheelbarrow and a dump cart
  - Linked Heflin to Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama

    Lights

  - O.W. Grant brought electrical lights to Heflin in 1912
  - Alabama Power started providing power to Heflin on March 16, 1926
  - O.W. Grant cotton gin
        o Powered by a two-cylinder vertical gasoline engine with 15kw, 110-volt generator
        o Plant served approx. 70 residential and commercial customers (no street lights) between 4a to 7a and from 6p to 11p.
        o Thursday was deemed ironing day and energized from 9a and 3p
  - G.F. Moore purchased a plant and it began operation in 1919. Destroyed by fire in 1932
  - W.M. Dobson built a hydro plant 2.5 miles west of Heflin on a creek
        o Needed assistance from a steam engine as creek was not sufficient
        o Supplied 120 customers
           Customers installed their own meters
           Paid monthly minimum of $3.00

    Automotive

  - Bankhead Highway(present day Highway 78) graded in 1925 – Paved 1933
  - Interstate 20 began construction in the 1970s

    Telephone

  - Rural mail carrier only method of communication at the beginning
  - Railroad helped establish newspapers
  - Telegraph operators were located in Edwardsville, Fruithurst and Heflin
  - Telephone communications came to Cleburne County as early as 1920s-1930s
  - Telephone exchanges were located in Fruithurst, Edwardsville, Chulafinnee and White Plains
  - These were located in private homes such as Chulafinnee, Beason’s Mill/Cedar Creek, Hightower/Trickem/Lecta as well as post office buildings

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