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Dekalb County, Alabama

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Alabama As It Is by Ben F. Riley - 1887

DeKalb County - by Smith and DeLand - 1888

1836 Acts of Alabama - Congressional Acts of US


DeKalb county took its name from the famous Baron DeKalb. It was constituted in 1836. DeKalb lies in the extreme northeastern corner of the State, and is bounded by Georgia on the east, its extreme northern point touching the line of the State of Tennessee. It shares largely in the fertile lands and mineral deposits, both of which abound in this section of Alabama. Its climate, healthfulness, favorableness of location, and natural sources of wealth make it one of the most desirable counties in the State.

Area of the county, 740 square miles.

Population in 1870, 7,126; population in 1880, 12,675. White, 11,993 I colored, 682.

Tilled Land: 52,096 acres.—Area planted in cotton, 7,469 acres; in corn, 23,929 acres; in oats, 5,115 acres; in wheat, 6,846 acres; in rye, 383 acres; in tobacco, 19 acres; in sweet potatoes, 218 acres.

Cotton Production: 2,859 bales.

It will be seen that the population of DeKalb has been almost doubled within the last ten years, which serves to indicate quite fully the estimate which is placed upon the county by immigrants and investors. This is due to the peculiar advantages offered in climate, diversity of productions, mineral deposits, and cheapness of lands, all of which are chief factors in the prosperity of the county. DeKalb county is occupied in great part by the two plateaus of
Sand and Lookout Mountains. The former of these constitutes a
high plane, whose surface rocks are those of the Coal Measures. These two plateaus, of which that of Sand Mountain is the greater, are separated by Wills' Valley, which cuts entirely across the county from northeast to southwest. This valley embraces the most productive lands of DeKalb. It is here that almost all the cotton in the county is produced.

The land along the valleys was very highly prized by the first settlers of the county, and but little regard was had for that which lay along the plateaus. Later, however, the uplands were brought into use, and the result of their tillage has been peculiarly gratifying.

They are not only cultivated with far less effort, but are found to be almost equal in production to the lower soils when assisted some with fertilizers. The lands of the county may thus be divided in a general way between the dark, stiff soils of the valley and the lighter soils of the plateaus. The staple productions are cotton, corn, wheat, oats, rye, and sweet potatoes. Grasses and clover flourish also, and the attention which is being given their production is tending to the improvement of stock. As is true throughout this entire section
of the State, the lands upon the plateaus are those devoted to fruit culture. Apples, pears, and peaches, and, indeed, all fruits grown in this latitude attain perfection. Fruit trees thrive here for many years, and the crop is rarely killed or injured by frosts. Perhaps no section of America can display finer specimens of plums than grow in this region. The principal timbers of the county are oaks, hickory, cherry, and short-leaf pines. These exist in sufficient quantities for all domestic purposes.

DeKalb county has the amplest water supplies for all purposes. Streams of rapid and deep currents afford inducements for the erection of machinery, while cool and everlasting springs issue from the hills in every section of the county. Lookout Mountain plateau is drained by Little river and its tributaries, while Sand Mountain is drained by Tom creek and the numerous streams which empty into it. Prominent among the streams are Long Island, Scarham, Black, and South Santa creeks.

Near Valley Head, in Lookout Mountain plateau, are where the beautiful falls of Little river occur. They are nearly one hundred feet in height, with a deep, rocky gorge below them. Iron and coal largely prevail in the county. In Wills' Valley there is found a superb quality of fire clay, which has become famous. It exists also in other parts of DeKalb. The kaolin of the county is very fine. Specimens displayed at the New Orleans Exposition took the first
premium in 1885, and beautiful crockery manufactured from these porcelain clays was exhibited there. Railroad transportation is enjoyed by the people of the county, as the Alabama Great Southern railroad penetrates it from northeast to southwest. Fort Payne, the county-seat, Collinsville, Lebanon, and Portersville are the principal towns of the county.

Public school system is good, and church facilities abound.

Lauds can be secured upon the most reasonable terms possible. There are very major government lands yet unsettled, being 32,600 acres, and vast quantities of railroad lands which can be had at a marvelously low rate. In other sections, where land is purchasable, it can be had for from $2 to $25 per acre.

Numbers have availed themselves of the extraordinary inducements presented in securing public and railroad lands, and their accounts of the advantages here presented to settlers are quite flattering. Thrifty immigrants will be greeted with a cordial welcome.

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


DE KALB COUNTY.

Population: White, 12,125; colored, 416 Area, 740 square miles; coal measures, on Lookout and Sand Mountains, 490 square miles.  Acres - In cotton (approximately)7,469: in corn 23,929; in oats, 5,115; in wheat 6,846: in rye 383; in tobacco 19; in sweet potatoes 218. Approximate number of bales of cotton, 3,100. 

County Seat - Fort Payne: population, 350; on Alabama Great Southern Railroad.

Newspaper published at County Seat - Journal (Democratic).

Post-offices in the County - Andrews Institute, Black Oak, Brandon, Chavies, Chumley, Collinsville, Cordell, Cotnam, Crossville, Crumly, Deer Head, Denton, Floy, Fort Payne, Geraldine, Gladney, Grove Oak, Henagar, Ider, Laurel, Lebanon, Lookout, Loveless, Luna, Lutterell, Lydia, Maham, Musgrove, Nicholson's Gap, Pea Ridge, Portersville, Rodentown, Sand Mountain, Sandy Mills, Skiruin, Snake Creek. South Hill, Stella, Sulphur Springs, Ten Broeck, Thirty-Nine. Valley Head, Whiton, Wills.

De Kalb County took its name from the famous Baron De Kalb. It was constituted in 1836. De Kalb lies in the extreme northeastern corner of the State, and is bounded by Georgia on the east, its extreme northern point touching the line of the State of Tennessee. It shares largely in the fertile lands and mineral deposits, both of which abound in this section of Alabama. Its climate, healthfulness, favorableness of location, and natural sources of wealth make it one of the most desirable counties in the State.

De Kalb has been almost doubled within the last ten years, which serves to indicate quite fully the estimate which is placed upon the county by immigrants and investors. This is due to the peculiar advantages offered in climate, diversity of productions, mineral deposits, and cheapness of lands, all of which are chief factors in the prosperity of the county. De Kalb County is occupied in great part by the two plateaus of Sand and Lookout Mountains. The former of these constitutes a high plane, whose surface rocks are those of the Coal Measures. These two plateaus, of which that of Sand Mountain is the greater, are separated by Wills Valley, which cuts entirely across the county from northeast to southwest. This valley embraces the most productive lands of De Kalb. It is here that almost all the cotton in the county is produced.

The land along the valleys was very highly prized by the first settlers of the County, and but little regard was had for that which lay along the plateaus. Later, however, the uplands were brought into use, and the result of their tillage has been peculiarly gratifying. They are not only cultivated with far less effort, but are found to be almost equal in production to the lower soils, when assisted some with fertilizers.

The lands of the county may thus be divided in a general way between the dark, stiff soils of the valley and the lighter soils of the plateaus. The staple productions are cotton, corn, wheat, oats, rye and sweet potatoes. Grasses and clover flourish also, and the attention which is being given their production is tending to the improvement of stock. As is true throughout this entire section of the State, the lands upon the plateaus are those devoted to fruit culture. Apples, pears and peaches, and. indeed, all fruits grown in this latitude attain perfection. Fruit trees thrive here for many years, and the crop is rarely killed or injured by frosts. Perhaps no section of America can display finer specimens of plums than grow in this region. The principal timbers of the county are oaks, hickory, cherry and short leaf pines. These exist in sufficient quantities for all domestic purposes.

DeKalb County has the amplest water supplies for all purposes. Streams of rapid and deep currents offer inducements for the erection of machinery, while cool and everlasting springs issue from the hills in every section of the county. Lookout Mountain plateau is drained by Little River and its tributaries, while Sand Mountain is drained by Tom Creek and the numerous streams which empty into it. Prominent among the streams are Long Island, Scarham, Black and South Santa Creeks.

Near Valley Head, in Lookout Mountain plateau, is where the beautiful falls of Little River occur. They are nearly 100 feet in height, with a deep, rocky gorge below them. Iron and coal largely prevail in the county. In Willis' Valley there is found a superb quality of fire clay, which has become famous. It exists also in other parts of DeKalb. The kaolin of the county is very fine. Specimens displayed at the New Orleans Exposition took the first premium in 1885, and beautiful crockery manufactured from these porcelain clays was exhibited there.

Railroad transportation is enjoyed by the people of the county, as the Alabama threat Southern Railroad penetrates it from northeast to southwest. Fort Payne, the county seat, Collinsville, Lebanon and Portersville are the principal towns of the county. Public school system is good, and church facilities abound.

Lands can be secured upon the most reasonable terms possible. There are many Government lands yet unsettled, being 32,600 acres, and vast quantities of railroad lands, which can be had at a marvelously low rate. In other sections, where land is purchasable, it can be had for from $2 to $25 per acre. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney


 1836 ACTS OF ALABAMA

[No. 167.] - AN ACT
To authorise Samuel Gay to Turnpike a road therein named.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama in General Assembly convened, That Samuel Gay, be, and he is hereby authorised to open and turnpike a road to commence at the ferry of the said Gay on the Tennessee river, in the county of Jackson and to pass over the Raccoon mountain, to the foot of said mountain at the place known as the widow Koons, at the eastern foot of said mountain.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the aforesaid road shall be opened fifteen feet wide, ten feet of which shall be cleared of every obstruction, stumps and grubs, taken up by the roots or cut level with the ground, sloping ground and banks of water courses shall be so worked on as to admit the easy passage of all kinds of carriages, all marshes and swamps shall be causewayed ten feet wide, with good and durable materials.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That when the said Samuel Gay shall have completed said road and reported the same to the county court of Jackson county and also to the county court of DeKalb county, it shall be the duty of said judges to appoint three suitable persons, two of whom shall be appointed in the county of Jackson and one in the county of DeKalb, to examine said road and report their opinion to the judge of said counties, and the said commissioners shall receive such compensation for their services as the judge shall deem reasonable to be paid by the said Samuel Gay.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That should the commissioners to be appointed under the third section of this act, report that the road has been opened and is in good order, then in that case the said Samuel Gay is hereby authorised to erect two gates, one in the county of Jackson and the other in the county of De Kalb, at which gates, he the said Gay or his agent may demand and receive of and from every person passing through said gates the following tolls, to wit: for every pleasure carriage drawn by two or more horses or mules, or wagon drawn by more than two horses, mules or oxen, fifty cents; for every two wheel pleasure carriage, thirty seven and one half cents; for every carryall or other four wheel carriage or wagon drawn by not more than two horses, mules or oxen, twenty five cents; and for every other two wheel carriage or cart, twenty five cents, for every man and horse, twelve and one half cents; for every horse or mule, six and one fourth cents; for every head of cattle, hogs, sheep or goats, one cent; and if any person shall pass around said gates with the intention to evade the payment of toll, he or she, for every offence, shall forfeit and pay to the said Samuel Gay, the sum of ten dollars, to be recovered before any justice of the peace with legal cost for the same.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the judge of the county court of Jackson county, on application, to appoint three suitable persons, who shall proceed to examine the condition of said road and report the same to said judge, and in case the commissioners shall report the road not to be in good order, he shall direct the gates to be thrown open and no toll shall be received under the penalty of twenty five dollars for each offence, until said road shall be repaired in a good and sufficient manner, and the said Samuel Gay shall commence said turnpike road in twelve months after the passage of this act, and complete the same within two years thereafter, and shall have all the profits arising from the tolls for the term of fifteen years from the time they are authorised to receive tolls on said road.

Approved, Dec. 23, 1836.

Submitted by Larry Benefield

NOTES: The widow Coons was the widow of Jacob Riley Coons. He was in the Rev. war and lived at Smith Gap hwy 85 and was buried at that location in 1836. The gate would have been near the spring at Smith Gap


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