Talladega County Alabama


Alabama As It Is by B. Riley - 1887

Talladega History by Smith and DeLand 1888

Pioneer Talladega: Its Minutes and Memories - by Jedu Vandiver 1954

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

Talladega receives its name from two Indian words, tallafow, a town, and to kee, hills. It is separated from Shelby county by the Coosa river. For delightful scenery. Talladega county, perhaps leads every other in the State. While it has rugged mountains in all their native wildness, it has vast stretches of valley loveliness, dotted over with neat and thrifty farms, blending in a most charming manner the useful and the beautiful. Some portions of Talladega county will compare favorably with the famous Shenandoah valley, of Virginia. It has an area of 700 square miles.

Population in 1870, 18,064; population in 1880, 23,360. White, 10,856; colored, 12,504.

Tilled Land: 113,389 acres.—Area planted in cotton, 32,841 acres; in corn, 40,376 acres ; in oats, 9,278 acres; in wheat, 13,235 acres; in rye, 143 acres ; in tobacco, 30 acres ; in sweet potatoes, 335 acres.  Cotton Production ; 11,832 bales.

Talladega county lies between a range of high hills on the east, and the Coosa river on the west. The prevailing soil is red, which fact is due to the presence of iron in almost every part of the county. This is the most productive soil found in this region. The valley lands east of the mountain ranges constitute the most attractive part of Talladega county, and it would be difficult to find anywhere a section which has greater natural advantages than the belt of country lying east of the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia railroad, and extending as far south as the Kahatchee Hills. These broad and fertile valleys are interrupted here and there by ranges of forest-covered mountains and hills, while an occasional stream of exceeding beauty lends additional charm to the scene.

The most diversified farming is carried on in every part of the county, and with the most gratifying success. Cotton, corn, oats, and rye are the principal crops. Every vegetable that grows in the Temperate Zone is produced here. They thrive almost the year around. Fruits grow to wonderful perfection, especially apples, peaches, pears, and grapes. The soil and climate seem peculiarly suited to the growth of grapes. The attention which has been given grape culture has been, in a number of instances, abundantly rewarded. Indeed, fruits of every variety flourish in these soils. Strawberries, raspberries, figs, and melons will inevitably yield in proportion to the attention bestowed. All these products find a ready outlet through the different channels of commerce afforded by the railroads, which traverse several parts of the county.

Talladega is streaked here and there by perennial streams, almost all of which have their sources in the mountain ranges in the east, and flow entirely across the county to the Coosa river, which forms its extreme western boundary. Tallasseehatchee, Chehawhaw, Cheekeleeke, Blue Eye, Talladega, and Clear creeks are the main streams.

In every part of the county, perpetual springs gush from the hill ranges, many of which are freestone, while others are again impregnated with iron, sulphur, and other minerals. Near the eastern border of the county, below the Kahatchee Hills, is found the well known Sulphur Spring. It is said to possess the most attractive surroundings of all the watering places in Alabama.

One of the coming industries of the county will be stock-raising, as the greatest inducements to this pursuit exist in abundance. Luxuriant grasses and wild clovers grow spontaneously, and when cultivated they are quite fine. This consideration taken, in connection with the prevalence of perpetual streams, makes it a most desirable section for this branch of industry, which is just now assuming such proportions in the South.

Within the limits of Talladega, are found extensive forests of splendid timber. These forests embrace a great variety of timber, consisting of yellow or long-leaf pine, the different varieties of oak, hickory, yellow poplar, black walnut, red cedar, ash, gum, elm, persimmon, and sassafras.

In some instances there are broad domains of forest, as yet untouched by the rude hand of invasion.

The minerals of the county are varied and valuable. Investigation has shown that there are three gigantic ranges of deposits of brown hematite ore running throughout Talladega. These are calling into operation numerous furnaces, and are causing the construction of an increasing number of railway lines. The marble quarries of Talladega are noted; limestone, lithographic stone, and slate are also found in considerable quantities, with limited quantities of gold, silver, copper, and lead. Not until within the last few years has silver, copper, and lead. Not until within the last few years has public attention been called to the vast mineral resources of this county. Since that time, there has been a continual growth of population, and real estate is gradually increasing in value. Among the industries of the county, may be mentioned the Clifton Iron Company, at Jenifer, the furnace at Ironton Junction (formerly Alabama Furnace).

Formerly there were worked near Talladega and Syllacauga, extensive marble quarries, but of late, the work has not been prosecuted to any considerable extent. A block of marble from these quarries has a place in the great Washington Monument, at the National Capital. These valuable marbles will again win attention, and resume more than their original importance in the markets.

A gigantic enterprise, in the form of a lumbering interest exists at Renfroe, in Talladega county. It is located at the terminus of the Talladega and Coosa Valley railroad, which is being extended across Coosa river to Broken Arrow, in St. Clair county, making connection with the East and West Alabama railroad. Of late, unusual attention has been called to the Cragdale water-power on Talladega creek. This is a sudden plunge of a vast volume of water into a valley lying beneath. The hands of a Titan seem to have scooped out this great stony trough-way for the passage of these mighty waters, and to have reared these rocky ramparts on either side for some great
industrial enterprise.

The point of greatest prominence in the county, is Talladega, the county-seat, with a population of 3,500, It is noted for the enterprise of its citizens, the size and character of its institutions of learning, and the beauty and healthfulness of its location. Talladega has a system of waterworks, superior perhaps, to those of any city of the same size in the South. It is beautifully lighted with gas. The citizens have recently erected an imposing school building, and have adopted the public school system. Besides this, there are two colleges of merit in the city—one white and one colored. It has excellent churches, and is the location of the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institute of the State.

Childersburg, Alpine, and Mumford, are also points of interest. In the extreme southern portion of the county are the Talladega Springs, which have long been a favorite resort as a watering place. The popularity of such points with our people, together with the superiority of these waters, warrants the belief that they will
one day be considerably patronized.

The county enjoys considerable facilities for railroad transportation, there being four lines, viz : The East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia, the Georgia Pacific, the Anniston and Atlantic, and the Talladega and Coosa Valley railroads. These will doubtless be largely increased in a few years, as English and Northern capital is finding expression in different sections of the county in the purchase of timber and mineral lands, and already plans are on foot to establish furnaces near the city of Talladega. The social advantages of the county are numerous and superior. The masses of the population are more than ordinarily intelligent, thrifty, and well-to-do.

Lands may be purchased in the county from prices ranging from $5 to $35, according to location, fertility, and improvements. There is a wide-spread desire to have earnest, wide-awake immigrants populate the unoccupied areas of the county. There are in the county 34,840 acres of land belonging to the general government, and this affords an additional inducement to settlers.

Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney


Population: White 12,319; colored 11,221

Area - 700 square miles. Woodland, all. All Coosa Valley and woodland.

Acres - In cotton, approximately 32,850, in corn 40,370; in oats 9,280; in wheat 13,250; in rye 140; in tobacco 30; in sweet potatoes 335. Approximate number bales of cotton - 12,000.

County Seat - Talladega: population, 3,000 on East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia, Anniston & Atlantic, Talladega & Coosa Valley Railroads.

Newspapers published at County Seat - Our Mountain Home, Reporter and Watch Tower, both Democratic.

Post offices in the County - Alpine, Bledsoe, Chandler Springs, Childersburgh, Cyprian, Esta Boga, Eureka, Fayetteville, Ironaton, Jenifer, Kentuck, Kyniulga, Lincoln, McElderry, McFall, Munford, Peckerwood, Rendalia, Renfroe, Silver Run, Smelley, Sycamore, Talladega. Turner, Waldo, White Cloud.

Talladega County was established December 18, 1832, the territory being a part of the last Muscogee cession. The original limits were retained until Clay County was formed in 1860. Its name is said to be derived from the Muscogee words Teka, meaning border, and Talla, meaning town.

This county has long numbered among its residents some of the most distinguished men of Alabama, prominent among whom may be mentioned as follows:
Judge Shortridge, Judge John White, Mr. Joab Lawler, Mr. Lewis W. Lawler, Mr. Alexander Bowie, Mr. Felix G. McConnell, the gifted Mr. Frank W. Bowdon, Mr. Jacob T. Branford, Mr. John J. Woodward, Mr. Jabez L. M. Curry, Ex-Gov. Lewis E. Parsons, Mr. Marcus H. Cruikshank. Gen. James B. Martin, Mr. John T. Heflin, Mr. John Henderson, Mr. N. D. Johns, Mr. A. R. Barclay. Mr. M. C. Slaughter, Mr. Joseph D. McCann. Mr. Andrew Cunningham, Mr. Alexander White.

Mollie E. Moore, a native of this county, but now of Texas, has acquired a just celebrity as a poet. Some of her verses are among the rarest gems of Southern literature.

Talladega County, situated along the southern tier of the northeastern counties of the State, and having within its borders the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is favored in climate, location, soil, accessibility and varied resources.

The mean temperature is 80 degrees. The average annual rainfall is 50 inches. The soil and climate are peculiarly adapted to all kinds of fruits and vegetables, besides growing, fairly well, corn, wheat, oats, rye, cotton, clover and the grasses. While many varieties of soil exist, the prevailing color is red clay; and as there is an abundance of lime in the soil, they respond readily to manuring. The county offers prominent inducements to stockmen, fruit growers, truckers, saw-mill men, and iron workers.

Lands are to be had from five to thirty five dollars per acre, owing to location and fertility; but there are within the county thousands of acres of timbered lands which can be had for the value of the timber, and which will inevitably bring wealth when used for vineyards, orchards and truck.

The location of the county favors such a system of farming, as it is environed by growing cities which must needs be fed: and it has, within its borders, great quantities of timber, of limestone and marble, of gold and of iron, besides being contiguous to limitless beds of coal. These various resources are beginning to be developed, and on every hand are being evidenced thrift, vitality and wealth. Iron furnaces are located at Jenifer and Ironaton and others are contemplated at Talladega, Sylacauga and Childersburg. Large saw-mills are in operation at Berneys, Cymulgee, Childersburg, Nottingham, Lincoln and Renfroe.

The county is accessible, having on the west the Coosa River, and being traversed by the East Tennessee. Virginia & Georgia, the Georgia Pacific, the Anniston & Atlantic, the Coosa Valley and the Columbus Western Railroads. The county has three summer resorts, viz: Talladega, Chandler and Shocco Springs, which, from their healthful waters and favorable locality, add much to the inducements of the county.

The people are intelligent, hospitable and largely church-going. The county is well supplied with churches and schools, and the roads are fast being put in good condition. There is no debt on the county.

The taxable values are $4,500,000 and rate of taxation one per cent.

The valuation of taxable property in Talladega County for the year 1887 is $4,722,308, as shown by the abstract assessment filed in the office of the State Auditor.  


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