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Tallapoosa County



Alabama As It Is by B. Riley - 1887

Tallapoosa Cty History by Smith and DeLand - 1888

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

The county derives its name from the beautiful river which enters the northwestern portion and traces its course diagonally across it. It is one of the counties of the State the resources of which are but measurably known. Its agricultural capabilities have been somewhat tested, and in some particulars it leads the other counties of the State. Its mineral wealth is supposed to be considerable from the indications afforded. To these items our attention will now be directed somewhat in detail.

The county has an area of 810 square miles.

Population in 1870, 16,963; population in 1880, 23,401. White, 16,108; colored, 7,293.

Tilled Land: 143,175 acres.—Area planted in cotton, 41,200 acres; in corn, 41,415 acres; in oats, 9,106 acres; in wheat, 14,572 acres; in tobacco, 21 acres; in sugar-cane, 41 acres; in sweet potatoes, 408 acres.  Cotton Production : 14,161 bales.

The county has two predominating varieties of soil—the red and the gray. These soils usually rest upon a subsoil which is more or less reddish or yellowish in color. Here, as in the adjoining counties, the red soils are usually best suited to the production of grain. In addition to the prevailing upland soils of red and gray there are fertile bottoms, the richness of which has been derived from the washings of the neighboring hills. In some cases these are the best lands found in the* county. These lowlands embrace about one-sixth of the entire county.  The cotton soils of Tallapoosa are the red and gray soils, and some of the bottom lands along the river and creeks.  In addition to these, the loamy lands of the southern end of Tallapoosa are much used for the production of cotton. Most of the cotton raised in tlfe county is produced in the southern sections, because of the prevalence of the soils best adapted to its growth.

Upon the best grain lands are produced from thirty to forty bushels of corn per acre. The other chief productions of Tallapoosa are oats, wheat, sorghum, sweet potatoes, etc. It leads all the other counties in the State in the production of wheat.

The forests are heavily timbered with white, red, and Spanish oak, poplar, hickory, pine, ash, mulberry, and gum. These valuable timbers will be brought into requisition as the demand grows for their use in the mechanical arts.

The county is watered by the Tallapoosa river and the Hillabee, Chattasofka, Big Sandy, Little Sandy, Sorgahatchee, Buck, Elkehatchee, Blue, Winn, and Emuckfaw creeks. Immense water-power prevails in every section of the county and upon all the principal streams, notably upon Big Sandy and Hillabee. The incline planes over which the vast volumes of water are precipitated give them immense power for manufacturing purposes. In the southern end of the county are the famous Tallapoosa Great Falls, which possess the greatest water-power in the State. The water rushes along a steep declivity for two hundred yards, the inclination being fifty-three feet. The power is estimated at thirty-thousand-horse. Adjacent to the falls are vast quantities of granite rock, while immense forests of yellow pine timber extend backward into the interior for many miles. All indications point to this wonderful locality as one of the future centers of Southern manufacture. The famous Tallassee Cotton Mills are located upon the western side of the river, in the county of Elmore.

The minerals of Tallapoosa are numerous and abundant, and the indications are that they will soon prove immensely valuable to the county. There have been some rich finds of gold, even of late, in Tallapoosa. In the Terrcl Mine, at Log Pit and Ely Pit, considerable quantities of gold are dug. Near Dadeville has been discovered gold which promises to yield abundantly. Silver has been discovered, but the extent of its prevalence is not known.

Near Dudleyville there are outcroppings of superior mica. Plates have been picked up fully eight inches square. Graphite is also found. Asbestos and emery exist in different sections of the county, and in some quarters asbestos, particularly, is found to be abundant. Through Dudleyville and Dadeville there passes a broad belt of magnesian rocks, chiefly soapstone; this prevails in immense quantities. Flagging-stone also prevails.

The chief towns are, Dadeville, the county-seat, with a population of 1,500, Dudleyville, Alexander City, Camp Hill, and Daviston.

At each of the towns of Dadeville, Camp Hill, Daviston, Alexander City, and Hackneyville there is a high-school, with good common school facilities existing throughout the county. A moral and religious sentiment prevails, which finds expression in good .Sunday-schools and numerous churches of the various denominations.

A channel of transportation exists by reason of the junction of the Columbus and Western railroad with the Anniston and Atlantic at Syllacauga. This gives an outlet in both directions—to the line of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia, on the one hand, and the Western railroad of Alabama on the other.

Good lands may be purchased in the county at prices ranging from $3 to $12 per acre. Immigration is earnestly desired by the residents of the county.

Tallapoosa county contains 6,160 acres of government land. 

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


Population: White 16,108: colored 7,283. Area 810 square miles. Woodland, all.

Acres - In cotton (approximately) 41,200; in corn 41,450; in oats 9,160; in wheat 14,572; in tobacco 21; in sugar-cane 41; in sweet potatoes 408. Approximate number of bales of cotton 14,921.

County Seat - Dadeville; population 1,200; on the Columbus & Western Railroad, thirty miles from Opelika, and forty-five miles northeast of Montgomery.

Newspaper published at County Seat - Tallapoosa New Era, Democratic.

Post offices in the County - Alexander City, Bulger's Mills, Buttston, Camp Hill, Cowpens, Dadeville, Daviston, Dudleyville, Emuckfaw, Fish Pond, Fosheeton, Goldville, Hackneyville, Island Home, Jackson's Gap, Mary, Matilda, Melton's Mill, New Site, Sturdevant, Susanna, Thaddeus.

Tallapoosa County lies in the east center of the State, and was created in 1832 out of a portion of the last cession of the Creek Indians. The word Tallapoosa, means "cat town" and was first applied to the Tallapoosa River, from which the county derived the name.

The soils of this county may be divided into two prominent or predominating classes, the red and the gray, both of which are based on a subsoil, of a reddish or yellowish color, but in addition to these soils, which are found mostly on uplands, there are a large number of bottoms along the banks of the Tallapoosa River, and the many creeks tributary to that stream. These bottom lands are the most productive lands of the county, and comprise a considerable proportion of the county's area. The yield of this class of lands will compare favorably with the yield of the best lands in the State, and take it year in and year out, crops planted on them yield with regularity and certainty. The reddish lands of the uplands are specially adapted to the production of small grain, and fair crops of wheat and oats are produced on them. All the soils of the county are used in the production of cotton, though that article is cultivated more extensively on the loamy lands of the southern portion. The yield of corn and wheat on the red lands will compare favorably with the best results obtained elsewhere in the State, while in the production of the latter, Tallapoosa ranks with the leading counties of Alabama.

The forests are heavily timbered with white, red and Spanish oak, poplar, hickory, pine, ash, mulberry, and gum. These valuable timbers will be brought into requisition as the demand grows for their use in the mechanical arts.

The county is watered by the Tallapoosa River and the Hillabee, Chattasofka, Big Sandy, Little Sandy, Sorgahatchee, Buck, Elkehatchee, Blue, Winn, and Emuckfaw Creeks. Immense waterpower prevails in every section of the county and upon the principal streams, notably upon Big Sandy and Hillabee. The incline planes over which the vast volumes of water are precipitated give them immense power for manufacturing purposes.

The Tallapoosa River which flows through the county, dividing it in two, is capable of furnishing many thousand horse-power to be utilized for manufacturing purposes. The great falls on this river occur in the southern portion of the county, and are utilized at Tallassee, in Elmore County, for the manufacture of cotton goods. At this point the waters of the river rush for several hundred yards down a steep declivity, until the falls are reached where they pour down over a shelf about twenty feet in height. The fall of the river, within 500 yards of the factory at Tallassee, is fixed at between 50 and 75 feet, and it is estimated that this fall is capable of furnishing fully 100 horse-power. The many sites for manufacturing purposes in this county, where motive power could be furnished by water, are used for nothing more important than saw or grist mills.

Tallapoosa is rich in mineral resources, and it is thought that, for extent and variety, its mineral deposits will lead those of any other county in the State. There is no question as to the presence of gold in different portions of the county, and recent investigations have strengthened the belief that it was in sufficient quantity to make working it highly profitable. This precious article is being mined in several localities in the county, with more or less success. Copper mines, near Dadeville, have been fitted up at a great cost with a stamping mill, and it is said that the indications point to a rich reward in the future for the outlay. In addition to gold, silver signs have been discovered in several localities, but the extent of the deposits has never been ascertained. Besides the minerals of great value, Tallapoosa contains deposits of mica of a superior grade and an extra large size, graphite, asbestos, emery and granite. Dadeville, the county seat of Tallapoosa, is a pleasant little town of about 2,000 people, situated on the Columbus and Western road, about sixty miles west of Opelika. Its people are content, prosperous and happy. The location of the town is all that could be desired in point of scenery and health. Fine schools flourish, and churches of various denominations are found here.


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