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1887 - Alabama As It Is by Benjamin Franklin Riley, DD, 1888 

1888 - Walker 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 of Walker was established in 1824. It is attracting remarkable attention at this time by reason of its immense resources of coal. From present indications, Walker is the richest of all the counties of the State in its mineral deposits. It seems to be almost an unbroken coalfield from limit to limit. The coal is of a hard, bituminous character with but small percentage of ash. Various geological reports point to the existence of five or six valuable seams, which lie in successive layers one above another. There are various outcroppings, indicating from the surface, seams of superior coal which vary in thickness from two to eight feet. These coals are valuable for domestic, cooking, and steam purposes. Remoteness of transportation has forbidden the establishment of mines in the past, but the construction of the Georgia Pacific is awakening new life, and the early completion of the Sheffield and Birmingham, and the Memphis and Birmingham railroads, running from Kansas City to the Atlantic, will greatly enhance the value of Walker county lands.

The surface of the country is broken, the hills in some places being steep and high. Aside from its mineral possessions, the county has other advantages, as the following data will at once show.

Walker county embraces an area of 880 square miles.

Population in 1870, 6,543; population in 1880, 9,479. White, 8,978; colored, 501.

Tilled Land: 46,725 acres.  Area planted in cotton, 8,743 acres; in corn, 21,838 acres; in oats, 2,579 acres; in wheat, 5,420 acres; in rye, 81 acres; in tobacco, 69 acres; in sugar-cane, 11 acres; in sweet potatoes, 325 acres.  Cotton Production: 2,754 bales.

Like the adjoining county of Winston, the soils of Walker are not remarkable for their fertility, it being in nowise an agricultural county, but adapted almost solely to manufactures. Still, it is not without fertile lands. Snug farms are found in many portions of it, and many of its inhabitants have subsisted upon the productions of their farms since, and even before, the formation of the county.

About one-third of the area of Walker is covered with a sandy soil. This land is admirably suited to the production of fruit, which grows here in great abundance, especially such as the hardy fruits - pears, apples, peaches, plums, etc. Fruit trees have been standing in many orchards for a great number of years, and have rarely failed of an annual yield. In other sections of Walker, especially in those lying adjacent to the main streams, there are many thrifty farms, upon which grow, with great readiness, corn, cotton, and wheat.

This is also true of what are locally termed "the bench lands" - the plateau regions of the county. Here are many first-class farms, which are easily tilled, and whose cultivation is most remunerative. Stock-raising is receiving some attention in the county, and the experiments have resulted most gratifyingly.

The county is highly favored with streams, whose rapid and perpetual flow mark them for future usefulness in the manufactures. Chief among these are Mulberry Fork, which flows through the southeast, and joins Locust Fork in the south; the Black Water, Sipsey Fork, and Lost creeks. These are supplied by numerous tributaries, which drain the county from every quarter. As fine timber forests skirt these streams as are found in the northern portion of the State. These embrace the different varieties of oak, post, red, and Spanish, together with beech, poplar, holly, the gums, and short-leaf pine. In the neighborhood of South Lowell, about six miles from Jasper, the county-seat, there is a section of long-leaf pine forest, covering an area of about ten miles broad and twenty-five miles long.

This superb tract of timber is penetrated by the Black Water river, the banks of which are lined by thriving manufactories, such as corn, wheat, and lumber mills, and cotton gins. Chief among these thriving enterprises is the mill of Messrs. Shields, Craig & Carter, which combines all the facilities for the manufacture of lumber, doors, blinds, sash, and shingles. This is the only factory in the county, and furnishes, to the local trade alone, half a million feet of lumber annually.

The passage of the Georgia Pacific through the county has awakened much interest, and when that shall have been intersected by the Mobile and Birmingham railroad, which will run the entire length of the State from Mobile to Florence, the advantages of the county will be immense. Through these great channels of trade her rich minerals of coal and iron will seek outlets to the world beyond. These minerals are considered practically inexhaustible. In the interior of the basin in Walker county is the Jagger's coalbed, which is said to be one of exceeding thickness.

Throughout the county the educational advantages are moderate, and church facilities abound. Both these improve as one approaches the principal villages. Jasper, the county-seat, with a population of three or four hundred, has good schools and two comfortable church edifices. Holly Grove and South Lowell are also points of interest and growing importance.

Like other counties, the resources of which are being rapidly developed, the people of Walker are anxious to have their lands purchased and populated.

Great inducements are just now being offered to purchasers of lands, and sagacious investors are not losing the opportunity of turning the occasion to one of profit. In some instances corporations have invested in large districts of these valuable lands at amazingly low prices. Taken in connection with the abundance of fuel and good water, and the absence of any ca ses which breed disease, Walker offers a home of rare combinations. And, from a commercialpoint of view, no county offers greater inducements than does Walker. But lands which are now held at reasonable rates will increase in valuation'as the growing population will crystallize into centers of interest and influence. There are embraced within the limits of Walker county 128,840 acres of government land.

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

WALKER COUNTY.

Population: White 9,000; colored 5,000. Area, 880 square miles. Woodland, all.

Acres - In cotton (approximately) 8,750: in corn 21,830; in oats 2,580; in wheat 5,420; in rye 80; in tobacco 70: in sugar cane 11; in sweet potatoes 325. Approximate number of bales of cotton, 2,800.

County Seat - Jasper; population, 600; located on the Kansas City, Memphis, Birmingham & Atlanta Railroad.

Newspapers published at County Seat - Mountain Eagle, Democratic; True Citizen, Independent.

Post offices in the County - Bartonville, Beach Grove, Boldo, Clark, Cordova, Corona, Eagle, Edgil, Eldridge, Gamble, Gravleeton, Gurganus, Hewitt, Holly Grove, Janeburgh, Jasper; Kansas, Leith, Loss Creek, Luckey, Manasco, Marietta, Middleton, Nauvoo. Patton, South Lowell, Wilmington, York,

Walker was created December 20, 1824 and the territory taken from Tuscaloosa and Marion. The northern portion was set apart to form Winston in 1850. It lies south of Winston, west of Blount, northwest of Jefferson, north of Tuscaloosa, east of Marion and north and east of Fayette. It was named for the Hon. John W. Walker, of Madison.

It is attracting remarkable attention at this time by reason of its immense resources of coal. From present indications Walker is the richest of all the counties of the State in its mineral deposits. It seems to be almost an unbroken coal-field from limit to limit. The coal is of a hard bituminous character, with but a small percentage of ash. Various geological reports point to the existence of five or six valuable seams, which lie in successive layers, one above the other. There are various outcroppings, indicating, from the surface, seams of superior coal which vary in thickness from two to eight feet. Remoteness of transportation has forbidden the establishment of mines in the past, but the construction of the Georgia Pacific is awakening new life, and the early completion of the Sheffield & Birmingham and the Memphis & Birmingham Railroads, running from Kansas City to the Atlantic, will greatly enhance the value of Walker County lauds. The surface of the county is broken, the hills in some places being steep and high.

Like the adjoining county of Winston, the soils of Walker are not remarkable for their fertility, it being in no wise an agricultural county, but adapted almost solely to manufactures. Still, it is not without fertile lands. Snug farms are found in many portions of it, and many of its inhabitants have subsisted upon the productions of their farms since, and even before, the formation of their county.

About one-third of the area of Walker is covered with a sandy soil. This land is admirably suited to the production of fruit, which grows here in great abundance, especially such as the hardy fruits, pears, apples, peaches, plums, etc. Fruit trees have been standing in many orchards for many years, and have rarely failed of an annual yield. In other sections of Walker, especially in those lying adjacent to main streams, there are many thrifty farms, upon which grow, with great readiness, corn, cotton and wheat.

This is also true of what are locally termed "the bench lands"- the plateau regions of the county. Here are many first-class farms, which are easily tilled, and whose cultivation is most remunerative. Stock-raising is receiving some attention in the county, and the experiments have been most gratifying.

The county is highly favored with streams, whose rapid and perpetual flow mark them for future usefulness in the manufactures. Chief among these are Mulberry Fork, which flows through the southeast and joins Locust Fork in the south; the Black Water, Sipsey Fork and Lost Creeks. These are supplied by numerous tributaries, which drain the county from every quarter. As fine timber forests skirt these streams as are found in the northern portions of the State. These embrace the different varieties of oak, post, red and Spanish, together with beech, poplar, the gums, and short-leaf pine. In the neighborhood of South Lowell, about six miles from Jasper, the county seat, there is a section of long-leaf pine forest, covering an area of about ten miles broad and twenty-five miles long. This superb tract of timber is penetrated by the Black Water River, the banks of which are lined by thriving manufactories, such as corn, wheat and lumber mills and cotton gins.

The passage of the Georgia Pacific through the county has awakened much interest, and when that shall have been intersected by the Mobile & Birmingham Railroad, which will run the entire length of the State, from Mobile to Florence, the advantages of the county will be immense. Through these great channels of trade her rich minerals of coal and iron will seek outlets to the world beyond. These minerals are considered practically inexhaustible. In the interior of the basin in Walker County is the Jagger's coal bed, which is said to be one of exceeding thickness.

The coal development of Walker County is only in its infancy. The following collieries have been opened and are now in operation on the main line of the Georgia Pacific Railroad : The Tennessee & Mobile Coal Co.; Virginia & Alabama Mining and Manufacturing Co.; Wolf Creek Coal Co.; O'Brien Coal Co.; Black Diamond Coal Co.; Ed. Donaldson Co. and the Norvil Coal Co. The capacity of these mines at present is 1,500 tons daily, and if a supply of cars could be bad they would increase their output to 2,500 tons of coal daily. The quality of this coal can not be excelled for domestic and steam purposes. The seam of coal averages three feet and eight inches, covering a territory of 20,000 acres of this seam of coal, to say nothing of three other seams of coal on the same property, adapted for coking and steam purposes.

The Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Road is now completed from Memphis to Birmingham, passing through Walker County. The seams of coal in Walker County in the Warrior Coal Fields are entirely clear of faults, which is a great inducement for coal operators to locate in Walker County. There is no county in the State of Alabama to equal Walker County in coal and lumber interests.

Throughout the county the educational advantages are moderate, and church facilities abound. Both these improve, as one approaches the principal villages. Jasper, the county seat, with a population of three or four hundred, has good schools and two comfortable church edifices. Holly Grove and South Lowell are also points of interest and growing importance.

The other counties, the resources of which are being rapidly developed, the people of Walker are anxious to have their lands purchased and populated. Great inducements are just now being offered to purchasers of lands. There are embraced within the limits of Walker County 128,840 acres of Government land.



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