Washington is the oldest county in the State, having been created by Governor Sargent in 1800. It was named for the first President of the United States. Considerable historic interest attaches to the county. It has the honor of having within its limits the first capital of Alabama—St. Stephens. It was in this county that Aaron Burr was arrested, in 1807. It is alike noted for the quiet tone of its people, its forests of timber, its health, and its healing springs. Area of the county, 1,050 square miles.
Population in 1870, 3,912; population in 1880, 4,538. White, 2,807 ; colored, 1,731.
Tilled Land; 8,936 acres.—Area planted in cotton, 3,280 acres; in corn, 4,259 acres; in oats, 464 acres; in rice, 67 acres; in sugar-cane, 90 acres; in sweet potatoes,448 acres.
Cotton Production : 1,246 bales.
The general surface of Washington county may be described as rolling. In the northern part there is black prairie soil and lime hills. This stiff, black soil, though difficult to cultivate, is very fertile. It is a belt varying in width from two to ten miles. The central and southern portions are covered with pine lands, which are usually sandy, and are easily tilled. Most of these lands lie well, and are susceptible of a high degree of fertilization. When thus aided, the lands become very generous in their production, and the crops grow off rapidly, enabling the planter to cultivate several crops between the disappearance of frost in March and its reappearance in November. In the northern portion very fine cotton and corn are produced, the plants rivaling in size those which flourish upon the fertile cane-brakes of the Cotton Belt. In the other parts of the county great quantities of cotton, corn, sugar-cane,potatoes, rice, oats, and tobacco are produced. In addition to these there are raised, for home consumption, peas and peanuts in abundance. The people are made thrifty, independent, and happy by the ready and abundant resources of their soils. Perennial pastures abound, and stock is easily sustained.
The territory of the county is traversed by a number of excellent and perpetual streams, chief among which are the Tombigbee river, which forms its eastern boundary, and Sinta Bogue, Bassett's, Poll Bayou, Bate's, Bilboa's, Johnson's, Beaver, and Pine Barren creeks. Escatawpa river rises in the western part and flows through that portion.
Wells and springs of the purest freestone water are exuberant in their supplies in every portion of Washington. Many mineral springs are also found, which embrace iron, sulphur, magnesia, and alum among other properties. The most noted of these springs are Healing and Sullivan Springs. The waters of the last-named springs are very valuable for many diseases.
Transportation facilities are furnished by the Mobile and Ohio railroad, which penetrates the western part of the county, and the Tombigbee river, which forms its eastern border-line. These place the county in easy connection with markets North and South.
The Mobile and Birmingham railroad is now being rapidly built. When completed, this will be quite an addition to the means of transportation to the county.
Pine, oak, hickory, beech, ash, cedar, cypress, and dogwood are the trees which stock the forests of the county. Many of these are of matchless size, and are of great marketable value. Great quantities of turpeutine are gathered from the pine forests.
St. Stephens aud Escatawpa are the places of interest. A good common-school system exists in the county.
Lands may be had for $t, or as high as $8 per acre. The inhabitants would be glad to welcome, as accessions to their population, earnest and energetic citizens.
The county of Washington embraces 130,120 acres of government land awaiting the occupation of settlers.Source: Alabama As It Is by Benjamin Franklin Riley, D. D., 1887 , Transcribed by C. Anthony