American History and Genealogy Project

State of Alabama

Alabama, one of the southern United States, is bounded on the north by Tennessee; east by Georgia; south by Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico; and west by Mississippi. It is between 30º 10' and 35º north latitude, and between 85º and 88º 30' west longitude, and between 8º and 11º 30' west longitude from west. It is 317 miles long from north to south, and 174 broad from east to west. It contains 46,000 square miles, or 28,160,000 acres. The population in 1810 was less than 10,000; in 1816, 20,083; in 1818, 70,544; in 1820, 127,901; in 1827, 244,041; in 1830, 308,997; in 1840. 590,756, of whom 253,532 were slaves. Free white males, 176,692; free white females, 158,493; free colored males, 1,030; free colored females, 1,009. Employed in agriculture, 177,439; in commerce, 2,212; in manufactures and trades, 7,195; navigating the ocean, 256; navigating the canals, rivers, &c, 758; mining, 96; learned professions, 1,514.

It is divided into 49 counties, which, with their population in 1840, and their capitals, were as follows:

County, Population, Capital

Northern District
Benton, 14,260, Jacksonville Limestone, 14,374, Athens
Blount, 5,570, Blountsville Madison, 25,706, Huntsville
Cherokee, 8,773, Jefferson Marion, 5,847, Pikeville
De Kalb, 5,929, Lebanon Marshall, 7,553, Warrenton
Fayette, 6,942, Fayette c. h. Morgan, 9,841, Somerville
Franklin, 14,270, Russellville Randolph, 4,973, McDonald
Jackson, 15,715, Bellefonte St. Clair, 5,638, Ashville
Lauderdale, 14,485, Florence Talladega, 12,587, Talladega
Lawrence, 13,313, Moulton  
Southern District
Autauga, 14,342, Kingston Macon, 11,247, Tuskegee
Baldwin, 2,951 Blakeley Marengo, 17,264, Linden
Barbour, 12,024, Clayton Mobile, 18,741, Mobile
Bibb, 8,284, Centreville Monroe, 10,680, Monroeville
Butler, 8,685, Greenville Montgomery, 24,574, Montgomery
Chambers, 17,333, Lafayette Perry, 19,086, Marion
Clarke, 8,640, Macon Pickens, 17,118, Carrolton
Conecuh, 8,197, Sparta Pike, 10,108, Troy
Coosa, 6,995, Rockford Russell, 13,513, Crocketsville
Covington, 2,425, Montezuma Shelby, 6,112, Columbiana
Dale, 7,397, Daleville Sumter, 29,937, Livingston
Dallas, 25,199, Cahawba Tallapoosa, 6,444, Dadeville
Greene, 24,024, Erie Tuscaloosa, 16,583 Tuscaloosa
Henry, 5,787, Abbeville Walker, 4,032, Jasper
Jefferson, 7,131, Elyton Washington, 5,300, Barryton
Lowndes, 19,539, Haynesville Wilcox, 15,278, Barboursville

The southern part of this state which borders on the Gulf of Mexico, for the space of 50 or 60 miles, is low and level, covered with pine, Cyprus, and loblolly. In the middle it is hilly, interspersed with prairies; in the north it is broken and somewhat mountainous. The soil in the southern part of the state is generally sandy and barren, but throughout a large part it is excellent. In the northern and middle sections, the natural growth is post, black and white oak, hickory, poplar, cedar, chestnut, pine, mulberry, &c. The Alleghany mountains terminate in the n. e. section of this state, sinking here to elevated lulls. The climate in the southern part, and in the vicinity of the bottom land on the rivers, and near the muscle shoals in the Tennessee river, is unhealthy; but in the more elevated portions it is salubrious. The winters are mild, the streams being rarely frozen, and the heat of summer is tempered by refreshing breezes from the Gulf of Mexico. Cotton is the staple production of the state; but Indian corn, rice, wheat, oats, &c., are produced. Iron ore is found in various parts of the state, and coal abounds on the Black Warrior and Cahawba rivers. There were in this state in 1840, 143,147 horses and mules; 668,018, neat cattle; 163,243 sheep; 1,423,873 swine; poultry to the value of $404,994. There were produced 828,052 bushels of wheat; 7,692 of barley; 1,406,353 of oats; 51,008 of rye; 20,947,004 Indian corn; 220,353 pounds of wool; 25,226 of wax; 1,708,356 bushels of potatoes; 12,718 tons of hay; 273,302 pounds of tobacco, 149,019 of rice, 117,133,823 of cotton, 1,592 of silk cocoons, 10,143 of sugar. The products of the dairy were valued at $265,200; and of the orchard, $55,240; of lumber, $169,008. There were made 177 gallons of wine. The exports of this state in 1840, amounted to $12,854,694; and the imports to $574,651. There were 51 commercial and 101 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $3,355,012; 899 retail dry goods and other stores, with a capital of $5,642,885; 73 persons employed in the lumber trade, and a capital of $1,800; 49 persons engaged in internal transportation, who with 57 butchers, packers, &c, employed a capital of $93,370. Home-made or family manufactures amounted to $1,656,119. There were 14 cotton manufactories, with 1,502 spindles, employing 82 persons, producing articles to the amount of $17,547, and employing a capital of $35,575; 1 furnace producing 30 tons of cast iron, and 5 forges, producing 75 tons of bar iron, the whole employing 30 persons, and a capital of $9,500; 31 persons manufactured hats and caps to the amount of $8,210; 142 tanneries employed 300 persons, and a cap. of $147,463; 137 manufactories of leather, as saddleries, &c, produced articles to the amount of $180,152, and employed a capital of $58,332; 15 persons produced confectionery to the amount of $13,800, with a capital of 6,120; 47 persons produced gold to the amount of $61,230, with a capital of $1,000; 4 persons produced drugs and paints to the amount of $16,600, with a capital of $16,000; 96 persons produced machinery to the amount of $131,825; 41 persons produced hardware and cutlery to the amount of $13,875; 20 persons manufactured 4 cannon, and 428 small-arms; 7 persons manufactured the precious metals to the amount of $1,650; 17 persons manufactured granite and marble to the amount of $7,311; 264 persons produced bricks and lime to the amount of $91,326, with a capital of $95,370; 235 persons manufactured carriages and wagons to the amount of $88,891, employing a capital of $49,074; 189 distilleries produced 127,230 gallons, and 7 breweries produced 200 gallons, employing 220 persons, and a capital of $34,212; 51 flouring mills produced 23,664 barrels of flour, and with other mills, employed 1,386 persons, manufacturing articles to the amount of $1,225,425, and employing a cap. of $1,413,107; 53 persons prod, furniture to the amount of $41,671, and employed a capital of $18,430; 67 brick or stone houses, and 472 wooden houses employed 882 persons, and cost $739,871; 22 printing offices, 1 bindery, 3 daily, 1 semi-weekly, and 24 weekly newspapers, employed 105 persons, and a capital of 98,100. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures was $2,130,064. The Mobile is the principal river in the state. It is formed by the union of the Tombigbee and the Alabama, 40 miles above the city of Mobile. The Alabama is a large river, and is navigable for vessels drawing 6 feet of water to Claiborne, 60 miles above its junction; 150 miles further to the mouth of the Cahawba, it has 4 or 5 feet of water; and to the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, of which it is formed, it has, in its shallowest places, three feet of water. The Tombigbee is navigable for schooners 120 miles to St. Stephens, and for steamboats to Columbus, Miss. It is 450 miles long, and boatable for a greater part of its course. The Black Warrior forms a large branch of it, and is navigable to Tuscaloosa. The Chatahoochee River forms a part of the eastern boundary of the state; and the Tennessee runs through the northern part. Alabama has only 60 miles of sea coast. But this includes Mobile Bay, which is 30 miles long, and from 3 to 18 broad. Mobile, on the w. side of Mobile Bay, is the most commercial place in the state, and has an extensive trade, particularly in cotton. The other principal places are St. Stephens, Tuscaloosa, Cahawba, Montgomery, Wetumpka, Florence, and Huntsville. The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa was founded in 1820, has been liberally endowed by the state, and is a flourishing institution. La Grange College in the county of Franklin, was founded in 1830. In these institutions there were in 1840, 152 students. There were in the state, 114 academies and grammar schools, with 5,018 students; and 639 common and primary schools, with 16,243 scholars. There were 22,592 free white persons over 20 years of age, who could neither read nor write. In 1835 the Baptists had 250 churches, 109 ministers, and 11,445 communicants; the Methodists had 60 ministers and 13,845 communicants; the Presbyterians had 45 churches, 29 ministers, and 2,268 communicants. The Roman Catholics had 1 bishop and 5 ministers; and the Episcopalians had 7 ministers. At the commencement of 1840, there was one bank in this state, with a capital of $3,389,739, and a circulation of $696,855. At the close of 1840, the state debt amounted to $10,859,556. The constitution of this state was formed in 1819, preparatory to its admission to the Union, in 1820. The governor is elected by the people for two years, but is eligible only 4 years in 6. The senators ere elected for 3 years, and one third are chosen every year. Their number cannot be more than one third, nor less than a fourth of the number of the representatives. The representatives are elected annually, and are apportioned among the counties in proportion to their white population. They cannot be more than 100 nor less than 60 in number. The representatives and one third of the senators are elected annually, on the first Monday in August, and the day following; and the governor is elected biennially, at the same time. The legislature meets annually at Tuscaloosa, on the 4th Monday in October. The judiciary consists of a supreme court, a circuit court, and such inferior courts as the general assembly may, from time to time, direct and establish. The judges are elected every six years, by the joint vote of both houses of the general assembly. The right of suffrage is possessed by every white male citizen of 21 years of age, who has resided within the state one year next preceding an election, and the last three months within the county, city, or town in which he offers his vote. The Muscle Shoals Canal is designed to overcome the obstruction in the Tennessee river. It extends from the head of the falls, 35 1/2 miles to Florence, and cost $571,835. But to extend the work to its completion will cost $1,361,057. The Huntsville canal extends from Triena on the Tennessee, 16 miles to Huntsville. The Alabama and Florida railroad extends from Pensacola, 156 1/2 miles to Montgomery, and cost $2,500,000. The Selma and Cahawba railroad is a branch of the Alabama and Florida railroad, extending from Selma 10 miles to Cahawba. The Montgomery and Westpoint railroad extends from Montgomery, the northern termination of the Pensacola and Montgomery railroad to Westpoint, at the head of the rapids of the Chattahoochee river, 30 miles above Columbus. It is 87 miles long. The Tuscumbia, Cortland, and Decatur rail- road extends from Tuscumbia 44 miles to Decatur. The Wetumpka railroad extends 10 miles, and is designed to connect, when completed, the Tennessee and Alabama rivers, at Wetumpka. The French formed a small settlement, and built a fort where the city of Mobile now stands, early in the 18th century. Most of the territory of Alabama was included in the original patent of Georgia. In 1802 Georgia ceded all her territory w. of the Chattahoochee river to the United States; and extending to the Mississippi river, it was erected into the Mississippi territory, in 1817. It continued a part of the Mississippi territory until 1819, when a state constitution was formed; and in 1820 it was admitted to the Union, as an independent state.

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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