(Autauga was created before Alabama became a state. This story tells the names of many of the early settlers with links to their biographies.)
Autauga County, Alabama
Autauga County was created by the legislature on 1818 Nov. 21. The county was named for a Native American town Atagi (see Atagi DAR) now Autauga, which was located on the western bank of the Alabama River where Atagi creek (now Autauga Creek) ran through the county and joined the river.
It was first settled after the Creek Indian War terminated in 1814 by farmers looking for fertile soil in the area. Autauga was originally part of Montgomery County, but the territorial legislature of St. Stephens created the new county of Autauga on November 21, 1818 before Alabama became a State.
Autauga County Courthouse in Prattville, Alabama
By Act of 1820 Dec. 13, the boundaries in the north and northwest were enlarged and on 1827 Jan. 12 the line between Autauga and Shelby counties was more definitely fixed. The Act of 1820 stated that Court should be held at Jackson’s Mill on Autuaga Creek.
Village of Atagi was abandoned
On November 22, 1819, the territorial legislature appointed Robert Gaston, Zachariah Pope, Alexander R. Hutchinson, Alsy Pollard, Zacchaus Powell to select the site for a permanent county seat and to contract and supervise the construction of a courthouse, jail and public pillory. The Indian Village of Atagi was abandoned by 1817 and the town of Washington was established on the site, named after George Washington.
Captain J. P. House, General Thomas Woodward, and Dr. Alexander Hutchinson invested in the land at Atagi and offered to give the county land for the public buildings if they were located at Washington and the offer was accepted by the commissions. The brick courthouse was built by Moulton and Murphy and the woodwork was completed by Mount. The first hotel was built by Captain House and the jail was built by Thomas Keith.
In 1866 part of its territory was taken to establish the new county of Elmore. In 1868 another portion of the county was taken to establish Baker, later known as Chilton County. The word “Autauga” comes from the Indian village Atagi, located on the Alabama River at the mouth of Autauga Creek.
Some of the earliest settlers were John Mathews with his sons: Wade Cox, Kitchens, Holbrooks, David Goss, Moulton, Murphy, Charles Rush and Abe Graham. One of the first attorneys was Edwin Fay and the first merchants were Lynch, Tod Robinson, Holbrooks and Doster, Pickett and Lot Porter. Wade Cox owned the tavern and operated the ferry.
Rev. Mark Howard was the Methodist minister and Capt J. P. House was the sheriff and the first county judge was Ashby and the next county judge was Ed Terry. First physicians were Hutchinson and Edwards. Alvin A. McWhorter was the third judge until the county seat was moved in 1830 to Kingston. Henly Brown, formerly the county clerk was appointed judge after McWhorter resigned. Henly Brown continued in public office until he retired from public life due to his health.
There were five post offices in Autauga County
John A. Elmore. Sr., the chief justice of the Court of Justices of the Peace presided over the first trial on April 12, 1820. There were five post offices in Autauga County, Coosada, Washington, Vernon, Independence, and Statesville. All have all but disappeared. Coosada still exists in a small way in Elmore County. Coosada (Koasati) was an Indian town site and William Wyatt Bibb, the first governor of Alabama settled there in 1818.
“The first property owners were: D. H. Mayhew, Ross A. Pope, John D. Bibb, John McRhea, Bolling Hall, J. B. Clopton, Ann T. Robinson, Mary W. Bibb, Mr. Reese, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Dudley, Mr. Bradford and a square conveyed to Governor Bibb in trust for the ‘Trustees of the Academy.” Today at least half of this square is in the river as the map show the spring at the ferry landing in the center of the square, whereas now the river bank has caved and the spring is at the water’s edge.”
County seat moved to Prattville
In 1868 the legislature removed the county seat to Prattville, which was named after cotton gin manufacturer Daniel Pratt. Other towns and communities include Marbury, Billingsley, Autaugaville, and Mulberry.
Autauga County Courthouse in Prattville, Alabama
Among the early residents of the county were, Gov. Wm. W. Bibb, John A. Elmore, Sr., Bolling Hall, Sr., James Jackson, Robert Gaston, Jacob P. House. Francis Lewis, Bent Pierce, Philips and Byrd Fitzpatrick, Nicholas Zeigler. Edmund Gholson, Isaac Funderburg, Levi Kelly, William Hester, Jesse Gay, Josiah Rice, Thomas Harris. James Goss, Thomas Tatum, George Jones, Edmund Foreman, Joseph Riley, Mackey Johnson, Archibald Graham, Richard Bibb, Job Calloway, William Lewis, Joshua Marcus, William Futch, Isaiah Thacker, Aaron Moore, Hiram Bishop, Abram Chancellor, Lewis C. Davis, Thomas C. Smith, William R. Pickett, Mark Howard, Seaborn Mims, Lewis Tyus, Richard Mouton, Wm. Hightower, Jeremiah Jackson, Robert Motley, Robert Broadnax, Edmund Shackleford, John G. Stoudenmire, William N. Thompson, John Mathews, James Mathews, William Peebles, Benjamin Averett, James and Nehemiah Howard, Eli Ely, Lazarus Parker, William Nunn, Thomas Hogg, Dr. N. S. Jones, Benjamin Davis, Dr. A. R. Hutchinson, Organ Tatum, Berry Tatum, S. McGraw, B. Mason, John Lamar, L. Houser, S. Stoudenmire, John McNeel.
Pope Gholson House ca. 1940
Governor William Wyatt Bibb made his home in the vicinity
The county has been the birthplace or home of several persons of distinction. Gov. Wm. W. Bibb, first governor of Alabama, made his home in the vicinity of the present Coosada, there he died, and his remains lie in a private cemetery on his old home place.
In the same community resided John A. Elmore, Sr., a soldier of the Revolution, Bolling Hall, Sr., a former Representative in Congress from Georgia, James Jackson, who represented Autauga County in the first constitutional convention of the State in 1819, and Capt. Albert T. Goodwyn, representative in Congress.
Daniel Pratt founded Prattville and the great gin manufacturing interests which have rendered his name and county famous. In the county also resided for a time Gen. Thomas Woodward, noted Indian fighter; also William R. Pickett, father of Col. A. J. Pickett, the historian; Gen. E. Y. Fair, minister to Brussels; Elder Lewis C. Davis, popularly known as “Club Axe” Davis. The county was the birthplace of Rev. Dr. Samuel S. Harris, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Michigan; and of his niece, Miss May Harris, prominent as an author.
- Owen, Thomas McAdory. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1921
- Autauga Genealogical Society
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