County, Alabama is the modern home to Anniston, Oxford, Piedmont,
Jacksonville, and many other smaller entities,
places, and things.
In earlier times, smaller towns and even settlements
played a larger role in area life than they do these days as
populations and priorities shifted. For example, early on,
Jacksonville was the county seat.
The area has been home to people for thousands of
years, which is proven by the odd arrowhead you can still find in
freshly plowed fields along our rivers and creeks. As one population
died out, got pushed out, or was assimilated, a new civilization
Just prior to the coming of the white man, the land we
live on was being used by Indians. Calhoun County was a border area
on the line between the Cherokee and Creek Indians. Calhoun County
was Creek territory. The late president Andy Jackson traveled
through the area, was befriended by the Indians, and later killed
quite a few of them, and sent the rest packing in the early 1830's.
Calhoun County and the
surrounding area was home to several Indian towns. Names you
know today like Hillabee,
Tallapoosa, Cheaha, and many others come down to us from those days.The
Indian story, in particular, needs to be told. Just within the
time of the white man, there are facinating Indian
stories of bravery, sacrifice, love, and betrayal, all the elements
of good books. Most Calhoun Countians, at least of a certain age are
quite familiar with the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Apache Indians of the
west, but few know the stories of the Creeks and Cherokees that trod
the land they now call home.
Left, famous Creek
Indian, Alexander Mcgillivray, and right, Andrew Jackson. Both men
walked the hills and hollows of Calhoun County in their lives
One interesting and little known fact is that prior to
the coming of the white man, the area we call south Quintard was a
huge lake, and Quintard would have been the lake bottom. The dam was
where the bridge is today that separates Oxford and Anniston. Wagon
tracks from settlers eroded the hill so badly that it finally failed
and the lake drained...hence you can travel via road between Oxford
and Anniston instead of by ferry.
There is a tremendous amount of local history and
knowledge that is basically unknown by our modern day residents,
even though it exists here and there, if one is willing to dig for
it. There isn't a place that you can put your foot that hasn't been
trod upon by other men in millennia past. Just as we look up to the
stars in heaven and wonder, so we look to the past and marvel.
|Are you an armchair
historian? Submissions of feature stories about our area
history is gratefully accepted here at your GetCalhoun.com
website. If you have information you would be willing to share
with others about area history, we'll make place for it. Visit
our "About" page for details! Don't be shy!
Certain dates and information to
follow was taken from the works of Bessie Coleman, 1898-1989, an
amateur historian who chronicled area history. A collection of her
work can be seen at the Public Library in Anniston.
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|| Calhoun County was originally known as Benton County in honor of
Thomas Benton (left), a politico of the early days of Alabama. Later, the
name was changed to Calhoun (right) in favor of the southern firebrand, John C.
Calhoun of South Carolina. Looking around the south today, it seems
that naming counties and towns after Calhoun was very popular.
Previously, the land had been owned by the Creek
Indians. However, as early as 1832 with the signing of the Treaty of
Cusseta, they knew their time was limited, and indeed, they were
removed, many forcibly, by 1837. It is said that some sold their
land multiple times to early settlers before they left which caused
much consternation in the county seat in Jacksonville when it came
time to parcel out deeds.
With the coming of the Civil war, Oxford, which had
been called Lickskillet, came briefly to prominence when there was
constructed the Oxford Iron Works which was subsequently
deconstructed by a Yankee regiment near the end of the war about the
time Sherman was marching through Georgia.
In July 1883 Annie's Town, Anniston, was formerly
dedicated. It was thoughtfully laid out by a man by the name of
Samuel Noble. Prior to the ceremony, the fabulous pine forests which
covered the area were cut down and used for homes and as fuel to
make charcoal to fire the the local iron furnaces. Anniston was
began as an iron making town and a model city for the iron workers,
shop keepers, and support businesses.
Eventually the vast production of metal was turned to
cast iron soil pipe, and Anniston produced more than anyone else in
the world. This lasted well into the 60's until with the coming of
new technologies, competition, and plastic, our pipe plants either
diversified or closed down completely.
Over the years Calhoun County has seen many many
changes. While the Anniston Army Depot remains, Fort McClellan is
gone, and while Monsanto now has a new name, its history lingers.
Nowadays technology and service industries are replacing pipe shops
and yarn mills. One can only wonder what it will look like in
another 50 years.
Written by Norman Morrison
Challenge: Can you identify buildings in the picture at the
top of this page? Do you recognize the train depot and the old
picture show? How about the school stadium? Let us know if you
would like to take on the pleasant chore of putting names on
the picture and we'll make you an armchair historian.
Add YOUR Calhoun
County community, town, or city to our historical pages!!
Submission of interesting information or pictures always encouraged!