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THE ALABAMA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

Historical Marker Program

Pickens County

Alabama, Tennessee & Northern Railroad Depot

The Carrollton Short Line Railroad, authorized by the legislature in 1897, connected the Mobile & Ohio Railroad at Reform with the Pickens County seat. John Taylor Cochrane of Tuscaloosa, working with Carrollton citizens, completed that line in 1902, then extended it southward toward the Tombigbee River with the encouragement of south Pickens County landowners. Purchasing 36 acres between the villages of Franconia and Bridgeville, Cochrane founded "Aliceville," named for his wife, Alyce Searcy. By 1903, tracks reached the new town's depot here at the south end of Broad Street and in February 1907, Aliceville was incorporated.
As Cochrane's railroad line continued on toward Mobile, it was rechristened the Alabama, Tennessee & Northern Railroad. The line operated in Pickens County until June 29, 1976, when the last train made its run.
[2001: Aliceville]

 

Aliceville First Baptist Church

On a wooded spot near where Garden Cemetery is located stood Enon Baptist Church, constituted in August 1823, by Lemuel Prewitt and Henry Petty on land donated by Parks E. Ball. Sometime after 1849 the meeting place was moved about one mile west on Pickensville road. In 1905 it was relocated in Aliceville and is now known as First Baptist Church of Aliceville.
The present building was dedicated in 1940.
Through the years this church has been consistently dedicated to missionary causes, and the challenge of the Great Commission continues to be a vital part of her ministry.

 

Aliceville Prisoner of War Camp 1942-1945

During World War II, the United States Army interned 6,000 German prisoners of war here on a 400 acre site, employing 1,000 American military and civilian personnel. Major Karl H. Shriver commanded Corps of Engineers forces which began construction in August, 1942. Activated Dec. 12, 1942. First prisoners, from Gen. Erwin Rommel's Africa Korps, arrived by Frisco Railroad June 2, 1943. Camp first commanded by Col. F. A. Prince, later by Col. R. S. Grier. 400 frame buildings: barracks, hospital, bakeries, chapels, greenhouse, theaters; water and sewer systems, fire department, amphitheater, sports fields, gardens. Barbed wire compound with guard towers. 2 prisoners killed attempting to escape. Deactivated Sept. 30, 1945.

 

Carrollton Short Line Railroad

The Mobile & Ohio Railroad Company in 1897 announced plans to build a line from Artesia, Mississippi through Pickens County to Tuscaloosa and on to Montgomery. Leading citizens in Carrollton sought to persuade the company to bring the line through the county seat, but M & O officials chose a route through Reform and Gordo to ensure faster mail service as required by the U.S. postal service. Led by W.G. Robertson, Judge O.L. McKinstry, E.R. Calhoun and M.L. Stansel, Carrollton residents organized a corporation to build a railroad from their community to Reform, to connect there with the M & O. Called the "Carrollton Short Line," the track eventually was completed by Tuscaloosa entrepreneur John Taylor Cochrane, who brought the first train into Carrollton in 1902. The depot was on this site.
Cochrane built the line steadily southward, establishing the town of Aliceville (named for his wife, Alyce Searcy) along its route, which eventually extended to Mobile. Rechristened the Alabama, Tennessee & Northern Railroad soon after, Cochrane's line prompted a social and economic boom for Carrollton and southwest Alabama. Vast timber holdings were tapped by "dummy lines" connecting to the Carrollton Short Line, creating many jobs to boost the local economy. The line operated until June 29, 1976, when the last train made its run.
[2001: Carrollton]

 

First City Hall-Jail

Built June 1914, by Gordo's first town council to house Mayor Benjamin Garrison's office, city courtroom, and jail. Building used as city hall-jail until 1949. Records show it to be the oldest remaining brick structure in Gordo. Restored 1974, by Gordo Tuesday Study Club as an art gallery and museum. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Dec. 17, 1974.

 

Kelly-Stone-Hill Place

Former home of John Herbert Kelly, brigadier general, C.S. Army, born in Carrollton, March 31, 1840. Appointed to West Point at age 17, resigned a few months before graduation. Fought at Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, and Chickamauga. Mortally wounded at battle of Franklin, Tennessee, August 20, 1864.
For many years this was the home of Lewis Maxwell Stone, state senator, member of the Constitutional Convention 1875, and speaker of the House of Representatives during the Reconstruction Period.
Dwelling later occupied by Hugh Wilson Hill, M.D., the third of four generations of a family of physicians who have served the community with marked devotion.

King's Store Skirmish

On April 6, 1865, near this site, Confederate forces from Carrollton and Bridgeville attacked a unit of Brig. Gen. John T. Croxton's Union forces under Capt. William A. Sutherland. Union forces were compelled to abandon 37 Confederate prisoners earlier captured. Union reporters counted one mortally wounded and another taken prisoner. No Confederate casualties were documented. Unable to rejoin Gen. Croxton as ordered, Capt. Sutherland and his 6th Kentucky Cavalry marched on to Decatur.

------------------------Reverse-----------------------

Lanier's Mill Skirmish

On April 6, 1865, near this site on the Sipsey River, Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's Confederate forces, under Brig. Gen. Wirt Adams, met Union forces under Brig. Gen. John Croxton . Union forces numbering 1,500 men, having burned the 3-story brick mill and resumed their march, were attacked by an equal number of Confederate forces. Gen. Adams reported his losses as 9 killed and 25 wounded and estimated Union losses as 75 killed or captured. Confederates took 2 Union ambulances and personal baggage of Gen. Croxton, who was forced back to Tuscaloosa. On May 4, when he surrendered, Gen. Adams received this communication from Col. George Moorman of his command: "Should the war cease now you would have the honor of having won the last victory on the Confederate soil and in the Confederate cause." The Confederate charge which took place here was the last cavalry charge in the War Between the States.
[1998]

R.J. Kirksey High School
1958-1971

Summerville Industrial High School, the first high school for African Americans in the southern part of Pickens County, was moved to this site in 1958, becoming Robert Jackson Kirksey High School. The new name honored a long-term member of the school board and donor of the land. Otis James Brooks, principal of the Summerville Industrial High School since its 1937 beginning, continued in that role at Kirksey High School, remaining there until 1971. Pickens County schools were integrated in that year and the school was designated to serve as a middle school, becoming Aliceville Middle School.
Sponsored by Summerville/Kirksey Alumni [2012: 1000 Columbus Road, Aliceville]

Mount Moriah Free Will Baptist Church

Organized by Rev. Ellis Gore in 1846, is recognized as the oldest church of this faith in Alabama. Original doctrinal treatise from Fayetteville, N.C. obtained by Rev. Gore.
The original building, a one room frame structure, was built in 1846. Two buildings on this site were destroyed by fires in 1869 and 1905. Replacement remodeled and enlarged in 1959. Present structure erected in 1972, known as the "Mother Church," has always striven to lead others to the "Heavenly Father."

 

Oak Grove Presbyterian Church

Organized at this site, Franconia, Ala. in 1837. The edifice of colonial architecture included a slave gallery and an amen corner. The congregation moved to Aliceville in 1906 and established the First Presbyterian Church.
Founders and heirs are interred in the adjacent Oak Grove-Franconia cemetery which contains a section for family slaves who were also church members. The old building was moved to Aliceville in 1931 and is now used as a community church.

 

Pickens County Courthouse
Erected 1877-78

Pickens County, named for General Andrew Pickens of South Carolina, was established December 19, 1820.
First County Seat was Pickensville. On March 5, 1830 the U.S. government awarded 80 acres of land at Carrollton for the County Seat. The first courthouse erected at Carrollton was burned April 5, 1865, by troops of Union General John T. Croxton.
A freedman, Henry Wells, was accused of burning the second on November 16, 1876. He was arrested January 1878, and confined to the garret of the present building. According to legend, as Wells peered out of the north window, at a mob gathering below, lightning struck nearby, indelibly etching his image on the pane.

Summerville Industrial High School
1937 - 1958

On this site in September 1937, Summerville Industrial High School opened under the leadership of Otis James Brooks, who remained its principal throughout its existence. The new school, which consolidated the smaller schools of Emory Chapel, Wilder’s, Nolan, Union Valley, and Good Hope, initially had five teachers and 100 students engaged in general academic studies. In 1939, with vocational agriculture and home economics added to the curriculum, Summerville Industrial High School had 16 teachers teaching 500 students.
The school was named in honor of Hugh S. Summerville who donated the land for the campus.
Sponsored by Summerville/Kirksey Alumni
[2009: Co. Rd. 13]

Tabernacle Methodist Church and Campground

Tabernacle Methodist Campground established 1828. About forty acres of land deeded to church by Marshall Franks. Nathan Hopkins served as first pastor; Ebenezer Hearn was first presiding elder. Among families who helped build and maintain campground and church were those of Henry, Joyner, Franks, Randall, Miller, Woods, and Eubanks. Camp meetings held here annually since 1828.


Other Pickens County pages:

Back to Historical Marker Index

http://www.archives.alabama.gov/aha/markers/pickens.html

Updated: January 7, 2013