The History of Butler County, Alabama, from 1815 to 1885

Some prominent residents of Butler County, Alabama employed John Buckner Little in 1885 to author a history of their county. At this time in American history, book publishing had gotten inexpensive and it was a trend to publish a county history in order to record the events of the county for posterity, and incidentally, the actions those prominent people or their ancestors may have contributed in the process. For Butler County, the author, Little, believed it was probably a decade or two late, as the county had lost quite a few of its founding settlers in the interim, and the information now being provided second-handed was conflicting. He explains all this in the preface, which many genealogists won’t bother to read, but this gives us a really interesting opinion of the manuscript. How did Little handle the conflicting information? He exercised his own judgement to resolve those differences and admits, inaccuracies likely occurred as a result of the differing statements received. This caveat of information forewarns us that we ourselves may find information that conflicts with the statements made in the manuscript and we should take that into account when we decide with our own judgment which statement to believe. You will find a list of the people whom he largely depended on (those statements) and also the few manuscripts he consulted. Outside of the Trade Issue of the Greenville Advocate there appears to be no other primary source material used.

A reprint in 1971 provided a 17 page index to go along with this manuscript, but I do not have access to that index. If somebody would scan or transcribe it, or at least provide a copy of the surnames mentioned in the book, then I’d be happy to add that information as well!

Table of Contents

  • Geographical Position — Geological Formations — Different Varieties of Soil — Virgin Growth — Slopes — Drainage, Etc., 15
  • Earliest History — Formation of the County — Early Settlement, Etc., 19
  • The Ogly Massacre — Death of Captain Butler and Others — The Erection of Forts, Etc., 25
  • The Rapid Settlement of the County After the Indians are Driven Away, Etc., 34
  • Establishment of Commerce — Mail Routes — The Seat of Justice Located at Greenville — General Growth and Prosperity of the County, 40
  • Great Need for Conveniences, such as Grist Mills, Gins, Blacksmith Shops, Etc., 44
  • Biographical Sketch of Ex-Governor T. H. Watts, 47
  • The War Between the States — The County During this Time, 53
  • Condition of the County After the War, 58
  • A General Description of the Present Resources of the County and Its Prospects for Future Development, 60
  • Pine Flat, 71
  • Fort Dale, 74
  • Greenville, 78
  • Greenville, 1885, 95
  • Ridgeville, 100
  • Sketch of Hon. W. H, Crenshaw, 103
  • Manningham, 105
  • Sketch of Warren A. Thompson, 108
  • Dead Fall, 111
  • Sketch of Judge Benj. F. Porter, 114
  • Monterey, 120
  • Sketch of Colonel T. L. Bayne, 132
  • Butler Springs, 136
  • Sketch of Judge Anderson Crenshaw, 141
  • Ancient Mounds in Butler County, 143
  • Oaky Streak, 145
  • Garland, 154
  • South Butler, 156
  • Sketch of Colonel Sam. Adams, 158
  • Sketch of W. W. Wilkinson, 160
  • Forest Home, 165
  • Georgiana, 172
  • Starlington, 175
  • Sketch of Colonel H. A. Herbert, 177
  • Shackelville, 186
  • Boiling, 188
  • Sketch of Mrs. I. M. P. Henry, 191
  • Sardis, 195
  • Toluka, 197
  • McBride’s, 198
  • Press of Butler County, 200
  • Bear’s Store 210
  • Rocky Creek, 212
  • Roper Wells, 213
  • Sketch of J. K. Henry, Judge, 215
  • Steiner’s Store, 216
  • Dunham Station, 218
  • Mobile and Montgomery Railroad, 219
  • The Medical Profession in Butler County, 221
  • The Bar of Butler County, 224
  • County Officers, 1885, 232
  • Voting Precincts. 236
  • Churches and Places of Worship, 237
  • Our Wealthy Men, 239
  • Members of the State Legislature, 241
  • Officers of the County, 244
  • List of Post-Offices, Etc., 247
  • War- Record of the County, 248
  • Conclusion, 252

Digital Book


The History of Butler County, Alabama, from 1815 to 1885, by John B. Little. Cincinnati, Ohio: Elm St. Pr. Co., 1885. 256 pp.

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