Clarke County, Alabama, and Its Surroundings, 1540-1877

The full title to this manuscript is A glance into the great south-east, or, Clarke County, Alabama, and Its Surroundings, from 1540 to 1877. He called the title “A glance into the great south-east” in part because the reader should be able to form a full and correct idea of the early settlement, the productions, and the present [1878] condition of that larger region characterized by the growth of the long leaf pine, and of that still larger region known as the cotton-growing belt of the United States, at least of that portion of it lying east of the Mississippi river. As such, this work is largely an historic writing which should shine light on your ancestors situation in Clarke County, Alabama during the time period up to 1877. It gives fodder to the stories you will want to write and tell. Sprinkled throughout the manuscript, however, are tidbits about this person or that, and in those tidbits you may find out things you never knew about your family.

Origin and Object

While visiting in the county for the purpose of recruiting his health in the summer of 1874, the author ascertained that interesting material existed, and could probably be collected, for a local history of this region, and he suggested the same in a printed circular addressed “To the Citizens of Clarke County.” Receiving encouragement from several prominent citizens, he undertook to collect the material; and leaving Chicago October the 17th, 1877, revisited the county, issued a second circular, and spent many delightful weeks in making the needful researches. As the year 1878 opened, at midnight of Monday, he left Mobile for his Western home, to place the accumulated material in its present form.

In September of 1836 the editor of the Clarke County Post, B. McCary, urged the desirableness of collecting from the early settlers the materials for Alabama history. Speaking of “very many matters now resting only in the memory of man,” he well said: “If these matters are permitted to pass from our reach, they cannot be recalled. Now the materials for our history might, in the different sections * * * be collected * * * thereby contributing * * * to a work essentially valuable and indispensably necessary.” He further urged that if not thus collected, when searched for in the future, “the facts and circumstances of the early settlement” would not be within reach, and that thus “a mass of useful information” would be “shamefully lost.”

Forty-one years have passed since his appeal was made, and soon the last of the men and the women of 1812 will have gone the way of all the earth.

The object of this work is fourfold:

  1. To aid, if even slightly, in rescuing from oblivion and placing in a permanent form some of the incidents, the traditions, the family recollections of the earlier settlers, left unrecorded by Pickett and Meek, historic material which they both prized so highly, and in securing a large amount of which they both accomplished so much.
  2. To place this local history, which otherwise would soon perish, in connection with that collected by others, in one compact volume, for the gratification and instruction of not only the present but of succeeding generations. That to treasure up our local history and secure its transmission to succeeding generations is desirable, is not now, among intelligent Americans in this centennial era, an open question.
  3. To present more fully to the general readers of historic literature in other portions of the Union, and in the present position of this great nation, a view of life in this South-East, both in earlier and in the present time, free from any sectional coloring, or prejudice, or love.
  4. To set forth the undeveloped resources of the county before the view of capitalists, of home-seekers, and of the intelligent and enterprising, wherever they may be, in this progressive, restless, rapidly changing, migratory age.

Table of Contents

Chapter I. Early Travels and Conflicts in the Great South-east.
Chapter II. Spanish, French, and English Residents.
Chapter III. The Mississippi Territory. 1798 to 1812. American Settlers.
Chapter IV. Indians of the South-East.
Chapter V. General Topography, Flora, and Fauna of Clarke.
Chapter VI. Clarke County. 1812 to 1820. The Creek War. Growth.
Chapter VII. Clarke and Marengo. 1820 to 1830. Americans and French.
Chapter VIII. Clarke County. 1830 to 1840.
Chapter IX. Clarke County. 1840 to 1850.
Chapter X. Clarke County. 1850 to 1860.
Chapter XI. The Period of Conflict. 1860 to 1865.
Chapter XII. The Transition Era. 1865 to 1875.
Chapter XIII. Family Records and Sketches.
Chapter XIV. Sketches of Women.
Chapter XV. Sketches of Other Prominent Citizens.
Chapter XYI. Religious History.
Chapter XVII. The Colored People.
Chapter XVIII. Geology and Undeveloped Resources.
Chapter XIX. The Present.
Chapter XX. Literary Productions and Conclusion.


Ball, Rev. T. H., A glance into the great south-east, or, Clarke County, Alabama, and Its Surroundings, from 1540 to 1877, Alabama: Grove Hill, 1882.

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