Marion County, Alabama

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Marion County
Map of Alabama highlighting Marion County
Location within the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 34°08′11″N 87°53′03″W / 34.136388888889°N 87.884166666667°W / 34.136388888889; -87.884166666667
Country United States
State Alabama
FoundedFebruary 13, 1818
Largest cityHamilton
 • Total744 sq mi (1,930 km2)
 • Land741 sq mi (1,920 km2)
 • Water2 sq mi (5 km2)  (0.29%)%
 • Total31,214
 • Density20/sq mi (8/km2)

Marion County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. Its name is in honor of Francis Marion of South Carolina, general in the American Revolutionary War. As of 2000 the population was 31,214. Its county seat is Hamilton.


Marion County was established on February 13, 1818.

History of Marion County, Alabama

On March 3, 1817, Congress enacted a law that the eastern portion of the Mississippi Territory should constitute a separate territory and be called "Alabama". Several of the present counties of the state were represented in Mississippi Territory and became Alabama counties upon passage of the law. Marion County was provided for in the Act of February 13, 1818 by the Alabama Territorial General Assembly and included all of the current territory of Marion County and parts of what is now Winston, Walker, Fayette and Lamar Counties in Alabama as well as certain land now included in Lowndes, Monroe and Itawamba Counties in Mississippi.

On November 21, 1818, election precincts were established by an Act of the Territorial Council at two places in the new county. One location was at the home of Scott Montgomery on Buttahatchie River and the other was at the home of William Leech on Luxapallila Creek. Returns from elections were to be made to the home of Jesse McKinny. On March 2, 1819, Congress approved an Act providing for the manner and terms of admission of Alabama as a state and Marion County was one of the 22 counties listed in the Act. The Constitutional Convention provided for in the Act met in Huntsville on July 5, 1819. John Terrell was the delegate from Marion County to the convention.

On December 14, 1819, by joint resolution of Congress, Alabama became a state. Earlier in the month, on December 6, 1819, an act of the Legislature provided for a tax for the building of a plain log Court House in Marion County. Until it could be built, the temporary seat of justice would be at the house of Henry Greer near Buttahatchie River. On December 19, 1820, the permanent boundaries of Marion County were fixed by the State Legislature and six commissioners were named to fix the site of the public buildings of the county; Lemuel Bean, Jobez Fitzgerald, Barnes Holloway, Sr., George White, William Metcalf and William Davis.

The territory now embraced in Marion County might never have been exclusively the lands of any one Indian tribe, but if anyone could claim it, undoubtedly the Chickasaws would have. In 1816, General George S. Gaines concluded a treaty fixing the eastern boundary line of the Chickasaw Nation. This line, sometimes called "Gaines Trace", runs through Marion County from Northeast to Southwest between Hamilton and Shottsville.

The following article was published in the March 20, 1988 edition of ''The Commercial Dispatch'' of Columbus, Mississippi.

The Settlement of Columbus: Columbus Once Was Located in Alabama

by Samuel H. Kaye and Rufus A. Ward Jr.

At the time Columbus was settled it was believed to be located in Marion Co., AL, Territory. Marion County was created from the western part of Tuscaloosa County on December 13, 1818, and contained the land west of the Sipsey River and then ran south from the mouth of the Sipsey River "to the ridge dividing the waters of Lookseopelala Creek, and the first large creek south of the same; and thence with said ridge to the Tombigbee River."

The first seat of justice in Marion County was Cotton Gin Port on the Tombigbee near present-day Amory, Miss. On Dec. 16, 1819, the Alabama Legislature moved the seat of justice of Marion County to the house of Henry Grier. Grier's house was located was located at the present site of Columbus Air Force Base (note: in 1997 I spoke with Rufus Ward and he said it actually stood where the main runway is located at the base) and was also the place where Monroe County was organized on Feb. 9, 1821.

Silas McBee of Columbus (son of Vardry McBee of Spartanburg Co., SC) was selected as Marion County's first representative to the Alabama Legislature. In July, 1820, the Alabama-Mississippi boundary line was surveyed and it was discovered that a tract of land lying along the east side of the Tombigbee which had been attached to Alabama was really in Mississippi. Mississippi Gov. George Poindexter, in his message to the General Assembly of 1821, said, "It appears that a considerable population on the waters of the Tombigbee formerly attached to Alabama fall within the limits of this state." By 1823, rivalry between the Cotton Gin Port settlers was resulting in calls for the Mississippi Legislature to divide Monroe County into two separate counties, an act that did not take place until 1830.

The original Charter of Columbus in 1821 established the Southwest Quarter of Section 16, Township 18 South, Range 18 West, Huntsville Meridian as the town limits. These boundaries were soon expanded to include all of Section 16. The Legislature called for the establishment of a public school which was to be funded by the lease of lots in the town. This leasehold arrangement has been the subject of legislative and legal activity ever since. According to Love, the first Post Office was established in 1820 with service on the Military Road to Muscle Shoals. An Act of Congress dated May 13, 1820, established a mail route "from Tuscaloosa by Marion County Courthouse to Columbus, Miss." On March 3, 1823, a mail route was awarded "from Tuscaloosa to Columbus by Pickens Courthouse in lieu of the present route which is hereby discontinued." By 1824 horseback mail service was in place from the county seat at Hamilton, through Columbus, to Tuscaloosa. This route was most likely along the Pickensville Road from the South and it was along this road that many of the first settlers to Columbus probably traveled.

A photo of a monument following this article states: This monument at Columbus Air Force Base commemorates the organization of north Mississippi into Monroe County, often called "Mother Monroe" because many other counties later were formed from the original Monroe County. The marker is located at the site of the home of Henry Grier (spelled Greer on marker). Grier's house served as the county seat of Marion Co., AL from 1819-20. An additional face plate is shown called Alabama Justice of the Peace: Containing all the duties powers and authorities of that office, as regulated by the laws now in force in this state...The caption underneath states: Columbus was first thought to be a part of Marion Co., AL. Silas McBee, of Columbus, represented Marion County in the first state Legislature of Alabama in 1819. This book of Alabama laws was owned by Columbus' first mayor, William Moore.

(Note: The area that is now Sulligent in Lamar Co. was contained in the MS land records for this period of time and was at that time a part of Marion Co.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 744 square miles (1,926 km²), of which, 741 square miles (1,920 km²) of it is land and 2 square miles (6 km²) of it (0.29%) is water.

Major highways


Adjacent counties


Marion County, Alabama
1830 4,058—    
1840 5,847+44.1%
1850 7,833+34.0%
1860 11,182+42.8%
1870 6,059−45.8%
1880 9,364+54.5%
1890 11,347+21.2%
1900 14,494+27.7%
1910 17,495+20.7%
1920 22,008+25.8%
1930 25,967+18.0%
1940 28,776+10.8%
1950 27,264−5.3%
1960 21,837−19.9%
1970 23,788+8.9%
1980 30,041+26.3%
1990 29,830−0.7%
2000 31,214+4.6%
Sources: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. through 1960

As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there were 31,214 people, 12,697 households, and 9,040 families residing in the county. The population density was 42 people per square mile (16/km²). There were 14,416 housing units at an average density of 19 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.76% White, 3.3% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 1.15% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,697 households out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.40% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.80% were non-families. 26.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.50% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 28.20% from 25 to 44, 25.20% from 45 to 64, and 15.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,475, and the median income for a family was $34,359. Males had a median income of $26,913 versus $19,022 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,321. About 12.00% of families and 15.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.80% of those under age 18 and 20.00% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns


Two public school systems operate in Marion County. Marion County School System and the Winfield City School System. Additionally, Hamilton is home to Bevill State Community College, a two year community and technical college.

The Marion County School System consists of the following schools:

Winfield is served by the Winfield City School System and consists of Winfield Elementary School, Middle School and High School.

Local Events and Festivals

Marion County is home to Winfield's Mule Day festival, held annually in September. Also, the Jerry Brown Arts Festival is held each March in Hamilton. Guin its MayFest celebration the second weekend in May, while Brilliant holds its Coal Fest event every Memorial Day weekend. Hackleburg is home to Neighbor Day, held annually the fourth saturday in April, an event that hometown Country Music Hall of Fame artist Sonny James attends every other year.

See also


External links

Coordinates: 34°08′11″N 87°53′03″W / 34.13639°N 87.88417°W / 34.13639; -87.88417