Lamar County Kin
By: Barbara Woolbright Carruth
Appeared in The Lamar Leader September 8, 1999
Lamar County is located in the northwest part of Alabama. At one time Lamar was part of Marion and Fayette counties. Lamar is located in the upper coastial plains region and covers 605 square miles.
It seems that early white settlers began coming to the county in about the late 1700s and came mostly from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Few of the early settlers were slave holders. My great great Grandfather, Thomas Evins was here in 1830., he was born in North Carolina according to census records. There were Indian settlements in the county, apparently Chickasaws, Choctaws and Creeks used the county as hunting grounds. Few Indian relics have been found here, but the area is known to have been claimed by the Chickasaw tribe , and to have been a part of that tribes cession to the United States. The county line between Lamar and Pickens was known to the the frontier between the Chickasaws and Choctaws.
Most came traveling by covered wagon bringing with them all their possessions. Usually families that knew each other traveled together. The early settlers lived in log houses, grew corn, cotton, cane, potatoes and vegetables.
Before Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, the lint had to be picked off the seed by hand. This invention had a great impact on the development of the southern United States. With the gin, cotton could be cleaned so efficiently that it became the most important crop in the South.
In the early days, some of the countys settlers traveled to Aberdeen, MS to buy supplies. This wasnt the trip that it is today, it was probably an overnight or longer trip. They usually bought supplies for a year when they had their cotton ginned. In Aberdeen, there were cotton gins, sawmills, gristmills and stores. In 1815, General Andrew Jackson and some of his soldiers spent a night or more at the Old Stage Coach Inn near Sulligent. One of the soldiers became ill , died and was buried near the inn.
In 1867, when Lamar County was created, Pikeville, once the county seat of Marion County was placed in Lamar County by mistake. Later the Alabama State Legislature had to change the boundary and gave Pikeville, one square mile, back to Marion County. This is why Lamar has a small offset in the northeastern boundary.
The county was named Jones County in February 1867. In November of the same year, the county was abolished, but was recreated in October 1868 as Sanford County. The name was changed to Lamar County in 1877 to honor Senator Lamar of Mississippi. According to "History and Romance of Alabama", a book published by Alabama Power Company in 1933, "Lamar County bears the name (but not all of it ) of Lucius Qunintus Cincinnatus Lamar, the Georgia born statesman who moved to Mississippi in about 1845, represented the latter state in Congress from 1856 to 1860, was first a colonel and then a European diplomatic agent of the Confederacy during the War Between the States, served Mississippi in Congress again from 1872-1876, became a United States Senator in 1876, thrilled the whole nation with the eloquence and magnanimity of his oration on the death of Charles Sumner, was Grover Clevelands Secretary of the Interior in 1887, and died in 1893, five years after elevation to the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1877 at about the time of L. Q. C. Lamars famous Sumner oration, the name of Sanford County was officially changed to Lamar."
What is now the Town of Sulligent was once part of the John Hollis Bankhead Plantation. John Hollis Bankhead was born in 1842 in the old village of Moscow. He represented Marion County in the Alabama State Legislature from 1865 to 1866, just before Lamar County was formed as a county. John Hollis Bankhead represented the Twelfth District in the state senate from 1867-1877; he was U. S. Representative from Alabama 6th District 1877-1904; U. S. Senator from Alabama 1907-1920; delegate to Democratic National Convention from Alabama at-large in 1912. He died in Washington D. C. March 1, 1920.
Some of the early residents of Sulligent area were George E. Brown, Green E. Bankhead, John S. Guyton, Dr. R. J. Redden, W. W. Ogden, D. U. Hollis, W. G. Priddy, R. F. Bankhead, A. M. Bucklew, Robert James Young and W. S. Metcalfe.
Times were changing, a four cylinder, twenty horsepower Model T Ford, first offered in October 1908, by Ford Motor Company sold for $825. Its two speed transmission made it easy to repair. It was designed to clear the bumps in rural roads. The Model T was a lighter and tougher car and the price was kept down.
In 1909 a new courthouse was built, while R. L. Bradly was Lamar County Probate Judge.
Queries of the Week:
In Volume V, Number III of Links to Lamar County, Theresa Whitaker and Jennifer Priddy contributed information on Winstead Cemetery, Detroit, AL.
Benjamin Winstead born 9-29-1795, died 7-18-1876 and Talitha Winstead, born 12-28-1797, died 1-14-1864. Are they related to the Evans family?
Looking for information on Hiram Noah Evans, married to Julia Tootem. Where is Julia Tooten buried?
If you have any information on the above queries contact me at 205 698 9427; P. O. Box 579, Sulligent, AL 35586 or email coco @ fayette.net. Suggestions for this column are welcome. If you have a community, place or family that you would like featured, call or write me. Thanks for your encouragement, your comments, and information that you have given me. Check Lamar County Kin website htttp://www.fayette.net/carruth/lamar.html or MS Bs Place http://www.fayette.net/carruth/
See you next week!!