CLICK HERE TO SEE COMPLETE 1895 MAP OF ALABAMA (large file)
CLICK HERE TO SEE 1860 MAP OF ALABAMA
CLICK HERE TO SEE 1818 MAP OF ALABAMA
The land that is
now Coffee County was once part of the land of the Lower Creeks. The largest
Indian village was at Clayhatchee, in what is now Dale County. In 1811, the
Creeks joined William Weatherford (Red Eagle) in attacking settlers. They almost
defeated General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. Even
after Jackson's victory, attacks on settlers continued for many years. The
settlers had a fort at Stapleton Settlement (near Wicksburg) where they took
refuge. The last battle with the Creeks was fought in 1837 at the fork of the
Pea River and Pea Creek. According to Brown's History of Alabama, "... with
a force of 200 mounted men, General William Wellborn met a party of Creeks
numbering several hundreds. The creeks fought with their old time bravery and 73
of their warriors were found dead on the fields after the whites had won. The
dead were left where they lay, so embittered were the conquerors by the
cruelties of the Indian warfare. Many of the Red Sticks were driven into
Florida. Others were captured and sent away to the west. This was the end of the
Indian troubles, but 'None of these who possesses the ancient home of the
Muscogees can fail to respect the courage with which they battled against their
Coffee County was formed in 1841 from Dale County, and named for General John Coffee, adjutant to General Andrew Jackson. General Coffee was a native of Virginia, and settled in Lauderdale Co, Alabama, after the War of 1812. He led the mounted Tennesseeans against the British at the Battle of New Orleans. At his death in 1833, General Jackson composed his epitaph: "General John Coffee ... as a husband, parent and friend he was affectionate, tender and sincere. He was a brave, prompt and skillful General, a disinterested and sagacious patriot, an unpretending, just and honest man."
Wellborn was the first county seat. Until 1868, when Geneva County was created, Coffee County extended south to the Florida border. The first Federal sale of land in what is now Coffee County was made in 1812, to John D. Player. It is not known whether he settled the land or not. The next recorded entry of land was in 1824. By 1839, 316 land sales had been made. In the early years, the "Wiregrass" region was known as the "cow counties" because of the lack of agricultural productivity and poverty of the small population -- it was thought that the land was fit only for herds of cattle and hogs.
The people of Coffee Coffee served the Confederacy with dedication and honor. In the election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln did not receive a single vote in the county. The vote totals were as follows: Stephen A. Douglas, Northern Democrat (2), John Bell, moderate Union Party (304), John C. Breckinridge, States Rights Democrat (878). Governor Andrew B. Moore issued a call for a convention, and the secessionist candidate in Coffee County, Gappa T. Yelverton, received a large majority. Among the companies recruited from Coffee County were: Co. D, 12th Ala. Inf.; Co. A, 18th Ala. Inf.; Co. K, 25th Ala. Inf.; Co. A, 33rd Ala., Inf.; Co. A and E, 54th Ala. Inf.; Co. D, G, and I, 57th Ala. Inf.; Co. G, 61st Ala. Inf.; Co. B, 6th Ala. Cav.; and Co. H, 53th Ala. Cav. (Partisan Rangers).
Our family located in three settlements in Coffee County:
Clintonville - Originally
called Indigo Head, because indigo grew there. One of the first voting
precincts in the county was established there in 1845, and the first post office
was opened in 1949. In 1860 the town was renamed Clintonville, with John
A. Fleming as the first Postmaster. One of the early businesses in the
community was a millinery shop owned by Mrs. Anna Fleming and Miss Bethena
"Tink" Hundley. Miss Hundley later married Henry Robert Fleming, son
of great-great-uncle Isaac W. Fleming. Dr.
Porter Fleming began his medical practice in the town, taking over the
office of the late Dr. John Garrett.
In 1860, the State Legislature granted a charter to the Clintonville Male and Female Academy, which was the first school in the county to teach above the 6th grade. John A. Fleming was a trustee. The land for the school was donated by Daniel Horn. The first teachers were (my cousins) Billy and Ambrose Edwards from Westville in Dale County. Building lumber was cut and sawed at the water mill of (cousin) William Watson; construction was carried out by Judson Mason and Robert Goolsby. Billy Devane, an old ship builder from Pensacola, made the paneled doors. School was held in the building until 1938, when it was consolidated with the New Brockton school. There is a historic marker at the site of Clintonville Academy which lists the pioneer families of Clintonville: Fleming, Brooks, Hutchison, Gunter, Sawyer, Goynes, Watson, Moates, Warren, Carmichael, Brock, Harding, Wilks, Peacock and Helms.
In the early days, Clintonville consisted of a dozen or so stores and a few bar-rooms, which thrived on local trade. Among the early business owners were Charles Boyer, Millard Fillmore Armor*, John Grimsley, Micajah Harper*, Jacob Gunter*, Kenneth Page, Burrell Rudd*, Nace Collins*, Thomas Fleming*, Edmond Bachelor*, and William (Bill) Harris*. [* denotes kin of mine]. Ned Herring -- known as "the stiff-legged sailor" -- was the town cobbler and repairman of harnesses, Jim Tullis was the blacksmith.
Haw Ridge - Was located on the eastern edge of the county and was sometimes included in Dale County. It was first settled in 1853 by our Crumpler and Heath families, along with the families of Brown, Fuller, Carmichael, Bruner, Price, and Hildreth. Haw Ridge was a thriving town during the War Between the States, and the tannery and shoe factory operated there by Dave Creamer made shoes for the Confederate army. With the hard times after the War, and the fact that the railroad bypassed the town (resulting in the loss of settlers), it slowly dwindled until only a few dozen people remained in the 1940s. When Camp Rucker was built during World War II, old Haw Ridge was within the government territory, and the few remaining buildings were torn down. Most of the cemeteries were moved to Ebenezer in Dale County.
Enterprise - First settled by John Carmichael, who moved there from Haw Ridge. The place where Enterprise is located today was once on the wagon roads between Clintonville and Haw Ridge. Enterprise was created in about 1882 near an original settlement known as Drake Eye. The town was incorporated in 1897, and is now the largest town in the county, sharing County Seat status with Elba.
Enterprise City Ordinances
1903 Enterprise Business Directory
1904 Enterprise Business Directory