Welcome to the Calhoun County Alabama Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
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Calhoun County was created by legislative act on December 18, 1832. The county was initially named Benton County in honor of Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton, an arch defender of westward expansion and slavery. After Benton declared himself an opponent of slavery in the 1850s, Alabama supporters of slavery voted to change the county's name to Calhoun in honor of radical secessionist John C. Calhoun.
During the territorial period, the county was home to the Creek and Cherokee Indians. In 1813, one of the first battles of the Creek War was fought when Andrew Jackson ordered Gen. John Coffee to destroy the Creek town of Tallasseehatchee located in the present-day community of Alexandria. During the battle, which was fought in retaliation for the Fort Mims massacre, U.S. forces accompanied by friendly Creeks killed 187 men, women, and children within the town.
During the Civil War, local Senator John Tyler Morgan raised and organized the 51st Alabama Calvary which fought with General Joe Wheeler. In addition, one of the most lauded soldiers of the war, Major John Pelham, also known as "the Gallant Pelham," was born in Calhoun County, and the 10th Alabama Volunteers and the Calhoun Sharpshooters (Company B of the 5th Alabama Battalion) both served during the Civil War from the county. The land encompassing present-day Calhoun County was ceded to the federal government by the Creeks in the March 1832 Treaty of Cusseta.
Attracted by the rich ore deposits in the Calhoun County countryside, Daniel Tyler, a former Union General from Connecticut, and Englishman Samuel Noble joined forces in 1872 to establish Woodstock Iron Company. The two men built what they deemed an "ideal" industrial community in the south-central area of the county. Originally called "Annie's Town" after Tyler's daughter-in- law, the town's name was eventually shortened to Anniston. By 1893, the community contained two iron furnaces, a cotton textile mill, schools, parks, paved streets, a water system, and the first electric lighting system in the state of Alabama. By the 1880s, it was the state's fastest-growing town, prompting Atlanta newspaper man and New South booster Henry Grady to term it "the model city of the New South." By the 1920s, the city haddiversified by adding several textile mills to its 13 iron foundries, which made Anniston the world's largest producer of cast-iron pipe.
Later in the century, Anniston made national headlines when the Ku Klux Klan burned a bus carrying the Freedom Riders on Mother's Day in 1961. During the civil rights era, The Anniston Star newspaper gained a reputation as one of the few liberal newspapers in Alabama. In 2002, Anniston again found itself in the national news when the Washington Post reported that multinational chemical company Monsanto, which bought the company that produced PCBs in the 1930s, had been dumping toxic waste and PCBs into nearby creeks. Several citizens living near the Monsanto plant filed class-action lawsuits against the company. In 2003, the Anniston Army Depot was likewise criticized for its disposal of chemical weapons.
On April 27, 2011, a massive storm, causing numerous powerful tornadoes, struck the southeastern United States. More than 250 people were killed in Alabama, including nine people in Calhoun County. Victims were from the following communities: Ohatchee (5 deaths), Piedmont (1 death), Webster's Chapel (1 death), and Wellington (2 deaths).
The county has a total area of 612 square miles, of which 606 square miles is land and 6.4 square miles (1.0%) is water. The population recorded in the 1840 Federal Census was 14,260. The 2010 census recorded 118,572 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are Cherokee County (northeast), Cleburne County (east), Talladega County (south), St. Clair County (west), and Etowah County (northwest). Communities in the county include Anniston, Glencoe (partly in Etowah County), Jacksonville, Oxford (partly in Talladega County and Cleburne County), Piedmont (partly in Cherokee County), Southside (partly in Etowah County), Weaver, Hobson City, Ohatchee, Alexandria, Blue Mountain, Bynum, Choccolocco, Chosea Springs, Eastaboga, Iron City, Minden, Pleasant Valley, Saks, Weaver, Webster's Chapel, Wellborn, Wellington, and West End-Cobb Town.
Alabama Genealogy & History Network has much information on our county websites - cemetery listings, community data, etc. Please visit the county or counties of interest to you.
Birth Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains records of births from 1908 to present. This was the year Alabama began keeping official birth records. You can obtain official copies of birth certificates by visiting the birth record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official birth records before 1908 for births prior to that date you will need to determine birth information from census records, bible records, baptismal records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Death Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains death records after 1908 on file. This was the year Alabama began keeping official death records. You can obtain official copies of death certificates by visiting the death record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official death records before 1908 for deaths prior to that date you will need to determine death information from census records, bible records, funeral home records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Marriage Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health can provide you with information for marriages that took place from 1936 to present by by visiting the marriage record page on their website and following the instructions.
All existing county marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the county's Probate Office in which the marriage was held.
Divorce Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains divorce records from 1950 to present. You can obtain official copies of devorce records by visiting the divorce record page on their website and following the instructions. Records for divorces occuring before 1950 may be obtained from the Circuit Clerk in the county where the divorce took place.
Calhoun County is located in north-east Alabama.
A list of Calhoun County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
A list of Calhoun County, Alabama Churches with photos and additional information for many.
For a list of Calhoun County, Alabama Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of Calhoun County, Alabama Schools. Some of these have photos and additional information.