Welcome to the Cherokee County Alabama Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
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Named for the Cherokee Indians who once occupied north Alabama, Cherokee County is home to Weiss Lake and Little River Canyon, two of the most popular outdoor attractions in Alabama. During the Civil War, Cherokee County was a center of iron manufacturing. The county is run by an elected five-member commission.
Cherokee County was created by an act of the state legislature on January 9, 1836, and was named for the Cherokee Indians who controlled the territory until the early nineteenth century. The famous Cherokee chief Pathkiller, who led the Cherokee in the Creek War of 1813-14, lived in Turkeytown, near the present-day town of Centre. The Cherokee ceded the land that is now Cherokee County in the Treaty of New Echota in 1835. In 1836, newly arrived settlers founded the town of Cedar Bluff, which became the county seat, but in 1844 the county seat was moved to the more centrally located town of Centre.
During the Civil War, Cherokee County provided 15 companies of infantry and two cavalry units to the Confederate Army. The Nineteenth Alabama Calvary was composed almost entirely of Cherokee County volunteers who fought under General Joe Wheeler. The area became a major supplier of iron ore to the Confederacy during the war. Stroup Furnace at Round Mountain and Rock Run Furnace near Bluffton were both destroyed by the Union Army but were reopened after the war. In 1862, Cornwall Furnace was built near the town of Cedar Bluff. Constructed of limestone from the nearby Coosa River, the 35-foot-high furnace was the first such facility to supply iron for the casting of Confederate cannons during the Civil War. Union General William Tecumseh Sherman twice ordered the furnace destroyed in 1864, but it still stands in its original location. Ironically, the general founded Tecumseh Furnace in the area after the war's end.
In 1870, Gaylesville Academy, founded in Gaylesville, became the first school in northeast Alabama. In 1882, the Cherokee County town of Cedar Bluff became the first municipality in the nation to enact a prohibition law. The Ellis Brothers Seed Company, established in 1912 to process and distribute cottonseed, brought additional commerce to the area. In 1937, the Tennessee Valley Authority established the Cherokee Electric Authority in Centre to provide electricity to the surrounding region. In 1961, Alabama Power dammed the Coosa River to create Weiss Lake, one of the most popular waterways in the state; the dam incorporated a hydroelectric plant, providing additional electrical power to the area.
Cherokee's economy was largely agricultural throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Farmers grew cotton, corn, and wheat and raised livestock. The county also possessed extensive iron ore deposits, which made it a major supplier to the Confederacy during the Civil War. Following the war, the economy focused largely on farming, small-scale iron ore production, and timber.
The city of Centre has numerous historic structures, including the Daniel House (c. 1830) and the Jordan House (1846). The Cherokee County Historical Museum, also located in Centre, contains artifacts and exhibits relating to the county's Native American, pioneer, and later history. Centre's Jon Pratt Memorial Park honors journalist and inventor Jon Pratt, who is known as the "grandfather of the typewriter."
The county has a total area of 600 square miles, of which 554 square miles is land and 46 square miles (7.7%) is water. The population recorded in the 1840 Federal Census was 8,773. The 2010 census recorded 25,989 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are DeKalb County (north), Chattooga County, Georgia (northeast), Floyd County, Georgia (east), Polk County, Georgia (southeast), Cleburne County (south), Calhoun County (south), and Etowah County (west). Communities in the county include Centre, Piedmont (partly in Calhoun County), Cedar Bluff, Collinsville (partly in DeKalb County), Gaylesville, Leesburg, Sand Rock (partly in DeKalb County), Broomtown, Spring Garden, Billy Goat Hill, Bluffton, Congo, Forney, Hopewell, Little River, McCord Crossroads, and Rock Run.
Alabama Genealogy & History Network has many records on our county websites - marriage records, cemetery listings, 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 - We have thousands of county marriage records on our county websites. These dates will assist you greatly in obtaining a copy of the original marriage license. 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.
Cherokee County is located in the Northeast portion of Alabama on the Georgia line.
A list of Cherokee County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
For a list of Cherokee County, Alabama Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of Cherokee County, Alabama Churches with photos and additional information for many.