Welcome to the Etowah County Alabama Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
To share your Etowah County, Alabama genealogy or history information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - we will be pleased to include it here. If you have information to share for other Alabama Counties, visit the Alabama Genealogy & History Network state website and choose the appropriate county.
Etowah County was created by an act of the Alabama State Legislature on December 7, 1866, from portions of Cherokee and DeKalb counties. Originally named Baine County in honor of Confederate General David W. Baine, the county existed for one year before being abolished by the state's Reconstruction government. One year later, the county was recreated and named Etowah, a Cherokee word believed to mean "edible tree."
The first settlement in what is now Etowah County was located at a town called Double Springs on the Coosa River. Double Springs was transformed on July 4, 1845, when Captain James Lafferty piloted the first steamboat to the area. Local residents offered to name the town "Lafferty's Landing" in his honor, but Lafferty declined. Instead, the name Gadsden was chosen, in honor of Colonel James Gadsden of South Carolina, famous for the Gadsden Purchase.
On May 2, 1863, during Union colonel Abel Streight's raid through north Alabama, a local farmer named John Wisdom gained notoriety when he raced ahead of Streight's troops, who were in turn being pursued by Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, to Rome, Georgia, to warn the town's citizens of the Union troops' impending arrival. A young girl named Emma Sansom became a local heroine during the raid when she led Forrest and his men across Black Creek to capture Streight's troops.
In 1903, Gadsden resident William Patrick Lay built his first hydroelectric plant on Big Wills Creek, which furnished the town of Attalla with electricity. He organized Alabama Power Company in 1906. Gadsden became an important military center during World War II, when the Gadsden Ordnance Plant was constructed to produce shells for cannons. By the end of the war in 1945, the plant had produced more than 16 million shells. In 1942, the U.S. took possession of 36,300 acres in Etowah and adjoining St. Clair County to establish Alabama's first Chemical Warfare Center (CWC). Known as Camp Sibert, it served as a Unit Training Center and a Replacement Training Center for the CWC. Deactivated in 1945, Camp Sibert was the training site for more than 45 percent of all CWS troops who served in WW II.
Gadsden is home to one of the state's most breathtaking geographic features, Noccalula Falls, a 100-foot waterfall. The county has a total area of 549 square miles, of which 535 square miles is land and 14 square miles (2.5%) is water. The population recorded in the 1870 Federal Census was 10,109. The 2010 censusrecorded 104,430 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are DeKalb County (north), Cherokee County (east), Calhoun County (southeast), St. Clair County (southwest), Blount County (west), and Marshall County (northwest).
Communities in the county include Attalla, Boaz (partly in Marshall Co.), Gadsden, Glencoe (partly in Calhoun Co.), Hokes Bluff, Rainbow City, Southside (partly in Calhoun Co.), Altoona (partly in Blount Co.), Reece City, Ridgeville, Sardis City (partly in Marshall Co.), Walnut Grove, Ballplay, Bristow Cove, Carlisle, Rockledge, Coats Bend, Egypt, Gallant, Ivalee, Lookout Mountain, New Union, Tidmore Bend, Whitesboro, Anderson, Liberty Hill, Pilgrims Rest, Mountainboro, and Boaz.
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.
Etowah County is located in Northeast Alabama.
A list of Etowah County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
A list of Etowah County, Alabama Churches with photos and additional information for many.
For a list of Etowah County, Alabama Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of Etowah County, Alabama Schools. Some of these have photos and additional information.