Welcome to the Russell County Alabama Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
To share your Russell 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.
Russell County was created by the Alabama Territorial General Assembly on December 18, 1832; however, the final geographical boundaries did not exist until 1932. The county was created from former Creek Indian lands, and the remains of several Indian villages, cemeteries, and mounds may still be seen. Russell County was named in honor of Col. Gilbert C. Russell of Mobile, a U.S. military officer who fought in the Creek Wars.
Early settlement of Russell County as well as other parts of Alabama followed the establishment of Fort Mitchell. The fort was constructed by Georgia militia in 1813 during the Creek Indian War of 1813-1814 to provide military protection for non-Indian expansion into Native American lands. Most of Russell County's early settlers came from Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia.
The first permanent settlement in Russell County, established in 1830, was Glennville Beat. Other early settlements and towns included Cottonton, Uchee, Sandfort, Hatchechubbee, Crawford, Hurtsboro, and Girard. The Battle of Girard, which took place on April 16, 1865, was the last land battle of the Civil War. It was fought one week after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, because of the slow pace of communication. The action ended when Union forces under Gen. James H. Wilson captured the two bridges connecting Girard to Columbus, Georgia, thus gaining access to the entire state of Georgia.
In 1832, Girard became the first county seat. A storehouse served as the courthouse from 1832 to 1834, at which time the county seat was moved to Crawford (formerly known as Crocketsville). A permanent brick courthouse was built in Crawford in 1842 and used until 1868, when it became a church. It was demolished in 1901.
In 1868, the county seat was moved to Seale, where a brick courthouse was built. In 1926, Russell County established dual county seats in Seale and Phenix City. The two towns shared administrative duties until 1934, when Phenix City became the sole county seat. The courthouse in Seale served several functions after 1934, including as a school gym and meeting house. In 1974, the building was restored and now serves as a meeting place for community groups and houses the town's natural history collection.
Like most of Alabama's counties, farming was the prevailing occupation in Russell until well into the twentieth century. Cotton, corn, and cattle served as the county's main agricultural activities. With easy access to the Chattahoochee River and Georgia markets, however, shipping and other forms of transportation became an important part of Russell's economy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. When the river was dammed in the 1940s, hydroelectric power led to the development of industry, including textile manufacturing.
The county has a total area of 647 square miles, of which 641 square miles is land and 6 square miles (0.9%) is water. The population recorded in the 1840 Federal Census was 13,513. The 2010 census recorded 52,947 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are Lee County (north), Muscogee County, Georgia (northeast), Chattahoochee County, Georgia (east), Stewart County, Georgia (southeast), Barbour County (south), Bullock County (southwest), and Macon County (northwest).
Communities in the county include Phenix City (partly in Lee County), Hurtsboro, Ladonia, Cottonton, Crawford, Fort Mitchell, Glenville, Hatchechubbee, Holy Trinity, Hooks, Pittsview, Seale, and Uchee.
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.
Russell County is located in east-central Alabama.
A list of Russell County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
A list of Russell County, Alabama Churches with photos and additional information for many.
For a list of Russell County, Alabama Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of Russell County, Alabama Schools. Some of these have photos and additional information.