Monday, November 28, 2016

Pondering Alabama Maps (7): October 2, 1866

I stumbled across this map in my random wanderings around the web and found it interesting. On the bottom right is noted "Department of Interior/General Land Office, October 2, 1866" thus making the map seem to be a snapshot of the state on a particular day. Perhaps that's actually the date the map was finished and ready for printing.

Published in Philadelphia, the map has an abundance of information about the state at that time. In Jefferson County the only town we see is Elyton, the county seat until moved to Birmingham in 1873 just seven years later. At the bottom is this note:  "The whole central region of this state is underlaid with iron ore, in vast beds. There are also coal measures of great thickness and extent. Lead ore is also found." 

In east central Alabama along the Georgia line we see Benton County. Created in 1832, the county was named after Missouri senator and defender of slavery Thomas Hart Benton. In the 1850's Benton became an opponent of slavery, and the name was changed to honor secessionist John C. Calhoun. 

North of Walker County is Hancock County. Established in 1850 from a part of Walker County, the name originally honored the famous signer of the Declaration of Independence John Hancock. The name was eventually changed to Winston after state governor John A. Winston.  

At the time this map was created Alabama had entered the Reconstruction period

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