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Timeline of Significant Events Affecting the Development of Etowah County

1702 Mobile area by French explorers and  served as the capital of French Louisiana for 16 years
1763 Mobile and the Gulf area of Florida became a British colony. Control of Mobile and British West Florida changed hands several times between 1780 and the War of 1812.
1798 Alabama became a part of the Mississippi Territory after Indian cessions in north Alabama.
1802 Georgia formally cedes western claims for its southern boundary at the 31st parallel
1805-1806 Indian cessions opened up to white settlement large portions of western (Choctaw) and northern (Chickasaw and Cherokee) Alabama.
1810 First settlers in the present-day Etowah county area
1813-1814 Creek Indian War
1814 August Treaty of Fort Jackson signed at Fort Toulouse. Creek Indians forced to cede lands to U.S. comprising nearly half of the state. U.S. represented by General Andrew Jackson.

Migration increased following the end of the Creek War

1817 Alabama Territory created, with temporary capital at St. Stephens, when Mississippi becomes a state.
1819 December 14.  Alabama enters the Union as the 22nd state.
1825 First house in the present-day Etowah county area
1830 State's population=309,527.

1830 Federal Census

White population=190,406
African-American population=119,121
Slave population=117,549
Free black population=1,572
Urban population=3,194
Rural population=306,333.
1835 First post office in the present-day Etowah County area.
1838 Trail of Tears, Cherokee Nation
1840 Massive influx of settlers into the present-day Etowah county area.

State population=590,756.

1840 Federal Census

White population=335,185
African-American population=255,571
Slave population=253,532
Free black population=2,039
Urban population=12,672
Rural population=578,084.

1845 First church in the present-day Etowah County area; Lafferty's Landing, first steamboat on the upper Coosa River
1846 Original survey of Gadsden completed; Gadsden founded in honor of James Gadsden

General Assembly votes to move state capital to Montgomery (first held session there in 1847).

1850 State population=771,623.

1850 Federal Census

White population=426,514
African-American population=345,109
Slave population=342,844
Free black population=2,265
Urban population=35,179
Rural population=736,444
Cotton production in bales=564,429
Corn production in bushels=28,754,048
Number of manufacturing establishments=1,026.

1861 January 11. Alabama convention votes to secede from the Union.

February 4-8. Alabama invites other Southern states to Montgomery where a constitution for the Confederate States of America was adopted.

February 18. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi sworn in as President of the C.S.A.

February-May. Montgomery serves as C.S.A. capital until move to Richmond, Virginia.

March 20. Alabama Constitution of 1861 adopted.

1861 - 1865 194 military land events and 8 naval engagements occurred within the boundaries of Alabama including Streight's Raid in north Alabama (April-May 1863) when Emma Sansom leads General Nathan Forrest over Black Creek

John Wisdom rides to save Rome, Georgia

1865 New Alabama Constitution adopted to comply with Presidential Reconstruction dictates to rejoin Union; rejected by U.S. Congress.
1866 Baine County formed
1867 First newspaper, The Gadsden Times, ran from 04 Jan 1867 to 25 Dec 1873
1868 Name of county changed to Etowah, which in Cherokee means a tree bearing good fruit

February.  Reconstruction Constitution ratified gaining Alabama readmission to the Union, and allowing black suffrage for the first time.

First industry, Gaylor's Hat Factory

1870 First railroad

First courthouse in Etowah County.

1870 Federal Census

State population=996,992.

White population=521,384
African-American population=475,510
Urban population=62,700
Rural population=934,292
Cotton production in bales=429,482
Corn production in bushels=16,977,948
Number of manufacturing establishments=2,188.

1872 Attalla incorporated
1876 Gadsden incorporated
1877 First public school in Gadsden
1880 1880 Federal Census

State population= 1,262,505.

White population= 662,185
African-American population= 600,103
Urban population= 68,518
Rural population= 1,193,987
Cotton production on bales= 699,654
Corn production in bushels= 25,451,278
Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,070.

1883 May 2:  First fire department

July 4:  21 businesses destroyed in Gadsden's worst fire

Mayor/council form of government

1884 First college, Walnut Grove
1886  Walnut Grove incorporated

First County water works

1888 First bridge across the Coosa River (railroad/foot)
1890 1890 Federal Census

State population= 1,513,401.

White population= 833,718
African-American population= 678,489
Urban population= 152,235
Rural population= 1,361,166
Cotton production in bales= 915,210
Corn production in bushels= 30,072,161
Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,977.

1891  Alabama City founded
1900 1900 Federal Census

State population= 1,828,697.

White population= 1,001,152
African-American population= 827,307
Urban population= 216,714
Rural population= 1,611,983
Cotton production in bales= 1,106,840
Corn production in bushels= 35,053,047
Number of manufacturing establishments= 5,602.


First hospital, Baptist Memorial


World's first hydroelectric plant


Emma Sansom statue dedicated


Alabama Power Company founded

1908 Alabama law requires the recording of birth or death certificates.
1910 1910 Federal Census

Broad Street in Gadsden paved with brick


Chamber of commerce organized


Altoona incorporated

1913  First street car in operation
1920 1920 Federal Census

Holy Name of Jesus Hospital opens


First radio station, WJBY


East Gadsden merged with Gadsden

1929 Goodyear opens first rubber plant in South
1930 1930 Federal Census
1931 City commission form of government begins
1932 Alabama City and Gadsden merge
1934 Final run for streetcar made
1935 Gadsden Amphitheatre and Convention Hall completed
1936 Statewide recording of marriages begins; prior to then, they were recorded at the county. Not all records are complete.
1937 City flag adopted
1939 Glencoe incorporated
1942 Construction begins on Camp Sibert
1946 Hokes Bluff incorporated
1949 Southside incorporated
1950 Rainbow City incorporated
1953 Ola Lee Mize awarded Congressional Medal of Honor
1954 J. H. Meighan Bridge opened
1957 Reece City incorporated
1963 Sardis and Mountainboro incorporated
1965 Gadsden State Junior College built
1967 Gadsden State Technical College built
1969 Ridgeville incorporated