Life in Alabama

CHAMBERS COUNTY, ALABAMA: Founded on December, 18, 1832 and finalized in 1840 on land ceded by the Creeks in the Treaty of Cusseta, Chambers County is located in the east-central part of the state, on the banks of the Chattahoochee River creating the border with Georgia.  Its largest city, Valley, was the center of the region's textile industry during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, marking a change from their primarily agricultural county specializing in cotton.

Prior to the Civil War, Chambers County was an agricultural community, but it suffered an economic recession during Reconstruction and the Panic of 1873.  In 1866 there were two textile mills established in what would become Valley, signaling the beginning of a transition towards an industrial manufacturing community, a move that was only encouraged by the proliferation of railroads and more mills.  Following the Civil War, a process of political and social realignments and readjustments happened throughout the South, and Alabama was no exception.  The Congressional Reconstruction period was marked by racial conflict and widespread terrorist activity in Alabama as Ku Klux Klan activity in the region increased. Congressional Reconstruction ended in 1874, when the ex-Confederate faction won the governor’s seat.

In the period that followed, known as “Redemption,” Ku Klux Klan activity and violence exploded in Alabama.  Using paramilitary organizations called “White Leagues,” white ex-Confederates used violence and intimidation tactics to oppress the African American population. These acts of terror, along with the collapse of the cotton farming economy, surely encouraged some African Americans to consider migrating from Chambers County to points west. 

Map of Chambers County, Alabama, showing major roads and towns
Historical map of Chambers County, Alabama from US Geological Survey ca. 1909

Ann Allen | Isaac Allen | Matilda Allen | Thomas Allen | Martha Billingslea | John Burton | Louisa Burton | Dora Davis | Wash Davis | Charles Ellis | Mrs. Charles Ellis | Gus Finch | Josaphine Finch | Mary Turner Fourteen | Eliza Jane White Green | Hezekiah Griffin | Lindsay Haflin | Melvinie Hays | Charity Shears Holloway Helm | Henry Holloway | Georgia Ann Holstein | Abraham Lyles | Mary Varner Lyles | Marvin Newsom | Charles Oliver | Peggy Oliver | Mary B. Finch Peace | James Robinson | Harriet Davis Shears | Henry Shears | Lucy Shears | Risom Shears | Henry Smith | Lissie Smith | Little Smith | Agle Lee Truitt | George Truitt | Lou Smith Truitt | Ceborn Vaughner | Lewis Vaughner | L.D. "Lover" Vaughner | Jennie Lyles Walker | Infant Ware | Infant Ware II | Mattie Finch Washington | John D. White | Washington Whitlow | Amanda "Mandy" Truitt Williams | Angeline Williamson

The People of St. John's - St. John's Cemetery - Gone to Texas

Citations: Heritage of Chambers County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 1998.;  ”Chambers County." Encyclopedia of Alabama. Accessed April 2018.