Category: Alabama Archives and History

Alabama Archives and History

Digital Alabama brings you stories from Alabama’s past as we dig into the records archived at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. These records have been preserved for over a century and Digital Alabama seeks out particularly interesting tidbits of information for your reading enjoyment.

All Alabamaians owe a great deal of gratitude to the chroniclers and travelers of Alabama’s past from which we inheritied an expanse of knowledge of our history. These writiers include, Ruby Pickens Tartt, Albert James Pickett, Mary Morgan Keipp, Maria Howard Weeden, William Bartram, Albert Samuel Gatschet, James Mooney and many others.


Growing up, Albert befriended many of the Creek and frontier traders that frequented his father’s store. From them he began to piece together the early history of the state which he later determined to put into writing.

Pickett studied law, but never practiced professionally, instead devoting his time to literature, agriculture and historical research. He traveled widely and corresponded with archivists and book dealers in the Atlantic states and Europe in order to document various parts of his history of the state. The two-volume History of Alabama was published in Charleston, South Carolina in 1851.

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Albert James Pickett

Section 1 of A. J. Pickett’s “Interesting Notes upon the History of Alabama.”

This section gives information from Colonel Jeremiah Austill, “in relation to the ‘Canoe Fight’ & other engagements in which he was concerned in the memorable years 1813, 1814.” Austill’s account includes sketches of relevant forts and waterways in southwestern Alabama. A transcript is included.
Austill, Jeremiah, 1794-1881
Dale, Sam, 1772-1841
Creek Indians
Creek War, 1813-1814–Campaigns
Creek War, 1813-1814–Military personnel
Indians of North America–Wars

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The Man-Slayer Dies At Murder Creek

About this time, a bloody transaction occurred in the territory of the present county of Conecuh. During the revolutionary war, Colonel McGillivray formed an acquaintance with many conspicuous royalists, and, among others, with Colonel Kirkland, of South Carolina. That person was at McGillivray’s house, upon the Coosa, in 1788, with his son, his nephew, and several other gentlemen. They were on their way to Pensacola, where they intended to procure passports, and settle in the Spanish province of Louisiana. When they determined to leave his hospitable abode, McGillivray sent his servant [slave] to guide them to Pensacola.

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Exploration and Settlement Before 1675

Well over a century after de Soto had secretly been buried in its lower reaches, Joliet and Marquette located and sailed halfway down the mississippi River. For the next hundred years, this inland emprire east of the Mississippi was the object of fierce contention among Europeans and between the Indian and the white man.

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Palos, Alabama No 3 Coal Mine Explosion, May 1910

The difficulty of the rescue work tonight is enhanced by the stygian darkness. There are no lights except miners’ lamps and a few lanterns. The mining village of Palos is all excitement tonight and the wives, daughters and friends of the entombed men present a pitiful sight as they stand above the bank of the river on the opposite side from the mine wringing their hands and crying.

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“Peter McQueen, at the head of the Tallase warriors; High-Head Jim, with the
Autaugas; and Josiah Francis, with the Alabamas, numbering in all three hundred
and fifty, departed for Pensacola with many pack-horses. On their way they beat
and drove off all the Indians who not take the war talk. The brutal McQueen beat
an unoffending white trader within an inch of his life, and carried the wife of
Curnells, the government interpreter, a prisoner to Pensacola. The village of
Hatchechubba was reduced to ashes.

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