The history of Etowah County goes back much further than most hear about.
What is now Etowah County was first a part of the State of Georgia. After the war with the Creek Indians, the portion of the county lying south and west of Big Wills Creek became a part of the Mississippi Territory and was located in Monroe County, Miss., which eventually was divided and this area became Montgomery County, Miss.
When the Mississippi Territory was divided the eastern part became the Alabama Territory and we became a part of the territorial county of Shelby.
This was short-lived, for when Alabama became a state in 1819, the southern area became a part of St. Clair County, and the western section of the county was located in Blount.
After the removal of‘ the Cherokees the counties of Marshall, DeKalb, Cherokee, and Benton (now Calhoun) were organized and Etowah was carved from portions of these six adjoining counties.
After the War Between the States, when Alabama was readmitted to the Un-ion, the legislature created a new county to be known as Baine.
This act was introduced in the legislature in December 1866, and the county came into being in the early part of 1867. It was named for Confederate General David Baine, a native of Ohio, who was educated for the law at Pittsburgh, Pa.
Baine came to Alabama in 1847 and settled at Centre in Cherokee County and lived there for several years before moving to Lowndes County.
Soon after the beginning of the Civil War, this adopted son of Alabama enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army and soon obtained the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was killed in 1861 after having gained a notable reputation.
In 1867 when the Congress convened it passed new laws abolishing President Johnson’s provisional governments and nullified all the laws passed by the legislators of the Southern States. This nullified the young county of Baine.
In 1868, the Alabama legislature reestablished the county, but this time gave it the name of Eto-wah.
Etowah County, therefore, has been a part of the Territory of Georgia, Monroe and Montgomery counties, Mississippi, Shelby County, Alabama, St. Clair, Blount, Marshall, DeKalb, Cherokee, Benton and Baine counties.
In addition, here were nine nations in control of what now is Etowah County. It is believed no other city, county or state in the U.S. can match this or make this many claims!
Can you name them?
1. The Creek Nation
The Creek are an American Indian people also known by their original name Muscogee (or Muskogee), the name they use to identify themselves today. Their language, Mvskoke, is a member of the Creek branch of the Muskogean language family. The Seminole are close kin to the Muscogee and speak a Creek language as well. The Creeks were considered one of the Five Civilized Tribes.
The early historic Creeks were probably descendants of the mound builders of the Mississippian culture along the Tennessee River in modern Tennessee and Alabama, and possibly related to the Utinahica of southern Georgia.
More of a loose confederacy than a single tribe, the Muscogee lived in autonomous villages in river valleys throughout what are today the states of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. In Etowah County prior to their removal, they mostly lived East of the Coosa River.
2. The Chickasaw Nation
The Chickasaw were known as great hunters and warriors and lived in the Mississippi Valley region, including Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. Towns were spread out with a council house used for meetings, ceremonies, and ballgames in the center. Most Chickasaw families had two homes, one made of woven mats and bark roofs for summer and another circular in shape, three feet below ground level, and plastered and whitewashed for winter. In addition, families had a storage building for corn and supplies. Their western boundary was the Coosa River here in Etowah County.
3. The Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee lived along the fertile rivers of Georgia and the Carolinas and were primarily agricultural, growing corn, beans, sweet potatoes, and squash.
They also collected wild plants and relied on fishing and hunting for survival. Members of this matriarchal society lived in log and mud huts stationed around a seven-sided cou-ncil house that was the center of the village.
The Cherokee developed an 80-symbol language and used the printing press to teach it to nearly all of its members by 1810. They ruled and lived in the Northern part of Etowah County.
4. The Nation of Spain
The flag of Spain was next to fly over Alabama. DeSoto entered the area in 1540.
5. The Nation of France
The flag of France was next to fly over Etowah County. The French made the first permanent settlement on Alabama’s soil and the first exploration occurred on January 31, 1699.
The place was what is now Dauphine Island. In 1711 a wooden fort was built at Fort Conde de la Mobile. It was replaced in a few years by one of brick.
This was the beginning of the first city ever built by white men within the limits of Alabama.
6. The Nation of Great Britain
The flag of Great Britain was the next flag to fly over Alabama. The middle of the 18th century saw the end of the long struggle between France and England in North America.
The final contest involved nearly all the nations of Europe, and was waged by land and sea in every quarter of the world. It is known in Europe as the Seven Year’s War, but in America it is called the French and Indian War. Canada was the chief seat of the French power, and in Canada and along its borders most of the battles were fought.
On January 10, 1763, the final treaty of peace was made. This treaty is known as the Peace of Paris, and Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal were the parties to it.
France ceded to Great Britain all her possessions in North America east of the Mississippi, except New Orleans and the “island on which it stands.”
By the “island” was meant the land surrounded by the Mississippi and Iberville rivers, Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, and the Gulf. Spain ceded to Great Britain the whole of Florida, including Pensacola, and Great Britain restored Havana to Spain.
Some time afterwards it was learned that by a secret treaty made in 1762, France had ceded to Spain the remainder of her possessions in North America, and so Spain came into possession of the vast and unknown regions west of the Mississippi, as well as New Orleans.
Thus, long before the State of Alabama began to exist, it was decided that men of English birth should possess the lands now embraced within its limits. No longer a border land between the colonies of two great nations, the soil was finally given over to English speech and English laws.
7. The United States
The U.S. flag flew over Alabama on December 14, 1819 when Alabama became a state.
8. The Alabama Republic
The flag of the Alabama Republic was the flag of Alabama for this next period.
On January 11, 1861, Alabama adopted the ordinances of secession from the Union.
It was on this date and until February 18, 1861 that Alabama was a free republic.
9. Confederate States of America
The flag of the Confederacy was the flag of Alabama after the inauguration of Jefferson Davis on Feb. 18, 1861 until the end of the Civil War.