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Washington County, Alabama

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  • Judson Howard (1947 - 1953)
  • Braxton Howard, Sr. (1944 - 2012)
    Braxton Howard, age 67, born September 9, 1944, passed away Friday, June 15, 2012 at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, AL. Mr. Howard was a native of Tibbie, Al and a resident of Nauvoo, AL. He was a disa...
  • Doyal Howard (1901 - 1983)
  • Bessie Alene Howard (1919 - 1994)
  • Wilbert "Bo Bird" Howard (1928 - 2017)
    Wilbert "Bo" Howard died peacefully at the age of 88, at his home in Deer Head, AL, on July 11, 2017. Wilbert, better known as "Bo" or "Bo Bird" by his friends and family, leaves behind a treasure trov...

Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Washington County, Alabama.


The area of today's Washington County was long inhabited by various indigenous people. In historic times, European traders encountered first Choctaw, whose territory extended through most of present-day Mississippi, and later Creek Indians, who had moved southwest from Georgia ahead of early European settlers who were encroaching on their land.

Washington County was organized on June 4, 1800, from the Tombigbee District of the Mississippi Territory by proclamation of territorial governor Winthrop Sargent. It was the first county organized in what would later become Alabama, as settlers moved westward after the American Revolutionary War. Washington County is the site of St. Stephens, the first territorial capital of Alabama. In 1807 former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested at Wakefield in Washington County, during his flight from being prosecuted for alleged treason (which he was eventually found innocent of).

In the 1830s, the U.S. government removed most of the Choctaw and Creek to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) west of the Mississippi River. Some members of these tribes stayed behind on their traditional lands in southwest Alabama, taking refuge in the forests and swamps. They were nominally considered state (and U.S.) citizens, but suffered severe racial discrimination.

During the American Civil War, more than three quarters of the adult white men in the county were serving in the Confederate Army by 1863. In that year, a group of children petitioned the Confederate government to avoid drafting more white men, so they might serve as a home guard militia. The petition claimed the militia was needed to guard against a potential slave uprising, since there were numerous cotton plantations with large numbers of slaves.

While the county continued to rely on agriculture into the 20th century, the infestation of the boll weevil destroyed many cotton crops. Mechanization and industrial-scale agriculture reduced the need for labor. In the early 20th century industrialists began to harvest and process the pine and other timber in this area of the state.

The Choctaw and Creek Indians struggled to maintain their traditional culture, in the face of years during which the state government imposed a binary system of dividing people into white and "all other" people of color. Records no longer recognized their identifying as Choctaw, particularly in the period of Jim Crow after the Reconstruction era.

It was not until the 1930s that the Choctaw were able to get Indian schools to support their culture in Mobile and Washington counties, where their people have been concentrated. For a time, they were called Cajun, but have no connection to such descendants of Acadians, based largely in Louisiana. The people pressed to gain recognition for their own ethnicity. In 1979 the Alabama legislature officially recognized the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians. In 1984 it passed legislation to establish a commission to represent Native American interests in the state; through that, a total of nine tribes have received state recognition.

While the timber industry continued to be important to the economy, the county has gradually developed other businesses and industries, particularly petrochemical.

Adjacent Counties

Towns & Communities

  • Calvert (part)
  • Chatom (County Seat)
  • Courtelyou
  • Cullomburg (part)
  • Deer Park
  • Escatawpa
  • Fairford
  • Frankville
  • Fruitdale
  • Hobson
  • Laton Hill
  • Leroy
  • Malcolm
  • McIntosh
  • Millry
  • St. Stephens
  • Sims Chapel
  • Sunflower
  • Tibbie
  • Vinegar Bend
  • Wagarville
  • Wakefield
  • Yellow Pine
  • Yarbo



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