Fayette County, Alabama History

Fayette, Alabama was first known as Lafayette in honor of the French Revolutionary War hero and  was situated at present day Old Town, what is now known as Five Points. Lafayette was the first of several names the small town was known by as it gradually grew and moved with the business center. On January 15, 1821, the town was incorporated as Fayette Court House. The first name change was due to there being several other towns in Alabama with the name Lafayette.

Two days after it (Alabama) gained statehood in 1819, the legislature created the first highway project when it authorized the construction of the Byler (Toll) Road, which was completed through the Fayette area in 1822. This was built to link Tuscaloosa, a growing and prosperous city, to the Tennessee Valley and on to Nashville. Over this road, the citizens of Fayette gained access to outside markets for their labors.

The act specified the public road was to run from the Tennessee River in the Florence/Muscle Shoals area to the “falls of the Tuskaloosa River” (Warrior River in Northport, Alabama). Byler Road followed what is now State Highway 13 through Fayette County.

Nearly four years after the incorporation of the town, the Alabama Legislature created Fayette County on December 20, 1824 from parts of Marion, Pickens, Tuscaloosa and Walker Counties. Like the town of Lafayette, the county was also named in honor of Marquis de Lafayette, who was touring Alabama at the time.

The boundaries of the new county would be changed several times over the next 50 years but the centrality of the town of Fayette had been established by an act of the State Legislature on January 12, 1826, when it approved for the location of a seat of justice. A town was to be laid off and lots sold to the highest bidder. This new town developed around Fayette Court House.

The first mail route (single rider and horse, with one mail per week) to serve this area was established in 1818. The route was from Tuscaloosa, through Marion County and on to Columbus, Mississippi. The first post office in the county was in Fayette Court House in 1826.   Source: http://fayetteal.org/fayettepast/

With the creation of Fayette County from parts of Marion and Tuscaloosa counties, the boundary defined, included lands to the Mississippi line. Jesse Van Hoose was appointed county judge at the time. Commissioners of Revenue and Roads appointed to serve until the next general election were: Hezehiah Johnson, Wiley Beasley, Horatio/Horatius Robinson, and John Ship. Precincts were to be at the court house and at the homes of Horatius Robinson, William M. Strong, Littleton Bagwell, Parson Brewer and Michael Box.

Provisions were made for holding court at the Van Hoose Store. One hundred twenty-one people had entered their names for land grants before the county was created.   Source: Looking Back Fayette County Alabama 1824-1974 Published by The Fayette County Historical Society with cooperation of The Fayette County Broadcaster, Volume Three, Fayette County History, December 1974.

Modern Lamar County residents were citizens of Marion County, Alabama until 1824 when Fayette County was formed from portions of Tuscaloosa and Marion Counties. At that point, the northern portion of modern day Lamar County was Marion County and the southern one-half was Fayette County. The dividing line was about where Oak Hill Methodist Church in Lamar County is located today. Source: Lamar County A History to 1900 by Rose Marie Smith.

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