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Alabama Counties
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Alabama Counties

Alabama currently has sixty-seven counties. The oldest county, Washington, was created on June 4, 1800, when what is now Alabama was then part of the Mississippi Territory. The newest county is Houston, created on February 9, 1903.

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Marengo County, Alabama History

Marengo County Education, Geography, and HistoryMarengo County, Alabama Courthouse

Marengo County is a county of the state of Alabama. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 21,027. Marengo County was created on February 6, 1818, from land acquired from the Choctaw Indians by the treaty of Oct. 24, 1816. The largest city is Demopolis and the county seat is Linden. Marengo county is named in honor of the battlefield of the site of Battle of Marengo near Turin, Italy, where the French Consul Bonaparte defeated the Austrians on June 14, 1800.

Etymology - Origin of Marengo County Name

The name of the county, Marengo, was suggested by Judge Abner Lipscombe, and was given as a compliment to the first white settlers, expatriated French citizens and commemorative of Napoleon's great victory at Marengo over the Austrian armies on June 14, 1800.

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Marengo County History

Marengo County, Alabama

Marengo county was formed by the Alabama Territorial legislature on  February 6, 1818 from land acquired from the Choctaw Indians by the treaty of October 24, 1816 . The name of the county was suggested by Judge Abner Lipscombe, and was given as a compliment to the first white settlers, expatriated French citizens and commemorative of Napoleon's great victory at Marengo over the Austrian armies on June 14, 1800. Marengo County is situated in the west-central part of the state. It is bordered by Hale, Greene, Perry, Dallas, Wilcox, Clarke, Choctaw and Sumter counties. It encompasses 982 square miles. The county seat was originally known as "Town of Marengo." In 1823 the name was changed to Linden, a shortened version of "Hohenlinden," scene of a French victory in Bavaria in 1800. Other towns and communities include Demopolis, where French expatriates settled and formed the Vine and Olive Colony, Myrtlewood and Sweet Water. Courthouse fires occurred in 1848 and 1965.

Situated in Alabama's Black Belt and having a naturally rich soil, the county became home to numerous cotton plantations and consequently a large number of slaves. In 1860 the population consisted of 24,409 slaves, 6761 free whites including 944 slave owners, and just 1 "free person of color" for a total combined population of 31,171. At this time there were 778 farms in the county. Demopolis was home to the fourth oldest Jewish congregation in Alabama, B'nai Jeshurun. It was established in 1858. After the American Civil War, the economy continued to be based on agriculture with the former plantations turning to sharecropping.

The population began to diminish rapidly after World War II, with people leaving the farms for manufacturing jobs elsewhere. The former cotton fields were gradually converted to pastures for cattle and horses, woodlands for timber, and commercial catfish ponds for grain fed catfish. Beginning in the 1960s industry began to move into the area and the working force came to be employed by paper mills, lumber mills, and chemical plants. Courthouse fires occurred in 1848 and 1965, but most of the courthouse records were in a vault and thus largely saved in both instances.

Geography: Land and Water

Marengo County is situated in the west-central area of the state. As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 983 square miles (2,550 km2), of which 977 square miles (2,530 km2) is land and 5.8 square miles (15 km2) (0.6%) is water. The Black Warrior River merges with the smaller Tombigbee River in Demopolis in the northernmost part of the county. The Tombigbee River forms the western border of the county. Both rivers are considered amongst the most critical watersheds in the nation, with more than 125 species of fish, 10 of which are considered at risk. Numerous tributaries offer scenic views and recreational opportunities.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Greene County
  • Northeast: Hale County; Perry County
  • East: Dallas County
  • Southeast: Wilcox County
  • South: Clarke County
  • Southwest: Choctaw County
  • Northwest: Sumter County

Education

For the 2014-15 school year, the Marengo County School District is operating three K-12 schools, one each in Dixons Mills, Sweet Water. and Thomaston. One former county school in the Demopolis area was closed by the school board following the 2013-14 school year. Demopolis and Linden have city-run school systems, the Demopolis City School District and Linden City Schools. Private school education offerings include West Alabama Christian School in Demopolis and Marengo Academy est. 1969 in Linden.

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