Courtland…Did You Know?

By  | August 1, 2018 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

NOTE:  Alabama celebrates her bicentennial this year.  QCDNews presents Interesting Facts about some of North Alabama’s cities.

Originally called Ebenezer, Courtland was first settled during Alabama’s territorial period, as early as 1800. A group calling itself the Courtland Land Company bought the land on which the town of Courtland would be built in 1818 and subdivided it into 300 lots. These land speculators went so far as to reserve a plot for a town square in case the town became the county seat. Courtland had enough settlers within two years that it incorporated on December 13, 1819, the day before the state itself was admitted to the Union. It was reincorporated in 1829.

In 1835, local physician Jack Shackleford organized a militia group that went to Texas to aid Texans in their war for independence. The unit was captured in 1836, and the majority of the soldiers were executed. Only eight, including Shackleford, were spared.

Courtland became a stopping point on one of the earliest railroads in the state when its citizens joined together to build the Tuscumbia, Courtland, and Decatur railroad in 1832, with the goal of avoiding the treacherous shoals on the Tennessee River to get cotton and other products to outside markets. The 50-mile-long railroad initially used horses to draw the train, although a steam engine was used beginning in 1834. The line was bought by the Memphis & Charleston Railroad in 1850, was destroyed during the Civil War, and was rebuilt and eventually became part of the Great Southern Railroad.

Courtland was a prosperous town in the late nineteenth century, with businesses that included several saloons, a grist mill, three cotton gins, three blacksmith shops, and an ice house. The U.S. Army established an Army Air Force Flying School near Courtland in 1942

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