Hamilton…Did You Know?

By  | August 8, 2018 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

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

Hamilton was founded in the early 19th century by settlers who moved to the Alabama Territory from Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas. It is built upon lands that once served as “hunting grounds” for the Chickasaw Indians. The city was first called Toll Gate, but its name later changed in honor of one of its distinguished citizens, Captain Albert James Hamilton (known as A.J. Hamilton), who had represented Marion County in the state legislature in the sessions of 1869, 1874 and 1875. Captain Hamilton donated forty acres of his land to the town. The same forty acres were then divided into lots and sold to help defray the cost of building the courthouse.

The Toll Gate community was elected in 1881 to be the next county seat, and by 1883 the Marion county courthouse in Pikeville had ceased to be functional. When the courthouse was moved from Pikeville to Toll Gate, the town’s name was then changed from Toll Gate to Hamilton. On March 30, 1887, the newly built county courthouse was destroyed by fire.[7] It was again rebuilt with wood, but replaced in 1901 with native sandstone quarried from the State.

During the Civil War, Union forces passed through the town in search of goods and horses. A detachment of Wilson’s Cavalry destroyed by fire the plantation belonging to the Helvingstons on the Military Ford, south of Toll Gate (Hamilton).

The Ernest Baxter Fite House is a historic residence in Hamilton, Alabama. Designed by Weatherly Carter, who had designed what later became the Alabama Governor’s Mansion, the house was built in 1927–1928 for Ernest Baxter Fite, then a member of the Alabama House of Representatives and a former state senator. Ernest’s son, Rankin Fite, served two terms as Speaker of the state House.

In 1992, Jerry Brown was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship and currently has five pieces of pottery on exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. The Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded the Alabama Folk Heritage Award to him in 2003. Also, in 2003, the Jerry Brown Arts Festival was created in his hometown of Hamilton, a juried arts festival which has been recognized as a Top 20 event in the Southeastern U.S.

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