Scottsboro, Alabama

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Scottsboro is a city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 14,762. Named for its founder Robert Scott, the city is the county seat of Jackson County.



Early history

Prior to Scottsboro's founding, the area encompassing the present-day city was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians. While the Tennessee Valley did not have large Native American settlements at the time of the first white settlers, there was a Cherokee town named "Crow Town" near where Scottsboro is located today.[1]

As settlers began pouring into the Tennessee region, they found the Tennessee River to be an excellent source of food, water, and a way of shipping goods to the big cities. John Hunt, in 1805, decided to migrate to the area and built a small log cabin in the woods near the river. More people settled in the area and Huntsville was formally incorporated in 1811.

More settlers moved into the Mississippi Territory, resulting in the statehood of Mississippi, and the creation of the Alabama Territory in 1818. Delegates from Tennessee and the newly formed Madison County met in Sauta Cave and decided to admit a new county. On December 13, 1819, Jackson County was formed.[2] Then, only one day later, the State of Alabama was admitted into the Union as the 22nd state on December 14, 1819.

The first county seat of Jackson County was at Sauta Cave, in the Northern part of the county, nowhere near the Tennessee River. Sauta did not survive after the courthouse was moved to Bellefonte in 1821.[3] Since Bellefonte is closer to the Tennessee River than Sauta, and closer to the future site of Scottsboro, more settlers started moving to the area, since they wanted to be near the county seat. Scottsboro’s founder, Robert Thomas Scott, served in the Alabama Legislature[4] for almost 20 years and later ran a hotel in Bellefonte.[5][6] Since he and his wife, Elizabeth, wanted a place to call their own and were not very fond of Bellefonte, they moved to Scottsboro around 1850-53. The town was called Scottsville, Scott's Mill,[7] or Sage Town[8] until 1868. In 1853, the newly formed Memphis and Charleston Railroad (a stretch of railroad that starts at Memphis, TN, and ends in Charleston, SC) decided to build a station at Scottsboro and did so in 1857.[6] In the same year, passengers started disembarking at Scott’s Station. On January 20, 1870, Scottsboro was incorporated by the Alabama Legislature. A. Snodgrass was the first mayor.[6] Scottsboro got its first telegraph office in 1872.[6]

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