Hale County Data
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About Hale County, Alabama...
The lands of present-day Hale County were ceded to the United States by the Choctaw Indians in the Treaty of 1816. Hale County was created by the Alabama State Legislature on January 30, 1867, from parts of Greene, Marengo, Perry, and Tuscaloosa counties. The county was named in honor of Lt. Col. Stephen Fowler Hale, a Greene County lawyer and soldier who died in Richmond, Virginia, during the Civil War.
The earliest settlers came to Hale County from Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas. Some of the earliest settlements and towns included Greensboro, New Bern (now Newbern), Moundville (originally known as Carthage), and Havana. Greensboro was the first county seat of Hale County and remains so today. The Hale County courthouse was built in 1867 and has undergone several renovations and additions since it was first built.
Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Hale County has been connected with several well-known artists. In 1936, Walker Evans photographed the area for the 1941 book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, on which he collaborated with writer James Agee. Multi-media artist William Christenberry has been photographing Hale County's architecture since the 1960s. Hale County is also the home to Auburn University's Rural Studio, a nationally renowned architectural outreach program founded by Samuel Mockbee and D. K. Ruth.
On April 27, 2011, a massive storm, causing numerous powerful tornadoes, struck the southeastern United States. More than 250 people were killed in Alabama, including six people in the Hale County communities of Greensboro and Sawyerville.
Like most of Alabama's counties, farming was the prevailing occupation of Hale County until the middle of the twentieth century. Given the rich, dark soil of the Black Belt, cotton was the main crop in the county and remained so until the 1930s. During the Great Depression, farmers diversified into corn and livestock, and cotton fields were turned into pasture for beef and dairy cows.
In the 1960s, farmers turned to soybeans and grain-fed catfish as the predominant cash crops. The economy was based largely in agriculture until the mid-twentieth century, but the many acres of forest along the Black Warrior River were a draw for the timber industry as well. Unlike neighboring counties, Hale County did not fully take part in the industrialization boom of the mid-twentieth century, remaining largely rural and agricultural, accounting for its high rates of poverty today.
The county has a total area of 657 square miles, of which 644 square miles is land and 13 square miles (1.9%) is water. The population recorded in the 1870 Federal Census was 21,792. The 2010 census recorded 15,760 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are Tuscaloosa County (north), Bibb County (northeast), Perry County (southeast), Marengo County (south), and Greene County (west). Communities in the county include Greensboro, Moundville, Akron, Newbern. Gallion, Havana, Lock 5, Sawyerville, Bucksnort, The Valley, Mt. Herman, Stewart, Praireville, and Arcola.
Hale County, Alabama Records
Alabama Genealogy & History Network has many records on our county websites. Thousands of County marriage records are located on the county websites. Many counties have cemetery listings. Please visit the county or counties of interest to you.
Birth Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains records of births from 1908 to present. This was the year Alabama began keeping official birth records. You can obtain official copies of birth certificates by visiting the birth record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official birth records before 1908 for births prior to that date you will need to determine birth information from census records, bible records, baptismal records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Death Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains death records after 1908 on file. This was the year Alabama began keeping official death records. You can obtain official copies of death certificates by visiting the death record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official death records before 1908 for deaths prior to that date you will need to determine death information from census records, bible records, funeral home records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Marriage Records - We have thousands of county marriage records on our county websites. These dates will assist you greatly in obtaining a copy of the original marriage license. The Alabama Department of Public Health can provide you with information for marriages that took place from 1936 to present by by visiting the marriage record page on their website and following the instructions.
All existing county marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the county's Probate Office in which the marriage was held.
Divorce Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains divorce records from 1950 to present. You can obtain official copies of devorce records by visiting the divorce record page on their website and following the instructions. Records for divorces occuring before 1950 may be obtained from the Circuit Clerk in the county where the divorce took place.