by the late
R. G. [Bob] Kendall, Jr.
The earliest settlers of the Brooklyn area were mainly from Georgia. They entered Alabama at Girard, which is now Phenix City, by crossing the Chattahooche River. Then they came west by Fort Bainbridge through Barbour and Pike Counties to Montezuma. Montezuma was the early county seat of Covington County, which lay on the east bank of the Conecuh River near the site of the present town of River Falls. At this point the settlers crossed to the west bank of the Conecuh and continued southwest to the Brooklyn area. On March 23, 1923 a mail route into Sparta from Georgia was inaugurated. It originated in Hartford, Georgia, came by way of Early Courthouse, Georgia, Attaway's Store in Henry County, Alabama, through Pike and Covington Counties to Sparta by way of Brooklyn. It is probable that much of the movement out of Georgia into the Brookly area followed this route thereafter.
It is interesting to know that as early as 1838 a railroad was projected through this area which was proposed to continue on southwestward to Pensacola. The railroad was never built, but the line that was laid out was just about the line on which the Central of Georgia was constructed southwestward into Covington County, terminating at Andalusia sometime early in the twentieth century.
One of the reasons that the settlers turned west when they got into the Brooklyn area was because of the swamps encountered in the area at the confluence of the Sepulga River and the Conecuh River south and southeast of Brooklyn. To handle this traffic across the Sepulga River and into the Brooklyn area in those days, a Mr. Cameron operated a ferry across the Sepulga at Brooklyn before 1820. In 1820 this ferry was sold to Edwin Robinson. He opened a store here, which was the first business in the town of Brooklyn and named the community for his hometown in Connecticut.
In 1818 two years prior to the real establishment of the town of Brooklyn, a pair of small stores were opened in an area about six miles north of Brooklyn at the fork of Ard's Creek and Bottle Creek, one owned by George Feagin, the other by Mr. McConnell. A school opened in this area, and a blacksmith shop was operated by John Brantley. As Brooklyn began to assume prominence, in 1820 this settlement was abandoned.
Among the early settlers in the area was Dr. Milton Amos, for whom Milton, Florida, is named. In 1821 a church was founded by the pioneer preacher of this area, Elder Alexander Travis, who was a kinsman of William Barrett Travis, hero of the Alamo. A school was opened in the Brooklyn area, about this time by Mr. Scruggs, and a grist mill was put into operation. Taken together with the additional stores that were built, Brooklyn became Conecuh and the area's leading town.
The earliest settlers in this area were mainly Georgia farmers, though some were from South Carolina and Virginia. Many neighbors came together, and settled together in moving from their former homes. The immigrants made claim to select plots of public land. They marked the limits of this land by blazing boundary trees and laying at least four logs as foundations for log cabins intended to be their dwellings.
With the practices that were followed in the marking of, these land lines, a great many overlapping claims resulted and many title disputes ensued. The resulting litigation left some titles in doubt into the last half of the century.
The first claims for land in Brooklyn and Conecuh County were filed at the land office in Milledgeville, Georgia. Then in for land grants in the Brooklyn area passed to the land office at Cahaba, Alabama. A land office was opened in Sparta, the seat of Conecuh County and known by many as Conecuh Court House, on August 1, 1823. Mr. Jonathan G. Shaw of Massachusetts was the first receiver.
The Evergreen (AL)
Thursday, 1 April 1982