· Area: 693 square miles
· Population: 34,339 (2010 Census)
· Major Waterways: Tennessee River, Black Warrior River
· Major Highways: U.S. 72
· County Seat: Moulton
· Largest City: Moulton
Originally part of Blount County, Lawrence County was created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature on February 6, 1818, nearly one year before Alabama became a state. The county was created from former Chickasaw lands ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814 as well as the Turkey Town Treaty of 1816. Lawrence County was named for Captain James Lawrence, a naval war hero from Vermont who fought in the War of 1812. The earliest settlers came to the county from Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, and later settlers came from Kentucky and Virginia. Some of the first settlements and towns included Melton's Bluff (no longer in existence), Oakville, Town Creek, and Moulton. Melton's Bluff served as the temporary county seat until 1820, when the more centrally located Moulton became the permanent county seat. The first courthouse was a log cabin that was destroyed by fire in 1859. The second courthouse was a two-story, brick building that contained four offices, two jury rooms, and a courtroom. The building was used as a hospital during the Civil War. In 1936, the second courthouse was torn down to make way for the current courthouse, which is larger and more modern and has undergone several renovations since 1936. In 1871, part of Lawrence County west of Town Creek voted to separate itself from the county because the county government would not build bridges connecting Town Creek to the rest of the county, thus making it difficult for those people living west of Town Creek to get to Moulton for county business. Eventually, this area became part of Colbert County.
Major Cities and Demographics
Early settlers began farming the fertile lands bordering the Tennessee River, which was the only part of the county level enough for large-scale cotton production. The hilly interior of the county was generally populated by small landholders and was accessible by abundant small creeks. Some farmers raised cattle, hogs, and sheep as well. During the 1930s the Tennessee Valley Authority constructed a series of locks and dams on the Tennessee River, making electricity widely available and inexpensive. This caused a shift in Lawrence County's economy from agriculture and forestry to industry and manufacturing.
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (17.3 percent)
· Retail trade (12.3 percent)
· Construction (11.8 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (6.5 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (6.0 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (5.6 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (4.7 percent)
· Public administration (4.4 percent)
· Wholesale trade (3.2 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (2.9 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.8 percent)
· Information (0.6 percent)
Events and Places of Interest
There are a number of recreational opportunities available in Lawrence County. The southern portion of the county includes part of the William B. Bankhead National Forest, which has 180,000 acres of bluffs, canyons, waterfalls, and lakes. Four recreational areas within the forest afford visitors the opportunity to hike, camp, swim, and horseback ride. A 2,500-acre portion of the Joe Wheeler State Park sits on the northern border of the county. Visitors to the park can take part in a number of activities including camping, tennis, boating, swimming, picnicking, and hiking. Other outdoor recreational areas in Lawrence County include the Doublehead Resort and Lodge, the Mallard Creek Recreational Area, and city parks located in Moulton, Courtland, and Town Creek.
The Heritage of Lawrence County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1998.