Fort Deposit is one of the largest municipalities in Lowndes County. The town was incorporated on February 13, 1891, and has a mayor-council form of government. It reportedly sits on the highest point of land between Montgomery and New Orleans.
Fort Deposit was named for a fort constructed by federal troops during the Creek War of 1813-14 on the site around which the town developed. (Another Fort Deposit, also established during the Creek War, was located in Marshall County). Known originally as Fort Deposite, the structure was established on a bluff along the Old Federal Road in October 1813 by Gen. Ferdinand Claiborne, then under the command of Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, to serve as a supply base. The facility has been described as a fortified camp that housed as many as 1,200 men, but it is not listed among stockade forts described in early histories. The fort served as a staging area for Claiborne before his troops engaged the Red Stick Creeks at the Battle of Holy Ground (Econochaca), which took place on December 23, 1813, in present-day Lowndes County approximately 30 miles west of Montgomery. He left about 100 men, along with wagons, supplies, and sick soldiers at the fort before the engagement, and his forces returned to the fort on December 26. The fort itself is little mentioned thereafter.
At the time of its creation, Fort Deposit was located in Montgomery County until Lowndes County was created in 1830. A post office was established in 1855. The Alabama-Florida Railroad completed a line linking Montgomery and Florida in 1861, and a depot was constructed in the town by the end of the decade. During the civil rights era, some 30 activists were arrested in Fort Deposit and transported to a larger jail in Hayneville, including seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels who was killed attempting to buy something to drink after their release.
Fort Deposit’s population at the time of the 2010 Census was 1,344. Of that number, 75.5 percent identified themselves as African American, 23.7 percent as white, 0.6 percent as two or more races, 0.4 percent as Hispanic, 0.1 percent as Asian, and 0.1 percent as Native American. The city's median household income was $30,000, and per capita income was $14,411.
The workforce in present-day Fort Deposit is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Manufacturing (29.5 percent)
· Retail trade (22.2 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (15.6 percent)
· Public administration (8.2 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (5.1 percent)
· Wholesale trade (5.1 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (4.3 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (2.3 percent)
· Construction (1.4 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (1.1 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (1.1 percent)
· Information (0.6 percent)
Public education in Fort Deposit is administered by the Lowndes County School District. The town has an elementary school and a middle school that serve, collectively, nearly 500 students and employ approximately 34 teachers.
Fort Deposit lies approximately two miles west of Interstate 65, connected by State Road 185, or Old Fort Road. The town is also accessed by county roads 45 and 37, which pass through the town from the northwest and northeast, respectively. The Fort Deposit Lowndes County Airport is located approximately one mile southwest of the town off of Old Fort Road and serves general aviation. A CSX Transportation rail line linking Montgomery and Mobile passes through Fort Deposit.
Events and Places of Interest
Some remains of the fort are visible in town, including wells and munitions bunkers behind an apartment complex; there is also a historic marker nearby.
In 1935, Priester's Pecans was established in a gas station in Fort Deposit; it is now a worldwide purveyor of the southern delicacy, and its headquarters is a popular destination for travelers along I-65.
Since 1972, the town has held the Calico Fort Arts and Crafts Fair during the second week of April, featuring musical performances, crafts, food sales, and children's activities. Fort Deposit is also the home of Glenn Frazier, a World War II veteran who survived the Bataan Death March and more than three years of captivity. He wrote an autobiography of his experiences, Hell's Guest, and was featured in Ken Burnss 2007 documentary series The War.
Published February 6, 2011
Last updated March 13, 2013