Benton is located in northwestern Lowndes County in south-central Alabama. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
Benton was first called Maull's Landing, as it was located on the Alabama River on land bought by James Maull, who laid out a town on the acreage in 1832. The town incorporated in 1834 and was named for Thomas Hart Benton, a South Carolinian who commanded the Thirty-ninth U.S. Infantry, which led the assault at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend during the Creek War of 1813-14 (not to be confused with painter Thomas Hart Benton). Benton became a major trading stop on the Alabama River during the steamboat era. The town expanded greatly in 1855, when James Maull's son Edward auctioned off 200 lots that were then incorporated into the existing town. By 1870, Benton had a population of 2,627. When railroads replaced steamboats as the main form of transporting goods to market, Benton's economy suffered and its population slowly fell. The town's incorporation lapsed in the early twentieth century, and it reincorporated in 1964.
Benton's population according to the 2010 Census was 49. Of that number, 81.6 percent of respondents identified themselves as white and 18.4 percent as African American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $78,750, and the per capita income was $25,977.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Benton was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (30.4 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (26.1 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (17.4 percent)
· Construction (13.0 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (13.0 percent)
Students in Benton attend Lowndes County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
U.S. Highway 80/State Highway 8 passes through the southernmost limit of Benton. The M&B Railroad operates a rail line through the town.
Events and Places of Interest
Benton's northeastern border tracks a section of the Alabama River, which serves as a venue for watersports such as boating, fishing, and swimming. The town is also located on the Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail about six miles west of the trail's Lowndes Interpretive Center on Highway 80.
Lowndes County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Lowndes County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2005.
James P. Kaetz
Published November 22, 2013
Last updated November 22, 2013