Historic Markers Across Alabama

History of Cherokee

Marker ID:  
Location: on Main Street just from 1st Street, Cherokee, Alabama
County: Colbert
Coordinates: N 34° 45.382    W 087° 58.374
  34.75636666    -87.9729
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMAXYK


Side 1
By 1805, half-blood Chickasaw leaders George and Levi Colbert were operating inns and a river ferry nearby on the Natchez Trace. The Chickasaw Indian Agency was moved to Agency Creek, now Malone Creek, (3.8 miles east) in 1825. Caney Creek Chickasaw School (8 miles east) opened January 15, 1827. The Treaties of 1832 and 1834 forced the Chickasaws to move west between 1837 and 1841. Public auction of Chickasaw lands began in January 1836 at Pontotoc with the future site of Cherokee reserved for James Brown, a half-blood Chickasaw. A stagecoach road was built in 1839 to connect Tuscumbia with Jacinto, MS. Increasing cotton production led to the completion of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad to Cherokee Oct. 27, 1856. The post office was relocated from the former Chickasaw Indian Agency to Cherokee on Dec. 10, 1856 with David C. Oates as postmaster. A train station was erected in 1858. Dr. William C. Cross and John W. Rutland laid out a town around the depot and sold lots. The boundary line between their plantations became Main Street.

Side 2
Early physicians were William Desprez, William C. Cross, and James Houston. The first schoolhouse was located at Brotherton and Second Streets with John Craig as teacher. The first merchants were William Bell, David Lindsay, and Whitt Dean. During the Civil War. Company A of the 16th Alabama Infantry CSA was recruited from the Cherokee area. Several sharp skirmishes were fought nearby between Confederate cavalry and invading Union forces in 1862 and 1863. The original Baptist church was used as a hospital. Union troops camped around the depot for six days in October 1863, and the Confederate army operated a supply base here in 1864. Other Milestones: Alexander House hotel (1880s); Methodist church moved from stage road (1885); Memphis Pike (future Lee Highway) constructed (1890); town's well drilled and hand pump installed (1890); first telephone placed in hotel (1914); first electricity (1920); and Cherokee Vocational High School built (1923) on land donated by the Lyle-Harris Family. Lime kilns (1866-1942) and asphalt mines (1924-1970) were important local industries. Cherokee was incorporated December 7, 1891.

Erected 2010 by Alabama Tourism Department and the City of Cherokee.

End of History of Cherokee