Historic Markers Across Alabama

The Duke of Cahaba

Marker ID:  
Location: Oak St north of Fifth North St, Orrville, AL
County: Dallas
Coordinates: N 32° 19.432    W 087° 5.872
  32.32386666    -87.09786666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


The Duke of Cahaba

Look around you. There are hundreds of pecan trees growing nearby. All were planted by Clifton Kirkpatrick, a.k.a. The Duke of Cahaba." (Note: Cahawba lost its "w" by the late 19th century.)

In 1889 Samuel and Sarah Kirkpatrick moved to Selma, leaving their Cahawba land in the capable hands of their son Clifton (1861 - 1930). He turned the abandoned remains of Alabama's first capital into a showcase farm of diversified, scientific agriculture by departing from the South's one crop cotton system.

Clifton Kirkpatrick believed in public service and worked to promote the welfare of all farmers. From 1927 until his death in 1930, he served in the Alabama House of Representatives. The Montgomery Advertiser published this political cartoon by Spang on January 12, 1927. Clearly, Clifton Kirkpatrick was well known as an advocate for agriculture in the Alabama region known as the "Black Belt."

How Clifton Became the "Duke"

Clifton Kirkpatrick served as an unofficial tour guide to the historic sites in Cahawba. How- ever during his lifetime, most people used the shorter spelling "Cahaba." He often hosted visitors at his home with warm-hearted hospitality. This is how he earned the title "Duke of Cahaba."

2015 by the Alabama Historical Commission.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of The Duke of Cahaba