Historic Markers Across Alabama

Leeds Benchmarks in History

Marker ID: ABT 
Location: on Bankhead National Highway (US 78) at 6th St., Leeds, AL.
County: Jefferson
Coordinates: N 33° 32.677    W 086° 32.669
  33.54461666    -86.54448333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMD7VR


Leeds Benchmarks in History
(Settled circa 1818-1820); (Incorporated 1887)

The War of 1812, geography, geology, and three cultures shaped the history of Leeds. Lying at the crossroads of ancient Indian paths in the center of Alabama, Leeds drew European, Cherokee, and African-American settlers to a land of fertile growing seasons and rich sources of coal and mineral ore. The early settlers built churches and schools and left the influences of Cedar Grove, Oak Ridge, Ohanafeefee, and Mt. Pleasant abundantly evident in current Leeds. The principal survey of Leeds was entered into Jefferson County Map Book 10, page 21, in 1908. The settlement, dating to 1818 and incorporating in 1887 as Leeds, has existed along the banks of the Little Cahaba River; beside an historic stagecoach road; and along two live railroads for the larger part of American history.

James Hamilton, a Scottish-Irish American veteran of the War of 1812 and first sheriff of Shelby County, settled in Cedar Grove in 1818. John Richard Ingram Pashal Stewart, a Cherokee English teacher and American veteran of the War of 181, settled at Ohanafeefee Village about 1840. At Oak Ridge in 1820 or 1821, European Settlers formed Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first CPC congregation in middle Alabama. By 1887, the original railroad pioneers included free African-American settlers who came to work at the Leeds cement plant and the Central of Georgia as well as the Georgia Pacific railroads. Some gravitated to Historic Mt. Pleasant Church where a handful of freed slaves had founded Scott City. Hilliard Holley, Ciscero Davis, Jeff Harris and Bill Johnson started the Leeds Negro/Primary School in 1921.

End of Leeds Benchmarks in History