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Marengo County, Alabama facts for kids

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Marengo County
Marengo County Courthouse in Linden
Marengo County Courthouse in Linden
Map of Alabama highlighting Marengo County
Location within the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Alabama
Founded February 6, 1818
Named for Battle of Marengo
Seat Linden
Largest city Demopolis
Area
 • Total 983 sq mi (2,550 km2)
 • Land 977 sq mi (2,530 km2)
 • Water 5.8 sq mi (15 km2)  0.6%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2015)
20,028
 • Density 22/sq mi (8/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 7th
 
  • County Number 48 on Alabama Licence Plates

Marengo County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 21,027. The largest city is Demopolis and the county seat is Linden. It is named in honor of the battlefield of the site of Battle of Marengo near Turin, Italy, where the Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrians on June 14, 1800.

History

Marengo County was created by the Alabama Territorial legislature on February 6, 1818, from land acquired from the Choctaw Indians by the Treaty of Fort St. Stephens on October 24, 1816. The name of the county commemorates Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Marengo over the Austrian armies on June 14, 1800. This name was chosen in honor of the first European-American settlers, Bonapartists exiled from France after Napoleon's downfall, who in 1817 settled the area around Demopolis. They were trying to develop a Vine and Olive Colony.

The county seat was originally known as the Town of Marengo, but in 1823 the name was changed to Linden. Linden is a shortened version of Hohenlinden, scene of the Battle of Hohenlinden, a French victory in Bavaria on December 3, 1800 during Napoleon's campaign. County courthouse fires occurred in 1848 and 1965, but most of the courthouse records were in a vault and largely saved in both instances.

Barney Upper Place
Barney's Upper Place, an I-house in Putnam that was built in 1833.

Situated in Alabama's Black Belt and having a naturally rich soil, the county was developed by planters for numerous cotton plantations, dependent on the labor of a large number of slaves. The population was majority black, and overwhelmingly enslaved, decades before the American Civil War. In 1860 the population consisted of 24,409 slaves, 6761 free whites (including 944 slave owners), and one "free person of color," for a total combined population of 31,171. At this time there were 778 plantations and farms in the county.

Demopolis was home to the fourth-oldest Jewish congregation in Alabama, B'nai Jeshurun. It was established in 1858. After the American Civil War, the economy continued to be based on agriculture. In the transition to free labor, many freedmen turned to sharecropping as a way to establish some independence. They did not want to work in owner-controlled field gangs.

The population began to diminish rapidly after World War II. People left the farms for manufacturing jobs elsewhere, particularly with the wartime buildup of the defense industry on the West Coast. The movement of blacks out of Mississippi and other parts of the Deep South was considered part of their Great Migration, by which 5 million African Americans left the South from 1940 to 1970.

The former cotton fields were gradually converted to other uses. Some were used for pastures for cattle and horses, others for woodlands for timber, and others developed as commercial catfish ponds for farming grain-fed catfish. Beginning in the 1960s industry began to move into the area; and the work force started to work in paper mills, lumber mills, and chemical plants.

Geography

Gaineswood in October 2011 01
Gaineswood (built 1843–61), a National Historic Landmark in Demopolis.
Boddie Law Office 01
Dayton Town Hall (built 1858) in Dayton. On the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Marengo County is situated in the west-central area of the state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 983 square miles (2,550 km2), of which 977 square miles (2,530 km2) is land and 5.8 square miles (15 km2) (0.6%) is water. The entire western county border is formed by the Tombigbee River and a small northwestern portion is formed by the Black Warrior River.

Major highways

  • US 43.svg U.S. Highway 43
  • US 80.svg U.S. Highway 80
  • Alabama 5.svg State Route 5
  • Alabama 10.svg State Route 10
  • Alabama 25.svg State Route 25
  • Alabama 28.svg State Route 28
  • Alabama 69.svg State Route 69

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 2,933
1830 7,700 162.5%
1840 17,264 124.2%
1850 27,831 61.2%
1860 31,171 12.0%
1870 26,151 −16.1%
1880 30,890 18.1%
1890 33,095 7.1%
1900 38,315 15.8%
1910 39,923 4.2%
1920 36,065 −9.7%
1930 36,426 1.0%
1940 35,736 −1.9%
1950 29,494 −17.5%
1960 27,098 −8.1%
1970 23,819 −12.1%
1980 25,047 5.2%
1990 23,084 −7.8%
2000 22,539 −2.4%
2010 21,027 −6.7%
Est. 2015 20,028 −4.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 21,027 people residing in the county. 51.7% were Black or African American, 46.4% White, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% of some other race and 0.8% of two or more races. 1.7% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

In 2000 there were 22,539 people, 8,767 households, and 6,277 families residing in the county. The population density was 23 people per square mile (9/km2). There were 10,127 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 51.71% Black or African American, 47.28% White, 0.08% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.47% from two or more races. 0.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,767 households out of which 34.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.40% were married couples living together, 19.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.40% were non-families. 26.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.50% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 26.00% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 88.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,025, and the median income for a family was $35,475. Males had a median income of $36,053 versus $19,571 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,308. About 22.20% of families and 25.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.70% of those under age 18 and 25.30% of those age 65 or over.

Culture

Events

  • Candlelight Evening at Gaineswood, part of Christmas in the Canebrake, in Demopolis
  • Christmas on the River in Demopolis
  • Faunsdale Biker Rally in Faunsdale
  • Alabama Crawfish Festival in Faunsdale
  • Harvest Festival in Demopolis
  • Historic Demopolis Spring Pilgrimage in Demopolis
  • Pepper Jelly Festival in Thomaston
  • Southern Literary Trail in Demopolis

Places of interest

Marengo County is home to the Alabama Rural Heritage Center and Chickasaw State Park. The Tombigbee River and Black Warrior River form portions of the western and northern county borders and provide recreational opportunities. Marengo County has 28 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one of which is also a National Historic Landmark. Additionally, 19 sites are listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Communities

Jefferson Historic District 02
Jefferson Methodist Church (built 1856) in Jefferson. On the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Jefferson Historic District.
Lyon Hall in 2011
Lyon Hall (built 1853) in Demopolis. On the National Register of Historic Places.

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

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