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Coffeeville Town

Coffeeville Town Hall is located at 16 River Street East, Coffeeville, AL 36524; phone: 251-276-3266.

Beginnings [1]

Coffeeville was an early settlement and important steamboat landing on the east bank of the Tombigbee River. Furthermore, it was located on the stagecoach road that connected Mobile to Greensboro. Travelers on the road crossed the Tombigbee by ferry at Coffeeville. This was the only major road through Coffeeville for many years. From its earliest days, farming and timber production were important economic activities. Consistent with other areas of the county in the early 1800s, livestock was probably also significant in the economic life of Coffeeville. Steamboats plied the Tombigbee as early as 1817 and probably stopped at Coffeeville in this early period.

Reputedly established no later than 1808, the settlement prospered because of the river, fertile farm land and the forest. At this time, the community was called Murrel's Landing after William Murrell. Murrell was one of the first settlers here and also served as Clarke County's state representative in 1819-1820. Other early pioneers in this area included the Cassity, Figures, Malone, Deas and Thornton families. Merchants were conducting business in Coffeeville as early as 1816 and at least one store was established here by 1818.

At some point, the name of the town was changed to Coffeeville to honor Gen. John Coffee who fought in the Creek War of 1813-1814. A plat for the town of Coffeeville was recorded on November 6, 1819. The town was incorporated on November 22, 1819.

Circa 1880, Coffeeville was one of the largest towns in the county with a population of 1,683. There were three stores in the community at this time. A better road system was also established in Coffeeville in the late nineteenth century. It consisted of two types of roads: public roads and settlement roads. The public roads connected Coffeeville to towns like Jackson and Grove Hill and also to some of the river landings. Few families lived along these public roads. Most lived on the settlement roads. Local people worked to keep the roads passable.

Coffeeville continued to develop in the twentieth century, although its population remained very small. In 1940 its population was 250 and fell slightly to 211 in 1950. The community's first telephone system was installed sometime between 1910 and 1920. The town first received electricity in 1935 through the Rural Electric Association. The village's first paved roads were constructed in 1948 as "farm-to-market" roads. Coffeeville began its own water works system in 1964.

  1. Susan M. Enzwelier, Historian, Alabama Historical Commission, Historic and Architectural Properties of Clarke County, Alabama, nomination document, 1997, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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