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Chickasaw City


Chickasaw City Hall is located t 224 North Crafy Highway, Chickasaw, AL 36671; phone: 251-452-6468.

Beginnings

Long before eastern civilizations settled in present day Chickasaw, Native American Tribes settled in the area. These tribes, consisting of Choctaw and Apalachee Indians, just to name a few, used the area as a trading post and a seasonal migratory location. They began to farm the land, taking advantage of its rich sedimentary soils. Upon French settlement in 1702, these tribes were converted to Christianity. When the English arrived in 1763, the pronunciation was Anglicized from "Chickasha" to Chickasaw.

Area legends tell of a lawless environment that consisted of numerous crimes, such as robbery and piracy. These lifestyles suited the area due to the mass amount of coves, bayous and creeks in the area that served as prime hiding locations. These legends tell of pirates and western outlaws, like the infamous Copeland Gang who came to the area as robbers and left some of their stolen items and money hidden in the swamps. Until the turn of the 20th Century, our city was merely a small town with farmland and a soap factory that was later converted to a furniture factory, which employed many of our residents, along with the Lilly Tin Shop and a Mill that processed coconuts.

The first railroad line that ran through our city was the Southern Railway System. In 1914 as World War I approached, the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company (TCI), a branch of U.S. Steel in Birmingham, saw Chickasaw as an ideal location for ship production due to its inland deep-water access and its close proximity to Birmingham Steel, which resulted in the establishment of the Chickasaw Shipbuilding and Car Company. By the 1920's, the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad line, which ran parallel with the Southern Rail Line, was built through Chickasaw, connecting our city nationally. Soon afterward, the Chickasaw Utilities Company and the Chickasaw Land Company were formed. The nearby swamp was drained to provide for a production site and a growing town arose to the west.

Together, these companies that were created through the TCI, established utilities, housing, streets and many other necessary parts of a community. These companies not only owned the newly established community, but controlled it as well, which resulted in the famous U.S. Supreme Court decision of Marsh v. Alabama. A case in which Grace Marsh, a Jehovah Witness, was arrested for distributing pamphlets on the sidewalk in front of the post office, a charge that was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled in favor of Marsh, stating that American's First Amendment Right of Free Speech is supreme to property rights. This decision remains a pivotal influence in our justice system today.

  1. City of Chickasaw, AL, Comprehensive Plan 2030: Chapter 1, 2014, www.http://cityofchickasaw.org, accessed, May, 2015.
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