ALGenWeb : County Index : Washington County

Washington County is the oldest county in the State of Alabama . The area adjacent to the coastline that is now Washington County was claimed by Spain as part of Florida from 1519 to 1700; governed by France as part of Louisiana from 1700 to 1763; taken from France by England in 1763 and held by England until the end of the Revolutionary War, when it was again claimed by Spain.

Spain claimed as a northern boundary for Spanish West Florida the latitude of 32 degrees, which runs a few miles north of Montgomery. The United States claimed its sovereignty extended south to the 31 degree line, and the State of Georgia claimed title to the area between that line and the southern boundary of Tennessee. Eventually, it was this much disputed area that became Washington County.

With the Treaty of Lorenzo in 1795, Spain agreed to withdraw to the 31 degree line. In 1798, the United States then created the Mississippi Territory which included this area, and Georgia relinquished all claims to lands in Alabama and Mississippi in 1802.

At that time, only two population centers existed in the Mississippi Territory, on the Mississippi River, and the Tombigbee Settlements at the forks of the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers. As a result, the area was divided into the Natchez District west of Pearl River and the Tombigbee or Mobile District east of Pearl River.

Washington County, in the Tombigbee District, was created on June 4, 1800 by proclamation of Governor Winthrop Sargent of the Mississippi Territory, and named in honor of General George Washington. Its original boundaries extended 300 miles east to west and 88 miles north to south. Out of this area sixteen counties in Mississippi and twenty-nine counties in Alabama have since been formed.

Now located in the southwestern part of Alabama, Washington County is bounded by Choctaw County to the north, the Tombigbee River to the east, across which lie Clarke and Baldwin Counties, by Mobile County to the South and by the State of Mississippi to the West. The County Seat is located at Chatom.

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Washington Co., AL GenWeb Page Last Updated: 11 Nov 2012