Historic Settlement in the Upper Tombigbee Valley.
Final rept. 1541-1960,
ALABAMA UNIV IN BIRMINGHAM CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF SOUTHERN HISTORY AND CULTURE
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The cultural heritage of the area traversed by the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway between Gainesville, Alabama, and Paden, Mississippi, in historic times has been examined in historical perspective. The area prospered from cotton cultivation with a slave labor until 1860, which was its peak year of prosperity. A considerable part of the population was dependent upon the production of livestock on the open range for a living. During the Civil War the livestock was consumed, and the labor system was destroyed. After the war cotton culture was resumed with greatly reduced output, and share-crop tenantry became the basis of support of most of the population, black and white. The region became dependent on outside sources for food supply and did not again become prosperous, although the merchant economy grew with emphasis on local distributing and marketing centers in Columbus and Aberdeen. Since 1940 there has been an extensive out-migration of people, and a some-what improved economic basis has developed, with a substantial amount of labor-intensive manufacturing industry. The Tombigbee River was important for steamboat and flatboat transportation in the early days of settlement, but since the completion of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad in 1858 its influence has been minor. There has never been very extensive settlement in the active floodplain of the river. The narrative is supported by numerous maps and elaborate statistical analyses. Author
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- Humanities and History