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My curiosity has been piqued by this line from the “history” section of Wikipedia’s entry on Franklin County, Alabama (where I was born) that raises more questions than it answers:

Colbert County was originally established on February 6, 1867 after it split from Franklin County over political issues after the American Civil War. It was abolished eight months later by an Alabama constitutional convention and then reestablished on February 24, 1870.

This is referenced by a link to the Colbert County website, which says even less:

Politics after the Civil War caused the creation of Colbert County.

Now. Come on. I need to know more.

Some context to my curiosity: Franklin County is only one click north of the “free state of Winston,” the county that famously broke away from Alabama during the Civil War and declared itself a non-slave Union state. Generally, I’ve been told that counties with larger economies, and access to the means of agricultural production and transportation (Colbert County is on the Tennessee River) tended to be more pro-Confederacy (and pro-slavery) than the poorer counties out in the mountains, where agriculture, and the apparatus of slavery to support it, were literally thin on the ground.

I’m no historian. This is just what I’ve been told. The people who did the telling (southern grade school teachers who had, in turn, been taught by southern grade school teachers, who had, in turn, been taught by southern grade school teachers who actually lived during the war and supported the southern cause) were far, far, far from reliable witnesses. So there’s that.

I smell a conspiracy of silence in these vague histories.

I’ve got to imagine that these “politics” leading to the split between the counties must have had something to do with different attitudes about race and Reconstruction and the war itself — especially given the establishment, abolishment, and then re-establishment of the new county by the state legislature (in the throes, itself, of Radical Republicanism and Reconstruction — correct?) All of this really feels weird to me.

What went down between those two counties, way back when? Who knows where I can find an answer?

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