Alabama was a part of the Mississippi Territory until Mississippi became a state in 1817, at which time the Alabama Territory was formed. The news spread quickly that there was rich fertile soil, good climate and great forest in the Alabama territory. A great invasion of Settlers came to claim land, so many that this land rush became known as “Alabama Fever.” Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state of the United States on December 14, 1819.
The Land Act of 1820 was enacted April 24, 1820 as a United States federal law that permitted the purchase of public domain lands for cash.
The Homestead Act May 20, 1862 was a law passed by Congress in 1862 that granted 160 acres of federal land to any U.S. citizen. An individual was given ownership of the land for free if that person lived on the land for five years and improved the land by building a home and producing a crop.
The Acts of the general Assembly of the State of Alabama on December 4, 1888 divided Mobile County into three revenue and road districts. The districts were further divided into Precincts. The Second District precincts were Citronelle (1), Mount Vernon (2), Creola (5), Mauvilla and Chunchula (6), Albritton (7), Carver’s (8), Steeley’s Store (20).
The town of Semmes was not laid out and named until 1900, when Semmes Land Company was formed by August Pickus, and eight other fellows. According to Probate Records, Book 3, page 484, Semmes Land Company purchased a section of land fifteen miles northwest of Mobile, Alabama and laid out streets, and lots, to their proposed town site. However, not many people came to buy Semmes land and many of the original land company left. “Scrapbook of Memories”
Early Settlers who purchased or homesteaded land in Township 3; Mobile County, Alabama, Albritton Precinct, according to BLM Records, (Bureau of Land Management) are listed below.
1839-Henry Chamberlin, William Goff, Elisha Powell, James Powell, Samuel Swift, Josiah Wilkins
1840-David Rester, Fredrick Rester, Zachariah Rester
1843- Benjamin Howell, Charles Havard, William Goff
1845-Jacob Collins, Benjamin Howell, James Roberts
1846- Samuel H. Wolf,
1848- Daniel McLeod
1859-Abraham S. Woodcock, Martha M. Cook, and John W. McCrary
1877- Benjamin Howell, James Howell, Anna A. Jerkins, Joseph W. Thompson
1879- Henry McCrary, Thomas D. O’Rourke, Henry McCrary, Hiram Powell, Jesse S. Powell, Jackson Rester, Mildred E. Allen, Nancy Cochrane, Sarah M. Whiting, James H. Allen, Isam W. Deese
1880- Frank King, Jackson Pierce
1882-Washington W. Snow
1883- Ralph Garner, Milton McCrary, Littleton Lee, Franklin Brown
1884- Thomas J. Howell, Nathan J. Allen, Commodore Reid
1885- Thomas Simon, Theophilus Snow
1887- Mary J. McCrary
1888- Thomas Howell,
1891- Jesse S. Finlay, John W. Howell, Louis M. Howell, Edward Parker, Jefferson D. Pierce, Henry Rester, Abigail Finlay
1892- Marion Havens, Hiram Powell, John A. Finlay
1893-Charity A. Pearce, & James Pearce
1894-Francis M. Helveston
1895-William E. Powell
1898- James A. McCrary
1899- Henry W. Allen
1900- Ellen Jackson, Nathan H. Howell
1901 -Andrew J. Lowery, Edward Rester
1902- Nellie Simmons, Mary Vickers
1904-John F. Corley, James A. McCrary, Willie Waltman
1905 - Virgil Helveston, Eugene A. Powell
1906- George E. Vickers
1910 -John Rester, Albert Foster
1912- Jerome Joyner
1914- John Helveston
1915- James D. McKinney
1929-Francis Sterling Kemp
The McDuffie Family settled in the Allentown Community. Charlie McDuffie homestead certificate was issued 11/24/1903. (Bureau of Land Management Records.) Early settlements were tightly knitted together with families often united together in marriages. Communication and transportation were limited and your community was the center of your world.
Charles McDuffie married Minnie Eugene Snow.
Minnie was the daughter of Washington William Snow who homesteaded in1882 in Allentown. Minnie’s mother, Essemiste Winnie Lee was the daughter of John Littleton Lee and Elizabeth Rebecca Rester.
John Littleton Lee Homesteaded in 1833 in the Allentown community. Minnie’s mother Elizabeth Rester, was a descendent of Frederick Rester who purchased public land in 1840. (Bureau of Land Management Records)
According to “The Scrapbook of Memories”,” some of the related families to the McDuffie Family are Fincher, Allen, Foster, Pierce, Rester, Harwell, Maples, Reeves, and Sullivan
SNOW FAMILY Photo furnished by Katherine Jarvis
Theophilus Snow was born in August 1832 in Mississippi, his father, John, was 62 and his mother, Elizabeth, was 35. He married Sarah Ann Jackson Snow on February 13, 1862, in Mobile, Alabama. He died on April 7, 1903, at the age of 70 and is buried in Semmes.
According to the Bureau of Land Management Records a Homestead certificate was issued to Theophilus Snow for 159.78 acres of land on 5/20/1885.
Washington William Snow was born on October 30, 1855, his father, John, was 27 and his mother, Ursula, was 30. He married Winnie Lee on December 11, 1875, in Mobile, Alabama. He died on December 26, 1929, in Mobile, Alabama, at the age of 74 and is buried in Semmes.
According to the Bureau of Land Management Records a homestead certificate was issued to Washington William Snow for 79.47 Acres of land on 11/20/1882.
BENJAMIN F. HOWELL was born on September 8, 1808, in Georgia. He married Ellenor Stringfellow, who was born in 1810 in Mississippi, on June 5, 1829 and they had four children together. She died as a young mother in 1839, at the age of 29, and is buried in Semmes, Alabama.
Benjamin Franklin Howell then married Tamsom Williams in Mobile, Alabama, on April 11, 1844, when he was 35 years old, and they had 11 children together. He died on June 24, 1885, in Semmes, at the age of 76.
**According to Bureau of Land Management Records Benjamin purchased and homesteaded public lands. He purchased 40.9 acres -3/10/1843, and on 6/1/1845, 40.9 acres. Homestead Certificates were issued on 9/26/1877 for 159.9 acres and on 10/4/1898 for 70.36 acres.
THOMAS J. HOWELL was born on July 31, 1852, in Semmes, Alabama, his father, Benjamin, was 43 and his mother Tamson was 25. He had five siblings. He died on October 16, 1927 at the age of 75.
Thomas married Rosalie Brown on March 2, 1879. Rosalie was born on June 5, 1858, in Mobile, Alabama. They had seven children in 14 years. She died on February 18, 1897, in Semmes, Alabama, at the age of 38, and was buried there.
According to the Bureau of Land Management records, Thomas Jefferson Howell purchased and homesteaded public land. He purchased 80 acres of public land on 6/1/1860, and on 7/12/1888- 39.97 acres. A homestead certificate for 169.485 acres was issued on 3/10/1884 and a homestead certificate for 80.41 acres on 7/22/1889.
** The Land Act of 1820 was enacted April 24, 1820 as a United States federal law that permitted the purchase of public domain lands for cash.
**The Homestead Act May 20, 1862 was a law passed by Congress in 1862 that granted 160 acres of federal land to any U.S. citizen. An individual was given ownership of the land for free if that person lived on the land for five years and improved the land by building a home and producing a crop.
Thomas Jefferson Howell is on the left. His father Benjamin Franklin Howell is on the Right. Photo furnished by Stephanie Howell Austin, daughter of Harold Howell.
Preserving our History