Brief History of Shelby County
Welcome to Shelby County, "The Heart of Dixie". Shelby County, named for Isaac Shelby, is a county that is older than its state. Shelby County, the geographic center of the state of Alabama, was created by an act of the Alabama Territorial General Assembly on February 7, 1818 from former Creek Indian territory ceded in the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814. Originally, Shelby County was one of the largest counties in the state. However, the state legislature soon began carving up the area to create other counties, including St. Clair County, Jefferson, Talladega, and Chilton counties. Most of the first settlers came from South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky and returned to this region after the victorious Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. They brought their families and their household goods, traveling chiefly by packhorse, to remain in this section of Alabama. The first settlements in the area were at Montevallo, then known as Wilson's Hill, Harpersville, Wilsonville, and Shelbyville. The Shelby County Museum & Archives is located in the "1854 Old Courthouse" in Columbiana. The building contains much more than old records, so those simply wanting to learn more about the county's history will find many artifacts donated by Shelby County families, as well as a collection of historical books. The oldest known Shelby County grave marker, now on display [hand carved ... the chalk outline in the photograph was added only for display in a controlled environment and is not recommended for use on markers exposed to the elements], was found in a wooded area near old Shelbyville that reads "James Smith, dide Feb. 7, 1818". Do you recall what else happened on that date that is mentioned in this brief history? In 1979, under the leadership of the Shelby County Historical Society, Shelby County was the first county in Alabama to complete and publish a "cemetery survey and census" of all known cemeteries within the county. On March 13, 2004 Alabama's first Historical Cemetery Roadside Memorial Marker bearing the new distinctive State Seal was officially dedicated for "The Old Quinn Burying Ground" in Shelby County. Our ancestors were pioneers and they sacrificed much for the future of their descendants. We must pay them homage and respect due to them by preserving their last and final resting place. For more information on the "History of Shelby County" visit
Register Your Cemetery!
Please join me and the Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance as we "join hands" to preserve an important part of Shelby County History. Not only will you be able to find the information and tools that you need to establish Perpetual Care for your cemetery, restore it's broken monuments, and find out ways to protect your cemetery from vandals, but you will be able to Register your cemetery with the ACPA, here on this site, as well as search the ACPA databases for cemetery information and burial listings as others submit them. The ACPA is proud to work with the Alabama Historical Commission, as well, to see that you get all the information you need to be successful in this endeavor. Please click the "Register A Cemetery" button below.
If you have any questions about using this site, or would like to interact in your community to help spread the word, start a cemetery project, or adopt a cemetery, The ACPA SHELBY County Representative, Scott Martin, will be happy to help.
You may contact the ACPA SHELBY County Assistant Representative, R. Glenn Nivens, and he will be happy to help. You can contact both Scott Martin and Glenn Nivens in the ACPA MAIL CENTER (link above).
"A cemetery is a history of people - a perpetual record of yesterday and sanctuary of peace and quiet today. A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving and remembering--always." (Author Unknown)
It is my pleasure to serve you as the
ACPA Shelby County Representative.
Sincerely, Scott Martin
Serving as ACPA Shelby Assistant County Representative(s):
To contact Scott Martin, please visit theACPA Mail Center
and view the County Rep email contact list.