History

Moundville is located 340_cropped copyon Alabama Highway 69 some twenty-five miles north of Greensboro, the county seat and about fifteen miles south of Tuscaloosa. It is 911 feet above sea level and is about one half mile from the Black Warrior River. The Alabama Great Southern railroad runs through the west side of town.

Originally, Moundville was called Carthage and was located just north of the present town. Carthage was established as a town in 1823 by the Alabama legislature and held their first election of town president and council in 1824. For unknown reasons, the legislature in 1826 abolished the town by act of the legislature. Legend has it that David Elliott was the first white man to settle in Carthage. There were eight stores, a cotton gin, a grist mill, a large warehouse and several saloons along with a post office. Carthage was primarily a farming community, goods were brought into town by river boat, and a stagecoach route from Tuscaloosa to Selma ran through the town.

houseMoundville came into being in 1891 when Mr. A. H. Griffin bought 600 acres of land on the east side of the AGS railroad. Mr. Griffin built the first house in 1891. In 1894, Mr. Bob Griffin had the name officially changed from Carthage to Moundville because of the nearby Indian mounds. In 1904 the town was almost wiped off the earth when a tornado swept through the town in a 200 yard path. Everything in the path of the tornado was obliterated. News of the disaster came when a train traveling north reached Moundville and could not go further because of debris on the tracks.

The town recovered from the disastrous tornado and in 1907 the first bank was organized with R. L. Griffin as president, R. J. Griffin as vice president and L. M. Griffin as head cashier. The town was the site of a normal school established by the legislature in 1907. Dormitories for boys and girls were built in 1910. Later the school was changed from a normal school to a high school, Hale County High School, by legislative act.

The first newspaper, 332_cropped copyThe Moundville News, was established in 1911 with John J. Thornton as the editor. Later the name was changed to the Hale County News.

Another tornado damaged portions of the town in 1932. The elementary school was demolished. Once again the citizens, determined to maintain their community, rebuilt houses and the school that reopened in the fall.

For some fifty years, there was an Easter sunrise pageant, The Road to Calvary, presented at Moundville Archeological Park. The pageant was written by a Methodist minister, Robert L. Haygood and was enacted by local residents. Music was provided by members from local church choirs. At its peak, attendance was numbered in the thousands.

This determination to survive is still a strong trait of the people who call Moundville home. They continue to work at maintaining a slow-paced333_cropped copy, safe environment for all its citizens. And they continue to compile a long and rich heritage.

Information for history was obtained from papers written by Lewis McCray, Joann Marler, Annie Dominick Lavender, Frank Willis Barnett of the Birmingham News, and several unidentified papers written by high school students over the years.