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Join us Wednesday, April 8, 2020 For a Very Special Guest: Jim Pate.
TOPIC: Albert James Pickett (1810–1858): How This Native of North Carolina Became Alabama's First Historian

Bill Finch

The Annotated Pickett’s History of Alabama, and Incidentally Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period

Jim Pate will discuss Albert James Pickett (1810-1858), how this native of North Carolina became Alabama's first historian; his researching, writing and publishing the first history of Alabama; and the impact and relevance of his History of Alabama, And Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period from its publication in 1851 through the 20th century.

Jim is an independent scholar/historian and an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of West Alabama where he served as a department chair, Dean of General Studies, and Vice President for Academic Affairs (1967‑1995). He also served as Dean of Arts and Letters at Southeastern Oklahoma State University (1995‑1998), Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northeastern State University (1998-2005), and Campus Dean at the University of Mississippi-Tupelo (2005‑2014).

Dr. Pate is a graduate of Delta State University and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Mississippi State University. He recently completed The Annotated Pickett’s History of Alabama, and Incidentally Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period published by NewSouth Books in September 2018. He has also published The Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines: Pioneer and Statesman of Early Alabama and Mississippi, 1805‑1843 (University of Alabama Press, 1998); “When This Evil War Is Over”: The Correspondence of the Francis Family, 1860‑1865 (University of Alabama Press, 2006); and Cherokee Newspapers, 1828‑1906: Tribal Voice of a People in Transition (Cherokee Heritage Press, 2014).



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Edgewood Lake sign

Historical Marker Locations

  • Independent Presbyterian Church
  • The Little Theatre
  • The Alabama Theatre
  • Shades Valley High School (original site)
  • Mountain Brook
  • Homewood
  • Rosedale
  • Hollywood
  • Edgewood
  • Briarwood Presbyterian Church
  • Will Franke/Early Mountain Brook Village
  • St. Vincent's Hospital
  • Oldest House in Shades Valley/Irondale Furnace Commissary
  • Union Hill Cemetery/Union Hill Methodist Episcopal Church/Union Hill School
  • Lane Park
  • Birmingham Water Works Company/Cahaba Pumping Station
  • Irondale Furnace/Wallace S. McElwain
  • The Old Mill/Robert Jemison, Jr.
  • Brock's Gap/The South & North Railroad Cut/Gateway to Birmingham
  • Canterbury United Methodist Church
  • Edgewood Lake


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Jefferson County Historical Association meeting

Recent meeting of the Jefferson County Historical Association

The Jefferson County Historical Association (JCHA) is dedicated to preserving, educating and publicizing local history through quarterly meetings, the Jefferson Journal newsletter and social media, as well as promoting historical preservation efforts.

Originally founded as the Birmingham Historical Society in 1942, the Society was reorganized in 1975 as the Birmingham-Jefferson County Historical Society and was later re-named the Jefferson County Historical Association in 2011.

Since 1992, the JCHA has erected over 20 historical markers throughout Jefferson County, and sells over 10 books and publications written by local authors, including former Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett.

In 2003, the JCHA formed the Birmingham History Center to preserve the region’s fascinating history through a collection of historical artifacts and memorabilia. In January 2018, Vulcan Park & Museum announced a partnership with the Birmingham History Center, ensuring the continued preservation and sharing of our unique history and stories.

Josiah Morris

Josiah Morris–an early founder of Birmingham

For anyone who has a recommendation for a historical marker in Jefferson County, please contact the JCHA to place for consideration and review. Email:

Jefferson County Alabama–a Brief History.

With the founding of the state of Alabama, Jefferson County was also established in December 1821 and is the most populous county in Alabama. Most of the original immigrants were veterans from the War of 1812. With agricultural pursuits in mind, their attention quickly shifted to the area’s immense mineral wealth which gave rise to the iron and steel industry.

Birmingham was founded in 1871 six years after the Civil War ended during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's 2nd largest city and, at the time, a major industrial city.

Southern Railway train Sunnyland

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark

The Alabama city emerged as a primary industrial center of the southern United States based on mining, the new iron and steel industry and rail transport through the end of the 1960s. Birmingham’s growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it nicknames such as "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South."

The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century: Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.