Land of Cane
Conecuh County is a Creek Indian word meaning "land of cane", which the Indians pronounced "Econneka". It was so named by the Indians because of the large number of canes found growing alongside the banks of the many rivers and streams of Conecuh. It was a skirmish on the Burnt Corn Creek that is believed to be the beginning of the Creek Indian War. Col. James Caller raised a small army of 189 cavalry, and encountered the Indians on the creek bank on the morning of July 17, 1813. It proved to be a loss for the white settlers, and a victory for Indian Peter MacQueen. However, white men had begun to trickle in to the area from Monroe and the Mississippi Territory, settling near the area known as "the Ponds" or Belleville. Soon, the Alabama Territorial Legislature decided a new county must be named and Conecuh was formed on Feb. 13, 1818.
Conecuh was part of Monroe until it became a separate county in January 1818. Once it encompassed nearly ten counties which were turned over by the Creek Indian Nation in the Treaty of 1814. The first historical event in Conecuh took place on Burnt Corn Creek, and many historians believe that this Battle of Burnt Corn Creek actually led to the ensuing Indian uprising and subsequent Indian War.
Alexander Autrey was one of the first permanent settlers in Conecuh County, having erected a fine home and fort to protect his family and other settlers from the Indians. Fort Autrey later became known as Hampden Ridge and Autrey's home was sold to a member of the Alabama Legislature, Hon. William Adam Ashley, son-in-law of Major Mabry Thomas. Located near the site of the original home place of Alexander and Parthenia Autrey is the historic Thomas/Ashley/Anderson Cemetery (also known as the Suddith Cemetery). The earliest known interment is dated 1822, and many of the families interred there are founding members of Conecuh County and Hampden Ridge. This cemetery is in dire need of restoration and preservation. Once there was ornate fencing from Italy adorning the boundaries of the cemetery; these have long disappeared, and many of the tombstones have fallen in, and bricks have crumbled from around the existing graves.
Cemeteries Along the Old Federal Road
Many of our old, historical cemeteries exist along the county borders of Butler, Monroe and Conecuh because of the Old Federal Road, or Stagecoach Road. Early settlers erected homes and stagecoach inns, taverns, trading posts along this route that came from Milledgeville, GA all the way through Alabama. Many settlers along this route were there well before Monroe or Conecuh was created as a county. Cemeteries such as Burnt Corn or Old Bethany Baptist, Middleton Cemetery, Bethel West exist along with other cemeteries located further in from this old road like the Old Sardis Methodist Church Cemetery near Belleville. This cemetery is endangered from timber development, and needs to be located and preserved and protected from further damage. Others like the Burnett/Donald/Simpson cemetery are hidden deep in the thicket of woods once inhabited by these families, and are on the endangered cemetery list of our county. We need YOUR help.