1820: The founding of Decatur
Did you know that Decatur is 200 years old in 2020? We have a bicentennial team of community leaders who have already been hard at work on “All Things Decatur. While we actually have history that dates back thousands of years (more on that later…) and we also have two other recognized birthdays (more on that later, too!), the year 1820 had great significance for our community.
First, 1820 was the year that the community’s name was changed from its original “Rhodes Ferry” to “Decatur” in honor and memory of Commodore Stephen Decatur, a national naval hero (more to come on this as well!).
Second, it was the year that the Decatur Land Company was officially formed by “Articles of Association of the Decatur Land Company” which were signed in Huntsville on June 6, 1820 for the purpose of laying out and developing the town of Decatur. The original trustees of this company were George Peck, Dr. Henry Rhodes (the namesake of “Rhodes Ferry”), Jesse Winston Garth, Isaac Lane and McKinney Holderness. These men are therefore considered by most historians to be the “founders” of Decatur.
The Articles of Association of the Decatur Land Company were filed on July 11, 1820 in the Cotaco County Court records. The original name of Morgan County was Cotaco County, formed in 1818 and its name changed by legislative act on June 14, 1821 to “Morgan”, in honor of Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan.
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David Breland is kind of a big deal in Morgan County. His memory goes WAAAAY back (check out his picture), but he also is a local expert in Morgan County history. David is Director of Historical Resources and Events for the City of Decatur in Morgan County, Alabama.