While much of the city’s early history is centered on the Tennessee River, therefore in the NE and NW areas of the city, significant history also occurred in the Southwest portion of the city! The Austin family with its many branches were early pioneer settlers of Morgan County including Decatur and surrounding areas.
Various members of the Austin family (including Vandiver Lawrence Austin—who also owned a major cotton gin and grist mill in the area—and Charles Austin, among others) owned the land in the area now known as Austinville, therefore, the community’s name and the name of the city’s largest high school!
Did you know that Austinville was once a town in its own right, separate and apart from Decatur? Although the community was settled by the years following the Civil War, Austinville became an official town in about 1907. With a number of houses (many of which are still standing), a small downtown, a Masonic lodge, churches and later a high school, Austinville became a thriving town. In 1956, the people of Austinville decided in a close vote to be annexed into Decatur.
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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.