Historical marker placed at site of first seat of justice

Published 6:40 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

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Two hundred years after Pike County was founded, a historical marker was placed in China Grove near the site of the first seat of county government.

Pike County Commission Chairman Robin Sullivan spoke briefly to open the ceremony. Sullivan said the first county seat was located at the home of Andrew Townsend, near the Merriweather Trail in China Grove. The marker was placed in the Concord and China Grove Cemetery, where Townsend and some of his descendants are buried.

Troy Mayor Jason Reeves also spoke and said he was amazed how far Pike County had come in 200 years.

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“I like to take a moment and reflect on what things mean to me,” Reeves said. “Today, as I was driving up and passed Lockheed Martin. I was thinking of how the Townsend family opened their home to be the first seat of justice in Pike County. It’s amazing that 200 years later, the most highly technical missile factory in the world is located here.

“My children are the eighth generation of my family to live in Pike County. I’m proud to be from Pike County and it means so much for me to live where my roots are. I look forward to helping make Pike County a better place 200 years from now.

Diane Smith, president of the Pike County Historical and Genealogical Society briefly discussed how Pike County was formed 200 years ago.

“Pike County is one of the oldest counties in Alabama,” she said. “Alabama became a state on Dec. 14, 1819. On Dec. 17, 1921, Pike County was named after Gen. Zebulon Montgomery Pike, who actually never came here. Pike County was once 11,000 square miles. But, Montgomery, Barbour, Bullock and Crenshaw counties were split off from Pike County. China Grove, Orion, Henderson and Brundidge are some of the oldest settlements in Pike County.

“Andrew C. Townsend’s home was the first, temporary seat of justice. The county seat was briefly moved to Louisville, which was in Pike County at the time, then to Monticello in 1827 and finally to Troy in 1838.”

Smith went on to say early settlers had to work hard to establish Pike County and that history needed to be remembered.

“I encourage people to learn about Pike County and the people who developed it. I encourage people to record their family stories and share them with each other”

After Smith’s remarks, the historical marker was unveiled at the cemetery.