The city of Anniston, Alabama was the site of one of the most violent incidents of the Civil Rights Era. In 1961, a bus carrying Freedom Riders, a group of civil rights activists, was attacked and set on fire by a mob in Anniston.
Clay County, Alabama, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was initially home to indigenous tribes such as the Creek and Cherokee, who lived off the land and established their own societies. However, in the early 1800s, the Creek Nation was forced to cede their lands to the United States government, leading to significant changes in the region.

The county's history is closely tied to the development of the railroad in the mid-19th century. The construction of the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad in 1879 played a crucial role in opening up Clay County for settlement and economic growth. As a result, several towns and communities, including Ashland, the county seat, were established along the rail line.

The county's economy was primarily agrarian, with cotton being the predominant crop during the antebellum era. Like many other Southern areas, Clay County was heavily impacted by the Civil War and underwent a period of reconstruction and recovery in the post-war years. The county's agricultural sector eventually diversified, incorporating other crops such as corn, oats, and livestock farming.

In the early 20th century, Clay County also experienced the growth of small industries, including sawmills and textile mills, which contributed to its economy. The county continued to evolve throughout the 20th century, with advances in transportation, education, and healthcare. Today, Clay County maintains its rural character while also embracing modern developments and attractions, such as outdoor recreational activities and historic landmarks that preserve the county's unique heritage.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Clay County, Alabama.

  • 1818 - Clay County was originally part of the Creek Indian Territory.
  • 1832 - The Treaty of Cusseta was signed, ceding the territory to the United States.
  • 1834 - Clay County was established as a county in Alabama.
  • 1836 - The town of Ashland was incorporated.
  • 1861-1865 - Clay County, like much of the South, was greatly affected by the American Civil War.
  • 1902 - The Alabama Girls Industrial School (now known as the University of Montevallo) was established in Montevallo, which is partly located in Clay County.
  • 1920s - The Great Depression hit Clay County, causing significant economic hardships.
  • 1935 - The Talladega National Forest was established, encompassing parts of Clay County.
  • 1978 - The completion of the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail, a long-distance hiking trail that runs through Clay County.
  • 2010s - Clay County continues to be a rural area with historical sites and natural beauty, attracting visitors and outdoor enthusiasts.