Tag Archives: Courtland



While out on Monday, I decided to go to west of Decatur. While I was out looking for decrepit cemeteries, I stopped at the gate of Pond Spring, the Wheeler home. It was closed at the time. So, I decided to go toward Courtland at this point. I was surprised a the architecture there. After visiting the local cemeteries, I headed east again, and this time the gate was open at the Wheeler home. I stopped to take a few photos.

Dogtrot cabin on Wheeler property

I started to walk up the path, and I was approached by the curator who was about to close the gates. She was extremely nice. I was of course inquiring about the cemetery. It is located about 50 yards behind the Wheeler home.The curator was very kind in explaining how I could get to see the cemetery and take photos. Also, the home has a Grand Opening on September 8th. They are doing an extensive remodel of the Wheeler home.



These are some houses in the historic district of Courtland Alabama. Courtland is home to one of the first southern railroads.

One of the South’s First Railroads – 1832

Seeking a means to ship cotton and other goods around the treacherous Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River, area planters and merchants met at Courtland in 1831 to consider a rail line. On January 13, 1832, the 50 mile long Tuscumbia, Courtland, & Decatur Railroad was chartered. Early trains were usually horse-drawn, although an English-made steam locomotive was acquired in 1834. Absorbed by the Memphis & Charleston line after 1850, the railway was largely destroyed during the Civil War. The rebuilt railroad became part of the southern system in 1898.

Courtland’s Early Architecture

Structures within the Courtland historic district represent over 150 years of changing tastes in building design. Several of Courtland’s earliest buildings survive to this day. The Federal-style architecture of the oldest houses suggest the community’s strong original links with Virginia and other states of the upper South. Typical early residences of frame and brick feature a gable roof with tall chimneys at each end. Sometimes weatherboarding conceals log walls underneath. Many buildings dating from the 1850s through the 1930s reflect Italianate, Victorian and neoclassical architectural influences. There are also early 20th century “bungalows”, some built of native sandstone. Courtland still counts about twenty buildings predating the Civil War (1861). During the early 19th century, an assortment of wooden, brick and log business structures surrounded the town square. Most of the old buildings on the square today (north and east sides) date from the late 19th century and early 20th century. The fronts of some of them feature characteristic Victorian detailing. At the northeast corner of the square are four 19th-century stone mounting blocks placed for the convenience of horseback riders. The blocks were also supposedly used for selling slaves during the slave period. The tall red cedars seen throughout Courtland and along the streets radiating from the square have been a feature of the landscape since early days.

Located near downtown, is Courtland Cemetery and Courtland Black Cemetery.

Historic Marker Courtland Cemetery

Courtland Black Cemetery

I noted that on FindaGrave, of all the 456 burials in the Black cemetery, none of the burials have photos attached on FindaGrave. So, while there, I managed to take some headstone photos. Not enough of the 456, but, I tried. Courtland cemetery is one of the prettiest I have seen.

Lou Watkins

The Red Rovers

A volunteer military company was organized at Courtland in 1835 to aid Texas in its struggle for independence. Commanded by Dr. Jack Shackelford, a local physician, the company derived its name from the color of their home spun uniforms made by citizens of Courtland. The dye used was reportedly derived from the rich red clay abundant in the area.

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