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More about Camden, Alabama

Camden, which is now Camden, was founded on land donated by Thomas Dunn to his plantation holdings. He wanted a new town to be established on the site in 1833 in order to serve as the county's seat. Dunn's Federal-style house, which was built in 1825 by Dunn, is the oldest house that has been documented in Camden. Canton Bend was the first county seat.

In 1833, the county seat was moved to Barboursville. Later, Camden was renamed. It was named Barboursville after Philip P. Barbour, a United States Congressman from Virginia. Camden was established in 1841 and renamed by John D. Caldwell, a local physician, in honor of Camden, South Carolina.

Many African-American slaves worked cotton, which was a staple crop in the area. Brickyard, sawmill, and window fabricator were the first industries to be recorded in the town. Camden Phenix was the town's first newspaper. The Wilcox Female Seminary and Female Institute were established by the town in 1844. It is a red-brick Greek Revival-style building. The Wilcox County Historical Society was established in 1976 by the former school.

Many people in the area joined the Confederate cause during the American Civil War. Although the Union forces ransacked the county courthouse in 1865, county officials were able to move the records of the county to a safer place before the arrival of Union troops. Camden was already devastated by Civil War. In 1869 and 1870, fires destroyed nearly two-thirds of the town. Camden began to recover in the 1880s. The first bank was established in 1894.

Camden economically benefited from the construction of a Yellow Bluff paper mill and the Millers Ferry Lock and Dam. This dam, which is a hydroelectric dam located on the Alabama River near Millers Ferry, made Camden more prosperous in the middle of the 20th century. The William "Bill" Dannelly Reservoir was created and has been an important recreational resource.


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