BAY MINETTE — No county in Alabama can ever move the location of their county seat again, thanks to Baldwin County. In fact, the home of Baldwin's jail, courthouse and records was quite the …
BAY MINETTE — No county in Alabama can ever move the location of their county seat again, thanks to Baldwin County.
In fact, the home of Baldwin's jail, courthouse and records was quite the controversy at the turn of the 20th century when leaders in Bay Minette circulated a petition requesting that the Alabama Legislature move the Baldwin County seat to Bay Minette from Daphne.
What resulted was angry neighbors, arguing local leaders and citizens armed and ready to defend the building with force.
The unique nugget of Baldwin County history is retold each year during a Removal Day celebration in Bay Minette.
The downtown area outside the current courthouse boated a much more jovial spirit 122 years later as current county and city leaders performed a re-enactment of what was considered at the time, a dramatic turn of events that pitted neighbor against neighbor.
Last Thursday, Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack took on the role of the historical sheriff while legislators, county commissioners, mayors and police chiefs each played a part in the production.
And in a nutshell, here is what happened all those years ago.
Despite stout opposition from Daphne, where the county seat was located, construction began on Bay Minette's new courthouse on July 4, 1901, and the building was nearly completed by early October of that year. However, the new county seat could not operate until the necessary fixtures of county government were moved from Daphne to Bay Minette.
City fathers in Daphne refused to turn over these items. Hence, the forceful removal of the county seat began.
On Oct. 10, 1901, a group of men in horse-drawn wagons headed to Daphne, where citizens were armed and prepared to defend the county seat with force.
Still, the men moved every item, from benches to nails, off in wagons to Bay Minette. There were threats of violence and arguments, but the deed was done.
After the melee, legislators acted again, this time to pass a law forbidding anyone in Alabama from ever moving their county seat again.
The annual event also featured a dessert and costume contest, food trucks, face painting and games. After the show, a drawing awarded dozens of gift cards and prizes to audience members.