Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities

Early Alabama History Seminar

Early Alabama History Seminar

Join us on Wednesday, January 23 from 10 a.m. to Noon at Pebble Hill for a free seminar on the early history of Alabama, with Dr. Jim Pate. Dr. Pate recently indexed and annotated Pickett’s History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Visit to register.

Albert James Pickett’s two-volume History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period first appeared in September 1851. Demand for the $3 set caused Charleston publisher Walker and James to issue a second and third edition before year’s end.

Volume one covered De Soto’s explorations from Florida to Arkansas, encounters with native people, and discovery of the Mississippi River. The narrative shifts from the early chiefdoms of the protohistoric period to the Natchez and smaller tribes in the coastal plain and then to the major Indian nations of the interior into the late eighteenth century. While the struggles of French Louisiana with the Natchez dominate the first volume, Pickett establishes the English presence with the founding of Oglethorpe’s Georgia colony and ends with the surrender of the French forts Tombecbé and Toulouse. In volume two, Pickett follows the English into present-day Alabama and Mississippi and the Revolutionary War era, the Spanish occupation of East and West Florida, the intrigues of Alexander McGillivray and William Bowles, and Georgia’s Yazoo land sales. He devotes several chapters to the Mississippi Territory, Aaron Burr, and the Indian unrest that led to the massacre at Fort Mims, the Creek War of 1813–14, and Andrew Jackson’s campaigns to destroy the Red Sticks and defeat the British. Pickett concentrates his final chapters on the emergence of Alabama as a territory and state, including biographical sketches of early state leaders, the state constitutional convention, and Alabama’s first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, who died in 1820.

Pickett’s History continues to be a relevant study of the state’s protohistory, colonial, territorial, and early foundations. His work and his papers in the state archives are cited by all serious scholars who study Alabama’s colonial and territorial eras. While he sought all the available printed primary sources and manuscripts for volume one, his second volume was principally informed by the memoirs, reminiscences, letters, and oral interviews of the participants in the events that shaped the development of Alabama from the pre-Revolutionary era through the 1840s.

This new edition is the first to provide general readers and scholars with a readily available hardbound, fully indexed, and annotated version of Pickett’s History.

Jim Pate is an emeritus professor of history at the University of West Alabama. He is a graduate of Delta State University and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from Mississippi State. He has previously edited “When This Evil War is Over”: The Correspondence of the Francis Family, 1860–1865, Cherokee Newspapers, 1828–1906, and The Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines. His contributions to research, preservation, and archaeological investigations at the Fort Tombecbé/Fort Confederation complex led to the transfer of the significant eighteenth-century French-British-Spanish site to the University of West Alabama.

The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities at Pebble Hill is located at 101 S. Debardeleben Street, Auburn. For more information on the program, call 334-844-4903 or visit


Last Updated: January 14, 2019