Barbour County, Alabama is a county in the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 27,457. Its county seat is Clayton. Its name is in honor of James Barbour, who served as Governor of Virginia.
Barbour County was established on December 18, 1832, from former Creek Indian homelands and a portion of Pike County. The Creek were removed to territory west of the Mississippi River. The fertile land was developed by southern migrants as large cotton plantations dependent on slave labor. Due to the number of slaves, the population was soon majority black, a proportion that continued for decades. In the 21st century, the population has a slight white majority, but blacks make up more than 46% of the residents, which results in highly competitive politics.
In 1833, Louisville was chosen as the first county seat for Barbour County. The county seat was moved in 1834, after an eleven-member committee selected Clayton because of its central geographic location. Its boundaries were altered in 1866 and 1868. The Election Riot of 1874 occurred near Comer.
By the 1870s, the city of Eufaula had surpassed Clayton in size, sparking debate about whether the county seat should be moved to the county's commercial center or remain at its geographic center. Reaching a compromise, the legislature passed Act No. 106 on February 12, 1879, to establish county courts in both Eufaula and Clayton. Today, two county courthouses continue to operate in Barbour County.
Governors from Barbour County
As a center of the planter elite class, Barbour County has produced more Alabama governors than any other county in the state. Six elected governors as well as two acting governors have lived in the county. In 2000, the Barbour County Governors' Trail was established by an act of the Alabama Legislature to honor the eight distinguished men and women who have served as governor from the county.
Marking changes in 20th-century politics, Chauncey Sparks, the Wallaces, and Jere Beasley were not from the planter elite.