Lawrence County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. It was named after James Lawrence, a captain in the United States Navy from New Jersey. As of the 2010 census, the population was 34,339, with the most Native American residents of any county in the state. The county seat is Moulton.
For thousands of years, this area was inhabited by differing cultures of indigenous peoples. People of the Copena culture in the Middle Woodland period (1-500 CE) built complex earthworks as part of their religious and political system. Their burial mound and ceremonial platform mound, the largest in the state, are preserved at Oakville Indian Mounds Park and Museum. The museum includes exhibits on the Cherokee, who inhabited the area at the time of European encounter. Other historic Native American tribes were Choctaw and Creek.
Lawrence County was established by European Americans on February 6, 1818. Under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the U.S. government forced most tribes to go west to Indian Territory to the west of the Mississippi River, to make way for American settlers and development.
Numerous Cherokee and mixed-race European-Cherokee descendants, sometimes called "Black Dutch", have stayed in the Lawrence County area. The county has the highest number of self-identified Native Americans in the state, including 4,000 members of the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, which is state recognized.
Note: Populations for 1800 and 1810 are totals of those counties of Mississippi Territory entirely or mostly within present-day Alabama. Population for 1820 excludes three counties, Lawrence (8,652), Perry (4,118), and Washington (3,646), whose returns were received too late for inclusion in the official State total.