Pickens County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,746. Its county seat is Carrollton. It is a prohibition, or dry county, although the communities of Carrollton and Aliceville voted to become wet in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Pickens County was established on December 20, 1820, and named for revolutionary war hero General Andrew Pickens of South Carolina. The county seat was relocated from Pickensville to Carrollton in 1830. The first courthouse in Carrollton was burned on April 5, 1865, by troops of Union General John T. Croxton. A second courthouse was also destroyed by fire on November 16, 1876. Though arson was suspected, no arrest was made until January 1878, when Henry Wells, an African American with some criminal history was arrested and locked in the garett of the new building, which had been erected in 1877. According to legend, Wells was peering down from the north garett window as a mob gathered to hang him. A bolt of lightning struck nearby and "etched" Wells' anguished face into the window glass. A vague image resembling a face can still be seen in that lower right-hand pane of that window. Also see: Pickens County Courthouse.
On April 8, 1998, a supercell thunderstorm produced an F3 tornado in Pickens County. This windstorm injured two people and damaged five homes including mobile homes. It rotated seventeen miles (27 km) from Holman to north of Northport. Twenty-four homes and thirteen mobile homes were also in destruction. Moments later, that same supercell thunderstorm produced an F5 tornado that struck northeastern Tuscaloosa near the Black Warrior River before entering western Jefferson County where it destroyed Oak Grove High School and killed thirty-two people in its path.