Winston County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama, formerly known as Hancock County before 1858. Its name is in honor of John A. Winston, the 15th Governor of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,484. Its county seat is Double Springs.
Winston County was established under the name Hancock County on February 12, 1850, from territory formerly in Walker County. It was originally named for John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts and famous signer of the American Declaration of Independence, with its county seat at Houston. On January 22, 1858, the county was renamed Winston County to honor Alabama Gov. John A. Winston.
During the American Civil War, Winston County gained attention for its opposition to secession, a sentiment so strong that the county is sometimes referred to as the Republic of Winston. The county today plays on its reputation as the "Free State of Winston" to attract tourists. The county's opposition to the Confederacy is briefly mentioned in the novels To Kill a Mockingbird and Addie Pray. Tap Roots, a 1948 movie based on a novel, presents a highly fictionalized and inaccurate version of Winston County's Civil War history.
In 1883 the county seat was moved to Double Springs to be near the center of the county, since Cullman County was created from the eastern portion of Winston.
National Register of Historic Places
Winston County has four sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include Archeological Site No. 1WI50, Feldman's Department Store, the Houston Jail, and the Winston County Courthouse.