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Tallassee's origins

By Michael Butler

Happy Birthday Tallassee! The city just celebrated its 107th birthday last month (Jan. 21, 1908).

"The town of Tallassee consisted of blocks 42, 43 and 44 in the Jordanville area and was incorporated as a municipality with a mayor and five council members," Tallassee Historian Bill Goss said. "There is a myth that there was a town of Jordanville. That is not true. It was always the town of Tallassee."

The 1908 date marks the beginning of Tallassee as an incorporated city. Goss selects 1835 as the year of Tallassee's establishment.

"That is a documented date," he said. "The settlers started coming into this area in 1832."

Virgina Golden wrote about it in her book, "The History of Tallassee."

"No definite date can be given as that of the founding of Tallassee," she noted. "however, Old Town was certainly in existence in 1835, about a mile and half below the present site of Tallassee." Golden went on to add that records verified the date at the Tallapoosa County Courthouse in Dadeville.

The Indian Removal Act was enacted in 1830. In Golden's account, the first white settlers came shortly thereafter. "Prior to 1832 very few families had settled into the Tallassee region. Even after signing the treaty, the Creeks were loath to leave their native country. It took a skrimish with the United States troops four years later to force a mass movement from this section of Alabama into the western country. A few white families had begun to come in before 1836."

There was a "Talisi" that predates the 1830s. In fact, there was more than one. "From early documents the conclusion may be drawn that there were at least three Indian towns in Alabama named Talisi," Golden wrote. "These towns were located near where Talladega, Selma and Tallassee are today."

Talisi means "old town." It is quite obvious that Tallassee is derived from the Creek Indian Talisi listed on maps from the 1700s. It is also believed that Tulsa, Oklahoma is named for Talisi.

"The first Talisi was on the site of the old Indian village at Euphaubee Creek," Goss stated. "Later, Thomas Meriwether Barnett established present Tallassee on the hill, but it was a mill village in the 1840s. Barent DuBois purchased the land in the 1840s. He was really the beginning of settlement on what we now know as Tallasssee."

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