Wetumpka History

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City of Wetumpka...The Beginning History Stories Quick Reference

(Story below derived from Historical Marker at Elmore County Courthouse, Downtown Wetumpka)
The land area which now comprises the City of Wetumpka was inhabited by various Indian cultures prior to the inward migration of the white man at the turn of the 19th century. The largest Indian village near here was located on the east bank of the Coosa River one mile south of this point. This village was known as "Oche-au-po-fau" (Hickory Ground) and was composed mainly of Muscogees. After the 1814 surrender of the Creek Confederacy at Fort Toulouse, there came an influx of settlers to this fertile land, many bringing slaves.

Story of Wetumpka's BridgesThe U.S. Government surveyed the future town site in 1831. A major part of the site east of the river was still Indian Territory, but was ceded to the U.S. by the Cusseta Treaty of 1832. That year lots were auctioned to the public. By late 1836, all remaining Indians had been moved to reservations in Oklahoma.

In 1834, the state legislature chartered the town of Wetumpka, which was on both sides of the river, the west side was in Autauga county, and the east side north of the former Indian boundary line, which ran easterly from the falls, was in Coosa County. The east side south of the Indian boundary line was in Montgomery County, but this latter portion was transferred to Coosa County in 1837.

Story of Wetumpka's Lock 31The name "Wetumpka" was taken from the Indian words "We-Wau" (water) and "Tum-cau" (rumbling or sounding), in reference to the noise made by the rocky shoals of the river.

In 1837, the legislature divided the town and incorporated the area on the west side of the river as West Wetumpka. In 1839, the two towns were reunited by the legislature as one city known as the city of Wetumpka. That same year, Wetumpka was chosen as the site for the first state prison.

After the destruction of a prior bridge by flooding, a sturdy, covered bridge was constructed in 1844 by a famous builder, Horace King, a former slave who had been freed by the legislature the preceding year. This covered bridge was located on the same site as the Bibb Graves Bridge. This covered bridge was swept away in the great flood of 1886, the same flood that altered the course of the Tallapoosa River and formed Parker's Island.

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