Florence, Alabama - Encyclopedia

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FLORENCE, the county-seat of Lauderdale county, Alabama, U.S.A., on the N. bank of the Tennessee river, at the foot of Muscle Shoals Canal, and about 560 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1880) 1359; (1890) 6012; (1900) 6478, of whom 1952 were negroes. It is served by the Southern, the Northern Alabama (controlled by the Southern), and the Louisville & Nashville railways, and by electric railway to Sheffield and Tuscumbia, and the Tennessee river is here navigable. Florence is situated in the fertile agricultural lands of the Tennessee river valley on the edge of the coal and iron districts of Alabama, and has various manufactures, including pig-iron, cotton goods, wagons, stoves, fertilizers, staves and mercantile supplies. At Florence are the state Normal College, the Florence University for Women, and the Burrell Normal School (for negroes; founded in 1903 by the American Missionary Association). Florence was founded in 1818, Andrew Jackson, afterwards president of the United States, and ex-president James Madison being among the early property holders. For several years Florence and Nashville, Tennessee, were commercial rivals, being situated respectively at the head of navigation on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. The first invasion of Alabama by Federal troops in the Civil War was by a gunboat raid up the Tennessee to Florence on the 8th of February 1862. On the 11th of April 1863 another Federal gunboat raid was attempted, but the vessels were repulsed by a force under Gen. S. A. Wood. On the 26th of May following, Federal troops entered Florence, and destroyed cotton mills and public and private property; but they were driven back by Gen. Philip D. Roddy (1820-1897). On the 11th of December 1863 the town was again raided, but the Federals did not secure permanent possession. Florence was chartered as a city in 1889.

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