About Marengo County
Marengo County is “a county older than the state.” It was founded on February 6, 1818, by the Alabama Territorial Legislature from lands ceded by the Choctaw Indian Nation. Choctaw and Creek Indians were the first inhabitants. The name of the county was a compliment to the first white settlers- expatriated French citizens- and commemorative of Napoleon’s great victory at Marengo over the Austrian armies. These French expatriates had founded the “Vine and Olive” colony at the site of present day Demopolis which is named for another of Napoleon’s victories. The county seat of Linden was named for Hohenlinden, Bavaria, scene of a French victory in 1800.
The land around Demopolis is called the Canebrake because at one time it was nearly covered with large acres of cane. Most of the county is part of the Blackbelt, named for its rich, black soil. This dark, prairie soil has an underlayer of lime-rock chalk which is very near the surface in Demopolis.
The population of Marengo County is 22,084 and is 53.7% African American, 47.3% white, and 1% Hispanic. The population declined by 2% from 1990 to 2000. 71.9% of citizens are high school graduates and 12.1% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. There are three public and two private school systems with 17 educational outlets in the county. Included in these outlets are a technology center, an alternative school, and a campus of Alabama Southern College.
Forages, beef cattle production and forestry are the major agricultural crops in Marengo County. Soybeans, corn, and cotton are also grown. Major industries are Rock Tenn paper mill, Borden Chemical Company, Cemex, New Era Cap Company, Caraustar, Sweetwater Gin Company, Suttles Trucking, Southern Pride Catfish, and Williams Gas Pipeline Corporation.
Tourist attractions include Bluff Hall and Gaineswood historic homes in Demopolis, Foscue Park, Chickasaw Park (which has one of two handicapped hunting areas in Alabama), St. Andrews Episcopal Church at Prairieville, the Alabama Rural Heritage Center in Thomaston, the Demopolis Town Square, and the 1850 Courthouse in Linden. Christmas on the River, Freedom on the River, Faunsdale Crawfish Festival and Rural Fun Day are yearly festivals.
The Marengo County Extension office has four full time and two part time employees. Two Regional Extension Agents are also based in the office.