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Somerville

James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Somerville is located in central Morgan County in the north-central part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government. Congressman Joseph Humphrey Sloss was born in Somerville.
History
Somerville Court House
Somerville was incorporated on December 3, 1819, making it only a few days older than the state itself. It was named after Lt. Robert Summerville, who died in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March 1814. Families had been settling in the area for at least two years before the town was named. It was Morgan County's first "permanent" county seat. The county seat moved to Decatur in 1891.
Several general stores were established as Somerville expanded, and in 1837 the town constructed a brick courthouse to replace the initial wooden structure. During the Civil War, a Union raiding party under the command of Maj. Gen. Lovell Rousseau bivouacked in the town on July 10. This building later served as the local high school. Alabama governor Reuben Chapman lived and practiced law in Somerville in the early to mid-1830s.
Demographics
According to 2016 Census estimates, Somerville recorded a population of 751. Of that number, 93.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 3.1 percent as African American, 1.9 percent as American Indian, 0.8 percent as two or more races, and 0.4 percent as Hispanic. The town's median household income was $42,708, and the per capita income was $20,845.
Employment
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Somerville was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Educational services and health care and social assistance (30.4 percent)
  • Manufacturing (16.1 percent)
  • Retail trade (10.2 percent)
  • Construction (9.9 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (8.8 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (7.6 percent)
  • Public administration (5.3 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (4.1 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (2.3 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (2.3 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (2.0 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (0.9 percent)
Education
Schools in Somerville are part of the Morgan County school system; the town has two K-8 schools and one 9-12 high school.
Transportation
State Highway 67 bisects Somerville running northwest-southeast.
Events and Places of Interest
The Morrow Cemetery, located south of Somerville, and the Old Cotaco White House are listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. The Rice-Green-Pryor House (1830s) and the Morgan County Courthouse (1837), the oldest still-intact courthouse in Alabama, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Additional Resources

Knox, John. A History of Morgan County, Alabama. Decatur, Ala.: Decatur Printing Company, Inc., 1967.
Morgan County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Morgan County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1998.
Published:  August 13, 2013   |   Last updated:  November 6, 2020