Barrytown, established in 1842, was the first seat of Choctaw County, which was not created until 1847. The following year, the state legislature authorized the relocation of the county seat closer to the geographic center of the county. The new county seat was named for Col. Pierce Butler, a South Carolina native who was killed in the Mexican-American War and may have had relatives in the area. The county's original courthouse was a simple log structure; it was sold over the years to a number of private individuals and was used as a home. It was eventually taken apart and rebuilt and today sits at the Choctaw County Historical Museum in Gilbertown. Another courthouse was built in 1848; it burned in 1870 and was replaced that year. The current courthouse was constructed in 1906-1907.
Butler's population grew only moderately for many years, and that growth primarily resulted from its status as the county seat. Also, Butler did not benefit from a lumber boom in the 1920s that provided economic benefits to other areas of the county. The town's population did not increase substantially until the 1950s, when the American Can Company built a paper, pulp, and converting mill on the Tombigbee River some 17 miles away and constructed housing in Butler for workers.
Butler’s population at the time of the 2010 Census was 1,894. Of that number, 71.4 percent identified themselves as white, 26.7 percent as African American, 0.7 percent as Hispanic, 0.7 percent as two or more races, 0.2 percent as Asian, and 0.2 percent as Native American. The city's median household income was $21,798, and per capita income was $14,671.
The workforce in present-day Butler is divided among the following occupational categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (17.2 percent)
· Retail trade (16.9 percent)
· Manufacturing (15.1 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (14.5 percent)
· Public administration (9.5 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (6.5 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (6.2 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (5.4 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (5.1 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (2.1 percent)
· Construction (1.2 percent)
Public education in Butler is administered by the Choctaw County School District, which oversees one elementary school, one junior high school, and one high school that collectively enroll approximately 1,185 students and employ 70 teachers. In addition, there is an alternative school for 5th through 12th graders, a career technical center for 10th through 12th graders, and a private nonsectarian academy serving pre-kindergarten through high school.
Butler is accessed by State Route 10, which runs east-west, State Route 17, which runs north-south, and County Road 24, which enters the town from the west. The municipal Butler-Choctaw County Airport is located east of town on State Route 10.
Events and Places of Interest
Both the Choctaw County Courthouse (ca. 1906-07) and the Zack Rogers House (ca. 1880) are on the Alabama Register of Landmarks
and Heritage. The private, nine-hole Choctaw Country Club lies just east of town.
The Heritage of Choctaw County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2001.
Gay, Ann H. Choctaw Names and Notes: Alabama's Choctaw County. Meridian, Miss.: Brown Printing, 1993.
Published September 14, 2010
Last updated March 22, 2013