East Brewton is located in Escambia County in the southwest corner of the state; it is approximately 10 miles from the Alabama/Florida border. It lies within an area that was formerly part of Conecuh County.
Present-day East Brewton is near the site of the Battle of Murder Creek, which took place soon after the August 1813 Fort Mims Massacre in adjacent Baldwin County. Forces led by a Lieutenant Crawford, under Andrew Jackson's command, defeated a band of Creek Indians that had been trailing them and waiting for the right moment to attack. The soldiers reportedly piled brush and leaves under their blankets to make the warriors think they were lying asleep, then hid in the surrounding woods and fired upon the Creeks when they came into the firelight to attack the sleeping figures.
The community of East Brewton grew up initially around Fort Crawford, which was constructed by the U.S. military around 1816 or 1818 (sources differ) and according to some sources was named for Lieutenant Crawford. Written records about the fort are scarce after 1819. The Fort Crawford cemetery, however, still has two rows of unmarked graves alleged to be those of soldiers who served at the fort.
The town (and the nearby city of Brewton) was named after one of its early settlers, Benjamin Bruton; it was settled at essentially the same time that the fort was built. A post office was established there in 1823 but moved to Brewton in 1859. The naval stores and timber industries were mainstays of the area's early economy. The T. R. Miller Mill Company has remained a large part of the local economy since 1872. The East Brewton Academy was established in 1888 and remained open until 1919, when it was destroyed by a tornado.
The town was incorporated in October 1918 after an election in September. In March 1978, the town dedicated a new city hall.
East Brewton's population according to the 2010 Census was 2,478. Of that number, 74.7 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 20.8 percent as African American, 3.1 percent as Hispanic, 1.3 percent as two or more races, and 0.6 percent as Native American. The city's median household income was $26,065, and per capita income was $15,181.
East Brewton's work force, according to 2009 Census estimates, was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (23.3 percent)
· Manufacturing (18.0 percent)
· Retail trade (14.8 percent)
· Construction (13.2 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (6.2 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (6.0 percent)
· Public administration (5.7 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (3.1 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (3.0 percent)
· Information (2.8 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (2.0 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (1.4 percent)
· Wholesale trade (0.5 percent)
Schools in East Brewton are part of the Escambia County School District; the town has approximately 1,330 students and 80 teachers in one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school.
East Brewton is bisected north-south by U.S. Highway 29. The Brewton Municipal Airport with three runways is located approximately two miles south of the city.
Events and Places of Interest
East Brewton offers two recreational areas that include baseball and softball fields. Fort Crawford Park offers a picnic pavilion, grills, and a nature trail.
Fort Crawford is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Escambia County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Escambia County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.
Waters, Annie C. History of Escambia County, Alabama. Huntsville, Ala.: Strode Publishers, 1983.
James P. Kaetz
Published December 15, 2011
Last updated July 13, 2012