Named for W. S. Deats, who first settled there and built a sawmill in 1841, Deatsville was located along a stagecoach route and near a creek that supplied water power for the sawmill. Deatsville was in Autauga County until 1866, when Elmore County was formed. By the late 1850s, the town had a sash, door, and blind factory, as well as a grist mill and sawmill. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, all of the equipment in these businesses was confiscated by the Confederate Army to use in the war effort.
After the war in 1871, Deatsville got its first post office, and in the same year the South and North Alabama Railroad (later taken over by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad) came through town. The town grew as a result. A depot and water tower were built to serve the trains coming through. Saloons and a dance hall soon followed the railroad, but the churchgoing citizens of Valley Head quickly shut them down.
From 1900 until the Great Depression, Deatsville prospered; at one time it had four general stores, two cotton gins, two boarding houses, a soap box factory, two sawmills, a grist mill, and a turpentine distillery. The Great Depression forced many residents to seek work in larger cities after these local businesses began to shut down, and the town never regained its former level of prosperity.
Deatsville's population according to the 2010 Census was 1,154. Of that number, 77.6 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 19.4 percent as African American, 2.3 percent as two or more races, 1.6 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.3 and percent as Asian, and 0.1 percent as Native American. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $62,917, and the per capita income was $22,976.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Deatsville was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (28.1 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (13.8 percent)
· Public administration (13.0 percent)
· Manufacturing (10.5 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (7.5 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (7.3 percent)
· Retail trade (7.3 percent)
· Wholesale trade (3.7 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.7 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (2.9 percent)
· Construction (2.2 percent)
Schools in Deatsville are part of the Elmore County school system; the town has approximately 1,660 students and 98 teachers in one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. The J. F. Ingram State Technical College also is located in Deatsville.
State Highway 143 curves through the western part of Deatsville traveling north-south. County Road 3 bisects the town running roughly northwest-southeast.
Events and Places of Interest
The Billy Johnson Place and Holtville School are listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Elmore County Heritage Book Committee. Heritage of Elmore County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 2002.
James P. Kaetz
Published April 5, 2013
Last updated July 5, 2013