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. 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.
Somerville's population according to the 2010 Census was 724. Of that number, 94.1 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 3.3 percent as African American, 1.5 percent as two or more races, 1.1 percent as Native American, and 0.1 percent as Hispanic or Latino. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $29,861, and the per capita income was $15,087.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Somerville was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (25.1 percent)
· Retail trade (24.8 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (14.6 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (13.6 percent)
· Construction (6.8 percent)
· Manufacturing (5.3 percent)
· Public administration (3.4 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (2.2 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (1.9 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (1.9 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (0.6 percent)
Schools in Somerville are part of the Morgan County school system; the town has approximately 1,745 students and 117 teachers in two K-8 schools and one 9-12 high school.
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 and the Morgan County Courthouse, the oldest still-intact courthouse in Alabama,
are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
James P. Kaetz
Published August 13, 2013
Last updated September 23, 2013