Brundidge is located in Pike County in southeast Alabama; it is the county’s second-largest city and has a mayor/council form of government. Brundidge markets itself as the “Antique City,” owing to the number of antique stores in its historic downtown area. Civil-rights activist and U.S. Representative John Lewis was born in Pike County and attended Brundidge schools, and National Football League players Fred Baxter and Cornelius Griffin both graduated from Pike County High School in Brundidge.
Brundidge City Hall After Troy was made the county seat of Pike County, road construction increased through surrounding areas, creating a need for a trading center near what is now Brundidge, then called Clay Hill. Most of the land in the area was owned by A. C. Bass, a pro-temperance resident who would not sell property to anyone who made a living in any way connected to alcohol. George C. Collier attempted to buy a lot from Bass but was denied and instead opened a trading post and saloon two miles south of Clay Hill. The town that grew up around it became known as Collier’s Store. Around 1854, the town’s name was changed to Brundidge to honor James M. Brundidge, a prominent citizen and founder of the local Masonic lodge.
During the Civil War, Company F of the 15th Alabama Infantry, the “Brundidge Guards,” was organized in Brundidge and was one of the first companies that deployed from Pike County; this company joined the 45th Alabama and became part of Stonewall Jackson’s foot cavalry. The town expanded after the war but continued to depend on agriculture as the major driver of its economy. In 1889, the Alabama Midland Railroad came through town, and several hotels and businesses followed. The town was incorporated in 1893.
The Brundidge Banking Company opened in 1900, and First National Bank in 1904. Both still serve the community, although the first has undergone several name changes. The town has had three newspapers over the years: the Brundidge News began publication in 1893, followed by the Brundidge Sentinel in 1926, and the Brundidge Banner in 1962. Brundidge currently has no newspaper.
Cattle Farm in Brundidge, 1926 The Johnston oil company was the town’s major industry from the early to mid-twentieth century. It began in 1922 as a producer of peanut butter and eventually operated cotton gins, warehouses, and an ice plant. The family-owned company also manufactured Velvet bread, Johnston brand peanut butter, and Johnston’s mayonnaise. The business is no longer operating, but its history is preserved at the Johnston Mill General Store and Museum.
According to 2016 Census estimates, Brundidge had a population 2,256. Of that number, 73.8 percent identified themselves as African American, 22.5 percent as white, 2.1 percent as Hispanic, 1.6 percent as two or more races, and 1.6 percent as Native American. The city’s median household income was $24,167, and per capita income was $15,066.
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Brundidge was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (22.0 percent)
- Retail trade (18.1 percent)
- Manufacturing (16.8 percent)
- Public administration (13.3 percent)
- Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (7.2 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing and utilities (6.7 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (4.9 percent)
- Construction (3.6 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (2.3 percent)
- Information (2.3 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.7 percent)
- Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (0.6 percent)
- Wholesale trade (0.6 percent)
Brundidge is part of the Pike County School District; it has one elementary school and one high school with approximately 950 total students and 57 teachers.
Brundidge is located on a major highway, U.S. 231, which runs from north Alabama to the Florida coast. State Highway 10 bisects Brundidge east to west. The nearest airport is the Troy Municipal Airport, 10 miles northwest of Brundidge.
Events and Places of Interest
Chicken Sculpture in Brundidge On October 31, Brundidge celebrates its peanut butter industry with the annual Peanut Butter Festival, which includes live music, a recipe contest, and a parade. The We Piddle Around Theater offers live stage productions and hosts an annual storytelling festival at the end of January. Brundidge holds an Independence Day parade around July 4 each year.
The Lightfoot House on South Main Street is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Farmer, Margaret Pace. One Hundred Fifty Years in Pike County Alabama, 1821-1971. Anniston, Ala.: Higginbotham, 1973.
Hattaway, Ella Revill. Modern History of Pike County. Troy, Ala.: Powell Printing, 1937.