Epes is located in east-central Sumter County in the west-central part of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
Chalk Deposits in Sumter County The town of Epes is located on Jones Bluff, former site of Fort Tombecbe, constructed by the French along the Tombigbee River in 1735. The land was transferred to the United States by the Treaty of Fort St. Stephens. Epes derives its name from physician John W. Epes, who sold the land for a depot to the Great Southern Railroad around 1870. The town was already a cotton shipping center for steamboats using the Port of Epes, and the railroad expanded the town’s importance in shipping. At its economic height, Epes had numerous businesses, including three cotton gins, a cotton-seed oil mill, a hotel, several dry-goods stores, and a drug store. The Epes Tribune, the town’s newspaper, was established in 1915. In 1936, Alabama’s second stockyard opened in Epes. The Port of Epes currently is a shipping point for wood products and other commodities. Mannington Mills, an international flooring company, has a manufacturing facility near Epes.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Epes recorded a population of 439. Of that number, 99.3 percent of respondents identified themselves as African American, and 0.7 percent as white. The town’s median household income was $23,269, and the per capita income was $17,097.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the work force in Epes was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (53.5 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (12.8 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (11.6 percent)
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (8.1 percent)
- Retail trade (8.1 percent)
- Construction (3.5 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing and utilities (2.3 percent)
Students in Epes attend Sumter County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.
U.S. Highway 11/State Highway 7 bisects Epes running northeast-southwest, and Epes lies just southeast of Interstate Highway 20/59.
Events and Places of Interest
Epes’s eastern town limit abuts the Tombigbee River. This section of the Tombigbee is known for its white cliffs, which are layers of the Selma Chalk Formation exposed by the river over time. Fort Tombecbe, built between 1735 and 1737 by French troops commanded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, is located just north of Epes and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sumter County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Sumter County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2005.