Pickens County is a county located on the central western border of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,746. Its county seat is Carrollton, located in the center of the county. It is a prohibition, or dry county, although the communities of Carrollton and Aliceville voted to become wet in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Like the rest of Alabama, this had long been occupied by Native Americans; historically the Muscogee people (Creek) dominated this area. Pickens County was established on the western border of Alabama on December 20, 1820, and named for revolutionary war hero General Andrew Pickens of South Carolina. The county seat was relocated from Pickensville to Carrollton in 1830.
Less than one-third of the county was developed for cotton plantations, which were worked by enslaved African Americans brought south by northern businessmen interested in cheap cotton. These plantations were developed primarily in the southernmost reaches of the county, in the lowlands along the banks of the Tombigbee River and stretching over a small prairie-like area. The rest of the county was settled by yeomen farmers who held few slaves; it was topographically unsuited for plantation-scale farming operations.
During the American Civil War, the first courthouse in Carrollton was burned on April 5, 1865, by troops of Union General John T. Croxton. Recovering from that and other damage was part of the postwar work for the county.