was established from a need for a museum and archives in Marengo County that will tell of the history, culture, and people of one of the oldest counties in Alabama.
for commercial success and a diverse population due to its location in the fork of the Black Warrior and the Tombigbee rivers. Founded by the French in 1817, they created a spirited town that welcomed European merchants and American planters from states all up and down the eastern seaboard.
originally the home of Merchants Grocery. Built in 1895, the building had the first elevator in Demopolis. Bert and Mary Louise Rosenbush purchased the building in 1970 and fully restored it for their furniture store. Rosenbush Furniture began in 1895 with Julius Rosenbush, grandfather of Bert, and was the oldest family-owned furniture store in Alabama when Bert and Louise retired in 2002. They gifted the building to the City of Demopolis for use as a museum.
The earliest known inhabitants of present Marengo County were the American Indian mound builders until about 1600 AD. The man-made earthen mounds were sometimes built very large and others small and inconspicuous. They were used not only for ceremonies but also for habitation and burials as well. There are hundreds of these mounds in Marengo County.
The Vine and Olive Colony was an early settlement of French expatriates located near present-day Demopolis in Marengo County. The plan by which they were to establish orchards of grapes and olives in Marengo county was ill-conceived at best. Although the Vine and Olive Colony can be described as a failure, many of the French colonists who remained successfully integrated into the area.
From 1814 onward, pioneers caught up by "Alabama Fever" poured out of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky into what Gen. Andrew Jackson called "the best... unsettled country in America". Wealthy migrants came in covered wagons, bringing their slaves, cattle and hogs. The majority were ambitious farmers who moved to the newly opened area in hopes of acquiring fertile land on which to grow cotton.
Marengo county was developed by planters who built huge cotton plantations dependent on African American slave labor. The enslaved black population comprised the majority of the county population decades before the American Civil War. At this time there were 778 plantations and farms in the county. The influence of the African American population can still be seen throughout the county to this day.
The Marengo County History & Archives Museum has a comprehensive school program for all the area schools and youth groups. We offer tours and school programs for all age groups. Area educators are encouraged to contact us to set up times for school groups to tour our museum.
MCHAM will be hosting a special talk and book signing presented by the Marengo County Historical Society. Renowned photographer Andrew Moore will be on hand to discuss his new book, Blue Alabama.