During the early 1800’s, Andrew Jackson led his army of Indian fighters south from Tennessee through what is now Shelby County, Alabama. They encountered some hostility from a village of Creek Indians located on the Cahaba River. Jackson wiped out the village and continued south towards his rendezvous with history at Horseshoe Bend.

Several years later, some of the men that fought with Jackson returned to the site of the village destroyed in 1813. They returned with their families and all their worldly possessions and Mudtown was reborn. The Actons, Lees, Baileys, Caldwells, and others would become the first white settlers into the Shelby County area. Signs of their existance still exist today in the form of Acton Road, Caldwell Mill Road, Caldwell Crossings, and other communities and roads in modern-day Shelby County.

I first heard of Mudtown while doing genealogy research. This led me to wonder – where was Mudtown located? Was anything left? After quite a few rounds with Google, I finally discovered that Mudtown was located on the Cahaba River right where the Altadena Valley Country Club is now located…funny enough I pass it every single day on my way to work…

-cover image by author

10 thoughts on “Mudtown

  1. This is fascinating! I am a descendent of the Acton family and am now involved in trying to piece all the family history together. I will be visiting the shelby county museum in June to look at pictures and learn more about the Acton family. I am a real history buff. I'm not proud that native americans were thrown off their land or that slavery existed, but it was what it was and I'm glad that slavery no longer exists and that the Native American people are building their dignity by honoring their culture, regaining their lost language and they are no practicing their cultural ceremonies. Sometimes history is ugly and hopefully, we can all learn from the past.

    Love the photo of the Cahaba River

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  2. Mud Town was located where Sicard Hollow Rd & Blue Lkae Dr/Cahaba Heights Rd intersect on the Cahaba river. A brick pumping station is there now.
    Indians first settled the location then Mr. Merkle. Flood wiped the settlement out and New Merkle was built which was flooded.
    Cahaba heights was established up on the hill as a result.
    I am looking to find who operated the mines nearby?
    will@appraisalstaff.net

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  3. Linn Iron Works had a mine near the pump house. If you contacted the Birmingham Hitorical Society, they could possibly give you more insight….I am the third great grand-daughter of Charles Linn and John Henley, two founding fathers of the city of Birmingham. The Actons, Baileys , and Caldwell families still live in this area along with the Coshatt family.

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  4. This is accurate with what my great aunt tells me. She's 96. I have deep roots in the area. I attended Cahaba Heights Elementary School, which used to be called New Merkle, though I never knew why. Now I know! My aunt told me that our less-noble relatives, who shall remain anonymous, lived in Mud Town and produced moonshine during the 1920s,30s.

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  5. Ask just about any older person whose from the area. They all know their history. Find an Acton, Bailey, Caldwell,Lee, etc… Go to any of the older churches founded by these families too- Altadena Valley Presbyterian Church, Bryan Memorial, New Hope C.P. Church, Rocky Ridge C.P. Church, maybe Philadelphia Baptist Church or possibly Briarwood Presbyterian Church. These are all well established and all in the vicinity.

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