The Elyton Land Company – Part 1

I was planning on writing a short article on the Elyton Land Company, but as I started digging through the stacks, I realized that this is better suited to a series of articles – with some being more extensive than others.  So here is the first bit about the founding of the corporation that built Birmingham, Alabama.


The Elyton Land Company is the company that was formed to found and promote the new city of Birmingham, Alabama.  It was organized on January 26, 1871, which could be considered the city’s birthday.


The Founding Fathers of the city were a diverse group and will be covered in later posts, but they were all in some way connected to the railroad that was being proposed through the Jones Valley (where Birmingham is now).  In 1870 several of them gathered in Mr Josiah Morris’s bank in Montgomery and proposed to purchase land in the area, and through various deals managed to buy 4,150 acres of land – small portions of which have never been developed and are now owned by The Real Estate Company of the South (the successor of the Elyton Land Company).  All of this land was transferred to the control of Josiah Morris.


December 20, 1870 the following notice was recorded

The State of Alabama, Jefferson County — To the Probate Judge of said County:

The undersigned respectfully represent unto your honor that they have formed an association for buying lands and selling lots with a view to the location, laying off and effecting the building of a city at or near Elyton, in said county, in which county the business is to be carried on, and are desirous of becoming incorporated.

And for that purpose attach hereto a declaration in writing, as required by law.

The undersigned apply for a charter and to be incorporated under the general incorporation law of the State of Alabama.

(signatures of the founders)

We, whose names are subscribed to this declaration, being desirous of forming an association for buying lands and selling lots with a view to the location, laying off and effecting the building of a city at or near the present town of Elyton, and of becoming incorporated, do hereby declare and make known for the purposes aforesaid as follows:

  1. That said association shall be known by the corporate name of the “Elyton Land Company,” and the object for which it is formed is, the buying lands and selling lots with the view to the location, laying off and effecting the building of a city, at or near the town of Elyton, in the County of Jefferson and State of Alabama.
  2. That the amount of the capital stock is $200,000, which is divided into 2,000 shares.
  3. That the names of the stockholders and the number of shares held by each are as follows:


Josiah Morris, who holds 437 shares.

James R. Powell, who holds 360 shares.

Samuel Tate, who holds 360 shares.

Campbell Wallace, who holds 120 shares.

Henry M. Caldwell, who holds 120 shares.

Boiling Hall, who holds 120 shares.

James N. Gilmer, who holds 120 shares.

Benjamin P. Worthington, who holds 133 shares.

William F. Nabers, who holds 180 shares.

William S. Mudd, who holds 180 shares.


The corporation was formed in January, and Colonel Powell was elected as its first president.


Short and to the point, I know, but ya gotta start somewhere!


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