Early Westward Migration

One of the first Euro-American migrants to set up a permanent homestead in the area of Tuscumbia Landing was Michael Dixon, who travelled up the Tennessee River and Spring Creek and built a small cabin near the creek’s source spring in 1816. Over time, Dixon’s settlement expanded as other families moved to the region, and soon the community of Occocopoosa was incorporated in 1820. During the next two years, the town switched names multiple times, until ultimately becoming Tuscumbia by act of the Alabama State Congress in 1822.

In 1820, the Tennessee River was still impassable for most vessels, and trade to the region from elsewhere was typically difficult and irregular. However, this changed later that year, as the Jackson Military Road was cleared and trade to the blossoming community of Nashville was expanded. Tuscumbia also soon expanded as a central trade point in northwestern Alabama. Over the next century, the developing “Quad-Cities” of Sheffield, Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, and Florence became a significant agricultural and industrial center.

  • <p>Map of the roadways of early Alabama. Jackson's Military Road and the Natchez Trace both pass through the northwestern corner of Alabama.</p>