Originally inhabited my members of the Cherokee Tribe, Fort Payne — formerly known as Willstown — is the county seat of DeKalb County, Alabama. Six years ago, during the taking of the 2010 census, Fort Payne had a population just over 14,000.
After 30 years of Indian removal — in which the U.S. Army interned and eventually relocated countless Native Americans to Oklahoma, commonly referred to as the “Trail of Tears” — Fort Payne was sparsely populated. It wasn’t until 1878 that the city became the county seat of DeKalb County, achieving incorporation status in 1889.
Popular tourist attractions include the Little River Canyon National Preserve, located on Lookout Mountain, and DeSoto State Park. The city is also only a half hour away from Guntersville Lake, Weiss Lake, and the Coosa River. For county music aficionados, the musical group Alabama is based in Fort Payne.
Demographically, Fort Payne is 72% white, 4% African-American, 1% Native American, and 21% Hispanic. The median household income is $33,560 — $29,731 for men and $20,135 for women. 12.3% of the population lives in poverty.
Notable residents of Fort Payne include Weston Burt, Miles C. Allgood, Thomas H. Cook, the members of Alabama — i.e. Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen — Jerry Ellis, Milford W. Howard, Larry Nelson, Philip Ober, Lilius Bratton Rainey, Edward Stinson, and Kathy Stinson.
The DeKalb County Circuit Clerk is located at: 300 Grand Avenue S., #202, Fort Payne, AL 35967.