Pickens County was established on December 20, 1820.
Pickens County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of 2000, the population was 20,949. Its county seat is Carrollton, and it is a prohibition, or dry county.
Pickens County was established on December 20, 1820, and named for revolutionary war hero General Andrew Pickens of South Carolina. The county seat was relocated from Pickensville to Carrollton in 1830. The first courthouse in Carrollton was burned on April 5, 1865, by troops of Union General John T. Croxton. A second courthouse was also destroyed by fire on November 16, 1876. Though arson was suspected, no arrest was made until January 1878, when Henry Wells, an African American with some criminal history was arrested and locked in the garett of the new building, which had been erected in 1877. According to legend, Wells was peering down from the north garett window as a mob gathered to hang him. A bolt of lightning struck nearby and “etched” Wells’ anguished face into the window glass. A vague image resembling a face can still be seen in that lower right-hand pane of that window. Also see: Pickens County Courthouse.
On April 8, 1998, a supercell thunderstorm produced an F3 tornado in Pickens County. This windstorm injured two people and damaged five homes including mobile homes. It rotated seventeen miles (27 km) from Holman to north of Northport. Twenty-four homes and thirteen mobile homes were also in destruction. Moments later, that same supercell thunderstorm produced an F5 tornado struck northeastern Tuscaloosa near the Black Warrior River before entering western Jefferson County where it destroyed Oak Grove High School and killed thirty-two people in its path.
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,949 people, 8,086 households, and 5,789 families residing in the county. The population density was 24 people per square mile (9/km²). There were 9,520 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 55.95% White, 42.96% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. About 0.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.
There were 8,086 households, out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.80% were married couples living together, 18.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.40% were non-families. Nearly 26.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56, and the average family size was 3.11.
In the county, the population was spread out with 27.30% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 25.80% from 25 to 44, 22.80% from 45 to 64, and 15.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $26,254, and the median income for a family was $32,938. Males had a median income of $28,843 versus $20,569 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,746. About 20.10% of families and 24.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.30% of those under age 18 and 22.30% of those age 65 or over.