History of Argo
(The following excerpt is taken from the book "Argo Through The Years" by Claude Earl Massey)
By 1818 many settlers had migrated into this area. Alabama's Territorial Governor, William W. Bibb, signed into law "an act to alter and ascertain more particularly the boundaries of the county of Shelby and to lay off a new county in the northeast part thereof, to be called and known by the name of St. Clair County." As one can see from the further description found in Section 2 of the Act, much of present Jefferson County was then in St. Clair County. "Beginning at the northwest corner of the county of Shelby, and from thence running along the ridge dividing the waters of the Black Warrior from those of the Cahawba and Coosa rivers to the Cherokee boundary line, thence along said line to the Coosa River, thence down said river to the county of Shelby, and thence along the boundary of said county to the beginning, shall form one county to be called and known by the name of St. Clair."
According to the Act of November 21, 1818, creating St. Clair County, it was provided "for the time being, the said courts for said county of St. Clair, shall be holden at the house of Alexander Brown" (Act 1818 2nd Session page 72-3). However, it was also provided that for want of necessary buildings at this place, the courts could adjourn to such other places contiguous thereto, as might seem most proper. It was on this provision that court was held at the home of Samuel Massey, Justice of the Peace.
Circuit Court records. St. Clair County. Page 65
"State of Alabama
St. Clair County
In compliance with an order of court from April Term 1820. We, the undersigned arbitrators chosen by said parties to settle the controversy between Robert Fullerton, Plantiff and Jean McCombe, Deft. Convened at the house of Samuel Massey ( Justice of the Peace) in said county on the 19th of April 1820 and on investigating their accounts, we find most of their account erroneous and out-of-date, but on those accounts which were not out-of-date, we find a balance due from the plaintiff to the defendant of twenty-nine dollars and twenty-five cents. We therefore do award: the plantiff shall pay all costs except the deft. shall pay his own attorney.
Given under our hands and seals
19th April 1820 Warren Truss William Hobbs
Ruben Keyton Charles C. Clayton
James Martin James Martin, Esq."
Warren Truss, whose name appeared first, undoubtedly served as jury forman. He entered the eighty acres joining Samuel Massey to the west. St. Clair County's western boundary extended to what is now Deerfoot Parkway. Most of the area south and west of Argo is now located in Trussville. Therefore the first court held in what is now Trussville, was held in the home of Samuel Massey, J. P. on April 19, 1820.
Argo is located in both the extreme eastern part of Jefferson County and western part of St. Clair County. The early Indian trail the settlers used when they first came to the Alabama territory became known as the Georgia Road. Those coming from the Carolinas would cross north Georgia, and the Cherokee Indian Territory of N.E. Alabama Territory through what later became Gadsden, Ashville, St. Clair Springs, Springville and Argo to reach this territory. The Georgia Road passed east of where Central Baptist church was later located. The church originally sat where the railroad is located, just in front of the Central Cemetery. The following is from the 1859 Canaan Baptist Association minutes, page 3: "Association is to be held with the Central Church, Jefferson County, Saturday before the first Sabbath in October 1860, 7 miles below Springville and 23 miles above Elyton on the Georgia Road." The Georgia Road continued past where the Argo School was later built. It then turned west on what is now Advent Circle on the north side of Clear Branch Creek. From there it passed where the Massey School was later built and the Massey Cemetery. From there it turned south to what later became Camp Mary Munger, where the old Massey mill later stood and on through Truss to Elyton . In later years a steel bridge was built over the Little Cahaba Creek just below the mill. This allowed the old Georgia Road to take a shorter route to Argo. It then crossed the railroad and up the east side, which is now Micklewright Road. (See the 1905 map). The railroad came in 1871 providing freight and passenger service from Birmingham to Chattanooga. In the late 1920s and early 1930s the old Georgia Road was straightened and placed on the west side of the railroad and became U. S. Highway 11. The iron bridge at the old mill was removed during World War II. Argo is now divided by the county line, Interstate 59, U.S. 11 and the Norfolk-Southern Railroad.
The Old Mill at Camp Mary Munger was the first and only water operated grist mill, saw mill and cotton gin built in Argo, just below the confluence of the Clear Branch, Massey Falls Branch and the Mill Branch which forms the Little Cahaba Creek. James Robert (Bob) Massey was an accomplished blacksmith and had one of the finest shops in this part of the county. He built a cotton gin below the Massey Cemetery on the Georgia Road in the 1880s and ginned for the public. About 1888 after finishing his public ginning, all was lost to fire including one ginned bale and eight bales of his own unginned cotton. Having to pay for the one ginned bale of cotton and owing A. W. Woodall at Springville $375 for a year's groceries, he was deep in debt. Woodall carried his debt for another year at 8% interest. Bob also ran the Massey Mill, which was located on what is now Camp Mary Munger Road. The Trussville Life newspaper made this announcement on July 3, 1897: "James R. (Bob) Massey says he gets more corn than he can grind, as Cahaba Creek is very low now. His blacksmithing is nearly over with, for people will soon be through work." George Massey (Bob's brother) was one of the last to operate the mill in the late 1890s and early 1900s. In later years the property was bought by the Munger family of Birmingham. In 1925 the mill and 65 acres of surrounding land were donated by Mrs. R. S. Munger to the Young Women's Christian Association. For about 40 years the place was a girls' camp, and the mill site's dam water served as a swimming area. Today it is privately owned by Carey Brewster.
On February 19, 1987 residents of Argo voted to incorporate and in April of that year, Gordon H. Massey was elected its first mayor. Douglas Smith, George Johnson, Donald "Duck" Leopard, Rassie Loggins and Paul Jennings were elected as the first town council.