Dekalb County Communities

History of Valley Head

An early Valley Head street scene.
Valley Head, Alabama was established in 1922.

The area occupied by Valley Head is the same area that the Cherokees called Telonga. Excavations close to Valley Head on US Highway 11 have yielded skeletal remains believed to date between 7,000 B.C. and 700 A.D. Valley Head was home to a Native American village with a meeting ground on what is now Winston Place Bed and Breakfast. Council meetings were held under a large oak tree that stood on the Winston Place grounds, a historical 1831 Antebellum Mansion that was originally the home of the distinguished Winston Family of Winston Hall, Yorkshire, England.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830, which initiated the forced removal of Indians on the Trail of Tears, opened the land to white settlers. Many Cherokee avoided the journey by hiding in the area's caves and ravines. Evidence of this can be found in the minutes of the Head Springs Primitive Baptist Church constituted in 1835. In September 1835 two new members were received, Isaac, a man of colour the property of Elizabeth Packs and Caty, a woman of colour the property of Elizabeth Packs. Elizabeth Pack was Cherokee, daughter of Chief John Lowrey, who maintained ownership of her land and was not forced on the Trail of Tears. Since many people of Cherokee descent hid their heritage for years to avoid persecution, it is difficult to trace the full story.

Sequoyah, the Cherokee Indian who singlehandly developed the Cherokee alaphabet, had a Cherokee mother and a German father and was born in Tennessee. He moved to the Valley Head area in the 1820's. Sequoyah Caverns, located off Interstate 59 at Valley Head, was named for the famous Cherokee.

In 1845 the Mount Zion Church was established. It was renamed in 1898 to Valley Head Baptist Church. Early services were held in a frame building that was also used as the school. The Valley Head Presbyterian Church was organized in the parlor of the William Overton Winston home in 1872. Today the church is known as the Winston Memorial Presbyterian Church.