The History of Pelham
Pelham, Shelby County, Alabama acquired its name in approximately 1867. It was named after the “Gallant Pelham” who fought in the Confederate Army and was killed in action at Kelly's Ford, Virginia on March 17, 1863, at the young age of 24. It is my understanding and I believe to be a very reliable and accurate source of information, through a personal interview in 1971 with Mrs. Lula McClinton Smith Davis (1889-1983) from Pelham, that she had always heard and that her daddy (Samuel M. McClinton, 1869-1932) had always told her that Major John Pelham "helped set-up camp here in Pelham and camped overnight along with his troop in the bend of the creek" (she was referring to the "bend of the creek" at Peavine Creek, just below where it branches from Buck Creek). (Through later additional research her grandfather was James R. McClinton, born about 1831 in Shelby County Alabama, and her great-grandfather was James B. McClinton, born about 1811 in South Carolina, and they all were living in Shelby County Alabama within the 1840 census records.) In many other interviews, I was told this same story from the "older residents" of Pelham, Shelby County, Alabama. Shortly after the Civil War ended this community in Shelby County, once known as Shelbyville, became known as Pelham, Alabama.
Before this time the first county courthouse, which was fashioned of logs, was located at Shelbyville, which has long since been deserted. However, it is known to have been located within the present-day city limits of Pelham. The first county court was held “the fourth Monday in April 1818.” Records show that this courthouse was built complete with benches at a cost of $53.00. Although never intended as a permanent building, sessions were held there until 1826 when the county seat was moved to Columbia, which later became known as Columbiana.