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James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Samson is located in western Geneva County in the extreme southeastern corner of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government.
Old Bank Building in Samson
Prior to its incarnation as Samson, the town was known as McKinkleyville and Morristown. Three landowners in the area combined their property to create a 160-acre plot that they then divided into residential and town lots that they then sold. By 1904-1905, the town had grown enough to support two retail stores. Samson incorporated in 1906, and one of the first acts of the new town government was to contract with someone to remove stumps from Main Street. A fire on April 6, 1909, destroyed much of the downtown.
On March 11, 2009, disgruntled worker Michael McLendon massacred ten people in Samson and nearby Geneva; the event sparked a controversy when soldiers from nearby Fort Rucker were deployed to patrol the local streets, usurping local law enforcement.
According to 2016 Census estimates, Samson recorded a population of 2,120. Of that number, 72.8 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 20.0 percent as African American, 8.1 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 3.1 percent as two or more races, and 0.1 percent as Native American. The town's median household income was $22,310, and the per capita income was $14,566.
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Samson was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (14.7 percent)
  • Educational services, and health care and social assistance (12.4 percent)
  • Manufacturing (12.4 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (11.1 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (10.5 percent)
  • Retail trade (7.5 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (7.5 percent)
  • Public administration (7.2 percent)
  • Construction (7.0 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (3.8 percent)
  • Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (3.6 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (1.3 percent)
  • Information (0.8 percent)
Schools in Samson are part of the Geneva County School system; the town has one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school.
Geneva State Forest
State Highway 52 bisects Samson running east-west, and State Highway 87 runs north-south through the center of the town.
Events and Places of Interest
Each October, the city of Samson hosts its Falling Leaves Intertribal Gathering Powwow, which celebrates the region's Native American heritage with traditional dance and dress, food vendors, and a campout. Geneva State Forest is located 10 miles west of the town and offers camping, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Additional Resources

Geneva County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Geneva County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.
Published:  October 25, 2012   |   Last updated:  May 22, 2019