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James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
McIntosh is located in southeastern Washington County in the southwest corner of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government. Local tycoon and congressional representative Frank Boykin owned numerous businesses in the area.
McIntosh Log Church
McIntosh was named for Capt. John McIntosh, a British officer of Scottish descent. He was granted a parcel of land above the Tombigbee River by the British government after it had established British West Florida from territory claimed in its Seven Years' War victory. McIntosh was the grandfather of George Troup, future Georgia congressman and governor, who was born in 1780 at McIntosh Bluff, as the area was known, and also Creek leader William McIntosh, who played a prominent role in the Creek War of 1813-14.
McIntosh Bluff served as the seat of Washington County from 1800 to 1804, when the seat was moved to the nearby community of Wakefield, which no longer exists. Former vice-president Aaron Burr was arrested nearby in 1807. McIntosh Bluff later served as the first Baldwin County seat, after boundaries were redrawn, from 1809 to 1820. In 1903, the town voted to drop "Bluff" from its name and became known simply as McIntosh. It was not until the 1950s that the telephone came to McIntosh. The town was incorporated in April 1970.
McIntosh's economy has been largely based on timber and the related turpentine industry and a large natural salt dome located near the town. It was deposited during the Early Tertiary Period when the lower half of Alabama was inundated by the sea. The salt is used in the manufacture of caustic soda, which in turn is used in a number of industries, including pulp and paper manufacture; the salt is mined by two chemical plants that opened in the early 1950s. The dome contains an estimated 15-20 billion tons of salt. Frank Boykin owned thousands of acres in the area, including timber land and land above the salt dome, and became very wealthy through his interests in timber, turpentine, the salt deposits, and other business ventures.
According to 2016 Census estimates, McIntosh recorded a population of 339. Of that number, 76.1 percent of respondents identified themselves as African American, 23.0 percent as white, 0.6 percent as Hispanic, 0.6 percent as two or more races, and 0.3 percent as American Indian. The town's median household income was $46,786, and the per capita income was $21,157.
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in McIntosh was divided among the following industrial categories:
  • Manufacturing (18.8 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (18.8 percent)
  • Educational services and health care and social assistance (15.9 percent)
  • Construction (10.1 percent)
  • Public administration (10.1 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (6.5 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (5.8 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (3.6 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (3.6 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (3.6 percent)
  • Retail trade (2.9 percent)
Schools in McIntosh are part of the Washington County school system; the town has one elementary school and one high school.
McIntosh is bisected by U.S. Highway 43 running north-south. County Highway 35 dead-ends into Highway 43, coming in from the west. The Southern Railroad passes by the town, providing transport for area industry.
Events and Places of Interest
McIntosh is located on the Tombigbee River, which offers water sports such as boating and fishing. The McIntosh Log Church, also known as St. Andrews Chapel (ca. 1850), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Additional Resources

Matte, Jacqueline Anderson. The History of Washington County, the First County in Alabama. Chatom, Ala.: Washington County Historical Society, 1982.
Washington County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Washington County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2005.
Published:  June 12, 2017   |   Last updated:  September 29, 2020