In 1821 the Alabama Legislature selected this site for Alabama's first toll gate.
Judge John Dabney Terrell Sr. (Marion County's founding father and framer of the Alabama constitution), was the President of the
Alabama Senate during selection. Toll Gate was a gate that intersected north/south traffic. A toll was charged to help
maintain the road. Tolls included: 75 cents for each wagon and team, 50 cents for each 2-wheel pleasure carriage,
12 cents for each man on horse, 4 cents for each head of cattle, and 2 cents for each hog or sheep.
There was no charge for the U.S. Mail, people traveling on foot, and for those going to mill or
preaching. The toll house became a rest station for the stagecoaches that where traveling between Washington, DC and New Orleans.
The stage sounded a horn for each passenger before arriving to let the station know how many passengers where needing refreshment.
The toll gate was located at the intersection of the road to Gin Port (original seat of Marion County) and Andrew Jackson's
famous Military Road. In 1821 Gin Port became Mississippi territory. Military Road (build by Jackson and
his troops from 1816 to 1821) shortened the route from Nashville to New Orleans by 200 miles. This road made the movement of
supply and artillery wagons easier for our military. Military Road was also an alternate route to Natchez Trace which was plagued by bandits.
The intersection (constructed on the hunting grounds of the Chickasaw Tribe) was about 1 mile north of three Chickasaw burial
mounds on the Buttahatchee River.
The name "Toll Gate" was given to the community surrounding the site and to the north as a significant
landmark to the area. The first to settle this area was a man named William Ragsdale around 1818. A post office was put in Toll Gate in 1838.
Just south of the Buttahatchee River is the Military Ford Community which by the 1840's was part of Toll Gate. About seven miles south of this
community was Pikeville (the county seat). Lamar County was established in 1868. Since Pikeville was so close to the new county line there
was a new county seat selected. An unsettled area (called Center) 6 miles north of Toll Gate won the election.
The Alabama Legislature was petitioned for a new county seat election by Captain Albert J. Hamilton (Judge Terrell's son-in-law). In 1881 Toll Gate won the site election.
Captain Hamilton donated 40 acres of his land in Toll Gate to the Community to be sold in lots. The money from the lots was to be used to construct a new county
courthouse. In his
honor the new town was named "Hamilton". The town was still under construction in 1882 when the county
court was moved there. The Toll Gate post office was also moved to Hamilton and renamed that same year. A toll complex which was
about three miles north of the original site had become the new seat of county government over a period of 60 years.
Judge Terrell's final resting place is in the Chickasaw burial mounds. He played an important role in establishing the toll gate.
Before becoming demolished in the 1970's the toll house and the stage station became the Bolin House. One partially burned
timber (rescued from a cleanup fire in 1974) is on display at the Nix Library in Hamilton.