If one were to look up “Jernigan, Alabama” on the Internet, that person would find that Jernigan is an unincorporated community in Russell County that is 300 feet above sea level. A little more research would yield that it had its own post office from 1876-1907 and was once intended to be the terminus for a proposed branch of the Georgia, Florida, and Alabama (GF&A) railway, colloquially referred to as the “Gator, Frog, and Alligator.”
Around 1837, Henry W. Jernigan, for whom the community is named, having cleared land and built a home and general store, brought his family to the settlement that became known as Jernigan. In its early days, Jernigan was an important and bustling community due to its proximity to the Chattahoochee River. Over time, the little town has dwindled. Both the general stores, The Village Mercantile and W.A. Motley’s Grocery, and the Jernigan Methodist Church have closed.
Because it apparently has not been included in recent Census counts, there is no population information available. Even the signs marking Jernigan’s existence have been gone for years.
But that changed this month. Alabama State Representative Barry Forte, along with County Commissioner for District 7, Larry Screws, and County Engineer, Shawn Blakeney joined Jernigan resident William A. Motley in the quiet ceremony of installing new markers to bear witness that the Jernigan community still exists.