By Circuit Judge Ben Bowden


Covington County has a rich history of dedicated (and often colorful!) citizens serving as our probate judges. The office was initially created by act of the state assembly on February 11, 1850. The act called for the probate judge to be elected by the citizens of the county for a term of six years. Many of the duties originally assigned to the Probate Court remain the same today, including original jurisdiction over estates, appointment of guardians, and responsibility to record real property transactions, as well as other duties no longer under the supervision of the Court, such as the issuance of “tavern licenses”. (One can see now why the early probate judges were considered to be very powerful!). The judge was required to keep an office in the court house and be “open for the transaction of business at least on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays of each week, from nine o’clock in the morning until four in the afternoon, with the exception of​ one hour each day at noon.” The judge also presided over the court of the county commissioners and was allowed to hire a clerk at his own expense.


William T. Acree was elected as the first probate judge on May 6, 1850. Judge Acree did not complete his full term of office. He resigned effective November 15, 1854, presumably to accept a position in the Alabama General Assembly.


There is very little record of what Judge Acree accomplished during his term of office, most likely due to the number of times probate records were destroyed when the courthouse burned. It is noted by the family that Judge Acree eventually held the following offices representing the citizens of the county: Probate Judge, Postmaster, General Assembly, Census Enumerator, Confederate Army, Tax Collector, Superintendent of Education, Notary Public, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and Justice of the Peace.


Apparently the “Yankees” made it to Andalusia in the Spring of 1865. The raiding party arrested several leaders of the county government, including Judge Acree. According to the family, he was imprisoned at Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island, MS, off the coast of Biloxi.


Judge Acree was paroled after the war and returned to public service in Covington County. Apparently the Judge never signed a loyalty oath, as he was listed as being “disfranchised” in the voting records of Beat One in Covington, County.


Judge Acree did not shy from controversy in matters related to what he thought best for the citizens of the County. In 1878, while serving as Circuit Clerk, he wrote the Governor complaining of mismanagement in the County Treasurer’s office. He stated that the current Treasurer was “unfit from any knowledge of official business” and that the Treasurer had turned the office over to an assistant who was “entirely irresponsible” and who was “speculating” in the office.


Judge Acree died on January 14, 1895, at the age of 79 and was buried on January 16, 1895, in Magnolia Cemetery, Andalusia, Alabama. His obituary appeared in the Covington Times on January 18, 1895:

















An Old Landmark Gone: Judge William T. Acree breathed his last at his home near town about eleven o’clock Monday morning last. He had a severe attack of paralysis several years ago, since which time he has been feeble in health. On Monday last he had a second stroke which resulted in his death in about one hour. Deceased was about 80 years of age and one of the old land marks of this section, having settled in Covington County when quite a young man. He served one term each as probate judge, circuit clerk, and superintendent of education and also represented the county in [the] legislature. He was a member of the Baptist church and a Mason, his remains being passed away with Masonic honors on Tuesday. A large crowd witnessed the impressive ceremonies at the grave.


In addition to the grave marker above, a memorial marker is also located at the gravesite. Although it is well-worn, it appears to have Masonic markings at the top and the following epitaph:



















(The material for this article was obtained from Ward, Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871; Ward, The Burning of the Courthouses in Covington County, Alabama; The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama; and the family/descendants of Judge Acree).



Absentee Application Ballot

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Secretary of State John H. Merrill reminds Alabamians of the option to vote by absentee ballot. He states, "Amid corona-virus concerns, it is important to remember Alabamians who are concerned about contracting or spreading an illness have the opportunity to avoid the polls on Election Day by casting an absentee ballot."

For July 14th Primary Runoff Elections, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, June 29th, the deadline to submit and absentee ballot application is Thursday, July 9th, the deadline to return an absentee ballot to the Absentee Election Manager is the close of business Monday, July 13th, and the last day to postmark an absentee ballot is Monday, July 13th.

Click the link below for the Application for an absentee ballot.

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2018 Primary Runoff Ballots

STAR ID (Click picture for more information)

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As you know, Oct. 1, 2020, is the federal deadline for REAL ID-compliant identification to board commercial domestic flights and to enter certain federal facilities. We are working to ensure those who may need STAR IDs (our state’s version of REAL ID) have ample time to obtain one prior to October of next year.

Lori Jhons of Governor Kay Ivey’s staff shared a link to the Blount County Probate website featuring the Governor’s STAR ID message. (See below.)  In addition, we have attached the latest version of the STAR ID flier with details concerning first issuance. The Covington County Probate Office will still continue to offer drivers license renewals and duplicates. For the STAR ID, You must visit the driver's license examiners office located on the right outside of the Court house.


Here are those links:


Governor’s STAR ID message, featuring ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MCNbuiBMDQ


Blount County Probate’s page: http://www.blountcountyalprobate.com/Default.asp?ID=61&pg=Driver+License  

September Cancer Awareness Month (Click picture for more information)

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If you have been in the Probate office recently, you may have noticed our tag display board has been changed. On display for this month, we have the Mike Slive Prostate Foundation tag, the Curing Childhood Cancer tag, and the Drive out Ovarian Cancer tag. Remember, these tags fall under the specialty tag rate. The first time a customer purchases these plates, they will be charged $55.00 extra, each year after this a customer will pay $50.00 extra. Many people are curious as to where this money goes when it is collected. The first year, $5.00 of the collected amount will go to the Alabama Department of Revenue. The rest of the collected amount goes to the Foundations that each tag sponsors:

Prostate Cancer tag funds cutting edge prostate cancer research in Alabama.

Curing Childhood Cancer tag are distributed to the UAB department of Pediatric/Children's Alabama to be used for medical research expenses.

Drive out Ovarian Cancer are distributed to the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation for research at UAB hospital

Alabama Wildlife Art Hard Licenses Now on Sale (Click picture for more information)

For years Alabama has been accustom to paper hunting and fishing license. The Department of Conservation and Natural resources would like to introduce to you the NEW Alabama Wildlife Art Hard Licenses...

For years Alabama has been accustom to paper hunting and fishing license. The Department of Conservation and Natural resources would like to introduce to you the NEW Alabama Wildlife Art Hard Licenses. For only 5 additional dollars, you may chose from eight different cards. These cards display a variety of outdoor scenes. The art scenes include, deer, turkey, freshwater fishing, wildlife heritage with an indigo bunting, sandhill crane and shooting sports. A deer and feral hog adorn the inaugural bait privilege license.

A total of 32 license privileges are eligible for purchase as a hard card, including annual hunting and fishing licenses for residents and non-residents, state duck stamp, Wildlife Heritage and bait privilege licenses. Trip licenses, lifetime licenses and no-cost privileges are not included in this feature.

Visit www.outdooralabama.com/license-information for more information on available licenses.

Personalized Tags (Click picture for more information)

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There have been new plates that have come into production starting June 1st.  Take a look!  Visit the personalized tag website for a complete collection of tag availability!


2017 Handicap Self-Certify (Click picture for more information)

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The five-year term for all handicap placards and plates ends in 2017. This means that this year you will have to re-certify in order to continue to be eligible for handicap placards or tags. The form issued by the Alabama Department of Revenue is attached in the following link, and must be completed by the applicant themsleves before or at time of renewal.

Register to Vote (Click picture for more information)

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To Register to Vote, Check your polling place, obtain Sample Ballots and more information about voting please visit the following link!

Abandoned Vehicle Law Change (Click picture for more information)

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Legislative Act 2015-470 amends the unclaimed/abandoned motor vehicle law. Effective July 1, 2016, a person or entity, including towing companies, in possession of an “unclaimed” or “abandoned” motor vehicle must report the following information to the Department of Revenue (DOR) before a motor vehicle can be sold as an “abandoned” motor vehicle. NOTE: ACT 2015-470 only applies to the sale of an abandoned vehicle for which notice is published on or after July 1, 2016. If the notice of the sale was posted prior to July 1, 2016, the vehicle may be sold under the current abandoned motor vehicle law.

NOW Offering Permanent Conservation ID # (Click picture for more information)

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Beginning August 22, 2016, hunters and anglers will be able to obtain the New Conservation ID#.  This 6-digit permanent Conservation ID# can be used to report your deer or turkey harvest in the Game Check System. Future plans include license purchasing, accessing your deer and turkey harvest history, etc.

Stacy B Brooks Sworn-In Ceremony (Click picture for more information)

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Stacy B Brooks is sworn in by Circuit Judge Benjamin M. Bowden

Marriage Certificates (Click picture for more information)

​Are you ready to get married? We now offer Marriage Certificates. According to Covington County Probate Judge Stacy Brooks..

Are you ready to get married? We now offer Marriage Certificates. 

Please follow the following steps to insure everything has been done correctly.

1. Fill out the Marriage certificate online. 

2. Make sure to have both spouses signatures notarized.

3. Bring the Certificate into the Probate Court to have it recorded.

4. The cost for two adults is $75.50. 

    The cost for minors is $78.50. (additional paperwork is required)

Marriage Certificates can be found at the following website:


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1K N Court Square
Andalusia, AL 36420


Tag & Titles Questions: 334-428-2510

Recording Questions: 334-428-2518/2519

Probate Court Questions: 334-428-2512