The Etowah Historical Society had its beginning in 1953 as an outgrowth of a committee who placed two markers at Black Creek. These were to the memory of Confederate heroine Emma Sansom and a soldier killed named Robert Turner.
Under gunfire, teenage heroine Emma Sansom guided Gen. Forrest's troops across swollen Black Creek on May 2, 1863 after the main bridge was burned by Federal officers. The following day, in part because of Emma’s bravery, Confederate Forces captured Union Col. Streight and his entire command of 1,466 men near Cedar Bluff. Of interests, Emma Sansom’s mother was a niece of Chief James Vann.
It was at this time that these committee members and others interested realized the need of an organization for research, and especially for maintaining memorials. So with the marker committee as a nucleus, the Etowah Historical Society came into being the following year. To this day, it is the oldest continuous historical society in the state of Alabama.
It has grown to a small museum with many exhibits on display, a large history library with many Native American books and materials, over 25,000 digitized historical photos, genealogy information and nearly all issues of the Gadsden Times dating from 1867.