Mobile, the name of a river and bay in the southern part of Alabama, derived from that of a tribe of Indians (the Mauvilians or Mo-bilians) who inhabited the adjacent country at the time of its first settlement by Europeans. The river Mobile is formed by the confluence of the Alabama and Tombigbee. A few miles below this point it divides into two branches, the eastern one of which takes the name of Tensas, the western retaining that of Mobile. Before reuniting, both these streams separate into several other subdivisions, all of which meet in one common embouchure at the head of Mobile bay. The length of the Mobile river is about 50 m., and its general direction is south. In the lower part of its course the hanks are marshy and alluvial. - The bay of Mobile is about 30 m. in length from N. to S., with a general width of 10 or 12 m., except where it expands on the southeast into the subsidiary bay of Bon Secours, which extends some 8 or 10m. further to the eastward. The entrance from the gulf of Mexico, between Mobile point on the east and Dauphine island on the west, is about 3 m. wide, and is commanded by Fort Morgan on Mobile point, and Fort Gaines on Dauphine island.
The bay has another outlet on the southwest through Grant's pass, N. of Dauphine island, which communicates with Mississippi sound. Through this channel steamers and other vessels of light draught generally pass when plying between Mobile and New Orleans. The bar in front of the main entrance of the bay admits of the passage of vessels drawing 21 or 22 ft. The ordinary anchorage for ships is 4 or 5 m. within the entrance of the bay. The whole of the upper portion of the bay is shallow, and is supposed to be gradually tilling up with sedimentary deposits from the rivers that flow into it. There is a lighthouse on Mobile point; another on Sand island, 3 m. S., immediately in front of the entrance; and one at the head of the bay, a little below the city of Mobile.
Mobile, a S. W. county of Alabama, bounded E. by Mobile river and bay, S. by the gulf of Mexico, and W. by Mississippi; area, nearly 1,400 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 49,311, of whom 21,107 were colored. The surface is generally uneven, except in that portion bordering on the bay and gulf, and the soil is sandy and poor, mainly covered with forests of pine. It has many streams of pure water, and, except on the low borders of the river, is very healthful. The county is traversed by the Mobile and Ohio, the New Orleans. Mobile, and Texas, and other railroads terminating at Mobile. A few miles S. of the mainland, in the gulf of Mexico, immediately W. of the entrance of Mobile bay, and forming a part of the county, is Dauphine island, the seat of a French settlement established by Bienville in 1702. It was originally called Sras>acre island, from the number of human bones found upon it. For several years it was at intervals the seat of government of the colony of Louisiana. The chief productions in 1870 were 61,350 bushels of Indian com, 10,394 of Irish and 117,110 of sweet potatoes, 90,100 lbs. of rice, 7,532 of wool. 1,450 of honey, and 317 bales of cotton.
There were on farms 45] horses, 492 mules and asses, 3.214 milch cows, 518 working oxen, 4,377 other cattle, 3,013 sheep, and 5,567 swine. There were 5 Hour mills, 12 saw mills, 11 manufactories of tin, copper, etc, 14 of cigars, 2 of engines and boilers, and 5 of tar and turpentine. Capital, Mobile.