In 1830 a group of people left Edgefield, South Carolina on a westward migration and settled to grow crops in the lowlands of what is now Cleburne County near the Tallapoosa River.
Among them were John and Nancy Ross and their 13 children.
As their family plantation prospered, John gave land for churches, schools and cemeteries, which gradually became a settlement that was later named Heflin.
The main street of Heflin was named in his honor.
This street had a well in the middle, downtown, so that farmers delivering cotton could draw water to give their teams of horses. The well remained until the early 1920s.
Heflin was named after local physician Dr. Wilson L. Heflin through an election. He played a large part in the civic, social, economic and religious life of eastern Alabama and was a close friend of the Ross family.
Heflin was founded in 1882 with one store and a population of 75 -100. That same year the Georgia Pacific Railroad was completed to Heflin from Atlanta.
The town incorporated by the legislature on December 10, 1892 and J.F. Morgan was the first mayor.
Early settlers were J.C. Bean, M.D. Robinson, W.F. Stephenson, J.P. Morgan, J.C. Osborn, W.J. Henry, W.A. Porter, B.F. Owens, Dr. W.A. Neal, Dr. J.C. McClinlock, N.R. Hunnicutt and M.L. Pinson.
Heflin became a cotton center after the railroad was completed. People who brought bales of cotton to the railroad often camped overnight in the wagon yard and cooked in a camp house located behind Atkins and Owens' warehouse.
In 1885, the Methodist Episcopal Church South was organized, stemming from the Cahulga Church established in 1840.
The Baptists built their first church in Heflin in 1882. A Methodists Episcopal North building was erected in 1890.
The first merchants were W.H. Hunnicutt and Son, C.A. Smith and Son, Charles Prescott, Mark Pinson, J.A. Morgan, Young and Bean, Atkins and Owens (who had the first brick building in town) and Wright Drug Company established in 1902