The community was founded in the vicinity of a mill constructed on Valley Creek by Joe Waldrop in 1823 and was originally referred to as Waldrop's Mill. Later it became known as Smithville in honor of merchant Cape Smith. Around 1873 Smith, who also served as postmaster, changed the name of the post office, along the route from Elyton to Fayette, to "Toad Vines" or "Toadvine". According to his grandson, the name honored a John Toadvine who was held with Smith in the Union prison camp in Rock Island, Illinois during the Civil War. Soon the community became known by the name of its post office.
The small community, which attracted commerce on weekends with its three mills, cluster of stores and saloon in the 1870s, opened its first schoolhouse in 1877. It was combined with the Alliance School in 1915. The George Smith Lodge No. 417 was chartered there in 1876 but moved to Short Creek in 1909.
- Smith, Simon J. (c. 1960) Toadvine In Its Heyday. self-published - via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections
- Foscue, Virginia O. (1989) Place Names in Alabama. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 081730410X