Clay County, Alabama Genealogy Trails


John Thomas Ashcraft, lawyer and member constitutional convention, 1901, was born October 16, 1859, in Clay County, and died February 9, 1920, in El Paso, Texas; son of Andrew Jackson and Eleanor (Wiley) Ashcraft. He received preparatory education in the common schools and high school at Lineville, entered Junior class, Alabama polytechnic Institute, January, 1879, and graduated in 1880 with B. E. He taught school at Newton and Brundlege, 1881-85, Savoy and Bells, Texas, 1885-87, and at Lowndenboro, He then moved to Florence where he was admitted to tbe bar, September 19, 1889, and practiced law the remainder of his active life. He served two terms as member of the board of aldermen and many years as secretary of the board of education; was delegate from Lauderdale County to the constitutional convention. In 1901; secretary dispensary board and aggressive advocate of prohibition; member board of trustees Howard college; president board Florence university for women; was a Democrat; Knight of Pythias; Mason; and deacon of Missionary Baptist church.
     At the time of his death it was written of him "He was imbued to an unusual degree with the Christ spirit. We who knew him toward the end know how closely he must have knit himself as a teacher to his pupils, who spoke of him as 'Father-friend.' The words bring up the face that bore in every line the marks of sweet chivalry. He was always the same kind, self-sacrificing citizen contributing liberally of both means and talent to every worthy cause." He was a great influence in the industrial development of his community, where the climax in these efforts was his participation in the community activity that brought Governmental improvement on Tennessee river at Muscle Shoals. His endeavors to procure national legislation guaranteeing fullest use and complete governmental inspection of milk and its products and vegetable oils, has been appraised as his greatest legal undertaking. His greatest humanitarian work was as one of the first members of the State Anti-tuberculosis Commission, on which be served until his death.
     Married: December 21, 1886, at Brundlege, to Anne Augusta, daughter of the late Dr. Gustavus and Mary Frances (Copeland) Hendrlck, of that place.She graduated from Judson college, Marion in 1883. Children: 1. Infant, deceased; 2. Mary Eliza, m. Henry Duncan Moore, major of engineers In A. E. F., now assistant superintendent Mid-West refining company of the Salt Creek Field, Wyoming; 3. Cyrus Andrew, lieutenant in field artillery, A. E. F.; now at Lago, Idaho; 4. Martha Ellis; 5. Estelle Hurt; 6. Anne Hendrlck; 7. Gustavus Hendrick; 8. John Thomas, deceased; 9. Thomas; 10. Eleanor Lee, deceased. Last residence: Florence.  Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary Volume 3 by Thomas McAdory Owen 1921 - Transcribed by Christine Walters.

Thomas Ashcraft, farmer, machinist, Inventor, was born August 6, 1786, in Sampson County. N. C, and died December 18, 1866 in Clay County; son or John Ashcraft, who with two brothers immigrated from England and settled in North Carolina. He passed his young manhood in Chester or York District, S. C., moved to Jackson County, Ga.. about 1818, to Troup County, Ga., in 1834, to Randolph County, Ala., at the close of 1836, and in 1862 to Talladega County, now Clay. He reared his family on the farm, but was chiefly engaged in constructing various kinds of machinery. He patented a threshing machine, a house cotton press, a machine for the manufacture of combs and a torpedo for destroying vessels. He gave the model of the latter to the Confederate war department During the War of Secession, though infirm and aged, he engaged in the manufacture of spinning wheels, reels and looms. He was a Whig until the outbreak of the war when he became a Democrat; and a Baptist. Married: March 15, 1815, in Chester or York District, S. C. to Catherine, daughter of Ephraim and Elisabeth (Stringfellow) Abel, the former a Baptist preacher who lived at Culpeper Court House and Gordonsville. Va. Children: 1. Catherine, m. Washington Billingslea; 2. Thornton Stringfellow, m. Sophronla Robinson; 3. Nancy, m. Ned Cauley; 4. William, m. Alice Ritchie; 5. Sarah, m. Sterling Hesterly; 6. Anaelm Malcom, m. Amanda Wiley; 7. Salina. m. Oldeon Brown; 8. Andrew Jackson, (q. v.) m. Eleanor Eliza Wiley; 9. Harriet, m. Seaborn Jones. Last residence: Clay County. Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary Volume 3 by Thomas McAdory Owen 1921 - Transcribed by Christine Walters.

Hugo Lafayette Black, U. S. senator from Alabama named to the U. S. supreme court, was born in the rural community of Ashland, Clay county, Alabama, on Feb. 27,1886. He was the son of William Lafayette Black a store keeper. His full name is Hugo Lafayette Black. His story, until the storm broke over his appointment to the supreme court, follows the traditional patterns of the American success story. He picked cotton, worked behind the counter in his father's general stove, attended the local grade schools. When other boys were playing ball or starting out on fishing trips, he stayed behind to sit in the courthouse at Ashland. Talk of lawyers fascinated him, and it was at this period that he decided to study law. Left and orphan he worked his way through Alabama University to a law degree in 1906. Five feet nine with a keen look to his face, he returned to Ashland and hung out his shingle. The young barrister set up practice in Ashland. One morning: he found the frame building, in which his office was situated, burned to the ground. It was a "fortunate" fire. He turned away from Ashland with $10 as his sole wealth. Packing his belongings, young Black set out for Birmingham, Alabama's metropolis. Four years after he arrived in the city he was chosen city recorder or police judge. That was in 1910. He cleaned the overcrowded docket in a short time Next important post for the rising young attorney was the office of county solicitor. He assumed that office In 1915 at 29. He was re-elected to a third term in 1917 but the World war broke out. He resigned in October, 1917, to train as an officer. Black went to second officers' training camp at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and was commissioned a captain in the 81st artillery. He missed service overseas by appointment as adjutant at brigade headquarters of the 19th artillery brigade The war ended, Black began law practice again. He was appointed a federal prosecutor in Mobile and became widely known. He married Josephine Foster of Birmingham in February. 1921. They have three children aged 12, 10 and 1 l/2. Although he had little experience with legislative matters and his opponents were veterans of Alabama political campaigns, Black won the Democratic nomination to the U. S. senate in 1926— tantamount to election. He was re-elected in 1932. Black as a senator, became famed as an investigator. He headed the committees investigating air and ocean mail contracts and lobbies. The latter investigation helped to victory the bill regulating utilities holding companies. Black fought vigorously for all New Deal measures and for the president's court program And ignored-opposition back home in his fight for the wage-hour bill. Labor found in him a. vigorous champion as chairman of the senate labor committee and welcomes him as a supreme court justice. [Source: Wisconsin State Journal Aug 17, 1937; Submitted by Janice Rice]

Hon. E. A. Phillips The delegate from Clay County, Hon. E.A. Phillips, is a Populist.  Mr. Phillips was born in Newton County, Ga., and moved with his father to Clay County, Alabama in December 1868.  He taught school in Clay County during the years 1879, 1880, 1883 and 1884 and was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court of Clay County in 1886.  He engaged in merchandising in Ashland with his brother in 1887 and was elected Judge of Probate of Clay County in 1892.  He engaged in merchandising in Oxford in 1898 and was elected delegate to the Alabama Constitutional Convention from Clay County.  He is at present engaged in merchandising, being a member of the firm of Phillips & Dean at Ashlan, Ala., and of Phillips Bros., at Oxford.  Source: The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama), dated June 30, 1901 - Transcribed by Denise Burge.






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