ARNETT. C. A. Real Estate Broker, born at Triana, Madison County, Ala., March 12, 1838, and his parents were Thomas and Mathilda (Cole) Arnett, of Virginia, and descended from the French. The senior Arnett married before leaving Virginia, and died in Alabama, when the subject of this sketch was an infant.
Mr. Arnett was educated in Madison County and lived there until 1869. When a young man he began the study of medicine, but gave it up, and, in 1854, engaged in mercantile business at Triana, where he was at the outbreak of the war. He came to Athens in 1875 and engaged in business; was elected Mayor of the city in 1887; has been secretary of the Limestone Agricultural Association since 1884, and has served the town many years as its clerk and treasurer. He was appointed by Gov, Houston, July, 1877, assistant commissioner of emigration, and proved himself of great efficiency in that department.
Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
BENAGH, JAMES, Attorney-at-Law, Notary Public and Register in Chancery, Athens, was born at Lynchburg, Va., February 23, 1828, and his parents were James and Elizabeth (Richardson) Benagh, the first a native of Ireland and the latter of Virginia. They lived and died at Lynchburg, the old gentleman in 1861 at the age of 74, and his widow in 1868 at the age of 68.
The senior Mr. Benagh was a lawyer by profession, and was for many years Clerk of the Court at Lynchburg and Master in Chancery. He came with his parents to America in 1792.
James Benagh was educated at Lynchburg, there studied law and was admitted to the bar, but did not actively enter the practice. At the outbreak of the late war, he was speculating and taking the world easy. He went into the army as Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General on General Kirby Smith's staff. He was in the war from the beginning to the close, and is probably the last man that ever received an order from the Confederate Government. At Washington, Wilkes County, Ga., and on the day that President Davis and his Cabinet left that town, orders came through Quartermaster-General Lawton, to Captain Benagh, to take charge of all stores accumulated at different depots and turn them over to the Georgia Railway Company. This was for the purpose of enabling the road to run, that they might carry paroled men toward their homes. The Captain was also ordered to see to the delivery of certain silver coin then being sent in bags to a distinguished ex-official. The orders were carried out as far as in Captain Benagh's power lay. But the timid gentleman refused to receive it, and the supposition is that the boys who had the silver bags in charge realized the whole. After the war, Captain Benagh returned to Virginia, and later on to Athens and followed planting in Limestone County up to 1875, since when he has been engaged in the practice of law. He was appointed Register in Chancery, in 1886, by Hon. Thomas Cobbs. He was married in Baltimore, Md., in 1872, to a Miss Ryan. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney<
COLEMAN, DANIEL, was born in Caroline County, Va. August 2, 1801, and died at Athens November 4, 1857. When sixteen years old he left his home to make his way in the world, the death of his father having reduced the family from affluence to poverty. He taught school at the Kanawha Salt Works a year, and used the money thus obtained to graduate at the Transylvania University. He then obtained employment as a scribe at a court in Frankfort, Ky.and read law while so engaged under the eye of Judge Bledsoe. In 1819 he came to this State and located at Mooresville, this county. The following year he was chosen by the Legislature (through the influence of Hon. Nich. Davis) Judge of the county court. He was only nineteen years old, but the gravity of his deportment led no one to question his majority, and he held the office several years. In 1829 he represented Limestone in the Legislature. In 1835 he was elected by the Legislature a judge of the circuit court. This dignified and responsible position he filled for twelve years. How satisfactorily he performed his duties may be inferred from the compliment paid him in June 1851, when Governor Collier selected him to fill a vacancy on the supreme bench. He served till the following winter, when he declined a candidacy before the Legislature, feeling that his enfeebled health would not permit him to undergo the labors of the post.
Judge Coleman left a character for spotless integrity, piety, decorum and sobriety. As a judge he was dignified. laborious and impartial. In appearance he was slender and tall, with a light complexion. In manner he was grave to austerity. He married Miss Peterson of this county, and left, several children. Of these we have the following data: Rev. James L. Coleman is a graduate of La Grange College, Ala.; Daniel Coleman is a graduate of Wesleyan College (or University), Florence. Ala., and afterward of the Law Department of the University of Virginia; John Hartwell Coleman graduated at Florence with first honors, and afterward likewise took the Law Course at the University of Virginia; Richard H. Coleman was attending High School in Virginia when the war broke out, and he joined the army at about seventeen years of age; Dr. Ruffin Coleman obtained his collegiate training at the Southern University, Greensboro, and studied medicine at the University of Nashville, Tenn.
Judge Coleman was a conspicuous and zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. His wife, a native of South Carolina, was noted for beauty of face and character. She was a brilliant conversationalist and a noted hostess. She survived her husband many years, and died at Athens, February 14, 1885. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
DAVIS, LAWRENCE RIPLEY, Postmaster at Athens, was born in Limestone County February 27, 1819, and his parents were Nicholas and Martha (Hargrave) Davis, of Virginia. Nicholas Davis came to Alabama in 1817, settled on Limestone Creek, this county, and followed planting the rest of his life. He died in 1856, at the age of seventy-six years. He was a public-spirited man, and one of the first men of distinction in this county. Prior to 1817 he was a United States marshal in Virginia, and, after coming here, was a member of the first Constitutional Convention (1819), and was a representative in the lower house of the first Legislature after Alabama was admitted to the Union as a State. From 1820 to 1828, inclusive, he was a member of the Senate, and for five sessions was President of that body. He was the Whig candidate against Chapman for Governor in 1847, and ran for Congress against C. C. Clay in 1829, and was defeated by only eighty votes, though the district was known to be largely Democratic. He was a captain in the War of 1812. Another writer, in speaking of Captain Davis, says: "That he was a man of great experience in public affairs, and of the highest personal worth; that he occupied a high rank in the estimation of all parties as a citizen, and for faithful public services; and in the councils of the Whig party his views were received with confidence." In 1844, he was at the head of the Whig electoral ticket, and in speaking further of him in this connection, the author above referred to says: "In his speech at the close of the convention, in taking leave of his fellow Whigs he was very impressive; he was truly the 'old man eloquent.' He was a great lover of his country, and in alluding to its future under a good government, and the visions opened up to him in the distance, and the important influence his party was destined to exert in developing the energies and greatness of the country, he was overpowered with emotions, which brought relief in a flood of tears as he took his seat."
The subject of this sketch was educated in Limestone County, read law, and was licensed to practice, but never went to the bar. He followed farming up to the beginning of the late war, and probably up to 1863. In 1873 he came into Athens, and started the Limestone News, conducted it for one year, and sold it out. It was in this year that he was appointed private secretary to Governor Houston, which took him to Montgomery. In 1849, to recur to a much earlier period in his life, he ran for the Legislature on the Whig ticket against W. H. Harrison, and, notwithstanding the great Democratic majority to be overcome, he was elected by about 500. In 1855 he was again a candidate for the Legislature, and was opposed by the Hon. Luke Pryor and the late Major Hobbs. The leading question before the people at that time was in reference to the aid, by taxation, of the North & South Road. Mr. Davis, as an anti-taxation man, was defeated. In 1859 he was again elected, and was a member of the Legislature when the State seceded. He was opposed to secession at the beginning, but yielded gracefully to the will of the majority, and at the request of the Governor he canvassed Northern Alabama, urging the people to a peaceful acquiescence in the result of the Secession Convention. It will be remembered that there was much bitter opposition in the Tennessee Valley to secession, and particularly was this the case in Limestone County: so when Mr. Davis reached this part of the State, he encountered the most intense excitement. In 1860 he was the elector for his District on the Bell and Everett ticket, and took an active part in that heated contest.
Mr. Davis was appointed Register in Chancery in 1876, and was still holding that position when appointed postmaster by President Cleveland, October, 1885. He has always been recognized as an active worker, and a man of far more than ordinary influence in the ranks of the Democratic party. He edited the Post in 1882; has represented his party in the various State and Congressional Conventions from time to time, and has delivered more stump speeches than any other man in Northern Alabama. His last important canvass was in support of the Hon. Luke Pryor for Congress, as against D. D. Shelby.
Mr. Davis was married first in Russell County, Ala., to Miss Mary Abercrombie, March 27, 1851. She died in 1859 and in 1861 Mr. Davis was married to Miss Sarah A. MeClellan. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
FRANCIS, Jr., WILLIAM R., Attorney-at-law, and editor and proprietor of the Athens Democrat, a live democratic weekly paper, published at Athens, was born in Franklin County, Tenn., September 25, 1843. His father, William R. Francis, Sr., a native of Virginia, is now a planter in Franklin County, Tenn.
The great-grandfather Francis was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and Mr. Francis' grand-father fought in the war of 1812.
The subject of this sketch was educated at the public schools of Tennessee; studied law under John Frizzell, at Winchester, and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He first began the practice of law at Winchester, and remained there until 1879, and in the fall of that year came to Athens, where he has since been in the practice. In 1886 the Limestone County Publishing Co. established the Democrat, and Mr. Francis was made its editor.
At Winchester, Tenn. in the fall of 1861, Mr. Francis enlisted as a private in Company I, Forty-first Tennessee Infantry, C. S. A., and served through the war. At Chickamauga, September 20, 1863, a minie ball crushed the upper section of the left femur, resulting in crippling him for life. While not thereafter in active service, he was in the Retired Corps to the close of the war. Before Chickamauga, he had participated in the battles of Raymond, Miss., Port Hudson, Jackson, Black River and Corinth. Miss regiment was captured at Fort Donelson, but he being sick, he was allowed to escape, After that time, he served in the Seventeenth Tennessee. He was paroled in May, 1865, and in August of that year returned to Tennessee, and thence, as has been seen, came to Athens.
Mr. Francis is a wide-a-wake, active democratic worker, and runs a red-hot paper.
Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
HINE, WILLIAM A., Hardware Merchant, Athens, was born in Limestone County January 29, 1822. His father, Silas Hine, was a native of Connecticut, from whence he removed to Virginia, and in 1818 to Alabama. Here he was a planter, and died in 1850. In Virginia, he married Miss Temperance Harrison, who bore him three sons and one daughter, who grew to man's and woman's estate. William A. Hine was the second son born, and is the only one living. He received his education in the Athens schools; followed planting many years, and engaged in mercantile business in 1843.
The senior Mr. Hine was a merchant in Athens in connection with his planting interests, and it was with him that the present Mr. Hine took his first lessons in merchandizing. During the late war, Mr. Hine was commissioner of revenue and roads. He has never been in politics, and with the exception of the period of the war, he has devoted his time and his talents to business, and has been successful.
Mr. Hine is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a Mason. He was married, in Lauderdale County, in February, 1845, to Miss Letitia Sloss, who bore him three children that grew to man's and woman's estate. She died in 1865, leaving three children: Clara (Mrs. Dr. Borroum, Corinth, Miss.), William A., Jr., died in February, 1879, at the age of twenty-two years; and Ernest, a farmer, now in this county. Mr. Hine's second marriage occurred in Corinth, Miss., in 1867, where he wed Eva, a younger sister of his first wife. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
HOBBS, THOMAS HUBBARD, Athens, was born in Limestone County, Ala., April 19, 1826, and died in Lynchburg, Va., July 24, 1862. His parents were Ira E. and Rebecca E. (Maclin) Hobbs, natives of Brunswick county, Va., and of Scotch-Irish extraction. His mother was a daughter of Thomas Maclin, a captain in the War of 1812, and his uncle, Hubbard Hobbs, was a lieutenant in the United States Navy, and an officer on the Vincennes, the first vessel sent by the United States Government to circumnavigate the globe. Lieutenant Hobbs spent most of his life at sea, though he occasionally visited Alabama, and probably erected the first cotton-mill in this State. It was at Fulton, and in the year 1827.
The subject of this sketch received his academic education at La Grange College; graduated from the University of Virginia as Bachelor of Arts in 1853, and subsequently from the law department of the University of Pennsylvania. He practiced law but a short time at Athens, this State, when, finding his plantation requiring most of his attention, he abandoned the profession almost entirely. He was one of the prime movers of the North & South Railroad, and was associated with the Hon. Luke Pryor in the establishment and final success of that enterprise.
He was elected to the Legislature in 1856, as favoring the railroad appropriation, and was sent by that body to represent his Congressional district at the Cincinnati Convention of that year. He was in the Legislature continuously from 1856 to 1861, and was a Breckenridge elector in 1860. Though quite a young man, he was prominently spoken of in connection with the gubernatorial chair. In speaking of him after his death, the Memphis Appeal says: Among Alabama's brightest and purest sons was Major Thomas H. Hobbs, of Limestone County. He was of the cavalier stock of the Old Dominion. His education was thorough, varied and polished. He wielded a facile pen, and in writings showed his refined and tacit taste. He was gifted with a clear, cogent and convincing eloquence. Calm, dignified, self-poised, he discussed the most difficult questions with eminent ability. As a member of the Legislature, he devoted his time and talents to the development of the resources of his own State. He was foremost in all noble enterprises. In her system of popular enterprises, Alabama owed more to Thomas Hobbs than to any other one man. A politician of the old Democratic school, he was the courteous and gentlemanly opponent, never condescending to low and unmanly tricks to gain his point. Pure, and as gentle as a woman, he was the embodiment of masculine energy and heroic valor. With a courage cool, calm and daring, he was among the first to enter the army."
An original Secessionist, he was opposed by some of the leading men of his country. He entered the army in 1861 as the Captain of Company F, Ninth Alabama Infantry, and proceeded at once to Richmond. While the battle of Manassas was being fought he was at Piedmont, and reached the battle-ground the next day, where, as he said, "I saw for the first time the awful result of war." After going through all the battles in which his regiment had participated, in the first day of what is known as the Seven Days' Fight around Richmond, he was wounded by a gun-shot in the knee. This wound, though slight, resulted in his death. While in the army Captain Hobbs was asked to become a member of the Confederate Congress, but declined the honor.
He was first married at Richmond, Va., August 4, 1852, to Indiana E. Booth. She died at Athens in 1851. His second marriage was at Lynchburg, Va., February 17, 1858, to Anne Benagh, a daughter of James Benagh, of that city. She died at Athens in 1872, leaving two sons: Thomas Maclin and James Benagh. The latter died in 1883 at the age of 21 years. Thomas Maclin Hobbs was educated at the Virginia Military Institute and the Alabama State University. He lives now upon the plantation once owned by his grandfather, Thomas Maclin, and is the sole successor and heir to the estates of that family.
Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
HOFFMAN, J. R., M. D., Athens, was born at Kingsport, East Tennessee, August 13, 1830, and is the son of Aaron and Mary Ann (Richardson) Hoffman, natives of Virginia and Tennessee, and of German and Irish descent, respectively, he was educated at Jonesboro, Tenn., Academy; came to Athens in 1856; read medicine with Dr. Yarbrough; graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1858; came at once to Limestone county; practiced three or four years in the southern part of the county, and removed to Athens in 1865. In 1861 Dr. Hoffman enlisted as a private soldier in Ward's Battery, and served about eight months in that position. At the end of this time he was appointed Assistant-Surgeon, and as such saw much service in Georgia and Virginia. At the close of the war he returned to East Tennessee, and directly to Athens. From 1864 to 1874 he was in the drug business with Dr. Coman, at the same time, however, giving attention to his practice. He was a member of the State Hoard of Health from 1882 to 1887: has been chairman of the Board of Censors of Limestone County, and was County Health Officer from 1884 to 1886. Dr. Hoffman was married in this county December 29, 1859 to Miss Fannie C. Jones, who died April 12, 1878, leaving one son and two daughters. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
HORTON, JAMES E., Judge of Probate, Limestone County, Ala., was born near Huntsville, this State, May 20, 1833. His parents, Rodah and Lucy (Otey) Horton, natives of Virginia and England, were married in Madison County, this State, where their three sons and three daughters were born. Of the six children. Judge Horton and a brother only are now living. The others all moved South, where it seems their lives were materially shortened.
The senior Mr. Horton died in 1846, at the age of fifty-four years. He was an extensive planter, and represented Madison County once or twice in the State Legislature.
The subject of this sketch was educated at the University of Alabama, and the University of Virginia. He came into Limestone County in 1857, settled on the Elk River, and engaged in farming. At Bardstown, Ky., in the fall of 1862, as aid-de-camp to Gen. Daniel S. Donelson, he entered the Confederate service. He was with General Donelson until the death of that gentleman, which occurred .at Knoxville, Tenn., in the latter part of 1863. From that time to the close of the war. Major Horton was Acting General Quartermaster, and was on the Florida coast when the war closed.
Returning to Limestone County at the close of the war, he resumed his planting operations, which he followed up to August, 1886, when he was elected Judge of Probate. Sometime before this he had served one term as county commissioner, which appears to be the sum of his office, holding. He was married in Tennessee, near the "Hermitage," October 18, 1860, to Miss Emily Donelson, the accomplished daughter of Daniel S. Donelson, a nephew of Mrs. Gen. Andrew Jackson. To this union four daughters and a son have been born, the eldest of the former is now the wife of John B. Tanner, of Athens. Judge Horton's family are members of the Presbyterian Church, and he is of the Masonic fraternity. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
HOUSTON, GEORGE SMITH, was the grandson of John Houston and Mary Ross, who, in 1760 migrated from County Tyrone in the north of Ireland and settled in Newbury District in North Carolina. David, their fourth son, and the father of George Smith Houston, married Hannah (Pugh) Reagan, whose mother was of Welch extraction, being of the family of Pughs, who were noted for their love for, and promotion of education. He removed to Virginia, and afterward settled near Franklin in Williamson County. Tenn., where on the 17th of January, 1808, (sic) the subject of this sketch was born in 1824 or 1825, [NOTE - FROM TRANSCRIBER - HE WAS BORN IN 1811] the family settled twelve miles west of Florence, in Lauderdale County, Ala., and engaged in agriculture. His father considered manual labor essential to mental and physical perfection, and reared his sons to work. In his boyhood, educational facilities were not as good as now. Though not possessed of the advantages necessary to the thorough and finished scholar, he received an elementary education in an academy in Lauderdale County. Ambitious and fond of books, he daily added to this foundation, by the close study of standard works. As a boy he was happy-hearted, bright, high-toned, industrious, self-reliant and noted for his devotion to his mother.
He read law under Judge Coalter, in Florence, and completed his studies in the law school at Harrodsburgh, Ky. In 1831 he was admitted to the bar, and in 1832 was sent to the Legislature. He was there twice elected Circuit Solicitor, in which position he made a decided reputation, being considered one of the ablest prosecutors in the State.
He removed to Athens, Limestone County, Ala., and, in 1835, married Mary L Beaty, the daughter of Hobert Beaty. They had eight children, all of whom died before 1860, except David, George S., John P. and Mary E. Houston. David entered the service as captain of a company of the Ninth Alabama regiment. He was afterward a member of General Roddy's command. He died, unmarried, September 7, 1880.
George S. entered the service as a private in Johnson's regiment of General Roddy's command, and was afterward lieutenant of General Roddy's escort. He married Maggie Irvine of Florence, Ala., and now resides on a farm near Mooresville, in Limestone County. John P. is engaged in the practice of law in Memphis, Tenn. Mary E. resides in Athens, Ala.
In April, 1861, he married Ellen Irvine, of Florence, Ala., a daughter of James Irvine, one of the leading lawyers of the State. They had two children, Emma and Maggie Lou. Emma is now living with her mother at Athens. Maggie Lou died November 24, 1877.
In 1841 George S. Houston was elected to Congress on the general ticket. With the exception of one term, when he declined to make the race, he served in Congress until January 21, 1861. He was recognized as one of the leaders of the House. He took an active part in the debates on important measures. He was a strict constructionist, or a State's rights Democrat, believing all legislation should be left to the States "over subjects where they could as amply and beneficially legislate as Congress." He was opposed to the tariff system, and held the public land to be a trust for the people, and not for speculative greed. He was so economical and watchful of the public funds, that he was known in Congress as the " Watch-dog of the Treasury." His reputation and influence were by no means local. He was particularly influential with Presidents Pierce and Polk. It is stated on good authority that it was the intention of Mr. Tilden to offer him a Cabinet position, had he been declared President in 1876.
Perhaps no member was ever more complimented with committee appointments than he; not only was he placed on the most important committees, but was chairman of Military Affairs, Ways and Means, and the Judiciary, an honor rarely, if ever, accorded to any other member. He was several times chairman of Ways and Means, which is perhaps the most important committee in the House. While a party man, he was not such for selfish motives. He did not study to ride into power on a popular wave. He was fearless in his convictions, and, while keeping party lines, he directed rather than followed it. He was earnestly opposed to secession, and probably made the last Douglas speech ever made in Alabama. While in Congress and when secession seemed almost a certainty, he boldly advocated and became a member of the famous committee of thirty-three to devise means to save the Union; but when Alabama seceded, he drafted and presented to the speaker the formal withdrawal of the Alabama delegation from the Federal Congress. He retired to his home, and, though not in the active service, he repeatedly refused to take the oath of allegiance demanded by the Federal authority, and was thoroughly in sympathy with the Confederacy, and contributed to its support. He was never defeated when before the people, and was regarded one of the ablest stump speakers in the South. He was gifted with a commanding person, a deep, full and clear voice, keen repartee and a flow of humor and logic. Though he lacked the nervous and electric current of eloquence, his efforts were always ponderous and convincing, often grand and eloquent. In 1865 he was elected to the Senate of the United States, but not allowed a seat, because his State was denied representation.
In 1866, he was again offered for the Senate, but was defeated by ex-Governor Winston, the vote being Winston 65 and Houston 61. In 1872, he was again an applicant for the Senate, At this time it was extremely doubtful whether the one elected would be allowed a seat, the Legislature being divided and in session in two places. After many ballots all the names before the Democratic wing of the Legislature, by agreement of the candidates, were simultaneously withdrawn, and the Hon. F. W. Sykes, who had not been before it, was elected.
In 1874 the Radical party had control of this State. Efforts to dislodge it had been repeatedly made, but were fruitless. After a careful survey of the field, George S. Houston was deemed by far the most available man to make the race against David P. Lewis for Governor. Some of Houston's more intimate friends urged him not to make the race ; they said the success of the party was extremely doubtful ; that he had earned sufficient reputation as a statesman, and had served the people long enough to be entitled to a discharge from further service.
At that time the State's indebtedness amounted to about $32,000,000 ; the rate of taxation for State purposes was not less than three-fourths of one per cent.; her treasury was empty; her people were impoverished ; her obligations were almost worth-less, and the State was entirely without credit - so much so, it is said, the funds necessary to hold the constitutional convention of 1875, could not be raised until Governor Houston pledged his honor that the same should be repaid.
To protect the honor and credit of the State, and not confiscate the property of her citizens, seemed a herculean task. He was told it would be impossible ; that the people could not and would not pay the indebtedness as it was then ; that the creditors would not accept less, but would consider any effort to settle at less than the full amount claimed, repudiation ; that it would be impossible to satisfy both the creditors and the taxpayers, and that whoever tried it would find himself politically dead. Though warned that this rock would wreck the vessel laden with the fruits of his earlier years and labor, and at his time of life he could not hope to repair the injury which would be wrought by a failure to satisfactorily handle this perplexing problem, he was not deterred but accepted the nomination which the convention by acclamation tendered him. The State was thoroughly canvassed and the leading issues discussed and fairly put before the people by the ablest speakers in the party. The Radical majority of ten to fifteen thousand was overcome, and the Democratic ticket elected by alike majority.
As Governor, he advocated a policy which converted the penitentiary, that had previously been a considerable charge to the State, into a source of State revenue. He favored aiding the public schools to the full capacity of the State, but not to the extent of crippling her ability to meet her just obligations. He urged economy in every department of state, setting the example by saving more than $10,000 of the $15,000 set apart for contingent expenses. "While Governor, he was in thorough accord with the Legislature, having confidence in the honesty and ability of the members, and inspiring their confidence. So thoroughly were they in accord, the veto power was not used oftener than four times during one term, if so often. The most important measure for their consideration was the State debt. In a message to the Legislature, he recommended the appointment of a committee to investigate and make some adjustment of it. The committee was composed of T. B. Bethea, Levi W. Lawless and George S. Houston, who was chairman. Their management of it is considered one of the grandest achievements of the age; the creditors were fairly dealt with and were satisfied; the State's honor was not tarnished ; the taxpayers were protected, and now her bonds are far above par ; the interest is paid with perfect regularity ; property has greatly enhanced in value ; the rate of taxation has been greatly reduced, and taxes are cheerfully paid.
In 1876, and shortly after his re-election as Governor, Geo. S. Houston was balloted for in the caucus for United States Senator. He developed a strong following, but meeting with considerable opposition he determined to withdraw his name, serve another term as Governor, and come before the Legislature at the expiration of his second term. His successful competitor, the able and generous John T. Morgan, thus spoke of his candidacy: "At the expiration of his first term as Governor, the people were ready to honor him still further by electing him a second time to the Senate of the United States, but they had again chosen him Governor of the State and they would not consent to relieve him of that service until he had completed fully, the wise course of policy inaugurated during his first term."
At the expiration of his second term he was sent to the United States Senate. He served in the extra session of 1879, but did not return to Washington on account of ill health. On the 31st day of December, 1879, he died at his home in Athens.
The Hon. Luke Pryor, his former law partner, bosom friend and successor in the Senate, thus spoke of him: He was a man free from deformity of mind, body and heart. He was a man impressive and imposing in his personal appearance. His mind was vigorous, analytical, quick of perception, sufficiently inquisitive, detective and discriminative -a mind that came to conclusions slowly but certainly; not because of its dullness, but because of its caution, its prudence, its sense of rectitude, and when reached, never found unjust, prejudiced, biased or partial, and rarely incorrect, standing and withstanding the severest tests. Added to this was a judgment sound, well-defined and trustworthy, and which, when once formed, was firm and immovable. He was a man of foresight and judgment profound. He was a safe counselor, sagacious, well-trained, and admirably versed in the principles of wise statesmanship and public policy; an instructive, judicious and adhesive friend, unselfish, never withholding his views, but promptly and fully disclosing the same to his associates. His industry in search of truth was rarely equaled. He could not be unduly persuaded, and was beyond seduction to do a wrong. As a debater he was sagacious, ponderous and convincing; a man emphatically of argumentation. He had no superiors and few equals when dealing with questions of facts; his powers of separation and condensations of facts and their application were wonderful. On questions of law, discriminating clearly and forcibly, with great capacity to present singleness of point. In debate his manner was courteous, becoming earnest, attractive and respectful, especially toward his adversary, with a marked toleration in respect to those differing with him in views or sentiments. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
LENTZ, HENRY,soldier of the American Revolution, aged 81, and a resident of Limestone County; private and sergeant N. C. Militia; enrolled on June 14, 1833, under act of Congress of June 7, 1832, payment to date from March 4, 1831; annual allowance, $59.33; sums received to date of publication of list, 1148.32. — Revolutionary Pension Roll, in vol. xiv, Sen. doc. 514, 23rd Cong., 1st sess., 1833-34. Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, Published by The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921; Submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer
[LANDERS, LOUIS] - Old Man Landers
The Courier had a call last week from a very remarkable man, Mr. LOUIS LANDERS, who has reached the advanced age of 96 and has turned into his 97th year. He does not often get to Athens, this being his first visit in over a year, though he only lives out about six miles. He has been a citizen of Alabama fifty years, having come to this state from Georgia, where he was born and lived until after reaching man’s estate. He was in the Indian wars of the present century and was in charge of General Jackson, and he hoped to get a pension, but was unable to do so on account of some little technicality. He is still a very vigorous man, being able to climb the steps leading to our office twenty-two in number, without seeming exertion, and he informed us that he had cultivated three acres of cotton this year, only lacking about two days of being over it in the third time with the hoe. He did not do the plowing. He has almost a full mouth of teeth that are even and white but a singular thing is that many of them are very loose and have been so for years, though he chews on them and says they give him no trouble. His mind is very clear and he talks well, narrating many things of “ye olden” times that are pleasant to listen to. He raise last year 2700 pound of seed cotton, and plenty to tobacco to do him, but he says the will have to quit trying to raise tobacco on account of his eyesight, not being able to properly work it. He is a good Methodist, and believes in shouting Methodism, none other being the right kind, in his humble opinion. The Courier hopes this remarkable and honest old man may live to celebrate his hundredth birthday, which he looks now like he will. He said to the editor that sometime he thought that if it was “the Lord’s will to call him home, that he would be better off, but that he was not complaining of life, for the Lord had been gracious to him, and he was content to stay here until such time as he should see fit to call him home.” He has been kept company by a widowed daughter who lost her husband in the late war and whose chief delight it has been since to see after and comfort her old father. Source: The Marion Herald, (Marion County, AL), July 18, 1889 – pg 1, Submitted by Veneta McKinney
MALONE, JOHN N., Attorney-at-law, Athens, Ala., was born in Sussex County, Va. His parents, George and Sallie (Moyler) Malone, natives of Virginia, and of Irish descent, came to Limestone county in 1823, and here spent the rest of their lives, the old gentleman dying in 1847, at the age of sixty-two years ; his wife having preceded him to the other world by about four years. They reared a family of three sons and three daughters, of whom John N., and a sister are the only ones living. One of the sons was a doctor, another a farmer. The subject of this sketch graduated from La Grange College, Franklin County, Ala., as A. B., in 1830, and subsequently in due course received from the same institution the degree of A. M. He studied law with J. W. McLung, Huntsville: was admitted to the bar in 1841, and practiced law for ten years. Then for the next succeeding ten years, though maintaining his office at Athens, he devoted his time to planting. In 1881, he was elected to the State Senate and was kept there for six consecutive years. After the war, he resumed the practice of law, and farming, and in 1881, was appointed probate judge to fill out an unexpired term of five years, the office having been vacated by the death of John M. Townsend. Judge Malone was one of the trustees of the Alabama University from 1851 to the outbreak of the war, and has been one of the trustees of the Agricultural and Mechanical School of Auburn since its organization in 1874. Thus we find that he has nearly all his life been interested in the cause of education. He was a delegate to the National Convention at Baltimore in 1852, and supported Franklin Pierce and William R. King. He took an active part in the memorable presidential campaign of 1860; supported Stephen A. Douglas for the presidency ; was opposed to secession because he feared it would be followed by coercion and war; but after Alabama seceded, he cast his fortunes and fate with her, and was intensely Southern in his sentiments and in full sympathy with the Southern Confederacy.
John N. Malone was married in Lauderdale County in 1844, to Mary Lucy Kernachan, who died in 1848, leaving one son, Robert, now a planter in Limestone County. His second marriage took place in the same county in 1854, to Miss Rebecca Simmons, and to this union have been born two sons and three daughters. The youngest son, Henry, is a farmer: George is a merchant; two of the daughters are married to merchants in Arkansas, and the third one is at home. The family belong to the Methodist Episcopal church and Judge Malone is a Mason. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888
MALONE, THOMAS H., president of the Nashville Gas Company, was born in Limestone, Ala., in 1834, and is the son of James C. Malone, a prominent planter. In 1855 he graduated from the University of Virginia with the degree of A. M. He then studied law in the office of Houston & Brown, of Nashville, and in 1859 was admitted to the bar. Shortly after his admission he became a member of the firm of Houston, Vaughn & Malone and practiced until the Civil war came on, when he enlisted as first lieutenant of the Rock City Guards, afterward Company A. of Maury’s Tennessee regiment, and served with that company until after the battle of Shiloh. He was then made assistant adjutant-general, with the rank of captain, on General Maury’s staff. After the battle of Murfreesboro he was transferred at his own request to General Wheeler’s cavalry and was assigned to duty in the Seventh Alabama cavalry. He remained with that regiment until captured at Shelbyville, when he was taken to Johnson’s island and held a prisoner until near the close of the war. After he was exchanged he was sent to Richmond, where he received orders to report at Montgomery, Ala., but the final surrender came before the order could be executed. During his service he fought at Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, and was in numerous minor engagements. He was slightly wounded at Perryville and his horse was wounded under him at Murfreesboro and he had two horses killed under him at Shelbyville. After the war Judge Malone resumed the practice of law in Nashville as a member of the firm of DeMoss & Malone and continued in that relation until he retired in 1892. Later he was one of the judges of the chancery court for the sixth division of Tennessee for two years and was forced to accept the appointment to the chancellorship. Circumstances, however, compelled him to take an interest in the gas company, of which he was elected president in 1898. He is also interested in agriculture. He was first married to Miss Ellen Fall, daughter of Alexander Fall, of Nashville. She died in 1897. To this marriage there were born four children. Thomas H., Jr., is an attorney of Nashville, who was educated at Vaderbilt university, besides studying law one year in Berlin, Germany. He was afterward assistant professor of law at Vanderbilt university. Edward F. is an alumnus of Vanderbilt university, where he received the degree of A. B., and is now a student in the medical department of Johns Hopkins university at Baltimore, Md. Ellen T. is the wife of Prof. William T. MacGruder, of the Ohio State university at Columbus, Ohio, and Julia is at home. Judge Malone’s second wife was Mrs. Milley Ewing Hall. Mr. Malone is a Knight Templar Mason and member of the Methodist Episcopal church. [Source: Notable Men of Tennessee, Vol. 1, Judge John Allison, Editor, Southern Historical Association, Atlanta, GA, 1905. Transcribed by Rhonda Hill]
MASON, JOHN R. the second son of William and Rebecca Mason was born in Greenville County, Va., 1803, and died at Iuka, Miss., in April, 1862. He was educated in his native State, came with his parents to Limestone County; and at Athens was many years engaged in the mercantile business, in addition to which he was an extensive farmer and stock grower. He took a prominent part here in the agitation of the question of aid, by taxation, in the construction of the North and South Railroad, bitterly opposing the proposition to subsidize. However, after the road was put under way, we find that he was equally as earnest in having it pushed forward to completion, and that he was for years a member of its Board of Directors.
He was first married in Limestone County in 1833, to a daughter of Gabriel Smith, who died in 1844, leaving one son, William Mason, who died in Waco, Texas, in 1878. John R. Mason was again married at Athens, March 27, 1845, to Miss Glorvinia Beaty, a daughter of Robert Beaty, one of the early settlers of this place. Robert Beaty came from Ireland when he was but a child, grew to manhood in the State of Virginia, and there married Sallie Parrott. He was one of the pioneers of Limestone County, and took an active part in having the county site established at Athens as against the claims of the then pretentious village of Cambridge. He was an influential and public-spirited citizen. He donated to the town the famous "Athens Springs" with several acres of land, with the understanding that it should be devoted to the public use forever. Mr. Beaty was familiarly known as Captain Beaty. He died in Missouri, where he had gone on a business trip.
John R. Mason, by his second marriage, had two sons, Robert Beaty and John Ormond; the latter died at Athens in 1884, at the age of thirty-six years. Robert B. Mason, the elder son, was born June 27, 1846; educated at Athens, Ala., and Pittsburgh, Pa.: entered the Confederate Army as a member of Gen. P. D. Roddy's escort, served to the close of the Civil War, and surrendered at Pond Springs. After the war he devoted some time to the mercantile business, but afterward turned his attention entirely to farming and stock raising.
He married at Fayette, Tenn., in 1870, Miss Mollie P. Garrett, who died in 1882, leaving four children, Clyde Ormond, Robert Beaty, John J Greer and Mary Elice. John R. Mason was a self-made man. starting out in life with little of this world's goods, but by dint of persistent effort, close application to business, and the exercise of sound discretion, he accumulated and left to his family a handsome competency. He was universally popular and was beloved. by all classes. Everybody knew, and enjoyed the society of "Captain Jack Mason."
It was while visiting his son William (in Mississippi, after the battle of Shiloh), who was a Confederate soldier under General Bragg, that he was taken sick, and died at Iuka, without again reaching, his home, which was occupied just at this time by the Federal forces. The Federal officers made his residence their head quarters, and prohibited the Mason family from leaving town, even for the purpose of bringing him home before he died. He was a strong Douglas Democrat and a Union man until his State seceded, then he went with his people. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
McCLELLAN, ROBERT A. Attorney-at-law, Athens, was born in Lincoln County, Tenn., December, 1842. His father was Thomas J. McClellan, a native of Tennessee, and of Scotch descent, and his mother's maiden name was Martha Beattie, also a native of Tennessee.
The senior Mr. McClellan came into Limestone County in 1844, located upon a farm ten miles east of Athens, and there followed planting until 1884, when he retired, and. we think, moved into Athens. He died October 14, 1887. He was a member of the Secession Convention of 1860, and voted against that movement. He was a member of the lower house, State Legislature, in 1862, and of the Constitutional Convention of 1865. He was not, of choice, a politician. He was an old line Whig; a plain, common-sense man; honest, above all things; entertaining and forcible in conversation. It was this latter accomplishment probably that forced him into discussions and, finally, into politics. He had the reputation of being one of the best posted men on public questions in the county. He reared four sons to manhood. John B., the eldest, is a farmer in this county; has served in the Legislature, and was probate judge at the time the Reconstruction party came into power, when he was ousted. The second son, William C, died in this county, December 11, 1869, at the age of thirty-two years. He was four years in the Confederate Army: was captured two days before Appomattox, and kept in prison until August, 1865. The youngest son, the Hon. Thomas N. McClellan, is now Attorney-General of the State.
The subject of this sketch was educated at the common schools, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1868 at Athens. In the fall of 1862 he joined the Seventh Alabama Cavalry, and served to the close of the war, holding the rank of lieutenant, and most of the time was in command of his company. He participated in the campaigns of Middle and East Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas, and in many battles.
He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1875, and in November of that year was elected to the State Senate to till out an unexpired term. His name was before the Congressional Convention in 1880, when Wheeler was nominated, and received a flattering vote - a majority on the first ballot.
He was married in 1872 to Miss Aurora Pryor, a daughter of Hon. Luke Pryor. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
PRYOR, LUKE, distinguished lawyer, legislator and citizen, Athens, Ala., was born in Madison County, this State, July 5, 1820, and his parents were Luke and Ann B. (Lane) Pryor, natives of the State of Virginia, and descendants of English ancestry.
The senior Luke Pryor married in his native State; came to Madison County, Ala., in 1820, and into Limestone County in 1822. He was a planter by occupation ; a quiet, unassuming gentleman ; a good citizen, and died, mourned by all who knew him, in 1851, at the advanced age of eighty-one year. His widow survived him several years, and died at Athens, in 1874. They reared but two sons, John B. Pryor, now resident of New Jersey, and a distinguished turfman, and the subject of this sketch.
It was at the common schools of Limestone County, Luke Pryor acquired the rudiments of an English education which he subsequently augmented at an academy at Washington, Miss. He studied law under Daniel Coleman, at Athens; was admitted to the bar in 1841, and gave to that profession forty years of his life. His first law partner was Robert Brickell, now the distinguished Alabama jurisprudent. He was afterward at different times associated with Egbert Jones, General Walker, and lastly, the Hon. George S. Houston.
Since coming to man's estate, Mr. Pryor has been identified prominently with every important interest and industry of this community, and every good work has received his heartiest encouragement and support. As early as 1854, he made himself conspicuous as the friend and advocate of what is now known as the L. & N, R. P., then, we believe, spoken of as the North & South Railroad. It is of history that that enterprise, in its inception, met with much strenuous opposition at the hands of some of the leading men of North Alabama, and particularly of Limestone County. This should not be construed into meaning that those men opposed the construction of the road as such, but they objected to the means proposed, to-wit: that of subsidizing the corporation by taxation to be levied upon the common people. Stock was issued for the involuntary subscription or county taxes to the tax payer. Upon the other hand, Mr. Pryor and other gentlemen associated with him, took the ground that no moneyed company would find it sufficiently to their interest to induce them to invest the large amount required for the construction of such line of road at that early day: for it was known that the product of the country was then insufficient to make it a paying investment, and that it would probably remain so for many years. Therefore, he argued, that as the road was to redound to the immediate advantage of the people of that section of the country by giving them an outlet to the world, and access to markets, thus enhancing the value of their property, and increasing the price of the product of the plantation, it was but right that the people, as a whole, should bear a part of the necessary expense. It was upon this question that the people differed ; and the history of the North & South Railroad shows that Mr. Pryor and his friends were successful, and that a majority of the people of Limestone were with him to the extent that they voted in aid of the enterprise $200,000. It then became a question as to whether the legislature would pass a bill for this purpose, and Mr. Pryor and Thomas H. Hobbs were sent to the Legislature particularly in the interest of the enterprise. The bill as introduced and passed, was vetoed by the Governor, but it was immediately passed over his head by the required two-thirds majority, under the leadership of Mr. Pryor.
Mr. Pryor remained with this railroad company, and as its friend and champion, for many years, until, in fact, it became a through line of road from Nashville to the Tennessee River, and thence onward in the direction of Montgomery. As this was one of the most important enterprises of the South, and resulted in so much good to the whole people, it is just that we should say that there were associated with Mr. Pryor, and in its behalf, many other good and true men, and among them may be mentioned specially, Major Thomas H. Hobbs, James Sloss, Geo. S. Houston, Gilmer, Belser, et al. These men were, many of them, identified later on with what was known as the "Mountain Contracting Company" organized for the purpose of constructing this road between Decatur and Calera. It is now known that the road was in process of construction at the outbreak of the late war. It is also known that the three per cent, levy due from the State to the trust fund established for the purpose of connecting the Tennessee River and Mobile Bay, was appropriated to the North & South Railroad Company, and undoubtedly hastened the construction of this road, which finally led on to Birmingham and made that city possible. The bill providing for this appropriation was largely the work of Luke Pryor.
In 1880 (January) Governor Cobb appointed Hon. Luke Pryor United States Senator, to fill the unexpired term of the late George S. Houston. This appointment was made not only in consideration of the warm friendship existing between Messrs. Pryor and Houston during the lifetime of the latter, but was also in response to a demand on the part of people that the great Houston be succeeded by one most familiar with his methods and his purposes, and by the man most fitted in every way to prosecute them to completion. How well Mr. Pryor discharged this great duty is now known to the intelligent reader, and forms a part of the history of the nation.
At the expiration of the term for which he was appointed, Mr. Pryor refused to allow his name to go before the Legislature for re-election. In the fall of 1882 the people of his district, in convention assembled at Decatur, without any knowledge or solicitation on his part, nominated Luke Pryor, by acclamation, as the Democratic candidate for the United States Congress. Mr. Lowe, who was at that time the Greenback Republican candidate, died quite suddenly during the canvass, and the Hon. David D. Shelby was placed in his stead upon that ticket. Though at the preceding election Mr. Lowe had been returned by a handsome majority, Mr. Pryor was elected by over 800. At the end of the term Mr. Pryor again declined further nomination.
Mr. Pryor, now in the sixty-eighth year of his age, the possessor of a sound physical constitution, in the enjoyment of robust health and the exercise of every God-given faculty, promises yet to live many years of usefulness in a community where he has spent a long life, and where he is known and loved by all who can appreciate true worth in a noble citizen. Kindhearted, generous to a fault, never purposely inflicting a wound upon any heart, Luke Pryor, when he shall have been gathered unto his fathers, will leave behind him a name and reputation to be honored by those who knew him, and worthy of emulation by the greatest to succeed him.
Mr. Pryor was married in Limestone County, August 20, 1845, to a daughter of John H. Harris, a native of Virginia, and her given name was Isabella Virginia. To them has been born one son, William Richard Pryor, now an extensive farmer in this county. Their daughters are: Aurora (Mrs. Robert A. McClellan), Memory (widow of the late William S. Peebles), Ann P. (Mrs. Maclin Sloss), Mary (Mrs. Thomas Leslie), Fannie Snow and Hattie. The family are somewhat divided in their church relations, some of them being Presbyterians and others Methodists. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
RAISLER, CHARLES W. native of Pennsylvania, son is a of Frederick William and Elizabeth (Himeberger) Raisler, of Wurtemberg, Germany. In early life he learned the cabinet maker's trade, in New York City, and from there went to New Orleans, from which place he joined Company F, Second Regiment, Louisiana Volunteers, and served through the Mexican War, under General Taylor. At the close of the Mexican War he returned to New Orleans, and from there worked his way North, stopping, ad libitum, at various cities between the Gulf and the Ohio River, and finally landing at Triana, Ala., where he engaged in the manufacture of furniture. In 1856, after having his furniture factory at Triana burned, he came into Athens, and here was engaged in the cabinet-making business, at the outbreak of the late war. In May, 1861, he raised a company of volunteers for the Fortieth Tennessee, and was with it until the capture of Island No. 10. As an officer he was taken to Johnson's Island, held thirteen or fourteen months, and exchanged. His command was re-organized into the Fifty-Fourth Alabama Infantry, with Raisler as Captain of Company B. He was with this regiment at Baker's Creek, and was again captured, near Jackson, and returned to Johnson's Island, where he was kept until within one month of the fall of Richmond. He returned home, June 15, 1865, and out of the 127 men that went with him to the front, only eighteen survived.
Captain Raisler was the first representative to the Legislature, from Limestone County, after the cessation of hostilities, and he served in that body, sessions of 1865, '66, '67, '70, '71, "82, and '83. He served one term as mayor of Athens, in 18 i 8, and is the present incumbent of that office. He is a member of the Masonic order, Knights of Honor. Golden Rule, Knights and Ladies of Honor, and a communicant of the Episcopal Church. He has always been an active political worker, and was for many years chairman of the democratic executive committee, though recently it has been charged, and probably rightly, that his independence has taken him somewhat out of the line of stalwart democracy, though probably not into the enemy's camp. While in the Legislature, he introduced several bills, that became laws, of more than ordinary importance.
Captain Raisler was a gallant soldier during the war, and afterward, undoubtedly, rendered the people of Alabama much valuable service. He is now engaged in the drug business. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
RAWLS, ROBERT M. Editor and Proprietor of the Alabama Courier, a Weekly Democratic paper, published every Wednesday at Athens, was born in Lincoln County, Tenn. Jan. 6, 1861. He was a son of Luke H. Rawls, who was a merchant during his life, and who died in 1873 at the age of sixty-six years.
Robert M, Rawls was the youngest of twelve children. He received his schooling at Jackson, Tenn. and at the age of sixteen years, entered a newspaper office in that town and learned the printer's trade. From the office of the Fayetteville Observer, where he had worked about eighteen months, he took charge of the Lynchburg, (Tenn.) Sentinel, going thence, within a few months, to a position upon the Nashville World, then a new paper, and upon which he set the first line of type ever placed in a " stick" for its columns. He remained upon the World until January, 1883, when he came to Athens and in partnership with J. J. Turrentine, purchased the Courier. Mr. Turrentine withdrew from the paper in 1884, since which time Mr. Rawls has been sole proprietor. Mr. Rawls is now and has been since May, 1886, treasurer of the Alabama Press Association.
He was married in Athens, May 8, 1883, to Miss Fannie Black, daughter of the late John W. Black, and has had born to him two children, a son and a daughter. Mr. Rawls is a wide awake, public spirited, progressive young man, and gives the people of his county one of the best papers they have ever had. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
RUSSELL, WILLIAM B., of the firm of W. B. Russell & Co.. wholesale and retail grocers, and cotton dealers, was born November 28, 1851, at the town of Athens, and is the son of John G. Russell, deceased. He was educated in the Athens schools: began clerking when fifteen years of age, and at the age of twenty-three, entered into business for himself. The present partnership was formed in January, 1887; the concern has been doing a jobbing business since 1879. It is the largest retail house in Athens, and the only wholesale store of any kind.
Mr. Russell was married at Winchester, Tenn., January 18, 1881, to Miss Jessie Houghton, daughter of Dr. S. W. Houghton, of that town, and has had born to him four children. The family are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Russell is an active worker in the cause of temperance. Devoting his entire time to his business, he cares but little for politics and less for office holding. The only official position he has filled, we believe, has been that of councilman from his ward. Mr. Russell, in addition to being a shrewd, successful business man, gives some time and thought to literature, and some of his contributions to current papers have attracted considerable attention. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
SANDERS, BENTON , Merchant, Athens, Ala., was born in this county, November 10, 1829. His parents, William and Sarah (Fox) Sanders, natives, respectively, of the States of Georgia and Virginia, were married in Madison County, this State, and came to Limestone in 1841.
The senior Mr. Sanders was a soldier in the War of 1812, and along in the thirties, represented Limestone County several sessions in the Legislature. In 1834-5, he was in the banking business at Decatur. He died at his home, twelve miles east of Athens, in 1840, at the age of 47 years. His widow survived him several years, and died at the age of 67. They reared three sons, the eldest. Dr. W. T. Sanders, eminent in his profession, died in 1865, and Oliver Perry, an extensive planter, died at Grenada, Miss., in 1868.
Benton Sanders was educated at La Grange College, studied law with Fred Tate, at Athens; was admitted to the bar in 1850; served the county three years as sheriff, and was in mercantile business afterward, until the beginning of the war. Soon after the close of hostilities, he was appointed register in chancery, a position he filled until 1874, when he was elected Judge of Probate, for the term of six years. Much to the regret of the people of Limestone County, Judge Sanders, at the end of his term, declined a second nomination for the probate judgeship, and the sentiment of the public may be inferred from the following quotation from a newspaper editorial of that date. "Judge Sanders retires to private life without a blur or blot on his administration. No one has ever filled that highly responsible office with more satisfaction to our people, and in vacating the office he carries with him the best wishes of the people of Limestone County."
In 1880, he resumed mercantile business, at the head of the firm of Sanders & Richardson, and has since devoted his time to it. Mr. Sanders is president of the Athens Male College, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Athens Female Institute.
In casting about over the State for a suitable person to investigate, as an expert, the various public offices, Governor O'Neal at once settled upon Benton Sanders, of Athens, and in an urgent letter, under date of March 24, 1883, tendered him the appointment as follows : "The Legislature ordered me to have the offices of auditor, treasurer, secretary of State, superintendent of education, and warden of penitentiary examined by a competent person at least twice each year, and to this end appropriated a sufficient sum out of which to pay the expense. You have been recommended to me by Chief Justice Brickell and others as the man to do this important work, and I hereby tender you the place." Though recognizing this as a compliment of a very high order, Mr. Sanders' private business was such as compelled him to decline the duty.
[Afterward, Colonel Lapsley received the appointment, and discharged the duties with marked ability.- Ed.]
Mr. Sanders was married at Athens. January 27, 1853, to Miss Eliza Thach, daughter of Thomas H. Thach, planter and merchant, of Mooresville, and of the five children born to him we make the following notice : His only son, W. T., is a student at Vanderbilt University; one of his daughters is the wife of Thomas J. Turrentine, another is the wife of J. W. Woodruff, Jr., a planter of Mooresville and he has two daughters at home. Mr. Sanders' family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
TANNER, JOHN THOMAS, Real Estate, Immigration Agent and Healer in Exchange, Athens, was born in Madison County, this State, August 25, 1820. His father, Samuel Tanner, a native of Virginia, came to Alabama in 1818, and to Athens in 1825. He was a merchant all his life. He died in 1871, at the age of 87 years. He was an active business man to the very day of his final sickness. He reared four sons, one of whom, W. P. Tanner, deceased, was secretary and treasurer of the Cotton Seed Oil Mill at Montgomery.
The subject of this sketch was educated at Athens; began clerking for his father at the age of thirteen years, from which time, it may be truthfully said, he has been an active business man. In 1842 he engaged in the cotton business in New Orleans; two years later he removed to Shreveport, and in 1847 returned to Athens and was with his father in mercantile business up to 1852. He at that time engaged in banking, at which business we and him at the outbreak of the war, and to which he returned at the close of the war. In 1866 he was appointed Revenue Collector (United States); held that office about eighteen months, and was succeeded by a gentleman from Pennsylvania.
As secretary and treasurer of the North & South Railroad. during the war. Mr. Tanner was exempt from Government service, and the fact of his not having participated in any manner in the cause of the South led to his appointment by the United States Government to the office of Collector of Revenue. Associated with the Hon. Luke Pryor and others, Mr. Tanner was conspicuous in the organization and construction of the North & South Railroad, and was officially connected with it for twenty-five years. [This road was first called the Tennessee & Alabama Central. - Ed.]
Since 1871, Mr. Tanner has devoted his time to the business indicated at the introduction of this sketch. He has been connected officially with the Athens Female College for the past thirty years, a great deal of the time as vice-president, and at the death of Senator Houston was made president, a position he has since continued to fill. He has been five years Mayor of the city of Athens, and always identified with her best interests. He is probably the most conspicuous advocate of prohibition in the State, if not in the South. The first State Temperance Alliance was held and organized at his office, in 1881. He was chairman of the first State Convention called in Alabama in the interest of prohibition. In 1884 he was a delegate to the convention at Pittsburgh, and in the roll-call of States placed the Hon. John P. St. John in nomination for the Presidency of the United States. In 1886, Mr. Tanner was nominated at Birmingham for Governor, on the Prohibition ticket, made the race, and distinguished himself as a powerful and sincere worker in the cause of temperance. He is now one of the vice-presidents of the National Temperance Society, whose headquarters are in New York City, and is also chairman of executive committee of the Prohibition party for the State of Alabama. At this writing (1888) Mr. Tanner is prominently spoken of in connection with the vice-presidential candidacy of the Prohibition party, his name having been indorsed for that place by the State Prohibition Convention. December 15, 1887. [Mr. Tanner's was presented to the convention at Indianapolis, June, 1888, for Vice-President of the United States on the Prohibition ticket, and received a flattering vote. - Ed.]
He was married at Greenwood, La., November 26, 1846, to Miss Susan Owen Wilson, a native of Jackson, Tenn., and has had born to him four sons and four daughters, to-wit: John B. who is a cotton broker, Athens; Jason S., deceased, aged nineteen years; Stephen, deceased, and Maria, deceased : Margaret Elizabeth (Mrs. Dr. W. R. McWilliams; Mary Ruth (Mrs. J. L. Thompson), and Susan (Mrs. C. F. Carter.) Mr. Tanner and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
THACH, CHARLES C., B.E., Chair of English and Latin, Agricultural and Mechanical College, Auburn, Ala., was born at Athens, this State, in 1860. His parents were Robert H. and Eliza (Coleman) Thach, natives of Alabama. The senior Mr. Thach was a practicing lawyer for many years at Athens, and died there in 1866. Charles C. Thach received his education at the State Agricultural, and Mechanical College, Auburn, and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. Mr. Thach began teaching at Hopkinsville, Ky., in the High School, in 1877, where he remained one year, and in l878 was elected to the position of assistant professor in the preparatory department of the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Auburn. He was elected principal of that department in 1879. In the session of 1880-81 he attended lectures at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. The following year, 1881, he was chosen to fill the chair of Modern Languages in a college conducted under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church at Austin, Tex. In 1882 he was elected Adjunct Professor of Languages in the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Auburn; in 1884 he filled the chair of English and Modern Languages, and in 1886 was chosen to his present position. Professor Thach is one among the youngest of the Faculty of Auburn, and among the youngest educators in the State, and yet the mantle of learning has never fallen on more worthy shoulders. There are few men who possess the varied attainments of our subject, due not less to his natural capacity, the innate power of mind, than to earnest, persevering and well-directed industry in the acquisition of that priceless treasure, knowledge. He justly ranks among the brilliant men of the State. Professor Thach was married in November, 1886, to Miss Nellie S. daughter of Professor Otis D. Smith, of the Agricultural and Mechanical College, at Auburn. Their union has been blessed with one child, Elizabeth. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
THACH, ROBERT H. of Birmingham, Ala., attorney at law and alderman of the Seventh ward, was born in Athens, Ala., Nov. 9, 1866, is the son of Robert H. and Elizabeth L. (Coleman) Thach. His father and mother were natives of Alabama. A number of his ancestors were in the Revolutionary war. The great-grandfather on the mother's side was an officer. There were several of the family in the Civil war. John Coleman was killed at the battle of Murfreesboro and was the captain of his company. Richard Coleman was killed at the battle of Chickamauga. He was first lieutenant. Daniel and Ruffin Coleman were also in the Civil war. All were quite young. The Coleman family were noted fighters. The father of Robert H. was also in the Civil war. He was a lawyer, and practiced in Athens. He died in 1866 at the age of twenty-nine years, leaving five children, of whom only two are living: Prof. Charles C. Thach, president of the Alabama Polytechnic institute at Auburn, Ala., and Robert H., who was educated at the Alabama Polytechnic institute, graduating in 1885. He taught higher mathematics at Marvin college at Clinton, Ky., in 1886, then went to Europe and was vice-consul at St. Etienne, France, for two and a half years during President Cleveland's first administration. While in this position he traveled over Europe, and spent three pleasant years reading law at the same time. He returned to the United States in the fall of 1888, and located at Birmingham, was admitted to the bar, formed a partnership with Judge John C. Carmichael and practiced law for ten years under the firm name of Carmichael & Thach. When the former was made chancellor of the northwestern chancery division, Mr. Thach formed a partnership under the firm name of Garrett, Underwood & Thach. Upon the retirement of Colonel Garrett in 1902, Mr. Thach became a member of the firm of Weatherly, Underwood & Thach, which is the present firm. He has taken considerable interest in politics; was a member of the county executive committee for four years and upon the resignation of Robert J. Lowe, was made chairman of this committee, serving two years. He was also a member of the congressional committee of the ninth district for four years. At present he is a member of the State Democratic executive committee. He was elected city alderman to fill the term of W. J. Pearce in January, 1900, and was re-elected for four years in May, 1901. He is chairman of the judiciary committee. He married Feb. 9, 1891, Stella Bringier at New Orleans, La., and they have two children, Robert Gordon and Stella Mayo, aged twelve and ten years respectively. Source: Notable Men of Alabama Vol. II, Joel Campbell Dubose (1904) submitted by FoFG mz
TURRENTINE, JOHN, Merchant, Athens, was born at Hillsboro, N. C. May 15, 1811. His parents were John and Nancy (Wilson) Turrentine. The Turrentines came from Ireland in the Colonial days, and some of them fought with distinction in the Revolutionary War, and afterward, held important trusts in the civil government. The senior John Turrentine entered the United States Regular Army soon after the battle of New Orleans, and served five years, lacking three months, and died. His wife in the meantime had removed, at his request, from North Carolina to Tennessee, settled in Lincoln County, and there received the news of his death. He was a non-commissioned officer, and was the father of four daughters and two sons. Through the influence of General Houston, Congress passed a bill granting a bounty to his heirs in consideration of his services. Mrs. Turrentine removed to Morgan County. Ala., in 1820, and there died in 1826, at the age of forty-five years.
The subject of this sketch was brought up on a farm and acquired such education as was possible to his limited circumstances. He lived in Lawrence County twelve years, coming from Courtland, where he had been a salesman, with a small stock of goods, to Athens in 1844. He has now been forty-four years a merchant in this town. For twelve years preceding the war, he held the office of Justice of the Peace, and for three or four years after the war was General Administrator. He was opposed to secession, and did what he could to prevent it, but when the South withdrew from the Union, he espoused the cause of his State, and it cost him the whole of his property, for the Yankees burned up everything he had.
Mr. Turrentiue was married while in Lawrence County (May, 1837), to Susan Ann Stevens, who died in November, 1842, leaving one son, now the Hon. John J. Turrentine, of this city. Mr. Turrentine married his second wife, Amanda Melvina Francis Higgins, in this county, and she died July 16, 1884. Of the seven children born to her, six were living at the time of her death, and one has since died. The living are: Thomas J., a merchant; William H., a lawyer; Nancy Elizabeth ; Sarah Louisa (Mrs. James William Bridgfourth), Martha Ann, died August 1, 1870, and Jane died March 9, 1885. Mr. Turrentine is a Master Mason and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
TURRENTINE, JOHN J., prominent Attorney-at-law and Deputy District Solicitor,
Athens, Ala., was born in Lawrence County, this State, June 10, 1840 ; and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Stephens) Turrentine, natives of North Carolinaand , respectively. Alabama
Mr. Turrentine was educated at
; studied law under Judge Walker; admitted to the bar April, 1860, and embarked at once in the practice of his profession. Early in the outbreak of the war between the States, been listed in H. H. Higgins Athens 'Company at Athens, and at was mustered into the "Walker Fortieth" known afterward and in history as the Fortieth Tennessee Infantry. He served with that regiment up to the time of his capture. After being held about five months as prisoner he was exchanged at Memphis . In the Fortieth Tennessee he held the rank of first lieutenant ; he went into the service as a second junior lieutenant. The Fortieth Tennessee, which did not have a Vicksburg Tennesseecompany in it, was afterwards re-organized, and the companies helped form the Fifty-fourth Alabama Regiment, commanded by Alpheus Baker, colonel in General Tillman Alabama 's brigade up to the battle of Baker 's Creek. Just before this battle the command was transferred to Brigadier-General O. A. Buford. Mr. Turrentine remained with the Fifty-fourth through General Buford 's Mississippicampaign, and under Lowring through the campaign. In 1863 he was detailed Assistant Quartermaster of his regiment, which position he held until the spring of 1864, at which time he organized a company of skirmishers from the Fifty-fourth Alabama Regiment. He participated in all the Jackson Georgiacampaign, and on August 16, 1864, was seriously wounded before . He had under him about 172 men at one time, and with them, in the early part of August, near Atlanta Atlanta, fought two Federal regiments for over two hours a hand-to-hand conflict, in which some of the men distinguished themselves as skirmishers, among whom was Mr. Lania, of . Choctaw County After the Ala. campaign, on account of some difference with the colonel, he withdrew entirely from his old regiment and proceeded to organize a company to be composed of the great surplus of commissioned officers that, through the destruction of men, had been virtually deprived of commands. It appears that this company, if ever fully organized, was not afterwards engaged in battle, as the final surrender succeeded shortly after. In January, 1866, he removed to Georgia Arkansas; there practiced law for five years and returned to in 1871. He was elected county solicitor in 1872, and held the office until the law providing for a district solicitor went into force. The only other civil office held by Captain Turrentine appears to have been that of general administrator. He held this position about six years. He married while in Athens (1866) Miss Elizabeth Sanders. She died at Arkansas in May, 1881, leaving one son. His second marriage was to a daughter of Dr. J. M. Collins, of this county. Athens
The Captain is an active Democratic worker; was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Committee in 1882; is a good lawyer, a forcible speaker, a citizen of the highest repute, a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Source: Northern Alabama – Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land,
1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney Birmingham, Ala
VASSER, RICHARD W. was born in Amelia County, Va., in September, 1800. His father, Peter Vasser, moved to Halifax County, Va., during the infancy of his son, and being a man of extravagant and somewhat dissipated habits, wasted a handsome estate. This induced his son Richard, in 1816, to join his cousin Ed Dandridge Jones in a move to Middle Tennessee, and they afterward settled in Giles County. Young Vasser came to Northern Alabama the next year, and decided to make his home henceforth in Limestone. By persevering energy and the exercise of an indomitable will which possessed the magic of moulding circumstances to his purposes, he in a few years accumulated sufficient means to bring his parents and sisters to his new home. The death of his father, a year or two after their arrival, left the mother and sisters entirely dependent on his personal efforts for their support, and never did son or brother more faithfully discharge this sacred duty. His fine intellect, wonderful business capacity, and well-known integrity, made him a leading spirit in those early days of our young Commonwealth. He was president of the board of directors of the first Huntsville bank, and used to take a monthly trip to the then infant town, on horseback, astride his saddle-bags filled with papers, currency and coin. Throughout his life his memory was marvelous, and his friends in Philadelphia, Pa. (to which city he made a yearly trip, even when it took six weeks to get there), have told the writer of some of his feats of memory, especially in dates and figures, not unworthy of Parr or Bradford. In 1833 he married his second cousin, Elizabeth Dandrige Jones (she being the great-granddaughter of the Peter Jones who, about 1720, assisted Colonel William Byrd, then commissioner of the English Crown in this country, to lay off the cities of Richmond and Petersburg, Va., and the latter city was named for this Peter Jones, (and not for Petersburg in Russia, as many erroneously suppose.) She bore him thirteen children, nine sons, of whom William Ed. Vasser was the youngest, and is the sole survivor. Mr. Vasser died in Athens, Ga,in 1864, and in 1886 his remains (with those of his son. Lieutenant Harry Vasser, who was killed in Johnston's retreat from Atlanta, just one month after his father's decease), were brought to Athens, They lie side by side in the old town cemetery, on ground taken from the garden of the old home, where the surviving members of the family still keep their resting-place fragrant with roses and lilies, planted by hands long since returned to mother earth.
Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
VASSER, WILLIAM EDWARD, son of Richard W, and Elizabeth B. (Jones) Vasser, natives of Virginia and North Carolina, respectively, was born March 19,1855. He was educated at the Military Institute, Lexington, Va., and at the University of Virginia, graduating from the first in 1875, and from the latter in 1876. In 1878, he made a tour of Europe, for the purpose of observation and study; returned to Athens, and fur the succeeding three years, turned his attention to farming.
During the years of 1882-3, Mr. Vasser conducted the editorial columns of the Alabama Courier, and in 1886, the people of the county, chose him as against six competitors to represent them in the lower house of the State Legislature, and it is worthy of remark that at the primary election, he received a decided majority of the entire vote cast. At the general election, there was no opposition to Mr. Vasser. As a member of the Legislature, he was chairman of the Committee on Education, and an active member of the Committee on Public Roads and Highways. In the first named committee, and before the House, he took a prominent stand in favor of the Normal School system, and maintained it successfully against the combined opposition of its enemies, and it is to his efforts that the people of Alabama are indebted for the improvement and increase of the Normal School privileges, if not indeed its present existence. It was his committee that introduced the law, compelling county superintendents to cover public money coming into their hands, into the State Treasury, instead of disbursing it as they had hitherto done. As under the old system, defalcations had been for many years more or less frequent, a change in the law is at once recognized as salutary. It was his committee that separated the Deaf and Dumb from the Blind Institution, established different schools for them, and procured separate appropriations for each institution. He also advocated successfully an appropriation for the Auburn Polytechnic School.
Mr. Vasser is a cultured, educated gentleman, with a decidedly literary cast of mind. His eulogy in verse on the distinguished Houston, was quoted by Congressman Williams in his eulogy upon the dead Senator before the United States House of Representatives, and his volume of poems entitled "Flower Myths and other Poems" (1884) has attracted much favorable comment from literary critics in almost every State in the Union, and many of his poems have been published and republished by the leading papers of the country. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
WALKER, WILLIAM H., son of John F. and Eliza Walker, was born near Mooresville, Limestone County, Ala., March 2, 1822, and died March 4, 1876. Mr. Walker, one of the leading lawyers of his day, was left an orphan at the age of four years. He was educated at La Grange, began the practice of law when a young man, and with the exception of a part of a term, served by appointment, as Probate Judge, devoted his life thereto. He was married July 7, 1859, to Miss Sally E. Ryan, of Baltimore, and had born to him eight children, seven of whom are living at this writing (1888): Mary Eloise (Mrs. R H. Richardson), William Ryan, Ada, John Fortman, Maria Richardson, and Robert Henry. Mr. Walker was an able lawyer, a highly respected citizen, and a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
WALKER, WILLIAM R. Attorney-at-law, Athens, son of William H. Walker, a prominent jurist, who died at this place in 1876. Mr. Walker was educated primarily at Athens'schools and Auburn, Ala., and graduated in the law department of Vanderbilt University in 1882. He began the practice at once at Athens, and in September, 1885, moved to Guntersville, and there, associated with B. Coman, edited the Guntersville Democrat, in connection with the practice of law, up to January, 1887. Since that date he has been practicing law at Athens. He was born, in this town, November 10, 1861. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
WESTMORELAND, THEOPHILUS M. D., Athens, was born in Giles County Tennessee November 21, 1834, and was educated primarily at Pulaski, graduating at Nashville, in 1855, as a Doctor of Medicine. He began practice first, and at once after leaving college, in Giles County, subsequently locating at Pulaski for a few years, and came into Athens in 1879. In 1880 he established a drug store in connection with his practice.
In the summer of 1861 Dr. Westmoreland went into the army as Surgeon of the Fifty-third Tennessee Infantry, and afterwards was made Chief Surgeon of General Quarles brigade, in which position he remained to the close of the war. He was captured at Fort Donelson, and when the Federals were removing the sick, he and two other physicians got permission to take a trip up the river, and, not being under any parole, made their escape. The Doctor was in the Western Army and on duty at the battle of Port Hudson, Dalton, and many other places during the war, and finally at the last conflict of arms, Bentonville, N. C.
Aside from his profession and drug business he is largely interested in agriculture. He takes no interest in politics particularly, is no office-seeker, though a reliable Democrat, and has served the town one term as Mayor. He was married in 1862 at Gilbertsborough, this county, to a daughter of Louis Nelson, an old citizen, merchant and planter of that place. Mrs. Westmoreland died in 1877, leaving two daughters and a son. One of the daughters, an accomplished young lady of seventeen years, died in 1884. The other is Mrs. Vandegrift of Athens. The Doctor's second marriage occurred at Athens, where he wedded Miss May F. Lane, daughter of Judge George W. Lane, of Huntsville, July 29, 1879. [George W. Lane was some years Judge of the Circuit Court, and was appointed by Buchanan United States District Judge, and held the office over, under Mr. Lincoln - Ed] By his last marriage Dr. Westmoreland has two children, Frank Grant and Pattie Lane. The Doctor stands high in his profession, is a member of the various medical societies, and is one of Athens' most popular citizens. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
WILLIAMS, MARCUS G., President of the Athens Female College, was born at Boonville, Mo., October 25, 1831, and is a son of the Rev. Justinian Williams, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, late of the Tennessee Conference. The Rev. Mr. Williams was placed in charge of Huntsville Station, in 1837, and spent most of the remainder of his life in Alabama, preaching, and died in 1859, at the age of seventy-two years.
Professor Williams was educated at La Grange College, Alabama; studied medicine awhile, but feeling that it was his duty to preach, turned his attention to theology, and was licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in March, 1854. During the following fall, he entered the Tennessee Conference, on trial, and remained there until the outbreak of the war, when he was made Chaplain of the Third Tennessee Infantry. At the end of the first year, his commission as Chaplain having expired, he raised a company of cavalry for the Ninth Alabama, and, as Captain, commanded it about a year and a half. He left the service on account of an injury received at Murfreesboro, and returned to Lawrence County and taught school for a short time. In 1867 he was transferred to the Arkansas Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, going thence, at the end of two years, to the Southwest Missouri Conference. He remained in Missouri eleven years, devoting his time to the ministry, and to the advancement of education. He resigned his Professorship in the Central Female College, Lexington, Mo., to come to the North Alabama Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1880). Since coming here he has had charge of New Market Circuit and New Market High School, Madison County; Tuscumbia Station and Tuscumbia Male Academy, and Leighton Circuit, and came to his present position by election, January, 1884. He preaches at Elkmont and State Line gratuitously, and fills the pulpit at Athens in the absence of the regular pastor.
Professor Williams was married in Lauderdale County, Ala., October 23, 1856, to a Miss Coffey, and has reared two daughters, one of whom is adopted, but is as near to him and as dear to him, seemingly, as his own child. Both his daughters are teachers in the college over which he presides. Source: Northern Alabama - Historical and Biographical by Smith & De Land, Birmingham, Ala 1888 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
WITHERS, S. J., physician, was born in 1828, in Limestone County; son of Dr. John W. and Palmyra S. (Jordon) Withers, both natives of Virginia who removed to Alabama where the latter became a physician of note; grandson of Judge John and Mary Herbert (Jones) Withers, who came to Alabama from Virginia in 1808, settling near Huntsville, and of Samuel and Jane (Scott) Jordon, natives of Virginia who removed to Alabama in 1818, locating in Limestone County; great-grandson of Thomas and Priscilla (Wright) Withers, the former a native of England, who emigrated to America, locating in Nansemond County, Va., where he married, later removing to near Petersburg, at one time private secretary to Governor Dinwiddie, and of Frederick and Susannah (Claiborne) Jones, of Dinwiddie County, Va.; great-great-grandson of Sam Jordon, a native of Virginia, and of Col. Augustine and Mary (Herbert) Claiborne, of Prince William County, Va.; great-great-great-grandson of Bulwer and Mary (Stith) Herbert, of Petersburg, Va., the latter at one time maid of honor to Queen Anne; great-great-greatgreat-grandson of Lord John Herbert, a descendant of the first Earl of Pembroke. Dr. Withers was reared on a farm; received a good elementary education; studied medicine under John Y. Bassett, in 1847; entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1848, graduating in 1850. He located in Alabama, practicing in Madison County for one year; removed to Arkansas, where he remained three years; returned to Alabama and began the practice of his profession at Mooresville. He was an Episcopalian; Methodist; and a Knight of Honor. Married: in 1851, to Emma, daughter of Charles E. and Elizabeth M. (Stewart) Collier. Children: 1. Elizzie; 2. C. S.; 3. John W., and 4. Charles W., twins; 5. Ella Lee; 6. Emma B. Last residence: Mooresville. [Source: History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 4 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, 1921 - Submitted by AFOFG]
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