"Tennessee Trails" through Bedford County

Bedford County TN Biographies


Walter S. Bearden, a prominent attorney of Shelbyville, was born in Lincoln County, Tenn., January 10, 1843, being one of two children (twins) born to the marriage of Dr. B. F. Bearden and Susan M. Blake. The father was a native of South Carolina, but lived and died in Lincoln County, Tenn. He was a man of great learning and breadth, and was eminent in the profession of medicine. He died in 1870 and five years afterward the mother died. He received a good early education and at the age of fifteen began teaching as an assistant in an academy. He entered the Emory and Henry College of Virginia and was in that school when the war broke out. He then enlisted in Company E, Forty-first Tennessee as second lieutenant, and remained in the service throughout the war. He was elected second lieutenant of the company upon its second organization, and commanded the company the last year of the war., He received three wounds, on e of which was serious. Returning from the service he began the study of law, and in 1866 began the practice of his profession in Shelbyville, where he has made himself a leading member of the bar. He has never aspired to political honor till this year (1886), when he was announced as candidate for chancellor of his district. He was married, February 17, 1874, to Maggie C. Whiteside, daughter of Col. T. C. Whiteside. He has a family of four children by this marriage. Politically, he was reared a Whig, but is now a Democrat. Himself and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church. He is a Knight Templar Mason and at one time was the youngest High Priest in Royal Arch Masonry of the State. As a citizen he is well known and highly respected.

Lawyer, Chancellor Fifth Chancery Division; born Petersburg, Lincoln County, Tenn., January 10, 1843; son of Benjamin Franklin and Susan Margaret (Blake) Bearden; father’s occupation physician; paternal grandparents Benj. F. and _____ (Wright) Bearden; maternal grandparents John W. and Mary (Morgan) Blake; Scotch, Irish, French and Huguenot descent; educated Emory and Henry College, Va.; left college to go to war; taught school summer of 1861; made speeches every Saturday to help raise a company of infantry; taught school at 15 and was teacher of a large school at 16; married Margaret Cooper Whiteside February 17, 1874; member F. & A.M., Tannehill Chapter, R.A.M., Murfreesboro Commandery K.T.; Trinity Consistory No. 2, Nashville, Tenn., Scottish Rite, 32nd degree Mason, honorary member Century Club, Columbia, Tenn.; elected Chancellor Fourth Chancery Division in 1886; was Chancellor of that division for sixteen years; became Chancellor of Fifth Chancery Division 1902; served in army of C.S.A.; promoted once and tendered another; finally Captain July, 1864; was wounded in battle at Peachtree Creek; wounded later July, 1864, near Atlanta, and later at battle of Jonesboro; August 31, 1864 was captured at surrender of Fort Donelson; paroled Meridian, Miss. 1865; has served as Chancellor in a large chancery division for twenty-four years continuously, and was again elected in 1910; member of Presbyterian Church.
Source: Who’s Who in Tennessee, Memphis: Paul & Douglass Co., Publishers, 1911; transcribed by Kim Mohler

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