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Title: Makers and Romance of Alabama History
Author: Riley, B. F.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Makers and Romance of Alabama History

Embracing Sketches of the Men Who Have Been Largely Instrumental in
Shaping the Policies and in Molding the Conditions in the Rapid Growth of
Alabama--Together With the Thrilling and Romantic Scenes With Which Our
History is Resplendent


_Author of the History of Conecuh County; Alabama, As It Is; History of
the Baptists of Alabama; History of the Baptists of the Southern States
East of the Mississippi; History of the Baptists of Texas, and The White
Man's Burden; Ex-President of Howard College, and sometime Professor of
English Literature and Oratory in the University of Georgia._

"History is neither more nor less than biography on a large

"All history is but a romance, unless it is studied as an

"Biography is the only true history."--CARLYLE.



The Mothers, Wives, Daughters, and Sisters, without the fidelity,
kindness, and devotion of whom this proud commonwealth could not have
attained its present magnificent proportions, and on whose future loyalty
must largely depend the perpetuation of the grandeur of Alabama; who
though not conspicuous in the glare and tumult of the struggles which have
eventuated in the erection of Alabama into a giant state, have yet made
possible the successes of others by the quiet and wholesome force of our
home life; to these, our worthy women of the past and present, this volume
is most cordially dedicated by



The present volume is intended to be a substantial contribution to the
history of Alabama, by giving expansion to the recorded lives of its
foremost citizens--men who alike on the field and in the forum, on the
bench and in the sphere of commerce, in the lecture room and in the
pulpit, on the farm and in the court, in the field of development as well
as in the ordinary walks of life, have shared conspicuously in the
erection of one of the proudest of the American commonwealths.

The distinction achieved by these eminent citizens in various orbits are
worthy of perpetual record, and their respective deeds and accomplishments
deserve more than a bare reference in the current chronicles of the state.
Along the successive eras through which Alabama has passed, first as a
territory, then as a state, for a period exceeding a hundred years, each
of these worthies made a contribution to the construction of a mighty
commonwealth, and sheer justice requires that the specific task so
worthily wrought by each should be a matter of permanent record. The
effort is here made not to follow the beaten path of chronological
biography, so much, as to seize on the salient points in the life of each
eminent leader, show who and what he was, and that which he did. By means
of a method like this, these distinguished men become reflectors of the
period in which each lived and wrought.

In addition, is a series of romantic sketches which lie outside the
channel of ordinary history, and yet they serve the function of imparting
to its pages a zest and flavor that relieve it largely of commonplace.
These scenes derived from the transactions of nearly four hundred years,
have been carefully gleaned from every possible source, and are here
embodied for the first time in convenient form.

The conditions which have attended on the evolution of a great state from
the rawest of savage wildernesses, have yielded a store of material
intensely romantic. The original tribes with their rude settlements and
forts dotting the uncleared surface of Alabama over, skimming the waters
of the streams and bordering bays in their tiny canoes, and threading the
forests along narrow paths; the invasions of the Spanish and the French,
and their transactions and conflicts as they would encounter aboriginal
resistance, and the later and lasting occupation of the territory by the
Anglo-Saxon, who came with dominant determination to possess the land and
to transform it through the agencies of a conquering civilization into an
exalted government--these have yielded a harvest of romance exceptional in
its rareness and fascinating in its nature. While the record of scenes
like these afford diversion, at the same time, they serve as no inferior
contribution to our history. Like the lives of prominent makers of
history, these rare scenes are indexes of the times in which they took

It is proper to say that the material embodied in this volume appeared
first on the pages of The Age-Herald, of Birmingham, Alabama, with no
original design of the expansion which they gradually assumed, and with
no purpose, in the outset, of embodying them in permanent form. As first
appearing, the individual subjects were treated under the general head of
Men Who Have Made Alabama, while the other sketches appeared under the
subject of Romance of Alabama History. The only change which they have
undergone has been in the way of the correction of certain minor errors to
which the attention of the author was kindly called, and for which he now
acknowledges his gratefulness.

The publication of this volume is due to numerous requests which have come
from both within and without the state, attended by a generous suggestion
of the historic value of the matter herein embodied. It is in compliance
with these requests that the volume is published.


  ABERNETHY, M. W.                      289

  BAKER, ALPHEUS                        261

  BAGBY, A. P.                           18

  BALDWIN, A. G.                         62

  BATTLE, C. A.                         243

  BESTOR, D. P.                         105

  BIBB, W. W.                             1

  BOWDON, F. W.                         110

  BOWIE, ALEXANDER                      124

  BREWER, WILLIS                        361

  BRYCE, PETER                          181

  CHILTON, W. P.                         81

  CLAY, CLEMENT COMER                    14

  CLAY, CLEMENT CLAIBORNE                48

  CLAYTON, H. D.                        275

  CLEMENS, JEREMIAH                     209

  COBBS, N. H.                          190

  COLLIER, H. W.                         58

  CURRY, J. L. M.                       219

  DALE, SAM                               5

  DARGAN, E. S.                         176

  DEBARDELEBEN, H. F.                   333

  DOWDELL, J. F.                        279

  FITZPATRICK, BENJ.                     33

  FORNEY, W. H.                         252

  FORSYTH, JOHN                          87

  GOLDTHWAITE, GEORGE                    92

  GUILD, LAFAYETTE                      284

  HARALSON, JONATHAN                    342

  HARRISON, G. P.                       265

  HERBERT, H. A.                        365

  HILLIARD, H. W.                       204

  HOLCOMBE, HOSEA                        53

  HOOPER, J. J.                          67

  HOUSTON, G. S.                        293

  JOHNSTON, J. F.                       365

  KING, W. R.                            23

  LANGDON, C. C.                        152

  LEWIS, D. H.                           28

  MANLY, BASIL, SR.                     120

  MARTIN, J. L.                          38

  MATTHEWS, J. E.                       171

  MEEK, A. B.                           115

  MORGAN, J. T.                         299

  MURFEE, J. T.                         317

  MURPHY, W. M.                          73

  OATES, W. C.                          338

  ORMOND, J. J.                         129

  PELHAM, JOHN,                         238

  PETTUS, E. W.                         256

  PICKENS, ISRAEL                        10

  PICKETT, A. J.                        133

  POLLARD, C. T.                        157

  POWELL, J. R.                         326

  PRATT, DANIEL                         142

  PUGH, J. L.                           305

  RICE, F. S.                           162

  RODDY, P. D.                          248

  RODES, R. E.                          224

  RYAN, A. J.                           321

  SAMFORD, W. J.                        346

  SAUNDERS, J. E.                        77

  SCREWS, W. W.                         351

  SEMMES, RAPHAEL                       233

  SHELLEY, C. M.                        270

  SHORTER, J. G.                        185

  SMITH, E. A.                          313

  SMITH, ISAAC                           43

  STONE, G. W.                          167

  TOUMEY, MICHAEL                       146

  TRAVIS, ALEXANDER                      96

  TUTWILER, HENRY                       137

  WALKER, L. P.                         194

  WEST, ANSON                           309

  WHEELER, JOSEPH                       229

  WINSTON, J. A.                        100

  YANCEY, W. L.                         199

  THE FIRST WHITE INVADER               373

  INGRATITUDE AND CRUELTY               379


  TROUBLE BREWING                       392

  BATTLE OF MAUBILA                     398

  AFTERMATH OF THE BATTLE               405

  MURMURING AND MUTINY                  410

  THE CLOSING SCENE                     415

  ORIGINAL MOBILE                       421

  FORT TOMBECKBE                        426


  BATTLE OF ACKIA                       436

  AFTER THE BATTLE, WHAT?               441

  THE RUSSIAN PRINCESS                  446


  INDIAN TROUBLES                       456

  ALEXANDER MCGILLIVRAY                 461

  THE INDIAN "EMPEROR"                  466

  MCGILLIVRAY'S CHICANERY               471

  A NOVEL DEPUTATION                    476

  THE TENSION RELIEVED                  481

  THE CURTAIN FALLS                     486

  LORENZO DOW                           490


  ENFORCED ACQUIESCENCE                 499

  FORT MIMS MASSACRE                    503

  INDIAN GRATITUDE                      508

  THE CANOE FIGHT                       512

  A LEAP FOR LIFE                       517

  WEATHERFORD'S OVERTHROW               522

  WEATHERFORD SURRENDERS                527

  WEATHERFORD'S LAST DAYS               531

  AARON BURR IN ALABAMA                 535

  BURR'S ARREST                         540

  A DREAM OF EMPIRE                     545

  THE TRIP AND SETTLEMENT               550

  LIFE IN THE FRENCH COLONY             554

  PRIMITIVE HARDSHIPS                   559

  LAFAYETTE'S VISIT                     564

  LAFAYETTE'S RECEPTION                 569

  LAFAYETTE'S DEPARTURE                 574

  OLD SCHOOL DAYS                       579

  THE CROSS ROADS GROCERY               584

  EARLY NAVIGATION                      589

  HARRY, THE MARTYR JANITOR             594

  A MEMORABLE FREEZE                    598

  TWO SLAVE MISSIONARIES                602

  THE CAMP MEETING                      607

  THE STOLEN SLAVE                      611

  HAL'S LAKE                            615



On the extreme eastern boundary of Washington County, on a bluff
overlooking the Tombigbee River from the west, is the site of old St.
Stephens, the original, or territorial, capital of Alabama. At one time it
had a population of perhaps three thousand, composed largely of immigrants
from Virginia. At the time of its selection as the seat of territorial
government it was about the only place in the territory fitted to become a
capital, though Huntsville, on the extreme north, was also a town of
considerable pretension.

As early as 1817 St. Stephens was a bustling little center of culture and
wealth. In their insulation the people were proud of their little capital.
Their touch with the outside world was by means of sluggish flat boats
which were operated to and from Mobile. The original site is now a scene
of desolation. A few ruins and relics remain to tell the story of the once
refined society existing there. Some of the foundation masonry of the
little capital building and of the tiny treasury, an occasional column of
stone or brick, beaten and battered, rows of trees still growing in
regular order as they were planted nearly a century ago and a cemetery
with its stained and blackened marble remain to indicate that this was
once a spot inhabited by a refined community.

Here, as far back as 1814, Thomas Easton, the first public printer of the
Alabama territory, issued his little paper with its scant news of flat
boat tidings from Mobile, the improvements in the little town, the
exploits of hunters of turkeys, deer, wolves and bears, with a slight
sprinkling of personalities. St. Stephens had been a town of some
pretension for years before the first territorial governor, Honorable
William Wyatt Bibb, of Georgia, came across the country from the
Chattahoochee to assume the executive functions to which he had been
appointed by President Monroe. Bibb was amply equipped for his difficult
position alike naturally and by experience.

A graduate from William and Mary College, he chose medicine as a
profession and was actively engaged in his profession when he was chosen
to represent Georgia in the legislature, where, though still quite a young
man, he won distinction. When scarcely twenty-five years old he was sent
to Congress from Georgia. Later he became one of the senators from the
state, and later still was appointed by President Monroe, the territorial
governor of Alabama. His was an arduous task. The territory was dotted
over with straggling settlements of colonists who came from Virginia, the
Carolinas and Georgia and settled here and there, but the two chief
settlements were in the opposite ends of the territory at St. Stephens and
Huntsville. Roads were yet uncut, and in passing from one settlement to
another the colonists would follow the trails of the Indians which
threaded the forests through. To weld the widely separated communities
into statehood and lay the foundation of a great commonwealth required
more than ordinary statesmanship.

The boundaries of the territory had just been defined by the National
Congress, with the provision that the territorial legislature of the new
region should be those who were members of the Mississippi legislative
council and house of representatives who resided within the confines of
the newly created Alabama territory. Of that number, it so happened that
only one member of the legislative council, or senate, fell within the new
territory. James Titus, of Madison, was the only member of the upper
house, and during the first session of the legislative assembly he sat in
a chamber alone as the senate of Alabama. He was president, clerk and the
senate--all in one. He met, considered the measures of the lower house,
adjourned and convened with ludicrous formality. In the lower house there
were about a dozen members.

The initial message of the first governor showed a ready grasp of the raw
conditions and an ability to grapple with formidable difficulties. A
wilderness had to be shaped and molded into a commonwealth by the creation
of the necessary adjuncts, all of which the young governor recommended in
his first message. The promotion of education, the establishment of
highways, the construction of bridges and ferries, the definition of the
boundaries of counties and the creation of new ones, in order to fuse the
dispersed population into oneness were among his recommendations.

Perhaps the most notable service rendered by Governor Bibb was that of
thwarting the effort of the Mississippi constitutional convention, in
which convention was organized that state, in seeking so to change the
original boundary between the Alabama and Mississippi territories as to
include into the new state of Mississippi all that part of Alabama which
lies west of the Tombigbee River, or, in other words, to make the
Tombigbee the boundary line between the two proposed states. This imposed
on the young governor an important and arduous task, but with cool
aggressiveness, coupled with influential statesmanship, he succeeded in
preventing the proposed change. Had the change been made there would have
been lost to Alabama that valuable portion now embraced in the counties of
Sumter, Choctaw, Washington and Mobile Counties. To the active agency and
energy of this original commonwealth builder is Alabama indebted for the
retention of this valuable strip of territory.

Commercial and educational systems were organized by the incorporation of
banks and schools, and the first location of the seat of government of the
new state provided for by the selection of a site at the junction of the
Cahaba and Alabama Rivers, which new town was called Cahaba. Governor Bibb
was charged with the work of laying out the plans of the town and for
providing for the erection of a capitol building. Meanwhile the seat of
government was removed to Huntsville in order to await the completion of
the capitol at Cahaba.

His term having expired as territorial governor, and Alabama having now
become a state, Governor Bibb offered for election as the first governor
of the new state, and was opposed by Marmaduke Williams, of Tuscaloosa.
Bibb was elected, but died soon after. Two counties, one in Alabama and
the other in Georgia, were named in honor of Governor William Wyatt Bibb.


No more romantic character figured in the early days of Alabama history
than General Sam Dale. Cool as an ocean breeze, and fearless as a lion,
his natural qualifications fitted him for the rough encounters of a
pioneer period. Like an ancient Norseman he sought danger rather than
shunned it, and hazard furnished to him a congenial atmosphere. He was
born for the perils of the frontier, and his undaunted spirit fitted him
for reveling in the stormy scenes of early Indian warfare.

A native of Virginia, Dale was taken to Georgia in early childhood, and
there grew to early manhood. From his earliest recollections he was
familiar with the stories of the lurking savage and the perils of the
scalping knife and tomahawk. He was therefore an early graduate from the
border school of hunting and Indian warfare.

When Dale removed to Alabama in the budding period of manhood he had
already won the reputation of being the most daring and formidable scout
and Indian fighter of the time. In numerous encounters he had been a
distinguished victor. Six feet two inches high, straight as a flagstaff,
square shouldered, rawboned and muscular, with unusually long and muscular
arms, he was a physical giant and the terror of an Indian antagonist. By
his courage and intrepidity, he excited the regard even of the Indians,
who called him "Sam Thlucco," or Big Sam.

The qualities possessed by Dale may be illustrated by the revelation of
one or two of his daring feats. Appointed a scout at Fort Matthews on the
Oconee River, in Georgia, which fort was under the command of the famous
Indian fighter, Captain Jonas Fauche, Dale slid with stealthy movement
through the country, and spied out the whereabouts and plans of the
Indians. Once while at a great distance from the fort, he was bending over
a spring of water to drink, two Muscogee warriors sprang from behind a
log, and leaped on Dale with tomahawks upraised. With entire coolness of
mind he pitched one of them over his head, grasped the other with his left
hand, and with his right plunged his knife into his body. Quick as thought
the other recovered himself, and rushed with madness on Dale just in time
to meet another thrust from his blade, and both lay dead at his feet.
Bleeding from five wounds which he had received in the combat, Dale
retraced the trail of the Indians for nine miles through the woods, and
when he came to the edge of their encampment he found three brawny
warriors sprawled on the ground asleep, while in their midst there sat a
white woman, a prisoner, with her wrists tied. He deliberately killed all
three as they slept, and cut the thongs of the prisoner. Just then a
stalwart Indian sprang from behind a tree with a wild yell, and with a
glittering knife ready to bury it into Dale's body. Dale weakened by his
wounds and his exhausting march, was thrown to the ground by the Indian,
who had him in such a position that within a moment more he would have
made the fatal stab had not the woman quickly seized a tomahawk and buried
it in the brain of the Indian. The woman was quietly escorted back to the
fort and returned to her home.

Peace having been made, Dale betook himself to trading with the Indians,
exchanging calicoes, gewgaws, ammunition, and liquor, for peltry and
ponies. His profits would have been enormous had Dale not been the
spendthrift that he was. But like many another, he never knew the value of
a dollar till he was in need. His trading led him across the Chattahoochee
into the Alabama territory in 1808, at which time we find him among the
earliest immigrants to this region. He was most valuable as a guide in
directing for years bodies of immigrants from Georgia to Alabama. He was
at Tookabatchee and heard the war speech of Tecumseh which precipitated
the war in Alabama, and straightway gave the alarm of approaching
hostilities to the inhabitants. A long and brilliant series of daring
exploits marked the years of the immediate future of Dale's eventful life.

Perhaps the most noted of his feats was that of the famous "canoe fight,"
on the waters of the Alabama River. This was a thrilling encounter, and is
inseparable from the great achievements which adorn the state's history.
It is too long to be related in detail, and only the outline facts can
here be given. With two men in a canoe, Austill and Smith, and the
faithful negro, Caesar, to propel the little boat, Dale sallied forth on
the bosom of the river to encounter eleven Indian warriors in a larger
boat. As the boat which bore the Indians glided down the river, the one
containing the three whites shot out from under a bluff, and was rowed
directly toward the Indians. Two of the Indians sprang from the boat, and
swam for the shore. Caesar, the negro, who paddled the canoe of the
whites, was bringing his boat so as to bear on the other, that they would
soon be alongside, which so soon as it was effected, the negro gripped the
two and held them together while the fearful work of slaughter went on.
The result of the hand to hand engagement was that the nine Indians were
killed, and pitched into the river, while the whites escaped with wounds

In the early territorial struggles General Dale was engaged partly as an
independent guerilla, and partly under the commands of Generals Jackson
and Claiborne. At the close of hostilities Dale took up his residence in
Monroe County from which he was sent as a representative to the
legislature for eight terms. In recognition of his services the
legislature granted him an appropriation amounting to the half pay of a
colonel in the regular army, and at the same time gave him the rank of
brigadier general, in which capacity he was to serve in case of war.
Later, however, the appropriation was discontinued because of a
constitutional quibble, when the legislature memorialized Congress to
grant an annuity to the old veteran, but no heed was given to the request.

In order to procure some compensation for his services, General Dale was
induced by his friends to go to Washington, and during his stay at the
national capital, he was entertained by President Jackson. Together the
two old grizzled warriors sat in the apartments of the president, and
while they smoked their cob pipes, they recounted the experiences of the
troublous times of the past.

General Dale served the state in a number of capacities additional to
those already named. He was a member of the convention which divided the
territories of Alabama and Mississippi, was on the commission to construct
a highway from Tuskaloosa to Pensacola, and assisted in transferring the
Choctaws to their new home in the Indian territory.

His last years were spent in Mississippi, where he served the state in the
legislature. He died in Mississippi in 1841. His biographer, Honorable J.
F. H. Claiborne, says that a Choctaw chief, standing over the grave of
Dale the day after his burial, exclaimed: "You sleep here, Sam Thlucco,
but your spirit is a chieftain and a brave in the hunting grounds of the


One of the great commonwealth builders of the southwest was Governor
Israel Pickens, the third governor of the state. As a state builder he
came on the scene just at a time when his constructive genius was most
needed. His two predecessors, the brothers, Governors William W. and
Thomas Bibb, had together served the state little more than two years, the
former dying while in office and the latter, as president of the senate,
succeeding him and filling his unexpired term. Both these had wrought well
under raw and chaotic conditions, but the utmost that could be done within
so short a time was that of projecting plans for the future of the infant
state. While the foundation was well begun, the superstructure still stood

On Governor Israel Pickens was imposed the task of the real erection of
Alabama into a state. It was an organization which called alike for skill,
wisdom, and executive direction of the highest order. Serious problems lay
at the threshold of the young commonwealth, and these had to be met with a
sense of delicate adjustment, and yet with a firm and deliberate judgment.
The domestic policy of the state was yet to be molded, and such precedents
established as would thereafter affect the destiny of Alabama. At this
time Governor Pickens was just forty-one years old. There was a demand for
extraordinary prudence in calling into conjunction with himself, by the
governor, the sagest counsellors that the state then had. Executive
leadership at this time must encounter a critical juncture. Fortunately
for Alabama, Governor Pickens was amply qualified for the onerous task
imposed. He sprang from one of the most eminent of the early families of
the south. The name of Pickens lingers in Carolina history today with a
flavor of distinction. Himself the son of a revolutionary sire who had
rendered gallant service as a captain in the struggle for independence,
Governor Pickens bore to the state the prestige of his family when he
removed from North Carolina in 1817. His educational advantages had been
the best that could be afforded in his native state, and the adjoining
state of South Carolina, to which was added a course at Washington
College, Pennsylvania, where he completed his legal education. A
practitioner at the bar for a period in his native state, a legislative
service of a few years and a career of six years in Congress preceded
Pickens' settlement in Alabama in 1817. Locating as an attorney at St.
Stephens, he was appointed to the registership of the land office.

It is insisted, and doubtless rightly, that no executive of the state has
in thoroughness of efficiency and in comprehensiveness of grasp of a
situation ever excelled Israel Pickens.

He became governor in 1821, and was re-elected in 1823, serving till 1825
to the utmost limit of incumbency under the constitution. Within the brief
period of four years he had constructed into compactness a state from the
crude and incoherent elements within reach. The qualities which he
demonstrated were firmness, deliberation, sedulous care, wisdom and
administrative force, to all of which was added a zest of labor. Never
hasty, but always at work, promptly recognizing any lack of deficiency in
the developing structure, and with equal readiness supplying it with a
sagacious eye to permanency, the interest of Governor Pickens was
undiminished to the close of his term of office.

So distinguished were these traits of statemanship that they excited
general comment among his distinguished contemporaries who insisted that
in unsuspended fidelity, unselfish devotion, wise projection and skillful
execution he has never been surpassed, if indeed equaled. That he
succeeded to the fullest in the accomplishment of his difficult task is
the verdict of posterity. Other executives since may have possessed more
shining qualities, others still may have been more profound, while yet the
deeds of others may have been more spectacular, but all who have succeeded
Israel Pickens derived the benefit of that so ably done by him.

When he entered the gubernatorial office conditions were necessarily in an
inchoate form. Rudeness and crudeness characterized the initial conditions
on every hand. Valuable as the service of his predecessors had been, his
lot was to raise into symmetrical proportions with every part perfectly
adjusted a mighty commonwealth, ready to enter on its career worthily,
alongside the older states. Existing conditions were incident to the
emergence of a wilderness territory into the dignity of statehood. But
when Governor Pickens retired from office as the state's chief executive
the structure was complete in all its parts. In the recent work of twelve
large volumes, "The South in the Building of the Nation," issued under the
auspices of the Southern Historical Publication Society of Richmond, Va.,
Governor Pickens is alluded to as "one of the great state builders of the

Nor did his career end with the expiration of his term of office as
governor. The year following his retirement from the gubernatorial chair
he was appointed a United States Senator by Governor Murphy. Almost
simultaneously with this appointment came the offer of the federal
judgeship of Alabama from President John Quincy Adams, but the latter
offer was declined, and Governor Pickens entered the federal senate.

But Mr. Pickens was destined to enjoy senatorial honors but a short while.
In the latter part of the same year of his appointment as a national
senator, his lungs became seriously involved, tuberculosis was speedily
developed, and he was forced to resign his exalted station and seek
another and softer climate. At that time the West Indies was the favorite
resort of those thus affected, and Mr. Pickens repaired to Cuba with the
hope of recuperation in its balmy climate. But he survived his retirement
from Washington only five months.

Senator Pickens had not reached the zenith of manhood and usefulness
before he was stricken down, for at his death he was only forty-seven
years old. His body was brought back to Alabama for interment, and he was
buried within a few miles of Greensboro. In his death Alabama lost one of
her most popular and eminent citizens, and one of her foremost statesmen.
To him belongs the chief distinction of erecting Alabama into symmetrical


Governor Clay was among the pioneers of Alabama. He was a native of
Virginia, the son of a revolutionary soldier, and was educated at
Knoxville, Tenn. Law was his choice as a profession, to the practice of
which he was admitted in 1809, and in 1811 he located at Huntsville, which
continued to be his home till his death in 1866.

From the outset, he showed profound interest in the territory and in the
promotion of its affairs, and two years after making Huntsville his home
he enlisted against the Indians, and was chosen the adjutant of his
command. His name is prominent among the territorial legislators in the
two sessions held prior to the admission of Alabama into the Union.

When the constitutional convention was held, Mr. Clay was not alone a
member, but was chosen the chairman of the committee charged with
submitting the original draft of the constitution. In one especial sense
he is, therefore, the father of the state of Alabama.

It was evident to the state builders of Alabama that no one was more
profoundly concerned in its fundamental construction than Mr. Clay, and no
one among those who had chosen the territory as a future home, was abler
to serve the young state in its first totterings in seeking to get full
upon its feet. The breadth and clearness of his vision, and the
unusualness of his ability marked him as one who was in great need under
such initial conditions. The character of his strength had been shown, and
he was destined to become one of the early leaders of the new state. He
was therefore chosen as a member of the supreme court, and in recognition
of his legal ability, though younger than any other member of the new
court, his associates chose him as chief justice, and he thus became the
first to occupy that exalted station in Alabama.

The rapid increase of population and the newness of conditions in a young
state were productive of increasing business, and called for men of legal
ability. In response to this demand, Judge Clay retired from the supreme
bench after a service of four years, and resumed his private practice. It
was shortly after this that he felt impelled in response to a mistaken
demand for vindicated honor, to brook a grievance against Dr. Waddy Tate,
of Limestone County, by engaging in a duel with that gentleman. The result
was the infliction of a painful wound to each, and the affair was over.
Happily for civilization it has outgrown this method of settling disputes
among men of sense.

Continuing for a period of years in his private practice, Judge Clay was
chosen in 1827 as a representative to the legislature from Madison County.
Two years later he was elected to a seat in the National Congress where he
served with great efficiency for three terms of six years.

Offering for the governorship in 1835 against General Enoch Parsons, of
Monroe County, the election resulted in his polling almost twice as many
votes as his opponent. It was during his term of office as governor that
troubles arose by an outbreak on the part of the Creek Indians. Governor
Clay at once ordered out the state forces, and as commander-in-chief, took
the field in person, co-operating with Generals Scott and Jesup of the
army of the United States in the suppression of the disturbance. For about
three months the troubles continued, but the unremitting activity of
Governor Clay finally eventuated in the suppression of the outbreak, and
peace was restored.

While he was still governor, Mr. Clay was elected to succeed Honorable
John McKinley in the National Senate. In this new orbit he was brought
into contact with the giants of the nation, and the services rendered by
him are a part of the national history. It was through the efforts of
Senator Clay that the pre-emption laws, discriminating in favor of
settlers, were enacted. Multitudes have been the recipients of the benefit
of this beneficent legislation without knowing or even thinking of its
source. By means of this law, thousands have been able to procure homes on
the public domain without which law it would have been impossible. No man
in the National Congress was more active than he in the adjustment of the
conditions for the greatest happiness to the greatest number.

Mr. Clay retained his seat in the National Senate only four years, when he
retired because of his financial condition, to improve which he returned
to the practice of law. However, his previous service on the supreme bench
induced Governor Fitzpatrick to appoint him to a position in the court in
1843. Here he remained only a few months, a fact which it seems was
contemplated in the appointment.

An additional service rendered by Governor Clay, and it was the last
public service for the state, was that of the preparation of a new digest
of the laws of Alabama, to which work he was appointed by the legislature.
His manuscript, as he had prepared it, was accepted by the judiciary
committee, submitted in unchanged form to the legislature, and has been in
use as authority to this day. The closing days of Governor Clay were those
of gloom. The occupation of Nashville by the federals in February, 1862,
resulted in the capture of Huntsville, where numerous indignities were
offered to many of the best people of the city of the mountains. Among
those who shared in these indignities was the venerable Governor Clay.
Because of his well-known sentiments, his home was invaded by the federal
troops, claimed and regarded as national property, and Governor Clay was
himself placed under arrest. He chafed under conditions like these, and at
his advanced age he conceived that the doom of the country had come. Nor
did the conditions of the close of the hostilities lend to his prospect
any relief. Considerations like these he carried as a burden, until
sinking under the weight, he died at the advanced age of 77 years, at his
home in Huntsville on September 7, 1866.


While Alabama was yet in its territorial swaddling clothes, Honorable J.
L. Martin, who afterward became governor of Alabama, met a young Virginian
who had just removed to the territory, and who himself was destined to
wear gubernatorial honors. This young man was afoot across the country,
carrying his personal effects in a bundle very much as a peddler carries
his pack. This tall and handsome youth was Arthur P. Bagby.

He was a young man of striking and even prepossessing appearance, tall,
graceful, erect, with classical mold of feature and black eyes that
twinkled with an unusual luster. He was among the many enterprising young
spirits who quit the older states of the south and moved westward with
empires in their brains.

Settling at Claiborne, in Monroe County, at that time one of the looming
settlements in south Alabama, Bagby at once turned to practical advantage
the excellent educational equipment with which he had been provided in his
native state. Recognizing in the law an opportunity, not only to
accumulate wealth, but a medium to distinction, Mr. Bagby entered a law
office and began his preparation for the bar. The rapid inflow of
population to the dawning state, the occupation of lands in all
directions, and the inevitable growth of wealth would beget litigation and
afford a harvest field for the best equipped of the legal profession.
Young Bagby caught the spirit of the times and was not slow to improve
the opportunity.

Highly gifted, Bagby was like many another young man with rare natural
powers, and came to rely on his natural endowments rather than on studious
application. His charming personality and fascinating manner made him
immensely popular, and his popularity was enhanced by a vivid imagination
and prolific and poetic utterance. From the time of his first appearance
before the public to the close of a long and eventful public career, he
was a most popular orator. His fame as an orator gradually widened, and
his services were in frequent demand, not only in the courts, but on
important public occasions.

He was not long in finding his way into public life, for in 1821 he was
chosen to represent Monroe County in the legislature. His companionable
disposition and uniform courtesy won the hearts of his fellow legislators,
and when he succeeded himself in the lower house after his first term, he
was easily elected to the speakership--the youngest member in the history
of the state to occupy that position, being at the time but little beyond
twenty-five years old. For a period of fifteen years he was kept in the
legislature, sometimes in one branch and again in the other. He closed his
career as an active legislator in the house as speaker in 1836.

His active interest in affairs had by this time made him one of the best
known public men in the state while his popularity was undiminished.
Perhaps Alabama never had a more popular public servant than Arthur P.
Bagby. To the equipments already named was that of the charm of a
perennial flow of natural, bright and animated conversation. Nature had
lavished her richest gifts on this unassuming young Virginian.

In 1837 Mr. Bagby became a candidate for governor. Favorably known by the
leading men throughout the state, the election of Bagby was in the outset
conceded, though he was opposed by a very popular man, Honorable Samuel W.
Oliver, of Conecuh. The popularity of Mr. Oliver was based on his
conservatism, and he was universally esteemed a gentleman of great
fairness. They were formidable opponents, the qualities of each commanding
the highest esteem, but the popularity already attained by the younger
candidate and his persuasive and exhilarating oratory made for him friends
wherever he appeared, and he was elected.

Up to this time the inauguration of a governor was regarded as so tame an
occasion that there was but a small attendance of the population on the
ceremonies, but when Bagby was inaugurated those who had heard him during
the campaign flocked to the capital to hear him on this august occasion.
From remote quarters the citizen high and humble sought his way to
Tuscaloosa, then the capital, to hear the inauguration speech of the new
governor. In full appreciation of this fact, Mr. Bagby was on this
occasion at his best. His appearance was hailed by the acclaiming
thousands, and his inaugural address delivered in a well modulated voice
and with splendid bearing, was wildly received by an idolizing
constituency. The men of plain garb and rustic manner rushed forward to
grasp the hand of the popular young governor, and his reciprocation of a
demonstration so generous and genuine was the most unaffected. Nor was his
popularity impaired during his administration. Two years later he was
swept into office by popular acclamation and without opposition. Though
the dual administration of Governor Bagby fell on stormy times, as the
issue of nullification was then dominant, he succeeded in so directing the
affairs of the state as to increase rather than lessen public esteem.

Nothing was more logical than that he should be elected to the National
Senate to succeed Honorable Clement C. Clay on the occasion of the
resignation of the latter in 1841. But a remnant of Senator Clay's term
was left when he resigned, but Mr. Bagby was easily re-elected when the
fragment of time had expired. Before the term of six years for which he
had been elected had closed, President Polk appointed Senator Bagby envoy
extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the Russian Court, at St.
Petersburg. For this position he was admirably fitted, but served in the
capacity of minister not more than a year, and for political reasons
resigned on the accession of General Taylor to the Presidency.

Returning from Russia, Mr. Bagby settled again in Alabama, retiring to
private life from which he was summoned to public service by being
associated with Judge Ormond and Honorable C. C. Clay in the codification
of the laws of Alabama. This was the last public service rendered by Mr.

In 1858 he died of yellow fever in Mobile at the age of sixty-two.
Naturally endowed with the highest gifts and most varied talents, he gave
to these substantial expression in the conspicuous ability which he
displayed in the exalted stations which he occupied uninterruptedly for
more than thirty-five years. Arthur Pendleton Bagby adorned with signal
ability every position to which he was called, and throughout maintained
with happy blend and even balance a most courtly dignity and a charming
companionableness which put the plainest citizen in his presence at
perfect ease. Those who knew him best found it difficult to determine
which more to admire, his superior native dignity or his unaffected
cordiality, so undefinable was the charm which invested this gifted
gentleman. No chafe or worry of stress in public strain impaired the
affableness of his intercourse with others, and while he was honored by
his fellow citizens they were amply repaid in the splendid service which
he rendered the state and the nation.


A native of North Carolina, William Rufus King, removed to Alabama in
1818. Lured to a region destined soon to take its place in the galaxy of
states, Mr. King was no novice in public affairs when he reached Alabama.
Indeed, he came crowned with unusual distinction for one so young in years
when he migrated to a territory which was just budding into statehood.
Though at the time only thirty-two years old, he had served with honor to
himself and to his native state as a legislator, solicitor and
congressman. When only twenty-four years old he had been sent to Congress
from North Carolina. His entrance into Congress in 1810 was simultaneous
with the beginning of the congressional careers of Henry Clay, John C.
Calhoun and William Lowndes.

Mr. King served with distinction in Congress for six years when he was
chosen secretary to the American Legation at St. Petersburg, under William
Pinkney, who was at that time minister to the court of Russia. After
spending two years in this honorable capacity, King returned to North
Carolina and subsequently removed to Alabama.

Buying a plantation near Cahaba, in 1819, he had scarcely located when he
was chosen a representative to the first constitutional convention of the
state. Together with Honorables Henry Hitchcock of Washington County, and
John M. Taylor of Madison, Mr. King drafted the first constitution of this
state. His clearness of perception, soundness of judgment and ability in
adjustment of matters of great moment arrested the attention of the
leaders of the coming state, during the session of the first
constitutional convention, and he was marked as one of the men of the hour
in laying the foundation stones of a great commonwealth. In recognition of
his ability, Mr. King was chosen one of the first national senators from
Alabama when the first legislature met in 1819. Of this prospective
distinction he must have been unaware, for at the time of his election he
was on a visit to North Carolina.

Mr. King lived in an atmosphere above that of ordinary men. He was a man
of solid rather than of shining qualities, and his life was redolent of
purity and of exalted conception of duty. There was a delicacy of
sentiment which characterized his conduct, an affableness and quietness of
demeanor, an utter absence of display or of harshness, a serenity and
gentleness, with no unbecoming speech to soil his lips, no action to repel
even the humblest civilian. On the floor of the Federal Senate the
Honorable R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, said on the occasion of Mr. King's
death: "He was a man whose whole soul would have sickened under a sense of
personal dishonor." He was far more forward in his assertion of the claims
of others than of those for himself.

No man in the public life of America ever more won by dint of intrinsic
merit than William Rufus King. Such was his bearing on all occasions that
men instinctively honored him. To him as a public man principle was the
path of the highest expediency. He wore his honor on his sleeve, and
would not scramble on a low plane for place, and would never learn the art
of petty politics. He engaged in political contests, but they were in the
open field and in full view of the eyes of the world.

Mr. King came to be the first citizen of the state, becoming Vice
President of the United States, but it was entirely due to his worth and
not to any of the arts of the struggling politician. Utterly without
assumption he was as spectacular on one occasion as another. His was a
quiet knightliness without dash, the stamp of a nobleman of nature,
without lordly port.

So unquestioned was his ability, so unerring his judgment, so profoundly
substantial his qualities as an ideal public servant, that the people of
Alabama honored him with official station for a period of almost
thirty-five years. In 1837 Mr. King was offered the position of minister
to the court of Austria, but declined because of the fact that the ardent
advocacy by him of the election of Mr. Van Buren might be construed as a
motive looking to future emolument--the payment of a political debt. Men
of that type were not so rare at that time as they now are.

When complications with certain foreign powers became imminent in
consequence of the proposed annexation of Texas as an American state,
there was the demand for the most scrupulous diplomacy and tact and for
the ripest statesmanship on the part of those who should be sent abroad to
represent the United States at the Courts of England and of France. A
single misstep at this juncture would mean limitless trouble. One
especially qualified by social prestige as well as sage statesmanship was
needed to be sent to the Court of France. It was just such an emergency
like this that called for the exercise of powers such as Mr. King
possessed, and he was accordingly appointed to this position and served in
this capacity for a period of two years, when he resigned and returned to
Alabama. The seat left vacant by Mr. King in the federal senate had
meanwhile been filled by Dixon H. Lewis, who was a popular idol, but of a
type entirely different from that of Mr. King. Both were models of honor,
each equally worthy of public esteem; but Lewis, ponderous as he was in
size, was a popular speaker and more of the bonhommie type than was King.
At this time, these were recognized as the two most distinguished men in
the state.

On his return home King's friends wanted him to resume his place in the
United States Senate, while the friends of Lewis were equally determined
that he should remain in a position which he had adorned for full two
years. Political maneuvering between the friends of the two distinguished
statesmen began, but negotiations seemed of no avail. It was inevitable
that each must test his strength before the people. King and Lewis were
personal friends, they were from adjacent counties, and both were
democrats. So conspicuous had Mr. King become now as a national figure
that many predicted that Lewis would not dare oppose him, but he did. The
contest was joined. It was a battle of giants. King, lithe, elegant,
smooth, plain and simple of diction, but clear as the shining of the sun,
without the gifts of the orator, but a superb talker, went before the
masses. Lewis, weighing five hundred pounds, his large full face beaming
with sunshine, and though large, a most telling orator who could relate an
anecdote with marvelous effect, while he possessed unquestioned ability to
give frequent expression to passages of oratory, won his way rapidly to
the public heart. As is well known, Lewis won, but the two friends were
destined each to be gratified, for Governor Chapman was able soon to
appoint Mr. King United States Senator in the stead of Senator Bagby.
During the administration of President Fillmore Mr. King was chosen to act
as the presiding officer of the senate, and in the summer of 1852 he was
nominated for the vice presidency, elected on the national ticket with
Franklin Pierce, but died the next year at his home at Cahaba, Ala.


In a number of respects the Honorable Dixon Hall Lewis was a very
remarkable man. He was precocious, though, in his early years, not
studious. Still, he held his own in his classes in South Carolina College,
as the university of that state was then called, with decided merit.
Possessed from the beginning with a popular turn, he was a great favorite
in college circles, and was counted an all-round good fellow.

Lewis was a student at the South Carolina College during the time that
nullification was a dominant issue, and readily imbibed the principles
advocated by Mr. Calhoun, who was then the ideal of most young South
Carolinians. The more mature and thoughtful among the students shared in
the political issues of the time, especially when they were as exciting as
nullification then was. In subsequent years the great South Carolina
statesman never had a more ardent admirer and supporter than Dixon H.

One of the most remarkable facts connected with Mr. Lewis was his unusual
size. His remarkable corpulency and his enormous physique made him a
spectacle among men of ordinary size. His weight was excessive even in
boyhood, and it continued to increase so long as he lived. His death was
doubtless due to his excessive adiposity, and he was cut down at an age
when he should have been most useful.

Graduating from South Carolina College he removed to Alabama in 1822. At
that time Lewis was just twenty years old. Admitted to the bar, he began
the practice of law in Montgomery. His ability in the court room was at
once recognized, and had he continued, would doubtless have achieved
distinction at the bar; but his pronounced fondness for politics led him
early into that arena in which he spent the remainder of his life. His
career as a public servant began in the Alabama legislature. During the
years 1825-26-27, he represented Montgomery County in the general assembly
of the state. At that time he weighed about three hundred and eighty

By dint of ability Mr. Lewis took a foremost position among the Alabama
legislators. When scarcely eligible by reason of age, he was chosen for
Congress from his district, and continued in the lower house of the
National Congress from 1829 to 1844, when he was transferred to the
Federal Senate.

Mr. Lewis belongs to the states' rights school of politicians, and never
had a cause a more fervid advocate. In Congress his influence was
pronounced, and for years he was the acknowledged leader of the Alabama
delegation in the lower branch of that body. He was unalterably opposed to
a protective tariff, and never let an opportunity slip to oppose its
fallacy and injustice. His principles were embodied in the platform
resolutions adopted by the national democratic convention which met in
Baltimore in 1840.

Ponderous as he was, Mr. Lewis was not impaired in his activity either as
a state legislator or as a congressman. His interest in all matters
public enabled him to overcome the hindrance encountered in his enormous
weight. It was one of his controlling principles never to be absent from
an important committee meeting, where he was always pronounced and firm in
the expression of his convictions. When in 1844 he resigned from the House
of Representatives to take his seat in the Senate, he was chairman of the
committee of ways and means, and the ability shown by him in the lower
branch led to his appointment to the chairmanship of the committee on
finance when he entered the upper chamber.

His life was a perpetual struggle against the difficulty encountered by
his weight. He could walk but little, and he could enter but few vehicles.
His private carriage had to be specially constructed with respect to
strength, and its entrance was of unusual width. In his home a special
chair or chairs had to be manufactured adapted to his size, and his
bedstead was of far more than ordinary strength. He moved from place to
place with exceeding difficulty, but in the constant warfare of the spirit
against the flesh the former predominated, for impelled by a gigantic
will, he declined to hesitate because of his immense weight and size.

In his trips to Washington and returning, in the days before railroads
became so great a convenience, Mr. Lewis had to travel in an old fashioned
stage coach, and always paid for two seats. A chair of unusual size was
made for him to occupy in the House of Representatives, and when he
entered the Senate it was transferred to that chamber. Yet, as has already
been said, Lewis was an orator of unusual power. His freedom of
utterance, pleasing manner, jovial disposition, and his ability to present
with clearness and power the issues discussed, with a reliance on well
arranged and thoroughly digested facts, made him formidable in debate, and
quite popular before a promiscuous audience.

In this memorable contest against Mr. King for the National Senate in
1841, the labors of Lewis were herculean. Weighing at this time about five
hundred pounds, he had to be helped to the platform, and on one occasion
when the weather was excessively hot, two devoted country constituents,
one on each side of the sweltering orator, relieved the situation by the
swaying of two large palm fans, which they employed with vigor while he
spoke with ardor. The contrast between Mr. Lewis and Mr. King was most
striking--the one ponderous and bulky, while the other was tall, thin,
lithe and sinewy.

Mr. Lewis declined to be jested about his size and was sensitive to the
faintest allusion to it. But his genuine chivalry forbade his taking the
slightest advantage of anyone, or of subjecting any to the least
inconvenience because of his condition. On one occasion while returning
from Washington, the steamer on which he was, was wrecked. The small boat
was ordered out for the relief of the excited and distressed passengers,
but he declined to enter it, for fear that his huge weight would imperil
the safety of the others. Remaining alone in extreme peril till the others
could be safely rescued, he was subsequently reached by the small boat and

Elected to the Senate in 1844, Mr. Lewis died in 1848. In the interest of
his health he went to New York during the latter part of 1848, was treated
as was supposed successfully and, animated by the prospect of a speedy
resumption of his public duties at Washington, he spent some time in
visiting the objects of interest about and within the city of New York.
But his special trouble returned with suddenness and he soon died. At the
time of his death Mr. Lewis was forty-six years old.

So nation-wide had become the reputation of this remarkable man that his
body lay in state for some time in the city hall of New York before its
interment in Greenwood cemetery. The funeral procession was one that did
honor to his career, for at its head, were the mayor of New York, the
governor of the state, and every congressman who was able to reach the
metropolis in time. He died just as he was emerging into the full exercise
of his splendid powers.


The galaxy of the names of Alabama's worthy sons would be incomplete with
the omission of that of Governor Benjamin Fitzpatrick. An uneducated and
orphaned boy, he came to Alabama from Greene County, Georgia, in 1816, to
assist in the planting interests of his elder brothers, whose lands lay
along the eastern bank of the Alabama River, about six miles outside of
Montgomery. He never attended school more than six months of his life, and
in his early days was inured to the rough encounters of the world. Colonel
Brewer states in his history of Alabama that Mr. Fitzpatrick, in
subsequent years, was accustomed to point out a field near Montgomery
where he tended a herd of swine for his brothers as the hogs would feed on
the mast of the oak woods.

Service as a deputy sheriff in Elmore County, which position brought him
into contact with the courts, aroused an ambition to become a lawyer, and
he prepared himself for that profession under the tutelage of the Hon. N.
E. Benson. Admitted to the practice of the law when he was barely 21, he
rapidly won popularity as a lawyer by his devotion to the interests of his
clients. After practicing for a period in Elmore County, he removed to
Montgomery, where he entered into co-partnership with Henry Goldthwaite.

The legal development of Mr. Fitzpatrick was rapid, and he was elected to
the solicitorship of the Montgomery circuit, and after serving one term
was again elected to the same position. By his marriage to a daughter of
General John Elmore his political fortunes were greatly enhanced. The
Elmores were one of the most distinguished families of the state, a son of
the general being a national Senator from South Carolina, another a
distinguished lawyer in Montgomery, still another was the attorney general
of Louisiana, yet another was secretary of state of Alabama and later
collector of the port of Mobile, while another was a federal judge in
Kansas. By his marriage Mr. Fitzpatrick became a brother-in-law to the
Hon. Dixon H. Lewis.

Driven by broken health from the seclusion of his law office, in 1827, he
repaired to his plantation near Montgomery, where he maintained a princely
country home in which was dispensed the hospitality for which the old-time
southerner was proverbial. At no period in the history of any land was
hospitality more sumptuous than in the princely homes of the South during
the régimé of slavery, and the home of the Fitzpatricks was a typical one
of the hospitality of those days now gone. For full twelve years he lived
contented and happy on his fertile plantation, unsolicitous of public
office, but in 1840 he was summoned from his retreat by the state
democratic convention to serve as a Van Buren elector, and succeeded in
swinging the state into the column of the democratic candidate from New
York. His ability was so distinguished during his campaign that he was
honored with the governorship of the state at the close of the same year.

During his period of retirement Mr. Fitzpatrick had remained in vital
touch with the existing issues of the time, and his powers were solidified
in his rural retreat, so that on his return to public life he was far more
amply equipped. This was at once manifest in his first message to the
legislature, which message by the breadth of its statesmanship stamped him
one of the foremost publicists of the state, and he easily succeeded
himself in the governor's chair without opposition. So exceptional had
been his dual administration that a joint resolution of the general
assembly approved his course as governor throughout, as well as himself
personally. He retired from the office of governor crowned with the
laudations of his countrymen.

Repairing to his plantation, he was summoned by Governor Chapman to the
assumption of the United States senatorship to fill the unexpired term of
Dixon H. Lewis. He was appointed again to fill the unexpired term of the
Hon. William R. King, and in 1855 was elected by the Alabama legislature
to the federal senate for a period of six years. It was during this period
of his career that the highest honor of the senate was conferred on Mr.
Fitzpatrick, as he was chosen by that body as president pro tempore.

In 1860, the second place on the national ticket with Stephen A. Douglas,
was tendered Senator Fitzpatrick, but this he declined because of his
disagreement with Mr. Douglas on his "squatter sovereignty" doctrine. This
indicates that Senator Fitzpatrick was not a secessionist, for he shared
in the views of other eminent southern leaders that secession was not the
remedy to cure the grievances of which he insisted the South justly
complained. But, like those with whom he shared in sentiment respecting
secession, this did not deter him from sympathy with the cause of the
South. In every way he contributed to the cause of the South when once the
clash came. Yielding his convictions, he continued a southern patriot, and
when the others of the South withdrew from Congress, he sundered his
relation from the federal government as a senator, and ardently espoused
the cause of his section.

The last public function of Senator Fitzpatrick was that of the presidency
of the constitutional convention of Alabama in 1865. While always
preserving a cheerful demeanor, there is little doubt that the results of
the war, in the complete wreckage of the industrial system of the South
greatly preyed on his spirit. He died when he was about seventy years old.

Few public men in Alabama have left a purer record than Governor
Fitzpatrick. His dominant characteristic was his integrity. He would never
yield to compromise of principle, holding that principle is indivisible.
If sternness was required to demonstrate this, then he could be stern. To
him justice was a supreme principle. He would never waver the width of a
hair even for the most cherished friend or kinsman. He was most exacting
of the performance of public duty by public servants, and in order that he
might rigidly comply with the conditions and terms of his oath of office,
he familiarized himself with every detail of the duties of his
subordinates. He made no pledge which he did not fulfill and committed
himself to no cause which he did not execute to the letter. To him public
office was a public trust, and to this he rigidly conformed. The
aggregation of the qualities which entered into the character of Mr.
Fitzpatrick made him an ideal public servant, whose course in life is well
worthy of emulation.


The year 1845 was marked by a rent in the democratic party of Alabama.
Governor Fitzpatrick's term was soon to expire, and it was necessary to
choose a successor. A lapse of interest had come to political affairs in
the state, due largely to the defeat of the whig party the year before in
failing of the election of the President. The result was that of
demoralization to the whigs throughout the country, for they had been
animated by the belief that they would succeed in capturing the
presidency. They showed no disposition, at any rate, to enter the lists
for the governorship in Alabama.

In May, 1845, a democratic convention was called to meet at Tuscaloosa,
then the capital of the state, and it was sparsely attended, a fact due to
the political indifference everywhere prevailing. However, the attendance
on the convention on the first day would have been much larger but for the
delay of the boat from Mobile, which was to bring all the delegates from
the southern counties.

The friends of the Hon. Nathaniel Terry of Limestone were intent on his
nomination for gubernatorial honors, and as those present were mostly from
the counties north, they were anxious to proceed to the nomination of
their candidate. There were others present, however, to whom Mr. Terry was
not the choice, and they sought to have the convention adjourn till the
next day, in order to await the arrival of the delayed steamer from
Mobile. But Terry's friends, who were evidently in the majority, with the
slim attendance already present, insisted on the nomination being made
that day. This evoked a stern protest on the part of the others, which
protest was read before the body, and afterward printed and circulated to
the injury of the candidacy of Mr. Terry, but, notwithstanding this
vehement protest, the nomination was made.

This was a signal for a storm. Many present were dissatisfied, and those
who arrived later swelled the roar of the tempest which sprang up at once.
Murmurings of dissatisfaction were heard on all hands, much to the
gratification of the whigs who had so often sustained sore defeat at the
hands of the much-boasted united democracy. The whigs not only chuckled at
the domestic quarrel of the democrats, but did what they could to widen
the breach between the two factions. The dissatisfaction at last found
vent in the naming of another democratic candidate for the governorship,
in the person of Chancellor Joshua Lanier Martin of Tuscaloosa. He was an
ardent democrat, was widely and favorably known, had served with great
acceptance in a number of positions, such as legislator, solicitor,
circuit judge and congressman, and as a voice had been denied many in the
convention, they proposed to resent it by seeking to elect another
democrat rather than the one nominated by the precipitate few. Judge
Martin did not seek the nomination, but when chosen under the conditions,
he accepted the popular nomination.

The issue between the two formidable candidates was now squarely joined,
the friends of Mr. Terry urging the platitudinous plea of party
nomination, and party loyalty, but this only served to augment the
popular flame. This was met by the counter plea of advantage having been
taken, and therefore the plea of support on account of the improper
nomination was without force. Never before had a rupture come to the party
in the state, and this was used as a reinforcement of the plea already
named, but without much avail.

Thus the battle raged and from its apathy the state was aroused from
confine to limit, and the land rang with the oratory of contending party
factions. Divisions and dissensions became rampant. Neighbor strove with
neighbor, and community struggled against community. Households were
divided, churches were sundered by divergent sentiment, and men wrangled
in anger as though the fate of the continent were seriously involved.
Reasons and counter reasons flew like bullets in battle, and the stock
arguments of the campaign became those of everyone, and he would use them
with all the fervor and friction of sudden originality. In view of the
unquestioned democracy of Judge Martin, his reputation, official and
private, his personal popularity, and the precipitate action taken in the
nomination of his opponent, it was clear that Mr. Terry was breasting odds
from the outset of the campaign.

Besides all this, the whigs, anxious to give as great a stagger as
possible to "the regular nominee" of the democratic party, lent support to
Judge Martin. Thus the campaign became suddenly stormy. Excitement ran
high, passion superseded reason, and clamor filled the air. Up to the
closing of the polls on election day, the question was so complicated by
the interlacing vote of the state, that no one could venture a prediction
of the result. But Judge Martin led his opponent by at least five hundred
votes. This was the first defeat ever sustained by a nominated democrat in
the state, for a state office, and, as usual under similar conditions,
there were dire predictions of the utter demolition of the democratic
party in the state of Alabama!

Be it said to the perpetual credit of Judge Martin that he bore himself
with singular equanimity throughout the prevalence of the strenuous
campaign. His was an atmosphere high above the clatter of the demagogue,
and it was understood that the place was undesired by him unless it should
come purely in recognition of his merit and fitness. In observing this
principle in politics, Governor Martin was never defeated for a public

Governor Martin was by birth a Tennessean. Denied an advanced education,
he turned to the best account that which he had in the common schools,
which limited training he solidified by teaching during his younger years.
He reached Alabama in 1819, the same year of its admission into the Union,
finished his law studies, which had been begun in Tennessee, and settled
at Athens to practice. The political stations held by Governor Martin have
already been indicated, and by reason of these he took with him into the
gubernatorial office a thorough knowledge of public affairs. It was during
his administration that the Mexican war occurred, the demands growing out
of which he met with official fidelity. His term of office having closed,
he resumed the practice of the law, and, save when elected to the
legislature in 1853, he never filled another official station. For thirty
years, almost, he was in the public service, and a more faithful officer
the state never had. He died at Tuscaloosa on November 2, 1866, being
sixty-seven years old.


No man in the early annals of the state had a more varied or romantic
career than the Rev. Isaac Smith, a courageous missionary of the Methodist
Church. His life and labors do not find recognition on the page of secular
history, but the contribution which he made to the state in its early
formation wins for him a meritorious place in the state's chronicles. It
is doubtful that his name and labors are familiar to the present
generation of the great body of Christians of which he was an early
ornament, but they are none the less worthy of becoming record.

Mr. Smith enlisted from Virginia in the army of Washington while yet a
youth. Bright and alert, he was chosen an orderly by Washington, and
served in that capacity under both Washington and LaFayette. When the new
nation started on its independent career and when the region toward the
west began to be opened, Mr. Smith migrated toward the south, became a
minister of the Methodist Church, and offered his services as a missionary
to the Indian tribes. Hated because of their ferocity, the prevailing idea
in the initial years of the nineteenth century was that of the destruction
of the red man, but Mr. Smith felt impelled to take to him the gospel of

His labors were not confined to any particular region and he trudged the
country over, imperiling his life among the wild tribes, who came to love
him because he was one pale face who sought to do them good. He founded
an Indian school near the Chattahoochee and taught the Indians the
elements of the English language. When Bishop Asbury, the most indomitable
of all the Methodist bishops, came to the South, Mr. Smith was his close
friend and adviser, and most valuable were his services to the bishop in
planting Methodism in the lower South.

All real teachers are greater learners than instructors, for in their zeal
to impart they must first come to acquire. Mr. Smith was an assiduous
student and with the growth of his years was an accumulated stock of both
wisdom and learning. As he passed the meridian of life he became a power
in his denomination and his counsel was freely sought in the high circles
of his church. When, in 1825, General LaFayette visited Alabama in his
tour of the South, he passed through the Creek Nation, in Georgia, and was
escorted by a body of Georgians to the Chattahoochee River and consigned
to the care of fifty painted Indian warriors, who vied with the pale faces
in doing honor to the distinguished visitor. Rowing LaFayette across the
river to the Alabama side, he was met by Rev. Isaac Smith. The great
Frenchman instantly recognized Mr. Smith as one of his boy orderlies
during the campaigns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There was a cordial
demonstration of mutual affection between the old French veteran and the
younger man, now a Methodist preacher. The painted Indian warriors looked
on the exchange of greeting with evident pleasure. It so happened that
LaFayette reached the Alabama side just at the point where stood the
humble school building of the intrepid missionary.

The first demonstration of greeting being over, Mr. Smith eschewing all
conventionality, and, in keeping alike with his Methodist zeal and the joy
which he experienced in meeting his old commander, proposed that all bow
in prayer. When LaFayette and Smith dropped on their knees the Indian
warriors did the same, and there on the banks of the deep rolling
Chattahoochee, beneath ancient oaks, in fervid and loud demonstrations of
prayer, the voice of Mr. Smith rang out through the deep forests. The
picture thus presented was worthy the pencil of the master--the ardent but
devout preacher, the great French patriot and the half hundred warriors,
each with his hands over his face, praying in the wild woods of Alabama.
The prayer was an unrestrained outburst of joy at the meeting of the old
commander and a devout invocation for the preservation of the life of the
friend of American liberty.

Yielding to the hospitable pressure of the boy soldier of other and
stormier days, LaFayette was taken to the humble cottage of the missionary
in the woods, and in order partly to entertain the distinguished guest and
partly to afford him an insight into aboriginal life, Mr. Smith arranged
for a game of ball to be played by the Indians. The day over and LaFayette
was taken into the cabin, served with the scanty fare of the pioneer
missionary, and beside the primitive fireplace the two, the missionary and
the great Frenchman, sat that night and fought over the battles in which
both were participants during the Revolution. They parted on the
following morning, LaFayette continuing his course toward Cahaba, the
state capital, and Mr. Smith resuming his treadmill round of duty as a
secluded missionary to the Indians. They parted with the same
demonstrations of affection with which they had met, and never again met
each other in the flesh.

With cheerful alacrity Mr. Smith continued his work among the Indians, to
which work he gave expansion in later years as the white population
continued to multiply. He was of immense service to the government in
adjusting the claims of the Indians and in pacifying them in the
acceptance of the inevitable lot finally meted out to them. As a
mediatorial agent Mr. Smith prevented much butchery in those early days
when the extinction of the Indian was so seriously desired.

With fame unsought and undesired, the Rev. Isaac Smith continued his
missionary and evangelistic labors in Alabama till forced by the weight of
years and the results of the privations of pioneer life to retire from the
scene of activity. He lived, however, to see the state of his adoption
pass from an infantile stage to one of great population and prosperity and
to witness the consummation of much of that of which he was one of the
original prospectors. Retiring in his last years to Monroe County,
Georgia, he died at the age of seventy-six. On the moral and spiritual
side he was one of the foundation builders of the state of Alabama. His
labor and sacrifice deserve recognition alongside that given of men whose
stations in life gave them great conspicuousness in the public eye. He
was of the class of men who labored in comparative obscurity, passed away,
and in due time are forgotten, but their works do follow them in their
everlasting results.


Hon. Clement Claiborne Clay inherited all the strong traits of his
distinguished father. His birthplace was Huntsville, where he was born in
1817. In his boyhood years he would learn much of the struggles through
which the people of the state were passing in a transition from pioneer
conditions to those of real life, and thus manhood unfolded
contemporaneously with the development of his native state. His first
knowledge of Alabama was derived at a time when conditions were rude and
crude and during his career of more than three-score years he saw it
expand through successive periods, his sentiments keeping pace with its

In most respects highly favored by fortune and condition, Mr. Clay knew
how to prize these and use them as stepping-stones to success. His father
was his most intimate companion, and the stations held by him were as
largely shared in by the son as was possible. So soon as young Clay was
prepared to do so he was sent to the state university, from which he
graduated at the early age of seventeen. While his father was governor,
the youth served as his private secretary and while his father was serving
as senator at Washington, the son was at the same time pursuing his law
course at the University of Virginia, which course he completed in 1840.

At the early age of twenty-five the junior Clay was elected to a seat in
the lower house of the legislature. He attracted attention at first by the
introduction of a resolution instructing the Alabama delegation in
Congress to support a bill favorable to refunding to General Andrew
Jackson the fine of one thousand dollars imposed on him by Judge Hall of
New Orleans in 1815 for declaring martial law in that city, under which
the judge was imprisoned by Jackson for discharging on habeas corpus a
member of the Louisiana legislature who had been caught in the act of
secretly communicating with the enemy and had been imprisoned by General
Jackson. The fine was for contempt and Jackson paid it, and now, after the
lapse of more than a quarter century, the sum was returned with interest,
the total being at the time of the refunding about $3,000.

The speech made by the young man in advocacy of his resolution won him his
first spurs. It flashed with fervid eloquence and was pervaded throughout
with the choicest diction. Many were the predictions of his future
greatness because of that speech.

His service in the legislature led to his retention in that body for three
successive terms, during the last of which he was elected by the
legislature to the judgeship of the county court of Madison. After serving
thus for two years, he resigned and resumed the practice of the law. Five
years later still, he offered for congressional representative, but was
defeated by the Hon. W. R. W. Cobb of Jackson County. The sting of defeat
was abundantly alleviated, however, when he was chosen by the legislature
a United States senator at the close of the same year. The distinction was
the greater because of the handsome majority given him over his
distinguished opponent, the Hon. R. W. Walker, Clay having received
eighty-five votes, while Walker received thirty-seven.

The gifts, training, and acquirements of Mr. Clay eminently fitted him for
this exalted forum. It was at the time when state rights doctrine was well
at the front and into the thick of the fray he entered as an ardent
disciple of Mr. Calhoun. His speeches on the floor of the senate chamber
won for him wide attention, and gained for him national renown. Throughout
the country his speeches were a subject of comment, while in Alabama his
name was on every thoughtful lip.

Having served for six years in the National Senate, Mr. Clay was again
chosen in 1859, and was in the senate when Alabama seceded in 1861, and
with all the other southern senators resigned, which furnished occasion in
harmony with the temper of that time to provoke a vote of expulsion of the
southern senators. On his return to Alabama, Mr. Clay was at once chosen a
senator from the state to the Confederate Congress. In Richmond he was in
vital touch with the Confederate government, the confidence of which he
enjoyed to an unusual degree. After a senatorial service of two years at
Richmond, Mr. Clay stood for re-election before the legislature of
Alabama, and was opposed by Colonel Seibels of Montgomery and the Hon. J.
L. M. Curry of Talladega. After a number of unsuccessful ballots Mr. Clay
withdrew in favor of R. W. Walker, whom he had previously defeated for the
United States senate, and Mr. Walker was elected.

In 1864 Mr. Clay was sent on a confidential errand from the Confederate
states government to the provinces of Canada. His mission was one of
diplomatic secrecy, but under prevailing conditions resulted in nothing
practical. While the nature of his mission was not known, it was supposed
to be that of exciting Canadian interest in the affairs of the
Confederacy, and to arouse such interest as would eventuate in procuring
an army of invasion of sufficient force to raid with success the northern
frontier of the Union. The northern press charged at the time that Mr.
Clay was abetting the adventurers who attempted the destruction of New
York City by fire.

During his stay in Canada, Mr. Clay was instrumental in inducing the
members of the peace party in the North to prevail on President Lincoln to
open negotiations with him looking to the settlement of hostilities
between the North and the South. An unofficial mission was entered on, but
without avail. When he learned of the capitulation of the Confederate
armies, Mr. Clay started from Canada on horseback for Texas, but, seeing
in the northern press that he was openly charged with complicity in the
assassination of President Lincoln, he changed his course and made his way
to Macon, Ga., where he might surrender with a view to a thorough
investigation. In reward for this expression of honor on the part of Mr.
Clay, he was seized, sent to Fortress Monroe, put in irons, where he lay a
fellow prisoner of Jefferson Davis for twelve months, without being
brought to trial on the false charges of treason and assassination. His
health was sadly broken under these cruel and disgraceful conditions, and
his release was finally procured by his devoted and gifted wife, whose
pleadings with the governmental authorities at last prevailed, and it was
believed, not without reason, that the government, as it then was, was
glad to appear to display magnanimity in view of the atrocious course
pursued concerning one who was thus being served purely on an unfounded
presumption, and one, too, who had gone beyond his way seeking a trial, in
face of the public charges. Mr. Clay died at Huntsville on January 3,


Altogether worthy of a place in the historic archives of Alabama are the
spiritual heroes who added so much to the moral life of the community,
converting disorder into order, and bringing calmness from confusion and
chaos. Among these may be named Rev. Hosea Holcombe, a native of North
Carolina, and for a period a pastor in upper South Carolina. Mr. Holcombe
came to Alabama in the early stages of its statehood and settled at
Jonesboro, in Jefferson County, from which point he pursued his early
missionary labors, undergoing all the privations and difficulties incident
to those days.

Without scholastic advantages, Mr. Holcombe turned to practical advantage
the slim resources which came within his reach, and by studious
application became possessed of more than an ordinary education for one
living at that period. He was Alabama's first church historian, and
rendered a lasting service to the state by his preserved record of the
early churches of Alabama.

While statesmen and publicists were laying the foundation stones of a
great political commonwealth, the pioneer missionary, especially of the
Baptist and Methodist denominations, was abroad with his wholesome
influence, checking vice, inculcating virtue, and seeking to bring the
lives of men into practical conformity to those principles which make
alike for the present, and the life which is to come.

Those old heroes, often trudging weary and footsore over mountain paths or
threading their way along the Indian trails winding through the forests,
visiting the primitive settlements of Alabama, and dispensing the truths
which make men better, are too often neglected in recounting the elements
which entered into the formation of a great state. Limitedly known while
living, and soon forgotten when dead, the substantial and fundamental
service rendered is not embalmed in the public records, and yet without
such agents, in a rude and crude condition of society, a state could never
become great. Far more valuable than is commonly supposed was the service
rendered by those pioneer preachers. In the absence of courts in those
pioneer days, matters in dispute were often held in abeyance for
adjudication till "the preacher" should come, and his unbiased decision
was usually accepted as final.

Mr. Holcombe was a leader among those humble but heroic men who braved the
terrors of the wilderness while Alabama was yet the hunting ground of the
savage, and though most of them were untaught in the schools, they
grappled with the gravest problems encountered on the frontier of
civilization, in bringing the chaotic elements of society into subjection
to the gospel, and in cool disregard of the dangers which threatened from
every side, by reason of the presence of the hostile Indian, they
evangelized the widely scattered settlements, preached, visited, cheered,
inspired, and built houses of worship for the future promotion of

Living and laboring with a zeal unquenched by difficulty or danger, they
passed from the scene of action, but their influence abode still, and as
a silent force has been transmitted through succeeding generations. Most
of those old spiritual heroes lie in unmarked graves. Soon leveled to the
surface, these primitive mounds left unindicated the resting places of the
genuine heroes, and the tangled vine and riotous weed came to usurp the
sacred though narrow places where sleep their ashes, but they, being dead,
yet speak in the characters and lives of those who have come after.

To this type of spiritual frontiersmen belonged the Rev. Hosea Holcombe.
His life was one of serious devotion to the cause of humanity and of God.
Without reward of purse, he labored unceasingly, eking out a bare
subsistence by the labor of his own hands, that he might have the
privilege of laboring for the welfare of his fellows. He founded all the
early Baptist churches in Jefferson County and frequent were his tours
into different parts of the state. His sage counsel was sought, and such
was the force of his character, that his decisions on all disputed
questions were taken as well-nigh oracular.

In those early days, and for generations, disputatious contention,
especially between the Baptists and Methodists, was frequent. If this had
its unpleasing side, as it always does, it was not wholly without
compensation, for it stimulated sacred study and grounded the masses in
the truths and principles of the gospel.

Like all others of the ministry of that remote period, Mr. Holcombe shared
in the prevailing controversial spirit of the times. In the maintenance
of his views he wrote a number of pamphlets, but his chief literary
production was a history of the Baptists of Alabama. While the work lacks
unity of arrangement, and is devoid of literary finish, it reflects the
spirit of the times, and is a monument to the privations and fortitude, as
well as the energy and struggles, of that period now grown dim.

As the population of the state grew, and the necessity of schools became
more urgent, this unlettered man became one of the earliest exponents of
education, and of all institutions which were conducive to the promotion
of the good of society.

The services rendered by men like Hosea Holcombe escape the pen of the
historian, because they lie apart from the spectacular and the din of
political and commercial struggle, remote from the universal flow; but
they are chief among the unseen forces the results of which assume shape
in the transmuted lives and characters of men and women and in the visible
institutions of which they were the chief founders. Their records are
usually assigned to the department of unwritten history, but their lives
and labors are the fundamental sources of the institutions, the beneficent
influences of which are ours of today.

One who leaves his impress on a generation lives for all time, for in some
form his influence works its way, though silently, and contributes to the
symmetry of character in the generations that follow. Deeds of benefaction
are noble, but a good man, in virtue of his life, is a benefaction, and
his daily walk is a constant asset of the good of the future. This admits
of application to the life of this pioneer preacher, which life extended
to near the middle of the nineteenth century.

The Rev. Hosea Holcombe died in 1841, and his humble grave is on his
original farm near Jonesboro, Jefferson County. A shaft now marks the last
resting place of the old hero. Till this was recently erected, a large
bowlder alone indicated where sleeps the pioneer preacher. Its native
roughness and solidity represented the times as well as the character of
the Rev. Hosea Holcombe.


There was not in the life and career of Governor Henry Watkins Collier
that which was apt to catch the popular eye and invite popular applause,
for he was not gifted with the flash of oratory, nor did he seek the
clamorous applause which passes with the day. Governor Collier was of the
practical mold of men who merely did things, who patiently wrought in
painstaking silence far away from the madding crowd and the host of empty
babble. He won distinction, but he did it by dint of granite merit, while
disdaining the acclaim which comes as the vapid breath of the hour.

A Virginian by birth, Governor Collier had the prestige which comes of
distinguished lineage. In the genealogical line were the names of such men
as Sir Francis Wyatt, one of the original English governors of Virginia,
and Admiral Sir George Collier of the British navy. But distinction like
this he relied not on, and his career throughout showed that he regarded
the life of each one a distinct entity dependent entirely on individual

Governor Collier came to Alabama in the flower of his youth well qualified
to respond to the demands arising from the colonial conditions of a new
state. He had been grounded in the solid soil of academic drill at a time
when the test of pupilage lay in the thought created by the student rather
than in the mere mastery of that already kneaded by others, and served to
the taste. For to be a student of those early times of even tolerable
tolerance one had to dig rather than to reap, as others had sown. By the
few really skillful preceptors of those primitive times, the student was
encouraged to create and originate his own material from the bare
principles furnished. This molded men of stalwart proportions, promoted
self-assertion, augmented confidence, stiffened reliance, and toughened
the fiber of character by effort.

Instruction of this character was given in the famous pioneer school of
Moses Waddell at Willington, S. C., where were trained for the stern life
of grappling with grim, original conditions such men as George McDuffie,
James L. Pettigru and Augustus B. Longstreet, and many others whose fame,
and, no less, whose example, remain as a perennial inspiration to aspiring
youth, for after all every man who is made is self-made. Be one's
advantages never so much or so meager, self and self-worth are at last the
determinative factor.

Girt with equipments like these borne from the Waddell school, young
Collier reached Alabama just as it was emerging into statehood. His first
residence was at Huntsville, where as a youthful pleader he opened his
little office, but soon removed to Tuscaloosa as the partner of Hon. Simon
L. Perry.

The demand for competent legislators and men for the occupancy of other
spheres, at a time when the population of the state was sparse, opened the
door of opportunity to aspiring young men to which class Collier belonged.
When only twenty-six he went as a representative from Tuscaloosa County,
and so profound was the impression made by this solid young man that the
legislature, at the next session, elected him to a place on the supreme
bench, a distinction the more pronounced because his competitor for the
place was Judge Eli Shortridge.

Four years later, on the occasion of the reorganization of the state
courts, Judge Collier was displaced from the supreme bench, but was
retained as a circuit judge for four years, at which time Judge Saffold
retired from his seat on the supreme bench, and Governor Clay appointed
Judge Collier in his stead, till the legislature should meet and elect his
successor. On the convening of the general assembly, Judge Collier was met
by a contestant for the honor in the person of Hon. A. Crenshaw of Butler,
but the election resulted in favor of Judge Collier, who received more
than twice the number of votes given his opponent.

For twelve years he continued to dispense justice in that high tribunal,
and the value of the service rendered the state by him is attested by the
luminous and voluminous decisions which run through thirty-five volumes of
the Alabama reports, a perpetual monument of valuable labor.

By this time no man so completely filled the eyes of the people of the
state as Judge Henry Watkins Collier. His high sense of justice, his
impartial incision, and his solid and unvarying calmness made him, without
self-effort to attain it, the dominant public figure in Alabama.
Practically without effort, he was chosen, almost by a unanimous vote of
the people, to the office of governor.

This was in 1849. Judge Samuel F. Rice, one of the brightest and ablest
of Alabamians, appeared against him, and the final vote stood 36,350 for
Collier and 364 for Rice, with a few scattering votes. At the close of his
first term for governor three competitors appeared in the field for the
same distinction--B. G. Shields, Nathaniel Terry and William L. Yancey,
and of a total popular vote of 43,679, Governor Collier was indorsed by
37,460 of these.

Nor was this due to an active canvass on the part of Governor Collier.
While he was by no means indifferent to his retention of the gubernatorial
chair, he preferred to base his claim on genuine merit illustrated in
official function, rather than by clamor for recognition before the
assembled multitude. He had scrupulously sought to make his work worthy as
a judge and as a governor, and was entirely willing that it should shine
by its own light. He could not plausibly plead for support or indorsement,
had none of the arts and tricks of the vote-getter, and therefore relied
on actual service and worth to give exploit to his value as an official
servant. His ideal of the office was lofty, and he felt that he could not
climb down into the arena of personal scramble when the people were as
fully informed of his competency as they would have been had he made a
heated canvass.

From the beginning to the close of his life, Governor Collier was under
strain. He did not fret nor chafe under the burdens imposed, but his
powers wore under the dogged strain of perpetual labor. Nothing could
deflect him from public duty. To him its claim was supreme. He died in the
ripeness of his manhood at Bailey Springs in 1865, being only fifty-four
years old, his early death being largely due, no doubt, to the overstrain
of his vigor.


No more genuine compliment can be paid a book than to have the name of the
author so associated with it that at the mention of the work the name of
the writer is at once suggested. This is true of that once noted work,
"Flush Times in Alabama and Mississippi." So widely was the book for years
read, and so popular was it because of its reflection of a period of
southwestern history that to mention the work is to call in immediate
connection with it the name of the author--J. G. Baldwin.

On its appearance the work was greeted with popular applause and was
highly prized for its genuine merit. While the production of such a work
with its unique and sparkling wit, is worthy of the pen of anyone, the
fame of Judge Baldwin does not repose on it alone, for he was both a
statesman and jurist, and rendered valuable service to Alabama.

Beginning life under disadvantages because of meager education, Judge
Baldwin fitted himself for life by individual effort and private study and
became one of the most eminent citizens of the state, and later a
distinguished justice on the supreme bench of California. His qualities of
character were sterling, his relations to others uniformly courteous, and
his disposition one of perpetual sunshine.

In politics a whig, he was ever ready to champion the cause of that party.
He was a skillful tactician, and as one of the whig leaders in Alabama he
often occasioned concern in the ranks of his opponents. On the floor of
the legislative hall he was a formidable disputant, and while he often
dealt herculean blows, he held himself in courteous readiness to receive
them in return. Familiar with parliamentary principles, he held himself
scrupulously within limit, but stoutly demanded that this be returned by
his opponent. He was greatly admired for his manliness and uniform
courtesy, but was dreaded as an opponent. He could rise to heights of
greatness, but could never sink to levels of littleness. This reputation
Judge Baldwin established and maintained alike in legislative hall, the
court room, and in the social circle.

His was a fertile brain and his command of a chaste and varied diction was
unusual. Possessing an acute discrimination and a relish for the
ludicrous, he was one of the most jovial of companions. Living at an
exceptional period, and amidst conditions which often occasioned merriment
to himself, he was induced to embody his impressions of the scenes about
him in his famous work--"Flush Times in Alabama and Mississippi." It was a
time when credit was practically without limit and when speculation
proceeded on a slender financial basis, and not infrequently on no basis
at all.

It was a time of wild financial experiment, and ventures of divers kinds
were numerous. To withhold credit for any amount was a mortal offense, and
to present a bill was an act of discourtesy, as such act carried with it
the question of the honesty of the debtor. Loans were freely made by the
state banks to debtors. Private banking institutions sprang up like
mushrooms and with about as much solidity, the stock of such institutions
consisting of real estate on mortgage, upon the faith of which notes were
issued for circulation, payable in gold or silver within twelve months.
The prospective realization of the latter seems not to have been thought
of, nor was it cared for by the masses, so long as money was plentiful.
The reaction from a condition like this, entailing endless litigation and
crash on crash, is easily seen.

With a business and legal acumen, for Judge Baldwin had both, he watched
with sharp interest the trend of the period, and his work, "Flush Times in
Alabama and Mississippi," is a clever hit, describing the scenes attendant
on the time when money was flush. With an evident relish for fun he
presents the hubbub in the courts, in the places of business and elsewhere
when the notes fell due. The different characters portrayed with masterly
skill, the questions and answers, the indignation and consternation, the
rulings of country justices, the pleas of lawyers and many other elements
are vividly presented, and invariably with such a smack of real humor by
Judge Baldwin that the interest is unsuspended from the outset to the

While there is much of the creative in the work to lend freshness and
humor to the many scenes, still the book is a practical history of a most
remarkable period which extended from 1833 to 1840. The work is unique in
the originality of its grasp of conditions, the raciness of portraiture
and in the description of the various transactions. Though at bottom
veritable history, the work is throughout garbed in incomparable humor
that may be read at any period with merriment.

In the same semi-serious vein in which Irving wrote his Knickerbocker
History of New York, but with a much richer tang of humor, Baldwin records
the doings of those rosy days which were anon merged into gloom, and it is
difficult to decide in which phase of the situation one finds more real
fun. He enters into no discussion, renders no opinion of his own, never
moralizes, but is content to hold himself steadfastly to a description of
scene and character in a manner most diverting to the reader. A work like
this was not devoid of a mission, and thousands laughed while they read
the record of their own stupidity and folly.

A more dignified work from the pen of Judge Baldwin was his "Party
Leaders," which embraces the records, policies and conduct of such men as
Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Randolph, Clay and others. The stamp of
originality is as clear in this work as in the one already commented on,
while the latter reveals the possession of a vast fund of information
relative to the private lives of the distinguished characters named. More
than that, it displays a power of nice discrimination of character.
Sharpness of analysis and felicity of parallelism of character are wrought
with the finishing touch of the verbal artist, in clean, elegant English
and with a dignity free from stilt or stiffness. This, too, proved to be a
popular work and was eagerly sought and read throughout the country. It
bears the label of the self-made scholar, the finish of the author who
works first hand, and is an embodiment of finished diction and of wide

There was that in the presence, bearing, and intercourse of Judge Baldwin
that impressed one with his superiority, yet he was free, often even to
abandon, affable, and always companionable. He made ready friends of
strangers, and compelled by his bearing the highest respect of his

Living for many years in Sumter County, he yielded to the alluring reports
which spread over the country in 1849 concerning the newly discovered
Eldorado on the Pacific slope, and removed to California. Without trouble
he fell into the rough and tumble conditions prevailing at that time in
San Francisco, entered on a lucrative practice, and later was chosen by
popular vote to a judgeship on the supreme bench of that state. He died in
California in 1866.


The three most noted humorists produced by the South were Judge A. B.
Longstreet, Judge J. G. Baldwin and Johnson J. Hooper. "Georgia Scenes,"
the chief product of Longstreet's humor, has been read for generations,
and will continue to be. "Flush Times in Alabama and Mississippi," by
Baldwin, is not a work of so popular a cast as the preceding one, but has
humor of a rare flavor, and "Simon Suggs," the inimitable work of Johnson
J. Hooper--these represent the humorists named and their best work. Each
of these occupies a distinct orbit of humor, and the merit of each has
been long ago established.

When Hooper saw that he was to be remembered chiefly by his "Simon Suggs,"
he regretted the publication, for it had in it no index to any ambition
which he cherished, but was dashed off at odd moments as a mere pastime.
The author desired to be remembered by something more worthy than a
ridiculous little volume detailing incidents of a grotesque character and
the twaddle and gossip in the phraseology of the backwoods. But if the
product be one of rareness, standing apart in its uniqueness and
originality, it is great and worthy, and the author deserves to be raised
on a popular pedestal to be studied as a genius.

Had Hooper not written "Simon Suggs" his name would have been obscure even
unto forgetfulness, and his genius unknown to the world. That which he did
was apart and above the ability of others to do. Its source is not the
matter to be thought of, but the production itself. At any rate, it is the
work by means of which the name of Hooper will live as Alabama's chief
humorist, and as one of the prominent merry-makers of the South.

Johnson Jones Hooper was a grandnephew of William Hooper, one of the
signers of the Declaration of Independence. The subject of present
discussion came from North Carolina to Alabama, and his first achievement
in politics was that of his election to the solicitorship of the ninth
judicial circuit, after a stubborn struggle with such men as Bowie,
Latham, Spyker and Pressley. But neither the law nor politics was suited
to the mind and temperament of Hooper. His being bubbled with humor, and
the ridiculous was always first discerned by him, as it is by all
humorists. In the quiet retreat of his humble sanctum, unannoyed by the
bustle of the throng or the rasp of strident voices, was the native
atmosphere of such a genius as was Hooper. It was in "The Banner" at
Dadeville, then an obscure country village, that Hooper first attracted
attention as a humorist. The droll scenes of the experiences of a census
taker of that time, discharging his official function in the backwoods,
where he encountered numerous ups and downs, were detailed in the rural
paper already named, with inimitable skill.

In the retreat of the rural regions, where the first lesson learned alike
by members of both sexes is that of independence and self reliance, and
where is straightway resisted anyone's interference with liberty, private
affairs, and "belongings," is the basis of a series of productions in his
little periodical, which themselves would have given Hooper fame. The
intrusion of a polite census taker into the cabin homes of the backwoods,
where statistical information was sought about poultry, pigs, soap, cows
and "garden truck," and where the rustic dames resented such intrusion
with broomsticks and pokers, afforded to this man of genius an opportunity
to hit off some rare humor, and in response to his nature he did so. The
scene, the actors, involving the polite efforts of the official to
explain, and the garrulous replies of the doughty dames, embracing
throughout the dialogue and the dialect, are depicted with the hand of the
master and the skill of the artist.

With its columns weekly laden with merriment so rare, the once obscure
"Banner" became the most popular journal in the state, and far beyond, for
it was sought throughout the south and the comical stories were copied far
and wide. Encouraged by the popular reception given these effusions,
Hooper addressed himself to a more pretentious venture by the preparation
of his "Simon Suggs." He had the basis of the character to be delineated
in a certain rude rustic of waggish proclivities who hung about the
village of Dadeville, and was well known throughout Tallapoosa and the
adjoining counties. With him as a nucleus, Hooper in the exercise of his
genius, constructed his "Simon Suggs."

That which gives to the production vitality is its unquestioned fidelity
to a phase of life prevailing in those early days, while it is underlaid
by principles which revealed actual conditions. The portraiture is that of
an illiterate, but cunning backwoodsman, bent on getting the most out of
life, no matter how, keen, foxy, double-faced and double-tongued who plied
his vocation in the perpetration of fraud by cant and hypocrisy, pretended
piety, and church membership.

Dynamic humor, occasioned by ludicrous dilemma, unconjectured condition,
ridiculous episode and grotesque situation follow each other in rapid
succession, and the effect on the reader is explosions of laughter.
"Simon" appears under varied conditions, and is sometimes closely hemmed,
in his artful maneuvers, but he is always provided with a loophole of
escape, due to his long experience and practice. His various assumptions
of different characters under shifting conditions, but remaining the true
"Simon" still among them all, and using his obscure vernacular always,
gives a kaleidoscopic change to the divers situations, and rescues the
stories from monotony. The skilled manipulation with which the whole is
wrought is the work of a remarkable genius. Nor is there break or
suspension, neither lapse nor padding, but the scenes move and shift with
fresh exhibition throughout, and the convulsive effect is irresistible.
"Simon Suggs" was published by the Appletons of New York and for years
spread with wonderful effect throughout the country, resulting in the sale
of many thousands of copies. From the notoriety produced Mr. Hooper shrank
with girlish sensitiveness.

In December, 1856, at a meeting of the Southern Commercial Convention,
held at Savannah, Hooper was present as a delegate from Alabama. The daily
press of the city announced his arrival with no little flourish as one of
the distinguished members of the body, and as the well known author of
"Simon Suggs." Doubtless this served to swell the crowd when the
convention met at night in the Atheneum. On the assembly of the delegates,
and after the usual formality of reception speeches and replies, and while
a committee was out arranging for permanent organization, Judge John A.
Jones, himself a humorous writer, the author of "Major Jones' Courtship,"
arose and moved that "Simon Suggs" be called on to give an account of
himself for the last two years. The presiding officer, who had evidently
never heard before of "Simon Suggs," arose with great dignity and said,
"If Mr. Suggs is present we should be glad to have him comply with the
expressed wish of the convention by coming to the platform." This was
attended by a craning of necks and looks of curiosity in all directions,
but "Mr. Suggs" appeared not. Hooper was seated in the pit beside Gen.
Albert Pike of Arkansas, wearing a green overcoat, and was overwhelmed
with embarrassment by the unexpected demonstration. He had the good sense
to keep quiet, for his humor could more freely exude from the nib of his
pen than from the point of his tongue. While to most others this would
have been flattery, to Hooper it was an occasion of painfulness. He
deprecated a notoriety won at so cheap a price, and by what he regarded a
means so unworthy as that of a work like "Simon Suggs." He sincerely felt
that depreciation rather than exaltation was his, as the author of such a
work, but in this he underestimated the power of his undisputed genius.

Hooper had a mastery of the English unexcelled by any southern writer.
Hon. Alexander Stephens pronounced his report of the Charleston convention
the finest illustration of the English language that had ever come under
his eye. Mr. Hooper was made the secretary of the Provisional Congress of
the Confederacy and for years was classed among the foremost of American
political writers. He died at Richmond, Virginia, soon after the beginning
of the Civil War.


For solidity and strength of character, forcefulness, and impressiveness
of presence especially before a jury or an audience, the Hon. William M.
Murphy was hard to excel. He was remarkable for antipodal elements of
character. That is to say, the active and passive virtues were so set over
against each other as to give him a unique combination of elements. While
morally and physically courageous, he was gentle as a tender woman, and
while he was a most formidable contestant in debate, he was just as
remarkable in his generosity, and spurned any suggestion or opportunity to
take undue advantage. While dreaded in disputatious combat, he was
respected for his uniform fairness. According this to others, he was not
slow in demanding the same in return.

Mr. Murphy was a North Carolinian by birth, and was brought by his father
as a lad of fifteen to Alabama two years after the state had been admitted
into the union. His educational advantages were without stint, his father
being amply able to furnish him with the best equipment for life. First a
student at the Alabama university, he afterwards completed his course at
the university of Virginia, which was at that time the most famous of the
literary institutions of the continent. Adopting law as a profession, the
gifts and qualifications of Mr. Murphy brought him into speedy notice.

He was for a number of years devoted to the practice of his profession
before he entered public life. At the age of thirty-four he represented
Greene county in the state legislature. He brought to the office of a
legislator an experience seasoned by years of study and court practice,
with a native courage and coolness, coupled with a force of boldness of
view that gave him one of the first places in the able body which
constituted the legislature of 1840. Three marked elements of strength
were his--great ability in debate, remarkable oratorical strength, and the
tact of leadership. These at once won the station of the headship of his

At that particular time, the whig party in the house stood in the need of
a strong champion. The Hon. James E. Saunders, of Lawrence county, was the
leader of the democratic forces, and it never had an abler. Himself a
remarkable man, he was regarded by no little degree of fear by his whig
opponents, but he found in William M. Murphy a knight worthy of his steel.
Mr. Murphy met the giant of the mountains in debate, was amply able to
parry his well-directed blows, and was entirely equal as an advocate. His
elements of oratory were noted, while he would deal his heaviest blows. It
was a battle royal between the champions, the one from the hill districts
and the other from the black belt. The sparring of these mighty men was a
matter of interest, and became memorable for many years. They were equally
matched, yet very dissimilar in a number of respects. Later, Mr. Murphy
was the choice of his party for congress, but was defeated, after a
remarkable campaign, by his kinsman, Hon. Samuel W. Inge.

In 1849, Mr. Murphy represented his district in the senate of the state,
and three years afterwards removed to Texas, but his stay in the state of
the Lone Star was brief, for he returned to Alabama, and located as a
lawyer at Selma. While never recognized as a profound jurist, he was
without an equal as an advocate. His elements of oratory were singularly
unique. His initial approach to a cause in the court was usually attended
with a rugged and somewhat incoherent method, and it seemed that he had
some difficulty in getting under full way, but when he did finally reach
the point where his words would begin to warm by the friction of his own
thought, his was as overpowering oratory as was ever heard in an Alabama
court. Roused to a pitch where the cause came to possess the man, it was
like a tempest crashing through a forest. Absolutely transformed in
appearance, his manner, his voice, his logic would seem to catch on fire,
and all the elements of the great orator would respond to his bidding with
electrical facility. A series of thunderbolts could not have been more
terrible, and the cogency of logic more overwhelming than when this
remarkable man was at his best. It did not in the least savor of the rant,
but the combination of the terrible and overwhelming with the utmost
self-possession was that which made him inimitable. Invective, sarcasm,
irony, ridicule, persuasion--all lent their quota to the torrent which
swept like a Niagara. Nor could it be withstood. It was as irresistible as
the flow of a mighty river. Men listened to him entranced, sometimes
terror-stricken, at intervals pleased even unto delight, and always with
interest. His cast of oratory was peculiarly his own. He imitated no one,
nor was it possible to imitate him.

Mr. Murphy was cut down by a stroke of apoplexy at a period of life when
he was just fruiting into great usefulness and power. He was only
forty-nine years of age when the fatal stroke came. He died at his home in
Selma in 1855. Few men who have lived in the state have left a profounder
impress, in some respects, than William M. Murphy. His towering courage
was equalled alone by his uniform generosity of spirit. There was not a
small quality that entered into his character. Open, frank, noble, brave,
bold, gentle, courteous, and tender, he was all of these. His sympathy
once enlisted made him one of the most loyal and devoted of friends and
supporters. On the other hand, his opposition when once stirred was the
invitation of a storm. But he never forgot to be generous even to the
sternest of foes.

This galaxy of virtues with which his character was adorned awoke
universal confidence and won him popularity not infrequently among his
opponents. Set over against every stern or strong quality was a check or
balance that held his character well in poise. This gave him a ponderous
influence among those who knew him, as he was regarded as fair at any cost
of advantage to himself.


For quietness of force and reservation of power, Honorable James E.
Saunders was noteworthy. With a breadth of vision far above the ordinary,
a remarkable insightedness, and absolutely calm in his poise, never
disturbed by the clash or clamor of contest, he meted out his strength in
proportion to the demand of the occasion which elicited it, and invariably
left the impression that a fund of power was held in reserve for whatever
emergency might arise. He enjoyed the advantage of all self-collected men.
Never betrayed into warmth of feeling, he was oftener in position to
disarm the opposition than he would have been under the sway of passion.
There was an undertow of inherent force the seeming consciousness of the
possession of which made Mr. Saunders perennially serene.

His qualities soon marked him for distinguished leadership in the
legislature to the attainment of which leadership he came, not by
self-seeking, but by dint of his recognized power. He had served as a
legislator before 1840, but at that time, he rose to the first place in
the ranks of his party.

There was necessarily inseparable from his bearing the consciousness of
that which would have affected any man, with the sway of a strong
political organization of which he was the recognized leader.
Self-assertion becomes easy when there is little to be apprehended from
opposition. The dominant democracy in the lower house of the Alabama
legislature might have occasioned tranquility in the leader, even though
it had not been natural. Mr. Saunders not only held the whigs at bay, but
in awe. Nor was this the result of a hectoring spirit from which none was
freer, but because of his quiet ability to dispose of obstruction which
lay in his way.

This condition continued till there appeared on the scene William M.
Murphy of Greene. A trained lawyer accustomed to the rough and tumble of
the court room, naturally endowed with many strong points needed in an
emergency like that which confronted his party in the legislature, as
fully conscious of power as the leader of the opposition, and more
disposed to yearn for a gladiatorial combat than to spurn it, Mr. Murphy
was full panoplied as a leader of the whig party.

Unknown at first as to his qualifications, even to those of his own party
affiliation, he was hailed with delight after that the first issue was
joined. The two leaders were entirely dissimilar save in one
particular--in courtesy and fairness. In these they were at par. But when
met in combat Mr. Saunders was deliberate, plain, matter of fact, clear,
cool, divesting a proposition of every seeming objection, and investing it
with an atmosphere of transparency that seemed to place it quite beyond
the pale of doubt.

Altogether different it was when Mr. Murphy arose to combat it. With a
rugged sort of oratory he would seem to struggle with himself for the gain
of a substantial footing, which when once obtained, an avalanche was
turned loose, and under the thunder of its descent, gathered momentum as
it proceeded, the old hall seemed fairly to quake. Meanwhile his opponent
sat as stolid as a Stoic. By interruptions blows were given in the
calmness of his power, but they were parried with the roar of a stentor.
Thus surged the battle along partisan lines, the democrats possessing
themselves in complacent consciousness of strength, while the whigs would
catch inspiration under the demonstration of a leadership so splendid.

In all this never was Mr. Saunders in the least daunted nor was his masked
power the least exposed. His coolness was equalled only by the vigor of
his opponent. In nothing passive but always forceful and brave, he lent
mightiness of strength by a serenity that challenged the admiration of the
sturdiest opponent. In the gage and stress of conflict his thought flowed
without the least break in its coherency and without the slightest
disconcertedness. His equable temper never forsook him. To each contest he
would bring the same tranquil poise and it was maintained throughout.
Without hesitation he would face unblinking the severe ordeals to which he
was subjected in the stormy legislative days when he moved a giant among
the giants of Alabama. To be a legislator in those days meant much, for
the people filled the seats of legislation with their choicest spirits.

Mr. Saunders was not of a bantering mien, but he relied on the strength of
his logic into which he quietly injected a personal conviction so
overpowering that it would seem that no position could be more
impregnable, and thus it would look till it came to fall under the
iconoclastic manipulation of his formidable opponent. To be able to have
those days of partisan tempest reproduced in type would be to thrill
thousands at this late time.

As chairman of the judiciary committee in the house, the service rendered
by Mr. Saunders was fundamental to the interests of the state. Nor was any
one more profoundly interested in the educational affairs of the state as
was shown by his share in the establishment of the state university on a
solider basis, of the board of trustees of which institution he was a
prominent member. Mr. Saunders would have graced a higher station in the
affairs of statecraft than that which he held, and in a wider orbit would
have afforded an easier play of his strength. Dropping out of politics for
a short while, he became a commission merchant in Mobile, but in 1845 he
was appointed to the post of the port of Mobile, by President Polk, and
after an expiration of his term of office he was on the electoral ticket
in the campaign which resulted in the election of Pierce and King. Wealthy
and hospitable, his was a typical southern home of the long ago.

A devout Christian philosopher and a sedate statesman to which were added
the qualities of a superior man of business, the usefulness of Honorable
James E. Saunders was incalculable.


For numerous reasons the name of Judge William P. Chilton is worthy of a
conspicuous place in the annals of the great men who have made Alabama. He
was a learned and incorruptible public servant, a patriot of the highest
mold, a patient and manly gentleman in all his relations, and a typical
Christian. He moved among his peers with universal esteem, and amidst the
temptations of public life preserved a reputation untarnished even by a
breath of suspicion.

Of a pleasing temperament, he was jocular as a companion, always agreeable
in intercourse, mingling in true democratic style among all classes, and
yet he never depressed an exalted standard of manhood even an iota. In his
rigid fidelity to duty he represented the best type of the publicist, and
alike in private and in public, exemplified a genuine manhood. Even under
the laxest conditions and in the abandon of free intercourse with others,
he never soiled his lips with unseemly speech or with questionable joke.
There was nothing that escaped him which a lady might not hear--nothing
that he could not utter in a public speech.

He was a man of vast and commanding influence which proceeded from the
loftiest summit--that of a pure and exalted life. He was active in the
stirring scenes which affected the period in which he lived; never shied a
duty imposed, and always met his obligations in such way as to win the
highest meed of public praise. Men came to know him so thoroughly that no
pressure of a questionable matter was ever made, because his integrity was
proverbial. From his well known standard of life, men knew where to place
him on all questions which involved the moral sides of right and wrong.
Such was the life, such the career of William Parish Chilton.

The time may have produced men his equals in the qualities already named,
but it produced none superior to Judge Chilton. His was not an
ostentatious display of virtue in order to elicit attention, for none were
meeker, more placid and tranquil, but his was a silent influence which
impressed wherever it touched. His condemnation of wrong was not of the
demonstrative kind, but his disapproval was a silent expression which was
always powerful. As one of the ancient philosophers said of one of his
brother philosophers, "He always says the same thing about the same
thing," so it was in the uniform bearing and conduct of Judge Chilton.

In such an orbit he moved, in such an orbit he died, leaving in the
memories of those who knew him and in the records of the state, a life of
distinguished purity. He was in no sense a recluse, nor in the least
offish; on the other hand, he was most cordial, and his piquant humor was
relished as a season to pleasant conversation; but he would never sanction
by even a smile an unseemly joke or expression.

His was an active life. Indeed his increasing labor was a subject of
frequent comment. This necessarily brought him into connection with all
classes of men, but he moved amidst all scenes without the smell of taint
on his character. His habits of life were as regular as the movement of
the hand on the dial face. By this means he was gifted with a physical
manhood capable of severe strains of labor.

Beginning life as a young attorney in Talladega County, in co-partnership
with George R. Brown, Mr. Chilton was subsequently associated in the
practice of the law with his brother-in-law, the late senator, John H.
Morgan, the strong firm including two other distinguished gentlemen,
George W. Stone and Frank W. Bowdon. Chosen once to represent Talladega
County in the legislature, Mr. Chilton was afterward elected to a seat on
the supreme bench of the state, succeeding Judge Ormond. Later still, in
1852, Judge Chilton became the chief justice of the supreme court of
Alabama, which position he held with great distinction for four years.
Retiring from this judicial position, he became associated, in 1860, with
William L. Yancey in the practice of the law in Montgomery.

When the Confederacy was created Judge Chilton was elected a member of the
provisional congress of the young government and throughout its brief and
fateful history retained his seat in that body. Speaking of his interest
and activity, Honorable J. L. M. Curry, who was his congressional
colleague, said: "It was a common remark that he was the most laborious
member of the body." He loved labor equally from an instinctive energy and
from a sense of duty. On the floor of the Confederate Congress the opinion
of no member was esteemed of greater worth than that of Judge Chilton.

In the rough and tumble of debate, which he enjoyed, whether on the
hustings or on the floor of congress, he displayed rare humor, reveling in
original epigram and in rollicking anecdote at the expense of his
opponent. Fluent and eloquent, he was at home before a promiscuous
gathering. His innocent, sparkling wit afforded him vast power in
discussion. Among the ludicrous sallies used in opposition to another in a
speech, and one long quoted in referring to the remarkable conservation of
his opponent, he accused him of "reaching an extreme medium." Before a
popular assemblage he was irresistible in his joviality and power to
produce merriment. Yet this was always done in such way as never to
occasion offense. Nor did he ever yield to buffoonery. His contagious
twinkle of eye, his sunlit face and his ready husbandry of dictum suited
to the occasion, were so remarkable that he would sweep an audience as a
breeze a field of grain. Yet his thrusts were so tempered by good nature
that they left no sting nor pang of regret to the speaker.

Buttressed on a character such as he possessed, this variety of gifts gave
to Judge Chilton immense advantage. It was known to be impossible for him
knowingly to misrepresent or to take the slightest advantage and
consequently the spell of his influence was overwhelming.

Among his numerous traits may be named that of his intense interest in
young men. His counsel was frequently sought by a struggling youth because
of his transparent frankness, readiness and responsiveness. He manifested
a keen interest in his young brother-in-law, John T. Morgan, who was
perhaps more indebted to Judge Chilton than to any other for the
substantial basis with which he began his brilliant and eventful career.
It was not uncommon for him to seek an interview with a young man in whom
he discovered gifts, and aid him to gain a solid footing.

When sixty-one years old, Judge Chilton was still active and alert, his
natural force still unabated, and his spirit undimmed by years of
activity, and, when it seemed that many years of usefulness were still
his, he suffered from a serious fall, from which he never recovered. His
death in Montgomery in January, 1871, was an occasion of state-wide
sorrow. The legislature was in session at the time, and Governor Lindsay
announced the sad fact of his death in the following communication to the
general assembly:

    "State of Alabama,
    "Executive Department,
    "Montgomery, Jan. 21, 1871.

    "Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    "It is with feelings of sorrow and regret that I inform you of the
    death of the Honorable W. P. Chilton of the city of Montgomery. This
    event occurred last night about the hour of 11. Judge Chilton was one
    of our best beloved citizens, eminent as a jurist, and the people of
    Alabama had often honored him with their public esteem and confidence.
    As a member of the legislature, as a member of congress, and as chief
    justice of our supreme court, he discharged his duties with devotion
    and zeal. In the halls of legislation he was a statesman, and he
    adorned the bench by his integrity and learning. The loss of such a
    man is a public calamity, and it is fit that the departments of the
    government of a state he loved so well should pay a tribute to his

The occasion of his funeral was a sad ovation of public esteem. The
legislature, the bar, the fraternity of Masons, of which he was an honored
member, together with multitudes of friends, sought on the occasion of his
funeral to accord to Judge Chilton the merits of his just deserts.


For generations the name of Forsyth has been associated with distinction
in the records of southern history. The original member of the family,
Robert Forsyth, came from England to America before the revolution, and
was a member of the military family of Washington. His son, John Forsyth,
was at various times attorney general and governor of Georgia, a member of
congress for a period of fifteen years from that state, minister to Spain,
and was instrumental in procuring the cession of Florida. For six and a
half years he served as secretary of state, during the administrations of
Jackson and Van Buren. Robert Forsyth was the grandfather of John Forsyth,
late of Mobile, while John Forsyth, Sr., was his father.

Enjoying unusual advantages, socially and scholastically, the subject of
the present sketch turned them to great practical benefit. Among the
advantages which he enjoyed was that of a residence of two years at the
Spanish court during the administration of his distinguished father as
minister to Spain. He was a graduate from Princeton University, from which
he bore away the first honors of his class and delivered the valedictory

Entering on the practice of law at Columbus, Ga., he continued there but
one year, when he located in Mobile, in the year 1835. He soon received
the appointment of United States attorney for the southern district of
Alabama, but the death of his father occurring in Georgia, necessitated
his return to that state, where he remained for twelve years, having taken
charge of his father's estate and devoting his time to planting, the
practice of law and the editorial management of the Columbus Times. It was
during that period that he enlisted to serve in the Mexican war as the
adjutant of the First Georgia Regiment.

He returned to Mobile in 1853, entered the lumber business, was burnt out,
and entered again the field of journalism by purchasing the Mobile
Register. In 1856 he was appointed by President Pierce minister to Mexico,
in which capacity he served for two years.

Colonel Forsyth's mission to Mexico was attended by much labor and
perplexity, as the duty was imposed on him of adjusting varied and
numerous claims against the Mexican government, which claims originated in
the nature of the war waged by the Mexicans. There were claims for
imprisonments, murders, confiscation, and others, and while Colonel
Forsyth labored without abatement, he had but timorous support from the
Buchanan administration.

As a matter of fact, President Buchanan was gravely absorbed in the rush
of events which tended toward the approaching Civil War, which broke like
a storm over the country in 1861, and his foreign policy was one of
conciliation. The reason of this presidential policy concerning Mexico is
now obvious. In view of the pending conflict in the American states, the
hostility of Mexico, for any reason, would be serious.

As an earnest advocate of the rights of the citizens of the American
states at the Mexican capital, Colonel Forsyth was gravely embarrassed by
the feeble support lent by his government, and this led to the severance
of his relations with the diplomatic service. Having resigned, he returned
to Mobile and resumed his editorial work.

With qualifications so varied, he was frequently called into active
service by the people. While his pen was actively employed, he was
summoned to such important posts as that of mayor of Mobile, legislator,
alderman in his adopted city, and other stations of public interest.

In March, 1861, Colonel Forsyth was sent, together with Messrs. Crawford
of Georgia, and Roman of Louisiana, on a peace commission to Washington.
There was but slight hope of accomplishing anything, and it is doubtful if
there was any more serious intention involved in the mission than that of
gaining time for a more efficient equipment of the South for the pending
struggle. It was a time for tactics, and a play for advantage. The mission
was a bootless one, and in due time the war burst on the country.

During the Civil War, Colonel Forsyth served for a time on the staff of
General Braxton Bragg, meanwhile retaining his connection with his paper,
for, after all, the pen was the most potent instrument in the hand of
Colonel Forsyth. After the close of the war he proved to be one of the
most masterly spirits in steering the state through the storm of
reconstruction. The pen of no one in the South was more powerful during
that chaotic period. Statesman, jurist and journalist, he was equipped
for guidance in an emergency like this, and with the zeal of a patriot he
responded to every occasion that arose. His excessive labor made sad
inroads on his constitution, his health was broken, but despite this he
was persistent in labor. He was of that type of public servants who sought
not applause for its own sake, but was impelled by an unquestioned
patriotism which yielded to demands of whatever kind, high or low, in
order that he might serve the public.

Much as Colonel Forsyth did in the exercise of his superior versatility,
all else was incidental to the wield of his prolific pen. He became the
South's most brilliant journalist. The compass of his vision was that of a
statesman, and during the troublous times which followed the Civil War,
the counsel of one like him was needed, and that counsel found most
profitable expression through the nib of his powerful pen.

Day after day, for a long period of years, the columns of the Mobile
Register glittered with thought that moved on the highest level and that
found expression in polished and incisive diction. It was brightened by
the loftiest tone of rhetoric, sustained throughout by the best strain of
scholarship, never lapsing, either in tone or expression, into the
commonplace. There was a fastidious touch in his style, a classical mold
to his thought, which, while they pleased the most scholarly of readers,
equally charmed the common people.

Under the sway of his forceful and trenchant pen the Mobile Register
became one of the most dominant factors in southern thought. That journal
found readers in all the states, and more than any other in the South at
that time, it won the attention of the metropolitan press. In no editorial
sanctum has he been surpassed in rareness of diction, nor in power of


There was a possibility at one time of Judge George Goldthwaite becoming a
military man. After spending his younger years in Boston, where he had as
school fellows such men as Charles Sumner and R. C. Winthrop, Goldthwaite
became a cadet at the military academy at West Point. Among his classmates
at the academy was General (Bishop) Polk, while in more advanced classes
were R. E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston and Jefferson Davis. Goldthwaite was
within one year of the completion of his course when he became involved in
a hazing fracas and quietly left the institution, as he knew what the
consequences would be. At that time, 1826, Alabama was in the infancy of
statehood, and he a youth of seventeen. His brother was at that time a
rising young lawyer at Montgomery and the younger brother entered on the
study of law under his elder brother.

The thoroughness of mental drill to which he had been subjected in the
Boston schools, as well as at the military academy, made his headway in
law comparatively easy, and at the end of the year, when he was but
eighteen, he was admitted to practice and opened an independent office at
Monticello, Pike County. The youthful lawyer did not lack for clients and
he remained in this rural village for a period of several years, after
which he returned to Montgomery, where his ability became widely

In 1843 he offered for the judgeship of the circuit court against the
incumbent of the bench, Judge Abraham Martin, and was elected. In 1850 he
was opposed by Jefferson Jackson, a gentleman of prominence at the bar,
and was again elected. In 1852 Judge Goldthwaite was chosen a justice on
the supreme bench, and four years later, when Judge Chilton resigned,
Judge Goldthwaite became chief justice, but after serving in this capacity
just thirteen days he suddenly resigned and resumed the practice of the

For three years after the beginning of the Civil War Judge Goldthwaite
served as adjutant general of the state under the appointment of Governor
Moore. Just after the close of the war he was elected again to the
position of circuit judge, but in 1866, under the reconstruction acts of
congress, he was removed.

In 1870 he was elected to the United States senate from Alabama. This
brief and cursory survey of an eventful life affords but a bare hint of
the marvelous activity and usefulness with which the career of Judge
Goldthwaite was crowned.

Like most men of deeply studious habits, there was wanting in the bearing
of Judge Goldthwaite a spirit of cordiality. His peculiar sphere was the
court room or the law office. He had a fondness for the discussion of the
profound principles of law and reveled in its study. An indefatigable
student of the law, he was one of the ablest attorneys and jurists the
state ever had. The statement of a proposition by him was as clear as a
Syrian atmosphere and in its elucidation before a jury his diction was
terse, crisp and simple, so that the veriest rustic could understand it.
Quiet in manner and with unadorned English he would unravel a knotty
proposition so that every thread was straightened, and everyone who knew
the meaning of the simplest diction could readily grasp his meaning. He
was a master of simple diction.

On the bench, Judge Goldthwaite was profound, but always clear and simple.
Every word seemed to fall into its appropriate place, and not a flaw was
left in the statement of a fact or principle. In the social circle his
conversation partook of the same lucid diction, revealing a fund of
information and a versatility of learning quite exceptional.

Of a stocky build, he was not prepossessing in personal appearance, but
when he began to speak his diction glowed with the heat of a quiet
earnestness, and all else was forgotten but the charm of his incomparable

Judge Goldthwaite achieved but slight distinction as a national senator,
because it was a time when the voice of a senator from the South booted
but little. The wounds of the Civil War were still fresh and smarting, and
the calmness of his temperament and the aversion to hostile excitement
forbade his flaring in empty speech, as would have been true of many
another. As a matter of fact, his sphere was not the forum, and he had no
taste for the dull routine of congressional proceeding.

Judge Goldthwaite's mind was distinctively judicial. He served in the
senate as a matter of patriotic duty, and not as a matter of choice. There
was a peculiar condition which required his continued presence there, and
to this demand he responded. It was a time that called for calmness and
conservatism, and no one was better prepared to illustrate these virtues
than Judge Goldthwaite.

His deportment in the National Senate challenged the admiration of all. A
former classmate of Charles Sumner, as has already been said, he was the
poles asunder from the New England statesman in the views entertained by
Mr. Sumner, and often hotly expressed by him on the floor of the senate.

Judge Goldthwaite preserved a long and honorable career in Alabama, and
left behind him a record of fame. He was far above the petty affairs of
life, and lived and thought on an elevated plane high above most men. He
was a student, a statesman, a jurist and a philosopher--all. He was an
ornament to the state and easily one of its foremost citizens in all that
pertained to its weal. He was without foil either in conduct or in
character. His example was stimulating, and his influence elevating and
inspiring. Any state would have been honored by the possession of a
citizen so eminent.


The name of Travis is immortally linked with the tragedy of the Alamo,
where the gallant Colonel William Travis was massacred with his devoted
band in that historic fortress at San Antonio. The Rev. Alexander Travis
was an uncle of the hero of the Alamo. Colonel William Travis was a
resident of Alabama before he removed to Texas, and practiced law in
Clarke County. Thence he removed to Texas, where he became one of the most
prominent sharers in the struggle for independence.

One of the dominant traits of the Travis stock was that of cool courage.
This was illustrated as much in the life of the heroic missionary in the
woods of southern Alabama as it was shown by his nephew in the ill-fated
fortress of the Alamo. Alexander Travis removed to Conecuh County in 1817,
and was one of the pioneer settlers of that region. He was a man of peace,
but this did not obscure the heroic impulses of his nature, for in
grappling with the stern conditions of pioneer life, in seeking to bring
them into due subordination to organized social conditions, unusual pluck
was needed, not alone, but wisdom and prudence, as well.

While sharing fully in the hardships of the early colonizers of south
Alabama, Mr. Travis, as a minister of the gospel, led in all movements in
the emergence of that region from chaotic conditions to the higher plane
of advanced society. Himself denied the advantages of an education, he was
the foremost in all movements to provide for general instruction. He was
the founder of the town of Evergreen, now a bustling little center on the
Louisville and Nashville Railway, between Montgomery and Mobile. He
founded the academy at that point, which school has given place in later
years to one of the state agricultural schools.

There was a pathetic touch in the life of a man who would labor on his
little farm, cleared by his own hands, in the wilds of south Alabama, and
who, at night, when the labor of the day was over, would sprawl himself in
his little yard before his blazing pine-knot fire, and study his plain
English Bible--the only book in his library. Leaving his hut in the woods,
each week, in time to reach distant settlements to preach on Sunday, he
would throw his little wallet of cotton cloth across his shoulders, and
set out on foot to trudge the distance, sometimes of forty miles, for the
privilege of preaching to some distant community. He came to know every
foot of the wide Indian trails that wound through the forests over a vast
area, and knew every log on which he could cross the large streams in
those bridgeless days of the long ago. Nothing foiled him in the
excursions of good, for when the rains would swell the streams, he would
strip himself, cram his apparel within his wallet, and, being an expert
swimmer, he would hold his bag above his head with one hand, while with
the other he would swim to the opposite side, redress, and onward plod his

Among the elements of abounding romance in our history, nothing exceeds in
interest the intrepidity of this pioneer hero in contributing to the
moral and spiritual side of the early days of our history. His
punctuality in meeting his appointments, and his devotion to the gospel
and to the people, won for him a confidence supreme. In those days when
courts were not, and yet where conflicting litigants were, cases for final
adjudication would be held in abeyance "till the preacher comes." Causes
were submitted, but he would never consent to a consideration of them till
the contending parties would agree to abide amicably his decision. Such
was the clearness and saneness of his judgment, the fairness of his
spirit, and his profound sense of right, that every litigant would
promptly accept this condition. He was jury, advocate, and judge, all in
one, and for many years, in that interior pioneer region, he acted in this
threefold capacity, while he rendered unrequited service as a missionary.
His was a strange, strong, romantic life, spent for the good of others to
the neglect of his own personal comfort. That class has dwindled to a list
so small and rare that today, when similar devotion is shown, the world
knows no higher designation for such a man than that of "crank," yet it is
the crank that turns things.

In later years and under better conditions, Mr. Travis came to ride the
wide regions through on horseback, with his leathern saddle-bags beneath
him. Under the tall pines which then grew in those southern parts, he
would frequently stretch himself at night, on the green grass, tired and
sleepy, with his head pillowed on his saddle-bags, and beneath the stars,
he would be wooed to sleep by the moaning pines above him. His faithful
horse was tethered close by to browse the wire grass and the native
peavines, while the missionary would sleep and await the coming of the
dawn. Without a cent of compensation, Alexander Travis labored through
many eventful years, creating the means with his own hands with which to
sustain his work, and uncheered by aught else than the consciousness of
duty to humanity and to God.

With the expansion of population, and with the growth of prosperity, Mr.
Travis came in the second half of his life to possess a measurable degree
of wealth, but from a steady purpose of doing good, he never wavered. He
was a man of commanding appearance, of natural dignity of port, and
possessed of the natural assertion which these give; yet he was modest,
and commanded esteem by his unquestioned qualities of leadership. There
was no element of flabbiness in his character, no cant and drivel in his
utterances, but in all that pertained to him he was a nobleman by nature.
His judgment was incisive and discriminative, his poise collected, and
while without the least exhibition of violence, he was courageous in his
entertainment of views, and pronounced in their expression. In nothing did
his courage so manifest itself as in his stoutness of spirit in the face
of difficulty. Nothing that he regarded as possible baffled him, and while
never stern, he was immovable from that which he conceived to be right,
whether reinforced by others or not. He was a benediction to the state
while living, and, being dead, he yet speaks.


John A. Winston enjoyed the distinction of being the first native born
governor of the state. He was a native of Madison County, where he was
born in 1812, and received his collegiate training at LaGrange College and
the University of Nashville. His grandfather was an officer in the army of
the Revolution from Virginia. The family name of Anthony was preserved in
that given the governor.

Governor John Anthony Winston first devoted his attention to planting. He
removed from the mountain region to west Alabama in 1834, and bought a
fine plantation in Sumter County, one of the counties of the famous black
belt. Six years after his settlement in Sumter County he was chosen its
representative to the legislature. To this office he was re-elected and
then chosen for the state senate, which position he continued to hold for
ten consecutive years, becoming the presiding officer of that body in

The ability of Governor Winston became more generally recognized in 1848,
when he went to Baltimore as a delegate to the national convention which
nominated General Cass for the presidency. Mr. Winston made a speech
before that body in the vindication of the national Democracy, which
attracted widespread attention and brought him into prominence before the
entire country.

During his senatorial career he entered into the cotton commission
business in Mobile, which commercial relation he continued till the close
of his life. While not engaged in official duty his attention was divided
between his planting interest and his business in Mobile, where he spent
much of his time. The sterling worth of Mr. Winston, his clearness of
judgment, range of comprehension, force of character and exact
practicalness, together with his undoubted leadership of men and
statesmanship, served to win for him an augmented public confidence, and
in 1853 he became the candidate for governor of the state, and was elected
without opposition. Two years later, at the expiration of his first
gubernatorial term, he was opposed by Honorable George D. Shortridge. The
campaign was one of unusual energy and even of bitterness. The state was
agitated throughout, both candidates appearing before large and excited
audiences in every part. Governor Winston was the democratic candidate,
while Mr. Shortridge espoused the cause of the Know-Nothing or American
party. Mr. Winston defeated his opponent by a majority of about twelve

Conditions had now conspired to make the farmer-governor the great leader
of the Democratic hosts in the state. No man who has lived in Alabama ever
had a completer grasp on a party organization than that had by Governor
Winston at this time. Happily for the state, it was a power wisely used
with disinterested patriotism. The direction of affairs was as devoid of
the alloy of personal aggrandizement as was possible, and this was duly
recognized by the public. Governor Winston went as a delegate-at-large to
the Charleston convention in 1860, and after the nomination of Mr. Douglas
he led the electoral ticket in the state. On the outbreak of the war he
became the colonel of the Eighth Alabama Regiment, and as such served for
twelve months, when he was forced to retire from the service by an attack
of rheumatism which physically disabled him. His career as a soldier in
the army of Virginia was in harmony with his general reputation as a
civilian. His regiment was fiercely engaged at Seven Pines, because, being
at the front, it was brought into sharp contact with the enemy. The fight
was hand to hand, with odds in numbers against the gallant Eighth Alabama.
Colonel Winston was at the head of his regiment, and, placing his bridle
reins in his teeth, he led his force with a large pistol in each hand.
When commanded to surrender his reply was that he had not joined the army
to surrender and that was not his business. On his return home he devoted
his attention to planting, and with unabated patriotism aided in every way
possible the fortunes of the Confederacy.

In 1865 Governor Winston was sent as a delegate from Sumter County to the
constitutional convention of Alabama, and was afterward chosen for a seat
in the National Senate, but his seat was denied him, and he was afterward
disfranchised by the radical forces then in control of the government.
This closed his career of public service. He never recovered from the
rheumatism contracted while in the service in Virginia, and died in Mobile
on December 21, 1871, at the age of fifty-nine.

The combination of qualities entering into the character of Governor
Winston was more than ordinary, all of which characteristics were based on
a clear, solid foundation of remarkably good sense in all that he did and
said, privately and officially. He was altogether devoid of pretense or of
assumption. He moved on a straight line of impartiality and of unbiased
thought. He did his own thinking and reached his own conclusions. When a
conclusion was reached it was evident that he had gone over all the
ground, had weighed and measured every possible consideration, after which
was done it was futile to seek to dislodge him. His scrupulous firmness
sometimes bore the aspect of sternness, and in the absence of a diplomacy
to soften it a decision would sometimes offend the sensitive; but in view
of duty, none of these things moved him. He was not without the element of
gentleness and of profound sympathy, but above these rose his conscience,
the dictates of which he would not disregard.

While governor he was not in accord with much of the legislation enacted,
especially with respect to appropriations of the public funds, and there
was now and then friction between the executive and legislative branches
of government, but he did not hesitate to invoke the power of the veto
when he deemed it necessary. Because of this he won the sobriquet of "the
veto governor," but to him principle overtopped popularity, and the
protection of the common interest was a matter of graver concern than the
good will of the general assembly. While not possessed of oratorical power
on the stump or on the legislative floor, having a strident, rasping voice
and the mannerism of a man of business rather than that of a trained
speaker, he nevertheless won the populace by his directness and
sincerity. He retired from public life without the slightest tarnish on
his conduct or reflection on his career. An indication of his solid
popularity is found in the fact that the name of the county of Hancock was
changed in honor of Governor Winston to that of his own.


In its phases Dr. Bestor's character was many-sided. He was at once a
planter, statesman, philosopher, educator and minister of the gospel.
Richly favored by nature, his gifts had the polish of the classical
lapidary and the expansion which comes of research, thought and
experience. He towered immensely above the ordinary man and the babble of
the multitude. Like Goldsmith's ideal preacher, Dr. Bestor rose--

  "As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
  Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
  Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
  Eternal sunshine settles on its head."

There was nothing of the maudlin or mediocre type in his character. Every
movement and utterance, his face and bearing, all bespoke the man that he
was. Dr. Bestor was a native of Connecticut, where he was born in 1797.
Removing to Alabama by way of Kentucky when he was twenty-four, he began
at once a career of usefulness which extended practically through a half
century, a period which embraced all the great revolutions through which
the state has passed. In none of these was he an idle spectator nor
uninterested agent.

His educational advantages were the best the period could afford, and
these afforded him the buttress of an ever widening sphere of knowledge.
Possessing an intellect at once readily receptive and retentive, he was a
diligent student in a number of fields of research. From surface facts he
probed toward the bottom of principles and reached conclusions at first
hand. If occasion arose for a modification of opinion on any matter, he
yielded to new evidence, though it bore him to a position diametrically
opposite to that originally held. It is the small man who never changes a
viewpoint. The two classes represent respectively obstinacy and
consistency. Obstinacy is the inflexibility of pride; consistency, the
inflexibility of principle.

On reaching Alabama Dr. Bestor was impressed more by the lack of
educational facilities than by anything else. In the valley of the
Tennessee there were multitudes of young folk growing rapidly toward
manhood and womanhood with scarcely any facilities of instruction. He at
once became the pioneer champion of general and public education in the
state, and was the first to agitate the question in a comprehensive way.
He sought to supply the deficiency in the northern part of the state by
founding the once famous school in those parts known as the LaFayette
Female Academy. The school was patronized by the wealthy planters of that
region, and became the initial means of contributing to the womanly
culture of which the section was remarkable. Dr. Bestor was the principal
of the school and devoted the culture of his young manhood to its
promotion. Founded about the time of the last visit of General LaFayette
to America, Dr. Bestor derived its name from that of the famous Frenchman,
while to the cultured village which sprang up on the plateau on which the
school was located the name of LaGrange was given, in honor of
LaFayette's chateau in France.

This was the first school incorporated in Alabama. To the school the
legislature of Alabama in 1824 deeded a half section of land. Though
called an academy, the grade of the school was high and did advanced work.
At that time Dr. Bestor was everywhere alluded to as the great educator,
and his fame was spread throughout the state. Later, in 1830, the
Methodist Conference of North Alabama, Middle Tennessee, and North
Mississippi founded a school for young men in the village of LaGrange,
which also became a famous institution. Three years later Dr. Bestor
removed to Greensboro, taking with him as far as practicable all that
pertained to LaFayette Academy, and in that chief town of the canebrake
established another school and remained at its head for a number of years.
Still later he removed to Sumter County, where for ten years he divided
his time between preaching and planting.

It was while serving as a legislator from Greene County in 1837 that Dr.
Bestor revealed the first vision of a comprehensive public school system
for the state. His study and investigation of the subject led him to see
that with prevailing conditions unchanged, Alabama could never emerge from
its gloom of illiteracy. The scant facilities afforded by local or
denominational interests were altogether inadequate to existing demands.
Schools dotted the state over at favored points, but the ignorance in
large areas of the state was little short of the dismal.

Stirred by conditions like these, Dr. Bestor sought to go to the
legislature that he might acquaint the representatives of the people with
the results of his disinterested investigation. His plan was that which
actually came to prevail many years later, but after he had passed away.

In the legislature he threw his cultured being into the single cause of
education, procuring for it a special committee, of which he was made the
chairman. He prepared with great pains and labor an elaborate report and a
bill to be offered, and in due time it was submitted. The measure met with
stout opposition, especially at the hands of B. G. Shields, of Marengo,
the chairman of the general committee on education, who resented the
policy of a special committee as a reflection on himself and his
committee. In the opposition Mr. Shields was supported by Judge Smith, of
Madison. But general committees had never done anything, and for that
reason Dr. Bestor asked for a special committee.

The occasion was made a memorable one on the floor of the house by the
contest which it provoked. Dr. Bestor husbanded all his resources and
skill in the conduct of the contest and proved himself a giant in debate,
and, though met by much passion, he preserved his coolness and dignity
throughout the debate. He failed in his effort at that time, though his
labor was not in vain, for the array of facts presented respecting the
illiteracy of the state awoke wide interest which gave an impulse to the
educational spirit of the state which has not ceased to this time.

Coupled with all his immense work was that of an active pulpit ministry.
He was a great leader in the Baptist denomination and rendered signal
service in the thorough organization of the Baptist forces. With the
exception of a few years spent in Mississippi, Dr. Bestor's career was
confined to Alabama. He died at Mobile in 1869.


There is much more in unwritten history that affects the destiny of the
race than there is in that which is recorded. Gray's "gem" in his Elegy,
and his "flower" "born to blush unseen," illustrate the fundamentals of
the history of the race, wherein the bulk of worth is frequently
unmentioned, and, if so, often scarcely. While Franklin Welsh Bowdon was
by no means unknown, and while his worth was not altogether unrecognized,
who that knows him in retrospect today as one of the most matchless
orators of southern history? Who knows of his clearness of demonstration
in presenting the most tangled and abstruse of problems? Who today knows
not alone of the power already alluded to, but who that knows that his
ability before a jury has never been surpassed in the state, or that he
was peerless as a popular speaker before a promiscuous audience? Who that
has learned of his subtle force of illumination of difficult problems or
of knotty questions, in speech that glittered in its own chaste delicacy
and beauty of phraseology after having passed through the crucible of his

The history of others is perhaps more iridescent, because the drift of the
currents into which they auspiciously fell bore them into fuller and more
applausive view before the public eye, in which event it is the condition,
and not the man who happens to be its representative, that deserves
consideration. The force inherent in Frank Bowdon, and his superior
ability to wield the elements already named, really make him a prodigy
among the men who have made famous the history of the state. He was not
ambitious to be showy, nor sought he special occasion to flash his
powerful gifts, but when occasion did logically and legitimately come, he
was prodigious.

Many men fall just short of accorded greatness because of the needed
stride across the boundary over which others bound and catch the loud
plaudit of the crowd and are borne to the crest of eminence. Many another
receives undue applause because he boldly thrusts himself on public
attention and forces recognition, while others, far superior perhaps,
stand in manly disdain of bald tawdriness and the impudence of ignorance
of which certain competitors are the innocent victims. Gifted men are
usually, though not always, men of delicate taste, which is itself an
element of real greatness. It is the ripest and heaviest ear of corn that
hangs lowest. Mr. Bowdon, with the consciousness of his own power, which
every strong man has, eschewed the cheap clatter of the flatterer, and
always appeared in public to advantage because he was summoned thither.
This, at least in part, affords an explanation of the absence of the fame
which was justly his because of the possession of the vast powers already

Frank W. Bowdon was a native of Chester district, South Carolina, and was
brought by his father to Shelby County, Alabama, while his gifted son was
still a child of only three years. On the farm of a thrifty planter and in
a home of piety and of hospitality the youth was reared. It was one of
those old-time southern homes where ease and elegance, culture and
refinement were, and where children were reared free from over-exaction
and with just sufficient freedom to develop real manliness.

Mr. Bowdon was educationally prepared for entrance on the State
University, which he in due time entered and from which he was graduated,
and entered at once on the profession of the law. He was admitted to
practice and settled at Talledega. His ability as a speaker was equally
suited to the court room and the forum. During the years of 1844-5 he
served as a representative in the legislature from Talledega County. His
ability in debate and his power of oratory brought him promptly to the
front. Nor was he ungifted in the manipulation of conditions by skillful
management in the execution of his chosen purposes. He was easily the peer
of the foremost of a legislative body graced by such choice spirits as
Thomas H. Watts, John Gill Shorter, Thomas A. Walker, James A. Stallworth,
W. O. Winston, Joseph W. Taylor, William S. Mudd, Thomas J. Judge, and
others. His reigning trait was decisiveness of conviction, which when once
possessed did not lack the underpropping courage of expression, and in
turn this expression was not wanting in the most radiant demonstration and
persuasion. No haughty spirit nor arrogant port entered into his
forensics, but, on the other hand, there was a refreshing repose that lit
up the whole with a confidence that was serene and assuring.

Two legislative sessions terminated his career in the general assembly of
Alabama, and on the occasion of the untimely death of General McConnell,
as the representative in congress from the seventh district, a special
election was ordered, with Thomas A. Walker and Franklin W. Bowdon as the
candidates for the vacancy. The result was the election of Mr. Bowdon.
This was followed by his re-election over Honorable Samuel F. Rice for the
term next succeeding, and over General Bradford for the next following

For five years he held his seat in congress, a giant among giants. In a
wider sphere there was ampler scope for the play of his power, and it was
duly exercised. Brewer states that an English peer was present on one of
the occasions when Bowdon spoke, and the Englishman pronounced the effort
the ablest to which he had ever listened, and he had heard the greatest of
both English and American orators.

Nor was Mr. Bowdon's power confined to his oratory. It was abundantly
illustrated in his law practice, and in the preparation of his briefs.
Here were met, as elsewhere, the same logical incisiveness and clearness
that distinguished his utterances while on his feet.

In his person he was most commanding. He was fully six feet high, of
symmetrical build, and his handsome features, especially in the sweep of
oratorical passion and fervor, were a study for the artist. Zealous in
temperament, and confident of his footing in advance of any deliverance,
he shrank not to meet in mental combat anyone who might desire to brook
his views. He retired from congress voluntarily in 1851, and after a few
years removed to Tyler, Texas, where he soon after died. Bowdon College,
in Georgia, derived its name from this distinguished Alabamian.


For versatility, brilliancy, and general usefulness, few Alabamians have
surpassed Judge Alexander B. Meek. His was an unusual combination of
powers. He was a poet, author, orator, editor and jurist, and was
inconspicuous in none. One of the earliest graduates from the University
of Alabama, where he received the master's degree, he found full exercise
for his varied gifts during a career which extended through thirty-two

Choosing the bar as a profession, Judge Meek entered on the practice of
the law in 1835. During the following year, 1836, he enlisted along with
others to serve against the Creek Indians in Florida, Mr. Meek going in
the capacity of a non-commissioned officer.

On his return from the Florida campaign, Mr. Meek was appointed by
Governor Clay attorney general for the state. At the expiration of his
term of office as attorney general, Mr. Meek sought gratification of his
literary tastes by creating a new local journal at Tuscaloosa, which he
called "The Flag of the Union." Later he edited in the same town a
literary journal called "The Southron."

The limited resources at his command compelled him to deflect his course
into channels other than those purely literary, and in 1842 he was
appointed county judge of Tuscaloosa, and during the same year published a
supplement to the Digest of Alabama.

Being appointed law clerk to the solicitor of the treasury at Washington,
he gained an insight into the life of the national capital, and perhaps
his residence there had some connection with his being made United States
attorney for the southern district of Alabama, which position he held for
four years, living meanwhile in Mobile. From this position he went to the
associate editorship of the Mobile Daily Register.

In 1853 we find Judge Meek representing Mobile County in the legislature,
where, as chairman of the committee on education, he reported the bill to
"establish and maintain a system of free public schools in the state of
Alabama." The bill providing for the scheme, together with a voluminous
and exhaustive report on education, excited profound interest in the
legislature, and the documents were so appreciated that five thousand
copies of the bill and ten thousand copies of the report were ordered to
be printed.

This was the dawn of a new era in education in this state. Various
attempts had before been made to gain the attention of the legislature and
the people of the state on this transcendant matter, but they had proved
of but slight avail till the work undertaken by Judge Meek. The astounding
prevalence of illiteracy in the state as exhibited by his report did more
than to arouse interest; it created astonishment, with not a slight degree
of apprehension. The work done by Judge Meek in this connection gave a
strong propulsion to educational work in the state and the interest
deepened and grew in intensity till checked by the Civil War.

Being elected judge of the city court of Mobile, Judge Meek found
sufficient time, amidst the exactions of his official duty on the bench,
to gratify, to some degree, his taste for literary pursuits. It was during
this period that he found time to write the three rare works which
established his literary fame. These are "The Red Eagle," "Romantic
Passages in Southwestern History," and "Songs and Poems of the South."
Some of these were a collection of fugitive contributions which he had
previously made to magazines and newspapers, and some of them were
prepared at the time specially for embodied publication.

Of the literary merit of his productions there is no doubt. They are
intensely southern in their flavor and represent the spirit which animated
what has come to be called "The Old South." An agricultural people, we of
the South gave but little attention, prior to the Civil War, to literary
pursuits. There were those like Judge Meek who wrote and wrote well, and
thousands of others could have done so, but there was but slight
encouragement, so that the literary culture of the South was largely
unknown and unrecognized by others. The genuine spirit of the people and
of the times is embalmed in the rare literary products such as we have
from the pen of this Alabamian.

That which has already been said affords a slight view of the stirring
scenes through which Judge Meek passed the major part of his life.
Possessing varied gifts, he sought to give vent in some measure to each,
but it is in his literary productions that his real fame abides. That
literature was his passion is shown by the fact that, whatever else he
did, he could not abandon the pen. But the market for his literary wares
was so limited that without ample means he was unable to prosecute that
alone. The two indispensable requisites of literary success--time and
leisure--were not his to command, and he was compelled to scuffle for the
expression of his charming thought as best he could.

The literary productions of Judge A. B. Meek have been more eagerly sought
by the later generations than by his contemporaries. The edition of each
was limited, his books have therefore become rare, highly prized by all
lovers of literature, but difficult to find. Certainly as much as any
other southern writer Judge Meek has immortalized the spirit and genius of
the South of a former period, which is now only a pleasing recollection.
More than any other, perhaps, he has embodied in enduring form the
peculiar elements which entered into our southern life. The mocking bird,
the magnolia, the long trailing moss of our southern swamps, the
honeysuckle, the traits and remnants of the vanished tribes of the Red
Men, and other elements peculiarly southern are embodied and embalmed in
the prose and poetry of A. B. Meek.

Without the weirdness of Poe, Meek surpassed him in deftness of touch and
daintiness of expression. There is an indefinable delicacy and a
subtleness of force and suggestiveness in many of Meek's passages which
have never been surpassed. Nothing can excel the beauty and color of some
of his verse. In one instance, while describing an Indian maiden, he

  "And her eyes flashing wildly when with gladness they shine,
  Have the dark liquid flow of the ripe muscadine."

His responsive spirit absorbed the soft, bland atmosphere of his own sunny


Dr. Basil Manly was equally a patriot, an educator, and a preacher. He had
the prescience and sagacity of a statesman, and devoted much thought to
all matters that affected the state or nation, and as occasion would
require he would not hesitate to express his views. With him the question
was one of principle and not one of reserved silence because of his
position as an educator and minister. Though exceedingly reserved and
modest, there were reserved powers of aggressiveness in his nature which
were withheld, subject to the demand of principle. He was not of the
maudlin type who sought refuge in his ministry as a means of escape from
duty as a citizen and patriot. His views were always stated with such
calmness, wisdom and moderation as to carry force.

There were the balance and poise of elements in his constitution that made
him the successful college president that he was. His judgment was never
obscured by the mist of sudden passion, nor was he betrayed into warmth of
feeling that occasioned subsequent regret. A man of like passions with
others, his sterner expressions were held in restraint under the mastery
of a granite will, and were brought into action only as occasion required.
Firm as a mountain on its base, he was unmoved by suddenness of impulse or
storm of passion. His equable temper made him accessible to all, but in
his conduct he was swayed alone by principle. This left clear his sense of
discrimination and unobscured his judgment, which was never hastily
expended, and not till he was convinced of a cause.

Those superior traits gave to Dr. Manly a power with men, young and old,
and his influence was as wide as he was known. A knowledge of these facts
led to his being called, in 1837, to the presidency of the University of
Alabama. At the time of his election he was the pastor of an important
church in Charleston, S. C.

Dr. Manly was one of a distinguished family in North Carolina. Two
brothers of his were men of eminence, one of whom was Judge Mathias E.
Manly, of the old North state, while the other, Governor Charles Manly,
was the chief executive of North Carolina. The family has been
distinguished in the annals of the South for a number of generations.

Without demonstration, Dr. Manly took charge of the University of Alabama,
and with the beginning of his official incumbency began a new era of
prosperity in the history of the institution. For eighteen years he
presided over the institution, which never had eighteen brighter years in
its history. He was quietly identified with all the interests of the
state, and soon came to be known and prized as one of its foremost

When Dr. Manly assumed control, the institution was still young, and was
in great need of increased equipment, but under his wise management the
needed facilities came, and within a few years he brought it to a pitch of
prominence that gave it wide reputation throughout the country. Indeed no
state institution in the South had a wider reputation, from 1837 till the
outbreak of the Civil War, than the University of Alabama. Young men from
other states, attracted by its standard of scholarship, sought its
classical halls for superior instruction. During the presidency of Dr.
Manly thousands of young men throughout the state were fitted for life's
rough encounters.

Dr. Manly not only possessed the high qualities already named, but he had
the power of impressing them on the rising youth that came under his
direction and discipline. His undoubted sincerity, as transparent as it
appeared, his genuine manliness, the quiet balance of genuine qualities of
worth, all of which were sobered and tempered by a piety which no one
questioned, and all admired, gave him an opportunity for the wield of an
influence which was used to the greatest advantage.

While the superiority of his intellectuality excited admiration, the
gentleness of his religious spirit begot the most respectful reverence. A
superior preacher, he was in constant demand in this and in other states,
to occupy pulpits on extraordinary occasions, all of which served to
reflect the distinguished institution of which he was the head.

One remarkable fact about Dr. Manly was that of his extensiveness and
variety of scholarship. His learning was varied, rather than profound. Not
that he was a mere smatterer, for no one despised more the pedantic and
superficial than he, but his research in different and distant fields of
thought was remarkable. He had devoted unusual attention on all subjects
then taught in the most advanced schools of learning, and was thereby
enabled to assist students in the various departments by timely advice,
not only, but was able to assist intelligently the direction of the
several departments in the great institution over which he presided. His
fame as a college president widened to the utmost limits of the states of
the South, and even beyond.

Wherever young men touched Dr. Manly, no matter how, whether in the
classroom, by social contact, by discipline, or by hearing him preach or
lecture, there was resultant benefit. His vast range of information
imparted in simplicity and yet always with dignity; his unusual method of
reaching young men, not by any fixed standard, but by means suggested at
the particular time, and his ability without effort to impart the
influence needed to guide and direct, never failed of impressing those
under his care.

The uniformity of his bearing was among the first impressions made on the
youth under his guidance. His manner was always the same. This was true
even of his manner of address. He was chaste without being gaudy; clear
without the slightest effort; earnest and zealous without exuberance, and
pathetic and sympathetic without cant. These gave him a grip on young men.

No one caught him off his guard. There was always the possession of a self
collection that produced ease in his presence and that left an impression
for good.

The influence of a spirit like that at the head of an institution of
learning in a great state is incalculable. The permanent good wrought by a
man like this through successive generations is beyond calculation.


The Bowie family is of Scotch origin. In a large volume devoted to the
family history, the genealogists of the name have traced the lineage
backward even to the days of the old Vikings. Certain traits of worth and
of distinction have characterized the stock through the centuries.
Solidity of character, firmness, robust conviction, courage, and fidelity
of purpose are among the traits most conspicuous.

A notable instance of these traits is given here because of the
familiarity of the public with the subject named. The heroism of Col.
James Bowie on the occasion of the fall of the Alamo is familiar to every
boy and girl who is conversant of American history. Prostrated by typhoid
fever in the ill-starred fortress at San Antonio, he was one of the
devoted 185 who withstood the siege of Santa Anna at the head of an army
variously estimated to have numbered from 2,000 to 4,000. When the
commander, Colonel Travis, saw the inevitable fate of the brave little
garrison he called his men about him, plainly presented the coming doom,
and, after saying he was determined to die at his post, he drew a line
across the floor and asked that all who would remain with him should come
within the boundary thus marked. If others desired to cut their way
through or otherwise seek to escape, they were at liberty to do so.

With emaciated frame, Colonel Bowie, now rapidly approaching death, which
came a few hours before the fall, unable to stand, ordered his men to
bear his sick couch within the mark drawn by the commander. This is
indicative of the sturdy Scotch pluck and the firmness of character of
those bearing the name.

It will be seen from the present sketch that Chancellor Alexander Bowie
possessed to an eminent degree these conspicuous traits. He was a
distinguished citizen of Alabama for a period of thirty-one years. His
native place was Abbeville, S. C., where he was born December 14, 1789.
His father was a major in Washington's army, and his mother, a Miss Reid,
from which family, on the maternal side, came Honorable Whitelaw Reid, of
New York.

Choosing the bar as a profession, Mr. Bowie was a successful barrister at
Abbeville, S. C., for a period of years. His relations with John C.
Calhoun were the most intimate, and letters received by Mr. Bowie from Mr.
Calhoun are still preserved among the heirlooms of the family. They
illustrate the cordiality and freedom of the relations between these two
eminent men.

During the war of 1812 Mr. Bowie was the colonel of the eighth regiment of
South Carolina militia, and was later commander of the Abbeville
nullifiers. For a number of terms he served as a legislator in his native
state, and removed to Talladega, Ala., in 1835. Four years later, he was
elected by the Alabama legislature to the chancellorship of the northern
division, which position he held with great distinction for a period of
six years.

In response to the interest shown by him in the general affairs of the
state of his adoption, and in recognition of his ability, he was summoned
to a number of important stations, among which may be mentioned that of
the choice of himself as the first president of the state historical
society. In further recognition of his scholarship and profound interest
in education, he was chosen one of the trustees of the state university,
and was one of the foremost friends of that institution in the days when
it was among the leading colleges of the South.

Politically, Chancellor Bowie was a Democrat of the democrats, a firm
adherent to the Calhoun school, and therefore a stanch believer in the
principle of states' rights. His voice, pen, and influence were lent to
that cause in all the struggles through which Alabama passed from the time
of his removal to the state till his death. Never vehement or passionate
of utterance, he always wrote and spoke with a calmness and deliberation
that bore conviction. He took to his public functions the same solidity of
influential force and the self-mastery which won him quiet distinction in
the ordinary walks of life. The impression made by him was invariable,
whether as a neighbor, a private Christian, a political advocate, or a
representative of the judiciary, that of stable conviction, calm
determination, and withal a gentleness of spirit that instinctively shrank
from producing the slightest pain to any one. His silent life reinforced
his public acts and declarations, and gave to him an unusual power with
men of every grade and degree. That which he did and said was of a
character that took hold on the deeper conviction of men, rather than on
surface sentiment. A strong and vigorous speaker, he was frequently
before the public, and his utterances gained additional weight from the
fact that men knew that every word that fell from his lips sprang from a
source of profound sincerity and from a conviction as deep as his soul.
His scrupulosity of conscience was proverbial, and men listened to
Chancellor Bowie not merely for entertainment, for he was an attractive
speaker, but they listened believing. Back of his utterances lay a life of
unvarying integrity derived from a spirit of piety, which none dared
gainsay, and the lineaments of his classic face bore a conviction which
was itself convincing. When the life of a man is so pitched that the most
obstinate opponent is made to respect his views, such a man is an engine
of power in public life. This fairly represents Chancellor Bowie in his
multitudinous relations, private and public, and such a model of manhood
was he to the young men of his time. This reputation he steadfastly
maintained through more than three decades in Alabama, for a good that
transcends the pale of estimation not only to his contemporaries, but
which projects itself into the years of the future.

One principle alone dominated him in all his conduct and that was the
settlement of each question or cause on the basis of right. This was so
clearly demonstrated throughout his life and career that any decision or
opinion from the bench was unquestioned, and so profoundly did he impress
the public with this fact that he came to be called "the great
chancellor." All his wealth of learning, his garnered wisdom, and his rich
experience were laid on the altar of Right. Thus lived Chancellor Bowie
and thus he died, leaving a heritage of illustrious integrity to those who
were to come after him. The career of an eminent citizen like this is an
abiding benediction to any state. Chancellor Bowie passed to his reward on
December 30, 1866, at the advanced age of seventy-seven years.


The name of Judge John J. Ormond is inseparable from the judicial history
of Alabama. He was recognized on all hands as a jurist of superior
ability. The mold of his mind was singularly judicial, and his career as a
public servant shines through his jurisprudential service.

A native of England, Judge Ormond was brought by his father to America
while yet an infant, his parents making their home first at
Charlottesville, Va. Left an orphan in early youth, Judge Ormond's future
course was dependent on the kindness of others, but he was liberally
provided for, and means were found for enabling the youth to obtain more
than an ordinary education.

After his removal to Alabama, we find him first as a state senator, to
which position he was chosen in the early part of his professional career.
In 1837 he was chosen as one of the justices of the supreme bench. Here he
found a most congenial orbit, for his tastes were aversive to the rough
and tumble of political strife. In the seclusion of a law library among
the musty tomes of legal lore, or a seat on the bench of the court, met
the gratification of this giant jurist.

His studious habits served to impart a reservation of disposition, though
he was free from coldness and was not wanting in the elements of
companionship. His was the thoughtfulness of the student and the quietness
of the scholar. A voracious reader, he reveled in the masterpieces of
literature, the results of his close study of which showing themselves in
the beauty and charm of his style, both of which found expression in his
decision and opinions. Without apparent effort, his sentences have a
limpid flow in well-balanced form, while the purity and elegance of his
diction fascinates. The dignity of his diction is an inspiration, while
his thought, like the sun, shines, by its own light.

For twelve years Judge Ormond occupied a seat on the supreme bench, an
honor and an ornament. His decisions were the profoundest, though they
were garbed in the striking simplicity of our tongue. His long retention
on the bench is an evidence of the general confidence in his integrity of
character. This fact becomes more pronounced when it is recalled that
Judge Ormond was a whig in politics, yet such was the appreciation of his
worth both as a man and as a jurist, that he failed not to command the
esteem and votes of the dominant democratic party. By dint of merit alone
he compelled not only its recognition but its appreciation. No one ever
suspected Judge Ormond of taking an unfair advantage as a judicial officer
or as a man. The sincerity of his political convictions were conceded, and
all who knew him never thought of him as a partisan. With him political
creed was one thing, and judicial scrupulosity another.

Writing of Judge Ormond's death, a contemporary says: "He occupies a page
in the Alabama law reports that will pass down to future times, and be
cited as authority in the adjudication of human rights as long as the
common law maintains a footing among civilized nations." Though small and
thin with a visage somewhat drawn, his bearing was characterized by a
perpetual dignity which elicited the esteem of all.

There was a democratic simplicity in his intercourse with others which was
perennially refreshing. An utter absence of self-consciousness marked his
bearing, though he was universally recognized as one unsurpassed in his
judgment of the law, as well as a ripe and finished scholar. So far from
being ostentatious, Judge Ormond was disposed to shyness and taciturnity.
His conversation was marked by the finished diction of which he was a
complete master. Besides all this, he was self-contained and collected,
never allowing himself to be betrayed into undue warmth of expression, no
matter what the provocation was. He equalled the conception of the
proverb, a soft answer turneth away wrath. The combination of qualities so
rare, was the occasion of much comment among the lawyers of the time. His
opinions did not escape challenge, nor did his position always go without

The character of the man as well as the clearness of his judicial judgment
may be seen from a single extract from a decision written by himself in a
celebrated case which came before the court during his incumbency of the
supreme bench. In that learned decision he says: "We have been admonished
by the plaintiff in error, that, notwithstanding the state is the party
interested as defendant, on this record, the true interest of the people
will be promoted by declaring the contract void. It required no admonition
to impress us with the conviction that the high trust reposed in us by the
people imperiously demanded of us to preserve pure the fountains of
justice. Nor will we profess an insensibility which we do not feel to the
approbation of the enlightened and virtuous; although all experience shows
that such is not always the meed of upright conduct. Our station imposes
on us the necessity of deciding the cases brought before us according to
our opinion of the law; it is a duty which we cannot avoid. If left to our
choice, it is not probable we would have selected this question for
adjudication; and as, in our judgment, the law is for the state, such must
be our decision, be the consequences to us what they may, and although the
judgment may subject us to the imputation of the bias which the argument
of the counsel supposes."

This extract affords a fair index to the character of the man, while it
equally furnishes a specimen of the lucidity of his expression. There was
never the absence of dignity from his expression, no matter what the
occasion. He was not without sensitiveness, but it was not the
sensitiveness of inflammation. When necessary, he could wither with an
overmastering diction, but it was always with the preservation of a
dignity which could not fail of success. The last service rendered by
Judge Ormond was that of his association with Messrs. Clay and Bagby in
the codification of the statutes of the state of Alabama.


Alabama's historian, Albert J. Pickett, was a native of North Carolina,
and removed to Alabama about one year before it was made a state. In his
early years he mingled much with the Indians, learned their character and
disposition, and became profoundly interested in their destiny.

The first purpose in life of Mr. Pickett was to fit himself for the bar,
and he entered the office of an elder brother, William D. Pickett, to fit
himself for that profession, but on discovering that he had no aptitude
for the law he gave it up and entered on planting, to which he devoted his

His interest in the Indians led him into an investigation of their
history, and this, in turn, to the events which had occurred in connection
with the invasion of their primitive domains by the whites. The
investigation proved a fascination and led to his preparation of the
"History of Alabama and incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi from the
earliest period."

Considering the paucity of material and the difficulty of obtaining it,
the undertaking was a colossal one, but Mr. Pickett gave himself to it
with a zeal worthy the enterprise, traveled much, wrote many letters, and
spent a large sum of money in the interest of the preparation of the
history. For years together, he was patiently and assiduously engaged in
the accumulation of data, the sifting of facts, and the preparation of the
two volumes. The most painstaking care was exercised with respect to
accuracy of statement, and this made the undertaking a most plodding one.
But in 1851 the author was enabled to issue the two volumes in neat and
attractive form.

So comprehensive was the work, so minute in detail, and so careful were
the citations that on its appearance it was greeted with great favor not
alone in Alabama, but elsewhere. Had the conditions of authorship been as
favorable as they now are, the work would doubtless have been more happily
arranged, but as it is, it is a monument of labor, skill, industry and
fidelity. It was an unusual occurrence that the history should have been
favorably mentioned in a message to the legislature by Governor Collier
and with such favor.

The style of the book is simple and easy, the statement of fact clear and
devoid of ornament or speculation, and throughout it is entirely free of
bias. The obvious intention of the author was to state fact as he saw it,
nor was a statement made by him that was not supported by undisputed fact.
No book was ever more scrupulously written as is shown by the care with
which each statement is made.

While in the light of subsequent events the unity of the work is somewhat
impaired and disjointed, still taken altogether, and the conditions
attending its preparation, it is a marvelous accomplishment. Pickett
provided a mine of fact into which all future historians of Alabama can
dig, certainly with respect to the history antedating the occupation of
Alabama by the whites.

The history extends no further than to the period of the attainment of
statehood of Alabama, and yet the author was able to bring it up to the
close of the middle of the nineteenth century. It is unfortunate that this
was not done, but he was averse to deal with the political aspects
presented by the different periods of the state's history. But in doing
that which he accomplished he has furnished a basis for all future
historians. That Mr. Pickett should have done so much, and done it so
well, makes him worthy of the perpetual gratitude of the people of

A gentleman of wide and varied information, his mind was a compendium of
valuable stores of knowledge. He was an animated converser, fluent and
entertaining, and a most exemplary citizen. His popularity, greatly
enhanced by his valuable history, his universally recognized integrity of
character, and his unquestioned ability, led to the mention of his name in
1853 for the governorship of Alabama.

But when the matter was brought with some degree of seriousness to his
attention, he frankly declined to be considered for this exalted station,
saying that he was engaged in the preparation of another work of greater
comprehensiveness than that of the History of Alabama, which he indicated
as the History of the Southwest. Unfortunately he died before the
completion of the proposed work and it was never published. Alabama
sustained a great loss when Colonel Pickett died at the early age of
forty-eight. Besides his history, he wrote much for the press and always
with entertainment and profit.

In 1859 General C. M. Jackson wrote a biographical sketch of Colonel
Albert J. Pickett, which sketch was embodied in pamphlet form. In one
place General Jackson says of him: "He outlived his entire family--father,
mother, brother and sister--and his offspring now constitutes a new
generation, without a single living link to connect it with a former one.
He left a devoted wife, several affectionate children, and many friends to
deplore his untimely death; besides the proper appreciation by the public
of what may be deemed a great calamity--that of the loss of one who had so
largely contributed to the general welfare. His remains were followed by a
large concourse of relatives and friends and interred in the burial ground
at the old family residence in Autauga County, which Colonel Pickett had
inherited--where are also the graves of father, mother and other members
of this family."

Unselfishly he lived and labored, and peacefully he died--one of the most
useful and distinguished citizens of the state.


Of an entirely different mold from any of those already noted in these
sketches was Henry Tutwiler, LL.D., Alabama's first great and
distinguished educator. Reared in Virginia, Dr. Tutwiler was among the
first great graduates of the famous university of that state, bearing away
the highest degree which could be conferred by that eminent institution,
that of Master of Arts. Possessing a readily receptive and capacious mind,
Dr. Tutwiler was the peer in point of scholarship of any man in the South
when he issued from the university of Virginia. He was the first to
receive the degree of Master of Arts from that eminent school.

His equipment of scholarship would have fitted him for any chair in any
American school of learning, but he conceived the idea of founding a model
school of his own where he might put into execution his ideas of
education. This was not done at once on graduation, but toward this he was
moving in the consummation of his plans.

Dr. Tutwiler became to Alabama that which Dr. Arnold of the famous Rugby
school was to England. He was not only a typical gentleman of the old
school of the South, but a ripe scholar, a teacher of rare ability, and a
model of manhood to youth. Simple and unpretentious in manner and in life,
he was a pattern in character to the young men who came under his
instruction. His culture was unsurpassed, his scholarship profound and
comprehensive, and his character throughout life vastly above reproach.
Few men have left a profounder impression on his students than Dr. Henry
Tutwiler. There was in his bearing the utter absence of the consciousness
of his greatness, while there was always the demonstration of the
gentleman of a pure democracy. Simple and easy of manner, affable, gentle
and readily communicative, he was easily adjustable to all circles without
the slightest hint of constraint, and by a contagious touch, indefinable
but effectual, he made all others at ease in his presence.

After his graduation from the University of Virginia he remained for two
years at the institution in the pursuit of special studies, after which he
established a high school in the neighborhood of Charlottesville, where he
taught for a time. He was induced to remove to Alabama by being offered
the chair of ancient languages in the university of the state on the
establishment of that institution in 1831. This position he occupied for
six years. He was induced from this position to accept the chair of
mathematics and philosophy in Marion college in Perry County, and two
years later went to the chair of mathematics and chemistry in LaGrange
college, where he taught for eight years more.

But a subordinate position was ill suited to one of capabilities so
varied, and in 1847 he left LaGrange and founded a private school at Green
Springs in this state, where he could put into execution a long cherished
desire to fit young men for the rough encounters of the world, not only by
training the mind, but by molding and directing the character.

No one was better fitted for a position like this than Dr. Tutwiler.
Himself a ripe scholar and a gentleman of superior culture, backed by a
natural impressiveness, his sway of influence was both salutary and
elevating. In a quiet retreat, far from the madding crowd and the din and
tumult of a busy world, with nothing to detract and all to concentrate and
stimulate, he was a character-builder as well as a developer of the brain.

The experience of former years as a teacher brought to his work on this
independent scale served Dr. Tutwiler admirably. He had learned the
defectiveness of a system in which the raw youth with total unpreparedness
would often stride over much that was fundamental and leave behind him
breaches never to be filled, possibly, in his eager outreach for a diploma
which when gotten could not be read by the possessor. Every observant
educator is impressed by the divers irregularities with which most young
men enter college. Symmetry and uniformity are lacking, and often the
defects in fundamental work are too far passed to be overcome and
corrected in the higher departments for which the youth has been unwisely
persuaded that he is prepared. Happily for these later times, this has
been corrected by an admirable public school system with its trained
instructors, but this was not true in the early days when Dr. Tutwiler
opened his school at Green Springs.

To establish a school of logical graduation with every department under
his direct supervision, in which school the student would be thoroughly
grounded from the elementary upward, so as to have a more solid basis for
building, and an idea of correctness and symmetry in all affairs, was the
aim of this skilled educator. Schools of this particular character had
dotted the South ever since the years of recuperation following the
Revolution, and fortunately for the country that this was so.

In 1850 there were in eleven of the southern states at least 2,000
academies of varying grades, with more than 3,200 instructors, and more
than 70,000 pupils. On the highest level of these valuable schools of
learning were the Concord academy and the Hanover academy in Virginia;
Caldwell's and Bingham's schools in North Carolina; Mount Zion and
Waddell's school in South Carolina; the academy of Richmond County and
Sunbury academy in Georgia; Green Springs school in Alabama, and Elizabeth
academy in Mississippi. All these had become noted in the educational
system of the South by the middle of the nineteenth century. Among them
none was more famous than the one presided over by Dr. Tutwiler.

A certificate from a school like this and from so skilled an expert, meant
much to a youth as he entered a school of more advanced learning to
prosecute his final studies. The assurance of a firm footing and
familiarity with subjects which led logically to more advanced studies,
gave to a student the thoroughness of equipment which would save him from
the haphazard to which he would be otherwise exposed.

From the walls of the Green Springs school went forth young men by the
hundreds with initial equipment which not only made the mastery of a
college course more easy and pleasant, but which served to lift them into
future prominence. Passing from under the tutelage of Dr. Tutwiler and
bearing a certificate with his name on it, was a guarantee worth the
having by any young man. From this rural retreat this skilled man of
letters sent into the swelling ranks of usefulness in this and adjoining
states, hundreds of young men who have helped to make their commonwealths
resplendent. It was not a demonstrative work, in the sense of showiness,
but it was demonstrative as it found expression in richness of result and
in exalted citizenship. Thus labored for many years this sage teacher and
mellow scholar, and far more than can be computed is Alabama indebted to
Henry Tutwiler.


Genuine worth is frequently overlooked because it does not appear in the
glare and rush of demonstration, and because it may modestly shrink from
the spectacular. The solid distinction reached by many is due to
conditions which lie out of sight and without which many who reach
positions of prominence would not have been heard of beyond their native

Impelled by ambition, many see and seize the opportune moment presented,
fall into the current created by others, and are borne to eminence. Lying
back of that which the world esteems greatness are causes created of which
many avail themselves to ride to popular spectacularity, and yet these may
be only the superficial and surface effects.

In what are usually esteemed the humbler walks of life are oftentimes
giants who set in motion the tides of influence which make great
communities and even states, and yet whose worthy claims are never
heralded to the world as are the deeds of those who reach the popular
heights toward which the eyes of the public are accustomed to turn.

To this worthy class in the quieter walks of life belong numbers of the
best men of every generation whose vocations are such as to hide them from
the popular view, and yet without whom the greatness and the prosperity of
a commonwealth could not be.

Belonging to this class was Daniel Pratt, a native of New Hampshire, a
carpenter by trade, and a man in whose capacious brain were great
enterprises. Utterly without pretention, he was at first a common
laborer, working at his trade in different cities in Georgia for a period
of about fifteen years, in the early part of the century.

At that time the question of cotton as a staple had assumed new
proportions in view of the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney
about fifty years previously, and in view of the capabilities of the soils
of the South to produce the staple. The struggles of Whitney to maintain
his rights as the inventor of the gin had been prolonged through a
protracted period of years, leaving him barren honor alone, but his
suggestion had found its way to the inventive genius and mechanical
aptitude of others, among whom was Daniel Pratt. He removed to Montgomery
in 1833, for the purpose of establishing a gin factory in that town. At
that time the manufacture of cotton gins was quite limited, but the
sagacious carpenter saw in the future the possibility of a means of vast
commerce in the manufacture of machines that would reduce the
indispensable staple to marketable conditions, and while conditions in
Alabama were at that time still new, Pratt discerned an opportunity both
for the gin and the production of cotton.

Lands were of fabulous fertility; population was pouring southward; the
advocacy of slavery had been hushed by the prospective productiveness of
southern lands, and Alabama was destined to become the center of an
expansive region for the production of cotton.

At that time capital was not so abundant, cotton was not so pregnant a
factor in commerce, and the manufacture of gins was rather a novelty
among the industries. But this sturdy, quiet man of business was
controlled by the conditions then prevailing as he was by the
possibilities of the future. Being a pioneer in an important branch of
industry meant much, and he had the pluck and faith to venture. Pratt
believed in himself and no man succeeds who does not; he believed in the
future of the country, and was resolved to begin the manufacture of gins.
He was not encouraged to locate at Montgomery, as he would have been glad
to do, and most fortunate for that city would it have been, could he have
done so. Mr. Pratt went to Autauga County, and on the plantation of
General Elmore manufactured a few gins. This was only a tentative venture
and one preparatory for greater things toward which he was gradually

On Autauga Creek, near McNeil's mill, there was abundant water power with
which to operate his primitive machinery, and leasing the use of this
power for a nominal sum, he was enabled finally to begin the manufacture
of gins. Both faith and grit were needed to meet the demand of the
occasion, but these Mr. Pratt had. Guided by the same sagacity which had
led him thus far, he was finally in condition to purchase land farther up
on Autauga Creek, where he built his first factory and founded a town
which he named Prattville.

The manufacture of gins in the South and the production of cotton acted
and reacted on each other with wonderful effect. Mr. Pratt was compelled
to enlarge his facilities for the manufacture of gins, so that by 1860 he
was building not less than 1,500 each year. The Pratt gin became famous
throughout the South, and to the beginning of the Civil War the sales
continued to grow. From that little industrial center in the woods of
Autauga were going forth the means of energy and stimulation which were
gradually transforming the agricultural conditions of the entire South.

Through the years this quiet but enterprising genius was prosecuting his
work unseen and largely unknown for a long time, save by means of his gin,
and yet his quiet retreat was a center from which there was emanating
motive power for the promotion of prosperity.

Mr. Pratt was Alabama's first great captain of industry. He was not a
dreamer, but a seer. He projected his plans into the future, wisely
measured their scope, and carefully moved to their execution. He had a
mission and wisely fulfilled it. He probed the future with the eye of an
industrial prophet, and his interests expanding with the growth of demand,
he himself was being made while he was making. Action always reacts. While
the man makes the fortune, the fortune makes the man. While through more
than a generation others through the flare of publicity enjoyed the
plaudits of the multitude and of the press, Daniel Pratt pursued the even
tenor of his way, building substantially, lastingly. While others were in
the current he was on the outer edge creating a current of his own.

On Autauga Creek he has built his own monument in a mighty industry and in
a little city which is now sought by the world's current of commerce.


Alabama's original state geologist was Professor Michael Tuomey, whose
service was invaluable, and therefore deserves permanent recognition.
Professor Tuomey was a native of Cork, Ireland, where he was born on St.
Michael's day, 1805.

His scholastic training in youth seems to have been largely private,
though it is certain that he did attend one school outside his home. To
his grandmother was this distinguished man indebted for the first
scientific taste inculcated, for this remarkable woman led the promising
grandson to study with diligence and with accuracy the science of botany,
with which study it seems there was ever afterward associated, on the part
of Mr. Tuomey, a cherished memory by a grateful grandson for timely
inspiration given in his boyhood days on the Emerald Isle. Along with this
was borne the sacred recollection of a fond mother for the careful
cultivation of the beautiful as displayed in the dreamy regions of his
native isle, and in the magnificent landscapes which there abound.
Throughout his life Professor Tuomey bore the impress of the culture
imbibed in those early days, and the earnestness of the instruction given
by loved ones was a perpetual propelling force in all his subsequent
studies and investigations.

His precocity was evidently taken advantage of by these affectionate
instructors, for at the early age of seventeen we find him associated with
a friend in teaching at Yorkshire, England. The young genius, for such he
was, girded by the panoply of a sacred association and thorough drill of
mind, marked out for himself a course of scientific study into which his
natural bent bore him, and his early training, as well.

We are left largely to conjecture as to the time of his emigration to
America, but it must have been in the early twenties. A youthful
immigrant, he appears in Philadelphia, a stranger among strangers,
scarcely knowing whither to turn, till he buys a piece of ground to till,
then ventures in connection with a partner on the purchase of an estate,
finds agriculture ill-suited to his taste and ill-productive of results,
disposes of his interest, and wends his way southward, often trudging
weary and footsore for days together. He reaches the eastern shore of
Virginia, and with a knack of friend-making and possessing a charming
cultured manner, he procures a rural school, rallies about him a host of
friends, later becomes a private tutor in the home of John H. Dennis, of
Maryland, studying while he taught, but always winning the hearts of
others, and supremely that of Miss Sarah E. Handy, a kinswoman of his
private patron, which gifted young woman became Mrs. Tuomey.

His innate craving for scientific knowledge and his love of nature found
slight chance for cultivation at a time when institutions of science in
America were scarce, but he sought the best within reach by a course in
the Rennselaer Institute at Troy, N. Y., whence he was graduated and
became a civil engineer in the construction of one of the early railroads
in North Carolina. The financial crash of '37 imposed a cessation on the
railroad project, and with ready resourcefulness Mr. Tuomey betook himself
again to teaching, by occupying a chair of mathematics and the natural
sciences in a school presided over by Miss Mercer, in Loudoun County,

Responding to an opportunity afforded at Petersburg, Va., to establish a
seminary of his own, he and his gifted wife entered on an enterprise
there. This opened a wide vista to the pent-up zeal of Professor Tuomey
for the cultivation and enlargement of his scientific gifts. In Petersburg
was abundantly vindicated the principle in the person of this indomitable
young Hibernian, that success finally rewards the patient, plucky, and
resourceful. It became his honor at Petersburg to entertain that eminent
English geologist, Sir Charles Lyell, on the occasion of both his visits
to America, and by correspondence and otherwise he came into touch of more
or less intimacy with the learned scientists of the American continent, as
well as with those abroad. Among those with whom he was brought by reason
of scientific congeniality into touch were Agassiz, James Hall, state
geologist of New York, Professor Bache, Professor Dana, Dr. Gibbs, Edmund
Ruffin, and Professor Holmes. It was a glorious company of savants in
those early days of scientific militancy when men of eminence had to
confront an inertia of stout popular opposition.

Impelled by a consuming zeal for scientific research and guided by his own
keen judgment, while availing himself of all possible authoritative
sources of information, Professor Tuomey was meanwhile assiduous in study
and diligent in the collection of rare specimens of geology, mineralogy
and paleontology. His labors anon took permanent and valuable shape in
scientific publications, and after years of labor in other states which
cannot be mentioned here in detail, he was called in the heyday of his
career, in 1847, to the professorship of geology, mineralogy, and
agricultural chemistry in the Alabama university. Lest in a comprehensive
sphere like this, large enough for several men, his leisure time might run
to waste, he had imposed additionally the onerous task of state geologist
of Alabama, in 1848, and lest his extravagance in the use of a narrow
stipend might betray him into undue lengths he was given no compensation
for this additional labor. For six years he labored for the state under
conditions like these, when the legislature came to his rescue and
appropriated $10,000 for a geological survey. This led him to relinquish
his chair temporarily in the university in order to devote his energies to
the field of survey, which he continued till the exhaustion of the fund,
when he returned to his chair in the university.

It was Professor Tuomey who first awoke interest in geological science in
Alabama, and he it was who first disclosed the mineral wealth of the
state. In his pioneer work he fixed the boundaries of the different
formations in Alabama, embodying his charts, maps and reports in permanent
shape, so that after the lapse of more than half a century and in the
blaze of the scientific investigations of later years, his work remains as
a standard of authority.

It would be an occasion of much delight to speak at length of Professor
Tuomey, the man, but the censorship of brevity must in this connection be
respected. His dignity, his modesty, as an adjunct to his superior
culture, his width of information, his charming power of conversation, his
gift of instruction, illumined by the brilliancy of his native wit, his
courtesy toward the humblest--all these and more he had to a degree the
most fascinating. The life and labor of a giant like this would be worthy
of the worthiest pen, and in a sketch such as this is, one gleans but an
inkling of the man that Professor Michael Tuomey was. It was an honor to
Alabama to have his name numbered in the chronicles of her worthiest sons.
The contribution made by him to the state is inestimable. Professor Tuomey
died on March 30, 1857.

In the ripeness of full-orbed manhood and at a time when men usually reach
the point of greatest usefulness, at the age of fifty-two, Professor
Tuomey was struck down by the hand of death.

  "No man is lord of anything,
  Though in and of him there is much consisting,
  Till he communicate his part to others;
  Nor doth he of himself know them for aught,
  Till he behold them formed in the applause
  Where they're extended, which like an arch, reverberates
  The voice again; or, like a gate of steel,
  Fronting the sun, receives and renders back
  His figure and his heat."

To have rescued from comparative forgetfulness the career of one so
great--a career obscured by the smoke of war which interposed to check
the results of labors so valuably and eminently rendered, is a task for
the privilege of which any might feel profoundly grateful.


Coming from New England to Alabama in the bud of manhood, Mr. Langdon
gradually rose from a clerkship in a country store to a rank of
distinction in his adopted state. The conditions of his early life forbade
the acquisition of a thorough education, as on his father's Connecticut
farm he had to perform the duties of a common laborer, and avail himself
of what advantages were afforded in a winter school in his native New
England. These conditions did not prevent, however, an early ambition to
attain to something in life worth while, and though twice defeated for the
legislature in Alabama, he was undaunted, but the rather encouraged,
because in each instance he was defeated by a scratch. In his first defeat
he lost the object of his aspiration by just eleven votes, and in the
second race he was defeated by fourteen.

Mr. Langdon's early life was characterized by a series of misfortunes, but
the grit with which he would each time face afresh the future, indicated
the texture of his character. By means of rigid economy he succeeded in
the accumulation of some capital, with which he entered into the cotton
commission business in Mobile, in connection with the Honorable Martin A.
Lee, of Perry County, but his business was engulfed in the financial
disaster of 1836-7.

In the first whig convention ever held in Alabama he became the nominee of
that party for the legislature, and while again sustaining defeat he had
conducted the campaign with ability so signal that his party purchased The
Mobile Advertiser as its organ, and placed in control of it Mr. Langdon.
His facile pen won him fresh distinction, and in two successive terms he
was chosen for the legislature from Mobile County, first in 1839 and again
in 1846.

For a period of eight years he devoted himself to editorial work, and in
1848 was elected mayor of Mobile, to which position he was annually
elected for a period of seven years, save one. Meanwhile he continued the
chief exponent of the whig party for the state, and for the success
attained by that party indebtedness was due Mr. Langdon.

He was the pioneer of scientific horticulture and agriculture in the
state. Defeated for Congress in 1851, Mr. Langdon soon afterward sold his
journal and retired to a farm in the western part of Mobile County to
demonstrate his method of scientific farming, which, at that time, was a
subject of ridicule. He was called from his seclusion by the stirring
political scenes of 1860, and appeared on the hustings as an ardent
advocate of Bell and Everett. Though a stout opponent of secession, when
it came and brought with it its consequences he was just as ardent in his
espousal of the cause of the South as was any. Both by pen and by word of
mouth he supported the cause throughout, and came to be one of the most
popular citizens of Mobile and one of the most conspicuous public men in
the state.

He was chosen to represent the county of Mobile in the legislature in
1861, and in a trying period rendered most valuable service. In 1865 he
was chosen to represent the Mobile district in Congress, but he was
denied his seat by the party in power, and was shortly afterward
disfranchised. Under these conditions he retired to his country seat near
Citronelle, where he continued to demonstrate in a scientific way the
results of horticulture and agriculture. In a period of rehabilitation in
the South Mr. Langdon made frequent exhibition of the results of his
efforts, and with patriotic zeal inspired the public with confidence in
the capabilities and productiveness of the soils in a climate so bland,
and insisted that if properly tilled, the fields of the South would make
her more independent than she had ever been. In 1877 Colonel Langdon
became a candidate for the governorship against Honorable Rufus W. Cobb,
the latter of whom was chosen. It was remarkable the difference between
the appearances of the two candidates before the state convention of
nomination. Mr. Cobb wore a cheap colored suit of clothes, in illustration
of his ardent democracy, while Colonel Langdon was arrayed in a beautiful
suit of black cloth, with a Prince Albert coat, all fresh and costly from
the tailor's hands. The one immediately following the other in speeches
before the body, presented a contrast of appearance at once striking and
remarkable. The scene thus presented became a subject of general comment
among the members of the convention.

The frequent contributions of Colonel Langdon to the press relative to
horticultural and agricultural processes and results had much to do, after
the close of the war, with the reawakening of the spirit which has
eventuated in the abandonment of old and worn methods of cultivation, and
in the adoption of new ones, which have brought untold wealth to the

The wreck of our industrial system and the necessity of economy by
contracting the old time plantation into a modern farm under intensive
processes, led Colonel Langdon among the first to recognize the situation
toward which we were tending, and he advocated a shift of accommodation to
meet the inevitable. Though laughed at at first as a mere dreamer, the
states of the South have gradually come to the methods advocated by him,
and have emphasized them by the establishment of schools of agriculture to
do just that which was once a matter of ridicule.

During a period of agricultural transition from the old methods to those
of the new, Colonel Langdon was a popular contributor to the columns of
the Mobile Register, and in a period when men were groping for a more
substantial footing in things agricultural, Colonel Langdon was among the
foremost to inspire confidence and hopefulness for the future. With the
incisive penetration of a seer he forecast the return of a great
prosperity, when there should come a readjustment to prevailing
conditions. His was the vision of the genuine optimist, and the service
then rendered, though not on the whole demonstrative, was conducive to the
welfare of the state.

The quiet courage of Colonel Langdon in facing difficulties was never
impaired by temporary defeat, nor was his ardor diminished by momentary
failure. He supported his convictions with manly pluck, and invariably
preserved a calmness of demeanor and an unchanged attitude of respect for
his opponents. His career throughout was one of sobriety and usefulness.
Men might differ with Colonel Langdon, but he compelled respect by his
sincerity of purpose and uprightness of life, private and public, even on
the part of his most vehement opponents. He was a practical patriot, a
fact which was demonstrated by a long life of usefulness.


One of the first to be touched by the new industrial energy of railroads
in Alabama was Colonel Charles T. Pollard. He came to Alabama about 1840,
and located at Montgomery, where he exhibited high qualities as a
commercial genius and by his uniform courtesy came to impress the people
of the capital city not only, but leading men elsewhere in the great world
of business. He established a wide compass of business relations and the
integrity of his character was such that he commanded financial confidence
in the highest circles. Railroading was a new feature and the management
of enterprises necessarily colossal, both with respect to executive
ability and financial provision, and it therefore required the highest
qualities of skill and sagacity. Few men of that type were to be found in
those early days, and enterprises so vast, had by their very nature, to
develop them. Men frequently expand under demanding conditions, and when
qualified with latent endowments rise with the constant pressure of demand
to the utmost limit of capability.

There can be little doubt that the decline in the statesmanship of the
South is largely due to the drain which has been made on men of great
capability to occupy positions in the expanding world of commerce.
Broad-brained, wide-visioned and many-sided men used to find their way
into politics and command the heights of statesmanship, but in demand to
existing conditions they are now found in the offices of presidents and
managers of immense interests. As the industrial world has widened,
inventive genius has found fuller play and stupendous enterprises have
come to demand extraordinary headship. These men had to be developed by
conditions, as enterprises grew and vast plans ripened.

For reasons already partly assigned, railroads were in their initial
stages bunglingly managed as compared with the gigantic grasp with which
they are now manipulated. Only occasionally was one found in those early
days who was capable of responding to the demands of stupendous
enterprises. Colonel Pollard was one of the few. A manager of large
interests and a successful conductor of enterprises through financial
storms, while others went down under a terrible strain, he was logically
called into requisition in the infant days of railroad enterprise. He had
faced financial hurricanes when merchants and business men generally,
bankers and managers of great interests, as they were then accounted, had
been drawn into the maelstrom of ruin, and Colonel Pollard had safely
piloted his affairs through.

Naturally enough, when the West Point and Montgomery railway was
threatened with disaster, he was summoned from his private affairs to the
rescue. It was he who revived this important public utility, infused into
it new life, and placed it first on a basis safe, sound and solid. The
excellent skill here displayed resulting in his being called into
connection with Alabama's chief artery of commerce, the Louisville and
Nashville railroad, and by means of his ability to command American and
European capital, he was enabled to plant it on a permanent basis.

To know this giant king of finance was to confide in him. His judgment was
as clear as amber, his power of adjustment in the management of vast
concerns phenomenal, his skill in execution rare, his bearing that of one
conscious of power; his courtesy toward his peers and subordinates always
respectful, and his integrity unquestioned.

Facing a great undertaking he measured up to it. Thus rarely equipped he
was a public benefactor at a time when such men were scarcely to be found.
With a penetrative sagacity he could see clearly at once the merits and
demerits of a given proposal or undertaking, and to its utmost limit he
could measure it and speak with accuracy of the possibility of its success
or failure. Laden with weighty responsibility which grew commensurately
with the expansion of the railway interests with which he was connected,
it is extraordinary that he was able to preserve so remarkable a poise. A
man of less ability would have chafed and worn under conditions like
these, but with his head raised above the clouds of fret and commotion, he
was invariably serene. It is with pleasure that his former subordinates
today refer to his kindly courtesy and ever polite bearing, even to the
humblest man. Under the heaviest depression no cloud was on his brow, no
tang of tartness in his speech. Of untiring energy and an activity which
would have overwhelmed most men, Colonel Pollard moved along the even
tenor of his way, commanding the respect of all alike from the highest to
the humblest.

Without precedents to guide, for railroads were new, Colonel Pollard had
to rely on his own inherent qualifications in the manipulation of mighty
interests. The most substantial qualities were needed to master conditions
of vastness, and a creative genius was necessary to find methods of
accomplishment. In Colonel Pollard these were inherent and needed only the
occasion for their evolution.

Few are able to appreciate the pressure of the burden borne by one under
conditions like these. With agencies moving in divers and remote
directions, and yet moving toward a common end and purpose, one in Colonel
Pollard's position had to dispatch business with electrical facility. A
sudden juncture reached had to be promptly met. The busy brain of one in
such circumstances had to be ubiquitous, directing, managing, suggesting,
dictating, hour after hour, over a vast area of diversified interests. To
lose one's poise under such conditions meant jar and jostle to the
enterprises fostered, but to be able to grapple with problems which came
trooping in every day, meant generalship of the highest order. These
forces were happily combined in Colonel Pollard. He could turn from one
interest to another with ease and facility, and his constructive genius
would readily grapple with a grave situation, attended by a flash of
suggestiveness that was phenomenal. To him official labors came easy, for
he was built for a station like this.

For many years Colonel Pollard lived in Montgomery an honored citizen, and
most fortunate for the young employes who came within the circle of his
influence, he proved how one laden with grave matters could still be
polite and courteous, and thus preserve universal respect, however
unfavorable the environment.


Worthily in the muster roll of the prominent men who have contributed to
the greatness of Alabama, must appear the name of Judge Samuel Farrow
Rice. For many years he was conspicuous in the public affairs of the state
and was in some respects a remarkable man. A native of South Carolina, Mr.
Rice was trained for the bar in the law office of the distinguished
William C. Preston. He came to Alabama in 1838, and from that time till
his death, was identified with the history of the state. His first service
was that of an editor of a paper in Talladega, from which county he was
twice sent to the lower house of the legislature. After this, for a
period, he abandoned politics and was devoted to the practice of law,
being at one time a partner to John T. Morgan.

Mr. Rice was not without congressional aspiration, which he sought to
gratify several times, but was always defeated. Four different times did
he sustain defeat in congressional races. General McConnell defeated him
in 1845, Mr. Bowdon in '47, Alexander White in '51 and Hilary A. Herbert
in '78. But he was never soured by defeat, and always accepted it in a
jocular way. No one enjoyed a joke more at his own expense than Judge
Rice. This was illustrated by the good nature with which he learned that
an old rustic in the cow country of southeast Alabama declined to support
him at one time because, as he said, "Rice ain't got no stubbility."

Removing to Montgomery in 1852, Mr. Rice became a partner in the law firm
of Belser & Rice, but two years later he was elected one of the justices
of the supreme court of the state. He was on the bench in that exalted
tribunal for four years, during the last three of which he was chief
justice. In the early part of 1859 he resigned from the supreme bench and
was chosen to represent Montgomery County in the legislature. During the
following four years he served as senator from Montgomery and Autauga
counties. After the close of the war Judge Rice never held office, though,
as has been said, he ran against Mr. Herbert for Congress.

Possessed of an unusually brilliant intellect and of a wit as keen as a
rapier, as well as a diction of remarkable smoothness, and a port of
serene dignity, he was a formidable contestant on the stump and in the
rough and tumble of the court room. Tall, and as straight as a flag staff,
with a face of classic mold, over which there was ever an expression of
playful humor, he was always listened to with delight, especially since
there were frequent flashes of merriment from his gifted tongue. A
Democrat till the last years of his life, he became a Republican.

It is related of him that during the days of the reconstruction regime, he
was at one time arguing with great earnestness some proposition before one
of the incompetent judges of that period, for which judge he shared in the
contempt experienced by the able members of the bar, when he was suddenly
interrupted by the court and was told that the court had ruled on that
point only the day before. Pretending not to hear the court, he continued
until again interrupted in the same way by the court. Disdaining to notice
him, Rice continued. He was then ordered by the court to take his seat,
but still he proceeded as though he did not hear him. Addressing the
proper official, the court ordered a fine of fifty dollars to be affixed,
whereupon Judge Rice quietly sat down. The next day a case came before the
court the nature of which was such that the presiding judge was ineligible
to serve. Because of the prominence of Judge Rice, the court called on him
to preside during the trial of the case. With characteristic dignity Judge
Rice took the bench, looked quietly over the docket, and, straightening
up, called to the official who had complied with the order of the judge
the day before, and asked:

"Was there not a fine of fifty dollars affixed against one S. F. Rice here
on yesterday?" Being told there was, he simply remarked:

"Well, the court will remit that fine today."

This was done in the most imperturbable manner and then he proceeded with
the case in hand. The incident produced a sudden burst of laughter, which
was hardly suppressed when, with stern dignity, he commanded: "The sheriff
will preserve order in court!"

After he became a Republican he was frequently joked by those who had
known him in the days of his most ardent Democracy, but he was never
without a jolly parry to every thrust made, and always in the most
felicitous way. Talking to one who had long known him, he was asked at one
time what his political principles then were. With playful banter he
said: "I am a Republican with Democratic variations." His reason for
becoming a Republican was assigned by himself as a belief that a state
should have two parties, and he was willing to show his magnanimity by
joining the Republicans. However, he had but little to do with politics
till he was nominated in opposition to Colonel Herbert. They canvassed the
district together, and in strict truth Colonel Herbert was favored by
larger crowds because he was accompanied by Judge Rice. Staid and serious,
Colonel Herbert possessed none of the striking elements of a popular
speaker. On the other hand, Rice had them all and he found delight in
giving to them full expression, often at the expense of his practical

Intellectually, Judge Rice was a prince among men. He was justly ranked
among the ablest lawyers of the state, and as a converser he was rarely
excelled. In his lighter moods his conversation was almost boyish in its
vivacity. Nor did anything seem to quench its freshness and piquancy. He
seemed to know something about everything and everything about some
things. However men differed from him, he was so luminous and cheery that
he became the center of a group of ready listeners in any circle in which
he appeared.

In debate he was one of the greatest of strategists. With quick and
incisive discrimination he could detect the weak points of his opponent
and would marshal his forces on these so as to lead one to forget other
points of strength. If interrupted, his repartee was usually so crushing
that he stayed in dumbness any disposition to interfere, no matter how
unfair his opponent might have at the time thought him to be. This
repartee was rarely ever offensive, but, on the other hand, was so couched
in ironical politeness and assumed suavity as to make it tenfold stronger.
While his career was not devoid of much of the zigzag, yet his life was
one of long usefulness to the commonwealth.


For many years Judge George W. Stone was a familiar figure in the public
circles of Alabama. He was among the distinguished self-made men of the
state. His early scholastic advantages were limited, extending not beyond
the confines of a village school, yet he came to take high rank as a
jurist, being regarded in the height of his power as one of the really
great lawyers of the state. He was favored in being able to prosecute his
studies privately, and the judgment exercised by him in his self-selected
course of reading, gave evidence of that solidity of character and
acuteness of discrimination which distinguished him throughout his
professional and public career.

Before removing from his native state, Tennessee, to Alabama, he was
admitted to the bar. He settled first in Coosa County, and later removed
to Syllacauga, and later still to the town of Talladega, where he entered
into co-partnership with the Honorable W. P. Chilton. It was in the office
of this firm that Senator John T. Morgan was fitted for the bar. The
picture of this eminent jurist riding a scrawny pony, with his huge
saddle-bags of leather well filled with books of law, along rough roads to
attend rural courts, in the early stages of his practice, is still the
occasion of laudable pride of allusion among the older citizens of central
and eastern Alabama counties. The first official position held by Mr.
Stone was that of circuit judge, to which position he was appointed by
Governor Fitzpatrick in the place of Judge Shortridge on the occasion of
the death of the latter. The service of Judge Stone on the bench was so
satisfactory that he was subsequently elected over formidable candidates
for the same position for a period of six years. He declined to offer for
re-election after the expiration of his term, and removed to Hayneville,
Lowndes County, where he engaged in the practice of the law for a period
of years. In 1849 his name was prominently mentioned in connection with
the governorship of the state. In 1856 Judge Stone was again summoned from
his private practice by being elected to the supreme bench of the state,
which position he continued to hold throughout the period of the Civil
War. In 1865 the legislature engaged his services jointly with those of
John W. Sheppard, Esq., to prepare a revised penal code of Alabama, one
adapted to the conditions occasioned by the war.

The habits of study acquired by Judge Stone in his boyhood days in meeting
the demands occasioned by the deficiency of his education were never
abandoned. He was doggedly persistent in mastering every detail of a
subject, and seems to have acquired a passion for routine fractional work.
He took nothing for granted, never assuming that it was true, till he had
satisfied himself from the authorities. This gave a critical cast to his
mind which, in turn, resolved itself into the utmost exactness with
respect to each minute particular on any subject which would absorb his
attention. With painstaking exactness he would con over a minute point for
hours, in order to bring it into exact adjustment. His arguments were
perfectly mortised, no matter how much time was necessary to effect this
end. His labors in his office were assiduous, and a case entrusted to his
care never suffered the slightest negligence or inattention. Others might
find time for the chase or on the stream, but Judge Stone was usually
found in his office, at his desk, hammering out his cases. His studies
were varied, as he would now and then unbend from his law books to delve
into choice literature, of which he was quite fond. His literary taste was
the highest, and occasionally he would give rein to his Pegasus and dash
off a bit of fugitive poetry. This was done by way of diversion, as he
never sought publication for such productions. His concentration was
remarkable, and he could husband his resources with great readiness, ease,
and skill.

The devotion of Judge Stone to his library prevented his attention to
social intercourse, and, like most students, he was somewhat austere in
his bearing. The glitter and clatter of the social circle had no charms
for the man whose thoughts moved on serious and solid lines. His
companionship was largely his books, of which he had a choice selection.

In life, he was prized as an attorney for his rigid attention to cases
entrusted to his care; as a judge, for the accuracy and minuteness of his
opinions, as well as for his unquestioned fairness, and as a private
citizen, for his solid and substantial worth. No condition could swerve
him from a course of conscientious judgment, and no temptation was
sufficient to betray him into a course the least doubtful. Behind all this
was a manly courage and conviction to sustain the serenity of his

Thus lived and died this distinguished Alabamian, as much admired for his
private virtues as for his official service. In most respects a model man
and citizen, he was a typical official of the other days when men loved
honor more than gain, and prized integrity above the price of rubies.

To all this was added Judge Stone's devotion to the cause of religion. He
was a devout Presbyterian of the old school, and never suffered his
religious convictions to be trenched on by the plausible pretexts of
worldly maxim. In this he was as firm and stern as he was in all other
relations in life. No juggling of politics for temporary advantage, no
suggestion from the high plane of right could deflect him from a course of
rigid scruple. His standard was honor, not applause; integrity, not gain;
uprightness in all things, not momentary success.

This was the life lived by this eminent jurist, and this the bequest given
as an example to those who should come after him. The passing of a man
like this was the occasion of profound sorrow throughout the state that he
had so long served with distinction.


To present the merited claims of a typical southern planter of the olden
days is the purpose of this sketch. Than these princely planters of the
old South in the golden age of cotton, no more honorable, cultured,
dignified, or hospitable class ever existed. None is more worthy to
represent the great planting class of the South, and especially of
Alabama, than Joel Early Matthews, who died at Selma, May 11, 1874.

Mr. Matthews sprang from Revolutionary sires. His grandfather, General
George Matthews, was a distinguished soldier in Washington's army. After
the close of the Revolution, General Matthews removed from Virginia to
Georgia, and became one of the three representatives sent by the state of
Georgia to congress. In addition to this honor, he was made governor of
Georgia for two terms. The father of the subject of the present sketch was
Colonel C. L. Matthews, who found great pride in the education of his son
in the leading colleges of the South, he having taken a course at the
University of Georgia, supplemented by another at the University of
Virginia. His first ambition was the bar, but he eventually abandoned that
and adopted planting. In those early days planting and the bar were
regarded the two most eminent vocations in the South.

Purchasing a plantation in the heart of the black belt, near Cahaba, on
the Alabama River, Mr. Matthews spent his life there. His broad acres of
fabulous fertility were his constant pride and care, and his palatial
home was one of the most splendid in the South. Nothing like the sumptuous
hospitality of the old-time southern planter was ever before equaled, and
the conditions which entered into these superb abodes of elegance, ease
and courtliness will never be again. Immensely wealthy, the elegant
mansion of Mr. Matthews rivaled in all its appointments the palace of an
English lord. There was nothing lacking to contribute to ease, comfort,
pleasure, and culture.

Like others of his great class in the South, Mr. Matthews did not content
himself with the mere enjoyment of that afforded by the wealth of his vast

He was an exceedingly busy man, not only in the successful direction of
his own interests and in dispensing rare hospitality, but he directed his
energies as well to the promotion of the well-being of society, and the
enhancement and development of the resources of the state. To him the
advancement of education and religion were matters of as serious concern
as were his own private affairs. His plethoric purse was always available
to the demands of needs, and nothing was of light esteem to this generous
patriot and planter.

The leisure afforded by his wealth was devoted to reading and study. His
library was stocked with the choicest standard works of ancient and modern
learning, and his library table was always laden with the leading
periodicals of the time. In these rural mansions of the old South were
often met some of the most profound and thoughtful of men, of whom Mr.
Matthews was a type. He had a passion for the study of the science of
government, but his studies were not confined to that particular branch of
thought. His fund of information was comprehensive, and his learning
versatile. He found peculiar delight in the study of Shakespeare, the
histories of Gibbon and Hume, the works of Bacon, Addison, Macaulay, and
others. With the study of these came a passion for the study of the
Scriptures, and the science of government as expounded by Jefferson and
Calhoun, the interpretations of the limitations and powers of the federal
constitution of whom he accepted.

Mr. Matthews had crossed the boundary of a half century of his life when
hostilities between the North and the South began. Though deeply
interested in the principle of secession and thrilled by the patriotism
which swayed the country during the exciting days of the early sixties, he
felt that he was too old to share in the actual fray, but pledged his
fealty and fortune to Alabama in the pending crisis. In token of this he
sent his check for fifteen thousand dollars in gold to Governor Moore, to
be used by him at his discretion for the defense of the state, which was
acknowledged in the following letter:

    "Executive Department,
    "Montgomery, Ala.,
    "January 28, 1861.

    "Mr. Joel E. Matthews, Cahaba, Ala.

    "Dear Sir:--Your munificence for the protection of the state is
    accepted and the evidence of it placed upon record in this office. The
    praise of one man, although he speaks as one having authority, is but
    a small part of the reward which your patriotism deserves and will
    receive. When the present time shall have become historic, this
    donation will be an heirloom to your posterity and the example which
    you have set will be a source of power to your state compared to both
    of which the liberal sum of money which you have given will be as
    nothing. As chief executive of the state, and acting under a deep
    sense of responsibility, I have been compelled to do all in my power
    to strengthen the sense of resistance in the southern mind and to
    deepen the current flowing toward the independence of the state in
    defense of her constitutional rights. What I have been compelled to do
    by conviction of duty, you have done voluntarily, and to that extent
    deserve more freely of the gratitude of your fellow citizens. Trusting
    that an approving conscience and the gratitude of your state may be
    your ample reward, and commending you and the state to the protecting
    goodness of Providence, I remain, very respectfully your obedient

      "A. B. MOORE,
        "Governor of Alabama."

The patriotic sentiments of Mr. Matthews did not cease with this donation,
for he uniformed and equipped several military companies at his own
expense and was generous in the relief of the widows and orphans of those
killed in battle. Sharing in the gloom occasioned by the result of the
war, he was tempted to remove to Brazil in order to produce cotton in that
empire. On visiting the country he was cordially greeted by the emperor
and urged to become a subject, but he gave up the idea. When Emperor Dom
Pedro visited America in 1876 he made diligent inquiry of Mr. Matthews,
with whom he was greatly impressed.

The life and career of Joel Early Matthews was a distinct contribution to
the weal of Alabama. Though wealthy, he was modest and devoid of
arrogance; though unusually well informed, he had respect unto the
lowliest. He was an ornament to the citizenship of the state, and when he
passed away his loss was universally mourned.


No one of more marked individuality ever appeared among the public men of
Alabama than Judge Edmund S. Dargan. He had peculiar characteristics
which, so far from concealing, he seemed to cherish them. These
peculiarities were quite out of the ordinary, and not infrequently excited
much merriment. Still Judge Dargan was a man of distinguished ability.

Springing from an Irish ancestry in North Carolina, where Judge Dargan was
born in 1805, he was gifted with those sinewy physical qualities which had
been borne by his forbears across the seas from the bogs and fens of the
Emerald Isle. Left an orphan boy by the death of his father, who was a
Baptist minister, when the son was but a boy, he showed genuine pluck by
joining in the rough encounters of the world in an effort to procure an
education. In his younger years no ambition above that of a plodding
country farmer seems to have possessed him, for he was a common laborer
till he was twenty-three years old, though his mental activity led him to
a diligent study of the classics, to which he devoted every spare hour.

He seemed suddenly to have been inspired by a rare vision of life, for he
abruptly left his farm work and entered on the study of the law in the
neighboring village of Wadesboro, N. C. A year later, he removed to the
young state of Alabama, which was in 1829, just ten years after the state
had been admitted into the Union. Locating in Autauga County, he taught a
private school for a period of three months.

On making application for admission to practice law it was found that Mr.
Dargan was duly qualified by past study, and he entered at once on the
practice in the courts, after settling at Washington, in Autauga County.
His settlement in this rural village was a brief one, for he soon removed
to Montgomery. His quiet and studious habits and his habituation to hard
work served him well in his new environments, for naturally such a young
man would excite attention and win confidence. His practice steadily grew
and his reputation for close and rigid attention to business and ability
to transact it, rapidly raised him above the man of plodding mediocrity
and won for him a place of public esteem. Yielding to the solicitations of
friends, he offered for the legislature from Montgomery County, but was
defeated. A year later, however, when he was thirty-six years old, he was
elected by the legislature to the circuit of the Montgomery district. He
retained the office but one year, when he resigned and removed to Mobile
and entered on the practice of the law.

In 1844 Judge Dargan was elected to the state senate from Mobile, which
position he held just a year, when he resigned to enter into a
congressional race against Honorable William D. Dunn, one of the most
popular and polished men of the district. In their combats on the stump
the difference between the two candidates was most novel. Dunn was neat
and tidy of dress, polished in manner, and elegant of diction, while
Dargan was indifferent alike to all these, and rather prided himself on
their absence from his being. The advantage lay on the side of Dargan from
the fact that in spite of his rough and uncouth exterior he was a forceful
speaker, and commanded the attention and confidence of the most
thoughtful, while his disregard for dress and apparent contempt for polish
won the plaudits of the rustic population. In debate he was Dunn's equal,
if not his superior, while the difference between them otherwise made him
the successful competitor.

One session in the National Congress seemed to gratify his ambition, for
at its expiration he declined a renomination. Soon after his retirement
from congress he was elected by the legislature to the supreme bench of
the state, and two years later, on the retirement of Judge Collier from
the chief justiceship, Judge Dargan was elected to succeed him. After
serving three years in this function he resigned and resumed private
practice of the law in Mobile.

Here Judge Dargan was profitably engaged in the practice of the law when
the war began, and in 1861 he was chosen to represent Mobile in the
constitutional convention. No sphere could have been better suited to his
taste and qualifications, and he was ranked one of the foremost members of
that body.

Judge Dargan's career in the public service closed with his membership in
the Confederate Congress, where he served for two years only, and declined
further service in that capacity. It was while he was a member of the
Congress of the Confederacy that Governor Foote of Tennessee, a member of
the same body, took occasion to reflect seriously on Judge Dargan in the
course of some remarks on the floor, when Dargan promptly sprang to his
feet, seized Foote in the collar, with his right hand upraised, as though
he would strike him. But before violence was demonstrated, the matter was
adjusted and the incident closed. This led to an animadversion on the part
of E. A. Pollard, in one of his works on the Civil War, on Judge Dargan,
whom Pollard accused of raising a bowie knife with the view of stabbing
Governor Foote. This reckless writer was descanting at length on the
inferior type of manhood in the Confederate Congress, and made the
statement just given in substantiation of his charge. The truth is that
Judge Dargan was at his desk writing when Governor Foote assailed him in
the speech, and when he arose he still held the pen in his fingers.

Numerous anecdotes are still related of Judge Dargan, especially with
respect to his garb. His shoes were sometimes of the cheapest styles, and
he preferred leather strings to any others. Members of the bar used to
relate how careful he was sometimes to mar his appearance before appearing
before a jury in an important case, how careful he was to untie his shoes
before leaving his office, so that they might gape the wider, and how
often his hair was unbrushed and his shirt collar was thrown open.

When unengaged, the position of Judge Dargan was that of drowsiness. Under
this condition he wore an expression of indifference and unconcern. But
when he would arise to speak he was suddenly transformed. His eyes would
dilate and glitter, his nostrils grow thin under the intensity of
animation, and the dullness of his face would give way to a radiance that
would inspire. In the sweep and current of discussion he was a giant, and
in the clearness and forcefulness of presentation he had but few


In 1849 a woman philanthropist, Miss D. L. Dix, of New York, a sister of
General John A. Dix of that city, visited Alabama with the end in view of
establishing a hospital for the insane of this state. She was actuated to
undertake the task of visiting all the states in which there were not such
institutions, by a singular experience which had come into her life. A
cherished friend of hers had become insane, and it had fallen to her lot
to nurse that friend till death. It was no ordinary task which she
assumed, particularly at that time, when the country was ringing with the
heated politics growing out of the discussion of abolitionism, and when
there was a special antipathy for northern people in the states of the
South. But she so impressed everyone with the intensity of her spirit and
her loyalty to the distressed, that nothing was thought of but the angel
of mercy that she was, moving quietly over the land and pleading for the
sufferers from idiocy, epilepsy and insanity, defraying her own expenses,
for she was amply able to do this, and quietly giving her life for others,
and they who were afflicted with the malady of insanity. Nor were her
labors confined exclusively to this class, but she inspected the prisons
of the country, the jails and penitentiaries, and sought to mitigate the
sufferings of the prisoners. Before taking formal action with the
authorities of the state, Miss Dix traveled over the state and acquainted
herself with the conditions especially of the insane. She found at least
seven hundred sufferers from idiocy, epilepsy, and insanity. Equipped with
these facts, she was prepared to make her appeal.

For thirty years Alabama had been a state, but her people were so
engrossed with the affairs personal and public, wrestling with the giant
difficulties incidental to a new state, that institutions of mercy had
been largely if not altogether neglected. For the unfortunate lunatics no
provision had ever been made. Miss Dix found them confined as criminals in
prison, with environments to distract and make incurable rather than
otherwise, or else they were confined in friendly homes and closely
guarded, while a fraction of the number was sent to insane hospitals in
other states.

Arriving finally at Montgomery, this gifted woman presented the claims of
her mission to the governor and most influential members of the
legislature, and by means of a memorial addressed to the legislature, she
aroused action which culminated in the appropriation of two hundred and
fifty thousand dollars for the erection and equipment of a hospital for
the insane of the state. The law was not enacted, however, till 1852, and
the institution was not built and ready for inmates till July, 1861. It
was of supreme importance in the inception of an enterprise of this
character that a thoroughly equipped physician, qualified for this special
work, be procured. Ample time was taken to find this man, and when found
he proved to be Dr. Peter Bryce, of South Carolina.

At the time of his election to this important post Dr. Bryce was only
twenty-six years old, but his previous training and experience had given
him the amplest equipment for a position so responsible, and time proved
that a more fortunate selection could not have been made. Trained in the
medical department of New York, after quitting which he had become
assistant physician in the South Carolina Hospital for the Insane, none
could have been better qualified for the superintendency of the new insane
hospital of Alabama.

Dr. Bryce at once impressed everyone with his fitness on his arrival and
on his assumption of his important station. Quiet and unassuming in
manner, gentle and persuasive, and withal sympathetic and tender, his
natural gifts were supplemented by a thorough knowledge of the most
advanced scientific treatment of the insane. He entered on his important
mission and held it to the close of his life.

His task was herculean from the outset. Besides superior qualifications
for the station to which he had been called, he must have administrative
force. Thorough organization was necessary before the work proper could
even be begun. The adjustment of means to an end in all the minute
ramifications of the hospital must be secured. The institution must not
only be set agoing, but when once begun, must be without relaxation or
cessation. More than all that, there must be prospective provision made
for an increased and increasing dependency of the unfortunate, for the
population of the state was rapidly growing, and of course there would be
an increasing demand for occupants yet to come. The responsibility was
onerous, the duty exacting, the supervision minute, and skillful
treatment in each case absolutely necessary.

His service gave universal satisfaction. The praises of the young
superintendent resounded throughout the state, and even beyond. Hundreds
who came and were restored whole, left with blessings on the head of the
young and lovable superintendent. In his retreat of benevolence he labored
on year by year, was rarely before the public, and his tremendous work was
known only to a limited few. Confidence in him grew to be supreme, and his
fame went abroad to other states, and the hospital for the insane in
Alabama was noted among similar institutions throughout the country.

Dr. Bryce took a position in the most advanced of the medical fraternity
of Alabama. The learned papers presented by him before the medical
convention of Alabama, from time to time, with special reference to the
disorders of the mind, were regarded as being those of the highest value.
He was a devotee to his profession, and his fame grew with the expansion
of the institution committed to his care.

In addition to all this, Dr. Bryce was a great favorite in the social
circles of cultured Tuskaloosa. His quite dignity, pleasing demeanor, and
his learning and culture, won for him a place in the most elevated circle,
while his perennial sunshine of heart made him an idol to the unfortunate
inmates of the hospital. He became one of the first citizens of the state,
and by dint of sheer merit, he held this position to the close of his
useful life.


No man of more exalted personal character ever entered public life in
Alabama than Governor John Gill Shorter. He had all the virtues of a
Christian statesman. Gentle, refined, highly cultured, modest, he was yet
a firm and faithful official. His presence produced an atmosphere of
purity and awoke the profoundest respect.

A graduate from the University of Georgia in the class of '37, for Georgia
was his native state, he removed with his father, General Reuben C.
Shorter, to Eufaula, then called Irwinton, and after a course of study
entered on the practice of the law. Six years afterward he was appointed
by Governor Fitzpatrick solicitor of the judicial district in which he
resided. In 1845 Mr. Shorter was elected senator from Barbour County, the
first from that county after it was formed from Russell County. His
bearing and service at once attracted attention, his ability was promptly
recognized, and when Honorable George Goldthwaite was promoted to the
supreme bench, Mr. Shorter succeeded him as the judge of the judicial
circuit, in which capacity he served for nine years, being elected from
time to time without opposition.

When the question of withdrawal from the Union was before the secession
convention of Georgia, Judge Shorter was sent as one of the commissioners
from Alabama. He later became a member of the provisional congress of the
Confederacy, and soon became a candidate for governor of the state in
response to a popular demand. In 1861 he was elected governor.

The storm of war breaking over the country, there was imposed on the
governor an unprecedented burden, attended with unique embarrassment of an
appalling nature. Questions of a complicated nature arose in consequence
of the haste necessary to meet the tide of hostilities bearing southward,
and in the excitement of the hour and the extremity of the period, the
people were divided on numerous important issues, and from the outset, the
administration of Governor Shorter was beset behind and before with most
perplexing entanglements. The strenuousness of the times imposed burdens
on him never before borne by a governor. The difficulty was enhanced by
the fact that on the governor reposed the settlement of all questions on
which public sentiment was divided. The most conflicting demands arose
from the turbulence of the times and the passion of the period, but the
serene man at the capitol sought tranquilly to do his duty, unswayed by
aught else than a supreme sense of public responsibility. His patriotic
and philanthropic disposition led him to seek to provide for the families
of soldiers on the field, but this produced adverse sentiment on the part
of many. With zeal and interest, he sought to protect by every possible
means the exposed borders of the state against a hostile army, and gave
special attention to the fortification of Mobile by garrisoning the
outposts of that city as strongly as possible.

As the war progressed and the demand for additional troops grew, it became
necessary to conscribe many who had failed to volunteer, and this became
the occasion of fresh difficulty, as it always does. In the execution of
the law enacted by the Confederate Congress relative to the tax in kind
for the support of the army, Governor Shorter had to stem a current of
popular opposition, and was held responsible by the masses for that which
he did in compliance with the laws of congress. Added to all this was the
necessity of the imposition of increased taxation for the support of the
state government, and for the redemption of its bonds. In the prosecution
of necessary tasks like these he became the victim of much popular wrath
and unjust abuse. But duty was clear, and without wavering the breadth of
a hair, or without chafing under the conditions, Governor Shorter met his
obligations with steadiness and firmness. To have done less than he did
would have made him recreant to his obligation, and everyone who did his
duty at that time, and under conditions so stressful, fell under the same
unreasonable public condemnation. A man of less nerve and less granite in
his soul would have been swept off his feet in a public ordeal like this.

On the expiration of his term, in 1863, he was a candidate for
re-election, opposed by Thomas H. Watts, then attorney general of the
Confederacy, and an opponent of Governor Shorter at the previous election.

Public sentiment had grown so morbid during the tempestuous times of the
former administration, that Governor Shorter failed of re-election. There
was a burst of ungrateful expression of popular feeling, but the result
was not unexpected. Governor Shorter had borne immense burdens in the face
of popular clamor, and naturally and logically he preferred the
indorsement of a people for whom he had done so much, while, on the other
hand, it was a relief to be unburdened at the end of two years.

After facing the odds, formidable and imposing, during the first two years
of the struggle, and after resisting the inertia of popular discontent at
every step, he retired from office with a stainless reputation, and,
viewed at this distance, his course during the trying period of his
administration is thoroughly vindicated, and in the galaxy of Alabama
governors none has ever been more patriotic, none more firm in the
prosecution of public duty, none calmer in a storm than John Gill Shorter.
With the same serene temper with which he had deported himself in office,
he retired to private life and resumed the practice of the law in the city
of Eufaula.

With this distinguished statesman the claims of religious obligation rose
supreme. His life was a living sermon. His honor was never questioned, nor
was his religious character impeached, nor his personal piety ever
challenged. In his character was the happiest blend of childlike
gentleness and robust manhood. In a period of doubt and storm he publicly
insisted that "there is a truth in religion; it is all true; and there is
a power in the atonement of Christ. It is a glorious reality. The
atonement of Christ will stand firm as the everlasting hills."

Governor Shorter died in the prime of manhood, being only fifty-four when
he passed away. At the time of his death there was no more popular man in
the state. An account of his triumphant death was broadly published
throughout the country and created a profound impression.

With faith unnerved by the presence of death, he closed his earthly career
with words quoted from an old and familiar hymn:

  "To Canaan's fair and happy land,
  Where my possessions lie."

Having quoted this couplet, he said, "I want to be off"--and died.


Of a meek and unpretentious mold, Bishop N. H. Cobbs never failed to
impress the public with his deep piety and exalted character. Rising from
an humble station in life, and ascending by dint of merit to the highest
place within the gift of his church, there was nothing in his bearing to
indicate his consciousness of the honor attaching to his position. There
was a total absence from his manner of that self-assertion and sense of
self-importance so often attaching to those as highly honored as was
Bishop Cobbs.

Conjoined to this was a cordiality of spirit which loosened all restraint
and made everyone whom he met, feel that he had met a friend. A placid
smile as natural as sunshine mantled his face and lent an additional charm
to his personality.

The individual merit of Bishop Cobbs was shown by the fact that, with the
scantiest educational advantages in early life, he turned his stock of
information to the greatest use by teaching school in the rural districts
of Virginia. With him, to teach was to learn, for in order to give
effective instruction he had to prepare the way in advance by assiduous
nightly study. After all, this is the most effective way of procuring a
solid education, provided one knows how and what to study. Mr. Cobbs
always brought to his rustic classes the enthusiasm derived from knowledge
newly found, and the enthusiasm was contagious, as it always is under
conditions like these.

By such methods as these the young man came to widen and deepen his
capacity, and thus became qualified to grapple with the profounder studies
which still lay ahead. He was neither superficial nor artificial, but
always solidly practical, because he had already learned to be sure of his
footing by reason of the conditions attendant on his early struggles.
Naturally modest, he won self-confidence by closeness of application, and
from this happy blend came that rotundity of character which made him the
man he was.

His heart was already fixed on the ministry, and up to the age of
twenty-eight, during his career as a country school teacher, he was
prosecuting his theological studies. At the time already indicated, when
he had arrived at the age of twenty-eight, he was ordained deacon in
Trinity Church, Staunton, Va., and a year later, was made priest in
Richmond. He became pastor in Bedford County, Virginia, and in conjunction
with his pastoral work he officiated as chaplain in the University of
Virginia, being the first minister to serve within the walls of that
famous institution. From 1826 to 1841 he served in the general convention
of his church as one of the clerical deputies from the diocese of

In 1841 Rev. Cobbs was nominated bishop of Texas by the house of bishops,
but the clerical and lay deputies declined, from motives of policy, to
sanction the action. The honorary title of doctor of divinity was given
him by Hobart College in 1843 and during the same year he became the
rector of St. Paul's Church, in Cincinnati. Another step was taken to
raise him to the bishopric by the clergy of Indiana, but the laity,
assuming, for some reason, that if elected he would not accept, did not
ratify the action. However, in 1844 the clergy and laity of Alabama
invited him to the episcopate and late during that year he entered on his
new sphere and for seventeen years, the ripest period of his life, he
served in Alabama.

On the assumption of the charge of his diocese he found but few
Episcopalians in Alabama, the number scarcely reaching as many as five
hundred. He set himself at work without delay to effect a thorough
organization of the scattered few, and before the close of his life had
multiplied the numbers many times over. In grappling with the difficulties
of a new field, the resourcefulness acquired in his early life stood him
well in hand. He brought to his difficult task not only an administrative
equipment gained by hard experience, but an economical ability which he
had acquired in his earlier years. He was just the man temperamentally and
otherwise fitted for a pioneer work such as he undertook in Alabama.

One possessing the gifts which Bishop Cobbs had, might have shone more
resplendently, but he was shrinkingly modest, and by this was much kept
from public recognition. He was an indefatigable worker and was as quiet
as he was effective in the execution of his plans. Without effort he won
popularity, and to his quiet demeanor and humility is his church in
Alabama most indebted. Under his auspices a diocesan school was founded,
an orphanage established, and a system of missions maintained, and through
these agencies vast good was effected.

Bishop Cobbs had none of the striking elements of the popular pulpit
orator. He was terse and condensed in statement, and yet projectile in
force. Behind his utterances lay a dynamic conviction which was imparted
and impressed. His preaching was more to the heart than to the mind. He
believed, therefore he spoke.

He shared deeply in the sentiment awakened by the issues that shook the
country in the early sixties, and predicted a bloody fratricidal war, but
he was spared a participation in its horrors. On January 11, 1861, while
the secession convention was assembled in Montgomery, and while the pulse
of excitement beat strong, and just prior to the adoption of the ordinance
of secession, Bishop Nicholas Hamner Cobbs passed to his reward.


Of one of the earliest families to remove to the state, and one of the
most distinguished, Honorable Leroy P. Walker was among the most eminent
of her citizens. His father, Honorable John Williams Walker, was a
distinguished citizen, having been one of Alabama's primitive statesman,
in recognition of which one of the counties of Alabama was named for him.
But the son, Honorable Leroy P. Walker, attained to national eminence. A
profound scholar, a great lawyer, a distinguished statesman, he is justly
ranked among the first of Alabamians.

In early manhood he was made a brigadier general of militia, but his first
appearance as a public servant was in 1843, when he represented Lawrence
County in the state legislature. He was modest and retiring during his
first term, being of a calm and studious disposition, but in 1844 he was
drawn into more active life and took a deep interest in legislative

Subsequently removing from Lawrence to Lauderdale County, he appeared, in
1847, as a representative from that county. In 1849 he was honored with
the speakership of the house, and in the approaching session was again
given that distinction. This repeated election carried with it great
significance, as the legislature at that particular period was adorned by
a number of the most distinguished citizens of the state. He won much
esteem from the membership of the house by his dignity, impartiality and

The distinction thus won, coupled with his recognized ability as a jurist,
led to his election to the judgeship of the fourth judicial circuit in
1850. Three years later he resigned his position on the bench and was
induced to return to the legislature. Ripened by years of experience in
public life, he at once became recognized as one of the leading men of the
body, and was conspicuous in the absorbing question then before the
country, that of internal development. In the light of the present, the
sagacity of Judge Walker may be seen in the following resolution submitted
by himself to the legislature of Alabama:

"Resolved, That the committee on internal improvement be instructed to
inquire into the expediency of affording state aid to a railroad company
connecting the navigable waters of the Mobile Bay and the Tennessee River,
and report, should it be deemed expedient, some plan, by bill or
otherwise, having this object in view; but in no event is the community to
designate the termini of the road."

This initial measure, at that early day, coupled with the notable speech
which he delivered in support of the resolution, indicates a sagacity
which makes Judge Walker a pioneer of the development of the marvelous
resources of the state. Among the participants in the discussion of that
initial question were such men as Percy Walker, Thomas J. Judge, John
Cochran, J. L. M. Curry, Joshua L. Martin, and A. B. Meek.

After this notable session of the legislature, Judge Walker retired to
private life, resuming the practice of the law, and did not reappear till
called out by the stirring scenes of 1860. An intense adherent of what
was called the southern movement, Judge Walker supported Breckinridge and
Lane. He was an ardent secessionist, and was one of the commissioners to
Tennessee to confer with the state authorities concerning the best policy
to be adopted by the slave-holding states.

On the occasion of the creation of the Confederate government, Judge
Walker was named for the secretaryship of war in the Davis cabinet. While
Fort Sumter was being bombarded Judge Walker and General Beauregard were
in constant communication by wire concerning the progress of the attack.
When the news was flashed to Montgomery that Fort Sumter had fallen,
Montgomery, the new capital of the Confederacy, became a scene of
intoxicated joy. The city was filled with excited crowds, torch-light
processions, and speaking was galore. Among others, Judge Walker was
called on to speak, and, sharing in the exuberance of joy, declared that
the Confederate flag would float over the dome of the capitol at
Washington, over Independence Hall, and even over Faneuil Hall, Boston,
before our armies would retire from the field.

This enthusiastic outburst was regarded as ill-timed and unwise, as its
logical effect would be to weld northern sentiment against the new-fledged
Confederacy, whereas up to this time this sentiment in the North was
divided. Emanating from so high a source, it was construed as representing
the sentiment of the people of the South, and then began the solid South
against the solid North. Edward Everett and Stephen A. Douglas, both of
whom had held in check the popular passions of the North with the hope of
some amicable adjustment, now advised the people to take up arms in
self-preservation since their homes were threatened by a determined
invasion. For an utterance which was pronounced untimely, Judge Walker was
blamed by Union men, both North and South, and was charged with the
responsibility of precipitating the war and of making more compact the
sections one against the other.

But it was idle to conjure thus with words. Judge Walker bespoke the
regnant sentiment of the South. The war was inevitable and honest as were
the sentiments and efforts on the part of some to avert it, the people
thirsted for blood, and nothing short of war would satisfy. The sentiment
cherished by the South was reciprocated by the North and the expression of
Judge Walker, while it might not have been fastidiously diplomatic, was
sheer honesty. To have used a single expression of a man as an occasion
for concentration of northern sentiment, was the convenience of a pretext.
In due time the result would have been that which came, whether Judge
Walker had ever used the expression or not. Men often toy with words and
use them, as Talleyrand suggests, to conceal ideas.

For more than a year Judge Walker remained in the Confederate cabinet,
when he retired and was commissioned as a brigadier general in the active
service. He had organized and equipped the armies of the Confederacy, and
had supervised the original movements on the field. Assigned to an
inactive command at Mobile, he requested more active service on the
field, and for some reason this was denied him, when he resigned from the
army, was appointed a military judge, and held that position throughout
the war.

During the dark period of reconstruction Judge Walker was as conspicuous
as any in assisting in guiding the state through this perilous time, and
closed his life as one of the most distinguished of Alabama citizens.


The name of William L. Yancey is generally associated with two chief
facts, namely, that of secession and that of his brilliant oratory. The
beginning of Mr. Yancey's life was clouded by an unfortunate circumstance,
that of killing Dr. Earle, of Greenville, S. C., for which he was
sentenced to a year's imprisonment and a fine, but was pardoned by
Governor Noble, after about three months. In the light of subsequent
events and after all passion had subsided, this unfortunate occurrence was
popularly adjudged a deed of self-defense.

There was something remarkable in the career of Mr. Yancey in that his
friends neither in the opening period of his life, nor for some years
afterwards, ever suspected him of the qualities either of leadership or of
oratory which he developed, and until conditions prevailed by means of
which these elements were called into exercise, did Mr. Yancey himself
come to discover himself.

First, he was a planter near Greenville, S. C., and later in Dallas
County, Ala. This was followed by the editorship of the Cahaba Democrat,
and later of the Argus, a democratic paper published at Wetumpka. He had
previously studied law at Sparta, Ga., and Greenville, S. C., but had
never applied for license to practice.

His advent into public life was when he represented Coosa County in the
legislature, which was during the early stages of his professional career.
Later he became a state senator from the district composed of the two
counties of Coosa and Autauga.

Mr. Yancey's entrance into national politics was in 1844 when he was
elected to Congress to succeed Dickson H. Lewis, who had been promoted to
a seat in the National Senate. In his maiden speech on the floor of
Congress, Mr. Yancey became the recipient of a great distinction. Though
the youngest member of the party, he was chosen to defend the Southern
democrats against a furious assault made on them by Mr. Clingman, a whig
member from North Carolina. John C. Calhoun, then secretary of state, sent
for Mr. Yancey the evening before he was to speak, and advised him not to
do his best in his first encounter.

This first effort in Congress gave Yancey national fame. It awoke comment
throughout the country. The Baltimore Sun, speaking of the effort, said,
among other things: "He is comparable to no predecessor, because no one
ever united so many qualities of the orator." Mr. Clingham's speech was
too well answered at every point for the reply of Mr. Yancey to be
satisfactory to him. While himself severe, he was offended at the severity
of Mr. Yancey's arraignment, and according to the custom of that time,
challenged the Alabamian to a duel. Both Clingman and Yancey repaired to
Baltimore to settle the difficulty on what was then esteemed "the field of
honor," Clingham being the aggressor throughout, but they were interrupted
by a civil process, and both returned to Washington, satisfied with the

In 1846 Mr. Yancey, having served two years in Congress, resigned his
seat from the necessity of repairing his fortune, and entered successfully
on the practice of law in Montgomery. Without losing interest in public
affairs, he continued rigidly devoted to his profession for about ten

In 1848 Mr. Yancey's relations to the democratic party became impaired
because of his withdrawal from the national convention at Baltimore, which
convention nominated General Cass for the presidency. His action was based
on the refusal of the Baltimore convention to incorporate into the
national platform certain resolutions adopted by the Alabama convention,
in the event of the rejection by the national convention of which, the
Alabama delegation was instructed to withdraw. Only one other and himself
withdrew from the convention at Baltimore, and during the succeeding
campaign he remained quiet. For all this he was subjected to much censure.

With a period of ebbs and flows which come now and then to a political
party, the elements had calmed by 1858, when, at the head of the electoral
ticket of Alabama, Mr. Yancey carried the state for Buchanan. Being of
decided and pronounced views, and one who did not believe that principle
was divisible, Mr. Yancey won the unenviable distinction of being a "fire
eater," but he followed duty as he saw it, and encountered the penalty
always accorded to one of stern and fixed adherence to principle.

Meanwhile the drift of the country was toward conflict. A states' rights
democrat, Mr. Yancey insisted on the maintenance of this principle as the
only hope of safeguarding the constitution. Accordingly in the Alabama
convention held in 1859, to select delegates to the national convention to
be held at Charleston, Mr. Yancey procured the adoption of a platform
suited to his views. At the head of the Alabama delegation he attended the
Charleston convention which declined to adopt the views presented in the
platform of the Alabama convention, and as is well known, a disruption of
the party followed. The subsequent results of that event are too well
known to be repeated here.

The election of Mr. Lincoln in the quadrangular presidential contest,
precipitated the crisis. Secession followed with William L. Yancey as its
chief apostle. His vast powers now at their zenith, were brought into full
exercise, and the country rang throughout with his fearless declaration of
states' rights. In the creation of the new Confederacy, Mr. Yancey bore a
conspicuous part, and President Davis left to his choice any position
which he might accept, and he chose the mission to Great Britain.

In England he employed every honorable means to induce the recognition of
the Southern Confederacy, as an independent power, but his efforts were
unavailing. At the end of a year he returned to America and announced that
if the South should win her independence it would be the result of her own
effort. During his absence abroad Mr. Yancey was chosen as senator to the
Confederate congress, but his leadership in that body was obscured by the
diversion of public thought to the armies on the field.

Mr. Yancey died near Montgomery in July, 1863. Had the Southern
Confederacy succeeded, and had Yancey lived, his popularity would have
been boundless, but with the "lost cause" was linked in the minds of many,
the diminution of the fame of the splendid and brilliant leader of the
cause of secession in the states of the South.


Among others who have contributed to the greatness of the commonwealth of
Alabama should be named Gen. Henry W. Hilliard, whose career was both
eventful and remarkable. His early life was distinguished by a precocity
which showed itself in his graduation with distinction from South Carolina
College, in its palmiest period, at the early age of eighteen.

At twenty-three Mr. Hilliard was chosen a professor in the University of
Alabama, in which position he not only sustained his earlier reputation as
a scholar, but was quite a favorite in the best circles of Tuscaloosa
society because of his rare social qualities. At twenty-four he was
selected by the legislature of Alabama to deliver an address on the
occasion of the death of Charles Carroll, the last of the signers of the
Declaration of Independence. Though notified of his choice for this
function but a few days before the oration was to be delivered, Hilliard
acquitted himself with merit, and at once established his fame for
scholarship and oratory in Alabama. The address was published by the
legislature of the state and popularly read.

Having been admitted to the bar at Athens, Ga., where he practiced two
years before removing to Alabama, he resigned his professorship after
three years, removed to Montgomery, and resumed his law practice. Being a
licensed minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he would now and
then preach. He soon entered on a good practice in Montgomery, and became
a favorite in the most intelligent social circles of the capital city,
where his graces were much admired.

In 1838 Mr. Hilliard entered on public life as a representative in the
legislature from Montgomery County, was a delegate to the Whig convention
in 1840, for he belonged to the state's rights wing of that party, and
assisted in the nomination of Harrison and Tyler, he being responsible for
the nomination of Mr. Tyler for the Vice Presidency. Placed on the
electoral ticket in Alabama, he canvassed the state in the interest of
Harrison and Tyler. In 1841 he was elected to Congress, declining a
foreign mission that year, but later accepting the mission to Belgium,
which was tendered him by Mr. Tyler, who after becoming President
recognized the service rendered by Mr. Hilliard in his behalf in procuring
for him the Vice Presidency.

Resigning after two years of service at Brussels, Hilliard returned to
Alabama, and was successively elected to congress for a period of years,
defeating, at different times, such men as John Cochran and James L. Pugh,
both of Barbour. So creditable was the first speech made by Mr. Hilliard
on the floor of congress, that ex-President John Quincy Adams, then a
member of the House, went across the hall to congratulate him.

In congress, as ever elsewhere, Mr. Hilliard impressed all, not only by
his ability as an orator, but as a scholar, and a resourceful one. The
recognition of this latter fact led to his appointment as one of the
original regents of the Smithsonian Institution. His varied ability
resulted in unusual demands being made on him, for he was diligent,
active, and resourceful, and measured up to every obligation imposed.

Mr. Hilliard was on the electoral tickets of Fillmore in 1856, and of Bell
and Everett in 1860. In the formation of the Southern Confederacy he was
one of the commissioners appointed by President Davis to assist in the
adjustment of Tennessee matters preparatory to the admittance of that
state into the new confederation. During the Civil War he raised a body of
troops which was known as Hillard's Legion, and was given a commission as
brigadier general. After the close of hostilities General Hilliard located
at Augusta, Ga., where for a while he engaged in the practice of the law,
and later removed to Atlanta.

He was appointed by President Hayes minister to Brazil, which position he
filled during the years 1877-81, and the mission to Germany was tendered
him when that of the Brazilian should close. Among the brilliant events
which entered into his life was that of a participation in the
emancipation of the slaves in Brazil during his incumbency of the
diplomatic ministry to that country. It was during that time that the
question became a paramount one in that country, and his views were sought
concerning the results in the North American states, in reply to which
solicitations he wrote a long letter, which was a turning point in the
colossal movement, and assured the success of the proposed reform. In
appreciation of this service a great banquet was given in his honor in Rio
Janeiro, on the occasion of which he delivered an address which was as
remarkable as the letter which he had previously written. Both the letter
and the address were embodied by Lord Granville, secretary of state for
foreign affairs, in the Gladstone ministry, in the official blue book of
Great Britain.

In a brief sketch like this, so imperfectly drawn, one gains but an
imperfect idea of the manysidedness of the character and usefulness of
General Hilliard. As orator, statesman, diplomat, author and soldier,
General Hilliard led a long public career of unusual distinction, marked
by utility and crowned with intellectual luster.

He had not the consummate skill and gifts of oratory possessed by his
gigantic rival, Yancey, whom he encountered at different times in debate.
Hilliard was an elocutionist rather than an orator, and brought to the
stump and forum all the culture and niceties of that art. He was to Yancey
that which Edward Everett was to Webster. Webster and Yancey were like
mountain torrents, bearing all before them with resistless force. Everett
and Hilliard were like the summer brook, winding with graceful curve
amidst green meadows, flashing in splendor, but fructifying in their
onward course. The ability to speak effectively was derived by Hilliard
more from culture; that of Yancey more from nature. Hilliard could speak
on almost any occasion with effectiveness; Yancey needed the afflatus of
the hour derived from a sea of upturned faces, an expectant multitude, a
subject of consuming interest. Gifted with a voice of music, the diction
of Hilliard was classic, facile and fervid.

Like a few others of our public men, Hilliard found diversion in the
employment of his fertile pen, from which came such productions as "Roman
Nights" and "De Vane." Throughout his life he illustrated the character of
the Christian statesman.


Jeremiah Clemens was a favored son of fortune. His career fell on the
palmiest period of southern history. Possessed of varied talents, his life
was correspondingly varied. He had power, and when exercised, the result
was tremendous. His intellectual strength was of a high order, his
literary taste delicate, his ability to command unquestioned, and his
oratory brilliant and potent. His varied gifts led him into the four
departments of law, politics, war, and literature. In none of these was he
deficient, for he was an able advocate, a statesman of undeniable ability,
a commander of no mean qualities, and a writer whose skill and deftness of
touch made him popular.

The scholastic advantages of Colonel Clemens were superior. First a
student at LaGrange College, at that time a school of high class, he
completed his course at the University of Alabama. He afterwards took a
law course at Transylvania University, Kentucky, and entered on the
practice of law in 1834. His first public service was as United States
District Attorney, and for a period of years he was a member of the
legislature of Alabama.

The spirit of the warrior and patriot was stirred within him by the
struggle of the Texans for independence, and he raised a voluntary force
to join in that contest. Of this regiment thus voluntarily raised, he
became the lieutenant-colonel. The command marched westward, shared in the
battles of that land of plains, and returned when the struggle was ended.
Again entering politics, he represented his county in the legislature of
Alabama, where he won distinction as a debater and statesman, and later he
became a Democratic elector in a presidential contest. In all these
stations Colonel Clemens showed more than ordinary ability and won a
degree of distinction.

Having gotten a taste of war in the struggle in Texas, he was again
induced to employ his sword in the Mexican War. Becoming
lieutenant-colonel of the Ninth Infantry, his command participated in a
number of battles in Mexico. In 1849 he was appointed governor of the
civil and military department of purchase in Mexico. In this connection he
served till the close of the war with Mexico, after which time the army
was reduced and Colonel Clemens returned to Alabama and resumed the
practice of law.

Vast opportunity had thus been afforded this gifted man for the
enlargement of his vision of affairs, and it had not been slighted. His
military career had served to bring him into increased conspicuousness and
to enhance his popularity. When Hon. Dixon H. Lewis died in New York,
Colonel Clemens was elected to fill his unexpired term.

All this had been achieved by Colonel Clemens by the time he was
thirty-five years old, a period when most men begin the accomplishments of
life. In a wide and commanding orbit such as was afforded in the United
States Senate, Colonel Clemens came to be one of its most popular members.
He was an orator of the Ciceronian type, and his utterances flashed with
the radiance occasioned by the friction of intense thought. His combined
qualities and varied experience in different spheres of life served him
admirably when on his feet in the Senate chamber. He could husband his
resources with skill and with remarkable readiness, and his sentences fell
from his lips like minted coin fresh from the stamp--bright, beautiful,
and warm. Independence and self-assertion he had in abundance, nor was he
lacking in genuine courage, but his temperamental disposition lent to
these qualities a degree of dash which sometimes betrayed him into
rashness which often induced men to hesitate to follow his leading. The
spirit of the warrior in battle was often his in the rough and tumble of
debate, but he found that the dash of the field in the leadership of man
would not prevail in the cool, staid thoughtfulness of the forum. He was
the dash of the mountain stream rather than the buoying and staying power
of the deep lake. A rapid thinker and a man of brilliant action, he was
more the subject of impulse than of calm and judicial poise. This
neutralizing element alone prevented Colonel Clemens from becoming a great
leader. That he had the qualities of leadership none denied, but he lacked
the poise that made his position a stable one. Still this did not prevent
his attainment to national distinction as a United States senator.

In the indulgence of his literary tastes Colonel Clemens published, in
1856, his first book, "Bernard Lile," a romance fascinating alike for its
rosy diction, its rapid movement, and its shifting episode. At the time of
its appearance, the work created a considerable sensation. This was
followed two years later by his second work, "Mustang Gray," which was
born of his observations and experiences in the Mexican War. The first
work prepared the way for a wider circulation of the second, the
popularity of which was derived in part from its proximity, in point of
appearance, to the scenes and events of the recent war with Mexico. For a
season "Mustang Gray" was the reigning novel. Within little more than a
year from the time of the appearance of "Mustang Gray" there came from the
prolific pen of Colonel Clemens "The Rivals," based on the stirring scenes
grouped about the period of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. The cast of
the novel as a work of art has changed since the time of the appearance of
these stories, but they aptly represent the romance of that period, and
are not wanting in genuine merit.

Politically Colonel Clemens was a Unionist. He belonged to the school of
politics of which Benjamin H. Hill was a conspicuous representative. From
his antecedents and his cavalier dash, the inference would logically be
that Jeremiah Clemens would be an ardent secessionist, but he was opposed
to immediate secession, and preferred the adoption of a co-operative
policy, after a thorough consultation of the states, which was aggrieved
by the election of Mr. Lincoln. While opposed to the ordinance of
secession, Colonel Clemens voted for it by a surrender of his conviction,
because, such was the condition of the time, that not to support it would
have placed him in opposition to his native state. In an emergency like
this Colonel Clemens yielded his convictions and went with the state. He
was appointed a major general, commanding the state troops of Alabama, a
precautionary step taken by the state, provided it should be thrown back
on itself as a result of its voluntary withdrawal from the Union. The
union proclivities of Colonel Clemens never forsook him, and during the
latter part of the Civil War he went to Philadelphia, where he wrote an
unfortunate pamphlet, ill-timed and unwise, which gave great offense. He
died near the close of the war.


The name of Thomas Hill Watts in the records of the state is inseparable
from a high standard of professional, public, and moral greatness.
Gigantic in person, he was equally so in all things else. He was long in
the public eye, and bore himself with so signal greatness that he is
remembered as one of the most conspicuous public figures that ever graced
the annals of Alabama. Distinguished by unusual parts even in his boyhood
days, his father, who resided near Butler Springs, in Butler County, gave
to the promising son the best advantages then afforded in scholastic
training by sending him to the University of Virginia. At that time that
institution was pre-eminently the greatest in the Union. Following the
popular trend of those days, pursued by almost every young man of promise,
Mr. Watts chose law as a profession, and began practicing at Greenville.
He soon distinguished himself at the bar, and while still a young man was
chosen to represent Butler County in the legislature. For three successive
sessions he was the choice of his county for this position, and maintained
himself with meritorious merit, as is shown by the repetition of his
election so long as he would serve.

Locating in Montgomery, he entered on a successful practice of his
profession, and for a long period of years preserved the reputation of
being one of the leading members of the Montgomery bar. In 1855 he was
again summoned from private life to represent his party, the Whig, in a
contest for congress against Col. James F. Dowdell. Mr. Watts was
defeated after an exciting canvass, but the campaign resulted in his
acknowledged leadership of his party in the state. In the memorable
presidential campaign of 1860, Mr. Watts was the leader of the electoral
ticket in Alabama for Bell and Everett. Being a union man and opposed to
secession, his patriotism rose superior to his party fealty, and after the
election of Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Watts was as pronounced a secessionist as
any. Under existing conditions he recognized the fact that not to go with
his state was treachery, his position and sentiments being precisely those
of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Men of this school of thought deplored the
necessity of war and would gladly have averted it if possible, but when it
became inevitable there was but one course left open. Consequently in the
constitutional convention of 1861 Mr. Watts was as ardent in the
expression of southern rights as was Mr. Yancey himself. The country was
in the ferment of agitation and hostility. The south was threatened with
invasion, and every patriot was stirred. Thomas H. Watts was among the
first to raise a regiment and offer his services to the Confederacy.
Becoming the colonel of the Seventeenth Alabama regiment, his command saw
its first service at Pensacola, which at that time seemed to be destined
one of the strategic positions of the approaching conflict, but the
regiment was soon ordered to join the army of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson,
in Tennessee. In the battle of Shiloh Colonel Watts displayed the
qualities of a soldier equal to those shown by him in other spheres which
he had occupied. He was cool, courageous, and daring under fire, to so
marked a degree that he won the attention of his superior officers, and
his conduct in that battle became a subject of popular comment throughout
the country.

Much to his surprise, while in camp at Corinth, Miss., he was summoned to
Richmond by President Davis, who offered him the portfolio of the attorney
general in his cabinet, a place made vacant by the appointment of Hon.
Judah P. Benjamin as secretary of war. Responding to the call, Colonel
Watts resigned the command of his regiment and went immediately to the
seat of the Confederate government. Here he remained in the cabinet of Mr.
Davis till October, 1863, when he resigned to offer for the governorship
of Alabama.

The struggling Confederacy had now reached its crisis. The position to
which Colonel Watts was elected, as governor of Alabama, was one of the
most trying possible. The administration of his predecessor had been
attended by storm and tumult. A dire extremity confronted the new and
struggling republic, as in its efforts it was seeking to gain a solid
footing. Disaster had followed disaster, relieved only by the brilliant
achievements of the southern soldiery against formidable odds. Thenceforth
it was a fight for life.

From the outset, his position as war governor of Alabama was beset by
gigantic perplexities, but bringing to the task his resources and skill,
he was enabled to effect as much as any one could under prevailing
conditions. He turned to practical advantage the limited means within
reach, and won distinction by his mastery of a difficult situation. The
geographical situation of Alabama, as the center of the Confederacy, with
one of the stormiest seats of war in the adjoining state on the north, and
with a seaboard exposed on the south, it was inevitable that the state
would share in the invasions to which were subjected the states adjoining.

In April, 1865, Montgomery fell into the hands of the enemy. Besides much
patriotic sacrifice as a public official, Governor Watts suffered
immensely in his private fortune, as one of the consequences of the
invasion. The enemy seemed to find special pleasure in wreaking his
vengeance on a man who had been so conspicuous since the beginning of the
struggle. The federal troops burned two hundred and fifty bales of cotton
on his plantation, besides three thousand bushels of corn, much of which
was sacked ready for distribution among the suffering people of his native
county, Butler. His meat supplies were also destroyed, and his plantation
depleted of stock, among which were forty valuable mules. In a single day
he was reduced from wealth to poverty, in consequence of his loyalty to
his native state and section.

But sustained by an unusually happy temperament and an optimism which was
inspired by hope, he at once opened his law office, after the cessation of
hostilities, and devoted himself again to the practice of the law in the
city of Montgomery, to which he devoted the remainder of his life. His
last years were characterized by an ability which comes of a pre-eminent
native intellect, reinforced by long experience and years of garnered
wisdom. To have heard him in the courts would sometimes remind one of a
Titan sweeping a continent of thought. Besides, he was a good man. It is
to his credit, as a public servant, that amidst the most stirring periods
through which the state passed, he was not only abstemious of all
intoxicants, but enjoyed the distinction of never having offered to
another a drink. A devoted Christian gentleman, he lived and died.


Jabez L. M. Curry was one of the most noted and brilliant sons of Alabama.
His was a long, stirring and useful life. Filling divers stations of
trust, he proved to be the equal of any. Statesman, soldier, minister of
the gospel, educator, publicist, reformer, diplomat--all these spheres
were held by him with distinction. His versatility of gifts was wonderful,
his accomplishments striking. Polished, scholarly, wise, eloquent, genial,
he was easy of adjustment to all stations and relations, and bore himself
throughout life without the slightest whisper of disparagement to his
character or career.

A native of Georgia and a graduate from the university of that state, he
took a law course at Harvard in 1845. He became a resident of Alabama in
1837, and after the completion of his scholastic and professional courses
he entered on the practice of law. His talents veered more in the
direction of public affairs than toward the law office or the court room,
and in 1847 he was in the legislature, a representative from Talladega
County. In this capacity he served till 1856, when he became a Buchanan

The popularity thus obtained by Mr. Curry enabled him to go to congress
for two consecutive terms, and in 1861 he entered the Confederate
congress, where he served for two terms. Entering the army he was
lieutenant colonel of the Fifth Alabama Cavalry regiment, in which he
served till the close of the war. He became an active participant in the
struggles which attended on the period of reconstruction, and in the
seventies entered the Baptist ministry, preaching with the same acceptance
with which he had served in other stations. He was never a pastor, and
eventually gave up preaching, but preserved a blamelessness of life that
has made his memory one to be revered by all who knew him.

From 1866 to 1868, he was the president of Howard College, then at Marion.

For a period of years Dr. Curry was a member of the faculty of Richmond
College, Virginia, where he found opportunity for the indulgence of his
literary tastes which were superior to those of most public men. While in
the early part of his career he was reserved and silent, for the most
part, in the deliberative and legislative bodies of which he was so often
a member, he became in the meridian of his splendid powers one of the most
attractive speakers in the country. His elements of strength as an orator
were forcefulness, impressiveness and projectility of power which carried
earnestness and elegance of diction. Welling from intensity of conviction
and profound conscientiousness, men saw and felt that he was absolutely
sincere, believed that which he advocated, and this gave him immense force
before a public assemblage.

Becoming the general agent of the Peabody Educational Fund, in 1881, and
later of the Peabody and Slater Funds, he did much for the promotion of
the education of both races in the south. In this capacity Dr. Curry was
frequently brought before the legislatures of the different states of the
south in the urgency of appropriations for educational purposes, and was
a vigorous contributor to the cause of general education for a long period
of years.

In 1885 he was sent as United States minister to the court of Spain, and
was a warm personal friend of King Alfonso XII, who died before the birth
of his son, the present monarch of that country. On the occasion of the
coronation of Alfonso XIII, the present king of Spain, Dr. Curry was sent
as special ambassador of the United States to Madrid, where he was greeted
with the same cordiality as was accorded to him in former years, during
his service as minister to that country.

Highly favored with fortune throughout his life, Dr. Curry found time and
leisure to gratify his taste for literary pursuits, which enabled him to
enter the field of authorship and to produce a number of valuable works.
Besides many small works, usually of a religious character, Dr. Curry
wrote "Constitutional Government in Spain," a "Life of Gladstone," "The
Southern States of the American Union," and "The Civil History of the
Confederate Government."

On the occasion of his death a few years ago at Richmond, Va., the recall
of his long and varied life and services was a subject of much favorable
comment in the press throughout the nation. For almost sixty years he had
been uninterruptedly before the public, in a variety of capacities, rarely
equalled in number by any one. The ability with which he was able to
adjust himself to the demands of these varied stations occasioned much
astonishment and favor of comment.

In the quieter walks of life, Dr. Curry acquitted himself as he did while
in the public gaze. A polished and accomplished gentleman, with a
striking personality, he was equally accessible to the learned and the
humble. Absolutely free from austerity or the semblance of arrogance,
preserving throughout a gentle dignity, his demeanor was alike to all. It
is not a matter of wonder therefore that he was universally popular.

Typically southern in thought and sentiment, and representing that which
was highest in the life of the social South, no one of either section ever
excelled Dr. Curry in the interest which he entertained for the negro
race. Some of the most striking and eloquent passages in his addresses
before the legislatures of the states of the South were earnest pleas in
behalf of the education of the negro. Both North and South he fairly
represented the black race, and regarded the whites of the South
providentially entrusted with a trusteeship of these people, which
obligation they should not deny nor avoid. He was in thorough accord with
Bishops Haygood and Galloway of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in
his advocacy of the claims of the negro to justice and protection, and for
equipment for the greatest possible usefulness.

There was a rotundity and symmetry of character and of career in Dr. J. L.
M. Curry that made him a very remarkable man. His relations of friendship
extended from men in the loftiest stations of American life to that in the
lower social rounds.

With a long life of distinguished ability in so many directions spanning a
period of three score years, it is not to be wondered at that when the
most typical American was sought to be represented in Statuary Hall, at
Washington, the popular eye was directed at once to Dr. Jabez LaFayette
Monroe Curry.


Of the many chieftains developed from the Alabama soldiery during the
Civil War, none eclipsed in dash, efficiency, and brilliance of
leadership, Gen. Robert Emmet Rodes. A native of Virginia, and the son of
Gen. David Rodes, the subject of this sketch was trained for war by a
thorough military course at the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington,
from which institution he was graduated on July 4, 1848. So distinguished
had been his career as a student, that he was retained for two years as
assistant professor, and when a commandant was to be chosen, the name of
Rodes was mentioned in close connection with that of Thomas J. Jackson,
afterward "Stonewall," for that position.

Entering on the career of a civil engineer, Rodes was first employed in
that capacity in his native state, in the construction of a railroad, but
he was later induced to go to Texas as an engineer. In 1855 he became
assistant engineer of the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad, where after
two years' service he was made chief engineer, during which time he was
located at Tuscaloosa, where he was married.

He was a resident of Tuscaloosa when the war began. Even in advance of a
declaration of hostilities he raised a company of cadets and went to Fort
Morgan. In the spring of 1861 he became the colonel of the Fifth Alabama
regiment, which command saw its first service at Pensacola. It was here
that he gave evidence first of his superior soldiery qualities on the
drill ground and the camp. Superb and exacting as a drill officer, and a
martinet in discipline, he did not at first impress a citizen soldiery,
and to the proud southern youth, unused to control, the young colonel was
not at first popular. In disregard of all this, he pitched his code of
discipline on a high plane, and enforced with rigid hand the strictest
army regulations.

While the raw volunteer troops were lying inactive at Pensacola, the
authorities watching the drift of the initial events of the war, Colonel
Rodes was daily drilling his troops, and gave them a pretty thorough taste
of war, even in the camps. When later in the spring of 1861 his command
was ordered to Virginia, it was believed by many competent officers that
Colonel Rodes had the best drilled regiment in the army. So distinguished
did the regiment become in army circles, that officers of other commands
would attend on the drill of the Fifth Alabama regiment to witness the
accuracy of its evolutions and to note the perfection of the condition of
the accoutrements of each soldier. When the young troops had become inured
to actual army life, and the habits of the soldier had become fixed by
reason of time, the rigid and exacting commander was transformed into an
object of admiration, and that which at first excited opposition was
transmuted into popularity.

The regiment of which he was the colonel barely missed becoming engaged in
the first battle of Manassas. The regiment, belonging to the command of
Gen. Joseph E. Johnson, came upon the scene just after McDowell's lines
broke, and the flight to Washington began.

In October, 1861, Rodes was made a brigadier general. He was under fire at
Williamsburg, but the battle of Seven Pines was the first in which the
command was actually engaged. Here the estimation of the troops of their
brilliant young commander was greatly heightened, as they were led by him
in this series of bloody contests. In this battle, Rodes received a wound
in his arm, but was able to lead his troops into the battles of Boonsboro
and Sharpsburg. At Chancellorsville, one of the bloodiest of the war,
Rodes was entrusted for the first time, with the command of a division,
one of the three of Jackson's corps.

The division of which he had command led the army in the assault on the
enemy, and thrilling his troops with the cry, "Forward, men, over friend
and foe!" they fought with unwonted valor. With an impetuosity rarely
witnessed, the division commanded by Rodes swept like a wave on a stormy
sea to the utter dismay of the enemy.

As is well known, both Generals Jackson and A. P. Hill were wounded during
the night, and on the young commander was imposed the movement so
auspiciously begun, which movement was checked only by the darkness of the
night. General Rodes was preparing to renew the daring movement with the
break of day, and would have done so, had not Gen. J. E. B. Stuart arrived
to take command, in response to a message from Colonel Pendleton of the

On the arrival of Stuart, Rodes quietly yielded the command, under the
impression that the superior officer could inspire more confidence in the
troops. That General Rodes would have more successfully executed the
original plans had he retained command, was the belief of not a few army
officers. In view of his brilliant movements on the preceding day,
confidence in him was well nigh supreme. As a result of his skill and
courage on the field at Chancellorsville, Rodes was made a major general.
Appearing before his old regiment, he made the fact known, and said: "The
Fifth Alabama did it." It proved as easy for him to command a division as
it had previously been that of a regiment, as was shown in the battles of
Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and the second battle of Cold

By this time, Rodes had become the idol of his troops, and his skill and
fighting qualities were subjects of general comment throughout the army.
So impressed was General Lee by his splendid charge at Gettysburg that he
sent an officer to General Rodes to thank him and his gallant command for
their conduct in that bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

On the retirement of Early's corps from Maryland, Rodes was in position to
inflict severe blows on the enemy at Castleman's Ferry and Kernstown. At
Winchester, he fought his last battle. His death was a calamity to the
army. As General Early testifies in his history, "In the very moment of
triumph and while conducting the attack with great gallantry and skill,"
General Rodes was killed by the fragment of a shell striking near his ear.
He survived the wound but a few hours.

On the night following the day in which he fell, many of the wounded of
his command were huddled in a large warehouse near the scene of conflict.
The groans of the suffering men filled the air, none of whom had heard of
the fate of their loved commander. The wareroom was densely dark, to which
was imparted additional horror by the piercing moans of the suffering.
During the reign of terror, another ambulance train brought in a fresh
supply of wounded from the field. Some one overheard the remark that
General Rodes had been shot through the head on the battlefield and was
dead. For an instant every voice was silent, and in another, men began to
weep like babes, over the fall of their great and gallant general.

Rigid as General Rodes was, even sometimes to sternness, his troops almost
worshipped him, and a sight of him invariably evoked cheers which were
rarely given to any excepting to Lee and Jackson. In his work on the war,
General Early says of Rodes, "He was a most accomplished, skillful and
gallant officer upon whom I placed great reliance."

As a soldier, he acted in thorough response to duty, and as a commander he
demanded the same respect for duty which he himself exemplified.


If ever one honorably won a sobriquet it was "Fighting Joe Wheeler." He
was a born fighter, a bold and brave commander, and an efficient officer.
The beginning of the Civil War found him in the regular army as a
lieutenant of cavalry, located in New Mexico, having graduated from West
Point just two years before. When he resigned his commission in the army
of the United States and offered his sword and service to the Confederate
states, he was just twenty-five years old.

His ascent in promotion in the army of the Confederacy was rapid. First
becoming a lieutenant of artillery, he was promoted to a colonelcy of
infantry, then he became a brigadier general, later a major general, and
the close of the war found him a lieutenant general of cavalry.

So early as 1862, little more than a year after the war began, he
commanded the cavalry corps of the western army, and was made senior
cavalry general of the Confederate armies on May 11, 1864. He had been in
the army scarcely a year before he received the thanks of the Confederate
Congress for his magnificent service, and of the legislature of South
Carolina for his defense of Aiken.

Always active, his course through the turbulent years of the Civil War was
marked by a series of splendid achievements, scarcely equaled in number by
that of any other officer in the army. Without the dash and daring of
Forrest, Wheeler was just as effective a fighter. Forrest's method was
that of Indian warfare, keeping an eye always on the slightest advantage
afforded, and at great risk oftentimes going to a reckless extent in order
to win. He would often win all by risking all. In his case this proved
effectual, and so signal became his success, and so often, that the enemy
came to regard him as a sort of wizard of battle.

As a West Pointer, Wheeler was far more scientific in his methods and
movements, and more cautious, but dashing as any when occasion required.
His were the tactics of the schools; the tactics of Forrest found apt
expression from him on one occasion when he said that his plan was "to get
thar first with the biggest crowd."

It was Wheeler who captured General Prentiss' division in the battle of
Shiloh, and later with his division of cavalry covered the retreats from
Shiloh, Corinth and Perryville, and accomplishing this with such skill as
to win the commendations of the Confederate generals.

At Murfreesboro he was again conspicuous, turning Rosecrans' flank,
capturing many prisoners and wagons, and destroying gunboats and supplies.
He distinguished himself at Chickamauga, and after the battle had been
fought made his famous raid around Rosecrans' rear, destroying one
thousand two hundred loaded wagons. Wheeler's feats of valor in east
Tennessee and in the retreat from Missionary Ridge and during the eventful
struggle from Chattanooga to Atlanta were marvelous. In his active
strategic movements he captured many wagon trains, thousands of beef
cattle and thwarted Cook's great raid.

Wheeler saved Macon and Augusta during Sherman's march to the sea, and by
hanging on the flanks and rear of Sherman, harassed and embarrassed him
during his invasion of the Carolinas. For the services rendered in Georgia
in the protection of two of its chief cities, he received the personal
commendation of President Davis.

Wheeler's personal presence in the lead of his command was always an
inspiration to his troops. None was braver, and oftentimes he was exposed.
In consequence, he was three times wounded, had sixteen horses shot under
him during the war, seven of his staff officers were killed, and
thirty-two wounded. This brief and rapid summary of his achievements
affords but a bare idea of the strenuousness of his career during the
stormy days of the Civil War. Becoming a planter after the war closed, in
the northern part of this state, he was chosen for many successive years
to represent the eighth district in congress. His activity in
congressional life was as distinguished as it had been on the field. An
indefatigable student of affairs, he rested not till he had probed to the
bottom of all important questions. His statistical information was
wonderful, and when accuracy on all great issues was needed, it became a
proverbial suggestion about the capitol at Washington to "ask Wheeler."
Frequently he could give offhand a long series of statistics, and was
resorted to as an encyclopedia.

When the Spanish-American War began, President McKinley made Wheeler a
major general and sent him to Cuba, where he was placed in command of the
cavalry. His fighting qualities had not become diminished, nor was his
force abated. In the two chief battles, Santiago and El Caney, he was the
most conspicuous figure. Smitten by the Cuban fever, he quit his sick bed
and went on horseback to the front of the line all day at San Juan, and,
though burning with fever, after twelve hours of fierce battle and
exposure, interposed before discouraged officers who were suggesting
retirement from positions already won, and that could be held only by
unflinching bravery, and in the face of every officer indignantly declined
to hear of retreating one foot. General Shafter was in command, and
Wheeler warned him against the proposal to retreat, and by his splendid
and fearless courage of heart and determination, turned the disheartened
ones the other way by infusing into them his own tenacity of purpose. The
victim of a raging fever, he appeared before his troops at one stage
during the hardest fighting at San Juan, and, forgetting, for the moment,
his whereabouts, he said in a brief address to his men: "Now, at them,
boys, and wipe those Yankees off the face of the earth." This was the
occasion of much merriment, but indicated the spirit of the little man of
one hundred and ten pounds who stood ready to lead the charge. Wheeler was
the occasion of the success of the two great battles.

At his own request, he was sent to the Philippines, but there he was
hampered by the authorities in his operations, while opportunities were
given to others. He returned to the United States, was retained with his
commission in the service and assigned to duty near New York, where, after
a few years, he died.


No more picturesque figure was there during the war between the states
than Admiral Raphael Semmes. As far as one could, he supplied the sad
deficiency of the navy to a young and struggling government such as the
southern Confederacy was. Daring in the extreme, Semmes was just the man
to turn to practical advantage the slim facilities at the command of the
infant government of the Confederate States. His was a sort of guerrilla
warfare on the high seas.

For a long period of years, Semmes had been a rover of the deep, but,
after seeing much service, he had retired to private life. As early as
1826 he was appointed a midshipman by President John Quincy Adams. Later
he studied law under his brother at Cumberland, Md., and received his
license to practice in 1834. The first duty assigned him in the navy after
he had undergone an examination, was that of second master of a frigate,
but he was soon promoted to a lieutenancy in the national navy. For
several years he cruised the seas of the globe, and in 1842 removed to a
home on the Perdido River, and seven years later took up his residence in
the city of Mobile.

When the Mexican War began Semmes served under Commodore Conner at Vera
Cruz, where he was in command of a battery of breaching guns. Throughout
the war with Mexico, he served in the American fleet. After the
declaration of peace, he was made inspector of lighthouses on the Gulf of
Mexico, and in 1858 he rose to the position of a commander in the fleet,
and was made secretary of the lighthouse board, with headquarters at

Resigning his position when Alabama seceded from the Union, he repaired to
Montgomery, the first capital of the Confederacy, where he was made
commander of the Confederate navy. With the "Sumter," which Secretary
Mallory had named in honor of the first victory of the war, Semmes began
his "services afloat." The "Sumter" was a slender vessel and one of small
capacity, but it was all that could be practically called the Confederate
navy. But with this light cruiser, Semmes scoured the seas, and within a
few months captured seventeen merchant vessels, after which the small
vessel was disposed of, and Semmes having the "Alabama," a real gunboat
for that time, built in England, and secretly sent to the Azores Islands,
he assumed command of it and began in real earnest an offensive warfare on
the high seas. He wrought rapid havoc with his little gunboat, burning
fifty-seven of the enemy's ships and releasing many others on ransom bond.
There being no ports open for condemning, Semmes burned his captures as
permitted by international law.

Dashing here and there over the deep, the operations of the "Alabama" were
a series of brilliant exploits which attracted the attention of the world.
Now at the Azores, again within two hundred miles of New York, then
appearing unheralded in the regions of the West Indies, he suddenly
appears in the waters of the Gulf off Galveston, Texas, sinks the federal
steamer "Hatteras," capturing and paroling the crew, then dashing away to
the coast of South America, he crosses the Cape of Good Hope, sweeps over
the Indian Ocean, and in his work goes half way round the globe. That
which was being done by the most daring and dashing commanders on land,
was being done by Semmes on the high seas. Swift and tactical, he would
appear at the most unsuspected time and in the most unconjectured quarter,
and spread terror and destruction.

For three years, Semmes roamed the seas of the world uninspired by the
press and people of the South, for his deeds of daring were unknown, by
reason of the blockaded ports of the Confederacy, and yet single-handed
the little gunboat accomplished results that were wonderful. The story of
a phantom ship ploughing the seas and accomplishing amazing feats, could
scarcely be more romantic than was that which was actually done by Semmes
and his little gunboat.

The enemy, discovering what havoc the gunboat under Semmes might
eventually work, had built a better and stronger vessel of more improved
pattern to pit against her. The "Kearsarge" was ready for action early in
1864, and sought the "Alabama" in French waters. Semmes was blockaded at
Cherbourg, where he remained as long as he could in a neutral port, and on
June 19, 1864, he steamed out of that port, aware of the fact that he was
going against a vessel every way his superior. It was known that an
encounter would take place, and the people of Cherbourg sought every
elevated place to witness the naval duel. After some slight maneuvering
the battle began. A hundred-pound shell was fired from the "Alabama" and
was buried in the rudderpost of the "Kearsarge," which rudderpost was
unarmored, and the shell failed to explode. It was well directed, and it
is believed that had it exploded the "Kearsarge" would have been sunk.
Unharmed by the guns of Semmes, the new vessel did speedy and effective
work, and the "Alabama" began to sink. Together with Semmes stood Kell,
his second in command, on the deck of the ill-fated vessel, till it was
ready to sink, when they cast their swords into the sea and leaped
overboard. They, together with the rest of the crew, were taken from the
water by the "Deerhound," an English vessel, and taken to England.

Returning to the South, where he was made rear admiral, Semmes was placed
in command of the James River fleet, which suffered destruction on the
fall of Richmond. Escaping with his command to North Carolina, Semmes
joined the army of General Johnston and his men were formed into a brigade
of artillery. The war was now practically over, and Semmes was paroled at
the capitulation along with all others, but was afterward imprisoned for
several months, and finally pardoned.

After serving as a professor in the Louisiana Military Institute, Admiral
Semmes returned to Mobile and began the practice of law, giving his
attention, for the most part, to constitutional and international law. He
died in Mobile, which city honors his memory, as is attested by a monument
which adorns the most conspicuous spot in the city.

The deeds and valor of Semmes have not yet been recognized. Had the
independence of the South been achieved, he would have been one of her
most honored heroes, but he belonged to a lost cause, and that fact will
serve to dim for a period of years his history, but one day it will be
known in its fullness, and then will it shine among the most resplendent
of the daring heroes of the deep. His career was as brilliant as it was


The heroism of Alabama manhood was never more essentially embodied than it
was in the career and character of the gallant young soldier, John Pelham.
His name was repeatedly mentioned on the lips of the Confederate
chieftains as "the gallant Pelham." By no other name was he so generally
known in the great galaxy of heroes in the Army of Northern Virginia.
Pelham was especially admired by Generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson
and J. E. B. Stuart. A prodigy of valor, he enjoyed the admiration of the
entire army.

The Civil War found Pelham a cadet at West Point. He was then about
twenty-two years old. He was not specially gifted in his textbooks, but
his work as a student was solid and substantial. Just before he would have
received his diploma he quit the military academy, early in 1861, and
started southward. The country throughout was feverish with excitement,
and everyone going toward the South was eyed with suspicion, which made it
difficult to get through the lines. By the employment of stratagem, Pelham
was enabled to slip through the lines at Louisville, professing to be a
secret scout of General Scott.

Making his way to Montgomery in April, 1861, that city then being the
capital of the new Confederacy, Pelham tendered his services to Honorable
Leroy Pope Walker, secretary of war, and was at once given a commission as
first lieutenant of artillery in the regular army, and promptly assigned
to duty at Lynchburg, Va. His efficiency was at once recognized, and he
was transferred to Imboden's battery, at Winchester, where he was assigned
to duty as drillmaster.

Pelham's first taste of war was at the first battle of Manassas, where his
skill was so conspicuous and his courage was so daring as to attract the
attention and admiration of the commanders of the army. This was followed
by a commission to raise a battery of six pieces of horse artillery, which
he proceeded to do during the months immediately following the July in
which the first great battle of the war was fought. His battery was
rapidly gotten into admirable shape, and he was soon ready for effective

The battle of Williamsburg afforded him the first opportunity of engaging
the men of his new command. Pelham was so cool and skillful in the
fiercest parts of the battle that he excited the wonder of his superiors.
With a steadiness unshaken by the thunders of battle, he directed his guns
with unerring skill, and no insignificant share of the glory was his as he
steadfastly held the enemy at bay. Again at Cold Harbor he displayed so
much tactical force combined with accuracy and effectiveness that General
Stonewall Jackson grasped the youthful commander by the hand and told him
of his high appreciation of the service rendered. At Cold Harbor he
engaged three batteries of the enemy with a single Napoleon, and
throughout the entire day stubbornly held his position, dealing
destruction and death to the enemy. Shortly after the battle of Cold
Harbor Pelham's battery engaged a gunboat at the "White House" and
compelled it to withdraw.

By this time, Pelham had gained the reputation of a famous boy fighter,
and his steadiness in battle would have done credit to a seasoned veteran.
His battery became famous, was the subject of general comment in army
circles, and the commanders came to lean on the young officer as one of
the indispensable adjuncts to the entire command. In a crisis, or at a
difficult juncture, young Pelham was thought of as one to meet it.

When the second battle of Manassas opened, Pelham appeared on the field
with his guns, rode to the front as though no danger was imminent, coolly
placed his battery astonishingly near the lines of the enemy, and while
the enemy rained destruction in that quarter, he took time to get well
into position, and at once began with fatal effect on the lines of the
foe. Here he won new laurels, and in the accounts of the battle his name
was mentioned among those of the general commanders. A second time, Pelham
was congratulated by General Stonewall Jackson, who in person thanked him
for his skill and bravery.

At the battle of Sharpsburg Pelham was stationed on the left of the
Confederate forces, where most of the artillery fell under his immediate
command, and the havoc wrought by his guns was fearful. Again at
Shepherdstown there was a repetition of the same spirit which he had
exhibited on all other occasions. Accompanying Stuart on this memorable
march from Aldie to Markham's, Pelham was compelled to fight against
formidable odds along the line of march, and at one point he kept up his
firing till the enemy was within a few paces of his piece, when he
doggedly withdrew only a short distance, secured a better position for his
guns, and resumed his firing in a cool, businesslike way.

It was at Fredricksburg that Pelham was more conspicuous than in any other
battle. With a single gun he went to the base of the heights and opened
the fight with the same indifference with which he would have gone on the
drill ground for a parade. His astonishing intrepidity won the attention
of both armies, and Pelham at once became a common target to the batteries
of the enemy. He was fearfully exposed, and every moment was filled with
extreme hazard, but with an indifference which was sublime he kept up his
firing and made fearful inroads on the enemy. It was here that there was
evoked from General Lee the expression which has become historic.
Observing the brave youth from an eminence, as he kept steadily at his
destructive work while shells were bursting about him, General Lee said:
"It is glorious to see such courage in one so young." Without wavering,
Pelham held his position at the base of the ridge till his ammunition was
gone and he was forced to retire by a peremptory order. Assigned to the
command of the artillery on the right, he was throughout the day in the
thickest of the fray, and won from General Lee the designation: "The
gallant Pelham." For his gallantry on this occasion Pelham was promoted
from a majorship to a lieutenant colonelcy, but was killed before his
commission was confirmed by the Confederate Senate.

On March 17, 1863, he was visiting some friends at night, in Culpeper
County, when the booming of guns at Kelly's Ford fell on his ear. Excusing
himself, he mounted his horse and rode rapidly to the scene of action. His
own command had not yet arrived, but he found a regiment wavering in
confusion. Spurring his horse quickly to the front of the confused mass,
his cool ringing voice restored order, and, placing himself at their head
to lead them to battle, a fragment of shell struck the brave youth in the
head, and he was instantly killed. The news of the death of Pelham
occasioned as much mourning in the army and throughout the Confederacy as
there would have been had one of the great general chieftains fallen. Boy
as he was, his fame had become proverbial. His body was sent home for
burial, and his ashes repose today at Jacksonville, in his native county,


While known chiefly as a soldier because of his brilliant record in the
late war, General Cullen A. Battle was distinguished as a lawyer, orator,
and statesman, as well. The Battles were among the leading families of the
state, and were conspicuous in medicine, in law, in education, in
theology, in authorship, and in war. The family record is a brilliant one,
but our attention is now directed to a single member.

Graduating from the University of Alabama in the bud of manhood, General
Battle entered on the practice of law at the age of twenty-two, after
having read law in the office of the Honorable John Gill Shorter. Soon
after the completion of his studies preparatory to his profession, he
removed to Tuskegee and was diligently devoted to his profession for
almost ten years. His first appearance in public life was when he
canvassed the state in 1856 for Buchanan, being at the time a presidential

An ardent Democrat, he was on the electoral ticket of Breckinridge and
Lane in 1860, at which time he spoke throughout the state in company with
Honorable William L. Yancey. As an orator, he was gifted with a freedom of
utterance and a poetic imagination, while his delivery was one of
gracefulness and magnetism. No one more admired the witchery of his
oratory than Mr. Yancey himself, whom General Battle accompanied on his
tour to the North, and spoke with the South's peerless orator from the
same platform in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis and

At the outbreak of hostilities, in 1861, General Battle raised a company
of volunteers at Tuskegee, which company became a part of the Third
Alabama Regiment, of which Tennent Lomax became the colonel and Cullen A.
Battle the lieutenant colonel. This regiment represented in part the pick
and flower of the young chivalry of the South.

The Third Alabama Regiment was under fire at Drewry's Bluff, but engaged
first fiercely in battle at Seven Pines, where the brave Lomax fell, and
Battle led the regiment through the fight. In the series of battles below
Richmond he was at the head of the gallant Third Alabama, having been
promoted meanwhile to the colonelcy of the regiment. He received a slight
wound at Boonsboro, and at Fredricksburg was seriously injured by his
horse falling on him. Later we find him serving on the staff of General
Rodes in the battle of Chancellorsville. At Gettysburg the whole brigade
was quickly repulsed with great loss, all giving way but the Third Alabama
Regiment, but rallying later and fighting with renewed power. Under
conditions like these Colonel Battle attached his regiment to General
Ramseur's command and rendered conspicuous service in checking the tide of
temporary defeat.

So pleased was General Ewell with the timely gallantry of Colonel Battle
that he promoted him to a brigadiership on the field, which act was soon
after confirmed. To him were assigned, as the component parts of a
brigade, the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Twelfth, and Sixty-first Alabama
regiments. This brigade was the first to encounter General Grant in the
Wilderness, and in his report on the battle of Spottsylvania General Ewell
says: "Battle's brigade was thrown across Hancock's front and there
occurred the hottest fighting of the war." The contest was hand-to-hand
fighting, the opposing forces using the bayonet. At Winchester, Battle's
brigade entered the action just in time to allow Evans' brigade to rally,
while driving the enemy before him. By this time "Battle's brigade" had
become so conspicuous a factor in the Army of Northern Virginia as to be
signally named for its gallantry. At the battle of Cedar Creek, General
Battle led his brigade with singular coolness and courage against the
formidable front of the Eighth Army Corps of the federal forces, which
corps was commanded by General Crook. In this action, General Battle was
struck in the knee, which permanently disabled him so that he could not
resume active duty on the field, but he was rewarded with a commission of
major general, the commission bearing date of his wound, October 19, 1864.

It was in January, 1864, while Lee's army was in winter quarters south of
the Rapidan, that one of those momentous incidents occurred which
sometimes profoundly affect large bodies of men. Three Alabamians of the
Monroe Guards went at night to the headquarters of Captain T. M. Riley,
who was in command of the Fifth Alabama Regiment, and proposed to enlist
for the war. These were Sergeant William A. Dudley, a native of Lowndes
County, and Privates Daniel C. Rankin and his brother, Duncan A. Rankin,
who now resides at Bynum, Texas. This fact was communicated by Captain
Riley on the following day to General Battle, who commanded the brigade,
who promptly appeared in person before each regiment of his brigade and
appealed for the proposed step to be taken. This was the first brigade or
command to re-enlist unconditionally for the war. This act made General
Battle historically conspicuous in the annals of the Civil War, and
elicited from General Robert E. Rodes the following communication:

"Conduct like this in the midst of the hardships we are enduring, and on
the part of men who have fought so many bloody battles, is in the highest
degree creditable to the men and officers of your command. I was always
proud, and now still more so, that I once belonged to your brigade. As
their division commander, and as a citizen of Alabama, I wish to express
my joy and pride, and as a citizen of the Confederacy my gratitude at
their conduct. To have been the leader of this movement in this glorious
army throws a halo of glory around your brigade which your associates in
arms will recognize to envy and which time will never dim."

This communication from Major General Rodes was reinforced by a joint
resolution of thanks by the Confederate Congress, in which resolution the
name of General Battle is conspicuous as the moving and ruling spirit of
this conduct on the part of his brigade.

Resuming the practice of law, at Tuskegee, after the close of
hostilities, General Battle was elected to congress from his district, but
the Republicans denied to him and to others their seats, and he, and
others like him, were disfranchised. He never again appeared in any
official capacity, but lived a life of retirement to the close.

His death occurred at the age of seventy-six at Greensboro, N. C., and he
was buried at Petersburg, Va. The closing utterance of this hero of many
battles was: "All is bright, there's not a cloud in the sky."


There is the flavor of the romantic in the life and career of General
Philip Dale Roddy. That he should have become the conspicuous figure that
he was in the Confederate struggle, was due solely to inherent merit. Born
in the town of Moulton, Lawrence County, in conditions humble if not
obscure, he was an ordinary tailor in that country town, growing to
manhood without an education, and enjoying none, save as he was able to
pick up the scraps of advantage afforded in a community noted for its
intelligence and educational facilities. There was that about him,
however, which won him friends, and when he was twenty-six years old he
was elected the sheriff of Lawrence County. Later he was engaged in
steamboating on the neighboring Tennessee, in which employment the
conflict of 1861 found him.

Raising a company of cavalry for the Confederate service, Roddy became its
captain, and was assigned to duty in connection with the western army. He
rapidly developed into an excellent scout in Tennessee, was daring, shrewd
and tactical, and in the battle of Shiloh, his company was made the escort
of General Bragg. His soldierly qualities and genuine military leadership
and gallantry were so displayed at the battle of Shiloh, that he received
special mention for his bravery. With honors still fresh on him, he
returned to north Alabama and easily raised a regiment of horse, in
prospect of the threatened invasion of that quarter.

He had a theater of operation all his own in the valley of the Tennessee,
and with dexterity he would fall on the enemy here and there, harassing
him at every point and checking and foiling his movements. In the latter
part of the second year of the war Colonel Roddy succeeded in swelling his
small command into a brigade of horse, with which he met an invasion from
Corinth under General Sweeney. He met the enemy at Little Bear Creek,
outwitted Sweeney, and forced him back to Corinth.

Alert to the movements of the federals, who were intent on gaining a solid
footing in north Alabama, Roddy encountered still another raid at
Barton's, and a second time saved that quarter of the state from invasion.
The enemy was forced back, Roddy capturing a part of his artillery and
inflicting on him severe loss in killed and wounded.

He was now master of the Tennessee valley, and as opportunity would
afford, he would cross the river in a rapid raid, make valuable captures,
and replenish his stores. At one time he dashed into the federal camp at
Athens, taking the enemy completely by surprise, burned a quantity of
stores and was off again, the enemy knew not where. Still later, Roddy
fell suddenly on Corinth and secured as a trophy of victory six hundred
horses and mules, and when pursued by Colonel Cornyn to Iuka, he turned on
the enemy and forced him back.

General Roddy became "the swamp fox" of the Tennessee Valley and from
unconjectured quarters would pounce on the enemy, inflict severe blows and
reap trophies. When Colonel Streight entered on his daring raid through
north Alabama, with a force picked for that perilous undertaking and
splendidly equipped, and while he was being pursued by General Forrest
with a force much inferior, the federal General Dodge entered the valley
to cover the movements of General Streight. Acting in conjunction with
Forrest, who was in hot pursuit of Streight, and whose command he
eventually captured, Roddy, with an inferior force, checked Dodge and
contested every inch of advance through Colbert County, thus enabling
Forrest to overtake and bag Streight. By this indirect agency General
Roddy was a sharer in the brilliant victory of Forrest.

The splendid qualities of General Roddy now attracted the attention of the
Confederate government, and, though the theater of his exploits was
contracted, he was thought of in connection with John H. Morgan and Mosby.
General Forrest had great confidence in his ability as a commander, as was
shown on more than one occasion.

For two years Roddy had so stubbornly resisted the movements of the enemy
in the effort to broaden the basis of his occupancy in North Alabama, that
the skillful commander had restricted him to the two points of Huntsville
on the north and Corinth on the south. But Roddy was needed at Dalton for
a season, in connection with the general movements of the army, and thence
with his command he was ordered. This left the Tennessee Valley open to
the enemy, and he entered it and strongly fortified himself at Decatur.
When, later, General Roddy returned to the former scene of his operations
he was unable to dislodge the federals from Decatur, but the rest of the
territory he steadfastly held. When General Hood succeeded General
Johnston in command of the western army, one of his chief reliances was
Roddy, to keep open his communications.

Later in the war, Roddy came into more intimate and vital touch with
Forrest, who was very fond of him, and co-operated with the great
commander in many of his movements, and shared with him in some of his
most brilliant victories. A brief sketch like this affords but an inkling
of the power of generalship developed by General Roddy. He was a military
genius. He was born to command. He was ever alert and active, and had a
fondness for the dash of the field. He loved hard service, and rarely
failed in an enterprise, for, with all his dash and daring, he was
invariably cautious.

No commander in the Confederate army enjoyed more completely the
confidence and devotion of his men. After the close of the war he removed
to New York, embarked in the commission business, and there died.


The heroic services and patriotic devotion of General William Henry Forney
entitle him to recognition on the roster of Alabama worthies. The
contribution of service made by General Forney to the erection of the
greatness of the commonwealth of Alabama is deserving of perpetual

General Forney descended from a family eminent in North Carolina, his
grandfather being General Peter Forney of that state, and a granduncle
being a distinguished member of congress from the same state. Himself a
native of North Carolina, General William H. Forney came to Alabama with
his father's family in 1835, when he was a mere boy of twelve years.
Reared in Calhoun County, he was educated at the state university, from
which he was graduated in 1844, after which he entered on the study of the

When the Mexican War broke out, young Forney enlisted in the First
Regiment of Alabama Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Coffey, in which
command he became a lieutenant, serving as such at the siege of Vera Cruz.
Returning home after the expiration of the term for which he enlisted,
which was one year, he entered again on the study of his law books.
Licensed to practice in 1848, he was the next year chosen a representative
from Calhoun County to the legislature. With this single interruption he
was devoted to his profession till the declaration of hostilities between
the northern and southern states. He entered the army as a captain in the
Tenth Alabama Regiment which was destined to suffer from unusual
casualties from the first conflict in which it was engaged to the close of
the war. The regiment of which he was a member was doing some detached
duty at Drainville, Va., when it became engaged with the enemy, and among
the seriously wounded was Captain Forney, who was shot in the leg, but
within sixty days he was again in command of his company at the front.
Meanwhile he had become the major of his regiment, with which he was
engaged in the battle of Yorktown. At Williamsburg he was again shot,
receiving a very serious wound in the shoulder which disabled his right
arm. Removed to the buildings of William and Mary College, which were
temporarily improvised as a hospital, Major Forney fell into the hands of
the enemy and was detained as a prisoner for four months.

On his return to his command after his imprisonment, he found himself at
the head of his regiment by reason of logical promotion. He had the
misfortune to receive another wound at the battle of Salem Church, though
the injury was not of a serious nature. While leading his regiment at
Gettysburg, he was again most seriously wounded, the arm wounded at
Williamsburg, and even disabled, being now shattered. He fell on the field
from the terrible shock, and while prostrate, he received another wound by
a ball carrying away part of his heel bone. In this precarious condition,
he fell into the hands of the enemy, and was retained a prisoner of war
more than a year. While confined as a prisoner at Fort Delaware, he was
among the fifty officers chosen to be exposed to the Confederate guns on
Morris Island, and was taken near the scene ready for such exposure as a
matter of retaliation, but humane and timely intervention checked the
atrocious design, and in due time Colonel Forney was exchanged. Still a
cripple and hobbling on crutches, he returned to his command in 1864, and
was commissioned a brigadier general. Though seriously hampered by his
maimed condition, he stolidly and heroically bore his misfortune, and led
his brigade in the battles of Hatcher's Run, High Bridge, and Farmville.
He steadfastly and doggedly clung to his command, rendering valiant and
efficient service throughout the entire struggle, and was with his
tattered veterans at Appomattox when General Lee surrendered.

Broken in health and disfigured as the result of the casualties of the
war, he turned his face homeward, and in his permanently disabled
condition reopened his law office for such business as could be found
under the widespread demoralization incident to the close of the Civil
War. The people honored him with a seat in the state senate, but under the
military rule of the period it was denied him. He closed his career at
Jacksonville, Ala.

The state has never had a more loyal citizen, as was illustrated by his
unselfish devotion to its interest, and the army of the Confederacy no
braver soldier. To General Forney patriotism was a passion, as was
abundantly shown by the philosophic fortitude with which he bore his
misfortunes and sufferings. Others may have been more brilliant and
dashing than he, but he was an illustration of the hero who did what he
could, and by dint of actual merit, he rose to prominence in the army and
to equal prominence as a civilian.


Long and notable was the career of Edmund Winston Pettus. Born two years
after the admission of Alabama into the Union, he was practically
identified with all the great periods which came into the history of the
state. Entering life early, he shared in all the epochs from the early
stages of statehood till his death at an advanced age.

In many respects, the career of General Pettus was a remarkable one. Left
an orphan by the death of his father while yet an infant, General Pettus
was reared by a careful and devoted mother. The best possible scholastic
advantages then extant were given him, and he was able to lay the basis of
a long and eventful career. His scholastic course was taken at Clinton
College, Tennessee.

General Pettus was a man of solid qualities, both mentally and physically.
He was six feet high, well proportioned, with broad, massive shoulders, a
large head and a commanding presence. He began the practice of the law at
twenty-eight, and, excepting the interregnum of his career as a soldier of
the Confederacy, continued in the profession until he was elected to the
National Senate from Alabama. In that capacity he was serving when he
died, at the advanced age of eighty-four.

His career as a lawyer began at Gainesville, Sumter County, where he was
first associated with Honorable Turner Reavis. His ability was promptly
recognized, and soon after beginning to practice, he was elected district
solicitor, and re-elected after the expiration of his term, but resigned
in 1851, and removed to Carrollton, Pickens County, where he resumed
private practice.

In 1853 Mr. Pettus was appointed by Governor Collier to fill a vacancy in
the district solicitorship. Characteristically fair and just, he won great
favor and popularity throughout west Alabama, so that when he offered for
the judgeship of the circuit, in 1855, he was easily elected. This
position he surrendered in 1858, in order to remove to Cahaba, then a
thriving center of wealth and intelligence, where he practiced law till
the opening of the war. During the early part of the year 1861, troops
were rapidly raised and organized into regiments, and as rapidly as
possible, sent to the front. In co-operation with Colonel Garratt of Perry
County, Pettus raised a regiment of infantry, which became the Twentieth
Alabama, of which regiment he became the major, and somewhat later was
made the lieutenant colonel of the command.

Assigned to duty in the western army, the regiment did not long remain
inactive. Colonel Pettus won laurels by leading the army of General E.
Kirby Smith in driving the enemy into Covington and Cincinnati. His
regiment was afterward ordered to Mississippi and Colonel Pettus was
engaged in the battles of Port Gibson and Baker's Creek. He was captured
at Port Gibson, but succeeded in effecting his escape and in rejoining his
command. On the occasion of the promotion of Colonel Garratt at Vicksburg
Pettus became the colonel of the regiment.

A notable incident in connection with the siege of Vicksburg gave to
Colonel Pettus fame for leadership, and for unquestioned courage
throughout the army. At an important point in the works the enemy had
captured a valuable redoubt, and General Stephen D. Lee was anxious to
have it retaken. The undertaking was full of peril, and the success of the
undertaking was doubtful. To perform the perilous undertaking, Colonel
Pettus volunteered to the commanding officer his services. Neither his own
regiment nor any of the others were willing to be led into so perilous an
undertaking, but Waul's Texas Legion volunteered in a body to make the
hazardous attack. So formidable was the redoubt that the enemy supposed
himself secure from attack. Taking advantage of this condition, Colonel
Pettus, at the head of the brave Texans, dashed unawares on the enemy,
threw the forces into utter confusion, and retook the redoubt, together
with one hundred prisoners and three flags. Thirty big guns were at once
trained on the point, but Colonel Pettus bore away his spoils without the
loss of a man.

At Vicksburg he was again conspicuous throughout the siege, was captured
when the city fell, but soon exchanged, after which he was made a
brigadier general. His command was engaged in the battle of Missionary
Ridge, and was with Johnston in the series of conflicts which extended
from Dalton to Atlanta and Jonesboro. When Hood was appointed to succeed
Johnston, the brigade of General Pettus was with the army throughout that
disastrous campaign, and no command of the army was more hotly engaged
than was his brigade. It was he who forced the passage of Duck River,
forming his men in squads in the face of a galling fire from the rifle
pits of the enemy, and succeeded in driving him from his entrenchments
with the bayonet.

On the retreat of Hood from Nashville the duty of protecting the rear of
the army was imposed on the brigade of General Pettus. With intrepid and
dogged courage, he held the enemy in check at many points, and perhaps
more than any other, saved the army of Hood from utter destruction. His
last service was in North Carolina, where his command was engaged in the
battles of Kingston and Bentonville, General Pettus being severely wounded
in the latter.

The war being over, General Pettus entered again into the practice of law
in Selma. He shared in the struggles incident to the era of
reconstruction, during the entire period of which he rendered the most
faithful service at great personal sacrifice, declining meanwhile any
public recognition of his services by official position. His long
experience and native skill placed him in the first rank of practice in
the Alabama courts, and often his patience was taxed in the courts
presided over by the incompetent judges who occupied the bench during the
dark period of reconstruction. Among the judges of that time was the
notorious J. Q. Smith, as conspicuous for his lack of knowledge of the law
as he was for his impudence and presumption. On one occasion there was a
ruling of this incompetent official which was so foreign and far-fetched
as to evoke from General Pettus the daring remark that in a practice of
many years, and as a presiding judge himself at one time, he had never
heard of such a ruling. With a complacent and self-satisfactory air the
ignorant man on the bench moved himself with greatly assumed composure and
replied: "Ah! General Pettus, you have a great many things to learn yet!"

Sharing in all the momentous movements in the political history of the
state in the period of rehabilitation following the reconstruction,
General Pettus would not consent to accept public office till 1897, when
he was chosen a United States senator from Alabama. In this capacity he
served till his death, in 1905, he and Senator Morgan dying within a few
months of each other, leaving vacant senatorial representation for Alabama
in the highest branch of congress.


The mention of the name of General Alpheus Baker to those who knew him,
revives the memory of flashing wit, inimitable mimicry of which he was a
master, fascinating conversation, captivating manners and a cavalier
bearing, all of which were characteristic of this gallant soldier. The
educational advantages of General Baker, while not scant, were those
afforded only beneath the parental roof. The father of General Baker was a
native of Massachusetts, removed to the South in the early years of the
nineteenth century and settled in South Carolina. The father was eminent
for his ripeness of scholarship, and his proficiency as a teacher of youth
was of the first order. Schooled under the tutelage of a parent like this,
young Baker was himself fitted to teach by the time he was sixteen years
old. His teaching served to make more compact his education, for, after
all, with the real teacher, the question is which learns the more, the
teacher or pupil?

While still a young man Alpheus Baker had won distinction as an instructor
in the cultured circles of Abbeville Court House, then one of the most
elegant little centers in the South. He enjoyed a similar distinction at
Lumpkin, Ga., whence he came as a teacher across the Chattahoochee River
to Eufaula, in 1848. He was connected with the military school at
Glennville, in Barbour County, then one of the most noted military schools
of that grade in the entire South. Meanwhile he was engaged in the private
study of the law, for the practice of which he applied for license at
Eufaula in 1849, when he had just attained his majority. He brought to his
profession a fund of ripened wisdom supported by a thorough education and,
for one so young, a seasoned experience in the ways of the world. Young in
years, he was in experience old. Bright, vivacious and exceedingly genial
in disposition and bearing, he was not lacking in a sense of
self-assertion and manliness, an indispensable adjunct to success. His
manner was popular and he soon became a favorite in the cultured circles
of the little city of his adoption.

Long given to close and exacting study and the mastery of principles, Mr.
Baker made rapid strides in the profession of his choice. His habits of
promptness, diligence of application, and painstaking care in the
management of cases entrusted to him, won him much general and favorable
comment not only, but procured for him multitudes of clients and a
lucrative practice. In the sixth year of his professional life at the bar,
he returned at one term of the circuit court as many as one hundred and
five cases.

In the year 1836, when the question of slavery had become a fierce one,
and when Kansas, struggling to statehood, became a battle-ground between
the pro-slavery and the anti-slavery forces of the country, Major Buford
of Eufaula, insisted that by swelling the forces in favor of slavery in
the territory now aspiring to statehood, thus making Kansas a slave state,
would avert bloodshed. Acting on this suggestion, Major Buford removed to
Kansas, and Mr. Baker accompanied him. As is well known, the effort
failed, and the Eufaulians returned to await the consummation of "the
irrepressible conflict." In 1861 Mr. Baker was chosen one of the Barbour
County delegates to the state constitutional convention, in which capacity
he was serving when Governor Moore accepted the Eufaula Rifles as a part
of the quota of volunteers called for to resist the encroachments of the
enemy on Pensacola.

Baker was chosen the captain of this company, and, resigning his seat in
the convention, he proceeded with his command to Pensacola, which at that
time promised to be the opening scene of the war. The dashing young
officer had as privates in the ranks of his company such men as James L.
Pugh, E. C. Bullock, S. H. Dent, Sr., Thomas J. Judge, Prof. William
Parker of the University of Alabama, and Prof. Thornton of Howard College,
at Marion.

In the following fall of 1861, Captain Baker became the colonel of a
regiment composed of Alabamians, Mississippians and Tennesseans, and was
ordered to Fort Pillow, which was destined later to become a scene of one
of the tragedies of the Civil War. Early in 1862 the regiment was captured
at Island Number Ten. He remained in prison for a period of five months,
when, on being exchanged, he was made the colonel of the Fifty-fourth
Regiment of Alabama Volunteers and shared in a number of battles, among
which was that at Fort Pemberton and Baker's Creek, in which last named
conflict Colonel Baker received a severe wound. In March, 1864, he was
made a brigadier general, and participated in the series of battles
extending from the northern part of Georgia to Atlanta. His brigade
rendered splendid service in the Carolinas during the declining days of
the war. The war being over, General Baker returned to Eufaula, where he
resided till his death.

He was a man of rare parts. Jovial in disposition, he was a universal
social favorite. A scholar, he found congenial companionship among the
learned. A painter and musician, he was at home with the lovers of art.
But he is chiefly remembered as an orator. On the stump before a popular
audience, in the court room, and on commencement occasions, General Baker
was perfectly at home. Diversified, as we have seen, in his gifts, he was
equally diversified in his oratory. By the witchery of his oratory he
could entertain, amuse, arouse and charm an assemblage. His gift of
elocution was superb, and the play of his imagination in speaking,
rhapsodical. He was a master of assemblies. He would sway the multitude as
does the wind a field of grain. The flash of wit, the power of captivating
imagery, the rouse of passion--all these were his to a pre-eminent degree.
Back of these lay a pleasing presence and charming manner. The people
heard him gladly.


In a recent work, the title of which, "Social Life of Virginia in the
Seventeenth Century," is presented the history of the original families of
repute which emigrated from England to the Old Dominion, among the names
of which appears that of Harrison. From this family have come two
Presidents of the United States, as well as other distinguished citizens
in different states of the Union. General George Paul Harrison of Opelika
is a descendant of that original Virginia stock which was so conspicuous
in laying the foundation stones of the state on the shores of which landed
the first English colony. The name of Harrison is found mentioned in many
of the southern and western states.

General George Paul Harrison, the subject of the present sketch, was born
on the "Montieth Plantation," near Savannah, Ga., March 19, 1841, and
bears his father's name in full. The father was for many years prominent
in Georgia politics, serving many sessions in the legislature of that
state from Chatham County, and during the late war between the states,
commanding a brigade of state troops. After the war, the elder Harrison
was chosen a member of the constitutional convention of Georgia, aiding
materially in framing a constitution adjusted to the new order incident to
the close of the war.

Our present distinguished citizen, General George P. Harrison, was
classically trained in the famous academies for which Savannah was noted
before the period of hostilities, the chief of which schools were the
Monteith and Effingham academies. From those advanced studies in his
native city, he went to the Georgia Military Institute at Marietta, from
which he was graduated in 1861 with the degrees of A.B. and C. E. as the
first honor man of his class. He was scarcely twenty at the outbreak of
the war, and in January, 1861, he shared in the seizure by the state of
Georgia, of Fort Pulaski, which was taken possession of on January 3,
1861. With his course at Marietta still uncompleted, Mr. Harrison enrolled
in the service of the state and was commissioned a second lieutenant in
the First Regiment of Georgia Regulars. In the spring of that eventful
year, while yet war was undeclared, he was detailed by Governor Joseph E.
Brown, Georgia's "war governor," as commandant of the Marietta Military
Institute, where he was enabled to prosecute his course to completion.

Rejoining the First Georgia Regulars, he became its adjutant and went with
the command to Virginia. He participated in the earliest fighting of the
war, was with his regiment at the affair at Langley's farm, and in other
brushes with the enemy. In the winter of '61 and '62 he was commissioned
the colonel of the Fifth Georgia Regiment of State Troops and was assigned
to the protection of the coast of the state for six months, when the
regiment was reorganized for regular service in the Confederate army, with
the retention of Colonel Harrison as its commander, his command now
becoming the Thirty-second Regiment of Georgia Infantry. The regiment was
assigned to service at Charleston, where it remained until near the close
of the struggle. Though still ranking as colonel, Harrison was in command
of a brigade about fifteen months during the years '63-'64. The three
brigade commanders, Generals Hagood, Colquitt and Colonel Harrison,
commanded, by turn, on Morris Island, during the large part of the siege
of Charleston. When the assault was made on Fort Wagner on July 22, 1863,
Colonel Harrison was speedily sent to reinforce the garrison, and arrived
in the nick of time, saved the fort and put to flight the assailants. In a
contest of several days on John's Island he was in complete command of the
Confederate forces, and here he won distinction by his coolness, courage,
and strategic ability. After the final fall of Wagner, Colonel Harrison
was assigned to a separate command, with headquarters at Mount Pleasant, a
part of his command still garrisoning Fort Sumter, over which the
Confederate colors floated till February, 1865.

During a period of 1864, Colonel Harrison was in command at Florence, S.
C., where he built a stockade for twenty-five thousand federal prisoners,
who were so humanely cared for by the young commander, as to excite the
attention of General Sherman, who, when he captured Savannah, ascertained
where the Harrison home was, as the family was now residing in that city,
and issued a general order to his troops respecting its special

In 1864 the brigade which Colonel Harrison commanded was sent, together
with that of General Colquitt's, to turn back the invasion of the federal
General Seymour, in Florida, the object of Seymour being to isolate
Florida from the rest of the Confederacy. Colonel Harrison shared in the
honors won by General Colquitt in the decisive battle at Olustee, and was
at once commissioned a brigadier, being, it is said, the youngest general
in the army. He was not quite twenty-three years old when he received his
commission as a brigadier general. His brigade became a part of Walthall's
division, Stewart's corps.

On the retirement of the Confederates before Sherman into the Carolinas,
the task was assigned to General Harrison of covering the retreat of
Hardee. General Harrison shared in the closing scenes of the drama in the
Carolinas, was twice wounded, and once had a horse killed under him. He
had just passed his twenty-fourth birthday when his command surrendered at
Greensboro, N. C.

While in camp General Harrison applied himself to the study of the law as
his prospective profession, to the practice of which he was admitted soon
after the close of hostilities. Removing to Alabama, he located first at
Auburn, and later removed to Opelika, where he has since resided. Elected
commandant at the Alabama University, he accepted, after first declining
the position, after retiring from which he was made commandant at the
state agricultural college, as it was then called, at Auburn. After a year
of service there he abandoned all else and devoted himself to his

His service for the public was soon in demand, and in 1875 he was chosen a
member of the constitutional convention of Alabama, serving in the same
capacity, in his adopted state, in which his honored father was serving at
the same time in Georgia. Then followed his election to the state senate,
in 1880, he becoming the president of that body in '82, serving two years.
In '92 he was chosen a delegate to the national Democratic convention, and
in '94 was chosen to fill the unexpired term in congress of the Honorable
W. C. Oates, who had become governor, the district indicating at the same
time his choice to succeed himself two years later.

As a distinguished Mason, General Harrison is the chairman of the
committee on Masonic jurisprudence of the grand lodge of Alabama. The
United Confederate Veterans have shown their appreciation of General
Harrison by choosing him in twelve successive elections as major general
of the Alabama division. In 1912 he was chosen, at Macon, Ga., lieutenant
general of the army of Tennessee department, which position he now holds.
A man now of seventy-two, he resides at Opelika, as the chief counsel of
the Western of Alabama Railroad.


For solid worth, substantial and enduring results, and patriotic service,
no Alabamian enrolled among the worthies of the state excelled General
Charles Miller Shelley. He was built for service, and was endowed with an
energy practically boundless and unconquerable. Denied the boon of an
education, excepting to a limited degree, he appropriated readily examples
and suggestions, built them into practical force, which he wielded with
apt execution as a soldier, citizen, and patriot. The statement of these
qualities furnishes an outline of the character of this worthy citizen and
brave soldier.

Seized by the enthusiasm which possessed so many of the Alabama youth when
first the cloud of war flecked the national horizon, Mr. Shelley joined
himself to a military company which went of its own will to Fort Morgan
before the war had actually begun. The forts and ports along the seaboard
of the South were supposed, at that time, to afford the first theater of
the coming conflict. These volunteers eventually returned home, a more
thorough organization was effected, and in the company formed at
Talladega, Shelley became the captain. This company was one of the
original Fifth Alabama Regiment, of which the brilliant Rodes was the
first colonel.

For a period Captain Shelley served at Pensacola, till the regiment was
ordered to Virginia. As a part of Ewell's brigade the regiment was in
close proximity to Manassas Junction, and had a sharp brush with the
enemy at Farr's Cross Road, but did not share in the first battle of

At the close of the first term of service of enlistment, Captain Shelley
resigned as captain, returned to Alabama and raised another regiment, of
which he became the colonel. This was the Thirtieth Regiment of Alabama
Volunteers, which regiment was assigned to duty in the western army, where
it won great distinction for its fighting qualities. In the memorable
campaign of 1862, in Tennessee and Kentucky, Colonel Shelley's regiment
shared throughout. Subsequently the regiment was transferred to
Mississippi and attached to Tracey's brigade, which saw hard service at
Port Gibson. The first hard fight on the field in which the Thirtieth
Alabama Regiment shared was at Baker's Creek, or Champion Hills, where
Colonel Shelley received special mention at the hands of General Stephen
D. Lee, the hero of that battle. Later still, the regiment was at
Vicksburg and shared in the result of that ill-fated city.

In the series of conflicts in northern Georgia and in all the fighting
between that region and Atlanta, and on to Jonesboro, the Thirtieth
Alabama Regiment was conspicuous. At Jonesboro, Ga., Colonel Shelley was
placed in command of a brigade, which position he held for a few weeks,
when he was placed at the head of Cantey's brigade and given a commission
as a brigadier. He was with Hood on the return march into Tennessee, and
in the ill-starred battle of Franklin his brigade was a heavy sufferer,
having lost six hundred and seventy men out of a total of eleven hundred
whom he led into the fight. By an adroit movement at Franklin, General
Shelley saved from capture the entire corps of General Stewart, for which
skill and gallantry he received special mention at the hands of General
Hood. It is a matter of record that but for the generalship shown by
Shelley at Franklin, that battle would have been far more disastrous in
its results. He came out of the fight with little more than four hundred
men in his brigade, half of which number was captured at Nashville.

After these convulsions in Tennessee, contemporaneous with the onward
march of Sherman to the sea, thence into North Carolina, where General
Joseph E. Johnston was restored to his command, now a fragment of its
former self, General Shelley was assigned to duty there. All the twelve
Alabama regiments belonging to the army were thrown together into one
brigade in North Carolina, and placed under the command of General
Shelley. The surrender of Johnston's army resulted in the return of
General Shelley to Selma as a paroled soldier.

In the resistance against the encroachments of a dominant force during the
direful days of reconstruction, no man in Alabama rendered more patriotic
service than Charles M. Shelley. At different times, during the succeeding
years, General Shelley was made the campaign manager of the Democratic
party in the state, contending often against subtle odds, and to his
resourcefulness of leadership was the party largely indebted in its
gradual emergence from the throes with which it was afflicted for years.
During the closing years of his life General Shelley became one of the
most noted leaders of the Democratic party in Alabama. During the first
administration of Mr. Cleveland, he served by presidential appointment as
the third auditor of the United States treasury. He was a candidate for
the governorship in the campaign which resulted in the election of Hon.
William J. Samford. General Shelley died in Birmingham on January 20,

In a brief review like this, scant justice to the worth of so eminent a
man as General Shelley was, both as a soldier and a citizen, is given.
Much of his service is hastily passed over, and if at all alluded to, it
is in a most generalized manner. The salient facts of his eventful life
are barely more than touched, but even from so short a recital of his
services, certain unquestioned facts fix his fame.

General Shelley was an intrepid soldier whose pluck in the face of danger
was unusual. So far as opportunity was afforded for the exercise of
independent action in the tactics of war, he displayed rare qualities of
skill as a commander. He met all exigencies without shrinking, and
invariably bore his part with the heroism of the genuine soldier that he
was. Nor was he less inclined to assume the obligations imposed in later
struggles for Democratic supremacy in Alabama. Not a few who rose to
political distinction in the state were indebted to the means afforded by
the diligent work of General Shelley. The service rendered by him is a
part of the state's history during the last half century. In certain
instances where junctures arose, it is doubtful that any other could have
met them with equal efficiency. No strained eulogism is needed to tell the
story of his valiant service--the unvarnished facts are sufficient.
Energy, diligence, resourcefulness, courage and a perennial optimism were
the qualities displayed by General Shelley in the long service rendered by
him to the state of Alabama.


General Clayton served the state in a variety of capacities. In the
legislature, he was one of its most alert and active members as chairman
of one of the important committees; as a Confederate commander, he was
courageous and skillful; as a circuit judge, he was ranked among the
ablest in the state, and as president of the state university he rendered
his last service with signal satisfaction.

He was educated at Emory and Henry College, from which institution he was
graduated in 1848, and for distinguished scholarship bore away from the
college the Robertson Prize Medal. He lost no time after the completion of
his collegiate course, for a year later he was admitted to the bar, and
entered at once on a successful and lucrative practice. The first eight
years of his life were rigidly devoted to the law, and though recognized
as one of the ablest of the young lawyers of the state, and one of the
most popular, he could not be persuaded to enter on public life.

In 1857, however, he was chosen without opposition to be a representative
to the legislature from Barbour County, and again in 1859 he was elected.
Mr. Clayton was chairman of the committee on the military in 1861, when
Governor Moore called for twelve months' volunteers to go to Pensacola,
which was considered to be to the enemy a vulnerable point. At that time,
Mr. Clayton was the colonel of the Third regiment of the Alabama volunteer
corps, and in response to the appeal of Governor Moore, the services of
this regiment were tendered. But as only two regiments were called for,
Governor Moore's desire was that they should come from different parts of
the state. However, two companies of Colonel Clayton's regiment were
accepted and mustered into service.

Pressure was brought to bear on Colonel Clayton to remain in the
legislature, but he positively declined to remain, and declared his
purpose to enter the prospective army of the Confederacy. Finding that the
governor would not accept the entire regiment of which he was the
commander, he resigned his seat in the legislature and took his place in
the ranks of one of the companies as a private. Thereupon the governor
gave him a commission as aide-de-camp and sent him to Pensacola to receive
the Alabama companies as they should arrive, and organize them into
regiments. Colonel Clayton had the distinction of organizing the first
regiment that was organized for the Confederate service. Of this regiment
he was chosen the colonel. The regiment was composed of the pick of young
Alabamians, not a few of whom, though already distinguished citizens, were
serving in the ranks as privates. Among these may be named Hons. John
Cochran, James L. Pugh and E. C. Bullock. Hailing from the same city were
Colonel Clayton and these eminent citizens serving in the ranks as
privates. It reflected as great honor on these privates, as it did on the
young colonel, that while representing the same circle of society at home,
in their respective relations as soldiers, the one a colonel and the
others privates, there was exercised, on the other hand, the rigid
discipline of the officer, and on the other, the prompt obedience of the
soldier in the ranks.

Indeed, these prominent citizens were models of obedience to discipline,
and sought to render such prompt service as would be exemplary to the men
of lesser note in the ranks. They shared the fate of the commonest soldier
in the ranks, whether it was with respect to guard duty, throwing up
fortifications, or mounting cannon.

Months went past, and the theatre of war shifted to Virginia and Kentucky.
While the brave Alabamians remained inactive at Pensacola, decisive
battles were being fought in the regions already named. They chafed under
enforced retirement, and on the expiration of the term of service of the
regiment, Colonel Clayton was urged to reorganize it, but preferring the
active service of the field to coast duty, he returned home, organized the
Thirty-ninth Alabama regiment, and offered it to the Confederacy. Assigned
to duty in the army under General Bragg, Colonel Clayton led his troops
into the battle of Murfreesboro, where he received a wound. After a leave
of thirty days, he returned to his command, though his wound was yet
unhealed, and was surprised by the receipt of his commission as a
brigadier general.

His command became noted in the western army for its fighting qualities,
and "Clayton's Brigade" was the synonym of dash and courage in all the
active campaigns of the western army, and in its long series of conflicts,
this intrepid brigade was engaged. After the battle of New Hope Church, in
which engagement General Clayton was again wounded, he was made a major
general, which commission he held till the surrender of Johnston in North
Carolina. In addition to the wound received at Murfreesboro, he was
knocked from his horse by a grapeshot at Chickamauga, and at Jonesboro he
had three horses either killed or disabled under him.

After his return home at the close of hostilities, General Clayton was
elected judge of the eighth judicial circuit, in which position he served
till his removal under the reconstruction regime. After that time, he
devoted himself to law and to planting, in both of which he was

After an unsuccessful candidacy for the governorship, General Clayton
later became the president of the State University, in which capacity he
served to the close of his life.

General Clayton was an excellent type of the old-time Southern gentleman.
Free and cordial in intercourse with friends, hospitable, and jovial, he
was deservedly one of the most popular citizens of the state, as well as
one of the most prominent. He left a record cherished alike by the
soldiers of his old command, by the students of the university, and by the
people of a great state.


During his career, Col. James F. Dowdell occupied a number of important
and responsible positions. He became a citizen of Alabama at the age of
twenty-eight, when he removed from Georgia to East Alabama and entered on
the practice of law. His parents were Virginians, his mother being a
remote relative of Henry Clay.

Colonel Dowdell was favored by superior conditions in the outset of life,
being a graduate from Randolph-Macon College, which has long ranked as one
of the best in the South. He was also favored by superior legal training,
having studied law under Gen. Hugh Haralson, of LaGrange, Ga.

The gifts and acquirements of Colonel Dowdell were rather unusual. While
thoroughly independent in thought, he was modest in his disposition.
Unobtrusive, he was yet firm in moral steadiness. Drawn within the circle
of enticement by reason of a varied public life, he maintained a character
unsmirched, and was honored for his uncompromising preservation of virtue.
In this respect, the tenor of his life was uniform. In public and in
private, always, he was the same. Nothing fell from his lips that the most
refined lady might not hear. Yet in intellectual combat on the hustings,
or on the floor of congress, where mind clashed again mind, he was always
an antagonist to be accounted with. While in the rush and onset of debate,
he never failed to stop at the boundary of propriety. There was an
instinctive halt and shrinkage in the presence of wrong. Nothing could
betray him beyond.

On the entrance of Colonel Dowdell into public life, which was but a few
years after his removal to the state, he was brought into sharp contact
with several of the intellectual giants for which that period of the
state's history was noted. Five years after becoming a citizen of Alabama,
he offered for the legislature, and though defeated in his first canvass,
he succeeded in so impressing the people with his forcefulness, that the
following year he was chosen as an elector on the Pierce ticket. This
afforded an opportunity for the deepening of the impression on the public,
and a year later he was rewarded by his adopted district with a seat in
the national congress. By a political move some time later, however, he
was placed at a disadvantage. The congressional districts of the state
having been reorganized in 1853, he was thrown into the district in which
Montgomery was. But reliant on the public for a due recognition of his
record, he did not hesitate to offer for re-election in opposition to Hon.
Thomas H. Watts, a competitor of gigantic power, skilled in debate, and
perfectly familiar with current questions. This was the period when
know-nothingism was rampant, and as a political fad, novel and striking,
gave to its adherents the advantage of the excitement which it produced.
The contest with Mr. Watts was a notable one, the district was agitated as
never before by the contesting aspirants, and Mr. Dowdell won by a narrow
majority. He regarded this as one of the most decisive victories of his

Returning to congress for a second term in 1855, he was again opposed at
the end of the next two years, in 1857, by Col. Thomas J. Judge, then in
the prime of his intellectual vigor. Again, the greatest forces of Colonel
Dowdell were summoned into exercise, again was conducted a notable
campaign, and again Colonel Dowdell won. Never violent, and yet never
shrinking from an onset in a contest, he had a manner of meeting it, which
while it showed he was unafraid, he was thoroughly intent on doing right
in each instance, and disdained to seize the slightest advantage, unless
it was compatible with the code of right. This did not fail to challenge
the attention of the crowds, and elicited not a little popular acclaim.

The reputation gained in two campaigns, the conditions of both of which
made them unusually noteworthy, served to increase the grip of Colonel
Dowdell at Washington, and profuse were the congratulations of his peers,
when fresh from the combat, he returned to resume his duties at the
national capital. At home he came to be regarded as invincible, in which
opinion some of the lions of the state capital shared. These two contests
fixed for all time his reputation in Alabama. The peculiar cast of his
ability came to be recognized, he was honored for his sense of absolute
fairness, and trusted for his integrity. He had opened the door of
opportunity which no man could shut.

After having served in congress for three consecutive terms, Colonel
Dowdell voluntarily withdrew, and retired to private life for somewhat
more than a year. The rumblings of approaching war were already in the
air, the result of which no thoughtful man of the time could for a moment
doubt. War was inevitable. It was a time which called for all the ablest.

From his retirement, Colonel Dowdell was summoned to become a delegate to
the secession convention of Alabama. The war followed, and Colonel Dowdell
raised a regiment of volunteers, the Thirty-seventh Alabama, which
regiment was assigned to duty in the west, under Gen. Albert Sidney
Johnson. At Corinth, Colonel Dowdell was distinguished by coolness and
courage at the head of his command. Some time later, his frail
constitution gave way under the exposure and hardship of the camp and
march, and he was forced to retire. Nor was this step voluntarily taken,
because he declined to withdraw because of the detriment of the example,
and for other reasons, and did so only under orders from a medical board.
He was unable to re-enter the army, and addressed himself to his private
affairs, aiding in every way possible in the promotion of the cause.

After the war, Colonel Dowdell became the president of the East Alabama
College, at Auburn, then a school under the auspices of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South. This school subsequently became the Alabama
Polytechnic Institute, which it now is. In this new position, Colonel
Dowdell served for a number of years with signal ability. While never a
pastor, he was a preacher, and frequently served in the pulpit as a
minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Distinguished in all
things that he assumed, or in all positions to which he was called,
Colonel Dowdell was most distinguished for his incorruptible character and
piety of life. He died in 1871, died as he had lived--a man of piety, an
ornament to public life, in private life a fearless citizen, an honor to
his church, and one of the first citizens of the state.


Of the medical profession of Alabama, the man who attained the greatest
distinction during the Civil War, was Dr. LaFayette Guild, of Tuscaloosa.
He was of a family distinguished in medicine, his father, Dr. James Guild,
being one of the most skillful physicians in the country. His operations
in surgery ranked with those of Dr. Valentine Mott, of New York.

Dr. LaFayette Guild graduated with the highest degree conferred by the
University of Alabama, at the age of twenty. His mental, social and
scholastic equipments were of the highest quality, for at that period,
none were more highly favored than he. The advantages of a cultured
Christian home, the station of which was in the best Southern society, and
the stimulus of a literary center, were his, to all of which advantages
were added his own energy, application, and diligence.

At the period of his graduation from the University of Alabama, the one
great school of medicine was recognized to be the Jefferson Medical
College, of Philadelphia. After a three years' course he was graduated
from that famous institution. He was a great favorite at the medical
college, admired as much for his culture and gentleness of disposition, as
for the scholastic rank that he held. The tenderness of his sympathy was
shown by the fact that the first time he witnessed the dissection of a
human cadaver, he fainted, while another side of his character was shown,
when at one time he saved the life of a fellow student by sucking the
poison from an accidental wound inflicted while operating. These
sufficiently reveal the type of the man that he was.

There was not wanting a strain of the chivalrous dash in Dr. Guild, who,
while he loved his profession, was not content to follow the usual humdrum
of the physician's life, and consequently chose to adopt the military
phase of the profession. He was accordingly appointed an assistant surgeon
in the regular army at the age of twenty-four, and assigned to duty, in
1849, at Key West, Florida.

In this semi-tropical region, he was as enthusiastic in his scientific
research as he had ever been. From Florida he was transferred to
Governor's Island, off Boston, where he was able to bring into requisition
the results of his researches in Southern Florida. His valuable service
was shown in the prevention of yellow fever from infected ships from the
tropics. While stationed at Governor's Island, Dr. Guild wrote a treatise
on yellow fever, which was published by the government. He was the first
to insist stoutly that yellow fever is infectious, though not contagious,
a theory then new, but now accepted.

Nothing relative to the health of the army escaped his trained eye. About
the time about which we are now writing, a meat biscuit which was issued
to the army, became quite popular, but he condemned it as unhealthful, and
was instrumental in inducing its discontinuance.

From Boston, Dr. Guild was assigned to duty on the Pacific Coast, where
Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston commanded the Pacific Coast division of the
regular army. Dr. Guild's official duties were such as to enable him to
witness many scenes of Indian warfare in the Far West. It was while he was
serving on the Pacific Coast that the rupture came between the North and
the South. Promptly sacrificing his accumulated means, and the popular and
lucrative position which he had gained in the army, he resigned, turned
his face southward, visited his old home in Tuscaloosa, and repaired to
Richmond, where in July, 1861, he was appointed a surgeon in the
Confederate army. The following month, he was sent by the Confederate
government on a tour of inspection of the hospitals throughout the South.

On his return to Richmond, Dr. Guild was assigned to duty at the front,
where his relations with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston became the most intimate,
and the families of both constituted a charming circle of army society.
Dr. Guild was among many others who insisted that General Johnston was
among the greatest strategists of either army.

When General Johnston was wounded at Seven Pines, and General Lee took
command, one of the first inquiries of General Lee was: "Where is Dr.
Guild? Tell him to report to me at once." It was on the battle field of
Seven Pines that Dr. Guild was made medical director and chief surgeon of
the army of Northern Virginia, which position he held to the close of the
war. This position placed him on General Lee's staff, and from that time
till the close of the long and bloody tragedy, Dr. Guild sustained the
closest personal relationship with the greatest southern chieftain.

When General Lee invaded Pennsylvania, he was one day riding through a
town at the head of his troops, the people of which town gave every
demonstration of hostility to the Confederates. From the windows and
balconies of the homes, the women waved flags and accompanied their
demonstrations with hissing and jeering. From all this the delicate and
sensitive nature of Lee shrank, and, turning to one of his aides, he said:
"Bring Drs. Guild and Breckenridge to the front." Two more graceful and
commanding personages were not in the army, and when they came galloping
up, General Lee quietly placed himself between them, and the three rode
abreast. With characteristic modesty, General Lee later explained his
reason for summoning the two physicians to the front, by saying he felt
sure "the ladies would not ridicule two such handsome men and splendid
horsemen as the two distinguished physicians."

The war being over, Dr. Guild went to Mobile, and though still practically
a young man, he was wrecked in health by the strain and exposure incident
to the long war. His energetic spirit strove with his disabled body, and
he entertained the hope that by carefully husbanding his remaining
strength he might be able to recuperate. His plan was to begin life over
again by entering on private practice in the Gulf city. But his valuable
services were soon summoned to another sphere, for he was made quarantine
inspector of Mobile during a scourge of yellow fever, and by his skill and
diligence stayed its ravages. In 1869, Dr. Guild removed to San Francisco
with the hope of resuscitation in an equable climate, but he did not long
survive his removal, for on July 4, 1870, he died of rheumatism of the
heart in the little town of Marysville, California.


One act is sufficient to distinguish a man if it be of sufficient merit
and dimension. It is not only those who are eminent leaders in the field
or forum that deserve recognition and encomium at the hands of a grateful
people, but others as well, provided that their lives justify it.

Quite out of the current of distinction as that element is recognized,
even in the eddies of life, are wrought deeds and lived lives as worthy of
applause as that provoked by the flashing sword or the eloquent lip. Nor
is it necessary that one be classed among the humble, because of that done
aside of the pre-eminent side of life.

In this connection, the name of Major Miles W. Abernethy deserves to be
presented among those who wrought in contribution to the erection of our
commonwealth. A citizen of Calhoun County, he was a native of North
Carolina, where he was born on July 22, 1807. He was thirty-two years old
when he came from Lincoln County, that of his birth in the Old North
State, and settled in Alabama. Choosing as his home Jacksonville, where he
located as a merchant in 1839, he at once became an interested sharer in
the stirring times of that period. Alabama had now come to giant statehood
through the throes of initial struggle, and had, through her distinguished
sons, won an enviable place in the councils of the nation. Besides, the
internal improvement and vastness of the resources of the state had given
it a place among the commercial factors of the nation.

The reputation of the state reaching Major Abernethy, served to lure him
thither in the maturity of his years, and he quietly and yet actively
entered on his career as a merchant at Jacksonville. Fixed in character,
matured in judgment, affable of manner, cultured, and possessed of a
breadth of vision much above the ordinary, he was not long in winning his
way to the confidence and esteem of the people among whom he settled.
Three years after reaching the state, he was chosen from the county, then
called Benton, to represent his constituency in the lower branch of the
state legislature, where he served with quiet and efficient ability for a
period of years.

The monotonous routine of legislative work did not at first impress him,
and he retired after the expiration of a term or two, and resumed
merchandising and planting. However, one of his type of intelligence and
of general interest, could not be indifferent to the current affairs of a
state forging forward in development, and now a genuine factor in affairs

In 1885 he was again summoned to public life by being chosen to represent
his district in the state senate. His previous experience and intervening
and undiminished interest in public matters, had afforded him an increased
stock of qualification, and he returned to the functions of publicity with
greater force than before. Cautious, prudent, conservative and regarding
the public good with a disinterestedness wholly devoid of future
consideration of self, the counsel of Major Abernethy was in constant
demand concerning the issues pending before the general assembly.

An ardent Democrat, and a disciple of the Calhoun school, Major Abernethy
was intent on the change of the name of the county of his residence from
that of Benton, to that of Calhoun, which name it now bears. He was one of
the committee of three appointed by the legislature to receive the new
capitol building at Montgomery, when the location was changed from

But the crowning act in the life and career of Major Abernethy, and one
that gives to him a permanent place on the roster of the great and useful
among Alabamians, was his creation of the idea of founding the deaf and
dumb asylum at Talladega. Having conceived the plan of this institution
for the unfortunate, Major Abernethy put behind it his force and skill,
and rested not till it was crowned with consummation.

Had Major Abernethy never done anything more, even though he had emerged
from obscurity, and had succeeded as he did in this undertaking of
humanitarian achievement, his name would be worthy of immortal embalmment
in the historic records of Alabama. With clearness of business judgment,
coupled with a heart of interest and of sympathy for the unfortunate, this
man, who was as gentle in sentiment as he was vigorous in great execution,
grappled with a large undertaking, and halted not till it wore the
capstone of completion. That institution stands, as it has stood for a
half century or more, not alone as a relief of one of the most
unfortunate classes of humanity, but as a monument to Major Miles W.

But his record does not end here. He was fifty-five years old when the war
between the states began, and because of a crippled hand, he could not
enter the ranks of the regular service, yet he offered his service to the
Confederate government, to render what aid he might in a struggling cause.
He was commissioned a major, and assigned to duty in the town of his
residence. His capacious and splendid home in Jacksonville became a noted
resort of rest and of recuperation to the sick and wounded of the southern
armies, every man of which classes, no matter what his condition, whether
cultured or ignorant, met a greeting of cordiality at the thresh-hold of
the Abernethy mansion. If he wore a gray uniform, he bore the credentials
of worth to the inmates of that hospitable home. Here he was tenderly
cared for till able to resume his place in the ranks, and with a blessing
from the princely proprietor, he would take his leave. Beyond this still
his beneficence extended. The families of the absent veterans were sought
out, far and near, and cared for by this prince of benefactors. All this
was done with an affableness and a tenderness so unostentatious, that
frequently only the recipients of his bounties and the inmates of his home
were aware of it.

Thus lived and wrought this noble citizen of Alabama, and this is the
imperfect tribute to his worthy life and noble deeds.


No series of sketches of Alabama's great men would be complete with the
omission of the name of Gov. George Smith Houston. His services were
distinguished, and were rendered at a time when they could not have been
more prized. This applies with special force to his services as governor.
Endowed with peculiar powers which fitted him for a crisis, these powers
were brought into active requisition during his incumbency of the
gubernatorial chair of the state.

Alabama was confronted by a dire crisis, and a man of many-sidedness and
unique force was needed to meet it. The state had been gutted of its means
and facilities of operation; the treasury was empty; the people
demoralized, and the credit of the state sadly impaired. To fail under
conditions like these, would have been fatal, and yet the lowest point of
depression had been reached. The situation called for exalted and peculiar
virtues. Robust manliness, rugged pluck which stood not on the order of
its going, ability not only to compass a situation, but to grapple with
it, a force of statesmanlike constructiveness, and a spirit which would
not quail before colossal difficulties--all these were needed to revive a
suspended interest, which is the most difficult of all tasks.

To enumerate these is to describe Gov. George S. Houston. He was gifted
with a power to sway men, had an eye to details the most minute, business
acumen, familiarity with public affairs, patience to labor and to wait,
and not least of all, physical endurance. He was an extraordinary man, and
no governor has had more odds to encounter, nor has one ever met his
obligation with more fidelity. With the state palsied in every pulse by
misrule and wanton waste, he seized the reins, and from the outset guided
the affairs of the commonwealth with the skill of a trained statesman.

The slogan of the time was retrenchment and reform. This alliterative
legend was the watchword of the incoming administration. He met the issue
like a combatant in the arena. He came not with empty demonstrations. No
profuse promises filled the air. It was not promise that was needed, but
performance. The tremendous task was assumed, and its execution has made
the name of Houston forever famous in the chronicles of Alabama. Whatever
others may have done, none have done more for Alabama than George S.
Houston. Pre-eminent as his greatness was, Mr. Houston was not unschooled
in the affairs of the public when he was called to the chair of the
governorship, in 1874. He had seen much of public life. Beginning life as
a lawyer in 1831, he was made a legislator the next year, then came a
career as a solicitor in his district, and within ten years after entering
on public life he was sent to congress. His career in congress was a
prolonged and notable one. With one slight intermission he was retained in
congress for eighteen years, extending from 1841 to 1859. It was generally
conceded in his district that he was an invincible candidate, for one
after another of some of the most prominent men of the district were
defeated by him, and some of them more than once.

His congressional career was distinguished by his positions as chairman of
military affairs, chairman of the ways and means committee, and chairman
of the judiciary. If this distinction has been exceeded by any one, the
instance is not recalled. Certainly up to that time it had never been true
of any other, and was a matter of comment at the time.

Politically, Mr. Houston was a Unionist and, therefore, opposed to the
war. In this he was not unlike many others. But Unionist as he was, he
suffered along with the others from the disastrous invasion to which North
Alabama was subjected, declining with characteristic firmness to take the
oath of allegiance to the United States government. Though honored by the
people of Alabama with an election to the senate in 1865, his seat was
denied him at Washington and he practiced law in Athens till 1874, when he
was triumphantly elected governor of the state, under the conditions
already described. He made a heroic canvass of the state, and greatly
impressed the people everywhere with his peculiar fitness for the position
for which he had been nominated.

It is related that on one occasion, when Mr. Houston was to speak in a new
town in the interior, the people of the town and of the region round about
were all agog over the disposal of the great candidate on his arrival.
There was but one painted dwelling in the town, and that belonged to a
well-to-do widow, who took it in a complimentary way that her home should
be selected for the entertainment of the distinguished visitor. The day of
the speaking arrived, and so did the speaker. The town was filled with
country folk, drawn together to see and hear the man about which so much
was being said. On his arrival, Mr. Houston was taken to "the white
house," where a sumptuous dinner awaited him. He was assigned to one end
of the table, while the hostess occupied the other, no others being
present except the waiters. Mr. Houston was invited with genuine country
hospitality by the good woman, "Now, just help yourself, you see what's
before you." Mr. Houston was an excellent converses and while keeping up a
fusillade of conversation, he nibbled at the food, but really ate but
little. Though hungry, and not without ample gastronomical powers, Mr.
Houston ate quite moderately. He soon finished the meal, and in wonder
that her guest should prize her elaborate spread so lightly, the
hospitable hostess rather chided him with, "Why, you don't eat anything. I
got you the best dinner I could, and here it is, you don't eat." With
characteristic courtliness, Mr. Houston said, "Madame, should I follow the
dictates of my inclination, I should eat everything you have on your
table. I have never tasted food that was better, and it requires restraint
for me not to indulge to the fullest. But do you see that big crowd out
yonder. I have to speak at once, and be away to another appointment for
tonight. Should I eat as I am tempted, I should be too full for
utterance." "Well, now," said the good woman, "that's what I've often
hearn 'em say, an empty barrel sounds the loudest." Governor Houston used
to relate this incident with great gusto.

Many were the anecdotes related of him as the retrenchment and reform
governor of the state. One of these illustrates the rigid management of
affairs, under Governor Houston. It was reported to him that the wells for
the supply of water on the capitol grounds were in an unsavory condition
and needed to be rid of their unwholesome water, each of which contained a
great deal. He caused it to be known that he was seeking one who would do
the work at the lowest figure of clearing out the wells. The cheapest
offer made was $7. The economic genius cudgelled his brain a bit, and the
happy thought occurred to him of inviting the fire companies of the city
to enter a contest on the capitol grounds, and so the invitation was
extended to them to come to the capitol, and in the presence of the
governor test their rival ability in seeking to throw the water highest on
the dome.

The day was appointed, due notice of the contest given, and a crowd
assembled to witness the proceedings. The full wells were placed at their
disposal, and streams and jets of water played toward the summit of the
dome. When it was over the governor, as an interested spectator, appeared
before the successful contestant, made a speech on the value of fire
companies, lauded the merits of the company that threw the water highest,
and amid yells, the crowd dispersed. The wells were cleansed, the fire
companies pleased, and $7 saved to the treasury of Alabama in vindication
of a policy of retrenchment and reform. His policy arrested ruin in
Alabama, restored confidence, re-established the credit of the state, and
started it on a fresh career of prosperity.

Governor Houston was honored by an election to the United States senate,
but died before he could enter on his duties, his death occurring at
Athens on January 17, 1879.


Among the many distinguished sons of Alabama, none is held in higher or
more deserving esteem, than the late Senator John Tyler Morgan. He was a
man eminent of gifts, of the highest culture, and of reigning ability.
Patriot, statesman, jurist, orator, he was all of these in a pre-eminent
sense, the recognition of which was shown in many instances, and through a
long succession of years. The record of no man produced by the state is
more interwoven into Alabama history than is that of this distinguished
citizen. Nor is his fame based on other than on superior merit.

Not less distinguished is he in the annals of the nation. For a long
period of years, Mr. Morgan was retained in the National Senate, a tower
of strength, the acknowledged leader of southern statesmanship, the equal
of any in the country. A great constitutional lawyer, he stood the chief
exponent and champion of the constitution in the senate of the United

An arduous and industrious worker, his labors in behalf of Alabama were
unremitting during a long term of years. The sturdy Welsh blood in his
veins gave to him a steadfastness of poise, together with an immensity of
reserve force which was meted out only in response to demand. Never
spasmodic or impulsive, but steady and ready, he responded always with
gigantic ability, and with a power exercised in such way as to be most
effective. Possessed of a wide compass of valuable information, which
sought expression in facility and fluency of diction, Morgan came to be a
source of authority in the senate. When he spoke, all men listened with
profound respect.

The name of Morgan descends from Revolutionary times, during which period
it was represented by the famous General Daniel Morgan, who was among the
distinguished officers of the first American army. Along the years of the
history of America the name appears in different connections and always
with credit. General John H. Morgan, the daring Confederate cavalry
leader, was a kinsman of Senator John T. Morgan. The family was noted for
its longevity, the father of Senator Morgan dying at the advanced age of

Mr. Morgan pursued his legal studies under his brother-in-law, William P.
Chilton. With the same assiduity with which he did all that he undertook,
he addressed himself to the acquisition of the profound principles of the
law. From the beginning, he was a most diligent student, a skillful
pleader, and a successful advocate. His first appearance in public life
was on the occasion of the Alabama convention which chose delegates to the
famous Charleston convention in 1860. The state convention of that
particular date was composed of the giants of the state. Morgan was then
just thirty-six years old, and his ability was unknown save in the local
courts in which he practiced.

Sent as a delegate from Dallas County to the convention already named, he
had just entered the hall when he heard his name called by the secretary
as the chairman of the committee on credentials. He had heard much in the
corridors of the hotels where the air was vibrant with the discussion of
contesting delegations, in which discussions many of the most prominent
men of the state shared. Devoted to his profession, he had never taken any
active share in public questions, but was interested in the informal

On hearing the announcement of his name on entering the hall, he mounted a
chair, addressed the presiding officer, and was about to decline the honor
of the chairmanship, when Judge George W. Stone pulled his coat and begged
him not to finish his sentence as he had begun it, but to change it and
call his committee together. Yielding to the judgment of his senior
friend, he did as he was bidden.

The work of the committee was both laborious and irksome, and many
delicate and sensitive features were involved in the task committed to Mr.
Morgan. There was no avoidance of a storm on its presentation. The storm
followed its submission. The young advocate, all unknown to the body,
mingled in the forensic fray in a manly defense of his report, and so ably
was it sustained by his power of presentation of the reasons for its
adoption, and so tactfully did he parry the blows of the giants who came
against him in the contest, that the question was heard all around--"Who
is Morgan?" The brilliancy of his oratory, and the skill which he
exhibited in debate, caught the attention of the public on that occasion,
and he never again sank from view till his remains were deposited in the

His ability established on that occasion led to his becoming an elector in
the approaching presidential contest in behalf of Breckenridge and Lane.
An elector for the state at large, he canvassed Alabama throughout, and
came to be known first, as an orator of great resource and power. This, in
turn, led to his choice as a member of the secession convention of

When the war began, he became major of the Fifth Alabama Regiment, and on
the reorganization of the regiment, was chosen lieutenant colonel of that
command. Authorized by the war department to raise a cavalry regiment, he
returned to Alabama and did so. Going with his new regiment to the western
army, he was later assigned to the headship of the conscript bureau in
Alabama, according to the request of the Alabama delegation in congress.
Later still, he was notified by General R. E. Lee that he had been made a
brigadier general and assigned to the command of Rode's old brigade. While
on his way to the Virginia front, he learned in Richmond of the death of
Colonel Webb, who had been associated with him in raising the cavalry
regiment, and that he (Morgan) had been elected again to the colonelcy of
the regiment. On learning this, he declined the offered promotion in the
Army of Northern Virginia, and returned. He was again made a brigadier
general, and toward the close of the war was in the command of a division
in the Tennessee army.

During the period of the reconstruction, General Morgan became the most
sturdy and famous champion of the people of Alabama, and greatly endeared
himself to them by his incessant labor in resisting the encroachments on
their rights. When, at last the power of reconstruction was broken, he
was, in 1876, elected to the national senate to succeed the notorious
George E. Spencer. From that time till his death, he was the political
idol of the Democratic party in the state of Alabama. For full thirty
years he served with distinguished ability in the senate, and died in the
harness of a statesman.

One of the chief characteristics of Senator Morgan was his ability to
think with unerring accuracy on his feet. His ability to husband rapidly
his resources was remarkable. Nor in presenting these resources was there
ever a lack of classic diction. His chaste elegance commanded the
attention of every listener, especially since it was voiced in musical
tones. His power of application and his tenacity came to be known as
dominant factors of his life. Once enlisted in a cause, he espoused it
with undiminished zeal to the end. For many years he bent all his energy
toward the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal, and resisted the change
to that of the Panama Canal, and was fearless in his denunciation of the
measures adopted to bring about the change, but was forced to yield to the
numerical strength of partisanship. Another remarkable power which he
possessed was that of physical endurance. During the contest in the senate
over the Force bill he held the floor all night, speaking so as to consume
the time, and thereby prevent the passage of that measure.

Not Alabama alone, but the entire South owes to General Morgan a debt of
gratitude for the fearlessness of his defense of the South when an able
defender was most needed.

With a versatility which seemed without limit, Senator Morgan was always
prepared for any great junctures that might arise. He was equally at home
upon a great constitutional question, an issue of broad policy, or a
tangled principle of international law. His career marks an era of
greatness in the history of the state.


For solid and substantial worth without ornament or frippery, no son of
Alabama has surpassed the Hon. James L. Pugh. His presence and bearing and
his conversation and speeches conveyed the same idea. Utterly without
ostentation, he acted and spoke with an evident absence of

Mr. Pugh was a man of stable rather than of brilliant qualities, hence he
was an intensely practical man. He was indifferent to nothing of interest,
was never superficial, and regarded everything from the viewpoint of the
practical. He was studious, judicial in his cast of mind, of conservative
temperament, and deliberate of speech. Often animated in public address,
he was never excitable or explosive. His every utterance indicated

The year of his birth was identical with that of the admission of Alabama
into the Union--1819. He came from hardy North Carolina stock, and was
brought by his father to Alabama when he was only four years old. At
eleven he was an orphan boy, a most precarious condition for one so young
in a frontier state. A bare-footed boy, left largely to shift for himself,
he afforded an index of his future worth and greatness, by engaging to
ride the country mail on Saturdays in order to provide means for the
payment of his tuition during the remainder of the week. Later, while yet
a youth, he became a clerk in a dry goods establishment in Eufaula, where
he obtained frugally hoarded means with which to prosecute his studies,
meanwhile looking forward to the law as a profession. After a severe
taxation of strength during the day as a clerk, he would study late at
night, and by such studious application, qualified himself for entrance on
his legal studies. He studied law in the office of John Gill Shorter, who
afterward became governor of Alabama.

After the entrance of Mr. Pugh on the practice of law for a number of
years, he was chosen an elector on the Taylor ticket, and later still, was
a Buchanan elector. Thus, before the people, his way to congress was
opened, and as a member of the house of representatives he was chosen in
1858. The outbreak of the war occurring two years later, like all other
southern members, he withdrew from congress, shared in the secession
sentiment of the state, and was among the first to enlist as a volunteer
from Alabama in the service of the Confederacy. He was enrolled as a
private soldier in the first Alabama regiment of infantry.

He shouldered his musket and went with his command to Pensacola, where he
underwent all the fortunes of a soldier in the ranks, declining any
consideration because of the position which he had held as a member of the
national congress. Numerous were the offers made him by his comrades to
assume his duties, and thus relieve him of hardship, but all this he
politely declined, and met the exactions of military duty with cheerful
alacrity. His position was one that tested his mettle, for often beneath
the blazing sun he was engaged in common with his comrades in throwing up
earthworks. The regiment of which he was a member, was ordered to
Paducah, Kentucky, where he served for a year, when his constituents
recalled him by electing him a member of the Confederate congress. In his
first race he had no opposition, but in the second campaign, in 1863, he
had three opponents, but was a second time elected, and served the state
in the congress of the Confederacy till the downfall of the government. No
one was more loyal to the young government than Mr. Pugh, for there was
not a month, of the four years of its career, that he was not engaged in
its service. After the capitulation of the armies, he returned to Eufaula,
and resumed the practice of law.

An ardent southerner and patriot, he naturally shared in the resistance
against carpetbag rule, and as occasion would demand he would lend
assistance to his struggling people, though he sought no office, but was
rigid in his devotion to his profession. In the memorable contest of 1876,
he was a Tilden elector, and made an active canvass in this and other
states. In 1875, when the backbone of reconstruction was broken, he was
chosen a member of the state constitutional convention, and rendered
valuable service as one of the most prominent members of that body.

In appreciation of worth and service, Mr. Pugh was chosen a National
Senator from Alabama in 1880, and was a yoke-fellow of John T. Morgan in
the senate for the space of eighteen years. It was universally conceded
that no state had a stronger brace of senators than Alabama during that
period of southern rehabilitation. He was not conspicuous as a speechmaker
in the senate chamber, though he was not silent, for as occasion demanded
he was heard, and always effectively. When he did arise to speak, he
commanded universal attention, partly because of the high esteem in which
he was held, and partly because it was understood that when Senator Pugh
spoke it was with well-digested views on measures of great importance. He
retired from the senate in 1897, being at that time seventy-seven years
old, and returned to his home at Eufaula, where he resided till his death.

A review of the career of Mr. Pugh will reveal the fact that in all his
emergencies from private life it was in response to recognized duty. He
was not spectacular, and never relied on his oratory for popular acclaim.
His power before the people lay in his impressiveness as a solid speaker,
for no one could listen to him without the impression of the intensity of
his conviction. Whether always right or not, he believed it, and therefore
spoke. Only when he felt that he could be of service was that service
tendered. No more convincing expression of his patriotism could be
afforded than when as a returned congressman he quietly enlisted as a
private in the ranks of the army, at a time when men vastly inferior to
him were solicitous for commissions. This affords an index of the
sturdiness of the character of Senator Pugh. No position ever held by him
was characterized by other than by the most substantial efficiency. No man
who ever represented Alabama in any sphere was more practically and
patriotically loyal than James Lawrence Pugh.


The Rev. Anson West, D.D., was the chief Methodist historian of the state.
While the work of which he is the author properly relates itself to the
history of Methodism in Alabama, there is much collateral history
necessarily embraced within its compass which makes it a valuable
contribution to the archives of the state. In its scope, his history
extends from the earliest settlement of Alabama by the whites, to a period
well within the last decade of the nineteenth century--a span of well nigh
a hundred years.

The history of a people such as the Methodists are, and have been from the
fountain source of statehood, and even before, is not without immense
value. Methodists have been a mighty force in Alabama, and still are, and
the record of their achievements affecting all the orbits of life is a
mighty stimulus, as is all history, for, as Goethe puts it, "The best
thing which we derive from history is the enthusiasm that it raises in

But the service rendered the state by Dr. Anson West is not to be
restricted to his history of Methodism. He was a tower of strength in his
generation, a man of commanding pulpit ability, a scholar of decided
literary taste, and a character possessed of originality of thought and
boldness of expression which challenged admiration, even though it did not
always carry conviction. Not unlike most preachers, especially of the
Methodist and Baptist ranks, of the period when his life dawned into
manhood. Dr. West was a typical polemicist. In those early days of
ecclesiastical controversy, the man who could wield the most trenchant
blade, and deal the heaviest blows, elicited the most popular applause.
Dr. West was a born debater, and every antagonist found him full panoplied
and never averse to vindicate lustily any cause which he might espouse.
Still he was a cultured gentleman, and numbered many friends among those
with whom he denominationally differed. Nor were his disputations directed
alone against those of an opposite school of theology, but within the pale
of his own people his sword was often brandished in the espousal of a view
which he cherished. It was in the field of controversy that Dr. West was
at his best. Happily, those days of controversy, often not conducted in
the gentlest spirit, are well behind us, but the time was when the clash
of ecclesiastical combat resounded the country through. They had the
redeeming value of stimulating thought, producing much literature of a
sort, and creating schools which else would not have been. Not to be a
combatant in those early days, was to be a man of inertness and of narrow

As has already been said, there was an independence of character in Dr.
West that awoke admiration in all capable of appreciating force and worth.
As firmly rooted as a mountain on its base, he was incapable of a
plausibility which veers toward unstableness. No matter in what relation,
there was no misunderstanding any position which was taken by Dr. West.
His countenance was an index to his firmness. He was sometimes firm even
to sternness, an inherent quality of his character which was doubtless
strengthened by the controversial period through which much of his early
life was passed. But to have known him with any degree of intimacy, was to
find that beneath a somewhat rugged exterior beat the heart of a genuine
man. Advancing age softened and mellowed much of that which often led to a
misunderstanding of his real nature.

Among the productions from his pen was a work entitled "The State of the
Dead," which work reveals much research and profound study on a
much-mooted question. In the presentation of his views on divers subjects
Dr. West was not unaware of encountering opposition, sometimes on the part
of those with whom he was denominationally connected, but his convictions
were never bridled in the expression of the independence of thought.

Nor was the life and career of Dr. West confined to his pulpit
ministrations, with an occasional excursion into the field of authorship.
He was a stalwart citizen and patriot, and with the courage of an Ajax he
was ever ready to pronounce his views, and to wield his battle-ax, if
necessary, in the advocacy of any question for the public weal. He was a
man, and whatever interested men interested Dr. West. He was a citizen as
well as a minister.

Dr. West was an ardent advocate of education, and often his tongue and pen
were brought into requisition in the advocacy of this great cause. He had
his own views of this public interest, and to have them was to express and
to defend them.

Dr. West was a devout Methodist, and from his native temperament he could
be none other than an intense one, but the compass of his being was too
great to circumscribe him to the boundaries of his own denomination in his
relations to others. Numerous were his friends and associations beyond the
pale of his own people. With the intensity and tenacity with which he
clung to his church, there was not sufficient power embodied within the
church to restrain him from a criticism of its policies or methods, if
they happened to run counter to his own convictions. With the uniqueness
of his individuality he impressed all with his earnestness and sincerity,
and, much as one might oppose him, he could not withhold regard for his
convictions. The sincerity of his convictions did not fail to find vent
through his powerful tongue and the sharp point of his pen.

There was a wonderful blend of heroic manhood and unquestioned
spirituality in the life and character of Dr. West. This served to make
him impressive, and oftentimes powerful. Back of his often stern
declarations lay an unquestioned spiritual force, and the combination of
the two gave to Dr. West an assertiveness always to be reckoned with. His
gifts and acquirements fitted him for a high sphere in the councils of his
own communion, and while others differed with him, often widely, his
sincerity was never a question, nor was his integrity ever challenged.

He passed through many testing periods during his eventful career, and
went from the earth leaving behind him a trail of influence for good, and
a vast contribution to the good of the public. He rests from his labors
and his works do follow him.


The name of Eugene Allen Smith belongs to the roll of distinguished
Alabama scholars. Autauga is his native county, where he was born October
27, 1841. Academic training was given him at Prattville, in his native
county, till 1855, after which he went to Philadelphia to school, for a
period of four years. On his return to Alabama, in 1859, he entered the
junior class of the University of Alabama. The emergency of the times led
to the adoption of a military system of government for the university, and
Mr. Smith was a member of the first corps of cadets.

The war interfered with his course, and in 1862, he, together with other
cadets, was detailed to go to Greenville to drill recruits at a camp of
instruction. He did not return to the university to graduate, but received
his degree of bachelor of arts from the university authorities, as the
course leading to that degree had practically been taken by him.
Commissioned as first lieutenant in one of the companies drilled at the
camp of instruction, Mr. Smith saw service on the field, both in Tennessee
and in Kentucky, sharing in the capture of Mumfordville, and in the battle
of Perryville.

In recognition of his proficiency as a drill officer, Mr. Smith was
detailed to the University of Alabama as instructor in tactics, at which
post he continued till the end of hostilities between the states. Then he
began in earnest his scholastic career, for in 1865 he went to Europe, and
for three years studied in the Universities of Berlin, Goettingen, and
Heidelberg, devoting his time exclusively to the study of the sciences,
with special reference to chemistry, physics, botany, mineralogy, and

Dr. Smith's course abroad was completed early in 1868, when he passed with
the highest grade, _summa cum laude_, an examination for the degree of
doctor of philosophy, having for his main subjects, mineralogy and
geology, and for minor subjects, chemistry and botany. After reaping his
degree, he remained still another semester at Heidelberg in attendance on

Possessed of an inquisitive and retentive mind, Dr. Smith, while in
Europe, spent much of his time on tours of observation and scientific
investigation in Russia, the Netherlands, the German states, Switzerland,
the region of the Tyrol, Austria, France, and Italy, and when he started
on his homeward trip he was engaged for a time in geological
investigations both in England and in Scotland.

On his return to America, late in 1868, Dr. Smith went immediately to the
University of Mississippi, serving as assistant on a geological survey.
For three years he was devoted to the work of making chemical analyses of
soils for the survey, varying his investigations by an occasional
excursion into the cretaceous and tertiary formations of Mississippi, and
in 1871, he published his first paper, "On the Geology of the Mississippi

During the following summer, Dr. Smith was elected to the chair of geology
and mineralogy of the University of Alabama. Two years later, in 1873, he
was appointed state geologist of Alabama, and for ten years his work on
the survey was gratuitously rendered to the state. In 1880 he rendered
valuable service in connection with the tenth census, furnishing reports
on Alabama and Florida for the cotton culture volumes of that census.

While visiting Florida in connection with this mission, Dr. Smith
discovered that the greater part of the peninsula of Florida was underlaid
by a substratum of the Vicksburg or Eocene limestone, which comes to the
surface at intervals down the peninsula through the overlying Miocene and
later formations. The results of this tour were published in the American
Journal of Science for April, 1881. A more comprehensive paper was written
for the fourth report of the United States Entomological Commission, which
embodied a general description of the climate, geological and agricultural
features of the cotton-producing states.

In connection with all this labor, Dr. Smith had charge of the departments
of chemistry and geology at the State University of Alabama for many
years. In 1888 a new chemical laboratory was erected at the university,
which addition, under the special direction of Dr. Smith, was thoroughly
equipped with all needed chemical apparatus, and is one of the best
chemical departments among those of the institutions of the South.

In the meantime worthy honors came to Dr. Smith from different quarters.
He was appointed honorary commissioner to the Paris Exposition, from
Alabama, in 1878. He became a member of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, serving as secretary and vice president of the
geological section, and serving also as a member of the committee
appointed by that body on the International Geological Congress and on the
Geological Congress Auxiliary of the Columbian Exposition. He is a charter
member of the Geological Society of America--of which he has been Vice
President, member of the council and President in 1913. He was appointed
to prepare the report of the American subcommittee on the Marine Cenozoic
for the International Geological Congress.

Dr. Smith has long ranked the leading scientist of Alabama, and his
investigations in the field of geology have been of immense value to the
state and country. His connection with the state university has been one
of its chief elements of popularity. Modest and shrinking in disposition,
without the least obtrusiveness or assertion, he has not been estimated at
his real worth to the public, and only those who have been thrown into
immediate connection with him know of the enormity of his labor and of its
value to the state. The young men under his instruction, and the learned
faculty of the university prize his worth, and are unstinted in the
expression of their estimation of his services. No son of Alabama has been
more distinguished throughout America and among the savants abroad than
Dr. Eugene Allen Smith.


The real educator does more than to impart knowledge and acquaint with
principles with which to translate this knowledge into practical use--he
imparts himself. No youth falls under the influence of a great teacher
without taking with himself thereafter somewhat of that instructor. He is
not the great and successful educator who merely knows, but one who does,
as well.

This was pre-eminently the dominant power of James Thomas Murfee, LL.D.,
whose station in life and whose labors within the realm of education made
him distinguished throughout the South, and beyond. To him education was a
passion, not of the spasmodic sort which spends its force at theoretical
random, but which he built into constructive character in such way as
wisely to direct the instruction obtained. His idea was to build knowledge
into character, making the one a component of the other, and thus
construct manhood, not alone for usefulness in the ordinary humdrum of
life, but in order to invest the entire man with an atmosphere conducive
to making life radiant, delightful and useful--to teach one not alone to
do, but to be. This was the conception which Dr. Murfee had of a thorough

Swayed by this purpose, Dr. Murfee for a long period of years, taught in
several states, but the bulk of his lifework was done in Alabama. One
never met him without finding him buoyant with enthusiasm concerning
education. Nor did he expend his theories in mere phrasing, but reduced
them to actual practice. His was the enthusiasm of patience. His passion
was to make men, and to turn to practical account every advantage afforded
in the drill of the classroom to this end. He sought to excite assertion
of a salutary sort, and then to impart the power for its execution. There
are hundreds of men adorning the different vocations in this state and in
others, including the preacher in the pulpit, who gratefully trace the
inception of their success to this great teacher of youth.

Indeed, the rule is well nigh universal that a genuinely successful man is
able to date the turning point of his life to the vital touch with some
superior character, from which thrill has been derived, and as life
broadens into stern practicalness, additional ingredients from the same
source are appropriated which continue to tincture and temper for good
throughout. While the recipients of these advantages may not be always
conscious of the derivation of these augmenting and contributory forces,
yet the fact remains that without the abiding presence of this once
dominant force, life might have been vastly different.

There would come under the sway of this master of men, at the different
institutions in which he served, raw lads from obscure rural retreats,
unskilled, gawky, and awkward, yet within whom were powerful
possibilities, which the student of character and the incisive teacher
would detect, and, like the opaque diamond in the hand of the lapidary,
the crude youth would yield results often the most astonishing.

Thus through multitudes who sat at his feet Dr. Murfee has been
instrumental in changing the faces of many communities, as his students
have taken their places in life. This expression is attributed to
Alexander the Great: "I am indebted to my father for living, but to my
teacher for living well."

All this is suggested by the life and career of the great teacher now
under review. A life so long and so useful was necessarily varied. Born in
Southampton County, Virginia, on September 13, 1833, Dr. Murfee lived
through a number of the most stirring periods of our national history. His
collegiate career was at the Virginia Military Institute, from which he
was graduated with the rare distinction of never having received a demerit
in a school, the most rigid and exacting in scholastic work and
discipline. It is not surprising that the result was that he bore away the
highest honors of his class, which occurred in 1853.

Dr. Murfee's gifts and disposition led him to the adoption of the vocation
of teaching, and he was called first to Lynchburg, Va., in that capacity;
then, later, to the chair of physical science in Madison College,
Pennsylvania. In 1860 he came to Alabama as professor of mathematics and
commandant of cadets at our state university. During the war that
followed, soon after his advent into the state, he became the lieutenant
colonel of the Forty-first Alabama Regiment, but resigned to resume his
duties at the University of Alabama. Near the close of the war, when the
state was overrun by the federals, he commanded the cadets in an
engagement at Tuscaloosa.

After the close of the war Dr. Murfee was engaged as architect to design
and erect new buildings for the university, in place of the magnificent
edifices destroyed by the enemy, to which stupendous task he set his hand
and mind, recommending at the same time a new scheme of university
organization, all of which was accepted by the board of trustees, but he
was thwarted in his efforts by the reconstruction régime.

Called in 1871 to the presidency of Howard College, then at Marion, which
institution had writhed in the throes incident to those troublous times,
he brought it to the front as one of the best institutions of its grade
then in the South. On the removal of Howard to Birmingham, in 1887, Dr.
Murfee was tendered the presidency of the college in its new location, but
preferred to remain at Marion, where he founded, in the original college
buildings, the Marion Institute, of which he was the superintendent until
1906, when he retired from active service on an annuity from the Carnegie
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This annuity was granted on
the basis of "long and distinguished service to the cause of education in

In 1882, Dr. Murfee was appointed by President Harrison, a member of the
board of visitors to the West Point Military Academy. After his retirement
from active service, Dr. Murfee devoted his time leisurely to the
development of the educational foundation at Marion, that it might become
a source of perpetual strength to the state and to the South. On April 23,
1912, Dr. Murfee died at Miami, Fla., at the advanced age of seventy-nine


"Father Ryan," as he is familiarly called, was Alabama's sweet singer. He
was a born poet, and sang because he could not help it. Emanating from the
heart, his plaintive strains go straight to the head. Yet he wrote only at
intervals. Moved by the afflatus which only a poet feels, he would now and
then take up his poetic pen and give voice to the minstrelsy of his soul.
His verse is merely fugitive snatches of song springing from an
imagination essentially poetic, and a heart subdued by religious emotion.
In no sense was poetry a profession with this charming lyrist, for he
himself tells us that his verses "were written at random--off and on,
here, there, anywhere--just when the mood came, with little of study and
less of art, and always in a hurry."

Leaping warm from the heart and taking the wings of poesy, his thought
throbs with virility, and makes an appeal to the heart of another with a
force that is irresistible; visions of matchless beauty rose continually
before his imperial imagination and sought vent in song.

Had Father Ryan subjected his thought to the lapidary finish of the
professional poet, it is doubtful if it would now be so popular. He wrote
as he was moved, the fervid thought seizing the first words within reach
as a vehicle, and thus they fall on the ear of the world.

Simple songs his poems are, generally melancholy, meditative, pensive, the
chief virtue of them being that they touch the heart. His thoughts seem
to move in popular orbits in search of objects invested with the
plaintive. It is not the weirdness so often met with in Poe that one
encounters in the poetry of Ryan, but the touch of moaning, the sadness of
a burdened heart yearning and burning for that which it has not, but hopes
for and looks for in other realms yet unrevealed. Resounding corridors of
gloom, dimly lighted vestibules, processions of mourners moving till lost
in darkness, the chimes of melancholy airs heard by mystic ears, the
muffled footfall in mysterious darkness, the touch of vanished hands, the
outreach of timorous arms through the gloom for a kindred touch, the
sighing of a soul for its inheritance--these are the elements which
resound his verses through.

Much of his poetry savors of his theologic thought and environment, and,
naturally enough, the object frequently pertains to that dear to the
devout Catholic; but it is not about the substance of his thought that we
here speak, but of his undoubted genius as a poet. Equal objection might
prevail against much that is written by other poets, as, for instance, the
substance of some of Poe's productions, whose "Annabel Lee" is heathen
throughout, but it is poetic in its every syllable.

The symbols and paraphernalia of his church, its worship, and all that
pertains to it may be encountered in one way or another in the poetry of
Ryan, but the undoubted genius with which it is wrought and molded into
verse is that which fascinates the lover of poetry.

That Father Ryan would have been pre-eminent in poetry had he exercised
his powers, seems clear. The vividness of expression, the subtle beauty
inherent in his strains, and the deft touch given his thought are those of
the genuine poet. He dwells apart from the ordinary drift of thought. The
coloring of his thought was derived from numerous sources, and, emitted
from the furnace of his heart, it was ever in transformed shape. The
rattle and clatter of the rushing world fell on the ear of his soul with
the element of melody. His emotions were pent up, and when they leaped
their barriers, they gave to a responsive soul-world that which we call
Father Ryan's poems. His own soul, subdued to softness and gentleness by
his inner reflection, sang itself in musical cadence.

His verse, always graceful and often brilliant, flowing melodious and
limpid with the lilt of a landscape rill, borrowing delicate tints of
beauty from the greensward and varied bloom which fringe its banks, and
flashing back the light derived from heaven, makes an instinctive appeal
to the soul of the reader, and has a sobering effect on his thought. From
the source to the sea there is the same gentle flow with its occasional
puddle and its subdued sound of ripple.

That which our poet does is more indicative of possibility than of final
actuality. His strains are merely soft touches of the fingers of the
musician on the keys of the soul, and yet they evoke such melody that one
wishes the reserved force of the soul, whence they come, might have fuller
and freer expression, that the slight thrill experienced might rise to

Most rare are many of the pithy passages to be met with in his
productions. Did space permit, it would be a delight to enumerate many of
these gems which glitter along his pages, but only one or two may here be
indicated. On the occasion of a visit to Rome, he penned a fragment on
"After Seeing Pius IX." The first four lines are here quoted to illustrate
the power of the poet derived from a mere glance of a man's face, and in
the last two of the lines quoted resides a power in metaphor rarely met
with. Says the poet:

  "I saw his face today; he looks a chief
    Who fears not human rage, nor human guile;
  Upon his cheeks the twilight of a grief,
    But in that grief the starlight of a smile."

The transference of the idea of the twilight and the gentle star meekly
peeping through, to the struggle discerned in the features of one, is a
picture that would occur to none other than a poet.

Equally striking is the beauty of the figure contained in his "A Land
Without Ruins," where he says:

  "Yes, give me the land where the battle's red blast
  Has flashed to the future the fame of the past."

Numerous are the striking pictures which he brings before the eye by one
single stroke of the pen. Nor does Father Ryan conjure with the emotions
merely to quicken and to stir for the moment. Indeed, he does not seem
conscious of that which he has done and so greatly done; he merely sings
out his soul in low refrain and leaves his melody lingering in the air.

Ryan was patriotic to the core. In the thunderous years of the great Civil
War his pen was busy with the ink of patriotic fire, but the aftermath of
the war was more aptly suited to his nature. When in her night of sorrow,
the South was a land of mounded graves, within which slept a generation of
young heroes, while blackened chimneys stood sentinel over them, and while
the monuments of the South were only heaps of charred ruins, and her once
fair fields were littered with wreck and disaster, these appealed to our
lyrist with unwonted force. The spirit of his Hibernian blood was
invincible, and when embodied in a stream of poetic fire it illuminated
scenes which else were dreary and desolate. From out the environment of
darkness and ruin, his spirit sought the solace which the future must
bring in recognition of principle, and thus he sang. Thousands who
differed with Father Ryan religiously, honored him as a gifted singer. He
has but scant recognition in the literary history of the country, but this
is to be expected. He was largely a poet of locality, both geographically
and religiously, and wrote not so much for others as for his own pastime,
but Alabama owes him much as her greatest poet. Because of the genuine
merit inhering in his verse, and because of the unquestioned worth
attaching to his productions, he is easily the file leader of the literary
spirits of Alabama.


The presentation of the name of Colonel Powell suggests a turning point in
the history of the state. A new era had dawned of which Colonel Powell was
an exponent. The long agitation with which the country was rocked for
decades, had culminated in bloody conflict which was waged to exhaustion.
The turbulence of rehabilitation represented in the struggles of
reconstruction had followed, and now the eyes of the people were once more
turned to the ways of peace and re-established prosperity. Resources
practically immeasurable were untouched in the soils and mountains of a
great state, and public thought began to peer into the future with a
longing for tranquil prosperity. A class of men represented by the subject
of this sketch was in demand, and, as is always true, when the demand
exists for men they are to be found. Thus appeared this pioneer at the
threshold of a new era.

A native of Brunswick County, Virginia, Mr. Powell, while yet a beardless
youth, had ridden the distance from Virginia to Alabama on horseback. This
was before Alabama had emerged into statehood. On his faithful horse he
reached the straggling village of Montgomery with less than twenty dollars
in his pockets. Entering on life in the new region to which he had come,
as a mail contractor, he gradually rose to the direction of a line of
stage coaches for the transportation of mail and passengers, and with a
widening horizon of business tact and comprehensiveness of enterprise for
which he was remarkable, he adjusted his stage coach enterprise to a
chain of hotels, the most noted of which were located at Montgomery,
Lowndesboro and Wetumpka. These interests flourished as the people
continued to pour into the new state. As the forests were transmuted into
smiling fields, villages, and towns began to emerge into populous centers,
and institutions began to flourish. While Powell was instrumental in
making new conditions, the conditions were making Powell. A man grows by
the means which he creates. While he makes a fortune the fortune makes
him. Gifted with an enterprising and constructive mind, Mr. Powell was
gradually coming to that stage for which his life was fitting him. The
combination of conditions which followed in the wake of the turbulence of
years, was one which would arrest the enterprising eye of a man of
executive skill, and breadth of vision, which James R. Powell had. Two
unfinished lines of railway penetrated the state, in part, one reaching
from the Gulf northward, but checked by mountain barriers, the other
stretching from the fertile West southward, but halting before the
mountains, beyond which was the line with which it was destined to be
linked in the creation of one of the greatest arteries of commerce in the
South. Between the two, lay a wide barrier of mountain region, in which
were embosomed untouched treasures which were destined in their
development to excite the interest of the world.

With these resources was associated in the fertile brain of James R.
Powell, the picture of a mineral metropolis in the mountains of north
Alabama, and in a region where men least dreamed of such a possible
creation. He had engineered primitive mail routes, first on horseback, and
later by the rumbling coach, and widening the expansion of interest and
effort by the establishment of timely hostelries, but here he was destined
to crown his unusual career as the builder of a mighty city. Hence,

In the rush and rattle of a great mart, such as Birmingham has become,
those of a later generation, who throng its streets of architectural
magnificence, and gaze on its piles of splendor, are apt to forget those
who laid the foundation stones of the great municipality, and made
possible a mighty urban center, destined to eclipse all others of the
South in compass and in the number of its people. Men are apt to tread
with careless feet over the unmarked graves of the harbingers of that
bequeathed to a later generation, forgetful of the brain which contrived
and the hand which executed.

It is not the phrase of empty eulogium to speak of James R. Powell as one
of the greatest of Alabamians. Unlettered in the schools, he followed the
unerring finger of a transparent judgment, and unawed by formidableness of
difficulty or vastness of scheme, he planned and wrought, both wisely,
and, propelled by a pluck born of the enthusiasm of patience, he
succeeded. The career of a man like this in a generation, or even in a
century, is a vital inspiration, and far worthier of record more
elaborate, than a brief and humble sketch like this.

Incidents in his career illustrative of his native and inherent greatness,
are worthy of at least a casual notice not only, but of permanent
embalmment in the memories of those who reaped where he sowed. Men like
the subject of the present sketch are apt to be thought of as sordid and
selfish, while with intensity of spirit and strenuousness of brow, they
drive impetuously over obstruction, forgetful of the gentler amenities of
life. Oftener, however, than is supposed, there is beneath the intense
exterior, hearts of corresponding compass with the sweep of executive
activity. There were many instances of gentle and substantial worth woven
into the career of Colonel Powell, only one of which is here given.

The record of the severity of the winter of 1863 is phenomenal in
meteorological chronicles. The lakes and ponds were covered with a thick
stratum of ice. An object of wonder to many, the phenomenon addressed
itself to the practical side of the mind of Colonel Powell, who cut large
quantities of the ice and carefully stored it away. The manufacture of ice
was then practically unknown as a commodity for market, and it was in
great demand in the hospitals of the Confederacy. He declined an offer of
forty thousand dollars for his store of ice, and presented it to the
Confederate army hospital department, for use in Alabama and Georgia. Many
acts of generous spirit were his, but they belong to the chronicles of
unwritten history.

In 1871, James R. Powell, at the head of the famous Elyton Land Company,
was scouring the territory of Jefferson County with the plan in view of
founding here a large city, the logical result of the immense resources
embedded in the hills and mountains of this favored region. The
Louisville & Nashville Railroad had supplied the missing link between the
North and South, and Colonel Powell was among the first to see the
possibility of a great city in this region. While the local and adjacent
resources were then only imperfectly known, they were sufficiently known
to justify the colossal proposal of a mighty emporium. The task was
herculean, but the projector was a man of wide experience in grappling
with odds, and in subordinating to the mastery of his will the disputing
difficulties. Small minds quarrel and quibble over points of
inconsequence, while giants stride over them with serene non-recognition.

Without tiring, Colonel Powell gave the world accounts of the fabulous
resources of the district of the prospective city. The facts first
published throughout the United States and Europe, were first regarded as
speculative rose-water, but they in truth represented only a stiver of
that which subsequently came to be known.

Birmingham was first a straggling, struggling village, penetrated here and
there at irregular distances, by rugged highways, the terror of the driver
in a rainy season. Diminutive houses dotted the scene over, without
respect to order or system. One small brick structure stood where now
stands the Brown-Marx Building, then the most substantial expression of
confidence yet given. Highways of deep red clay ran past the building on
either side, and among the shanties and small houses was an occasional
dingy tent.

Under such conditions, Colonel Powell, with his usual daring, ventured to
invite the session of the Alabama Press Association to hold its session
in "the city of Birmingham," in 1873. He succeeded, but, not content with
this, he appeared before the body and again pleaded that the following
session be held here also. He encountered stout opposition for two
reasons, namely, Birmingham was a most uninviting place, without
accommodation, and other places of the state wanted the next session. But,
combining diplomacy with suavity, Powell prevailed a second time. Having
succeeded in this, he urged that the New York Press Association, which
would be meeting at the same time, be invited to join their brethren of
the quill in Alabama. Such temerity staggered the body. Besides the ragged
and rugged conditions existing, the New York press was hostile to that of
the South, because of its opposition to President Grant in his southern
policy. Insuperable seemed the barriers in the way of such an
accomplishment as Colonel Powell sought, but he overbore all obstruction,
and succeeded.

The result of such movement, coupled with the geological investigations
going steadily on meanwhile, made Birmingham secure. The voice of the
northern press resounded throughout all the states, and went beyond the
Atlantic. Honorable Abram S. Hewitt, of New York, sounded the prophetic
expression: "The fact is plain--Alabama is to become the iron
manufacturing center of the habitable globe." A wave of awakening light
spread throughout the financial world, and Birmingham was secure.

But a new disaster arose. A scourge of Asiatic cholera smote the young
city now struggling to the birth. The dead were numerous, and a funeral
pall hung over the town. Colonel Powell remained with Roman courage on
the ground, caring for the suffering, burying the dead, and preserving
order. Pestilence stalked along the rugged streets and wasted at noonday,
but the faith of this man of iron nerve was unshaken. His courage
stiffened that of others--his faith was contagious. No wonder that he came
to be called "The Duke of Birmingham." No special shaft marks the
recognition of this mighty builder of a great city, but the city attests
his power. In the dim light in St. Paul's, in London, the tourist reads a
tablet, "Christopher Wren, builder. Would you seek his monument? Look
around." Not otherwise is the relation of Greater Birmingham to James R.
Powell. Its towering turrets and lofty buildings, its residence palaces
and shaded streets, its smoking stacks and hives of mineral mines, and its
numerous railway lines with their cargoes of daily traffic--these are his

That one so great and noble should come to a death so novel and untimely
is a mystery. He fell a victim to a pistol fired by a beardless youth in a
Mississippi tavern, in 1883. For all the future his monument will stand,
Alabama's greatest city.


In the year 1851 there might have been seen working in a grocery store, in
Montgomery, a sprightly lad of ten, whose father had just died, and whose
mother had removed to the Capital City. This boy was Henry DeBardeleben,
destined to become prominent not alone in the development of the resources
of the state of Alabama, but a picturesque figure in the coal and iron
industry of the South.

Friendships of other days had united the Pratts and the DeBardelebens,
which led to the guardianship of the lad by Alabama's pioneer
manufacturer, Daniel Pratt, under whom Mr. DeBardeleben was directly and
fortunately fitted for life. His academic course over, the young man was
placed as superintendent over the famous gin factory at Prattville. Mr.
DeBardeleben found in business a more congenial air than he found in
books. The harness of work in the supervision of a manufactory was more
easily adjusted to the young man than was that of the schoolroom, and the
young man shed the one and gladly donned the other, for, from the outset,
he cared but little for books, only as they could be used as tools to
bring something to pass.

In the new sphere in which he now was, young DeBardeleben was of just the
cast of temperament to seize the principles of business, work them into
habit, and translate them into life. He learned those under the tutelage
of Daniel Pratt, and in later years often alluded to them by the power of
association with conditions encountered in future life. For instance, Mr.
Pratt would never allow a piece of timber the least defective to be used
in the manufacture of gins. It must be thoroughly seasoned, and be sound
in every respect. Then, too, no defect must be sought to be concealed by
an oversmear of paint, but solid merit must be in every splinter, screw
and nail. Besides, no promise must be made that was not to be literally
kept, if possible, and all bills must be promptly met to the day. In
addition still, there must be no lounging or lolling during working hours,
for idleness was akin to criminality in the mind of Daniel Pratt, and
things must move while they were working.

Easily susceptible, the young man grasped these as cardinal principles of
life, and they became to him abiding oracles for which he cherished the
highest regard. Becoming the son-in-law of Mr. Pratt, marrying his only
daughter, and, indeed, his only child, Mr. DeBardeleben necessarily became
the more intimate with the proprietor and father-in-law.

One of the first interests enlisting the attention of Mr. DeBardeleben was
that of a central system of railway through the heart of Alabama. A
railroad from the Gulf reached the base of the mountains of north Alabama,
but there it stopped. From the opposite direction another descended from
Nashville into Alabama, and likewise stopped on the opposite side of the
mountains. To see this missing link supplied by the knitting together of
the two ends was a matter of deep concern to Mr. DeBardeleben, and he
rested not till it was done. That accomplished, the opening of the
resources embedded in the mountains and hills of north Alabama enlisted
him. As he came to learn more of these abounding deposits his enthusiasm
was enlisted as never before, and visions of accomplishment rose before
him to lure him to fresher endeavor. It is not possible within the narrow
compass of a slight sketch even to name the enterprises to which he set
his hand, and only the barest outline of the man and of his achievements
is possible.

The combination of elements in his character was exceedingly rare. He was
a great and perpetual dreamer, but his dreaming was of the solid and
constructive sort. No day dreams nor woven rainbows were his, merely for
entertainment of lazy hours. He pictured possibilities, not visionary
vacuities. He had poetry in his being, but it was the poetry that was
practical. He was a great poet and a great business prince combined. He
was not unmindful of the formidableness of difficulty, but it inspired
rather than deterred him. Underneath the ardor of the man was a solid
substratum of calculation, and a calculation that took into account
herculean effort. His penetration was sharp, quick and decisive.

In this sweeping delineation the fact is not overlooked that Mr.
DeBardeleben was forced to succumb to the inevitable when Birmingham fell
a victim to the cholera scourge, and equally to the prostration occasioned
by the memorable Black Friday in Wall street, the effects of which event
fell with crashing weight on every interest throughout the Union. Furnaces
grew cold, the pick in the mine lay idle, eager laborers sat holding
their hands in idleness, and a nightmare fell on the nation throughout. To
have known Birmingham in those days would have been to know a forlorn
town, straggling and gloomy, while the environing districts were silent
and smokeless.

But the darkness gradually wore back to light.

With the return of dawn, men were open-eyed for advantage in the great
mineral domains of Alabama. Mr. DeBardeleben returned to Birmingham in
1877 with an immense fortune at his command, for he was the successor of
Daniel Pratt. Now he became united with Colonel Sloss and Mr. T. H.
Aldrich, names forever inseparable from the history of the mineral
development of north Alabama, and an invincible trio it was.

In the immense enterprises now entered on by the three, there was
sufficient in the colossal proportions of the undertakings for the
adjustment and adaptation of the peculiar gifts of all. Mr. DeBardeleben
was the chief planner and sagacious seer of the group, and daring he was
in all the enterprises proposed, but he was willing not alone to see, but
to do. The expansive fields of ore constantly challenged his highest
forces of enthusiasm and energy, and he chafed under his own limitations,
as a man, to meet the challenge forthwith. Dreaming in the solid way
already indicated, planning by day and night, and meanwhile always doing,
Mr. DeBardeleben was a prodigious factor of development in this marvelous

It was the dawn of a great era in the history of the Birmingham district
when Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben combined his immense energy and equally
immense fortune in its development. He took the refluent tide of
prosperity at its fountain, and, directing it into new channels,
rehabilitated the district, and in the transformation made others
forgetful of the preceding gloom. Indifferent to fame, he was intent on
gratifying his unceasing enterprise and energy by seeing the strides of
development made.


Altogether worthy of enrollment among the great men of Alabama, is the
name of Governor William C. Oates. His service to the state for many years
was varied and loyal. He was crowned with honors by his countrymen and was
altogether worthy. Reared to manhood with only ordinary educational
advantages, he was for many years recognized as one of the foremost
citizens of the state. He was a man of solid qualities without the glint
of the picturesque or the foil of the superficial. Honesty was his purpose
in life, and in view of this quality, his faults were as transparent as
were his merits. In no cause or issue was there a misapprehension of his
position. If in some respects he was rugged, it was due to the fact that
he did not propose to pose for that which he was not. He had his enemies,
but they were no more cordial in their opposition than were his numerous
and strong friends in their attachment and loyalty.

In the dawn of manhood he gave but little promise of success. Leaving home
at the age of sixteen, he roved the far Southwest for a period of years,
struck the hard sides of life, and returned to his home more matured in
wisdom by his bitter experience, and came to realize the necessity of
stability of plan and purpose in order to succeed. In the raw region of
Henry County, as it then was, Oates taught a rural school for a period of
months, later readdressed himself to study, and finished his course at a
high school at Lawrenceville. At that time the bar opened the widest and
most inviting gateway to eminence, and Oates aspired to be a lawyer.

In the office of Pugh, Bullock & Buford, at Eufaula, the rustic aspirant
learned the principles of his chosen profession, and was admitted to the
bar in 1858. Locating in the rural village of Abbeville, the seat of
justice of Henry County, he rose to be the leading lawyer of southeast
Alabama, and gradually came to be recognized as one of the best lawyers of
the state. His matter-of-fact manner and sturdy honesty won him a wide
circle of confidence, and men would ride on horseback long distances to
engage his professional service.

The rural press was not so abundant at that early day as it has since
become, and because of a lack of representation in that then inaccessible
region, he edited a newspaper at Abbeville. He was engaged in the combined
functions of editing a country journal and practicing law, when the storm
of war broke over the land in 1861. Raising a company of volunteers, he
became the captain, and was attached to the Fifteenth Alabama Regiment of
Infantry. He led his command into twenty-seven battles and became
conspicuous for his courage on the field. He received his commission as
colonel in 1863, and received a wound at Brown's Ferry, on the Tennessee
River, near the close of that year. At Fussell's Mills, near Petersburg,
Va., he sustained the loss of his right arm, but after recovering from the
wound, he resumed the command of his regiment, which command he retained
until the close of the war.

Returning to Abbeville after his capitulation, Colonel Oates again took
up his practice, and came to be esteemed one of the leading citizens of
the state. With all important movements in the state he was connected, and
his practice meanwhile became immense, so that Colonel Oates came to be
regarded not only as one of the most successful and leading lawyers of the
state, but one of the most prosperous. In many ways his name was
prominently known throughout the state, and a number of times mentioned in
connection with gubernatorial honors. This was notably true in the two
conventions for the nomination of a governor in the years 1870 and 1872.

In 1870 he represented Henry County in the state legislature, where he
became a distinguished leader. His service as a legislator brought him
still more prominently before the public. He was a member of the
constitutional convention in 1875, and from 1881 to 1894 he served his
district, the third Alabama, in the National Congress. His long and useful
career in congress gave him an influence second to that of none other of
the Alabama delegation. He was serving in congress when he was chosen
governor of the state in 1895.

Shortly after this came the monetary slogan of the free coinage of silver
at the sixteen-to-one ratio, of which William Jennings Bryan was the
apostle, and Governor Oates was with the minority of eminent Alabamians
who resisted the doctrine, in consequence of which he paid the penalty of
defeat at the polls for the national senatorship in a subsequent election.

When the Spanish-American War began in 1898 Governor Oates was
commissioned a brigadier general and served throughout the ninety-three
days of that sharp and decisive contest.

He was again chosen a member of the convention which revised the state
constitution, in which body his services were of immense value to Alabama.
His closing years were spent in the city of Montgomery, where he continued
to practice law till compelled by failure of vision to surrender it. He
died at an advanced age.

Reviewing a sketch so brief and imperfect, and one altogether unworthy of
his long career of usefulness, we are enabled to glean sufficient to learn
that for a full half century Governor Oates was engaged in contributing to
the growth and development of the state. The stations filled by him with
ability so signal, and extending through so many years, attest his
usefulness as a valuable citizen of Alabama. As a lawyer of distinction, a
soldier as courageous as any son of Alabama, a delegate in molding the
fundamental law of the commonwealth, a statesman whose qualities were
signally demonstrated in the halls of congress, and in the gubernatorial
chair, there is due him the worthiest praise. Solid rather than brilliant,
rugged rather than polished, useful rather than ornate, and substantial
without the alloy of artificiality, there were embodied in Governor Oates
elements of genuine greatness. In nothing mediocre, he rendered a
permanent service to Alabama and went to his grave as one of the state's
most distinguished public servants.


Judge Jonathan Haralson was an eminent type of that generation of southern
gentlemen who were a connecting link between the old and the new South. He
had just reached the threshold of cultured manhood when the crash of war
came. He was of the finished mold of the young southerners of that period.
He descended from a noble stock that was pre-eminent in southern society
and in the affairs of his native section. His father belonged to that
wealthy class of typical planters that gave prestige to the South on two
continents. His uncle, General Hugh A. Haralson, was one of the most
distinguished congressmen from Georgia, and for many years together was
one of the most learned jurists of that state.

Graduating from the University of Alabama in 1851, Judge Jonathan Haralson
studied law and was admitted to the bar a year later, but in order to
equip himself thoroughly he went to the law school of the University of
Louisiana, where he spent a year and obtained his degree of LL.B. He
immediately entered on the practice in Selma, where he became eminent as a
citizen, barrister, and an active Christian.

When, in 1876, the legislature of Alabama organized the city court of
Selma, a court of common law with civil, criminal and equity jurisdiction,
the bar of Dallas County recommended Judge Haralson to Governor Houston
for the judgeship of this court. For sixteen years he presided over the
court with signal ability. At the end of that time he was elected to the
supreme bench of the state, where he served for twelve years.

One of the distinctions conspicuous among others possessed by Judge
Haralson is worthy of special mention. His unusual culture, affableness of
disposition, cheerfulness, varied ability, and prominence in Christian
work found for him unsought niches of high honor in Christian work. Purely
in recognition of his worth, he was chosen the president of the Baptist
State Convention of Alabama in 1874, which position he held for eighteen
years, and was the most distinguished layman in the denomination of the
state during that time. In 1888 he was chosen the president of the
Southern Baptist Convention, which embraces the largest Baptist
constituency in the world, and for ten successive years presided over that
great body. He was a model parliamentarian, and came to rank as one of the
foremost laymen of his denomination in the union. His retirement from that
position was voluntary, for no one ever enjoyed more universal confidence
and popularity than he.

Other honors still were his. He was for many years a member of the board
of trustees of the Polytechnic Institute at Auburn, chairman of the board
of trustees of Howard College, and a member of the American Baptist
Education Society. An index to the character of Judge Haralson is afforded
in the remark which he has been heard to make that he suffered nothing to
interfere with his religious obligations. His conception of life
throughout was ideal. Himself a model of genuine manliness, he sought to
stimulate it in others. In all things his method was that of exactness.
There was a scrupulous care in his bearing, his speech, his conduct toward
others, and to the close of his life, the little amenities that make up so
much of life, were not lacking in his character. While his high sense of
manliness begot firmness, it was of that type which always bore the stamp
of gentleness.

His suavity won him friends by the multitude, and his character and
ability gained for him unlimited confidence. Presiding over bodies
sometimes rent by agitation, where skill and firmness were put to the
severest test, such was his personal influence, and such the confidence
reposed in him, that no appeals from his decision as a parliamentary
officer were ever taken.

Judge Haralson has but recently passed away, leaving behind him a record
of public life of more than fifty years, with not a dent in his shield or
a tarnish on his armor. He labored as long as he was able, and under the
weight of years voluntarily retired from public life. His death occurred
in his eighty-second year. In the quietude of his own home circle in
Montgomery, after his retirement from the supreme bench, he serenely
awaited the call of death.

Among the public men produced by Alabama, none ever excelled Judge
Jonathan Haralson in loftiness of character, incorruptibleness of life,
gentleness of disposition, and fidelity to duty. He was never the least
ostentatious. His manner was quiet and cordial, and never the least
reserved. While his conclusions were always positive and firm, they were
so tempered by gentleness as to leave never a shadow behind. He was as
cautious of the feelings of others as he was for those of his own.

No man was freer of self-seeking. It was purely in recognition of his
worth that he was called forth by others to the varied functions which he
performed. His companionableness bound to him the best of men who loved
him because of the loftiness of his life.

He lived throughout, the life of a typical southern gentleman--easy and
quiet of manner, pleasing always in his address, unstilted, yet possessed
of all the graces of the highest expression of culture. He was never
profuse of praise or of compliment, but indulged in a sort of pleasing
raillery and jest in which was couched an estimate which he entertained,
and which meant immensely more from him than would the extravagance of
many another. In a circle of friends he was invariably charming. His
appreciation of a joke was delightful, and in this he indulged to the
close. Jocular without yielding to unseemly levity, easy without undue
freedom or familiarity, sometimes slightly stinging in his jovial
criticisms of those for whom he had the highest regard, he always
recognized the boundary of propriety, and never suffered himself to be
betrayed beyond. There was no assumption either in his speech or manner.
He was simple, while at the same time great in very many respects,
invariably respectful, and dutiful to every trust, as a friend and as an
official--these were the dominant traits in the character and life of
Judge Jonathan Haralson.


Readers of that sterling Democratic journal, the New York Daybook,
published in the metropolis in the years before the war, recall the
articles of a spicy correspondent from "The Oaks," in Alabama. That writer
was the father of Gov. William James Samford. As one might judge from the
conversation and from the speeches of Governor Samford, he was reared in
an atmosphere of literature. To him, like to thousands of other southern
youth, the war was untimely, as it interposed to cut short all prospects
of a finished education, for as a stripling of seventeen he entered the
service of the Confederacy. He had previously enjoyed all the facilities
afforded in a country school near Auburn, and was in the sophomore class
at the University of Georgia, when the call to arms reached him. Youthful
as the boy soldier was, he soon became a lieutenant in the Forty-sixth
Alabama Infantry, which distinction he won by gallantry on the field.
Conditions were such that he was oftenest in command of the company.

Captured at Baker's Creek, he was taken to Johnson's Island. When his
command was surrounded at Baker's Creek, with no chance of escape, he drew
his sword and behind a log drove it into the ground to the hilt to prevent
its falling into the hands of the enemy. After his exchange, Governor
Samford rejoined his command and was with Lee's remnant when it

Returning home when he was just twenty-one, Governor Samford went bravely
to work on a farm to help save the growing crop of the spring of 1865.
During the following fall he was married to Miss Drake, and settled on a
small farm which he largely tilled with his own hands for several years.
Possessed of an unusual intellect, as all who knew him recognized,
Governor Samford was not content with turning the glebe, and procuring the
elementary books of law, he would study at night after laboring through
the day. He was fortunate in the companionship of an intelligent and
sympathetic wife, to whom he would from time to time recite, as he would
wade through the successive volumes of law.

In 1871 he removed to Opelika, was admitted to practice, and applied
himself with energy. His thorough knowledge of the principles of law,
resulting from his rigid application from the time of his entrance on its
study, was superinduced by the labor which he bestowed on each case. A
diligent, attentive, and intelligent lawyer is rarely without clients, and
this admits of peculiar application to Governor Samford.

A striking and command physique, a genial manner, a mastery of his cases,
and an eloquence which was natural, won him a practice that rapidly
extended, not only, but a rank at the bar of which any one might justly
feel proud. It is a notable fact that in the long career of the practice
of Governor Stamford, he was never caught on any point unawares. He had
gone over the entire ground in advance, had consulted the authorities with
minute care, and entered the court fully equipped. Never presuming, as
some lawyers do, that his opponents would overlook certain points involved
in a given case, he strongly fortified each one, especially the weaker,
so that he was ready for battle when the case was called.

This habit, well known in connection with the practice of Governor
Samford, won for him a widening fame, so that his practice was
considerable and prominent throughout East Alabama, and in other parts of
the state, and even beyond. A client once defeated in an important
criminal case, by the scientific knowledge of Governor Samford, remarked
that a man who knew as much as Samford, should not be allowed to practice!
Instances occurred when the opposition and even the court itself, was
taken by surprise by his exactness of knowledge of the scientific points
involved in given cases. Governor Samford had read every available
scientific work bearing on the case at issue, and was a match for the most
expert witness that could be pitted against him.

While Governor Samford was fearless in the prosecution or defense of any
cause, civil or criminal, entrusted to his care, there was always a
stately suavity that characterized his bearing, even in the rough and
tumble of the courtroom, as his native gentleness of heart forbade the
slightest harshness, or any warmth of passion. He was willing to
acknowledge a lack of firmness on his part, about which he would speak to
friends, but he would at the same time acknowledge that it was due to his
indisposition to be unkind to any one.

The creation of the present board of pardon in this state was due to his
energy, as he did not believe that so much of that which is sacred should
be lodged in the hands of a single man, but that there should be
deliberation derived from a number of sources in the settlement of grave
questions. No one was more distrustful of his own firmness than was he
when confronted by an issue involving much happiness. There was this
womanly element in his great nature which would sway him in spite of
himself. Whatever may be said of Governor Samford, his most obstinate
opponent could never deny the existence of this trait of gentleness and
kindness. Yet when confronted by a principle which demanded decision, he
could be firm, and was, as was abundantly shown by the exercise of the
veto power when it needed to be invoked.

Governor Samford's service to the state was manifold. Beginning as a
soldier boy at seventeen, his career was marked throughout by services of
a varied nature. While serving as a representative in the lower house,
from Lee County, he was the recognized leader of that body. As senator,
his merits were recognized by his being chosen the president of that body.
As a delegate to the constitutional convention, his services were
invaluable. As a representative in congress, he made a reputation for
himself and for the state. Honored at last as governor, he brought to the
functions of that high office his learning, ability, and experience in
public life, all of which were valuable.

Only hints of the force of this profound lawyer, skilled statesman,
cultured citizen, eloquent barrister, and Christian governor can be given
in a sketch so circumscribed as this, but even such glimpses afford
sufficient insight to enable one to judge of his rank of superiority.
Always bright and cheerful, his sense and appreciation of humor did not
forsake him on his last bed of illness. Yet there was profound devotion to
God which he cherished and cultivated to the end. Cut down in the prime of
life, Governor Samford died while serving as governor of the state.


For solid and substantial service and for disinterested devotion to the
cause of Democracy, the duration of all which stretches through a period
of about a half century, none excels the veteran editor, William Wallace
Screws, of Montgomery. From the early dawn of manhood to ripened age,
Major Screws has been identified with the fortunes of his native state. It
is doubtful that another has impressed the thought of the state so
uninterruptedly for so long a time as he. There has never been the
slightest waver in his fidelity and downright labor for a long period of
years. Certainly he has sufficiently won the approval of the people of the
state as to be worthy of a place among the men who have constructed the
commonwealth to its present stage of advancement. No flash nor
picturesqueness, no sensation nor sudden innovation has at any time
attached to that which he has done--it has been service rendered as in a
treadmill, patiently, persistently, and perseveringly. He has gone down
into the depths with his people, has suffered as they have, and has risen
along with them through the varying fortunes which have been theirs in the
years of the immediate past.

Major Screws' native region is Barbour County. His academic training and
all indeed he ever had, was at Glennville, a village noted in other days
for its educational advantages. He entered life early, for he was admitted
to the bar at twenty, after having studied in the law office of Watts,
Judge & Jackson, at Montgomery. At the end of a two years' practice, he
entered the Confederate service, being among the first to enlist. Like
many others, Major Screws was not a secessionist, but he was a patriot,
and subordinating his personal views to the expressed judgment of the
people of Alabama, he shouldered his musket and went with the first troops
that were concentrated at Pensacola. He joined in the capture of the navy
yard and of Fort Barancas, and later became a lieutenant in Company H,
Fifty-ninth Alabama regiment, and served under General Bragg in Tennessee
and Kentucky, participating in the battles of Chickamauga and Knoxville.

The last year of the war found Major Screws under Lee in Virginia. During
that stressful and distressful period he was an active sharer, and was
with the remnant of that brave army that surrendered at Appomattox. It was
during his campaigning with the two armies that Major Screws developed his
popular ability as a writer. A vigorous and versatile correspondent from
the front, he enlivened the columns of the Montgomery Advertiser, then
presided over by that brilliant editor, Samuel G. Reid. The keen insight
of Major Screws into the situation led him at one time to forecast some of
the contemplated movements of Bragg's army, the publication of which led
to his arrest by General Bragg, but this was a merely meaningless episode,
and only served to develop the fact that the sagacious correspondent had
too keen an insight for the comfort of the commanding general.

On his return home in 1865, Major Screws was entirely reliant on his pen
for a livelihood, and became connected with The Advertiser as an
associate. Great consideration was shown him by the editor, Mr. Reid, who
finally put him in possession of the paper. Here has been the orbit of his
great service to the state. His tripod was his throne, and though the
paper was suppressed for a period of months, under the bayonets of
reconstruction, it was not throttled, and its columns radiated with
exposures of the corruption of those corrupt days. Under Major Screws, The
Advertiser was the vent of heroic expression and the champion of the
liberties of the people of Alabama. In those days of darkness and of
trial, when Major Screws wrestled with poverty in the maintenance of his
journal, the people of Alabama little knew what he was undergoing in their
behalf. But in cool heroism he labored on, as though he had the purse of a
prince at his command, and unselfishly served the people, undergoing
perhaps as much privation as anyone who has ever served the state.

Under conditions like these the unselfishness of Major Screws was put to
the test on more than one occasion. At one time during the agitation
caused by the Stantons in the notorious struggle to obtain the issue of
bonds in behalf of the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad, the history of
which struggle is too long to be gone into here, an agent of the Stantons
appeared at Montgomery and proposed to Major Screws to pay him $51,000 for
the use of the Montgomery Advertiser in the promotion of the fraudulent
scheme. Major Screws was to remain the editor of the paper, and the sum
proposed was merely to purchase the right to use its columns, through
another, in fixing this burden on the people of the state. He was a poor
man, grappling with the difficulties incident to the times, but he flatly
declined the offer, and bravely continued his opposition to the issue of
the bonds.

There was another occasion when he might have succumbed to a proposal as a
Democrat, and found some plausible pretext for his action. The marvelous
mineral resources of the state were winning national attention, and a
segment of the Democracy in congress under the leadership of Hon. Samuel
J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, was espousing protection in the interest of
the mineral developments of the country. Mr. Randall was the champion of
these Democratic protectionists, and it was sought to bring the mineral
interests of Alabama into the movement. The bait was a tempting one at a
time when capital was in great need for the development of our deposits,
and an exponent, such as the Montgomery Advertiser was, would have proved
of immense advantage to this wing of the Democratic party. Accordingly, a
special agent was commissioned to Montgomery to offer to Major Screws the
snug sum of fifty thousand dollars to espouse the cause of that particular
wing, and take plausible shelter beneath the plea of the necessary
development of the coal and iron of Alabama, but this he promptly
declined. These are sufficient to show his unselfishness as well as his

Perhaps more than any other since the Civil War, Major Screws has been
instrumental in shaping and directing the policies of the Democratic party
in the state. He was a candidate for office once, when in 1868 he was
elected secretary of state, and during the first administration of Mr.
Cleveland he was appointed postmaster at Montgomery. These are the only
positions he has ever filled. His career is an important component of the
forces which have made Alabama great in the galaxy of American states.

Major Screws has grown old in years in the cause of democratic liberty in
Alabama, yet in spirit he is as virile and vigorous as he was in the days


When a lad of thirteen, Col. Hilary A. Herbert came with his father's
family from Laurensville, South Carolina, to Alabama, and settled at
Greenville, Butler County, where the lad grew to distinguished manhood.
His advanced studies were prosecuted at the universities of Alabama and
Virginia, at both of which schools he established a reputation for aptness
and rigid accuracy. Admitted to the bar, Colonel Herbert had scarcely
begun his career as a lawyer when the Civil War began. He had leisurely
pursued his scholastic course and was about twenty-seven years old when
the call to arms came.

Entering the army as a captain, he was attached to the Eighth Alabama
Infantry, which regiment was sent to Virginia. He was with Magruder at
Yorktown, was in the peninsula campaign, during which time he was promoted
to the rank of major, and at Fair Oaks he fell into the hands of the
enemy. He was soon exchanged, and on rejoining his command, was made
lieutenant colonel. His regiment was first assigned to Longstreet's corps,
but later was transferred to that of A. P. Hill.

Colonel Herbert led his regiment into the battles of Fredericksburg, Salem
Heights, Antietam, and Gettysburg. In the battle last named the Eighth
Alabama was directly opposed by a Federal regiment commanded by Colonel
Maginess, who, in after years, sat side by side with Colonel Herbert in

The retirement of Colonel Herbert from the army was due to a serious
wound received in the Wilderness. The wound was inflicted on the left arm,
a portion of the bone of which was carried away, and that practically
nerveless limb still hangs at his side as a memorial of his gallant
services. On receiving his wound, he was borne from the field in a
critical condition.

Up to that time, though commanding the regiment for a long period, Herbert
was only a lieutenant colonel, the colonel having been long disabled and
unfit for duty, was not with the regiment, though his name still appeared
on the roster as the commander of the regiment. Personally disabled as
were both the colonel and the lieutenant colonel, they stood in the way of
the promotion of those who were still in active service on the field. In
recognition of this condition, Colonel Herbert wrote at once to the
brigade commander, expressing the wish to be retired. Major I. P. Emerich,
who was now in command, with great magnanimity, protested against such
action, insisting that Herbert had won distinction as a leader of his
troops, and insisted that fairness demanded that he be promoted before he
be suffered to retire. Major Emerich was joined by other officers of the
command in the protest, which resulted in the retirement of Colonel
Herbert with the full rank of colonel. The action was alike creditable to
Colonel Herbert and Major Emerich. The latter still lives an honored
citizen of Mobile.

After the capitulation of the Confederate armies, Colonel Herbert located
at Greenville in the resumption of the law practice, where he was easily
at the head of the local profession. A wider sphere opened to him in
1872, in Montgomery, whence he removed and entered into copartnership with
Mr. Virgil Murphy, and later was associated with Messrs. Clopton and
Chambers, with whom he was engaged till 1877, when he was elected to
congress, his intention being to gratify an ambition by remaining in his
seat but one session of two years.

But an event occurred which changed the current of Colonel Herbert's
career. Samuel J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, had become speaker of the
house, and there appeared on the scene Col. Tom Scott, of the same state,
with a colossal scheme to procure a subsidy of $40,000,000 with which to
build the Texas Pacific Railroad with branches extending to the most
important southern points. It was a gigantic venture and wore a rosy front
for the South, which region was seeking to get again afoot. On the
delegation from the South, pressure was brought, because it was so
plausibly promising and it was sought to be made appear that it was an
undertaking which the South could not lightly esteem. The enginery of the
scheme was far reaching in its operation, for the state legislatures were
urged to take such action as would force the co-operation of their
congressional delegations in its success. The Alabama legislature
instructed its senators to vote for it, and requested its representatives
to do so.

Knowing the source and purpose of the mammoth scheme, Colonel Herbert
declined to support it. Every possible pressure was brought to bear, but
Herbert was immovable. His maiden speech in congress was in opposition to
Scott's plan. His argument changed the current of his life. The speech
was printed and sent throughout his district, and though he protested
against his renomination, he was returned to congress. Colonel Scott made
another desperate effort to force the co-operation of Colonel Herbert,
even employing learned and local counsel in Montgomery to induce the
legislature to give imperative instruction to the state delegation to
support the measure, and while this learned attorney alluded before the
legislature to Colonel Herbert as misrepresenting the interests of the
state, the assembly declined to instruct the members as desired, and the
whole scheme was killed. Colonel Herbert now came to be recognized as one
of the safest custodians of the interests of the state. While not a
demonstrative gentleman, his merits came to be recognized in congress, as
was shown by his appointment on the ways and means committee on which
committee were such men as Reed, McKinley, and Morrison. His district kept
him in congress as long as he would serve.

In 1885 he was appointed chairman of the committee on naval affairs at the
request of President Cleveland. In 1893 Mr. Cleveland appointed him
Secretary of the Navy. So popular was Colonel Herbert in Congress, that
Republicans vied with Democrats in demonstrations of gratification at his
promotion to the presidential cabinet. Just after his appointment to this
honored post, he entered the hall of congress and was moving quietly
toward the Democratic cloak room. Mr. Outhwaite, of Ohio, was speaking as
Colonel Herbert was moving along the outer aisle, when a member spied him
and broke forth with "Herbert! Herbert!" He paused, when Mr. Outhwaite
generously said, "I will yield five minutes of my time to the gentleman
from Alabama." There was no escape, and Colonel Herbert had to speak. He
pronounced with deep emotion his high appreciation of the honor and
tribute, and it is said that this was the first instance where he was
unable to restrain his emotions in public. He was wholly unable to
disguise his profound emotions at a demonstration so great.

To Colonel Herbert the entire country is indebted for the efficiency of
its national navy. Behind the guns of Dewey, at Manila, and those of
Schley at Santiago, was the efficiency of Hilary A. Herbert. Though
advanced in age, he is still prosecuting his practice in the national


Prominent among Alabamians who have aided in building into greatness our
commonwealth is the Honorable Willis Brewer, of Lowndes County. Along
different channels he has wrought for many years. Planter, journalist,
lawyer, author, and statesman, Colonel Brewer has been no inconspicuous
contributor to the growth of the state. A native of Sumter County,
Alabama, with his education restricted to academic training, he has turned
to most valuable account his gifts and acquirements, and by the
self-cultivation of the one, and by means of close and studious
application of the other, he has been an active participant in the affairs
of the state for many years.

When a mere lad of sixteen he, in connection with the late Judge William
R. DeLoach, of Sumter County, began the publication of a paper at Milton,
Florida, where they were, when the war began, in 1861. Both enlisted in
the Confederate army, but the health of Mr. Brewer became broken, and he
was assigned to post duty during much of the war, but served for a period
on the staff of General Wirt Adams in the Mississippi campaign.

His fondness for journalism led him to resume the editorial pen just after
the close of the war, when he published at Camden, Alabama, the Wilcox
Times. It was at this time, when Mr. Brewer was only twenty-two years old,
that Governor Patton appointed him on his staff with the rank of colonel,
by which title he has since been known.

In 1868 Colonel Brewer removed to Hayneville, and founded the Hayneville
Examiner. The times and the environments served to evoke from the young
editor the best that was in him, and his paper became one of the most
powerful engines in the state in the exposure of the corruption of
reconstruction. The slogan resounding from the Hayneville Examiner, "the
people against the fools and thieves in power," caught, in its aptness,
the ear of the state, and became a popular legend throughout the
reconstruction era.

In 1876 to 1880 Colonel Brewer served the state as auditor. During 1880 he
was chosen for the legislature and served during the remarkable period of
eighteen years, twelve of which as senator and six as representative. At
the end of that period he was chosen for congress, where he served for
four years. Twenty-six years of public service, years of diligent
activity, entitles him to the gratitude of the people of a great state.

Valuable as his service was in every position occupied by Colonel Brewer,
his most useful service was rendered while he was state auditor. His
career in that capacity began with the administration of Governor Houston,
which was one of retrenchment and reform. The pivot on which the economic
administration of Governor Houston turned was the office of the auditor,
over which presided Colonel Brewer. Here he discovered the leakage of the
resources of the state, and it was Colonel Brewer who not only discovered
this vent but sealed it, and gave backbone to the economy of the
administration. To illustrate, Colonel Brewer found that the tax
collector of Mobile County was allowed a credit of sixty-two thousand
dollars for the lands bought by the state in 1874-75, and yet it was shown
that Mobile was sold every year, while in the County of Dallas, not
including the town lots, ninety-five thousand acres were sold in 1875.

Conditions like these had prostrated the state financially, and the eight
per cent "horse shoe" money of the state was being hawked in the market at
fifty and sixty cents on the dollar. Within two years after Colonel Brewer
became state auditor, the eight per cent bonds of the state were funded at
six per cent. He never suffered a tax collector to settle with a
subordinate, but always with himself.

Another illustration of his share in the financial rehabilitation of the
state is afforded by the fact that Colonel Brewer originated the state law
of sale of property for taxes, which law he worked through the legislature
during the session of 1878-9. He is the author of the law relative to
descent and distribution by means of which parents inherit from their
children when they die intestate, without wife or children. For seventy
years the state had made no provision for parents, and no matter how old
or infirm, they could not inherit, and the property fell to the brothers
and sisters of the intestate.

From the dry, dull details of rigid business and the exacting irksomeness
of burdensome labor, Colonel Brewer could turn with his facile pen to the
production of the rarest English and the highest expression of thought.
His passion for literature, for he is a most versatile student, has
resulted in a style peculiarly his own--crisp, terse, luminous,
condensed, cast in a classic mold. His History of Alabama, published in
1872, is an invaluable contribution to the literature of the state. As a
stylist he is rigid in exactness, while preserving a singular flavor which
is most agreeable to the learned reader. His "Children of Issachar," a
novel, deals with Ku Klux times. "The Secret of Mankind" is a metaphysical
production which has won such praise as to cause it to be compared to the
works of Tacitus and Swedenborg. Though published as far back as 1895,
this work is securing a revived popularity, and is now being translated
into the German. The last literary production of Colonel Brewer, "Egypt
and Israel," is a scholarly production of philology, and shows a
remarkable knowledge of the language of the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews.

At this writing Colonel Brewer is still among us. His poise is still as
erect as when a lad, and his speech as clear, though he has passed his
sixty-seventh milestone. In commenting on an allusion made to him in the
Mobile Register in September, 1907, which journal spoke of him as "the
last of the southern colonels," the Montgomery Journal said of Colonel
Brewer: "No man in the state has a more distinguished personality, a
personality more distinctly southern, and none whose brain and intellect,
culture and learning so forcibly remind of the Old South, as does the
Register's Hayneville friend."

In quiet leisure Colonel Brewer is spending his closing days at "The
Cedars," his country mansion, a few miles distant from Montgomery.


Alabama was favored by the double administration of Joseph Forney
Johnston, who took with him into the office of chief executive the
qualities of a successful man of business and a varied experience of
years. When a boy, Governor Johnston removed from his native state, North
Carolina, and, his father settling at Talladega, the son was placed at
school, where he was when hostilities were begun between the states in
1861. Scarcely eighteen years old, he was among the first in the state to
enlist in the Confederate service, and became a private in the Eighteenth
Alabama Regiment. It is a matter of common observation that a good soldier
makes a good citizen, which admits of application to Governor Johnston.
The record of his soldierly career may be summarized in the facts that the
stripling soldier rose from the ranks to a captaincy, served throughout
the struggle, and bore from the conflict four scars as the results of
wounds in so many battles.

Like thousands of others, the close of the war found him practically
penniless in the midst of conditions of desolation occasioned by the long
struggle, and in facing the future, as a young man of twenty-three, he
selected law as a profession, studying in the office of General W. H.
Forney. Admitted to the practice, Mr. Johnston located at Selma, where for
eighteen years he devoted himself to law, confining himself, for the most
part, to commercial law, which served to imbue him thoroughly with the
principles of business. While an active participant in current affairs of
a public nature, he was content to render whatever service he might to the
common weal, but evinced no desire for official station. In the
reconstruction struggles he actively shared, and, while assisting others
to the gratification of political ambition, Mr. Johnston was content to
adhere strictly to the demands of his profession.

The development of vast mineral deposits in north Alabama induced his
removal to Birmingham in 1884, in which growing city he practically
abandoned the practice of the law, having been chosen the president of the
Alabama National Bank. A still wider sphere was opened to him when he was
invited to become the first president of the Sloss Iron & Steel Company.
Voluntarily retiring from the presidency of the bank, he assumed the
larger duties of this great organization. This responsible station
afforded ample exercise of the qualities of business with which Captain
Johnston was equipped, and by the application of these, the company was
placed on a solid and paying basis.

After years of service in this capacity, he caused it to become known that
he aspired to the governorship of the state. He had never held political
office, had never before desired it, hence had never before sought it; but
now he did not disguise the fact that he wished to occupy the executive
chair in the capitol of Alabama. His characteristic announcement of his
candidacy was quite aside of the hackneyed phraseology of the ordinary
political seeker. With blunt frankness he declared that he had not been
solicited by numerous friends, and was not yearning to become a victim on
the altar of political sacrifice in a consuming desire to render a public
good, but simply that he had an ambition to become governor, believing
that he could serve the state efficiently and with fidelity. Nor did he
disguise the fact that he was possessed of this ambition for the
distinction which it would afford and the honor it would bring.

Having resolved to enter the race for this high office, he bent his
energies to the achievement. Twice he sought the position, and twice
failed. In the third contest, however, in 1896, he was overwhelmingly
chosen. That much was due to his praiseworthy persistency, his fealty to
his party, which was ardently shown in his espousal of the candidacy of
his opponents after he had himself failed, and to the fact that greater
publicity was given his forces of character, there is no doubt. His
unsuccessful efforts had served to display the type of man that he was,
and there was a growing recognition of his merits.

On his entrance to the gubernatorial office he began at once to reduce the
government to a business basis. He proceeded to lop off, here and there,
official branches that bore no fruit and yet were duly fertilized at the
public expense; he regulated the system of taxation, so as to equalize it,
by requiring taxes to be paid which had hitherto escaped; he instituted
the system of the examination of the books and accounts of county
officials by expert accountants, and by economy of management caused to
accrue to the state treasury a sum exceeding thirty million dollars. He
took a direct personal interest in the public school system of the state,
and it was during the administration of Governor Johnston that the
question of an improved public road system was inaugurated. By steps like
these he came to be recognized as "the business governor." He was
unanimously chosen to succeed himself after the expiration of his first
term, and his gubernatorial career closed with the last year of the
nineteenth century. In 1909 Governor Johnston and Honorable J. H. Bankhead
were chosen by the popular vote of the state to succeed Senators John T.
Morgan and E. W. Pettus, and in 1910 took their seats. Senator Johnston
displayed the same solid qualities in the National Senate that he had
previously shown as governor. His was not a demonstrative career, for he
was a man of solid qualities rather than one of shining gifts. There was
the utmost popular confidence in his judgment and in the integrity of his
character. Steadfast to duty, often when physically unable, for his health
had become greatly impaired, he won, as a senator, the thoughtful
confidence of the people of Alabama.

An indication of the conscientiousness of his conviction was shown in the
fact that in the famous Lorimer case, before the senate of the United
States, Senator Johnston, guided by the evidence, declined to be swayed by
the popular clamor to vote for the ejection of the Illinois senator. To
many this was thought to be hazardous, but he openly declared that rather
than do violence to his convictions, he would resign his seat. He
therefore voted for the retention of Mr. Lorimer, and refused to be
swerved by the outcry of the popular press. Senator Johnston was
preparing for a contest to succeed himself when he suddenly died at
Washington, in August, 1913.



The morning of May 25, 1539, found the shore of Tampa Bay, Florida, the
center of a bright and animating scene. A wealthy Spaniard, chivalrous and
dashing, had just before reached the port with a force of six hundred men,
twenty officers and twenty-four priests in white canonicals, all bent on
an expedition into the far interior. Their quest was the long-imagined El
Dorado of the western world, which was a prize glittering before the
imagination of the fervid adventurer. Ferdinando DeSoto, who led this
daring troop, was not unaccustomed to adventures such as he had in
contemplation, for he had been with Pizarro in Peru, where he was rewarded
with rich booty, and he pined to invade the southern part of the North
American continent, where he hoped to reap richer rewards than were found
on the continent to the south. In the exploration on which he was now
entering he had been preceded ten years before by Narvaez, who had
perished by drowning. Now, with a freshly equipped expedition, DeSoto
entered anew on an exploration of these western wilds in search of gold.

Novel spectacle was this on the wild and primitive shore of Florida. Men
in brilliant uniforms, and with helmets glittering in the spring sun,
gayly caparisoned steeds, a procession of white-robed priests bearing
their crucifixes, formed a procession at once novel and imposing. As they
filed out and formed for the march, there was ranged in their rear a
small herd, each of cattle and of hogs, to be driven on the expedition for
supplies of milk and meat. As the expedition advanced inland, there was a
strange multiplication both of swine and of cattle.

It was picturesque enough, this cavalcade of horsemen in shining attire,
bearing the ensign of Spain, wending its way slowly through the virgin
forests of tall pines. Their camp fires of rich, resinous pine knots, in
the midst of stately trees, which stood like pillars in a vast cathedral,
lent a scene of enlivenment to the forest surroundings. The region was
green with long, wild grass and the native peavine, while the blossoms of
early spring were in their glory.

Streams deep and crystal abounded, along which grew the rank cane. Herds
of deer and droves of wild turkeys came frequently into view as targets
for the Spanish marksmen, and the troop reveled in unusual luxury, with
venison and turkey meat even in the wild woods of the continent of the

From the early stages of the march toward the interior, combats with the
Indian tribes began, but the Indian was unequal to the Spaniard because of
the better equipment of the latter. The savages were overawed by the
splendor of the white soldier, and as much by his horse as by himself, for
horses the Indians had never before seen. DeSoto was fortunate in the
capture of Jean Ortiz in a contest in the interior of Florida. Ortiz had
been one of the band of Narvaez, had been captured by the Indians ten
years before, had succeeded in saving his life by wily stratagem, and
because of his soldierly qualities had been made a chief of one of the

Under conditions like these, Jean Ortiz had lived for ten years, making
the most of the circumstances, and had long ago given up all hope of
leading other than the life of a wild savage. The dominion of his tribe
fell within the march of invasion of the Spaniards, and Ortiz led his
warriors to battle against them. Sorely beaten in the encounter, many of
his warriors having been slain, Ortiz and his troops fled in confusion,
hotly pursued by the Spanish horsemen. Ortiz was specially sought to be
killed because he was the leader, and as a cavalryman raised his lance to
deal a deadly blow, the chief cried out in Spanish, much to the surprise
of the pursuer: "Slay me not; I, too, am a Christian!" The half-nude
savage was taken to DeSoto, his body smeared with divers paints, his hips
swathed in a fawn skin girdle and his head bedecked with a coronet of
pretty feathers. He told the story of his capture and wild life to the
Spanish commander, and placed himself at his service. Ortiz proved to be a
valuable ally to the troop in acquainting DeSoto with the methods of the
savages, and in serving frequently as an interpreter.

DeSoto found the aborigines to be far more formidable fighters than he had
expected. While their implements of combat were rude, yet when wielded by
the Indian, they did deadly execution. The chief weapon of warfare of the
Indian was the bow, the character of which made it an object of terror.
The bows were made of sun-cured hickory saplings the size of a man's wrist
and eight feet long. Curved and secured by a strip of rawhide, the bow was
no mean instrument of peril in the hands of the muscular savage. To the
flexibility of the hickory bow and the elasticity of the thong were
adjusted the skill and aim of the practiced warrior. The arrows were
finished with a view to accuracy of aim, velocity, and deadliness of
execution. Tipped with triangular flints with rough edges and pointed
sharpness, they were driven with an aim so unerring, and with such force
and celerity, that they could be shot through a man or beast at a distance
of one hundred yards. With a quiver full of these arrows strapped to his
back, the brawny warrior would sally forth, an object of terror.

Fortunately for the Spaniards, they were prepared with armor sufficient to
withstand these crude weapons, for each soldier wore a coat of steel, a
helmet and breastplate, and carried a shield of metal. Their horses were
also protected with coats of steel. With their biscayan lances,
broadswords, arquebuses, crossbows, and a small piece of artillery, the
Spaniards felt secure against the primitive implements of the savage.
Though thus secured against savage attack, DeSoto and his men soon learned
that theirs was not a primrose path through the American wilds. The Indian
proved to be a terrible antagonist with his foxy stratagem and his
primitive method of warfare. These pampered sons of Spain, many of whom
had been petted and nourished in mansions and in palaces of luxury, had
daily to fight for their lives on the invaded territory of the red man,
who would engage the Spaniards at points of the greatest advantage to
themselves, and who enjoyed every possible advantage because of their
familiarity with the surroundings. But for Ortiz, the expedition might
have perished before it had quitted the present territory of Georgia.

The Spaniards never knew when to expect an assault. Often at the most
unconjectured time, they would receive a shower of arrows, noiseless in
their flight, and coming from unseen sources. Every hour, by day and by
night, they were kept in suspense, and even intervals of quietude became
ominous of accumulating trouble. Sometimes from the summits of rocky hills
in front an attack would be made; sometimes one flank assailed, then both
simultaneously; while not infrequently the rear would be attacked by
overwhelming numbers of shrieking, yelling demons, whose painted, naked
bodies and fierce demonstrations would create pandemonium. There was
little in tragic scenes like these to hearten the tender gentry of Spain.
By dint of rare discipline, maneuver, powder and ball, of which the
Indians knew nothing, and an intensely common interest of protection which
welded the Spaniards together, they invariably prevailed, but never were
shrewder, more stubborn or fiercer foes encountered, than these raw
savages of the American forest.

Though duly provided with workers in metal with their pots and ladles for
the refinement of gold, the troops found no use for them after months of a
straggling march through the woods of the South. The alluring vision of
the invading Spaniard of the abundance of gold in the retreats of the
American wilds, was gradually dispelled and vastly counterbalanced by the
hourly peril that menaced. That the spirit of the troops so long survived
conditions like these, shows the stern stuff of which the Spanish soldier
of that time was made. His love of gold was consuming, while his spirit of
adventure was the most audacious. These, combined with the necessary
coherence in common defense, made DeSoto's band well nigh invincible.

After a considerable detour of the present state of Georgia, DeSoto
reached the region where the city of Rome now is, where he crossed the
river, and was the first white man to set foot on the soil of Alabama. Of
the subsequent scenes of the expedition we shall have occasion to learn in
the chapters that are to follow.


Thirteen months of hardship and of Indian warfare had changed the original
picnic appearance of the Spanish troop. The uniforms were not now so
lustrous, and the young grandees did not disport themselves as they did
more than a year before, on the shore of Tampa Bay. The elements had
dimmed the luster of their equipments, the hot southern sun had bronzed
their complexions, their uniforms looked much the worse for wear, and,
while the pots and ladles of the refiners were still unused, there was yet
the undaunted flash of hope in the Castilian eye. It was a resolute legion
under a resolute leader.

The Coosa was crossed, that stream of crumpled surface which the Indian in
his native sense of poetry had called "Rippling Water," which is the
meaning of Coosa, and now the cavalcade turned toward the southwest, as
one would look from Rome toward Blount Springs and Tuscaloosa. It seems
that from the Georgia side the Indians had sent runners to the tribes on
the thither side, warning of the advance of the strange cavalcade of
invasion, for as DeSoto pursued his way he met one embassy after another,
offering every concession in order to placation.

The line of march was through the present counties of Cherokee, Calhoun,
Talladega and Coosa. Like Cæsar in Gaul, DeSoto jotted down his
observations and impressions, for he was a scholarly warrior, and his
records are a matter of permanent value. He was charmed by the primeval
beauty of that northeastern region of Alabama. Streams, swift, bright and
deep, unalloyed by the soil and sediment of the present time, wound their
way among the hills; magnificent timbers stocked the forests; mountains
were the more imposing because of their wooded flanks; flowering vines, in
gorgeous beauty, climbed to the tops of the tallest trees; festoons of
wild grapes were suspended from tree to tree; varied floral coloring
decked the region throughout, while meadows of the rarest green were
spread like carpets along the valleys, through which ran flashing streams
like threads of silver woven into the carpeted verdure.

Here, too, the observant and intelligent Spaniard detected the difference
between the Indian tribes that he had encountered on the eastern side of
the river, from those on this side. Fertility of soil, picturesqueness of
scenery, or the inheritance of forces from a superior ancestry, or all
these combined, had placed the Alabama tribes far in advance of their
tawny brethren across the stream. Here were found cleared fields, on which
was grown corn in abundance, of which there were rude barns full to
overflowing. Settlements and towns were laid out with some respect to
order, and the huts and wigwams were built with more regard to comfort and
of appearance. It was the opinion of DeSoto that the highest civilization
possible to the Indian unaided, was here reached.

Environed by conditions like these, the Spanish commander was much
affected, favorably concerning the Indian, but unfavorably respecting
himself and his men. This advanced condition of the Indian suggested to
him a problem which he had not anticipated, for he was now to deal with a
class of people not before met, and for which he had not planned. This was
accompanied by a suspicion, inseparable from Spanish character, that these
manifestations of embassies meant for him a trap, and by this he was
controlled ever afterward, much to his disadvantage, as we shall see.

He was now within the dominion of the chief of Coosa, a great monarch in
these far interior wilds. His dominion was vast, his people loyal and
brave, thrifty and numerous. His capital city was Coosa, and to DeSoto the
chief sent an embassy of welcome, which was coldly greeted by the
suspicious Spaniard. When DeSoto came near the capital, he was met by the
Indian monarch himself, attended by a thousand painted warriors, stalwart,
tall, erect, lithe, and dignified of movement. They walked the earth like
princes. Around a band about the head of each, were nodding plumes of
varicolored feathers. With lofty port and evident pride, they escorted
their chief into the presence of the Spanish invader. The chief himself
was a fellow of commanding build, and as he sat erect on a rude chair
borne on the shoulders of four brawny braves, he was not unconscious of
his consequence as a great ruler.

The Spanish were astonished by a scene so splendid in these sylvan
retreats. To them it was a spectacle of wonder. About the wide shoulders
of the mighty chief was a mantle of martin skins, soft and glossy, which
fell in graceful folds about his huge form, while his head was adorned
with a coronal of brilliant plumage. His immense escort of painted
attendants lifted their voices in Indian melody, accompanied by piping on
their cane flutes.

The two bands of Indians and of Spaniards were brought front to front,
each silently scanning the other curiously, each magnificent in its own
way. Each was equally a revelation to the other--the plumed and half-naked
savages, with faces hideous with divers paints, bearing bows, arrows and
wooden clubs, and the steel-clad warriors of ancient Spain with metal
armor, and mounted on animals never before seen by the Indians. Through
Jean Ortiz, an interpreter, the ceremony was conducted. Speeches were
exchanged, after which DeSoto was escorted with much pomp to the quarters
prepared for his entertainment.

Haunted by a dark suspicion, DeSoto kept the chief near him and retained
him as a sort of hostage near his quarters. While the Indian is
revengeful, he is kind even unto death, when a friend. The chief had
exhausted his ingenuity in providing entertainment for his distinguished
guest, and that guest now requited that kindness by placing the chief
under arrest. The man of the woods showed deeply and keenly the
humiliation felt, but the supercilious Spaniard cared not for that. The
untutored warriors were enraged by the untimely treatment of their chief
and gathered in knots and groups about the settlement with a low hum of
murmur. Their savage blood waxed hot, and they began to foment mischief.
DeSoto cared nothing for savage amenity and hospitality, and was concerned
alone for his own safety. Gratitude is not an element in the Spanish
character, and DeSoto had not crossed the seas to indulge in diplomatic
palaver, but had come in search of the yellow gold.

Stung by revenge, the Indian warriors by thousands slid away to the woods
by different ways, to plan for the extinction of the invading host, the
intruder, the ingrate. Apprised of their movement, DeSoto summoned his
forces and sent them in pursuit, and scattered the warriors before they
could assemble, and by concerted action attack him. A large number of them
were made prisoners, both of men and women, whom DeSoto handcuffed, put
iron collars about their necks and loaded them with chains. All this was
done openly in their own capital city. Around his headquarters sat in
groups the meek-eyed prisoners, while near the house provided for the
entertainment of the Spaniard sat their revered chief, himself a prisoner.
The chief, the wiser of the two, pleaded that, whatever was meted out to
him, his people be not thus so cruelly served. In response DeSoto
sufficiently relented to release some of the prisoners, while he retained
others, and when at last he took his leave he forced them to become
burden-bearers of his camp equipage.

Still anxious to afford assurance of his sincerity, the imprisoned chief
sought repeatedly to avow it afresh, but it fell on the leaden ears of the
heartless Spaniard. Engaging DeSoto in conversation, the chief even went
so far as to offer a vast domain of land to the Spaniard for the founding
of a Spanish colony, and proposed to allow him to select it himself. At
this DeSoto only laughed, and told his entertainer that it was not land
that he sought, but gold. Well had DeSoto learned the lesson given by the
atrocious Pizarro in Peru, with whom he was, during that notorious
invasion far to the south.

DeSoto was in no haste to quit the Coosa capital, and with lavish hand he
fed his horses, cows, and hogs on the housed corn and provender of the
savages, while his men were refreshed by a long-needed rest. When he at
last took his departure, he left with the Indians some of his most
undesired cattle and swine, besides a negro slave, who had fallen sick,
and was unable to travel. The Indians were delighted to retain the
African, as they were greatly impressed by his thick, heavy lips, his
black skin, and his woolly hair. Long afterward it was noted that the
Indians in that quarter were of a darker hue than were the neighboring
tribes, which was attributed to the remote ancestry of this son of Ham.
After lingering for a full month in the Indian capital, DeSoto took his
leave, but not without crowning his cruelty by taking with him the proud
young chief as a prisoner of war. The most that can be said in extenuation
of this infamy is that he treated him with kindness. Realizing that it was
futile and perhaps perilous to protest, the chief bore the indignity with
becoming calmness, showing that of the two men, he was the superior.
Though kindly treated, the chief was closely watched and guarded, lest he
might escape and produce havoc. Taking up his line of march, DeSoto still
moved toward the south.


As had before occurred, couriers preceded DeSoto, warning the Indians of
other settlements and tribes of his coming. Numerous Indian towns were
passed by the Spaniards as they wended their way, following the wide and
well-beaten paths of the Indians as they threaded the primeval forests.
The Spaniards were cautious and wary, and kept a sharp outlook for lurking
danger. They would invariably pitch their camps at night on the outskirts
of an Indian village, and at times, well within its limits. If an attack
or misfortune should come, there was an evident advantage of close
proximity to supplies. The Spaniard was suspicious, the Indian

Much after the fashion of the ancient cities of Europe and of the farther
east, some of the larger towns of the Indians were surrounded by massive
walls. Timbers hard and heavy, of cured oak and hickory, sometimes sunk
deep into the earth and standing upright, at others lying horizontally,
but in each instance strong and compact, made the walls most formidable to
attack. Along the summits of these ramparts, high and rude, were watch
towers or lookouts, warily sentineled. There was evident the sense of
geometric order, skilled workmanship, and resistfulness to attack from
without, all of which served to heighten the wonder of the Spaniard, if
indeed it did not deepen his solicitude.

The Tallapoosa River was reached--a stream flanked by dense woods and
penetrating soils of blackness and of a dingy red. DeSoto was greatly
impressed by the savage skill shown in the location of a fortified town in
a graceful curve of the river. Tallassee, for that was the name of the
town, had a double protection in the river which coiled about it, and in
the wall which more immediately encircled it. From the nature of the
fortifications, the Indians evidently regarded Tallassee one of their
strong and strategic points. In the regions adjacent, lining the fertile
banks of the river, were fields of corn with heavy ears almost
sufficiently ripe for the harvester. This was in 1540, some time after
which this beautiful and prosperous Indian region was invaded by tribes of
Indians from Mexico, who, with tomahawk and fire, laid waste the country,
burning the towns, and reducing to slavery such of the native tribes as
were not slain. In point of Indian relics, no part of the country is rarer
and richer than this. Numerous relics have here been found for the
enrichment of depositories, and a few years ago a peculiar implement of
antiquated warfare was plowed up in this region. The metal implement suits
the description of the cannon in use at the time of the DeSoto invasion.
It represents the type of ordnance known in those days as the "drag," the
heavier pieces of which were suspended by chains, from an axle between two
wheels, when movable, or between two fixed objects, when used for
stationary service. They were sometimes sufficiently light to be held off
from the person, in the palm of the hand, when used for firing. This last
description suits that of the implement found in the Tallapoosa region. It
may be seen among the interesting collections so industriously made by
Dr. Thomas M. Owen, the able and efficient director of the Alabama state
department of archives and history, in the capitol at Montgomery. When the
railroad was building between West Point and Montgomery, there was dug up
in the region of the Tallapoosa River, a necklace of rare beads, such as
were worn by chiefs and princesses in the primitive days.

At Tallassee, whither had come the terrible news of the approaching
Spaniards, such of the Indians as did not betake themselves to the forts
met DeSoto with slight and cool civility. In order to rest his force, the
Spaniard halted here for twenty days, during which time men and stock were
recuperated and the stores of the commander replenished. It was here that
DeSoto was visited by a sprightly young brave of splendid physical mold,
gaudily attired, excessively polite, and making much show of primitive
diplomacy, who invited the Spaniard to the dominion and capital of
Tuskaloosa, a powerful chief, the territory of whom began about thirty
miles south of Tallassee and extended westward to the banks of the

DeSoto was notified that Tuskaloosa was in person awaiting him near the
northern confine of his dominion, and was ready to accord a welcome alike
befitting the great monarch, and the brave Spanish commander. To all of
this and much more, DeSoto listened with imperturbable mood, meanwhile
according due respect to the punctilious young diplomat, who, when he
signified his purpose to return, the Spaniard sent a message of grateful
acknowledgment to the chief, not unattended with gifts. With this the
incident closed, but it had a bloody sequel.

On quitting Tallassee, and before crossing the river on his southward
march, DeSoto released the chief of the Coosa and sent him back to his
people a bearer of gifts. The chief had served DeSoto's purpose, and, now
that no danger could come of him, he was dismissed. The valuable gifts in
part atoned for the perfidy of his retention in captivity.

Up to this time the Spaniards had had much their own way. Everything that
disputed their progress had been swept aside as so many cobwebs. With
genuine Castilian arrogance, mixed with cruelty, they had marched the land
through with the air of masters, but their brightest days were now behind
them. The future had in store for them abounding trouble and misfortune,
to grapple with which would tax them to the utmost. Gold, the only object
of the quest of this adventurous itinerary, had induced these young
fellows of Spain to sell their estates and enlist under the standard of
DeSoto, had not been found. Not a grain of the precious metal had been
discovered, and more, they were not destined to find any. They had been
lured by lust for gain far into the wilderness fastnesses of America, had
encountered fierce and hostile tribes, were remote from their ships, and
their condition was now a precarious one. Brave, daring and well equipped
as they were, even these advantages were not without serious limitation,
and there was little to save them from utter extinction in these deep
forest retreats.

Nor were there lacking omens of disaster which did not escape the acute
detection of the wary and wily Spaniard. Beneath the thin sheath of
diplomacy and protestations of friendship and of hospitality, there
lurked a subtle purpose to decoy these men of Spain to destruction. DeSoto
felt this in his bones. That the Coosa chief was sincere there is little
doubt, but DeSoto's treatment of him had exposed his apprehension, which,
in turn, sharpened the revenge of the Indian. The Spaniard's overwrought
precaution hastened to ripeness a conspiracy which else might have been

Coming within easy reach of the place of meeting appointed by the chief,
Tuskaloosa, DeSoto dispatched his camp master, Moscoso, in advance with
fifteen picked horsemen, clad in imposing attire, ostensibly to negotiate,
but really to impress. Ostensibly Moscoso was to ascertain the wishes of
the chief concerning the nature of the formalities at the approaching
meeting. Moscoso found the proud monarch of the wilderness seated on two
beautiful cushions, placed on a rare and curiously wrought mat. He was
stationed on a lofty eminence which commanded, in all directions, a view
of imposing natural grandeur. Around him stood, in large numbers,
half-naked warriors, with bodies smeared with paint of different colors.
Above the chief they held a canopy formed of deerskins, and supported at
each end with slanting staves. The canopy was rudely ornamented on the
upper side with parallel lines of varied color. While this was used as an
improvised protection from the sun, it was really a banner of war. The
chief was a fine specimen of the physical man, large, strong, sinewy,
erect, and heavy limbed. He looked the savage sovereign to perfection. His
manner was consequential, but dignified. Anxious to impress the haughty
chief with the importance, and especially with the prowess, of the coming
Spaniards, Moscoso and his band pranced their proud steeds before him.
With necks arched, eyes dilated and nostrils thin, the horses reared and
plunged, while the practiced cavalrymen would perform feats of acrobatic
horsemanship. With visage unmoved, the chief quietly gazed on without

Later, dashed up DeSoto with the entire troop, hoping to produce an
impression of awe, if not of terror, but the stolid chief remained as
austere as ever. If DeSoto would impress Tuskaloosa with his importance,
Tuskaloosa was just as intent on impressing DeSoto with his profound
greatness. It was throughout a dramatic game of diplomacy, at which each
sought to play with more effect. The reception was short, the speeches
brief and cautious. The savage spoke with haughty reserve, as though
compelled by courtly form. DeSoto, though speaking briefly, was
extravagant in praise of the chief, but especially of himself. He sought
to impress the proud Indian with the idea that, while as an Indian he
thought him peculiarly great, and in condescending magnanimity he would
accord this, still it was an honor not to be lightly esteemed by the
chief, that the Spanish commander should make any concession at all. This
event occurred just south of Line Creek, in the present county of

The meeting was mutually unsatisfactory. Both chief and commander were
doubtful of the accomplished result, and both were consequently stiffened
to increased vigilance and resolution. One was suspicious, the other
treacherous. In motive, each was equally hostile. Each felt that he had
strained concession, each was bent on final success. That a juncture had
been reached that would result in a fair test of ability, each knew, and
of the issue, neither doubted. Both would plan and watch. It was a
hand-to-hand fight beneath a show of formality. Whatever the conditions,
DeSoto was determined to keep the chief near himself. After two days,
DeSoto prepared to move. With much show of politeness, he invited the
chief to ride with him. The choicest of the horses was selected, a blood
red blanket thrown over it, while there was tendered to the chief a
crimson cap, and robe of the same color, all of which fascinated
Tuskaloosa while it showed a courtesy undreamed of. For the first time,
the doughty warrior was lifted astride a charger. The spectacle was
grotesque enough--the red robed warrior on the red blanketed steed, with
his huge feet, in loose moccasins, hanging low. Out of the camp they rode
at the head of the cavalcade, DeSoto and the chief, while thronging
thousands gazed with admiring and gaping wonder. It was a ride that
preceded a bloody tragedy.


Since he had gone so far in unmasking his apprehension there was now left
nothing for DeSoto to do but to accept whatever results might come. He
could not recede from the position which he had assumed without danger,
yet that he could maintain it, remained to be seen. As league on league
they rode together, DeSoto and Tuskaloosa, the Spaniard was kind, polite
and civil, chatting through an attendant interpreter with the doughty and
deluded chief, it gradually dawned on the Indian that he was trapped, but
he uttered not a word. The fact that DeSoto's objective point was the
capital of the captive chief afforded opportunity for the contrivance of
new schemes in the heart of Tuskaloosa.

Still moving in a southerly direction, through the present territory of
Montgomery and Lowndes counties, and the lower end of Dallas, the command
reached Piasche, a town built within a bend of the Alabama River.
Unfortunately for DeSoto, his supply of salt was here exhausted, from the
lack of which all suffered--both man and beast. A peculiar malady was the
result, from the effects of which a number of the troops died. Others
affected by the malady became loathsome. The deficiency of salt was in
part overcome by the use of ashes of a certain plant, for information
concerning which DeSoto was indebted to the natives.

On leaving Piasche the troops followed the Alabama River, and passed
through a portion of the present County of Wilcox. Meanwhile the chief
had become sullen and morose, as though cherishing a deeply nourished
grudge, but not once did he complain or protest against his imprisonment,
and for a time DeSoto flattered himself that the deluded chief was pleased
with the distinction of accompanying him on his tour, while the Indian
well understood the situation, but was willing to rely on the future for

By one thing was DeSoto puzzled and embarrassed--that of a number of
warriors who had followed the troops all the way from Line Creek in order
to watch the fate of their chief. They would hang on the rear of the
troop, stop when it would, and move when it moved. While not pleased with
this, DeSoto was reluctant to drive them away, as he was under the
impression that he had Tuskaloosa thoroughly infatuated with him and he
was anxious to retain the supposed hoodwink. The embarrassment was
increased when Tuskaloosa, who seemed to detect the deception into which
DeSoto had beguiled him, availed himself of the advantage thus afforded,
and asked for an occasional interview with his warriors who followed the

To decline the request would be to expose DeSoto's plan concerning
Tuskaloosa, while to grant it, was not unattended by danger. However, the
privilege was granted, with the result that Tuskaloosa was constantly
sending messengers toward his capital with dispatches, of the nature of
which DeSoto knew nothing. There was constant disagreement between the
Spanish troops and the Indian hangers-on, and danger was constantly
imminent. An outbreak finally occurred in which two Spaniards were
killed, when DeSoto raved and swore, and more than intimated to Tuskaloosa
that he was the occasion of it, and in his warmth of wrath let fall some
intimated threats of future purposes which furnished to his shrewd Indian
guest what his ultimate determination was. To all of this, Tuskaloosa
growled back that he was the keeper of the Spaniards, and the threats he
treasured up in his heart.

So grave, at last, became the suspicion of DeSoto that he sent two of his
most trusted followers in advance, to the Indian capital, to ascertain, if
possible, if there was not a conspiracy hatching against him and his men.
Following rapidly, came DeSoto himself with a hundred of his picked men.
Following him again, were a hundred foot soldiers in their best trim,
while to Moscoso was entrusted the rest with the heavy ordnance to come
more leisurely on, but to lose no time. The plan was that by the
successive arrival of troops, in detachments, to impress the Indians that
his numbers were without limit, as they should arrive in order. At no
time, however, did DeSoto leave the chief, but kept him close to his side.
The two messengers charged to ascertain the true situation at Maubila,
reported to their commander that there was evidently much discontent among
the Indians that boded no good.

Early on the morning of October, 18, 1540, DeSoto reached the Indian
capital, Maubila. Much as he had before been impressed by the skill and
workmanship of the Indians, he was surprised at the scene now presented.
Here indeed was a great Indian city, beautiful for location, and
formidable in its fortifications. Situated on a wide grassy plain through
which ran the deep rolling Alabama, was the capital of the Mobilian tribe.
The city was completely walled about with timbers of immense size,
standing perpendicularly, and made deep set in the earth, and the thick
coat of plastering made of lime mud, gave it the appearance of a wall of
stone. There were two gates in the walls which stood oppositely, and when
closed were very strong. Within, there were eighty large edifices, any one
of which would accommodate 1,000 men. The grounds were well cared for with
their carpet of natural grass. The city viewed from without, looked like
one of the ancient cities of Asia with its lookouts of sufficient size to
accommodate in each eight men. At regular intervals around the walls, but
a few feet above the ground, were portholes for bowmen.

The exact location of Maubila has given rise to much speculation, and not
a little discussion. Plausible reasons are assigned by different writers
in support of their respective views, but the preponderance of testimony
seems to favor the present site of Choctaw Bluff, in Clarke County, as the
location. In opposition to this view, however, it has been urged that its
distance toward the south is incompatible with the time given for reaching
it by the DeSoto band.

The arrival of the troops on horseback, under DeSoto, aroused terror on
the part of the Indians, who seemed to regard more the terrible horses
than the men themselves. At the head of the imposing troop rode the
haughty DeSoto in splendid uniform, his armor glittering and his gay plume
gracefully falling back of a wide brim, while beside him was the revered
chief, with his robe of red and his crimson cap, now somewhat dimmed by
rough exposure. There was a hush of consternation when first the cavalcade
rode into full view on the plain. DeSoto had intended by dramatic effect
to overawe the Indian spectators, and with this end in view he neglected
nothing. The armor of the troops was unusually bright, the men were
perfectly erect in their saddles, the horses neighed and pranced, and the
whole effect was inspiringly striking.

The cavalcade proceeds to the gate on one side of the city, and proudly
enters. With the first sensation of terror gone, the multitude breaks
forth into mighty demonstration. Throngs of men give vent to their
emotions in wild whoops and shouts, accompanied by rude music on cane
flutes. They leap, they dance, and by every conceivable means manifest
their excited joy. On the public square, the dusky maidens gather, and
with shrieks and shouts, dance with unabated glee. No demonstration to a
returning conqueror could exceed that now accorded to DeSoto and his men,
as they proudly ride within the walls of Maubila. Hideous cries from
thousands of throats, mingled with the unmusical notes of many reeds, made
the scene one of terror.

Silently, but with much ostentation, they ride upon the public square
beneath the wide-spreading oaks. At a given signal, all dismount. A canopy
underspread with rich matting, had been prepared for DeSoto and the chief.
They slowly repair thereto and are seated. With the suddenness of a flash,
Tuskaloosa leaps to his feet, his eye glittering with pent-up anger, and
in stentorian tones he demands that he receive the honor due him within
his own walls, and that he be no longer treated as a common prisoner.
DeSoto is taken quite off his guard. He is as silent as the tomb. An awful
hush falls suddenly on the scene. Wheeling on his heel, the indignant
monarch steps forth and leisurely retires to one of the buildings. DeSoto,
usually very resourceful, is now at his wits' end. Hoping to placate the
stormy chief, he sends an invitation to join him at breakfast, but the
offer is not only sternly declined, but Tuskaloosa notifies the Spaniard
that the sooner he betakes himself without his dominions, the better it
will be for him. A crisis had come and DeSoto must face it.


Signs now grow more ominous and rapidly, and DeSoto begins to fear the
worst. This is his greatest dilemma. He would avoid a clash if he could,
and fight only if he must. The occasion has become tense, and he thinks
and plans fast. The Indians have largely vanished from sight in rather a
mysterious way, and those now huddled on the square are in close
conference. A Spanish spy whispers to DeSoto that a thousand warriors,
well armed, are concentrated in one of the large buildings, while in
another is a large supply of Indian munitions of war. The crisis is graver
than he had apprehended. The Spaniard dreaded Indian treachery the more
because it might exceed that of his own. That which he has just learned is
startling, and shows that he has not been mistaken in his suspicions.

Meanwhile DeSoto keeps up negotiations with the chief, but receives only
rebuff. Meanwhile, also, he is sending secret orders to his men to be
ready at any moment and for any emergency. He now realizes his error in
allowing Tuskaloosa to get beyond his grasp. That which he now wishes is
to have him once more in his possession, and to this end he is working.
His flattery is profuse, his promises to the chief extravagant. His
principal hope lies in gaining the possession once more of his person. He
plies his ingenuity by cajolery, and by all the arts known to the
flatterer, but the foxy Indian had himself recently learned some lessons
of Spanish character, and he is as anxious to keep himself beyond the
reach of DeSoto, as DeSoto's anxiety is to gain possession of him. In one
of the buildings, Tuskaloosa is holding a council with his leading
spirits, as message after message comes from DeSoto. The Indian is not so
unskilled in the art of deception, that he does not see through the thin
guise of the purpose of the Spaniard. "Surely in vain the net is spread in
the sight of any bird." While the negotiations are thus pending, while the
parleying and dallying are going on, an Indian warrior dashes from the
assembled host, and with stentorian voice attended with grim expressions
of heated hostility, denounces the Spaniards as robbers, thieves and
murderers--denounces DeSoto for holding in captivity the beloved chief,
who is as free as the Spaniards, and as good as the Spanish leader
himself, meanwhile making as though he would shoot with an arrow into the
Spanish ranks. Truth is hard, and sometimes hurts. DeSoto is inclined to
disregard all this. The fact is, there was a mutual and balanced fear
between the two parties. Each feared the other; each was equally doubtful
of an issue joined.

What might have been the result had not a most untimely occurrence taken
place, cannot be imagined, but a Spanish cavalier standing near the
warrior who gave vent to the speech just referred to, irritated beyond
control, clove him asunder with a heavy sword, and his bowels gushed out
in sight of all present. This is the touch of the match to the magazine.
Like the muffled roar of a distant storm, the savages quickly gather, and
in fury rush on the Spaniards, who stand with entire self-collection as
though nothing was occurring. Checked by this marvelous coolness, the
Indians hesitate, and with the utmost precision, the Spaniards march
outside the walls, excepting fifteen, who alarmed by the outbreak, flee
into a room of one of the buildings and close fast the door.

Once beyond the gate, the Spaniards wheel in defiance and show battle.
Their eyes flash terror, their attitude is one of ferocity. DeSoto has
less than a hundred men, as the infantry has not yet arrived. Soon it
appears, however, and gives fresh nerve. Save the unfortunate killing of
the warrior, nothing has been yet done to indicate an approaching battle,
though the signs thicken fast. The low thud of hurrying feet within the
walls, while all else is silent, betokens trouble. The Spaniards have but
a minute or so to wait, before indications of hostility are manifest. The
camp equipage has been left by the Spaniards on the square, as well as the
Indian prisoners, who had been used all the way from Coosa as burden
bearers. The baggage is burned and the prisoners are freed. The iron
collars are taken from their necks, and the chains from their wrists, and
bows and clubs are placed in their hands to avenge themselves of their
oppressors. The fifteen who fled into one of the buildings are still cut
off, and the situation is ominously acute.

The delay is only temporary, for soon the savages pour through the gateway
with demoniacal yelling, while a thousand swift arrows plow the air. Five
Spaniards of the little band fall dead, and DeSoto receives a wound.
Regardless of the flowing blood, he leads his command to meet the shock of
the foe. Surprised at courage so unusual, the savages falter, then rush
back within the gate and make it fast. They now turn to the destruction of
the fifteen penned within the room, and seek to force the door, but as
each savage shows himself the enclosed men shoot him down. Some of the
best of DeSoto's fighters are shut within that room--among them are five
of DeSoto's bodyguard, some crossbowmen, two priests, and a friendly
Indian. Their doom seems certain, but they are fighting like bayed tigers.
Unable to force the door, the Indians climb to the top of the walls, and
begin to tear up the roof in order to reach them, but again as an Indian
comes within view he is killed. The dead are heaped before the door, they
lie in a pile on the roof.

Meanwhile there is no slack in the fighting at the front. The Spanish
assault the walls, but are driven back, though in perfect order.
Encouraged by this, and believing the battle already won, the Indians
again throw open the big gate and rush with fury on the Spaniards. Indians
know little of the value of a retreat in order to rally, and are stunned
by the steadiness and nerve with which they are met. Now begins the battle
in downright earnestness.

DeSoto is at great disadvantage both in numbers and in supplies of
munitions. Moscoso lingers with the reserves. He is much in need, should
be here, but delays. With strained vision, DeSoto looks for his
lieutenant, but he comes not. The fight is now hand to hand. The Indians
are perhaps fifty to one against the Spaniards, but order and discipline,
powder and ball, crossbow and sword, horse and armor prevail against the
odds. DeSoto leads his troops in person. His men are animated by his
dauntless presence and the terror of his execution. He fights like a
common trooper. The blood still oozes from his wound, but he fights on
still. The Spaniards not only hold their own, but force the savages back.

At this juncture Moscoso arrives. The Indians rush again within the walls
and make fast the gate. DeSoto now plans for the final onset. His heavy
ordnance is to be brought into prompt execution. On the spot he organizes
his detachments, and while the arrows are flying, he assigns to each body
its task in the closing scene of the drama. Coolness like this is almost
superhuman, but DeSoto is not cooler than his men.

The axes begin to ring on the gate. Nerved now to desperation by this, the
Indians fight with more ferocity than ever. With resounding blows the axes
fall on the doomed gate. From the summit of the walls and from the
portholes the arrows are rained down on the Spaniards, but striking their
encased armor glide off. Huge pebbles, the size of a man's fist and
larger, fall like hailstones upon their helmets, but to no effect. The
gate begins to give way, it reels, it falls with a creaking crash, and the
Spaniards sweep within. Indians and Spaniards alike fight like demons.
DeSoto still leads, hewing down man after man with his broadsword. His men
follow with equal execution.

Torches in hand, the walls are being fired. The thick plastering is
knocked off and in many places, the fires begin. Ladders are improvised,
the walls are scaled, and near the summit the torch is applied. The
fifteen pent-up men are released, jump with exhilaration into the fray,
and do deadlier work than the others. The fires begin to climb the walls.
They toss high in air their forked tongues. In a swaying column the smoke
darkens the heavens.

For nine long hours the battle has raged without cessation, and the end is
not yet. Yells, orders, shrieks, the clang of steel, the stroke of axes,
the roar and crackle of flames mingle in common confusion. DeSoto rushes
on a big warrior, raises his lance to drive it through him and receives a
long arrow in his thigh. He cannot stop to extricate it now, and while it
is protruding, and is much in his way, he fights on like a demon
unchained. Rising in his saddle he sways his sword about his head and
yells, "Our Lady and Santiago!" and plunges anew into the storm of battle.
Spurring his horse into the thickest of the fight, he lays many a warrior

The Indians begin to break away. They rapidly disappear. The fires become
intense, unbearable. It is a circle of flame leaping from eighty buildings
of dried wood, all at once. The fires rage. The dead braves lie in heaps
both within and without the wall. The blood stands in puddles over a wide
area. At last there are no Indians to fight. They have fled in confusion
to the woods, and DeSoto is master of the situation.

October 18, 1540, remains to this time the date of the bloodiest Indian
battle that was ever fought. The sun goes down on a city which in the
early hours of the day resounded with the sound of cane lutes, and the
voices of many dancers. The mighty buildings which met the astonished gaze
of the Spanish conqueror, are now a mass of charred ruins. The autumn
grass, green and luxuriant in the morning, is now red with gore. The
populous city of ten hours before is deserted. The great trees, rich in
foliage, are now blasted and seared. Where peace and prosperity were,
havoc is now enthroned. DeSoto had won; his greatest obstruction is now
out of his way, but fresh, and now unconjectured, troubles await him for
which he is ill prepared.


The morning following the battle of Maubila the autumnal sun broke in
radiance over the desolate scene. The high oaken walls were gone, the
great buildings had vanished, the ancestral oaks that stood about the
grounds now looked like bare sentinels with arms of nakedness--scarred,
barkless and leafless, the greenswarded square of the morning before was a
sheet of black. When the morning before DeSoto first beheld it, Maubila
was a busy hive of humanity, but it was now as silent as the desert. The
buzz of conversation was no more, the cane lute was silent, the shout of
the warrior had died away, the voices of the Indian maidens were hushed.
The warriors were now stiff in death--the maidens had perished. From the
smouldering ruins of the burned city, still crept a slow smoke, while
around the borders of the horizon it shrouded the fronting woods. Nothing
was wanting to complete the scene of desolation, nothing to finish the
picture of horror.

About the grounds lay heaps of the dead, many burned to blackness, while
around the walls without, bodies were scattered like leaves. The wide
paths leading to the city from different directions, were paved with the
dead, while along the neighboring streams they lay, still grasping their
bows and tomahawks. Wounded unto death, they had dragged their bodies in
burning thirst to the streams, had slaked their intense desire for water,
and had lain down to die. Squaws and babies were intermingled with brave
warriors, while maidens in their tawdry regalia, worn to greet the
Spaniard and his men, were stretched in death. The leaves, grass, and low
underbrush about the once proud city, were painted in the blood of its
brave defenders, now no more.

To DeSoto it was a victory dearly bought. He had won by dint of discipline
and of orderly evolution, by means of powder and bullet and encasing
armor, but he had paid a heavy toll. It was the beginning of his own end,
and that of the expedition which he led. Eighty-two Spaniards of the small
band were either dead, or a little later, died of their wounds. Forty-five
horses had been killed, and much of the clothing of the men had been
consumed in the flames, together with medicines, relics, and much other
valuable property. There was not an unwounded man in the party save among
the priests, who did not share in the fight. Some of the men bore as many
as eleven wounds, and in not a few instances, the arrows were still buried
in the flesh, made difficult of extrication because of the triangular
shape of the stones with which the arrows were tipped. Every surgeon was
dead excepting one of the staff, and he the least skillful. Following the
example of the men under Cortez in Mexico, the Spaniards cut away the fat
part of the thighs of the slain Indians, and bound the flesh about their
wounds. The camp was removed sufficiently away from the scene to escape
the stench of the dead, the Spanish slain were buried, and DeSoto was left
to plan for the future. Forgetful of his own wounds, he was intent on the
comfort of his men. He would seek to cheer them with visions of fortune
yet to be realized, and with promises never to be fulfilled.

In the solitude of thought, DeSoto kept well within himself. He realized
the seriousness of the situation, was half inclined to abandon the quest
for gold, but his proud spirit revolted against acknowledgement of
failure. Yet a serious breach had been made in his ranks, his resources
were impaired beyond recuperation, winter was coming on, he knew not the
condition of the country ahead, nor did he know what the temper of his
troops would be after the reaction from the battle. He talked to no one,
for the very excellent reason that he did not know in whom to confide. The
Spaniard is wary, suspicious. Every one suspects every other. Daring as
DeSoto was, he was not without a modicum of precaution. As he had westward
gone, the tribes had increased in intelligence and in formidableness. What
lay before him toward the further west, he knew not. He could not sustain
another Maubila. After all, would it be wise or not, to seek again the
fleet in Tampa Bay? Here was a perplexity with which to wrestle. He must
act, and that soon, but how, was the question that harassed his mind.

One ray of hope pierced the gloom of the silent and morose Spaniard--the
Indian tribes westward and northward, on learning of the fate of Maubila,
sent envoys of peace to DeSoto, attended with assurances of good will and
of friendship. Stricken with terror by the feat of the valiant white
invader, they were anxious to placate him in advance. Whatever may have
been their sentiments before, they were now sycophantic enough. Among the
Indian visitors it was said by some that the Chief Tuskaloosa had fled
during the battle, but the general opinion was that he had perished. These
same Indian envoys told DeSoto that the great chief had long been planning
for the extinction of the Spanish host, and that his plot was deeply laid,
which news served to encourage the Spaniard with the belief that he had
committed no blunder in overthrowing him. These envoys gave partial nerve
to DeSoto in his growing perplexity and despondency.

While the commander sat alone in his tent meditating on what course he
should pursue, his men nursed their wounds, and with returning relief,
they became the same volatile spirits as before. Up to this time, their
confidence in their leader had been supreme. While they did not comprehend
his unusual moroseness, and while no one would venture to approach him
with any degree of familiarity, they confided in his judgment, and lolled
the days away in utter indifference of the future. Sprawled on their rough
pallets of leaves and straw, or else stretched on the grass beneath the
wide trees, they would while away the time gambling. Their cards had been
destroyed by the fire, but they improvised others. They were inveterate
gamblers. Throughout the entire march these reckless fellows gambled at
every halt. Money, jewelry, horses, clothing, and even Indian mistresses
were staked in the games. With nothing now to beguile the tedium of the
camp, they whiled away the days in gaming, while the demure commander sat
alone in his tent doubtful as to what to do next. Heartened by the reports
of the envoys, DeSoto finally almost resolved to push westward, but an
unexpected dilemma arose for which he was least prepared. Idleness was
demoralizing his men, and an unlooked-for trouble was in store for him,
the news of which almost stunned him, when he learned it. Far severer and
sorer than any yet encountered, it went to his heart like cold steel, when
once it was realized.


Nearly eight months now lie behind the expedition, and they had been
months of almost superhuman endurance. Exposure to rain and cold, groping
through tangled swamps, and wading or swimming numerous creeks and rivers,
undergoing hunger, fatigue, and sickness, kept in constant anxiety, by day
and by night, lest they be attacked by a stealthy foe, climbing high hills
and mountains without the semblance of a road, or even a path, fighting
frequently without any knowledge of the force opposed, utterly cut off
from communication with home, or with the outside world, and utterly
without any compensation for all endured--when were the trials of a body
of men greater? Their ranks were now thinned, most of their luggage was
gone, they were worn out by long marches, many of their comrades were
sleeping in graves in a land of wilderness, and yet not a grain of the
much-sought gold has been found. Many had staked their fortunes on the
quest, and these young, blooded Castilians were now beginning to show
signs of hostile restlessness.

DeSoto discovered all this, and he had so often cheered them with dazzling
phantoms, while he had only poverty and distress to offer, that he knew
not whither to turn in an extremity so dire. A difficulty now faced him
that required greater courage than that needed to resist Indian arrows,
for his men were quietly fomenting rebellion. They had learned from Indian
visitors to the camp, that a fleet of Spanish ships, under Maldinado, was
lying off the present location of Pensacola, awaiting the return of
DeSoto. This was corroborated by other reports from the coast. This
impelled a determination on the part of the men, to break away and seek
the shores of the south. DeSoto would himself have turned southward at
this juncture, but for his humiliating failure. The vision of his
sumptuous home in distant Spain rose often before him, and in his dreams
he had pictured a palace rivalling that of royalty, in consequence of his
discovery of gold, but he was destined never to see that home again.

The worst at last came. His apprehensions were fully confirmed when he
learned that under the leadership of some of his most trusted men, a
conspiracy was hatching to leave him to his fate, and make their way
southward, some proposing to sail home, others to join a new expedition to
Peru. In order to satisfy himself fully, DeSoto quietly slid about the
camp at night, and by a process of eavesdropping gain what he might. Among
his men were some who had deserted Pizarro at a juncture, and DeSoto began
to prepare for the worst. This was the severest trial of his eventful
life. He had no means of knowing who were his friends, or indeed whether
he had any. The crisis was extreme.

Turning the matter over in his mind, DeSoto finally resolved on a
desperate course. He had been planning to found a Spanish settlement in
this particular region, and had gone so far as to send an Indian agent to
Ochus, where the plans of colonization were being arranged. Goaded to the
extreme of desperation, he proposed to make a bold show of authority and
force. It was now just a month since the battle, and all his men had so
far recovered from their wounds that they were again able to take up the
line of march. Reserving his plan to himself, on the morning of November
18, he suddenly issued an order to get ready to move at once. His men did
not know what direction he would go, but to their astonishment, he turned
northward. He accompanied his order with a threat to kill any man who
undertook to disobey. This was quite unusual, indeed, nothing like it had
before occurred, and it took the men quite off their guard. Before the
troops could confer or consult, every man was in his saddle and strung out
on the line of march. By this means DeSoto surprised the men instead of
their surprising him. He was really without authority in a step so
arbitrary. The expedition was entirely voluntary, but DeSoto saw that
unless he could by a single stroke, shatter the rising revolt, he should
be totally undone.

Giving up the idea of a colony, DeSoto moved toward the northwest, beyond
the confines of the present County of Clarke, and through the territory of
Marengo and Greene, as they now are, and, after five days, reached the
Black Warrior River about where the village of Erie now is. Here he
encountered resistance. The news of the disaster at Maubila had spread to
the remotest settlements, arousing the Indians to vengeance, and at Erie,
they appeared 1,500 strong, painted, and bearing clubs and bows. As though
nothing was before them, the Spaniards moved steadily on, the Indians
falling back, while they filled the air with their arrows. On reaching
the river, the Indians in haste filled their waiting canoes and rowed
rapidly across, and such as could not find place in the boats, plunged in
and swam the stream. On the opposite side, the Indians met a large
reinforcement that had gathered to dispute the passage of the river by
DeSoto. The Spaniards began leisurely to fortify, giving but slight heed
to the wild demonstrations on the opposite side, which the Indians
observing, quietly dispersed and disappeared, save a number who were left
to watch the object of the Spaniards.

Detailing a hundred men to cut timbers and construct rafts, DeSoto quietly
rested till the arrangements were complete, when he began to cross with
his force, giving no attention to the showers of arrows from the foe.
Struck by his cool determination, the Indians fled precipitately.

No region before entered, had so impressed DeSoto, as this one. He was
charmed by its natural grandeur. The late dry fall had enlivened the
autumnal scenery, the grass was still green, which, together with the
flaming foliage of the forests, lent magnificence to a wide scene. The
soil was of a deep black, and the surface somewhat rolling, the billows of
green and the delicious color of the engirdling woods, affording a view
lovelier than any he had ever before witnessed. The troop was now passing
through the upper part of Greene County, where it borders on Pickens.

Five days more brought the Spaniards to the bank of the Little Tombeckbe.
The Spaniards were impressed by the fact that in proportion to the
fertility of the country, was a sparseness of population, the explanation
being that the Indian detests prairie mud, making his home on the uplands,
and descending to the fertile plains only to replenish his store of meat.
Again at the Little Tombeckbe, the Indians appeared in hostile array, and
DeSoto, eager to avoid battle, sent a friendly Indian across the stream to
negotiate terms of peace. Him they slew within sight of the Spaniards, and
then strangely fled to the woods, and DeSoto crossed without further
interruption. He was now on the eastern border of Mississippi, but the
final act of the tragedy was yet to come.


Though we have followed the daring and dashing DeSoto to the western
confines of the state, the story would be incomplete without a record of
the closing scene of his career. His life was thrilling in incident, even
to the end. Entering the territory which long afterward came to be called
Mississippi, DeSoto found it the most fertile and prosperous of the
regions yet visited. Thriving Indian towns abounded with evidence of the
most advanced Indian civilization he had yet met.

Though delayed, winter at last set in with unusual severity, and DeSoto
decided to spend the cold season in that quarter. He was eager for the
good will of the inhabitants, and sought by every possible means to gain
it. Foraging over the country, his men would return with supplies, and
always with prisoners. These DeSoto would liberate with much show of
kindness, and dismiss them with presents to their chief. This would
surprise the prisoners, and more the chiefs themselves. This resulted in
bringing to his camp the chief of the Chickasaw tribe, the fiercest and
most warlike of all those on the continent, and notably the most advanced.
This chief, not to be outdone by the kindness of the Spaniard, brought as
a present, one hundred and fifty rabbits, besides four mantles of rich
fur. Nor did he cease with a single visit, but came again and again and
chatted with DeSoto with unrestrained familiarity around his camp fire.
The Indian was studiously diplomatic, and after several visits, disclosed
to DeSoto that he had a certain rebellious subject whom he wished the
Spaniard to subdue for him. This task, the chief further disclosed, was
one attended with such complications as to prevent his action in the
matter, and yet if DeSoto would intervene with sternness, the chief would
see to it that it would not be forgotten.

DeSoto sent his men against the rebellious subaltern, burned his village
and forced him to sue for terms with the chief. On occasion, when the
chief would spend a few hours with him, DeSoto would send him home on one
of his finest horses, much to the delight of the savage. But a strain came
in their relations when after the fight with the insubordinate Indian,
those of the tribe who had accompanied DeSoto's men back to camp were
served with savory and toothsome bits of pork. The Indians had never
before tasted swine meat, and they were so delighted, that they showed
their appreciation by several nightly visits to the pig pens, and by a
stealthy appropriation of some of the choicest rooters. DeSoto was willing
to divide, but protested against his pig sties becoming the prey of
nightly marauders. His men lay in wait for the red rogues, who caught
three, two of whom they killed, and in order to advertise a warning to
future offenders, cut off the hands of the third at the wrist, and set him
free. This was one exception to the rule working both ways. The Spaniards
had never scrupled to steal from the Indian, or to take, by force,
whatever might please them, but so soon as somebody's else ox was gored,
the rule of roguish reciprocity ceased its operation. The standard of the
Spaniard was, might makes right. An early spring came with its balminess,
its singing birds, and first blossoms, and DeSoto was actuated to move
onward, and yet he was reluctant to quit the ease of so many months. He
was worn down by the strain to which he had so long been subjected. He
sought to rally himself, but his gait had lost much of its elasticity, his
eye was not so lustrous, and the stylus of care had marked deep crowfeet
on his brow. Whatever there was of nobleness in him, was turned into a
sense of sternness. Presuming that he knew the Indian character, he had
lost much already, but he proved not to be an apt scholar in Indianology.
He had courted the good will of the chief of Chickasaws, and had been
requited by a return of civility, but the Spaniard really had a contempt
for Indian character, and contempt always clouds justice, and when
exercised, leads often to serious error.

Now that he was about to quit his encampment, DeSoto made a peremptory
order on the Chickasaw chief for 200 of his ablest men to become his
burden bearers. The Chickasaws were the proudest and most arrogant of the
Indian tribes, and rather than be humbled, they preferred death. As
allies, they were valuable, as foes, formidable.

On the receipt of the order from DeSoto, the gentleness of the lamb was
turned into the wrath of the lion, but the Indian chief wisely curbed his
spirit, and sent an evasive answer, not without a dignified phase of
manliness, and an expression of remindfulness that DeSoto did himself
slight credit by failing to understand the stuff, of which himself, the
chief, was made. This was not the first time that DeSoto had encountered
men in these western wilds who were wiser than he took himself to be.
DeSoto saw too late that he had turned loose a storm which he might not be
able to manage. Moscoso was summoned, told to be on his guard, and to get
ready for the worst. DeSoto impressed him with the importance of the
utmost vigilance, but Moscoso saw nothing in it all, and continued lax.

Though the trees were budding, and the young leaves were peeping from
their coverts, there came on one of the last nights in March, one of those
cold snaps to which this latitude is subject. A cold wind roared from the
north, and furiously soughed through the trees. In its suddenness, the
Spaniards made unusual preparation for comfort that night, and huddled
together on their bunks of straw and dried leaves. The camp was as silent
as a cemetery, save the howling of the wind. The fires died down, and the
men were fast asleep. Suddenly there came a din of confusion rarely heard,
mingled with the howling of the wind. From four different quarters came
the sound of the beating of wooden drums, the hoarse notes of sea shells,
and the unearthly shrieks of thousands of warriors. When the sleepers
awoke, the roofs of dry hay were afire, and the Indians were already in
the camp. They had wisely chosen that terrible night for the extinction of
the invaders, and on nothing less were they bent. The Spaniards had often
had recourse to fire, and the Indians thought they would test its virtue.
Fire-tipped arrows, shot into the straw-thatched roofs had fired them,
while the dry wattled cane of which the huts were built, lent loud
detonations by the explosion of their joints. The fire-tipped arrows,
DeSoto later learned, was by the use of a decoction from certain herbs
known only to these Indians as a means of occasioning fire.

Springing from his couch, DeSoto was the first to gain his horse, and a
cavalier mounted his own at the same moment. With sword and lance, they
spurred their horses into the midst of the host of savages, dealing death
with every movement. Half-dressed, the other troopers followed in quick
succession, and soon the camp was the scene of a hand-to-hand fight.
DeSoto had failed to fasten the girth of his saddle sufficiently, and by a
sudden turn of his horse in one of his desperate sallies, he was thrown
hard to the ground, just as he had laid an Indian low. He was speedily
rescued by his men, and securing his girth, he fought as never before.
While the fight was at its height, fifty of his men chose the moment as an
opportune one to desert, but DeSoto had them brought back and join in the
fray. The Indians were routed, but not till forty Spaniards had been
killed. This had the effect of welding the Spaniards afresh, and ended all

There was no more sleep in the Spanish camp that night. Moscoso was
summoned, roundly abused, and cashiered in the presence of the troops, and
Beltecar was appointed in his stead. After burying his dead, DeSoto set
out on a renewed march, encountered resistance again at Alilome, where,
after another fierce engagement, he routed the enemy, but lost fifteen
more men, making in all three hundred and fifteen, of the six hundred,
with whom he started, and in May, 1541, reached the Mississippi River, of
which he is the reputed discoverer. Here he lingered a year, making an
excursion into Arkansas, and on his return, was stricken with swamp fever.
His system was ill prepared for this attack, and from the first, he was
aware that he must die. He summoned his men about him, restored Moscoso to
command, begged his men to be subject to the new commander, and yielded to
the last foe--death.

To prevent the possible mutilation of his body, his men hewed out a coffin
from the trunk of a huge oak, placed the body within it, sealed it
securely and bore it to the middle of the deep Mississippi and lowered it
in its current. Thus died this chivalrous son of Spain, and though a
monster of cruelty, none in the annals of that ill-fated land was ever


Following the death of DeSoto, it was one hundred and sixty-two years
before another white man was in Alabama. During this century and a half,
there was developed such a spirit of exploration as the world had never
before known. The new regions of the earth were visited by explorers from
a number of European nations, chief among which were Spain, Portugal,
France, England, and Holland. The French came to vie with the Spaniards in
the comprehensiveness of expedition and exploration, and from Canada, the
French found their way to the upper limits of the navigable waters of the
Mississippi, and followed it to the gulf.

From their established possessions west of the great river, the French
came later to skirt the upper waters of the gulf, and were much impressed
by the sinuous character of the long shore front, with its numerous inlets
and indentations, its promontories, bays, and rivers. It was by means like
these that they first entered Mobile Bay, and finally came to found
Mobile. Biloxi had previously been established, and was an important
colonial center to the enterprising French of that period. In order to
impress the native savage and ward off interference, the French would
erect forts of mud, poles, and grass, which, while appearing formidable to
the Indians, they were flimsy and frail. The savages themselves relied on
their strong-timbered forts for defense, and they had an idea that those
of the French were similarly strong.

Attracted by the beautiful sheet of water known to us as Mobile Bay, the
French entered it from the gulf through its deep mouth, flanked on the one
side by a long tongue of land, and on the other by an island. Once on the
bosom of the bay, its shores were explored, and on the present location of
Mobile was erected Fort St. Louis, which was intended as a permanent name,
but Iberville, the great sea captain of the French, insisted on calling it
Mobile, from the name of the tribe of Indians on the boundary of the
territory of which the original fort was built. The name is supposed to
mean "paddling."

From its inception, Mobile came to be to the French an important center.
By nothing was Iberville more impressed than by the magnificent timbers
with which the forests were stocked. Nothing was more important at that
time than heavy oaken timber for ship building, and to the practical eye
of the great navigator, it seemed an excellent place for the erection of a
saw mill. Later developments of the geographical advantages of the
location, led to its adoption as the headquarters and seat of government
for this region of the French possessions. Seaward, it was open to the
world as a port of navigation.

It was found that the river, on the west bank of which is the location,
was like the base of the letter Y, with its prongs, fifty miles to the
north, penetrating regions at great distances in the interior, which
regions were already populous with Indians, and of fabulous fertility of
soil. While, like the Spaniards, the French dreamed of mines of gold,
they were not unmindful of the importance of colonization.

One of the first chief cares of these early colonizers was that of winning
to their loyalty the native tribes, as an agency against the English, who
were equally desirous of the possession of the fertile region. Bienville,
the French governor of Louisiana, was ambitious to extend the dominions of
his royal master as far eastward as possible, and vied with the English in
seeking the alliance of the native tribes. From no point were these
natives so easily reached, as from the fort just erected on the swell of
land on the western side of this river pouring into the beautiful bay.
Sufficient space was therefore at first cleared, a stockade was built, a
few dingy tents were erected about it, while on the premises might have
been seen a few specimens of imported swine, chickens, and horses moving
domestically about.

There was, however, lacking one element of civilization, concerning which
Bienville proceeded to make complaint to the home government at Paris. The
improvised homes were minus the presence of the gentler sex. On receipt of
this information, the King of France forthwith instructed the bishop of
Quebec to send to the Mobile region twenty-three young women of good
families, to become the wives of these original founders. In due time
these twenty-three blushing maidens reached the fort under the care of
four Sisters of Charity. Governor Bienville at once issued a proclamation
announcing their arrival, and very practically proceeded to place a
premium on manly worth, by stating that no man would be allowed to claim
the heart and hand of these waiting damsels, who did not first prove
himself capable of supporting a wife. The result was a rapid improvement
of the manhood of the community, eventuating in another fact, namely, that
not many moons waned before every one of the Canadian prospectives became
a wife.

These were the first marriage rites, under Christian sanction, ever
solemnized on the soil of Alabama. This meant homes, and homes meant the
beginning of a new order of civilization. This romantic touch to our early
civilization in Alabama is worthy of record.

From that primitive beginning in the wild woods of south Alabama, and from
conditions as crude and uncanny as those named, our chief port had its
beginning little more than two centuries ago. As a common center of
importance, it was visited by numerous deputations of Indians, from points
near and remote, skimming with their light canoes the deep waters of the
Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers. While this was true, trade was established
with the Spaniards as far south as Vera Cruz, and from the region of the
great lakes of the north, came French traders to Mobile. While the
conditions were such as to excite the most optimistic outlook, there were
counter conditions of vexation and of perplexity. These early years were
full of anxiety and harassment to Bienville. In his efforts to conciliate
the native tribes, he encroached on the territory of the active emissaries
of the English, as competitors of native alliance, and thus the Indian
became a shuttle in the loom of primitive politics between the French and
the English. The Indians were incited to lure the French into the interior
by false representations, and straightway to massacre them. To question
their statements, meant unfriendliness, to trust them, meant death.
Abundant trouble was in store for the French governor in the immediate


Just above the point where the bridge of the Southern Railway spans the
Tombigbee, at Epes station, in Sumter County, may be seen a clump of
cedars on a high chalky bluff overlooking the river. This is a historic
spot, for here Governor Bienville had built Fort Tombeckbe, as an outpost
of civilization. The barest traces of the old fort are left in the slight
mounds still to be seen, but it was at one time an important base to

By tampering with the savages in the interior of Alabama, English
emissaries had occasioned such confusion as to give to Bienville much
annoyance. Whatever may be said of the conduct of England in this
connection, and it was reprehensible enough, it was at par with that which
was done by the French. Both nations took advantage of the untutored
savage, and laid under requisition his worst passions, in order each to
avenge itself on the other. On the part of England, however, this
continued much later, and that nation was responsible for many of the
atrocities perpetrated on Americans.

On one occasion, two artful warriors appeared at Mobile with every
possible show of interest in the government of Bienville, and with
extravagant asseverations of loyalty to his government. Bienville was
responsive to demonstrations like this, for nothing he so much desired as
the loyalty which these red men professed. These savages advised the
French governor that they had carefully accumulated much corn at a given
point up the river, and if he desired it, they were in position to sell
it cheaply. As provisions were growing scarce at the fort, this was
cheering news to Bienville, and he promptly sent five men from the
garrison to fetch it. Only one of the five returned, and he with an arm
almost cut from his shoulder, the rest of the party having been massacred.
Bienville was at once impressed that it was necessary to teach the Indians
that he was not to be trifled with, and taking forty men in seven canoes,
he ascended the river to the scene of the late massacre. Finding ten empty
Indian canoes tied to the bank, he knew that their settlement was not far
distant, and from the smoke seen rising above the tree tops, he was able
to locate the village. Hiding his men in the underbrush till night, he
crept stealthily to the encampment and opened fire. The Indians were
scattered in all directions, and loading his boats with provisions,
Bienville leisurely returned to the fort. How many of the Indians were
killed in this night attack, was not ascertained, but Bienville suffered
the loss of three men. These offensive Indians were of the Alabamas, whom
to punish more effectually, Bienville incited against them both the
Choctaws and the Chickasaws, promising rewards to those who would kill the
greater number. That the Alabamas were effectually punished, abundant
proof was afforded by the numerous warriors who sought their way to Mobile
to compare the number of scalps which they bore, dangling from their
belts. Beads, hatchets, pipes, and ammunition were given the savages in
reward for their work of death.

Fort Tombeckbe had been built at the point already designated, which was
within the territory of the Choctaws, whose special service Bienville now
needed, since the Chickasaws had revolted against him. Meantime they had
also become most hostile toward the Choctaws, therefore Bienville
concluded that their service could be the more readily enlisted in his
proposed expedition against the Chickasaws. In order to subdue the hostile
Chickasaws, Bienville proposed a unique expedition which he would head in
person. The dominions of the Chickasaws were remote from Mobile, but he
would make Fort Tombeckbe the base of his operations, while he would bring
them again into subjection.

Accordingly Bienville summoned the garrisons from Natchez and Natchitoches
to co-operate with the one at Mobile in the up-country expedition. As it
was regarded as a sort of picnic outing, a company of volunteers, composed
of citizens and merchants from New Orleans asked to join in the excursion.
Everything was gotten in readiness. Thirty rough dugouts, and an equal
number of flat boats or barges, were arranged along the shore ready to
join in the diversion of subduing the Chickasaws. In due time, Governor
Bienville appeared in gay uniform, plumed hat, and bright sword, and
headed the expedition which sailed from Mobile on the morning of April 1,
1736. The day might have been taken as indicative of that which was to
come, for never was a body of men more fooled than were these.

There were pomp and circumstance on this occasion. Banners, trappings, and
bunting were galore. Boats, little and large, were well filled, men, young
and old, business men and merchants, adventurers and gamblers, idlers and
jail birds, men of fortune and men of leisure, rough mariners and veteran
soldiers, friendly Indians and forty-five negroes, made up the medley of
the expedition. The Indians belonged to the general command, while the
negroes were a separate command under a free, intelligent mulatto, named
Simon. They shove from the shore in the current. Lillied flags wave and
flutter in glinting curve, varied colored banners are displayed, and the
incongruous expedition starts. Amidst the yells of the hosts, the cannon
booming from the fort, the report of which rebounds and re-echoes along
the shore, while the gay and hilarious host shouts itself hoarse, the
expedition starts. For twenty-three days they pull against the current in
their ascent of the Tombigbee. Messengers were dispatched in advance to
advise Captain DeLusser, at Fort Tombeckbe, of the coming of the mighty
multitude, and to provide against their hunger by cooking several barrels
of biscuits. DeLusser cooked for life, by day and by night, but he had
only about two-thirds the quantity of biscuits needed for the hungry host
on its arrival. No trip could have been more laborious, as the barges had
to be dragged against the current by seizing the overhanging branches and
vines, when possible, and at other times employing beaked rods by means of
which, when grappling with trees or rocks the barges were pulled slowly
along. All this was forgotten when the fort was reached, and men could
again refresh themselves.

  "When the shore is won at last,
  Who will think of the billows past?"

Bienville was much disappointed to find that just before his arrival there
had been a revolt at the fort, and the conspirators were now in irons
awaiting his coming. The plan of the conspirators was to kill DeLusser and
the commissariat, and return to the Chickasaws two men who had been
delivered from their hands, and who had been previously reduced by the
Chickasaws to slavery. By thus conciliating the Chickasaws, the
conspirators hoped to have aid given them in reaching Canada, where they
would join the British. Bienville made short work of them, for after a
brief court martial, they were marched out on the prairie and shot. The
most significant event connected with the coming of Bienville was that of
the assembling of six hundred Choctaw warriors, who had heard much of
Bienville and under their leaders, Mingo and Red Shoes, had now come to
offer their service. To impress them with his importance, Bienville
regaled the warriors with a dress parade of his host, only a part of which
knew anything about military evolutions, but where the Indians knew
nothing of regularity, the purpose was equally served. With great delight
the savages witnessed the drill, and announced themselves ready to join
Bienville in his campaign against the Chickasaws, fifty miles away. With
his body of five hundred and fifty, and the six hundred Choctaws, and the
reinforcements under D'Artaguette of three hundred more, which last body
was to join him later, Bienville felt confident of success, but he little
knew the character of the foe that he was to meet.


Never felt one surer of success than Bienville when he took up afresh his
expedition against the Chickasaws. By prearrangement, D'Artaguette was to
descend from the Illinois region, and meet him near the stronghold of the
Chickasaws and aid him in their subjection. Of ardent temperament,
Bienville was easily made overconfident, and yet he had but little on
which to rely. Save the veterans of the command, he had little else.

The motley horde that had enlisted under his banner at Mobile, was not
worthy of trust in an emergency, nor did he know how far he could depend
on his Indian allies, for Red Shoes hated the white man, only he hated the
Chickasaws the more. He was going not so much in aid of the French, as he
was to punish the Chickasaws. This made his influence a doubtful quality,
and that influence was great with the Choctaws. But if Bienville could
have the command of D'Artaguette to aid him, which was destined not to be,
he could possibly succeed, though the Chickasaws were the fiercest
fighters among the tribes, and they had among them English officers, who
were training them for the coming attack.

The command was again ready to move, but the keen edge of the novelty and
enthusiasm was now blunted, on the part of at least a large contingent of
the command, which was going simply because they had to go. The scene was
a peculiar one, as the boats were ranged along the bank of the river at
Fort Tombeckbe. With refreshing complacency, the French took possession of
the boats, Simon and his seventy-five black followers owned their crafts,
and the Canadians and Indian allies were left to make their way, as best
they could, along the river to the point where all were to unite to go
against the Chickasaws.

On May 22, 1736, they reached the region where Cotton Gin Port,
Mississippi, now is, where Bienville built a temporary fort which he named
Fort Oltibia, and after securing his stores, locking his boats to the
trees, and appointing a guard to protect them, he started with twelve
days' rations to the Chickasaws' stronghold, still twenty-seven miles in
the interior.

It was a rainy season, the prairie mud was deep, the inland streams were
up, the country a tangled region of underbrush, the banks of the streams
slippery with lime mud, and most of the host already demoralized. They
started inland, the men sometimes being forced at times to wade waist deep
in crossing the streams, the march was slow and laborious, and the
prospect grew dimmer with decreasing enthusiasm, as they proceeded. There
was straggling not a little, but from more of this Bienville was saved, by
reason of the fact that they were in the enemy's country, and a sense of
common interest welded them together. They marched past fortified villages
of the Chickasaws, which villages Bienville disregarded, but he found it
next to impossible to restrain the Choctaws, in their hatred of the
Chickasaws from attacking these. One fortified village, Schouafalay, the
Choctaws did attack, much against the judgment of Bienville.

There was partial relief afforded the troops when they emerged from the
tangled wilderness and reached the open prairie. Here was an abundance of
game, of much of which the troops availed themselves, while they were
cheered not a little by the patches of ripe strawberries growing in
wildness on the plain, and by the unbroken green of the prairie dashed
here and there by patches of beautiful blossoms.

They were now within six miles of the object of attack. Here it was
proposed that the commands of Bienville and of D'Artaguette were to unite,
but the latter failed to appear. The scouts sent on in advance by
Bienville, reported that they could not find D'Artaguette and could learn
nothing of his whereabouts. This was a sore disappointment to Bienville,
for he had counted much on D'Artaguette and his veterans, but he could not
now stop. He still had about one thousand five hundred in his command, and
he was confident of success.

Bienville's plan was to pass around Ackia, where the Chickasaws were
strongly fortified, and proceed to the town of Natchez, overthrow the
Indians there, and by that means inspire the troops, and at the same time
demoralize the Chickasaws. In a council of officers now called, he
advocated this plan, but the Choctaw leaders would not listen to a
proposal like this. They wanted to attack the Chickasaws outright, crush
them, and then quietly return. Some of the French officers concurred in
the proposed policy of the Choctaws, while not a few coincided with
Bienville. The Choctaws seemed almost uncontrollable in their frantic
desire to reach the Chickasaws. To have heard them rave, one would have
thought that there was little use of the French in the expedition, at all.

Nothing was now left but to traverse the remaining six miles, and give
battle to the waiting Chickasaws. The line of march was again taken up,
and another half day brought them within full view of the battlements of
the enemy. The conditions were not such as to occasion much inspiration.
The fortifications were imposing, and seemed sufficiently strong to resist
any force.

On an eminence stood the fort of heavy logs. Around it were palisades with
port holes just above the ground, while just within the palisades was a
trench, in which the defenders would stand, rest their guns within the
port holes, and fire with ease on the plain below without the slightest
exposure of their bodies. Outside the palisades were a number of strongly
fortified structures or cabins. The fort itself was of triangular shape,
with the roof of heavy green logs, overlaid with a thick stratum of dried
mud, a double security against fire, should the French undertake the use
of combustibles. The imposing fortifications had a disheartening effect
even on the officers of the French troops, and much more the men.

A careful inspection was made, and there was nothing left but to plan for
the attack. The French were to open the battle, and the Choctaws were left
to attack as they might wish. The Indians occupied a camp some distance
from the others, and proceeded to paint and to deck themselves for
battle. They stood in readiness, as though waiting for the battle to open.
All plans were gotten in readiness, and at two o'clock in the afternoon
the fight was to begin by regular assault from the outset.


At two o'clock on the afternoon of May 26, 1736, the battle of Ackia was
opened by Chevalier Noyan, who, as his troops advanced within carbine shot
of the fort, could easily see English officers within the palisades
directing the defense.

The French were moving to the attack in the open, without personal
shields, which were too heavy to be brought so great a distance, and they
had to resort to portable breastworks made of heavy ropes, closely woven
together in strips of about four feet in width and about twenty feet in
length. This wide strip of roping had to be borne at either end by strong
men, who were of course exposed, while the firing line was somewhat
protected. These mantelets, for such the movable fortifications were
called, were carried by negroes, whom the French forced into this perilous
service. A broadside of musketry was opened on the fort, in response to
which the garrison vigorously replied, and among the casualties was that
of killing one of the negroes, while another was wounded, whereupon every
black man who was supporting the mantelets threw them down and fled the
field. Without a waver in their line, the French pressed on to the attack.

The grenadiers led the advance and moved on into the outside village. The
battle was now on in earnest, and one of the ablest of the French
commanders, Chevalier de Contre Coeur, was killed, together with a number
of grenadiers, but the fortified cabins were taken without, as well as
some smaller ones, to the latter of which fire was applied. This quick
advantage gained, led to an enthusiastic determination to carry the fort
by assault. Noyan, at the head of his troops, saw the advantage and was
ready to lead the charge. With sword upraised, he commanded the advance,
but on looking back he found that all the troops, save a mere handful, had
fled back to the fortified cabins, leaving the officers. The enemy taking
advantage of this juncture, fired more vigorously still, and another of
the brave commanders, Captain DeLusser, the same who commanded at Fort
Tombecke, fell. The officers bringing up the rear urged, besought,
exhorted the troops who had sought shelter in the cabins to rejoin their
officers, but to no purpose. They were promised the reward of promotion,
but that did not avail. Finally the officers sought to appeal to their
pride by proposing to take such as would follow and themselves make the
assault, to all of which the troops were agreed, but they did not propose
to face again the galling fire of the Chickasaws. Suiting the action to
the word, the officers proceeded to the assault, for which they paid
severely, for every prominent leader was shot down wounded--Noyan,
Grondel, Montburn and De Velles. Though bleeding and suffering, Noyan
supported himself and, much exposed, held his ground with a remnant of
troops. Hoping to elicit those from the cabins, he ordered an aide to
request the secreted troops to come to his rescue, as he was wounded. As
the officer turned to obey, he was shot dead.

The assault had been carried to within a short distance of the main walls
where the officers lay bleeding from their wounds, the foremost of whom
was the gallant Grondel. A number of Indian warriors issued from the fort
to scalp him, on observing which a sergeant with four men rushed to his
rescue, drove the Indians back into the fort, and raised his body to bear
it off the field. Just as they started, every rescuer was killed. A
stalwart Frenchman named Regnisse, seeing what had happened, dashed toward
the body alone, under a galling fire, lifted the wounded man to his back
and bore him off, though not without the receipt of another wound by

Meanwhile, where were the courageous Choctaws who were so eager for the
fray and who were the chief cause of bringing on the fight? While the
French were exposed to a raking fire, these six hundred painted warriors
remained at a safe distance on the plain, giving frequent vent to shouting
and shrieking and yelling, interspersed now and then with dancing, and
shooting into the air. This was the utmost of the service rendered by the
Choctaw allies.

Though with a courageous few, Noyan had come under the shadow of the walls
of the fort, he could do no more unsupported, and so proceeded to return,
in order, to the fortified cabins, where he found his men crouching in
fear, when he at once notified Bienville of the peril of the situation. He
asked for a detachment to bear off the dead and wounded, and notified the
governor that without troops to support him, nothing more could be done to
capture the fort.

At this juncture, Bienville saw a demonstration made on the part of the
savages in the fort, from an unconjectured quarter, to capture the cabins
in which were gathered the men and officers, and made haste to send
Beauchamp, with eighty men, to head off the movement, rescue the troops
and to bring away the wounded and the dead. Beauchamp moved with speed,
turned back the movement, and while many of the dead and wounded were
recovered, he could not recover all. In this movement Beauchamp lost a
number of men. So hot was the firing from the fort, that he was compelled
to leave a number to the barbarity of the Chickasaws.

As Beauchamp was retiring in an orderly way, the Choctaws issued from
their camp with much impetuosity and fury, as though they had at last
resolved to carry everything before them. Fleet of foot, and filling the
air with their wild yelling, they dashed toward the fort, but just then a
well-directed fire into their ranks, from the Chickasaws, created a speedy
rout, and they fled in every direction.

Had Bienville been able to bring his cannon so far into the interior, he
would have demolished the fort in short order, but as it was, everything
was against him. Instead of his plans being executed as originally formed,
they fell to pieces, step by step, and his defeat was the most signal.
Thus ended the campaign against the Chickasaws, the fiercest and most
warlike of all the tribes. After all the imposing grandeur at the outset
of the campaign it ended in a fiasco. The situation was much graver than
Bienville seemed to apprehend. He was in the heart of the enemy's country,
without substantial support. His Choctaw allies had failed him, and in a
grave crisis his own men had forsaken him. Nothing would have been easier
than for the Chickasaws to cut him off from his boats, and extinguish the
entire command, but, themselves unapprised of the conditions, they kept
well within the enclosure of the fort. Other difficulties were in store
for the unfortunate Bienville.


The battle of Ackia had lasted three hours, but during that brief time
there were some as excellent exhibitions of bravery, as well as sad
defections of soldiery, as can well be conceived. However, all the
dramatic and tragical scenes were not confined to the battle, as other
interesting details are to follow. The day was now closing. For about two
hours, the utmost quiet had fallen on the scene. The noisy Choctaws, in a
camp adjoining, had become strangely silent. Not a note of activity came
from the fort, not a man was to be seen. The horses and cattle of the
Chickasaws, grazing on the prairie when the battle began, had fled far
across the plain, but now that the day was closing, and the firing had
ceased, they came wending their way across the expanse to a small stream
that flowed at the base of the hill.

In a group the French officers were standing, discussing the scenes of the
recent conflict, and indignant at the conduct of the Indian allies; they
turned jocularly to Simon, the negro commander, and chid him on the
cowardice of his black crew. Simon was polite and bright, and was much in
favor with the officers. While he smiled in return to the jocularity of
the officers, he glanced about him, suddenly picked up a long rope, and
said: "I'll prove to you that a negro is as brave as anybody, when it is
necessary to be," and with this dashed toward the herd of cattle and
horses, selected a milk-white mare, hastily made a halter, mounted on her
back, and sped the entire circuit of the walls of the fort, perhaps a
distance of a quarter of a mile. He was fired on by hundreds of rifles
from the fort, but dashed back to the group of officers without having
received a scratch, leaped from the back of the mare, gracefully saluted
the officers and bowed, while they cheered his exploit. No one doubted the
courage of Simon after that feat.

That night the French slept on their arms. Not a note came from the fort.
There was funereal silence everywhere. When, however, light broke over the
scene on the following morning, a horrible spectacle met the gaze of the
French. The Chickasaws had sallied forth during the night and had borne
within the fort the dead left on the scene, had quartered them, and had
hung from the walls portions of the bodies of the unfortunate slain. This
act of barbarous defiance, added to the sting of defeat, infuriated many
of the officers and men, and they demanded to be given another chance at
the Chickasaws and they would demolish the fort. Incensed and insulted,
they became almost uncontrollable, but Bienville admonished coolness and
prudence, for he had had enough, and was now more concerned about how he
should get away with his crippled command. As the Choctaw allies had
proved an incubus to Bienville from the start, and a source of annoyance
and of embarrassment, the governor thought to enlist them in the removal
of his stores and of the wounded. To this proposal they at first demurred,
then became sullen, and finally refractory, and proposed to abandon the
French outright, leave them to their fate, and hunt again their homes to
the south.

Bienville was a shrewd diplomat and sagacious, and knew full well that if
such an emergency should come, and the Choctaws would reach the boats
first, take them and the stores left at Fort Oltibia, float down the
river, and leave him and his men to perish in the wilds. In order to avert
this calamity he proceeded on a policy of conciliation. It was ascertained
that Red Shoes was the instigator of the discontent, who was as merciless
as he was shrewdly ambitious of influence and leadership. Bienville
dreaded him, and had distrusted him all along, but there was no way of
disposing of him, and he had to accompany the command. The governor sent
for the chief, who appeared before him accompanied by the despicable Red
Shoes. Bienville not only persuaded the chief to remain steadfast, but
gained his consent to have his warriors become burden-bearers of the camp
equipage. At this agreement between the two leaders, Red Shoes indignantly
protested, and in his rage snatched his pistol from his belt and would
have shot the chief on the spot, had not Bienville seized his brawny arm
and prevented the commission of the deed.

The march back to the boats was tedious and irksome, covering only four
miles the first day. Two of the wounded men died on the way and were
buried in the woods. The showers under which the march to the fort had
prevailed, ceased for a week or more, followed by a season of hot, dry
weather, the river at that point had shrunk, and the water was scarcely
of sufficient depth to float the craft. As quickly as possible, things
were gotten in readiness, the Choctaws were again left to shift for
themselves, and Bienville and his command drifted down the river to Fort
Tombeckbe. Here he left De Berthel in command, with a year's supply of
provisions, a quantity of merchandise with which to trade with the
Indians, the wounded men to be cared for till restored, and Bienville,
with spirit much subdued and humiliated over his discomfiture, returned to

But what had become of D'Artaguette and his three hundred? His fate was
the saddest. In seeking to comply with the request of Bienville to join
him in the expedition against the fort, he had fallen in with a body of
Chickasaws, who, by superior numbers, had overwhelmed him and captured him
and his entire command. Himself and his men were prisoners in the fort
during the engagement, and the ammunition used by the Chickasaws was that
captured from the ill-fated D'Artaguette. Up to the time of the attack on
the fort, D'Artaguette and his men were as well treated as Indians can
treat the captured, but on the retirement of Bienville, D'Artaguette and
his men were tied to stakes and burned.

For all the disasters attendant on the ill-starred campaign, including
that of the fate of D'Artaguette, Bienville was held responsible by the
Paris government, with which he lost favor, and the wane of influence and
of power followed. Bienville was a victim of conditions over which no
mortal could have had control, but it was a juncture of conditions that
sometimes comes to the most meritorious of men, into which Bienville was
brought, and he had to be sacrificed. While the work that he did laid the
foundation of the civilization of three southern commonwealths, he was
removed in dishonor, and left the scene of action and sank from view


About the year 1721, a body of German colonists reached Mobile, and
settled in the region adjoining. Among them was a woman of unusual
personal beauty and of rare charm of manner. Her dress, and especially her
jewels, indicated not only her station, but her wealth. She caused it to
be understood that she was the daughter of the Duke of Brunswick
Wolfenbuttel and the wife of Alexis Petrowitz, the son of Peter the Great,
and accounted for her strange presence in the wilds of south Alabama, as
due to the fact that she had been cruelly treated by the heir to the
Russian throne; that she had fled the dominion of the great Peter, and for
security, had sought the most distant region known to her. She furthermore
asserted that the younger Peter had duly advertised the death of his wife,
but insisted that the monstrous Muskovite had done this in order to
conceal the scandal of her forced flight from his castle, and in order,
too, to explain her absence from the court circles of St. Petersburg.

All this she explained to be a mere ruse, and that she was the real
princess who had escaped his tyranny, preferring the inhospitable
wilderness of a distant continent, to the royal palace with its tyrannous
cruelty. The story received general credence, since the splendor of her
attire and her familiarity with the inner secrets of the Russian court
proved that she was no ordinary personage. Besides all this, there was
increased evidence afforded by her conduct. Her beautiful face was
saddened by some evident trouble over which she seemed to brood, as with
a far-away look she would sit and muse for hours together. How else could
all this be explained, save by the story which she related? This is just
the evidence one would look for in substantiation of a story of cruelty.

The prepossessing manner of the princess, her immense fortune, and her
ability to discuss Russian affairs, served to win not alone the confidence
of all, but their sympathy as well. Her wrongs were the burden of her
conversation, and her own reported station in life elicited much
deference, which was duly and promptly accorded by all alike.

Great as the credence was, as a result of the recital of her wrongs, it
received a reinforcement from another source that seemed to place it
beyond question. Chevalier d'Aubant, a young French officer, had seen the
wife of the Russian prince, and he declared that this was none other than
she. He could not be mistaken, for he had seen her at St. Petersburg. This
insistence settled the identity of the princess in the estimation of all.

But d'Aubant did not stop at this point of mere recognition. His profound
sympathy awoke interest, which brought him frequently within the circle of
the charms of the fair Russian, and, in turn, interest deepened into
tenderness of affection. To the vivacious Frenchman, the glitter of wealth
was far from proving an obstruction to the valiantness with which he
assailed the citadel of her heart. At any rate, the chevalier and princess
became one, lived in comparative splendor for years, and removed to
Paris, where, in sumptuous apartments, they resided till the death of the

The deep shadow which had come into the life of the princess, according to
her own story, won her hosts of friends whom she was able to retain by
reason of her charms. The well-known character of the second Peter, a
dissolute, worthless wretch, and the fact that his father had sent him
abroad in Europe, to travel with the hope that his ways might be reformed
by a wider margin of observation of the affairs of the world, lent
increased credence to the pathetic story and elicited fresh installments
of interest and sympathy. Chevalier d'Aubant died in the belief that he
had married the repudiated wife of the eldest son of Peter the Great of

But a fatal revelation was inevitable. It is said that while strolling in
the Garden of the Tuileries she was one day met by the marshal of Saxe,
who recognized her as one of the attendants of the Russian princess, an
humble female who greatly resembled her mistress, and by reason of her
contact with the most elevated of Russian society, had acquired the
manners of the best, and while in the service of the princess had means of
access to her wardrobe and purse, and by stealth, had enriched herself and
at an unconjectured time fled the palace and escaped to America. The
Chevalier d'Aubant, having seen the princess once, was easily deceived by
the appearance of this woman, her wealth, and by the reputation of the
Russian prince. On her ill-gotten wealth he lived for years, and died in
blissful ignorance of her huge pretension.

It is said that the pretender died at last in absolute penury in Paris,
leaving an only daughter as the result of the marriage with Chevalier
d'Aubant. The story has been related in different forms by different
writers, and at one time was quite prevalent as a sensational romance in
the literary circles of Europe. The particulars of this rare adventure may
be found recorded in much of the literature of that period, some insisting
on its accuracy, while others deny it. Duclos, a prolific writer of
European romance, furnishes the amplest details of the affair, while such
writers as Levesque, in his Russian history; Grimm, in his correspondence,
and Voltaire, straightway repudiate the genuineness of the story on the
basis of its improbability. The incidents of the time at the Russian
court, the career of d'Aubant, and much else afford some reason for
believing that there is at bottom, some occasion for a romance so

Without here insisting on its genuineness, such is the story, in one of
its forms, as it has come to the present. However, this, as well as much
else, indicates how much of interesting matter lies in literary mines
unworked in connection with our primitive history. The literary spirit of
the South has never been properly encouraged by due appreciation, with the
consequence of a scant literature. The industrial spirit seized our
fathers in other years, and the fabulous fertility of our soils, the
cultivation of which beneath fervid skies, in an even climate, has largely
materialized our thought, and still does. Who now reads a book? If so,
what is the character of the book? We scan the morning daily, or read at
sleepy leisure the evening press, skim the magazines, and this usually
tells the story. From sire to son this has been the way gone for
generations. Permit the bare statement without the moralizing.


In advance of the territorial construction of Alabama, this region had
been sought as a refuge by adherents of the British crown during the
stormy days of the Revolution, while others who were loyal Americans, also
came to escape the horrors of war in the Carolinas. All these filed
through the dense forests which covered the intervening distance at that
early day. Across Georgia, the most western of the thirteen colonies, they
fled, putting the Chattahoochee between them and the thunder of war, and
buried themselves in the obscurity of the Alabama forests. These forests
had remained unbroken from the beginning, now pierced here and there by
the wide beaten paths of the Indian. Several of these paths became, in
subsequent years, highways of primitive commerce, running from terminal
points hundreds of miles apart.

The Indian knew nothing of roads and bridges, his nearest approach to the
last named of these conveniences being fallen trees across the lesser
streams. Nor had he the means of constructing them, as he was dependent on
the flint implements which he rudely constructed into hatchets and wedges.
By means of these, he would fashion his light canoe from the less heavy
woods, like the cedar and birch, which were easily worked while in a green
state, but when dry became firm and light and well suited to float the
waters of the streams and bays. While in a green state, the trunks of
these trees were hollowed out with each end curved up, and the paddles
were made from slabs riven from some timbers light and strong. These
canoes served to transport them across the streams, and afforded the means
of fishing and hunting. When not in use, craft like this was secured to
trees by means of muscadine vines. These were the conditions found by the
white man when he came to invade the domain of the Indian.

With his improved implements of iron and steel trees were easily felled by
the paleface, rafts were built, bridges were constructed, and by degrees,
as the population grew, roads were opened. The refugees from the storms of
war who came about 1777, followed the Indian trails when they could, but
now and then they would have to plunge into the thick forests, pick their
way as best they could through a tangled wilderness, and pursue their
course to their destination. By immigrants like these, some of the
territory stretching from the western confine of Florida to the Tombigbee,
came to be peopled in the first years of the nineteenth century, and for
more than two decades before.

Localities in the present territory of the counties of Monroe, Clarke,
Baldwin and Washington were occupied as early as 1778. Some of the white
men in the lower part of Monroe County married Indian maidens, from which
connections came some of the families that subsequently became conspicuous
in the early annals of the state. Among such may be named the
Weatherfords, Taits, Durants, and Tunstalls. In the bloody scenes which
followed in Indian warfare, some of these espoused the cause of one race,
and some the other. Not a few of these became wealthy, according to the
estimate of the times; some were intelligent and influential, and imparted
a wholesome influence to the early society of the state.

Primitive commerce was quickened along the great beaten pathways in
consequence of the advent of the whites. These original highways extended
from the ports of Mobile and Pensacola long distances into the interior.
One of these ran from Pensacola by way of Columbus, Georgia, to Augusta,
where was intersected another, which reached to Charleston. Another ran by
way of Florence and Huntsville to Nashville, whence it extended as far
north as old Vincennes, on the Wabash. Through the ports of Mobile and
Pensacola exports were made to distant parts, as primitive craft was
always in wait for these commodities at these ports. The commodities were
brought from the interior on pack horses, or rather ponies, which
commodities consisted of indigo, rawhides, corn, cattle, tallow, tar,
pitch, bear's oil, tobacco, squared timber, myrtle wax, cedar posts and
slabs, salted wild beef, chestnuts, pecans, shingles, dried salt fish,
sassafras, sumach, wild cane, staves, heading hoops, and pelfry.

The introduction of cotton had begun long before the invention of the gin
by Eli Whitney, in 1792. The seeds were first picked from the cotton with
the fingers, which was improved later by some small machines, the
appearance of which was hailed as a great advance on previous methods, and
an early chronicler records the fact with much elation, that by means of
the method of these small French machines as much as seventy pounds of
cotton were cleared of seed in a day. The commodities already named were
transported to the sea on small, scrawny ponies, usually called "Indian
ponies," tough, and possessing a power of endurance against hardship and
fatigue that was wonderful. The cost of transportation was practically
nothing, as these animals were hobbled at noon and at night, and turned
out to graze to the full on the rank grass and native peavines, and, when
in the region of a low country, on young cane. The weight of a load was
usually one hundred and eighty pounds, one-third of which was balanced in
bundles or packs on either side, while a third was secured in the center
on the back of the animal. Ten of these ponies were assigned to a single
"drover," who walked in the rear of the drove and managed all by wild
yelling. After one or two trips over the same way, the ponies came to
learn where to stop for water and encampment. They often wore bells of
different tones, the wild clangor of which bells would fill the
surrounding forest for great distances. When loaded, the ponies would fall
into line at a given signal of the "drover," each knowing his place in the
file, and amble away with ears thrown back, going ordinarily the distance
of twenty-five miles each day. Some of the streams were fordable, while
others had to be swum by these primitive express trains. Camping places
became famous along the different routes, at which points all the droves
came to camp.

As commerce thus grew, there came anon highwaymen who would rob the droves
of their burdens. One of these robbers became as notorious as Dare Devil
Dick in English annals. His name was Hare, and Turk's Cave, in Conecuh
County, was the place for the deposit of his booty. With the years, this
obstruction was removed. By means of this traffic not a few accumulated
considerable fortunes, the traditions of whose wealth still linger in the
older regions, with many extravagant stories attending. These stories
embodied in a volume would give an idea of the ups and downs of these
early times in Alabama.


The Indian viewed with envious eye the pale-faced invader who dared to
"squat" on his dominions, for which he had slight use save for that of
hunting. The law of the untutored savage is revenge, and to the Indian
revenge means murder. The safety of the whites lay in the community of
interest and a common bond of protection. In every large settlement or
group of settlements there was built a local stockade of protection and
defense, while in a given region there was erected a large fort, to be
occupied in case of serious danger, or of general attack. Of these there
was a large number throughout the territory of Alabama. There was no basis
by which the Indian could be judged. He was a stealthy, treacherous
fellow, who was constantly lurking about the homes of the first settlers,
in order to wreak vengeance on the women and children, to massacre whom
the Indian thought would force the retirement of the men.

Among the strange incidents connected with the menacing presence of the
Indian during the primitive period of the state's history, was that of the
conduct of the horses and cows when a savage would come within easy
distance. Whether grazing or at work, these animals would instinctively
lift their heads and raise their tails, while with protruding ears they
would indicate the direction of the savage. More than that, they would
frequently give demonstration to their excitement by running here and
there, and stop only to turn their ears in the direction of the
approaching or lurking Indian. They did not see him, but by some other
means, perhaps by the keen sense of smell, they could detect the presence
of the savage, even while he was some distance away. It was thus that
these animals became danger signals which no one dared disregard. Not
infrequently a horse would stop while plowing, lift his head, snuff the
air, and give other indications of excitement, all of which would put one
duly on guard. By this infallible sign, much violence was averted and many
lives saved. The ears of the brutes became almost as valuable to these
pioneers, as the needle of the compass to the mariner, and certainly the
protruding ear was just as unerring as the pointing of the needle.

Another fact which became proverbial among the primitive settlers was,
with regard to young children, especially helpless babies, in the presence
of excitement and danger. Not infrequently mothers would have but a few
minutes in which to flee for safety to the nearest stockade, and often
they would snatch their sleeping babes from their cradles, in order to
make hasty flight, and the remarkable fact is that the little ones would
never cry. In their flight, mothers would sometimes stumble and fall with
their babes in their arms, but the little ones would still hold their
peace. These facts became proverbial among the pioneers.

The condition to which one may become inured or accustomed, was abundantly
illustrated in pioneer life. Occasional danger would have made life well
nigh unbearable, but when it was frequent, when one did not know when he
was to be pounced upon from some covert, by an Indian, it came to be a
matter of constant expectation, and was no more thought of than any other
ordinary condition of life. Of course, with danger always impending, men
went armed, and the constant expectation of attack reduced the condition
to one of the most ordinary. Men generally felt but little concern about
themselves, but they were gravely concerned about their dependable
families. These hardy men of the frontier usually became indifferent to
personal danger, which fact greatly impressed the savage. While he hated
the paleface, he dreaded to encounter him. Only under conditions of
advantage, or when so penned that there was but slight hope of escape,
would the Indian dare to engage in open fight with a white man. The skill
of the Indian was limited, while the cool calculation of the white man
would enable him the more readily to comprehend a given situation. In a
reëncounter the Indian would always act with precipitation, while the
white man would act with calculation, even under a stress of exciting
conditions. This was often illustrated in the difference of the conduct of
the two races.

One chief advantage the Indian enjoyed over the white man--he could easily
outrun him. The Indian was trained to fleetness of foot from early
childhood. He could run with bent form, faster than could the white in an
upright position.

It was almost incredible how rapidly the Indian could penetrate the
tangled underbrush in flight, or in seeking the advantage of a foe.
Athletic training was common among all the tribes. On just two things the
Indian relied, one of which was his fleetness of foot and the other his
ambuscade, unless he was forced into a condition of desperation, when he
would become the most terrible of antagonists. While the sinews of the
Indian were toughened by his mode of life, his muscles were kept in a
perfectly flexible condition. This was in part due to his constant
exposure to the open air. He slept and lived in the open. The consequence
was that the constitution of the Indian was rarely impaired by disease.
Active exercise, in which he every day indulged, the open air, simple
food, and sleeping on the hard earth, made him an athlete, and among them
there were often prodigies of strength.

The Indian spurned ease, and to him clothing was an encumbrance. It was
like a child encased in a shield. On the other hand, the white man coveted
ease. In those early days, and even for generations later, the white man
would regard a bed uncomfortable unless it was of feathers, and he would
never walk when there was a possibility of riding. In physical strength
and endurance, therefore, the Indian was the superior, while in coolness
and in calculation, and in the rapid husbanding of resource, the white man
was at an immense advantage, and this made him the dominant factor.

This last element stood the whites well in hand in their intercourse with
the Indians. Treacherous to the utmost, the Indian, in his pretensions of
friendship, came to be a study to the frontierman, and rarely was one
thrown off his guard by the pretended warning of an Indian. Oftener than
otherwise, given advice of impending danger, by an Indian, was reversed,
and savages were often intercepted in fell design by the whites, who came
readily to detect the treacherous purpose of the Indian. When suddenly
foiled, no people were more easily demoralized than were the Indians. Of
these characteristics, as frequently displayed, we shall have occasion to
take note in these sketches.


The name of Alexander McGillivray is inseparable from the earliest annals
of Alabama history. So notorious was he, that to omit his name from the
records of the state, would be to occasion a serious gap. Though a private
citizen, McGillivray, in the sway of power, was practically a sovereign.
In the constitution of this wonderful man were extraordinary force,
comprehensive resourcefulness, unquestioned magnetism, and sinisterness of
purpose, rarely equaled. He was born to dominate, and his facility for
planning and scheming, as well as for executing, was phenomenal. Nor was
the dominion of his influence restricted to Alabama, for it extended into
Georgia and Florida, and reached even the seat of the national government,
which was at that time, seeking to stand erect in its emergence from
infantile conditions.

McGillivray was the Machiavelli of these early times. With a gaze lifted
immensely above that of his contemporaries, he planned vast designs, while
the order of mind of this remarkable man was such that, in the requisite
details of execution, he could fit and adjust conditions with a skill so
marvelous, and a precision so exact, as to be able to accomplish all to
which he set his hand.

His mind was fertile, his vision comprehensive, his judgment unerring, his
skill adroit, his cunning foxy, his facilities without seeming limit, and
his absence of principle as void as space. His plans were often a network
of tangled schemes, so wrought into each other, that to most men involved
in such, there would be no possibility of escape, but under the
manipulation of this master of craft and of intrigue, they would be
brought to a culmination invested with so much plausibility, as to divest
them of any open appearance of wrong. McGillivray was always cool and
collected, suave and smiling, and could make so fair a show of sincerity
and of innocence, backed by a cogency of assertion, as often to make the
false wear the mask of truth.

The times in which McGillivray lived were exceedingly favorable to the
cultivation of his character. That which he did would have been unnatural
with an ordinary man, but to Alexander McGillivray, and to the period in
which he lived, nothing seemed more natural. The times were out of joint,
his native gifts were exceptional, the period afforded just the orbit for
their exercise, and with audacious effrontery he seized on every chance to
execute his fell designs.

The close of the Revolution had left the country in a deplorable
condition. The demoralization which inevitably follows in the wake of war,
was one of unusual seriousness to the young American nation. Added to that
of widespread disaster was the sudden transition from colonial conditions,
under the crown, to that of republican independence. History has failed to
emphasize the moral and social conditions in the American territory,
incident to the Revolution, which conditions imposed a herculean task on
our primitive statesmen. At best, the undertaking of a free government,
under conditions such as then prevailed, was an experiment on which the
hoary nations of Europe looked with doubting interest.

Under the conditions of universal demoralization, the task was assumed of
welding into coherency the scattered elements of population, which
population viewed freedom more as license than as liberty, and with an
interpretation like this, there was a greater tendency toward viciousness
and criminality than toward a patriotic interest in the erection of stable
government. Then, too, the untutored savage still roved the forests, and
his wigwam settlements extended from limit to limit of the territory of
the prospective nation. The savage was revengeful, and stood in defiance
of the encroachment of the whites on his rightful domain. It was under
conditions like these that the unscrupulous McGillivray came on the scene
with all his seductive arts.

In point of diplomacy, he was the peer of any man on the continent, while
in cunning unscrupulousness he was unapproached by any. To scheme was to
him a natural gift; to plot was his delight, and to him intrigue was a
mere pastime. His machinations were so adroitly shaped as to enable him to
rally to his aid forces the most opposite and contradictory, and yet into
each of his wily schemes he could infuse the ardor of enthusiasm. The
danger embodied in McGillivray was that he was not only bad, but that he
was so ably and atrociously wicked. In his veins ran the blood of three
races--Indian, Scotch, and French. His grandfather, Captain Marchand, was
a French officer, his father, a Scotchman, and his mother, one-half
Indian. Alexander inherited the strongest traits of these three races. He
had the quick but seductive perception of the French, the cool
calculation and dogged persistency of the Scotch, and the subtle
shrewdness and treachery of the Indian. Possessing these traits to a
preëminent degree, they were greatly reinforced by an education derived
from the best schools of the time, he having been educated at Charleston,
South Carolina. He was Chesterfieldian in conventional politeness, and as
smooth as Talleyrand in ambiguity of speech. Apparently the fairest and
most loyal of men, he possessed a depth of iniquity inconceivable.

His father, Lachlan McGillivray, had run away from his home in Scotland
when a lad of sixteen, and reached Charleston about forty years before the
outbreak of the Revolution. Penniless and friendless, he engaged to drive
pack-horses, laden with goods, to the Indian settlements on the
Chattahoochee. His only compensation for the trip was a large jackknife,
which proved the germ of a subsequent fortune. Nothing was more highly
prized at that time, than a good jackknife. Lachlan McGillivray exchanged
his knife for a number of deer skins, which commanded an exorbitant price
in the markets of Charleston. Investment followed investment, which
resulted in increasing dividends to the Scotch lad, so that by the time he
was fully grown, he owned two plantations on the Savannah River, both of
which were stocked with negro slaves. He later came to possess large
commercial interests, both in Savannah and Augusta, and having married the
half-breed Indian girl, in Alabama, he owned large interests in this
state. He had, besides Alexander, three other children. One of these
married a French officer, Le Clerc Milfort, who became a
brigadier-general in the army of Napoleon, while another became the wife
of Benjamin Durant, a wealthy Huguenot merchant, the ancestor of the
present Durants in Mobile and Baldwin counties, while another still,
married James Bailey, a half-breed, who was subsequently a conspicuous
defender of Fort Mims. These names are suggestive of fountain sources of
history. This brief introduction prepares us to enter on the remarkable
career of Alexander McGillivray.


Among the other traits of Alexander McGillivray was that of an
insufferable vanity. The Indians came to recognize him as their chief, but
this he indignantly put aside and named himself "the emperor." Designing
the career of his son to be that of a merchant, Lachlan McGillivray had
afforded him every possible educational advantage that the most advanced
schools could give, but the young man chafed under the restrictions of
commercial life and left his father's home, which was now in Georgia, and
returned to Wetumpka, the scene of his birth and childhood, and allied
himself with the Indians of that region. Most opportune was the time to
young McGillivray, for the Creeks had become involved in a serious
disturbance with the whites of Georgia, and were in search of a competent
leader who could cope with the situation.

The American Revolution was now in progress. The British, here and there
about the South, were active through the Tories, in inciting to rebellion
the ferocious Indians. Every wrong was exaggerated, and many supposed
wrongs were created, to engender strife between the whites and the
Indians. On reaching Wetumpka, young McGillivray was hailed as their chief
and as the man who had come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Fresh
from academic honors, the youth was altogether responsive to the
flatteries of the Indians. Proclaiming himself the emperor of the Creeks,
he donned their garb, and became their idol. He began his operations on a
scale so delightful to the Indians, that he won their confidence at once.

His movements attracted the attention of the British authorities at
Pensacola, and there was tendered him a colonelcy in their army, without
interference with his chiefship in the Indian tribe. He was placed on the
payroll of the English army and exchanged his toggery of the Indian chief
for the crimson uniform of the British colonel. This was an occasion of
fascination to the Indians, who exulted in the promotion of their young
chief. McGillivray now had everything his way. He plied his seductive
arts, and there was nothing that he desired that was withheld. The Indians
doted on him, and the pride of the young man knew no limit. He proved a
skillful leader in battle, courageous and strategic, but his sphere was in
the field of diplomacy. He left others to lead in fight, while he
solicited the aid of Indians in the service of the king of England. In the
ranks of the Tories, none was so efficient as was McGillivray, yet when
the war closed disastrously to the crown, and when the British had no
further use for him, they abandoned him to his fate, took his commission
from him, and cared no more for him.

While the result was disastrous to the British arms, it was exceedingly so
to the McGillivrays. The father had been a devoted loyalist throughout,
and when peace was declared his property was confiscated, he was left
without a penny, and, worse still, the Whigs thirsted for his blood. They
sought to find him, and, without a dime in his pocket, he fled the country
and returned to Europe, after making many narrow escapes, for had he been
captured, he would have paid the penalty of his loyalty to the British
crown by dangling from the end of a rope. All that saved Alexander's neck
was that he was recognized the chief of the Indian tribes whom the
Americans were eager to conciliate. The conditions created by the close of
the war afforded to Colonel McGillivray a fresh opportunity for new
alliances on a new field.

Impoverished by the calamitous result of the Revolution, Colonel
McGillivray was more enraged than dispirited, and in seeking new
connections, he turned to the Spanish, who recognized the services of so
valuable an ally, and were not slow to use him. In order to facilitate
their schemes they gave to McGillivray the commission of colonel in the
Spanish army on full pay, and besides, made him commissary commissioner to
the Creek Indians, whom to win to the loyalty of Spain there was offered
to them open ports on the Gulf coast for the shipment of their peltry.

This latter position gave to McGillivray vast advantage, as his palms
itched for Spanish gold, much of which he handled in this new relation.
Having the confidential ear of both parties, McGillivray was not slow to
replenish his impoverished purse. He was equally the trusted counselor of
both, and was not hindered in cross-purposes by any scruple, to make the
most of the advantage afforded. He was the prince of plotters, and the
impersonation of selfishness. A treaty was entered into at Augusta,
Georgia, between the white settlers and the Creeks, respecting the lands,
which treaty was repudiated by the Indian tribes, and led to outbreaks of
violence on the part of the savages. This action was inspired by
McGillivray, the promotion of whose interest lay in agitation and
disturbance. Outbreaks became general, as the result of the instigation of
McGillivray, who did nothing openly, but inspired the Spanish to stimulate
the animosity of the savages against the white settlers.

Conditions rapidly assumed an aspect of gravity, and outbreaks became so
general, that it was necessary for the American government to take the
matter seriously in hand, and to seek to placate the Indians. A commission
of able men was appointed by congress, under the leadership of General
Andrew Pickens, to negotiate with the Indians, with the end in view of
adjusting all differences. General Pickens addressed a letter to
McGillivray, which communication was a masterpiece of astute diplomacy.
While it bristles with threat, it is at the same time pervaded by
conditional conciliation; while stout in the assertion of independence, it
is yet concessive in tone, and while it promises direful consequences in
case the general government declines to recognize the rights of the
Indians, it adroitly injects, in a patronizing way, the suggestion that
the Americans who had wrested independence from the British crown would be
glad to be in position to accord great consideration to the unfortunate

Able as General Pickens was in the field of statescraft, it was impossible
for him so to depress the standard of his character to such a plane as to
be able to cope with the villainy of McGillivray. The difficulty lay in
the fact that the two men were working from two opposite points. Pickens
was seeking reconciliation, while this was precisely what McGillivray did
not wish. Pickens was seeking to heal a serious breach, while it was to
the interest of McGillivray to keep it as wide open as possible. However,
negotiations were arranged for and the congressional commission was to
meet, in council, Colonel McGillivray, at Golphinton.


At great sacrifice, and by laborious travel, the commissioners of the
government, under General Pickens, made their way to Golphinton, when, lo!
McGillivray was not there. Instead, he had sent to represent the Indians,
the chiefs of two towns, accompanied by about sixty warriors. As
negotiations had been conducted by McGillivray, and as his presence was
necessary to consummate the proposed treaty, there was not only
disappointment on the part of the commissioners, but great indignation.
Even though every chief had been present, the absence of their
representative and commissioner would invalidate any agreement, and this
McGillivray well knew.

Nonplused by his absence, the commissioners of the government merely
stated to those present that which congress desired to accomplish, and
withdrew. This gave rise to fresh complications, which now assumed a
three-cornered aspect, as the federal commissioners' plans were objected
to by the commissioners of Georgia, on the one hand, and by the Indians,
on the other. Conditions were growing worse instead of better, much to the
delight of Alexander McGillivray, who would produce such a juncture as
would eventuate in his final enrichment. Without the knowledge of either
of the other parties, he was pulling the wires with the hand of an adept
schemer. After all the negotiation, therefore, the whole affair proved a

Still, something must be done. Conditions could not remain as they were,
and border warfare was continually imminent. The government was prostrated
by the Revolution, and a general war with the Indians might invite an
interference on the part of both England and Spain. President Washington
was much worried and perplexed, and summoned to his aid the ablest
counselors. The situation was exceedingly grave, and a single misstep
might plunge the country into the most disastrous of wars.

The next step led to the appointment of Dr. James White as the
superintendent of the Creek Indians. Dr. White was cool and cautious, a
skilled diplomat, and was familiar with Indian treachery, while he had the
advantage of enjoying, to a degree, their confidence. He was not without a
sense of self-reliance in the undertaking, and if he could not succeed in
the ratification of a treaty, he would so probe into the situation as to
glean facts which would enable the government the better to adopt proper
policies. He knew McGillivray well, and was not averse to a tilt in
diplomacy with this arch plotter and schemer. He at once wrote to
McGillivray from Cusseta, setting forth his mission and that which he
proposed to accomplish. The reply was one of equivocal phraseology,
lengthy, shrewd, evasive. It might mean anything or nothing, and was
susceptible to a variety of interpretations. The upshot of the
correspondence was a meeting at Cusseta. This time McGillivray was present
with a proposal to the national commissioner, which proposal was
astounding and startling. Surrounded by a large number of chiefs,
McGillivray submitted his unreasonable proposal. This occurred in April,

The proposal, in brief, was that the general government make large and
unreasonable grants, with the alternative of a prompt acceptance, or that
of a declaration of war on the first of the following August, just four
months hence. McGillivray knew that the proposed conditions would not be
acceptable, and he also knew the consequences of a war to the young
nation. Matters were not growing better fast. Here was a juncture that
called for the skill of the ripest statesmanship. The general government
and the state of Georgia were as much out of accord, as were both, with
the Indians. It was an opportunity which the keen McGillivray could not
suffer to remain unused. It was a matter of bargain and trade with him,
and the question uppermost with him was how much he could derive from it.

So astounding was the proposal, that Dr. White found himself a pigmy
dealing with a colossus, and he could do nothing more than to report to
the President the result of the meeting. All the while, McGillivray was
shuffling with the Spanish authorities in such a way as to extort large
sums of gold from them, while he was dissembling with the American
government for a similar reason, using meanwhile the deluded Indian as an
instrument to promote his designs. He would hold the Indian in his grip by
an affected solicitude in his behalf, while he would promise certain
results to Spain for given sums, and meanwhile agitate Washington with a
threat of war. Men and interests, however sacred, were to him as puppets
to be employed for the profoundest selfishness. He would create
demonstrations of hostility on the part of the Indians, in order to extort
from interested merchants tribute to quell the disturbance. He would
threaten Spain with America, and America with Spain, thereby producing
alarming conditions in the commercial world, and from nations and
merchants alike, he reaped booty.

Exasperated to a pitch almost uncontrollable, Washington at one time
thought of a war of extermination, but this would involve the lives and
property of the people of the whole South, involve the country seriously
with England and Spain, and leave a stain on the American government, and
the idea was abandoned. Resourceful as he was, Washington had practically
reached the limit of suggestiveness when it occurred to him to appoint a
secret agent charged with the mission of inviting a big council of the
Indian chiefs to repair on horseback all the way from Alabama and Georgia
to New York, then the seat of national government, in order to confer with
him in person in the adjustment of all grievances. Colonel Marinus Willett
was chosen by the President for this delicate and difficult function.

Taking a ship at New York, Colonel Willett was just fourteen weeks
reaching Charleston, from which point he immediately set out along the
Indian trails on horseback for the region of the Chattahoochee. He was
served by faithful Indian guides, and through many days of hard riding, he
proceeded to his destination where he had arranged a meeting with
McGillivray and all the great chiefs. Conditions were now favoring
McGillivray, for he well knew that he had produced grave concern at the
national capital, and was abundantly prepared for the result which he was
now nursing. According to prearrangement, Colonel Willett and Colonel
McGillivray met at the town of Ocfuske, on the Tallapoosa River.
McGillivray found his match in Colonel Willett, who was as skilled in the
art of diplomacy as was McGillivray, but without his unscrupulousness.


The diplomats met--Willett and McGillivray. Willett was polite, courtly of
address, skillful of speech, resourceful, but wary. McGillivray was suave,
excessive in politeness, equivocal of speech, deceitful, ostensibly
generous, though as treacherous as a serpent. Both were able. Each had had
much to do with men and affairs, but the motives of the two were as wide
as the poles. In the assembled council, Willett showed that he was at
home. Under the guise of excessive politeness, the two played against each
other for advantage with the skill of trained fencers. There was a mastery
of self-confidence that equally possessed both. Each spoke in a measured,
cautious way. With mutual distrustfulness, each vied with the other in
courtesy of tone. Objections were met and verbal blows were parried with a
degree of politeness that approached the obsequious. It was Greek meeting
Greek. The widest discretion was Willett's in arranging for the proposed
council in New York, where the Indian chiefs were invited by the "great
President" to meet him.

With the mastery of a skilled disputant, Colonel Willett addressed the
assembled chiefs, including, of course, Colonel McGillivray. The pith of
his speech was that "our great chief, George Washington," had sent him to
convey to them a message of cordial affection, and to invite them to his
great council house in New York, where he wished to sign with his own
hand, along with Colonel McGillivray, a treaty of peace and of alliance.
He assured them of the high regard entertained for them by "our great
chief," who did not want their lands, but wished to see them happy,
contented, and protected. He further assured them that Washington would
make a treaty "as strong as the hills and as lasting as the rivers." His
tone of address and assurance of sincerity greatly pleased the assembly.

The result of the meeting, which lasted for hours, was that a deputation
of chiefs, together with Colonel McGillivray, would accompany Willett on
horseback to New York. Arrangements for transporting the baggage on horses
were made, and the day appointed for the departure. Accordingly, Colonels
Willett and McGillivray, a nephew of Colonel McGillivray, and a body of
Indian chiefs filed out of Little Tallassee, near Wetumpka, on the morning
of June 1, 1790, for the distant capital. Along the way the party was
reinforced by other chiefs on horseback, who were in wait for the arrival
of Willett and McGillivray. At Stone Mountain, Georgia, the two great
chiefs of the Cowetas and Cussetas joined the party. Onward the procession
moved, exciting much interest, and in certain quarters, not a little
sensation. On reaching the home of General Andrew Pickens, on the Seneca
River, in South Carolina, they were received with the utmost cordiality by
this distinguished gentleman, who arranged for more comfortable means of
travel. Here the party fell in with the Tallassee king, Chinnobe, the
"great Natchez warrior," and others. Henceforth the Indians rode in
wagons, excepting the four who were the bodyguard of Colonel McGillivray,
who accompanied him on horseback, while Colonel Willett rode alone in a
sulky. At Richmond and at Fredericksburg the party halted to rest, at
which places much consideration was shown to Colonel McGillivray.
Distinguished honor was shown the entire party at Philadelphia, where they
were entertained for three days. Boarding a sloop at Elizabethtown, New
Jersey, they were finally landed in New York.

Now began a series of demonstrations that lasted through a number of days.
The sachems of Tammany Hall turned out in full regalia, met the deputation
at the water's edge in lower New York, which was at that time about all
there was of the city, marched up Wall Street, then the principal
thoroughfare of the city, past the federal building, where congress was in
session, then to the home of the President, with that pomp and ceremony of
which Washington was very fond. Each member of the deputation was
presented to the President, while the eyes of the enchanted chiefs fairly
glittered with delight as they unceremoniously gazed on the scenes about
them in the mansion of the President. Washington could not outdo Colonel
McGillivray in conventionality in the exchange of greeting. Both were men
of splendid physique, McGillivray being just six feet high, with broad
shoulders, well proportioned, and as straight as a flagstaff. From the
home of the President the procession filed to the office of the secretary
of war, thence to the mansion of Governor Clinton, all of which being
over, they were marched for entertainment to the principal hostelry of
the city, the City Tavern, where a banquet was spread for the unique
deputation, when the functions of the first day were closed.

Other notable attentions charmed the visiting chiefs, whose elation over
the novel scenes in which they were the principal sharers was equaled
alone by the concern of Colonel McGillivray regarding what all this might
mean for him. The chiefs of the wilds were easily beguiled by these
profuse attentions, but not so the wily McGillivray. With sedulous care he
kept the chiefs well under his thumb, lest they might fall into other
hands, by means of which they might be alienated from himself.

After some days, negotiations were entered on between McGillivray and the
Indian chiefs, on the one hand, and Henry Knox, the chosen representative
of the government, on the other. With cautious vigilance on the part of
both Knox and McGillivray, each step in the proceeding was taken. Knox
knew his man, and McGillivray knew what he wished, and all else was made
subservient to that purpose. McGillivray was as free in the ply of his art
in the metropolis, as he was beneath the native oaks of his tribe on the
distant Coosa. Nothing daunted him, and with dexterity he employed his art
as the situation was gone into. A sensational episode occurred in
connection with the proceedings. Washington learned that the Spanish of
Florida and of Louisiana, having heard of the departure on this mission of
McGillivray and his chiefs, had dispatched a secret agent with a bag of
Spanish gold, by ship to New York, to bribe the chiefs and prevent a
treaty. McGillivray wore their uniform, bore a commission as colonel in
their army, and was their agent, but their confidence in him was naught,
hence the mission of the agent. This agent was detected on his arrival,
and was shadowed by an officer from the moment he touched the soil of the
city. The agent was never able to reach the Indians. With consummate skill
the contest continued from day to day, McGillivray determined to force the
initiative in the offer to be made, before he would agree to commit
himself. He was a plausible enigma to the statesmen at New York, whom he
forced to show their hands before he would agree to disclose his purposes
and wishes.


While several previous articles have been devoted to the notorious career
of Alexander McGillivray, there was a phase of the situation which
logically belongs to the interesting proceedings in New York which should
not be omitted, and when read in connection with facts already presented,
adds increased interest to the narrative.

Keeping his plans well to himself, McGillivray was quietly breeding
schemes with which to baffle the able men at the national capital. For
days together, the negotiations were kept up, and they were days of
serious concern and of lingering suspense to President Washington. The
parleying and dallying led to the apprehension that McGillivray would
propose terms so startling, as to end the whole affair with a fiasco, and
in view of the recent demonstration, reduce the situation to governmental
mortification. On the other hand. McGillivray was apprehensive that his
intended proposals would be rejected, hence his tactical delay and parley.
Knox was patient, McGillivray impatient. At last Knox was able to force
from the wily trickster and supple diplomat the condition on which he
would be willing to sign the treaty. It proved to be an occasion of as
much elation to the one as to the other. McGillivray chuckled over his
success, while the government congratulated itself on the settlement of
terms so easy.

When, at last, McGillivray stated his terms, they were that fifteen
hundred dollars in gold should be paid him outright by the government
annually, together with other easy emoluments, yet to be named, and a
certain quantity of merchandise, with certain limited sums of money to the
Indians each year, for which consideration the vast domains of the Oconees
were to be surrendered, while they were to remain under the peaceable
protection of the United States, and form no treaties with any others.
Yet, on account of that which occasioned this treaty so cheaply, much
suspense and terror had been created and much blood spilled, and not a few
whites were even then in bondage to the Indians. These slaves were to be
liberated, and the two powerful tribes, the Creeks and the Seminoles, were
to become subject to the general government. Paltry as the consideration
was, McGillivray got the utmost of his wishes, and crowed over the result.

The infamy of this malicious character grows in depth with the probing.
Back of his tampering with different embassies in the past, his Judas-like
dealing with different nations at the same time, his instigation of the
tribes to outbreak, his dragging these Indian chiefs across the country
all the way to New York, lay the sinister and sordid selfishness of this
perfidious man, already named, McGillivray provided for himself by being
made a brigadier general in the regular American army on full pay, which
was at that time twelve hundred dollars, while he was to derive additional
remuneration as the government agent to the Indian tribes.

Intoxicated with delight at his success, McGillivray headed the procession
homeward bound, after an exchange of congratulations with President
Washington, where each vied with the other in stilted conventionality.
McGillivray flattered the artless Indians into the belief that he had won
for them a victory, and they shared with him in the gusto of his elation.
His maneuvers were just such as to produce fresh plans of conspiracy and
of intrigue for the future. On his return home, he doffed the uniform of
the Spanish colonel, and donned that of the American brigadier, all of
which heightened the admiration of the Indians, while it afforded newer
opportunity to the general to lay deeper schemes and reap richer rewards.
This course was occasioned by the reasons now to be given.

One of our modern investigations would have disclosed the fact that while
the treaty was based on the conditions named, there lay beneath it, out of
the sight of the general public, a secret treaty between President
Washington and General McGillivray, on condition that he would manage the
Indians as the President might desire. As a sort of secret agent, and in
order to enhance his position in the estimation of the Indians,
McGillivray was made a channel for the transmission of certain gifts and
privileges, which he was to use to the advantage of the government, for
which he cared not a thread, and he would never have become the secret
purveyor, without the prospect of personal enrichment. He was to give to
the Indians, in his own way, the assurance that their commerce was to find
exit through the Gulf and ocean ports, while he was to present to each
chief, as from himself, but really from the government, a handsome gold
medal, besides a yearly gift of one hundred dollars in gold. Besides
still, the government was in the same secret way to educate annually four
of the Indian youth, free of all charge. All this was to be done in such
manner, as to have it appear how strong was the hold and influence of
McGillivray on the general government, and thus maintain his grip on the
Indians. This looks a little nebulous, from the government side, but it is
a matter of history, and at the time, was known only to the favored few.
History, like the sea, has hidden depths. That which Washington wished,
was to keep in subjection the troublesome Indian; that which McGillivray
wished was the enhancement of his importance, in order to the
gratification of his personal vanity, and in order, too, to a plethoric
purse. At any rate, such are the facts. What our modern muckrakers might
make of a proceeding like this now, deponent knoweth not. While in the
state councils of New York, there was silent and suppressed glee over the
result, in the heart of Alexander McGillivray, at the same time, there
were fresh schemes being incubated, as in daily meditation he southward
rode. Washington thought he had McGillivray bagged, while McGillivray knew
he had Washington hoodwinked. Later developments afford fresher
revelations of the diabolical character of Alexander McGillivray.

A season of tranquillity ensued which Washington regarded as auspicious,
when as a matter of fact it was ominous. McGillivray never intended to
execute the terms of the treaty, only in so far as they would conduce to
his personal ends, for on his return to the South, he at once entered into
secret negotiations with the Spanish. He explained to them that his jaunt
to the capital was a mere ruse, in order to gather information, the better
to aid the king of Spain, and that he was just now ready to render to
Spain the most efficient service. Here, then, was an American general
disporting himself in the national uniform, spurs, boots, epaulettes, and
all, betraying the government into the hands of a foreign foe. While
drawing the pay of a brigadier, he was, as a secret emissary of Spain, the
recipient of a sum much larger.

In order, at last, to promote his schemes, he fomented strife and
agitation among the chiefs, by instigating them to protest against the
terms of the treaty. Meanwhile, he informed the government at New York
that he was doing his utmost to enforce the terms, and must have broad
discretion and ample time, in order to accomplish the end in view. Between
himself and the secretary of war an active correspondence was kept up in
which correspondence the atrocious Alexander McGillivray was more than a
match for the cabinet officer of Washington. Thus went events for years


In the records of the race, it would be difficult to find embodied in the
life and career of any one, more strange and incongruous elements than
those which entered into the history of General Alexander McGillivray.
Though unquestionably a man of ability, that ability was turned into the
most wicked of channels; highly gifted with the elements of leadership,
these were devoted to the single end of the enhancement of his purse;
gracious in manner, courteous, and ostensibly obliging to an astonishing
degree, yet, at bottom, all this demonstration was only so many decoys to
catch the unsuspecting, and even to the suspicious they were oftener than
otherwise availing; cool and collected, placid and serene, it was but the
charm to wheedle the confidence in order to sinister consummation, and,
while emphatic sometimes with a make-believe sincerity, it was only to

McGillivray's only idea of right was that of self-gratification. If to do
right at any time was most productive of methods of self-promotion, why he
would adopt that course, but only as a means of convenience. Unhampered by
a sense of obligation and unchecked by conscientious scruple, his
prodigious intellect and fertility of resource made Alexander McGillivray
the most dangerous of men. Yet he could descant at length with all the
mein of a moral philosopher on duty and obligation, the rights of man, the
turpitude of wrong, the cruelty of injustice, the inhumanity of deception,
and all else in the catalogue of morality. His familiarity with all these
afforded him room for the amplest guilt. Self was his measuring rod, laid
with accurate hand on the most contradictory of conditions.

The amplitude of his personal forces enabled McGillivray to do what the
fewest can successfully--wind his sinuous course through the most tangled
conditions, while dealing with a number of conflicting agencies and
causes, and yet equally dupe all, and if apprehended, be able so to summon
to his defense a sufficiency of plausibility as actually to invest the
whole situation with a sheen of fairness. Contradictory at many points, he
could give to all the aspect of consistency.

The only service that Alexander McGillivray rendered was that of
preventing a general outbreak of the Indian tribes, which fact was due,
not to his horror of blood, so much, as to the fact that using the deluded
red man, he was able to hold him up as an object of fear, and thus elicit
by agitation and apprehension, that which would conduce to his emolument.
He never did right unless it was to his profit, and falsehood was
preferable to truth, if it would serve a turn to his personal profit. He
derived abundant encouragement from the conditions of his environment, to
which his character was exactly adapted. The man and the occasion met in
Alexander McGillivray.

As the agent of the government entrusted with the dispensation of the
financial and commercial gifts to the Indians, in accordance with the
secret treaty with President Washington, no one ever knew how much, or how
little, the poor red men ever received. The fact that the arrangement was
a secret one, was much to the purpose and pleasure of McGillivray. The
government promptly met its obligation, and there is not wanting evidence
that there all sense of obligation ended. This notorious man went to his
grave invested with the deepest suspicion. Nor was it altogether
restricted to suspicion, this outrageous conduct of Alexander McGillivray.
Detection was unescapable under certain conditions. Secret agents of a
suspicious government, spying out his varied transactions, exposed his
atrocity time and again, but in each instance, it was found that he had so
successfully woven a network of defense, that to undertake to eliminate
him by force, would have been like tearing a new patch from an old
garment, according to the sacred parable, the rent of which would have
been made the worse thereby.

The government sought by indirection and not always in the most creditable
way, to uproot the confidence of the Indians by due exposure, but
McGillivray was never found unprovided with means to account for the
reasonableness of each separate charge. With the strategy of a Napoleon,
this extraordinary man could outgeneral all who were pitted against him.
Such was the character, such the career of Alexander McGillivray.

He was now an old man. The stylus of care and of responsibility, assumed
in an arena the most atrocious, had drawn deep grooves on his brow. His
silver hair and tottering gait admonished him of the brief time that was
his, but so far from relaxing his grip on the things which had actuated
him throughout, this condition only served to tighten it. Experience had
sharpened his wits, and villainy had made him impregnable in plying his
art. His was a master passion that gave fresh desperateness in view of the
approaching end. A vast fortune was his, and with the passion of the man
who never had a higher dream than that of personal gain, he hugged it with
a tenacity common to men under conditions of advancing age, yet knowing
meanwhile, that with his end would come that of the use of his immense

He lived to see himself repudiated by all alike. He was rejected by the
American government, cast out by the Spaniards, and, by degrees, came to
be distrusted even by the Indians. All sense of remorse was gone, all the
finer emotions which shrink from public exposure of wrong, long ago
deadened. Moral obliquity was complete, and hardened iniquity made him
insensible to the frown of reproach with which he was everywhere met.

Worn out by the criminality of a long life, McGillivray sought a home, in
his last days, at Little River, in the lower part of Monroe County, where
he died on February 17, 1793. His remains were taken to Pensacola and
interred in the spacious gardens of William Panton, a wealthy Scotch
merchant, with whom McGillivray had long been associated in business
connections. His very aged father survived him, and was still living at
Dummaglass, Scotland, to whom William Panton wrote of the death of his
notorious son. Thus passed away the greatest diplomat Alabama ever
produced, but he left to posterity nothing worthy of emulation.


So far as can be ascertained, and the fact seems beyond doubt, the first
protestant that ever preached in Alabama was the eccentric Methodist
minister, Lorenzo Dow. He combined in his character a number of strange
elements, some of which were quite strong, and by his stentorian preaching
he stirred the people wherever he went. He was unique in his make-up, and
no conjecture could be had of what he would ever say or do. Mr. Dow
reached the distant frontier settlements of Alabama along the Tombigbee as
early as 1793. He was a fearless, stern, plain, and indefatigable preacher
of the old-time type, who spurned all danger, and boldly faced the direst
of perils on the border, that he might preach the gospel. He had a notable
career, though still a young man, before he found his way to the vanguard
of western civilization.

Born in Connecticut during the stormy days of the Revolution, Dow became a
Christian in his youth, and for some time was perplexed about what church
relationship he should form. He finally joined the Methodists, as the zeal
of that people was an attraction to his heated temperament. His errant and
arbitrary course soon made him an undesirable acquisition to the
Methodists, and while not severing his relations with the church, he was
disposed to yield to a disposition to become a general evangelist or
missionary of the independent type. His health was broken, and he
conceived the idea of going as far westward as the advanced line of
Caucasian occupation had gone, taking with him on his perilous journey
his young wife.

At this time Mr. Dow was about twenty-seven years old. By means of the
tedious and uncomfortable methods of travel at that early time, he found
his way from New England to the thin line of settlements along the
Tombigbee. Here, in company with his wife, Peggy, he preached as a son of
thunder, but as though the dangers encountered did not gratify his love of
the perilous, he sought his way through the dangerous wilds to the region
of Natchez, Mississippi, long before made an important French settlement.
To Dow peril was a fascination, and like the Vikings of Saga story, he
sought danger in order to gratify a desire to fight. Not that he was a man
of physical violence, but his love of contention and of opposition was
without bound. He loved combat for its own sake, and was never so much at
peace as when engaged in wordy war. He was of that mold of humanity that
immensely preferred disagreement with one than tranquil acquiescence. He
rusted when not in use. His blade glimmered only by constant wielding.

From the region of Natchez, he returned at last to the Tombigbee and
Tensas settlements, virile, strenuous, impetuous, and fiery. His journal,
which seems to have been sacredly kept, discloses many romantic adventures
among the wild tribes, many of the leading spirits among whom regarded him
with a terror that was awfully sacred, because of his utter lack of fear,
his consuming zeal, and his stormy preaching. In advance of the choice of
St. Stephens as the territorial capital, he visited the location while
only one family was residing there. Impressed by the location which
overlooks the river from an elevation, and the country beyond, Dow
predicted that it would become a point of great importance. Both in his
diary and in the "Vicissitudes" of Peggy Dow, we learn much of the
adventures of this anomalous brace of souls. He would sleep in the open
air in the resinous regions of South Alabama, where the abounding pine
straw could be raked together in a heap for a mattress, and where he could
be lulled to slumber by the soothing monotone of the tall pine trees.
There is little doubt that the frail system of this wonderful man was
prolonged, by being nurtured in the open air, freighted with turpentine,
and strengthened by activity.

Mrs. Peggy, on the other hand, judging from the tone of her journal, did
not find so much gratification in this rough and tumble method of life, as
did her incorrigible liege lord. There is an undisguised reluctance in her
words of compliance with conditions from which there was no appeal.

One of the most singular chapters in the life of Lorenzo Dow preceded his
invasion of the far Southwest. When seized by a peculiar fancy that he was
called to preach to the Roman Catholics of the world, and having learned
that Ireland was one of their strongholds, he hied himself thither. To the
quaint Irish, he was a wonder. His vociferous preaching and pungent zeal
drew large crowds, but at times his path was not strewn with primroses,
and the rougher element of the Irish throngs offered battle at times to
his vaunting banters, but nothing was more to the liking of the
indomitable Lorenzo. He stood ready to meet any rising emergency even when
it was as grave as the attacks of the scraggy sons of the Emerald Isle.

From Ireland he crossed over into Britain, and introduced the camp meeting
method of worship, which meetings became popular in England, and later, in
the United States. So far as is known Lorenzo Dow was the founder of the
camp meeting with its flexibility and abandon of worship. His way in
England was clearer than it had been in Ireland. To the staid Briton, he
was an object of wonder, and his natural eloquence and eccentricities of
speech and of dress, won for him boundless popularity, and the pressing
throng heard him with avidity. He found peculiar delight in his assaults
on the Jesuits, whom he denounced as conspirators against civil and
religious freedom.

Weird, stormy, and extensive as the career of Lorenzo Dow was, he was not
an old man when he died, being only fifty-seven. He fought off
constitutional weakness and heroically braced himself against the inroad
of disease, with the same force with which he did all things else. For
years he held the dark monster, death, at bay, and grimly declined to die
that he might live and fight, to do which none was fonder than the
redoubtable Dow.

As may be easily inferred, Dow was a man of scant learning, so far as
pertains to books, but he was a close and apt student of men and of
affairs, and from his acquired fund, he preached with great effectiveness,
unrestrained by conventionality, and unhindered by prim propriety. He told
the truth as he saw it, not in tones of choice diction, but with a
quaintness and pluck, and with such projectile force as to stir conviction
and arouse action. He chose to be called a Methodist, yet he chafed under
the imposed limitations of his church, and defiantly trampled down all
restrictions, while he followed the bent of his own sweet will, controlled
by none, not even his bosom companion, Peggy, if the indirect suggestions
of her journal are to be relied on. He did not seek to found churches, but
only desired to preach in his own wild manner. Sometimes he would make
appointments a year in advance, at remote points, but would meet them
promptly at the hour named.

In point of whimsicalness, Lorenzo Dow has had few peers, for he would
veer from the ordinary, for which he had a singular passion, but no one
was ever found who could pronounce Lorenzo Dow a fool. He was not without
extravagance of speech and of manner, but when challenged, he was gladly
able to evince strength equal to the occasion.

His son, Neal Dow, was a brigadier in the Union army, and the author of
the "Maine law," which procured a prohibitory statute for his state.


The most picturesque figure among the Indian leaders of the Alabama
tribes, was William Weatherford, called by the Creeks, of whom he was the
splendid commander, Lamochattee, or Red Eagle. He was a nephew of Gen.
Alexander McGillivray, and had an equal admixture of blood in his veins.
Weatherford was reared near Montgomery, at the village of Coosada, just
below the junction of the Coosa and the Tallapoosa Rivers, where his
father owned a plantation, a large store, and a popular race track.
Charles Weatherford, the father, was a white man who had married a
half-breed, and became very popular and influential among the Indians, as
an agent in important functions, in negotiating with the Spanish and the

The son, even from boyhood, was a pet among the Indians, by whom he was
greatly pampered and flattered, and into the wild pursuits of whom the lad
entered with a gusto. With them he hunted and swam, practiced athletics,
on foot and on horse, danced with them at their rude frolics, vied with
the best in the use of the bow and arrow, the rifle and pistol, in all of
which he became an expert, much to the delight of the warriors. He was
especially skilled in horsemanship, his taste for which was gratified to
the amplest by the fine animals in his father's stables, which animals
were kept for racing purposes.

The pronounced force of Weatherford's leadership was early shown, when he
would join in the perilous expeditions of his tribe against others in the
frequent wars along the Cumberland and the Chattahoochee, and in other
regions, as well. Not only for these qualities was the handsome and
chivalrous young man idolized, but also for his gifted oratory. He had a
voluble tongue, possessed a wonderful power of persuasion, and his
knowledge of Indian character enabled him to inflame and sway their
volatile passions at will.

At an early age, Weatherford became a dominant figure among the tribes,
and soon came to be proclaimed a great leader. He understood perfectly the
Indian character, and his power of discernment taught him when to speak,
and when to keep silent. Genius, judgment, oratory, and courage were the
ranking qualities of Weatherford's character, which, when taken in
connection with his natural gracefulness and agility, made him an object
little short of adoration to the untutored tribes. Nor was this yet all,
for to these meritorious qualities were added others which while
forbidding to sense of refinement, greatly enhanced Weatherford in the
estimation of the Indian. He was avaricious, treacherous, blood-thirsty,
and a glutton and debauchee of a low cast.

Early in life, he came into possession of a fine plantation, which he
every way beautified, while his home was made the abode of the worst vices
to which the Indian was addicted, all of which served to elevate him in
Indian esteem. His physique afforded him another advantage, for he was
tall, symmetrically built, and bore himself with the erectness of a
flagstaff, while his large black eyes were flashing, his nose of the
Grecian mold, with other features in harmonious blend. Such was the Red
Eagle of the Creeks, who was to become their great leader and champion, in
the stormy years that were to be. Like Hannibal of old concerning the
Romans, Weatherford had early instilled into him a profound antipathy for
the whites. His uncle, General McGillivray, to whom the young man was
greatly attached, and to whom, too, he was an ideal, had early injected
into the heart of the nephew hatred for the white man, and hostility
toward him. Weatherford when young would accompany his favorite uncle to
Pensacola, and while associating with the Spanish, he would imbibe
additional rancor for the Anglo-Saxon. To him, the encroachment of the
white population on Alabama soil, meant robbery and ruin to the Indian,
and the worst blood of his nature was fired with growing intensity
throughout the period during which he was ripening into manhood.

Weatherford was scarcely thirty years old when Tecumseh, the celebrated
chief, visited the Muscogees, in 1812. The popularity and bearing of the
young favorite of the Creeks caught the eye of the astute old chief, who
took the young man at once into his confidence, opened his plans for the
extinction of the white race in Alabama, and flattered him not a little,
when he named Weatherford the intrepid leader of the tribes of the south.
Tecumseh wished him to plunge into the war of extermination at once, but
Weatherford asked for time to consider the assumption of a charge so
grave, and promised to give his final answer on the return of Tecumseh in
the near future.

The truth is, that Weatherford had serious misgivings about his relation
to the pending troubles, and with all his dash and venom, he was not
without judgment and discrimination. While he hated the white man, he knew
his courage and force, and besides, he had many relatives and friends who
would resist any demonstration of hostility on the part of the Indians.
Yet Tecumseh, by fervor of appeal, had fired the Indian heart, and the
tribes were seething for the onset. Under these conditions, Weatherford
found himself in a dilemma.

Quietly stealing away from his plantation in the neighborhood of Wetumpka,
he went down the Alabama River to the region of Little River, in the lower
part of Monroe, to confer with his brother, Jack Weatherford, and his
half-brother, David Tait. The difficulty of the situation was increased
when both advised the younger brother to have nothing to do with the
impending troubles, and urged him to return to his home, and with his
family, slaves, and stock, to flee to the region in which they resided.
These older brothers predicted not only defeat, but disaster to
Weatherford, if he should yield to the solicitations of the tribes to
become their leader. The brothers pointed out that while much injury might
be inflicted on the whites, they would, in the end, crush the Indians;
that he would do well not to be drawn into the hostile campaign. The
advice was accepted, and William Weatherford retraced his steps to the
upper counties, with the intention of adopting the course suggested, but
it was too late.


The tumult of passion raised by Tecumseh, and the full knowledge of the
proposal which he had made to Weatherford, as well as the well-known fact
of his kinship with certain influential families in lower Monroe, of their
attitude to the Indians, and last of all, the hesitation of Weatherford to
assume command, and his strange visit to his brothers--all of these things
awoke suspicion and placed the Indians on their guard. Here was a reversal
of human sentiment as sudden and as powerful as possible. Weatherford had
been idolized till suspicion was aroused, when his presumed treachery was
watched with much eagerness. On his return from the visit to his brothers,
Weatherford was chagrined, and doubly disappointed, to find that his
premises had been invaded, his family, slaves, and stock seized by the
Indians, and held under close guard against his return. Not only so, but
they laid hold on him also, and notified him that they would kill him and
his if he did not join them, and lead them against the whites. It was now
death, or submission to their demand, the latter of which was, after all,
not difficult for Weatherford, for the denunciation heard by him on every
hand, revived the old fire in his heart, and complete as the change was,
as a result of his visit to his brothers, he now cordially acquiesced in
their demands, and announced himself ready to lead them to the field.

Under these compulsory conditions, Weatherford fed afresh his hatred for
the white race, recalling that which his uncle had instilled, and with
all his being, he threw himself into the cause of the Indians, and became
the most brilliant and the bitterest of Indian leaders. Since there was
nothing left but acquiescence with the demands of the Indians, Weatherford
gored himself to unquenchable hatred, and boldly took the field at the
head of the hilarious and tawny braves. Summoning to his support all the
resources for a fierce war, and calling to his aid every available warrior
of the tribe, a thousand in number, he was ready for the march to the
counties of the south. Already hostilities had broken out in the southern
quarter of the state, and the initial victory of the Indians at the battle
of Burnt Corn, gave vigor to his spirits, and led him utterly to repudiate
the sentiments which he cherished when he left the homes of his brothers,
only a few weeks before.

At the head of as ferocious an army as ever trod the soil of any region,
Weatherford repaired southward on a mission of utter extermination. Every
day of the march sharpened his zest for the fray, as well as that of his
fierce followers on the war path. He slid into the south as stealthily as
possible, and on reaching the scene of impending hostility, found that the
whites had betaken themselves into a strong stockade, which had been built
about the residence of one of the settlers named Mims, which name was
given to the fort. Together with his picked warriors, he stealthily
inspected the fort unobserved, studied its weakness and its strength, and
repaired to the deep forest to await the time to attack.

He saw that to undertake to storm the strong barricade meant disaster to
his army, and with genuine genius of generalship, he decided to await the
favorable moment to strike the fatal blow. He hid his warriors in the deep
woods, at a point sufficiently remote from the fort not to be detected,
allowed no camp fires to blaze during the night, and no demonstration that
would occasion alarm at the fort, while he would daily reconnoitre the
situation, and watch how life went inside the stockade.

Within Fort Mims, day after day passed in silence, silence into
inactivity, then into indifference, and this in turn, into negligence. The
growth of this spirit within the fort was a matter of encouragement to
Weatherford on the outside, several miles away, and this, he was
persuaded, would continue to grow. When it should have become a spirit of
lassitude, toward which it was tending, then would Weatherford strike.
Lounging within the walls of the stockade induced exceeding restlessness,
and by degrees, the inmates of the fort would sally forth in quest of
flowers and wild fruits, while within the enclosure, diversions and games
were introduced and gained in favor. In addition still, the great gateway,
which at first had been kept closed, was now suffered to remain open, not
only during the day, but at night. Heavy rains had washed the sand against
the gate, so that if it were desired to close it, it would be with great
difficulty. The inmates had grown indifferent to the situation, and really
had ceased to believe there was any occasion for apprehension.

Of all this Weatherford, lurking in the neighboring forest, was apprised,
and while his warriors chafed yet the more because of the delay, the
inmates of the fort grew increasingly indifferent, both which facts were
conducive to the purpose of the wily Weatherford. It was not easy for the
wary chief to hold in check his warriors, but he would daily persuade them
that the pear was not yet ripe, and that when the set time should come,
the victory would be the easier. Weatherford fully understood that when
the dogs of war were turned loose, he would have to rely entirely on the
force of their frenzy and excitement for success, while he quite
understood the collectable qualities of the whites, who, even when
surprised, would rally and rerally with a growing coolness in the

Thus the days became monotonous alike to the inmates of the fort, and the
warriors hid away in the woods, but the effect on each was diametrically
different. This was just as Weatherford wished it, and while he found it
not easy to hold in check his warriors thirsting for blood, he was enabled
to do so till the fatal day arrived.


The fatal morning of August 30 dawned on Fort Mims. The weather was hot,
and slowly from sleep the inmates of the fort awoke. Breakfast over, the
day began the usual routine of indifference to conditions, the little
children beginning their play about the block houses, men gathering in
small groups about the enclosure, chatting, smoking, laughing or playing
cards, while later a fiddle was brought into requisition for an old time
reel by a body of youngsters, while the elderly women sat in quiet groups
sewing, talking, and knitting. The matter of attack, so much feared at
first, was now a subject of jocular comment, men joking as to what they
would do, should the Indians appear.

Amidst the scene of merriment, a negro appears fresh from the woods, and
in excitement, tells of having seen a body of Indians rapidly approaching
the fort. Major Beasley, the commander, who is engaged in a game of cards
with other officers, orders the black to be strung up and whipped for
giving a false alarm. The gate still stands wide open with its obstruction
of sand banked against it, and the serenity within the fort remains the

Suddenly, the calmness is broken by the firing of muskets without,
attended by the hideous yells of savages. They are near the entrance, and
sure of making good their way into the fort, they make a demonstration of
joy. Consternation seizes the inmates. The rushing tramp of the
approaching assailants is now heard, and as a squad rushes to take its
place in the gateway, the Indians are in full view, only a few yards away.
Before Beasley could rally his men, a few Indians have rushed through the
gate. The advance of the Indians is shot down, and the voice of Beasley is
heard calling to his men to rally at the gate. They seek to close it, but
the Indians are now coming rapidly on, and every one is needed to keep
them back. If the narrow passage of the gate limits the entrance of the
savages, it also hampers the defense of the garrison. A solid mass of
savages, half naked and with the glitter of fury in the eyes of each, jam
in closeness to force the passage. The defenders in desperation shoot them
down, or stab them, one by one with their bayonets. There is no time for
order, and confusion is complete. At the gate, it is a hand to hand fight,
as officers give orders, and the Indians yell like demons, and press with
might to force the entrance. Within the fort, women are shrieking, and
children crying in wild confusion. Only the advance of the Indians has as
yet appeared, the others approaching in order on the run, under the
leadership of Weatherford. Piles of dead bodies, Indians and white,
already fill the gateway.

Major Beasley stands at the head of his men, faces the savages, and fights
like a demon. He cheers his men, while he bravely leads. He is courage to
the core, and every man is doing his utmost. Inspired by the pluck of the
men, the women rush to the rescue. Beasley falls, shot through his body.
Lying prostrate in the passage, his life ebbing rapidly away, as he sinks
in death, he appeals to his men. A brave lieutenant takes his place, is
soon covered with blood from his own wounds, but fights on, and from
sheer loss of strength, reels and falls. Two brave women rush up, drag his
body from the pile of dead, bear it back, give him water, and suddenly he
rises, staggers to the gate, and renews the fight. After a half hour's
fighting, the gate is closed just as Weatherford appears with eight
hundred fresh warriors. Excluded from the gate, the Indians under
Weatherford, begin to cut down the pickets about the fort, and as holes
are made through the pickets, the firing is continued. The advantage is
now on the side of the savages. Blow on blow finally brings down a portion
of the walls, and like an overflowing flood the yelling demons rush
within. Outside, the dry walls and pickets are set on fire by the savages,
the roofs are soon aflame, while the work of destruction goes speedily on.
On their knees, women plead for life, while they clasp their children
close to them, but they are slain and scalped on the spot. Neither age nor
sex is spared. Of the five hundred and fifty within the fort, only a few
negroes and half breeds are permitted to live.

In a corner of the fort is seen an Indian holding at bay his companions
who are seeking to reach a group of half breeds huddled together, a mother
and her children. The Indian defender strikes down any who attempt to
reach them. The explanation of this strange scene will appear in the next
article. Besides these thus rescued, only nine out of the entire number
within the fort are spared. Of the thousand savages who assaulted the fort
three hundred and fifty were killed.

It has been said that Weatherford sought to restrain his warriors from
the wanton bloodshed, but on the contrary, he was in the thick of the
fray, dealing the deadliest blows, and by his example, inspiring his men
to the utmost destruction. Than Weatherford, the whites never had a more
relentless and bloodthirsty foe. His purpose was the extinction of the
whites, and in this, his first battle, he would teach them a lesson of
savage warfare that would remind them of that against which they had to
contend. He was as merciless a demon as was to be found among the men of
the forest. In after years, when Weatherford saw that his cause was lost,
and when he surrendered to General Jackson, and went to the lower part of
Monroe to live, there was an effort made to create the impression of his
proposed gentleness at Fort Mims, but it is utterly without foundation.

The horror of the dreadful scene was added to by the devouring flames. The
roofs and the walls falling in on the dead, they were scorched or burned
in one common heap, and Weatherford, though he afterward became a good
citizen in the same region, gloated over the murderous desolation thus
wrought. His delight was fiendish, his glut of revenge was ominous. This
was Weatherford on August 12, 1812.

The news of the horrible massacre spread dismay everywhere. It sounded the
note of extinction of one or the other of the Indian or white races.
Dismay gave place to revenge, and everywhere men flew to arms. From that
time forth the battle cry of the whites was, "Remember Fort Mims." From
the north marched Jackson from Tennessee, and from the west came
Claiborne with his Mississippi militia. Weatherford had raised a storm
which he would never be able to quell.


From the general estimate of Indian character, one would be slow to
believe the savage capable of gratitude, but even with the Indian,
instances of this virtue are not altogether wanting, one among which was
displayed at the horrible massacre of Fort Mims. Of the seventeen who
escaped death from that tragedy of blood and fire, was a mother and her
eight children.

That they should have been found together by a certain Indian warrior, who
was enabled to give full expression to his gratitude, was providential.
The story is well worthy a place in our annals. Years before this terrible
holocaust at Fort Mims, an Indian boy, an outcast and an orphan, in his
friendless wandering, found his way to the home of a Scotchman in the
wilds of South Alabama, whose name was McGirth, who had married a
half-breed. Touched by the condition of the off-cast Indian waif, the good
Mrs. McGirth not only fed and clad him, but took him into the home, cared
for him, and reared him as her own son. The Indian boy, Sonata, grew to
manhood beneath the McGirth roof, and shared in common with the children
of the family, the moderate comforts of the frontier home.

After Sonata became a man, he took leave of the home, and joined himself
to the Creek tribe of which he was a member. The McGirths lost sight of
Sonata, Sonata of his benefactors. Years with their changes came and went,
and Sonata was in the upper counties with his people.

When the war began, he was one of the braves who enlisted under
Weatherford in the campaign of extermination which led to the slaughter at
Fort Mims. He was among the foremost to enter the ill-fated fort, and do
deadly execution. In his death-dealing blows, Sonata came suddenly on a
woman, somewhat advanced in life, behind whom crouched a number of
children. With upraised hands, she pleaded, as did all others, that she
and hers might be spared. In the wild tide of death, while the slaughter
was at its height, the uplifted hand of Sonata was suddenly stayed. There
was something in the voice of the pleading woman that was familiar to the
ear of the savage, and his tomahawk was arrested in mid-air. He looked
into her face, and while the woman did not recognize him, he did her, and
in the excitement of the carnage that was rampant, he dropped his tomahawk
and led the woman and her children to a corner of the fort, and took a
position of defense in their behalf. Again and again, efforts were made to
reach them, but he stood sentinel over the group, and suffered not a hair
of their heads to be touched, claiming that they were his slaves, and must
not be disturbed. It was his foster mother, Mrs. McGirth.

It so happened that when the alarm was first given to the settlements to
repair to the fort, Mr. McGirth was away from home, in another part of the
country on business, for he was a trader, and did not return till after
the slaughter at the fort. When the horrors of the massacre were over,
Sonata mounted his prisoners on horseback and sped them away to his home
far up on the Coosa. He feared that should they remain in the
neighborhood of the fort, even in the camp of the Indians, he would be
unable to restrain the ferocity of the savages, hence their flight to the
upper country. Nor did the grateful protege leave his former foster mother
and her group, till he saw them comfortable in his own wigwam beside the
Coosa. This done, and he hurried back to rejoin his command. When
hostilities in the South partly subsided, Sonata sought again his home to
see that Mrs. McGirth was cared for.

The seat of war was transferred from the south to the upper counties, and
Weatherford was preparing to encounter General Jackson, who was descending
from Tennessee to destroy Weatherford and his command. Sonata had been at
home for some time, and when he felt that it was his duty to re-enlist
against Jackson, he arranged for the flight of Mrs. McGirth and her
children, should he fall in battle.

In the bloody conflict of Cholocco Litabixee, where a thousand painted
warriors met Jackson in battle, only two hundred survived. Among the slain
was the grateful Sonata, the news of whose death reaching Mrs. McGirth,
she hastened with her family to the south. All who had previously known
her, thought of her only as dead, among whom was her broken-hearted
husband, who had long ago given up his family as among those who had
perished at Fort Mims. He had settled at Mobile a sad and broken-hearted
man, and sought diversion of his sorrow in business. One day, while he was
laboring on the wharf at Mobile, there was suddenly ushered into his
presence his entire group, still unbroken. He stared at them as though
they had strayed from the land of the dead. He stood fixed like a statue,
with his face as expressionless as the surface of a lake. He was dumb.
This was followed by a nervousness that made him shake as with an ague. He
stared till he realized the truth of their deliverance, when he burst into
uncontrollable weeping, and wept till he no more had power to weep.

The story following his return to Mobile after the massacre was a sad one.
He had gone immediately to the scene of the slaughter, hoping to recognize
his loved ones and give them decent burial, but flames had disfigured the
faces of all, now lying charred and blackened in death, and the utmost he
could do, was to aid in the burial of all, presuming that among them
somewhere, were his own loved ones.

To the rescued Mrs. McGirth is history largely indebted for a detailed
description of the scenes enacted at Fort Mims. Though an uneducated
woman, she was endowed with a remarkable fund of common sense, and without
extravagance, gave the fullest account of the dreadful slaughter. Her
kindness to the poor Indian boy saved her in the direst extremity of her
life. "Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many


The Indian was as thoroughly skilled in the use of the oar on the larger
streams and inland bays, as he was with the tomahawk, the scalping knife,
and the bow. It is believed that the name of one of the Alabama tribes was
derived from their adroit use of the oar. In his Creek Migration Legend,
Gatschat suggested that Mobilian means "paddling." Certain it is that the
early settlers found the Indian an adept in the use of the skiff or canoe.

The faculty with which the Indian could direct his canoe, and the
dexterity with which he could divert it suddenly from a given course, was
wonderful. He had studied with the utmost accuracy the force or swiftness
of the current of a given stream, and could calculate at a glance any
point at which he would arrive on the opposite side, when starting from
the side of departure. On the land, the whites were generally at an
advantage in a contention with the Indians, but on the water the Indians
generally excelled.

The bloody massacre at Fort Mims had created a spirit of recklessness on
the part of the whites. The warfare was turned into a species of hunting
expeditions, and the regions were scoured as though in search of wild
beasts. The massacre had put fire into the bones of the whites, and a
prolonged revenge was the result. Thereafter they never waited for an
Indian to advance, they simply wished to know where the savages could be
found. The Indians made no use of the fertile soils save for hunting, and
when the whites sought to till them and turn them to practical use,
seeking meanwhile to preserve peaceful relations with the red men, the
Indians sought their destruction. The morality of the question of
depriving the Indian of his possessions turned on this point, and not on
that of deliberate robbery, as is so often contended. The white settlers
sought to buy the lands for agricultural purposes, but the Indian wanted
the virgin forests to remain untouched that he might hunt. Since the red
men had raised the cry of extermination, with Weatherford in the lead, and
since they had shown at Fort Mims that nothing short of utter extinction
was sought, the whites accepted the issue, and under conditions like these
the conflict raged. This condition converted every white man into a
soldier, a patriot, an exterminator.

Among the most daring and intrepid of Indian fighters, in those early
days, was Gen. Sam Dale. A giant in size and in strength, as fearless as a
lion, and familiar with the stratagem of the Indian, no one did more
valiant service in those early days of Indian warfare than he. More than
any other white man, the Indians dreaded Dale, whom they called "Big Sam."
His known presence on any occasion would produce among the Indians

While on a scouting expedition along the banks of the Alabama, Dale
discovered a canoe descending the stream with eleven stalwart warriors.
Seeing that they were making for a dense canebrake, Dale ordered his men
to follow him quickly, and seven reached the canebrake just as the savages
were about to land. Dale and his men opened fire on them, but overshot
them, when two of the Indians sprang into the water. As they rose, Dale
killed one, and Smith the other. The remaining nine began to back the boat
so as to reach the current, and escape, three using the oars, while the
others lay flat on the bottom of the boat. It seems that Weatherford was
within hailing distance, for one of the warriors shouted to him to come to
their aid. In order to facilitate the movement of the boat, one of the
warriors had jumped overboard, and was directing it toward the current,
and as he stood breast deep in the water, he shouted to Dale in derision
to shoot, meanwhile baring his bosom. Dale fired and crushed his skull.
Soon the boat was well in the current, and was moving down stream.

Being on the side of the river opposite that on which his boats were, Dale
called across the river to his men to bring the boats. Six sprang into a
boat and started toward Dale, but when they got near enough to see that
the canoe was filled with savages lying flat, they sped back. Just below
was a free negro named Caesar, with a boat and gun, and Dale shouted to
him to bring his boat, and when the negro declined, Dale yelled to him
that unless he should come at once, he would cross the river and kill him,
when Caesar crossed a hundred yards below the canoe of the Indians. Dale
and two of his men sprang into it, and Caesar was ordered to head off the
boat of the Indians.

So soon as the boats touched, Dale sprang up and placing one of his feet
in each boat, the nearest warrior leveled his gun at him, but it flashed.
Quickly clubbing it, he dealt a blow at Dale's head, he dodged, and
shivered the head of the Indian with his gun. Austill sprang up, but was
knocked down by an Indian, who in a moment more would have killed him, but
Dale broke his gun across the warrior's head. Austill grasped the barrel,
and renewed the onset. Dale being without a gun, Caesar handed to him his
gun with a bayonet attached. The boats drifting apart, Dale leaped into
the Indian boat alone, while the other bore away. Smith fired and wounded
the Indian nearest Dale, who was now standing like a monument in the boat
of the Indians, two of whom lay dead at his feet. At his back the wounded
savage snapped his gun at Dale several times, while four powerful warriors
were in front. Too close to shoot, the foremost one dealt a blow with his
gun at Dale, who parried it with his gun, and then drove the bayonet
through him. The next made an onset, but was killed by Austill. The third
came, but was thrust through with the bayonet. The last was a giant
wrestler, well known to Dale, and as he strided over the prostrate bodies
of his companions, he yelled: "Big Sam, I am a man--I am coming--come on!"

With this, the big athlete sprang forward, clubbing Dale with his heavy
musket. He struck Dale's shoulder with such violence as to dislocate it,
when Dale buried the bayonet into his body. It glanced around the ribs and
stuck fast into his backbone. Dale held him down while he was struggling
to recover, and when Dale jerked it out, he leaped to his feet and with a
wild yell sprang furiously at the big white man, but Dale was ready with
the bayonet which he drove through his heart. Within ten minutes eleven
Indians had been killed, six of whom died by the hands of Dale.


There is no more ambitious purpose in this series of unpretentious
sketches than to present the striking events, or those of more than
ordinary humdrum, that dot the rich history of our state. The sketches are
mere snatches, severed here and there, from historical connection only in
so far as that connection serves to give a proper setting. Though several
articles are devoted to the eventful career of Red Eagle, there is no
attempt made here or elsewhere in the series to follow his dashing life,
as the idol of his dusky hosts, throughout, but as they are presented,
proper regard is had for the chronology of events.

The advent of General Jackson on the scene in Alabama, took Weatherford
back to the central region of the state to dispute his advancement.
Untrained as Weatherford was in the science of war, he knew it
instinctively, as does any other natural military man. He had all the
elements of a great soldier, else he could not have withstood so long the
forces of his formidable adversaries. His territory was exposed from every
quarter, and in order to meet the odds coming against him from Mississippi
and Tennessee, he had to concentrate his forces, not only, but had to
accumulate supplies with which to support his army on the field.

Weatherford was not slow to realize that to fight organized forces under
competent and skilled commanders, demanded more than a desultory warfare
on his part, hence he set to work for a long and arduous campaign. The
success at Fort Mims, where with unusual skill Weatherford directed the
campaign, and outgeneraled all the white commanders, made him the one
great chief of the Indians. Under similar conditions, this would have been
true of any people and of any man. He was still the Red Eagle, but to that
was added by his adoring followers the designation of Tustenuggee, or
mighty chief. While the vain warrior was inflated by the adulation of his
followers, he knew the feebleness of his numbers and the scantiness of his
resources. Because of these conditions, and because he was hailed chief,
he appreciated what it meant in its application to him in his difficult
condition. For the first time, he was to lead his untrained warriors
against drilled troops. It was native valor against courage and skill,
native strategy against scientific tactics, the war of the savage against
that of the civilized white man.

Within a month, four battles were fought--Tallahatchee, Talladega,
Hillabee and Autossee--all fought in November, 1813, one hundred years
ago. At Echanachaca, or Holy Ground, were concentrated Weatherford's
supplies, and the women and children of his tribe. This point was located
on the south bank of the Alabama, between Pintlalla and Big Swamp Creek,
in the present region of Lowndes County. To the Indian, the Holy Ground
was that which Jerusalem was to the ancient tribes of Israel. In this
sylvan retreat, dwelt their chief prophets who had drawn a circle about
it, and the deluded savage was persuaded to believe that for a white man
to plant his foot on this consecrated ground, would mean instant death.

The Holy Ground was surrounded by a region of loveliness. For seven months
in the year the virgin soil of the prairie was carpeted with luxuriant
grasses, dashed here and there with patches of pink and crimson bloom,
while the wild red strawberry, in occasional beds of native loveliness,
lent additional charm. Enclosed by high pickets rudely riven by savage
hands, and girdled by the magic circle of the prophets, the Holy Ground
was thought to be impregnable. Here Weatherford was attacked by General
Claiborne at the head of the Mississippi militia, on December 23, 1813,
the day before Christmas eve. To Claiborne's command was attached a body
of friendly Choctaw Indians under Pushmataha.

General Claiborne began the attack with a storm. Weatherford led his
troops with consummate skill and unquestioned courage, but to little
effect. The fact that he, the notorious leader at Fort Mims, was in
command, whetted the desire of the Mississippians not alone to defeat him,
but to capture him. In spite of the false security promised the Indian by
their prophets, and in spite of the valor of their idol chief, they melted
rapidly before the deadly aim of the Mississippi backwoodsmen. Seeing that
the battle would be against him, Weatherford with skill worthy any great
commander, slipped the women and children across the Alabama, while he
still fought with ability, and while his men were piled around him in
heaps, he fought to the bitter end, and was the last to quit the field.
When all hope was gone, he mounted his noble charger and sped away like
an arrow towards the Alabama River.

He was hotly pursued by a detachment of dragoons, who almost surrounded
the chieftain before he fled the field. Down the wide path leading toward
the river, the hoofs of the horses of the pursued and the pursuers
thundered. There was no hope of escape for Weatherford, but to reach the
river in advance, and swim across. Hemmed in on every side, he was forced
to a summit overlooking the stream at the height of almost one hundred
feet of perpendicular bluff. On the precipice the bold leader halted for a
moment, like a monument against the distant sky. Splendidly he sat his
horse, as his pursuers thundered toward him, and with taunting shouts
called to him that he was caught at last. He coolly raised his rifle to
his eye, and brought down the foremost horseman, then slowly turning down
a deep defile which no one would dare to tread, he slid his horse down the
stony surface which broke abruptly off about fifty feet above the river.
Putting spurs to the sides of the beautiful animal, it leaped with its
brave rider on its back into the seething current below. Just before the
water was reached, Weatherford leaped from the horse's back. The horse
went down to rise no more, while Weatherford, still holding his rifle
aloft, with one hand, swam to the opposite side and thus escaped with
deeper vengeance against the white man than ever before. He was yet to
lead his troops in other battles, and to fight while there was hope of

The world instinctively honors a brave man. This valorous chief had
withstood overpowering numbers during the day, had saved his women and
children, and now as a December night came down on that sad day of defeat,
he stood on the north bank of the Alabama drenched and cold, but nerved by
a spirit as heroic as ever had place in the bosom of man. Though an
Indian, Weatherford was an ideal hero. Fear he knew not, and while the
most daring of fighters, he was never reckless. His power of collection
was simply marvelous.


Weatherford met his downfall at the battle of Tohopeka. This was the last
battle ever fought by the Indians in Alabama. In a long succession of
engagements, Weatherford, though fighting bravely, had incurred defeat.
His warriors slain almost to the last man, he would rally another force,
inspire his wild troops with fresh hope and new courage; and again offer
battle to General Jackson. The limit of his resources was now in the force
which he had summoned on the Tallapoosa, where with unusual desperation
the Indians had resolved to make the last stand.

Weatherford had selected his own ground for the final contest, and it was
well chosen. In a long loop of the river near the further end of the
entrance to which was an Indian village called Tohopeka. Across the
entrance, or neck, there was erected a bulwark of heavy, seasoned logs,
which fortification extended from bank to bank of the stream the distance
of about three hundred yards. This defense was about ten feet high, with a
double row of portholes from which the Indians could fire simultaneously,
as a part would stand upright, and the other would shoot on their knees.
Protected by the river on the flanks and in the rear, they were able to
concentrate their fire solely to the front. With a deadly aim, and
shielded by their breastworks of logs, they felt that they could pick off
the assaulting party, one by one, and thus utterly destroy the army of

Behind this formidable bulwark were gathered one thousand two hundred
Indian warriors from the towns of Oakfuskee, Hillabee, New Yauka and
Eufaula. These were desperate men, well armed, and each confident of
dealing a final blow to Jackson's army. Weatherford had summoned to the
occasion the principal prophets of the nation, who inspired the dusky
defenders with the belief that it was impossible for them to fall, because
in this present emergency the Great Spirit would give them the victory.
The more to inspire the troops, the prophets themselves proposed to share
in the battle, and arrayed in their blankets of red, with their heads
bearing coronets of varied feathers, while about their shoulders were
capes of brilliant plumage of red, black, blue, green and yellow, they
joined the Indian ranks. About their ankles were tiny bells of different
tones, the jingle of which they kept up during the battle, while
occasionally they would leap, dance, and howl in inspiration of the
warriors. Weatherford was too sensible a man to attach any importance to
the sacredness of their claims, but he was solicitous to elicit to the
utmost the fighting mettle of his men. To the rude and ridiculous
incantations of the prophets he would add his matchless eloquence, in
bringing his troops to the highest pitch of desperation.

The women and children had been removed from the village of huts and
tents, to the rear of the garrison, while back of the village still were
tied the canoes of the Indians on the river bank, to be used in the
emergency of defeat. But while Jackson appeared at the front, General
Coffee with a strong force appeared in the rear of Weatherford, with the
river between him and the village of Tohopeka. One of the first cares of
Coffee was to send a force to fetch the boats, by means of which he could
cross the river and assail the Indians in the rear.

Jackson received a signal from Coffee that the latter was ready for the
attack to be made at the front, when about ten o'clock on the morning of
March 27, 1814, two field pieces opened on the breastwork of logs. No
effect whatever was had on the logworks by the artillery, and Jackson
resolved on storming the fortifications. Under a raking fire the troops
marched at a double quick, and began pouring over the breastwork, many
falling in the assault of approach, and many more on the walls, and within
the fort. It became a hand to hand fight for the mastery, and the Indians
were beaten back from their works, fighting meanwhile with desperate

During the assault at the front, Coffee crossed his force over in the
boats, and added discomfiture to the Indians by firing the village in
their rear. Between a cross fire, the Indians fought with more desperation
than ever. In the roar of battle could be heard the animating voice of the
heroic Weatherford urging his troops to desperation, while in the ranks he
fought like a common warrior. When Jackson saw that all hope for the
Indians was gone, he sent a messenger with proposals of surrender. This
was treated with disdain, and the response was that no quarter was asked,
and none would be given. It was then that the American troops began with
renewed desperation, and entered on a work of extermination. From behind
brush, stumps, or other obstructions the Indians fought till the approach
of night. Many of the warriors sought to escape by jumping into the river,
but they were picked off by the riflemen, and the waters of the Tallapoosa
were reddened with their blood. A few escaped, but on the field were
counted the bodies of five hundred and fifty warriors. It was estimated
that not more than twenty-five of the army of Weatherford survived.

Among the striking incidents of the battle was that of a warrior who was
shot down in a wounded condition, in the midst of others who were killed,
and who saved his life by drawing the bodies of two others across his own,
and appeared as though dead, and was counted among the dead when the field
was reviewed at the close of the day. When darkness came on, he dragged
his bleeding body to the river, and with difficulty swam across. Another,
named Manowa, was seriously wounded, but managed to reach the river, in
which he sank his body in water four feet deep, and holding it down by
means of gripping a root of a tree, he maintained life by poking the joint
of a cane above the surface, through which he breathed. Availing himself
later of the darkness, he finally escaped. In later years he showed that
he was shot almost to pieces, yet with stoical endurance he underwent the
tortures of hours under the water, escaped, and survived.

But where was Weatherford? This was the question on every lip. They could
not find him among the slain, and it was thought that he was perhaps among
those who perished on the river in seeking to escape. But, as usual, he
fought to the last, was among the latest to quit the field, when he
escaped to the river on his fine charger, concealed himself till darkness
came, when he floated on his horse down the river, around the bend past
the American camp, and made his way into the hills to the south of the
Tallapoosa River. Here he remained for some time, during which General
Jackson offered a reward for him, taken dead or alive. The condition of
his romantic reappearance will be told in the next article.


For some time following the battle of Tohopeka, the warriors came in and
surrendered to Jackson. None of them seemed to know anything of
Weatherford, for he had not shown himself since the fatal contest.
Determined not to be forcibly taken, Weatherford resolved on going
voluntarily to the camp of Jackson, make a plea for the women and
children, and then surrender, to be dealt with as the American commander
might desire.

Issuing from his solitary retreat in the hills, he mounted his fine gray,
with his rifle well loaded, and turned toward the American camp. On his
way, a large deer came within rifle range, which he shot, strapped it
behind his saddle, reloaded his rifle, and proceeded to the camp of
Jackson. His full purpose was to present himself as a prisoner, and to
demand proper treatment, which if denied him, he intended to kill Jackson
on the spot, and boldly take the consequences. Reaching the outposts, he
politely asked the way to the tent of the commander, when the pickets
chided him, without knowing who he was, and gave him no satisfaction. A
gray-haired civilian being near, kindly pointed out the tent of General
Jackson, who was sitting just within it, talking to some of his officers.
As Weatherford rode up, Jackson spied him, but a few yards away, and
rising from the camp-chair greeted him with, "Well, Bill Weatherford,
we've got you at last!" This was followed by some abusive language to
which Weatherford made no reply till he had finished, when he said: "I am
not afraid of you, General Jackson. I am a Creek warrior, and fear no man.
I am not here to be insulted, and if you undertake that, I shall put a
bullet through your heart. You can't awe me, but I wish to say some
things, and when I am done, you may do with me what you please, but these
things you shall hear. I have come voluntarily to surrender, and you shall
not insult me, sir, till I am through speaking." Jackson's eyes were
flashing in anger while Weatherford spoke coolly, as he sat on his horse.
Meanwhile a large crowd gathered about the scene.

Continuing, Weatherford said: "It is plain that I can no longer fight you.
If I could, I would. It is not fear that leads me to surrender, but
necessity. My brave warriors are dead, and their war-whoop is silent.
Could I recall them, I should fight you to the last. I come to ask nothing
for myself. I am now your prisoner. I am indifferent about what you shall
do to me, but am not about the women and children of my dead warriors.
These helpless ones are now starving in the woods. Their fields and cribs
have been destroyed by your people, and they are wanderers in the woods,
without an ear of corn. All that I now ask is that you will send out
parties and bring them in and feed them. I know that I am held responsible
for the massacre of the women and children at Fort Mims, but I could not
stay the fury of my warriors there, though I sought to do so. However,
take what view you please of that, I am no longer concerned about myself.
I am done fighting, but these helpless women and children in the woods are
my chief concern. They never did you any harm, but I did all I could, and
only the lack of men prevents me from continuing the struggle. I have done
my best. Would have done more if I could. I am now in your hands, and if
it is the wish of the white people, you may kill me."

The crowd, roused by his defiance, rushed about him with cries, "Kill him!
Kill him!" While Weatherford bowed his head, with his rifle still in front
of him, Jackson strided forward with indignation, and in a stentorian
voice commanded silence, and then in severe rebuke said: "Any man who
would kill as brave a man as this, would rob the dead." The crowd was
sternly ordered to disperse, and Jackson, subdued by the eloquence of the
brave chief, as well as by his courage, invited him into his tent, and
extended to him all the civilities due a distinguished guest. The horse
was given in charge of an orderly, and the brave men sitting face to face
forgot the strife of the past, and were now friends. A prolonged interview
followed, in which a treaty was entered into, and the war between the red
and white races was over in Alabama. Jackson arranged to provide for the
women and children of the Indians, and when all was duly settled,
Weatherford kindly presented to General Jackson the buck which he had
shot, and they shook hands, when Weatherford mounted his horse and rode
away. Jackson and not Weatherford became concerned about the safety of the
other, for he knew the temper of the people and the vengeance which they
bore toward Weatherford. In truth, Jackson was charmed by the spirit of
the chief, and resolved on saving him from the fury of those who had
suffered by reason of the Fort Mims massacre.

Weatherford now sought his home at Little River, in Monroe County, where
his brothers had kindly divided their effects with him, and established
him comfortably on a good plantation stocked with negro slaves. Gen.
William Henry Harrison having resigned as major general in the regular
army was disbanded, and the troops returned home. him. The war with the
Indians being over, the Tennessee troops were mustered out of service, the
army was disbanded and the troops returned home.

In the southern part of the state, the Mississippi militia was still held
in organization, a large body of which was located at Fort Claiborne, on
the Alabama River. This was about one year before the battle of New
Orleans was fought. As this does not come within the compass of this
narrative, we lose sight of General Jackson here, excepting as he will
appear in the succeeding article in a new relation to Weatherford, who did
not find his surroundings the most congenial in the outset of his
residence at Little River. Of the hazards which menaced him in that
quarter we shall see in the article next succeeding this. With the
presentation of that article, Weatherford will vanish from the narrative.
But that which follows, reflects the spirit which animated both
Weatherford and Jackson to the end.


The presence of William Weatherford at Little River, as a permanent
citizen, was not appreciated by the residents in that quarter. It was not
far from this place that the terrible tragedy of the massacre had occurred
only about two years before, and grief over the butchery of loved ones was
still keen, and sensitiveness was raw. While with Weatherford, all was
over, not so with those whose cherished ones were murdered, and soon
rumors became rife that violence would be visited on the head of the

As a means of protection he was advised to repair to Fort Claiborne, some
distance up the river, till the fury was passed. Thither he repaired, was
kindly received by the commander, and placed in a tent near his own,
around which was posted a cordon of soldiers. Still the fury would not
down, and rumors were of such a nature of the intention to kill him, as to
awaken the gravest apprehension of his safety. He remained here about two
weeks, when he was summoned into a quiet conference with the commander,
the result of which was that, on the night following, Weatherford was
escorted to the outskirts of the camp by a single guard, with a note to
the officer of the outpost, Captain Laval. On the receipt of the note,
Laval quietly took the arm of Weatherford, and through the pitchy darkness
conducted him to a certain tree where a good horse was found hitched, and
Weatherford was told to mount it, and flee for his life. He shook hands
with Laval, saying, "Good-by, God bless you," and vaulting into the
saddle, sped away through the thick gloom like an arrow. Laval stood and
listened to the rattling of the horse's feet till the chief was fully a
mile or more away.

Weatherford sought the camp of Jackson, on the eve of his return to
Tennessee, and Jackson assured him of his protection. To the Hermitage,
General Jackson took his erstwhile adversary, cared for him with the
utmost hospitality, and when assured that it was entirely safe for
Weatherford to return to Little River, sent him thither. The bearing of
these heroes toward each other was equally creditable to both.

Weatherford returned to his plantation in the quietest way possible, and
throughout his later life was one of the most exemplary citizens of the
county. As a neighbor, there was none better. He rapidly won the
confidence of the community, then the esteem, and all rancor rapidly

An incident in his life fully illustrates the spirit of the man. At a
private sale held in the county, at which sale every element of society
was, two bullies took advantage of an old citizen, named Bradberry, whose
son had been a lieutenant in the army, was in the battle of Burnt Corn,
and was finally killed in battle. These two bravados having provoked a
difficulty with the venerable Bradberry, one of them broke a pitcher over
his head, while the other ran up and stabbed him in the back of the neck,
and the old man fell dead at his feet. Weatherford witnessed the scene
throughout. His Indian nature came to him anew, his blood was on fire, and
he found it impossible to restrain himself. He was the more exasperated
when the brace of murderers took their stand on the public square, and,
defiantly brandishing their revolvers, dared anyone to approach them. A
justice of the peace being present, called on the crowd to arrest the
perpetrators of the deed, but no one ventured to approach them, for their
names had long been a terror in the region. Standing near the magistrate,
Weatherford said, "Maybe this is the white man's way of doing things, but
if there was a drop of Indian blood in that dead man's veins I should
arrest these fellows at the risk of my life." The justice then told him to
arrest them. Weatherford quietly drew out his pearl-handle dagger, while
he shifted his heavy hickory stick to his left hand, and moved upon the
murderer of Mr. Bradberry. The murderer warned him to stand back, but with
firm step, Weatherford coolly approached him, commanded him to give up his
weapons at once, when the murderer did as he was bidden. Then, clutching
the murderer's throat with the grip of a vise, Weatherford called for a
rope, and securely tied his hands behind him and turned him over to the

The other continued clamorous, swearing that he would kill any man who
sought to arrest him. Without regard to his threats, Weatherford now
turned to him. As he came near, the fellow said, "I didn't mean you,
Billie Weatherford," to all of which Weatherford paid no attention, and,
taking his weapons from him, he clutched him likewise and quietly tied him
and gave him over to the officer.

When asked why he dared venture in the way he did, Weatherford gave
explanation in a way that is really philosophic. He explained that it is
not the noisy man that is to be feared, but the cool man. Then he wished
to know which was the noisy and the cool in that transaction. The bravado
when confronted by courage, wilts. Weatherford's idea was that the man who
is always going to fight will never fight without an advantage. He seeks
to impress others with his courage, but not till he gains undue advantage
over an adversary will he fight.

This made Weatherford a hero in the section in which he lived. By his
conduct as a neighbor and citizen he became increasingly popular, and
succeeded in transmuting the bitterness against him into love. For twelve
years he lived in the Little River community with increasing popularity.
He was a prosperous planter, shared in all that concerned the weal of the
community, never flinched in the discharge of duty as a citizen, and when
he died, his death was universally regretted. In a fatiguing bear hunt in
the swamps along the river, he overtaxed his strength, and died in 1826.
Throughout his life he deplored the precipitate tragedy at Fort Mims, and
no doubt his subsequent reflection led him to insist that it was not his
wish that the women and children should perish. Descendants bearing his
name still live in that quarter of the state, esteemed for their worth as
quiet and worthy citizens.


Than Aaron Burr there has scarcely been a more striking, not to say a more
startling, figure in the public life of America. Reared in the highest
circle of society, greatly gifted by nature, enjoying the best possible
advantages in education, a brave officer in the Revolution, Vice-President
of the United States, and coming within a scratch of being President, and
the grandson of the great philosopher, Jonathan Edwards, this favored son
of fortune was a fugitive with a reward offered for his apprehension.
Sides so varied rarely appear in the life of anyone. Aaron Burr was
arrested, brought to trial, and was finally acquitted, and yet such was
his private life, and so deep was the suspicion against him, that his
former friends forsook him, and on one occasion Henry Clay declined to
take his hand, when offered.

The story of Burr is too long to be undertaken here, even in brief
outline, though it is thrilling throughout, and to this day his movements
remain wrapped in mystery, because Burr in his dying hour disclaimed any
purpose of the dismemberment of the Union, which was one of the chief
charges urged against him so long as he lived. That he had deep designs,
however, is not a question, and with proclamations containing offers of
reward for his arrest circulated, and his effort to leave the country, the
doubt of his guilt and of his complicity in some nefarious scheme is at
once dispelled. He was well on his way to Pensacola in his flight, when he
was checked in the Tensas settlement, in this state, which event led to
his trial.

The night of February 18, 1807, was one of unusual coldness for this
latitude. The surface of the ground was frozen, and nothing was so unusual
as for travelers to be abroad on the highways. In the little village of
Wakefield, in Washington County, were a few huts of the early settlers of
that region. In one of these, at the hour of ten, were two young men
greatly absorbed in a game of backgammon. A fire of logs and pine knots
burned in the wide fireplace, the village was quiet in slumber, and
perhaps the light seen through the chinks of the cabin was the only one
visible in the village. These young men engaged in the game, heard the
sounds of horses' feet rapidly approaching their cabin. Someone halting in
front of the cabin, in which the young men sat, a voice hailed, and on
opening the door, the light revealed two mounted men, one of whom asked
where the tavern was, and then how far it was to the home of Colonel
Hinson. They were told that the home was seven miles away, the road rough
and dark, and that a dangerous stream intervened. As the two travelers sat
on their horses with the light of the cabin falling fully on them, one was
seen to be much more than an ordinary man because of the character of his
language, his striking face, and the evident anxiety expressed in an
unusual way, and while he wore a slouched hat and the garb of a common
farmer, his exquisite boots and superb horse revealed the discrepancy in
the conditions.

Notwithstanding the advice of the young man not to undertake the hazard
of finding the home of the Hinsons, on a dark night like that one, the
travelers got their information and rode away. The two young men in the
cabin were Nicholas Perkins, a lawyer, and Thomas Malone, a clerk in the
local court. After the travelers had gone, and the young men were again in
the cabin, Perkins expressed the opinion that the man of unusual
appearance was Aaron Burr, as it exactly suited the description given in
the proclamations, and proposed that they follow him and procure his

At the suggestion, Malone demurred, saying that it was not particularly
their business, the night was severely cold, and it was absurd to be
chasing a stranger on a bare suspicion, through the cold darkness and at
the risk of their lives. But Perkins was not so easily daunted, and met
each objection in a vigorous way. However, Malone could not be enlisted in
the effort, and Perkins sallied forth in search of the sheriff, Theodore
Brightwell, with whom he was soon on horseback, and they were making their
way to Colonel Hinson's. Meanwhile Burr and his companion had reached
Hinson's about twelve o'clock. Colonel Hinson was absent, and in response
to the hailing at the gate, Mrs. Hinson glanced through the window, saw
two men mounted, and went back to bed without responding. The travelers
alighted, went into the kitchen, where a fire was still burning, and were
warming themselves, when the sheriff, a relative of Mrs. Hinson, walked
into the kitchen, having left Perkins on the roadside to await his return,
as Perkins deemed it imprudent to show himself after having been talked
to in Wakefield. Burr partly concealed his face with his handkerchief, and
at first was the only occupant of the kitchen, as his companion had gone
with the horses to a stable.

After a few hurried words, the sheriff aroused Mrs. Hinson, a supper was
improvised, the strangers began eating, Burr was affable and chatty, was
profuse in apology for the unseasonable interruption, and complimentary of
the excellent supper. The sheriff had prepared Mrs. Hinson to ascertain,
if possible, if either man was Burr, and while the sheriff stood over the
fire, with his back to the company, and after Burr had retired to the
kitchen, she asked his companion if she did not have the distinction of
entertaining Colonel Burr. In much confusion, the companion arose without
a word of reply, and joined Burr in the kitchen.

The sheriff rejoined them, engaged in conversation, and soon all were
abed. The next morning, Burr expressed his disappointment at not meeting
Colonel Hinson, and, strange to say, was soon mounted, together with the
sheriff and his companion, the sheriff proposing to show the travelers the
way out of the country, and well on toward Pensacola.

Meantime, Perkins was left to his fate in the cold. Finding toward morning
that the sheriff apparently did not intend to return, Perkins made his way
to Fort Stoddard by a rapid ride to the river, where he obtained a boat,
and engaged a negro to row it down the river. The fort was reached about
daybreak, Perkins notified Captain Gaines, the commander, of all that had
taken place, and at sunrise, a troop were in their saddles, following
Gaines and Perkins toward the road leading to Pensacola. About nine
o'clock they met the three men on horseback--Burr, his companion, and
Sheriff Brightwell. They were in fine spirits, and were chatting in a
jocular way, when suddenly they were confronted by a troop of government
cavalry. Burr at once recognized Perkins as the young man to whom he had
talked the night before in the village of Wakefield. Then came a


With the glance of his eagle eye, Burr took in the situation at once, and
in a moment was prepared for it. Captain Gaines saluted him, and asked if
he had the honor of addressing Colonel Burr. Polite as the salutation was,
Burr feigned great indignation in denying the right of a stranger to ask a
question so impolite, of a traveler on the highway. Gaines cut short the
tactics of the occasion by saying: "I arrest you at the instance of the
Federal Government." In a burst of indignation, Burr again demanded to
know his right and authority to arrest a traveler going in pursuit of
private affairs on the public highway. In a perfectly cool way, Gaines
replied that he was an officer of the army in possession of the
proclamations of the governor of Mississippi, and of the President of the
United States, directing his arrest. Burr reminded Gaines that though he
was an officer, he was young and inexperienced, and might not be aware of
the responsibility incurred in arresting strangers, to all which Gaines
replied that he was willing to assume the responsibility, and would do his

Heated by the obstinate coolness and evident determination of the young
officer, Burr began to denounce the proclamation, as expressions of
resentment and of malevolence, without justification, and resumed his
advice of warning to Gaines of the hazard he was incurring by an undue
interference of strangers on a public road. With iron coolness, Gaines
ended the colloquy by telling Burr that his mind was made up, and he
wished to treat him in a manner becoming his high office as vice president
of the United States, all of which would be duly respected so long as Burr
conducted himself becomingly, but that he would have to take him a
prisoner to Fort Stoddard. Burr sat, and his eyes blazed while he looked
at Gaines. Without further ceremony, Gaines moved with an order to his
men, and Burr submitted.

The conduct of Sheriff Brightwell was never explained. He had left Perkins
the night before on the edge of the road some distance from the Hinson
home, did not arrest Burr, and was now on his way with Burr to Carson's
Ferry, on the Tombigbee, to enable Burr to get to Mobile and make his way
to Pensacola. Was the sheriff awed by the commanding presence of the
distinguished man, unduly persuaded, thrown off of his guard by seductive
and misleading logic, or was he influenced by the fact that his kinsman,
Colonel Hinson, had some months before met Burr at Natchez, was charmed by
him, and had invited him to his home to spend some time, or was there a
bribe involved in the transaction?

Burr was taken to Fort Stoddard, where he was intent on making himself
most agreeable by his courtly manner and pleasing address, and whiled away
the days playing chess with Mrs. Gaines, the wife of the man who arrested
him, and the daughter of Judge Harry Toulmin of Mobile. Burr was
especially intent on showing every possible kindness to a brother of the
commander at the fort, which brother was an invalid. Indeed, he won the
hearts of all by his affableness and cheeriness of disposition.

Meanwhile, preparations were on foot to convey the noted prisoner to
Richmond, Va., for trial. When the arrangements were completed, Burr was
sent by boat up the Alabama River, along the banks of which curious crowds
had gathered, to catch a glimpse of the notorious captive, among whom were
many women, who when they saw him a helpless prisoner, some of them burst
into weeping, and one of them was so fascinated by his manner and conduct,
that she afterward named a son for him.

At a point called "The Boat Yard," Burr was consigned to the care of eight
selected men, who were to escort him across the country on horseback to
Richmond for trial. Two of the guard were of the federal cavalry, all were
cool and determined men, and the guard was placed under the command of
Nicholas Perkins, the young man who had procured his arrest.

Burr was dressed in the same garb which he wore when arrested, a
round-about homespun coat, a pair of copperas trousers, and a sloughed
beaver hat, once white, but now very dingy, which drooped at points, and a
pair of dainty boots. A gaping crowd was present to see the departure, and
as Burr mounted his horse to ride away, he lifted his hat in a manner so
graceful as to waken a rousing cheer. He rode the same horse on which he
was captured, and his equestrian appearance and qualities were superb. A
tent was provided for his comfort, and at night while it was closely
guarded, and while the wolves howled in the neighboring woods, he would
sleep with all the comfort that a camp could afford. The party passed up
through the counties of Monroe, Butler, Montgomery, thence to the
Chattahoochee. The two federal soldiers rode closely beside him, and when
entering a swamp, the entire party would gather close about him.

Among the incidents of the journey was that of a tavern-keeper just beyond
the Chattahoochee, who on learning that the party, which had stopped at
his rural hostelry for the night, had come from the region of the Tensas,
quizzed his guests with many questions, and to the embarrassment of all,
turned his loquacity toward the rumor that had reached him of the arrest
of "that dangerous scoundrel, Aaron Burr," and wished to know if they knew
anything of it. All present dropped their heads in confusion, but Burr,
who fixed his flashing eyes on the garrulous fellow, and when the
innkeeper began his denunciation of Burr, saying what he would like to do
for him if he could "lay eyes on him," Burr straightened up with his full
of fire eyes and said, "I am Aaron Burr, now what'll you have?" The
tavern-keeper vanished in a moment, and his lips were hermetically sealed
till the party left, while his attentions were most profuse.

Burr made but one effort to escape. In South Carolina, where lived his
son-in-law, Col. Joseph Alston, who was afterward governor of South
Carolina, Burr felt that he was somewhat known, and one afternoon late, as
the squad approached Chester Courthouse, and was passing the tavern, where
a large crowd was gathered, Burr leaped from his horse, and exclaimed, "I
am Aaron Burr, gentlemen, under military arrest, and claim the protection
of the civil authorities." Perkins and several of the guard dismounted,
and ordered him to remount his horse, which he defiantly declined to do,
when Perkins threw his arms about him and flung him into his saddle, and
the party galloped away. The crowd looked on with wonder, and to them it
was only a strange proceeding of a prisoner under guard who was seeking to
escape, and the sensation turned out to be merely momentary. A vehicle was
bought, Burr was placed in it with a guard, and no further trouble was had
to the end of the journey.


The fall of Napoleon at Waterloo, created consternation in the ranks of
his adherents. In rejoining him after his return from Elba, they had
staked all on his attempt to regain the empire. When he fell, his
supporters were in a worse plight than was he. A number of the best were
shot, among them Marshal Ney, while many others fled penniless to
different parts of the earth, among whom was a large and respectable body
who came to America. These included Marshal Grouchy, who was charged with
being the occasion of the defeat at Waterloo, and others whose names will
appear in this narrative. This body of refugees sailed for America, where
they hoped to build a miniature empire in a remote quarter of the American
continent, with such construction that while they would be able to imitate
their life in France, by having their own local laws, they would at the
same time bring themselves into practical conformity to the constitution
of the United States. We shall see how fully their dream was realized.

Once in America, they elicited the aid and co-operation of a Dr. Brown, of
Kentucky, who had spent much time in France, knew the French people, and
was endeared to them. Dr. Brown acted as an interagent between the French
and the Federal Government in the introduction of the cause of the
refugees. That which they sought was the utmost confines of western
occupation, for two reasons, one of which was because of the cheapness of
the land, and the other was because of its segregation. At that time the
Tombigbee was that western boundary. Here was to be established a new
France, with its growth of olive trees and grape vines. To the ardent
French this was a rosy dream, and on these western borders they saw in
vision, mansions and palaces, spacious grounds, and the affluence of gay
society to which they were accustomed in their own brilliant capital on
the Seine. Dreams like these heartened the host and eclipsed all care and
worry, and banished the prick of ills to which they were destined to be
subjected. Arriving at Philadelphia, they lingered for many months during
the negotiations with the American Government for a domain of land on the
distant Tombigbee. They commissioned a French statesman, Nicholas S.
Parmentier, as their agent to consummate the plan. There was accordingly
adopted a bill by the American congress in March, 1818, granting to these
refugees four townships fronting on the Black Warrior River, in the
present County of Marengo. This land was sold at $2 an acre, payable
within fourteen years, provided the olive and the vine were produced. The
land was divided by themselves, as a stock company, each one of the three
hundred and fourteen families taking quantities of from eighty to four
hundred and eighty acres. In contemplation of a town to be built, there
was assigned additionally to each head of a family, a lot within the
proposed city, and one on the suburbs.

With this arrangement completed, the novel colony was to sail at once and
occupy it. Accordingly a schooner, the McDonough, was chartered to convey
the company, numbering about one thousand five hundred in all, to Mobile,
when they were to make their way up the river to their final destination.
With their varied household effects, the vivacious French set sail from
Philadelphia in April, 1818, and for more than a month, slowly sailed down
the coast of the Atlantic.

During the following May, late one afternoon, Lieutenant Beal, the
commander of Fort Bowyer, near Mobile, saw in the distance, a vessel
wrestling with a gale which was sweeping that quarter of the sea. Through
his glass, the commander could see the direction in which the vessel was
bearing, while sorely tossed by the wind, which was blowing at a fearful
velocity. The captain of the McDonough had a chart which was out of date,
and Beal saw that the vessel was heading rapidly toward danger. He fired a
cannon as an alarm gun, hoping thereby to arrest the erroneous course of
the vessel. The day was now far advanced, and darkness settled over the
face of the sea. Beal took the precaution to erect lights along the shore,
and some time after night, he heard the signals of distress from the
unfortunate McDonough.

While the wind was still very high and fierce, Beal did not think that the
vessel should be left to its fate, and called for those who would
volunteer to go with him in as large boat as they had at command, to the
rescue of those on the vessel. The McDonough had struck, and was lying in
the thick gloom at the mercy of the waves, in the sand into which an
obsolete chart had directed the captain. Accompanied by five brave men,
Beal plunged into the darkness with the boat, and guided by the dim
lights of the vessel, he was enabled to reach it somewhat after midnight.
Everything on board the vessel was in commotion, as every fresh wave
threatened to engulf it, but Beal coolly proposed to save, if he could,
the women and children, whom he crowded into his boat and set out on his
return toward the fort through the dense gloom. After much struggle the
boat was safely brought to the fort, and the women and children were
saved. Luckily the vessel was later released by the waves from its
perilous condition in the sand, and in the early morning was washed into
deeper water, and though crippled by the accident, was saved, and in due
time pulled into port at Fort Bowyer. There was great glee and sport among
the French after it was all over, as they would joke each other with that
which happened. They soon forgot the seriousness of the situation to which
they were only a few hours before exposed, and gave themselves again to
jollity and song.

In expression of their just gratitude to the brave lieutenant who had been
the occasion of so much timely aid, they proposed to take him with them to
Mobile, and give him a banquet. This was accordingly done, vivacity ran
high amidst sparkling wines and merriment unconfined, and the gay throng
in the banquet hall little resembled a colony driven by disaster from
their native land, and so recently exposed to death.

At Mobile, the McDonough was dismissed, and plans were at once adopted to
provide flatboats and barges to convey the company up the winding
Tombigbee to their future home among the wilds of Western Alabama. Of
their future experiences we shall hear later.


It was a gay and mirthful throng that was gathered on board the rough
flatboats, at the wharf of Mobile, on the morning of the departure of the
French for their settlement far up along the Tombigbee. One would have
thought that it was a huge picnic party instead of a people fleeing from
oppression, with all the novelties of an untamed region to be grappled
with. Distinguished French generals were among them, men who had for years
shared in the bloody campaigns of Napoleon. There were also eminent men of
science, educators, merchants, and statesmen, with their wives and
children. The delicate French women still wearing their Parisian styles,
and beautifully dressed children, young men and women, and a few servants
constituted the multitude now slowly pulling out from Mobile for a long
and torturous trip up the river. More incongruous conditions can scarcely
be imagined.

In those primitive days before the use of steam, the barges had to be
heavily dragged against the upstream current by the use of long poles
planted into the bank of the stream from the stern of the vessel, while at
the same time long poles with iron beaks were used from the bow, by being
fastened to trees or projecting rocks. The proceeding was torturous
enough, but nothing dampened the ardency of these effervescent French, and
every incident was turned into a fresh outburst of jollity, and
seriousness was tossed to the winds.

At night, they would build their campfires on the bank of the river in
the edge of the primitive forests, and after the evening meal, the violin,
guitar and the accordion would be brought into requisition to repel dull
care, and regale themselves on the tedious passage. The wild flowers were
in bloom, and the early fruits were already ripening in the woods, and not
infrequently the company would stop at some inviting point and spend a day
picking flowers and fruits, romping the woods, and frolicking.

Thus wore away two or three months during which they were making their way
from Mobile to the present site of Demopolis. They were not without
competent guides, of course, to direct them to the point of their future
homes on the wild prairies, and when the junction of the Tombigbee and the
Black Warrior was reached they landed on the white, chalky banks to begin
life on the frontier. Along the bank for some distance were strewn their
household goods, of every conceivable article--oval-topped trunks with big
brass tacks, carpetbags, chests of divers colors and of varied size,
bundles carefully wrapped, demijohns, military saddles, swords,
epaulettes, sashes, spurs, bandboxes, violins, guitars, and much else that
made up the medley of more than three hundred families, who were about to
enter on a wilderness life on the prairies of West Alabama.

They had provided themselves with a few tents, which were promptly brought
into use, while improvised habitations were at first constructed of the
tall canes which grew wild along the river, and of the lithe saplings cut
from the clumps of trees which dotted here and there the prairie over. The
prairies were now in their floral beauty, while the young, tender cane
was just springing, undermatted with luxuriant grass, with here and there
a dash of wild strawberries. In dry weather the surface of the land was
flinty with abounding fissures, while during the rainy season it was
converted into a soft, waxy, black mud. These bright and pretty French
women, used to the gilded salons and festive scenes of Paris, found a
complete reversal of conditions in this wild and inhospitable region, but
their native joviality never forsook them. Novelties and mistakes were
turned into laughter, and roughness into cheeriness. They would promptly
adjust themselves to conditions, and would meet them with burst after
burst of jollity. They shared in the sentiment expressed by the trivial
John Gay, who wrote:

  "Life is a jest, and all things show it,
  I thought so once, and now I know it."

Donning their dainty garbs, these unconquerable French women did not
hesitate to cook, wash, iron, hoe in their gardens and yards, or join
their husbands in efforts of a more serious nature, in tillage, and in the
erecting of log houses. Their lightness of heart was a cordial in the
conditions of actual gloom which sometimes confronted them, but they would
never repine, and would decline to take conditions seriously.

The personnel of this novel colony was most interesting. Marshal Groughy
was classed by them with that segment of society called by Mr. Roosevelt
"undesirable citizens," because of the affair at Waterloo, and was left
behind in Philadelphia, though he was one of the allottees of the land
procured, but got another to occupy it for him. The stigma of the defeat
of Waterloo was his, and this made him most unpopular. But Count
Desnoettes, who was a cavalry general in Napoleon's army, and a great
favorite with the Emperor, was of the colony. Napoleon loved Desnoettes
because of his fighting qualities, and because of his exceeding
attractiveness of person. He accompanied Bonaparte on the memorable
retreat from Russia, and when the French officers were gathered at
Fontainebleau, on the eve of Napoleon's departure to Elba, and all were
weeping, he embraced Desnoettes, saying that he would avail himself of
this means of bidding all farewell.

Penier was a distinguished statesmen; Colonel Raoul was a distinguished
cavalry fighter, who had accompanied Napoleon in his exile to Elba, and
afterward led the advance guard on the return of the Emperor to France
after escaping from his island imprisonment. Madame Raoul was a handsome
Italian woman, a native of Naples. Cluis was one of the aids of Marshal
Lefebvre; Chaudoin was a French poet of note; Clausel was a count;
L'Allemand was a lieutenant general of artillery under Napoleon; Lackonel
was a savant, who was at the head of the department of education, in the
empire, during the regime of Napoleon, together with others of equal note.

All of these notables were once residents of Alabama, and encountered the
conditions of pioneer life on its western plains. Of some of the ups and
downs of this strange colony something will be said in the next article.


One may easily infer from that already said about these peculiar
colonists, who settled in the early years of the nineteenth century, at
the confluence of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers, that life under
such conditions must have been strikingly novel throughout. It was an
attempt to graft an exceptional European civilization, with all its
traditional peculiarities of many centuries, into the raw wilderness
conditions of western civilization, and to preserve intact, the customs of
the gay Gallic capital of Europe, on the prairies of black mud in Alabama.
The log huts which lined the streets of primitive Demopolis, were made as
nearly palaces as they well could be, and the streets themselves were
lighted at night, in imitation of the French capital. It was a play doll
performance, as pathetic as it was patriotic and loyal.

The French founded and named Demopolis "the city of the people," seeking
thus to blend a miniature Paris with democratic sentiment. In vain did
these people seek to grow the olive and the vine in an unfriendly soil,
and the attempt was gradually abandoned, and by every possible makeshift
they eked out a bare subsistence. In a fertile soil, vegetables and corn
were easily grown, and with these and with such supplies as they could get
from the game of the woods, they struggled on against odds. They were not
without annoyance from the Indians, and more from the American settlers
who were now beginning to come into that quarter of the Alabama
territory. These latter would entrench on the lands of the French which
gave rise to much friction, and an agent had to go to Washington to sue
for protection against such invasions. This occasioned opposition to the
"furreners," as the French came to be popularly called, in the neighboring
log cabins of the American squatters.

As an indication of the extremity to which the French were reduced,
Colonel Raoul, a large, handsome and dignified cavalry officer in the
Napoleonic army, had to establish a ferry on the river to convey travelers
from one side to the other, while his beautiful queenly wife sold
gingerbread and persimmon beer on the bank, at the ferry. With her
delicate jeweled fingers she would manufacture these crude refreshments,
and with much grace serve them to the rude pioneers.

Years afterward, when Raoul had been restored to the confidence of the
French government, and was occupying a lucrative position in Paris, after
serving for some time in the Mexican army, he was visited by John Hurtel,
who was also one of the French colonists, but now a prosperous merchant in
Mobile. Intimate and even affectionate as friends, Colonel Raoul gave a
dinner to his Mobile friend, and invited to the banquet many of his
distinguished Parisian friends. To a group, Raoul was relating his pioneer
experiences as a ferryman, which all laughingly doubted, when Raoul called
to Hurtel, in another part of the room to join them. He then asked Hurtel
what he (Raoul) did at Demopolis. He replied that he kept a ferry. "And
what did the madame do?" asked Raoul. "Sold ginger cakes and simmon
beer," said Hurtel, all of which was greeted with roars of laughter.

As an expression of devotion to his imperial sovereign, General Desnoettes
built a shanty near his log cabin, which shanty he called his "sanctuary."
In the center of this humble museum stood a bronze statue of Napoleon,
encircled by relics of war captured by Desnoettes--swords, pistols,
spears, spurs and saddles--while in graceful folds about the walls hung
the captured banners. The customs of the people were often as grotesque as
they were pathetic. After days of struggle and labor, the evenings would
be spent in music and dancing in the log cabins, or else along the narrow
grassy streets of the village would resound, till a late hour of the
night, the notes of musical instruments. The great generals of a hundred
battles preserved their military dignity and conventionalities while
working with might and main in their laboring garbs, with their
broad-brimmed hats flapping about their heads. Every stranger would be
greeted with the military salute, no matter who he was.

In compliance with the requirements of the territorial laws, every male
citizen of a given age, had to meet statedly at some point named by the
commanding militia officer, to drill. From this the French were not
exempt, and these experts in military science were compelled to join in
the ranks of the rough and tumble yeomanry on the muster ground, and go
through with the rude evolutions known to them from the days of their

These were the days of the country grocery, and of the crossroads grocery,
which were inseparable from the muster ground and the rural drill, and
their presence meant fisticuff fights, gouged eyes, broken noses, and
dislocated teeth. There was not the best feeling toward the "furrener," at
any rate, and there was a disposition in this region especially, to
provoke him to difficulty. It is related that on one occasion a bully
under the sway of liquor, sought a difficulty with one of the French,
which ended in the Frenchman being knocked down and jumped on by the rough
militiaman. The poor fellow knew not a word of English, and he cried in
his extremity for "enough" the French word "bravo," which he knew had
something to do with fighting. He repeatedly yelled "bravo" with the hope
that some one would pull off his assailant, but the assailant interpreted
it to mean an expression of defiance, and was brutally pommeling the Gaul.
Some of the by-standers properly construed the meaning of the Frenchman,
from the tone of his appeal, and pulled the ruffian off.

In the geographical names of that region--Arcola, Agleville (Eagleville),
Linden (Hohenlinden), and Marengo, not to mention Demopolis--one finds the
evidence of the past occupation of the French. During the first year or
two, a number of other French came from France and joined the colony, but
the object which they had in view, failing, that of raising grapes and
olives, the colony gradually dissipated, the emigrants going in different
directions, and in Mobile and New Orleans, as elsewhere, may be found the
descendants of some of these original colonists, still bearing the names
of their ancestors of almost a century ago. Long after the occupied
domain had been abandoned, there could be seen in the waxy mud in the
region of Demopolis the imprints of the delicate shoes of those Parisian


Few are aware of the extremes to which the earliest settlers of Alabama
were reduced in their migration from the old colonies to this region,
while it was yet a territory. It may be said that the original stock of
Alabama settlers was generally of the best type of Anglo-Saxon manhood and
womanhood. Inherently, they had no superiors on the continent. They are
not to be thought of as adventurers, restlessly migrating to a new region
with a dissatisfaction which sought relief in the mere act of moving, for
adventurers would never have undergone that which was experienced by these
fathers, in pitching their homes in a wilderness infested by savages and
wild beasts. The fact that they did that which was done, labels the type
of character of these original commonwealth builders.

Back of their migration from Virginia and the Carolinas, from which most
of the original settlers of Alabama came, lay a fact which largely
influenced their removal. The new republic was still in course of
construction. The revolution had left a chaotic condition in the older
colonies, and men of sturdiness conceived the idea of going far westward,
where they could create new conditions, and build for the future. They
were not unprepared for the privation that was to be encountered, nor
altogether unapprised of it, but in the face of these suspended
difficulties, they were nerved by genuine Caucasian grit. A number of
solid and substantial folk would get together and agree to removing to the
west, with a common understanding of general sharers in a common
interest, thereby procuring a sense of sympathetic protection, traverse
the wide distance, occupy a given community in a fresh territory, and rear
their fortunes together.

The most ordinary conveniences were scarce, utensils and tools hardly to
be had, shoes and clothing scant, methods of conveyance rude, and thus to
the utmost extremity were these original founders of Alabama reduced. The
dependence for transportation was a few horses and oxen, which were
employed in common by a body of hardy colonists. On the horses were placed
the women and children, on the oxen the scanty household effects; the
stock was grouped in a common herd, cattle, swine and sheep, to be driven
on foot by the men and boys, each of whom was supplied with a gun or an
implement, and thus would they begin their march to a region of which they
knew nothing, save that it was without population, densely wooded and with
no other denizens than those of Indians and of ferocious beasts.

Even where roads and bridges were encountered on the way, they were crude,
and west of the confines of Georgia, the wilderness was untraversed save
by the wild savage, whose slender paths wound the forests through. So far
as these pathways were available, they were used, but oftener than
otherwise these plucky pioneersmen would have to hack their way through
the forests, opening paths as they slowly went. Regarded from this point
of time, there was a ludicrousness in these primitive shifts, but men and
women were never more serious than were these old-fashioned mothers and
fathers. They were the rough germs from which sprang a civilization
unsurpassed in its elements in history. Wives, mothers, and daughters,
bare-headed or wearing the old fly bonnet, were mounted on poor horses,
with children on their laps, or clinging on from behind, while dangling on
either side of the burdened beast were packages which contained the most
of that which they possessed in this world. In advance, men with axes
would rapidly hew away the underbrush for a bare passage, while the
bleating herd would follow, driven mostly by the larger boys. The smaller
streams were waded, while in order to cross the larger streams, rafts were
constructed, the timbers of which were held together by the native vines,
while such of the animals as could swim were forced to do so.

There was a flow of cheer and jocularity which served as a condiment to
hard conditions, and when the camp fires were lighted, the stock fed on
the native grasses, and supper was eaten, men chatted and smoked, sang and
told jokes, while the industrious wives and daughters would ply their
knitting needles. By turns the camp was guarded against possible
contingencies for the night, and the next morning the same arduous march
would be resumed.

The destination finally reached, the struggles against difficulties would
begin in earnest. Boundaries of chosen land would be indicated by cutting
belts about the trees with a peculiar, personal mark, and then await the
future for full legal possession. In the construction of temporary homes,
colonists would vie with each other in the ingenuity displayed. The
method most common was to select trees as corners of the dwelling, and
then wattle saplings among those intervening from corner to corner, while
the roof was made of bark and the skins of wild animals. The cooking was
done without, in one or two small utensils. The grounds about were cleared
of the underbrush sufficiently to be planted, which was commonly done with
wedge-shaped rods being thrust stroke by stroke into the rich soil, the
seed dropped, and covered with the foot. As for meat, there was slight
difficulty, as deer, turkeys and squirrels were abundant. Shoes and
clothing would soon become matters of grave concern, but the deficiency
would be met by the appropriation of the hides of animals, from which
grotesque garments would be made, while the feet would be wrapped about
with strips of just sufficient size to cover them, the fur being turned
inward, and held by strings tied about each foot. The fortunate possession
of a pair of good shoes was an object of neighborhood envy. Objects so
valued and prized as were real shoes, were worn only on special occasions.
It was a custom long after the original settlement of Alabama, for many to
take their shoes under their arms, in going to church, and just before
reaching the place of worship, to put them on. Shoes that creaked were
specially prized, as they would attract attention.

Small water mills came to be erected, and it was not unusual for one to
take his corn on his back the distance of twenty miles in order to have it
ground. This meant an absence from home of three or four days at a time.
From the earliest years of the century just gone, these conditions
continued in parts of the interior of Alabama till 1815 and even later.
The battle of New Orleans meant much for what was then known as the
southwest, of which Alabama was a part. Not a few of the future
distinguished families in the history of the state, emerged from
conditions such as here have been described. From straits of poverty, they
came to be among the most wealthy of the state.


In April, 1825, when LaFayette visited Alabama, the state was about six
years old. Conditions were still very crude, there being but few roads,
and they bad enough in a wet season; but few villages existed; the country
was sparsely settled; the Indian was still in the land, but was now
subdued and peaceable, and a few boats plied the waters of the rivers.
Israel Pickens was then governor, and it was through his patriotic
enterprise as a wideawake governor, that LaFayette was induced to turn
aside from Augusta, Ga., and make the overland trip to Cahaba, the new
capital of Alabama, instead of going to Charleston to take a boat to New

LaFayette was now about sixty-eight years old, but he was still vigorous
and active, and so far from a tour through a region largely wilderness,
deterring him, he was really anxious to take it. As he came westward from
Augusta, conditions grew cruder, but every possible provision was made for
his comfort. For months together, he had been in the country as its guest,
and the character of the receptions varied in every respect save one--the
cordiality of the people which was unbounded.

The American congress had extended to him a formal invitation to return to
America on a visit, the invitation being impelled by a double motive, that
of showing the revolutionists of his own land, to whose vengeance
LaFayette had fallen a victim, because of his democratic principles, that
America was his loyal friend, and that of enabling a new generation of
Americans to express their gratitude to a patriot of France, who had spilt
his blood in behalf of the independence that they enjoyed. From the moment
that he landed on our soil, throughout, his tour was a triumphal journey,
and he was hailed with a universal tumult of honor and praise. He was
comparatively a poor man because of principle. Though the possessor of
vast estates in France, they were forfeited, or in plainer language, were
confiscated by the government of France, because of his republican
principles. The American congress voted him $200,000 in gold, and a
township of land. He was deeply moved by the gratitude and love of the
young nation, and often in speaking in response to welcomes accorded, his
voice would tremble with emotion. It may be said, in passing, that at the
one hundredth anniversary of the battle of Yorktown, in 1881, in which
battle LaFayette shared, a representative of his family was present as the
guest of the nation.

When LaFayette reached Washington, in 1825, there was accorded him an
ovation that was almost overwhelming. From long distances the common
people had traveled, some coming on foot, others on horseback, in ox
carts, wagons, carriages and every way, men, women and children, to catch
a glimpse of the great ally of Washington, and patriot of the revolution,
and all about the city on the outside were their braying mules, neighing
horses, and lowing oxen in the midst of an unbroken encampment formed by
the country folk. In crushing multitudes they thronged about LaFayette, in
genuine democratic style, seeking to grasp his hand, a demonstration that
was as much enjoyed by LaFayette as by themselves. Henry Clay was then
speaker of the house, and his speech of welcome to LaFayette is one of the
most splendid bursts of oratory that ever came from his musical lips. The
reply of the distinguished Frenchman did him great honor. It is a pity
that these great deliverances are buried in old and musty books of which
but little is known. Wherever LaFayette appeared in Washington, the
unrestrained multitudes would rush frantically toward him as though they
would devour him.

From Washington he planned his trip southward and westward, or toward the
great Southwest, as Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana were then called.
In making his dates, in advance, he knew practically nothing of the nature
of the country, nothing of the difficulty of travel, so that by the time
he reached the eastern border of Alabama he was several days behind time.
So far from delay cooling the ardor of the people, it had just the
opposite effect. The interest deepened, widened and seethed meantime, and
his announced coming into a given region absorbed all things else. Even
the Indians of Georgia and of Alabama were seized by the contagion of
enthusiasm, and while knowing little or nothing of LaFayette or of his
career, they learned that he was the friend of Washington, and a great
warrior, and so joined with native ardor into the excitement of his
reception. A body of painted warriors with varied and gay plumage, and
with bodies stained in divers colors, and wearing red and striped
blankets, insisted on becoming a part of his escort through Georgia, and
cherished the privilege of serving him with the most minute servility.
There is a good side to humanity always, if we only reach it. To the
Indians it was a special delight to shoot down an occasional buck on the
way, and to present it to the polite Frenchman between whose cultured
conventionality and the rude but touchingly sincere kindness of the
Indian, there was an amusing difference.

With great effort and sacrifice, Governor Pickens had made every
arrangement possible for as august demonstration as the young state could
give to the eminent guest of the nation. His plans were perfect in every
detail, for he was an executive master, as is shown by the correspondence
in the possession of the present writer, between him and the militia
commanders, as well as with the civil authorities and prominent citizens.
The chief difficulty seems to have been to raise a fund sufficient for a
demonstration worthy of the great French patriot, for money was
exceedingly scarce in those infant days of struggle, but Pickens was
indefatigable, and he had a way of accomplishing whatever he set his hands
to. Fortunate for Governor Pickens was the delay of LaFayette, as this
enabled him to execute more to his satisfaction the vast and difficult
plans relating to the series of receptions along the triumphal march of
LaFayette through Alabama. For days together, LaFayette was lost to the
public eye as traversing the wilderness he was lost in its depths, making
his way as best he could from the Savannah to the Chattahoochee under the
protection of the Georgia escort of militia and painted Indian warriors.
The correspondence shows that he could not be heard of for days together,
but on the banks of the Chattahoochee the provided escort waited, day
after day, till he should appear. He at last came within sight and the
demonstration began, and novel enough it was. Of this we shall learn more
in the article next succeeding.


Large barges were in readiness to convey the party across the
Chattahoochee to the Alabama side, where was gathered a multitude of
distinguished citizens, a troop of Alabama militia under General Taylor,
and a body of Indian warriors in their native attire, who seemed more
enthusiastic than the others. As the barges glided toward the bank, the
Indians raised yell after yell, and rushed to the edge of the water to
receive them. They were under the command of Chilly Mackintosh, or Little
Prince. So soon as the barges were arranged for landing, the Indians
dashed on board, unhitched the horse from the sulky that bore LaFayette,
each vying with every other to render the promptest service, and drew the
vehicle to the top of the steep bank with every indication of delight.

When all was over, speeches of welcome and the response were in order.
Here LaFayette met a former aide of his, who had served him during the
Revolution, as a young man, but now somewhat advanced in life--Rev. Isaac
Smith, a Methodist missionary to the Indians. LaFayette recognized him,
and gave a warm and affectionate greeting. In the exuberance of his zeal,
the missionary begged that they bow in prayer. There under the tall trees
of the river's bank the party bowed in solemn prayer, LaFayette and the
Indians joining, and with uplifted voice, Mr. Smith prayed the blessings
of heaven on the great patriot. The Indians intent on showing their
interest proposed to have a game of ball for the entertainment of
LaFayette, after which Mr. Smith invited him to his humble home, where
they recounted to each other the scenes of their lives since they parted
at the disorganization of the army, about forty-three years before.

After a season of rest, LaFayette started with the cavalcade along a road
which led through an uninhabited region for almost a hundred miles, he
riding in a fine carriage drawn by four beautiful grays, and attended by
the uniformed state soldiery and the Indians, who proposed to see him
safely through their own territory. So complete were the arrangements made
by Governor Pickens, that at proper intervals, along the dreary and
monotonous way, there were the amplest provisions for refreshments, of
food, shelter, and rest.

At Line Creek, twenty miles from the village of Montgomery, the limit of
the territory of the Indians was reached, and here they took formal leave
of LaFayette. Their chief, the Little Prince, made a stirring speech to
LaFayette in his native tongue, not a word of which did LaFayette
understand, and guided solely by the gesticulation and facial expression
of the chief, the old patriot replied in English, not a word of which did
the Indians comprehend. With much ceremony they shook hands with
LaFayette, and quietly turned on their march to their homes in the woods.

At Line Creek, the ranks of the cavalcade were largely reinforced by the
addition of a fresh installment of troops and of many distinguished
citizens, who had made their way across the country from different
directions, in order to share in the demonstration. Once within the
confines of civilization the journey to Montgomery and beyond was relieved
by the cultivated fields of the white man, now in the bloom of young and
promising crops, and the homes of refinement dotting the country over.
This was a great relief to LaFayette, who had been buried for almost a
week in the depths of an uncultivated wilderness. The improved roads
enabled the procession to make greater speed as it moved toward the
village of Montgomery.

On a range of hills about two miles from the village, arrangements had
been made for the cavalcade to halt for the formal reception to be given
by the governor, who had come from Cahaba to meet the distinguished guest
at that point. On each side of the road was a large, snowy-white tent,
between which, over the road, was an arch of beautiful artistic
construction, beneath which stood Governor Pickens and his suite awaiting
the arrival of the eminent guest. When the carriage which bore LaFayette
halted under the arch, Governor Pickens advanced to greet him, and after a
mutual introduction, the governor proceeded to extend the courtesies of
the new state, in apt and well-chosen terms, for which he was remarkable,
and was followed by the reply of General LaFayette, in phraseology just as
happy. This was followed by a sort of improvised reception on the spot,
when the distinguished citizens of the state were presented to LaFayette
one by one. In the meantime, the ladies who had come to assist in doing
honor to the occasion, remained in the tents, and the governor taking the
arm of the great guest, led him into the tents and introduced him to the
ladies. This occurred at noon on Sunday, April 3, 1825, and immediately
after these initial ceremonies were over, the procession again took up the
line of march for the village of Montgomery, LaFayette now being taken in
the carriage of Governor Pickens. A band of music attended on the
procession, the notes of which were mingled with the acclamation of the
multitude, the volume of sound increasing as Montgomery was approached, as
fresh accessions were made to the procession. Every object that could
create noise and din was brought into use, among which were the
detonations of powder, which in the absence of guns was confined in such a
way as to cause a loud explosion, and bells of every size were rung, the
people seeming determined to make up in noise the deficiency of
population, for at that time Montgomery was nothing more than a small

Once in the town, the most sumptuous quarters possible were placed at the
disposal of LaFayette and his party, and though he was fatigued, the
people pressed in to greet him. LaFayette and the governor dined privately
together, and in the evening attended together divine service.

Monday brought to LaFayette a busy day. Citizens had come from every
quarter of the state to shake his hand, among whom were some old veterans
who had served under him in the campaigns of the Revolution. His eye
kindled at the sight of a Revolutionary soldier, and his greeting was
always one of the most ardent affection. He must need have a brief
off-hand chat with every old soldier that came in to see him. A busy day
was followed by a ball given in honor of the eminent soldier and patriot.
This lasted till 11 o'clock at night, when a procession was formed to
escort him to the river landing, where three small steamers were in
waiting to take the party down the river to Cahaba--the Henderson, Balize
and the Fanny.

The next article will conclude the account of the notable visit of
LaFayette to Alabama.


As one now goes up Commerce street, Montgomery, from the railway station,
he will find about midway between the station and the Exchange Hotel, on
the right side of the street, a bronze tablet in the wall on which is
inscribed this valuable bit of historic information: "On this site stood,
until December, 1899, the house in which Marquis de LaFayette was given a
public reception and ball, April 4, 1825, while on his last tour through
the United States. This tablet is placed by the Society of the Sons of the
Revolution in the state of Alabama in lasting memory of this illustrious
patriot and soldier of the Revolution, the friend of Washington and the
youthful champion of liberty. April 4, 1825-April 4, 1905." On the same
tablet appears the figure of LaFayette with the accompanying dates of 1776
and 1883, and beneath appear the words, "The Sons of the Revolution."
While our people have been generally negligent of the preservation of
notable spots, it is an occasion of gratitude to the Sons of the
Revolution that they have so thoughtfully saved this site from utter

Resuming the narrative where it was left off in the first article, with
respect to LaFayette and the large escort that accompanied him on the
boats down the river, the flotilla reached the village of Selma the next
morning, where a stop was made to enable an eager multitude who had
gathered from different and distant directions, to catch a glimpse of the
illustrious guest of the nation, and to grasp his hand. The stay was
necessarily brief, for the boats must steam rapidly on to Cahaba, where
the people of the new capital were eagerly waiting to extend to LaFayette
a really great welcome.

The sight of the boats coming down the river was sufficient to raise from
the throats of the assembled multitude on the bank of the river, a loud
acclamation, attended by the waving of handkerchiefs, hats, umbrellas, and
banners, accompanied by the loud booming of guns and the ringing of bells.
It was difficult for LaFayette to descend the gangway, so eager were the
people to reach him and take his hand. Once on shore, and Mr. Dellet, who
was charged with the task of extending the speech of welcome, delivered
his speech, which was fitly responded to, when a long procession was
formed, which marched to the courthouse, which was tastefully decorated
throughout, and a formal reception was held. This being over, a sumptuous
dinner was in readiness, and, after dining, LaFayette was allowed a few
hours of respite. After refreshing himself by sleep, he appeared again,
and the ingenuity of the people seemed to be exhausted in the methods
devised to do him honor.

His stay at Cahaba was the shorter because he was already several days
overdue at other points. Plans had been made for a stop of a day at
Claiborne, Monroe County, then one of the largest and thriftiest towns in
the state, but which is now practically extinct, but the miscalculation in
fixing advanced dates forbade a stay of only a few hours in this bustling
little river center. An elaborate ball had been prepared for at Claiborne,
in honor of the French hero, but he was unable to remain, and after some
hours of delay the boats proceeded southward, bearing the LaFayette party,
the governor and his staff, and a multitude of attendants on the several

The next important point to be reached was Mobile. No place in all his
travels exceeded in demonstration that accorded by this Alabama
metropolis. The wharves were thronged by the eager crowds, watching for
the first appearance of the boats descending the river, and their
appearance was the signal for the shouts of the multitude, the ringing of
church bells, and the booming of big guns. The usual ceremonies were gone
through of speeches of reception and the reply, banquets and receptions,
into all of which LaFayette entered with the snap and spirit of a boy. He
had been much refreshed and invigorated by his trip down the river, and
this unusual amount of rest gave him fresh elasticity. He seemed to throw
off all reserve, and yielded himself with abandon to the festivities and
gaieties of the occasion. He was no more happy than was Governor Pickens,
who was intent on the highest possible expression of hospitality to the
national guest, and the more so, because he was so insistent on his coming
to the young state. To the credit of Governor Pickens, be it said that
there was not a jar or jostle in the elaborate plan and arrangement which
he had conceived and executed to the letter, from the time LaFayette set
foot on the soil of Alabama till he left it forever.

The stay in Mobile was cut somewhat short for the reasons already given,
as New Orleans was on the tiptoe of expectation of LaFayette's arrival.
Governor Pickens remained with LaFayette till he left the utmost limit of
the state. The finest boat that had yet been built for southern waters,
the Natchez, was to convey LaFayette to New Orleans. The Natchez was
accompanied by other steamers, which bore the large escort, but Governor
Pickens and LaFayette sailed out of the port of Mobile to Mobile Point,
where Governor Pickens took affectionate leave of his eminent guest. The
separation of these two eminent men was most affecting, as they had become
mutually much won to each other. It was agreed that they should continue
to correspond so long as both continued alive. LaFayette asked that a copy
of the paper containing an account of his visit to Alabama be sent him,
which explains the following letter:

    "My Dear Sir: According to my promise, I directed a paper to meet you
    at Pittsburg and again enclose you one herein. This contains but a
    partial account of our doings when you were with us. You will receive
    a packet which I have caused to be directed to you at Boston, giving
    an account at each place where you stopped in your journey through
    this state, believing that it may be satisfactory to you, or to some
    of your friends, in giving a reference to the incidents occurring here
    on the gratifying occasion to our citizens of the young state of

    "I hope you will have reached Boston by the time you wished, in good
    health and spirits, after a journey unexampled in our own or any
    other time; a march so extended, so rapid, and at the same time so
    triumphant has never been the boast of any personage before, and it is
    truly a source of common congratulation among the friends of
    republican institutions and of free social order throughout the world.

    "I am too sensible of the fatigues of your late journey, of those
    gratifying attentions by which you will be surrounded when this shall
    have reached you, to add anything to them by a longer letter without
    material to make it interesting to you.

    "Hereafter when you shall be enjoying the tranquillity of your own
    domestic circle, I hope to have the pleasure of corresponding with you
    in conformity with your kind invitation when I parted with you.

    "I am, with sentiments of profound respect and esteem, your most obt.,


    "General LaFayette."

This is a literal transcription of the first letter addressed by Governor
Pickens to General LaFayette.


No change that has come to later times has been more radical than that in
our schools. The discipline, management, method of instruction and general
spirit of the school have all undergone a thorough transformation. In the
early days, the old blue-back speller was a sine qua non in the elementary
schools. Its columns and battalions of words, ranging from the least
spellable words to those that are octosyllabic and even beyond, all of
which had to be learned by rote, made many an excellent speller of the
English. The modern method of acquiring ability to spell may be superior,
but one who ever mastered the old blue-back was never known to be an
indifferent speller. Consigned to the limbo of the junk heap, the
blue-back may be, but to master it was to become the possessor of most of
the words in common use, and more besides.

In former days the location of a country school was selected with
reference to the largest possible patronage, while many boys and girls
were forced to trudge the distance of several miles each morning to
attend, and return the same distance home every afternoon. The buckets
with curved wire handles would contain the dinners of the children of a
given family. School periods extended from eight in the morning till four
in the afternoon, with three brief intervals of recess during the day. For
a well-regulated school, the furniture comprised plain, unpainted seats,
none too comfortable, and unpainted desks. Where not so well regulated
the seats were of split logs, backless, with peg supporters, and no desks,
save that of the teacher, which was used at different times by a given
class of students in taking writing lessons from the teacher.

This teacher sat on a platform, which was slightly raised, in order to
give him complete oversight of each pupil. Within his desk were securely
kept the sinews of discipline in the form of a number of well-seasoned
hickories, flexible, tough, and just long enough for faithful execution.
These were a source of terror to all alike, for under the nature of the
discipline there were no immunes in view of certain infractions.

The rules of discipline were generally harsh, hard and drastic, the very
essence of the unreasonable. A pupil failing to spell a given number of
words, or to give a given number of correct answers, was straightway
drubbed. This was done in a most mechanical way, as the machinery of
discipline must, of course, run regularly. Nothing was said, but the
teacher would administer the flogging, and go straight on with his other
work. The fear of punishment, so far from acting as a stimulus, was a
barbarous hindrance. Study was not pursued so much as a pleasure, as it
was from fear of punishment.

A "big boy," one past sixteen generally, was given the alternative of a
flogging in the presence of the school, or of downright dismissal. No
respect was had for the difference between a laborious, earnest student,
who might be slow of acquisition, and one who was bright and quick, though
the former might be the solider of the two, and often was. School was
taught according to certain arbitrary rules and not according to the
principle of common sense. Most schools were therefore regarded by pupils
as terrors, and not as places of mental pleasure. A "tight" teacher, as
the rigid disciplinarian was called, was much in demand. Many a pedagogue
would lose an opportunity to procure a school because he was "loose," or,
as we would say nowadays, because he was reasonable, and not a ringmaster
with his whip. No higher commendation was there than that one would flog
even the largest boys. In consequence of this condition in the early
school, the teacher was held in almost universal awe, with no touch of
congeniality with any pupil.

In all recitations save those of reading and spelling, pupils would sit.
The spelling classes were somewhat graded, and, in reciting, would stand
in a line facing the teacher, who would "give out" the words to be
spelled. Each syllable had not only to be spelled and articulated, but in
spelling, each preceding syllable was pronounced, even to the close of the
word. If, for instance, the word notoriety was given, the pupil would
spell n-o, no, t-o, noto, r-i, notori, e, notorie, t-y, te, notoriety.
When it would come to spelling long words, they would be rattled off with
a volubility that was often amazing. It was interesting to hear words like
incombustibility and honorificabilitudinity spelled after this fashion. As
with a vocal fusillade, the pupil would clatter off long words, building
each up as he would proceed, the teacher would stand with his head
slightly careened to hear it properly done. Whatever other effect such
exercise had, it gave clearness of articulation. If a word was misspelled,
it was given to the next student with a "Next!" from the teacher, and if
successfully spelled by the one next below him, he would "turn down" the
one who failed, or, in other words, take his place in the line, sending
the one who failed nearer toward the foot of the class. Like trembling
culprits the pupils would thus stand throughout the recitation, and
everyone who had missed spelling a given number of words, walked
mechanically up to the teacher and took his drubbing. Every class of
spellers was only a body of culprits on trial.

One of the choice pranks of those early days was that of "turning the
teacher out." When a holiday was desired, and had been previously
declined, a revolt was almost sure to follow. A secret conclave of "the
big boys" was held, a mutiny was hatched, a fearless ringleader was
chosen, the plans were laid, and the time of the real issue awaited. On
the morning of the desired holiday, the young conspirators would reach the
school an hour or two in advance, barricade every door and window so that
none could enter, and quietly await the coming of the teacher. He would
usually demand that the house be opened, when the leader would inform him
that it would be done solely on condition that he would give them a

The teacher's ingenuity, tact, or physical strength was often sorely taxed
by a juncture like this. It was not an easy thing to handle a half dozen
or more determined boys just emerging into manhood, and those whose quiet
grudge prompted a desire for a tilt, at any rate, and the teacher must
either yield and thus lose his grip thereafter, or take the chance of a
rough and tumble with the odds against him. The usual method of settlement
was to sound a truce, and compromise on some satisfactory basis. One
advantage always lay on the side of the teacher--no matter how stern or
severe his method of adjustment in quelling the rebellion, he would have
the moral reinforcement of the parents, but it was an advantage that might
prove more than a forlorn hope, if he should attack a body of muscular
country boys.

Happily, those days are gone, with some slight advantages, perhaps, over
some of the present methods, but with immensely more disadvantages. At
least, the tyranny and brutality of the olden days have given place to
common sense.


Among the defunct institutions of a past era in the state's history, is
that of the country grogshop, which was known in those days as "the cross
roads grocery," a name derived from the enterprising spirit of the keepers
of such places to locate where the roads crossed, in order to catch more
"trade." Many of these country saloons became notorious resorts. These
places were the rendezvous of the rustics of the hilarious type in those
far-off days. These rude trysting places were the weekly scenes of coarse
sports, gross hilarity, and of rough-and-tumble fights. Hither the rowdies
gathered from a wide region, drank freely, yelled vociferously, and fought
not a little. The monthly muster of the militia was usually in connection
with one of these rural institutions, and hither would come "the boys" for
an all-day frolic. While squirrel guns and old flint and steel rifles were
used in the drill, these would never be brought into requisition when the
combats would usually ensue. Shooting and stabbing were far less frequent
then than now, the test of manhood being in agility, strength, and the
projectile force of the fist. There were bullies, not a few, and when one
got sufficiently under way to raise a yell like a Comanche Indian, it was
regarded as a defiant banter. This species of "sport" would usually come
as the last act of the tragedy of the day.

Among the diversions of the day was that of test of marksmanship. The
stakes were usually steaks, or, to use the terminology of the time, "a
beef quarter." To be able "to hit the bull's-eye," as the center of the
target was called, was an ambition worthy of any rustic. A feat so
remarkable made one the lion of the day, and his renown was widely
discussed during the ensuing week. No greater honor could come to one than
to be able to win a quarter, and "the grocery" was alluded to as a place
of prominent resort throughout a wide community. There were also "racing
days," which was applied to foot races as well as to horse racing. There
was a track for each hard by "the grocery," and in the foot races the
runners would strip bare to the waist, pull off their shoes, and run the
distance of several hundred yards. Brace after brace of runners would test
their speed during the day, the defeated contestant having always to
"treat the crowd."

This was varied, in turn, by horse racing day. Two parallel tracks were
always kept in order by the grocery keeper for this equestrian sport.
Scrawny ponies that had plowed during all the week were taken on the track
on Saturday, betting was freely indulged in, the owners would be their own
jockeys, and amusing were many of the races thus run.

Still another sport, cruel enough in itself, was that of the "gander
pulling." A large gander with greased neck would be suspended to a
flexible limb overhanging the road, and one by one the horsemen would ride
at full tilt, grasp the neck of the goose, and attempt to wring it off,
while his horse was at full speed. With many a piteous honk, the goose
would turn its head here and there to avoid being seized, and it was not
easy to accomplish the required feat. A given sum of money was the usual
reward to the successful contestant. This cruel sport of more than
seventy-five years ago was among the first to disappear from the programme
of rural diversions. The reader of "Georgia Scenes" has been made familiar
with this sport, which at one time was quite popular.

"Muster day," which came once each month, was usually one of bloody
hilarity. The crude evolutions on the field being over, "the boys" would
return to the grocery, and, after being bounteously served several times
at the bar, they were ready for the fun, which usually began with a
wrestling or boxing bout, in which some one who was unsuccessful would
change the scene into one of an out-and-out fray. When temper became
ascendant, which was not difficult under the condition of free imbibing,
one violent blow would invite another, when the crowd would form a ring
around the belligerents, and cries of "Stand back!" and "Fair play!" would
be heard on all hands. If one interfered in behalf of a kinsman or friend,
he was pounced on by another, and not infrequently as many as a dozen men
would be embroiled in a fisticuff battle. Nothing was tolerated but the
fist. Not even a stick could be used, though when one was down under his
antagonist it was accounted lawful to use the teeth, or even to fill the
eyes of an opponent with sand, in order to make him squall. When the
shriek of defeat was sounded, the successful antagonist was pulled off,
and some one treated him on the spot.

It was by this means that bullies were produced in those days. Sometimes a
bully would come from some other region where he had swept the field, in
order to test his prowess with a local bully. Bets would be made in
advance, and the announcement through the region, a week or so in advance,
would serve to draw an unusual crowd to the scene of pugilistic contest. A
ring was drawn in the sand, and while the contest would begin in a boxing
exercise, there came a time when it grew into a battle royal with the
fists. The champions of different neighborhoods each felt that not only
was his own reputation at stake, but that of his community. Bulls on the
pastures would not fight with greater fierceness than would these rough
rowdies. When one or the other would "give up," then would come a general
disagreement among the boozy bettors, and the entire crowd would become
involved in a general melee.

Saturday night usually brought fresh accessions from the neighboring
population, and frequently the brawls would last throughout the night.
Broken fingers, noses, well-chewed ears, and dislocated teeth usually made
up the casualties of the day. Bunged and beaten as many were, they would
resume their usual labor during the next week, while the scenes of the
preceding Saturday would be the subject of general comment, and the end of
the following week would find them again at the grocery.

These groceries, so called, prevailed throughout the South till the
opening of the Civil War, during which it is presumed that the
belligerently disposed got full gratification on fields of a different
type. Among the changes wrought in our social life by the war, this was
not among the least. Efforts to revive "the grocery" of the "good old
times" after the return of the few from the battlefields of the war,
proved abortive, and thus vanished this popular institution in the states
of the South.


The rude crafts that once floated our magnificent rivers were crude and
primitive enough, and were but a slight advance on the dugout or canoes of
the red men. The heavy, clumsy flatboat, propelled in part by long oars
used by the hand, and in part by long poles let down from the edge of the
boat and by the pressure of the body urged slowly along, and by the use of
grappling hooks to pull the boat upstream, were in use far into the
twenties of the nineteenth century. These boats were of limited surface
capacity, difficult of management, and exceedingly slow. An indication of
their sluggish movement is afforded by the fact that in 1819, when
Honorable Henry Goldthwaite was on his way from Mobile to Montgomery, to
make the latter town his home, he was just three months on the voyage up
the Alabama River. With slow movement and noiselessly, these heavy craft
would be propelled up the river, and on approaching a given point the
boatmen would signal their approach by firing a small cannon kept on each
barge for that purpose. After the invention of the steam whistle, now so
common, by Adrian Stephens, of Plymouth, England, whistles came at once
into use on all American waters.

For ages these great streams had been rolling wanton to the sea, and after
the occupation of Alabama by the whites, the natural advantages were
readily recognized, but as nothing was then known of the steam engine, of
course there was nothing left but to employ the most available craft for
transportation. For a long period, only the awkward barges and flatboats
were used. It may be readily seen how the introduction of steamers on our
rivers would facilitate individual and aggregate prosperity, which had
been so long retarded by the slow process of navigation already mentioned.

Though Robert Fulton's first grotesque steamer appeared on the waters of
the Hudson as early as 1807, and while a steamer had not yet been seen in
these parts, enterprising spirits, in anticipation of the coming use of
steamboats, organized a company at St. Stephens, the territorial capital,
in 1818, which company was duly authorized by the legislature of the
Alabama Territory, and bore the name of the St. Stephens Steamboat
Company. This was followed two years later by another, which was
incorporated under the name of the Steamboat Company of Alabama, and a
year later still came the organization of the Mobile Steamship Company. If
it is supposed that the fathers had no enterprise in those early days,
this will serve to disabuse the minds of all doubters. They were dealing
in steam futures, but they were ready for the coming tide of steam
progress. In due course of time, these rival organizations introduced
steamers on the rivers of the state, but they were not rapid of
locomotion, were at first small, rather elaborate in adornment, and
afforded some degree of comfort to a limited number of passengers. These
diminutive floaters were gradually displaced by larger vessels, the number
multiplied, and by 1845 magnificent packets were lowered from the decks
and became "floating palaces" on our waters.

At first, a steamer was propelled by a wheel at each side, but this
gradually gave way to a single wheel at the stern. The period of the
career of these magnificent steamers was a brief one, lasting not more
than fifteen or twenty years before the outburst of the Civil War.

Railways in Alabama were still practically unknown, and steamboat travel
was exceedingly popular. On the best and finest steamers the entertainment
could scarcely be excelled. The staterooms were often elegant, and always
comfortable, and the tables were banquet boards. The best country produce
was gathered at the landings, and the table fare was one of the boasts of
the steamers. The most sumptuous carpets were on the floors of the
passenger saloons, while superb furniture was alike pleasing to the eye
and comfortable in practical use. The boats were constructed with three
decks, known, respectively, as the lower, the middle or passenger, and the
upper or hurricane deck.

During the cotton season, which extended from September to March, or about
one-half the year, the boats would descend the rivers loaded each trip
with hundreds of bales of cotton, and returning, would be laden with
merchandise, while in both directions, there was usually a throng of
passengers. On some of the most elegant steamers were calliopes, the music
of which would resound at night over many miles of territory pierced by
the rivers. Nothing known to entertainment or comfort was omitted on a
first-class steamer in the forties and fifties.

Many of the landings on the rivers were located on high bluffs through
which a flight of steps would lead from the summit to the water's edge,
the length of which flight would sometimes exceed several hundred feet.
Alongside the uncovered stairway, was a tram for a wide car, which was
nothing more than a platform on wheels, which wheels ran on two beams of
wood, the surface of which was sheeted with iron. The car was operated by
means of a pulley on the summit, which, in turn, was operated by a mule or
horse moving in a circular enclosure. The freight from the steamer was
strung along the bank below, to be cared for by the warehouse above. When
cotton was to be shipped from the top of the bluff, a number of deck hands
would go to the top of the steps, and each bale was slid down the tramway
to the boat. The bale would be started endwise and descend with whizzing
swiftness, strike the lower deck, be seized by the hands below, and put in

Great were the days of the reign of the steamboat! While slow, compared
with later methods of travel, steamboat passage was the acme of comfort
and enjoyment. The social pleasure afforded was unsurpassed. While it
would require several days to go two or three hundred miles by boat, the
element of time was not so much a consideration in those leisurely days as
it is now, and the regret was often that the time of the passage was not
longer. During the busy season the schedule of the boats was most
irregular, and not infrequently passengers would wait the arrival of the
boat for twenty-four hours, and sometimes even longer.

It was interesting, the contention and competition among the rival boats
for freight and passenger traffic. In order to be able to advertise the
popularity of a given steamer, the subordinate officers and others of the
crew, would solicit passengers at the hotels of the terminal cities, and
would not only offer free passage, sometimes, but actually offer a
consideration of a small sum of money, in addition, to such as would make
choice of that steamer in preference to another.

The war greatly crippled boating on the rivers, and with the rally and
rehabilitation of the South from the effects of the war, the railway came
on anon, and the steamers largely disappeared from our rivers.


Howard College, then at Marion, was burned on the night of October 15,

Dr. Henry Talbird was at the time the president of the institution, and
his nightly habit was to make a thorough inspection of the grounds and
buildings, in order to see that all was well. After making his usual and
uniform round on the night just named, he went to bed somewhat after ten
o'clock. He had fallen into deep sleep, when he was aroused by the ringing
of bells and the loud cry of "Fire! Fire! Fire!" On rushing out, he found
the lower floor of the dormitory all ablaze, the fire already having begun
its ascent up the stairway.

To this day the origin of the fire is a mystery. It was in the fall of the
year, the weather was still warm, and there was no occasion for fire about
the building. The basement was one mass of rolling flames when first the
building was reached. In a house near by, the janitor, a negro boy of
twenty-three, was sleeping, and when he reached the scene, the flames were
moving steadily up the stairway. He made a movement as if to plunge into
the flames, when he was warned to keep clear. He replied that he must save
the boys who were sleeping on the two upper floors, and did plunge through
fire and smoke, and disappeared beyond.

Within a short time many of the people of the town had gathered, and the
boys began to leap, one after another, to the ground. Ladders were brought
into requisition to aid those on the highest floor to escape. Every
student was aroused by the heroic colored janitor, and all but one had
descended safely to the ground.

The young man who was still missing soon appeared at a window and was
saved through the exertions of the late Dr. Noah K. Davis, late professor
of philosophy in the University of Virginia, and several others.

About this time the negro boy, burnt almost bare, and raw from his burns,
his hair burnt from his head, and his eyebrows and lashes gone, appeared
at one of the highest windows and flung himself to the ground, about sixty
feet below.

He rolled over on the grass a dead man.

His body was drawn from under the influence of the intense heat, and every
effort was made to restore life, but he had been burned to death, and
evidently had thrown himself from the window to prevent his body from
being consumed in the burning building.

The terrible fire was now lost sight of in the attention which was
bestowed on the faithful negro janitor. He had given his life for others.

The following morning, elaborate preparations were made for the becoming
burial of the heroic Harry. Negro slave, as he was, he was honored with a
burial from the leading white church of the town.

The building was packed with wealthy planters, merchants, lawyers, and
their families to do honor to the hero of the fire.

In the funeral services leading citizens arose, one by one, to pronounce
eulogies on the dead slave.

Flowers were in profusion, and the procession to the cemetery was composed
of the carriages of the wealthy. Greater distinction could not have been
shown the most eminent citizen of the town.

At the grave, every possible consideration was shown, and mournfully the
vast crowd turned from the grave of an humble slave. A sum of money was at
once raised for the purpose of placing a high marble shaft at his grave,
and in the cemetery at Marion it still stands conspicuously, with the
inscriptions undimmed by the storms of more than half a century. On the
front of the shaft is the inscription: "Harry, servant of H. H. Talbird,
D.D., president of Howard College, who lost his life from injuries
received while rousing the students at the burning of the college
building, on the night of October 15, 1854, aged 23 years." On another
side appears the inscription: "A consistent member of the Baptist church,
he illustrated the character of a Christian servant, 'faithful unto
death.'" On still another side appears the language: "As a grateful
tribute to his fidelity, and to commemorate a noble act, this monument has
been erected by the students of Howard College and the Alabama Baptist
Convention." The fourth side of the monument bears this inscription: "He
was employed as a waiter in the college, and when alarmed by the flames at
midnight, and warned to escape for his life, he replied, 'I must wake the
boys first,' and thus saved their lives at the cost of his own."

Here humanity asserted itself to the full. Uninfluenced by any other
consideration than that a young man had proved himself a hero in a dire
crisis, every worthy man and woman was ready to accord to a dead but
heroic slave, the merits of his just deserts.

At this time the country was shaken by the acrimonious discussion of
domestic slavery, in which the negro was as extravagantly exploited in the
North as he was depreciated in the South; so much so, indeed, that it was
deemed unwise in the South to accord him other than ordinary
consideration. But in a juncture like this, humanity asserted itself, and
to the faithful negro janitor every possible honor was shown. For when an
ignorant slave boy became a rare hero, and voluntarily gave his life for
others, all else, for the time, was forgotten at the bar of tested

The name of Harry was heralded through the press of the country, and on
the floor of the Baptist State Convention of Alabama wealthy slave owners
eulogized him a hero, and freely opened their purses to give expression to
their appreciation of his chivalrous conduct in saving the lives of so

  "World-wide apart, and yet akin,
  As shown that the human heart
  Beats on forever as of old."


The year 1849 is signalized as the most remarkable in the history of the
state. The winter was ushered in by mildness, there was but little harsh
weather during the entire season, and the winter was early merged into the
mildness of spring. Vegetable life began to appear in the greenswards, the
blossoms came in profusion, birds were singing and nesting, vegetables
grew to early perfection, and the good housewives were careful to stow
away the winter apparel with safeguards against moths and other
destructive insects.

Planters were awake to turning the advanced season to practical account,
the fields were plowed and planted, and the young crops began growing
rapidly under the genial and fervid skies. The crops were much advanced
because of these favorable conditions, and the fruit was rapidly
increasing in size. Every indication pointed to a prosperous year, and the
flash of confidence was in the eye of every planter. Cool snaps would now
and then come, but they were not of such character as to occasion concern,
and the young crops were growing rapidly apace. Corn had been planted
early, and excellent stands were everywhere to be seen. The peculiar
season excited much wonder, and was the occasion of not a little comment.
There was a rush and bustle of life everywhere. Cotton was early planted,
was chopped out, and was rapidly growing off.

The burst of summertide had practically come by the middle of April, the
gardens were yielding abundantly of vegetables, and cold weather came to
be regarded as a memory. The oldest declared that they had never before
witnessed a year like that, and the indications were that the harvest
would come at least a month in advance of any previous year. Early fruits
began to ripen, and progressive housewives were vying with each other in
the production of early fruits and vegetables, and especially in the
quantity of eggs gathered.

Near the latter part of April of that year a sudden change came. The
atmosphere became rapidly chilly, but as snaps had come at different
times, this occasioned no serious alarm.

But the weather continued to become more icy, and there was a rapid shift
of apparel. The sudden change culminated in one of the fiercest freezes
that had occurred within a number of years. The corn was waist high, and
the cotton fully twelve inches in height, and perfectly clear of grass.
The morning following the severe freeze revealed a wide waste of
desolation. Wilt and blight and death were everywhere. The deepest green
was turned into sallow, and cheerlessness everywhere reigned. Not a
glimpse of green was to be seen. Gardens, fields and pastures equally
shared in the general desolation. Not a note of a bird could be heard,
many of the songsters were found dead, and nature seemed to put on the
weeds of mourning.

The enthusiasm of the planting public was turned into consternation. There
was everywhere dismay. The season was well advanced, seed was scarce and
difficult to be had, and the sudden check was a shock. The difficulty was
that few knew what to do in the presence of a phenomenon so remarkable.
But there was no halt on the part of the progressive planters. They
resumed their activity and fell to the work of planting anew. The soil was
in excellent condition, economy was had in the use of seed, and soon
another crop was planted. The weather rapidly changed to warmth again,
showers followed, and the seasons thenceforth were ideal. Every condition
favored germination and growth, cultivation was rapid, and within a few
weeks the fields were again radiant in vernal freshness. The leaves came
again slowly on the trees, though many of the trees died. Fruit utterly
failed, and not a few of the fruit trees were killed.

As with compensating balance, a long summer ensued, followed by a late
fall, the crops grew rapidly to perfection, every condition favored their
tillage and final harvesting, the whole resulting in one of the most
bounteous crops produced up to that time in the state.

Hickorynuts, walnuts, acorns, and swampmast generally were abundant to the
salvation of the small game of the woods, and to the supplementary aid of
the raisers of hogs, and no inconvenience was experienced save that
everything was backward.

The opening of the cotton market was delayed for a month or six weeks, but
the price was good, and the year 1849 recovered from its disaster, and
proved to be one of the most prosperous that had ever been experienced.
Merchants who were accustomed to go north for their stocks were somewhat
delayed, but so were the seasons, and conditions were amply equalized by
the close of the year, and events took their usual and uniform round.

To be sure, scientific wiseacres here and there declared that the seasons
were changing, just as is always true when phenomena come, but practical
men went on their way, farmers becoming more economic and careful, but as
'49 receded, it became a year much talked of during the then existing
generation, and in time became a tradition as a remarkable exception among
the years.

Remarkable meteorological phenomena have come in all periods of history,
and while they have furnished supposed data to a certain class of
scientists, so-called, with which they have woven theories not a few, the
temperature of the different zones has continued as of old, and while
fatuous theories have gone to the winds, the seasons have kept on their
wonted rounds as of old.

The modification of temperature may come as a result of certain conditions
like that of the denudation of our forests and others, yet there is
scarcely any prospect that any material change will come, for so long as
the gulf stream pursues its way, climates are not liable to undergo any
decided change.


Amidst the shadings and shinings of slavery were two instances in Alabama
history that are worthy of record. During the regime of slavery, provision
was made in the churches of the whites for the accommodation of the
slaves, in the larger churches by spacious galleries, and in the smaller
ones, by rear seats. The latter custom prevailed, for the most part, in
the rural churches.

Among the different denominations, the Baptists and Methodists were
foremost in the provision of the means of the evangelization of the
slaves. These two denominations made each year appointments of white
missionaries to the blacks on the plantations, and on the services held
under such conditions, both the whites and blacks would attend. Provision
was made for membership of the slaves in the churches of the whites, where
they enjoyed the same privileges in common, being received into membership
in the same way, baptized, as were the others, and sharing in the
communion alike. When the slaves were freed, they were encouraged to found
their own churches and other institutions, the friendly whites aiding them
in every way possible.

So far back as 1828, before the agitation of the slavery question began in
earnest, in the press, the schools, and in the congress of the United
States, much attention was given to the christianization of the slaves.
This spirit was somewhat later checked by the establishment of the
underground railroad, and by other methods clandestinely employed by the
abolitionists to liberate the southern slaves. These secret methods called
into exercise counter means as those of circumvention. Among these last
mentioned was that of the legal imposition of a penalty on anyone who
would teach a slave to read or to write, which law was generally enacted
in the slave states, and the other was that of the fugitive slave law,
which was enacted September 18, 1850.

Between the legislative bodies and the Christian denominations there was
no apparent conflict, and yet those interested in the evangelization of
the slaves recognized the necessity of intelligence in order to appreciate
the gospel. The practical result was that the legislature would enact its
laws and the churches would pursue their own courses in their own ways. In
the Alabama Baptist Association a step was taken, in 1828, that reveals
one of the bright sides of slavery. At that time the Alabama association
embraced a number of counties in the heart of the "black belt," where were
many of the largest slave owners of the state.

Within the territory of that association was a remarkable negro named
Caesar, who belonged to John R. Blackwell. This slave showed not only
remarkable ability as a preacher, but possessed a rare character which was
highly esteemed by the whites. The missionary to the slaves at that time
was Rev. James McLemore, on whom Caesar won rapidly, and he often took the
slave preacher with him on his tours, and not infrequently had him to
preach in his stead. Mr. McLemore called the attention of the association
to the worth of this man, and proposed that he be bought from his master,
given his freedom, and be employed as a missionary to the slaves on the
plantations. This was accordingly done, through a committee of the body,
and the sum of $625 was paid for Caesar out of the treasury of the
association, and the remainder of the life of Caesar was given exclusively
to preaching as a free man. Exceedingly black as Caesar was, he was gladly
listened to by white auditors, as he would go here and there about the
country on his missionary tours.

In another instance, the Alabama state convention sought to purchase a
gifted slave for the same purpose. There belonged to John Phillips, of
Cotton Valley, Macon County, a slave whose name was Dock, a large,
muscular and valuable man, who was a blacksmith on his master's
plantation. He and his master had been reared together, and were much
devoted to each other. In his younger days, Dock had been taught to read
and to write by his young master, who came at last to inherit him from his
father's estate. Mr. Phillips continued to teach Dock, who became a
preacher of note among his people, and who was widely esteemed by the
whites because of his Christian worth, wise influence on the slaves, and
because, too, of his gift as a preacher. He attracted the attention of
some of the prominent members of the convention, and the proposal was made
to purchase his freedom, and to send him forth as a missionary among the
blacks. An influential committee was appointed, one of which number was
the late Dr. Samuel Henderson, and in due time, the committee visited the
master with the view of negotiating the purchase.

When the matter was submitted to the master he replied that he did not
wish to prevent the greatest good being done among the slaves, and
admitted that Dock was a tower of strength with his people, but added that
he regarded Dock indispensable to his plantation, because he was his chief
"driver," and his only reliable blacksmith. After much discussion, the
master consented to leave the matter for settlement to Dock himself.
Accordingly he and the committee of distinguished preachers repaired to
the blacksmith shop, called Dock out, who was wearing his long leather
apron, and had his sleeves rolled to his shoulders, while his face was
begrimed with smoke and soot. Mr. Phillips remained silent, and allowed
the preachers and Dock to negotiate concerning his purchase and consequent

Dock listened in silence while they proceeded to show him the advantages
which would accrue to him, in consequence of his freedom and the exercise
of his gifts as a preacher. When the committee had ended, Dock asked his
friend and master what he had to say to a proposal so novel, and the
master told him that it was left to him to decide. The blacksmith then
said: "Marse John, we were raised together, and have always been like
brothers. You give me all the freedom I want. You let me have a horse to
ride when I want it, and there has never been a word between us. No
greater kindness could I have, if I were free, but if you want to sell me,
I will go, not because I want to, but because you want to get rid of me.
Of course, I belong to you, and if you leave it to me, I'm going to stay
with you till one or the other of us dies." "That settles it, gentlemen,"
said the master, and turning to Dock, he said, "You may go back to your
work." Dock lived many years, was a slave preacher of power, but was never
free. There is much of the inner history of the South of which the world
knows nothing.


For the camp meeting, so long a popular institution in the South, we are
indebted to the people called Methodists. The originator of the camp
meeting seems to have been Lorenzo Dow, who adopted this as a popular
method of reaching the people of England in the earliest years of the
nineteenth century. It was so successful that the early Methodists adopted
it with much advantage in the new and growing states of America. Others
partly adopted this method, but none could ever equal the success of the
Methodists in its conduct. It remained a popular institution till the
beginning of the Civil War.

Unique in many respects, the camp meeting rapidly won in popular favor.
Though religious, the camp meeting had the inviting side of an outing and
the dash of the picnic together, with the abandon attendant on a season of
religious worship in the woods. Its lack of restraint of formality and
conventionality, such as pertained to church worship, gave it a peculiar
tang of popularity. In the camp meeting there was a oneness of spirit,
with the total obliteration of favoritism where people could worship
without the fear of trenching on the rules of stilted propriety, and
without having to conform to style or aught else, but common sense
propriety. The preacher could preach as long as he might wish, and the
people could sing and shout without limit. The fresh, open air, the tented
grounds, social contact, and freedom of worship were the chief elements of
an old-time camp meeting. Certain points throughout the South became
famous as camp grounds, and remained so for full fifty years or more. That
the camp meeting was an occasion of vast good, no one familiar with it
would deny. To old and young alike it was always one of the prospective
focal points of genuine enjoyment. There was the zest of novelty of living
apart a week or ten days from the noisy world, in the midst of the most
congenial association. The approach of the season for the camp meeting
spurred the farmer to the time of "laying by" his crop, and excited the
diligence of the good housewife in hoarding eggs, butter and honey and of
fattening the turkeys and chickens, all for "the coming camp meeting." Nor
did the idea of denominationalism ever enter the minds of the people.
While it was a Methodist institution, those of other denominations shared
with equal interest in its promotion and success. The recreation afforded
was of the most wholesome type physically, mentally, socially, and

A level tract of land in close proximity to a large spring of water was
usually selected, cleared of its undergrowth and fallen timbers, in the
midst of a populous region, and with surroundings of abundance in order to
provide against any emergency respecting man or beast. The grounds were
generally laid out in regular order after the fashion of a camp, and any
who might wish to do so were invited to pitch their tents, and share in
the general enjoyment of the occasion. The only restriction imposed were
those of good order and the observance of decent propriety about one's
tent. Disorder of no kind was tolerated, and if discovered, was promptly
removed. There were no rigid rules, the law being that of common sense
based on decency and propriety.

The camp meeting was held at an annually stated time, and by the Christian
community was looked forward to with a sense of delight that must have
been akin to that of the ancient Israelites in their annual pilgrimages to
Jerusalem. For at least a week in advance of the beginning of the meeting,
there were those who were active in getting the grounds into condition for
the coming event, while those who were to tent on the grounds were engaged
in storing supplies and arranging for the comfort of the occupants of the
tents and cottages erected about the grounds. The tents were thickly sown
down with oat or wheat straw, and partitioned with curtains, in
accommodation to the different sexes.

The chief building on the grounds was the place of worship, or the
tabernacle. This was usually a pavilion with permanent roof and seats and
deeply overstrewn with straw. Sometimes it was an immense tent which was
erected each year. The worship began with a sunrise prayer meeting, to
which the audience was summoned, as it was to all occasions of worship, by
the blowing of a large cow horn. Four services a day were held, one at
sunrise, another at midday, a third in the afternoon, and another at
night. No limitation of time was imposed on the services. They were as
liable to last four or five hours, as one. The matter was settled by the
interest, and not by the watch. Often after midnight the services were
still in progress.

Near the center of the grounds was what was called the fire-stand, which
was a small platform four or five feet square, covered deeply in sand, on
which a fire was kept blazing by means of light-wood during the entire
night. This platform was supported by four strong supports, and the
resinous flame would irradiate all the grounds and surrounding forest.
About the camp, were the stalls for the stock, and the braying mules and
neighing horses served to remind one of the domestic conditions of the

These occasions were gala ones to the young folk who were seen perched in
buggies about the grounds discussing themes that "dissolve in air away,"
while more serious subjects were being conned under the roof of the
tabernacle. No class more gladly hailed the camp meeting than the
old-time, thrifty slave, who appeared on the scene with crude articles for
sale. The old black mammy was present with her coil of flaring bandana
about her head, and wearing her snowy apron, while she sold her long
ginger cakes, while the old uncle dispensed from an earthen jug good
"simmon beer," or corn beer, while others were venders of watermelons and
sugar cane.

Other organizations more formal and formidable have come to take the place
of the old time camp meeting, but it is doubtful that they accomplish the
same beneficent results. The camp meeting was a social cement which
blended most beautifully with that which was spiritual in a wide region,
and in its discontinuance there is occasioned a gap which nothing has come
to fill.


Rev. Dr. I. T. Tichenor, who was for many years pastor of the First
Baptist Church of Montgomery, later the president of the Polytechnic
Institute at Auburn, and still later corresponding secretary of the Home
Mission of the Southern Baptist Convention, relates the following story of
cruelty as connected with his pastorate at Montgomery. It was the habit of
Dr. Tichenor to preach to the slaves of Montgomery, every Sunday
afternoon, during his long pastorate in that city.

Among the many hundred slaves who came to the service was a large,
muscular, yellow man, well advanced in years, whose infirmity was
supported by a large hickory stick, the peculiar thump of which always
signalized the coming of this old man into the church. The pastor was
sympathetically attracted to the old man because of his devotion, marked
silence, and physical infirmity. This particular slave rarely smiled, and
when the pastor would call on him to pray, which he sometimes did, Jesse
Goldthwaite, the crippled slave, would respond with a fervency rarely

When the emancipation of the slaves came as a result of the close of the
war, there was much jubilation, but it seemed not to affect Jesse
Goldthwaite. Conscious that his end was near, freedom could be of but
slight benefit to him. The distinguished white pastor noticed that the old
man was not the least cheerful, in the midst of the wild demonstrations of
racial joy, and the shadow of the sorrow under which the aged slave lived
never disappeared. After the slaves had been free for some time, Jesse
came one day during the week into the study of Dr. Tichenor, and
addressing him as "master," as he was in the habit of doing, wished to
know if he would be good enough to write some letters for him.

Dr. Tichenor assured him that it would be a pleasure to serve him. With
difficulty the old ex-slave took a seat that was offered him, and leaning
on his big stick began by saying that when he was stolen from his home in
Maryland, his father, mother, three brothers and a sister were then living
in a thrifty village in that state, the name of which village was given.
But this was just fifty-two years before. Jesse indulged the hope that
some of them still lived, though he had not heard from them since he was
kidnaped at the age of eighteen.

Never having heard his story, Dr. Tichenor encouraged him to give it.
Jesse's father and his family were free. The family lived on the outskirts
of a Maryland village where the father owned a good home and a small farm.
Having occasion to send Jesse on an errand to the shores of the
Chesapeake, the stalwart youth of eighteen, muscular, large, active and
bright, was seized by some slave traders, and forcibly taken on board a
small vessel and carried to Richmond, where in the slave market he was
sold on the block. He protested that he was free, and was forcibly brought
hither, but no attention was given to his defense. From Virginia he was
brought to Montgomery, and bought by the Goldthwaites, in which family he
had been for more than fifty years. On being sold at Montgomery he again
protested, but was answered by the statement that he had been bought in
good faith, and the fault was not that of his present owners. This, he
said, destroyed all hope, and he knew that he was doomed to a life of
slavery, from which condition there was no possible appeal. This made him
desperate, and he resolved on a course of perpetual rebellion. His
mistress sympathized with him in his condition, after she learned his
story, and sought to show him every possible kindness, but his refractory
disposition brought him under the stern discipline of his master, who
sought to subdue him at any cost. While he was forced to succumb, he was
not reconciled to his fate, and resisted in every way possible. He was
notorious as a thief, liar, and profane swearer, and in his desperation he
resolved to drown his troubles in drunkenness. Exposure on cold nights,
while drunk, induced the rheumatism and impaired his sight almost to

The years wore wearily on, and when he was brought under the influence of
the preaching of Dr. Tichenor, Jesse became a Christian, and thenceforth
he sought to lead a subdued and submissive life, but his frame was now a
wreck. Advancing age had bent his form, and it was with difficulty that he
could see. While submissive, Jesse was never cheerful, but lived under the
burden of a wrong enforced, from which there was no possible deliverance.
Now, at the age of seventy-two, he came to Dr. Tichenor to request that he
write to Maryland, and if possible, to learn whether any of his relatives,
who never knew of his fate, were still surviving. Letters were written,
one to the postmaster of the village, and to others known personally to
Dr. Tichenor, at Baltimore, and elsewhere.

For several weeks the old man would trudge with difficulty to the pastor's
study to learn of the result of the letters, but no favorable answer came.
In order to cheer the old man, and to prolong hope, Dr. Tichenor would
write to yet others, but nothing could be learned of the whereabouts of
any of those sought by Jesse Goldthwaite. The aged ex-slave would leave
the presence of the pastor with a heavy groan each time, and express the
hope that when he should come the next time he might be able to learn of
his loved ones of the long ago. Finally the old man ceased to come. It was
thought that continued discouragement had checked his visits, but when Dr.
Tichenor sought to learn of the strange absence of Jesse, he ascertained
that he had been dead for weeks. In a negro cabin he had died in
Montgomery, and had been quietly buried by his own people in the pauper

In the annals of the horrors of slavery no story can perhaps excel that of
the doom of Jesse Goldthwaite. Born a free man, and stolen in the prime of
his robust youthhood, manacled and sold into slavery, he lived more than a
half century in this condition, and when he died, he was buried in a grave
of poverty.


In the fork of the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers, about fifty miles above
Mobile, is said to be a lake, beautiful and clear, which is called Hal's
Lake. The name is derived from an incident that occurred in the days of
slavery. A runaway slave from a Mississippi plantation found refuge and
secretion in this dismal resort, and hither he lured other slaves, all of
whom lived in the region of the lake for an unknown time.

Having run away from a plantation in Mississippi, Hal, a stalwart slave,
made his way across the Tombigbee, and on reaching the swamp of big cane,
tangled underbrush and large trees, he found his way into it with great
difficulty, where he discovered that the bears of the swamp had regular
paths, the tall canes on the sides of which being worn smooth by their
fur. For a day or two the runaway subsisted on the wild fruits of the
swamp, but on exploring further toward the north, he found that there were
plantations on the opposite side of the Alabama River, and by means of the
use of a piece of wood to support him in swimming across, he made his way,
a hungry man, to a plantation at night, where he told his story and
procured food.

Hal soon became an expert forager, as was indicated by the loss of an
occasional pig, lamb, goat, or turkey from the plantation. Not content
with his own freedom, he determined to bring his family to this swampy
retreat. Making his way back to his distant home, he succeeded at night in
mounting his family on two or three choice horses, and being familiar
with the country in that region, he chose to travel during the first night
along plantation paths, and the next morning after leaving the home, he
and his were fully thirty miles away. The horses were turned loose, and
the remainder of the journey was pursued at night, while the fleeing
slaves would sleep during the day. When the Tombigbee was reached, he
succeeded in conveying his family over by lashing some logs together.
After a perilous passage, they finally reached the swamp, and set about
providing a temporary home on the lake, by constructing a booth of canes
and saplings, covering it with bark.

In his trips to the neighboring plantations across the river for
necessaries, Hal induced other slaves to join him in his safe retreat.
After a time, he had a colony in a quarter where white men had never gone,
and on the shores of the lake chickens crew, turkeys gobbled, with the
mingled notes of the squealing of pigs and the bleating of goats.

Hal was the sovereign of the tiny commonwealth, and in due course of time
he found it unnecessary himself to go on foraging expeditions, and would
send others. Still the population of the colony grew, as an occasional
runaway slave would be induced to join it. In those days of "underground
railroads," the continued absence of a slave from a plantation would be
taken to mean that he had fled by some of the numerous means of escape,
and after a period, search for the missing would be given up. Not only was
there a mysterious disappearance of slaves, but that of pigs, chickens,
sheep and other domestic animals, as well. The secret of this slave haunt
was well preserved, and the news of its security became an inducement to a
large number of slaves, some from a considerable distance, to join Hal's
colony beside the lake.

Not only was Hal autocratic in his immured fastness between the rivers and
in the jungle of cane, but he became tyrannical, which in turn, provoked
revolt. A burly slave refused to obey his dictation, and Hal straightway
expelled him from the colony, and exiled him. Bent on revenge, the exile
made his way back to his master, surrendered and told the story fatal to
Hal's colony. The mysteries of several years were thus cleared up to
planters along the rivers. The exile became the guide to the retreat where
was ensconced the slave colony, and with packs of dogs and guns, the
stronghold was surrounded and the slaves captured. But slight resistance
to the dogs was offered, and the submissive black men and their families
were conveyed across the river, the ownership of each ascertained, and
each was sent, under guard, to his owner. As for Hal and his family, the
sheriff notified the owner on the distant Mississippi plantation of their
capture, and he came, in due time, proved his chattels, and they were
taken back to their original home.

How long they might have remained in this secure retreat, but for the
intolerance of the original leader, it is impossible to say. Hal was not
unlike many another with advantages vastly above his--power made him
top-heavy, and soft seductions were turned into tyranny, all of which
reminds us of the comment of Artemus Ward on the conduct of the Puritans
of New England. Artemus said: "They came to this country to worship God
according to their own consciences, and to keep other people from
worshipin' Him accordin' to their'n."

The capture of Hal and of his party led to the discovery of this
phenomenal body of clear water in that interior retreat not only, but to
the discovery of bears, which fact made it the hunting ground for big game
for many years. It is said that much big game is still to be found in that
region between the two great rivers.

How much of truth there is in the details of this story which comes to us
from the old slave days, none can tell, but it reveals to us one of the
features of slave life. That the story has its foundation in fact, there
seems to be no doubt, and it still lingers as a tradition in that quarter
of the state.

Transcriber's Note:

Text on page 530 is misprinted in the original. This error is presented in
this version as it is in the original.

    Gen. William Henry Harrison having resigned as major general in the
    regular army was disbanded, and the troops returned home. him.

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