Biographies of the Delegates to the Alabama Secession Convention Part IV

Biographies of the Delegates to the Alabama Secession Convention

Part IV- 1

Michael Jefferson Bulger

Tallapoosa County

Michael Jefferson Bulger (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Planter, Confederate Army officer and state senator, Michael Jefferson Bulger was the son of Pierce and Sarah A. Bulger. He was born February 13, 1806, in Richland District, South Carolina, and died in Tallapoosa. When only seventeen years of age Bulger came to Montgomery and was apprenticed to a gin maker. In 1834 he removed to Nixburg, Coosa County, Alabama, and from there to Tallapoosa County four years later. Although he was a planter the remainder of his life, Bulger was in the state legislature from 1851 to 1855; a delegate to the Charleston Convention of 1860; a candidate for election to the Douglas electoral ticket; unsuccessful candidate for governor against Robert M. Patton; and a state senator in 1866. A man of great courage, he is known better for his military exploits than any other thing. While brigadier general of the militia for a period prior to his resignation in 1861, he labored diligently to infuse and maintain a military spirit among the people. When war came he assisted Governor Shorter to reorganize the calvary; recruited and organized a company and became a captain in the Forty-seventh Alabama Infantry Regiment; was wounded twice while commanding a regiment at Cedar Run; but remained at his post until the loss of blood forced him to retire. He was left on the field and reported dead at Gettysburg, but Federal soldiers cared for him; after recovering he was exchanged, the following spring. While recovering from an operation Bulger was commissioned a brigadier general, but the Confederate Army surrendered before he could assume his command. He was a Presbyterian. In 1829 he was married to Parmelia Donnell of Rea County, Tennessee; eighteen years later he married Mary Elizabeth Bozeman of Tallapoosa County, Alabama. Children by his first wife were Pierce, Mary, Michael, and Parmelia; by the second wife, Nathan, William, Catherine, Thomas and Carrie. (Findagrave.com memorial 14387514)


See complete biography of Michael Jefferson Bulger on Alabama Pioneers.

Sanford Ephraim Catterlin

Choctaw County

As biographical data available on Sanford Ephraim Catterlin are limited, very little is known of his family or life. Reliable sources indicate that he migrated from Ashley, Washington County, Illinois, to Mt. Sterling, Choctaw County, Alabama. Soon after 1830, he married Mary Ann Mills of the Mt. Sterling community. Although penniless and uneducated his wife gave him sufficient instruction to enable him to study law and succeed in the profession. Being industrious, economical and a shrewd businessman, Catterlin accumulated a great deal of property. At one time he owned nearly all of the land of Mt. Sterling, a plantation, a grist mill and a flour mill at Livingston, Alabama. The property of the Mt. Sterling Methodist Church was given by him. His second wife was Martha M. Walton.


He was Postmaster at Mount Sterling October 26, 1838, in Choctaw County, Alabama.

James S. Clarke

Lawrence County

Son of a Dr. Clark of Lawrence County, James S. was born in 1830. Well educated, Clarke studied law and was licensed to practice. In 1857 he was elected to represent Lawrence County in the legislature and he was again elected in 1863; he was also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1865. Taking office in 1868, Clarke was circuit judge for many years. His brother, Dr. John M. Clarke, represented Lawrence County in the legislature in 1865.


From Lawrence County Archives/Footprints in Time by Thursday, October 27, 1881 news abstract:

A Tribute by Decatur Lodge – At a called communication of Rising Sun Lodge, No. 29, A.F.M., held at their Hall on Saturday, October 8th A.D. 1881, L.L. 5881, the death of Bro. Jas. S. CLARK, of Mt. Hope Lodge, No. 85 having been duly announced.

Thursday, December 22, 1881

Tribute of Respect – To the Master, Wardens and Brethren of Mount Hope Lodge No. 168: Your committee, appointed to prepare Resolutions on the death of our worthy Brother – James Samuel CLARK. Whereas, It has pleased the Divine Architect of the Universe to remove from our midst our beloved brother, who was born August 9th, 1830 and died October 8th, 1881, being in the 52nd year of his age.

William Edward Clarke

Marengo County

Born in Petersburg, Chesterfield County, Virginia, on November 13, 1815, William Edward was the son of Thomas and Mary Pegram Clarke. Before moving to Dayton, Marengo County, Alabama, his father was a planter, and a major in the United States Army during the War of 1812. Clarke took his academic and law courses at William and Mary College and came to Dayton to practice in 1837. He was appointed circuit solicitor and elected to the same office in 1846; when his elected term expired he declined to run again. Soon after the adjournment of the Secession Convention, Clarke was elected to the state senate from Greene and Marengo Counties and held this office until 1865. When Jemison was elected to the Senate of the Confederate States of America, Clarke succeeded him as chairman of the Senate committee on finance and taxation of the state legislature. After the war ended, he returned to private life and formed a law partnership with his son. His wife was Rebecca Raincock of Norfolk, Virginia. There were several sons, but Richard Henry and Carter Pegram, (a Civil Engineer) are the only names found. Clarke died at Demopolis at an advanced age.


He died May 20, 1899, at the age of 83 in Demopolis, Alabama and buried in Dayton Cemetery.

Jeremiah Clemens

Madison County

Jeremiah Clemens ca. 1839 (photograph by McDonald, Robin, Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Lawyer, author and United States senator, Jeremiah Clemens was born December 28, 1814 in Huntsville, Alabama, and died at the same place on May 21, 1865. His father was James Clemens who migrated from Kentucky to Madison County, then in the Mississippi Territory, in 1812, and his mother was the sister of Archie and John Mills of Limestone and Madison counties. Clemens attended LaGrange College and the University of Alabama, and was graduated from the latter in 1833. He studied law at Transylvania College and was admitted to the bar in 1834. In 1838 President Van Buren appointed him district attorney for the Northern District of Alabama; and he represented Madison County in the state legislature 1839, 1841, 1843 and 1844. Clemens was a private in the United States Army during the period the Cherokee Indians gave trouble; raised a company of riflemen and joined the Texas revolutionists with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1842; and served as a major, lieutenant colonel and colonel in the United States Army during the Mexican War. At the end of that war Clemens remained in Mexico as chief of the depot of purchases. An unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 1849 he was elected to fill the unexpired term of Dixon Hall Lewis in the United States Senate on December 3 of the same year. Moving to Memphis in 1858, he assumed the editorship of the Eagle and Engineer but the enterprise was short lived. Governor Moore appointed Clemens major general of the state militia in 1861 but he did not engage in active service. During the Federal occupation of Huntsville, he again became a Unionist, visited the North, and advocated the reelection of Lincoln in 1864. With his other activities Clemens found time to write several novels and left an incomplete history of the war. Some of the novels were Bernard Lyle, Mustang Gray, The Rivals and Tobias Wilson. He was married to Mary L. Read at Huntsville on December 4, 1834. The only child born to them was a daughter, Mary.


See full biography of Jeremiah Clemens on Alabama Pioneers

1Transcribed from The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 03, Nos. 03 & 04, Fall and Winter Issue 1941

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS – Volume I – IV: Four Volumes in One