Biographies of the Delegates to the Alabama Secession Convention Part X

Biographies of the Delegates to the Alabama Secession Convention

Part X 1

Robert Jemison

Tuscaloosa County

A lawyer, businessman, legislator and leader of the minority in the Secession Convention, Robert Jemison was born September 17, 1802, in Lincoln County, Georgia, and died in Tuscaloosa, October 17, 1871. The son of William and Sarah (Mims) Jemison, he was taught by Professor N. S. S. Beman, stepfather of William L. Yancey, and attended the University of Georgia. He read law under Eli Shorter of Eatonton, Putman County, Georgia, but he migrated to Pickens County, Alabama with his parents in 1826. In 1836 he went to Tuscaloosa County and established a sawmill and a flour mill; built a toll bridge; began to operate a stagecoach line which carried mail; ran a plantation; and engaged in several other enterprises. Jemison was in the state legislature 1840-50, and the state senate 1851-63. Elected to the Confederate Senate in 1863, he served in this capacity until the collapse of the Confederacy. In addition, he assisted in promoting the Selma, Rome and Dalton Railroad; the hospital for the treatment of the insane; and in systematizing the financial affairs of the state. He was a Methodist. Jemison married Priscilla Cherokee Taylor of Mobile; their only child was Cherokee Mims, who married Andrew Coleman Hargrove. (Findagrave.com memorial 54384893)


From Northern Alabama: Historical and Biographical, Smith & De Land, 1888

Robert Jemison was born in Georgia in 1802. He came to Alabama in 1821. He moved to Pickens County in 1826, where he was a cotton planter for ten years. Returning to Tuscaloosa, he represented the county in the lower house for eight years. In 1851 he was advanced to the Senate, where he remained twelve years. In 1862 he was elected President of the Senate. The following year he was called to the Confederate State Senate, to succeed the Hon. Wm. L. Yancey. In 1861 he represented Tuscaloosa in the Constitutional Convention. He died in the city of his adoption, October 17, 1871. Mr. Jemison was noted for his great force of character, his enterprise and his public spirit. Brewer has well said of him, that “Among the citizens of Tuscaloosa Robert Jemison stood like Saul among the children of Kish, a head and shoulders above his brethren.”

Origen Sibley Jewett

Clarke County

Born April 5, 1820, at Mobile, Origen Sibley Jewett was killed during the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. The son of Elijah and Salome Jewett, he received his preliminary education in Mobile and was graduated from Brown University. After reading law in the office of Governor John Gayle of Mobile, Jewett practiced with Robert Armistead in Montgomery. Entering the Confederate Army he was elected a major of the Thirty-eighth Alabama Infantry Regiment. He was an Episcopalian. On December 21, 1853, he married Clara Lee James, grand-daughter of Gen. John Scott of Montgomery. Five children were born of this marriage, Thomas James, Virginia Scott, Clara Lee, Origen Sibley and Eliza Elliott.(Findagrave.com memorial 91258835)


From: Clarke County, Alabama, and its Surroundings by Timothy Horton Ball, Clarke County Historical Society, 1879 – Origen S. Jewett was born in Connecticut April 20, 1820. His father removed to Georgia in 1822 and died in 1831 when his mother came with her family to Baldwin County, where two of her brothers, Origen and Cyrus Sibley, have resided. Major Origen Sibley Jewett, graduating at Brown University in Rhode Island, studying law, admitted to the bar, appointed Register in Chancery for Mobile, became in 1857 an inhabitant of Clarke, becoming a planter as well as lawyer. In 1861 he was state senator from Clarke, Monroe, and Baldwin. In the following winter, he was chosen Major of the 38th Alabama Infantry. He was killed by a sharpshooter, at the battle of Chickamauga, having attracted attention by “being splendidly mounted and fearlessly exposing himself to danger.” He left a stainless record “as a gentleman, a soldier, and a Christian.”

Elliott Priest Jones

Fayette County

Elliott Priest Jones was born October 21, 1819, at Moulton, Alabama, and died at Fayette, April 18, 1880. His parents were Benjamin and Viney Jones, the former a native of Kentucky, who was a captain during the Mexican War. After receiving his common school education in Lawrence County he began to teach. Jones read law in the offices of Ligon and Walker of Moulton and began the practice at Fayette in 1844. He was a judge of the county court 1848-50; state senator 1850-60; and delegate to the Constitutional Convention 1865. Upon the creation of a county out of the territory he represented, the legislature named it Jones in his honor; later the name was changed to Sanford and finally to Lamar. Jones was a Methodist, Mason and Odd Fellow. His wife, Lucinda Jane Page, was the daughter of Mrs. Jane Page. The children were John W., James Benjamin, Lucius. E., Mattie Ophelia., Sylvester F., Frances Isabella, Charles Samuel, and Mary Alice. (Findagrave.com memorial 43174406)


From The Tuscaloosa Gazetteer, October 14, 1886: “Elliott P. Jones was elected to the Senate in 1851, 1853, 1855, 1860, and last in 1865. I do not think it would be exeggerating (sic) in regard to him, or disparaging to others to say that Judge Jones was the ranking Senator from that section of Alabama. His standing in the Senate was very good. He had the confidence and esteem of such men as Jemison, Gunn, B. C. Yancy, Watts, McLemore, B. H. Baker, Bethea, Bullock and many others who deservedly stood high in the councils of the State. As a lawyer, he was very safe. His advice was always in the interest of peace and against litigation. He was in no sense of the word technical but wanted to get right to the merits of the case and try the real issue. His fairness was proverbial.

In politics, Judge Jones was a Democrat, true to his principles, but liberal and generous to the other side, in which he had hosts of warm personal friends. He was first elected Judge of the County Court, but upon the organization of the Probate system he went out. He was never beaten in a contest before the people. Judge Jones was opposed to succession, and in 1860 espoused the cause of Stephen A. Douglas for President as the surest means of averting calamities that subsequently befell the South. After the election in 1860, he was elected to the Convention called by Gov. Moore. In that body, he voted against Secession and was one of the few who refused to sign that document. – After the war he was elected to the Convention called by Gov. Parsons, and was elected to the Senate, – the last one before reconstruction. This term closed his public life. He betook himself to his profession, which he followed until a few years ago when death called him. [1880] He was ready for the summons. His memory will long live in the hearts of his numerous friends.”

From Alabama, Her History, Resources, War Record, and Public Men: From 1540 to 1872, By Willis Brewer 1872, Barrett and Brown

Of the several prominent citizens of this county (Fayette) Elliott Priest Jones may be mentioned. He is a native of Lawrence County and was born in the year 1819. His mother was a Miss Wallace; his father was a farmer who came from Kentucky the year before and lived in Lawrence. He came with his parents to Fayette in 1837. Having received a good education, he taught school three years, then read law in Moulton under the eye of Messrs. D. G. Ligon and Leroy P. Walker. Enrolled as an attorney in 1844, he opened an office in Fayetteville. In 1848-50 he was judge of the county court, and from 1850 to 1860 he represented Marion and Fayette in the Senate, with modesty, but with usefulness and efficiency. He was a member of the constitutional conventions of 1861 and 1805, and in the latter year war again chosen to the State Senate. He went out of office when the reconstruction acts were passed in 1868, and the same year was on the Seymour electoral ticket. He now practices law and ranks well in the profession. Judge Jones is held in deserved esteem for his honorable character, solid mental attributes, and public spirit.

Henry Cox Jones

Lauderdale County

A native of Alabama, Henry Cox Jones was born January 23, 1821, near Russellville, Franklin County and died at Florence on June 20, 1913. He was the son of William Stratton and Ann Harris Jones. He received his early education in the community where he spent his boyhood days and was graduated from LaGrange College in 1840. He studied law in college under Professor Tutwiler, and later in the office of Daniel Coleman of Athens, Alabama. Admitted to the bar in Franklin County in 1841, Jones was elected probate judge of the county the same year. After serving as probate judge for eighteen months he resigned to represent his county in the legislature. He was reelected to the legislature 1844 and to the state senate 1853. Moving to Florence in 1856, Jones continued his law practice, became a Douglas elector in 1860, and was elected a deputy to the Confederate Congress by the Secession Convention, During the war, he manufactured cotton and woolen goods under contract of the Confederate Government. His law practice was resumed after the war, and he was, at times, associated with Sidney C. Posey and Josiah Patterson. During the reconstruction days, he was chairman of the Democratic central committee for five years. In 1876, he was a Tilden elector and later in that year was elected solicitor of the eighth district, an office he held for eighteen years. He was a Methodist and Mason. On October 13, 1844, he was married to Martha Louisa Keyes of Athens, Alabama. Their children were William Stratton, Bertha, George Presley, Ellen Rivers, Henry Cox, John Rather, Jennie Keyes, Martha, Robert Young and Wade Keyes. (Findagrave.com memorial 50945794)


He vigorously opposed secession, declined to sign the ordinance of secession, and had his opposition vote recorded.

From Alabama, Her History, Resources, War Record, and Public Men: From 1540 to 1872, By Willis Brewer 1872, Barrett and Brown

“Henry Cox Jones resides in this county, (Lauderdale) but is a native of Franklin, where he was born Jan. 23, 1821. He was graduated at Lagrange College while Bishop Paine was president of the faculty, and read law under Hon. Daniel Coleman of Limestone. At the session of the general assembly in 1841, he was elected to the office of judge of the county court of Franklin without his solicitation. In 1843 he resigned the office and was elected the same year to represent the county in the legislature. Re-elected in 1844, he remained in retirement till 1853, when he was elected to the State Senate. He came to reside in this county in 1856 and has since practiced law at Florence. He represented the county in the constitutional convention of 1861 and refused to vote for or sign the ordinance of secession. The same year he was elected to the provisional congress of the Confederacy and was an earnest advocate of the Southern cause. He has not since taken official part in public affairs. Judge Jones is stoutly built and has an impressive appearance. As a speaker, he is fluent and effective, and vehement in utterance. He stands well as a lawyer and advocate, and is a gentleman of manly character and ardent public spirit. He married a sister of Hon. Wade Keyes.

From The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Being the History, Volume 15, J. T. White, 1916

“JONES, Henry Cox, jurist. was born in Franklin County, Ala., Jan. 23, 1821, son of William Stratton and Ann Harris (Cox) Jones and grandson of Thomas and Prudence (Jones) Jones. His father was a wealthy planter. The son was graduated from LaGrange College in 1840 and at the Athens Law School in 1841. A few weeks before attaining his majority he was elected probate judge of Franklin county without beings candidate for the office. Two years later he was elected to the Alabama legislature and served two terms with distinction. During 1845-53 he practiced his profession at Russellville, and in 1856 removed to Florence, Ala., after having served four years as a member of the state senate. He was a Douglas elector in 1860 and was later elected a union delegate to the secession convention. He vigorously opposed secession, declining to sign the ordinance of secession, and with eleven others had his opposition vote recorded. He was, however, elected a representative from Alabama to the Confederate Congress, and was the last of the Alabama members of that celebrated body. After the war, he resumed his law practice at Florence. In the days of reconstruction, he was for five years chairman of the Democratic central committee. In 1874 he was elected state ’s attorney for the 8th district, an office which he filled for eighteen years and never missed a single court. He was married at Athens, Ala., Oct. 13, 1844, to Martha Louisa, daughter of George Keyes, and niece of Pres. Monroe and had five surviving children: Bertha, wife of Lindsay Melbourne Allen, of Franklin co.; George Presley, Jennie Keyes, wife of William Jones Kernachan, Florence; Martha Bolling, wife of Thomas Sadler Jordan, and Robert Young Jones. He died at Florence, Ala., June 21, 1913”

N. D. Johnson

Talladega County

Very little material is available concerning the private life of N. D. Johnson. He represented Talladega County in the Secession Convention and was a Cooperationist in his sentiments although he voted for the ordinance and signed it. His explanation for his vote was that he preferred “secession to submission.” In expressing his view on slavery he said that he did not regard it as an evil “morally, socially, or politically” but was opposed to reopening the African slave trade.

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

Biographies of Notable and Not-So-Notable Alabama Pioneers VOL VIII

The biographies included in Volume VIII in order of their appearance includes:


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