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Biography: Billups Jackson Gayle born June 30, 1857 – photograph

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Genealogy and Biography


Dallas County and Clarke County, Alabama

The name of Gayle has long been a familiar one to members of the legal profession throughout Alabama, the father of our subject having been an active practitioner at several points in the State for a number of years. Mr. B. J. Gayle has practiced in Selma since 1892 and is successfully holding the prestige which came to the name through the efforts of the father. The Gayles are of English descent and have been residents of the State since the early part of the last century.

Grandfather Billups Gayle and Permilla Cunningham, his wife, were prominent planters in Clarke County. Rees Darrington Gayle was one of a family of five children born to the above parents. He resided in Clarke County until his majority, when he went to Mobile and took up the practice of law. He was a graduate of William and Mary College of Virginia, and soon made his mark in his chosen profession. Later in life, he removed to Cahaba, Dallas County, but in 1904 moved to the home of Billups Jackson’s Gayle. In 1904, he was yet in the full enjoyment of his powers, at the advanced age of eighty-four years.

In 1851, he married Mary Louise Gill, daughter of Thomas W. and Nancy (Craig) Gill. To them, five children were born: Anna Maria Gayle, Thomas Gill Gayle, Rebecca Darrington Gayle, Billups Jackson Gayle, and Laura “Lou Rees” Gayle. They resided in Cahaba, Dallas County, Alabama in 1860.

Colonel Gayle was a veteran of the Civil War and was wounded at the battle of Seven Pines while serving as a private in Captain Pegues’ company of the Fifth Alabama infantry. Mr. B. J. Gayle was born at Cahaba, Dallas County, June 30,  1857. He was educated in the schools of Dallas County and took up the study of law with Diggs & Craig in Selma. He was admitted to the bar of Dallas county in 1892 and practiced in Selma. He was the efficient justice of the city, an office to which he was elected by the suffrage of the people three different times; in politics, he was a staunch Democrat. He and his family were members of the Episcopal church.

Marriage was contracted by Mr. Gayle in March 1892, in Selma, the lady being Miss Lelia Augusta Mills. Her father, Dr. James Barnwell Mills, was reared in Washington, D. C., and was a son of Robert Mills, the noted architect of his time, but at the beginning of the Civil war enlisted in the Memphis Light Dragoons at Memphis, Tenn., and became a lieutenant in that company. After the war, he began the practice of his chosen profession, that of medicine, and for many years practiced near Selma, Dallas County. Mrs. Gayle’s mother’s maiden name was Augusta Norfleet, of a North Carolina family. To our subject and his wife, on July 26, 1894, was born a daughter, Lela Louise Gayle.

Billups Jackson Gayle passed away Nov. 16, 1906, and is buried in Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Dallas County, Alabama along with his wife and many other members of his family.


  1. Notable Men of Alabama: Personal and Genealogical, Volume 1 edited by Joel Campbell DuBose
  2. Find A Grave Memorial# 76996282 # 76996285

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