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SAMUEL WILL JOHN
BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
(b. 1845 – d. aft. 1900)
Perry and Dallas County, Alabama
Col. Samuel Will John was born at Uniontown, Perry County, Ala, June 29, 1845. His father, Joseph Reed John, son of Abel John, was a native of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and a descendant of signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
He represented Perry county in the State Legislature and was chancellor 1863-65. Chancellor John was a lawyer of profound learning and a citizen of the highest worth. He lived in Selma from 1856 until his death. His mother, Rosa Jane Smith, is descended from a signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
Col. Samuel Will John was educated in the private academy of Robert Lewis in Selma, and joined Company F, Third Alabama regiment of cavalry, Col. James Hagan, at the outbreak of the war; but after serving a year, he returned to school on account of his youth, and was graduated from the University of Alabama in 1865. He read law under his father and was admitted to practice before the Supreme court of Alabama in 1866, on the day he reached his majority.
In the legislature of Alabama, he represented Dallas county, 1882-83, 1884-85, 1886-87, and Jefferson County, 1894-95. In 1885 he organized the Third regiment of Alabama State troops and was elected its colonel. In 1896 he was elected Democratic elector from the State at large and voted for William Jennings Bryan
For a number of years, he was a trustee of the Alabama Bryce Insane hospital and was a trustee of Alabama Girls Industrial school at Montevallo. He was one of the members of the Alabama history commission. Col. John took a deep interest in the newly established department of archives and history of Alabama and he was the trustee from the ninth Congressional district.
Col. John was a member of the Birmingham Bar association, and also of the Alabama State Bar association. He was a Knight Templar, a Mason, a Democrat, a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.
Col. John’s record as a lawyer, legislator and citizen was remarkable. As a lawyer he ranked among the first of the State; as a legislator, he was active and wise. He was in full sympathy with laws for the reformation of the convict system; drew the “bill which, with some changes, was passed by the legislature. He was the author of the Dallas jury law, by which the best possible juries are secured; of the law providing for an examiner of public accounts; of the law of employer’s liability; of the law fixing the rights of married women; of the law which makes the State treasury the depository of all State funds, thus forcing State officers who handle the State’s money to forward the revenues to the treasury, through which payment and distribution are made of the school funds; of the law which established an experiment station at Uniontown; of the law creating the experiment station at the Agricultural and Mechanical college at Auburn; and of the law making gambling a felony in the State of Alabama.
He was chairman of the judiciary committee of the house of representatives, 1886-87, 1894-95. He was chairman of the joint legislative committee on the codification of the laws of Alabama. Col. John, with Dr. Benjamin Riggs, started the movement resulting in the establishment of the Selma water works, and the system of sanitary sewers for Selma.
- Notable men of Alabama By Joel Campbell DuBose Vol III
- Find a Grave Memorial# 97003068