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BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Robert Towns Abernathy born November 22, 1824





Lawrence and Colbert County, Alabama


Dr. Robert Towns Abernathy, the son of John T. Abernathy and Sarah (Ellett) Abernathy, was born in Lawrence County, Alabama, November 22, 1824.

John T. Abernathy, the senior Mr. Abernathy, was born near Lunenburg Court House, Virginia, where he received a limited education. He was a farmer and merchant in Virginia. Around 1806 he moved to South Florence, Alabama and later on to Tuscumbia, Alabama before the Mexican War. From the latter place, he went to New Orleans, where he was engaged up to the outbreak of the war when he returned to Alabama and turned his entire attention to farming. He started in life comparatively a poor man but succeeded in accumulating a handsome fortune. He reared a large family and died a few years after the war.

Doctor Robert T. Abernathy’s grandfather, David Abernathy, (b. 1740) was of Scotch-Irish extraction. He was one of the early settlers of Virginia and served during the Revolutionary War. He later became one of the pioneers of Huntsville, Ala.

His mother was a daughter of Richard Ellitt, a native of Virginia, and also a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He was of Scotch ancestry.

Dr. Robert Towns Abernathy was reared on a farm and received an academic education from La Grange College. He then began reading medicine, and graduated in March 1849, from the University of New York. After his graduation he located at New Orleans, from whence he removed to Macon, Mississippi, and in 1851 located at Tuscumbia. For some time prior to the war, and while in the practice of medicine, he edited the Tuscumbia Constitution.

After the evacuation of Corinth, he enlisted in the Confederate service as surgeon of the Fifth Alabama Regiment, with which he remained until the surrender at Pond Springs, with Gen. P. D. Roddy’s command. After the surrender, he returned home and resumed the practice of his profession. In connection with his lucrative practice, he conducted an extensive farm.

Dr. Abernathy married March 12, 1856, to Caledonia Carrol, (b. Jan. 8, 1829) daughter of George W. Carrol and Lucy H. Carrol, and they had the following children:

  1. Lucy C. Abernathy (b. May 1857 AL – Apr. 1928)
  2. William E.Abernathy (b. Oct. 1859 AL – Jan 14, 1943 Chicago, Cook Co., IL)
  3. Robert “Tracy” Abernathy (b. Apr, 1862 AL- Oct. 1904) married Rowena McReynolds. They had one known child, Mary Carroll Abernathy
  4. George Abernathy (b. Oct. 1864) He was a civil engineer
  5. St. Elmo Abernathy (b. Oct. 1867 AL- bef. 1900)

Doctor Robert Townes Abernathy was a Presbyterian, and his wife was a communicant of the Episcopal Church. He died may 1, 1895 and his wife, Caldonia (Carroll) Abernathy died Jan. 31, 1893. Their homes were still standing on Main Street in Tuscumbia, Alabama. (1888) They are both buried in the Winston Family Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Colbert County, Alabama.



  1. Northern Alabama Historical and Biographical. Illustrated. Smith and De Land, Birmingham, Ala. 1888., p. 434.
  2. # 87240096 # 87239847 # 76633064 # 76633056 # 111986981

This biography is included in the Book Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Vol. III

Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Volume III (Kindle Edition)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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