BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
Monroe, Russell, Montgomery and Dallas County, Alabama
James Abercrombie was a state legislator and representative in congress. He was born in Feb. 17, 1782, in Hancock County, Georgia and died in Pensacola, Florida, July 2, 1861. He was the youngest of eight sons of Major Charles and Dicey Edwina (Boothe) Abercrombie, and brother of Anderson Abercrombie.
“The Abercrombie family had great prestige from their wealth and social position, and also from the superior intellect and manly qualities they possessed. The names of the brothers were John, Abner, Edmund, Leonard, Wiley, Anderson, Charles and James. The former (Major Charles Abercrombie) was Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1825. A daughter of Major Abercrombie married the Hon. Bolling Hall, Representative in Congress, of decided ability, and well versed in the science of government.”
He received a splendid education and came to Alabama about 1812, settling in Monroe, now Dallas County, and moved to Montgomery County about the time that Alabama was admitted to the Union. He represented that county in the house, 1820-1822, and 1824, and in the senate, 1825, 1828 and 1831.
In 1834 he moved to Russell County and represented the county in the house, 1838 and 1839, and in the senate in 1847.
William Garret states in his book Reminiscences of public men in Alabama: for thirty years, published in 1872; “My acquaintance with him began at the session of 1838 when he was a Representative from Russell county. He was reelected in 1839, and at both sessions he took a leading part, and exerted no little influence in Legislation, especially among the Whig members, to which party he belonged. When Judge Smith, of Madison, in 1838, offered his celebrated resolutions in favor of the Sub-Treasury scheme of Mr. Van Buren, Captain Abercrombie rose in his place, and said that he liked the resolutions very well, except the white,washing of Mr. Van Buren, and for that he could not go. He had long been in sympathy and cooperation with the State Rights party, but rather than support Mr. Van Buren, in whom he had no confidence, he separated from such friends as Dixon H. Lewis, Richard B. Walthall, Columbus W. Lee, and others, and allied himself strongly with the Whig party, in which he was at all times a leader.
“In 1847, he was elected to the Senate from Russell, and served four years—a man of mark and influence. During the session of 1847, while the election for United States Senator was pending, in which Mr. Lewis was a candidate, Captain Abercrombie called upon him, by pre-arrangement, and late at night. They had been estranged politically, and had no intercourse for ten years, after a long period of intimate friendly relations. It is said by some mutual friends, selected and allowed to be present, that the interview was quite gratifying to both parties. Captain Abercrombie despaired of electing a Whig to the Senate, and determined in his own mind, at the proper time in the course of the election, to lead out for Mr. Lewis on the Whig side, and thus have the gratification of deciding the contest in favor of his old friend. He did lead off; but owing, as he said, to jealousies on the part of some leading men of his party, in reference to the Congressional succession of Mr. Hilliard, his party did not follow generally, which was to him a source of much mortification.
It has been shown that in 1851, he was a candidate for Congress, and elected. In 1853, he was reelected, and served two full terms in the National councils, after which he retired, and settled partly in Florida, where he was engaged in filling a large contract with the Government for brick.
William Garrett states the following about James Abercrombie, “I saw Captain Abercrombie last in 1859 when he visited Montgomery to aid the reelection of Gov. Fitzpatrick to the Senate. He was quite advanced in years, and somewhat feeble, but conversed with his usual intelligence. A moral change of no ordinary character had passed over him, which was exhibited in his manner and action, as well as in conversation, showing that he had made his peace with God and man. Not long after this period he died, leaving an example of integrity and usefulness worthy of all imitation.
Captain Abercrombie was a gentleman of much information and large experience in public affairs, well-versed in the Constitution and nature of government, and in the principles of the several political parties as they existed at different times in the country. The strong point in his character was decision and boldness. He never hesitated after his course was determined upon, but marched forward without dissimulation or disguise, to both which he was a stranger. He did nothing by indirection, but would avow openly upon the floor of the Legislature his purpose in a political movement, and would have success upon no other ground. He was a ready, animated speaker, though his delivery was not fluent; still, his directness always made him easily understood. He was honest in all his impulses. His dislikes were strong, and so were his attachments.
Few men who have lived in Alabama wielded in their day a greater influence on men, and on party measures than Captain Abercrombie. He was identified with the State in all her interests—was jealous of her rights and honor; he made his home with her when she was feeble in population and development, and participated in bringing her resources to light until she attained great strength and prosperity. He was wealthy, and extensively connected in blood and by affinity. He was a large man, tall and well-proportioned, and had a manly carriage. His face bore the marks of decision and kindness equally blended, and the tone of his voice was usually soft and assuring. If I mistake not, he died in the communion of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
It is a relief and a support to the mind to contemplate such a character. Although he may have had some infirmities of temper, Captain Abercrombie was one of Nature’s true nobility, in all the qualities which constitute a solid man, who never varied from the path of honor, and who never feared the face of man. His memory, like a lofty pillar of granite, will endure for many years as among the men of note who have figured in Alabama. Whoever has seen him can never forget the impression of moral grandeur which his very looks inspired. Nothing more need be said to give an idea of his peerless individuality.”
He was elected, 1851, to congress in opposition to Hon. John Cochran of Barbour County, and reelected two years later, defeating David Clopton of Macon. He retired in 1859 and spent part of his time in Florida, where he engaged in government contracts for brick. He died in Pensacola, Florida and was buried in Columbus, Georgia.
In politics he was a Whig and was at all times a leader in the party.
James Abercrombie married July 27, 1816, in Montgomery County, Evelina Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac I. Ross and Parthenia Anne (Browne) Ross.
They had the following children:
- Anderson Abercrombie (b. March 7, 1818)
- James Abercrombie, Jr. (b. Nov. 20, 1819 – d. Jan 3, 1871 FL) who married his cousin, Sarah Abercrombie, of Pensacola, Florida. He represented Escambia County in the Florida Legislature and died at Pensacola.
- Evelina Elizabeth Abercrombie (b. Jan 15, 1822) married William C. Wright Sep 2, 1841 in Russell County, Alabama.
- Sarah Edwina Abercrombie (b. April 21, 1824) married Nov. 22, 1842 in Russell County, Alabama, Gazaway D. Williams of Barbour County, Alabama
- Jane E. Abercrombie (b. August 21, 1826) married Jan 16, 1845 in Russell County, Alabama, Dr. John Edmund Bacon of Columbus, Georgia
- Mary A. Abercrombie (b. Jan 15, 1829) married Mar 27, 1850, L. R. Davis, of Limestone County, Alabama
- John Lucas Abercrombie ( b. Mar 30, 1831 – d. Oct 1, 1861) married Jun 1, 1851 America Watson. He died near Glennville, Alabama.
- Parthenia Abercrombie (b. Nov. 12, 1833) married Sep 21, 1853 in Russell County, Alabama, Gen. James Holt Clanton of Montgomery. They had three sons, James Abercrombie Clanton, Thomas Watts Clanton and Holt Clanton. Gen. James H. Clanton was the leader of the Alabama Democratic Party when he was murdered by a political rival, David M. Nelson, who shot Clanton at Knoxville, Tennessee.
- Thomas Anderson Abercrombie (b. July 25, 1836) married Dec. 8, 1858 Mollie L. Gobert, of Pensacola, Florida. They resided at Rayville, Louisiana.
- Clara W. Abercrombie (b. May 20, 1839) married William C. Cook, of Pensacola
- George Hargraves Abercrombie, died at Pineville, Tennessee.
- findagrave.com # 8757 # 10287002 # 74777063 # 74769718 # 61874204 # 61870969 # 7065467 # 34094759 # 74777375
- History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
- Reminiscences of public men in Alabama: for thirty years, with an appendix By William Garrett 1872