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Biography: James Aiken born August 8, 1830

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Randolph, Marshall and Etowah County, Alabama

James Aiken, lawyer and judge, colonel 13th Alabama infantry, C. S. Army, was born August 8, 1830, in Fairfield District, S. C., and died at Gadsden, June 22, 1908. He was the son of William Aiken and Elizabeth (Stitt) Aiken, both of Scotch-Irish descent, the former was born about 1800, came with his parents from County Antrim, Ireland, to South Carolina, locating in Fairfield District around 1820.


William and Elizabeth Aiken spent the rest of their lives in South Carolina where they raised four children, two of whom, Robert S. and William M., died from wounds received in battle during the war. The Stitt family came from Ireland also and were highly respectable farmers in South Carolina.

James Aiken was reared on a farm and educated in the common schools of Fairfield District until he was seventeen. In 1847 he entered the South Carolina military academy, Charleston, where he graduated in 1851. After graduation, he taught for one year in his alma mater, and in 1854 removed to Randolph County, where he taught school until 1856. In the meantime, he read law and was admitted to the bar, practiced in Randolph and adjacent counties and removed to Gadsden in 1869 where he practiced his profession until his death.

He was a member of the legislature of 1861; of the constitutional convention of 1875; appointed judge of the ninth judicial circuit in 1885 by Gov. E. A. O’Neal; and appointed special judge of the circuit court of Marshall County, October 7, 1902.

He entered the War of Secession as captain of Co. D, 13th Alabama infantry regiment, in July 1861 and raised a company of volunteers for the Southern Army. Captain Aiken led it gallantly in many a hotly-contested battle. he was seriously wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, and did not rejoin his command until the fall thereafter. he was also wounded at Chancellorsville, and again at Bristow’s Station. After the battle of Seven Pines, he was promoted major, after Chancellorsville in, he was promoted lieutenant colonel and colonel in 1864, serving as such until he was captured and taken as a prisoner to Johnson’s Island. Lake Erie, where he remained until the end of the war.

He returned home to resume the practice of law after the war. In 1875, Colonel Aiken was elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention and in February 1885 was appointed Circuit Judge by Governor O’Neal. He was a Democrat and a Presbyterian.

“During the war, from captain to major, lieutenant-colonel and colonel, in regular order and rapid succession, the subject of this sketch rose upon his merits, and without solicitation upon his own part; so in civil life, by merit, by real worth, he has risen in his profession until he is recognized as one of its leaders. His appointment to the judgeship was without solicitation upon his part, and was in keeping with the wisdom exercised by Governor O’Neal in all of his appointments. While in the army, and at the front, the people of his country elected him to the Legislature, and he left the service long enough to serve one session.”1

Judge James Aiken married on January 25, 1877, at Weavers, to Mrs. Lou N. (Weaver) McClelland, daughter of Linsey Weavers and Lacinda (Pace) Weaver, of Weavers, Calhoun County, the latter a granddaughter of Rev. Richard Pace, a Baptist minister of North Carolina.

Their children were:

  1. Lucy Alice Ailken, m. R. C. Comer, of Enterprise;
  2. James Aiken, Jr., d. young;
  3. Robert Stitt Aiken resided in Gadsden
  4. Annie Elizabeth Aiken resided in Gadsden.


James Aiken’s last residence was Gadsden, Alabama. He is buried in Forrest Cemetery, Gadsden, Etowah County, Alabama.



  1. History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  2. Northern Alabama: Historical and Biographical…By Smith and De Land (Publishers : Birmingham, Ala. 1888
  3. Find A Grave Memorial# 42496411 # 81840195


1Northern Alabama: Historical and Biographical…By Smith and De Land (Publishers : Birmingham, Ala. 1888


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