JUDGE HENRY ANDERSON MCGHEE
BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
(Dec. 17, 1810- 1901)
Lawrence County, Alabama, Texas
Judge Henry McGhee, son of Merriman McGhee and Elizabeth (Harvill) McGhee was the first Probate Judge of Lawrence County, Alabama. His grandfather was Joseph McGhee, who lived in Wake County, North Carolina, and was a soldier of the Revolution. In 1818, Judge McGhee’s family left North Carolina and moved to Blount county, Tennessee
The following is from EARLY SETTLERS OF ALABAMA by James Edmonds Sanders:
“Henry was eight years old, the period at which education should commence in earnest, but his father was poor, and the chances for education, in that new country, very slim. He managed, however, by going to school two or three months every year, after the crops were made, to get an average education for the times, enough to enable him, by careful study, to attend to any business which came before him during his different terms of office. The truth is, that nature had endowed him with quick perception and good judgment.”
When the family moved to Lawrence County, Henry and his elder brother, Silas, performed manual labor with great industry. The first time I ever saw them they were using their pole axes with considerable activity; and then commenced my acquaintance with the judge, which has continued for nearly a half century.
In 1835 the Judge married Jane Warren, who was reared near Fayetteville, Tennessee. After this, the two brothers purchased the saw-mill near the Chalybeate Spring on the Tuscaloosa road, which they managed with great industry, until Henry was elected constable in 1849; and now commenced a career of success not surpassed by any man who has ever lived in this county.
He was constable until 1843; he was then elected tax collector, and again elected in 1844 and 1845, and in 1846 he was candidate for sheriff against five opponents, and was elected by a vote larger than that of all the others put together; and in 1840, his term of service as sheriff having expired, he was elected Probate Judge. His term of office expired in 1856; in 1857 he was elected to the Legislature over one of the ablest men in the county, in 1858 he was again elected sheriff, and in 1860 he was census enumerator.
What was the secret of this uniform success? It was, that, in every office of trust, he acted honestly; in politics he was true to his principles, and he moreover had very pleasing manners and great tact in electioneering. ‘All the while the wonder grew’ how he could love so many people as warmly as he did. I suppose it was on the principle that a muscle grows in size and increases in power from exercise, the heart being no exception to the general law.
When the war between the States broke out, Judge McGhee, although over fifty years of age, raised a company for twelve months, and went out as captain. It was included in the Twenty-seventh Alabama Regiment. At Fort Donelson the regiment was captured, but the judge was at home on leave of absence at the time.
The judge removed to Texas after the war, and his wife died at Bremond in 1872. Their children were:
- John Merriman McGhee, the oldest child. John was born April 1838 in Lawrence County, Alabama. He was elected Circuit Clerk in Lawrence County, Alabama in 1860 and married Miss Wear. He was in the grocery business in 1870 census of Lawrence County, Alabama. John later followed his father and other family to Waco, Texas. John was 1st Lieutenant in Captain Hodges’ Company, Sixteenth Alabama Regiment
- Elizabeth McGhee, who married Jere Gibson, who established a newspaper called the Democratic Standard.
- Mattie McGhee who married Ben Talliafferro and died in 1873.
- Silas McGhee who belonged to Captain Bankhead’s company in the 16th Alabama and died on the morning of the battle of Fishing Creek.
- Mary “Mollie” McGhee (b. 1842-1907) who married J. T. Strain, who was captain in Col. Johnson’s Regiment in Roddy’s Brigade. They lived in Waco.
- William D. McGhee (1847 AL-1908)who lived in McLennan county, Texas.
- Henry Warren McGhee (b. 1854) who lived in Mason County, Texas, and was deputy sheriff.
- George E. McGhee born Alabama 1859
The Judge married a 2nd wife, Mrs. Green who was a native of Texas. Henry was her fourth husband.” Judge Henry A. McGhee died in 1901 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waco, McLennan County, Texas.
- Early Settlers of Alabama by James Edmonds Saunders vol I
- 1850 and 1860 census Lawrence County, Alabama
- Find A Grave Memorial# 48933138 # 48933096 # 61746939 # 61746956 # 61746993
This biography is included in the book Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Volume I