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Biography: Major Miles Washington Abernathy born July 21, 1801

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Jacksonville, Calhoun County, Alabama

Major Miles Washington Abernathy was a planter and public official. He was born July 21, 1801, Mountain Creek, Lincoln County, N. C., at Jacksonville, the son of John D. Abernathy and Susan (Forney) Abernathy. John D. Abernathy was a native of Virginia but later became a resident of Mountain Creek, where he owned iron works and plantation lands. Susan was the sister of Revolutionary War Soldier Peter Forney.

Miles Washington was the grandson of David Abernathy and Nancy (Turner) Abernathy of Virginia, and of Jacob Forney and Maria (Bergner) Forney of Mount Welcome, Beattie’s Ford, N. C. He was well educated in the schools of his native county. His abilities were early recognized, and he was sent as a representative from Lincoln County, to the North Carolina legislature where he served two terms. He was then made county judge and held that office until he moved to Alabama in 1837.

Miles bought a plantation in Benton, now Calhoun County, and settled his slaves upon it, and also formed a partnership in the mercantile business with his brother-in-law, Col. John D. Hoke. In 1842 he was elected to the house of representatives of Alabama, and served for two terms. In 1855 he was elected to the Senate, where he remained four years.

William Garrett writes in Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama for thirty years (1872) that “Mr. Abernathy was of the class of well-educated, well-informed men of sound judgment in public affairs, and was very useful in the Legislature cautious, prudent, and looking always to the public good, without regard to other considerations. He was justly regarded as a faithful public servant. His manners were easy, and his powers of conversation good. In politics, he is a Democrat.”

It was because of his admiration for John C. Calhoun, to whose political opinions he subscribed, that he caused the name of the county to be changed from Benton to Calhoun. The monument to his legislative service, however, was the State school for the deaf and dumb, located at Talladega, which under his leadership was established in 1857-58. He was one of a committee of three appointed by the legislature in 1847 to receive the new capitol building at Montgomery.

At the outbreak of the War of Secession he tendered his service to the Confederate cause; was appointed major, and his home was turned into a receiving hospital for sick soldiers.

He was a Lutheran, and Democrat. He married Ann Hoke June 18. 1835, in Lincolnton, N. C. She was born Nov. 6, 1812, the daughter of Daniel Hoke and Barbara (Ramseur) Hoke of that place and the granddaughter of Jacob A. Ramseur and Sabina (Swope) Ramseur whose parents emigrated from Alsace on the Rhine, settling first in Pennsylvania and later in North Carolina.

Miles and Ann had the following children:

  1. Frances “Fannie” Elizabeth Abernathy (b. Feb. 2, 1838, Calhoun Co, Alabama – August 14, 1920) married T. W. Francis of Jacksonville, Alabama.
  2. Anna Marie Abernathy (b. March 1840 Alabama – Feb. 17, 1919) married Daniel Pinckney Loretz (1842 – 1893) of Jacksonville, Alabama
  3. Mary Amelia Abernathy (b. December29, 1847 Lowndes Co, AL – Feb. 14, 1936, Calhoun Co., AL) married Horace Lee Stevenson (b. Jun 28, Pickens Col, SC – July 31, 1912, Calhoun County, AL) of Jacksonville, Alabama
  4. Macon Abernathy (b. 1841 Alabama – d 1862) He was a student University of Alabama in 1859, and a private in Co. G, 10th Alabama infantry regiment, C. S. Army. He was mortally wounded at Frazier’s Farm, Va., June 30, 1862 and died at Richmond July 1, 1862
  5. Julia Swope Abernathy (b. August 1850 Alabama) married J. D. Smith.
  6. Alla F. Abernathy (b. ca. 1852 Alabama)
  7. Caroline Swope Abernathy (b. Feb. 18, 1856, Alabama) married John Franklin Watkins Feb. 1883. She died Jan 1944 in Faunsdale, Marengo County, Alabama.
  8. Sarah Abernathy
  9. Daniel Hoke Abernathy (d. May 25, 1848)
  10. Emma Abernathy (d. Dec 14, 1846)
  11. Ella Turner Abernathy(May 24, 1853 – Feb. 9, 1893)

Miles Washington Abernathy died July 22, 1877. His last residence was Jacksonville, Alabama. His wife, Anne “Anna” Hoke died March 5, 1889, in Jacksonville, Calhoun County, Alabama. They are both buried in Jacksonville City Cemetery in Calhoun County, Alabama.


  1. History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  2. World connect
  3. Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama for thirty years (1872)- William Garrett
  4. Find A Memorial# 13863832 # 13863827 # 13863818 # 30008879 # 13863788 #13984867# 13436941 # 13440344 # 13727574 # 13863824

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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