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Biography: Professor Thomas Chalmers McCorvey born August 18, 1852

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(1852 – 1932)

Monroe and Tuscaloosa County, Alabama

Colonel T. C. McCorvey was born in Monroe County on August 18, 1852 near the spot where his grandfather had settled nearly a half century before, and his boyhood was spent in that county.

Thomas Chalmers McCorvey, A. M. LL.B. was among the prominent young men of Alabama. He grew to manhood after the close of the war between the States. He filled the position of Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy and Political Economy in the University of Alabama.

As his name indicated, Colonel McCorvey was of Scotch descent. His grandparents on both sides came from North Carolina and settled in Monroe County in this State in 1818—about the time that Alabama was admitted into the Union.

His father was the Hon. Murdoch McCorvey, who was for fifteen years the Judge of Probate of Monroe County, and it was under the personal supervision of his father that the subject of this sketch was prepared for college. His mother was Lydia (Ranaldson) McCorvey.

In the fall of 1870 he entered the sophomore class in Erskine College, South Carolina; but when the University of Alabama was rescued from the mismanagement of the “Reconstruction ” era, he returned and entered that institution, from which he was graduated in the class of 1873, with high academic: honors and as captain of Company C in the University Corps of Cadets.

Only three days after receiving his diploma, and without his solicitation, or even his knowledge, he was elected to the position he now holds, and he entered upon the discharge of his difficult duties before he had reached his majority—at a time when there were a number of cadets in the corps older than himself.

In 1875 Colonel McCorvey was graduated in the University Law School, and at that time it was his intention to enter the practice of law; but he subsequently decided to retain his position in the University.

In 1880 he married Miss Henrietta “Netta” L. Tutwiler, a daughter of the distinguished scholar and educator, Prof. Henry Tutwiler, LL.D, who was the first Professor of Ancient Languages in the University of Alabama, and the founder of the famous Green Springs High Schools. They had the following known children:

  1. Jean C. McCorvey
  2. Groove T. McCorvey
  3. Eleanor P. McCorvey
  4. Thomas C. McCorvey

In 1886 President Cleveland appointed Colonel McCorvey a member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

From boyhood Colonel McCorvey had a decided taste for literary and journalistic work, and he was a paid contributor of occasional articles upon historical, political and literary subjects to the New York Nation, The Herald, The Sun, The Home Journal, the New Orleans Times-Dem0amt, and other leading publications.

It was said that during his time “the prosperity of the University of Alabama was in a large measure due to Colonel McCorvey’s able and efficient services as Commandant of Cadets. To keep two hundred and fifty cadets under good discipline requires such decision of character and thorough knowledge of the various phases of human nature as are rarely found combined in one individual.

The hundreds of young men throughout Alabama and the South who have been under his command, bear testimony to his admirable executive ability.” It was under Colonel McCorvey’s supervision that the famous “Company E ” of University Cadets, were trained—a company which, under the immediate command of Cadet Captain L. V. Clark, carried off the first prize at the New Orleans Exposition Prize Drill, and won the most unqualified praise for drill and discipline in the official report of the United States Army officers who acted as judges upon that occasion.

“It was in the lecture room, however, that Colonel McCorvey impressed himself most upon the minds and characters of the young men with whom he was brought in contact. As a teacher of Philosophy he was thoroughly informed, and his lectures were clear, forcible and entertaining. He had the art of enlisting the deepest interest of his students in the subjects which he taught. Political Economy was his special delight, and his broad and accurate acquaintance with its principles and his apt illustrations make a lasting impression upon his students.

In personal appearance Colonel McCorvey showed his Celtic blood. He was tall, erect and muscular. In the full uniform of his rank he presented a commanding military appearance.

Professor T. C. McCorvey died April 2, 1932. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


  1. Northern Alabama: Historical and Biographical 1888 Smith and DeLand
  2. Herringshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century.
  3. Alabama Death and Burial Index 1881 -1952 Family Search Salt Lake Utah
  4. Find A Grave # 112341698 # 112341592

WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources

READER REVIEW Donna shares how she “got bitten” by the genealogy bug. She imparts her amazement at how much can be learned about the history of this country as well as one’s own family by researching one’s family tree. And what’s more amazing is that she was able to go back with her family to the 1600s in England, over 400 years. The author has a website where she is asked many “how to” questions by the participants. She advises one to use a computer for their research and seems to describe the use of genealogy software as an easy task and quite intuitive. She identifies many excellent genealogy websites for the new user, some of which I hadn’t known about despite my history of 20 years of searching for my family tree, much of it on the internet. The author provides sample interview questions for eliciting past stories from family elders. She gives quite a few tips on how to organize your materials to make the best use of your time. She includes everything a “newby” to the genealogy research field will need to get started and more. And for those with more experience, she includes tips on how to break down the “brick walls” that researchers inevitably encounter and she advises readers to challenge the assumptions in family lore and stories when the brick wall is hit. She also identifies many of the pitfalls inherent in requested records. And if you’ve ever gone to a courthouse to search without preparing yourself for the kinds of questions you’ll need to ask, you will appreciate the author’s advice about getting ready first. You’ll save yourself time in the long run.

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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  1. […] by Colonel and Professor Thomas Chalmers McCorvey in […]

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