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Biography: Rev. Thomas Smith Abernathy born March 26, 1803

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(1803- 1882)

Marengo County, Alabama

Thomas Smith Abernathy was Methodist minister. He was born March 26, 1803, in Brunswick County, Virginia the son of Henry Abernathy (b. ca. 1775) and Rebecca (Firth) Abernathy, (b. ca. 1775- d. 1850) of Brunswick and Dinwiddie Counties, and the grandson of John Abernathy,(b. 1743 d. Mar 18, 1824, Brunswick Co., Virginia) a native of Scotland who emigrated to Virginia and Mary Belzora Brown (b. Aug. 26, 1753, Virginia d. aft. 1775 NC.).

Thomas Smith Abernathy and his brother Coleman Henry Abernathy (b. Oct 1, 1807 – Virginia – d. May 6, 1884) Havana, Hale County, Alabama) immigrated to Alabama very early.

Rev. Abernathy was one of five preachers to organize the First Methodist Conference in Alabama. He spent much of his career as a circuit-riding minister. He entered the ministry in 1872 and rendered great service to religion and to civilization during the pioneer period of the State.

Thomas married Martha W. Lucy (b. 1811-d. 1841) in Alabama. They had the following known children:

  1. Rebecca Jane Abernathy (b. Feb. 16, 1825, Marengo County, Alabama – d. Dec. 5, 1867) She married James W. Grayson on Nov. 11, 1845
  2. Dr. William Henry Abernathy ( b. March 1828 Alabama – d. Dec. 3, 1911, Flomaton, Escambia Co., Alabama). He married Susan Rebecca Grayson around 1851 and they had nine children, all born in Alabama.
  3. Elinor Ann Abernathy (b. ca. 1831, Alabama)
  4. Thomas Smith Abernathy, Jr. b. May 11, 1832, Perry County, Alabama – d. Dec. 1, 1871, Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama. He married Eliza H. Hines Sep 21, 1857 and they had seven known children. .Eliza was born about 1838 and died in 1906. Thomas and Eliza later moved to Mississippi and Tennessee where their last two sons were born. She is buried in Marion Cemetery in Marion County, Alabama.
  5. Dr. Jonas Cadwallader Abernathy, Sr. (b. September 6, 1835, Old Spring Hill, Marengo County, Alabama – d. Feb. 28, 1915, Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama – of heart disease) was a physician in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Dr. Abernathy married Caroline O. Mobley (b. Nov. 1843 Wilcox County, Alabama.-d. Nov. 7, 1922, Jefferson County, Alabama), the daughter of Barnett Rabb Mobley and Rebecca Campbell. They had nine known children.
  6. Sarah V. Abernathy (b. ca. 1837 Alabama) she died young.
  7. Martha E. Abernathy (b. ca. 1840 Marengo County, Alabama

After Martha’s death, Thomas married Eleanor L. Lucy (b. ca. 1825) Dec.18, 1842 in Marengo County, Alabama. They had three more children:

  1. Dr. Burwell Gideon Abernathy (b. April 13, 1844 – July 30, 1903)Marengo County, Alabama. Burwell married Elizabeth R. Cocke (b. April 1848 Hale County, Alabama) on Nov. 7, 1867, in Marengo County, Alabama. They had four known children, all born in Alabama. Burwell died in Hillsborough County, Florida and is buried in Myrtle Hill Memorial Park, Tampa, Florida.
  2. Mary Josephine Abernathy (b. 1845 Marengo County, Alabama)
  3. John Fisher Abernathy (b. Nov 2, 1847, Marengo County, Alabama – d. Oct. 18, 1881

Rev. Abernathy married a third time, April 7, 1851, in Mobile County, Alabama, to Ellen Collins (b. 1815 New York – d. aft. 1880). They did not have children.

Rev. Thomas Smith Abernathy died April 13, 1882, in Dayton, Marengo County, Alabama and is buried in the county in Dayton Cemetery. He was a Mason.

There is a book, Antebellum Alabama, written by Rev. Thomas Smith Abernathy of his Sermons and Notes (1856-1864) in the Birmingham Public Library Department of Archives and Manuscripts. “The collection contains one bound volume of Abernathy’s hand-written notes and outlines for sermons. Themes addressed include atheism, compassion, and obedience to law. The volume includes a brief index.” (AR 1194)



  2. Birmingham Archives
  4. MARRIAGE: Alabama Marriage Collection, 1800-1969 about Rebecca Campbell
  5. Name: Rebecca Campbell Spouse: Barnet Mobley Marriage Date: 23 Dec 1825 County: Dallas State: Alabama Source information: Jordan Dodd, Liahona Research DEATH: Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929 about Jones Cadwalader Abernathy
  7. memorial # 50200541 # 50200512 # 27440379 # 72675771 # 72675784 # 22478290 # 97215950

This biography is included in the Book Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Vol. III

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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