BiographiesGenealogy Information

Biography: Rev. William M. Acton born April 14, 1805

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Shelby County, Alabama

William Acton was a Presbyterian minister, and planter was born April 14, I805, on a large farm near Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky, and died in Shelby County, Alabama. He was the sixth son of Capt. John Acton and Jane “Jennie” (Roberts) Acton and the brother of Col.  John Acton.

His chances for securing an education were meager as he moved with his parents from Kentucky where there were few schools, to Alabama where at that pioneer period there were none. However, he learned to read, write and make simple calculations. He was a farmer. During the years that he farmed, he was also busy preaching the gospel.

He was one of the first men in Alabama, probably the first in Jefferson or Shelby Counties, to mine coal. For a number of years he had teams hauling coal to Montevallo, Tuscaloosa, and many other points. He never held civil or military office, though he was a life long Democrat. He was a Presbyterian minister and also a Mason.

He married on July 17, 1823, to Elizabeth Lee, daughter of Needham Lee and Susan (Bailey) Lee, the former came to East Tennessee from Virginia, about 1805, but soon removed to near Knoxville; granddaughter of Thomas Lee, and of Thomas Bailey and Mary Bailey. Thomas Bailey was killed in the Revolutionary War.

Their children were:

  1. Sarah Acton, m. John Y. Townley;
  2. infant son, deceased;
  3. Susan Jane Acton, m. (1) William A. Bailey, (2) Thomas N. Bailey, (3) Houston Bailey, three brothers, surviving all;
  4. infant girl, deceased;
  5. Mary Elizabeth Acton, deceased;
  6. John Vincent Acton, m. (1) Elizabeth Watkins, (2) Ann Godden, (3) Margarette E. Wright, and by the three wives was the father of twenty-two children;
  7. Zephaniah William Henry Acton, m. Passey Drucilla Watkins;
  8. Zilpha Acton, m. Stephen Horton, (or Wharton) Watkins;
  9. James Gaines Acton , m. Mary Ann Byars, about 1858, deceased;
  10. Minerva Acton – b & d. 1840
  11. Rachel Acton, m. Uriah Jordon Bailey.

His last residence was Shelby County. Alabama. Rev. William M. Acton died March 12, 1885. He is buried in Acton Memorial Cemetery in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama.



  1. History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  2. Find A # 42986063 # 42986052 # 34677228 # 53906701 # 42986211 # 38500578 # 38501767 # 38509146




More on Col. John Acton and his family can be found in the books: Shelby County Alabama Pioneers Volume I & Some Alabama Descendants of JAMES ACTON (1746-1819)

Shelby County Alabama Pioneers Volume I (Kindle Edition)

By (author):  Causey, Donna

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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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