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THOMAS BENTON NESMITH
BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
Lamar, Morgan and Marion County, Alabama
Thomas Benton Nesmith was attorney-at-law at Vernon, Lamar County, Alabama. He was a native of this state, born in Morgan county, June 13, 1832. His parents were Thomas and Elizabeth (Roberts) Nesmith, natives, respectively of South Carolina and Tennessee; his paternal grandparents were Alexander and Elizabeth (Martin) Nesmith, and his maternal grandfather was Zacheus Roberts of Pennsylvania. His paternal great-grandfather, Thomas Nesmith, was a hero of the American Revolution, and was one of the earliest settlers of Alabama.
His father, Thomas Nesmith, came to Morgan county, Alabama with his father, Alexander Nesmith in 1824 and here passed the remainder of his life.
Thomas B. Nesmith was educated at private schools in his native county and taught school two years and at the age of twenty-three entered the academy at Somerville, studied there one year, then for seven years taught school, studying law in the meanwhile. He began the practice in 1866 at Pikeville, then the county seat of Marion County and for ten years, met with unvarying success and enhancing reputation; in 1876 he removed to Vernon, the county seat of Lamar county, where he resided in active and lucrative practice, and held rank with the ablest lawyers of the county.
Mr. Nesmith was always prominent as a member of the democratic party and enjoyed its confidence to a marked degree. For nine years he was county solicitor of Marion, and during that period was the county superintendent of public instruction; was a delegate to the state constitutional convention; was general county administrator for several terms, and was solicitor for the third judicial circuit for four years, 1876 – 80.
He represented Lamar county in the state legislature in 1882-83, and in 1884-85. and held several offices of less importance, in all cases serving with credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of his constituents.
In addition to the performance of his legal duties and official functions, Mr. Nesmith also gave considerable attention to agriculture, having had 200 acres of land in a fine state of cultivation. He owned 3,800 acres of which at least 800 acres are underlaid with first-class coal.
Mr. Nesmith was united in marriage June 11, 1869, to Miss Mary Catherine “Minnie” C. McLain, a native of Alabama, and daughter of Allen B. McLain. He had the misfortune, however, to lose his amiable wife, June 7, 1882, when she died in the Methodist Episcopal faith, the mother of four children:
1. Allen Nesmith (deceased in 1883),
4. Thomas B. Nesmith (1879)
Mr. Nesmith was likewise a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, south, and was a freemason and an Odd Fellow. His standing was high, professionally and socially and he was public spirited, liberal and philanthropic, contributed freely of his means to churches, schools, and other public institutions.
The following was published by the Hamilton Lodge in honor of his life:
TRIBUTE OF RESPECT – At a regular communication of Hamilton Lodge No. 344, A. F. & A. M. held in the lodge room at Hamilton, Ala., on Saturday, April 24, 1897, the following proceedings were had: On motion a committee consisting of Brothers A. J. Hamilton, R. W. Clark, and G. N. Stokes, was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the members of this lodge as to the demise of our worthy brother, Thomas Benton Nesmith who was a charter member and first W. M. of this lodge and served as such from June 1868 to June 1875. Said committee made the following report, which was unanimously adopted: Whereas, It has pleased the Grand Master of the universe to call from labor below to refreshment above our worthy brother, Thomas Benton Nesmith, late a member of Vernon Lodge, and who was one of the founders of Pikeville ( Now Hamilton) Lodge No. 344, which sad even occurred on April 1, 1897, and Whereas this Lodge as well as the public feels the loss of so great a man as Bro. Nesmith , therefore, be it Resolved that by the death of Bro. Thomas Benton Nesmith Hamilton Lodge No. 344 has lost its first W. M. and that we feel that Vernon Lodge has lost an exemplary member, the community at large a sureful citizen, the church to which he belonged a worthy member and his family a devoted father.
Resolved, that this lodge will ever revere and honor the name of our late brother, Thomas Benton Nesmith, whose name stand son so many pages of our minutes, and that we feel that as the first pages of our lodge record are his work that the last pages should be filled with expressions of our feelings to the memory of this worthy brother. As his life went out with the close of the present volume of our record. Resolved, that these resolutions be spread of record on the minutes of this lodge, and the New Marion County News and Vernon papers be requested to publish the same and that a copy be presented to the family of our said brother. A. J. Hamilton; R. W. Clark; G. N. Stokes, Committee
- Memorial Record of Alabama by Hannis Taylor, Brant & Fuller, Publishers, Madison, Wis. 1893
- Marion County News, April 8, 1897
- Marion County News, April 29, 1897
- Find A Grave Memorial# 66082130 # 67441584
- Notable Men of Alabama: Personal and Genealogical, Volume 1 edited by Joel Campbell DuBose
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