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BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
Jefferson County, Alabama
William Marion Bethea, lawyer, was born June 16, 1857, near Raleigh, Smith County, Mississippi the son of John Brown Bethea and Elizabeth Ann Bethea. John Bethea was a native of Marion County, N. C. He moved to Mississippi about 1850 and was commissioned lieutenant in the C. S. Army. He died at the siege of Vicksburg, 1863. Elizabeth Ann Bethea wrote fiction. She was the daughter of Elisha C. and Martha Walker Bethea of Marion County, SC.
William M. Bethea was the grandson of John and Hannah (Walker) Bethea, of Marion County, S. C. The ancestors on both sides were among Marion’s men in the Revolutionary War. They were descended from French Huguenots, who fled from Alpine, France, to England, settled near the border of Scotland for two generations and came to America after the battle of Culloden. They acquired about twenty thousand acres of land in Marion County, S. C., most of which is still held by their posterity. There were over two hundred of the name who enlisted in the War of Secession. The great-grandfather Philip Bethea was in the War of 1812.
After coming to Marion county, S. C, they acquired about twenty thousand acres of land. There were over two hundred of the Bethea name who enlisted in the war between the States.
After his father’s death, William Marion Bethea went with his mother back to Marion County, S. C., where he received his early schooling. He attended Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., but did not graduate. He taught school in Talladega for six years and in his leisure, studied law. In 1884, he was admitted to the bar, moved to Birmingham later in the year, and began to practice law.
He was a partner of Judge Charles A. Senn for several years. In 1890 he practiced alone. He was a Democrat and a delegate to all the state and county conventions. He was a Methodist, and a Master Mason.
On December 19, 1889, William married Cora, of Birmingham, the daughter of Rufus and America (Walker) Hagood. They resided in Birmingham in 1902.
Their known children were:
- Rufus H. Bethea
- William M. Bethea, Jr.
- Helen W. Bethea
- Philip Bethea
William Marion Bethea died September 23, 1905, in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama along with his wife, Cora (Hagood) Bethea who died Jan. 19, 1944.
- History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
- Notable Men of Alabama: Personal and Genealogical, Volume 2 edited by Joel Campbell DuBose
- Find A Grave Memorial# 110864042 # 110863915 # 97818069 # 110863236