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Biography: William Marion Bethea born June 16, 1857 – photograph

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Bethea, Willilam marion 1857WILLIAM MARION BETHEA


(1857- 1905)

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:

  1. Rufus H. Bethea
  2. William M. Bethea, Jr.
  3. Helen W. Bethea
  4. 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.


  1. History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  2. Notable Men of Alabama: Personal and Genealogical, Volume 2 edited by Joel Campbell DuBose
  3. Find A Grave Memorial# 110864042 # 110863915 # 97818069 # 110863236

This biography can be found in Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Volume VI 

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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