BiographiesGenealogy Information

Biography: John Jasper Altman born August 17, 1851 – photograph

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Jefferson and Sumter county, Alabama

John J. Altman, of Birmingham, Ala., chancellor of the northwestern chancery division of Alabama, was born Aug. 17, 1851, in Sumter county, Alabama. He was a son of John Wilson/Willman Altman and his wife, Sarah (Hitt) Altman. The senior Altman was born in South Carolina, but emigrated to Alabama in 1836, settling in Sumter county, where he was a very extensive planter. His father was a native of the north of Germany who emigrated to South Carolina in the early days; Sarah (Hitt) Altman was a daughter of John Hitt of Sumter county.


Chancellor Altman passed his boyhood days on his father’s plantation in Sumter county, and attended the county schools; at the age of sixteen years he began teaching in the schools of the county for the purpose of obtaining funds with which to continue his studies.

Having accomplished his purpose he entered Cooper’s institute in East Mississippi, and later took a course in law at the University of Virginia, graduating in the class of 1871 with a Bachelor of Laws. The same year he commenced the practice of law in Butler, the county seat of Choctaw county, Alabama in association with Thomas Cobbs, afterward chancellor of the western chancery division of Alabama.

After four years of practice at Butler, he moved to Livingston, in the same county, becoming the law partner of Capt. Samuel H. Sprott and remained in practice with him until Captain Sprott was appointed judge of the sixth judicial district of Alabama in 1883. While a resident of Livingston, he acted as its mayor for six years.

In 1886 Mr. Altman moved to Birmingham and soon formed a partnership with Col. J. R. McIntosh. This parternership continued until November, 1889. In 1889 he admitted to partnership John McQueem, Esq., who later became solicitor-elect of the county of Jefferson. In 1893 he formed a partnership with Col. W. D. Bulger that continued until the death of Col. Bulger about a year afterwards.

He served in the legislature of Alabama during the session of 1896-97. In September, 1901, he gave his sonJohn W. Altman, a partnership. Judge Altman was a man of affairs and gained an enviable reputation among his associates in the legal profession and among his fellow citizens as well.

He was always an active worker in the ranks of the Democratic party but until his election as chancellor in 1904, he had never aspired to public office. He was a Democratic elector from the sixth congressional district when Cleveland was elected the first time. In 1896 he was chosen as alderman from the Sixth ward of Birmingham. He was an indefatigable worker for the good of the city and the improvement of his ward. Chancellor Altman was a member of the First Baptist church; he was also a member of the Masonic fraternity, the Elks, the Knights of Pythias and the Beavers.

John Jasper Altman married: February 24, 1876, at Livingston, Cora Adela Lockard, (b. 1852) daughter of William and Margaret Hulda (Brewer) Lockard, of Livingston; granddaughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Halsell) Lockard, who lived in South Carolina, and of William and Anna (Bates) Brewer, who lived near Greenville, S. C. Her grandparents all moved to Sumter County before Alabama was admitted as a state.

Their known children were:

  1. Ida Lockard Altman, m. January 26, 1905, A. D. James, resided in Birmingham;
  2. John W. Altman, lawyer, m. December 20, 1904, Myra B. Webb, resided in Birmingham;
  3. Adelaide Beatrice Altman, m. September 26, 1905, John E. Peck, resided in Birmingham.

John Jasper Altman died January 21, 1905, at Birmingham, Alabama. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama.


  1. Notable men of Alabama By JoelCampbell DuBose 1904
  2. History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 3 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  3. Alabama Marriage Collection, 1800-1969 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006
  4. # 130324506 # 130324438 # 60714599 # 15321965 # 130324609


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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