William Garrett.

Reminiscences of public men in Alabama : for thirty years, with an appendix online

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all, I venture humbly to hope that Divine Providence, to whom we owe our origin,
our growth, and all our prosperity, will continue to protect our beloved country
against all danger, foreign and domestic.

I am, with great respect, your friend,


Jlon. C. Cmhing, President of the Democratic National Convention.

Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama. 707


Literary Characters of Alabama Authors of History and Romance.

The character of each State, and of each community, is more or
less respected abroad, from the ability and accomplishments of its
authors arid its literary classes. By this standard the claims of
Alabama may be judged, in part, by the list here introduced.

JOSEPH G. BALDWIN, author of the " Flush Times of Alabama
and Mississippi," and of "Party Leaders/ has been noticed else
where in this work, as a member of the Legislature.

FREDERICK A. P. BARNARD, LL.D., was born in Massachu
setts, in 1809, and graduated at Yale College, with high honors,
in 1828. In 1829, he was appointed Tutor in that institution.
In 1831, he was one of the Instructors in the American Asylum
for the Deaf and Dumb at Hartford, Connecticut, and, in 1833, he
transferred his employment to the New York Institute for the
Deaf and Dumb, where he taught until 1838.

In 1838, he accepted the Professorship of Mathematics and
Natural Philosophy in the University of Alabama, which he held
until 1848, and afterward filled the Chair of Chemistry until 1854.
From Alabama, he passed, in 1854, to the Chair of Mathematics
and Astronomy in the University of Mississippi, and, in 1856, he
was elected its President. In consideration of his great learning,
the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon him by Jeffer
son College, in that State.

The published works of Prof. Barnard include a small treatise
on Arithmetic, in 1830, and one on Grammar, in 1834. In 1855,
he published Letters on College Government, and a Report on
Collegiate Education, made to the Faculty of the University of
Alabama, of which he had been many years the Secretary.

Professor Barnard was a very industrious and prolific writer.
Besides contributing many articles to the newspapers, he wrote
for the magazines, especially for the American Journal of Educa
tion, from the commencement. From science an$ literature, he
would expand into the most graceful humor, as the occasion might
justify. At other times, he was grave and didactic. Some years
ago, he took orders for the ministry, in the Episcopal Church.

708 Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama.

Besides his superior qualifications as a scholar, Prof. Barnard
was a bright Mason. On the 24th of June, 1841, he deliv
ered an address before Eising Virtue Lodge, No. 4, Tuskaloosa,
on the " Claims of Masonry upon the Respect and Veneration of
Mankind," which was published in pamphlet form at the request
of the Lodge.

On llth July, 1854, the anniversary of the Phi Beta Kappa
Society, Professor Barnard pronounced an oration of great merit,
entitled "Art Culture: Its relation to National Refinement and
National Morality/ 7 which was published in a pamphlet of 43

The present location and employment of Professor Barnard may
be seen by the following extract from a message of Gov. Patton,
dated January 15, 1867:

While in New York I conferred fully with the United States Commissioners for
the Paris Exposition. I found that they took a lively interest in having all the
States properly represented. It may not be improper to observe that Alabama s
interest has a special friend in F. A. P. Barnard, late of the University of Ala
bama, and now President of Columbia College, in New York. That learned gen
tleman is the principal Commissioner for the United States, and is particularly
solicitous for a liberal contribution of the various mineral, and other specimens
which will properly represent the vast natural resources of Alabama. I arranged
with the Commissioner for the transportation, from New York to Paris, of all such
articles as might be prepared and forwarded. A considerable variety of valuable
specimens has already been furnished, and many more are confidently expected.
I respectfully submit to the Legislature the question of making a limited appro
priation to pay the expenses of transporting specimens from the interior of the
State to Montgomery, and hence to New York. Several gentlemen of the State
will visit Paris during the ensuing Spring, some of whom have kindly consented to
act as agents to represent Alabama s interest at the Exposition.

The Commissioners at the Paris Universal Exposition, severally
made reports which were published, in six volumes, by order of
Congress. The third volume, profusely illustrated, consists of
the Report of President Barnard on the " Machinery and Processes
of the Industrial Arts; and Apparatus of the Exact Sciences."
It is a very elaborate paper of 650 pages, in print, justly placing
him in the front rank of men of science, in this or any other

JOHN G. BARE, when a portionless boy, attracted the friendly
notice of Mr. Daniel M. Boyd, a merchant tailor of Tuskaloosa,
who sent him to the University of Alabama, where he graduated
with the first honor, in the class of 1841. Afterward he was em
ployed as a tutor, and gave himself up to his passion for elegant
literature, in which he excelled as a writer and speaker. No one
ever left the institution with more credit. In the Mexican war
he was Captain of a company of volunteers from Tuskaloosa

His service in the Mexican war gave him great popularity at

Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama. 709

home. On his return, he was for some time connected with the
editorship of the "Flag of the Union/ the organ of the Demo
cratic party. In the meantime, his lively and graphic pen furnished
many articles for the Northern magazines and papers, which af
forded him a liberal compensation. He wrote tine things for
" Porter s Spirit of the Times," in New York, which were much
admired by the public.

In 1856, Capt. Barr was appointed on the Electoral ticket, and
canvassed with great power and effect for Buchanan and Breckin-
ridge. His political information was sound, and his style of speak
ing very attractive. Crowds followed to hear him. At the session
of the Legislature in 1857, a flattering testimonial was furnished
him, signed by all the Democratic members, and the President of
the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, recommending the
President to give him an appointment worthy of his distinguished
talents and great party services. He visited Washington, and
delivered his papers. After some delay, President Buchanan gave
him the Consulship at Melbourne (in Australia). While on his
passage, he died at sea, and was buried in its billows, whose dirge
was his only requiem. In the Summer of 1858, a Montgomery
paper thus announced the sad event :

DEATH OF CAPT. JOHN G. BARR. It will be seen from the official notice from
the State Department, published in another column, that Capt. John Q. Barr, of
this State, lately appointed United States Consul at Melbourne, died on his way to
his station, on the 18th of May last, from sunstroke. This will be melancholy
tidings to the numerous friends of this gentleman, and especially to the citizens
of Tuskaloosa, where he was well known and highly appreciated for his many
virtues. In the death of Capt. Barr, Alabama loses a patriotic and valuable citi
zen a son whose future promised to adorn a bright page in her history.

JEREMIAH CLEMENS, in addition to authorship, was a politi
cian. His course in the Legislature, and in the Senate of the
United States, has been noticed elsewhere in this volume; also
the works which he published.

Miss AUGUSTA J. EVANS, a native of Georgia, first appeared
before the public in 1859, as the author of "Beulah," a novel of
great intellectual power and graphic force, which secured at once
a reputation among the very highest in that department of litera
ture. This work was succeeded by "Macaria, or the Altar of
Sacrifice," "St. Elmo," and "Vashti." Her earliest production
was "Inez, a Tale of the Alamo." Miss Evans resided in Mobile
during the composition of her works, except the first, when her
parents were in Texas. In the meantime, the family name has
been changed, and she is now Mrs. Wilson, as happy in domestic
life as she was brilliant in another sphere.

MRS. CAROLINE LEE HENTZ is a Northern lady, whose family
name was Whiting. She married Professor Hentz, of the

710 Reminisc&ices of Public Men in Alabama.

versity of North Carolina. Afterward, they removed to Alabama,
and, for a number of years, resided in Florence. About 1842,
they came to Tu$kaloosa, and, for several years, had charge of the
Female Institute under the patronage of the Presbyterian Church.
Thence Mrs. Hentz removed to Columbus, Georgia, where she
was Principal of a Female Seminary. While on a visit to one of
her married daughters, in Florida, she died there in 1856.

She wrote "De Lara, or The Moorish Bride," a dramatic poem,
to which was awarded a prize of $500. It was performed in the
Philadelphia Theaters, and had quite a run. Her other works
have been

1. Aunt Patty s Scrap Bag. 1846.

2. The Mob Cap. 1848.

3. Linda, or The Young Pilot of the Belle Creole. 1850.

4. Rena, or The Snow-Bird. 1851.

5. Marcias Moreland, or The Long Moss Spring. 1852.

6. Eoline, or Magnolia Vale, 1852.

7. Wild Jack. 1853.

8. Helen and Arthur, or Miss Theresa s Spinning Wheel. 1853.

9. The Planter s Northern Bride. 1854.
10. Ernest Linwood. 1856.

Many of these works have been republished by the book-sellers
in uniform editions, and have had quite a circulation.

The fact that Mrs. Hentz resided many years in Alabama, and
became cordially identified in feeling with Southern society, gives
us the right to enroll her bright name among the professional
authors of the State.

HENRY W. HILLIARD was born in North Carolina, in 1808,
arid now resides at Augusta, Georgia. The prime of his life was
passed in Alabama, where he attained high public honors. These
are noticed under another head in this work. A volume of his
Speeches, Essays and Addresses, on various occasions, was pub
lished many years ago by Harper & Brothers, New York. He
is a gentleman of culture and refinement, and so far as he has
acted the part of author, in annotations to "Roman Nights/ he
has been successful.

JOHNSON J. HOOPER, as author of "Simon Suggs," and other
tales of a grotesque yet popular class, enjoyed a large degree of
public favor in his day. Remarks on his life, and as a writer, will
be found elsewhere in this volume.

MRS. OCTA VIA WALTON LE VERT, a grand-daughter of George
Walton, one of the signers of the Declaration of American Inde-

Reminiscences of Public Mm in Alabama. 71 1

pendence in 1776, was born at Augusta, Georgia. Thence her fa
ther removed to Pensacola, Florida, in 1832. In one of her jour
neys in the stage, before the time of railroads, she traveled a few
days most agreeably with Washington Irwing, then on his journey
to or from the far West. She frequently visited Washington City,
where she passed much of her time, and was an attentive listener
to the debates of Congress occasionally taking notes of such speak
ers as Clay, Calhoun, Webster, McDuffie and Benton ; and then
in social argumentation with some of these gentlemen, she would
greatly surprise them by quoting their own language.

In 1836, she married Dr. Henry S. Levert, of Mobile. She
made two visits to Europe, and went to Rome, where she was pre
sented to His Holiness the Pope. An account of the interview is
given in her "Souvenirs of Travel/ 7 published in two volumes
after her return, in 1857. She has written many fine things, and
has been quite a favorite with the public. For the last several
years, she has resided in the city of New York.

ALEXANDER BEAUFORT MEEK was born in Columbia, South
Carolina, in the year 1814. His father, Dr. Samuel Meek, after
ward removed to Alabama, and settled in Tuskaloosa, where the
son graduated in the State University, with the degree of Master
of Arts, in the class of 1833.

After completing a course of legal studies, he was admitted to
the bar in 1835. In the Spring of 1836, he volunteered, and
served a campaign of three months, as a non-commissioned officer
in the Indian war in Florida. On his return, he was appointed
by Gov. Clay Attorney-General of the State, to fill a vacancy.

After retiring from this office, Mr. Meek devoted himself mainly
to letters, arid to composition, for which purpose, as early as 1835,
he was connected with the press as editor of the "Flag of the
Union," a Democratic paper published at Tuskaloosa. In 1839,
he edited a monthly called the "Southron," and in 1842, was ap
pointed by the Governor Judge of the County Court of Tuska
loosa county, to fill the unexpired term of Judge M. D. Williams,
who, on arriving at seventy years of age, was rendered ineli
gible by the Constitution. In 1842, he published a "Supple
ment" to the Digest of Alabama. In 1844, he visited Washing
ton City as the bearer of the Electoral vote of the State, and
accompanied Mr. W r illiam L. Yancey on the field when he fought
a duel with Mr. Clingman, of North Carolina.

In 1845, Judge Meek was appointed Law Clerk to the Solici
tor of the Treasury, and resided a year in Washington City. In
1846, he was appointed by President, Polk United States Attor
ney for the Southern District of Alabama, which office he held
four years, making his future home in Mobile. From 1848 to

712 Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama.

1853, lie was associate editor of the "Mobile Daily Register. *
In 1853, he was elected a Representative in the Legislature, and,
as Chairman of the Committee on Education, reported the bill to
"establish and maintain a system of free public schools in the
State of Alabama." The report which accompanied the bill was
exceeding able, and forms more than eight pages of the printed
Journal. To show the high appreciation by the House of these
two documents, five thousand copies of the bill, and ten thousand
copies of the report, were ordered to be printed. This produc
tion of Judge Meek, so creditable to his intellect and his heart, is
too lengty to be incorporated here. Its perusal will amply com
pensate the intelligent reader.

In 1854, he was elected Judge of the City Court of Mobile, a
place of considerable labor and emoluments, yet affording suffi
cient leisure to communicate with the press. In 1855, he pub
lished " The Red Eagle/ a poem of the South, in a very beautiful
volume, and in 1857, he gave the public a volume of "Orations,
Sketches and Essays, Romantic Passages in South-Western His
tory," and "Songs and Poems of the South." These are mainly
collections which had been contributed to the magazines and
papers, at intervals more or less distant, from the time he left
college, at the age of nineteen all forming an adequate founda
tion on which to rest his fame as a scholar and a poet.

In 1859, Judge Meek was again returned to the Legislature,
and was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. He
had nearly completed a History of Alabama, when the war broke
out in 1861, which prevented its publication. He was certainly
well qualified for the labor which he had undertaken, and it is to
be hoped that at some future day, when the political pressure on
the South shall undergo some degree of amelioration, and sec
tional and individual prosperity revive, the work will be pub
lished, as a worthy companion to Pickett s History, brought down,
perhaps, to a later period.

One of the early effusions of Judge Meek was set to music,
about the year 1840, and has been much admired. It is here
reproduced for the grandeur of its sentiments, as well as for the
beauty of the composition :


Land of the South imperial land

How proud thy mountains rise !
How sweet thy scenes on every hand

How fair thy evening skies !
But not for this oh ! not for these

I love thy fields to roam ;
Thou hast a dearer spell to me,

Thou art my native home ! r

Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama. 713

Thy rivers roll their liquid wealth,

Unequalled to the sea ;
Thy hills and valleys bloom with health,

And green with verdure be !
But not for thy proud ocean streams

Nor for thine azure dome
Sweet, sunny South, I cling to thee ;

Thou art my native home !

I ve stood beneath Italia s clime,

Beloved of tale and song ;
On Helvyn s hills, proud and sublime,

Where Nature s wonders throng;
By Tempe s classic, sunlit streams,

Where gods of old did roam ;
But ne er have found so fair a land

As thou, my native home !

And thou hast prouder glories, too,

Than Nature ever gave ;
Peace sheds o er thee her genial dew,

And Freedom s pinions wave
Fair science flings her pearls around,

Religion lifts her dome ;
These, these endear thee to my heart,

My own loved native home !

And " Heaven s best gift to man " is thine

God bless the rosy girls !
Like sylvan flowers, they sweetly shine

Their hearts are pure as pearls I
And grace and goodness circle them,

Where er their footsteps roam ;
How can I then, whilst loving them,

Not love my native home ?

Land of the South imperial land

Then here s a health to thee:
Long as thy mountain barrier s stand,

May st thou be blessed and free ;
May dark dissension s banner ne er

Wave o er thy fertile loam ;
But should it come, there s one will die

To save his native home !

In 1841, he delivered a discourse before the Literary Societies
of LaGrange College, Alabama, which was published, by request,
in a pamphlet of 30 pages. It is entitled " Jack-Cadeism and the
Fine Arts." He delivered many addresses of the kind in differ
ent States, always with great brilliancy and applause.

While residing in Mobile, Judge Sleek married Mrs. Slatter,
a lady of considerable wealth, the widow of Hope Hull Slatter,
Esq., formerly of Georgia. After her death, he married Miss
Cannon, the daughter of a distinguished citizen of Lowndes
county, Mississippi. Judge Meek then changed his residence to
Columbus, in that State, where he died, in the Fall of 1865, aged
fifty-one years.


A Reminiscences of Public fifen in Alabama.

ALBERT JAMES PICKETT, born in Anson County, North Caro
lina, in 1810, canie with his father, Col. William R. Pickett, to
Autauga county, Alabama, in 1818. In acquiring fortune and in
fluence, they were both successful.

A biographical sketch of Col. A. J. Pickett, written by Gen.
C. M. Jackson, was published in pamphlet form in 1859. Many
interesting passages might be quoted, if space would allow.

A few facts from the memoir must suffice. In 1832, Col.
Pickett married Miss Sarah. Smith, eldest daughter of William
Harris, Esq. In 1836, he was Aid to Gov. Clay, and acted as
Assistant Adjutant-General in the Creek war.

In 1853, the name of Col. Pickett was connected in the public
prints with the nomination for Governor, and the suggestion was
received with general favor; but he was then engaged in writing
a "History of the South- West," and declined to permit the use
of his name for the office. He was a prolific and entertaining
writer, and gave many articles and sketches to the newspaper
press, which were much admired.

A few years before his death, he connected himself with the
Protestant Episcopal Church. He died in peace, on the 28th day
of October, 1858, at the age of forty-eight years. Thus passed
away a good and useful man, in the meridian of life. In conclu
sion, a paragraph from the "Sketch," by Gen. Jackson, is given:

He outlived his entire family father, mother, brother and sister and his off
spring now constitute a new generation, without a single living link to connect it
with a former one. He left a devoted wife, several affectionate children, and
many friends, to deplore his untimely death ; besides the proper appreciation by
the public of what may be deemed a great calamity that of the loss of one who
had so largely contributed to the general welfare. His remains were followed by
a large concourse of relatives and friends, and interred in the burying ground at
the old family residence in Autauga county, which Col. Pickett had inherited
where are also the graves of his father, mother, and other members of the family.

DR. SAMUEL C. OLIVER was a gentleman of letters, who re
sided at Montgomery. He was a chaste and spirited writer, and
contributed many articles to the press. He wrote a political ro
mance, "Onslow," which is more particularly noticed in a sketch
of the public life of Dr. Oliver, to be found in another chapter.

WILLIAM RUSSELL SMITH has written and published several
books, as will appear in the notice of his public career to be found
elsewhere in this volume. He wields a classical pen, and his
laurels are always verdant.

Miss MILDRED LOUISE TARVER has a claim upon public favor,
though not in the capacity of an author of books, it may be. S e
was raised in Montgomery county, and her mind became ear y
imbued with the love of art. She painted the fine and much ad-

Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama. 715

mired portrait of Gen. Clanton, which has been suspended in the
Representative Hall.

The author has endeavored to include in this chapter all the
names within his knowledge more or less attached to literature as
a profession, or who have contributed freely to the press as ama
teur writers. In addition to those already mentioned, he sub
joins, from a volume entitled "The Living Female Writers of
the South," the following in Alabama:

Madame Adalaide De V. Chaudron, Miss Kate Gumming,
Miss Annie Creight Floyd, Mrs. E. W. Belamy, Mary E. Cruse,
Lilian Rozell Messenger, Sarah E. Peck, Julia L. Keyes, Ina M.
Porter Henry, Catharine W. Towles, Mrs. Julia Shelton, Mary
Ware, Mrs. E. L. Saxon, S. S. Crute, Anna Tredair, Caroline
Theresa Branch, Bettie Keyes Hunter.

Although not an author, in a literary sense, Mr. William C.
Sanders, a native of Alabama, deserves favorable mention, as an
artist of recognized merit. He passed several years at Rome, in
prosecuting his studies as a portrait painter, and now justly ranks
among the most eminent of his profession in this country.


Administrations Noticed Sketches of Governors Fitzpatrick, Collier,
Moore, Shorter, and Watts.

In other parts of this work notices appear of Governors Bagby,
Martin, Chapman, Winston, Parsons, Patton, and Lindsay, with a
brief outline of their several administrations. Space here will
not permit an extensive review of the official course of the gen
tlemen whose names are at the head of this chapter. A mere
outline, in the personal narrative, must suffice.

BENJAMIN FITZPATRICK deserves commemoration for his vir
tues as a citizen and patriot, and for faithful service in the highest
positions of the State. He was a native of Georgia, and when
quite a young man came to Alabama, about the year 1818, when
it was a Territory. He read law in the office of the Hon. Nim-
rod E. Benson, and after his admission to the bar, he settled in

716 Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama.

Montgomery, where he formed a professional partnership with
Henry Goldthwaite, Esq.

In 1819, he was elected Solicitor of the Montgomery Circuit,
and reflected in 1823. In the meantime, he married a daughter
of Gen. John Elmore, formerly of South Carolina. By this alli
ance he became the brother-in-law of Hon. Franklin Elmore,
subsequently a Senator in Congress from South Carolina; of John
A. Elmore, Esq., of Montgomery; of William Elmore, Esq., At
torney-General of Louisiana; of the Hon. Henry M. Elmore, of
Macon county; of the Hon. Rush Elmore, Judge of the United
States Court in Kansas, and of Albert Elmore, Esq., late Secre
tary of State, and Collector of the Port of Mobile. The Hon.
Dixon H. Lewis married a sister of Mrs. Fitzpatrick. This large
family influence contributed to the building up of his fortunes.
In a few years after his marriage, he retired from the bar, owing
to failing health, and settled on his plantation in Autauga county,
where he devoted himself successfully to agricultural pursuits.

In 1840, as an Elector on the Democratic ticket, he visited dif
ferent parts of the State, and addressed the people on the issues
of the day, boldly and explicitly defending the measures of the
administration, which had been assailed by the Whig party. The
result of the election is well known for the large majority in Ala
bama cast for Mr. Van Buren.

In the Winter of 1840, Col. Fitzpatrick was presented as the
Democratic candidate for Governor, and was elected over his

Online LibraryWilliam GarrettReminiscences of public men in Alabama : for thirty years, with an appendix → online text (page 80 of 91)