Biography of Col. Alfred Y. Smith

Col. Alfred Y. Smith, a prominent and representative planter, and a son of Malcolm and Mary B. (Graham) Smith, was born in Autauga county, Alabama, in 1825. Malcolm was born in Moore county, North Carolina, in 1795, and Mary B. in Cumberland county, same state, in 1800. Malcolm was left an orphan at ten years of ago, and consequently he received but a limited education, whereas Mrs. Mary B., who was reared by her parents, was particularly well educated. They were married in their native state in 1819, and came to Alabama, locating in the woods near the present site of Prattville. They later moved to that part of Elmore county which was then embraced within the bounds of Coosa county, where Mr. Smith erected various mills, but five years later returned to Autauga county, where Mr. Smith died in 1857, and Mrs. Smith in 1862. Mr. Smith was a self-made man, having started life with no means of his own; he was a great speculator in cattle, sheep and lands, and, being a great reader, became one of the best informed men of his day and was prepared for almost any business undertaking. He was appointed a commissioner on the part of the state to build the penitentiary, 1842-5, assisted in the erection of the Planters’ cotton mill at Autaugaville and helped to operate it until after the war. Mr. Smith was a bright Mason and an industrious worker in the Presbyterian church. His father, Neil Smith, was born in Scotland, but died in North Carolina when Malcolm was ten years of age, and his widow, Mary McNeil, who came to Alabama in 1819, and who was a very intelligent and refined lady, died in what is now Elmore county.

The maternal grandfather of the colonel, Maj. Archibald Graham, also a Scotchman, married a Scotch lady, Miss Euphemia Graham. They came to the United States with their parents, who died in North Carolina. These grandparents came to Alabama in 1818, located in Autauga county, where he died in 1825, aged sixty-two years, and she in 1848. Maj. Archibald Graham was a planter on a large scale, was the father of a very intelligent family and his descendants are now numbered among the best families of the county. The eldest son, Judge William Graham, was state treasurer from 1848 until the opening of the Civil war, and Samuel S. was assistant state geologist for a number of years.

The gentleman whose name heads this sketch, Col. Alfred Y. Smith, is the fourth born in a family of seven sons and five daughters, of whom three of the sons, beside himself, were Confederate soldiers during the Civil war, viz.: Prof. C. W., who was in the Third Alabama cavalry, army of the Tennessee, but who in a short time lost his health; he is now principal of the Prattville schools; Hon. Mac. A. Smith, now a prominent lawyer, was in the First Alabama heavy artillery; Dr. Virgil, who died in Wilcox county in 1884, was in Wheeler’s cavalry. Col. A. Y. Smith was reared on the home plantation, and was educated in the neighborhood and at Woodville, Coosa county. In 1845 he entered as a clerk in a commission house in Mobile, remained one year, and then managed his father’s plantation for a few years, or until his marriage in December, 1847. The lady of his choice was Miss Fannie, daughter of John Slaton, who moved from Georgia to Autauga county about 1845. Mr. Slaton (now deceased) married a Miss Harris, who was born near Meriwether County, Georgia, a member of one of the best families of that state. Mrs. Smith died in 1857, the mother of four children, viz.: Helen F., a graduate of Judson Institute at Marion, and now the wife of Dr. T. G. Howard of Selma; Walter H.; Rebecca, who died in infancy; Lula, who died young, and Frank S. In 1859, the colonel chose for his second spouse Mrs. Mary Pleasant Pope, daughter of Alexander McKeithen, a native of North Carolina who came to Alabama with his parents about the year 1822 and died in Elmore county in 1881. Mrs. Smith was born in Autauga county, was educated at Montgomery, and died in 1879, the mother of seven children, viz.: Thomas M., Alfred Graham, Forrest, Alexander M., Charles C., Kate and Minnie. From 1854 to 1857, Col. Smith lived in Florida, where he served on the board of revenue of Jackson county, but ill health necessitated his return to Autauga county, Ala., where he has since resided on his farm near Prattville. He was lieutenant-colonel of militia of his county before the civil war, and early in the struggle was for seven months a lieutenant in the Third Alabama cavalry at Pensacola; and was then commandant of the militia at Prattville until the close. The colonel is a practical and enlightened agriculturist and devotes much of his time to the advancement of farming interests; he is an active worker in all farmers’ organizations, and in 1889 was representative from his congressional district in the Inter State Farmers’ association held at Raleigh, N. C.; he is a frequent contributor to the local press, and his articles on husbandry are always largely read. In religion he is a Presbyterian and is an active worker in the Sabbath school; while in educational matters he takes an unbounded interest, sparing no expense, especially in the intellectual training of his own children, whom he is bringing up in a manner that will transmit, through them, the amiable traits and progressive qualities of their ancestors.


Memorial record of Alabama : a concise account of the state’s political, military, professional and industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people.. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top