Memorial record of Alabama

Biography of Col. Charles S. G. Doster

Charles S G Doster
Charles S G Doster

Col. Charles S. G. Doster is a native of Autauga county, Ala., and its oldest lawyer. His father, Absalom Doster, was born in Mecklenburg county, N. C., 1796, and his mother, Mrs. Sarah (Alexander) Doster, in Greene county, Georgia, in 1806. Absalom Doster received a fine English education when young, and at the age of sixteen was taken by his parents to Georgia, and in 1818 came with them to Autauga county, Ala., where he engaged in merchandising at old Washington, then the oldest town in this part of the state. He was married in 1822, and continued in the mercantile business and in farming at Washington for several years, when he removed to a point near Prattville, where he continued to be a leading planter until his death in 1882. He was a man of good business capacity and sound sense, and served in the state legislature in 1840-41, when the capitol was located at Tuscaloosa, and was the only Whig that ever represented Autauga county in that body. He was prominent as a deacon in the Baptist church, at Prattville, for many years, and was forty years a Mason — first a member of the lodge at Washington, and then of Hampden-Sydney lodge at Robinson Springs, Elmore county.. In the war of 1812 he was stationed at Savannah, Ga. His parents, James and Lydia Doster, came from an influential family of North Carolina, of Irish extraction. Mrs. Lydia Doster died at Wetumpka, Ala., Mrs. Sarah (Alexander) Doster is still living and has been a member of the Baptist church since early womanhood. Her parents, Edmond and Mary Alexander, came to what is now Lowndes county, when Alabama was a vast wilderness, inhabited by wild animals and still wilder men. Mr. Alexander was a Virginian by birth, and entered the colonial army when but twelve years of age. He and wife ended their days in Lowndes county, where they reared a large family of children. Charles S. G. Doster is the second in a family of four sons and two daughters, viz.: Dr. Edmond A., who was a graduate from a New York university, and attained a high rank as a physician, but is now deceased; Charles S. G., who was born in 1830; Victoria, wife Zachariah Abney, prominent as a lawyer in Prattville; Madora, wife of M. D. Lamar, and two that died young. Col. Charles S. G. Doster was reared on the home plantation, received his early education at Rocky Mound academy, then attended the East Tennessee university, and in 1853 graduated from the Centenary college at Jackson, La. He had read law for some years prior to his final graduation under the late distinguished ex-Governor Watts, with whom he was very intimate for half a century, and in 1851 was admitted to the bar, Col. Doster is now one of the oldest lawyers in the state and one of the most eminent.

In 1854 Col. Doster married Miss Caroline E., daughter of John and Nancy (Harris) Slaton, who were natives respectively, of Kentucky and Georgia, were married in Georgia, and in 1835 settled in Autauga county, where Mr. Slaton was engaged in planting until his death in 1846. His widow survived until 1882. Of the large family born to this couple two sons were in the late war, viz.: Maj. William P. Slaton, who is now superintendent of education at Atlanta, Ga.; he was in the army of the Tennessee, was wounded and captured at Corinth, and served a time in a Federal prison; Capt. Henry H. Slaton, after the war, became a member of the Florida legislature, but later moved to Arkansas, in which state he died. Col. C. S. G. Doster has been very active in politics and in public life in general. His first office was that of justice of the peace; from 1854 he was from six to eight years superintendent of education of Autauga county. He was colonel in the state militia before the war, and during that struggle was commandant of the militia stationed at Prattville. After the war had closed he served in the state legislature until the republicans gained control of the state, and was chairman of the committee on education and a member of the judiciary committee. In 1870 he was again sent to the legislature and served on the judiciary committee. In 1872 he was elected to the state senate for four years, in which body he was chairman of the committee on privileges and elections and a member of the judiciary committee. He resigned, however, before the expiration of his term to make the race for the position of circuit judge, but was defeated, and has never sought office since. He was also, in 1866, a member of the celebrated national convention which met at Philadelphia to sustain President Andrew Johnson in his reconstruction policy. This convention was composed of many of the most eminent men of the country, and Col. Doster was one of its secretaries. Col. Doster is a large stock-holder and a director in the Prattville Cotton Mills and Banking company, and to the large property he inherited he has added materially. He has for many years been a member of Prattville lodge, No. 89, F. & A. M., is chairman of the board of stewards of the Methodist Episcopal church, and has been for many years president of the board of school trustees of the Prattville Male and Female academy. Mrs. Doster, who was born in Georgia, is the mother of five children, viz.: Mary Tulula, wife of W. W. Reynolds; Charles E., a lawyer and planter; Corinne, now Mrs. J. L. Alexander: Howard S., editor and proprietor of the Prattville Progress, and Carrie M. Col. Doster, the largest planter and land-holder in the country, is universally popular, and is perhaps more familiar with its early history than any other inhabitant of the state.

Source: Brant & Fuller, et al. 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.

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