Early Settlers of Autauga County, Alabama

WILLIAM WYATT BIBB was born in Amelia county, Virginia, October 2, 1781. His father, Captain William Bibb, was a colonial officer in ’76, and subsequently served in the Virginia legislature. His mother was a Miss Wyatt of New Kent county. The family settled. in Elbert county, Georgia, where the father cued in 1796, leaving a widow and eight young children, of whom William was the eldest. Educated at William and Mary College, he located as a physician in Petersburg, Georgia. ‘ At the age of 21 years he was chosen to the legislature and served four years, when he was elected to congress though barely eligible in age. He served in the representative branch from 1806 to 1813, when he was transferred to the senate. At one time he lacked but few votes of being elected speaker while serving in the lower house. In November 1816 he was defeated for re-election to the federal senate by Hon. George M. Troup, which so mortified Dr. Bibb that he at once resigned, though his term did not expire till March following. But he was called from retirement a few months later by President Monroe, who appointed him governor of the newly-formed Territory of Alabama. Repairing at once (April 1817) to St. Stephens, he entered on his new duties, , It may be presumed that the people were pleased with his administration, in the absence of any thing to the contrary, and from the fact that, anticipating admission as a State into the Union, they elected him the first governor in 1819. His competitor was Hon. Marmaduke Williams of Tuscaloosa, and the vote stood, Bibb 8342, Williams 7140. November 9,1819, he was inaugurated governor in Huntsville. But he survived the honor only a few months, his death occurring at his home near Coosada, in this county, July 1820, in his 39th year. The name and fame of Gov. Bibb – thus cut off in the flower of his manhood-are preserved in the name of a county in Georgia and one in this State. He was of medium size, spare figure, intellectual cast of features, and dignified but easy bearing. By his uniform courtesy and kindness he won the respect of all classes. Early in life he married a daughter of Col. Holman Freeman of Wilkes county, Georgia, and left a son and daughter; the latter the wife of Hon. Alfred V. Scott of Montgomery. Five of his brothers became citizens of the State, one of whom succeeded him as governor, and another is Hon. B. S. Bibb of Montgomery.

JOHN ARCHER ELMORE was also an early settler of this county. He was a native of Virginia, and a soldier in the colonial struggle of 1776. After a residence of many years in Laurens District, South Carolina, during which he was often a member of the legislature, he became a citizen of Autauga in 1819. He represented the county once in the house of representatives, and died in 1834. His character for candor, good sense and sociability are yet remembered in the county. He left a large number of descendants. By his first wife, a Miss Saxon, he had two sons: Hon. Franklin H., who remained in South Carolina, and succeeded Mr. Calhoun in the federal senate; and Benjamin F., who became treasurer of South Carolina. By his second wife, a sister of Hon. Abram Martin of Montgomery, he had five sons, viz: John A., of Montgomery; William A., an eminent lawyer of New Orleans; Rush, long a practicing attorney u1 Montgomery; Henry, at one time judge of the probate court of Macon county, now in Texas; and Albert, of Montgomery, secretary of state in 1865, and collector of customs at Mobile under President Johnson. A daughter by this second marriage wedded Hon. Benj. Fitzpatrick; another married Hon. Dixon H. Lewis of Lowndes.

The life and services of BENJAMIN FITZPATRICK were blended with the annals of Autauga, but an account of him will be found under the head of Elmore, as he resided in the portion of Autauga set apart to that county. So with SETH P. STORES.

ROBERT BROADNAX, another early settler, came from Hancock county, Georgia. He was quite popular, and of a practical mind. He frequently served the county in the lower house, and in 1834 defeated Hon. Wm. R. Pickett for a seat in the senate. He removed soon after to the southern part of the State, and represented Clarke, Monroe and Baldwin in the senate in 1863-4. The misfortunes of his State caused him to remove to Brazil in 1867, and he was in destitute circumstances there at last accounts.

WILLIAM RAIFORD PICKETT, came to this county as early as 1818. He was a native of North Carolina, and was honored by his native county of Anson with several official trusts. He became a merchant and planter in this county, and served it in both branches of the general assembly. Thrice he was on the presidential electoral ticket of his party. He died in 1150, aged 73 years, leaving an enviable reputation for honor, benevolence, intelligence and sociability. -He had a daughter who married Gen. Moseley Baker of Montgomery, who died in Texas about the year 1855. Hon. Wm. D. Pickett and Col. A. J. Pickett of Montgomery were his sons.

DIXON HALL was a prominent citizen of Autauga for some years, representing it in both houses of the general assembly, He was a native of Georgia, and his family were among the first settlers of the count. His father also represented the county in the legislature.’ He was a cousin of Hon. Dixon H. Lewis, and was of commanding figure and fair abilities. He removed to Texas about the year 1843, and died there some twelve years later.

CRAWFORD M. JACKSON was a native, and for many years a leading citizen and planter of the county. He was the son of Hon. James Jackson, who carne from Wilkes county, Ga., to Autauga in 1818, and represented it in the convention that framed the constitution of the State, and in the senate. Gen. Jackson was an officer of the militia, and several times a member of the house of representatives, serving as speaker of the body in 1857. He died February 27, 1860, aged about forty years. He was a popular and cultivated gentleman.

DANIEL PRATT is another distinguished citizen of the county. He was born in Temple, New Hampshire, July 20, 1799. His father was a farmer, of limited means, and he failed to obtain an education that might be called such. At the age of 16 years he was apprenticed to the trade of a carpenter, and served out the indenture of five years. His time being out, he came to the South, and labored at his trade for fourteen years in Georgia, mainly in Savannah, Milledgeville, and Macon. In 1827 he married Miss Esther Ticknor of Jones county, Georgia. He came to this State in 1833, with the intention of putting up a factory for making gins in Montgomery, at which business he had labored in Georgia to some extent. Disappointed, however, in getting lumber to put up buildings he came into this county, and constructed a number of gins on Gen. Elmore’s plantation. He then settled on Autauga creek, leased the water power at McNeil’s mill for $125 a year, and engaged extensively in the business of making gins. In 1840 he removed two miles further up the creek, and laid the foundation of Prattville. He rebuilt here his cotton factory and gin factory, and in 1860 the latter had reached the capacity for making, and that year did make, 1500 gins. He added a flour mill, a wool factory, an iron foundry, a sash and blind factory, a lumber mill, &c., &c. These labors did not escape the eye of the public, and in 1847 the State University conferred on him the degree of Master of Mechanical and Useful Arts as “a token of respect and honor felt by the trustees, in common -with reflecting men in every station, for that “high degree of intelligence, benevolence, uprightness, and “success which you have exercised and displayed,” as the letter of President Manly expressed it. Though ever attaching due importance to public measures, Mr. Pratt has had little leisure to take an active part in politics; yet he was the candidate of his party for the state senate from Montgomery and Autauga in 1855, and was defeated. From 1861 to 1865 he represented the county in the lower house of the legislature. In personal appearance he is above ordinary heighth and size, straight and well built, with a roman nose and blue eyes. The State has fostered the genius of many, but Mr. Pratt has nourished the resources of the State. As a practical utilitarian, he has had no rival in Alabama, and but few anywhere. “He has attained, in an eminent degree, that which is the end of all letters and all study: the art of making men around him wiser, “better and happier. He has shown in a substantial manner “that he values, and knows how to promote, the industrial and “economical virtues among men, rendering his own intelligence: “and honesty a blessing to all that come within the sphere of “his influence.”* It maybe added that Mr. Pratt is almost as well known for his piety, integrity, and hospitality, as for his energy and enterprise.

The late HENLY BROWN came to Autauga in 1819. He was judge of the county and probate courts from 1833 to 1862, a period of twenty-nine years, and it is to the ‘credit of the people of Autauga that when they found that they had in Judge Brown a faithful official-capable and honest–they knew his value, and how and where to keep him. He died in 1869 in this county.

Source: Alabama, her history, resources, war record, and public men: from 1540 to 1872, Brewer, Willis, Montgomery, Ala.: Barrett & Brown, 1872.

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