Charles M. McRae.- One of the most progressive and prosperous farmers of Bullock county is Charles M. McRae of Union Springs. He was born in Anson county, N. C., November 24, 1840, a son of Lockwood A. and Mary McRae, who were both born and reared in the same neighborhood in the county named, where a family of six children was born to them. In 1811, this family came to Alabama and settled in Barbour county, near Louisville, on an improved farm, where the father and mother died in 1858 and 1854 respectively, having been members of the Presbyterian church for many years. Lockwood McRae was not only a practical and successful planter, but a man of fine English education, as well as public spirited and generous; he was active in politics, but never an aspirant for office. He was one of a large family born to Philip McRae, who was born and reared in Scotland, was married there and then came to America and settled in North Carolina, where he followed farming until his death. John McRae, the maternal grandfather of Charles M., and a distant relative of Philip McRae, was also a native of Scotland and also died in North Carolina.
Charles M. McRae is the youngest of the six children born to his parents, his brothers and sisters having been named as follows: Harvey A., who served with the Alabama state troops in Florida during the recent war and died in Barbour county in or about 1888; Dr. Philip P., who graduated from the Charleston (S.C.) Medical college, and after a comparatively short, but brilliant professional career, died in Texas; John L., who was a captain in the Thirty-seventh Alabama infantry, was in the army of the Tennessee, fought from Dalton to Atlanta, and was once wounded, was elected clerk of Barbour county on his return, served a short time and resigned, is now a merchant of Louisville, Ala.; Lillian, is the widow of the late William Bostwick of Louisivlle, Ala., and Christiana is the relict of John DeBardeleben, deceased.
Charles M. McRae received a good education at the Louisville and Clayton academies and had turned his attention to the cultivation of the home farm when he was called upon to take up arms for the defense of his adopted state, he being one of the first to respond to that call. February 13, 1861, he enlisted for one year in company F, First Alabama infantry, was commissioned second lieutenant, and with his regiment was ordered to Pensacola, where he took part in the various attacks on Fort Pickens. At the expiration of his term of enlistment the regiment was reorganized and Mr. McRae re-enlisted for the war, joining his company with the rank of first lieutenant, and being placed in charge of the heavy artillery at Island No. 10. There he was captured in April, 1862, and imprisoned at Johnson’s island, Ohio, until September, when he was taken to Vicksburg, Miss., and exchanged. Re-joining his command he took part in the siege of Port Hudson, was again captured, but he and the second lieutenant and eight of the privates made their escape, and, with the exception of one private, who was re-captured, reached Johnston’s command at Meridian, Miss. They there received furloughs and went to their respective homes, where they remained until their regiment was exchanged about three months later, when they were again called into service. Lieutenant McRae was now promoted to be captain and was sent with his command to Mobile, where for a short time the captain was in charge of the heavy artillery; next, the regiment was transferred to the Tennessee army, joining it at New Hope church, from which point they fought nearly every day on to Atlanta and back with Hood to Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville, retreating to Tupelo, Miss., whence they were sent to join Johnston in North Carolina. But Capt. McRae was permitted to go by the way of his own home, and eventually joined his command in South Carolina, and, moving forward, soon engaged in a fight with the Federal cavalry at Salisbury, N. C., where the entire command was captured and sent to Camp Chase, Ohio, and there, in a very short time afterward, they were released, the war having closed. The first step of the captain after the war, was toward securing the means of temporary subsistence, which he accomplished by entering a store in Eufaula, as clerk. The position he held until 1866.
This same year the captain married Miss Hobdy, who was born in Pike county, Ala., and educated at Eufaula Female academy. This lady is a sister of R. L. Hobdy, a sketch of whom will be found in another part of this volume. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. McRae have been born nine children, of whom five are still living. After his marriage Mr. McRae engaged in agriculture in Pike county, and later removed to Bullock county, where he now owns and cultivates two farms, producing cotton, corn, oats, etc. From 1884 to 1888, Mr. McRae was sheriff of Bullock county, and executed the duties of that office in a most satisfactory manner. He is a member of Lodge No. 62, F. & A. M., at Union Spirngs, a member of the alliance, and, with his wife, of the Presbyterian church. His political creed is that of the democratic party and he is an earnest and active worker in its ranks.