Early Settlers of Barbour County, AL

WILLIAM WELLBORN was one of the original settlers of the town of Eufaula, and owned. a portion of its site. He was a native of Georgia, and had served Houston county in the legislature of that State. He was in command of the whites in the affair on Pea river, in Pike, and deported himself with courage and foresight: In 1837-40 he represented Barbour and Russell in the State senate, defeating Hon. James Abercrombie the only time that popular citizen was ever beaten. General Wellborn was also major-general of militia in this State. In 1836 he removed to Fort Bend county, Texas, where he was a prosperous planter for twenty years. In 1867 he died in Houston, Texas, at the age of 75 years. Two of his daughters married Judge Cochran of Eufaula, and a number of his relatives are in this county. He possessed much force of character, and judgment, and practical sense.

JOHN P. BOOTH was also a noteworthy citizen of Barbour. He was born in Elbert county, Georgia, in 1806, and was the son of Col. David Booth and Elizabeth Posey. His father served under Gen. Jackson, and died in Eufaula many years ago. The son was graduated at Franklin College, and licensed as an attorney in 1826. A year later he located at Woodville, Henry county, this State, and there began the practice of the law; but spent the winters in Apalachicola. In 1832 he located in Apalachicola, and the year after was a member of the territorial council, and president thereof. In 1835 he settled in Conecuh county, this State, as a farmer and lawyer. The year after, while he was escorting his family to Georgia, he was warned not to pass through the Creek nation, for they were hostile. He stopped hi Pike county, recruited 150 men, and led them to Columbus, Georgia, in which vicinity he was slightly wounded in a skirmish. November 22, 1836, he was elected solicitor of this judicial district, and a few months later made Irwinton (Eufaula) his home. In April 1837 he was elected major-general of militia. Having resigned the solicitorship, he was elected to the legislature from this county, and by that body, January 31, 1839, elected judge of, the circuit -court, defeating Messrs. Nathan Cook of Lowndes and H. W. Hilliard of Montgomery. In 1843 he resigned and left the bench. He appeared no more in public life, but practiced law. His death occurred in Eufaula, May 23,1851. He was twice married, first to Miss Dewitt of Georgia, then to Miss Hodges of Florida, and the latter, as well as several of his descendants, reside in this county. One of his sons was graduated at West Point in 1848, and died in North Carolina in 1863, while serving as an officer in the Confederate army. Gen. Booth was liberally endowed by nature. His mental processes were wonderfully quick and precocious, and his memory exceedingly retentive. His temperament was ardent, his perceptions intuitive. He was learned in the law and eloquent in speech. The late

JOHN GILL SHORTER was a distinguished citizen of Barbour. He was the son of Gen. Reuben C. Shorter, a physician and planter, who was born in Virginia, and came to Georgia in. early youth; was there a member of both houses of the legislature, a major-general of militia; and whence he came to this county in 1833, and here died in 1854. His wife was Miss Gill of Georgia. The son was born in Monticello, Georgia, April 23, 1818, and was graduated at Franklin College, Athens. He came to this State the same year, and in 1838 was admitted to the bar. Establishing himself in Eufaula, he gave his whole attention to his profession. In 1845 he entered the legislature as a senator from this county, his majority being 87 in a county which gave the other party a majority of 250 the year before. Declining further service at the end of two years, he was again called to serve the county in the representative chamber in 1851. A few months later he was appointed by Governor Collier to the bench of the circuit court in the room of Judge Goldthwaite, who had resigned. In May 1852 he was elected to the office for a term of six years over F. S. Jackson, esq.. and he was re-elected without opposition in 1858. He was thus serving when Gov. Moore appointed him commissioner to Georgia, and he urged the legislature of that State to co-operate in the movement for separation. While absent on this mission he was elected to represent his district in the provisional congress; and it was while he was in Richmond attending the sitting of the latter body, that he was elected governor of the State by a vote of 37,849 to 28,127 for Hon. T. H. Watts of Montgomery. During his term, believing that the future rights and interests of Alabama hung on the success of the confederate cause, by no act or word of his was any obstacle thrown into the scale adverse to it. Coupled with his patriotism were his unremitting efforts to provide for the families of soldiers, and to construct defenses at Mobile for the safety of the country. But the morbid desire of the masses for a change defeated his re-election in 1863. He was not afterwards in public life, but resumed the practice of law at the peace. He died May 29, 1872. Governor Shorter was of ordinary height, with a delicate figure, and an intellectual cast of features. He was without arrogance or ostentation, and had the most unaffected mildness and simplicity of manners. He served the State ably and faithfully; appearing to have no other purpose in office but to” execute justice and maintain truth,” and therefore was patient in hearing argument, laborious in investigation, and firm in decision. To this he added the purity of life which so well becomes one conspicuous to the public eye. He married a sister of Gen. C. A. Battle of Macon.

ELI SINS SHORTER, brother of the foregoing, also resides in Barbour. He was born in Monticello, Georgia, in 1853, and came with his parents to this county in 1836. He is a graduate of Yale College, and his -law studies were pursued in the office of his brother, John G. In 1845 he was admitted to the bar, and established himself in Eufaula as the associate of his brother. His first appearance in public life was when he became the nominee of his party for congress in 1855, and was elected over Hon. Julius C. Alford of Pike. He was re-elected in 1857 over Hon. Batt Peterson of this county, carrying every county in the district. While in congress he acted with the Southern Rights’ ‘wing of the Democratic party. At the close of his second term he voluntarily retired, to give his attention to his private affairs. He’ was an elector for Breckenridge, and the following v ear was appointed colonel of to 18th Alabama infantry. He served with this command till the spring of 1862, when he resigned. He has since devoted himself to his profession, to planting, and to his duties as president of the Vicksburg & Brunswick Railroad. During the presidential campaign of 1868 he canvassed the northwestern States in behalf of the Seymour ticket, and his interest in all public matters is unabated. Col. Shorter is of ordinary stature and light frame. His polished exterior is in accord with a refined mind, endowed liberally by nature. As an orator he is fluent and graceful, and his glowing imagination often rises to flights of thrilling eloquence. He is cautious and observant, and has been successful in business. He married Miss Fannin of Troup county, Georgia. Major H. R. Shorter of this county is a brother; the late Capt. Geo. H. Shorter of Montgomery, State printer at one time, was a cousin.

JAMES LAWRENCE PUGH, of this county, is a native of Butts county, Georgia, where he was born December 12, 1819. His father was a farmer, born in North Carolina; the maiden name of his mother was Tillman. His parents came to Pike county when he was about four years old, and at the age of eleven years he was an orphan. Cast upon the world, in a frontier country, he resorted to divers commendable shifts to make his way. At one time he rode the mail route from Louisville to Franklin, Henry county, Saturdays and Sundays, to get the means to pay his tuition the other portion of the week. For four years he was a salesman in a dry-goods shop in Eufaula, but abandoned that to attend a school, preparatory to a course of law studies. He completed the latter in the office of Hon. John G. Shorter in Eufaula, by the pecuniary assistance of his brother-in-law, Mr. W. L. Cowan. Enrolled as an attorney in 1841, he formed a partnership with Hon. Jefferson Buford which existed for twelve years, and was thereafter associated with Hon. E. C: Bullock. He was on the Taylor electoral ticket, and the year after was defeated for congress by Hon. H. W. Hilliard of Montgomery. In 1856 he was an elector on the Buchanan ticket, which was his first official trust. Elected to the congress of the United States in 1859 without opposition, he withdrew with his colleagues when his State seceded from the Union. He shortly after volunteered as a private in the 1st Alabama Infantry, and served a year at Pensacola. The same year he was chosen to the 1st Confederate congress without opposition, and was re-elected in 1863 over Messrs. J. McC. Wiley and A. W. Starke of Pike, and Dr. Jones of this county. Having served till the overthrow of the Confederacy, he has not since taken an active interest in public affairs. He married a daughter of Gen. John L. Hunter, a wealthy planter of this county. Mr. Pugh is large of frame, and compactly built, with an abrupt but cordial address. He is an orator of much force and power; figuratively speaking, “a great bronze battering ram. He harbors the most practical of ideas, and his expressions are strikingly pointed and original. He has one of the most capacious and tenacious legal minds in the State. He is naturally extravagant; there is no half-way house for him in anything. He is the most emphatic man I ever knew. Highly sociable, no man surpasses him in hospitality. He is an interesting companion, instructive, witty, and jovial, and is very generally popular. He is certainly one of the self-made men of the State.”

JOHN COCHRAN also resides in Barbour. He was born in Cocke county, Tennessee, and was the son of a farmer. Graduating at Greenville College, he read law, and in 1835 Caine to Jacksonville, in this State, to practice. He first entered public life as a representative from Calhoun in 1839, and was thrice chosen to that position while residing in that county. In 1843 he came to Barbour, and established himself in Eufaula. Two years later he was the candidate of his party for congress, but was beaten by Mr. Hilliard of Montgomery. In 1848 he was on the Cass electoral ticket, and in 1851 was again defeated as • the candidate of his party for congress, after a warm canvass with Hon. James Abercrombie of Russell. From 1853 to 1857 he represented Barbour in the general assembly, and in 1861 in the constitutional convention. In the latter year he was appointed to the circuit court bench to fill the vacancy made by Gov. Shorter’s resignation; and, being subsequently elected by the people, he held the position till 1865, when he was displaced by the result of the war. In 1861 he volunteered into the service of his country, and served a year at Pensacola. Since the war he has given attention to his profession, in which he ranks among the foremost in the State. He has an exceedingly active as’ well as capacious mind, unsurpassed for nice and accurate discrimination, and powerfully analytical. “There is more to convince one in the mere statement of the ” question by Judge Cochran than there is in any common ” man’s argument. Combined with this happy faculty, he also reasons well and illustrates clearly. He is witty, and ” cherishes a lively sense of the ridiculous; which makes him ” an exceedingly interesting speaker, and a most entertaining “conversationalist.” He is an easy, fluent, speaker; “quite logical and persuasive, but never boisterous, fiery, or ” combative in delivery.”+ Indeed, Judge Cochran’s prodigal endowment of mind is in excess of his physical energy; or, to use one of his own expressions, ” He has an immense engine if he only had steam enough to run it.” His high sense of honor and integrity, added to a marked amiability of disposition, combine to render him a useful and popular citizen, as. well as a gifted man. He married a daughter of Gen. William Wellborn of this county, and afterwards her cousin. His present wife is a daughter of Mr. W. Toney, a planter of’ the county. His son is a member of the bar of Eufaula. Barbour cherishes the memory of “the beloved and matchless BULLOCK. (What a splendid future was forbidden to be “realized by Fate’s harsh mandate in his untimely fall!”) – Gen. Alpheus Baker of Eufaula.

EDWARD COURTENAY BULLOCK was born in Charleston, S. C., December 1825. His father, a native, of Rhode Island, was a merchant of moderate means in Charleston. His mother was the sister of Mr. Edward Courtenay of that city. The son was graduated at Harvard College in 1843, and the same year came to this State and county. Here he taught a school two years, and read law meantime. Licensed to practice in 1846, he established himself in Eufaula. For several years he was the law partner of Hon. J. L. Pugh, and edited a weekly newspaper in Eufaula at the same time. In 1857 he was chosen to represent the county in the State senate, and for four years filled that position. He was among the first to volunteer into the military service of his country, and served some months at Pensacola. In the summer of 1861 the Eighteenth Alabama Infantry was. organized, and he was chosen colonel. He accepted the trust, and it was while he was discharging his duties at Mobile that he contracted the typhoid fever which proved fatal to him. This event occurred at Montgomery, in December 1861, when he was 36 years old. The appearance of Col. Bullock was very prepossessing. He was well made, with full features, broad forehead, and large mouth. But “his noble features in repose were only the princely castle at dusk before the lamps are lighted, and give no idea of the magic transformation which in an instant the splendid illumination of his mirthfulness and genius could effect. He was the best organized man I ever knew. His temper and taste were perfect. His whole nature was genial, refined, and gentle. His mind was remarkable for its activity and brilliancy. His personal integrity, and devotion to principle, duty, and truth were very striking. He was a fine lawyer, and an able advocate; and his high personal character, honorable nature, and irresistible wit and elegance made him a lawyer and statesman of as high promise as any man who ever lived in Alabama.” – Hon, James L. Pugh of Eufaula. Col. Bullock married a Miss Snipe of South Carolina, and his son and two of his daughters reside in this County. The State honored his memory by bestowing his name on one of her fairest counties. There was no effort at wit on the part of Col. Bullock. It seemed to bubble tip irresistibly. An instance of it will illustrate the facility with which he emitted lashes of this happy faculty It was during what Mr. Pugh calls ” the Honeymoon of the war” at Pensacola, He and Bullock slept together one cold night. Early in the morning Bullock lordly complained of his bedfellow. ” You pulled off all the blanket on yourself, and appropriated the entire mattrass.” ” I didn’t know of it,” said Pugh, ” why didn’t you speak?” ” ‘eGad,” said Bullock, ” if I didn’t speak it wasn’t because I didn’t have the floor !”

The late LEWIS L. CATO came to this county in 1837. He was a native of Hancock county, Georgia, and was a prominent citizen of Barbour during his life. He devoted himself assiduously to the law, and became an able attorney, of very sound opinions. From 1861 to 1865 he represented the county in the senate with credit to his constituents and to himself. He died December 4, 1868. His brother, STERLING G. CATO, also resided here for some years, and acquired considerable reputation as an attorney. He removed to Kansas, during the slavery agitation there, and succeeded Hon, Rush Elmore as territorial judge. He subsequently practiced in St. Louis, Missouri, and there died about the year 1867.

Another strongly marked character in this county was JEFFERSON BUFORD. He was born in Chester district, South Carolina, in 1805 or ‘6. His father was a Virginian, who came to South Carolina after attaining the estate of manhood. The son read law in the office of his maternal uncle, Mr. Nathaniel R. Eaves, and was enrolled as an attorney in 1828. In 1832 he came to this State, and settled in Pike county. He practiced law there six years, then came to this county, and established himself in Eufaula. In 1840 he was elected to the State senate from Russell and Barbour, and served seven years in that body. He was associated in the practice of law with Messrs. Pugh and Bullock for some years. During the memorable Kansas troubles of 1855, he saw that the struggle for dominancy between the North and South had begun, and he urged that it was far better to solve the fearful problem by votes in Kansas than by bayonets on the Potomac. Hence, at the head of a large party of emigrants he sought home in that territory, and labored, there and here, with Veil and tongue, to arouse the people of the South to the real nature of the collision. His prophetic voice was not fully heeded, Kansas was lost, and the remainder of the story is written in the blood of a million of combatants. He returned to this county after the question was decided, and in 1861 was elected to the constitutional convention. He died suddenly of heart disease, in Clayton, Aug. 28, 1862. Though not a popular favorite, few men were more highly esteemed than Maj or Buford. “He was a man of pure private “character. a first-rate lawyer, a cultivated gentleman, and one “who was tree to his convictions. He was somewhat eccentric,. “but was a public spirited, energetic, reliable, useful, amid successful man.” -Hon. James L. Pugh of Eufaula. He married first a daughter of Maj. or John H. White of this county, and his second wife was Mrs. McNeil: His widow and children reside here. J. M. Buford, esq., of the Eufaula bar, is a half-brother.

Barbour is also the home of ALPHEUS BAKER. He was born at Clover Hill, (Clover Hill was at one time the home of the father of Hon. William L.) Abbeville district, S. C., May 28, 1828. His father, a native of Massachusetts, was eminent as a teacher’ and a scholar. His mother, a Miss Courtney; was a native of Ireland. Possessed of nothing but the education his father gave him, the son began to teach school before he was sixteen years old. He taught with success in Abbeville, S. C., in Lumpkin, Ga., and in Glennville, this county, to which he came in 1848. Having read law meantime, he was enrolled as an attorney in 1849, and opened an office in Eufaula. His advancement was so rapid that at the spring term of 1855 he returned 105 cases to the circuit court of Barbour. In 1856 he accompanied Major Buford to Kansas, and returned to canvass the country to arouse the people to the importance of making Kansas a slave state. He believed with the noble Buford that the acquisition of Kansas would restore the equilibrium of the slave and anti slave states, and prevent the “inevitable conflict” between the two sections. In 1861 he represented the county in the constitutional convention, but resigned his seat to enter the army. This he did as captain of the “Eufaula Rifles,”+ which he led to Pensacola. There he remained till November, when he was elected colonel of a regiment of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama troops at Fort Pillow, above Memphis. This regiment participated in the siege of New Madrid, and was captured at Island Ten, Yancey. This company had on its rolls at Pensacola the names of 50 persons who subsequently became offices. Among the members were Messrs. John Cochrane, J. L. Pugh, E. C. Bullock and S. H. Dent, all of Barbour, T. J. Judge of Montgomery, D. W. Baine of Lowndes, Prof. Parker of Tuscaloosa, and Prof. Thornton of Perry. April 10, 1862. Exchanged with his regiment in September, the four Tennessee companies in it gave place to four Alabama companies, and the regiment took the title of “54th Alabama.” It fought at Fort Pemberton, on the Yazoo, and at Baker’s Creek, where Col. Baker was severely wounded in the foot. Promoted to brigadier general, March 1864, he was assigned to the command of the 37th, 40th, 42d, and 54th Alabama regiments. He led them from Dalton to Atlanta. At Resaca his horse was killed under him, and at Atlanta (July 28) he was slightly wounded. The brigade lay near Mobile till January 1865, when it proceeded to the Carolinas. At Bentonville, though it numbered only 350 muskets, it captured 204 of the enemy. Since surrendering this brave brigade in North Carolina, Gen. Baker has given his time to his profession. Gen. Baker is full of genius, and possesses a rich diversity of talents. He is a scholar and critic, a painter, a musician, with superior vocal powers, and one of the most companionable of men. As an orator he is perfectly captivating. He intersperses his speeches with sparkling witticisms, and laughable anecdotes, not infrequently illustrated by his inimitable mimicry. He stirs up the feelings and passions of men; alternately convulsing them with laughter, melting them to tears, or arousing their indignation. ” He is unquestionably the ” finest orator in Alabama, but he doesn’t know it, and hence ” doesn’t appreciate it.” – Col. Wm. C. Oates of Henry.

HENRY DELAMAR CLAYTON also resides in this county. He was bone in Pulaski county, Georgia, March 7,1827, and is the son of the late Mr. Nelson Clayton of Lee county, He was graduated at the Emory and Henry College, Virginia, and read law under Messrs. John G. and Eli S. Shorter in Eufaula. In 1849 he was licensed as an attorney, and opened an office in Clayton. Assiduous attention to his business kept hiel out of public affairs till 1857, when he was chosen to represent the county in the legislature, and served in the popular branch till 1861. At the first mutterings of the war-storm he urged Gov.. Moore to accept the volunteer regiment of train bands of which he had been colonel, and in February got two companies accepted, in one of which he was mustered in as a private. But he was at once ordered to Pensacola to take command of all the Alabama troops as they should arrive. March 28, 1851, the 1st Alabama infantry regiment was organized with him as colonel, and he remained in that capacity a year at Pensacola. He then organized the 39th Alabama, which he commanded in the Kentucky campaign. At Murfreesboro he was severely wounded, and immediately afterwards promoted to ‘ brigadier. The 18th, 36th, 38th, 32d, and 58th Alabama regiments were placed under him. The services of this brigade were too varied and arduous to be recounted here. The battles of Chicamauga, Rocky Face, and New Hope belong to history, and the conduct of Clayton’s brigade constitutes an important part of each. The part Gen. C. took in the latter battle were such as to secure his promotion to the rank of major general, and he took command of what had been Gen. Stewart’s division-Gibson’s, Stovall’s, Strahl’s, and (his old now)’ Holtzclaw’s brigades. With these troops Gen. Clayton participated in all the subsequent battles and campaigns of the army of Tennessee, up to the surrender in, North Carolina. After the battle of Nashville, with his division, and Gen. Pettus’s brigade, he covered the retreat of the army till Gen. Stevenson relieved him the next day. How well he performed this difficult task may be learned from the fact that he repulsed, with scarcely the loss of a man, every assault of the enemy, never failing to damage hint severely, and capturing at different times four stands of colors and more than 100 prisoners. At the close of active hostilities he gave his attention to planting till elected judge of the circuit court in May 1866. This position he held till removed by congress in 1868, since when he has practiced law in Clayton, and planted. Gen. Clayton is six feet in highth, and proportionately stout. His deportment is quiet and somewhat reserved; but he is very approachable: He was one of the fighting generals of the western army, ever prompt and ever present. He is active, laborious, and practical in the affairs of life; and his philosophic temperament and steady energy are such as to give weight to his counsel. He is also pious and moral, and possessed of much public spirit. He married a daughter of Gen. John L. Hunter of this county. Capt. Joseph C. Clayton of the 39th Alabama, killed at Chicamauga, was a brother.

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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