Confederate Soldier, Rural Letter Carrier, Historian
Lemuel Cook Bendall, son of the late Ben F. and Matilda (Barrett) Bendall, is one of the oldest and most widely known men in Franklin County. Probably he has had the most varied experience of any one person living in the county, and we believe that he knows its history from the Civil War to the present as well, if not better, than any one. Mr. Bendall is not an educated man in the popular sense, but is endowed with fine common intelligence. He has spent most of his life in or near Russellville and is intimately familiar with its history for the past seventy-five years.
Many years ago he had some very important mail contracts between Russellville and Cherokee, and Russellville and old Pikeville in Marion County. He also at one time had a mail contract from Russellville to Tuscumbia and carried passengers on the side. Of these and many other personal experiences, many of which were fraught with danger, he talks most interestingly.
As for his war record, it is one of the best. He volunteered his services to the Confederacy and served through the four years of heroic struggle. He served in the Cavalry. (He has always been an excellent rider) and was in John A. Steele’s company when Selma, Ala., fell into the enemy’s hands.
At one time he volunteered to carry a special dispatch from General Forest, who was then at Jackson, Tenn., to Columbus, Miss. For this service he was given a furlough home, but on account of Federal soldiers appearing in Franklin County, he did not stay his allotted time. Mr. Bendall was never captured or seriously wounded. He states that he entered the service with the firm belief that he would not be killed.
It is interesting here to note that there were three of the Bendall brothers in the war. Francis Marion, the eldest, fought in the Union army, while James Holden and Lemuel Cook fought with the Confederates. James Holden Bendall died of measles near Knoxville, Tenn., during the struggle.
Just after the war when the South was being over-run by Northern carpet baggers and the negro was committing outrageous crimes, Mr. Bendall joined the Ku Klux Klan and assisted in restoring peace and order.
He has always taken an active interest in public issues, being a staunch Democrat. He loves the memory of the old romantic South and has attended most of the Confederate reunions, both general and state reunions. Since the death of Capt. W. R. Petree in 1920, he has been Camp Commander of John W. Harris, No. 1352.
Mr. Bendall has been married twice. His first wife was Miss Mollie Scott of Russellville, his second wife, Miss Dona Patterson of Cherokee, Colbert, County. His first wife died in 1875; his second wife in 1897. Both are buried in the old Sadler cemetery in North Russellville. He has several children, two of whom were born to the first marriage.
Mr. Bendall’s birthday now falls on Armistice Day, having been born November 11, 1844.
He is one of the charter members of the First Baptist Church of Russellville.
Source: Source: James, R. L. Distinguished Men, Women and Families of Franklin County, Alabama. Russellville, Ala., Private Publication, 1928. 111 p.