Distinguished of Franklin County Alabama

Biography of Charley Ross West

Prominent Educator and former State Senator Charley Ross West, one of Alabama’s prominent educators and former State Senator from Jefferson County, was born April 17, 1878, at Old Nauvoo, four miles below Belgreen. He is a son of Tinsley D. and Sene (Dickson) West, the former, one of Franklin’s best known teachers, now deceased, the latter still living in Franklin County. His paternal grand-parents were Ben and Emily (French) West, his maternal grand-parents, Joseph and Elizabeth J. (Nelson) Dickson. Michael Dickson, the pioneer settler of Tuscumbia, was his great-grandfather, and Lemuel Nelson, a former Sheriff of Franklin County, was another …

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Biography of Richard Sharp Watkins

Lawyer and Delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1861 Richard Sharp Watkins, delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1861, or the secession convention, came to Alabama from Abingdon, Virginia, in the early days of the state’s history. He located at Tuscumbia and later at Russellville where he continued to practice law. He was born November 26, 1815, and died at Russellville, December 5, 1881. We are not informed as to his childhood or boyhood life. Nor are we informed of much concerning his ancestry. Mrs. Lutie Allen of Russellville, a daughter of Judge Watkins, says that he was not related …

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Biography of Dr. N. T. Underwood

Physician and prominent citizen Dr. N. T. Underwood was a good example of a self made man. He was reared on the mountain west of Bear Creek, about seven miles southwest of Tuscumbia. His people (his father was George Underwood and his mother was Miss Ellen Key of Franklin county) owned a fertile farm on Bear Creek, and his grandfather, N. T. Underwood, Sr., was a prominent citizen. Yet they were by no means rich people, and as a boy the doctor did hard work on the farm and walked at times several miles to school. Later he attended the …

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Biography of Oscar Lelon Tompkins

(1863-1969)State Representative for Houston County, Alabama Another member of the Tompkins’ family to make his mark is Hon. O. L. Tompkins, formerly of Belgreen, but now of Dothan. He has represented Houston County in the State legislature two or three times and is an outstanding member of that body. Member of Legislature, 1918, from Houston Co., AL, teacher and principal of Dothan high school 1906-1911; presidential elector, 1916-17, a Democrat and Methodist. He was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law, March, 1914 at Dothan, Alabama. HISTORY OF ALABAMA AND DICTIONARY OF ALABAMA BIOGRAPHY, Owen, Vol. IV. …

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Biography of Christopher C. Tompkins

(1799-1874)Delegate to the Constitutional Convention Christopher C. Tompkins, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1865, was well known in Franklin County. He was a planter and also county surveyor. At one time he was tax assessor of Franklin County. The following sketch of Mr. Tompkins is taken from Dr. Owen’s “History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography:” “Christopher C. Tompkins, planter and county surveyor, was born January 18, 1799, where Louisville, KY., now stands, (J. C. Tompkins of Belgreen, grandson of Christopher C. Tompkins, says that the father of Christopher C. Tompkins, built the first house on the …

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Biography of John Taylor

“The Famous Backwood’s Preacher” It would require a sizeable volume to do justice to the life and works of the great modest, unassuming John Taylor. He was not considered a great preacher even by those of his own faith, and was bitterly hated by many who were not of his faith. Although he may not have been a great preacher, he was truly a great and good man. Perhaps no preacher in the history of Alabama was more devoted to his religion and more severely persecuted than John Taylor. So great was his faith and so pure was his life, …

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Biography of John A. Steele

Farmer, Judge of Probate, Lawyer and Delegate to the Secession Convention John A. Steele, the other delegate to the secession convention, never lived in Franklin County as it now exists, but lived for many years at Tuscumbia, which was at one time a town of Franklin County. His son, W. W. Steele of Tuscumbia, has courteously furnished us most of the data concerning his career and family history. We have also collected some information from old newspaper files, Dubose’s “Alabama History,” and in conversation with people who knew him personally. He was born July 25, 1835, at Gainesville, Sumter County, …

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Biography of Riley Sparks

A Progressive Farmer for his day Riley Sparks was a citizen of Franklin County for a great many years. Born October 22, 1811, in Spartanburg District, South Carolina and died at his home near Frankfort, Alabama, December 29, 1892. Mr. Sparks was a son of Wm. Sparks, who came to Franklin County from Spartanburg District, South Carolina in the year 1820, arriving in Russellville on December 20th. He and his family located west of Russellville toward Frankfort. William Sparks, father of Riley Sparks, was a planter and a workman. Our father and mother now have a cook table which is …

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Biography of William Skinner

Lawyer, Planter and Delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1867 William Skinner, lawyer, planter and delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1867 from Franklin County, was born probably in 1809, at or near Lexington, Kentucky. Died, September 17, 1874, at his home about two and a half miles northwest of Russellville on the Waterloo Road, where John Thurston, colored, now resides. The place of his burial is in the old Sadler cemetery in North Russellville. We have not been able to get very much information concerning his early life or his ancestry. He was a near relative of Theophilus Skinner, …

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Biography of Dr. Samuel Sevier

Physician in Franklin County in pre-Civil War days and State Senator The people of Franklin County are primarily interested in only one of the eight children of John and Catherine (Sherrill) Sevier, Dr. Samuel Sevier, the second son. He was the progenitor of the Sevier family of Franklin County and of North Alabama. Dr. Sevier was one of the prominent physicians of Russellville in pre-Civil War days. He is buried in the same cemetery in which his mother was buried. On his tombstone is found the following inscription: DOCTOR SAMUEL SEVIER BORN JUNE 16, 1785 DIED OCTOBER 25, 1849 AGED …

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Biography of Harvey Owen Sargent

Educator In the same year and just a few days later in the same month in which Prof. Luther Noble Duncan was born, another boy baby who has become a nationally known educator first saw the light of day in Franklin County. That boy was Harvey Owen Sargent, now Dr. Sargent. The exact date of his birth was October 24, 1875. He is one of five children born to Harvey Gholson and Rebecca (Harris) Sargent, deceased, who lived on Cedar Creek southeast of Russellville. He is a brother of Hon. B. H. Sargent of Russellville, and of Mrs. Tidwell, wife …

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Biography of Robert L. Reaves

Successful Teacher after the Civil War Robert L. Reaves, son of the late Stephen and Elizabeth (Cobb) Reaves, was a successful teacher in Franklin as well as several other Alabama counties. Mr. Reaves was reared in the Dillard’s Mill and Ebenezer communities north of Russellville, and attended the rural schools of those communities. Having been born about the time of the Civil War, he, as many others, lacked many of the present-day educational opportunities, or the opportunities of those days enjoyed by the more wealthy. But his mother was a woman of remarkable industry, energy and ambition. She pushed her …

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Biography of William H. Quillin

Lawyer and Alabama State Representative William H. Quillin, lawyer and representative in the lower house of the State Legislature, for 1927, was born December 11, 1902; son of Hiram and Ada (Bolton) Quillin of Russellville. Like so many of the prominent younger men of the county, Mr. Quillin has the blood of some of the county’s oldest families coursing through his veins. He is a great-great-grandson of James Quillin who settled near Good Springs when Franklin was in its infancy; a great-great-grandson of Hiram Townsend, who lived in the same community; and a great-great-great grandson of John Cook, who settled …

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Biography of John E. Orman

An Outstanding Community Builder and Business Man We are pleased to present to the reader John E. Orman, of Russellville, as the first of the many characters who appear in this book. He is one of the brightest stars in the galaxy of community builders, social leaders and successful business men in Franklin County, and Alabama. He possesses a personality, such a few very possess, combined with honesty and fine common sense. Mr. Orman was born on the historical Cedar Creek, at Orman’s Bridge, December 25, 1872. He is the youngest of several children born to James Morrison and Elizabeth …

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Biography of James Malone

(1797-1879)Prominent Planter, sired 27 children James Malone, prominent planter, who lived on Tollison’s Creek near Frankfort, came to Franklin County from North Carolina at an early date. He was born in 1797, and died August 13, 1879. He is buried in a private cemetery on the farm which he owned, and which is now owned by his youngest son, Arthur Malone. He spent by far the major portion of life in Franklin County where he was held in high esteem. He was a man of some wealth, owning a sizeable plantation and a number of slaves. Mr. Malone is said …

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Biography of Enoch Harvey McNatt

Well-known Teacher after the Civil War Enoch Harvey McNatt was a well-known teacher after the Civil War and served the country one term as superintendent of education. He was a son of Enoch and Sallie (Skinner) McNatt, pioneer settlers of Franklin County, and a nephew of William and Cordy Skinner, very prominent characters in the early history of the country. He was born in 1843 near Russellville and died September 15, 1902 at his home in Frankfort Beat. He was a student of Prof. Bob Ranson and perhaps of Prof. John W. Harris. He served in the Confederate Army with …

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Biography of Jesse L. Kirk

Planter and Saddle Maker Jesse L. Kirk, planter and saddle maker, came from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina to Franklin County. He was a soldier of the war of 1812. The following inscription appears on his gravestone in the Roberson Cemetery, near Fairview: JESSE L. KIRK, BORN MAY 6, 1791, DIED OCTOBER 11, 1876. Honorable James Kirk, of Tuscumbia, states that Jesse Kirk participated in the Battle of New Orleans, and that both Jesse and James, his brothers, were in the early Seminole war. L. N. Pace, Sr., and Jesse L. Hovater, who are descendants of Jesse L. Kirk, state that …

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Biography of James Kirk

One of the Leading Planters in the County James Kirk, brother of Jesse Kirk, was one of the leading planters in the county. He owned a fine plantation east of Payne’s Creek, part of which was formerly owned by James Edwards. James Kirk, married Miss Terah Sugg, daughter of Thomas and Terah (Spenser) Sugg. The children of James and Terah (Spenser) Sugg were: 1. William L., who married a daughter of Judge Gibson and moved to Sherman, Texas; 2. Frank, fell at the Battle of Shiloh. He married a Miss Drake, who, after her husband’s death married Rufus J. Nance; …

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Biography of James Allen Kimbrough

A Man Renowed For His Morality James Allen Kimbrough, lovingly known to his friends as “Uncle Jim Pony,” was widely known for his even disposition and moral character. We knew him from early childhood until his death and have never known a more lovable gentleman. Our mother knew him from the time she could first remember and our maternal grand-parents knew him from his own childhood days until their deaths. So we feel that we can speak with authority concerning his life. Mrs. R. L. McNatt, his youngest child, now has his Bible with the family ages, and similar data …

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Biography of Dr. Thomas S. Jones

Physician, prominent educator and statesman Dr. Thomas S. Jones, a very successful physician and also a prominent educator and statesman was born and reared on a plantation near Russellville, Alabama. The year of his birth was 1827, the names of his parents were William Stratton and Anne Harris (Cox) Jones. He was therefore a brother of Judge Henry C. Jones, Dr. W. S. Jones, Jr., Ed Jones, Mrs. R. H. Rivers, Mrs. R. S. Watkins, Mrs. John K. Clarke and a first cousin of Colonel John W. Harris, all prominent in the history of Franklin County. We have no data …

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Biography of Henry Cox Jones

Lawyer and Judge Henry Cox Jones, lawyer, was born January 23, 1821, near Russellville, Franklin County, and died June 20, 1913, at Florence, son of William Stratton and Ann Harris (Cox) Jones, the former a native of Amelia County, Virginia, born in 1798, and died in 1874, came from Virginia in 1813, and located at Huntsville, moved to Franklin County in 1819, and settled on a large plantation near Russellville; grandson of Thomas Speck and Prudence (Jones) Jones, who lived in Amelia County, Virginia, the former a colonel in the Revolutionary army; and of Henry and Judith (Eldridge) Cox, who …

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Biography of Luther L. James

Prominent Educator Luther L. James, superintendent of the public schools at Roanoke, Alabama, is one of the most universally popular teachers that Franklin County has ever produced. He possess an unusually winning personality. Mr. James was born May 26, 1887, about five miles northwest of Russellville, and was reared on the farm. He is said to have been a very hard working boy. He is one of four children born to Aaron A. and Ollie Virginia (Bendall) James, both of whom were born and reared in Franklin County. His paternal grand-father, Thomas James, was one of Franklin’s most substantial citizens …

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Biography of Lee James

A Former Franklin County Boy Who is Making Good in The Business World Lee James is one of the most successful and progressive business men that Franklin County has produced. He is the eldest son of Aaron A. and Ollie Virginia (Bendall) James, who reside near Russellville, and a great grand-son of Thomas and Elizabeth James and of Ben and Matilda Bendall, pioneers of Franklin County. Mr. James was born July 11, 1884. He entered the district school at about five years of age under one Prof. John Archie and made rapid progress in his studies. In fact, he is …

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Biography of Alpha W. Hargett

Former Sheriff and Probate Judge of Franklin CountyDeputy Prohibition Administrator for the Southern District of Alabama Alpha W. Hargett, former Sheriff and Probate Judge of Franklin County, and at present Deputy prohibition administrator for the Southern District of Alabama, was born February 24, 1874, two and a half miles south of Belgreen, and about a quarter of a mile from the center of Franklin County. Son of William L. and America (Barrett) Hargett, deceased. Mr. Hargett’s childhood days were spent in that community. When he was about sixteen years of age, his father sold his property there and bought a …

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Biography of Benjamin Harris

Wealthy Planter and Land Surveyor Benjamin Harris, wealthy planter and land surveyor, was not related to the two illustrious John Wyatt Harrises. Mr. Harris came to Franklin County at a very early date from Tennessee. He lived for many years near the present Isbell Station. He is said to have been one of the largest slave owners of the country. He also surveyed a large part of the land in the Russellville district. C. E. Wilson, Sr., states that Mr. Harris died very suddenly, while either on a social visit or business call at the home of Tom Gorman, north …

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