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 Tuskaloosa, 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 Han cock 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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