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Col. William Garrett (May 1809 – 1910) – photograph – Alabama Pioneers

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(Might 6, 1809 – 1910)

Tennessee, and Benton, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Coosa Counties, Alabama

(Excerpt from History of Coosa County: by the Rev. George Evans Brewer, 1887)

Col. William Garrett (Might 6, 1809 – 1910)

Among the males of distinction whose houses have been in Coosa, Col. William Garrett is nicely entitled to take rank among them. His father was a Methodist minister of East Tennessee, and Col. Garrett was additionally a member of the Methodist church.

He was born in 1809, and came from East Tennessee to Alabama in 1833, first settling in Benton. He was elected Assistant Clerk of the Home in 1837. The subsequent yr, 1838, he was elected Clerk of the Home and re-elected in 1839 and 1840. At the session of 1840, he ran for Secretary of State and was elected. He was continued in this office for twelve years, until 1852, during which yr he moved to Coosa. Right here he taken care of his farm and aided in establishing a great faculty, referred to as Washington Academy, close to Sockapatoy.

In 1853 he and James H. Weaver have been elected to the Home, of which Col. Garrett was made Speaker. In 1859 he was a candidate for the Senate however was -defeated by George E. Brewer after probably the most heated and hardly contested election ever held in Coosa. The race was shut, Garrett receiving, 1128 votes, and Brewer, 1175.

Brewer was within the army and never a candidate in 1863. Col. Garrett was elected to the Senate over Capt. Leander Bryant. The ending of the conflict ended the claim of Col. Garrett to the office, however underneath the brand new Constitution, Garrett ran once more and defeated Col. R. H. Smoot for the Senate. He was made the chairman of the Committee on Finance and Taxation. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1875. In the course of the Provisional Authorities of Alabama after the close of the struggle, during which Hon. Lewis E. Parsons of Talladega was made the Provisional Governor by President Johnson, Parsons appointed Col. Garrett Secretary of State. He resigned September 2nd, 1865, owing to some fees most popular towards him, for receiving charges for getting ready purposes for pardons, thereby giving precedence to some out of their common place. The rest of his life he dedicated to getting ready his helpful work “Reminiscences of Public Men of Alabama,” revealed in 1872.

Col. Garrett was of full medium peak, with fairly a bent to corpulency. He was an excellent, conversationalist, possessing a very good fund of -anecdotes. He was a fairly good speaker, however his fort was in his capacity to manage males. He had a number of sons, however the writer doesn’t know of however two, Thomas, of Washington, D. C., and Elmore, of Anniston, Ala., who has been Engrossing Clerk, from 1875 to 1877; was Clerk of the House in 1886; Assistant Secretary of the Senate in 1892-94-96; and Secretary of the Senate in 1900-03. Thomas died at Mt. Meigs, Montgomery County, 1910.


From: Alabama, Her History, Assets, Struggle Report, and Public Men: From 1540 to 1872

By Willis Brewer 1872

William Garrett is a citizen of Coosa. He was born in Cocke County, Tennessee, in 1809, and was the son of a Methodist minister, who was also a trader and farmer. His mom was a Miss Grey. His schooling was plain, but he possessed aptness and power. In 1833 he came to Calhoun County, this State, and became a merchant. He volunteered within the Creek conflict; and in 1838 was elected clerk of the house of representatives of the overall assembly, having held the submit of an assistant clerk on the earlier session. In 1840 he was chosen to the workplace of Secretary of State, over the incumbent, Mr. Thomas B. Tunstall, and held that accountable position by repeated elections for twelve years.

Throughout this time he resided in Tuskaloosa and Montgomery, removing to the latter county when the capital was eliminated. He got here to Coosa in 1851, and two years later he was chosen to characterize the county in the fashionable branch of the legislature, of which he was elected speaker at its assembly. In 1859 he was defeated for theSenatee, however was returned to that body at the elections in 1863 and 1865, and served four years. He was secretary of State for a short time in 1865 by appointment of Gov. Parsons. He has employed his leisure hours for a number of years past in getting ready a piece to be entitled “Reminiscences of Public Men in Alabama for Thirty Years,” which is soon to be issued from the press, and might be a beneficial contribution to the literature of the State. Col. Garrett is an in depth observer of males and events, and possesses notable tact and in depth info. His skills are of the strong type, and he’s an instructive conversationalist, and a citizen of public spirit. He married, first, Miss Taylor of Virginia; and, second ,Miss Henry of Cellular.

From Alabama Department of Archives and History:

William Garrett,a public official, was born Might 6, 1809, at Newport, Cocke County, Tenn.; the son of William and Elizabeth Chilley (Gray) Garrett, the previous a Methodist minister, a trader and a farmer; grandson of Lewis Garrett, and of Thomas Gray, of Surry County, Va., who was king’s counsel for Lunenburg County, Va., in 1765, was a consultant from Dobbs County, N.C., within the colonial meeting of the state in 1768, and was retained as consultant for Dobbs and Dublin Counties until the Revolution, was an intense patriot in the course of the Conflict of Independence, a member of the bar of North Carolina for a lot of yars, moved to Jefferson County, Tenn., in 1796, and was appointed by President Washington U.S. district lawyer for the new state of Tennessee in 1797; great-grandson of William Garrett; great-great-gransdson of Thomas Garrett; great-great-great-grandson of William Garrett, a Quaker, who came to America from England in 1684, together with his brothers John and Thomas, and settled in Darby Township, near Philadelphia, where he died in 1724. The Garretts are of Saxon origin; within the sixth century quite a contingent of them went over to England and helped subdue the Danes. Once more various them got here to England with William the Conqueror. Members of the family have been ennobled and knighted by the English royalty in church and state for centuries past, they usually have been accorded a coat of arms which continues to be in use by the family in England. Sir William Garrett was lord mayor of London in 1551, and one William Garrett was first chairman of the unique Virginia Colony Company. John Garrett was raised from knighthood to the baronetcy of Lanier by James I.

Col. Garrett was pressured to go away faculty in his eleventh yr because of financial reverses which came across his father. Till he was twenty-one years of age, he assisted on the farm, and spent much of his time in maintaining the data of his father, who was for thirty-three years clerk of the county courtroom of Cocke County, Tenn. In 1833 he moved to Alabama and settled in Benton, now Calhoun County; engaged in merchandising first at Alexandria and later at White Plains; fought within the Creek Struggle; was elected assistant clerk of the home of representatives in 1837 beneath Gideon B. Frierson, clerk; was elected clerk of the same body in 1838, 1839, and 1840; resigned the clerkship in 1840 on being elected Secretary of State of Alabama, and held the latter position with out opposition for ten years; was again re-elected Secretary of State in 1849 after the seat of presidency was eliminated to Montgomery; declined re-election in 1852 to retire to his plantation in Coosa County; was elected to the home of representatives in 1853, and unanimously chosen speaker for that body; was nominated for the senate in 1859 by the Democratic social gathering of Coosa County, and was defeated by forty-seven votes in a total of two thousand three hundred three; was elected a delegate to the Democratic nationwide convention at Charleston, S.C., as a representative of the Douglas Wing of the Democratic social gathering of Alabama; was elected to the state senate from Coosa County in1863 for a term of four years, defeating Capt. Leander Bryan, of Wetumpka, and served until the legislature was dissolved by the close of the warfare; was appointed provisional secretary of state, July, 1865, by Lewis E. Parsons, provisional civil governor of the state; resigned that position and was elected to the State Senate in October, 1865; served as chairman of the senate committee on finance and taxation; retired to non-public life after being disqualified to hold workplace underneath the reconstruction acts; was a member of the state constitutional conference of 1875; was a Democrat and a Methodist; wrote and revealed in the course of the latter years of his life Public Males of Alabama, in 1872, the original manuscript of which, together together with his whole correspondence and papers, was burned soon after his demise.

Married: (1) August, 1830, Tabitha Taylor, of Virginia, who died at White Plains, Calhoun County, 1835; (2) April, 1843, Julia B. Henry, of Cellular, daughter of Maj. William Henry, a member of Gen. Andrew Jackson’s employees at the battle of New Orleans, and a cousin of Mrs. Rachel Donelson Jackson, wife of Gen. Andrew Jackson. Youngsters: by first marriage: two, who survived their mom only a short while; by second marriage: 3. William H., assistant secretary of the state senate, 1865-1866; four. Thomas G.; 5. Benjamin F., assistant clerk of the house of representatives, 1872-1873, and assistant secretary of the state senate, 1874-1875; Elmore, assistant clerk of the home, 1885-1886, assistant secretary of the senate, 1890-1891, and secretary of the senate, 1903-1904; and two who died in infancy. Final residence: Coosa County.


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