John Coleman Carmichael (1861 – )

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”JOHN COLEMAN CARMICHAEL, of Birmingham, Ala., chancellor of the northwestern division of Alabama, was born in Orrville. Ala., July 2, 1861.

He is the son of Dugald and Caroline (Coleman) Carmichael; the former, a native of Marion district, S. C, was a son of Dugald Carmichael, a native of Scotland, who, after mastering shipcraft, at Glasgow, removed to America, and located on the Pee Dee river in South Carolina; opened there a shipyard and continued shipbuilding until his death, about 1820. Caroline Coleman, the mother of Judge Carmichael, was born at LaGrange, Ga. She was the daughter of John Coleman and his wife, Caroline (Ware) Coleman, the former a native of Georgia and of Welsh extraction. His father was John Coleman, a native of Wales, who emigrated to America soon after the Revolution and settled in Georgia, where he spent the remainder of his life. John Coleman, the grandfather of Judge Carmichael, removed from LaGrange to Columbus, Ga., and engaged in contracting. He was one of the prominent men of Columbus at the time of his death, about 1832. The Cherokee Indians at that time were raiding that part of the State. John Coleman was the captain of a company of State militia, and was in command of the troops when he was shot and killed by the Indians. Dugald Carmichael removed from South Carolina to Russell county about 1830, and began developing a farm in the wilderness. After arriving at his majority he decided to enter the ministry, and joined the Alabama conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was engaged in the ministry practically all the rest of his life, although he was extensively engaged in farming and merchandising. He at one time was presiding elder of the Cahaba district, which included a great area in Alabama and a part of Florida and Mississippi. He died at Orrville in 1875, after a long and useful life. His wife survived him three years, dying in 1878.

Judge Carmichael spent his youth at Orrville, Ala.; attended the local schools; later attended the Agricultural and Mechanical college at Auburn, Ala. In 1883 he engaged in teaching school. In 1884 he began reading law at Phoenix City, Ala., and edited the Alabama Free Press, a weekly publication. In 1885 he continued his law studies in the office of the late Gov. Wm. J. Samford at Opelika. He was admitted to the bar in Opelika in 1886, and in October of that year began the practice of law in Greenville, Ala., where he remained until 1888, when he removed to Gadsden, Ala. In the fall of 1888 he located in Birmingham, and became the senior member of the firm, Carmichael & Thach. He remained a member of the firm until elected to his present office in 1898. He has always taken an active part in politics. He has been a delegate to the State convention a number of times: was an elector for the State at large on the national Democratic ticket in 1892; has repeatedly stumped the State in the interest of his party.

On Oct. 19, 1898, he was married to Mrs. Jessie Turner, daughter of Major J. G. W. and Agnes Leftwich, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Ohio. The judge affiliates with the Methodist church, and his wife with the Episcopal. He is giving his whole time and attention to his official duties and is making an excellent chancellor.”

Source:  Notable Men of Alabama, Vol. 2, by Joel Campbell DuBose, Southern Historical Association, Atlanta Ga.,1904, pages 36-7


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