Alabama Lieutenant Governors

photo of Ala. Lt. Gov. Alexander McKinstry


Alexander McKinstry

Lieutenant Governor :1872-1874



McKinstry, Alexander, colonel 32nd infantry regiment, C. S. Army, Lieutenant Governor of Alabama, member Alabama legislature, lawyer and jurist, was born March 7, 1822, in Augusta, Ga., and died October 9, 1879, at Mobile; son of Alexander and Elizabeth (Thompson) McKinstry, the former of New England stock; grandson of Jesse and Nancy (Clarke) Thompson of Augusta, Ga., and of Ezekiel and Rosina (Chapman) McKinstry of Ellington, Conn., great-grandson of Gen. Elijah and Hannah (Arrington) Clarke of Georgia, and of Alexander and Sarah (Lee) McKinstry of Litchfield, Conn.; great-great-grandson of John and Elizabeth (Fairfield) McKinstry, the former a native of Brode Parish, Antrim County Ireland, although of Scotch descent, who emigrated to America in 1718 and married at Wenham, Mass.; great-great-great-grandson of Roger and Mary (Wilson) McKinstry, of Edinburgh, Scotland.


Orphaned at an early age, Colonel McKinstry made his way to Mobile where he had relatives, and found employment, at fourteen, in a drug store where for several years he remained. He later read law in the office of Hon. John A. Campbell who subsequently became a U. S. Supreme Court judge, and at once showed a marked aptitude for the legal profession. He was admitted to the bar in 1845 and the following year formed a partnership with William G. Jones.


During these first years of his public career he filled the offices of alderman of Mobile, notary public, commissioner of revenue of Mobile County, of which board he was president, and commissioner of roads of the county. He was elected colonel of the 48th Alabama Infantry Regiment, 9th brigade, 4th division State militia, in 1847 but resigned this office in 1850. During that year he was elected judge of the city of Mobile, reelected in 1856, and resigned in 1860 to resume his practice in partnership with Daniel Chandler. Although strongly opposed to the secession movement he surrendered his judgment to the will of the people and on April 29, 1862, was commissioned colonel 32nd Alabama Infantry Regiment under special order; September 21, 1862, he was assigned to the command of the post of Chattanooga and the troops between Hiawassa and Bridgeport. On April 6, 1864, he was commissioned colonel of cavalry, attached to Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, and was later assigned to the duty of provost marshal general of the Army of Tennessee, the State of Alabama and North Georgia under Gen. Braxton Bragg. He was president of the military court attached to Gen. N. B. Forrest's command from the spring of 1864 until the close of the war.


He returned to Mobile and resumed the practice of the law, in the State, U. S. courts and before the U. S. Supreme Court. In the fall of 1865 he was elected to the Alabama legislature from Mobile County and was made chairman of the judiciary committee, and a member on the committee on the revision of the code which was adopted in 1867. In 1869 he was again elected to the legislature and in 1872 was elected Lieutenant Governor of the state.


He was an Episcopalian. Married: March 20, 1845, to Virginia Thompson, daughter of Robert Richards and Mary (Thompson) Dade, of Mobile, the former a native of King George Court House, Va.; granddaughter of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth (Parker) Dade, also of King George County, his wife being a native of Cartaret County, N. C. Children: 1. Alexander, m. Annie Foss, Eureka, Calif.; 2. William Dade, m. Eva Sheldon, Mobile; 3. Louise Dade, m. Keith Moffat, Mobile; 4. Virginia Dade, Mobile; 5. Mary Ingersoll, m. Marion Chalkley, Richmond, Va. Six other children born to them died in infancy. Last residence: Mobile.


Authorities: Thomas McAdory Owen, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, (1921) Vol. IV, 1125.