Alabama Attorneys General


Benjamin Gardner

Attorney General: 1872-1874


Benjamin Gardner, lawyer, was born June 10, 1814, in Onslow County, N.C., and died November 24, 1902, at Palestine, Tex.; son of Thomas and Rebecca (Wallace) Gardner, of Wilmington, S.C., the former an architect and builder, and a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, who preached on the Orangeburg circuit in South Carolina, at Augusta and Macon, Ga., and in Florida; grandson of Benjamin and Charlotte (Dunbibben) Gardner, of Wilmington, the former who was one of three brothers who came to America from Scotland about the close of the Revolutionary War, was married in Wilmington, S.C. and was lost at sea, while captain of a sailing vessel.


He was educated in the common schools of August and Macon, Ga.; entered as an apprentice in the printing office of the Macon Telegraph, 1833-1838; published the Georgia Mirror, at Florence, Ga., 1838-1840; established and edited the Southern Whig, at Eufaula, Ala., 1841; was elected justice of the peace in Eufaula, 1847-1850; elected to the State legislature as a Whig, 1849; appointed postmaster at Eufaula, 1851; moved to Montgomery and became part owner of the Alabama Journal, 1852; was admitted to the bar, December, 1854; practiced law at Troy, 1855-1867; in Clayton, 1867-1870; in Eufaula, 1870-1872; was elected attorney general of Alabama on the Republican ticket, 1872-1874 and lived in Montgomery; spent the remainder of his life in Montgomery, and Troy and Palestine, Texas with his children. In 1859, Mr. Gardner was elected captain of the "Quitman Guards," at Troy, and left Troy with his company, July 18, 1861, to join the Fifteenth Alabama regiment. Sometime after December 2, 1861, he tendered his resignation as captain in person to Mr. [Judah] Benjamin, Secretary of War. Before the war, he was a Whig, opposed to secession, and after the war, was a Republican.


He was a Methodist, and for some time, a Mason. Married: (1) February 14, 1833, in Macon, Ga., to Catherine, who died October 2, 1840, at Columbus, daughter of Dennis and Joyce Collins; (2) in March, 1841, near Enon, to Elisa Ann, who died January 8, 1851, in Eufaula, daughter of Birchet Harwell; (3) July 1, 1853, in Tallapoosa County, to Mrs. Harriet Louisa (Harrell) Sumner, of Elizabeth City, N.C., who died March 24, 1861, at Elizabeth City, N.C.; (4) January 11, 1863, at Troy to Ann Elisa Starke. Children, by first marriage: 1. Mary Elisa, m. (1) Mr. Long, (2) William Kirksey; 2. Louisa Virginia, m. L. B. Doles; 3. Thomas Benjamin; 4. John Dunbibben; by second marriage: 5. Frances Amanda, m. Judge B. W. Starke; 6. Samuel Harwell, served in C.S. Army and was killed in battle; 7. unnamed, d. in infancy; by third marriage: 8. Benjamin Howard; 9. Elizabeth; 10. Josephine, m. Wiliam H. Clark; by fourth marriage: 11. Bowling Starke. Last residence: Palestine, Texas.


Thomas McAdory Owen. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. (Spartanburg: The Reprint Company Publishers, 1978, reprint 1921), iii, 632.


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