Alabama Attorneys General

Alexander Beaufort Meek

 image of Ala. Attorney Alexander Beaufort Meek


Attorney General: 1836


Alexander Beaufort Meek, author and lawyer, was born July 17, 1814, in Columbia, S.C., and died November 30, 1865, in Columbus, Miss.; son of Rev. Samuel M. and Anne (McDowell) Meek, both natives of South Carolina, who came to Tuscaloosa from South Carolina, the former of whom was a Methodist minister, a physician and a druggist; grandson of John and Elenor (Mills) Meek; brother of Benjamin Franklin Meek. His ancestors on both sides were of Irish descent, and those on his father's side came from County Antrim, Ireland.


He graduated from the University of Alabama, A. B., 1833, and A. M., 1836, and received the honorary degree of A. M. from the University of Georgia, 1844. He was admitted to the bar in 1835, and practiced law in Tuscaloosa. When the troubles with the Creek Indians occurred in 1836, he volunteered as ensign in the U. S. Army. During that same year, he was appointed attorney general of the state by Gov. Clement C. Clay to fill a vacancy, and held that position until the following winter.


He was editor of the Flag of the Union, at Tuscaloosa, 1835-1839, and of the Southron, a literary magazine, 1839-1842. In 1842, Governor Benjamin Fitzpatrick appointed him judge of the probate court at Tuscaloosa, and he held that position until 1845. During the latter year he was appointed assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury by President James Polk, and became legal advisor of that department. After holding the office about two years, he retired with the commission of federal attorney for the southern district of the state, and was retained in that position until the close of Polk's term. He was associate editor of the Mobile Daily Register, 1851-1858; represented Mobile in the Alabama House of Representatives, 1853-1855, and as chairman of the committee on education, secured the establishment of a system of free public schools in the state.


In 1854, he was appointed judge of the probate court of Mobile by Governor John A. Winston, and held that office until May, 1855; was elector on the James Buchanan ticket, 1856; and a representative in the state legislature and Speaker of the House, 1859-1861. He was a trustee of the University of Alabama, 1862-1864. He was author of The Red Eagle, 1855, Songs and Poetry of the South, 1856, Romantic Passages in Southwestern History, 1857; and an unfinished "History of Alabama"; and prepared a supplement to Aiken's Digest of Alabama, in 1842.


Married: (1) in 1856, to Mrs. Emma Donaldson Slatter, of Mobile, the widow of Hope Hull Slatter; (2) in 1864, to Mrs. Eliza Jane Cannon, of Columbus, Miss., the widow of William R. Cannon, who was for a long time president of the Mississippi Senate. He had no children. Last residence: Columbus, Miss.


Thomas McAdory Owen. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. (Spartanburg: The Reprint Company Publishers, 1978, reprint 1921), iv, 1183-4.


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