John Gayle (Alabama)

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John Gayle
JohnGayle.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama
In office
March 13, 1849 – July 21, 1859
Appointed byZachary Taylor
Preceded byWilliam Crawford
Succeeded byWilliam Giles Jones
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1849
Preceded byEdmund Strother Dargan
Succeeded byWilliam J. Alston
7th Governor of Alabama
In office
November 26, 1831 – November 21, 1835
Preceded bySamuel B. Moore
Succeeded byClement Comer Clay
Personal details
Born
John Gayle

(1792-09-11)September 11, 1792
Sumter County, South Carolina
DiedJuly 21, 1859(1859-07-21) (aged 66)
Jacksonville, Alabama
Political partyWhig
EducationUniversity of South Carolina
read law

John Gayle (September 11, 1792 – July 21, 1859) was the 7th Governor of Alabama, a United States Representative from Alabama, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

Education and career[edit]

Born on September 11, 1792, in Sumter County, South Carolina,[1] Gayle pursued classical studies and graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) in 1813 and read law in 1818.[2][1] He was President of the Clariosophic Society while at South Carolina College.[3][4] He was admitted to the bar and entered private practice in St. Stephens, Alabama Territory (State of Alabama from December 14, 1819) starting in 1818.[1] He was a member of the Legislative Council for Alabama Territory from 1818 to 1819.[1] He was solicitor for the First Judicial Circuit of Alabama from 1819 to 1821.[1] He was a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1822 to 1823, and again from 1829 to 1830,[1] serving as Speaker in 1829.[2] He was a Judge of the Alabama Circuit Court for the Third Judicial Circuit from 1823 to 1825.[1] He resumed private practice in Greene County, Alabama from 1826 to 1828.[1] He was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama from 1828 to 1829.[1] He was Governor of Alabama from 1831 to 1835.[1] He again resumed private practice in Mobile, Alabama from 1835 to 1846.[1]

Notable state court case[edit]

During his service as a judge, Gayle freed a young African American child who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.[5]

Notable achievements as Governor[edit]

During Gayle's term as Governor of Alabama, the state bank was expanded and the first railroad was completed in Alabama. The Bell Factory, the state's first textile mill, was incorporated in Madison County.[6]

Congressional service[edit]

Gayle was elected as a Whig from Alabama's 1st congressional district to the United States House of Representatives of the 30th United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1847, to March 3, 1849.[2] He was Chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims for the 30th United States Congress.[2]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Gayle was nominated by President Zachary Taylor on March 12, 1849, to a joint seat on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama vacated by Judge William Crawford.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 13, 1849, and received his commission the same day.[1] His service terminated on July 21, 1859, due to his death in Jacksonville, Alabama.[1] He was interred in Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile.[2]

Family[edit]

Gayle was married to Sarah Ann Haynsworth, formerly a resident of South Carolina, from June 11, 1819, until her death in 1835, due to lockjaw (tetanus).[7] They had six children. In 1837, Gayle married Clarissa Stedman Peck at Gaston,[8] Alabama. They had four children. Gayle died of ill health and natural causes on July 21, 1859, aged 66.[9]

During his time on Alabama Supreme Court (1828–29) John Gayle constructed his family home in Greensboro, Alabama then a part of Greene County, now part of Hale County. There Sarah gave birth to Amelia Gayle Gorgas. She was the wife of Gen. Josiah Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance of the Confederate States of America, mother of William Crawford Gorgas, 22nd United States Surgeon General who freed the Panama Canal Zone of yellow fever.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n John Gayle at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b c d e United States Congress. "John Gayle (id: G000106)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. ^ South Carolina College: Clariosophic Society, Catalogue of Members in 1842, Lanham Digital Library of Hill Country History at Logan Library at Schreiner University Archived 2010-07-11 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "John Gayle (1831-35)". Encyclopedia of Alabama.
  5. ^ Judson Crump and Alfred L. Brophy, Twenty-One Months a Slave: Cornelius Sinclair's Odyssey," Mississippi Law Journal 86 (2017): 457, 477-79.
  6. ^ "John Gayle". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  7. ^ Gayle, Sarah Haynsworth (5 November 2013). "The Journal of Sarah Haynsworth Gayle, 1827–1835: A Substitute for Social Intercourse". University of Alabama Press – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Gaston Populated Place Profile / Sumter County, Alabama Data". alabama.hometownlocator.com.
  9. ^ Webb, Samuel L., ed. (2001). Alabama Governors: A Political History of the State (cloth). Margaret Armbrester. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
  10. ^ "Historical Marker Program: Hale County". The Alabama Historical Association. Archived from the original on 2011-01-04.

Sources[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel B. Moore
Governor of Alabama
1831–1835
Succeeded by
Clement Comer Clay
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edmund Strother Dargan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 1st congressional district

1847–1849
Succeeded by
William J. Alston
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Crawford
Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama

1849–1859
Succeeded by
William Giles Jones