Making Good Men, Better Men Since Time Immemorial
Making Good Men, Better Men Since Time Immemorial


James McCaleb Wiley, PGM 1856-1858

James McCaleb Wiley, PGM 1856-1858

“James McCaleb Wiley resided in Pike County, Alabama. He was born in Cabarrus Co. North Carolina March 12th, 1806, and came with his parents to Alabama in 1818. They settled in Lawrence County. James relocated to Dallas in 1824 and became a physician in 1826. He read law shortly after, and was licensed. In 1829 he removed to Louisiana and in 1832 to Mexico, where he became a military officer. In 1836 he returned to the State, and began to practice law in Butler Co. In 1839 he was appointed Register in Chancery of Barbour and removed to Clayton. He was elected Major General of the Militia in 1843. He practiced in partnership with Messrs. Shep Ruffin and B. B. McCraw. In 1865 he was appointed to the Circuit Court bench and was elected to Congress in 1866 but was not permitted to hold the seat. In 1868 he became Judge of the Circuit Court.

Judge Wiley was of portly figure and impressive appearance. He was dignified and impartial on the bench and a citizen of moral habits and public spirit.

He married a daughter of Hon. Randall Duckworth of Dallas, and two of his sons became attorneys. Judge Wiley passed away Dec. 2nd, 1877.

STERLING A. M. WOOD, PGM 1854-1855

“STERLING A.M. WOOD was a citizen of Tuscaloosa, but a native of Lauderdale. He was born in 1823 and took a collegiate course. Later, he read law in Columbia, Tennessee, was admitted to the bar in 1845 and became the partner of his brother at Florence. In 1857 he represented Lauderdale in the legislature, and was at that session elected District Solicitor, a position he filled until 1861 when he went into the service as captain of the first company that left Lauderdale. He was elected colonel when the 7th Alabama Infantry was organized in May. STERLING remained with his regiment at Pensacola till ordered to Bowling Green, Ky., in Feb 1862. In March, he was commissioned as Brigadier General. At Shiloh, he commanded the 16th and 23rd Al, 27th and 44th Tenn., and 32nd Miss. regiments. The 44th Tenn. was afterwards taken away, as well as the 45th Al regiment. GIBSON’S ALABAMA and NEWMANS’ TENNESSEE. battalions were substituted. This splendid brigade was led by Sterling at Perryville, Murfreesboro, and Chickamauga. Perryville He was struck on the head by a shell fragment at Perryville and disabled for several weeks. He resigned in 1863, and practiced law in Tuscaloosa after the War.

GENERAL WOOD was six feet two inches and one of the finest looking men in the service. As a speaker he was fluent and eloquent, and ranked well at the bar. He was Master of the Grand Lodge of the Masons of this State for two years.

He married a MISS LEFTWICH of Virginia.”

David Clopton, PGM 1851-1854

David Clopton, PGM 1851-1854

“A native of Putnam County, Georgia, David Clopton was born Sept. 29, 1820 to and Miss Kendrick and Dr. R. Alford Clopton, a Virginian by birth and several times a member of the Georgia legislature. Dr. Clopton practiced medicine in Georgia many years. His parents settled in Macon County in 1843 where his father was President of the Bank and then became a planter. Dr. Clopton died Feb. 1870 in Montgomery at eighty-three years of age.

David graduated from Randolph-Macon College, read law under Hon. Absalom H. Chappell, and was admitted to the bar in 1841. After practicing a short time in Georgia, he relocated to Tuskegee in 1844. His first associate was Mr. Solomon L. Pope; his second was Hon. R. F. Ligon, a partnership that lasted nineteen years and made profitable to both. David’s name was before the legislature once or twice for Justice of the Supreme Court but he was not elected. In 1859 he was nominated by his party for Congress against his written remonstrance and was elected after one of the hottest canvasses ever witnessed in the State, defeating Hon. T. J. Judge of Montgomery 221 votes. He served till his State seceded from the Union and then retired with his delegation. Soon after his return home, David volunteered as a private in the 12th Al. Infantry, and served till the close of 1861. After his election, David took his seat in the first Confederate Congress. In 1863 he was reelected over Mr. John H. Cadenhead of Macon and remained in Congress till the downfall of the Confederacy. Afterwards, he only took a quiet interest in public affairs and practicing his profession in Montgomery since 1866.”

“In the early history of the Alabama, after the conclusion of the treaty of Fort Jackson, people poured into the state from Virginia, the two Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. The state was so quickly populated that the State Government felt that an Immigration Board was needed. David Clopton was a Director appointed to the First Board of Immigration in 1875.”

In October 1884, Governor O’Neal appointed Judge Clopton to the Supreme Court Bench. Judge Clopton was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Sheffield, also of the Sheffield Coal and Iron Company and was director in each of the corporations.

Mr. Clopton was a frail figure. His hair was black, complexion and eyes dark. The intellectual in him was predominant. He was a close student and an indefatigable worker. All his arguments were pointed, precise and perspicuous. His oratory was chaste, scholarly and finished. The purity of his life was exceptionable even among pious persons and he was exemplary in all the walks of a Christian gentleman.

Mr. Clopton’s first wife was a sister of Gov. R. F. Ligon of Macon. She died in 1867. His second a Mrs. Chambers of Columbus, Georgia. One of his daughters married Mr. Clifford A. Lanier of Montgomery Co, author of “Thorn-Fruit” and “Two-hundred Bales,” two volumes of romance. She died in 1885. He married a third time the widow of Clement C. Clay, Nov. 29, 1887 in Huntsville.

William Hendrix, PGM 1850-1851

William Hendrix 1850-1851

WILLIAM HENDRIX was Grand High Priest, Grand Chapter 1847-48-49 and Grand Master in 1850. He was a member of Rising Sun Lodge in 1894.



RUFUS GREENE was Grand Master in 1847-48-49 and Grand Master of the Grand Council 1848-49-50. He was also Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter in 1850.

*He may have lived in Mobile and if so was involved in education and started the Male and Female Academy in Mobile, Alabama.

Benjamin Dudley Williams, PGM 1898-1900


Benjamin Dudley Williams, PGM 1898-1900

“Benjamin Dudley Williams, physician was born January 11, 1851 at Oxford and died at that place March 12, 1911. He was educated in the schools of Calhoun County and studied medicine.

From 1886 to 1890 he served as physician to the Ute Indians, having been appointed to that work by President Cleveland; and was a member of the Chippewa Indian Commission 1893-1896.

He married December 14, 1881 to Mollie T. Williams and they had one son and three daughters.

Benjamin Dudley Williams was affiliated in Oxford, with Hartwell Lodge #101 June 28, 1882 and was Secretary of that Lodge in 1882.

He died March 12th, 1911 at the age of 57.

James Andrew Bilbro, PGM 1896-1898

James Andrew Bilbro, PGM 1896-1898

“James Andrew Bilbro, lawyer, was born February 20, 1844 at Tuskegee, Macon County; son of John Berryman and Anne Lumpkin (Rutledge) Bilbro. The former born in Surry County, Va.,
removed to Talbotton, Ga., where he married and in 1842 located in Tuskegee, was clerk of circuit court of Macon County about eighteen years, was treasurer of the county twenty-five years, which office he held at the date of his death, December 24, 1908. He was the grandson of Benjamin Bilbro, of Virginia, and of William Owen and Elizabeth (Partridge) Rutledge, the former a member of the noted Rutledge family of South Carolina, who was born May 30, 1790, in Harris County, Ga.

Judge Bilbro was educated at the Tuskegee Institute under noted teachers, one being E. M. Law, afterward a distinguished confederate general, and who with his brother, had charge of the military department of the Institute. Judge Bilbro was Captain of one of the companies in 1860 and 1861. He studied law in 1868-1870 in Tuskegee, under David Clopton, afterwards Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He began the practice, 1870, removed to Gadsden in 1889 and was County Solicitor of Macon County for six years from 1872; Mayor of Tuskegee, 1882-82; a member of the legislature, 1884-85; Judge of the 9th judicial circuit from August 1, 1894 to January 19, 1905. He was elected Judge of the 16th circuit under “Lusk bill” but did not serve, as it was declared unconstitutional. He was Judge of the city court of Gadsden, 1920-16 and a member of the board of trustees, Alabama Polytechnic Institute at Auburn for 10 years.

In April 1861, he joined the Tuskegee light infantry, which became a part of the famous Third Alabama infantry regiment, under COL. Tennet Lomax; was in the Army of Northern Virginia until May 1862, when he was discharged on account of ill health; was then appointed lieutenant in camp of instruction and held this position until close of the war.

He was a Democrat, a Methodist, a Mason, an Odd Fellow, and a Knight of Pythias.

He married April 24, 1866 at Tuskegee, Francina A. daughter of Chancellor Wylie Washington and Matilda Warren (Catchings)Mason, the latter was born at the homestead of her grandmother, Mrs. Wilfres Catchings, in Washington, Ga., was twice married, first to COL. John C.. McNeil; and after his death to Chancellor Wylie W. Mason; granddaughter of John Clarke Mason a Welsh nobleman of Guston Hall, Wales. Children: (1) James Early (2) Mathilde (3) John B. and (4) Wylie Mason.

James Andrew Bilbro was initiated in Tuskegee Lodge Feb. 17, 1866, Passed March 3, 1866, and Raised March 17, 1866. He demitted July 1, 1889 and affiliated with Gadsden #236 Aug. 13, 1889. James Andrew Bilbro is properly recognized as the father of the Masonic Home. He entered Resolutions to establish a Masonic Orphans Home and College at the 1882 Annual Communication and was appointed to serve on a Select Committee of Five to perfect some plan to carry out the ideas of the resolution. James Andrew Bilbro died Dec. 22, 1924 at the age of 80”

George Paul Harrison, PGM 1894-1896

George Paul Harrison, PGM 1894-1896

“General Harrison of Opelika, was a descendant of the original Virginia Harrison family which emigrated from England to the Old Dominion. This family included two presidents of the United States as and was conspicuous in laying the foundation stones of the state on the shores of the first English Colony. He was born on the ‘Monteith Plantation,’ near Savannah, Ga. March 19, 1841, and bears his father’s name in full. His father was for many years prominent in Ga. politics, serving many sessions in the legislature of that state from Chatham Co. During the war between the states, the elder Harrison commanded a brigade of state troops and after the war, was chosen a member of the constitutional convention of Georgia.

General George Paul Harrison was classically trained in the famous academies of Savannah and later at the Georgia Military Institute at Marietta; graduated in 1861 with a degree of A.B. and C. E. as the first honor man of his class. He was scarcely twenty at the outbreak of the war, and on Jan.3, 1861, he shared in the seizure by the state of Ga. of Fort Pulaski. He enrolled in the service of the state and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the First Regiment of Ga. Regulars…… not quite 23 years old when he received his commission as a brigadier general….While in camp, General Harrison applied himself to the study of the law. After the close of the war he moved to Alabama, resided first at Auburn, and later Opelika.

He was elected commandant of the Alabama University, retired from that position, and made commandant at the state agricultural college at Auburn. After one year, he resigned and devoted himself to his law practice. He served the public as a delegate to the Alabama Constitutional Conventions of 1875 and 1901; as state senator from 1878 to 1884; and1901 –1902; elected a representative in Congress from the 3rd district in1894 and 1896. In 1899 he was elected Major General of the Alabama Division of United Confederate Veterans and served the United Confederate Veterans for many years…..

He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; married (1) in 1863 to Mary F. Drake, who died in June 1884, daughter of John C. and May A. Drake of Ga. (2) in 1886 to Mattie C. Ligon, who died August 22, 1892, daughter of Gov. Robert F. Ligon of Alabama (3) in November, 1896 to Fannie Louise Witherspoon, daughter of Hamilton and Nancy Witherspoon of Coldstream, S. C. who died in September, 1900 (4) on November 20, 1901, at La Grange, Ga. to Sara Katherine Nunnaly, daughter of GUSTAVUS ALONZO and Mary (BRISCOE) Nunnaly, of that place. Children by first marriage; (1) deceased; (2) MAMIE Harrison, first honor graduate of the Wesleyan female college; by fourth marriage, (1) George P. Harrison., Jr.

Bro. Harrison was initiated in Auburn Lodge No. 76 on Sep. 28, 1865, passed Oct. 3, 1865 and raised Oct. 5, 1865. He demitted from this Lodge on May 6, 1881 affiliated with Opelika Lodge No. 395; demitted Feb. 16, 1882 to become a Charter Member and first Worshipful Master of Lee Lodge No. 454. In the Grand Lodge of Alabama he was elected Junior Grand Warden December 4, 1889, regularly advanced and was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master Dec. 5, 1894 and again in 1895. He was appointed a Member of the Committee on Masonic Jurisprudence in 1896 and was appointed Chairman of that Committee in 1901, serving as such until his death July 17, 1922.”

Frances L. Pettus, PGM 1892-1894

Frances L. Pettus, PGM 1892-1894

“Hon. Frances L. Pettus, attorney and counselor at law, at Selma Al. was born at Cahaba, Dallas County, Oct. 7, 1858 son of GEN.. E. W. Pettus, Hon. F. L. Pettus was reared for the most part in Selma, to which city his parents removed shortly after the Civil War. He received his early education in Selma and then sent to the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, Virginia where he remained for one year. He then in consequence of failing health returned to his home and for a short time engaged in farming. Upon recovering, he attended Davidson College, NC where he completed a classical course of two years. Leaving college in 1877, he went to Galveston, Texas where he was employed for a year in the commission house of John D. Rodgers & Co., large cotton factors. Returning to Selma he entered the law office of his father, with whom he read law and on April 9, 1879, he was admitted to the bar. He became a member of the Pettus and Dawson firm in Selma with his father GEN. E. W. Pettus and COL. N. H. R. Dawson. In 1880 he began to play an important part in the politics of the state, being elected a delegate to the state democratic convention, and he was a delegate to the state democratic convention for four subsequent state conventions, in 1882, 1884, 1886, and 1888. In 1882 he became Clerk of the Supreme Court of the State, and continued to hold that position until November, 1884., during which time he resided at Montgomery. In 1886 he was elected as a Democrat to the lower house of the Legislature to represent Dallas County and was re-elected in 1888, in 1890 and in 1892. From the first Mr. Pettus took an active part in shaping legislation and soon gained a reputation amongst his constituents for faithfulness and ability, thus securing their confidence and esteem. In 1888 he became chairman of the Judiciary committee of the house, and such was his display of intelligence and power that during the session of 1890 he became a strong candidate for Speaker of the House. The contest was an enthusiastic and heated one, and though he was defeated it was only by a very small majority, showing that he was a popular and highly esteemed member of the house.

Mr. Pettus was a prominent Mason, being Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the state. He was also a member of the Knights of Pythias of the Elks.

In 1880, Mr. Pettus married Miss Mary Knox, daughter of MAJ. William S. Knox of Selma. Mrs. Pettus was an accomplished lady and conferred grace and dignity upon the domestic circle.”

George M. Morrow, PGM 1890-1892

George M. Morrow, PGM 1890-1892

“George M. Morrow one of the leading druggists of Birmingham, was born in Elyton, Alabama August 20, 1846. His father, Hugh Morrow, came from Kentucky to Alabama. His father died July, 1889 and his mother, Margaret Holmes died June 1891, the father at 85 and mother 67. George Morrow attended the common schools of his home until he was 16 years old, when, in 1863 he enlisted in the Confederate service, in company F. 7th Alabama Cavalry, under command of COL. L. B. Musgrove. The next year he was transferred to the famous Cavalry Brigade under command of GEN. Joseph Wheeler, and promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. He fought at Nashville and at Franklin. When he came home from the war, he attended school one year at Elyton, and took up the study of medicine under Dr. Joseph R. Smith.. The following year he attended the Miami Medical College, of Cincinnati, graduating in 1868 and at once began to practice at Ashville. He remained there until 1871, then going to Elyton, where he practiced until 1878. In the latter year he removed to Birmingham and embarked in the wholesale and retail drug business in company with Dr. F. D. Nabers, having abandoned the medical profession on account of ill-health. His career was marked by great financial success, and his warm nature and genial social qualities endeared him to a large circle of friends.

He was married, the first time in November 1868 to Mary E.. daughter of Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Margaret SMITH, of Elyton. They had one child, Margaret J. Morrow. His first wife died in 1873. His 2nd wife, whom he married in May 1874 was Miss Susie, daughter of O. S. Malinda (Nabers)Smith of Elyton. There were four children of the latter union—-Lucy O., Anna Bertha, deceased; George M. Jr. and Frank Morrow.

In Dec. 1890, he was elected Grand Master of the Masonic order of Alabama.

In 1891 he was elected sheriff of Jefferson County for four years. Both he and wife were communicants of the Baptist Church.”

Henry Hart Brown, PGM 1888-1890

Henry Hart Brown, PGM 1888-1890

“Henry Hart Brown was born August 24, 1837 in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. He died at his home in East Lake, Jefferson County, Alabama on January 9th 1903 at 65 years of age.

He was an attorney and a member of several organizations such as the Alabama Historical Society.

He was initiated at an Entered Apprentice in Northport Lodge No. 252 A. F. & A. M. in Feb. 12, 1859, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft March 26th, 1859, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason April 28th 1859. He evinced great interest and devotion and his development in was sure.” xliv[PRO 1903]

“In his annual address as Grand Master, Henry Hart Brown, urged “the importance of a more efficient system of lecturing the Subordinate Lodges in the work of conferring degrees.” As a result of his effort, the District Lecturer system was initiated in 1891. He appointed five members to take consideration the establishment of a Masonic Home for widows and orphans of deceased Masons of Alabama.” Xlv[Dictionary][1849 Pro][Masonry]

He served as Worshipful Master of Northport Lodge for a number of years. When he moved to East Lake, he became affiliated with East Lake Lodge No. 480 and continued as an honored member of that Lodge until his death. He was for many years a regular attendant upon the Communications of the Grand Body and its members were quick to recognize and reward his great zeal and worth. “He was elected Junior Grand Warden December 1885, Senior Grand Warden December 1886, Deputy Grand Master 1887 and Grand Master December 1888, which exalted station he filled with signal ability until December 1890. At the time of his death, he was Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia near this Grand Lodge.

In the midst of his great usefulness, our beloved brother was stricken down by a hopeless malady, which held him a helpless suffer for four long years, ere the ‘grim monster’ was welcomed as a kind messenger, and his noble spirit winged its eager flight from this imperfect, to that all perfect, glorious, celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.

Henry Hart Brown was every inch a man. An honest, able attorney, a brave Confederate soldier, a great pillar of strength in the Church, in Masonry, in affairs of government, in society; a tender loving spirit in the home. We miss his genial, noble face! Our sympathies go out to his sorely bereaved family. His memory is enshrined in our hearts. His works do follow him.

‘Brethren a Mighty Craftsman works no more
With maul and level, plumb and square and line;
His tools lie idle on the checkered floor-
The workman gone upon the Master’s sign,
Yet true and polished there his ashlar stands,
The chiseled witness of his cunning skill.
The name of Henry Brown glistens in its sands
The Temple waits the stone on Salem’s Hill.’

Myles Jefferson Greene, PGM 1887-1888

Myles Jefferson Greene, PGM 1887-1888

Myles Jefferson Greene, a native of Baldwin County, Georgia, was born October 30th, 1827 and died June 27th 1892 in Montgomery, Alabama. He was educated in the country schools in Georgia and at Auburn. He received his medical degree from Charleston, S. C. medical college in 1851. He began the practice of medicine in Lochapoka shortly after graduation and practiced there, in Opelika and in Talladega, until his appointment as Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge in December, 1888. He married Mary Anne Eliza, daughter of Dr. Reuben and Mary (Baldwin) Phillips of Loachapoka, on April 10, 1853. There were no children. He was a Christian gentleman and an educated physician, taking a high position amongst his professional brethren, which he maintained to the day of his death. As a physician he was an original thinker, and a careful and painstaking practitioner as well as skillful surgeon.

He was initiated May 17, 1849, passed June 9th, 1849, and raised June 28th, 1849 by Auburn Lodge No. 76 A.F. and A. M. In 1850 he located in Loachapoka, Macon County, and measures were soon taken to establish a Lodge in that, at that time, new and prosperous town. Dr. Greene was the first Worshipful Master of this Lodge. In 1877 he removed to Talladega, where he resided until 1888, save two years in Opelika. During that period he filled the office of Worshipful Master or a subordinate station in Talladega Lodge No. 261.

He was exalted by Opelika Chapter No. 74, R. A. M. in 1866. He soon thereafter demitted and assisted in the establishment of Lochapoka Chapter No. 80, being one of the charter members. He was the first and only H. P. of that chapter as long as he lived there. In 1877, he went to Talladega, became a member of and soon an officer in Talladega Chapter No. 23. At the time of his death, he was a member of Montgomery Chapter No. 22. He was knighted by Tuskegee Commandery of Knights Templar in 1873. After moving to Talladega he was unaffiliated until 1888 when he became a member of Montgomery Commandery No. 4 on whose record will no doubt be found a tribute to his memory.

Dr. Greene made his first appearance in the Grand Lodge in 1852 as Worshipful Master of Loachapoka Lodge No. 133. From that date he was seldom absent from the Grand Communications, having attended every one since 1867. In 1869 he was appointed a member of the Committee on Work. This position he held until 1881, when he was elected Junior Grand Warden. He was successively elected Senior Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master and became Grand Master in 1877. He held this high office one year, when he was elected Grand Secretary, the position he occupied at the date of his death.

In 1869 he was appointed a member of the Grand Chapter Committee on Work. In 1869 he was elected Grand Captain of the Host and was regularly promoted until he became Grand High Priest in 1872 and filled that office for three years.