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

William Parish Chilton, PGM 1869-1871

William Parish Chilton, PGM 1869-1871


“William Parish Chilton was born in Kentucky in 1810. He was plainly educated and read law in Nashville, Tenn. His father was a Baptist minister and his mother a sister of Hon., Jesse Bledsoe, the Kentucky jurist. He came to this State in 1834, and established himself in the practice at Mardisville, in Talladega, associated with Mr. George P. Brown. He was subsequently associated in the practice with Messrs. G. W. Stone, J. T. Morgan, and F. W. Bowdon.

In 1839 he represented the county in the legislature, and in 1843 was the unsuccessful candidate of his party for congress. He removed to Macon County in 1846, and was at different times in partnership there with Messrs. William McLester, W. C. McIver, and C. A. Battle. He became Chief Justice when Justice Dargan resigned, Dec. 6, 1852, and held the eminent position till Jan. 2, 1856. He was chosen to the senate from Macon in 1859, over Col. Graham. In 1860 he resided in Montgomery and was the law partner of Hon. William L. Yancy. He was elected to represent the Montgomery district in the provisional congress of the Confederacy, and was re-elected to the two congresses under the permanent constitution. “It was a common remark that he “was the most laborious member of the body,” says his colleague, Hon. J.L.M. Curry of Talladega. At the peace he continued his professional labors in association with Col. Jack Thorington, and was so engaged at the time of his death, Jan. 20, 1871.

Both houses of the legislature, the Supreme Court, the federal court, all in session at the time in Montgomery, adjourned in respect to his memory, and spread resolutions of sorrow on their journals. The circuit court of Mobile, the bar there and at Selma, took similar action; while the Masonic bodies throughout the State, of which order he was Grand Master, united in the general expression of sorrow.

“His public career was distinguished by a pure, unselfish patriotism, an incorruptible integrity, a and a capacity and willingness to labor which seemed inexhaustible.” His life was a conclusive refutation of the popular fallacy that the practice of law is inconsistent with a pure Christianity. No public man of the State has exhibited more of the characteristics of a good and useful citizen.

Justice Chilton was twice married, each time to a sister of Gen. Morgan of Dallas, and two of his sons were attorneys at the Montgomery bar. Col. Anderson Abercrombie of Texas, and Dr. U. R. Jones and Mr. Wm. S. Thorington of this county, married daughters of Judge Chilton. Hon. Thomas Chilton of Talladega, deceased, who was for eight years a member of congress from Kentucky, was a brother.”