James A. Stallworth (1822 - 1861)

James A. Stallworth, a Representative from Alabama, was born in Evergreen, Conecuh County, Ala., on April 7, 1822. He attended Old Field Piney Woods Schools, engaged as a planter, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1848 and commenced practice in Evergreen, Ala.. He was a member of the State house of representatives 1845-1848, solicitor for the second judicial circuit of Alabama in 1850 and 1855, and unsuccessful candidate for election in 1854 to the 34th Congress. He was elected as a Democrat to the 35th and 36th Congresses and served from March 4, 1857, to January 21, 1861, when he withdrew. He died near Evergreen, Conecuh County, Ala., on August 31, 1861, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

The following biography is from Rev. B. F. Riley (Pastor of the Opelika Baptist Church Columbus, Ga.), History of Conecuh County (1881):

James A. Stallworth was born near the village of Evergreen in Conecuh County, Alabama, on the April 7, 1822. He became an orphan quite early, his mother having died when he was but three years of age. When he was fourteen, he was left entirely parentless by the death of his father.

His scholastic training was merely academical. His career as a student was spent in the academy at Evergreen. So deeply impressed was the Hon. Frank Beck, of Wilcox, with his social ease and graceful demeanor, and his ability as an orator, that he asked him, while both were representatives together in the Legislature, "Stallworth, from what college did you graduate?" He expressed great surprise when he was told, "I never attended college."

At quite an early age Mr. Stallworth gave promise of future ability. His powers of oratory were quite marked when he was but a boy. At the early age of eighteen he was married to Miss Harriet E. Crosby, eldest daughter of John Crosby. His marriage was quite fortunate for his future success in life. Inheriting, to a large degree, the energy and executive ability of her father, Mrs. Stallworth contributed largely to the growing success of her husband.

Soon after his marriage he began planting, which he pursued for several years, when he was called into public life by having been nominated upon the Democratic ticket for Representative to the Legislature. In Mr. Mortimer Boulware, young Stallworth found a strong opponent. He was a gentleman of great personal popularity and wealth, and was connected with one of the wealthiest families in the county. Mr. Stallworth, who had scarcely passed his twenty-second year, awoke a sensation wherever he went in the county, so brilliant was his oratory, and so cordial was his address. Large accessions were drawn from the ranks of the Whig Party, and he was elected, first, to the Legislature in 1845. He was renominated by the Democrats in 1847, and was again elected by a largely increased majority over his Whig competitor, Judge H. F. Stearns.

During his last term of service in the Legislature he entered upon the study of law, and after adequate preparation, was admitted to practice. By force of talent he rose rapidly as a lawyer, having entered at once upon a most lucrative practice. So distinguished had his ability at the bar become, that in 1850 he was elected to the solicitorship of the Second Judicial Circuit. In this new position he had to encounter the ripe experience of one of the ablest bars in the State; and yet so nobly did he acquit himself that he came to be recognized as one of the best prosecuting attorneys the State ever had. In 1855 he resigned his position as solicitor and accepted the nomination for Congress of the Democratic Party, against Col. Percy Walker, of Mobile—the candidate of the Know-Nothing Party. Though defeated in this contest, Colonel Stallworth added new lustre to his rapidly-rising star, as an able debater and eloquent exponent of the political issues of the period.

In 1857 he was again honored with the nomination of his party, for Congress. The result of this contest was the election of Colonel Stallworth, by quite a handsome majority, over Col. John McKaskill, of Wilcox. Two years later still, he was renominated for Congress, and this time defeated Col. Fred Sheppard, of Mobile. Colonel Stallworth remained in Congress until the passage of the ordinance of secession by the Alabama Convention; when he, together with the remainder of the Alabama delegation, withdrew.

Returning to his home, he contributed largely of his means to the cause of the young Confederacy. His declining health forbade his entrance into the army, but his sons were among the first to enlist, though quite young. Colonel Stallworth died at his home, in Evergreen, on the August 31, 1861. During the brief period of sixteen years, he had occupied several of the most prominent positions in life.

Harper's Weekly, of February 9, 1861, has this to say with regard to the subject of our sketch: "James A. Stallworth, who represents the First, or Mobile District, in the House of Representatives, was born in Conecuh county, Alabama, on the 7th of April, 1822. After having received an academical education, he studied law, passed a high examination, and has since enjoyed a lucrative practice. He was twice elected District Attorney for the circuit in which he practices, and was a member of the Legislature from 1845 to 1848. After having been defeated by the Know-Nothings, he was in 1857 elected to Congress, where he is a universal favorite, ever ready with an anecdote or repartee, yet none the less determined in maintaining the rights of his native State."

Colonel Stallworth was a man of the noblest natural impulses. Most princely in hospitality, he frequently drew around his family board many of his truest friends. It is a matter of deep regret that one of such vast usefulness, and possessed with so many elements of greatness, should have been swept into a premature grave. He passed away at the early age of thirty-nine years.