David Hubbard

David Hubbard (1792-1874) was a veteran of the War of 1812 and a politician who served in the Alabama House of Representatives, the Alabama Senate, and the U.S. Congress. An ardent supporter of slavery and southern rights, Hubbard also served in the Congress of the Confederates States of America and government during the American Civil War.

David Hubbard Hubbard was born near the town of Old Liberty (present-day Bedford), Virginia, to Thomas Mortimer Hubbard and Mary Blakely Swann Hubbard and was one of perhaps eight siblings. (At least one contemporary source lists his place of birth as Tennessee.) He came from an influential family that had a long history in Virginia: His father was a well-traveled officer in the Continental Army, and he was a cousin of Texas war hero and governor Samuel Houston, though the two men did not appear to be close. In his youth, Hubbard attended local county schools and pursued some higher education before enlisting in the army during the War of 1812. Hubbard served as a major in the Quartermaster Corps and claimed to have been wounded at the Battle of New Orleans. Following the war, Hubbard moved to Huntsville, Madison County, and worked as a carpenter while he studied law. Hubbard passed the bar in 1820 and began a practice there.

In 1823, Hubbard moved to Florence, Lauderdale County, and served for three years as a solicitor, a position much like a modern-day district attorney. After his tenure, he moved to Moulton, Lawrence County, and opened a mercantile business. He also was elected to represent Lawrence County in the Alabama State Senate in 1827 and 1828. Afterward, Hubbard joined the board of trustees of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, a post he held from 1828 to 1835. During that period, Hubbard also was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1831, serving one term. He relocated once again, to Courtland, Lawrence County, where he went into the business of buying and selling Chickasaw Indian land. During this period, he owned a plantation, known as Kinlock, and a local cotton mill in that county and is recorded as owning some ten enslaved persons in the 1830s and 1840s. (A community known as Kinlock was located at the western edge of the present-day Sipsey Wilderness Area in southwest Lawrence County.) Hubbard married Elizabeth Campbell at an unknown date, and she died in 1841, having had no children.

Hubbard also aspired to represent his state in the U.S. Congress and successfully defeated Whig candidate David G. Ligon in the 1838 race for Alabama's Second Congressional District. Hubbard served from March 4, 1839, to March 3, 1841, but was unsuccessful in his reelection attempt in an at-large race and returned to practicing law. His seat was taken in 1843 by James E. Belser. Hubbard won election to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1842, 1843, and 1845. In 1845, Hubbard married Rebecca Stoddert, with whom he had six children. In 1848, Hubbard defeated sitting representative George S. Houston in the race for Alabama's redrawn Fifth Congressional District. He served again for only one term, from March 4, 1849, to March 5, 1851, sitting on the Ways and Means Committee.

As the crisis over slavery heated up in the 1850s, Hubbard stood firmly on the side of South Carolina's outspoken U.S. senator John C. Calhoun, noted supporter of slavery and southern rights. Hubbard also had been part of the committee at the 1848 Alabama Democratic Convention that had written the pro-slavery "Alabama Platform" with Alabama politician William Lowndes Yancey. After his election to the Alabama legislature in 1853, Hubbard introduced a successful resolution that stated Alabama would resist federal legislation "hostile" to the South. In 1857, he penned a letter to the Montgomery Advertiser in which he charged that the South was already at "war" with the northern states and Great Britain over their objection to slavery. Hubbard also advocated throwing out any southern politicians who did not defend southern rights sufficiently, as well as militarily attacking Great Britain's colonies in the Caribbean.

Also in 1857, Hubbard again challenged Houston, an opponent of secession, for the Fifth District and was defeated again. After this failed reelection bid, Hubbard was a delegate to the Southern Commercial Congress at Savannah, Georgia, in 1859. Hubbard served as a presidential elector for the unsuccessful pro-slavery Southern Democratic candidate John C. Breckinridge in the 1860 election.

Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Hubbard was elected to the Confederate States House of Representatives, serving from 1861 to 1863. Hubbard also used his experience dealing with the Chickasaw Indians to gain an important post as commissioner of the Confederate State Bureau of Indian Affairs and held it for the majority of the war. Hubbard was said to have suffered harsh treatment when Union soldiers occupied his home at Kinlock.

After his retirement, Hubbard relocated to a family home in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Hubbard died on January 20, 1874, and was buried in Trinity Episcopal Churchyard in Rosedale, Louisiana. His house at Kinlock was reportedly used as a headquarters by the U.S. Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 and was later destroyed by fire.

Further Reading

  • Brewer, Willis. Alabama: Her History, Resources War Record, and Public Men. 1872. Reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Company, 1975.
  • Denman, Clarence Phillips. The Secession Movement in Alabama. Montgomery: Alabama State Department of Archives and History, 1933.
  • Dorman, Lewy. Party Politics in Alabama from 1850 through 1860. 1935. Reprint, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995.

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