John Archer Elmore

John Archer Elmore (1762-1834) was a Revolutionary War veteran who was an early settler of Alabama. After the British surrendered at Yorktown, Elmore entered politics in South Carolina and then relocated to Autauga County, where he established a large plantation. He represented Autauga County in the Alabama House of Representatives for one term. In 1866, Elmore County was created from parts of Autauga, Coosa, Montgomery, and Tallapoosa Counties and named in his honor. Many of his sons had distinguished careers, and several of his daughters married into notable Alabama families.

Elmore was born on August 21, 1762, in Prince Edward, Brunswick County, Colony of Virginia, to Archelaus Elmore and Susannah Morris Meadors. Sources differ on the number of his siblings. He joined the Continental Army during the American Revolution, serving in the Virginia Line militia under Gen. Nathanael Greene through his tour of the Carolinas. He was at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, in North Caroliana, which the Americans lost to British general Charles Lord Cornwallis. But the battle helped secure their future victory, as the British losses were so great that they were unable to pursue the retreating Americans. Cornwallis then turned his operations to Virginia, which led to the American victory. Elmore was present when Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. George Washington at Yorktown in Virginia, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.

After the war, Elmore settled in present-day Laurens County, South Carolina, and was elected to the state legislature, where he served one term. He married his first wife, Mary Ann Sarah Saxon, on March 1, 1788. Together, they had five children, two sons and three daughters. Mary died in 1804. On March 14, 1805, Elmore married Nancy Ann Martin. The couple had at least 12 children together, many of whom survived to adulthood and became successful.

In 1819, Elmore and his family moved to Autauga County, where he established the Little Huntington Plantation, just south of the present-day town of Elmore near Rucker Road. Elmore was a slaveowner who became one of the wealthiest men in the county and in 1821 was elected by Autauga County to the House of Representatives. He served one term. He died on April 24, 1834, and was buried on his family’s land in present-day Elmore County.

Elmore left a considerable legacy. Both sons from his first marriage entered politics. In South Carolina, Franklin Harper Elmore was elected to two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1850 to fill the seat left vacant by John C. Calhoun’s death, but he himself died soon after. Benjamin Thomas Elmore served as treasurer of South Carolina.

From his second marriage, John Archer Elmore Jr. became a distinguished lawyer in Montgomery who worked in a partnership with William Lowndes Yancey. A firm secessionist and southern rights Democrat like Yancey, Elmore Jr. represented Alabama at South Carolina’s Secession Convention in late December 1860. After the Civil War, he represented Montgomery County at Alabama’s 1865 Constitutional Convention. William Augustus Elmore moved to New Orleans, where he practiced law. Rush Elmore became a physician, commanded a company in the Mexican-American War, and then became a judge in the Kansas Territory. Henry Marshall Elmore was a probate judge in Macon County prior to the Civil War, after which he moved to Texas. Albert Stanhope Elmore served as Alabama secretary of state in 1865 and later as collector of customs in Mobile, Mobile County, under Pres. Andrew Johnson. Three of their daughters married important figures in Alabama history. Sarah Terry Elmore married future Alabama governor Benjamin Fitzpatrick and brought to the marriage a large plantation that would enrich the family. Elizabeth S. Elmore married Dixon Hall Lewis of Lowndes County, who would later serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Ann Harriet Elmore married physician Joseph Thomas Hearne of Lowndes County. The town of Elmore was founded by Elmore and son-in-law Benjamin Fitzpatrick, just west of their plantations. Alabama’s General John Archer Elmore Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution is named in his honor.

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John Archer Elmore

John Archer Elmore