Search billions of records on



JOHN ANTHONY STEELE, Probate Judge, Tuscumbia, Ala., was born at Gainesville, Sumpter County, this State, July 25, 1835, and is a son of William J. and Mary (Winston) Steele.

The senior Mr.. Steele was born in Woodford County, Ky., August 10, 1809; graduated at Danville, that State; read law with John J. Crittenden at Frankfort, and was admitted to the bar; came to Alabama and at Gainesville practiced law. In 1852 he returned to Versailles, Ky., and there continued the practice; was elected judge, and conducted extensive farming operations. He reared eight children: John A., Thomas, Jane A., Mary P., Andrew F., William J., James W., and Theophilus, deceased.

The Steeles originally came from Ireland. Thomas Steele, and his son John, grandfather of John Anthony Steele, were the first of that family to come to America, and they settled in Woodford County, Ky., where John Steele became a man of considerable local prominence. He was sheriff of the county a time or two, and a representative to the Legislature two terms. He was an officer in the War of 1812; was a Whig in politics, and a devout member of the Presbyterian Church. Mary Winston was born in Franklin county, ala., in 1819. Her father, Anthony Winston, a Virginian by birth, settled in Alabama in 1818, and was a member of the first Legislature held in this State.

Judge Steele, the gentleman whose name stands at the head of this article, was reared on a farm in Kentuky [sic]; graduated in classical course from Princeton (New Jersey) College, class of 1852; afterward read law at Transylvania University, and was admitted to the bar in 1854.

Immediately after being admitted to the bar Mr. Steele came to Alabama, married and settled upon a farm in Colbert County. He was a member of the Secession Convention of 1861, and took a strong stand against that measure. However, when Alabama declared her withdrawal from the Federal Union, he at once espoused her cause, and in the early part of 1862, joined the army as a captain of a company in Forrest’s Regiment. He was with the gallant Forrest through all his Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee campaigns, and surrendered finally at Selma in 1865. At once after the war he engaged in farming, and in 1870-71-72, represented his county in the Legislature. He was again in the Legislature in 1878-9; was elected probate judge in 1880 and re-elected in 1886.

Judge Steele was married in April, 1856, to Miss Martha B. Winston, and had born to him nine children: William W., John A., Thomas W., Annie H., Mary B., Judith M., Sarah W., Andrew M., and Edmund W.

The family are members of the Presbyterian Church, and the Judge is of the Masonic fraternity, the K. of H. and the K. of P.

[SOURCE: Northern Alabama Historical and Biographical. Illustrated. Smith and De Land, Birmingham, Ala. 1888., p. 443-44.] Typed for inclusion here by Linda Ledlow.

Return to Biographies