Alexander H. Stephens Biography
Mr. Stephens’ mother was Margaret Grier, daughter of Aaron Grier, and sister of Robert Grier, the celebrated almanac maker in Georgia, and a distant relative of Mr. Justice Grier, one of the present judges of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Upon a division of Mr. Stephen’s property, the portion of each of his children was $444. The part which fell to his son Alexander, aided by a small legacy from his grandfather, was spent upon his education. At country schools he acquainted himself pretty well with the rules of arithmetic, and obtained some smattering of geography and English grammar. He was but nine months preparing for College. His collegiate course was passed at the State University. He was graduated in 1832, with as much honour as any member of his class. He did not take a diploma, as it then cost two dollars, and the state of his finances did not, in his opinion, justify an outlay of so much money for such an object. Education was what Mr. S. wanted -- that he willingly paid for; but as for the sheepskin, it was a matter of no consideration to him. After his graduation, he opened a school, and realized money sufficient to pay all he had to borrow to complete his college course. His health, which was always exceedingly delicate, at that time, required relaxation. The early part of 1834 was spent traveling, and in a few months, his health was sufficiently restored to warrant his application to study. He took up the law, and was admitted to the bar in Crawfordville, on the 22nd of July, 1834.
In 1836, he was elected a member of the Legislature from the County of Taliaferro. His debut in the House was on the bill to commence the Western and Atlantic Railroad. His speech was an able one, and elicited the highest admiration. He continued in the House until 1841, when he was elected to the Senate. In 1843, he was a candidate for Congress. The election then was by the State at large, under the General Ticket system. Mr. Stephens was brought forward to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of the Hon. Mark A. Cooper; and he was elected. After this, the State was divided into Congressional Districts, and Mr. Stephens represented the Seventh District up to the close of the last Congress. Upon a reorganization of the Congressional Districts, by the Legislatures of 1851 and ‘52, Taliaferro County was put into the Eighth District. At the late election he was returned from that district. This election was without any distinct nomination or party convention; and although he had many competitors, his majority over all of them was over three thousand votes -- the largest majority he ever received. It was an evidence of undiminished popular confidence in Mr. Stephens, that while he represented the district, his majority was increased at every election. He has never been a candidate for any office without being elected.
Mr. Stephens resides in Crawfordville. After the death of his father,
the plantation was sold. He purchased it in 1839. Local attachments, more
than anything else, determined the place of Mr. Stephens’ destiny. He is
passionately fond of agricultural pursuits. He informs us that upon his
farm he enjoys more pleasure in one day in rambling over the hills upon
which he first gazed in life’s opening dawn, than he ever expects to realize
in the bustle of public life.