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JOHN WILLIAM ABERCROMBIE

JOHN WILLIAM ABERCROMBIE, lawyer, superintendent of education, president State University, and representative in Congress, was born May 17, 1866, near Kelly's Creek, St. Clair County; son of Henry Monroe and Sarah Anne (Kendrick) Abercrombie, the former a private in the C. S. Army; a farmer and a merchant; the grandson of Isaac and Nancy (Dowdy) Abercrombie of Arbacoochee, Randolph County, and of Andrew Jackson Kendrick. The Abercrombies, Dowdys and Kendricks have for many years been residents of St. Clair County.

Dr. Abercrombie was educated in the country schools, and at Oxford College, Oxford, A. B., 1886, and graduated from the University of Alabama, LL.B., 1888. His career in educational work has been continuous since 1886: president, Ashland College, 1886-87; principal, Cleburne Institute, 1888-89; president, Bowdon College, Georgia, 1890-91; superintendent public schools, Anniston, 1891-97; and president, Anniston College for young ladies, 1897-98.

He served as mayor of Edwardsville, 1889-90; was a member of the State senate from Calhoun and Cleburne Counties, 1896-97, and 1898-99; was elected State superintendent of education in 1898 and served until 1902; and was president of the University of Alabama, 1902-1911. The University of Alabama conferred the degree of LL.D., 1904, and University of S. C., 1905. In 1906, under his direction, the University celebrated its 75th anniversary. In 1912 he was elected to the 63rd Congress from the State at large, re-elected in 1914 to the 64th Congress, and retired at the expiration of his term, March 8, 1917.

He is the author of the reports and other publications of the State superintendent of education, issued during his term, and he is also the author of several addresses, booklets and documents on educational subjects. In addition to his political service in the State, he has been active in the larger field of educational effort, having served as member of Alabama textbook commission, 1903-1908; chairman Alabama commission for selection of Rhodes scholars, 1903-1911; organizer and president Alabama Association of Colleges, 1908-1912; member board of directors National Educational Association, 1900-1904, and 1909-1911; president Southern Educational Association, 1906-1907, and life member board directors since 1907; member National Association of State Universities, 1903-1911; president Southern Educational Council, 1912-1914; member National Council of Education, 1908-1912; appointed by President Wilson solicitor U. S. department of labor. In 1919 appointed State Superintendent of education by Governor Kilby. He is a Democrat; a Baptist; a Mason, and a Knight of Pythias.

Married: at Edwardsville, January 8, 1891, to Rosa, daughter of James Benjamin and Elizabeth (Faver) Merrill, and sister of Walter B. and Hugh Davis Merrill.
Children:
1. Myrl Elizabeth, m. Edward T. Thomas, of Baltimore, now with DuPont Powder Company, stationed at Washburn, Wisconsin.
2. Sarah Clare, m. Charles H. Barnwell, Jr., captain in the U. S. Army;
3. Ruth, m. J. C. Bondurant, of Jacksonville;
4. Rose.
Residence: Anniston.



Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, By Thomas McAdory Owen, LL.D., Volume III,
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Compnay, Chicago, 1921







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