Alexander Mosby Clayton [TMSI #2184]
In Memoriam (from Minor Meriwether scrapbook)
Died September 30, 1889
Entered into rest, after a sojourn of over eighty-eight years,
Alexander Mosby Clayton
Born in Louisa County, Virginia, January 19th, 1801, died at “Woodcote,” his residence near Lamar, Benton County, Mississippi, at 10:45 P.M. September 30, 1889.
“I Waited Patiently for the Lord.” (Psalms 40th v. 1.)
So it was with this venerable Christian and jurist, worn with the accumulated weight of over four score years he calmly awaited the Master’s call, and when the summons came laid his burden down, and in the peacefulness of the hope of a glorious resurrection, passed through death to immortal life.
Judge Clayton, in the life just closed was no laggard, but used, until its end, the utmost, all the faculties of mind and body with which his Maker had endowed him. A youth of poverty and privation, by his own high purpose and strong endeavor, was followed by a manhood filled with honors and crowned with success.
He was successfully appointed a Judge for the Territory of Arkansas by President Jackson, elected by the people a Justice of the High Court of Errors and Appeal, of Mississippi, and served from 1842 to 1851; appointed by President Pierce Consul to Havana, and was a member of Convention, and himself draft the Ordinance of Secession by which Mississippi severed her connection with the United States. He represented Mississippi in the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, and was appointed by President Davis Confederate States Judge for Mississippi, and held that position until the close of the war of 1860-1865, when he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court for the Judicial District embracing Marshall and other counties, but was removed by Governor Ames, under the powers given him the Acts of Congress for the Reconstruction of the Southern States. Thereafter he retired to his farm, “Woodcote,” and did not engage in the active practice of the law, although he was still retained as counsel for the Illinois Central Railroad, with the building of which through the State he was prominently identified.
After leaving his native State in early manhood, he settled at Clarksville, Tennessee, taking a high rank as a lawyer among the brilliant bar of that State, practicing his profession with great success at that point until 1836, when he moved to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where professional eminence soon attended his efforts. Of delicate physique, his indomitable will infused its vigor into the weak body and lengthened years were his, in which to accomplish his purposes. “Be just and fear not,” was the keynote of his life. Tenacious of his own purposes, he was bold to execute his designs, but no wrong to his fellowman had a place in them. Of his learning as a lawyer and uprightness as Judge the high confidence of the people of his State attested.
A memorial of him, without mention of the State University at Oxford, and his connection with its as Trustee, would be incomplete. Though enfeebled with age, the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees always found him present and anxious and zealous for its welfare. He was followed to his last resting place by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the quivering lips of the youngest, as well as the oldest of these spoke of the great and kindly heart that was forever stilled.
His remains were interred in the cemetery at Holly Springs, Mississippi, October 2d, 1889, and were borne thither through streets upon which business had been suspended, and amid the tolling of bells.
Full of years, honored by his State, he was laid in this grave without a spot upon the brightness of his honor, and lamented by all who knew him.
“Behold the Upright Man, for the end of that Man is Peace.”
Note: He was married to Barbara Ann Barker, daughter of John Walton Barker and Mary Minor Meriwether.