JAMES AIKEN, prominent Attorney-at-law,
Gadsden. Ala., native of Fairfield District, S. C., son of William and Elizabeth
(Stitt) Aiken. was born August 8, 1830. The senior Mr. Aiken was born in County
Antrim, Ireland, toward the latter part of the last century, and with his
parents migrated to America in 1820. The family settled in Fairfield District,
and there the two old people spent the rest of their lives. They, William and
Elizabeth, reared four children, two of whom, Robert S. and William M., died
from wounds received in battle during the late war. The Stitt family came also
from Ireland. away back in the present century, and settled in South Carolina,
where they became highly respectable and substantial farmers.
The subject of this sketch
was reared on a farm until he was seventeen years of age, and received during
that period, at the common schools, a good English education. In 1847 he was
appointed cadet to the South Carolina Military Academy at Charleston, graduated
from that institution in 1851, and taught school for
several years, probably until 1856. In 1854 he came to Alabama. settled in
Randolph County, taught school two years. read law in the meantime, and was
admitted to the bar in November 1, 1856. From the time of his admission to the bar
he has been continuously to the present identified with the profession. In July
1861, he raised a company of volunteers for the Southern Army and upon its
organization, was made captain. It was known as Company D, Thirteenth Alabama,
and Captain Aiken led it gallantly in many a hotly-contested battle. He
was seriously wounded at the
battle of Seven Pines, and did not rejoin his command until the fall thereafter.
He was also wounded at Chancellorsville. and again at Bristow's Station. After
the battle of Seven Pines he was promoted to major, after Chancellorsville to
lieutenant-colonel, and within a very short time was promoted to colonel. With
this rank. he remained in the service until Lee's surrender, at which time he
returned home and resumed the practice of law. He located in Gadsden in 1869.
and here he has since made his home. In 1875 Colonel Aiken was elected delegate
to the Constitutional Convention, and in February, 1855, was appointed Circuit
Judge by Governor O'Neal.
During the war, from captain
to major, lieutenant-colonel and colonel, in regular order and rapid
succession, the subject of this sketch rose upon his merits, and without any
solicitation upon his own part: so in civil life, by merit, by real
worth, he has risen in his profession until he is recognized as one of its
leaders. His appointment to the judgeship was without solicitation upon his
part, and was in keeping with the wisdom exercised by Governor O'Neal in all of
his appointments. While in the army, and at the front, the people of his county
elected him to the Legislature, and he left the service long enough to serve one
Judge Aiken was married January 26, 1877, to Mrs. L. N. McClelland, daughter of Linsey
and Lucinda (Pace) Weaver, of Calhoun County,
and has had born to him four children: Lucy A., James. Robert S. and Annie.
McCalley, Henry, Northern Alabama :
historical and biographical.
Birmingham, AL: Smith & De
Land, 1888, pp. 835.