Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Clemens, Jeremiah

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CLEMENS, Jeremiah, statesman, b. in Huntsville, Ala., 28 Dec., 1814; d. there, 21 May, 1865. He was educated at La Grange college and the University of Alabama, where he was graduated in 1833, studied law at Transylvania, and was admitted to the bar in 1834. In 1838 he was appointed U. S. marshal for the northern district of Alabama, and in 1839, 1840, and 1841 was elected to the state legislature. In 1842 he went to Texas as lieutenant-colonel, having raised a company of volunteer riflemen. On his return, he again served in the legislature in 1843-'4, and in the latter year as presidential elector. He was appointed major of the 13th U. S. infantry, 3 March, 1847, made lieutenant-colonel of the 9th infantry, 16 July, and discharged 20 July, 1848, He was then appointed chief of the depot of purchases in Mexico. From 1849 till 1853 he represented Alabama in the U. S. senate, and was again a presidential elector in 1856. He removed to Memphis, Tenn., and became editor of the Memphis “Eagle and Enquirer” in 1859. He was a member of the secession convention in Alabama, but protested against its action; yet he subsequently gave way to the popular tide, and accepted office under the Confederacy. In 1864, however, he had returned to his former allegiance, advocated the re-election of Mr. Lincoln, and defended his policy. Mr. Clemens attained eminence at the bar while still young, and in the senate took high rank as an able and eloquent debater. He was the author of novels, which passed through several editions, entitled “Bernard Lyle” (Philadelphia, 1853); “Mustang Gray” (1857); “The Rivals, a Tale of the Times of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton” (1859); and “Tobias Wilson, a Tale of the Great Rebellion” (1865). He was engaged in the preparation of a history of the war, giving an insight into the character, causes, and conduct of the war in northern Alabama, but it was left unfinished at his death.