Person:George P. Beirne

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George P. Beirne

 President of Huntsville, 1842-1844, 1849-1850

Born:July 8, 1809
Died:July 13, 1881
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, AL
Husband of:Eliza Carter Gray Beirne
Father of:Ellen Beirne Gordon


Notes:

•  The title of "President of Huntsville" was used instead of "mayor" in the early years.

•  Middle name Plunket

•  "From 1828 to 1844, popularly elected aldermen selected the President of Huntsville: Beirne 1842-4 From 1844 to 1916, Presidents of Huntsville were again elected by the people, with a President/Council system from 1844 to 1911 and a City Commission form of government from 1911 to 1916: President Beirne1849-50." - Wikipedia

•  "George Plunket Beirne was elected an alderman in Huntsville in 1842, and was elected mayor the following year, and was re-elected in 1849, and 1850. Mr. Beirne was director of the Northern Bank of Alabama later known as the First National Bank of Huntsville, and served on the Board of Directors of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. According to family lore he was married to Eliza and had 9 children, all girls. He passed away in 1881 at the age of 72. He owned a wonderful home on Williams Street and much land which was left to his spinster daughter Jane who passed away in 1918." - Five Points Historic District

•  "On the last day of the recent Circuit Court of Madison, Capt. Milton Humes, as Chairman of a Committee appointed by the Huntsville Bar for the purpose, presented for record the resolution of the Bar in regard to Mr. Beirne's death, accompanied with the following chaste, truthful, and eloquent address:

It was my good fortune, as a young man, in coming to Huntsville, about fifteen years ago, to make the acquaintance of Mr. Beirne, and, in the lapse of years, it ripened into the strongest attachment for him as a friend, and great admiration for him as a man. Since them, such were my relations with him that I can bear personal testimony to many of the virtues he possessed. In the vicissitudes and trials which resulted from the war, he exhibited the highest order of manhood. He was unswerving in his devotion to the people of his section in the time of their political affliction and pecuniary disaster. His conduct and personal bearing, during those troublous times, was a great help to others who were not so strong; and, in the manly courage with which he faced adversity and passed through its storms, we are reminded of the grand old oak that lifts its tall form toward heaven. The storm, in its fury, may bend its branches, but the roots, from which its life-giving force emanates, are undisturbed, and, after the storm, it looks as sturdy, unbroken and majestic in its proportions as though the fury of the blast had not passed over it. So with Mr. Beirne. So deeply-rooted were the life-giving resources of his character in the eternal principles of truth and justice, that he passed through the storm of adversity unscathed, and with the majestic engaging in the active practice of his profession for sometime before his death, he always took a lively interest in whatever concerned the profession. He had a natural adaptation to the law, and, with the spur of necessity, would have become distinguished and pre-eminent as a lawyer. With a mind broad, well-balanced and comprehensive, he combined a moral force and an intuitive perception of right and wrong, which led him without precedent or authority, unerringly to the correct conclusion. In early life, he no doubt, mastered well the elementary and fundamental principles of the law as contained in Braxton, Coke, Hale, and Blackstone, and from these, united with the principles of right and justice implanted in the instincts of his nature and derived from his varied and extensive observation and experience, he was enabled by his own native intuitions and reason to solve all legal difficulties. He had the happy and original faculty of determining correctly a legal proposition without research, leaving to someone else the task of finding the authority for it in the books. It was the philosophy rather than the science of jurisprudence which he mastered and understood so well. In other words, his wisdom was derived from the law whose 'seat is the bosom of God and whose voice is the harmony of the world.'

In the social relations of life, Mr. Beirne sustained and exemplified, in its fullest excellence, that type of character so well known as 'the old Virginia gentleman," whom I would fain rescue from oblivion, but who is now fast passing away. To him, perhaps as much as any other citizen is due the reputation Huntsville has for hospitality, and all the refinement of social life. It can be truthfully said that no man ever had a better friend. In all the mutations of good and bad fortune, he was ever the same: true and loyal, firm and steadfast. If his friend was so fortunate as to bask in the sunshine of prosperity, he rejoiced with him; and when overtaken by adversity, he gave him that sympathy which only the true and generous heart can offer. To him, the couplet might well be applied: 'The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel.'

Our deceased brother was as marked and distinguished among his fellow men for his personal appearance as for the attributes of his mind and character. He was a man of striking personal appearance, a tall and commanding figure, indicative of giant strength, and a face of finely-marked and manly features, with a broad forehead, a heavy brow, and a large lustrous eye. His face was an index of the candor and frankness of his character as a man. In its expression was reflected as distinctly the varied emotions of his nature as the mirror reflects the features of a face.

In all the walks of life, he exemplified, in a high degree, that order of refinement and that type of civilization of which we are justly proud, and, by precept and example, exerted an influence rarely felt.

A more touching and eloquent tribute could not be paid to the memory of any man than to say, what can be truthfully said of him, that he will be missed, and his memory cherished sacredly by those who most need an unselfish friend and advisor,the widows and orphans of the land.

His mortal remains repose in our beautiful cemetery at the foot of yonder mountain, and his immortal soul has returned to God who gave it. All men have their imperfections and infirmities, yet, in summing up the life and character of George P. Beirne, it could be as aptly said of him as of any man I have every known: 'A combination, and a form, indeed, Where every God did seem to set his seal. To give the world assurance of a man.'

W. L. Clay, Esq., one of the Committee, followed with a few touching and appropriate remarks. His Honor, H. C. Speake, ordered the resolutions to be entered in the minutes of the Court. Executor's Notice" - Huntsville Weekly Democrat

•  Father of:
~     Ellen C. Beirne Gordon, 1833 - 1867
~     Eliza Gray Beirne, 1839 - 1885
~     Lucy Beirne Matthews, 1842 - 1900
~     Mary Howard Beirne Thomas, 1843 - 1867
~     Jane Patton Beirne, 1848 - 1918
~     Nona Beirne, 1850 - 1865 - Ancestry.com

•  Son of: Andrew P. BEIRNE (1771 - 1845) and Eleanor G. KEENAN (1779 - 1824) - Ancestry.com


Related Links:
•  Ancestry.com - Page owned by holmesaw and viewable only with an Ancestry.com paid membership.
•  Find a Grave - Page created by Graveaddiction on Feb. 11, 2007 wiht a photo of the tomb stone
•  Five Points Historic District - District Website telling of the origin of street names
•  Flickr: Beirne Family Grave - Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll with photos by King Kong 911.
•  Huntsville Weekly Democrat - Huntsville Weekly Democrat, Sept 7, 1881 (contributed by Kistacy)
•  List of City Presidents and Mayors - List of City Presidents and Mayors
•  usgwarchives.net - Letters Testamentary: Comments entered into the Madision County Court records upon the death of George P. Bierne. File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by: Kenneth Stacy November 7, 2006.
•  Why Is It Named That? - By Dex Nilsson, Twinbrook Communications, © 2003, p. 46


The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  Eliza Carter Gray Beirne
•  Ellen Beirne Gordon



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