Robert Coman Brickell

 Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama

Born:April 4, 1824, Tuscumbia, AL
Died:November 20, 1900, Huntsville, AL
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, AL
Residence:614 Franklin Street SE
Father of:Robert Coman Brickell, Jr.


•  "Son of Richard Benjamin and Margaret Williamson (Coman) Brickell; grandson of Robert and Sarah Jane (Prout) Coman, who emigrated from North Carolina and settled in Madison County. The Brickell family came originally from Wales and settled at Raleigh, N. C. A history of the family, dated from 1600, was in the possession of this branch of the descendants until it was seized during the War of Secession and destroyed. The Coman family, originally of Belfast, Ireland, was introduced into Raleigh, N. C., by two brothers, Robert and James Coman. Judge Brickell's father was born in 1800 at Raleigh, N. C., moved to Alabama in 1818 and located at St. Stephens; moved to Cahaba when Alabama became a state, and was elected the first state printer, publishing the first volume of the acts of the general assembly; moved to Huntsville in 1822, and to Athens in 1826 where he was editor and publisher of "The Athenian," a weekly newspaper; was elected to the State legislature from Limestone County, 1831; reelected, 1833; and died January 8, 1835, at Athens. Judge Brickell's mother was sister of Hon. J. P. Coman of Limestone. After the death of her husband, she taught school and with the assistance of her son, Robert, supported her family of six children." - Alabama Biography

•  "Judge Brickell learned his alphabet in his father's printing office, and attended school in Athens under Mr. McQuistion and Michael Frazer, and at Nashville, Trim, under John Perryman. He read law under Judge Daniel Coleman at Athens for two years, and when he was nineteen years old, was admitted to the bar in the circuit court of Limestone County." - Alabama Biography

•  "He began to practice law, 1843, in Athens. In 1851 he moved to Huntsville; practiced with Septimus D. Cabaniss, and later in the firm of Walker, Cabaniss & Brickell, Gen. LeRoy Walker, later a member of the cabinet of President Davis and first secretary of war, C. S. A., being senior partner. In 1857, Mr. Cabaniss retired, and the firm became Walker & Brickell, continuing until 1873 when Judge Brickell was appointed an associate justice of the supreme court of Alabama." - Alabama Biography

•  "1873 when Judge Brickell was appointed an associate justice of the supreme court of Alabama. At this time the court was composed of Republican judges and the appointment was made by Gov. David P. Lewis, a Republican, although Judge Brickell was a strict Democrat. In 1874, he was elected justice, and the following year was chosen chief justice by the court. In 1880 he was elected (popular vote) chief justice by the Democratic party, and continued to hold that office until October 25, 1884, when he resigned and returned to Huntsville to resume his practice. " - Alabama Biography

•  "In 1889, he was appointed general council for the Decatur Land Company, and practiced law in North Decatur with C. C. Harris and John C. Eyster. He moved to Montgomery in 1891, and formed a partnership with Maj. H. C. Semple and Mr. Gunter, under the firm name of Brickell, Semple & Gunter. He was appointed chief justice of the supreme court, March, 1894, by Gov. Thomas G. Jones, and served until 1898, when he declined reelection. He returned to Huntsville, and in 1899, formed the law firm of Brickell & Brickell, with his son, Robert C. Brickell, who was admitted to the bar that year. This firm was terminated in 1900 by the death of Judge Brickell." - Alabama Biography

•  "He was author of Brickell's 'Digest of the Decisions of the Alabama Supreme Court.' first volume published in 1872, second in 1874, and third in 1888. The digest is dedicated to Judge Daniel Coleman, under whom Judge Brickell first read law. His decisions are embraced in forty-six volumes of Alabama Reports, beginning with Forty-ninth Alabama and ending with Seventy-ninth Alabama, commencing again with One Hundred Second Alabama, and continuing through One Hundred Twenty-second Alabama, and are quoted with approval by the highest courts throughout the Union." - Alabama Biography

•  "He was a States-rights Democrat (believed in the constitutional right of states to secede), a Mason, and was elected a member of the American Social Science Association shortly before his death, which made him a member of the National Institute of Arts, Sciences and Letters." - Alabama Biography

•  Married: "November 29, 1876, at Montgomery, Mary Blassingame, daughter of Robert James and Mary Caroline (Blassingame) Glenn, of Coosada, Autauga County, and of Marion; granddaughter of Mary Lewis of Virginia, a lineal descendant of Robert Lewis of "Belvoir," of Augustin Warner, and of Gov. George Reade, of Virginia. Mrs. Brickell, whose mother was a younger sister of Aurelia Blassingame, second wife of Gov. Fitzpatrick of Alabama, was reared by Mrs. Fitzpatrick after the death of her parents." - Alabama Biography

•  Children: 1. Robert Coman, attorney general of Alabama, Huntsville; 2. Benjamin Fitzpatrick, b. 1883, in Huntsville, d. 1886, in that place. - Alabama Biography

•  Last residence: Huntsville. - Alabama Biography

•  Brickell was born in Tuscumbia on Apr. 4, 1824 (his parents were residents of Huntsville at that time.) - Alabama Biography

•  Chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama - Alabama Biography

•  "614 Franklin Street - Brickell-Geron Home (1824) Built as a Federal half house. Judge Robert Brickell served as Alabama Supreme Court Justice for I0 years. He practiced law in Huntsville until his death in 1900. Home is said to have one of the first bathrooms in Huntsville. Rooms are 24' x 24'. The house has been stuccoed as many of the old brick dwellings were when the mortar began to fall." - Twickenham House Notes

•  "Robert Coman Brickell is a resident of this county, but a native of Colbert. His father, who came from North Carolina, was a printer and journalist in Huntsville, Tuscumbia, and Athens, and represented Limestone in the house in 1832. His mother was the sister of Hon. J. P. Coman of Limestone. The son was born in 1824, and labored in the printing office of his father to obtain money to secure his education. He then read law under Judge Coleman in Athens, and was admitted about the year 1844. Repeated failures in his early professional career were occasioned by his diffidence, but persistence has crowned his efforts with such success that he ranks among the first lawyers of the State. In 1846 he came to Madison, where he has since resided. Only in 1856 was he a candidate for office, and then within the line of his profession. It was for supreme court judge, but he withdrew his name. He is a 'book-worm,' and has a singularly retentive memory, which he applies with great advantage. His arguments are profound, and he is sure 'to make the worse side appear the better.' He has long been associated in the practice with Gen. L. P. Walker. Of late he has devoted much of his time to a digest of chancery decisions which will crown his hard-earned fame when published. Mr. Brickell is small of stature, and delicate." - Brewer's Alabama History

•  Died after a stroke.

Related Links:

•  Alabama Biography - History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 3, by Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, © 1921, p. 214.

•  Alabama State Archives - Bio

•  Brewer's Alabama History - Alabama, Her History, Resources, War Record, and Public Men: from 1540 to 1872 , by Willis Brewer, © 1872, p. 366.

•  Find A Grave - Genealogical information and a photo of his grave. (Created by "B" April 24, 2011)

•  Twickenham House Notes - Margaret Bell Chase gave Nancy Rohr these notes. They are not dated but the content suggests they were written before the year 2000.

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  614 Franklin Street SE
•  Alabama Biography
•  Brewer's Alabama History
•  Robert Coman Brickell, Jr.