Major William F. Fleming


Born:c1790, Botetourt County, Virginia
Died:February 4, 1865, Madison County, Alabama
Residence:2709 Meridian Street N
Residence:401 Holmes Avenue NE - This is the location, but not the home.
Husband of:Sarah M. Lewis Fleming


•  He is the son of Col. William Fleming and Anne Christian (daughter of Capt. Israel Christian) - Whitsitt

•  "The youngest child of Col. Fleming was Maj. William Fleming, of Huntsville, Ala. He married Sally Lewis, who was the daughter of William Lewis, of Virginia, by his second wife, Nancy McClenahan, and died without issue. Maj. Fleming was some time a member of the State legislature for the Huntsville District." - Whitsitt

•  Married Sarah M. Lewis Fleming Jan. 29, 1818, Botetourt County, Virginia - Marriage

•  There may be some genealogical information at but the possible links are private even to paid subscribers. So, we have no way of knowing if the information would be useful. - Editor's note

•  If Major William and Aunt Sallie had no children, the Flemings so influential in the county later were not direct decedents of these early planters. - Editor's note

•  "Major Fleming and his amiable and accomplished wife will long live in the memory of our people, and they lived so long in Huntsville and were so well known to its citizens' that it is unnecessary for me to say anything regarding their many excellent traits of character. Major Fleming was a Virginian by birth, chivalric by nature, and generous and sincere to his friends and courteous and forbearing to his enemies. His want of oratorical powers and deficiency in literary attainments were more than counterbalanced by his eminent social qualities and his convivial proclivities, and for more than thirty years he had a strong hold on the democratic voters of our county. A few years after he entered public life he bought property on Flint river near the New Madison line, and in the southeastern portion of the county he usually got nearly a unanimous vote, and the rapid increase of the vote in that part of the county soon made him invincible in a county contest. In his speeches to the people of that section he gave southeast Madison the appellation of 'the tall timbers,' which it retains to the present day. With a harsh and discordant voice and an imperfect enunciation, yet the fund of humor characterizing his oratory and anecdote pervading his public speeches gave them a keen relish, while his rigid honesty and sound common sense made him an exceedingly formidable competitor before the people. After the retiring of Gross Scruggs from the position of justice of the quorum, in 1822, he served several terms as county commissioner." - TVGS

•  Came to Alabama in 1818, becoming a planter in Madison County. - Marks

•  This account also claims that George Steele likely came to the Tennessee Valley with the William and Sallie Fleming family about 1817 -1818. But this account also suggests that George's father might have come at the same time and died a short while after arriving here. - Clay & Rohr

•  One of the people that built north of Holmes Street. - Taylor & Hoole

•  "It was in the year 1830 that Major Fleming made his first purchase in the 'Tall Timbers,' as he named this region, and for over a quarter of a century was the most popular and influential man in that region. Before the war he had purchased a large plantation in that region." - Taylor & Hoole

•  The the AAUW book claims William Fleming lived at Oaklawn Plantation at one time (2709 Meridian Street) - AAUW

•  Alabama State House of Representatives for Madison County, 1821-1822, 1823-1824, 1824-1825, 1832-1833, 1833-1834, 1834-1835, 1835-1836, 1847-1849
     Alabama State Senator for Madison County, 1836-1838, 1842-1844, 1849-1853, 1857-1861, - Record, Vol I

•  His first term in the Alabama State House of Representative was only the third session for the new state and the capitol was then Cahawba (Begun November 5, 1821? Adjourned December 19, 1821) - Brantley

•  "The journals of the (Alabama) General Assembly show his name oftener than any other. He was a presidential elector for Gen. Andrew Jackson, and was a stanch Democrat. During the war, he was harshly treated by Federal troops when they occupied the county." - Owen

•  "A new Turnpike Company, the Huntsville and Big Cove, was incorporated by Act 199 of February 25, 1860, with books being opened by Septimus D. Cabaniss, Joshua H. Beadle, James H. Mastin, William Fleming, David C. Humphreys, William Wright, Isaac D. Wann, Thomas C. Owen, Mills Jenkins, Albert R. Erskine, John T. Haden, Thomas C. McCalley, William Echols, James H. Scruggs and Egbert Jones." - Record, Vol I

•  Served on the Court of County commissioners of Roads and Revenue, 1824-1825. - Record, Vol I

•  "Despite the financial problems created by the Panic of 1837, the organizers of the autumn races in Huntsville increased the entry fees and race purses? Race reports made it clear that local men were maintaining respectable stables in order to win the growing purses...These purses were comparable to or excelled those awarded at tracks in Virginia and Kentucky... William Fleming was among the winners." - Rohr

•  "John Grimes painted portraits of William Fleming and his wife, Sarah Lewis Fleming. Fleming arrived from Virginia in 1818. Two years later he was wounded while trying to break up a fight, and his portrait shows the scar." - Clay & Rohr

•  This sounds like the fight mentioned in the description of the portrait (explanation for the scar). A large crowd had assembled to Alabama Territory Land Sales reported on June 9, 1820: "An affray between Mr. Rice, merchant, of Rice & Jones, and Mr. Clay, of Lawrence County, both wounded; also Major Fleming, in trying to separate them. It happened on Monday last as a great concourse of the most respectable citizens from the adjoining counties in the state and Tennessee were collected at the sale of public lands and town lots, a short time before the sale commenced. The cause was given as very trifling. No arrest was made." - Fisk

•  "Even the most violent and disorderly confrontations could be dressed up in the orderly garb of ritualized honor. 'A great concourse' of people crowded the streets of Huntsville in the summer of 1820 in anticipation of a sale of public lands, when Elisha Rice, a respected merchant in the town, pulled a pistol and attempted to shoot Mathew Clay a planter from Lawrence County. Major William Fleming, trying to stop the murder, knocked Rice's hand and caught the bullet in his own chin. Rice then lunged at Clay with his dirk drawn, stabbing him several times before Clay could pull his pistol and discharge 'a heavy load of buck-shot against Rice's side.' Bystanders pulled the two apart, leaving Clay severely wounded, Rice only bruised by the buckshot, and Fleming with a face 'horribly disfigured' by a broken jaw. The newspaper summed up this 'unhappy affair' by reporting that the dispute originated 'in a trifle' that 'was blown into such a flame by mutual insults and recriminations that nothing but blood could allay it. No trial followed this outburst of violence; resolution came with a formal notice in the newspaper one month later.' Rice and Clay, 'through the medium of the friends,' agreed to settle their differences under several conditions involving the retraction of insults. Both stated their regret for 'so serious' an encounter but made no mention of the hapless Major Fleming in their polite notice of apology. The Rice-Clay affair was a shoot-out dressed up after the fact to look like a duel. The cool and rational calculation of retracted insults and regrets could not names the violent outburst of passion that had occurred one month earlier. Major Fleming's shattered face was a reminder of a scene of chaotic disorder, of shots fired in a crowd and desperate hand-to-had combat with dirk and pistol. Still, the parties involved mustered the ideals of self-discipline and restraint in an attempt to rein in passions and rationalize violence through an almost legal contract of reconciliation." - Dupre

•  Clay, "being young and fiery, engaged in a fight with pistols, during a heated election, missed his antagonist, Rice, and the ball broke the jaw-bone of Major William Fleming, who was then, and continued through life one of his best friends." - Saunders

•  On Feb. 5th, 1865, Mary Jane Chadick enters into her diary: "Major Fleming died last night" In Nancy Rohr's annotation, she says "Major Fleming may have been William F. Fleming, 79." - Chaddick & Rohr

Related Links:

•  AAUW - Glimpses Into Antebellum Homes of Historic Huntsville, Alabama, Ninth Edition, by American Association of University Women, Huntsville Branch, Huntsville, Alabama, 1999, page 72.

•  Brantley - Three Capitals: A Book About the First Three Capitals of Alabama St. Stevens, Huntsville & Cahawba, by William H. Brantley, 1947, reprinted 1976, pages 236, 240, 242.

•  Brewer - Brewer's Alabama History

•  Chaddick & Rohr - Incidents of the War: The Civil War Journal of Mary Jane Chadick, by Nancy M. Rohr, 2005, pages 122 & 258.

•  Clay & Rohr - Echoes of the Past: Old Mahogany Table Stories, by Virginia Clementine Clay, Edited and Annotated by Nancy M. Rohr, 2010, pages 38 & 42.

•  Clay & Rohr - Echoes of the Past: Old Mahogany Table Stories, by Virginia Clementine Clay, Edited and Annotated by Nancy M. Rohr, 2010, pages 38 & 42.

•  Dupre - Transforming the Cotton Frontier: Madison County, Alabama, 1800-1840, by Daniel S. Dupre, 1997, page 143. (Originally found at

•  Ellis - Article titled "Northeast Huntsville Neighbors" by Diane Ellis in Historic Huntsville Quarterly, Vol. XXXII, #1-2, Spring-Summer, 2006, Historic Huntsville Foundation, page 39 mentions that William Fleming owned Quietdale at one point.

•  Father - His father might have also been named William Fleming (born 1768 in Augusta, Virginia.) (Originally found at

•  Fisk - Quoting from an Alabama Republican article in Civilization Comes to the Big Spring: Huntsville, Alabama 1823, by Sarah Huff Fisk, 1997, page 111.

•  Jones - Article titled "Quietdale" by Virgil Carrington (Pat) Jones in Historic Huntsville Quarterly, Vol. XVIII, #3-4, Fall-Winter, 1993, Historic Huntsville Foundation, page 75.

•  Marks - Who Was Who is Alabama by Henry S. Marks, 1972, page 66.

•  Maroney - Article titled "Quietdate" by Micky Maroney in Historic Huntsville Quarterly, Vol. IX, #3-4, Spring-Summer, 1983, Historic Huntsville Foundation, page 5. (short mention of the progression of ownership of the property.)

•  Marriage - From and can be viewed only with a paid subscription. (Originally found at

•  Owen - History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 3, By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie, 1921, page 587.

•  Record, Vol I - A Dream Come True: The Story of Madison County and Incidentally of Alabama and the United States, Volume I, by James Record, 1970, pages 128, 155, 262-267.

•  Rohr - Article titled "Off to the Races: Horse racing in the Tennessee Valley" by Nancy Rohr in the Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 35, #1, Winter - Spring 2010, Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society, page 49.

•  Saunders - Early Settlers of Alabama by Col. James Edmonds Saunders, Sec 7, Page 274.

•  Taylor & Hoole - A History of Madison County and Incidentally of North Alabama 1732-1940 by Judge Thomas Jones Taylor, Edited with an Introduction by W. Stanley Hoole and Addie S. Hoole, 1976, pages 31, 58, 97, 113.

•  TVGS - On the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the State of Alabama, by The Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society, Inc., 1969, 1992, pages 55, 82, 98 (This is a reprint of the information in the book by Judge Thomas Jones Taylor, cited here as "Taylor & Hoole"

•  Whitsitt - Life and Times of Judge Caleb Wallace by William Heth Whitsitt, 1888, pages 80- 86. The book is about Major William Flemings' mother's brother. The section is about his mother & father, Col. William Fleming. Only a small paragraph, at the end of the section, is dedicated to Major William Fleming. There is an interesting account of the family's history here.

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  2709 Meridian Street N
•  401 Holmes Avenue NE
•  Brewer
•  Chaddick & Rohr
•  Clay & Rohr
•  Clay & Rohr
•  Ellis
•  Jones
•  Maroney
•  Owen
•  Record, Vol I
•  Rohr
•  Sarah M. Lewis Fleming