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Birney, James Gillespie

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Born: 1792 AD
Died: 1857 AD, at 65 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Abolitionist, Lawyers, Politician

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1792 - Born on the 4th of February in Danville, Kentucky. American politician.

1810 - He graduated at Transylvania College and Princeton.

         - He studied law under Alexander J. Dallas in Philadelphia.

1814 - Practiced law in Danville and was elected to the State Legislature.

1816 - Married on February 1st to Agatha McDowell, the daughter of William McDowell -- Justice of the U.S. Circuit Court and a member of one most influencial families in Kentucky.

         - He was elected to the Kentucky state legislature. Although a slave owner himself, he aligned himself with a minority group of legislators opposed to slavery.

1818 - Birney moved to the vicinity of Huntsville, Alabama.

         - James purchased a cotton plantation farm by Madison City, Alabama where he settled with his family.

1819 - He was elected to the Alabama state legislature and was a member of the first legislature operating under Alabama's new constitution enacted.

1820 - James sold his unprofitable plantation and moved to nearby Huntsville where he opened up a law practice.

1826 - James departed his Espicopalian faith under gentle pressure from Agatha to join Prsbyterian church of her faith.

1827 - James legislative persistence was rewarded when the Alabama legislature finally passed the provision that he introduced eight years earlier that "prohibited the importation of slaves into Alabama for sale or hire".

1832 - Acted as agent for The National Colonization Society of America.

1833 - James resigned his position with the American colonization society.

         - Birney returned to Kentucky, where he freed his own slaves.

1835 - Organized the Kentucky Antislavery Society.

1836 - Published the first issue of The Philanthropist on 1st of January.

1837 - Elected secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

1838 - Birney went before the Supreme Court of the United States to address the subject of slavery.

1840 - He was the Liberty Party presidential candidate.

1844 - Liberty Party presidential candidate. Birney made a second attempt at the presidency while a resident of this area.

         - Birney met Elizabeth Fitzhugh, the sister of Dr. Daniel Fitzhugh, a life-long friend. The relationship between Elizabeth and James developed quickly leading to marriage.

1845 - Became disabled by a fall from his horse.

1853 - James moved to Eagleswood, New Jersey where he hoped to find a medical solution to situation.

1857 - James Gillespie Birney died on 25th of November in Ealgeswood, Kentucky.

1863 - Sidney Glazier, professor of history at Wayne State Unversity, concluded that, "James G. Birney was one of the twenty two most outstanding citizens in Michigan history".


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Page last updated: 1:12am, 09th Aug '07