William J. Samford

William James Samford ( born September 16, 1844 in Greenville, Meriwether County, Georgia, † June 11, 1901 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama ) was an American politician and governor of Alabama. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Early years and political rise

Shortly after William Samford's birth his family moved to the Chambers County in Alabama. There he attended private schools, spent a year on the East Alabama Male College (now Auburn University ) and to the University of Georgia, which he did in 1862 left to join the army of the Confederate States. In May 1863 Samford was captured and imprisoned for 18 months on Johnson's Iceland, Lake Erie. In 1864 he was released and returned to his regiment, where he did his service until the end of the war. After the war, Samford returned to Auburn and became cotton farmers. He also studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1867 and then opened his own law practice in Opelika.

Samford decided in 1872 to pursue a political career by being elected to City Council Opelikas. He was also a delegate to the State Democratic Convention. He was also a member of Alabama's 1875 Constitutional Convention, and the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served 1879-1881. Subsequently, he was elected in 1882 in the House of Representatives from Alabama and then worked 1884-1886, and 1892 in the Senate of Alabama, which he chaired in 1886. He was also a 1896 member of the Board (Board of Trustees ) of the University of Alabama.

Governor of Alabama

On August 5, 1900 Samford was elected governor of Alabama 31. At the time of his inauguration, he was sick, so William D. Jelks, chairman of the Alabama Senate, Governor was active. Samford was then sworn in on December 26, 1900 as governor, but he held his office for only six months. He died on 11 June 1901 while taking part in a University trustee meeting in Tuscaloosa. During his short tenure, the Alabama Department of Archives and History was created and written the new State Constitution of 1901 by the Constitutional Convention. Samford was buried in Rosemere Cemetery in Opelika, Alabama. He was married to Caroline Elizabeth Drake and they had nine children together.