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Benjamin Cudworth Yancey

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Benjamin Cudworth Yancey

Posted: 949579200000
Classification: Biography
Edited: 993660261000
History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography by Thomas Owens, 1921. Page 1819

YANCEY, BENJAMIN CUDWORTH, lawyer, U. S. minister to the Argentine republic, was born April 27, 1817, at Charleston, S. C., and died October 24, 1891, at Rome, Ga.; son of Benjamin Cudworth and Caroline (Bird) Yancey, of Charleston, S. C., the former who served as midshipman on board the Constellation, under Commodore Truxton, and was present and bore a part in the engagement in 1789, between her and the French frigates, L'Insurgente and La Vengeance, in which the former was captured and the latter escaped in the night after having struck her colors, who resigned after peace with France, studied law in Baltimore, Md., and in Laurens District, S. C., practiced law in Abbeville, was a member of the South Carolina legislature in 1810, 1811, 1812, and 1813, and was aide to Gov. Alston with the rank of colonel; grandson of James Yancey, who fought for independence with the Virginia forces, going to South Carolina with Gen. Greene, and after the Revolution married Miss Cudworth of Charleston, a descendant of the Massachusetts family of Cudworths, and of William and Catherine (Dalton) Bird; great-grandson of Lewis Davis Yancey, who settled a landed estate in Culpeper County, Va., about the middle of the seventeenth century, and who was a son of one of the pioneers, four brothers, Charles, William, Joel and Robert Yancey, who came from Wales to Virginia in 1642. He was a relative of "Charles of Buckingham;" one of the Virginia Yanceys, who owned a large landed estate and was for thirty years in public life; of Maj.Gen. Robert Em-mett Rhodes of the C. S. Army; and of Bartlett Yancey, a North Carolina congressman and a man of public afairs. Mr. Yancey attended Mt. Zion Academy, Han-cock County, Ga., and the Academy schools at Troy, N. Y. He was graduated with honor from the University of Georgia; A. B., 1836, and from the Yale law school, B. L., 1837. Moving to Alabama, he was appointed master in chancery, 1838, by Chancellor Crinahaw, for the counties of Dallas, Perry, Greene, Marengo, Sumter, Wilcox and Lowndes. In 1840, with his brother, William Lowndes Yancey (q. v.), he was co-editor of the Wetumpka "Gazette." Forced by illness to leave Alabama, he settled at Hamburg, S. C., practiced law from 1841 to 1861, and was for several terms a member of the legislature of that state. In 1861, declin-ing the nomination. to congress, he moved to his plantation on te Coosa River, Cherokee County, and in 1866, was elected to the State senate, over which body he was shortly after-ward chosen to preside. He became minister resident to the Argentine Confederation by appointment of President Buchanan, 1868, and because of a proclamation issued by the president of the Argentine Confederation for the decree of death against all captains of foreign vessels, who should take their ships into the port of Buenos Ayres, and then land at any part of the general government, Mr. Yancey, as U. S. minister, filed a vigorous protest and called upon the naval force of the United States to resist the decree. Other powers concurred in his protest, and the decree was not enforced. Subsequently, Mr. Yancey was selected by the contending states as arbiter of their differences, and shortly after he had left the country, President Urquiza's message to congress contained this compliment, "All Argentine owe the young American minister a debt of grati-tude which they cannot repay." Returning to the United States, December, 1859, Mr. Yancey declined a tender from the president, through Secretary Cass, of the appointment as minister resident to the court of St. James. . He entered the C. S. Army in 1861, as captain of the Fulton Dragoons, and was shortly afterward appointed major of Cobbs Legion. He participated in the Virginia campaign, but was subsequently transferred, as colonel, to Georgia in command of state troops. He seed as trustee of the University of Georgia, 1860-1886; was president of the Georgia State Agricultural :Society, 1867-1871; represented Clark County in the Georgia legislature for one term and declined reelection; and moved to his country home in Floyd County, Ga., where he spent the last few years of his life in superintending his planting interests. Married: (1) at Sparta, Ga., to Laura Hines, who died soon afterward; (2) in November, 1847, at Athens, Ga., to Sarah Paris Hamilton, daughter of Col.. Thomas Napier Hamilton, and granddaughter, of Capt. James Hamilton of the Virginia colonial army. Children, by first marriage: 1. Caro, m. Dr. Hugh H. Harris, son 'of Sampson W. Harris, congressman from Alabama, children, Sallie, Yancey, Hugh, Pauline, and Mary Belle; by second marriage: 2. Hamilton (q. v.); 3. Mary Lou, m. Mr. Phinizy, children, Bowdre, Hallie; and Mary Lou. Last residence: Floyd, County, Ga.

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