Bethune Beaton McKenzie, born October 11, 1837, at Louisville, son of Daniel and Amanda (Birch) McKenzie, who came to Barbour County from North Carolina in 1828.
He received his early education in the schools at Louisville and entered Harvard University, graduating in 1858.
In 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate Army, private in Company H, 7th Alabama Regiment. In 1862, he entered 39th Alabama Regiment as First Lieutenant Company C. Was not strong physically and was ordered to the Virginia Department as a part of the J. D. Legion, being present when General Johnson surrendered to General Sherman. During the long strife, he was a loyal, patriotic soldier.
After the war he was elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention, being the youngest member.
Taking up civil engineering, her surveyed and built the Vicksburg and Brunswick railroad from Eufaula to Clayton. Later he was chief engineer for the Central of Georgia railroad.
In 1881 he went into the lumber business, organizing the Durham Lumber Company, moving to Eufaula some time later, he purchased the Chewalla Cotton Mills, operating them until his death in 1913. Mr. McKenzie was a man of highest principles an character, a consecrated Christian man of commanding appearance and personality, and outstanding in Barbour County, as one of its most valuable citizens; a deacon in the First Baptist Church and a power of strength in that denomination in the County.
He married Bettie Flournoy, lovely Christian woman, and their beautiful home, “Liberty Hall”, was for years one of the most hospitable homes in the state, as was their lovely Eufaula home.
Their children were:
Edgar F. married Lena Lampley, both deceased; their children: Howard, Walther and Kenneth.
Anna married S. T. Surrat, deceased; Caroline Elizabeth married W. C. Vinson, deceased Children: E. C. H. McKenzie, Paul and W. C., Jr,; Amanda Birch married Dr. W. W. Mangum, deceased. Children: Annie Will and Elizabeth.
Fannie M. married E. M. Lovelace; children: Edwin McKenzie and William Yancey. Mary Lou married first Edward H. Roberts. Their daughter, Caroline Roberts, married J. R. Williams – one son, J. R., married second James E. Methvin. Their daughter, Mary Lou, married O. D. Blinov of Russia.
Daniel B. married Esther Downing, two sons, Daniel, Jr., and Robert. Kenneth B. married Clyde Methvin, children, Emma Gay; Francis married J. L. Houston.
Kenneth, Jr. and James Methvin.
Susie married John C. Copeland, children John Alexander, McKenzie, Caroline and Elizabeth.
In 1783 his great grandfather with his wife and three sons sailed from the Island of Sky of the Scottish coast. He died enroute to America and was buried at sea. His wife and sons landed at Baltimore, later going to Richmond County, N. C., and from this original branch of the family have sprung the five brothers, one of whom was the father of B. B. McKenzie who came to Barbour in 1828.
There were three Daniels in the family, and the line, direct down from the Isles of the North British seas, make Dan B., eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan B. McKenzie the lineage barrier. Another Dan McKenzie of this distinguished family was one of the heroes of the Confederacy, being on the staff of General Johnston at the surrender of the Confederate forces.
*Reprint from HISTORY OF BARBOUR COUNTY, ALABAMA by Mattie Thomas Thompson, Eufaula, 1939.
Bethune B McKenzie**
Bethune B. McKenzie - The great-grandfather of the subject of this mention emigrated with his family from the Isle of Skye, Scotland, to the United States in 1784, but died on shipboard with ship fever. His wife and five children landed at Baltimore, from which place they proceeded to Richmond county, N. C. There were three sons, Kenneth McKenzie, John McKenzie and William McKenzie. Kenneth married Annie Harrington and remained on the homestead. John and William emigrated to Kentucky and Indiana. Kenneth had three sons, James McKenzie, Daniel McKenzie and Braton B. McKenzie. Daniel emigrated to Barbour county, Ala., in 1828, and was married to Amanda Burch in 1834, and the subject of the present sketch was born from this union on October 11, 1837, near Louisville, Ala. He had only one brother, John, who resided until his death at Meridian, Miss. He has three sisters living: Mrs.Sue Flournoy, widow of Robt. Flournoy, and Mrs. James Hobdy, living at Louisville, Ala., and Mrs. W.H. Norton, living at Fort Valley, Ga. Bethune B. McKenzie received the solid groundwork of his education at the Louisville academy, presided over at that time by Prof. A. R. McDonald, now of Montgomery. He afterward entered the freshman class of Howard college, and graduated there in 1858. He expected to continue his education by the study of law, but ill-health prevented. It became necessary for him to pursue some active out-door work, so he concluded to spend his life on a farm. In October, 1858 he married Miss C. E. Flournoy, the daughter of Glen Thos Flournoy, of Eufaula, and began farming in 1860. On the breaking out of the civil war in 1861, he entered the Confederate army as a private in Company H, Seventh Alabama regiment. This was a twelve-month regiment and did not reorganize. In 1862 he entered into the organization of the Thirty-ninth Alabama regiment as first lieutenant, Company C. But the campaign around Tupelo and Ripley, Miss., and the subsequent Kentucky campaign convinced him that he was physically unable to stand infantry service. He therefore resigned, went home and raised a cavalry company, which was, with two other companies, ordered to Virginia and formed a part of the renowned Jeff Davis Legion. His command was under Gen. Hampton and took an active part in a number of battles, including second Cold Harbor, Trevilian Station, Reams Station, Bell Field, Bentonville, and many of lesser note, in all of which Capt. McKenzie bore himself as became a brave soldier and a prudent officer. He was present at the little farm house near Durham, N. C., on the 26th of April, 1855, when Gen. J. E. Johnston surrendered to Gen. Sherman, having been detailed as Gen. Johnston's escort. He was sitting not more than fifteen feet from the two generals when the papers were being written and signed. After returning home from the war, he was elected from Barbour county as a delegate to the constitutional convention called to rehabilitate the state with the United States government, and was the youngest member of that body. While his diffidence and inexperience prevented his taking a prominent part in that convention, he was an active worker, and although two conventions have been held since, our present constitution contains many clauses grafted thereon by his watchfulness. The war being over, farming was no longer a desirable life under the changed condition of things. He then began the work of civil engineering. He was engaged in the survey and building of the road from Eufaula to Clayton, was engineer-in-chief of the Georgia Central, and afterward was assistant engineer of the L & N., having charge of the track department from Decatur to Mobile. In 1881 he abandoned railroading and embarked in the lumber business at Dunham, and after a year became associated with H. S. Perkins and Dr. W. N. Morton, under the firm name of McKenzie, Morton & Co., a partnership which lasted until 1884, when Messrs. McKenzie & Perkins bought the other member's interest and organized the Dunham Lumber company. Of this company Mr. McKenzie was elected president, and after Mr. Perkins' accidental death in 1888, W.H. Calhoun and F. Stollenwerck became identified with the enterprise and are still members of the firm. This company does a very extensive business, owning 10,000 acres of timberland, sixteen miles of standard gauge railroad, and operates a mill with a capacity of 50,000 feet of lumber per day, the entire output being shipped to eastern markets. Captain McKenzie has distinguished himself in business affairs as a man of exceptionally good executive ability, able to manage successfully enterprises that require more than ordinary acumen and tact, and his honor and integrity in all of his transactions have won for him the universal esteem of his fellow-citizens throughout southern Alabama. He is a gentleman of very pleasing address, tall and dignified in personal appearance, and possesses the rare but happy faculty of being able to preserve his equanimity at all times and under the most trying circumstances. His benevolence is only bounded by his means, and no one in Butler county has contributed more freely to the advancement of the county morally or materially than he. In politics he is a democrat. He never stoops to the methods and tricks of the professional partisan, but believes in advancing the interest of his party by means that are both dignified and honorable. Fraternally he belongs to the F.& A. M., in which he has taken a number of degrees, including that of Sir Knight; in religion he has been for a number of years a consistent member of the Baptist church, of which his wife is also a communicant. The following are the names of the children born to him: Edgar F. McKenzie, engineer on the L & N. railroad, resident of Mobile; Caroline McKenzie, wife of U. C. Vinson, Georgiana, Ala.; Anna
McKenzie, wife of Samuel T. Suratt, ticket agent for all roads centering in the Union depot at Montgomery; Amanda McKenzie, wife of Dr. W.W. Maugum; D. E. McKenzie, graduate of Alabama university and civil engineer in the employ of a railroad; Fannie McKenzie, Lou McKenzie, Kenneth McKenzie, and Susan McKenzie - the last four living with their parents at home.
**Reprint from MEMORIAL RECORD OF ALABAMA, VOL I by Brant & Fuller, Madison, Wis., 1893
This article was original submitted by Grant
This article was original submitted by Grant Johnston
NOTE: McKenzie, Butler County, Alabama was named after B. B. McKenzie. In the 1850 Federal Census, B. B. McKenzie was living with his parents in Division 23, Barbour County, Alabama. He had four sisters at the time. On the 1870 Federal Census, B. B. and his wife were living in Township 10 Range 25, Barbour County. There were five children and Mrs. McKensie’s sister in the household. His occupation is listed as “civil engineer”. The 1880 Federal Census finds this family living in Louisville, Barbour County. He was working for the L&N Railroad. His daughter Callie was attending Union College. When the 1900 census was taken, B. B. and family were living in Garland, Alabama. He is listed as a mill owner. Besides his wife, 3 daughters and a son, his son-in-law and 4 grandsons were in the household. Uriah C. Vinson, son-in-law, is listed as a merchant. The 1910 census found B.B. and wife Caroline living in Eufaula Ward 1, Barbour County. He is shown as a brick manufacturer. Daughter Susie D, a boarder who was most likely his wife’s relative, and a servant were living in the household.
Captain Bethune Beaton McKenzie died June 29, 1915 in
Eufaula, Barbour County, Alabama. A rather lengthy tribute to the man was published
in the History of Alabama and
Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Vol. 4 (1921),
Last updated August 16, 2013
Notes provided by Mildred Stinson Brown