Biography: FLEMING, William Stuart

WILLIAM STUART FLEMING, chancellor of the Eighth Chancery Division of Tennessee, was born in Maury County, April 23, 1816, eldest son of Thomas P. and Margaret E. (Armstrong) Fleming, who were members of a colony that came from South Carolina to Tennessee in 1805. They were of Scotch-Irish descent, and strict Presbyterians. William S. Fleming was taught the English branches by his father, and his preparatory Greek and Latin was expounded to him by John Barland, a teacher of New York City who visited him two years. He entered the Sophomore class of Yale College, and graduated in 1838. He taught school in Maury County a short time, and then began his legal studies, being admitted to practice in 1842. He immediately opened a law office in Columbia and soon commanded a large practice, which he retained as long as he remained in the practice of his profession. In 1860 he removed lo his elegant country seat, which was destroyed by fire, during Hood’s raid in Tennessee, by the Federal commander as a military necessity, entailing a loss of $22,000. He also had fifty slaves emancipated, and thirty head of horses and mules impressed. In 1870 he was elected chancellor, and has held the position by re-election to the present time. He is quite an eloquent orator, and for a period was editor of a literary paper, and later of a political paper, but at the same time continued his practice. He was a Whig, and although a Southern sympathizer, was not a participant in the war. He is now a Democrat. and had been a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church for twenty-three years. He has been thrice married, having lost two wives by death. September 5, 1839, he wedded Frances M. Stephenson, who died in 1849, having borne six children, three of whom died in infancy, and only two now living: Thomas F. Fleming and Mrs. A. N. Dobbins. January 12, 1854, he married Mary Witherspoon Frierson, who died in 1858. having borne three children, all of whom died in infancy. February 8, 1860, he took for his third and present wife Ruth A. (Johnson) Booker. To them were born three children, one now living, William Stuart, also a member of the legal profession.

Source: History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford and Marshall Counties. Nashville, Tenn: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1886.


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