Alabama State Bar
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Thomas Minott Peters (1810-1888)
Thomas Minott Peters was born on December 4, 1810 in Clarksville, Tennessee. He moved with his parents to Lawrence County, Alabama in 1819, locating at a farm near Leighton. He attended LaGrange College and graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1834 and a Master’s Degree in 1836. He read law at Moulton and was admitted to the Bar in 1836. He had a successful litigation practice in the area. Peters became involved in politics and served in the Alabama House from 1845 to 1846 and the Alabama Senate from 1847 to 1848.

Thomas Minott Peters was a staunch Unionist. With the outbreak of the War Between the States, he left Alabama because of his Union sympathies despite the fact that he was a pre-war slaveholder. Perhaps because he was not a supporter of the Confederacy, his reputation in Alabama is obscure today.

However, in 1868 he was elected to a six year term on the Alabama Supreme Court as a Republican and he became Chief Justice in 1873. He promoted equal rights for African Americans and he was one of the first prominent Alabamians who publicly advocated equal rights for women, a position which was unpopular in both male-dominated political parties of his era. He was defeated for re-election in 1874 but continued to practice law in Moulton until his death in 1888.

Thomas Minott Peters was an advocate for public education, a promoter of industrial development, a nationally recognized naturalist, and an activist for equal rights. For his lifetime of achievement, the lawyers of Alabama induct Thomas Minott Peters into the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame.

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