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Edgar Thomas Albritton (1857 – 1925)
Edgar Thomas Albritton (1857 – 1925)
Young Edgar Thomas Albritton was in the depths of despair when he left Snow Hill, North Carolina, on a train bound for Mobile, Alabama in 1886.  He had lost his wife of four years to typhoid fever, his infant daughter to diphtheria, and he had almost died himself.  He had left his son William with an aunt in Washington, D.C. until he got situated.  He had left his law practice and intended to join his brother in Mobile who was working for United Fruit Company.  Edgar hoped that new activities would help him recover his enthusiasm for life.

On the way to Mobile, the train stopped in Greenville, Alabama, to unload a circus on its way to winter quarters in Florida.  Edgar met a local lawyer, Dempsey Powell, who had just been admitted to the Bar and had begun his practice in Greenville.  Edgar told Dempsey his sad story, adding that what he really wanted to do was to go to a place at the “end of nowhere” and start a new life.  Dempsey Powell suggested that Edgar go to Andalusia, Alabama telling him that it was the best place he knew that would fit that description.  Edgar followed Dempsey’s advice, going to Andalusia, which was to Edgar the end of the railroad line and the end of nowhere. 

By January 12, 1887, Edgar was admitted to practice law in Alabama and began a practice which continues today, and which has had Albritton family members as partners throughout its more than 120 year history, now into its fifth generation, including a father and son who served as presidents of the Alabama State Bar.  This firm is the oldest known in the state continually in practice with descendants of its founder still active in the firm.  Edgar was elected the first mayor of Andalusia and he also served as city attorney and judge of the city court.  The firm has been instrumental in the growth of the city of Andalusia, which no one would call the “end of nowhere” today.      

Honesty, integrity, and square-dealing were the hallmarks of the life of Edgar Thomas Albritton.  If the proof is in staying power, then he has certainly met that burden of proof.  His approach to the practice of law and to public service would be the foundation and inspiration for those who followed him through the years in the law firm which he founded in 1887 and which continues without interruption with family member descendants to this day.  The lawyers of Alabama proudly welcome him as a member of the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame.

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