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 fresh an 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 distinquished 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 posesses 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.