Braxton Bragg Comer

Birmingham, Alabama
Braxton Bragg Comer (1848­ – 1927)

In the industrial development of each state, there will usually be one or more outstanding persons. Braxton Bragg Comer was such a person in the state of Alabama.

Comer was born at Spring Hill, Barbour County, Alabama on November 7, 1848, the son of John Fletcher and Catherine L. (Drewry) Comer. He attended the University of Alabama, the University of Georgia and Emory and Henry College, graduating at the age of twenty­one with a B.A. He returned home, and began farming at Comer Station on the Montgomery and Eufaula railroad. He married Eva Jane Harris of Cuthbert, GA in 1872. Later, he moved to Anniston, Alabama where he continued farming and began a wholesale grocery business under the name, Comer and Trapp. Comer gained a reputation as one of Alabama’s most extensive and progressive farmers and began investing in manufacturing of cotton goods. He moved to Birmingham in 1890 and began banking. Later, he liquidated the bank and spent his time in farming, cotton manufacture and corn milling. When Avondale Mills was organized in 1897, he was asked to become president. He held the position until his death on July 6, 1927.

Avondale Mills began with 30,000 spindles in the first mill in Birmingham and grew over the next thirty years to include ten mills in seven communities, with a total of 282,160 spindles. The mills: Eva Jane, the Central, the Sally B. and the Catherine in Sylacauga; the Alexander City Cotton Mills, the Sycamore Mills, Mignon and Bevelle Mill, and the Pell City Manufacturing Company.

Comer was active in politics for many years, culminating in election to governor 1907­1911. He championed expansion of railroads, supported labor, and expanded higher education. State monies went to the University of Alabama, Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University), seven agricultural colleges, normal schools and a technical school for women. He served an unexpired term in the US Senate in 1920. Upon his death, his four sons J. Fletcher, Donald, Braxton B. and Hugh M. Comersucceeded him.


Sources:

  1. Jacobs, William Plumer. 1935. The Pioneer. Clinton, S.C.: Jacobs & Co. Press.
  2. http://www.archives.state.al.us/govs_list/g_comerb.html The official biography of Governor Comer. Accessed April 24,2008.