Comer, B. B. (Braxton Bragg), 1848-1927

Alternative names
Birth 1848-11-07
Death 1927-08-15

Biographical notes:

Braxton Bragg (B. B.) Comer, 1848-1927, served as Governor of Alabama from 1907 to 1911.

From the description of Printed materials collection, 1905-1911. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122368404

Braxton Bragg Comer of Birmingham and Comer, Barbour County, Ala., was president of Avondale Cotton Mills, planter, merchant, and prominent politician, who served as president of the Alabama Railroad Commission, 1904-1907; governor of Alabama, 1908-1911; and U.S. senator, 1920.

From the description of Braxton Bragg Comer papers, 1905-1940 [manuscript]. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 31908580

Braxton Bragg Comer (1848-1927) was an Alabama textile manufacturer, planter, merchant, and prominent politician, who was president of the Alabama Railroad Commission, 1904-1907, and governor of Alabama, 1908-1911. In addition to these elected offices, he was appointed to fill the eight-month unexpired term of U.S. Senator John H. Bankhead Senior, in 1920.

Braxton Bragg Comer was born in Old Spring Hill, Barbour County, Ala., on 7 November 1848. His father was John Fletcher Comer (1811-1858), a native of Jones County, Ga. Following his marriage to Catharine Lucinda Drewry in 1841, John Fletcher Comer moved to Barbour County, Ala., in 1844, where the family established a plantation and a saw and grist mill. John Fletcher and Catherine Drewry Comer had six sons, all of whom became prominent citizens of Georgia and Alabama. Hugh Moss Comer (1847-1900) became a cotton commission merchant in Savannah, Ga.; president of the Georgia Central Railroad and Ocean Steamship Company; and founder of the Bibb Manufacturing Company, one of the largest cotton manufacturers in the South. John Wallace Comer (1845-1919) was a Georgia planter and vice president of the Cowikee Mills at Eufaula, Ala. St. George Legare Comer (born 1847) was an attorney at Eufaula. John Fletcher Comer Junior (1854-1927) was a planter and postmaster of Midway, Ala. Edward Trippe Comer (1856-1927) was president of the Bibb Manufacturing Company after his brother Hugh Moss Comer's death, and owner of a large plantation at Millhaven, Ga.

After attending the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia and graduating from Emory and Henry College at Emory, Va., in 1869, Braxton Bragg Comer returned to Barbour County and assumed the management of the family plantation and mills. In 1872, he married Eva Jane Harris, of Cuthbert, Ga. They had nine children, including Sally B. Comer Lathrop, John Fletcher ( Fletcher ) Comer, John McDonald ( Donald ) Comer, Mignon Comer Smith, Catherine Comer Buck, Bevelle Comer Nabors, Eva Comer Ryding, Braxton Bragg ( Bragg ) Comer Junior, and Hugh Moss Comer. In 1885, Braxton Bragg Comer moved to Anniston, Ala., and co-founded the wholesale grocery and commission firm of Comer & Trapp. In 1890, he moved to Birmingham, where he became president of the City National Bank and the Birmingham Corn and Flour Mills. Eventually, he turned to cotton manufacturing, and became president of Avondale Cotton Mills, managing six plants at Pell City, Sycamore, Sylacauga, and Alexander City.

In 1904, spurred by indignation over corruption in Alabama's railroad companies, Comer ran for the office of president of the State Railroad Commission. He won on a platform advocating regulation of railroad rates. In 1906, he successfully ran for governor as a progressive. During his administration, the Alabama legislature passed legislation reforming political campaigns, regulated the railroads and other public utilities and carriers, and aggressively promoted public and universal education through large appropriations for universities and colleges and the formation of a state high school system for both blacks and whites. A militant Prohibitionist, Comer also supported a state Prohibition law. Comer declined to seek re-election, and a 1914 bid for the Democratic nomination for the governorship was unsuccessful. In 1920, Governor Thomas E. Kilby appointed him to fill the seat of U.S. Senator John H. Bankhead, who died with eight months remaining in his term. Comer used his time in the Senate primarily to battle for an amendment to the Cotton Futures Act, which would have regulated the activities of cotton futures speculators. The amendment was successfully defeated by those who painted Comer as a cotton manufacturer seeking to restrict the profits of southern farmers.

After 1920, Comer concentrated on his business activities. As he gradually handed over control of Avondale Cotton Mills to his son Donald, he spent more time on his Comer plantation, and on hunting and fishing expeditions. He remained active in politics as an advisor to candidates and fellow progressive politicians. In 1924, as a supporter of Senator Oscar Underwood's presidential aspirations, he chose half of the state's delegates to the Democratic National Convention, hoping to ensure that Alabama remained committed to a dry presidential candidate. He also worked for the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Archie Carmichael in 1926. Active to the end, Braxton Bragg Comer died after a short illness, attributed to a gall bladder infection, on 15 August 1927.

From the guide to the Braxton Bragg Comer Papers, 1905-1940, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)


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  • Convict labor--History--20th century
  • Labor unions--History--20th century
  • Education--History--20th century
  • Railroad law--History--20th century
  • Elections
  • Textile industry--History--20th century
  • Public utilities--Rates--Law and legislation--20th century
  • African Americans--Education--History--20th century
  • Prohibition
  • Governors--History--20th century
  • Cotton trade--History--20th century
  • Agriculture--History--20th century
  • Sharecroppers--History--20th century
  • Progressivism (United States politics)
  • Big game hunting--History--20th century
  • Agricultural laborers--History--20th century
  • Cotton manufacture--History--20th century
  • Cotton growing--History--20th century
  • African Americans--Social conditions


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  • Alabama (as recorded)
  • Barbour County (Ala.) (as recorded)
  • Birmingham (Ala.) (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Alabama (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)