Alabama Constitutional Officers

James Thomas Heflin

photo of Alabama Secretary of State and U.S. Congressman James Thomas Heflin


Image courtesy of Biographical Directory of the United States Congress


Secretary of State: 1902-1904


Of Lafayette, Chambers County, was born April 9, 1869, at Louina, Randolph County, and is the son of Dr. Wilson Lumpkin Heflin, a native of Fayetteville, Fayette County, Ga., and his wife Lavicie Catherine, daughter of Harrington and Sophia Phillips, of Louina. His grandfather, Wyatt Heflin, a native of Orange County, N. C., was one of the early settlers in Randolph County, which county he represented in the legislature, 1841, 1843 and 1845. Mr. Heflin was educated at the "Old Liberty School house" at Louina, under different teachers. He matriculated at the Southern University, and thence entered the A. and M. College, Auburn. He left that institution at the end of the junior year, and began the study of law at Lafayette.


He was two terms mayor of Lafayette, 1893-95; register in chancery of Chambers County from 1894 to 1896; in 1896 elected representative from Chambers County, in the general assembly, and in 1898 was reelected. In 1901 he was elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention of that year. He was a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee in the period when the new Constitution was pending at the polls for ratification, and entered with energy into the campaign to secure ratification. Mr. Heflin was elected to the office of Secretary of State in November 1902, the first general election held under the new constitution. He soon thereafter resigned, however, when he was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-eighth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Charles W. Thompson; reelected to the Fifty-ninth and to the seven succeeding Congresses and served from May 10, 1904, until November 1, 1920, when he resigned, having become a candidate for Senator; chairman, Committee on Industrial Arts and Expositions (Sixty-second Congress); elected to the United States Senate as a Democrat November 2, 1920, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John H. Bankhead 1st, in the term ending March 3, 1925; reelected in 1924 and served from November 3, 1920, to March 3, 1931; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1930, and for election to the House and Senate on several other occasions; special assistant to the United States Attorney General in Alabama 1936-1937; appointed special representative of the Federal Housing Administration 1935-1936, 1939-1942; retired; died in Lafayette, Ala., April 22, 1951; interment in Lafayette Cemetery.


He was a Democrat, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. On December 18, 1895, he was married at Lafayette to Minnie Kate, daughter of Zach and Ida Schuessler, of that place.


Authorities: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Official and Statistical Register, 1903, 8. ADAH Surname Clippings File.