Alabama Secretaries of State

James Jay Pleasants


Secretary of State: 1821-1824


James Jay Pleasants, Secretary of State, was born September 2, 1797, in Virginia, and died at Huntsville; son of Tarleton and Anna (Woodson) Pleasants, the former a planter, living near Richmond, Va., the latter a descendant of John Woodson, Dorcetshire, England. His ancestor, John Pleasants, born in 1645, in Norwitch, England, founder of the family of Pleasants, and a member of the Society of Friends, who emigrated to Virginia in 1665, settled in Henrico County in 1668, married Jane, the widow of Samuel Forester, and died in 1698. Members of the Pleasants family of Virginia married with Randolphs, Cairys, Foresters, and other distinguished families of Virginia.


Mr. Pleasants obtained his education in Richmond, Va., and in the printing office in Charlottesville, Va. He was a member of the cotton firm of Martin, Pleasants Company, and spent much of his time in New Orleans, La., where the firm was located. He was a Whig and a member of the new school of Presbyterians.


Married: at Belle Mina, the family homestead, to Emily Julia Bibb, daughter of Gov. Thomas and Parmelia (Thompson) Bibb. Children: 1. Thomas Bibb, d. in young manhood; 2. Julia, m. Judge David Creswell, Shreveport, La., both deceased; 3. Adeline Bradley, d. in young womanhood; 4. James Jay, d. August 3, 1898, in Huntsville, m. Laura Kathleen Robinson, Memphis, Tenn.; 5. Emily Bibb, d. in Memphis, Tenn., m. (1) William Keenan Hill, deceased, (2) Col. Creswell; 6. Samuel, deceased, m. (1) Mary Walter Robinson, deceased, (2) Mary Shelby, Huntsville; 7. Florence, m. Stith Green, Jackson, Miss., both deceased; 8. Robert St. George, d. unmarried. Last residence: Huntsville.


Owen, Thomas McAdory, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. Spartanburg: The Reprint Company Publishers, 1978 (1921), IV, 1372.