Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Historical marker tells of the first bar association in the state of Alabama

'Mobile Bar Association' historical marker in Mobile, Ala.
This week’s featured historical marker is the “MOBILE BAR ASSOCIATION” marker in Mobile County, Ala. This marker is located on the south side of Government Street, just east of South Conception Street, in downtown Mobile, Ala. It’s located right outside of the present-day Mobile Bar Association building, located at 153 Government St.

This Alabama State Bar Legal Milestone marker was erected on April 15, 1999. There’s text on both sides of the marker, but both sides are the same. What follows in the complete text from the marker:

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“THE MOBILE BAR ASSOCIATION – ALABAMA’S FIRST BAR ASSOCIATION – On March 29, 1869, 32 attorneys organized the Mobile Bar Association, the first bar association in Alabama and the 14th oldest bar association in the entire nation. They filed the Association’s Declaration of Incorporation on April 12, 1869, having contributed $5,000 in capital, and established a law library in the City of Mobile.

“ORIGINAL MEMBERS: P. Hamilton, Thos. A. Hamilton, Henry St. Paul, Thos. N. Macartney, H. Austill, Robt. H. Smith, Wm. G. Jones, Thos. H. Price, Thomas E. Herndon, D.C. Anderson, M.E. Macartney, Hugh L. Cole, E.S. Dargan, D.P. Bestor, L. Gibbons, A.R. Manning, George A. Stewart, W.C. Easton, G.Y. Overall, R. Inge Smith, Percy Walker, J. Little Smith, M.B. Jonas, A.M. Granger, Jno A. Tompkins, W. Boyles, G. Horton, A.E. Buck, James Bond, Harry T. Toulmin, James Gillett, C.F. Moulton.

“Dedicated in commemoration of the 130th anniversary of the founding, this 15th day of April 1999.”

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Here are a few more facts that I gleaned from the Mobile Bar Association’s Web site,

- In addition to the establishment of a law library, two of the main, original purposes of the association was to “increase professional learning” and to cultivate “friendly discourse” among its members.

- It’s believed that the bar association existed in some form for many years prior to its official incorporation, but there is no documentary evidence to prove this.

- The Mobile Bar Association was re-incorporated in 1903 under the Code of Alabama of 1897. The original incorporation was under the Code of Alabama of 1867.

- For many years, the Mobile Bar Association had no official office, but in 1981, the association leased the former office of Dr. Henry S. LeVert from the Mobile County Commission. This building was built in the 1850s and served as a medical office for almost a century.

- The LeVert Building is an Italianate style building that was ordered preserved by the action of the Mobile County Commission May 1971. An historical marker describing the office of Dr. LeVert is located just a few feet away from the bar association maker on Government Street. For more information about that marker, visit

In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another historical marker. I’m also taking suggestions from the reading audience, so if you know of an interesting historical marker that you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments section below. 

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