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Albert G. Payne (1855-1939)

William Travis, History of Clay County, Indiana (Vol. II, 1909)

Edited by Roy Richard Thomas August 2007

One of the leading attorneys of Brazil, Clay county, and a man of thoroughly disciplined mind and strong character, Albert Payne is a striking example of the American citizen who has attained a substantial position in his community without the aid of a broad education obtained within the walls of the school room. At the age of fifteen, family circumstances were such that he left the school as a pupil forever, and since that time his career has been a manly and successful struggle for self-improvement and honorable self-advancement.

Mr. Payne was born in Jackson township, Clay county, Indiana, on December 26, 1855, a son of Bennett and Ellen (McCullough) Payne. The father was a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, born June 6, 1825 and died on July 22, 1903. The mother was born September 23, 1825 at Bullís Gap, Tennessee and died July 22, 1897. Their marriage occurred in Washington Township, Putnam County, Indiana, in February, 1849.

Bennett Payne came to Indiana in 1830 at age five with his parents and grandparents. His parents and grandparents on both sides were raised amid the environment of slavery in Kentucky, and came to Indiana at this early date to escape its blighting effects. The household goods were conveyed into the Hoosier state on pack horses, and the first family homestead was fixed at a locality a short distance north of Poland, in Clay county. In this wilderness Bennett Payne developed into a sturdy frontiersman, married, and built a log house and reared a family to the useful and steadfast ways of the typical Christian pioneer.

His father was a cooper by trade, and a general mechanic of fine ability, and was one of the first men in Clay County to engage in the block coal business. He also cultivated and developed a farm of eighty acres, and was, in many ways, a man of remarkable versatility in practical achievements. During all his life he was an earnest and active member of the Predestination Baptist church. In politics he was an ardent Whig, his nativity and family influences, from his earliest recollections, welding him to the party and to the personality of its great leader, the brilliant Kentuckian, Henry Clay.

As a boy Albert Payne assisted his father, Bennett Payne, in his coal mining operations. But after acquiring sufficient schooling by himself, he commenced to teach in Clay and Vigo counties, and continued in the educational field for thirteen years. Notwithstanding his lack of formal training, his success was so unqualified that the last two years of his career as a pedagogue were spent as principal of the Lambert School at Brazil. He then spent a summer in farming and recuperating, and in 1888 was admitted to practice at the Indiana bar at Brazil. The succeeding twelve years were occupied chiefly in various lines of business at Brazil, and in 1900 he removed to his place in Perry Township, Clay County, which he farmed until September 1, 1904.

On the latter date he resumed the practice of law at Brazil, in a practice both profitable and most creditable to his professional ability. Among his professional associates he is known as an active member of the County Bar Association, and has an influential connection with the following fraternities:

Brazil Lodge, No. 264, A. F. and A. M.(past master); Brazil Chapter, No. 59, R. A. M. (present high priest) Brazil Council, No. 40, R. and S. M., and Brazil Commandery, No. 47, K. T.

Both Mr. Payne and his wife are very prominent in the work of William Black Chapter, No. 80, Order of the Eastern Star, of which the former is past worthy patron, and the latter past worthy matron. They are also both leaders in the work of the Methodist church.

On February 22, 1880, Albert Payne married Emma A. Nevins, who was born near Rockville, Parke County, Indiana, on September 13, 1859. She is a daughter of David M. and Margaret (Adams) Nevins, the father born in Parke county, Indiana, and the mother in the state of Kentucky. Mrs. Payneís grandfather, Henry Nevins, settled in Parke county in 1817, and served with General Harrison in several of his Indian campaigns. The parents of Mrs. Payne were married in Parke County, Indiana, in 1852, and five of their eight children are still alive:

Ellen, wife of E. M. Liston; Emma A., Mrs. Albert Payne; Amanda, now Mrs. Reuben Brown; Clara, who married William O. Richey; and Sarah, wife of Clifford Elliott. David M. Nevins is a Baptist minister who has spent his life in forwarding the work of his church in Vigo and Parke counties, and is now a resident of Blackhawk, in the former county. He lost his first wife by death, his present helpmate being known before marriage as Sarah McGruce.

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Payne have become the parents of eight children, of whom three are living: Warren E., who is now in the practice of law with his father. He is a graduate of the Brazil high school and was admitted to the bar on his twenty-first birthday, he being the youngest attorney admitted in Clay county; Reynold G., who is a midshipman in the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, representing the Fifth Congressional District of Indiana; and Oran. Allen R., who died at the age of twenty-three, served in the Spanish-American war as a member of Company F, 159th Regt, Indiana Volunteers.

Owner/SourceRoy Richard Thomas
DateAug 2007
Linked toAlbert Gifford Payne

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