Robert Stell Heflin
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Robert Stell Heflin was born in Morgan County, Georgia, near Madison. Educated at Fayetteville, Georgia, where his parents settled in 1832. His father, Wyatt Heflin was the first elected Sheriff of Fayette County Georgia. He served in the Creek War in The Battle of Shepherd's Plantation. The battle was fought on June 9, 1836, between a force of Georgia militia and an attacking party of Creek warriors. The battle was a pivotal fight in the a war of resistance launched by Coweta, Yuchi, Hitchiti and other tribal warriors trying to prevent the forced removal of their people from their traditional lands along the Chattahoochee River. Robert Stell was wounded by a muskett ball that broke his femur. From that event on, he always walked with a limp and a cane. His first formal job was a legal career as a Clerk of the Superior Court of Fayette County, Georgia, Fall of 1836-1840. He also studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1840. He practiced law in Fayetteville, and served in the Georgia State Senate in 1840 and 1841.
As more land was being opened up for white Americans in east Alabama in 1844, Robert Stell and his family followed his father and siblings to Louina on the eastern side of the Tallapossa River. Randolph County, Alabama. While living in Alabama he was active in politics served in the Alabama House of Representatives in 1849, and in the Alabama State Senate in 1860. One of the few Southern Republicans, Robert Stell was opposed to secession. After resigning from the Alabama Legislature upon the State's secession, he made his home in north Randolph County Alabama. His Brother, Superior Court Judge Thomas Heflin had become a wealthy and powerful individual in Alabama politics. Once the Civil War began, Robert Stell being viewed as a threat was arrested and carried to Andersonville, Georgia. Judge Thomas Heflin used his influence to have his brother Robert Stell released. When Sherman marched thru Georgia, a Battle was fought at Brown's Mill in Coweta County Georgia. The Union Soldiers were routed by General Joseph Wheeler and some made it to the home of Robert Stell Heflin. They confisicated what they needed and he who was given vouchers by the Union soldiers for his remaining cattle and food. After the war he was repaid for his property by the US Government.
Following the end of the war, he served was judge of probate for Randolph County by appointment in 1865 and elected to that office in 1866. Probate Court Judges settled disputes involving property and land that became in contention after the Civil War. He was elected to the United States Congress as a member of the United States House of Representatives representing the 3rd Congressional District of Alabama and served March 4, 1869, to March 3, 1871, the first time representatives were allowed to serve from the Confederate States. He was best noted for introducing a bill that was passed and signed into law that provided an annual pension to wounded survivors and widows of milita members who served in the Creek Indian Wars. Robert Stell Heflin was one of the few U.S. Representatives to ever vote on the impeachment of a sitting U.S. President, Andrew Johnson. The other U.S. President was Bill Clinton.
Shortly after Robert Stell was elected to Congress, gold was discovered at Dahlonega, Villa Rica and Carrollton Georgia; Gold Hill in Cleburne County and Cragford in Clay County, Alabama were sites of discovery. Robert Stell along with other gold speculators invested in the search for gold in east Alabama. This speculating ultimately cost him almost everything that he owned.
Robert Heflin died in 1901 near Wedowee, Alabama, and his remains were interred in the Masonic Cemetery in Wedowee along with his first wife Elizabeth Phillips Heflin and Mentoria Reeves Heflin. Because of his political beliefs he is not buried with the remainder of the Heflin Family located at Concord Church near Wadley Alabama.
He was the uncle of Alabama U. S. Senator James (Cotton Tom) Thomas Heflin and granduncle of Alabama U. S. Senator Howell Heflin.
- Robert Stell Heflin at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1892). "Heflin, Robert Stell". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. This source does not record his move to Alabama.
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