Henry F. DeBardeleben

Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben (July 22, 1840 - December 6, 1910) was an American coal magnate and town founder from Alabama.

Henry F. DeBardeleben
Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben

July 22, 1840
DiedDecember 6, 1910(1910-12-06) (aged 70)
Resting placeOak Hill Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic Party
Spouse(s)Ellen Pratt
Katherine McCrossin
Children4 sons (including Henry T. DeBardeleben), 3 daughters
Parent(s)Henry DeBardeleben
Jennie Fairchild

Early lifeEdit

Henry F. DeBardeleben was born on July 22, 1840 in Autauga County, Alabama.[1][2] His father, Henry DeBardeleben, was a cotton plantation owner.[1] After his father died when he was ten years old, DeBardeleben moved to Montgomery, Alabama with his mother, where he worked in a grocery store.[1] At the age of sixteen, he became Daniel Pratt's ward.[1][2][3]

During the American Civil War of 1861-1865, he served in the Prattville Dragoons of the Confederate States Army.[1][2]


After the war, DeBardeleben was appointed by Pratt as the manager of the Helena Mines in Helena, Alabama.[1] In the 1870s, he helped rebuild the Oxmoor furnace.[3] When Pratt died in 1873, DeBardeleben inherited Red Mountain Iron and Coal Company.[2] A few years later, in 1878, he co-founded Pratt Coal and Coke Company with other investors.[2] He also founded the Alice Furnace Company.[2] Later, he co-founded the DeBardeleben Coal and Iron Company.[2] By 1887, the company owned 150,000 acres of land for coal and iron mining, and it was worth US$13 million.[1] It merged with the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company in 1891, when DeBardeleben was appointed as its Vice Chairman.[1]

DeBardeleben served as the President of the Alabama Fuel and Iron Company.[1] With his sons, DeBardeleben established coal and iron mines in Margaret in St. Clair County and Acton in Shelby County.[1] He also established two mines in Acmar, St. Clair County.[4] He was the first person to produce pig iron in the Birmingham area.[1]

DeBardeleben also founded the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, which developed the town of Bessemer, Alabama.[2] He was an investor in the Birmingham Rolling Mills and the Birmingham National Bank.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

DeBardeleben married Ellen Pratt, who was Daniel Pratt's only daughter, in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War.[1] After she died in 1893, he got married a second time to Katherine McCrossin in 1898.[1] DeBardeleben was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and a member of the Democratic Party.[1]

His first cousin, three times removed, was Mike DeBardeleben, (born 30 years following his own demise).[5]

Death and legacyEdit

DeBardeleben died on December 6, 1910.[1] He was buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama.[6] He was inducted into the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame in 1998.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p John N. Ingham, Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders, Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1983, volume 1, pp. 246-247
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Alabama Men's Hall of Fame: Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben Archived 2015-07-22 at the Wayback Machine, Samford University
  3. ^ a b Henry DeBardeleben, Encyclopedia of Alabama
  4. ^ James Sanders Day (24 June 2013). Diamonds in the Rough: A History of Alabama's Cahaba Coal Field. University of Alabama Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8173-1794-2.
  5. ^ "Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben"; Wikitree relationship calculator.
  6. ^ Birmingham Public Library: Oak Hill Memorial Cemetery Interments