Braxton Bragg Comer


Braxton Bragg Comer was born at Old Spring Hill in Barbour County to John Fletcher Comer and his wife Catherine Drewry. His life led him to become a planter, merchant, banker and manufacturer. He served as the President of the Alabama Railroad Commission, as Governor of Alabama, and as a United States Senator.

The Comers came from England and Ireland and settled in Virginia where a number of them were quite successful. By way of Georgia, the family came to Barbour County where Braxton and his five brothers grew up on their father's plantation. Braxton's student days at the University of Alabama were cut short by the burning of the University by Gen. John T. Croxton of the Union Army.

Then Cadet Comer, Braxton walked from Marion, Alabama to his father's home. Afterwards, he entered the University of Georgia and later Emory and Henry college in Virginia where he received both AB and MA degrees.

After his marriage in 1872, B.B., as he was called, returned to Comer Station where he developed one of the largest farming and country store interests in the state. He then went to Anniston where he and S. B. Trapp conducted a wholesale grocery and commission business. From Anniston he went to Birmingham and presided over the City National Bank as well as corn and flour mills, an occupation that led to the founding of the Avondale Mills, a cotton and textile factory.

With a desire to improve these industries, Comer ran for Governor and was elected November 6, 1906. Working with a cooperative legislature, he was able to enact many of his ideas. With his vast experience and vision he appropriated larger state funds for education and transportation. Other matters of his legislative and personal interest were taxation, equity, child labor, normal and technical education, common schools and prohibition.

In 1907 Governor Comer became Senator Comer after an appointment by then Governor Thomas Kilby to the US Senate after the death of Senator Bankhead. He served until his wife of 48 years passed away.

Comer Halls at the University of Alabama and at Auburn University are memorials to Governor Comer. He spent his last years in Birmingham. During these years he served as president of the Avondale Mills of Birmingham and its subsidiaries in Sylacauga, Alexander City, Sycamore and Pell City. He died in 1927 leaving an indelible impression upon the State as a true statesman, industrialist and humanitarian. He is revered as a scholar, gentleman and administrator.

Braxton Bragg Comer was inducted into the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame in 1988.