Benjamin Cunningham Yancey (1836-1909)


History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography by Thomas Owens, 1921. Page 1820

YANCEY, BENJAMIN CUNNINGHAM; lawyer and planter, was born July 30, 1836, at Greenville, S. C., and died March 19, 1909, at Umatilla, Fla.; son of William Lowndes and Sarah Caroline (Earle) Yancey (q. v.). He graduated from the University of Alabama, B: A., 1856, after a two years course, and in the Law school of Lebanon, Tenn. He began the practice of law with his father in Montgomery. After the war, along with numerous other Southerners, he went to Brazil where he lived about thirteen years. He returned to the United States, located in Florida. and engaged in planting and the culture of oranges. He was captain of artillery in the regulars of the C. S. Army, stationed at Fort Morgan, was after-ward on detached duty, commanded a battalion of skirmishers in Deas' brigade, commanding it in the battle of Murfreesboro. He was a Democrat, and a presbyterian. Married: June, 1873, at Santa Barbara, Brazil, to Lucy Cairnes, daughter of William Hervey and Catherine (Ives) Hall, who had lived at Columbus and Gainesville, Ga. Children: 1. William Lowndes, m. Katherine Belle Ursoil, Umatilla, Fla.; 2. George Earle, m. Annie Mathews, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 3. Hervey Hall, m. Maude L. Green, Jacksonville, Fla.; 4. Goodloe Dupree, m. Mary Peterson, Umatilla, Fla.; 5. Lucy Dillingham, m. Joseph W. Fuller, Colum-bus, Ga.; 6. Frederick Dalton, unmarried. Last residence: Umatilla, Fla.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Cunningham Yancey

  Benjamin Cunningham Yancey was born on July 30, 1836 in Greenville, South Carolina, the son of the great William Lowndes Yancey, U.S. Congressman and Confederate Senator from the State of Alabama, the first Confederate Commissioner sent to England and France by President Davis, author of the Ordinance of Secession for the State of Alabama, and fire-eating secessionist non pareil. His, is a story in itself.

  Benjamin C. Yancey was raised in Montgomery, Alabama graduating from the University of Alabama in 1856 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He later attended Cumberland University in Tennessee, receiving a degree in law. Upon completion of his bar exam, Benjamin was admitted to the bar in Montgomery where he practiced law until the clouds of war appeared on the horizon. When it became apparent that the Lincoln administration would no longer abide by the Constitution, and would, by force of arms, coerce the South to remain in an unholy alliance with the North, young Ben Yancey enlisted in Capt. Joe Bibbs company of artillery in Montgomery. He was quickly appointed 1st lieutenant and later captain. Ben served through most of the war as captain of artillery. He eventually became Lt. Colonel of the 17th Battalion of Alabama Sharpshooters. The 17th served with distinction at Murfreesboro, Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, as well as the bloody campaigns in and around Atlanta. By December of 1863, the 17th Alabama was comprised of a mere 59 men, of whom a quarter had no weapons. Officially, as of August, 1864, the battalion ceased to exist. It had originally been formed with two companies by assignment from the 19th and 39th Regiments of Alabama Infantry, and it is assumed that the remnant of the 17th went back to their original regiments. As a testament to Lt. Col. Yancey’s integrity, a witness on his application for pension stated that he “was regarded as one of the most reliable and gallant officers in our brigade.”

  After the war, Lt. Col. Yancey moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Still stinging from the bitter defeat of the Confederacy, many former Confederate soldiers emigrated to South America and Mexico. They were known as “Confederados” by the locals. Some stayed on and have descendants there to this day, while others, like Lt. Col. Yancey, eventually came back to live in their beloved Dixie-land. While still in Brazil, Lt. Col. Yancey met and married Miss Lucy Caines Hall. They were married on June 30th 1873 in Sao Paulo. On Oct. 29th  1881, the Yancey’s moved to Umatilla, Florida. Here, they raised 5 sons and 1 daughter and went into the citrus business. After suffering for many years from malaria and “nervous prostration” brought on from exposure and hardships during the war, Lt. Col. Benjamin Cunningham Yancey, “fell asleep in Jesus” on March 17th 1909 and was “buried in Glendale Cemetery among the orange groves he had planted.”

Frederick Dalton Yancey

The Confederados In Brazil

The "Confederados" in Brazil

Military Pension Transcript

More Info


Photo Below - Benjamin Cunningham Yancey and his Brother in Law - John Harrell
(From the Alabama Dept of Archives)