T. K. Brantley was influential in early years of Troy’s development

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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In 1908, the Messenger ran this article on T. K. Brantley on his seventy-fifth birthday.

The Hon. Thomas K. Brantley, one of Troy’s most esteemed citizens, who today passed his seventy-fifth birthday.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

No citizen within the bounds of our city has been more instrumental in the upbuilding of Troy and Southeast Alabama than Mr. Brantley, and the people of Troy are proud to honor him.  He served for some time as Mayor of our city, turning the salary of the office back into the city treasury as a gift for the upbuilding of the interest of the town.  For a long time he was the “bone and sinew” of the public school system of our city, for the most part shouldering its heavy responsibilities.  In many other ways he has also been the promoting spirit of the best interests of this section.  He developed a great portion of the territory south of Troy, and Brantley, Alabama was named in his honor.

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A brief sketch of the life of this distinguished citizen is:

Coming to Troy during the war he was left penniless to begin business anew as best he could.  Possessing unusual business acumen and a laudable ambition to succeed in life, he did not for a moment permit himself to be discouraged by the misfortune  His has been a career of symmetrical, uniform success—no gigantic “scoops” to spring him into fame and fortune, but that success which attends careful and prudently laid plans after mature deliberation.

Mr. Brantley was born in Montgomery County within four miles of the city of Montgomery in 1833.  In a family of five children he was next youngest of four sons.  His father was Mr. James A. Brantley, a planter.  It was young tom’s lot to labor on the far with the intervention of a few months in the county school until he arrived at the estate  of manhood.

At that pivotal point of life he, realizing the necessity of a more thorough education, went to Fredonia, Chambers County, and matriculated in the military institute at that place.

Before the first school year after his entry had expired, he retired from school to form a life co-partnership with a fair young woman of the place—Miss Sarah Hill, daughter of A. R. Hill, who also a tiller of the soil.  The co-partnership of course was congenial and happy one.  School days were at an end, the battle of life begun.  He moved to Randolph County, where for three years he farmed and taught school during the summer months.  His next step was to engage in the mercantile business, running a country store in connection with his farm.  It is worthy to mention that as soon after his arrival in Randolph County that he was eligible to office, he was elected justice of the peace.  His first adventure as a merchant was fairly successful, and he was well established and on the road to prosperity when the huge unpleasantness between the states came on, which, as might have been expected, seriously interfered with some of his previous arrangements.  During the third year of the war he came to Troy and purchased a small farm.  The war ended the next year and he then began merchandising in co-partnership with a Mr. Cade, who was tax collector and assessor of Pike County several years.  He remained in business with Mr. Cade only about two years dissolving the co-partnership by mutual consent and forming another with Mr. J. S. Copeland.

Soon after arriving in Troy he was again elected Justice of the Peace.  In 1853 he was elected clerk of the circuit court and served six years.  He remained in business with Mr. Copeland only five years, buying the interest of the latter in the firm and continuing the business.  In 1881 he was elected Mayor  of the town of Troy, the second time without opposition, having served several terms before n the city council.

In 1879 J. T. Brantley was taken into the firm of Mr. Brantley’s and later W. H. Brantley, the firm now being T. K. Brantley & Sons.

Mr. Brantley has been for years a member of the Baptist Church, and early in his manhood he joined the Masonic fraternity.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.