Samuel Josiah Abner Frazier, born at Washington, in Rhea County, Tenn., January 29, 1840, died at Tampa, Fla., on December 11, 1921.
This modest man, thorough gentleman, born soldier, fine lawyer, and highest type of citizen, was the only son of Samuel Frazier, a son of Abner Frazier, of Greene County, Tenn., who was a son of that Samuel Frazier of Scotland who came to the American colony of North Carolina in 1748 and, on March 17, 1749, married Miss Rebecca Julian, a French Huguenot lady of great culture and beauty; later moved to that part of Western North Carolina which became Greene County and was embraced in TTennessee; fought for American independence at King's Mountain and elsewhere; was in 1796 a delegate to the convention at Knoxville which ordained and established the first Constitution of the State of Tennessee; was a member of the subcommittee which drafted that Constitution; and, after Tennessee was admitted into the Union as a State, was the first State Senator from Greene County and served two terms.
Samuel Frazier, father of S. J. A. Frazier, married Miss Ruth Clawson and located at Washington, in Rhea County, then an important town in lower East Tennessee; became a able, noted and distinguished lawyer, and was the attorney general of his circuit for many years and up to his death, being, it is said, the youngest man who, up to that time, had ever held that office in Tennessee. He had two children-a daughter, Mary, and a son, Samuel Josiah Abner, who is the subject of this sketch. It is said that his mother became blind at the time of his birth and never had the pleasure of seeing her son. The daughter married Dr. Barton Mynatt, of Knox County, Tenn.
The son in his boyhood attended such schools in his neighborhood as were available, went to Washington College, in Greene County, and, later, entered the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, from which he graduated in 1860, and was the valedictorian of his class. He then began the study of law.
As was to be expected from his fighting, patriotic, and distinguished Southern ancestry, S. J. A. Frazier took the side and fought bravely for his native South in its attempt to seperate from the North. Early in the spring of 1861, he, as a volunteer, joined a company being raised by W. E. Colville and others in Rhea County to enter the Confederate service, which company, in May, 1861, went by boat to Loudon and then by rail to Knoxville, where, with Colville as captain and S. J. A. Frazier as one of its lieutenants, it and nine other companies formed afterwards famous Nineteenth Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, of which regiment the Rhea County companie became Company D. Of that regiment, D. H. Cummings, of Anderson County, was first colonel; F. M. Walker, of Hamilton, first lieutenant colonel; and Abe Fulkerson, of Granger County, first major. We herewith quote from a sketch of Captain Frazier's, in Volume VIII of the "Confederate Military History":
Capt. Samuel J. A. Frazier, of Chattanooga, was born in Rhea County, Tenn., in 1840, son of Samuel Frazier, an eminent attorney, who was for twenty-one years attorney general for the Third District of the State. He was educated at Washington College and the University of Tennessee, graduating at the latter in 1860 as a Master of Arts, and was engaged in the study of law when Tennessee began arming for the great war of 1861-65. He enlisted April 6, 186, and was mustered in at Knoxville as a lieutenant of Company D, Nineteenth Regiment, Tennessee Infantry.
"His first service was at Cumberland and Big Creek Gaps, when his regiment advanced into Kentucky, and was first under fire at Wild Cat. He was with his company at the battle of Fishing Creek, and thence fell back to Corinth, Miss."
Captain Colville and the first lieutenant of the company were retired on account of age, and Joseph G. Frazier became captain and S. J. A. Frazier became first lieutenant.
"Shiloh was his next battle, and there his company lost heavily. Then marching to Vicksburg, he served during the first Federal attack, in the course of which his regiment had the unique experience of charging one of the enemy's gunboats. They did some fighting as far south as Baton Rouge, La., and then, returning to East Tennessee to recruit, remained there until just before the battle of Murfreesboro, in which Capt. Joe Frazier was killed and S. J. A. Frazier succeeded him as captain of the company.
"His most severe experience was at Chickamauga, which proved to be his last battle field. There, while gallantly participating in the service of Strahl's Brigade, he was dangerously wounded through the windpipe and left for dead. Two of his comrades, in attempting to carry him off the field were shot down, and he received two wounds while lying on the ground where they left him. Thus, necessarily abandoned, he was captured by the enemy and taken to Chattanooga, thence to Camp Chase, Ohio, and from there to Johnson's Island, where he was held prisoner until June, 1865. While thus confined he continued his study of law, paying fifty cents a week for the use of an old edition of Blackstone, earning the money by making gutta-percha rings for visitors. In 1866 he was admitted to the bar, and was engaged in the practice of law at Washington, Rhea County, until 1870, when he was elected attorney general of the Fourth Circuit, the same in which his father had been attorey general more than a quarter of a century, dying while in office.
"After holding this position for eight years, he abondoned his profession for reasons of health, and private business, and moved to Chattanooga, where he purchased land upon which the suburb of Hill City is now located. This suburb he laid out and developed very sucessfully, giving $10,000 toward the handsome suspension bridge that connects it with Chattanooga and by other generous donations insuring its rapid growth. He also established and developed Frazier's Beach, near Port Tampa, Fla."
We are glad to quote what others who knew him long and well say of him:
"When brought into Chattanooga by the Federals as a prisoner after the battle of Chickamauga, his life hung by a slender thread, but by careful nursing of Rev. Dr. Thomas H. McCallie and his family, who secured from the Federal authorities permission to remove Captain Frazier to their home, he recovered sufficiently to be sent to a Northern prison. He was sent to Johnson's Island, where he, for eighteen months, suffered all the horrors of prison life till June, 1865, after the close of the war. He returned to his home in Washington, Rhea County, and shortly thereafter went to the home of his uncle, Judge Thomas N. Frazier, the father of ex-Governor J. B. Frazier, near Murfreesboro, and there read law under Judge Frazier."
"Captain Frazier was regarded by the bar and people as one of the most painstaking, honest, and efficient attorneys general that the State ever had. He had the full confidence of the court and the people, and was able and effective before the the juries of the circuit. In 1871 Captain Frazier married Miss Anne Keith, daughter of Col. Alexander Hume Keith, of Athens, Tenn., and a granddaughter of Judge Charles Fleming Keith, who was for thirty-four years judge of the circuit courts of his circuit.
Of this marriage two children survive, Alexander F. and Miss Sarah Ruth Frazier.
We quote further:
"Captain Frazier declined to stand for reelection to the office of attorney general, and, after his term expired in 1878, he retired to his home at Washington and devoted himself to supervising his large landed estates in Rhea County. In 1882 he moved to Chattanooga and bought the old Cowart tract of land, north of the river from Chattanooga, and laid off and founded the town which he named Hill City.
"He took great pride in building up Hill City, or what is now known as North Chattanooga, and lived to see it grow into a city of six or eight thousand populations."
It has, with truth, been further said of him:
"Captain Frazier was a brave soldier, an able lawyer, and a citizen of the highest type. He was a modest man, who never advertised his deeds, but he was preeminently a good man, always ready to help the poor and needy. No truer or better man ever lived. He was honest, upright, and true in any relation of life.
"He was gifted with a brilliant mind, being proficient in both Latin and Greek; he was a versatile writer, a magnetic and eloquent speaker, a fair and impartial lawyer, and popular with all classes of people, being most thoughtful always of the poor, so at his death they said: 'We have lost our best friend.'"
To all of these high encomiums the comrades of N. B. Forrest Camp No. 14, United Confederate Veterans, especially those acquainted with Captain Frazier, say "Amen."
For years beyond our ken,
The light he leaves behind him lies
Upon the paths of men."
SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, May, 1922.
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