BENJAMIN FITZPATRICK was born in Green County, Georgia, to William and Anne Fitzpatrick. At the age of seven he was orphaned, and he moved to Alabama with his brothers, where he attended public schools, receiving a limited education. Fitzpatrick also managed land that his brothers owned on the Alabama River. He read law in the Montgomery office of Nimrod E. Benson, where he was admitted to the bar before he turned 20. He was elected solicitor of the Montgomery circuit in 1819 and reelected in 1822. Fitzpatrick practiced law in Montgomery until 1827, and then he retired to his plantation in Autauga County. He was nominated for governor by a caucus of the Democratic members of the legislature, and was elected Alabama’s 11th governor on August 2, 1841. Fitzpatrick was sworn into office on November 22, 1841. During his tenure, the state taxation was restored, Howard College was chartered, and the towns of Troy and Tuskegee were incorporated. His major concern was the state banking system – local abuse and mismanagement had caused substantial bank debts, and the state found itself on the brink of financial ruin because it was liable for the bank’s indebtedness. On August 7, 1843, Fitzpatrick was reelected to a second term and under the terms of the 1819 Constitution, left office on December 10, 1845. He later served in the U.S. Senate from 1848 to 1849, and again from 1853 to 1861. He was president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate from 1857 to 1860. He was nominated by the Democratic National Convention in 1860 for the vice-presidency, but declined the nomination. When Alabama seceded from the Union in 1861, Fitzpatrick left the Senate, returned to Alabama, and supported the Confederacy. He was arrested as a traitor after the Civil War and placed in a northern prison. He was released in time to serve as a member of the 1865 Alabama constitutional convention, where he was elected president. He returned to his plantation and died on November 21, 1869. He is buried at the Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.