BRAXTON BRAGG COMER was born in Barbour County, Alabama, on November 7, 1848. He attended the University of Alabama in 1864, but was forced to leave in April 1865, when General John T. Croxton’s troops burned the university. He attended the University of Georgia, and later Emory and Henry College in Virginia, where he received both an A.B. and M.A. degree. Comer was awarded an honorary LL.D. degree from Southern University, Greensboro, Alabama. He was a successful businessman, cotton manufacturer, and banker. Comer served on the Commissioners Court of Barbour County from 1874 to 1880. In 1890 he moved to Birmingham, and became president of the City National Bank. He also was president of the Birmingham Corn and Flour Mills, the Avondale Cotton Mills, and the Railroad Commission of Alabama from 1905 to 1906. Comer ran for governor, was elected on November 6, 1906, and was sworn into office on January 14, 1907. During his term, Comer’s main concerns were in the areas of education, prohibition, and railroad rate regulations. Appropriations were made to build rural schools, a program was started to ensure that every county had at least one high school, and both the University of Alabama and the Alabama Polytechnic Institute received increased subsidies. Also during his tenure, the Child Labor Law was revised, the State Board of Assessors was formed, and an extensive series of railroad legislation was passed. Prevented by the 1901 Constitution from succeeding himself, Comer left office on January 17, 1911, and returned to his various business ventures. He was appointed on March 5, 1920, to the U.S. Senate, and served until November 2, 1920. Comer died on August 15, 1927, and is buried at the Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, 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.