Born Feb. 17, 1779 in Prince Edward County, VA, nephew of John Scott, founder of Alabama Town which in 1819 joined New Philadelphia to become Montgomery. Reared in the Broad River area of northeast Georgia, he became an affluent planter, tanner and general trader. When Creeks lost much of their land in the 1814 Treaty of Ft. Jackson, "Alabama Fever," the lure of much very fertile land, caused many Broad River residents, among them Abner McGehee, to emigrate to Alabama. He bought a huge plantation in the area now known as Hope Hull, named for a Methodist preacher who brought his family into the Church in 1809.
Early Alabama Entrepreneur
McGehee was a very prosperous farmer and entrepreneur. In 1833 he built Planter's Hotel on Court Square and rebuilt it when it burned. He was a promoter of Alabama railroads, including the 76-mile line from Montgomery to West Point, GA, one of the first in the state when its construction began in 1836. Instrumental in starting the iron industry in Alabama, in 1830 he hired ironmonger Daniel Hillman to erect a forge in Roupes Valley, later known as Tannehill. A devout Methodist, he founded the Alabama Bible Society in 1851. His philanthropies were unexcelled in Alabama in his lifetime. He died on Feb. 19, 1855 and he is buried here.