Leonard Anderson Abercrombie

Leonard Anderson Abercrombie (1832 – 1891) was a Texas secessionist delegate, Confederate Army officer, and Texas state legislator. Born on December 1, 1832, in Macon County, Alabama, he received his college education in Alexandria, Virginia. Later, Abercrombie returned to Alabama, married Lavinia Chilton of Tuskegee, and received admission to the bar in 1854. Then, he moved to Huntsville, Texas in 1856 to practice law.

In 1860, Abercrombie was elected prosecuting attorney for Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, and Walker counties. He served as a Texas secessionist delegate from January 28 to February 4, 1861, representing Walker County at the state Secession Convention.

During the Civil War, Abercrombie served as lieutenant colonel of the Twentieth Texas Infantry. Organized in the spring of 1862, this regiment was composed of primarily middle-aged men, many of whom were prominent citizens from Texas. Assigned to guard duty on the Texas Gulf Coast between Galveston and the Sabine River, they did not see military action outside of the state. However, they did play an important role in recapturing Galveston from Union troops on New Year’s night of 1863. At 3:00 AM, four Confederate gunboats entered Galveston Bay and soon afterward the Rebels, including Abercrombie, commenced a rear land attack on the Union squadron. The Confederate soldiers captured and killed 600 Union soldiers with only 50 Rebel deaths.

When the war ended in 1865, Abercrombie returned to his legal practice in Huntsville and was appointed Commissioner of the Texas Penitentiary in 1867. Thomas J. Goree, a former Confederate officer, attorney, prison director, and close friend of Abercrombie, joined his law practice as partner in 1873. Abercrombie was elected to the 20th Texas State Legislature in November 1886 and immediately joined the Judiciary Committee No. 1, Education, Finance, and other committees. Regarded as a fine speaker and conservative legislator, Abercrombie was neither impulsive nor impatient. Reelected in 1887 for the 21st legislature, he used his influence to establish the Sam Houston Normal Institute and later helped appropriate funds to expand the school in 1890. Abercrombie continued to actively participate in Texas politics until his death on December 23, 1891. He is buried with his family in Huntsville, Texas, at #17 on the Walking Tour of Oakwood Cemetery.

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