Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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WINSTON, John Anthony, governor of Alabama, born in Madison county, Alabama, 4 September, 1812 ; died in Mobile, Alabama, 21 December, 1871. He was educated at La Grange college, Alabama, and Nashville university, Tennessee, and became a cotton-planter and commission-merchant. In 1840 and 1842 he was chosen to the lower branch of the legislature, and in 1845 he was elected to the state senate, of which he was president for several years. In 1846 he raised two companies of troops for the Mexican war, and was elected colonel of the first Alabama volunteers: but on account of some technicality the regiment was not accepted. In 1853 he was chosen governor of Alabama, and, by opposing state aid to railroads and the reissue of state bank-notes as a loan to railroad companies, gained the name of the "veto governor." Bills for both purposes were passed over his vetoes; but the attorney-general gave an opinion that they were unconstitutional, and the governor ordered the state treasurer to pay out no money for such purposes. He was re-elected in 1855, and the legislature of that year approved his course. In 1860 Governor Winston was a candidate for presidential elector on the Douglas ticket. Though he had opposed secession, he entered the Confederate army in 1861 as colonel of the 8th Alabama regiment, and commanded a brigade in the peninsular campaign. Soon afterward he resigned his commission on account of physical disability, and devoted himself to aiding the poor and destitute. He was a delegate to the State constitutional convention of 1866, and was afterward chosen to the United States senate, but was refused a seat. After this he repeatedly declined to be a candidate for governor, and lived in retirement. Governor Winston was tall and thin, and in early years erect and active, but his later life was a long struggle with disease. He had few equals as a debater, being gifted with great powers of satire and possessing much readiness and boldness in controversy. In his power over his friends and his hostility to his enemies he has been compared to Andrew Jackson.
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