JAMES AIKEN, prominent Attorney-at-law, Gadsden. Ala., native of Fairfield District, S. C., son of William and Elizabeth (Stitt) Aiken. was born August 8, 1830. The senior Mr. Aiken was born in County Antrim, Ireland, toward the latter part of the last century, and with his parents migrated to America in 1820. The family settled in Fairfield District, and there the two old people spent the rest of their lives. They, William and Elizabeth, reared four children, two of whom, Robert S. and William M., died from wounds received in battle during the late war. The Stitt family came also from Ireland. away back in the present century, and settled in South Carolina, where they became highly respectable and substantial farmers.
The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm until he was seventeen years of age, and received during that period, at the common schools, a good English education. In 1847 he was appointed cadet to the South Carolina Military Academy at Charleston, graduated from that institution in 1851, and taught school for several years, probably until 1856. In 1854 he came to Alabama. settled in Randolph County, taught school two years. read law in the meantime, and was admitted to the bar in November 1, 1856. From the time of his admission to the bar he has been continuously to the present identified with the profession. In July 1861, he raised a company of volunteers for the Southern Army and upon its organization, was made captain. It was known as Company D, Thirteenth Alabama, and Captain Aiken led it gallantly in many a hotly-contested battle. He was seriously wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, and did not rejoin his command until the fall thereafter. He was also wounded at Chancellorsville. and again at Bristow's Station. After the battle of Seven Pines he was promoted to major, after Chancellorsville to lieutenant-colonel, and within a very short time was promoted to colonel. With this rank. he remained in the service until Lee's surrender, at which time he returned home and resumed the practice of law. He located in Gadsden in 1869. and here he has since made his home. In 1875 Colonel Aiken was elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and in February, 1855, was appointed Circuit Judge by Governor O'Neal.
During the war, from captain to major, lieutenant-colonel and colonel, in regular order and rapid succession, the subject of this sketch rose upon his merits, and without any solicitation upon his own part: so in civil life, by merit, by real worth, he has risen in his profession until he is recognized as one of its leaders. His appointment to the judgeship was without solicitation upon his part, and was in keeping with the wisdom exercised by Governor O'Neal in all of his appointments. While in the army, and at the front, the people of his county elected him to the Legislature, and he left the service long enough to serve one session.
Judge Aiken was married January 26, 1877, to Mrs. L. N. McClelland, daughter of Linsey and Lucinda (Pace) Weaver, of Calhoun County, and has had born to him four children: Lucy A., James. Robert S. and Annie.
Source: McCalley, Henry, Northern Alabama : historical and biographical. Birmingham, AL: Smith & De Land, 1888, pp. 835.