WILLIAM MARION MEEKS, President of the Alabama Press Association, was born in Floyd County, Ga., the 16th of February, 1845. His parents moved to Cherokee, Ala., when the subject of this sketch was but four years of age, so he may be considered the product of Alabama. When a lad of twelve years he entered the office of the River Argus, published at Centre, Ala., by L. M. Stiff. He served out the full term of the contract, which ran three years.
Soon after this, in 1860, he went into the office of the National Democrat, which had but a brief existence, being but a campaign paper, and suspended upon the election of Lincoln. Young Meeks then returned to his native State, and early in the spring of 1861, entered the office of the True Flag, published in Rome, Ga. He continued as foreman of this paper until its suspension, in the fall of the same year. He then entered the office of the Rome where he remained until the early part of 1862, when he entered the volunteer service with a company from Cherokee County, Ala., and continued in the service until the war closed. Although but seventeen years of age, he made a faithful and gallant soldier. At the close of the war, in 1866, he connected himself with the Advertiser, at Centre, Ala., from which he retired in the fall of the same year.
November 16, 1866, he married Mary J. Cothran, of Centre, and returned to Atlanta, Ga. Here he worked as a journeyman printer until 1869, when he returned to Centre to take charge of the Advertiser. He began at this time to show that ability which has since made him conspicuous in Alabama journalism.
The 1st of July, 1871, he purchased the Gadsden Times and continued its editor and proprietor until last February, when that paper and the News consolidated and have been published as the Times and News, Meeks & Johnson being the proprietors.
Mr. Meeks began life without means, or influential friends, and with but a limited education, which he gathered at the case.
He purchased the Gadsden Times, by giving a mortgage on the plant, and making a small cash payment. The sale included the books and good will of the paper. As an evidence of his business capacity, he collected from the old accounts enough to pay the concern out of debt. The Times since that day until its consolidation was an influential journal and a decided financial success. Through that means Mr. Meeks has laid the foundation of a handsome fortune.
He is a man of superior natural endowment, and of great energy and industry. He seldom indulges in an idle hour, generally keeping himself full of business. He is one of Gadsden's most progressive men, and has contributed his time, talent, and money to her success and development.
Mr. Meeks is a man of strong convictions and has the courage of them. When he settles down on a question, neither fear nor force can shake him. The same energy and tact he has brought to journalism would have rendered him successful in any department of business.
Source: McCalley, Henry, Northern Alabama : historical and biographical. Birmingham, AL: Smith & De Land, 1888, pp. 835.