Sumter County Alabama

Sumter County
Rev. B. F. Riley, D. D. Biography

Contributed by Mary Hoit Abbe

From Northern Alabama, Historical and Biographical by Smith & Deland
Chicago: Donohue & Henneberry, Printers and Binders, 1888
p. 217

REV. B. F. RILEY, D. D., the subject of this sketch is a native Alabamian. He was born near the village of Pineville, Monroe County, July 16, 1849.

Reared in a country home far in the interior, his early scholastic advantages were meagre. His early years were chiefly spent laboring on his father’s farm, with occasional alternations of attendance at a country school. At the age of eighteen he asked permission of his father to leave home, in order that he might secure an education. Going to Starlington, Butler County, he taught a primary school, where he made his first money. In his nineteenth year he went to Erskine College, S. C., and begged to be taken on trial in the sophomore class. His training had been so defective that he found it difficult to maintain his place in the class, but overcoming all barriers, he pushed through and graduated in 1871.

His original purpose was to prepare for the bar, but this idea he abandoned and chose the ministry instead.

After the completion of his course at Erskine, he entered the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, then at Greenville, S. C., but his health had been so impaired by the taxation of his strength in his literary course, that he had to give up the prosecution of his theological studies. Returning to Alabama, he engaged in manual labor, in order to recuperate his strength for the further pursuit of his divinity course.

After the lapse of a year or more he entered the Crozer Theological Seminary near Philadelphia, and returned to Alabama in 1876.

He has served as pastor of Baptist Churches at Snow Hill and Opelika, Ala., and Albany, Ga. At present he is pastor at Livingston, Ala. In 1885 he was honored with the title of Doctor of Divinity by the State University.

Dr. Riley’s tastes are decidedly literary. He has accumulated an excellent library, and is a regular contributor to some of the leading journals of the country.

He has written two small works—one a local history, the History of Conecuh County, Ala., and the Immigrants’ and Capitalists’ Guide-Book to Alabama. The latter work was purchased by the State for gratuitous distribution , and is used in the interest of immigration.

Dr. Riley has other works in course of preparation, which will be issued as early as the exactions of his pastoral work will allow.

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