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