Caswell County Genealogy

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Tourgee, Albion Winegar

Tourgee, Albion Winegar

Male 1838 - 1905  (67 years)

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  • Name Tourgee, Albion Winegar 
    Birth 2 May 1838  Williamsfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Reference Number 30538 
    Death 22 May 1905  Bordeaux, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Burial Mayville Cemetery, Mayville, Chautauqua County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I29920  Caswell County
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2023 

    Father Living 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Living 
    Relationship natural 
    Family ID F11942  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Living 
     1. Tourgee, Aimee Lodolska,   b. 19 Nov 1870   d. 1909 (Age 38 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    Family ID F11941  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2023 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 2 May 1838 - Williamsfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 22 May 1905 - Bordeaux, France Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Albion Winegar Tourgee
    Albion Winegar Tourgee

    Carolyn Karcher on Tourgee
    Albion W. Tourgee

    Tourgee. Milton Chronicle. The Wilmington Star (Wilmington, NC), 24 Aug 1878
    Pharaoh Glass Drowning. Greensboro Patriot in The Weekly Sentinel (Raleigh, NC), 10 Dec 1867
    Rape Trial of George Lea. The Raleigh News (Raleigh, NC), 6 April 1873
    Tourgee Bench Warrants Rumored. The Greensboro Patriot (Greensboro, NC), 5 February 1873
    Bricks Without Straw. The Weekly Star (Wilmington, NC), 15 October 1880
    Color-Blind Justice Albion Tourgee and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson by Mark Elliott. Book Review, Richmond Times-Dispatch Ricmond, VA
    Carpetbagger's Crusade, Otto H. Olsen. Book Review. The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), 21 Nov 1965
    Tourgee's Long Fight Against Segregation. The Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA), 30 April 1972 P. 1
    Tourgee's Long Fight Against Segregation. The Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA), 30 April 1972 P. 2
    In My Opinion John G. Lea and Albion W. Tourgee. The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), 3 Oct 1935
    Mrs. Albion Tourgee Contempt of Court. The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), 5 Sept 1890
    Albion Winegar Tourgee by Gerard Chapman. The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, MA), 3 March 1987

  • Notes 
    • Albion Winegar Tourgee (1838-1905)

      Albion Tourgee (1838-1905)

      (click on photograph for larger image)

      1861: Tourgee enlisted in the 27th New York Volunteers and in July receives a wound in his spine.

      1862: Tourgee is granted the bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester. In July he goes to Columbus and receives a commission as first lieutenant in Company G of the 105th Ohio Volunteers.

      1863: Tourgee married Emma Kilbourne on 14 May 1863 in Columbus, Ohio.

      1865: Albion Tourgee arrived in North Carolina and settled in Greensboro on 14 October 1865.

      1867: Tourgee edited a Republican newspaper, the Union Register, in Greensboro on 3 January. The paper fails by 14 June and is transferred to Raleigh.

      1868: Tourgee participated in the constitutional convention in Raleigh on 14 January. He plays an important part in lobbying for fair treatment of African Americans.

      Tourgee is elected a judge of the Superior Court, Seventh Judicial District. He begins his duties in August and holds court in, among other towns, Greensboro and Yanceyville.

      Tourgee became Addie Patillo's guardian and she began to live in his house. He starts to educate her and calls her Ada. Her mother, Louisa, is probably serving as the cook in the household.

      Tourgee begins writing a novel, Toinette, based, in part, on Addie's life.

      1869: The Milton Chronicle published a slanderous article suggesting that Tourgee obtained Addie for "immoral purposes." It described Addie as a "yaller gal."

      1870: Superior Court judge Albion Tourgee indicted 18 Klansmen for Wyatt Outlaw's murder in Alamance County, NC, but an amnesty bill from the legislature resulted in their never going to trial.

      1895: Tourgee argued before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Homer Plessy, a gentleman of "one-eight African blood," in the famous Plessy v. Ferguson segregation case. He lost the case the following year and the "floodgates" of oppressive Jim Crow laws were opened.

      Toinette: A Novel, Henry Churton (Albion W. Tourgee) (1874).

      The reviewer who published the following obviously had little regard for Albion Winegar Tourgee:

      Book Description: NY, 1875, 510(6)pp. Churton was the pseudonym of Albion W. Tourgee (Wright II, 2523: DAB implies this novel publ. earlier but Wright makes no reference there to). This is an extremely good copy w/some rubbing to edges of bkstrp, cvr & bkstrp gilt bright, worn at top of bkstrp. Tourgee brought infamy to his Huguenot heritage & contempt for his birthplace (Ohio) by his carpetbagger behavior in North Carolina following the Civil War, where he brought shame to the title of "Judge." His only deviation to good was found in his writing & only one of those (Fool's Errand) is respected in any way. Prolific (over a dozen entries in Wright III) he also ed. several short lived magazines (Continent, for instance). Some people think his writing improved as he grew older. Black Americans. Bookseller Inventory # A4609509315

      At some point (1868) Adaline Pattillo became part of the Albion Winegar Tourgee household and was raised by him. Her story is told in Color-Blind Justice: Albion Tourgée and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson, Mark Elliott (2006). A fictionalized version of the life of Adaline Pattillo was written by Albion W. Tourgee in 1874 using the pseudonym "Henry Churton": Toinette: A Novel, Henry Churton (1874). This book was republished in 1881: A Royal Gentleman: A Novel (Originally Entitled "Toinette"), Albion W. Tourgee (1881). The 1881 version included an expanded preface by Tourgee and sixteen illustrations. And, while no page-by-page comparison has been made, it does appear that Tourgee rewrote some of the book, especially the final chapters. At a minimum, he renamed some of the chapters.


      Carpetbagger's Crusade: The Life of Albion Winegar Tourgee, Otto H. Olsen (1965).

      Color-Blind Justice: Albion Tourgee and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson, Mark Elliott (2006).

      Toinette: A Novel, Henry Churton (1874).

      A Royal Gentleman: A Novel (Originally Entitled "Toinette"), Albion W. Tourgee (1881).

      A Fool's Errand by One of the Fools, Anonymous (Albion W. Tourgee) (1879).

      Karcher, Carolyn L. A Refugee From His Race: Albion W. Tourgee and His Fight Against White Supremacy. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.

      Published in 1879, Albion Tourgee's A Fool's Errand was an enormously popular book in its time. It was based largely on Tourgee's actual experiences in Greensboro, North Carolina during Reconstruction. A Fool's Errand is the fictional story of Comfort Servosse, a man of French Canadian descent. It follows him briefly as he joins the Civil War on the Union side, then returns home after the war and resolves to move his family to the South. He purchases a decayed plantation called Warrington in Rockford County; the state to which he moves is never identified. In his new home, Servosse almost immediately makes a name for himself as a radical Yankee--or carpetbagger--and arouses the hostility of the neighbors in the community. The rest of the story follows his increasing involvement on the behalf of former slaves in the community and his opposition to the activities of the Ku Klux Klan

      Interspersed in this story are several digressions and conversations in which Servosse, his friends, and even the narrator discuss the numerous problems facing the South during the time of reconstruction. The author describes in detail various issues and attitudes regarding those issues, even to the point of describing in detail northern and southern attitudes about themselves and each other both before and after the war. He also describes several reconstruction plans. Numerous digressions and "letters" seem to be indictments against the federal government in Washington, blaming some of the violence and trouble in the South on Washington's unwillingness to step in where required. His other major additions have to do with the national decline of the KKK and the general failure of reconstruction governments to take hold and transform the South in terms of culture or law.

      This book can be found online at Documenting the American South.

      Captain Ball on the Stephens Murder, Daily Record (Greensboro, North Carolina), 2 and 3 February 1911.

      Bennett College was founded August 1, 1873 as a normal school for seventy African American men and women (former slaves). The school's founder Albion W. Tourgee was an activist in the second half of the 19th century who championed the cause of racial equality contributed greatly to the colleges' inception. The school held its inaugural classes in the basement of Warnersville Methodist Episcopal Church North (now St. Matthew's United Methodist) in Greensboro. Bennett as a coeducational school at the time (offered both high school and college level courses), and remained so until 1926. The year after its founding, the school became sponsored by the Freedman's Aid Society and Southern Education Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Bennett remained under the Freedman's Aid Society for 50 years. In 1878, newly emancipated slaves purchased the land which the colleges stands today. Hearing of what was being done, New York businessman Lyman Bennett provided $10,000 in funding to build a permanent campus. Bennett died soon thereafter, and the school was named Bennett Seminary and a bell was created in his honor. Hearing of Bennett's philanthropy his coworkers continued his mission by providing the bell for the school.

      Source: Wikipedia Bennett College Article.

      Dear Sir, This is to inform you to hold no more Courts in Carolina. You have had your day. If you ever hold another or attempt it you will share the fate of Mr. W. Stevens [Senator John W. Stephens]. It is ordered you leave the state . . .

      By order of the KKK

      Albion Tourgee Letter 1870

      Volume V, Number 1, Elon Law Review has the symposium, "A Radical Notion of Democracy: Law, Race, and Albion Tourgee, 1865-1905." Contributions include an introduction by Sally Green, "Reflections on Albion Tourgee's 1896 View of the Supreme Court: A "Consistent Enemy of Personal Liberty and Equal Rights," by Michael Kent Curtis (Wake Forest); "The Past as Prologue: Albion Tourgee and the North Carolina Constitution," by Judge Robert N. Hunter, Jr.; "The National Citizen's Rights Association: Precursor of the NAACP," by Carolyn L. Karcher (Temple, Liberal Arts); "The Legitimacy of Law in Literature: The Case of Albion W. Tourgee," by Brook Thomas; and "Adaline and the Judge: An Ex-Slave Girl's Journey With Albion W. Tourgee," by Naurice Frank Woods, Jr (UNC-Greensboro, African-American Studies). Touree was a Greensboro former, lawyer, judge, and novelist best known perhaps for representing Homer Plessey before the United States Supreme Court in Plessey v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).

      Judge Tourgee gave Adaline opportunities few former slaves experienced a chance to survive when others around her succumbed to ravages of an openly hostile post-war environment, to be educated at a level beyond the grasp of most freedmen, and, indirectly, to see the country beyond the confines of the segregated South. More importantly, Tourgee allowed her to experience the love of a father, something A. A. Pattillo could never give her. But the Judge could not live her life for her, and Adaline had to fulfill her destiny on her own terms. After teaching school for two years in Dublin, Virginia, she married Leroy William Woods in 1878. From that union came seven children. Their sixth child was named Albion Tourgee Woods.

      Adaline (Addie) Pattillo Woods died at age ninety-four in Gary, Indiana on October 4, 1950, while living with one of her sons. She was buried in Fern Oak Cemetery in that city. It is lamentable that she was not returned to Greensboro to rest not far from the places spent with the Judge [Tourgee] and where she raised her children and cared for her grandchildren. Adaline once told Emma [Tourgee] that she regretted "so much that I will have to rear my children up in the south," but it was her home and she found a way to see that they had the best advantages growing up under increasingly strict Jim Crow policies. She also informed Emma that, "I am trying to train them up to be good" and she succeeded. Most of her children and many of their spouses became successful businesspersons, doctors, lawyers, and educators. Adaline played a major role in shaping their lives and instilling in them many valuable lessons learned from Albion Tourgee. All her children would remember the story of Adaline's journey with the Judge and pass it on to the next generation.

      Source: Woods, Frank Naurice, Jr. "Adaline and the Judge: An Ex-Slave Girl's Journey with Albion W. Tourgee." Elon Law Review, Volume 5, Issue 1 (2013).

      Albion Winegar Tourgee, 1838-1905

      Impressed by the needs and opportunities of the postwar South, the Tourgees migrated to North Carolina in 1865 and leased a nursery near Greensboro. Tourgee's hostility toward Confederates and his equalitarian ideals soon impelled him into Reconstruction politics and an alliance with the state's small faction of consistent Unionists. In 1866 he organized Loyal Reconstruction Leagues, championed Negro rights and a radical Reconstruction, published and edited two radical newspapers, and attended the Philadelphia Southern Loyalist Convention. The enfranchisement of the blacks in 1867 opened a new opportunity, and Tourgee was elected to the constitutional convention of 1868 and became one of its most influential delegates and a vigorous prom oter of political, legal, and economic reform. He is considered especially responsible for the judicial reforms of the Reconstruction constitution. From 1868 to 1870 he served as one of three code commissioners rewriting the state's law, and in 1868 he was elected a state superior court judge.

      During his six years as a judge, Tourgee provoked intense opposition with his outspoken, effective, and equalitarian Republicanism. Like all Republicans of Yankee origin, he was stigmatized as a carpetbagger and was considered "for many years the most thoroughly hated man in North Carolina." His judicial circuit was a center of racial conflict and Ku Klux Klan atrocities, including the brutal assassinations of Wyatt Outlaw and John Walter Stephens in Alamance and Caswell counties respectively. Nonetheless, Tourgee also won recognition for his ability, candor, and courage. He was an excellent judge, and his role in reforming the law brought praise. Becoming one of Greensboro's leading citizens, he was active in a variety of community affairs and was a founder of the Negro school that became Bennett College. He promoted industrial and railroad development and conducted one of the region's early wood-turning industries. Despite ostracism, persecution, and frequent danger, Tourgee proved himself an able and involved citizen of his adopted state, and much in his conduct and achievement demanded respect. There were some remarkable exchanges of mutual admiration between Tourgee and his Southern foes, but Reconstruction politics and the issue of race drove an implacable wedge between them.

      Source: DICTIONARY OF NORTH CAROLINA BIOGRAPHY edited by William S. Powell. Copyright (c) 1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press.

      See: Albion Winegar Tourgee Biography

      From John Green Lea's 1919/1935 "Confession"

      "Immediately after the surrender of General Lee, in April, 1865, a bummer named Albion W. Tourgee, of New York, from Sherman's army came to Caswell County and organized a Union League, and they were drilling every night and beating the drums, and he made many speeches telling the negroes that he was sent by the government and that he would see that they got forty acres of land."

      The anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) recalled spending "all day" reading Tourgee's novel about Black Reconstruction, "Bricks without Straw" (1880); quoted a long passage from his newspaper column in her tract "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases" (1892); and memorialized him in her autobiography as "the Negro's best friend."

      "Men Are Burned at the Stake in Our Free Country": Albion W. Tourgee's Antilynching Journalism" by Carolyn L. Karcher (University of Maryland) in Resources for American Literary Study, Vol, 30, 2005. Published By: Penn State University Press.