A second cousin of Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain, Jeremiah Clemens led a colorful life that came to an end on May 21, 1865. Born in 1814 in Alabama, he became a lawyer and served in the Alabama House before enlisting as a volunteer during the Mexican War, rising to the rank of Colonel. After the War he served in the United States Senate from 1849-1853. He achieved fame as a novelist, writing Bernard Lyle in 1853 and Mustang Grey in 1857, the novels set during the Texan War for Independence and the Mexican War. In 1859 he published The Rivals, a novelization of the Hamilton-Burr feud.
As a delegate to the Alabama secession convention he voted against secession. Commissioned as a general in both the Alabama and Confederate forces, he resigned his commission in 1862, opposed to the war against the Union. Making no secret of his Unionist sentiments, he wrote to various members of the Lincoln administration with advice on how to reconcile the South after Union victory in the War, something he viewed as inevitable. It is to be regretted that he did not live to play a role in Reconstruction in Alabama. He left unfinished a history of the War and his last novel, Tobias Wilson, was about Union partisans in the mountains of Alabama.