John Phelan

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This article is about the manager of Birmingham's Cotton and Produce Exchange. For his father, the Alabama Supreme Court Judge, see John D. Phelan.

John "Jack" Phelan, Jr (born November 22, 1842 in Marion, Perry County - died February 11, 1890 in Birmingham) was Captain of an artillery company in the Civil War, attorney, and manager of Birmingham's Cotton and Produce Exchange.

John was one of four sons born to Alabama Supreme Court justice John D. Phelan. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1861 in the first class of the University's corps of military cadets. He enlisted in Tuscaloosa on May 13 of that year as an orderly sergeant in the Warrior Guards, 5th Alabama Regiment, CSA. That fall his company re-enlisted "for the war" as an artillery battery with Phelan as Captain and took the nickname "Phelan's Battery", which served at the battles of Chickamauga, Resaca, and Franklin in the Dalton and Atlanta campaigns and was later stationed at Mobile.

Phelan was seriously wounded at the Battle of Resaca in northwest Georgia on May 13, 1864 and was furloughed. After regaining his health he entered the study of law in Montgomery and served in the Confederate Senate. He was admitted to the bar in 1867. He remained in the practice of law and moved to Tennessee, where he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives.

Phelan returned to Alabama in 1884 when he came to Birmingham to manage the Cotton and Produce Exchange. In 1886 he was one of the founders of the South-Side Land Company which developed part of Birmingham's Southside.

Phelan was married to the former Anna Owen Sale in Lawrence County and had four sons and two daughters. Birmingham's Phelan Park is named for John's brother Ellis who was one of the first to build a house in that section of the city.


  • Owen, Thomas McAdory and Marie Bankhead Owen (1921) History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. 4 volumes. Chicago, Illinois: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.