Maurice Throckmorton

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Maurice Throckmorton

Maurice B. Throckmorton (born October 17, 1855 in Louisville, Kentucky; died December 9, 1888 in Birmingham) was the Postmaster of Birmingham in the late 1880s.

Throckmorton was the son of C. S. and Vine Ward Throckmorton of Louisville. He spent most of his childhood in Owensboro, Kentucky and entered the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky in Lexington, graduating in 1874. After graduating he joined the Southern Express Company and was promoted regularly. On May 20, 1880 he was assigned as the Southern Express agent in Birmingham.

Throckmorton left the Southern Express Co. to take a job as a ticket agent for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad in October 1882. He married the former Florence Earle Martin, daughter of Alburto Martin, on November 16, 1882. They named their son, Alburto, born in 1885, for his maternal grandfather.

On December 28, 1885 Throckmorton resigned from the L&N Railroad to go into business for himself selling real estate and insurance, and proved successful at the venture. In the 1886 Birmingham mayoral election he was a candidate for Birmingham Board of Aldermen for the 4th Ward on James Luckie's "Workingman's Ticket". The election was won handily by incumbent A. O. Lane.

An 1887 profile of Throckmorton by John Witherspoon Dubose lavished praises on his, saying that "He has achieved that standing, socially and financially, which places him among the leading men of this progressive center, and his career is encouragement alike to those younger and older than himself. He is yet in the heyday of young manhood, and the future holds out to him the brightest promises, and it is needless to predict that greater triumphs await him in the near future."

On October 25, 1887 Throckmorton was appointed as postmaster of Birmingham by President Grover Cleveland. In taking charge of the Birmingham Post Office Throckmorton retained most of the experienced staff, but relieved John Day of his services in December amid public accusations that he was "an offensive Republican partisan".

He was also the Captain of Battery B of the Birmingham Light Artillery and a member of the Birmingham Protective Order of the Elks and the Alabama Club. In November 1888 Throckmorton rented out his residence on the 2100 block of 1st Avenue North, and moved his family into the Lakeview Hotel for the winter.

On the evening of December 8, 1888 Throckmorton was part of a crowd of more than 1,000 people that had gathered outside the Jefferson County Jail on 21st Street North. The restless element of the mob sought to bring suspected murderer Richard Hawes from the jail in order to lynch him. Throckmorton, as a militia captain, was reportedly pleading with the crowd to disperse. Some noted that he was carrying a firearm. As the mob broke into the alleyway between the jail and the courthouse, then under construction, Jefferson County Sheriff Joseph S. Smith ordered deputies to fire into the crowd. Throckmorton was shot through the gut in the volley and died the following morning from his wounds. Sheriff Smith was placed under arrest for causing Throckmorton's death, but was ultimately found not guilty of murder.

Throckmorton's funeral was held at Cathedral Church of the Advent. He was interred at Oak Hill Cemetery and his grave is prominently marked by a monument constructed by the Muldoon Monument Co. of Louisville, Kentucky. That company sponsored a studioin Carrara, Italy, to produce funerary sculptures. It is thought that the figure of a woman stooping over an urn which tops Throckmorton's monument was likely imported from there.


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