A Look Back at Thomas Clifton Almon, Part 1
Fewer and fewer of us have personal memories of the man who served as probate judge of Morgan County longer than any other.
He was already solidly entrenched in this office before I was born. He continued to serve until near the end of 1970.
Judge T.C. (Cliff) Almon was a political kingmaker. Throughout his lengthy service, he was never seriously challenged when he stood for another term. Men – and in his day, men exclusively furnished candidates for legislative office – sought his backing. Without it, their chances for election were poor.
I can remember being in his office when my dad’s will was being probated late in 1964. Although it was irrelevant to the business at hand, he said he had not supported Bill Stewart Sr., when he sought a third legislative term in 1950. That meant the end of Rep. Stewart’s legislative service.
The following is a carefully researched biography of this “grand old man” of Morgan County politics. I hope it will be useful to students, teachers and others interested in a better understanding of local politics.
Oct. 16,1892—David Calvin Almon and Annie Lou Miller Almon announce the birth of a son whom they have named Thomas Clifton. Cliff, as he would be called, was the second son. George, 11, at the time of the 1900 census, had been the Almons’ firstborn, coming on the scene in 1890. They would subsequently have two daughters.) The Almons are residents of Moulton. Both parents are identified as being 33. The mother of the children had been born in Mississippi.
June 1, 1900—At the time of this first census of the new century, Cliff was a boy of 8. His brother George and sisters, Helen, 5, and Christine, 2, rounded out the family of Mr. and Mrs. David Almon.
June 1, 1903—Cliff Almon, age 10, moves with his parents, brother, and sisters from Moulton to Decatur.
It was a foregone assumption that Cliff Almon would follow the example of his father and become a lawyer. The culmination of his studies in elementary and high school in Decatur and then at the University of Alabama came in 1917.
Sept. 1, 1915—Cliff Almon, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Almon, has enrolled at the State University School of Law. He is taking a three-year course in which his professors will teach him about constitutional law, contracts, general common law, property, torts and other subjects. Cliff has been immersed in the law since childhood, so he has a head start on his fellow students.
May 27, 1917—Commencement exercises at the University of Alabama began this morning with the commencement sermon. Simple closing activities will be held during the following three days, including the senior law class day tomorrow.
May 28, 1917—Degrees were conferred to graduates of the different colleges into which the State University is divided this morning. Forty-eight young men were awarded law degrees. Heading the list was Morgan County’s own Thomas Clifton Almon who, it is unanimously agreed upon, has a great career ahead of him.
Jan. 5, 1918—With the U.S. declaring war against the Axis powers in what is being identified as the “Great War,” Cliff Almon, age 25, today enlisted in the U.S. Army. He will have his basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. He will be a member of the 52nd infantry.
He was rapidly promoted to private first class.
June 30, 1918—Cliff Almon, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Almon, has completed officer candidate school and is now Lt. Almon.
When the armistice is signed late during the coming fall, Lt. Almon is mustered out with an honorable discharge. Lt. Almon’s uncle was a member of the armed forces during the Spanish-American War.
June 1, 1920—At the time of the 1920 census, Thomas Clifton (T.C.) Almon was living at home with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. David C. Almon, in a town which was temporarily called “Albany,” i.e. New Decatur. It was soon made part of one Decatur. At 26, Cliff was still unmarried, but this would change soon. Cliff’s three siblings – his brother George, 20, and sisters Annie, 19, and Christine, 14, were also still living at home.