FL-GenWeb Digital Library and Archives
Dixie Co. Biographies
Cottrell, Eugene L.
Author: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923, Vol. III pg.22
COTTRELL, EUGENE L., an honored citizen residing at Old Town, Dixie
County, formerly included in Lafayette County, is a native son of Florida, a
scion of an old and prominent Southern family of ancient French lineage, and
has been successful in his constructive enterprise as an agriculturist and
stock-grower and also as a merchant. He has served in the State Senate, and
has otherwise found means to prove his civic loyalty and public spirit.
In the summer home of his parents at Cedar Keys, Florida, EUGENE L.
COTTRELL was born on the 21st of October, 1858, the youngest in a family of
four sons and six daughters. His father, JAMES LAFAYETTE COTTRELL, was born
in Virginia and died at Cedar Keys, Florida, when seventy-seven years of age,
his wife, whose maiden name was MARGARET REBECCA McQUEEN, having been born in
Lowndes County, Alabama, and having died at Cedar Keys, Florida, when sixty-
six years of age.
JAMES L. COTTRELL was a boy when he accompanied his parents on their
removal from Virginia to Georgia, and after to Alabama, where he studied law
and was admitted to the bar. In the Town of Hayneville, that state, he became
senior member of the law firm of Cottrell & Pope. JOHN EDMORE read law in
their office, was admitted to practice and became a member of the firm known
as Cottrell, Pope & Edmore. Business increased and Edmore was sent to
Montgomery as representative of this firm. J. L. COTTRELL was a leader in the
councils of the democratic party in Alabama, served in both Houses of the
State Legislature, and was at one time the presiding officer of the Alabama
Senate, besides which he represented the state in the United States Congress
in 1846. In 1854 JAMES L. COTTRELL removed to Florida, and here he became the
owner of a large landed estate in Levy and Lafayette counties, his plantation
being operated with slave labor and he having had a home at Old Time, with a
summer home at Cedar Keys. At the time of the Civil war he removed with his
family to Cuthbert, Georgia, and he was elected to the Senate from Randolph
County, Georgia. He was at the same time elected senator from Levy County and
also that senatorial district embracing Taylor and Lafayette counties,
Florida, and served the latter district twelve terms. After the war he
returned to Florida, and he gave most loyal service as a member of the State
Legislature in the reconstruction period, he having been a member of the
Senate at this time. JAMES L. COTTRELL was a courtly, dignified and scholarly
gentleman, an able lawyer and a man whose sterling character and kindly nature
gained to him the high regard of all who knew him. He was affiliated with the
Masonic fraternity. He was a leader in development and progress along both
civic and material lines, and his name merits high place on the roster of the
distinguished men of Florida.
The Cottrell family was founded in America in the Colonial days, the
original representatives having come to this country from England. The family
was one of much prominence and influence in France, where as Huguenots it
endured religious persecution that led to flight to England, where was adopted
the anglicized spelling of the name, which in France had been COTREAL.
The depressed status of the South after the close of the Civil war
caused educational advantages to be below former standards, but in this period
EUGENE L. COTTRELL attended private schools, his early education having been
acquired in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. At the age of fifteen years he
found employment as mail carrier, and while living with kinsfolk in Alabama he
there worked at the carpenter trade. He passed four years in the State of
Tennessee, and then, in 1877, returned to Cedar Keys, Florida, where for eight
years he was a clerk in the general store of C. B. ROGERS & Company.
Thereafter he there continued to be associated with the mercantile business of
the firm of Cottrell & Finlayson until 1890, when he removed to Old Town and
engaged independently in the same line of business. In the following year he
formed a partnership with WILLIAM D. FINLAYSON, and this alliance continued
more than fifteen years, the two having been successful in their mercantile
business at Old Town and also as agriculturists and stock-growers.
Like his honored father, Mr. COTTRELL has been active in the councils
and campaign activities of the democratic party in this section of Florida.
In 1901 he was state senator, as representative of the Twelfth Senatorial
District, comprising Taylor and Lafayette counties, and in 1907-9 he again
represented his district in the State Senate. He has ever been a supporter of
good government, and in the Senate he worked earnestly for the constructive
legislation that should be of benefit to the state and its people, with naught
of other official ambition. He has been liberal in his civic stewardship, and
his support is ever to be counted upon in the furthering of measures and
enterprises advanced for the general good. He was one of the organizers and
became a director of the Farmers & Merchants Bank at Trenton, and is still a
stockholder in the same. Mr. COTTRELL has large land holdings in the vicinity
of Old Town. He was a Knight of Pythias at Cedar Keys, and he and his wife
hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
The first wife of Mr. COTTRELL is survived by two sons, JAMES E. and
WILLIAM WESLEY, both residents of Old Town. In 1903 Mr. COTTRELL married Miss
PAULINE HIGHTOWER, who was born in Leon County, Florida, a daughter of SAMUEL
and KATE HIGHTOWER, her father having been a farmer in Leon and Jefferson
counties and having after engaged in the mercantile business in the City of
Tallahassee, where his death occurred. Mr. and Mrs. COTTRELL have four
children; R. FLETCHER, JOSEPH M., DAVID and WARNER.
Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn
©2016 Fran Smith
This page presented August 14, 2010