John Abercrombie Merritt

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John Abercrombie Merritt
Born March 16, 1864
Russell County, Alabama
Died January 29, 1937
Occupation Shipbroker, businessman
Religion Presbyterian
Spouse Mary Turner Merritt
Parents Louis M. and Elizabeth Merritt
Children Mary Elizabeth Merritt
Emma Turner Merritt
John A. Merritt, Jr.
Doris W. Merritt
Richard H. Merritt

John Abercrombie Merritt was a shipbroker and businessman.

Early life[edit]

Merritt was born in Russell County, Alabama, in 1864. His father, Lucius Manlius Merritt, was away in England seeking supplies for the Confederacy. The Merritt family came to Pensacola in July 1869 aboard the ship Mine Lizzie.[1]

The young Merritt was educated first in local schools, then at University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and the Bingham School in Mebane, North Carolina.[2]

In 1880, Merritt's father arranged for him to study law under Edward Aylesworth Perry. However, the young Merritt did not enjoy the subject and soon discontinued his law studies. Between 1880 and 1893, Merritt worked in various jobs: as a lumber tally clerk in the Bay; as a deckhand on a tug; as a lumber inspector; and for the George W. Wright Lumber Company.[3]

Business career[edit]

In January 1893, the elder Merritt died, and his son took over his shipbroker business, renaming it John A. Merritt and Company. In March 1900, Richard H. Turner, Jr. joined him as a partner. Merritt also operated the Pensacola Supply Company, a stevedoring firm.[1]

Merritt was also active in other fields of business. He served on the boards of the Citizens National Bank and the Pensacola Hotel Company. He was a partner in the Bluff Springs Gravel Company and a one-third owner of the Bayou Chico Land Company. He was also a founding member of the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and in 1923 served as its president.[1]

Political career[edit]

In 1894, Merritt was elected City Tax Assessor. In 1906, he was elected to the Escambia County Commission, and served as its chairman through 1908. In 1931, he was elected to the Pensacola City Council, the first under the new charter passed that year.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Merritt was active in a number of social organizations, including the Pensacola Country Club, YMCA, Rotary Club, Osceola Club, and Knights of the Pythias.[1]

Merritt was married to Mary Turner in 1892. The couple had ten children, five of which lived to adulthood. Merritt was buried in St. John's Cemetery.[1]