[Based on a biography from the book
"Men of Mark in Georgia", written in 1912]
The family name of ENGLISH is one of the most ancient that we have. It was derived
from a tribe of Angli who lived on the Welsh border in the
early days of Great Britain, and English came to be a tribal
name. In the dispersion of tribes, many members of this tribe
took other names, while a few adhered to the original name.
Captain Isaac Buckingham English,
one of the most prominent and highly esteemed citizens of
Macon, Georgia, was born in Delaware, on May 2, 1836, and
died at this home in Macon on January 22, 1908. He was descended
also from Thomas Buckingham who was the founder of the town
of Milford, Connecticut, the colony that he arrived to from
England in 1639. The Connecticut family has long been prominent
in that State, and has furnished it with at least one Governor.
The English family also goes back to the Colonial period in
Delaware. Mrs. English kept the Buckingham record in a family
Bible that goes back to 1703
Educated in the common
schools of Smyrna, Delaware, Capt. I. B. English got
his early training along mercantile lines. In 1860 as a young
man of twenty-four he migrated to Macon, Georgia. He was so
attached to his adopted state that when the outbreak of the
Civil War occurred, he enlisted in the Confederate Army notwithstanding
the fact that his native State adhered to the Federal side.
He was a member of the Macon Volunteers, later known as Company
B, second Georgia Battalion, Wright's Brigade. He served the
entire four years as a private although he earned time and
again promotions of which he always refused.
At the Battle of Fredericksburg,
Virginia, Capt. I. B. English saved one of his fellow comrades
and this began a relationship that lasted through his life.
James H. Campbell was wounded on the battlefield and Capt.
English carried him off the field to a safe place. Later in
life these two would start a business partnership.
At the battle of Deep Bottom,
on August 17, 1864, Captain English was wounded in the hip,
and he never fully recovered from the effects of this injury
which would gave him pain for the balance of his life. Captain
Ripley, the commanding the company during that fight, wrote
on June 27, 1906, the following letter to Captain English:
"Personally it affords a great deal
of pleasure to reply to your letter of the 26th instant, and
as at the time officially commanding officer of "Company
B" Second Georgia Battalion (Wright's Brigade), to certify
that you were desperately wounded at the battle of Fuzzle's
Mill (or Deep Bottom) on August 17, 1864; that your gallant
conduct on that occasion was observed by your comrades, and
on our return to camp our company, using the privilege granted
by the Secretary of War, by unanimous consent had your name
placed on the "Roll of Honor." At the time I officially
notified you of this fact, and regret the original has been
lost. If I remember correctly, you were the only man that
the Macon Volunteers ever so honored, it being very difficult
to decide among so many brave and gallant men any one conspicuously
above his comrades, and our company considered it an honor
not lightly conferred."
The fine qualities of Capt. I.
B. English as a soldier may be judged from the fact that he
was the only member of the company that his comrades were
ever willing to place upon the Roll of Honor. Another fact
that is worthy of noting is that when he was wounded, he was
greeted by General Lee personally, who wished him a safe recovery.
At the close of the War, Capt.
I. B. English returned to Macon and became a clerk for the
old dry goods firm of J. B. Ross and Company. By 1873 he engaged
in a business with his old war comrade, James H. Campbell,
under the firm name of Campbell and English, and in 1877 he
became a member of the cotton firm of English, Huguenin and
Company, Colonel E. D. Huguenin, one of the most prominent
men of that day, being his partner. Colonel Huguenin was forced
to retire in 1886 for health reasons, and the firm of I. B.
English and Company was then formed, consisting of Mr. I.
B. English, J. M. Johnston and August Warnke. Later R. W.
Johnston purchased the interest of August Warnke, and the
firm became English, Johnston and Company.
Captain English established the
first cotton compress in Macon, and the second in the State,
which was conducted very successfully, and later merged in
the Atlantic Compress Company. He was considered a loyal citizen.
In the Chamber of Commerce, and in every other organization
calculated to build up the welfare of the community, he was
a leader. Though in politics he was always a staunch Democrat
and a man of great public spirit, he was never a seeker after
Home was an important part of life for Capt. I. B.
English, so much so that he didn't venture into the public
and club life often. He planned and built a beautiful home
in Vineville --Oak Haven Avenue being named for his place.
The most prominent trait in his character was a rigid integrity.
In speaking of this, Colonel Huguenin, his business partner
for many years, said on the day after his death, that he was
the straightest man in his transactions he had ever known.
Captain English did not neglect the higher things of life.
He was a communicant of the Episcopal Church, and a lover
of good reading, especially of poetry, and occasionally wrote
for his own pleasure verses, although these were never published.
Capt. English was married to Miss Mary H. Munnerlyn, the daughter
of Colonel Charles J. Munnerly, of Decatur Co., GA., who was
said to be one of the most patriotic men who ever served Georgia.
At the time of death of Capt. Isaac B. English, surviving
him were his wife Mary, and four children from this marriage:
Mrs. Thomas Hartley Hall, I. B. English, Junior, Mrs. Walter
Hammond Beeks, and Miss Mary M. English.