Family moved to GA shortly after birth. He grew up in Jasper County. Was school teacher in Madison, established Lumpkin Male Academy. During Civil War, at request of governor ran "Kirksey Salt Works" in Ochlochnee Bay in Florida with 50-300 (sources differ) slaves. Clerk of superior court and inferior court off and on from 1858 till 1866. He was a justice of the peace from 1877 thru 1889.