About Justice Pelham Jones Merrill
Pelham Jones Merrill, former Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court of Alabama, was born in Heflin, Cleburne County,
Alabama, December 1, 1907, the son of Lilla Belle (Jones) Merrill
and Walter Benjamin Merrill. His father was a lawyer, state
legislator, and Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit.
Justice Merrill grew up in Heflin and graduated from high school
He attended the University of Alabama and graduated from that
institution at the age of 18, after which he taught and coached for
Justice Merrill obtained his law degree from the University of
Alabama in 1934 and returned to Heflin to practice law.
He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1936 and
became very involved in the Alabama Democratic Party at the State
With the advent of World War II, Merrill volunteered for service
in the Air Corps and served until 1946; he remained in the Air
Force Reserve until he retired with the rank of colonel in
Following his discharge, Merrill again was elected to represent
Cleburne County in the Alabama House of Representatives. Twice he
was elected to serve the House as Speaker Pro-Tem. The press
honored him as the "Most Resourceful Member" for the 1947 session
and as the "Most Effective Member" for the 1951 session. He gave up
his legislative career when he was elected an associate justice of
the Alabama Supreme Court in 1952. He subsequently was re-elected
for consecutive terms until his retirement in 1976.
Judge Merrill was active in striving for improvement in the
judicial system in Alabama. Judge Merrill was a member of the
American Bar Association, the Alabama Judicature Society, the
Alabama State Bar, and the Alabama Law Institute.
Justice Merrill was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor
in 1978. He is now deceased.