Rives, Alexander (1806 VA - 1885 VA)

Rives, Alexander

Rives, Alexander


Father: Robert Rives
Mother: Margaret Cabell

Birth: 17 Jun 1806, Oak Ridge, Nelson County, Virginia
Birth Source:

Death: 17 Sep 1885, Charlottesville, Virginia
Death Source: Obituary

Spouse1: Isabella Bachem Wydown, m. 4 Apr 1829, Albermarle County, Virginia
Spouse2: Sallie Kearsley Watson, m. 29 May 1862, Nelson County, Virginia


Children of Alexander Rives and Isabella Bachem Wydown:
  1. Eliza Wydown Rives, b. 31 Jan 1830, m. M. Schele De Vere
  2. Margaret Cabell Rives, b. 5 Sep 1831, d. 26 Sep 1867
  3. Lucy Brown Rives, b. 6 Jan 1834, m. M. Schele De Verre
  4. Isabella Rives, b. 12 Jan 1836
  5. Alexander Rives, b. 24 Dec 1837, d. 1 May 1876
  6. Robert Rives, b. 25 Nov 1839
  7. Charles Meriwether Rives, b. 18 Sep 1841, d. 3 Jun 1864
  8. Emma Estelle Rives, b. 3 Nov 1843
  9. Adela Bertha Rives, b. 20 Mar 1846
  10. Francis William Rives, b. 4 Mar 1868

Judge Alexander Rives was born at Oak Ridge, Nelson county, Virginia, June 17, 1806; attended Hampden-Sidney College, 1821-25; and was graduated from the University of Virginia in 1828, shortly thereafter declining an appointment preferred him of a professorship at Washington College. On April 4, 1829, he married, 1st, Isabella Bachem Wydown, daughter of Rev. Samuel Wydown, an Episcopalian minister and native of England.
"In early youth Mr. Rives was distinguished for his capacity and rare gifts, which ripened with advancing years and bore abundant fruit. He was an able and distinguished lawyer, an oft-honored representative of Albemarle county in the Legislature and Senate of the State, in which bodies he was always an influential member. Those who served with him well remember his flashing eloquence and brilliant oratory."
"During Jackson's administration and for some years after, Albemarle was a doubtful county. Gilmer and Southall were the Whig candidates, Randolph and Rives the Democratic, and each party was successful almost alternately, an election for the House of Delegates occurring every year. Mr. Rives, like his brother, William, was a Democrat until 1840, then a Conservative, and from 1844 to 1861 a Whig. He was a member of the State Convention of 1850-1851; member of the House of Delegates in 1852-3, etc., and of the State Senate in 1859-61. He was a strong Union man and bitterly opposed to secession.
"His first wife died at 'Carlton,' March 24, 1861. He married (second), May 29, 1862, Sallie Kearsley Watson, daughter of Dr. George Watson, of Richmond, Va. He was the rector of the University of Virginia and a member of the Board of Visitors, 1865-6; appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, May, 1866, and was elected Dec. 19, 1866. After the war he acted for a time with the Conservative party, and then with the Republicans; was the candidate of the latter party in 1870 for representative of this district in the United States Congress, but was defeated by Hon. R. T. W. Duke.
"Judge Rives was appointed by President Grant, Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, and continued in that office until his death.
"After his first marriage he resided in Charlottesville until 1855; then at his seat, 'Carlton', on Monticello, until 1873; and then at his home, 'Eastbourne Terrace,' at Charlottesville, where he died, September 17, 1885, in his 80th year. His obituary in the Southern Churchman, October 8, 1885, says:
"'He became a member of the Episcopal Church thirty-five years ago, and was a consistent Christian, carrying into his daily life the principles he professed. He never spoke in harsh or cruel terms to anyone. He was cast in too noble a mould to harbor ill-will or resentment. He was kind, courteous, and forbearing to all. A beautiful example to those who shared his intimate acquaintance'."

The Baltimore Sun, 18 Sep 1885
Death of Ex-Judge Rives.
[Special Dispatch to the Baltimore Sun.]
CHARLOTTESVILLE. VA., Sept. 17. - Ex-Judge Alexander Rives died here today at 10 o'clock, at the advanced age of 79 years. He was born in Nelson county, and was a brother of the late Hon. Wm. C. Rives who represented this government at the Court of France and Virginia of the United States Senate. Judge Rives was a whig, and as such was a member of the Virginia Senate before the war, as well as a member of the Virginia Court of Appeals. After the war he was the candidate of the conservative for the convention, (known as the Underwood Convention,) but was defeated by a colored man. In 1870 he ran for Congress in this district as a republican against the Hon. R. T. W. Duke, and was defeated. He was afterwards appointed United States district judge, but some pears ago he retired, and the Hon. John Paul was appointed in his stead. He was one of the most graceful and polished of men.

Research Notes


Marriage1:  Virginia, Compiled Marriages, 1740-1850 (Ancestry)
Marriage2:  Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940 (Ancestry)
Death:        The Baltimore Sun, 18 Sep 1885

1830 Census:  Albemarle County, Virginia
1840 Census:  Albemarle County, Virginia
1850 Census:  Albemarle County, Virginia
1860 Census:  Albemarle County, Virginia
1870 Census:  Albemarle County, Virginia
1880 Census:  Albemarle County, Virginia