Mar 24 2008

Reuben Saffold II

Published by

Son of Reuben and Sarah (Bird) Saffold; nephew of William Saffold and Elizabeth Saffold. Lawyer and Chief Justice Alabama Supreme Court, was born September 4, 1788, in Wilkes County, Georgia and died in Dallas County, Alabama.

Reuben Saffold

In June, 1813, he removed to Jackson, Clarke County, conducted thence by General Samuel Dale, the picturesque frontier guide and Indian fighter. Soon after the Creek Indian wars of 1813-14 broke out, Reuben at once became actively engaged in the protection of the frontier. Holding at that time the rank of colonel in the militia, he nevertheless raised a company of sixty volunteers, and, as their captain, scoured the thickets from the mouth to the head of the Perdido River, upon which occasion several Indians were killed, while others were driven to more remote parts of Florida. But before he made his tour he had been a participant, as a private, in the battle of Burnt Corn, and was one of those who fought bravely and retreated among the last.

After the establishment of peace, he resumed the practice of law in Jackson. In 1818 he was a member, from Clarke County, of the legislature of Mississippi Territory and of the convention in Huntsville, July 5, 1819, which framed the first constitution for the State of Alabama. He was elected as judge of a second circuit court, thereby being ex-officio a member of the state Supreme Court.

State House, Old Cahawba

In 1832, when a separate court of last resort was organized, he was chosen as one of the three members of the Supreme Court, and in 1835 he was appointed to the role of Chief Justice upon the resignation of his predecessor, Abner Lipscomb. Chief Justice Saffold resigned his position in 1836 and resumed the practice of law, first in Mobile and later in Dallas County. Preferring to remain in private practice, he declined a position as associate justice on the Supreme Court offered to him in 1843 by Governor Benjamin Fitzpatrick.

Reuben would have worked with the federal courts as well, and this map shows how the Federal Courts were structured in his day.

In the culture and economy of that day, owning slaves was common. Census records show that Reuben’s household included 17 slaves in 1820. His descendants today could wish this were not the case, but we cannot choose the history we would prefer. We must accept the history that is. Pickett’s History of Alabama records that “as a master, he was kind, merciful, and just.” One can hope this was so, but it was regardless of any measure of mercy an evil institution.

Ruins of Old Cahawba

In 1819 Reuben had moved to Dallas County, Cahawba being the state capital at the time, but after resigning as Chief Justice in 1836, he moved Mobile. A few years after he returned to “Belvoir” his former home, a few miles northward from, and there resumed the proactive of law, having an office on his own grounds. In 1843, Governor Fitzpatrick tendered him the position as Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but he declined the honor.

Colonel Albert James Pickett, author of the state’s early history, said of Judge Saffold, “The reports of the Supreme Court of Alabama are enduring memorials of his strength of mind, patient investigation, deep research, and profound learning.” He is remembered for being firm and dignified but not austere. Whenever he presided entire order and decorum prevailed, and he was admired and respected by both clients and attorneys. Such, indeed, was his reputation throughout the state that his retirement from the bench was a source of public regret.


On April 1, 1811, Reuben married, in Morgan County, Georgia, Mary Phillips, daughter of Colonel Joseph and Jane (Walker) Phillips, who lived in Morgan County, Georgia. Mary was the granddaughter of Joseph Phillips, a minute man in the Revolutionary command of Colonel Elijah Clarke, in Georgia, and who received in 1785, from the State of Georgia, a grant of 550 acres of land in Washington County for his services.

Judge Saffold’s political opinions, although he never sought political office and engaged but little in the contests of the time, were well known. He was a Democrat. He was warmly devoted to the interest of the South. The firm friend of Texan independence, he rejoiced in her annexation to the United States.

Reuben's Armchair

Reuben’s children were: (1) Joseph Phillips, (2) William Bird, lawyer and unmarried, (3) Addison Jackson, (4) Jane Elizabeth m. Dr. James Berney, (5) Mary Anne m. Colonel J. M. Bolling, (6) Reuben Washington, physician in the battle of Selma, April, 1865, died July, 1892 at Summerfield, Dallas County, m. Mary Pouncey, (7) Zeno Ray, (8) Sarah Caroline (or Caroline Sarah ?) (9) Benjamin Franklin m. Mary Ellen Brown, (10) Milton Jefferson , (11) Caroline Sarah, m. Dr. P. N. Cilley, and (2) Elizabeth Evelyn.

Judge Saffold died of a stroke on the 15th of February 1847. He is believed to be buried at Belvoir, which survives to this day. Mrs. Saffold is buried at Belvoir, a few miles Northward of Pleasant Hill, Alabama.

The following death notice came from THE WATCHMAN, a newspaper in Lowndes County, AL during the 1800’s.

(July 13, 1860): Died on the evening of the 25th ult., at her residence in Dallas County, MRS. MARY SAFFOLD, widow of the late HON. REUBEN SAFFOLD, in the 67th year of her age.

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Reuben Saffold II”

  1. […] More about the Saffold family can be found at Saffold Roots […]

  2. Claudiaon 22 Jan 2014 at 1:16 pm

    My 3rd great grandfather, Joseph Graham, purchased land in Dallas County, AL with Reuben Saffold on 2/1/1826.

    I’m would appreciate ANY link you might could share between these two as we are trying to get our family history back further. My 2nd great grandfather, also a Joseph Graham, is listed as being born in Georgia in 1803. It’s my understanding the Reuben Saffold was also from Georgia.

  3. Claudia Mullison 15 Jan 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I have a Land Record where a Joseph Graham (my great-great grandfather) and a Reuben Saffold purchased land together (80.25 acres) on 01 Feb 1826. Do you have any more information about the link between these two?

  4. Julie Lyonson 11 Jan 2010 at 7:51 pm


    I live in Dalla County and have worked with the Old Cahawba Araeological Park for the last 20 years and am now working with the newly formed Cahaba Foundation Inc.

    We are establishing a new Geneological society focused on finding and researching families of the old town of Cahawba. We are very familiar with Rueben Saffold and family in Cahawba and would love to connect with his descendants. We are working on establishing family files throughout the town’s history and working with the families
    At present we have over 300 families on file and growing.

    I was delighted to find your website as well as your Family Society out of Georgia. I hope that we can communicate and work together on putting the family puzzle pieces together with you all.

    You can contact me at this email or my personal email is or feel free to call me at 334-872-9874.

    Julie Lyons
    Cahaba Foundation
    Descendants Project

  5. Arthur Colliason 10 Sep 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Restoration of Belvoir is complete. You are welcome to come by and visit. We will be in residence there from Jan- April 2010. Phone number in Pleasant Hill is 334-874-4686. or E-mail us at

  6. Rhea Prestonon 15 Aug 2009 at 6:16 pm

    My Grandmother was Evelyn Saffold Holt. Her Great Grandfather was Reuben Saffold II. I currently reside in Columbia, SC.

  7. Evelyn Saffold Whiteon 12 Jul 2009 at 5:35 am

    This is really great! It is wonderful to see some old friends on here. Please post my email, I would love to hear from any of you. Vivian….PLEASE write. I’ve lost a working address for you.

  8. Vivian Price Saffoldon 04 Mar 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I am very impressed with what you have done with the site, Guy. Having a place where stories can be shared is a wonderful resource. Not a day goes by that I don’t get an email from someone researching Saffolds. I definitely will spread the word about your site.

  9. Guyon 04 Mar 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks, Vivian. I’ve corrected the entry. So much less here than what you’ve done! I always have great ambitions to gather data and write articles and then reality of life intervenes with the next air flight and meeting. Thanks for reading here! — Guy

  10. Vivian Price Saffoldon 04 Mar 2009 at 4:15 pm

    The 7th child of Reuben Saffold and Mary Evelyn Phillips was Zeno Ray (not Roy) Saffold. The name Ray Phillips Saffold began with with the son of Benjamin Franklin Saffold, 9th child of Reuben and Mary Evelyn. The name continued for four more generations. Is there documentation for the cause of death of Reuben Saffold?

  11. Jane Pairon 14 Jan 2009 at 1:17 am

    I am the great great great granddaughter of Jane Saffold, daughter of Reuben Saffold, II. I have a painting of Jane given to me by my great grandmother Jean Saffold Rousseau Ledyard. The back of the portrait lists some interesting family information. I am so happy to have found this site! Jane Pair

  12. Cal Cillayon 09 Jul 2008 at 9:26 pm

    The 11th child of Reuben SAFFOLD, II and his wife Mary PHILLIPS is Caroline Sarah SAFFOLD, born 28 Jan 1830, died 17 Jun 1857. You might write an article based on information about her and her three children that is included in an entry for her husband Dr. Philip Noble CILLEY in the book by Annie M. Cilley, “The Cilley Family Roots in New England: A Genealogical Workbook,” Vol II (2004, Higginson Book Company), pp 132-133. I should be happy to email an MS Word file running to about 30 printed pages and including additional Internet items, but I don’t see where it should be sent. On 15 Mar 2008 I posted an extract about Dr. CILLEY in my MySpace blog, but the shabby MySpace software is not letting me access it today; I regret not having a short version for you. Cal Cilley (ccillay –at

  13. Jody McKeeon 27 Jun 2008 at 4:03 am

    I live in a house that William Saffold built in 1865. His father Bird gave he and his sister Sarah over 4000 acres in Guadalupe County, Seguin, Texas. William built a Dam, had a ferry, a store and a mill.
    We sure would like to see a picture of this man. Also, which cementary is he buried in? What happened to his brother Robert Cade. Do you know what Sarahs husbands name was?
    Jody McKee

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply