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History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Thomas McAdory Owen
Authors: Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
Publisher: The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921

Rufus Napoleon Rhodes, journalist, was born June 5, 1856, at Pascagoula, Jackson County, Miss., and died January 12, 1910, at Birmingham; son of Rufus Randolph and Martha (Fisher) Rhodes, the former who was for many years a prominent lawyer practicing at Washington, d: C., and at New Orleans, was a soldier in the war under Johnston and Lee and was a personal friend of Jefferson Davis. He received his education under his mother's direction; in the public schools and high school; in Stewart College; and was in the Southwestern Presbyterian University at Clarksville, Tennessee, until 1873. He also attended the grammar school of Dr. J. b: Shearer at Chester Springs, Va.; studied law under Hon. James E. Bailey at Clarksville, Trim., was admitted to the bar at nineteen; in 1876-77 served as private secretary to Mr. Bailey, then United States senator; from 1877 to 1881 was city attorney at Clarksville; was a member of the Tennessee legislature 1881-82; from 1883-87 practiced law in Chicago and in 1887 located in Birmingham. He founded the Birmingham News on March 14, 1888. He was one of the promoters of the old Commercial Club, afterward the Chamber of Commerce which he served as president. He was a democrat and served as a delegate at large from Alabama to the National Democratic Conventions of 1892 and 1904; was a member and vestryman of the Church of the Advent, Episcopal; and held military commissions from the governor of Tennessee, the governor of 11linois, the governor of Alabama and at the time of his death was brigadier general of the Ninth Congressional district. In 1906 the University of Alabama conferred upon him the LL. d: Degree. At the time of his death he was second vice president of the Associated Press. Married: June 27, 1882, at Clarksville, Tenn., to Margaret Smith, daughter of Christopher H. and Lucy (Dabney) Smith. Last residence: Birmingham.