Historical Hall of Fame: William Cabell Rives (1793-1868) was a lawyer, politician, and historian who authored several books
and served as President of the VHS
Virginia History Series
"William Cabell Rives (May 4, 1793 – April 25, 1868) was an American lawyer, politician and diplomat from Albemarle County, Virginia.
He represented Virginia as a Jackson Democrat in both the U.S. House and Senate and also served as the U.S. minister to France.
was born at "Union Hill", the estate of his grandfather, Col. William Cabell, in Amherst County, Virginia. It was located on the James
River in what is now Nelson County. His parents were Robert (1764–1845) and Margaret Cabell (c.1770–1815) Rives, and his brothers
included Alexander Rives. He was a great-uncle of Alexander Brown, author of books on the early history of Virginia and a family
history, The Cabells and their Kin (1895).
After private tutoring, Rives attended Hampden-Sydney College, followed by the College
of William and Mary. He left Williamsburg to study law with Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, and in 1814 was admitted to the bar at
Richmond. Rives began his law practice in Nelson County.
Rives' political career began by serving in the state constitutional
convention of 1816. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1817–19 for Nelson County, and again in 1822 for Albemarle County.
In 1823 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives and served from 1823 to 1829. In 1839 he was appointed by Andrew
Jackson as minister to France serving for 3 years.
Rives was the author of several books, the most important being his Life and
Times of James Madison (3 vols., Boston, 1859–68). He served on the Board of Visitors for the University of Virginia from 1834 to
1849, and was for many years the president of the Virginia Historical Society (1847-1868). He died at "Castle Hill" in 1868 and was
buried in the family cemetery." (Quoted from Wikipedia)