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ALABAMA'S SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICES

Samuel F. Rice

A native of South Carolina, Samuel Farrow Rice graduated from South Carolina College in 1833. He read law and was admitted to the bar in 1837. The following year he moved to Talladega, Alabama, opened a law office, and edited a local newspaper.

 

In 1840 and 1841 Rice represented Talladega County in the state legislature; that body then designated him state printer, an office which he held for only a few months before returning to the practice of law. He conducted unsuccessful races for Congress in 1841, 1847, and 1851. Rice moved to Montgomery in 1852. In January of 1855 he took his seat as associate justice on the Supreme Court, having been elected by the legislature. Then in 1856, he succeeded George Goldthwaite as chief justice.

 

After resigning from the bench in 1859, Rice resumed his law practice while remaining active in state politics. That same year he was elected to the state House of Representatives from Montgomery County, and during the Civil War he represented Montgomery and Autauga counties in the state Senate. During the Reconstruction period, he joined the Republican party. After serving as a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1875, he was again elected to represent Montgomery County in the legislature the following year.

 

Samuel Farrow Rice married South Carolina native Amanda Butler in 1835. Three years after her death in 1869, he married Mary Ellen Fitzgibbon.

 

Source: Alabama Judicial System website.