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William Rufus Devane King

Whenever my friend Joe visits from Denver, we always take a road trip to Selma, Alabama, to Live Oak Cemetery, to have a photograph taken at the grave of William Rufus Devane King. Mr. King was Vice President under Franklin Pierce, and is the highest ranking Alabamian ever in the Federal Government.

Mr. King was quite ill at the time of the election, and went to Cuba to try to get well. He was actually sworn in as Vice President there ( with special permission), then came home to Alabama and died suddenly on his plantation in Dallas County. I have a copy of his Last Will and Testament. He had quite an estate.

During his healthier years, Mr. King was the confident and housemate of fellow bachelor James Buchanan, who was elected President in 1856 and is best remembered as being powerless to stop the South from leaving the Union in 1860.

Mr. King's people were from North Carolina, and I have a Devane line from the same place ( my Devane grandmother having married into my Highsmith family), so my next genealogical project will be to look into the Devane line and see just how closely I am related to this fellow Alabamian.

Some of Mr. King's china and silver is on display at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.


  1. William Rufus King was a great Alabamian! He had style and grace. I have a Alabama Heritage article on him and his beautiful French silver and Old Paris porcelain he had commissioned while living in Paris.

  2. William Rufus King was a cousin of mine. My great-grandmother was a King. I had a copy of his will also but had a teacher lose it. Is there a possibility of getting a copy from you? Makes me sick she lost it! He did have quite an estate.
    Melissa Shirley
    You may post an answer here and I will check back. Thanks

  3. I am looking for the Will now. It is in a file.


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