Francis E. Rives

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Francis Everod Rives
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841
Preceded by John Y. Mason
Succeeded by George B. Cary
Member of the Virginia Senate from Amelia, Powhatan and Chesterfield Counties and the City of Petersburg
In office
Preceded by James Cox
Succeeded by District abolished
Member of the Virginia Senate from Isle of Wight, Prince George, Southampton, Surry and Sussex Counties
In office
Preceded by John Y. Mason
Succeeded by Joel Holleman
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Prince George County
In office
Alongside Nathaniel Colley, James Temple, Allen Temple, George Harrison
Preceded by Multi-member district before 1830
Succeeded by William Shands
Personal details
Born (1792-01-14)January 14, 1792
Prince George County, Virginia
Died December 26, 1861(1861-12-26) (aged 69)
Petersburg, Virginia
Resting place Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Occupation planter, businessman

Francis Everod Rives (January 14, 1792 – December 26, 1861) was a U.S. Representative from Virginia.

Early and Family Life[edit]

Born in Prince George County, near Petersburg, Virginia, Rives completed preparatory studies. He also served in the state militia during the War of 1812, stationed in Norfolk.[1]

Rives married Eliza Jane Pegram Rives (1802 - 1874), who survived him and bore several children, including a daughter, Mary Chieves Rives Frazer (1821-1851).

Business and Political Career[edit]

In 1818, Rives partnered with his neighbors Peyton Mason Sr. and Jr. as a slave trader. Peyton Mason and Company was a self-financed venture that bought bondspeople in Virginia and walked them further south. Rives twice drove coffles of enslaved people through Fayetteville, North Carolina and westward to Tennessee and some all the way to Natchez, Mississippi.[2]

Having thus made his fortune, Rives became a planter himself, and also sought political office. In addition to his plantations, Rives worked to building and manage railways in Virginia and North Carolina. He was a principal of the Petersburg Railroad, and sometimes accused of chincanery for his efforts to boost Petersburg at the expense of railroad competitors as well as Portsmouth, its port city rival. Petersburg elected him as its mayor, where he served from May 6, 1847, to May 5, 1848.[3]

Rives served (part-time) as member of the State house of delegates from 1821 to 1831. He then joined the Democratic party and moved up to the State senate, where he served from 1831 to 1836, and from 1848 to 1851. He may have worked as an agent for Franklin and Armfield in the 1830s.[4]

Rives was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth Congresses (March 4, 1837 – March 3, 1841). There, he served as chairman of the Committee on Elections (Twenty-sixth Congress), but declined to be a candidate for renomination.

Death and legacy[edit]

Francis Rives died in Petersburg, on December 26, 1861, and was interred in the city's Blandford Cemetery.[5]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 1837; Rives was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 80.61% of the vote, defeating fellow Democrat William B. Goodwyn.
  • 1839; Rives was re-elected with 57.6% of the vote, defeating Whig James W. Pegram.


  1. ^ Calvin Schermerhorn, The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860 (Yale University Press 2015) at p. 11
  2. ^ Schermerhorn pp. 15-32
  3. ^ Schermerhorn p. 32
  4. ^ Schermerhorn p. 32
  5. ^


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Y. Mason
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
George B. Cary