Alabama Pioneers HonoredBiographiesGenealogy Information

Biography: Robert Patton McDavid born 1867 with photograph




(1867 – 1915)

Madison and Jefferson County, Alabama

Robert Patton McDavid, of Birmingham, Alabama, was born in Huntsville, Alabama, in 1867, his ancestors were residents of northern Alabama since the organization of the State. His parents were Colonel John Jackson McDavid and Marie (Patton) McDavid.

Robert attended the Normal college at Florence, Alabama, where his maternal grandfather, Robert Miller Patton, once governor of Alabama, resided. He afterwards attended the University of Alabama and graduated in the class of 1885.

Robert McDavid moved to Birmingham in 1885, and engaged in newspaper work, first with the

Evening Chronicle, and afterwards for several years with the Age- Herald. He successfully occupied all of the positions in the editorial department of that paper from police reporter to managing editor. During this time he also turned his penny in real estate with profit to himself.

Mr. McDavid moved to Montgomery in 1894, and for several years represented as correspondent in Alabama seventeen non-resident newspapers. In 1898 he was elected secretary of State over five able competitors and proved to be one of the most satisfactory of the prime-ministers of Alabama. The revenues of the office were almost doubled during his incumbency. He is said to have been the youngest man who ever held an elective State office in Alabama. Mr. McDavid returned to Birmingham at the expiration of his second term and became involved in the real estate and insurance business.

He married, in 1890, Virginia Irene Smith, (b. Aug 3, 1870 -d. Nov. 1916),daughter of Dr. Joseph Riley Smith of Birmingham. Mr. and Mrs. McDavid had five known children.

They were:

  1. Robert Patton McDavid, Jr.
  2. Mary Virginia McDavid
  3. Joseph R. Smith McDavid
  4. Charles Jordan McDavid
  5. Ned R. McDavid.

Mr. McDavid was a lieutenant-colonel on the staffs of Governors Samford and Jelks and was, for several years, a trustee of the State Normal college at Troy. Mr. McDavid is the son of Colonel John Jackson McDavid and wife, Marie Jane Patton (1840-1908) the daughter of Gov. Robert Miller Patton and wife, Jane Brahan, daughter of Gen. John Brahan, of Florence. Col. John Jackson McDavid (1833-1906) is the son of John McDavid and wife, Nancy Clayton, both originally from Ireland.

Robert Patton McDavid passed away August 20, 1915. His wife Virginia Irene (Smith) passed away Dec 3, 1916.


  1. Notable men of Alabama By Joel Campbell DuBose 1904
  2. 1880, 1920 and 1930 United States census
  3. Find A Grave Memorial# 7418802 # 95436627 # 8727976 # 8321257

This biography can be found in Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Volume VI


About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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