Rufus Yancey McAden (1833-1889)
Orphaned as a boy and raised by maternal grandmother, Mrs.Bartlett Yancey. Graduated Wake Forest College 1853. Commissioned 4/29/1861 1st Lieutenant of NC troops CSA, 13th Infantry. Studied law and admitted to the bar in Caswell County, NC. He served in the NC legislature 1862-67; speaker of the House in 1866; retired from politics in 1867 and became president of the 1st National Bank of Charlotte, NC. He was also president of two railroad companies and president of two mills in Charlotte. McAdenville, NC was named for him. He is listed in the "Eminent & Representative Men of the Carolinas. At the time of his death, he was one of the richest men in North Carolina.
Source: Yancey Family Genealogical Database
The name Rufus Yancey McAden represents two of the oldest and most distinguished families in the Carolinas. The name of Yancey, so promtnent throughout the south, is found from Mississippi to Virginia, all of them in the foremost and honorable walks of life. The name of Yancey has from time immemorial been associated with the best lawyers of Mississippi, and William Tudor Yancey, Robert Yancey and Charles Yancey are among the prominent members of the justly celebrated bar of Virginia. Rufus Yancey McAden was born in Caswell county, N. C., March 4, 1833. He was a son of Dr. Henry McAden, the most prominent physician of the state. Mr. McAden's paternal great-grandfather was Rev. Hugh McAden, who came as a Presbyterian missionary from PhiladelphIa to North Carolina in the early days of the state. Dr. John McAden, his son, married Betsy Murphy, a sister of Archibald D. Murphy, the great North Carolina orator. Dr. Henry McAden married Frances Yancey, whose parents were Bartlett and Anne Graves Yancey. The parents of Rufus died while he was yet a boy, and our subject was adopted into the home and family of Mrs. Bartlett Yancey, his grandmother, she being a widow, where he was brought up and received the greater
part of his education. He was graduated at Wake Forest college in 1853, aged twenty, and subsequently read law under Judges Nash and Bailey. Being admitted to the bar he first located in his native county.
In 1858 he wedded Miss Mary F. Terry, daughter of Dr. B. F. Terry, of Prince Edward county, Va., and in the next year removed to Alamance county, and located at Graham. The next year he entered politics as the whig candidate for the legislature, and was defeated by thirteen votes, reducing the democratic majority some 300. In 1862 he was elected to the legislature and successively re-elected, serving until I867. In 1866 he acted as speaker of the house of representatives, defeating for this high office Col. R. H. Cowan, a distinguished and honored representative from Wilmington. As speaker of the house Mr. McAden made an excellent presiding officer. During his incumbency of the speaker's desk, Gov. Swain, upon a visit to that city, declared he had not seen such a speaker since the days of Edward Stanly.
In I867, upon his retirement from both politics and the law, Mr.McAden began a career of business prosperity unparalleled in the history of the state. In that year he was made president of the First National bank, of Charlotte, which position, by reason of his former experience as president of the bank at Graham, he was eminently qualified to fill. In the following year he associated himself with Col. A. S. Buford, a member of the great Kentucky family of that name, for the construction of the air-line railway from Charlotte to Atlanta, Col. Buford being president and he vice-president of the corporation. He also organized and constructed the Spartanburg and Asheville railway, it being through his indefatigable efforts that the road was finished. In )881 he turned his business energies in the direction of manufacturing, and erected in Gaston county one of the largest cotton mills in the state, giving employment to over 500 men.
After a life full of the largest and most beautiful benefactions to his fellow-citizens, Rufus Yancey McAden died January 29, 1889, leaving a wife and five children as the issue of a happy marriage. At the time of his death he was president of the First National bank, of Charlotte, Rresident of the Spartanburg, Union & Columbia railway, The Asheville & Spartanburg railway, the Falls of Neuse Manufacturmg company, and the McAden cotton mills. Mr. McAden was a strong man in every phase of his character. From the grandmother who brought him up from poor and youthful orphanage, he learned those characteristics of promptness, honesty, truth and industry, and through his great business career these attributes ran, sanctifymg all his transactions and crowning his life work with honor. Mr. McAden, though his life had been devoted to his successful business career, found time to acquire great erudition and personal culture, so much so that he was well posted in the general field of polite and classical literature. He was genial in his nature and true to the southern instinct of chivalry and a lavish hospitality. At the bar he was a forceful advocate, and fortified with a high order of forensic eloquence, which quality had attracted the attention of most people of education throughout the south.
Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteenth Century, Volume II, Edward Mc Crady, Samuel A'Court Ashe (1892) at 199-201.
See also: Sketches of Prominent Living North Carolinians, Jerome Dowd (1888) at 299-301.
Funeral of Mr. McAden
The Services Attended by a Large Concourse of People--At Rest in Elmwood.
The funeral services over the body of the late Rufus Y. McAden were conducted at 3 o'clock this afternoon from his late residence in the First National Bank building. The day was gloomy, with a drizzling rain descending, yet a great crowd of people gathered to pay the last respect to the memory of the honored dead. The residence was thronged, and crowds stood outside in the street and on the sidewalk while the services were in progress. The body had been arranged for burial by Mr. E.L. Cobb, funeral director, and reposed in an elegant broadcloth draped casket. Flowers were heaped upon the casket and arranged around the room, making one of the most elaborate floral displays that has ever been known in the city. The casket rested upon a pair of handsomely carved pedastals.
The services were conducted by Dr. A.W. Miller, or the First Presbyterian church, in a most impressive manner, and at the conclusion the body was escorted to Elmwood cemetery and consigned to its last rest. The large attendance at the funeral evidenced in a striking manner the esteem in which the deceased was held by the people of Charlotte.
Mr. S.A. Cohen, Col. Jno. L. Brown, Col. Wm. R. Myers, Col. R.M. Oates, Gen. R. Barringer, Mr. H.G. Springs, Mr. M.P. Pegram, Mr. J.R. Holland, Capt. A.G. Brenizer and Capt. S.B. Alexander acted as pall-bearers. The Board of Aldermen, headed by Mayor McDowell, attended the funeral in a body.
A Tribute from the Operatives
At a largely attended meeting of the operatives of the McAden Mills, the following resolutions of respect to the memory of the late Col. R.Y. McAden were passed:
Resolved, That the citizens of McAdensville have heard with profound sorrow of the death of Hon. Rufus Yancey McAden, the founder of McAdensville, and late president and owner of the McAden Mills.
Resolved, That in mass meeting assembled we desired to put on record our admiration and respect for the deceased, and testify publicly to the kind, considerate and courteous treatment by which he won our affection and esteem.
Resolved, That not only the town of McAdensville, but the county of Gaston, has lost its greatest benefactor; the city of Charlotte, by common consent, its ablest financier, and the State at large one of its brightest intellects.
Resolved, That we tender our sympathy to his family, and request the Charlotte and Gaston county papers to publish these resolutions.
Rufus Yancey McAden
One of Charlotte's Most Prominent and Influential Men Passes Away after a Long and Painful Sickness.
Hon. Rufus Y. McAden is dead. His death occurred at his home in this city, last night, at 11 o'clock, the ending of a long and painful attack of sickness. He was stricken down about twelve months ago with an attack of Brights disease, from which he never recovered, although at one time last fail he had so far improved as to be able to walk out on the streets. It was thought then that he had mastered the disease and would soon be himself again, but these hopes were blasted, for he experienced a relapse that ended in his death.
Mr. McAden was in his 56th year, and no man was more prominent in the affairs of the city than he was. He was born in Caswell county, and moved to Charlotte in 1867, since which time he has been thoroughly identified with the people of this section. He started in life a poor boy, but being endowed with an energy and determination of purpose, he worked his way up successfully, and by his own exertions amassed a comfortable fortune. He was president of the First National Bank for 23 years, and built up one of the finest and most extensive milling properties in the South--the McAden Mills, at Lowell. His business sagacity was remarkable, and he made a success of everything to which he turned his hand. During his lifetime, he filled many positions of public trust, and served in each and all with signal ability. He was a member of the State Convention in 1861, and served as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1866, in which capacity he won a most enviable reputation.
Mr. McAden was a great railroad builder and was one of the leading spirits in the construction of the Air Line road. He conceived the idea for the construction of the Asheville & Spartanburg road, and the building of that road is a monument to his energy and enterprise. He was truly a valuable citizen. He was a kind and genial companion, a true friend, and a good man in all the relations of life. The death of such a man can only be looked upon as in the light of a public calamity. Our city will miss him and our State will miss him.
Mr. McAden was a member of the present board of aldermen, and a meeting of the board will be held at 4 o'clock this afternoon to pass resolutions of respect to his memory.
The funeral services will be conducted from the residence, in the First National Bank building, at 3 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. The friends and acquaintances are invited to attend.
January 26, 1889
1860 United States Federal Census
Name: R Y McAden
Age in 1860: 27
Birth Year: abt 1833
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1860: Alamance, North Carolina
Post Office: Graham
Household Members: Name Age
R Y McAden 27
Mary McAden 20
Benj McAden 9/12
1870 United States Federal Census
Name: Rufus Y McAden
Birth Year: abt 1834
Age in 1870: 36
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1870: Charlotte City Ward 3, Mecklenburg, North Carolina
Post Office: Charlotte
Household Members: Name Age
Rufus Y McAden 36
Mary F McAden 28
Benjamin McAden 10
George S McAden 8
Giley M McAden 4
Mary McAden 2
Bartlett McAden 38
John H McAden 34
Abram Graves 30
Caroline White 21
Katie McHam 18
1880 United States Federal Census
Name: Rufus Y. McAden
Home in 1880: Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina
Estimated birth year: abt 1833
Birthplace: North Carolina
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse's name: Mary T.
Father's birthplace: North Carolina
Mother's birthplace: North Carolina
Marital Status: Married
Household Members: Name Age
Rufus Y. McAden 47
Mary T. McAden 40
Benjamin T. McAden 20
George S. McAden 18
Virginia Y. McAden 16
Giles M. McAden 14
Mary T. McAden 12
Henry McAden 8
Lucy McAden 6
Benjamin F. Terry 72
Lucy P. Terry 65
Caroline White 65
Abram Graves 35
Emily Smith 50