RUFUS WILLS COBB was born in Asheville, Alabama, on February 25, 1829. He was educated at an academy in Asheville, and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1850. Cobb studied law and was admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1855. He enlisted in the Confederate States Army and was captain of Company C., 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment. After the war he moved to Shelby County, Alabama, and became a law partner of B.B. Lewis. Cobb then moved to Helena, Alabama, in 1873, was president of Central Iron Works from 1873 to 1891, and attorney for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Cobb entered politics when he was elected to the Alabama Senate in 1872, and reelected again in 1876. He was elected Alabama’s 25th governor on August 5, 1878, and was sworn into office on November 28, 1878. Cobb was reelected to a second term in 1880. During his administrations, the State Bar Association, the State Railroad, and the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for Negroes were all created. Also, the Alabama Board of Health was established, and the State Board of Dental Examiners was created. The cost of state government was reduced, and at the end of his term there was a net surplus in the Alabama Treasury. Cobb left office on December 1, 1882, and retired briefly to private life. In 1888, he was appointed a probate judge for Shelby County, and moved to Birmingham, after his term expired. Cobb died on November 26, 1913, and is buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.