Cabaniss Family (Alabama and Virginia)

The Cabaniss family in America is descended from Henri Cabaniss of Lasalle, France, a French Huguenot who arrived in North America in 1688, and who settled in Manakin Town (near Richmond), in Goochland County, Virginia, in 1700. The Cabaniss men who attended the University of Virginia were third- and fourth-generation descendants of Henri; Charles James Cabaniss was the third cousin of Septimus Douglass Cabaniss, Sr., and the third cousin once removed of Charles Eugene Cabaniss and Septimus Douglass Cabaniss, Jr.

Charles James Cabaniss (22 Apr. 1822-29 June 1901) was the son of Dr. John Cabaniss (d.1822), of Nottoway County, VA, and his wife, Minerva Hicks (d.1822). He attended the University of Virginia in session 16 (1839-1840). Charles practiced law and was engaged in farming at Darvills in Dinwiddie County, VA. He married Virginia E. Heath (1825-1901), and the couple had the following children: Bettina, Frederick W., Charles, Robert, Frank Rives, John Heath, Anna, and Sarah “Sadie” Heath Cabaniss. Charles J. and Virginia Cabaniss are buried in Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg, VA.

His cousin, Septimus Douglass Cabaniss (18 Dec. 1815-30 Mar. 1889), was the son of Charles Cabaniss (1773-1825) and his wife Lucy Ingram (1775-1827), who moved from Lunenberg County, VA to Madison County, AL in 1810. Septimus attended the University of Virginia in sessions 9-11 (1832-1835), and returned to Huntsville to read law with a local attorney. He passed the Alabama Bar in 1838 and practiced law, primarily dealing with estates, in Huntsville until his death. In addition to practicing as a lawyer, he was also an active Democrat. During the Civil War he served the Confederacy as an Alabama state legislator from 1861-1863, and also as a Colonel in the Intelligence Division of the Confederacy.

Septimus married Virginia A Shepherd (1824-1907); they had 12 children but only 6 lived to adulthood. These surviving children were Charles Eugene (see below), Lucy, Septimus Douglas, Jr. (see below), Frances “Fanny” S., William M., and James Budd Cabaniss. (Harris) Septimus and Virginia Cabaniss were buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, AL.

Charles Eugene Cabaniss (1 Mar. 1846-28 Aug. 1907), son of Septimus and Virginia, attended U.Va. in session 43 (1866-1867), then attended Sewanee University where he studied theology. He became an Episcopal minister and served as rector of several churches in several states — Alabama, Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

On 12 June 1882, he married Lucy Anne Spotswood (1862-1938), with whom he had three children, Robert Bolling, Mary, and Elizabeth Cabaniss. He died while serving two Episcopal congregations in Georgetown, SC, and is buried in the All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery, Pawley’s Island, SC. Lucy lived with her son Robert and daughter Elizabeth in Savannah, GA for the rest of her life, and is buried in Bonaventure Cemetery in that city.

Charles E.’s brother, Septimus Douglass Cabaniss, Jr. (26 Mar. 1853-9 May 1929), attended U.Va. in session 49 (1872-1873). In the 1900 Census, he is listed as a “common laborer” in Snohomish, WA. In 1903, he married Katherine “Kate” Darst (ca. 1873-1945); the couple had no children. In the 1910 U.S. Census, he is listed as a schoolteacher, again in Snohomish. By 1920, the couple had moved to Issaquah in King County, WA, where Katherine was teaching in the public schools, and in 1929, Septimus Jr. died in Kirkland, WA. He and Katherine are buried in the Kirkland Cemetery, in Kirkland.


  • 1850-1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc.
  • Carpenter, Stephen. “Carpenters: Virginia to Texas, and all points in between.” [database online] 2007. (Accessed 8/25/2011).
    College of William and Mary. “Cabaniss Family Papers, 1800-1837, Mss. 39.1 C11.”
  • [database online] (Accessed 8/25/2011).
  • [Death Certificates of Septimus D. and Katherine D. Cabaniss.] Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960. [database online] (Accessed 8/26/2011).
  • Harris, Merrily A., “Guide to the S.D. Cabaniss Papers MSS.0252.” University of Alabama Library, 2007. (Accessed 8/25/2011). The 15,000-page collection of documents is available in full text at this site.
  • Tombstones of the Cabaniss family, in Alabama, South Carolina, and Washington State. (Accessed 8/25/2011).
  • University of Virginia. “Alumni notes.” Alumni Bulletin. Third series. v.1, no.1 (Jan. 1908), p. 398-399.
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