Son of Major William A. Saunders and Emeline Motley Saunders. He was married to Blanche Hoskins Saunders. He was a member of the Virginia State Senate from 1908 to 1918. He was elected Secretary of State of Virginia. He served as Attorney-General of Virginia from 1918 to 1934. He was a member of the Eagles, Elks, Knights of Pythias and Odd Fellows.