Edward C. Betts
A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin
May 13, 2007
.... Virginian Charles Edward Betts was among the first to settle in the Madison area, buying his land on the first day of legal purchase, February 2, 1818, which was 39 years before the town itself was established. Charles had married Martha Cousins Chambers, sister of U. S. Senator Henry Chambers, for whom Chambers County is named.
Charles’ son Edward Chambers Betts was born in 1820 on this pre-Madison plantation, and he went on to become judge of the county court, a trustee of the University of Alabama, and an Alabama legislator for several terms, plus Alabama’s first Commissioner of Agriculture, according to Owens’ HISTORY OF ALABAMA, Volume 4.
The senior Edward Betts was educated at the University of Virginia and traveled abroad before entering the practice of law. He married Virginia Augusta Swope... Edward retired to his father’s plantation for a time, but during the Civil War he was arrested, along with Dr. Fletcher and James Harvey Pride, by the occupying Union forces as a spy. They were thought to have facilitated the Confederate attack on Madison Station in May of 1864 and were under threat of hanging. A recently-transferred commander of the Union troops that had been stationed in the area came back to intervene and had the men released before the threatened hanging. Edward eventually settled in Huntsville to live out his days.
....the generations of the Betts families of Madison and Huntsville were keystones in the legal profession of the area and literally of the world after WW2, with ties to both Auburn University and the University of Alabama. They have represented their state and its educational institutions well through the years.