Romulus Mitchell Saunders

Romulus Mitchell Saunders
Born March 3, 1791
Caswell County, North Carolina
Died April 21, 1867 (1867-04-22) (aged 76)
Raleigh, North Carolina
Nationality American
Known for US Minister to Spain (1846-1849)
Spouse(s) Rebecca Payne Carter (married 1812), Anne Hayes Johnson (married 1823)
  • William Saunders (father)
  • Hannah Mitchell Saunders (mother)

Romulus Mitchell Saunders (March 3, 1791 – April 21, 1867) was an American politician from North Carolina.

Saunders was born near Milton, Caswell County, North Carolina. He was the son of William Saunders and Hannah Mitchell Saunders, attended Hyco and Caswell Academies and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a lawyer, legislator, Speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons, U.S. Representative from 1821 to 1827, North Carolina Attorney General, North Carolina Superior Court Judge, and the unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee for Governor in 1840 (losing soundly to John Motley Morehead). President James K. Polk appointed him minister to Spain (1846–1849).

Saunders served on the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees for forty-five years. Saunders first married Rebecca Peine Carter on December 27, 1812. They had five children-James, Thomas Franklin, Camillus, Anne Pine and Rebecca. After her death, he married Anne Heyes Johnson (daughter of Supreme Court Justice William Johnson) on May 26, 1823. They had six children—Louis McLane, William Johnson, Sarah E., Margaret Madeline, Jane Claudia, and Julia A. His daughter, Jane Claudia Saunders Johnson, was the wife of Confederate General Bradley Tyler Johnson.) He died April 21, 1867, at Elmwood, his home at Raleigh, North Carolina, and is buried in the Old City Cemetery.[1] He is believed to have resided at Longwood early in his career.[2] Elmwood was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and Longwood in 1976.[3]

According to biographer H. G. Jones, "He was a man of considerable ability and talent, but he was rough-hewn in his appearance and speech, often intemperate in his statements, and intensely partisan in his associations. He was popular among the rank-and-file Democrats, but his inveterate pursuit of public office eventually diminished his influence among party leaders."

Carolina Hall, formerly known as Saunders Hall, on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill was often thought to have been named after Romulus M. Saunders. Instead, it was named for William L. Saunders.


  1. John Baxton Flowers, III & Mary Alice Hinson (July 1975). "Elmwood" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  2. John Baxton Flowers, III & Ruth Little-Stokes (April 1976). "Longwood" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  3. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert H. Jones
Attorney General of North Carolina
Succeeded by
John Reeves Jones Daniel
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Settle
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 9th congressional district

1821 1827
Succeeded by
Augustine H. Shepperd
Preceded by
William Montgomery
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th congressional district

1841 1843
Succeeded by
Archibald H. Arrington
Preceded by
James I. McKay
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district

1843 1845
Succeeded by
James C. Dobbin
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Washington Irving
U.S. Minister to Spain
Succeeded by
Daniel M. Barringer
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