“Hon. Frances L. Pettus, attorney and counselor at law, at Selma Al. was born at Cahaba, Dallas County, Oct. 7, 1858 son of GEN.. E. W. Pettus, Hon. F. L. Pettus was reared for the most part in Selma, to which city his parents removed shortly after the Civil War. He received his early education in Selma and then sent to the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, Virginia where he remained for one year. He then in consequence of failing health returned to his home and for a short time engaged in farming. Upon recovering, he attended Davidson College, NC where he completed a classical course of two years. Leaving college in 1877, he went to Galveston, Texas where he was employed for a year in the commission house of John D. Rodgers & Co., large cotton factors. Returning to Selma he entered the law office of his father, with whom he read law and on April 9, 1879, he was admitted to the bar. He became a member of the Pettus and Dawson firm in Selma with his father GEN. E. W. Pettus and COL. N. H. R. Dawson. In 1880 he began to play an important part in the politics of the state, being elected a delegate to the state democratic convention, and he was a delegate to the state democratic convention for four subsequent state conventions, in 1882, 1884, 1886, and 1888. In 1882 he became Clerk of the Supreme Court of the State, and continued to hold that position until November, 1884., during which time he resided at Montgomery. In 1886 he was elected as a Democrat to the lower house of the Legislature to represent Dallas County and was re-elected in 1888, in 1890 and in 1892. From the first Mr. Pettus took an active part in shaping legislation and soon gained a reputation amongst his constituents for faithfulness and ability, thus securing their confidence and esteem. In 1888 he became chairman of the Judiciary committee of the house, and such was his display of intelligence and power that during the session of 1890 he became a strong candidate for Speaker of the House. The contest was an enthusiastic and heated one, and though he was defeated it was only by a very small majority, showing that he was a popular and highly esteemed member of the house.
Mr. Pettus was a prominent Mason, being Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the state. He was also a member of the Knights of Pythias of the Elks.
In 1880, Mr. Pettus married Miss Mary Knox, daughter of MAJ. William S. Knox of Selma. Mrs. Pettus was an accomplished lady and conferred grace and dignity upon the domestic circle.”