Rufus Bainbridge Merchant was born in Prince William County, VA. A printer by trade, he apprenticed in Philadelphia and New York. He was living in Georgia at the time of the Civil War and served in Cobbs Legion and as a scout under Hampton. He married Henrietta Mills of Fredericksburg, VA.
"He leaves besides his wife the following children: Mrs. Edgar W. Stearns, Mrs. Henry Garrett, Mrs. Brawner Cates, Misses Bertha and Maggie Merchant and Messrs. W. H. and Rufus Merchant." --The Free Lance, October 10, 1905