Matthews Family


Matthews Family


Images donate by Trey Matthews. Contains images from the Safy and Rabil families.


This collection contains images and documents pertaining especially to the branch of the Rabil/Safy family descended from George Joseph Safy and Susie Safy, who later married Butrous Dahar Rabil. George Joseph Safy immigrated to America in 1894, at age 26; he lived in New York City for nine years, and was naturalized in 1903. In 1907, he and returned to Lebanon, presumably to either marry or to accompany his preexisting spouse to America. His returned with wife Susie (Soosan) Safy and her husband George Joseph Safy immigrated together to the United States; they arrived in New York on August 21, 1907, on the ship the S.S. Majestic.

By 1910, the couple settled in Mullins, Marion County, South Carolina. Joseph was successful in business in Mullins, and became highly respected in the city due to his membership in Macedonian Methodist church and the local Masonic Lodge. In the 1920s, George and Susie moved north to Weldon, North Carolina; however, after his death, Joseph was buried in Mullins at his request.

Together, the couple had 5 children:  Sophie Mae Safy Rabil (1909-1987), Alice Eugene Safy Lewis (1914-1977), Sue Olga Safy (1916-1937), George Joseph Safy (1921-1944), George Victor Safy (1924-1977). Four additional children died in infancy:  Alice (1910-1911) Joseph (1912-1912), Kafa (1917-1917), and Eveline (1918-1918).

Joseph Safy suffered a heart attack and passed away on July, 18, 1924. Susie remarried in 1926 to Betrus Dahar (B.D.) Rabil. The Safy children appear to have spent time in the Epworth Orphanage in Columbia, South Carolina, where they are listed in the 1930 census; why the children were living here and the duration of their stay are unknown. The children rejoined their mother and stepfather in North Carolina by the late 1930s:  Olga was living in Rocky Mount and working as a sales lady at the time of her death from complications from acute appendicitis on January 14, 1937.

Both Victor and Joseph served in World War II. Joseph was killed in action when his plane was shot down over Germany on September 9, 1944. He is buried in the Lorraine American Cemetery in France.

The surviving children of Susie’s first marriage married and started families of their own after World War II. Sophie Mae Safy married Albert Rabil, B.D.’s son from his first marriage to Beula Davis Striman. Together the two had two children:  Albert Rabil, Jr., and Carolyn Joan Rabil. Alice Eugene Safy attended Winthrop College in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and became a teacher at Lincoln School in Kingsport, Tennessee. In 1946, she married Frank Milton Lewis. Victor Safy married Agnes Harper Ellen in 1951.

Susie Safy and B.D. Rabil went on to have two additional children together, Virginia Dell Rabil Mansour (1927-) and Betrus Dahar Rabil, Jr (1929-2004). B.D. Rabil, Sr., passed away in 1964. Susie Safy Rabil lived for an additional five years, passing away in 1969. As a result of the complexity of this large blended family--which, with B.D. Rabil, Sr.’s children from his earlier marriage, totalled eleven children who survived to adulthood--led the heirs of Susie Safy to enter into a legal dispute over the execution of her will. Specifically, Sophie Mae Safy Rabil and Albert Rabil, Sr., brought suit against Virginia Dell Rabil Mansour and B.D. Rabil, Jr., over which of two wills should be given priority:  a joint will created by B.D. Rabil, Sr., and Susie Safy Rabil, or a subsequent will made by Susie Safy Rabil following the death of her second husband. The case was settled in 1970 by the North Carolina Supreme Court, which upheld the bequeathal of B.D. Rabil, Sr.’s real estate and personal property to his two youngest children, Virginia Mansour and B.D. Rabil, Jr.

Scope and Content
This collection contains documents and photographs pertaining to the lives of the Rabil and Safy families between 1894 and 1951. Researchers should also consult the Rabil and Mansour collections.


Trey Matthews


Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies




Donor retains full ownership of any and all copyright currently controlled in agreement with Khayrallah Center. Nonexclusive right to authorize all uses of these materials for non-commercial research, scholarly, or other educational purposes are granted to Khayrallah Center pursuant to Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA).

Collection Tree

This collection is a part of a larger collection that has been divided into more specific collections.