From the Confederacy to the US Supreme Court

Annie69 By Annie69, 2nd Oct 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Biography & Autobiography

They fought for the Confederacy, then after the war, they fought their way back—all the way to the US Supreme Court. Who were these men that served both their countries?

#1 Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II

Lucius Q. C. Lamar was born near Eatonton, Georgia, on September 17, 1825, to Lucius Q. C. Lamar and Sarah Williamson Bird. After graduating from Emory College in 1845, he married Miss Longstreet whose father was one of the early presidents of the University of Mississippi.

Lamar and his wife moved to Oxford, Mississippi, in 1849 where he spent a year as a professor of mathematics at the University of Mississippi, practiced law, and established a cotton plantation in northern Lafayette County.

Lamar moved to Covington, Georgia, in 1852. It was here, in 1853, that he began his political climb to Georgia's House of Representatives.

Moving back to Mississippi in 1855, Lamar was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1856. He served the people from March 4, 1857, until he resigned on December 20, 1860, to become a member in the Mississippi Secession Convention.

Lamar and the Confederacy

Lamar wrote Mississippi's Ordinance of Secession then worked with former law partner Christopher H. Mott in raising and supplying a regiment. Mott and Lamar were commissioned Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel, respectively. Unfortunately, Lamar suffered vertigo and his life as a soldier was short lived.

Still Lamar served the Confederacy. He was a judge advocate and aide to Lt. General James Longstreet. In 1862, President Davis appointed him as minister to Russia and special envoy to England and France.

Lamar after the war

After the war, Lamar returned to the University of Mississippi as professor of metaphysics, social science and law. He was returned to the US House of Representatives from 1873-1877 and was elected US Senator, serving 1877-1885. During this time, Lamar was a member of Mississippi's constitutional conventions in 1865, 1868, 1875, 1877, and 1881.

Appointed by President Grover Cleveland, Lamar served as US Secretary of the Interior from March 6, 1885, to January 10, 1888. During that time, he cleaned up a lot of the corruption that had plagued the department, going so far as removing the Department's fleet of carriages for its officials and using only his personal one-horse vehicle.

Lamar and the Supreme Court

Lamar was appointed to the US Supreme Court by President Cleveland and confirmed by the Senate on January 16, 1888. He was the first justice from the South since the Civil War and the only justice to date from Mississippi. Justice Lamar sat on the Supreme Count until his death on January 23, 1893.

#2 Howell Edmunds Jackson

Jackson was born in Paris, Tennessee, on April 8, 1832, to Dr. Alexander Jackson and Mary Hurt Jackson whose father was a Baptist minister. The family moved to Jackson, Tennessee, when Howell was eight.

Graduating from West Tennessee College in 1849, Jackson went on to attend the University of Virginia for two years. When he returned to Tennessee, he worked as a clerk for Tennessee Supreme Court Judge A. W. O. Totten and former US Representative Milton Brown. Then he attended the Cumberland School of Law in Lebanon, Tennessee, graduating in 1856. Jackson passed the bar and, unable to get established in Jackson, moved to Memphis where he became a partner with David M. Currin. It was in Memphis that he met and married Sophia Malloy.

Jackson and the Confederacy

Although he was opposed to secession, Jackson wouldn't turn against his home state. He chose to serve the Confederacy, not as a soldier, but as a receiver of property confiscated from the Union. When Memphis fell in 1862 and Tennessee was captured by the Union, Jackson moved his family to LaGrange, Georgia, where they lived until the end of the war.

Jackson after the war

When the war was over, Jackson took an oath of allegiance to the Union and returned to Memphis and his law practice, this time partnering with Bedford M. Estes. In 1873, his wife died of yellow fever, leaving him alone to care for their children. He later married Mary E. Harding, daughter of a wealthy Nashville landowner who gave them an estate. But the couple was wealthy in appearances only as Jackson had a problem collecting payments from his clients.

In 1874, Jackson moved his family back to Jackson where he served on West Tennessee's Court of Arbitration twice.

Jackson was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1880. In those days, US Senators were elected by state legislatures, and there was a battle over who should be sent to Washington. In a compromise, Jackson was elected as Tennessee's US Senator and took his seat on March 4, 1881. He served as Senator for five years before resigning on April 14, 1886, to accept President Grover Cleveland's appointment to the US Circuit Court for the Sixth Circuit (later becoming the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit).

Jackson and the Supreme Court

On February 2, 1893, President Benjamin Harrison nominated Jackson to replace Justice Lamar who had died in January. Sixteen days later, Jackson was confirmed unanimously by the Senate.

Unfortunately, Jackson's time on the bench was short. One year later he contracted tuberculosis. His last vote was on the constitutionality of the national income tax that Congress passed in August 1894. The 5-4 decision on Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Company was handed down on May 20, 1895. Jackson's dissent stated that the Court's decision "was the most disastrous blow ever struck at the Constitutional power of Congress."

Jackson died three months later on August 8, 1895, and 18 years before Amendment 16 gave Congress the power to enact an income tax.

#3 Horace Harmon Lurton

Horace Lurton was born on February 26, 1844, in Newport, Kentucky, the son of Dr. Lycurgus Lurton and Sarah Ann Harmon Lurton. The family moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, when Horace was still a boy and his college education was obtained at Douglas University.

Lurton and the Confederacy

Lurton was a Confederate Sergeant Major and served in the 5th Tennessee and 2nd Kentucky infantries and the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry. He was captured twice. The second time he was sent to Johnson's Island Prison Camp in Sandusky Bay, Ohio. Thanks to pleas for mercy from his mother, he was paroled by President Lincoln.

Lurton after the war

Lurton earned his law degree at Cumberland University in 1867 and married Mary Francis Owen the same year. He went into private practice in Clarksville.

In 1875, Lurton became a judge of the Tennessee Chancery Court for the Sixth Chancery Division. Three years later he returned to private practice until he was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1886.

President Grover Cleveland appointed Lurton to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1893. During his years as a judge, Lurton also taught at and then served as dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Law from 1905 to 1909.

Lurton and the Supreme Court

When sitting Justice Rufus Wheeler Peckham died on October 24, 1909, President William Howard Taft nominated Lurton to the US Supreme Court. Approved by Congress and sworn in during December, Lurton took the bench in January 1910.

Historians list Coyle v. Smith, 221 US 559 (1911) as Lurton's most notable authored opinion which held that the Federal Government couldn't tell a State where to locate its capital.

Lurton died on the bench of a sudden heart attack on July 12, 1914.


Horace H Lurton, Howell E Jackson, Lucius Q C Lamar, Us Supreme Court

Meet the author

author avatar Annie69
History column appears weekly in local newspaper. Also news, human interest, and pictures. My fiction and poems have appeared in literary anthologies and I've written 3 novels

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author avatar M G Singh
3rd Oct 2015 (#)

Excellent recount from history

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author avatar Annie69
3rd Oct 2015 (#)

oops, I don't think I did this right. I meant to Thank Madan G. Singh and I think I responded to readers in general.

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author avatar Annie69
3rd Oct 2015 (#)

Thank you and thanks for the comment. I appreciate it.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
3rd Oct 2015 (#)

Awesome post my friend,love the Civil War accounts,well done Annie69

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author avatar Annie69
3rd Oct 2015 (#)

Thank you. I wrote about the CW 4 years before I switched to Amer History. A friend told me, "you don't get into the CW, it gets into you." She was right. Thanks for reading and thanks again for the nice comment.

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author avatar 狼1号
26th Sep 2017 (#)

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