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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesIllinois

James SEMPLE

(1798-1866)
Senate Years of Service:
1843-1847
Party:
Democrat

SEMPLE, James, a Senator from Illinois; born in Green County, Ky., January 5, 1798; moved with his parents to Clinton County; received private instruction and attended the common schools; enlisted in the Army in 1814; ensign in the Kentucky Militia in 1816; moved to Edwardsville, Ill., in 1818 and to Chariton, Mo., in 1819, where he engaged in business; elected as a commissioner of the loan office; studied law in Louisville, Ky.; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Clinton County, Ky.; returned to Edwardsville, Ill., in 1827 and continued the practice of law; member, State house of representatives 1828-1833, serving as speaker four years; served as a private, adjutant, and judge advocate during the Black Hawk War; attorney general of Illinois in 1833; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1836 to the United States Senate; moved to Alton, Ill., in 1837; Charge d’Affaires to Colombia 1837-1842; judge of the State supreme court 1842-1843; appointed and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel McRoberts and served from December 4, 1843, to March 3, 1847; was not a candidate for renomination in 1846; chairman, Committee on Revolutionary Claims (Twenty-ninth Congress); returned to Alton and engaged in the real estate business; moved to Jersey County, Ill., in 1853 and founded the town of Elsah; continued in the real estate business; also engaged in literary pursuits; died in Elsah, Ill., December 20, 1866; interment in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.

Bibliography

Burton, William L. “James Semple, Prairie Entrepreneur.” Illinois Historical Journal 80 (Summer 1987): 66-84.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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