On December 26, 1810, the then governor of Virginia, George William Smith, died in a fire in Richmond. The Virginia legislature appointed James Barbour to governor to fulfill Smith's term. Barbour took office on 1-3-1811 and was governor of Virginia during the War of 1812 with Great Britain. In 1815 Barbour was elected to the US Senate. In 1825 he became Secretary of War under the administration of President John Quincy Adams. In 1828 Barbour was appointed Minister to Great Britain. And finally, for the last event of his political carrier, James Barbour presided over the 1839 convention in Harrisburg, PA for the nomination of William Henry Harrison for President (who won the election of 1840 to become the 9th President of the United States).